Sie sind auf Seite 1von 19

2006 Legal Ethics Case Digest

MARIA ELENA MORENO VS. ATTY. ERNESTO ARANETA


A.C. No. 1109. April 27, 2005

Facts: Ernesto Araneta issued two checks to Elena Moreno for his indebtedness which amounts to P11,
000.00, the checks were dishonored. It was dishonored because the account against which is drawn is
closed. Thereafter the case was forwarded to the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline pursuant to Rule
139-B of the Rules of Court. The Commission recommended the suspension from the practice of law
for three (3) months. On 15 October 2002, IBP Director for Bar Discipline Victor C. Fernandez,
transmitted the records of this case back to this Court pursuant to Rule 139-B, Sec. 12(b) of the Rules
of Court. Thereafter, the Office of the Bar Confidant filed a Report regarding various aspects of the
case. The Report further made mention of a Resolution from this Court indefinitely suspending the
respondent for having been convicted by final judgment of estafa through falsification of a commercial
document.

Issue: Whether or not Araneta should be disbarred due to the issuance of checks drawn against a
closed account.

Held: The Court held that the act of a person in issuing a check knowing at the time of the issuance
that he or she does not have sufficient funds in, or credit with, the drawee bank for the payment of the
check in full upon its presentment, is a manifestation of moral turpitude. In Co v. Bernardino and Lao
v. Medel, we held that for issuing worthless checks, a lawyer may be sanctioned with one year’s
suspension from the practice of law, or a suspension of six months upon partial payment of the
obligation. In the instant case, however, herein respondent has, apparently been found guilty by final
judgment of estafa thru falsification of a commercial document, a crime involving moral turpitude, for
which he has been indefinitely suspended. Considering that he had previously committed a similarly
fraudulent act, and that this case likewise involves moral turpitude, we are constrained to impose a
more severe penalty. In fact, we have long held that disbarment is the appropriate penalty for
conviction by final judgment of a crime involving moral turpitude. As we said in In The Matter of
Disbarment Proceedings v. Narciso N. Jaramillo, “the review of respondent's conviction no longer
rests upon us. The judgment not only has become final but has been executed. No elaborate argument
is necessary to hold the respondent unworthy of the privilege bestowed on him as a member of the
bar. Suffice it to say that, by his conviction, the respondent has proved himself unfit to protect the
administration of justice.”

Spouses OLBES VS. Atty. VICTOR V. DECIEMBRE


AC-5365. April 27, 2005

Facts: Atty. Victor V. Deciembre was given five blank checks by Spouses Olbes for security of a loan.
After the loan was paid and a receipt issued, Atty. Deciembre filled up four of the five checks for P50,
000 with different maturity date. All checks were dishonored. Thus, Atty. Deciembre fled a case for
estafa against the spouses Olbes. This prompted the spouses Olbes to file a disbarment case against
Atty. Deciembre with the Office of the Bar Confidant of this Court. In the report, Commissioner Dulay
recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for two years for violating Rule
1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Issue: Whether or not the suspension of Atty. Deciembre was in accord with his fault.

Held: Membership in the legal profession is a special privilege burdened with conditions. It is
bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in the law, but also known to possess good moral
character. “A lawyer is an oath-bound servant of society whose conduct is clearly circumscribed by
inflexible norms of law and ethics, and whose primary duty is the advancement of the quest for truth
and justice, for which he has sworn to be a fearless crusader.” By taking the lawyer’s oath, an attorney
becomes a guardian of truth and the rule of law, and an indispensable instrument in the fair and
impartial administration of justice. Lawyers should act and comport themselves with honesty and
integrity in a manner beyond reproach, in order to promote the public’s faith in the legal profession. It
is also glaringly clear that the Code of Professional Responsibility was seriously transgressed by his
malevolent act of filling up the blank checks by indicating amounts that had not been agreed upon at
all and despite respondent’s full knowledge that the loan supposed to be secured by the checks had
already been paid. His was a brazen act of falsification of a commercial document, resorted to for his
material gain.
Deception and other fraudulent acts are not merely unacceptable practices that are disgraceful and
dishonorable; they reveal a basic moral flaw. The standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by
conduct that merely enables one to escape the penalties of criminal laws. Considering the depravity of
the offense committed by respondent, we find the penalty recommended by the IBP of suspension for
two years from the practice of law to be too mild. His propensity for employing deceit and
misrepresentation is reprehensible. His misuse of the filled-up checks that led to the detention of one
petitioner is loathsome. Thus, he is sentenced suspended indefinitely from the practice of law effective
immediately.

