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32. Diana Ramos vs. Atty. Jose R.

Imbang AND PROMOTE RESPECTFOR THE LAW AND


AC No. 6788; August23, 2007 LEGAL PROCESSES. Every lawyer is obligated to
uphold the law. This undertaking includesthe observance
Facts : This case is about the disbarment or Suspension of the above-mentioned prohibitions blatantly violated
against Atty. JoseR. Imbang for multiple violations byImbang when he accepted the complainant's
of the Code of Profess ional Responsibility. cases and receivedattorney's fees in consideration of
1992, Ramos sought the assistance of Atty. Imbang in his legal services. Consequently, Imbang's acceptance
filing civil andcriminal actions against the spouses Roque of the cases was also a breach ofRule 18.01 of the
and ElenitaJovellanos. She gave Imbang P8, 500 as Code of Professional Responsibility because
attorney's fees but the latter issued areceipt for P5,000 theprohibition on the private practice of profession
only.Ramos tried to attend the scheduled hearings of her disqualified him fromacting as Ramos' counsel.
cases againstthe Jovellanoses. Imbang never allowed
her to enter thecourtroom and always told her to wait 33) Gisela Huyssen vs. Atty. Fred L. Gutierrez
outside. He would thencome out after several hours March 24, 2006 A.C. No. 6707
toinform her that the hearing hadbeen cancelled and
rescheduled. This happened six times and foreach FACTS: This treats of a Complaint[1] for Disbarment filed
appearance in court, respondent charged her by Gisela Huyssen against respondent Atty. Fred L.
P350.Ramos was shocked to learn that Imbang Gutierrez. Complainant alleged that in 1995, while
never filed any caseagainst the Jovellanoses and that respondent was still connected with the Bureau of
he was in fact employed in thePublic Attorney's Office Immigration and Deportation (BID), she and her three
(PAO) sons, who are all American citizens, applied for Philippine
Visas under Section 13[g] of the Immigration Law.
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Imbang should be disbarred. Respondent told complainant that in order that their visa
applications will be favorably acted upon by the BID they
HELD: YES, as per SCs decision Lawyers are needed to deposit a certain sum of money for a period of
expected to conduct themselves with honesty and one year which could be withdrawn after one year.
integrity. More specifically, lawyers in government Believing that the deposit was indeed required by law,
service are expected to be more conscientious of their complainant deposited with respondent on six different
actuations as they are subject to public scrutiny. They are occasions from April 1995 to April 1996 the total amount of
not only members of the bar but also public servants who US$20,000. Respondent prepared receipts/vouchers as
owe utmost fidelity to public service. proofs that he received the amounts deposited by the
The SC supported this with three explanations: complainant but refused to give her copies of official
1. Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and receipts despite her demands. After one year, complainant
Employees Section 7(b)(2) of the Code of Ethical demanded from respondent the return of US$20,000 who
Standards for Public Officials and Employees provides assured her that said amount would be returned.When
Section 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. -- In addition respondent failed to return the sum deposited, the World
to acts and omissions of public officials and employees Mission for Jesus (of which complainant was a member)
now prescribed inthe Constitution and existing laws, sent a demand letter to respondent for the immediate
the following constitute prohibited acts and transactions return of the money. In a letter dated 1 March 1999,
of any public official and employee and are hereby respondent promised to release the amount not later than
declared unlawful (b) Outside employment and other 9 March 1999. Failing to comply with his promise, the
activities related thereto, public officials and employees World Mission for Jesus sent another demand letter. In
during their incumbency shall not (1) Engage in the private response thereto, respondent sent complainant a letter
practice of profession unless authorizedby the dated 19 March 1999 explaining the alleged reasons for
Constitution or law, provided that such practice the delay in the release of deposited amount. He enclosed
will notconflict with their official function. In this two blank checks postdated to 6 April and 20 April 1999
instance, Imbang received P5,000 from the and authorized complainant to fill in the amounts. When
complainant andissued a receipt on July 15, 1992 while complainant deposited the postdated checks on their due
he was still connected with thePAO. Acceptance of money dates, the same were dishonored because respondent
from a client establishes an attorney-clientrelationship. had stopped payment on the same. Thereafter,
2. Revised Administrative Code Section 14(3), Chapter respondent, in his letter to complainant dated 25 April
5, Title III, Book V of the Revised Administrative Code 1999, explained the reasons for stopping payment on the
provides:oThe PAO shall be the principal law office checks, and gave complainant five postdated checks with
of the Government in extending free legal assistance the assurance that said checks would be honored.
to indigent persons in criminal, civil,labor, administrative Complainant deposited the five postdated checks on their
and other quasi-judicial cases. As a PAO lawyer, Imbang due dates but they were all dishonored for having been
should not have accepted attorney's fees fromthe drawn against insufficient funds or payment thereon was
complainant as this was inconsistent with the office's ordered stopped by respondent. After respondent made
mission. several unfulfilled promises to return the deposited
3. Code of Professional Responsibility Canon 1 of the amount, complainant referred the matter to a lawyer who
Code of Professional Responsibility provides:o CANON 1. sent two demand letters to respondent. The demand
A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE letters remained unheeded.
CONSTITUTION,OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND
Thus, a complaint[2] for disbarment was filed by burdened with high degree of social responsibility,
complainant in the Commission on Bar Discipline of the perhaps higher than his brethren in private practice.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). As a lawyer, who was also a public officer, respondent
miserably failed to cope with the strict demands and high
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent violated the Code standards of the legal profession.
of Professional Responsibility. Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court
mandates that a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended
RULING: Yes. We agree with the IBP Board of Governors by this Court for any of the following acts: (1) deceit; (2)
that respondent should be severely sanctioned. malpractice; (3) gross misconduct in office; (4) grossly
We begin with the veritable fact that lawyers in immoral conduct; (5) conviction of a crime involving moral
government service in the discharge of their official task turpitude ; (6) violation of the lawyers oath; (7) willful
have more restrictions than lawyers in private practice. disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; and
Want of moral integrity is to be more severely condemned (8) willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without
in a lawyer who holds a responsible public office.[7] authority to do so.[27]
It is undisputed that respondent admitted[8] having
received the US$20,000 from complainant as shown by 34) Ruthie Lim-Santiago vs Atty. Carlos B. Sagucio
his signatures in the petty cash vouchers[9] and AC No. 6705, March 31, 2006
receipts[10] he prepared, on the false representation that
that it was needed in complainants application for visa with FACTS: This is a disbarment complaint against Atty.
the BID. Respondent denied he misappropriated the said Carlos B. Sagucio for violating Rule 15.03 of the Code of
amount and interposed the defense that he delivered it to Professional Responsibility and for defying the prohibition
a certain Atty. Mendoza who assisted complainant and against private practice of law while working as
children in their application for visa in the BID.[11]Such government prosecutor.
defense remains unsubstantiated as he failed to submit Atty. Carlos B. Sagucio was the former Personnel
evidence on the matter. While he claims that Atty. Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat Industries, Inc.
Mendoza already died, he did not present the death until his appointment as Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of
certificate of said Atty. Mendoza. Worse, the action of Tuguegarao, Cagayan in 1992.
respondent in shifting the blame to someone who has Ruthie Lim- Santiago contends that respondent is guilty of
been naturally silenced by fate, is not only impudent but representing conflicting interests. Respondent, being the
downright ignominious. When the integrity of a member of former Personnel Manager and Retained Counsel of
the bar is challenged, it is not enough that he deny the Taggat, knew the operations of Taggat very well
charges against him; he must meet the issue and Respondent should have inhibited himself from hearing,
overcome the evidence against him.[12] He must show investigating and deciding the case filed by Taggat
proof that he still maintains that degree of morality and employees. Furthermore, complainant claims that
integrity which at all times is expected of him. In the case respondent instigated the filing of the cases and even
at bar, respondent clearly fell short of his duty. Records harassed and threatened Taggat employees to accede
show that even though he was given the opportunity to and sign an affidavit to support the complaint.
answer the charges and controvert the evidence against Also, the complainant contends that respondent is guilty of
him in a formal investigation, he failed, without any engaging in the private practice of law while working as a
plausible reason, to appear several times whenever the government prosecutor. Complainant presented evidence
case was set for reception of his evidence despite due to prove that respondent received P10,000 as retainers
notice. fee for the months of January and February 1995, 16
Respondents act of asking money from complainant in another P10,000 for the months of April and May 1995, 17
consideration of the latters pending application for visas is and P5,000 for the month of April 1996. .
violative of Rule 1.01[17] of the Code of Professional Respondent asserts that no conflicting interests exist
Responsibility, which prohibits members of the Bar from because he was not representing Taggat employees or
engaging or participating in any unlawful, dishonest, or complainant. Respondent claims he was merely
deceitful acts. Moreover, said acts constitute a breach of performing his official duty as Assistant Provincial
Rule 6.02[18] of the Code which bars lawyers in Prosecutor. Respondent argues that complainant failed to
government service from promoting their private interest. establish that respondents act was tainted with personal
Promotion of private interest includes soliciting gifts or interest, malice and bad faith. Respondent denies
anything of monetary value in any transaction requiring the complainants allegations that he instigated the filing of the
approval of his office or which may be affected by the cases, threatened and harassed Taggat employees.
functions of his office.[19] Respondents conduct in office Respondent claims that this accusation is bereft of proof
betrays the integrity and good moral character required because complainant failed to mention the names of the
from all lawyers, especially from one occupying a high employees or present them for cross-examination.
public office. A lawyer in public office is expected not only Respondent does not dispute his receipt, after his
to refrain from any act or omission which might tend to appointment as government prosecutor, of retainer fees
lessen the trust and confidence of the citizenry in from complainant but claims that itwas only on a case-to-
government; he must also uphold the dignity of the legal case basis and it ceased in 1996. Respondent contends
profession at all times and observe a high standard of that the fees were paid for his consultancy services and
honesty and fair dealing. Otherwise said, a lawyer in not for representation. Respondent submits that
government service is a keeper of the public faith and is
consultation is not the same as representation and that respondent had with respect to the criminal complaint is
rendering consultancy services is not prohibited. that he was the one who conducted the preliminary
The IBPs Report and Recommendation investigation. On that basis alone, it does not necessarily
IBP Commissioner Funas Report and Recommendation follow that respondent used any confidential information
("Report") finding respondent guilty of conflict of interests, from his previous employment with complainant or Taggat
failure to safeguard a former clients interest, and violating in resolving the criminal complaint.
the prohibition against the private practice of law while The fact alone that respondent was the former Personnel
being a government prosecutor. The IBP Board of Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat and the case
Governors recommended the imposition of a penalty of he resolved as government prosecutor was labor-related
three years suspension from the practice of law. is not a sufficient basis to charge respondent for
Clearly, as a former Personnel Manager and Legal representing conflicting interests. A lawyers immutable
Counsel of Taggat, herein Respondent undoubtedly duty to a former client does not cover transactions that
handled the personnel and labor concerns of Taggat. occurred beyond the lawyers employment with the client.
Respondent, undoubtedly dealt with and related with the The intent of the law is to impose upon the lawyer the duty
employees of Taggat. Therefore, Respondent undoubtedly to protect the clients interests only on matters that he
dealt with and related with complainants in I.S. No. 97- previously handled for the former client and not for matters
240. The issues, therefore, are very much familiar with that arose after the lawyer-client relationship has
Respondent. While the issues of unpaid salaries pertain to terminated.
the periods 1996-1997, the mechanics and personalities in 2. Yes. The Court has defined the practice of law
that case are very much familiar with Respondent. broadly as any activity, in or out of court, which requires
As to the propriety of receiving "Retainer Fees" or the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training
"consultancy fees" from herein Complainant while being and experience. "To engage in the practice of law is to
an Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, and for rendering legal perform those acts which are characteristics of the
consultancy work while being an Assistant Provincial profession. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or
Prosecutor, this matter had long been settled. Government render any kind of service, which device or service
prosecutors are prohibited to engage in the private requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill."
practice of law. The act of being a legal consultant is a "Private practice of law" contemplates a succession of
practice of law. To engage in the practice of law is to do acts of the same nature habitually or customarily holding
any of those acts that are characteristic of the legal ones self to the public as a lawyer. 52
profession.It covers any activity, in or out of court, which Respondent argues that he only rendered consultancy
required the application of law, legal principles, practice or services to Taggat intermittently and he was not a retained
procedures and calls for legal knowledge, training and counsel of Taggat from 1995 to 1996 as alleged. This
experience. argument is without merit because the law does not
Respondent clearly violated this prohibition. distinguish between consultancy services and retainer
ISSUE: agreement. For as long as respondent performed acts that
1. Whether or not the Respondent should be found are usually rendered by lawyers with the use of their legal
guilty of conflict of interest knowledge, the same falls within the ambit of the term
2. Whether or not the respondent violated the "practice of law."
prohibition against the private practice of law while being a Nonetheless, respondent admitted that he rendered his
government prosecutor. legal services to complainant while working as a
HELD government prosecutor. Even the receipts he signed
1. No. Complainants evidence failed to substantiate stated that the payments by Taggat were for "Retainers
the claim that respondent represented conflicting interests. fee." 53 Thus, as correctly pointed out by complainant,
One test of inconsistency of interests is whether the respondent clearly violated the prohibition in RA 6713.
lawyer will be asked to use against his former client any On the Appropriate Penalty on Respondent
confidential information acquired through their connection However, violations of RA 6713 are not subject to
or previous employment. In essence, what a lawyer owes disciplinary action under the Code of Professional
his former client is to maintain inviolate the clients Responsibility unless the violations also constitute
confidence or to refrain from doing anything which will infractions of specific provisions of the Code of
injuriously affect him in any matter in which he previously Professional Responsibility. Certainly, the IBP has no
represented him. 50 jurisdiction to investigate violations of RA 6713 the Code
In the present case, we find no conflict of interests when of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
respondent handled the preliminary investigation of the Employees unless the acts involved also transgress
criminal complaint filed by Taggat employees in 1997. The provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
issue in the criminal complaint pertains to non-payment of Here, respondents violation of RA 6713 also constitutes a
wages that occurred from 1 April 1996 to 15 July 1997. violation of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, which mandates that "[a]
Clearly, respondent was no longer connected with Taggat lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
during that period since he resigned sometime in 1992. deceitful conduct." Respondents admission that he
In order to charge respondent for representing conflicting received from Taggat fees for legal services while serving
interests, evidence must be presented to prove that as a government prosecutor is an unlawful conduct, which
respondent used against Taggat, his former client, any constitutes a violation of Rule 1.01.
confidential information acquired through his previous The appropriate penalty on an errant lawyer depends on
employment. The only established participation the exercise of sound judicial discretion based on the
surrounding facts. Under Civil Service Law and rules, the `Canon 6 - These canons shall apply to lawyers in
penalty for government employees engaging in government service in the discharge of their official tasks.
unauthorized private practice of profession is suspension `Rule 6.01 - The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in
for six months and one day to one year. . public prosecution is not to convict but to see that justice is
WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty. Carlos B. done. The suppression of facts or the concealment of
Sagucio GUILTY of violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, we accused is highly reprehensible and is cause for
SUSPEND respondent Atty. Carlos B. Sagucio from the disciplinary action.
practice of law for SIX MONTHS effective upon finality of
this Decision. 36) Ali vs. Atty. Bubong
AC No. 4018, March 8, 2005
35) Edilberto M. Cuenca, Vs. CA
G.R. No. 109870, December 01, 1995 Facts:
This is a verified petition for disbarment filed against Atty.
FACTS: Mosib Ali Bubong for having been found guilty of grave
The rule that the Supreme Court is not authorized to misconduct while holding the position of Register of Deeds
entertain a Motion for Reconsideration and/or New Trial of Marawi City.It appears that this disbarment proceeding
Predicated on Allegedly Newly Discovered Evidence is is an off-shoot of the administrative case earlier filed by
relaxed. Although in "Goduco v. CA" decided some twenty complainant against respondent, which was initially
(20) years ago, this Court ruled that it is not authorized to investigated by the Land Registration Authority (LRA),
entertain a motion for reconsideration and/or new trial complainant charged respondent with illegal exaction;
predicated on allegedly newly discovered evidence the indiscriminate issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title
rationale of which being: "The judgment of the Court of (TCT); and manipulating the criminal complaint filed
Appeals is conclusive as to the facts, and cannot be against HadjiSeradBauduliDatu and others for violation of
reviewed by the Supreme Court. Accordingly, in an the Anti-Squatting Law. It appears from the records that
appeal by certiorari to the Supreme Court, the latter has the BaudaliDatus are relatives of respondent. The initial
no jurisdiction to entertain a motion for new trial on the inquiry by the LRA was resolved in favor of respondent,