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, INC., and BEN A. NICOLAS vs. Atty. MACARIO D. ARQUILLO
A.C. No. 6632. August 2, 2005
Facts: Atty. Macatrio D. Arquillo represented opposing parties in one a case before the before the
National Labor Relations Commission, Regional Arbitration Branch in San Fernando, La Union.
Herein, complainants accuse Atty. Arquillo of deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct and/or violation
of his oath as attorney by representing conflicting interests. The case was filed with the IBP-
Commission on Bar Discipline which found Atty. Arquillo guilty of the charge and recommended a
penalty of suspension for 6 months. The governors of the IBP increased the penalty for 2 years.

Issue: Whether or not the acts of Arquillo merits his suspension from the practice of law.

Held: The Code of Professional Responsibility requires lawyers to observe candor, fairness and loyalty
in all their dealings and transactions with their clients. Corollary to this duty, lawyers shall not
represent conflicting interests, except with all the concerned clients’ written consent, given after a full
disclosure of the facts. When a lawyer represents two or more opposing parties, there is a conflict of
interests, the existence of which is determined by three separate tests: (1) when, in representation of
one client, a lawyer is required to fight for an issue or claim, but is also duty-bound to oppose it for
another client; (2) when the acceptance of the new retainer will require an attorney to perform an act
that may injuriously affect the first client or, when called upon in a new relation, to use against the
first one any knowledge acquired through their professional connection; or (3) when the acceptance of
a new relation would prevent the full discharge of an attorney’s duty to give undivided fidelity and
loyalty to the client or would invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance of
that duty. An attorney cannot represent adverse interests. It is a hornbook doctrine grounded on
public policy that a lawyer’s representation of both sides of an issue is highly improper. The
proscription applies when the conflicting interests arise with respect to the same general matter,
however slight such conflict may be. It applies even when the attorney acts from honest intentions or
in good faith.
In accordance with previous rulings from this court Atty. Arquillo is suspended for 1 year from the
practice of law.

16. RE: LETTER DATED 21 FEBRUARY 2005 OF ATTY. NOEL S. SORREDA.


A.M. No. 05-3-04-SC July 22, 2005

Facts: Atty. Noel S. Sorreda wrote a letter addressed to the Chief Justice over his frustrations of the
outcome of his cases decided by the Supreme Court. The letter contained derogatory and malignant
remarks which are highly insulting. The Court accorded Atty. Sorreda to explain, however, instead of
appearing before the court, he wrote another letter with insulting remarks as the first one. The court
was thus offended with his remarks.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Sorreda can be held guilty of contempt due to the remarks he has made in
his letters addressed to the court.

Held: Unfounded accusations or allegations or words tending to embarrass the court or to bring it into
disrepute have no place in a pleading. Their employment serves no useful purpose. On the contrary,
they constitute direct contempt of court or contempt in facie curiae and a violation of the lawyer’s oath
and a transgression of the Code of Professional Responsibility. As officer of the court, Atty. Sorreda
has the duty to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts and to promote confidence in the fair
administration of justice.[24] No less must this be and with greater reasons in the case of the country’s
highest court, the Supreme Court, as the last bulwark of justice and democracy
Atty. Sorreda must be reminded that his first duty is not to his client but to the administration of
justice, to which his client’s success is wholly subordinate. His conduct ought to and must always be
scrupulously observant of law and ethics. The use of intemperate language and unkind ascription can
hardly be justified nor can it have a place in the dignity of judicial forum. Civility among members of
the legal profession is a treasured tradition that must at no time be lost to it. Hence, Atty. Sorreda has
transcended the permissible bounds of fair comment and constructive criticism to the detriment of the
orderly administration of justice. Free expression, after all, must not be used as a vehicle to satisfy
one’s irrational obsession to demean, ridicule, degrade and even destroy this Court and its
magistrates. Thus, ATTY. NOEL S. SORREDA is found guilty both of contempt of court and violation
of the Code of Professional Responsibility amounting to gross misconduct as an officer of the court
and member of the Bar.