ground of newly discovered evidence, for only questions of absolved respondent of all the charges brought against
fact are involved therein," the rule now appears to have him.
been relaxed, if not abandoned, in subsequent cases like The case was then forwarded to the DOJ for review, then
"Helmuth, Jr. v. People" (112 SCRA 573 [1982]) and SoJ Franklin Drilon exonerated respondent of the charges
"People v. Amparado" (156 SCRA 712 [1987]). In both of illegal exaction and infidelity in the custody of
cases, the Court, opting to brush aside technicalities and documents, butheld guilty of grave misconduct for his
despite the opposition of the Solicitor General, granted imprudent issuance of TCT and manipulating the criminal
new trial to the convicted accused concerned on the basis case for violation of the Anti-Squatting Law instituted
of proposed testimonies or affidavits of persons which the against HadjiSeradBauduliDatu and the latters co-
Court considered as newly discovered and probably accused. As a result of this finding, former President FVR
sufficient evidence to reverse the judgment of conviction. issued AO No. 41 adopting in toto the conclusion reached
Being similarly circumstanced, there is no nagging reason by Secretary Drilon. Respondent questioned said AO
why herein petitioner should be denied the same benefit. It before this Court through a petition
becomes all the more plausible under the circumstances for certiorari, mandamus, and prohibition claiming that the
considering that the "People" does not raise any objection Office of the President did not have the authority and
to a new trial, for which reason the Solicitor General ought jurisdiction to remove him from office and insisted that
to be specially commended for displaying once again such respondents violated the laws on security of tenure and
statesmanlike gesture of impartiality. The Solicitor that respondent Reynaldo V. Maulit, then the administrator
General's finest hour, indeed. of the LRA committed a breach of Civil Service Rules
when he abdicated his authority to resolve the
ISSUE: WON NEW TRIAL SHOULD BE GRANTED administrative complaint against him (herein respondent),
but was dismissedfor failure on the part of petitioner to
HELD: "The above duty is well founded on the instruction sufficiently show that public respondent committed grave
of the U.S. Supreme Court in Berger v. United States, 295 abuse of discretion in issuing the questioned
U.S. 78 (1935) that prosecutors represent a sovereign order. Respondent MR was denied with finality.
`whose obligation to govern impartially is compelling as its ISSUE: WON respondent may be disbarred for grave
obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore in misconduct committed while he was in the employ of the
a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but government.
that justice shall be done (Time to Rein in the Prosecution, RULING: We resolve this question in the affirmative.The
by Atty. Bruce Fein, published on p. 11, The Lawyers Code of Professional Responsibility does not cease to
Review, July 31, 1994). (Italics supplied.)" apply to a lawyer simply because he has joined the
"Under Rule 6.01 of Canon 6 of the Code of Professional government service. In fact, by the express provision of
Responsibility, prosecutors who represent the People of Canon 6 thereof, the rules governing the conduct of
the Philippines in a criminal case are not duty bound to lawyers shall apply to lawyers in government service in the
seek conviction of the accused but to see that justice is discharge of their official tasks. Thus, where a lawyers
done. Said Rule 6.01 of Canon 6 states: misconduct as a government official is of such nature as to
affect his qualification as a lawyer or to show moral 37) Olazo vs. Justice Tinga
delinquency, then he may be disciplined as a member of December 7, 2010 AM No. 10-5-7- SC
the bar on such grounds. Although the general rule is that
a lawyer who holds a government office may not be FACTS: The respondent is charged of violating Rule
disciplined as a member of the bar for infractions he 6.02,[1] Rule 6.03[2] and Rule 1.01[3] of the Code of
committed as a government official, he may, however, be Professional Responsibility for representing conflicting
disciplined as a lawyer if his misconduct constitutes a interests.
violation of his oath a member of the legal profession. In March 1990, the complainant filed a sales application
In the case at bar, respondents grave misconduct, as covering a parcel of land situated in Barangay Lower
established by the Office of the President and Bicutan in the Municipality of Taguig. The land (subject
subsequently affirmed by this Court, deals with his land) was previously part of Fort Andres Bonifacio that
qualification as a lawyer. By taking advantage of his office was segregated and declared open for disposition
as the Register of Deeds of Marawi City and employing his pursuant to Proclamation No. 2476,[4] issued on January
knowledge of the rules governing land registration for the 7, 1986, and Proclamation No. 172,[5]issued on October
benefit of his relatives, respondent had clearly 16, 1987.
demonstrated his unfitness not only to perform the To implement Proclamation No. 172, Memorandum No.
functions of a civil servant but also to retain his 119 was issued by then Executive Secretary Catalino
membership in the bar. Rule 6.02 of the Code of Macaraig, creating a Committee on Awards whose duty
Professional Responsibility is explicit on this matter. It was to study, evaluate, and make a recommendation on
reads:Rule 6.02 A lawyer in the government service shall the applications to purchase the lands declared open for
not use his public position to promote or advance his disposition. The Committee on Awards was headed by the
private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere with his Director of Lands and the respondent was one of the
public duties. Committee members, in his official capacity as the
Respondents conduct manifestly undermined the peoples Congressman of Taguig and Pateros (from 1987 to 1998);
confidence in the public office he used to occupy and cast the respondents district includes the areas covered by the
doubt on the integrity of the legal profession. The ill- proclamations.
conceived use of his knowledge of the intricacies of the The First Charge: Violation of Rule 6.02
law calls for nothing less than the withdrawal of his In the complaint,[6] the complainant claimed that the
privilege to practice law. respondent abused his position as Congressman and as a
As for the letter sent by Bainar Ali, the deceased member of the Committee on Awards when he unduly
complainants daughter, requesting for the withdrawal of interfered with the complainants sales application because
this case, we cannot possibly favorably act on the same of his personal interest over the subject land. The
as proceedings of this nature cannot be interrupted or complainant alleged that the respondent exerted undue
terminated by reason of desistance, settlement, pressure and influence over the complainants father,
compromise, restitution, withdrawal of the charges or Miguel P. Olazo, for the latter to contest the complainants
failure of the complainant to prosecute the same. As we sales application and claim the subject land for himself.
have previously explained in the case of Irene Rayos- The complainant also alleged that the respondent
Ombac v. Atty. Orlando A. Rayos: prevailed upon Miguel Olazo to accept, on various dates,
A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed sums of money as payment of the latters alleged rights
regardless of interest or lack of interest of the over the subject land. The complainant further claimed
complainant. What matters is whether, on the basis of that the respondent brokered the transfer of rights of the
the facts borne out by the record, the charge of deceit subject land between Miguel Olazo and Joseph Jeffrey
and grossly immoral conduct has been duly proven. Rodriguez, who is the nephew of the respondents
This rule is premised on the nature of disciplinary deceased wife.
proceedings. A proceeding for suspension or As a result of the respondents abuse of his official
disbarment is not in any sense a civil action where functions, the complainants sales application was denied.
the complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent The conveyance of rights to Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez and
lawyer is a defendant. Disciplinary proceedings his sales application were subsequently given due course
involve no private interest and afford no redress for by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
private grievance. They are undertaken and (DENR).
prosecuted solely for the public welfare. They are The Second Charge: Violation of Rule 6.03
undertaken for the purpose of preserving courts of The second charge involves another parcel of land within
justice from the official ministration of persons unfit to the proclaimed areas belonging to Manuel Olazo, the
practice in them. The attorney is called to answer to complainants brother. The complainant alleged that the
the court for his conduct as an officer of the court. respondent persuaded Miguel Olazo to direct Manuel to
The complainant or the person who called the convey his rights over the land to Joseph Jeffrey
attention of the court to the attorneys alleged Rodriguez. As a result of the respondents promptings, the
misconduct is in no sense a party, and has generally rights to the land were transferred to Joseph Jeffrey
no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens Rodriguez.
may have in the proper administrative of justice. In addition, the complainant alleged that in May 1999, the
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Mosib A. Bubong is respondent met with Manuel for the purpose of nullifying
hereby DISBARRED and his name is ORDERED the conveyance of rights over the land to Joseph Jeffrey
STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys. Rodriguez. The complainant claimed that the respondent
wanted the rights over the land transferred to one Rolando respondents alleged participation, and we find it to be in
Olazo, the Barangay Chairman of Hagonoy, Taguig. The the respondents favor.
respondent in this regard executed an Assurance where Third, the other documents executed by Miguel Olazo, that
he stated that he was the lawyer of Ramon Lee and the complainant presented to support his claim that the
Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez. respondent exerted undue pressure and influence over his
The Third Charge: Violation of Rule 1.01 father (namely: the letter, dated June 22, 1996, to the
The complainant alleged that the respondent engaged in DENR Regional Director-NCR;[21] the Sinumpaang
unlawful conduct considering his knowledge that Joseph Salaysay dated July 12, 1996;[22] and the Sinumpaang
Jeffrey Rodriguez was not a qualified beneficiary under Salaysay dated July 17, 1996[23]), do not contain any
Memorandum No. 119. The complainant averred that reference to the alleged pressure or force exerted by the
Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez is not a bona fide resident of the respondent over Miguel Olazo. The documents merely
proclaimed areas and does not qualify for an award. Thus, showed that the respondent helped Miguel Olazo in
the approval of his sales application by the Committee on having his farm lots (covered by the proclaimed areas)
Awards amounted to a violation of the objectives of surveyed. They also showed that the respondent merely
Proclamation No. 172 and Memorandum No. 119. acted as a witness in the Sinumpaang Salaysay dated
The complainant also alleged that the respondent violated July 17, 1996. To our mind, there are neutral acts that may
Section 7(b)(2) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical be rendered by one relative to another, and do not show
Standards for Public Officials and Employees or Republic how the respondent could have influenced the decision of
Act (R.A.) No. 6713 since he engaged in the practice of Miguel Olazo to contest the complainants sales
law, within the one-year prohibition period, when he application. At the same time, we cannot give any credit to
appeared as a lawyer for Ramon Lee and Joseph Jeffrey the Sinumpaang Salaysay, dated January 20, 2000, of
Rodriguez before the Committee on Awards. Manuel. They are not only hearsay but are contrary to
ISSUE: Whether or not there was a violation of the Code what Miguel Olazo states on the record. We note that
of Professional Responsibility. Manuel had no personal knowledge, other than what
RULING: No. The Court find the absence of any concrete Miguel Olazo told him, of the force allegedly exerted by
proof that the respondent abused his position as a the respondent against Miguel Olazo.
Congressman and as a member of the Committee on As a rule, government lawyers are not allowed to engage
Awards in the manner defined under Rule 6.02 of the in the private practice of their profession during their
Code of Professional Responsibility. incumbency.[29] By way of exception, a government
First, the records do not clearly show if the complainants lawyer can engage in the practice of his or her profession
sales application was ever brought before the Committee under the following conditions: first, the private practice is
on Awards. By the complaints own account, the authorized by the Constitution or by the law; and second,
complainant filed a sales application in March 1990 before the practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with his or
the Land Management Bureau. By 1996, the complainants her official functions.[30] The last paragraph of Section 7
sales application was pending before the Office of the provides an exception to the exception. In case of lawyers
Regional Director, NCR of the DENR due to the conflicting separated from the government service who are covered
claims of Miguel Olazo, and, subsequently, of Joseph under subparagraph (b) (2) of Section 7 of R.A. No. 6713,
Jeffrey Rodriguez. The records show that it was only on a one-year prohibition is imposed to practice law in
August 2, 2000 that the Office of the Regional Director, connection with any matter before the office he used to be
NCR of the DENR rendered its decision, or after the term with.
of the respondents elective public office and membership Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
to the Committee on Awards, which expired in 1997. echoes this restriction and prohibits lawyers, after leaving
These circumstances do not show that the respondent did the government service, to accept engagement or
in any way promote, advance or use his private interests employment in connection with any matter in which he had
in the discharge of his official duties. To repeat, since the intervened while in the said service. The keyword in Rule
sales application was not brought before the Committee 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is the term
on Awards when the respondent was still a member, no intervene which we previously interpreted to include an act
sufficient basis exists to conclude that he used his position of a person who has the power to influence the
to obtain personal benefits. We note in this regard that the proceedings.[31] Otherwise stated, to fall within the ambit
denial of the complainants sales application over the of Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
subject land was made by the DENR, not by the the respondent must have accepted engagement or
Committee on Awards. employment in a matter which, by virtue of his public
Second, the complainants allegation that the respondent office, he had previously exercised power to influence the
orchestrated the efforts to get the subject land does not outcome of the proceedings.
specify how the orchestration was undertaken. What As the records show, no evidence exists showing that the
appears clear in the records is the uncorroborated respondent previously interfered with the sales application
Sinumpaang Salaysay of Miguel Olazo, dated May 25, covering Manuels land when the former was still a
2003,[20] categorically stating that the respondent had no member of the Committee on Awards. The complainant,
interest in the subject land, and neither was he a too, failed to sufficiently establish that the respondent was
contracting party in the transfer of his rights over the engaged in the practice of law. At face value, the legal
subject land. In the absence of any specific charge, service rendered by the respondent was limited only in the
Olazos disclaimer is the nearest relevant statement on the preparation of a single document. In Borja, Sr. v. Sulyap,
Inc.,[32] we specifically described private practice of law
as one that contemplates a succession of acts of the same American citizens, applied for Philippine Visas under
nature habitually or customarily holding ones self to the Section 13[g] of the Immigration Law.
public as a lawyer.
In any event, even granting that respondents act fell within Respondent told complainant that in order that their visa
the definition of practice of law, the available pieces of applications will be favorably acted upon by the BID they
evidence are insufficient to show that the legal needed to deposit a certain sum of money for a period of
representation was made before the Committee on one year which could be withdrawn after one year.
Awards, or that the Assurance was intended to be Believing that the deposit was indeed required by law,
presented before it. These are matters for the complainant complainant deposited with respondent on six different
to prove and we cannot consider any uncertainty in this occasions from April 1995 to April 1996 the total amount of
regard against the respondents favor. US$20,000.
Rule 1.01 prohibits a lawyer from engaging in unlawful,
immoral or deceitful conduct. From the above discussion, Respondent prepared receipts/vouchers as proofs that he
we already struck down the complainants allegation that received the amounts deposited by the complainant but
respondent engaged in an unauthorized practice of law refused to give her copies of official receipts despite her
when he appeared as a lawyer for Ramon Lee and Joseph demands.
Jeffrey Rodriguez before the Committee on Awards.
We find that a similar treatment should be given to the After one year, complainant demanded from respondent
complainants claim that the respondent violated paragraph the return of US$20,000 who assured her that said
4(1)[33] of Memorandum No. 119 when he encouraged amount would be returned. When respondent failed to
the sales application of Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez despite return the sum deposited, the World Mission for Jesus (of
his knowledge that his nephew was not a qualified which complainant was a member) sent a demand letter to
applicant. The matter of Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguezs respondent for the immediate return of the money. Atty.
qualifications to apply for a sales application over lots Gutierrez sent a letter to the complainant explaining the
covered by the proclaimed areas has been resolved in the alleged reasons for the delay in the release of deposited
affirmative by the Secretary of the DENR in the decision amount and promised her several times that he would
dated April 3, 2004,[34] when the DENR gave due course repay her out of his personal funds. He even issued
to his sales application over the subject land. We are, at personal post-dated checks on this, but which later
this point, bound by this finding. bounced.After respondent made several unfulfilled
As pointed out by the respondent, the DENR decision was promises to return the deposited amount, complainant
affirmed by the Office of the President, the Court of referred the matter to a lawyer who sent two demand
Appeals[35] and, finally, the Court, per our Minute letters to respondent. The demand letters remained
Resolution, dated October 11, 2006, in G.R. No. 173453. unheeded.
In our Resolution, we dismissed the petition for review on
certiorari filed by the complainant after finding, among Thus, a complaint[2] for disbarment was filed by
others, that no reversible error was committed by the complainant in the Commission on Bar Discipline of
Court of Appeals in its decision.[36] the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
All told, considering the serious consequences of the
penalty of disbarment or suspension of a member of the
Bar, the burden rests on the complainant to present clear, Respondent denied the allegations in the complaint
convincing and satisfactory proof for the Court to exercise claiming that having never physically received the money
its disciplinary powers.[37] The respondent generally is mentioned in the complaint, he could not have
under no obligation to prove his/her defense,[38] until the appropriated or pocketed the same. He said the amount
burden shifts to him/her because of what the complainant was used as payment for services rendered for obtaining
has proven. Where no case has in the first place been the permanent visas in the Philippines.
proven, nothing has to be rebutted in defense.[39]
With this in mind, we resolve to dismiss the administrative Complainant submitted her evidence on 4 September
case against the respondent for the complainants failure to 2002 and April 2003, and filed her Formal Offer of
prove by clear and convincing evidence that the former Evidence on 25 August 2003.
committed unethical infractions warranting the exercise of
the Courts disciplinary power. Investigating Commissioner Milagros V. San Juan
submitted her report[5] recommending the disbarment of
38) Gisela Huyssen vs Atty. Fred L. Gutierrez respondent. She justified her recommendation in this
AC No. 6707, March 24, 2006 manner:

FACTS At the outset it should be noted that there


This treats of a Complaintfor Disbarment filed by is no question that respondent received
Gisela Huyssen against respondent Atty. Fred L. the amount of US$20,000 from
Gutierrez. complainant, as respondent himself
admitted that he signed the vouchers
Complainant alleged that in 1995, while respondent was (Annexes A to F of complainant) showing
still connected with the Bureau of Immigration and his receipt of said amount from
Deportation (BID), she and her three sons, who are all complainant. Respondent however claims
that he did not appropriate the same for how come only Petty Cash Vouchers were
himself but that he delivered the said issued by respondent to complainant to
amount to a certain Atty. Mendoza. This prove his receipt of the said sum and
defense raised by respondent is official receipts therefore were never
untenable considering the documentary issued by the said Bureau? Also, why
evidence submitted by complainant. On would respondent issue his personal
record is the 1 March 1999 letter of checks to cover the return of the money to
respondent addressed to the World complainant if said amount was really
Mission for Jesus (Annex H of Complaint) officially deposited with the Bureau of
where he stated thus: Immigration? All these actions of
respondent point to the inescapable
I really understand your feelings conclusion that respondent received the
on the delay of the release of the money from complainant and appropriated
deposit but I repeat, nobody really the same for his personal use. It should
intended that the thing would also be noted that respondent has failed
happen that way. Many events to establish that the late Atty. Mendoza
were the causes of the said delay referred to in his Counter-Affidavit really
particularly the death of then exists. There is not one correspondence
Commissioner L. Verceles, whose from Atty. Mendoza regarding the visa
sudden death prevented us the application of complainant and his family,
needed papers for the immediate and complainant has also testified that
release. It was only from she never met this Atty. Mendoza referred
compiling all on the first week of to by respondent.
January this year, that all the said
papers were recovered, hence, Considering that respondent was able to
the process of the release just perpetrate the fraud by taking advantage
started though some important of his position with the Board of Special
papers were already finished as Inquiry of the Bureau of Immigration and
early as the last quarter of last Deportation, makes it more reprehensible
year. We are just going through as it has caused damage to the reputation
the normal standard operating and integrity of said office. It is submitted
procedure and there is no day that respondent has violated Rule 6.02 of
since January that I do not make Canon 6 of the Code of Professional
any follow ups on the progress of Responsibility which reads:
the same.
A lawyer in the government
and his letter dated 19 March 1999 service shall not use his public position to
(Annex L of Complaint) where he stated promote or advance his private interests,
thus: nor allow the latter to interfere with his
public duties.
I am sending you my personal
checks to cover the refund of the
amount deposited by your good On 4 November 2004, the IBP Board of
self in connection with the Governorsapproved[6] the Investigating Commissioners
procurement of your permanent report with modification, thus:
visa and that of your family. It
might take some more time before RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it
the Bureau could release the hereby ADOPTED and
refund as some other pertinent APPROVED,
papers are being still compiled with modification, the Report
are being looked at the files of the and Recommendation of the
late Commissioner Verceles, who Investigating Commissioner of the
approved your visa and who died above-entitled case, herein made
of heart attack. Anyway, I am sure part of this Resolution as Annex
that everything would be fine later A; and, finding the
as all the documents needed are recommendation fully supported
already intact. This is just a by the evidence on record and
bureaucratic delay. applicable laws and rules, and
considering respondents violation
From the above letters, respondent makes of Rule 6.02 of Canon 6 of the
it appear that the US$20,000 was officially Code of Professional
deposited with the Bureau of Immigration Responsibility, Atty. Fred L.
and Deportation. However, if this is true, Gutierrez is
hereby DISBARRED from the its presentment, is also a manifestation of moral
practice of law and ordered to turpitude.[22]
return the amount with legal
interest from receipt of the money Respondents acts are more despicable. Not only did he
until payment. misappropriate the money of complainant; worse, he had
the gall to prepare receipts with the letterhead of the BID
ISSUE Whether or not Atty. Gutierrez and issued checks to cover up his misdeeds. Clearly, he
violated the duty to separate does not deserve to continue, being a member of the bar.
public duties from private
interest Time and again, we have declared that the practice of law
is a noble profession. It is a special privilege bestowed
HELD only upon those who are competent intellectually,
academically and morally. A lawyer must at all times
Yes. The Court agrees with the IBP Board of Governors conduct himself, especially in his dealings with his clients
that respondent should be severely sanctioned. and the public at large, with honesty and integrity in a
manner beyond reproach. He must faithfully perform his
Llawyers in government service in the discharge of their duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his
official task have more restrictions than lawyers in private clients. A violation of the high standards of the legal
practice. Want of moral integrity is to be more severely profession subjects the lawyer to administrative sanctions
condemned in a lawyer who holds a responsible public which includes suspension and disbarment.[23] More
office.[7] importantly, possession of good moral character must be
continuous as a requirement to the enjoyment of the
Respondents act of asking money from complainant in privilege of law practice; otherwise, the loss thereof is a
consideration of the latters pending application for visas ground for the revocation of such privilege.[24]
is violative of Rule 1.01[17] of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which prohibits members of the Bar from Indeed, the primary objective of administrative cases
engaging or participating in any unlawful, dishonest, or against lawyers is not only to punish and discipline the
deceitful acts. Moreover, said acts constitute a breach of erring individual lawyers but also to safeguard the
Rule 6.02[18] of the Code which bars lawyers in administration of justice by protecting the courts and the
government service from promoting their private public from the misconduct of lawyers, and to remove from
interest. Promotion of private interest includes soliciting the legal profession persons whose utter disregard of their
gifts or anything of monetary value in any transaction lawyers oath have proven them unfit to continue
requiring the approval of his office or which may be discharging the trust reposed in them as members of the
affected by the functions of his office.[19] Respondents bar.[25] These pronouncement gain practical significance in
conduct in office betrays the integrity and good moral the case at bar considering that respondent was a former
character required from all lawyers, especially from one member of the Board of Special Inquiry of the BID. It
occupying a high public office. A lawyer in public office is bears stressing also that government lawyers who are
expected not only to refrain from any act or omission public servants owe fidelity to the public service, a public
which might tend to lessen the trust and confidence of the trust. As such, government lawyers should be more
citizenry in government; he must also uphold the dignity of sensitive to their professional obligations as their
the legal profession at all times and observe a high disreputable conduct is more likely to be magnified in the
standard of honesty and fair dealing. Otherwise said, a public eye.[26]
lawyer in government service is a keeper of the public
faith and is burdened with high degree of social As a lawyer, who was also a public officer, respondent
responsibility, perhaps higher than his brethren in private miserably failed to cope with the strict demands and high
practice. standards of the legal profession.

We have held that the issuance of worthless checks PENALTY


constitutes gross misconduct,[20] as the effect transcends
the private interests of the parties directly involved in the Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court
transaction and touches the interests of the community at mandates that a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended
large. The mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the by this Court for any of the following acts: (1) deceit; (2)
payee or holder, but also an injury to the public since the malpractice; (3) gross misconduct in office; (4) grossly
circulation of valueless commercial papers can very well immoral conduct; (5) conviction of a crime involving moral
pollute the channels of trade and commerce, injure the turpitude ; (6) violation of the lawyers oath; (7) willful
banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; and
and the public interest. (8) willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without
authority to do so.[27]
Consequently, we have held that the act of a person in
issuing a check knowing at the time of the issuance that Respondents acts constitute gross misconduct; and
he or she does not have sufficient funds in, or credit with, consistent with the need to maintain the high standards of
the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon the Bar and thus preserve the faith of the public in the
legal profession, respondent deserves the ultimate penalty restrictions on government lawyers to engage in private
of expulsion from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers.[30] practice after their separation from the service.
Section 7 (b) (2) of R.A. No. 6713 reads:
WHEREFORE, Atty. Fred L. Gutierrez is hereby Section 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. In addition
DISBARRED from the practice of law and ordered to to acts and omissions of public officials and employees
return the amount he received from the complainant with now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the
legal interest from his receipt of the money until payment. following shall constitute prohibited acts and transactions
of any public official and employee and are hereby
39) Olazo v. Dante Tinga declared to be unlawful:
AM No. 10-5-7-SC December 07, 2010
xxx xxx xxx
FACTS:
This is a disbarment case against retired Supreme Court (b) Outside employment and other activities related
Associate Justice Dante O. Tinga (respondent) filed by Mr. thereto. Public officials and employees during their
Jovito S. Olazo (complainant).The respondent is charged incumbency shall not:
of violating Rule 6.02, Rule 6.03 and Rule 1.01 of theCode
of Professional Responsibility for representing conflicting xxx xxx xxx
interests.The First Charge: Violation of Rule 6.02In the
complaint,the complainant claimed that the respondent (2) Engage in the private practice of their profession
abused his positionas Congressman and as a member of unless authorized by the Constitution or law, provided, that
the Committee on Awards when he undulyinterfered with such practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with their
the complainants sales application because of his official functions; . . .
personalinterest over the subject land.The Second
Charge: Violation of Rule 6.03The second charge involves These prohibitions shall continue to apply for a period of
another parcel of land within the proclaimed one (1) year after resignation, retirement, or separation
areasbelonging to Manuel Olazo, the complainants from public office, except in the case of subparagraph (b)
brother. The complainant allegedthat the respondent (2) above, but the professional concerned cannot practice
persuaded Miguel Olazo to direct Manuel to convey his his profession in connection with any matter before the
rightsover the land to Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez.The Third office he used to be with, in which case the one-year
Charge: Violation of Rule 1.01The complainant alleged prohibition shall likewise apply.
that the respondent engaged in unlawful
conductconsidering his knowledge that Joseph Jeffrey As a rule, government lawyers are not allowed to engage
Rodriguez was not a qualifiedbeneficiary under in the private practice of their profession during their
Memorandum No. 119. The complainant averred that incumbency. 29 By way of exception, a government
JosephJeffrey Rodriguez is not a bona fide resident of the lawyer can engage in the practice of his or her profession
proclaimed areas and doesnot qualify for an award.The under the following conditions: first, the private practice is
complainant also alleged that the respondent violated authorized by the Constitution or by the law; and second,
Section 7(b)(2) of theCode of Conduct and Ethical the practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with his or
Standards for Public Officials and Employees or Republic her official functions. 30 The last paragraph of Section 7
Act (R.A.) No. 6713 since he engaged in the practice of provides an exception to the exception. In case of lawyers
law, within theone-year prohibition period, when he separated from the government service who are covered
appeared as a lawyer for Ramon Lee andJoseph Jeffrey under subparagraph (b) (2) of Section 7 of R.A. No. 6713,
Rodriguez before the Committee on Awards. a one-year prohibition is imposed to practice law in
connection with any matter before the office he used to be
ISSUES: with.
Whether or not respondent was engaged in the practice of Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
law. echoes this restriction and prohibits lawyers, after leaving
Whether or not respondent is liable under Rules 6.02, 6.03 the government service, to accept engagement or
and 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. employment in connection with any matter in which he had
intervened while in the said service. The keyword in Rule
HELD: 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is the term
In Cayetano v. Monsod, 28 we defined the practice of law "intervene" which we previously interpreted to include an
as any activity, in and out of court, that requires the act of a person who has the power to influence the
application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training proceedings. [G.R. No. 93023. March 13, 1991.]
and experience. Moreover, we ruled that to engage in the
practice of law is to perform those acts which are
characteristics of the profession; to practice law is to give
notice or render any kind of service, which device or
service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge
or skill.
Under the circumstances, the foregoing definition should
be correlated with R.A. No. 6713 and Rule 6.03 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility which impose certain
40) RODOLFO M. BERNARDO, JR. vs. impartial administration of justice will continue to be
ATTY. ISMAEL F. MEJIA preserved even with the applicant's reentry as a counselor
[A.C. No. 2984. August 31, 2007] at law. The applicant must, like a candidate for admission
to the bar, satisfy the Court that he is a person of good
Facts: moral character, a fit and proper person to practice law.
Ismael Mejia, seventy-one years old and barred from the The Court will take into consideration the applicant's
practice of law for fifteen years, filed a petition with plea for character and standing prior to the disbarment, the nature
reinstatement in the practice of law. and character of the charge/s for which he was disbarred,
his conduct subsequent to the disbarment, and the time
Rodolfo Bernardo, Jr. accused Mejia of the following that has elapsed between the disbarment and the
administrative offenses: application for reinstatement.
1) misappropriating and converting to his personal use a
part of the sum entrusted to him for payment of real estate 41) Quevs Revilla
taxes on property and part of another sum entrusted to AC No. 7054 December 4, 2009
him for payment of taxes and expenses in connection with Facts :
the registration of the title of Bernardo to another property In a complaint for disbarmentConradoQue (complainant)
in a subdivision; accused Atty. Anastacio Revilla, Jr. (respondent) before
2) falsification of certain documents (special power of the Integrated Bar of the
attorney, deed of sale, and a deed of assignment) Philippines Committee on BarDiscipline (IBP Committee
3) issuing a check, knowing that he was without funds in on Bar Discipline or CBD) of committing the following
the bank, in payment of a loan obtained from Bernardo. violations of the provisions of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and Rule 138 of the Rules of Court:
The Court declared him guilty of all the charges against
him and hereby imposes on him the penalty of disbarment. (1) The respondents abuse of court
remedies and processes. The
After his disbarment, he put up the Mejia Law Journal, a respondent repeatedly raised the issue
publication containing his religious and social writings. He of lack of jurisdiction by the MeTC and
also organized a religious organization and named it "El RTC knowing fully-well that these
Cristo Movement and Crusade on Miracle of Heart and courts have jurisdiction over the
Mind." unlawful detainer case.

Issue: (2) The respondents commission of forum-


Whether or not the Mejia shall be reinstated in the Roll of shopping by filing the subject cases in
Attorneys. order to impede, obstruct, and frustrate
the efficient administration of justice for
Held: his own personal gain and to defeat
The Court is inclined to grant the present petition. the right of the complainant and his
Although the Court does not lightly take the bases for siblings to execute the MeTC and RTC
Mejia's disbarment, it also cannot close its eyes to the fact judgments in the unlawful detainer
that Mejia is already of advanced years. The Court takes case;
cognizance of the rehabilitation of Mejia. Since his
disbarment in 1992, no other transgression has been (2) The respondents lack of candor and
attributed to him, and he has shown remorse. Obviously, respect towards his adversary and the
he has learned his lesson from this experience, and his courts by resorting to falsehood and
punishment has lasted long enough. Thus, while the Court deception to misguide, obstruct and
is ever mindful of its duty to discipline its erring officers, it impede the due administration of
also knows how to show compassion when the penalty justice.
imposed has already served its purpose. After all, - Fabricated an imaginary order
penalties, such as disbarment, are imposed not to punish issued by presiding judge in open
but to correct offenders. court which allegedly denied
motion to dismiss filed by
The Court reiterate, however, and remind petitioner that respondent. It was made to cover
the practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. up his lack of preparation.
Adherence to the rigid standards of mental fitness, (4) The respondents willful and revolting
maintenance of the highest degree of morality and faithful falsehood that unjustly maligned and
compliance with the rules of the legal profession are the defamed the good name and
continuing requirements for enjoying the privilege to reputation of the late Atty. Alfredo
practice law. Catolico (Atty. Catolico), the previous
counsel of the respondents clients.
Whether the applicant shall be reinstated in the Roll of
Attorneys rests to a great extent on the sound discretion of (5) The respondents deliberate, fraudulent
the Court. The action will depend on whether or not the and unauthorized appearances in
Court decides that the public interest in the orderly and court in the petition for annulment of
judgment for 15 litigants, three of relationship with Atty. Catolico and is thus liable for
whom are already deceased; violating Canon 8 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which obligates a lawyer to conduct himself
(6) The respondentswillful and fraudulent with courtesy, fairness, and candor toward his professional
appearance in the second petition for colleagues. He was unfair because he imputed
annulment of title as counsel for the wrongdoing to Atty. Catolico without showing any factual
Republic of the Philippines without basis therefor; he effectively maligned Atty. Catolico, who
being authorized to do so. is now dead and unable to defend himself.

ANSWER OF RESPONDENT :
1. He professed his sincerity, honesty and good 42) PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs.
faith in filing the petitions complained of; AVELINO T. JAVELLANA
2. he filed these petitions to protect the interests [G.R. Nos. 89591-96. January 24, 2000.]
of his clients in their property.
3. that these petitions were all based on valid
grounds the lack of jurisdiction of the MeTC Facts: On September 8, 1999, we denied the People's
and the RTC over the underlying unlawful motion seeking reconsideration of our August 13, 1990
detainer case, the extrinsic fraud committed decision in these cases. In said resolution, we held that
by the late Atty. Catolico, and the extrinsic respondent Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda committed no
fraud committed by the complainant and grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order of August 8,
his family against his clients 1989 giving custody over private respondent Avelino T.
4. On the allegations of falsehood in the motion Javellana to the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court,
for reconsideration of the order of dismissal of Branch 12, San Jose, Antique, Atty. Deogracias del
the petition for annulment of judgment Rosario, during the pendency of Criminal Cases Nos.
(covered by paragraph 3 of the disbarment 3350-3355. At that time, sufficient reason was shown why
complaint), the respondent maintained that his private respondent Javellana should not be detained at the
allegations were based on his observations Antique Provincial Jail. The trial court's order specifically
and the notes he had taken during the provided for private respondent's detention at the
proceedings on what the presiding judge residence of Atty. del Rosario. However, private
dictated in open court. respondent was not to be allowed liberty to roam around
but was to be held as detention prisoner in said
The Issue residence. LLpr
The case poses to us the core issues of whether This order of the trial court was not strictly complied with
the respondent can be held liable for the imputed unethical because private respondent was not detained in the
infractions and professional misconduct, and the penalty residence of Atty. Del Rosario. He went about his normal
these transgressions should carry. activities as if he were a free man, including engaging in
the practice of law. Despite our resolution of July 30, 1990
The Courts Ruling prohibiting private respondent to appear as counsel in
Criminal Case No. 4262, 1 the latter accepted cases and
Maligning the name of his fellow lawyers continued practicing law.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Deogracias can still practice


To support the charge of extrinsic fraud in his petition for law?
annulment of judgment, the respondent attacked (as Held: No. As a matter of law, when a person indicted for
quoted above) the name and reputation of the late Atty. an offense is arrested, he is deemed placed under the
Catolico and accused him of deliberate neglect, corrupt custody of the law. He is placed in actual restraint of
motives and connivance with the counsel for the adverse liberty in jail so that he may be bound to answer for the
party. commission of the offense. He must be detained in jail
during the pendency of the case against him, unless he is
We find it significant that the respondent failed to authorized by the court to be released on bail or on
demonstrate how he came upon his accusation against recognizance. Let it be stressed that all prisoners whether
Atty. Catolico. The respondent, by his own admission, only under preventive detention or serving final sentence can
participated in the cases previously assigned to Atty. not practice their profession nor engage in any business or
Catolico after the latter died. At the same time, the occupation, or hold office, elective or appointive, while in
respondents petition for annulment of judgment also detention. This is a necessary consequence of arrest and
represented that no second motion for reconsideration or detention.
appeal was filed to contest the MeTC and RTC decisions
in the unlawful detainer case for the reason that the
respondent believed the said decisions were null and void
ab initio.