Heirs of Herman Rey, represented by ARACELI Vda. DE ROMERO vs. Atty. Venancio Reyes, Jr.
A.C. No. 6192 June 23, 2005

Facts: Atty. Venancio Reyes is counsel for Heirs of Herman Rey for which they are intervenors in a
civil case involving multiple sale of a piece of land. There were three buyers however, and to settle the
case, they had agreed to a Compromise Agreement. The Compromise Agreement, dated June 16, 1995,
was signed in three stages, first by Elizabeth Reyes and her husband, then by complainants and their
counsel, Atty. Renato Samonte Jr., and last, by Antonio Gonzales, Veronica Gonzales for and on behalf
of V.R. Credit Enterprises, Inc. and by herein respondent. Later, the RTC which houses the records of
the case was destroyed by fire, thus The complainants filed a motion for reconstitution of the records
of the case, which was granted by the RTC of Bulacan. The documents attached to the motion were the
basis for the reconstituted records. Because of the circumstances of signing of the Compromise
Agreement, the copy submitted to the RTC bore only the signatures of Elizabeth Reyes, her husband,
complainants, and that of their counsel, Atty. Renato Samonte. After a lapse of two (2) years from the
date of the Compromise Agreement, V.R. Credit Enterprises, Inc. still has not complied with its
obligation toward complainants. Hence, complainants filed a motion for issuance of writ of execution
against V.R. Credit Enterprises, Inc. for such failure. Atty. Reyes filed a motion for the case was
premature. Later he raised the issue that the Compromise Agreement was not valid since it was not
signed by Veronica Gonzales. Hence, the RTC rued that the Compromise as unenforceable. Thus,
herein, complainants filed this administrative case against Atty. Venancio Reyes Jr. charging him with
willful and intentional falsehood, in violation of his oath as a member of the Philippine bar. IBP
investigating commissioner found him guilty of violation of his oath.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Venancio Reyes is administratively liable.

Held: Lawyers are indispensable instruments of justice and peace. Upon taking their professional
oath, they become guardians of truth and the rule of law. Verily, when they appear before a tribunal,
they act not merely as the parties’ representatives but, first and foremost, as officers of the court.
Thus, their duty to protect their clients’ interests is secondary to their obligation to assist in the speedy
and efficient administration of justice. In assailing the legality of the Compromise Agreement, he
claims good faith. He maintains that he should not be faulted for raising an allegedly valid defense to
protect his client’s interests. The records show, however, that his actions bear hallmarks of dishonesty
and doublespeak. Atty. Reyes is one of negotiating panel in the compromise agreement. He impressed
upon the parties and the trial judge that his clients were bound to the Compromise Agreement. Then,
suddenly and conveniently, he repudiated it by falsely alleging that one of his clients had never signed
it. True, lawyers are obliged to present every available remedy or defense to support the cause of their
clients. However, their fidelity to their causes must always be made within the parameters of law and
ethics, never at the expense of truth and justice. In Choa v. Chiongson this principle was explained
thus: “While a lawyer owes absolute fidelity to the cause of his client, full devotion to his genuine
interest, and warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his rights, as well as the exertion of his
utmost learning and ability, he must do so only within the bounds of the law” Thus, herein, Atty.
Venancio Reyes, was ordered suspended for 1 year.

JESUS M. FERRER vs. ATTY. JOSE ALLAN M. TEBELIN


A.C. No. 6590. June 27, 2005

Facts: Ferrer obtained the services of Atty. Tebelin in a case against Global Link as a result of a
vehicular accident through the falut of Global Link’s driver. Ferrer paid Atty. Tebelin P5, 000.00 as
acceptance fee and gave him all pertinent documents. However, Ferrer filed an administrative case
against Atty. Tebelin alleging that the said lawyer abandoned his case. However, Atty. Tebelin
expressed his willingness to return the money and denied having abandoned the case. However,
during the proceedings, herein Ferrer died. Atty. Tebelin was nowhere to be found in his given
address.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Tebellin may still be held liable despite the death of the complainant.

Held: The court held that Atty. Tebelin may still be held liable despite the death of the complainant.
The death of a complainant in an administrative case notwithstanding, the case may still proceed and
be resolved. As in the case of Tudtud v. Colifores, the court ruled that “The death of the complainant
herein does not warrant the non-pursuance of the charges against respondent Judge. In
administrative cases against public officers and employees, the complainants are, in a real sense, only
witnesses. Hence, the unilateral decision of a complainant to withdraw from an administrative
complaint, or even his death, as in the case at bar, does not prevent the Court from imposing sanctions
upon the parties subject to its administrative supervision.” This Court also finds respondent, for
ignoring the notices of hearing sent to him at his address which he himself furnished, or to notify the
IBP-CBD his new address if indeed he had moved out of his given address. His actuation betrays his
lack of courtesy, his irresponsibility as a lawyer. This Court faults respondent too for welting on his
manifestation-undertaking to return the P5,000.00, not to mention the documents bearing on the
case, to complainant or his heirs. Such is reflective of his reckless disregard of the duty imposed on
him by Rule 22.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: Rule 22.02 – A lawyer who withdraws
or is discharged shall, subject to a retaining lien, immediately turn over all papers and property to
which the client is entitled, and shall cooperate with his successor in the orderly transfer of the matter,
including all information necessary for the proper handling of the matter.
Thus, the court suspended Atty. Jose Allan M. Tebelin from the practice of law for Two (2) Months
and is ordered to return to complainant’s heirs the amount of P5, 000.00, with legal interest.

JUDGES; UNDUE DELAY IN RENDERING JUDGMENT , A VIOLATION OF RULE 70 SECTION 11


OF THE RULES OF COURT
DORCAS PETALLAR VS. JUDGE JAUNILLO PULLOS
A.M. No. MTJ-03-1484. January 15, 2004

Facts: Complainant Dorcas Petallar averred that after the preliminary conference in a case for forcible
entry, he, as plaintiff and the defendants were ordered to submit their respective position papers and
evidence. Two months from the submission of their position papers, complainant personally went to
the Court to verify the judgment had been rendered. He caused his lawyer to file a motion for
rendition of judgment which was duly received by the court on August 6, 2001 but still no judgment
was rendered on December 27, 2001 when the complaint was filed. Hence, complainant Petallar
charged Judge Juanillo Pullos, former presiding judge of the MCTC of Surigao del Norte of violating
Canon 1, Rule 1.02 & Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct as well as Rule 140, Section 4
& Rule 70, Section 10 & 11 of the Rules of the Court for undue delay in rendering a decision in a case
for forcibly entry.

Issue: Whether or not respondent be held liable for undue delay in rendering judgment.

Held: Respondent is guilty of undue delay in rendering judgment. The records show that the parties
had filed their respective position papers as early as February 2, 2000. thus, respondent had until
March 4, 2000. Had there been circumstances which presented him from handling down his decision
within the prescribed period, respondent should have at least requested from the Court for an
extension within which to render judgment. Failure to resolve cases submitted for decisions within the
period fixed by law constitutes serious violation of Article III, section 16 of the Constitution. Judges
must perform their official duties with utmost diligence if public confidence in the judiciary is to be
preserved. A judge cannot by himself prolong the period for deciding cases beyond that authorized by
law. Without any order of extension granted by the court, failure to decide a case within the prescribed
period constitutes gross inefficiency that merits administrative sanction.

COMPLAINTS FOR DISBARMENT; FORMAL INVESTIGATION


MERCEDES NAVA VS. ATTY. BENJAMIN SORONGON
AC No. 5442. January 26, 2004

Facts: Respondent Atty. Sorongon had been the counsel of complainant Mercedes Nava for years. The
former informed her of his intention to withdraw as her counsel in two of her cases due to a stroke
that paralyzed his right body but proposed to be retained in two other criminal cases with lesser paper
works. He filed his withdrawal on December 4, 1996 and was granted by the court. Complainant
alleged that while she continuously paid for the respondent’s services, the latter represented other
clients with hostile interests and cases filed against her. Complainant cried that respondent assisted
one Francisco Atas in filing a formal complaint for 11 counts of violation of B.P. 22 against her. She
sent a letter to respondents expressing her disbelief and reminding him of his ethical and moral
responsibility as a lawyer. Complainant prayed that an investigation be conducted regarding this
unfortunate actuation and deplorable behavior as well as respondent’s double standard attitude.
Thereafter, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline issued a resolution suspending respondent from
the practice of law for one year considering his clear violation of the prohibition against representing
conflicting interest.