Under these circumstances, we believe that the


respondent has been less than fair in his professional
43) JULIO ZETA vs. FELICISIMO MALINAO service to conceal his absence from his office on the dates
[G.R. Nos. 89591-96. January 24, 2000.] in question. Indeed, the number of times that respondent
acted as counsel under the above circumstances would
FACTS: indicate that he was doing it as a regular practice
Administrative complaint against Malinao, court interpreter obviously for considerations other than pure love of
of the CFI of Catbalogan, Samar charging as follows: justice.
l ILLEGALLY APPEARING IN COURT. MR. In the premises, it is quite obvious that the offense
Malinao has been appearing in the municipal court committed by respondent is grave, hence it warrants a
of this town for parties like attorney when he is not more drastic sanction than that of reprimand. We find no
an attorney. Reliable information also says he has alternative than to separate him from the service, with the
been appearing in the municipal courts of other admonition that he desist from appearing in any court or
towns. He is not authorized to do so we believe. investigative body wherein Only members of the bar are
He makes it his means of livelihood as he collects allowed to practice.
fees from his clients. He competes with attorneys
but does not pay anything. We believe that his
doing so should be stopped for a good
government. These facts can be checked with 44. Tan and Pagayokan vs. Balajadia
records of those municipal courts.; GR No. 169517, March 14,2006
2 GRAVE MISCONDUCT IN OFFICE.;3 Facts:
CRIME OF FALSIFICATION.;
4 VIOLATION OF EXECUTIVE ORDER AND Petitioners filed a petition before the Supreme Court for
CIVIL SERVICE LAW.-WE have reliable indirect contempt against respondent because an affidavit
information it is prohibited for a civil service filed by respondent in a criminal case against Petitioners -
employee to engage in private practice any paragraph 5 thereof asserted that respondent is a
profession or business without permission from practicing lawyer which he is not.
the Department Head. Mr. Malinao we are sure
has not secured that permission because he Respondent, in his comment averred that the allegation in
should not be allowed to practice as he is not an paragraph 5 of the complaint-affidavit that he is a
attorney. practicing lawyer was an honest mistake. He claims that
Respondent states that he has not violated any rule or the secretary of Atty. Paterno Aquino prepared the subject
law, much less Sec. 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service complaint-affidavit which was patterned after Atty. Aquinos
Rules; that his participation for defendants' cause was complaint-affidavit. It appears that Atty. Aquino had
gratuitous as they could not engage the services of previously filed a complaint-affidavit against petitioners
counsel by reason of poverty and the absence of one in involving the same subject matter. His secretary executed
the locality, said assistance has also checked the two copies and simply copied some of the details thereof.
miscarriage of justice by the Presiding Municipal Judge, Simply, the secretary committed a mistake in preparation
now resigned. of the affidavits.
The DOJthe complaint and answer to District Judge Zosa,
CFI, Catbalogan, for investigation, report and Issue: Whether or not respondent may be held in indirect
recommendation, and after due hearing, Judge Zosa contempt.
submitted his report finding respondent guilty.
Issue: WON respondent is engaged in unauthorized Held:
practice of law
Held: YES. Separated from service No. In the case at bar, a review of the records supports
The conclusions of fact of the Investigator is amply respondents claim that he never intended to project
supported by evidence, particularly the documents himself as a lawyer to the public. It was a clear
consisting of public records and the declarations of the inadvertence on the part of the secretary of Atty
judges before whom respondent had appeared. It is clear Aquino. The affidavit of Liza Laconsay attesting to the
to that respondent, apart from appearing as counsel in circumstances that gave rise to the mistake in the drafting
various municipal courts without prior permission of his of the complaint-affidavit conforms to the documentary
superiors in violation of civil service rules and regulations, evidence on record. Taken together, these circumstances
falsified his time record of service by making it appear show that the allegation in paragraph 5 of respondents
therein that he was present in his office on occasions complaint-affidavit was, indeed, the result of inadvertence.
when in fact he was in the municipal courts appearing as
counsel, without being a member of the bar, which, Respondent has satisfactorily shown that the allegation
furthermore, constitutes illegal practice of law. that he is a practicing lawyer was the result of
The defense of respondent that "his participation for inadvertence and cannot, by itself, establish intent as to
defendants' cause was gratuitous as they could not make him liable for indirect contempt. In the cases where
engage the services of counsel by reason of poverty and we found a party liable for the unauthorized practice of
the absence of one in the locality" cannot, even if true, law, the party was guilty of some overt act like signing
carry the day for him, considering that in appearing as court pleadings on behalf of his client;appearing before
counsel in court, he did so without permission from his court hearings as an attorney;[manifesting before the court
superiors and, worse, he falsified his time record of that he will practice law despite being previously denied
admission to the bar;or deliberately attempting to practice Atty. Rogelio P. Terrado is found GUILTY of violating
law and holding out himself as an attorney through Rules 1.01, 9.02, 18.02 and 20.01 of the CPR. He is
circulars with full knowledge that he is not licensed to do SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months,
so and STERNLY WARNED. He is further ordered to
RETURN, the sum of P70,000.00 to complainant.
45. LUZVIMINDA C. LIJAUCO vs ATTY. ROGELIO P.
TERRADO, 46) Plus Builders Inc. vs. Revilla
A.C. No. 6317 August 31, 2006
Facts:
According to the complainant, Luzviminda C. Lijauco The Provincial Adjudicator of Cavite (PARAD)
engaged the services of respondent, Atty. Terrado to rendered a decision in favor of Plus Builders, Inc. and
assist in recovering her deposit with Planters Development against the tenants/farmers Leopoldo de Guzman, et.al,
Bank and the release of her foreclosed house and lot who were the clients of respondent, Atty. Revilla, Jr. The
located. The property identified is the subject of a petition PARAD found that respondents clients were mere tenants
for the issuance of a writ of possession then pending and not rightful possessors/owners of the subject land.
before the RTC of Binan, Laguna. Complainant alleged The case was elevated all the way up to the Supreme
that respondent failed to appear before the trial court in Court, with this Court sustaining Plus Builders Inc.s rights
the hearing for the issuance of the Writ of Possession and over the land.
did not protect her interests in the Compromise Respondent was found to have committed
Agreement. Respondent denied the accusations against intentional falsehood; and misused court processes with
him. He averred that the sum he received from the intention to delay the execution of the decision through
complainant was payment for legal services for the the filing of several motions, petitions for temporary
recovery of the deposit with PDB and did not include case restraining orders, and the last, an action to quiet title
pending before the RTC of Bian, Laguna. despite the finality of the decision. Furthermore, he
IBP Investigating Commissioner finding respondent guilty allowed non-lawyers to engage in the unauthorized
of violating Rules 1.01 and 9.02 of the CPR. practice of law holding themselves out as his
1.) The Php70,000.00 legal fees for the recovery of a partners/associates in the law firm. Respondent maintains
Php180,000.00 savings deposit is too high; that he did not commit the acts complained of and that the
2.) Respondent actively acted as complainants lawyer to courses of action he took were not meant to unduly delay
effectuate the compromise agreement. the execution of the DARAB Decision.
By openly admitting he divided the Php70,000.00 to other
individuals as commission/referral fees respondent Issue: WON respondent is guilty of gross misconduct.
violated Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the CPR which provides
that a lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for Held:
legal services with persons not licensed to practice law. It is the rule that when a lawyer accepts a case, he is
Worst, by luring complainant to participate in a expected to give his full attention, diligence, skill and
compromise agreement with a false and misleading competence to the case, regardless of its importance and
assurance that complainant can still recover after Three whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. A lawyers
(3) years her foreclosed property respondent violated Rule devotion to his clients cause not only requires but also
1.01, Canon 1 of the CPR which says a lawyer shall not entitles him to deploy every honorable means to secure for
engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful the client what is justly due him or to present every
conduct. defense provided by law to enable the latters cause to
Whether or not the respondent is guilty or violating the succeed. In this case, respondent may not be wanting in
CPR. this regard. On the contrary, it is apparent that the
YES. The court agrees with the findings of the IBP. The respondents acts complained of were committed out of
Investigating Commissioner observed that the fee of his over-zealousness and misguided desire to protect the
P70,000.00 for legal assistance in the recovery of the interests of his clients who were poor and uneducated.
deposit amounting to P180,000.00 is unreasonable. A Taking the cudgels from the former lawyer in this case is
lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees. rather commendable, but respondent should not forget his
The duty of a lawyer to safeguard his clients interests first and foremost responsibility as an officer of the court.
commences from his retainer until his discharge from the In support of the cause of their clients, lawyers have the
case or the final disposition of the subject matter of duty to present every remedy or defense within the
litigation. Acceptance of money from a client establishes authority of the law. This obligation, however, is not to be
an attorney-client relationship and gives rise to the duty of performed at the expense of truth and justice. Under the
fidelity to the clients cause. The canons of the legal Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer has the duty
profession require that once an attorney agrees to handle to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of
a case, he should undertake the task with zeal, care and justice, and is enjoined from unduly delaying a case by
utmost devotion.13 impeding execution of a judgment or by misusing court
Respondents admission that he divided the legal fees with processes.
two other people as a referral fee does not release him However, the Court also knows how to show compassion
from liability. A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide and will not hesitate to refrain from imposing the
a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to appropriate penalties in the presence of mitigating factors,
practice law, except in certain cases. such as the respondents length of service,
acknowledgment of his or her infractions and feeling of Permit Application it was found out that the area being
remorse, family circumstances, humanitarian and claimed has already been titled to the client of Artiaga.
equitable considerations, and respondents advanced age, Hence the dispute was brought to the Bureau of Lands for
among other things, which have varying significance in the decision. Initially the Director of Lands rendered a decision
Courts determination of the imposable penalty. Therefore, in favor of the client of Artiaga, however it was appealed
a suspension of six (6) months from the practice of law is by Villanueva and the decision was change, after another
sufficient in this case. appeal the final decision was in favor of the client of
Artiaga. The decision being final and executory an order of
execution was issued however the client of Villanueva
47) SANTA PANGAN vs. ATTY. DIONISIO RAMOS remained in possession of the said parcel of lands.
A.M. No. 1053 September 7, 1979
Thereafter a series of motions and cases were filed by
FACTS: Villanueva as a dilatory tactics to seek a favorable ruling.
In 1979, a pending administrative case filed by
Santa Pangan against Atty. Dionisio Ramos was delayed Issue:
because Atty. Ramos allegedly appeared before a court in
Manila. When the records of the said case was checked Whether or not the acts of Villanueva is considered
(one which Atty. Ramos appeared in), it was found that he unethical
used the name Atty. Pedro D.D. Ramos. In his defense,
Atty. Ramos said he has the right to use such name Ruling:
because in his birth certificate, his name listed was Pedro
Dionisio Ramos. D.D. stands for DionisioDayaw with YES. The Supreme Court held that acts of Atty. Villanueva
Dayaw being his mothers surname. However, in the roll of are in violation of his oath that he will do no falsehood nor
attorneys, his name listed was Dionisio D. Ramos. consent to doing of any in court. According to the court it
was evident that Atty. Villanueva caused his client to
ISSUE: commit perjury so that the forceful entry case shall fall
Whether or not what Atty. Ramos explanation was under the jurisdiction of the court, this is shown by the
correct? intentional amendment to the original complaint paragraph
5, wherein under the original complaint it was alleged that
HELD: the client was dispossessed of the subject land in 1960
No. The attorneys roll or register is the official but later on it was alleged in the amended complaint that
record containing the names and signatures of those who the dispossession occurred in 1973. The court stated that
are authorized to practice law. A lawyer is not authorized the reason for such change is so that the action may still
to use a name other than the one inscribed in the Roll of be filed or entertained by the court, since the action
Attorneys in his practice of law. The official oath obliges prescribes one year after accrual of cause of action.
the attorney solemnly to swear that he will do no
falsehood. As an officer in the temple of justice, an The court further states that it is expected that a lawyer
attorney has irrefragable obligations of truthfulness, will defend the clients cause with zeal, however in doing
candor and frankness. In representing himself to the court so it should not disregard its duty to the court and the
as Pedro D.D. Ramos instead of Dionisio D. Ramos, truth. Due to his actions the client was in another case
respondent has violated his solemn oath and has resorted charged with perjury, which is detrimental to the client.
to deception. The Supreme Court hence severely
reprimanded Atty. Ramos and warned that a similar The court also found that Atty. Villanueva is guilty of lack
infraction will warrant suspension or disbarment. of condor and respect for the court and the rights of his
adversary, as shown in the case, the client of Artiaga has
48) ATTY. LUIS V. ARTIAGA JR. vs. ATTY. ENRIQUE C. already won the case, however Villanueva filed urgent ex-
VILLANUEVA parte motions and instead of waiting for the result of such,
he perfected his appeal, thus further delaying the
Facts: implementation of the first lawful order of the court.
The complaint of Atty. Luis V. Artiaga Jr. seeking the Furthermore when his appeal was denied, Villanueva
disbarment of Atty. Enrique C. Villanueva for alleged turned to other venues such as Court of Agrarian
unethical practices arose from four (4) separate cases and Relations for positive results, in doing so he did not
several incidental cases with Juliano Estolano, client of disclose of the prior proceedings that was held in the court
complainant Atty. Artiaga, Jr. and Glicerio Aquino and/or thus securing an ex-parte proceeding.
Florentina Guanzon, clients of respondent Atty. The respondent is SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY from the
Villanueva, as adversaries in all of these cases involving practice of law from date of notice until such time that he
the same property. can demonstrate to the court that he has rehabilitated
himself and deserves to resume the practice of law.
The case started with the controversy over two parcels of
land with Revocable Permit Applications, originally the
permits belong to a Malabayabas and Suyo, which was
later on sold to the client of Artiaga. However on a later
date, when the client of Villanueva filed for Revocable
49) GARVIDA V. SALES acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
GR NO 124893 discretion when it entertained the petition and
FACTS: issued the order of May 2, 1996.
On March 16, 1996, Lynette Garvida applied for
registration as member and voter of the Katipunan ng 50) Re: Suspension of Atty. Rogelio Bagabuyo
Kabataan of Barangay San Lorenzo, Bangui, Ilocos Norte. A.C. No. 006, October 9, 2007
However, her application was denied by the Board of
Election Tellers since she exceeded the age limit. She FACTS: The administrative case resulted from the
then filed a Petition for Inclusion as Registered Kabataan events of the Criminal case proceeding originally raffled to
Member and Voter with the Municipal Trial Court which the sala of Judge Buyser. Judge Buyser denied the
was granted by the said court. Then, on April 23, 1996, Demurrer to Evidence of the accused, declaring that the
Garvida filed her certificate of candidacy for the position of evidence presented by the prosecution was sufficient to
Chairman, SangguniangKabataan, Barangay San prove the crime of homicide and not the charge of murder.
Lorenzo, Municipality of Bangui, Province of Ilocos Norte. the counsel of the defense filed a Motion to fix the Amount
On the same date, Election Officer Dionisio Rios, per of Bail Bond. Respondent Atty. Bagabuyo, the Senior
advise of Provincial Election Supervisor NoliPipo, State Prosecutor and the deputized prosecutor of the case
disapproved petitioners certificate of candidacy again due objected on the ground that the charge of murder,
to her age. Petitioner then appealed to COMELEC punishable with reclusion perpetua was not subject of bail
Regional Director FilemonAsperin who set aside the order under the Rules of Court.
of respondents and allowed petitioner to run. Earlier and
without knowledge of COMELEC officials, private Judge Buyser inhibited himself from further trying the case
respondent and petitioners rival Florencio Sales Jr. filed because of the harsh insinuation of Senior Prosecutor
with the COMELEC en banc a Petition of Denial and/or Bagabuyo that he lacks the cold neutrality of an impartial
Cancellation of Certificate of Candidacy via facsimile and magistrate by allegedly suggesting the filing of the motion
registered mail on April 29, 1996. And, on May 2, 1996 to fix the amount of bail bond by counsel for the accused.
respondent Riso issued a memorandum to petitioner Respondent appealed to CA. Instead of availing himself of
informing her of her ineligibility and giving hr 24 hours why the judicial remedies, respondent caused the publication
her certificate of candidacy should not be disapproved. of an article regarding the Order granting to the accused in
Also on the same date, the COMELEC en banc issued an the issue of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily. The article is
order directing the Board Election Tellers and Board of entitled, Senior prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge for
Canvassers to suspend the proclamation of petitioner in allowing murder suspect to bail out.
the event she won in the election. This is why on May 6,
1996, Election Day, Garvida was not proclaimed the The RTC of Surigao City directed the respondent and the
winner. She was only proclaimed on June 2, 1996. Said writer of the article to appear in court to explain why they
proclamation was without prejudice to any further action should not be cited for indirect contempt of court for the
by the Commission on Elections or any other interested publication of the article which degrade the court and its
parties. presiding judge with its lies and misrepresentation.
ISSUE: Respondent admitted that he caused the holding of the
W/N the COMELEC en banc acted without jurisdiction in press conference but refused to answer whether he made
denying and cancelling petitioners CoC on the ground of the statement in the article until after he shall have filed a
overage. (in connection with Rule 10.3 Canon 10) motion to dismiss. for his refusal to answer, the trial court
HELD: declared him in contempt of court pursuant to the Rules of
Court.
1) Yes. The Rules of Procedure of the Omnibus
Election Code, specifically RULE 23 requires that ISSUE: WON Atty. Bagabuyo violated Canons 11, 13 and
a petition to deny due course to or cancel a the Lawyer's oath
certificate of candidacy for an elective office may
be filed with the Law Department of the HELD: YES. Canon 11 of the Code of Professional
COMELEC on the ground that the candidate has Responsibility mandates a lawyer to observe and maintain
made a false material representation in his the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and he
certificate. The petition may be heard and should insist on similar conduct by others. Rule 11.05 of
evidence received by any official designated by Canon 11 states that a lawyer shall submit grievances
the COMELEC after which the case shall be against a judge to the proper authorities only.
decided by the COMELEC itself. SECTION 3 of
the same Rule further provides that the Respondent violated Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 when he
Commission shall sit in two (2) Divisions to hear admittedly caused the holding of a press conference
and decide protests or petitions in ordinary where he made statements against the Order allowing the
actions, special actions, special cases, provisional accused to be released on bail. Respondent also violated
remedies, contempt and special proceedings Canon 11 when he indirectly stated that Judge Tan was
except in accreditation of citizens' arms of the displaying judicial arrogance in the article entitled, Senior
Commission. In the instant case, the COMELEC prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge for allowing murder
en banc did not refer the case to any of its suspect to bail out, which appeared in the August 18, 2003
Divisions upon receipt of the petition. It therefore issue of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily. Respondent's
statements in the article, which were made while Crim. sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy
Case No. 5144 was still pending in court, also violated unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards the
Rule 13.02 of Canon 13, which states that a lawyer shall courts so essential to the proper administration of justice.
not make public statements in the media regarding a It does not, however, follow that just because a lawyer is
pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or an officer of the court, he cannot criticize the courts. That
against a party. Respondent also violated the Lawyers is his right as a citizen, and it is even his duty as an officer
Oath, as he has sworn to conduct himself as a lawyer of the court to avail of such right. Nevertheless, such a
according to the best of his knowledge and discretion with right is not without limit. A wide chasm exists between fair
all good fidelity as well to the courts as to his clients. As a criticism, on the one hand, and abuse and slander of
senior state prosecutor and officer of the court, respondent courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate
should have set the example of observing and maintaining and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of
the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers. respect to courts. It is such a misconduct that subjects a
lawyer to disciplinary action. The lawyer's duty to render
respectful subordination to the courts is essential to the
51) TIONGCO VS AGUILAR orderly administration of justice. hence, in the assertion of
FACTS: their client's rights, lawyers even those gifted with
Atty. Tiongco did not at all show cause why he should not superior intellect are enjoined to rein up their tempers.
be dealt with administratively for violation of Canon 11 of Atty. Tiongco had exceeded the bounds of decency and
the Code of Professional Responsibility in view of his propriety in making the false and malicious insinuation
unfounded and malicious insinuation that this Court did not against this Court, particularly the Members of the First
at all read the petition in this case before it concluded that Division, and the scurrilous characterizations of the
the petition failed to sufficiently show that the respondent respondent judge is, indeed, all too obvious. Such could
court had committed a grave abuse of discretion. only come from anger, if not hate, after he was not given
Moreover, while he tried to justify as true his descriptions what he wanted. Anger or hate could only come from one
of the respondent judge as a "liar," "thief." perfidious," and who "seems to be of that frame of mind whereby he
"blasphemer" he did not offer any excuse for his use of the considers as in accordance with law and justice whatever
rest of the intemperate words enumerated in the he believes to be right in his own opinion and as contrary
resolution. Worse, feeling obviously frustrated at the to law and justice whatever does not accord with his
incompleteness of the Court's enumeration of the views". When such anger or hate is coupled with
intemperate words or phrases, he volunteered to point out haughtiness or arrogance as when he even pointed out
that in addition to those so enumerated, he also called the other intemperate words in his petition which this Court
respondent judge a "robber," "rotten manipulator," failed to incorporate in the resolution of 26 September
"abettor" of graft and corruption, and "cross-eyed." 1994, and with seething sarcasm as when he prays that
this Court "forebear[s] from turning . . . [him] into a martyr
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Tiongcos action constitutes to his principles" and ends up his Compliance with the
serious violation of Canon 11 of the Coe of Responsibility "RESPECTFUL APOLOGIES AND UNDYING LOVE"
which warrants a fine or suspension or both. (Constitution Preamble, 66th word), "nothing more can
extenuate his liability for gross violation of Canon 11 of the
HELD: Yes. CANON 11 A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE Code of professional Responsibility and his other duties
AND MAINTAIN THE RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS entwined therewith as earlier adverted to.
AND TO JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND SHOULD INSIST ON WHEREFORE, for such violation, ATTY. JOSE B.
SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS. TIONGCO is hereby ordered to pay a Fine of FIVE
This duty is closely entwined with his vow in the lawyer's THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) and WARNED that the
oath "to conduct himself as a lawyer with all good fidelity commission of the same or similar acts in the future shall
to the courts"; his duty under Section 20 (b), Rule 138 of be dealt with more money..
the Rules of Court "[t]o observe and maintain the respect
due to the courts of justice and judicial officers"; and his 52) Banogon Vs. Zerna
duty under the first canon of the Canons Professional
Ethics "to maintain towards the courts a respectful attitude, FACTS:
not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial In 1926, a judgment favorable to Zerna was issued by a
office, but for the maintenance of its incumbent of the cadastral court. In 1957 or thirty one years later, Banogon
judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme filed a motion to amend the 1926 decisions. An opposition
importance." was filed by Zerna in the same year. Banogons counsel
A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, "like the court repeatedly failed to set for hearing and in 1971 or fourteen
itself, an instrument or agency to advance the ends of years later, Zerna filed for a motion to dismiss which was
justice. His duty is to uphold the dignity and the authority granted by reason of Banogons filing being out of time.
of the courts to which he owes fidelity, "not to promote
distrust in the administration in the administration of The respondent court dismissed the petition for review of
justice." Faith in the courts a lawyer should seek to the decision rendered in 1926 on the ground that it had
preserve. For, to undermine the judicial edifice "is been filed out of time, indeed thirty one years too late.
disastrous to the continuity of the government and to the Laches, it was held, had operated against the petitioners. 3
attainment of the liberties of the people.Thus has it been The petitioners contend that the said judgment had not yet
said of a lawyer that "[a]s an officer of the court, it is his become final and executory because the land in dispute
had not yet been registered in favor of the private held for contempt of court and suspended from the
respondents. The said judgment would become so only practice of law.
after one year from the issuance of the decree of On September 4, 1969, this Court adopted a resolution
registration. If any one was guilty of laches, it was the restraining the respondent Court of Appeals from
private respondents who had failed to enforce the proceeding further with case No. CA-G.R. No. 42658-R,
judgment by having the land registered in their the entitled "Fortunato Medina, petitioner-appellee v. Gen.
pursuant thereto Manuel T. Yan and Brig. Gen. Vicente Raval,
respondents-appellants", more particularly with the
ISSUE: enforcement of its resolution of June 21, 1969, re:
Whether or not Banogons suit should prosper. Contempt and Suspension of Atty. Amelito R. Mutuc."
virtua1aw library
HELD: For a clear perspective of the present petition, the events
No. He slept on his rights hence laches had set in. The leading thereto are set forth as follows:
Supreme Court also took time to remind lawyers to At 6:00 oclock in the morning of November 23, 1968
judiciously study facts and laws so as to avoid the filing of petitioner Fortunato Medina, a Filipino citizen who was in
improper cases such as this case where the filing of Saigon, South Vietnam, employed as a laborer in an
motions and pleadings was way out of time. One reason American company, was arrested and apprehended by the
why there is a degree of public distrust for lawyers is the South Vietnam police and some members of the Philippine
way some of them misinterpret the law to the point of Civic Action Group (PHILCAG) at the instance of the
distortion in a cunning effort to achieve their purposes. As Philippine Military Attache in that city, and kept in custody
officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to assist until 6:00 oclock in the evening of the same day, when he
in the proper administration of justice. They do not was flown to Manila under escort by two Philippine Military
discharge this duty by filing pointless petitions that only Attache personnel aboard an Air Vietnam plane, arriving in
add to the workload of the judiciary. Lawyers do not Manila about 9:00 oclock that same evening. At the
advance the cause of law or their clients by commencing Manila International Airport, he was met and arrested by a
litigations that for sheer lack of merit do not deserve the team of Intelligence Service Officers of the Philippine
attention of the courts. Constabulary and taken to Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City,
where he was interrogated and kept in custody until the
morning of the following day, November 24, 1968, when
53) Medina vs. Yan he was turned over to the 1st PC Zone Headquarters at
G.R. no. 30978 September 30, 1974 Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga. In the early
morning of November 27, 1968 petitioner Medina was
FACTS: This is a petition for certiorari, prohibition and transferred to the custody of the 174th PC Command
mandamus with preliminary injunction, praying that Officer at Bano, Arayat, Pampanga. At 11:00 oclock the
judgment be rendered: same morning he was delivered to the custody of the
rtual 1aw library Chief of Police of Arayat, Pampanga, in view of the
(1) Annuling and setting aside all the actuations, orders, absence of the Municipal Judge.
and resolutions of the respondent Court of Appeals, more On November 29, 1968 petitioner Medina, through
particularly the resolution dated February 1, 1969, denying counsel, filed a petition for habeas corpus directly with the
petitioners motion for certification of this case to the Supreme Court to secure his release from confinement in
Supreme Court; the resolution dated March 13, 1969 the Office of the Chief of Police of Arayat. This Court,
denying petitioners "Urgent Motion for Release of acting on the petition, issued on the same day the writ of
Petitioner-Detainee", the resolution dated June 10, 1969 habeas corpus, made returnable to the Court of First
denying petitioners "Motion for Reconsideration"; and the Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch.
resolution dated June 21, 1969 requiring Atty. Amelito R, ISSUE: Whether or not Attu. Mutuc violated the Code of
Mutuc to show cause why he should not be held liable and Professional Responsibility.
dealt with for contempt of court and suspended from the RULING: "Considering that the statements attributed to
practice of law as member of the Philippine Bar; Atty. Amelito Mutuc, as well as the news items based
(2) Prohibiting respondent Court of Appeals from enforcing thereon, as above set forth, are grossly defiant, offensive
the aforesaid resolution dated June 21, 1969, regarding and derogatory to the dignity and integrity of the members
the contempt and suspension charge against aforenamed of the Fourth Division of this Court; that they are evidently
Amelito R. Mutuc, as well as from proceeding further with intended to browbeat, intimidate and hold them in
the case at bar; and contempt and ridicule by imputing to them the act of
(3) Ordering the respondent Court of Appeals to certify the knowingly abetting the perpetration of a gross and rank
appeal and to have all the records of the same forwarded injustice, and that said statements and news reports tend
to this Court. to degrade and obstruct the free, just and impartial
Pending these proceedings a writ of preliminary injunction administration of justice on a matter then actually pending
to be issued ex parte was sought, to enjoin, restrain and consideration by this Court; and
prohibit the respondent Court of Appeals from proceeding "Considering further that the act of Atty. Amelito Mutuc of
further with this case, more particularly with the advising, encouraging and practically assisting in the
enforcement of its resolution of June 21, 1969, requiring escape of the petitioner-appellee, Fortunato Medina, from
Atty. Amelito R. Mutuc to explain why he should not be the custody of the law as a detention prisoner, in utter
disregard of the order of this Court requiring him to post a
bond of P5,000.00 for his release, constitutes a deliberate injunction issue restraining the enforcement of the
and wanton violation of his oath as a lawyer, particularly decision.
that portion thereof where he swears that he will obey the - Counsel for the petitioner averred that his
laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted absence on the date of the trial was excusable as
authorities of the Republic of the Philippines and will he attended to a very urgent business transaction
conduct himself as a lawyer with all good fidelity as well in Manila; that before his departure for the latter
to the courts as to his clients; city, he verbally informed the respondent judge
WHEREFORE, Atty. Amelito Mutuc is hereby required to that his return to Iloilo might be delayed and that
show cause within fifteen (15) days from receipt of notice he might not arrive on time for the trial of the case
hereof why he should not be held liable and dealt with for as set; that he called at both the law office and the
contempt of court, and why he should not be suspended residence of the counsel for the private
under Rule 138, Section 28, of the Rules of Court, from respondent to inform him of the desired
the practice of law as a member of the Philippine Bar." postponement and the reason therefor, but the
latter was in Bacolod at the time; that he exercised
utmost diligence and precaution in the sense that
54) Javellana vs. Lutero while in Manila he sent a telegram to the
G.R. No. L-23956, July 21, 1967 respondent judge, asking for postponement; and
FACTS that notwithstanding all the foregoing, the
On March 29, 1963 the Roman Catholic Archbishop of municipal court nevertheless proceeded with the
Jaro, Iloilo filed a detainer complaint against trial in his absence and that of his client, allowed
ElpidioJavellana with the municipal court of Iloilo City, the private respondent to present his evidence ex
presided by Judge Nicolas Lutero. parte, and rendered a decision against the
The hearing, originally set for April 30, 1963, was petitioner, thus depriving the latter of his day in
postponed to May 24 for failure of the defendant to receive court. Counsel for the petitioner further asserted
summons, and then postponed again to June 27 for the that his client has a good and substantial defense,
same reason. It was thereafter postponed to July 16, then which is, that the complainant had given his client
to July 24, and finally to August 27, all at the behest of an option to buy the premises subject-matter of
the defendant's Atty. Jose Hautea, on the grounds that "he the complaint below, and that a reopening of the
has not finished his business transactions in Manila" and case would cause the private respondent no real
that "he hurt his right foot toe." The last postponement was injury.
granted by the municipal court with the warning that no This petition was given due course, the respondents were
further postponement would be entertained. required to file their answers, and a cease-and-desist
When the case was called for trial on August 27, 1963, order was issued as prayed for. On February 22, 1964,
neither the defendant nor his counsel Atty. Hautea after due hearing, the Court of First Instance rendered
appeared although one Atty. Romy Pea who was present judgment dismissing the petition.
in court verbally moved for the postponement of the trial
on the ground that Atty. Hautea was in Manila attending to ISSUE Whether or not Atty. Hautea exerted every
a business transaction. effort and considered it his duty to assist in the
The plaintiff's counsel objected to the motion on the speedy and efficient administration of justice
ground that the defendant and his counsel were well
aware of the court's previous admonition that no further HELD
postponement of the case would be granted, and then No. A counsel for any party in a judicial elementary
manifested that the witnesses and the evidence for the standards of fair play, is duty bound to prepare for trial
plaintiff were ready for presentation on that date. with diligence and deliberate speed. This norm of conduct
The verbal motion for postponement was denied and the is no less applicable in a detainer case, such as the one at
plaintiff was directed to adduce his evidence. During the bar, even if the issues are essentially simple and
presentation of the plaintiff's evidence, the municipal court uncomplicated. It is obvious that the counsel for the
received a telegram from Atty. Hautea requesting petitioner-appellant has been remiss in this respect.
postponement of the hearing. The trial proceeded The case was set for trial six times. Thrice it was
nevertheless, and, on the basis of the plaintiff's evidence, postponed at the behest of the said counsel. The last
the court on the same date rendered judgment for the postponement was granted on July 24, 1963 with the
plaintiff and against the defendant. The latter's counsel unequivocal admonition by the judgment that no further
received a copy of the decision on September 9, 1963. On postponement would be countenanced. The case was
the following September 11, he filed a motion to set aside reset for hearing on August 27, 1963, which means that
judgment and for new trial. This motion was denied on the appellant's counsel had more than a month's time to
September 26; a copy of the order of denial was received so adjust his schedule of activities as to obviate a conflict
by him on the same date. between his business transactions and his calendar of
On November 16, 1963, or about 50 days later, the hearings. Came August 27, and neither he nor the
defendant thru his same counsel filed a petition for relief appellant appeared at the trial. His absence on the latter
(from the judgment of the municipal court)with the Court of date was not occasioned by illness or some other
First Instance of Iloilo, praying that the decision in question supervening occurrence which unavoidably and justifiably
be set aside, that the detainer case be set for trial on the prevented him from appearing in court.
merits, and, pending determination of the petition, that an
In our view, it was the bounden duty of the said counsel, HELD:
under the circumstances, to give preferential attention to NO. The Court finds for the respondent.
the case. As things were, he regarded the municipal court
as a mere marionette that must ever await his pleasure. A permanent appointment can be issued only to a person
This attitude on his part is censurable as it reveals more who meets all the requirements for the position to which
than just a modicum of disrespect for the judiciary and the he is being appointed, including the appropriate eligibility
established machinery of justice. prescribed. The mere fact that a position belongs to the
Nor is his censurable conduct mitigated by the Career Service does not automatically confer security of
appearance in court on August 27 of another attorney who tenure on its occupant even if he does not possess the
verbally moved for postponement nor by his telegram required qualifications. The mere fact that a position
received by the municipal judge on the same date asking belongs to the Career Service does not automatically
for continuance. These circumstances, upon the contrary, confer security of tenure on its occupant even if he does
emphasize his presumptuousness vis-a-vis the municipal not possess the required qualifications. Such right will
judge. have to depend on the nature of his appointment, which in
It is thus crystal-clear from the foregoing disquisition that turn depends on his eligibility or lack of it. A person who
the petitioner-appellant was not deprived of his day in does not have the requisite qualifications for the position
court, and that the respondent municipal judge did not err cannot be appointed to it in the first place or, only as an
in proceeding with the trial, allowing the private exception to the rule, may be appointed to it merely in an
respondent to present his evidence ex parte, and acting capacity in the absence of appropriate eligible.
thereafter rendering decision for the plaintiff-appellee. It
follows that the petitioner was not entitled to the remedy of The purpose of an acting or temporary appointment is to
a petition for relief. prevent a hiatus in the discharge of official functions by
Accordingly, the decision appealed from is affirmed. As authorizing a person to discharge the same pending the
this appeal is patently frivolous and dilatory, this Court, selection of a permanent or another appointee.The person
under the authority of section 3 of Rule 142 of the Rules of named in an acting capacity accepts the position under
Court, hereby assesses treble costs against the petitioner- the condition that he shall surrender the office once he is
appellant ElpidioJavellana, said costs to be paid by his called upon to do so by the appointing authority.
counsel, Atty. Jose Hautea.