Issue: Whether or not a formal investigation is mandatory in complaints for disbarment.

Held: In complaints for disbarment, a formal investigation is a mandatory requirement. The court
may dispense with the normal referral to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines if the records are
complete and the question raised is simple. Similarly, if no further, factual determination is necessary,
the court may decide the case on the basis of the extensive pleading on record.
Complaints against lawyers for misconduct are normally addressed to the Court. If, at the outset, the
Court finds a complaint to be clearly wanting in merit, it out rightly dismisses the case. If, however,
the Court deems it necessary that further inquiry should be made, such as when the matter could not
be resolved by merely evaluating the pleadings submitted, a referral is made to the IBP for a formal
investigation of the case during which the parties are accorded an opportunity to be heard. An ex parte
investigation may only be conducted when respondent fails to appear despite reasonable notice.

ABANDONMENT OF LAWFUL WIFE AND MAINTAINING ILLICIT RELATIONSHIP AS GROUND


FOR DISBARMENT
JOVITA BUSTAMANTE-ALEJANDRO VS. ATTY. WARFREDO TOMAS ALEJANDRO and
MARICRIS VILLARIN
AC No. 4256. February 13, 2004

Facts: Complainant submitted a photocopy of the marriage contract between her and respondent Atty.
Alejandro in support of her charge of bigamy and concubinage against the latter and Villarin. She also
submitted a photocopy of the birth certificate of a child of the respondent and also stated that they
were married in May 1, 1990 in Isabela, Province.
The Supreme Court directed respondents to file their comment on the complaint within 10 days but
they failed to comply. Copies of the resolution, complaint and its annexes were returned to both
respondents unserved with notation “moved”, same as when served personally. Complainant was
required anew to submit the correct, present address of respondents under pain of dismissal of her
administrative complaint. She disclosed respondent’s address at 12403 Develop Drive Houston, Texas
in a handwritten letter.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) recommended that both respondents be disbarred. The
Supreme Court ordered Atty. Alejandro to be disbarred while the complaint against his co-respondent
Atty. Villarin was returned to the IBP for further proceedings or it appears that a copy of the
resolution requiring comment was never “deemed served” upon her as it was upon Atty. Alejandro.
Issue: Whether or not abandonment of lawful wife and maintaining an illicit relationship with another
woman are grounds for disbarment.

Held: Sufficient evidence showed that respondent Atty. Alejandro, lawfully married to complainant,
carried on an illicit relationship with co-respondent Atty. Villarin. Although the evidence was not
sufficient to prove that he co0ntracted a subsequent bigamous marriage, that fact remains of his
deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of him as member of the bar. A disbarment
proceeding is warranted against a lawyer who abandons his lawful wife and maintains an illicit
relationship with another woman who had borne him a child. We can do no less in this case where
Atty. Alejandro even fled to another country to escape the consequences of his misconduct.
Therefore, Atty. Alejandro disbarred from the practice of law while the complaint against Atty. Villarin
was referred back to the IBP.

VIOLATION OF THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY; FAILURE OF COUNSEL TO


FILE BRIEF
BIOMIE SARENAS-OCHAGABIA VS. ATTY. BALMES OCAMPOS
AM No. 4401. January 29, 2004

Facts: Complainant Biomie Sarenas-Ochagabia and her aunts engaged the services of respondent Atty.
Balmes Ocampos in a civil case for recovery of possession and ownership of a parcel of land. An
adverse decision was rendered against complainants. Atty. Ocampos filed a Notice of Appeal at their
behest. The Court of Appeals gave them 45 days from notice to file their brief but Atty. Ocampos was
granted a 90-day extension. The extended period lapsed without an appellant’s brief being filed, hence
their appeal was dismissed. The dismissal was not challenged, but complainants filed a complaint
contending that respondent violated his duty to inform them of his failure to file appellant’s brief and
of the dismissal of the appeal.

Issue: Whether or not respondent has exercised due diligence for the protection of the client’s
interests.