55) Achacoso vs. CA 56) RENERIO SAMBAJON, RONALD SAMBAJON,


No. L-35867, June 28, 1973 CRISANTO CONOS, and FREDILYN BACULBAS vs.
FACTS: ATTY. JOSE A. SUING
Tomas D. Achacoso was appointed Administrator of the [A.C. No. 7062. September 26, 2006.]
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
In compliance with a request addressed by the President Facts:
of the Philippines to all Department Heads, Complainants filed before the Integrated Bar of the
Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Bureau Heads, Philippines (IBP) have sought the disbarment of Atty. Jose
and other government officials, he filed a courtesy Suing on the grounds of deceit, malpractice, violation of
resignation. This was accepted by the President, with Lawyer's Oath and the Code of Professional
deep regrets. The Secretary of Labor requested him to Responsibility.
turn over his office to the Deputy Administrator as officer-
in-charge. Complainants are parties to a previous labor case in which
he protested his replacement and declared he was not the Atty. Suing is the counsel of their employer Microplast,
surrendering his office because his resignation was not Inc. A judgment in favor of them was rendered by the
voluntary but filed only in obedience to the Presidents Labor Arbiter and a writ of execution was issued against
directive. Microplast, Inc.
On the same date, respondent Jose N. Sarmiento was
appointed Administrator of the POEA, vice the petitioner. Four of the seven complainants who purportedly executed
Achacoso was informed thereof the following day and was the Release Waiver and Quitclaims denied having signed
again asked to vacate his office. and sworn to before the Labor Arbiter the said documents
He filed a motion for reconsideration but this was denied. or having received the considerations therefor. Hence,
He then came to this Court for relief. they subsequently filed an administrative complaint
alleging that respondent, acting in collusion with his clients
The petitioner invokes security of tenure against his Johnny and Manuel Rodil, frustrated the implementation of
claimed removal without legal cause. Achacoso contends the Writ of Execution by presenting before the Labor
that he is a member of the Career Service of the Civil Arbiter the spurious documents.
Service and so enjoys security of tenure.
Moreover, respondent attempted to influence the answers
ISSUE: of his client Manuel Rodil when the latter testified before
WON Achacoso is protected by the security of tenure Commissioner Manuel Hababag.
clause
Issue: Responsibility cannot be any clearer in its dictum than
Whether or not respondent can be disbarred for hisalleged when it has stated that a "lawyer shall serve his client with
manipulation of four alleged RELEASE WAIVER AND competence and diligence, decreeing further that he "shall
QUITCLAIM bycomplainants. not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him.
Complainant, nevertheless, is not entirely without
Held: fault himself. He cannot expect his case to be properly and
No. Instead, the respondent is found guilty of negligence intelligently handled without listening to his own counsel
and gross misconduct. The Court says that a lawyer and extending full cooperation to him. It is not right for
serves his client with diligence by adopting that norm of complainant to wait for almost two years and to deal with
practice expected of men of good intentions. his lawyer only after receiving an adverse decision.
All considered, the Court deems it proper to reduce
CANON 12. A lawyer shall exert every effort and the recommended period of suspension of the IBP from
consider it his dutyto assist in the speedy and efficient three months to one month.
administration of justice. WHEREFORE, Atty. Dante H. Cortez is hereby
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one
Any act on the lawyers part that tends to obstruct, month from notice hereof, with a warning that a repetition
perverts or impedes the administration of justice of similar acts and other administrative lapses will be dealt
constitutes misconduct. While the Commission on Bar with more severely than presently.
Discipline is not a court, the proceedings therein are
nonetheless part of a judicial proceeding, a disciplinary 58) ARTEMIO ENDAYA vs. ATTY. WILFREDO OCA
action being in reality an investigation by the Court into the [A.C. No. 3967. September 3, 2003.]
misconduct of its officers or an examination into his
character. Facts: This case unfolded with a verified Complaint 2 filed
on January 12, 1993 by complainant
The respondent is likewise suspended from the practice of Artemio Endaya against respondent Atty. Wilfredo Oca for
law for a period of six (6) months, with warning that a violation of the lawyer's oath and what complainant termed
repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with as "professional delinquency or infidelity." 3 The
more severely. antecedents are:
On November 7, 1991, a complaint for unlawful detainer
57) ARSENIO A. VILLAFUERTE, vs. ATTY. DANTE H. docketed as Civil Case No. 34-MCTC-T was filed with the
CORTEZ Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Taysan-Lobo, Batangas by
Apolonia H. Hornilla, Pedro Hernandez, Santiago
Complainant, upon the referral of Atty. Rene A. V. Hernandez and Dominador Hernandez against
Saguisag, went to the office of respondent lawyer to complainant and his spouse Patrosenia Endaya. 4
discuss his case for "reconveyance". During their initial On December 13, 1991, the complainant and his wife as
meeting, complainant tried to reconstruct before defendants in the case filed their answer which was
respondent lawyer the incidents of the case merely from prepared by a certain Mr. Isaias Ramirez. A preliminary
memory prompting the latter to ask complainant to instead conference was conducted on January 17, 1992, which
return at another time with the records of the case. complainant and his wife attended without counsel. During
The complainant again saw respondent but the conference, complainant categorically admitted that
still sans the records. Complainant requested respondent plaintiffs were the declared owners for taxation purposes
to accept the case, paying to the latter the sum of the land involved in the case. Continuation of the
of P1,750.00 representing the acceptance fee preliminary conference was set on January 31, 1992.
of P1,500.00 and P250.00 retainer fee for January Thereafter, complainant sought the services of the Public
1987. Respondent averred that he accepted the money Attorney's Office in Batangas City and respondent was
with much reluctance and only upon the condition that assigned to handle the case for the complainant and his
complainant would get the records of the case from, as wife. 5
well as secure the withdrawal of appearance of, Atty. Jose At the continuation of the preliminary conference,
Dizon, the former counsel of complainant. respondent appeared as counsel for complainant and his
Allegedly, complainant never showed up thereafter spouse. He moved for the amendment of the answer
until November 1989 when he went to the office of previously filed by complainant and his wife, but his motion
respondent lawyer but only to leave a copy of a writ of was denied. 6 Thereafter, the court, presided by Acting
execution. Indeed, said respondent, he had never entered Trial Court Judge Teodoro M. Baral, ordered the parties to
his appearance in the aforenumbered case. submit their affidavits and position papers within ten days
from receipt of the order. The court also decreed that thirty
ISSUE : Whether or not he should be suspended to the days after receipt of the last affidavit and position paper, or
practice of law? YES upon expiration of the period for filing the same, judgment
shall be rendered on the case. 7
HELD : A lawyer's fidelity to the cause of his client Respondent failed to submit the required affidavits and
requires him to be ever mindful of the responsibilities that position paper, as may be gleaned from
should be expected of him. He is mandated to exert his the Decision dated March 19, 1992 of the MCTC where it
best efforts to protect, within the bounds of the law, the was noted that "only the plaintiffs submitted their affidavits
interests of his client. The Code of Professional and position papers." 8
Nonetheless, the court dismissed the complaint for tenant-farmers in Pampanga. Respondent was also
unlawful detainer principally on the ground that the tasked to defend complainant's claim on the properties
plaintiffs are not the real parties-in-interest. against the claim of a certain George Lizares.
Plaintiffs appealed the Decision to the Regional Trial Court Respondent, allegedly after the termination of his services,
(RTC) of Batangas City, Branch 1, where the case was filed a complaint before the DARAB in behalf of one Isidro
docketed as Civil Case No. 3378. On April 10, 1992, the Dizon for annulment of TCT in the name of complainant
RTC directed the parties to file their respective and his partners. Complainant explained that Dizon's
memoranda. 10 Once again, respondent failed the property was among those properties purchased by
complainant and his wife. As observed by the RTC in complainant with respondent's assistance. Complainant
its Decision alleged that respondent is guilty of representing conflicting
the decision appealed from as it held that plaintiffs are the interests when he represented Dizon in a case involving
co-owners of the property in dispute and as such are the same properties and transactions in which he
parties-in-interest. 13 It also found that the verbal lease previously acted as complainant's counsel. Complainant
agreement was on a month-to-month basis and perforce added that respondent filed the DARAB case with
terminable by the plaintiffs at the end of any given month "malicious machination" because respondent used
upon proper notice to the defendants. 14 It also made a complainant's old address to serve the complaint and
finding that defendants incurred rentals in arrears. summons, enabling respondent to obtain a judgment by
Complainant received a copy of the Decision on October default in Dizon's favor. Complainant also charged
7, 1992. Two days later, or on October 9, 1992, respondent with violation of the lawyer's oath because,
complainant confronted respondent with the adverse "with malice and full knowledge of the real facts,"
decision but the latter denied receipt of a copy thereof. respondent filed groundless and false suits against
Upon inquiry with the Branch Clerk of Court, however, complainant, his partners and Sycamore.
complainant found out that respondent received his copy ISSUE: WON Respondent violated the rule on prohibition
back on September 14, 1992. 17 on representing conflicting interests
Having lost the unlawful detainer case, on January 12, HELD: YES. GUILTY RULE 15.03 SUSPENDED 1 year
1993 complainant filed the present administrative The Court finds insufficient evidence to hold respondent
complaint against the respondent for professional liable for forum shopping and for filing groundless suits.
delinquency consisting of his failure to file the required However, the Court finds respondent liable for violation of
pleadings in behalf of the complainant and his spouse. the prohibition on representing conflicting interests.
Complainant contends that due to respondent's inaction On Respondent's Violation of the Lawyer's Oath
he lost the opportunity to present his cause and ultimately Lawyers take an oath that they will not wittingly or willingly
the case itself. promote any groundless, false or unlawful suit, nor give
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Oca violated the CPR? aid or consent to the same. The Court notes that the
Held: Yes. The Supreme Court ruled that respondent cases are still pending before the DARAB and the RTC.
violated the lawyer's oath and several of the Canons in the The Court, therefore, does not have any basis for ruling if
Code of Professional Responsibility. In this case, evidence there was a violation of the oath.
abound that respondent failed to demonstrate the required On Respondent's Violation of the Prohibition against
diligence in handling the case. Every case a lawyer Representing Conflicting Interests
accepts deserves full attention, diligence, skill, and Lawyers are deemed to represent conflicting interests
competence, regardless of its importance and whether he when, in behalf of one client, it is their duty to contend for
accepts it for a fee or for free. In other words, whatever the that which duty to another client requires them to oppose.
lawyer's reason is for accepting a case, he is duty bound The proscription against representation of conflicting
to do his utmost in prosecuting or defending it. When interest applies to a situation where the opposing parties
respondent was directed to file the required pleadings, he are present clients in the same action or in an unrelated
had no choice but to comply. However, respondent did not action.
bother to do so, in total disregard of the court orders. This By respondent's own admission, when he filed the DARAB
constitutes negligence and malpractice. cHSTEA case on Dizon's behalf against complainant, both
The facts and circumstances in this case indubitably complainant and Dizon were respondent's clients at
showed respondent's failure to live up to his duties as a that time. Respondent was representing complainant in
lawyer in consonance with the strictures of the lawyer's the cases against Lizares where respondent was duty-
oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility, thereby bound to defend complainant's title over the properties
warranting his suspension from the practice of against the claims of Lizares. While it is not clear from the
law. aDcHIS records that the Lizares cases included Dizon's property, it
The Court ordered the suspension of respondent from the is undisputed that respondent acted as complainant's
practice of law for two months. counsel in the Lizares cases. At the same time,
respondent was also representing Dizon before the
59) SIMON D. PAZ vs. ATTY. PEPITO A. SANCHEZ DARAB for cancellation of lispendensinvolving Dizon's
A.C. No. 6125September 19, 2006 property, which cancellation was needed for complainant
to purchase the Dizon property. In filing the second
FACTS: DARAB case on Dizon's behalf, respondent was duty-
Complainant stated that he and his partners engaged the bound to assail complainant's title over Dizon's property,
services of respondent to assist them purchase, as well as which complainant had purchased from Dizon.
document the purchase, of several parcels of land from Respondent was clearly in a conflict of interest situation.
Respondent merely offered to justify his actuations by 61. PASAY LAW AND CONSCIENCE UNION, INC.vs.
stating that he felt it was his "duty and responsibility" to file ATTY. DAVID D.C. PAZ, respondent.
the case because he felt responsible for the cancellation A. M. No. 1008 January 22, 1980
of the TCT and its subsequent transfer in complainant's
name. However, good faith and honest intentions do not The Pasay Law and Conscience Union, Inc. (PLACU) filed
excuse the violation of this prohibition. In representing this disbarment case against David D.C. Paz, a member of
both complainant and Dizon, respondent's duty of the Philippine Bar. The complainant charged the
undivided fidelity and loyalty to his clients was placed respondent with malpractice, gross misconduct in office,
under a cloud of doubt. The reason for the prohibition is gross immoral conduct and/or disloyalty to the Republic of
found in the relation of attorney and client, which is one of the Philippines.
trust and confidence of the highest degree. The Solicitor General charged Atty. D.C. Paz with
representing clients with conflicting interests and gross
60 Gamilla et.al. vs. Mario, Jr., misconduct in office.
A.C. No. 4763, March 20, 2003 Regarding the charge of representing clients with
conflicting interests, The complainant alleged that in the
Facts: course of the investigation then being conducted by the
"Charlie Division" of the PARGO, the respondent, David
The management of UST and the UST Faculty Union D.C. Paz, was then PARGO's Legal Officer and Chief
entered into a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in Prosecutor, as well as the head of the aforesaid "Charlie
1986 for the provision of economic benefits to its Division"; that in the series of follow-ups made with
members. In 1988 the CBA expired and efforts to forged a PARGO by Dr. Irineo P. Sia himself and at times in
new agreement failed which led Union strike, dismissal of company of Atty. Galileo P. Brion, President of the
those who took part thereof and, eventually, a court complainant, PLACU, of the aforesaid anti-graft complaint
litigation which resulted in favor of the Faculty Union. UST against the then ex-Mayor Pablo Cuneta, the respondent
was required to reinstate the members and to pay back enlisted the help of Dr. Irineo P. Sia and Atty. Galilee P.
wages and a new CBA was entered. Brion in the gathering of evidence which included
PLACU's copies of the records;
Respondent Atty. Mario, among others, as the president of After respondent had resigned from the PARGO, the
the union, was paid initially by the UST in fulfillment of the Complaints and Investigation Office (CIO) filed an anti-
new agreement. Respondent transacted the money for graft charge and another charge for technical malversation
various purposes and received amount as attorneys fees both against Pablo Cuneta and others with the Pasay City
thereof. Fiscal's Office, the respondent entered his appearance,
participated and orally argued therein as one of the
Issue: counsels of Pablo Cuneta; and that the alleged withdrawal
Whether or not respondent atty. Mario violated the CPR. of the respondent as counsel for Pablo Cuneta,
On the charge of gross misconduct in office, the
Held: respondent borrowed and received from Atty. Brion the
Yes. He violated Canon 15 of the Code of Professional PLACU's copies of the record or the respondent never
Responsibility requiring every lawyer to observe candor, returned to the former the aforesaid PLACU's copies of the
fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions record or expedients
with his clients.Lawyers are vanguards in the bastion of In his answer, respondent, David D.C. Paz, specifically
justice so they are without doubt expected to have a denied the allegation and that he did not participate in the
bigger dose of service-oriented conscience and a little less investigation of the Cuneta anti-graft case except to swear
of self-interest. the witnesses; that it is true that respondent Paz appeared
among a battery of lawyers for Mayor Cuneta but when his
As indispensable part of the system of administering appearance was questioned by Atty. Brion, it was
justice, attorneys must comply strictly with the oath of withdrawn; and that the anti-graft case against Mayor
office and the canons of professional ethics - a duty more Cuneta was finally dismissed.
than imperative during these critical times when strong Issue:
and disturbing criticisms are hurled at the practice of Whether of not respondent violate the rule on conflicting
law. The process of imbibing ethical standards can begin interest of clients.
with the simple act of openness and candor in dealing with Held:
clients, which would progress thereafter towards the ideal YES, with regard to violation of conflicting interest rule, the
that a lawyers vocation is not synonymous with an evidence has duly established that the respondent, David
ordinary business proposition but a serious matter of D.C. Paz, as PARGO's Legal Officer and Legal Prosecutor
public interest. and head of the "Charlie Division", took part in the
investigation of the anti-graft case against ex-Mayor
Cuneta by administering oaths to witnesses and gathering
evidence.
He had already violated the Canons of Legal Ethics and
Sec. 20(e) of Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court which
provides:
Sec. 20. Duties of attorneys. It is the duty of an government service are expected to be more
attorney: conscientious of their actuations as they are subject to
(e) To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at a every public scrutiny. They are not only members of the bar but
peril to himself, to preserve the secrets of his client, and to also public servants who owe utmost fidelity to public
accept no compensation in connection with his client's service.
business except from him or with his knowledge and
approval; The SC supported this with three explanations:
There is no sufficient evidence that the respondent had 1. Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
borrowed the record. In view thereof, the respondent Employees
cannot be held guilty of the charge of serious misconduct. Section 7(b)(2) of the Code of Ethical Standards for Public
The respondent is found guilty of representing clients with Officials and Employees provides:
conflicting interests and he is hereby suspended from the Section 7.Prohibited Acts and Transactions. -- In addition
practice of law for two (2) months, with a warning that a to acts and omissions of public officials and employees
repetition of the same offense win be dealt with i more now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the
drastically. The respondent is exonerated of the charge of following constitute prohibited acts and transactions of any
g TOSS misconduct in office public official and employee and are hereby declared
unlawful:
(b) Outside employment and other activities related
62. DIANA RAMOS vs. ATTY. JOSE R. IMBANG thereto, public officials and employees during their
incumbency shall not:
FACTS: (1) Engage in the private practice of profession unless
Disbarment or Suspension against Atty. Jose R. Imbang authorized by the Constitution or law, provided that such
for multiple violations of the Code of Professional practice will not conflict with their official function.
Responsibility. In 1992, Ramos sought the assistance of In this instance, Imbang received P5,000 from the
Atty. Imbang in filing civil and criminal actions against the complainant and issued a receipt on July 15, 1992 while
spouses Roque and ElenitaJovellanos. She gave he was still connected with the PAO. Acceptance of
Imbang P8,500 as attorney's fees but the latter issued a money from a client establishes an attorney-client
receipt for P5,000 only. Ramos tried to attend the relationship.
scheduled hearings of her cases against the Jovellanoses.
Imbang never allowed her to enter the courtroom and 2. Revised Administrative Code
always told her to wait outside. He would then come out Section 14(3), Chapter 5, Title III, Book V of the Revised
after several hours to inform her that the hearing had been Administrative Code provides:
cancelled and rescheduled. This happened six times and The PAO shall be the principal law office of the
for each appearance in court, respondent charged her Government in extending free legal assistance to indigent
P350. persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative and other
quasi-judicial cases.
IBP findings (CBD): As a PAO lawyer, Imbang should not have accepted
The CBD concluded that respondent violated the following attorney's fees from the complainant as this was
provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility: inconsistent with the office's mission.
Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. 63) FERNANDO MARTIN PENA vs. ATTY. LOLITO G.
Rule 16.01. A lawyer shall account for all money or APARICIO
property collected or received for or from a client. Facts:
Rule 18.01. A lawyer should not undertake a legal service Atty. Lolito G. Aparicio appeared as legal counsel for
which he knows or should know that he is not qualified to Grace C. Hufana in an illegal dismissal case before
render. However, he may render such service if, with the the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
consent of his client, he can obtain as collaborating against complainant Fernando Martin Pena. Hufana
counsel a lawyer who is competent on the matter. is praying for claim for separation pay, but Pena
CBD Recommendations: Suspension from the practice of rejected the claim as baseless.
law for three years and ordered him to immediately return Thereafter, Aparicio sent Pena a letter reiterating his
to the complainant the amount of P5,000 which was client's claim for separation pay. Through his letter,
substantiated by the receipt. he threatened complainant that should Pena fail to
Board of Governors: adopted and approved the findings of pay the amounts they propose as settlement, he
the CBD, however, modified the CBD's recommendation would file and claim bigger amounts including moral
with regard to the restitution ofP5,000 by imposing interest damages, as well as multiple charges such as tax
at the legal rate, reckoned from 1995 or, in case of evasion, falsification of documents, and cancellation
Imbangs failure to return the total amount, an additional of business license to operate due to violations of
suspension of six months. laws.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Imbang should be disbarred. Issue:


WON Aparicioviolated Canon 19 (and 19.01) of the
HELD: YES.Lawyers are expected to conduct themselves CPR, enjoining every lawyer to represent his client
with honesty and integrity. More specifically, lawyers in with zeal within the bounds of the law? YES
NB: Rule 19.01.A lawyer shall employ only fair administration of justice by purging the profession of
and honest means to attain the lawful objectives members who by their misconduct have proved
of his client and shall not present, participate in themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the
presenting or threaten to present unfounded duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an
criminal charges to obtain an improper attorney. In such posture, there can thus be no occasion
advantage in any case or proceeding." to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor.
WON it is proper to disbar Aparicio? NO, reprimand
only
64) JOSE A. RIVERA vs. ATTY. NAPOLEON CORRAL
Held:
Under Canon 19, a lawyer should not file or Facts:
threaten to file any unfounded or baseless criminal
case or cases against the adversaries of his client Rivera instituted a complaint for disbarment charging Atty.
designed to secure leverage to compel the Corral with malpractice and conduct unbecoming a
adversaries to yield or withdraw their own cases member of the Philippine Bar. A decision for an ejectment
against the lawyer's client. case was received by Atty. Corrals secretary on February
In the case at bar, the threats are not only unethical 23, 1990. Notice of Appeal was filed by Atty. Corral on
for violating Canon 19, but they also amount to March 13, 1990. Next day, he went to the clerk of court
blackmail. Blackmail is "the extortion of money and changed the date February 23 to February 29 without
from a person by threats of accusation or exposure the courts prior knowledge and permission. Atty. Corral
or opposition in the public prints,obtaining of later on filed a reply to plaintiffs manifestation claiming
value from a person as a condition of refraining that he received the decision on February 28, not 29
from making an accusation against him, or (because there is no Feb 29). In his defense, respondent
disclosing some secret calculated to operate to his claimed that the correction of the date was done on the
prejudice." The letter in this case contains more paper prepared by him. He also alleged that the correction
than just a simple demand to pay. It even contains was initiated and done in the presence and with the
a threat to file retaliatory charges against approval of the Clerk of Court and the other court
complainant which have nothing to do with his employees. According to respondent, the correction was
client's claim for separation pay. Indeed, letters of made because of typographical error he committed.
this nature are definitely proscribed by the Code of In a Resolution, the Court referred the case to the IBP for
Professional Responsibility. investigation and recommendation. Thereafter,
It was not respondent's intention to point out Investigating Commissioner Victor Fernandez submitted
complainant's violations of the law as he so his report finding respondent guilty and recommended his
gallantly claims. Far from it, the letter even contains suspension from the practice of law for six (6) months. In
an implied promise to "keep silent" about the said October 1997, the IBP Board of Governors passed a
violations if payment of the claim is made on the Resolution approving and adopting the report and
date indicated. recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner.
DECISION: While the writing of the letter went Respondent thereafter filed a motion for reconsideration of
beyond ethical standards, we hold that disbarment the IBP Boards decision. The Board, however, denied the
is too severe a penalty to be imposed on motion for reconsideration and further pointed out that the
respondent, considering that he wrote the same out pleading is improper because his remedy was to file the
of his overzealousness to protect his client's same with this Court within fifteen (15) days from notice
interests. Accordingly, the more appropriate thereof.
penalty is reprimand.
On the sui generis character of disbarment Issue:
proceedings, the Court ratiocinated in In re
Almacen: Whether or not Atty. Corral should be disbarred for
changing the date when he received the decision of the
Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui court without the courts prior knowledge of decision
generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, they do not
involve a trial of an action or a suit, but is rather an Held:
investigation by the Court into the conduct of one of its
officers. Not being intended to inflict punishment, it is in no NO. While the prevailing facts of the case do not warrant
sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither so severe a penalty as disbarment, the inherent power of
a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. It may be initiated by the Court to discipline an errant member of the Bar must,
the Court motuproprio. Public interest is its primary nonetheless, be exercised because it can not be denied
objective, and the real question for determination is that respondent has violated his solemn oath as a lawyer
whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be not to engage in unlawful, dishonest or deceitful conduct.
allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of The relevant rules to the case at bar are Rules 1.01 and
its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a Rule 19.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an Rule 1.01 states in no uncertain terms that: "A lawyer shall
officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest conduct." More specifically, Rule 19.01 mandates that "a
lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain sum of five hundred pesos as settlement. Despite the
the lawful objectives of his client and shall not present, dismissal, Ana felt aggrieved and asked for the disbarment
participate or threaten to present unfounded criminal or suspension of Atty. Gorduiz and Judge Equipilag.
charges to obtain improper advantage in any case or
proceeding." Issue:
The Court "cannot overstress the duty of a lawyer to at all Whether or not the judges should be suspended.
times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal
profession. He can do this by faithfully performing his Held:
duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his
clients." Along the same vein, in Ong v. Atty. Elpidio D. The Court finds that there is justification for suspending
Unto, the Court ruled that "The ethics of the legal the respondent.Respondent acted precipitately in filing a
profession rightly enjoin lawyers to act with the highest criminal action against his client for the supposed
standards of truthfulness, fair play and nobility in the misappropriation of his attomey's fees. It is not altogether
course of his practice of law. A lawyer may be disciplined clear that his client had swindled him and, therefore, there
or suspended for any misconduct, whether in his is some basis for concluding that, contrary to his lawyer's
professional or private capacity. Public confidence in the oath, he had filed a suit against her and had harassed and
law and lawyers may be eroded by the irresponsible and embarrassed her.
improper conduct of a member of the Bar. Thus, every
lawyer should act and comport himself in such a manner Paragraph 14 of the Canons of Legal Ethics prescribes
that would promote public confidence in the integrity of the that "controversies with clients concerning compensation
legal profession." are to be avoided by the lawyer so far as shall be
The correction of date by Atty. Corral was made not to compatible with his self- respect and with his right to
reflect the truth but to mislead the trial court in believing receive reasonable recompense for his services; and
that the notice of appeal was filed within the reglementary lawsuits with clients should be resorted to only to prevent
period. Because if the decision was received on Feb 22, injustice, imposition or fraud."
the notice of appeal filed on March 13 is filed out of time.
To extricate himself from such predicament, Atty. Corral
altered the date he received the courts decision. By
altering the material dates to make it appear that the
Notice of Appeal was timely filed, Atty. Corral committed
an act of dishonesty. Dishonesty constitutes grave
misconduct.

In view of the foregoing, respondent Atty. Napoleon Corral


is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE (1)
YEAR and STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the
same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely.

65) Retuya v. Gorduiz


AC NO. 1388

Facts:
Ana F. Retuya filed for a claim of workmens
compensation against Eastern Shipping Lines, the
employer of her husband who died in 1968.In a decision
by the Workmens Compensation Unit at Tacloban City,
Ana was awarded a sum for compensation benefits,
medical and hospitalization expenses, burial expenses,
and attorneys fees of Atty. InegoGorduiz (P300).The
employer paid a reduced award.Ana sent the receipt and
release, wherein she also explained that Gorduiz did not
sign the joint motion to dismiss the claim because he
wanted 20% of the award as his attorneys fees but she
was willing to give him 10% only.Unexpectedly, she was
served with a warrant of arrest. By reason of an affidavit
executed by Atty. Gorduiz stating that Ana had
misappropriated and refused to make payment his
attorneys fees amounting to three hundred pesos.

On the basis of such affidavit, the acting chief of police


filed against Ana a complaint for estafa which was not
tried. Instead, Atty. Diola, lawyer of Ana, offered Gorduiz a