Held: A lawyer engaged to represent a client in a case bears the responsibility of protecting the latter’s
interest with utmost diligence. By failing to file appellant’s brief, respondent was remiss in the
discharge of such responsibility. He thus violated the Code of Professional which states:
Rule 12.03 A lawyer shall not, after attaining extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda or
briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the same or offering an explanation for his failure to do
so.
Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable.
That respondent accepted to represent complainants gratis et amore does not justify his failure to
exercise due diligence in the performance of his duty. Every case deserves full attention, diligence, and
competence regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or free.
Until his final release from the professional relation with a client, a counsel of record is under
obligation to protect the client’s interest. If a party has a counsel of record, a court does not recognize
any other representation in behalf thereof unless in collaboration with such counsel of record or until
a formal substitution of counsel is effected. Since respondent had not then withdrawn as counsel as he
in fact filed a motion for extension of time to file brief, he was under obligation to discharge his
professional responsibility.

Montecillo vs Del Mar

60 SCRA 234 – Legal Ethics – Lawyer’s Duty to the Courts – Contemptuous Language

Jorge Montecillo was accused by Francisco Gica of slander. Atty. Quirico del Mar represented Montecillo and he
successfully defended Monteceillo in the lower court. Del Mar was even able to win their counterclaim thus the lower
court ordered Gica to pay Montecillo the adjudged moral damages.
Gica appealed the award of damages to the Court of Appeals where the latter court reversed the same. Atty. Del Mar
then filed a motion for reconsideration where he made a veiled threat against the Court of Appeals judges intimating
that he thinks the CA justices “knowingly rendered an unjust decision” and “judgment has been rendered through
negligence” and that the CA allowed itself to be deceived.
The CA denied the MFR and it admonished Atty. Del Mar from using such tone with the court. Del Mar then filed a
second MFR where he again made threats. The CA then ordered del Mar to show cause as to why he should not be
punished for contempt.
Thereafter, del Mar sent the three CA justices a copy of a letter which he sent to the President of the Philippines
asking the said justices to consider the CA judgment. But the CA did not reverse its judgment. Del Mar then filed a civil
case against the three justices of the CA before a Cebu lower court but the civil case was eventually dismissed by
reason of a compromise agreementwhere del Mar agreed to pay damages to the justices. Eventually, the CA
suspended Atty. Del Mar from practice.
The issue reached the Supreme Court. Del Mar asked the SC to reverse his suspension as well as the CA decision as to
the Montecillo case. The SC denied both and this earned the ire of del Mar as he demanded from the Clerk of
the Supreme Court as to who were the judges who voted against him.
The Supreme Court then directed del Mar to submit an explanation as to why he should not be disciplined. Del Mar in
his explanation instead tried to justify his actions even stating that had he not been “convinced that human efforts in
[pursuing the case] will be fruitless” he would have continued with the civil case against the CA justices. In his
explanation, del Mar also intimated that even the Supreme Court is part among “the corrupt, the grafters and those
allegedly committing injustice”.
Del Mar even filed a civil case against some Supreme Court justices but the judge who handled the case dismissed the
same.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Del Mar should be suspended.

HELD: Yes. Atty. Del Mar, by his contemptuous acts is in violation of his duties to the courts. As an officer of the court,
xit is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily the high esteem and regard towards the
court so essential to the proper administration of justice.
It is manifest that del Mar has scant respect for the two highest Courts of the land when on the flimsy ground of
alleged error in deciding a case, he proceeded to challenge the integrity of both Courts by claiming that they
knowingly rendered unjust judgment. In short, his allegation is that they acted with intent and malice, if not with
gross ignorance of the law, in disposing of the case of his client.
Del Mar was then suspended indefinitely.
Rochelle P. Lacsina 3-B Clarita J. Samala vs. Atty. Luciano D. Valencia

A.C. No. 5439; January 22, 2007 Austria-Martinez, J.

Facts: Clarita J. Samala (complainant) filed a complaint against Atty. Luciano D. Valencia (respondent) for Disbarment
on the following grounds:

(a) serving on two separate occasions as counsel for contending parties;


(b) knowingly misleading the court by submitting false documentary evidence;

(c) initiating numerous cases in exchange for non-payment of rental fees; and

(d) having a reputation of being immoral by siring illegitimate children.

After respondent filed his Comment, the Court referred the case to the IBP for investigation, report, and
recommendation.

After a series of hearings, the parties filed their respective memoranda and the case was deemed submitted for
resolution.

The Commissioner found respondent guilty of violating Canons 15 and 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
and recommended the penalty of suspension for six months.
The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the report and recommendation of Commissioner Reyes but
increased the penalty of suspension from six months to one year.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent violated Canons 15 and 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Held: This Court adopts the report of the IBP Board of Governors except as to the issue on immorality and as to the
recommended penalty.

(a) On serving as counsel for contending parties.


Respondent, while being the counsel for defendant Valdez, also acted as counsel for the tenants Lagmay, Valencia,
Bustamante and Bayuga by filing an Explanation and Compliance before the RTC. The Presiding Judge warned
respondent to refrain from repeating the act of being counsel of record of both parties in Civil Case No. 95-105-MK.

Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not represent conflicting
interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.

A lawyer may not, without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person whose interest
conflicts with that of his present or former client.

He may not also undertake to discharge conflicting duties any more than he may represent antagonistic interests.
This stern rule is founded on the principles of public policy and good taste. It springs from the relation of attorney
and client which is one of trust and confidence. Lawyers are expected not only to keep inviolate the client's
confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for only then can litigants be
encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is of paramount importance in the administration of
justice. One of the tests of inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the
full discharge of the lawyer's duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or
double-dealing in the performance of that duty.

(b) On knowingly misleading the court by submitting false documentary evidence.

Complainant alleges that in Civil Case No. 00-7137 filed before MTC, Branch 75 for ejectment, respondent submitted
TCT No. 273020 as evidence of Valdez's ownership despite the fact that a new TCT No. 275500 was already issued in
the name of Alba on February 2, 1995.

During the hearing before Commissioner Raval, respondent avers that when the Answer was filed in the said case,
that was the time that he came to know that the title was already in the name of Alba; so that when the court
dismissed the complaint, he did not do anything anymore.

Respondent further avers that Valdez did not tell him the truth and things were revealed to him only when the case
for rescission was filed in 2002. Respondent failed to comply with Canon 10 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; nor
shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.
It matters not that the trial court was not misled by respondent's submission of TCT No. 273020 in the name of
Valdez, as shown by its decision dated January 8, 2002 dismissing the complaint for ejectment. What is decisive in
this case is respondent's intent in trying to mislead the court by presenting TCT No. 273020 despite the fact that said
title was already cancelled and a new one, TCT No. 275500, was already issued in the name of Alba.

(c) On initiating numerous cases in exchange for nonpayment of rental fees.

Complainant alleged that respondent filed the following cases:

(i) Civil Case No. 2000-657-MK at the RTC, Branch 272;


(ii) Civil Case No. 00-7137 at the MTC, Branch 75; and
(iii) I.S. Nos. 00-4439 and 01-036162 both entitled "Valencia v. Samala" for estafa and grave coercion, respectively,
before the Marikina City Prosecutor. Complainant claims that the two criminal cases were filed in retaliation for the
cases she filed against Lagmay docketed as I.S. No. 00-4306 for estafa and I.S. No. 00-4318 against Alvin Valencia (son
of respondent) for trespass to dwelling. As culled from the records, Valdez entered into a retainer agreement with
respondent. As payment for his services, he was allowed to occupy the property for free and utilize the same as his
office pursuant to their retainer agreement.

The Court finds the charge to be without sufficient basis. The act of respondent of filing the aforecited cases to
protect the interest of his client, on one hand, and his own interest, on the other, cannot be made the basis of an
administrative charge unless it can be clearly shown that the same was being done to abuse judicial processes to
commit injustice.

The filing of an administrative case against respondent for protecting the interest of his client and his own right
would be putting a burden on a practicing lawyer who is obligated to defend and prosecute the right of his client.

(d) On having a reputation for being immoral by siring illegitimate children.

The Court finds respondent liable for being immoral by siring illegitimate children. During the hearing, respondent
admitted that he sired three children by Teresita Lagmay who are all over 20 years of age, while his first wife was still
alive. He also admitted that he has eight children by his first wife, the youngest of whom is over 20 years of age, and
after his wife died in 1997, he married Lagmay in 1998.

Respondent further admitted that Lagmay was staying in one of the apartments being claimed by complainant.
However, he does not consider his affair with Lagmay as a relationship and does not consider the latter as his second
family. He reasoned that he was not staying with Lagmay because he has two houses, one in Muntinlupa and another
in Marikina.

Under Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct.

It may be difficult to specify the degree of moral delinquency that may qualify an act as immoral, yet, for purposes of
disciplining a lawyer, immoral conduct has been defined as that "conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and
which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of respectable members of the community.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court finds respondent Atty. Luciano D. Valencia GUILTY of misconduct and violation of Canons
21, 10 and 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) years,
effective immediately upon receipt of herein Resolution.

Lee vs Tambago, 544 SCRA 393, February 12, 2008

Facts: Complainant, Manuel L. Lee, charged respondent, Atty. Regino B. Tambago, with violation of Notarial Law and
the Ethics of the legal profession for notarizing a will that is alleged to be spurious in nature in containing forged
signatures of his father, the decedent, Vicente Lee Sr. and two other witnesses, which were also questioned for the
unnotated Residence Certificates that are known to be a copy of their respective voter's affidavit. In addition to such,
the contested will was executed and acknowledged before respondent on June 30, 1965 but bears a Residence
Certificate by the Testator dated January 5, 1962, which was never submitted for filing to the Archives Division of the
Records Management and Archives Office of the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCAA). Respondent, on
the other hand, claimed that all allegations are falsely given because he allegedly exercised his duties as Notary Public
with due care and with due regards to the provision of existing law and had complied with elementary formalities in
the performance of his duties and that the complaint was filed simply to harass him based on the result of a criminal
case against him in the Ombudsman that did not prosper. However, he did not deny the contention of non-filing a
copy to the Archives Division of NCAA. In resolution, the court referred the case to the IBP and the decision of which
was affirmed with modification against the respondent and in favor of the complainant.
Issue: Did Atty. Regino B. Tambago committed a violation in Notarial Law and the Ethics of Legal Profession for
notarizing a spurious last will and testament?

Held: Yes. As per Supreme Court, Atty. Regino B. Tambago is guilty of professional misconduct as he violated the
Lawyer's Oath, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, Canon 1 and Rule 1.01nof the Code of Professional Responsibility,
Article 806 of the Civil Code and provision of the Notarial Law. Thus, Atty. Tambago is suspended from the practice of
law for one year and his Notarial commission revoked. In addition, because he has not lived up to the trustworthiness
expected of him as a notary public and as an officer of the court, he is perpetually disqualified from reappointments
as a Notary Public.

In re: Gutierrez

Legal Ethics – 5 SCRA 661 – Conditional Pardon will not bar disbarment

Attorney Gutierrez was convicted for the murder of one Filemon Samaco in 1956. He was sentenced to the
penalty of reclusionperpetua. In 1958, after serving a portion of the penalty, he was granted a conditional pardon by
the President. He was released on the condition that he shall not commit any crime. Subsequently, the widow of
Samaco filed a disbarment case against Gutierrez by reason of the latter’s conviction of a crime involving moral
turpitude. Murder, is without a doubt, such a crime.

ISSUE: Whether or not Gutierrez may be disbarred considering the fact that he was granted pardon.

HELD: Yes. The pardon granted to Gutierrez is not absolute but conditional. It merely remitted his sentence. It does
not reach the offense itself. Gutierrez must be judged upon the fact of his conviction for murder without regard to the
pardon (which he invoked in defense). The crime was actually qualified by treachery and aggravated by its having
been committed in hand, by taking advantage of his official position (Gutierrez being municipal mayor at the time)
and with the use of motor vehicle. The degree ofmoral turpitude involved is such as to justify his being purged from
the profession.

Case Digest on Felicidad L. Oronce, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et. al. (298 SCRA 133) Gross Misconduct

Facts: During a dispute over land, Flaminiano illegally took possession of the property in litigation using abusive
methods. She was aided by her husband, a lawyer. The illegal entry took place while the case was pending in the CA
& while a writ of preliminary injunction was in force.

Held: Atty. Flaminiano’s acts of entering the property without the consent of its occupants & in contravention of the
existing writ or preliminary injunction & making utterances showing disrespect for the law & this Court, are
unbecoming of a member of the Bar. Although he says that they “peacefully” took over the property, such “peaceful”
take-over cannot justify defiance of the writ of preliminary injunction that he knew was still in force. Through his
acts, he has flouted his duties as a member of the legal profession. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, he is
prohibited from counseling or abetting “activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal
system.”

JON DE YSASI III, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (FOURTH DIVISION), CEBU CITY,
and JON DE YSASI, respondents.

This case is truly unique. For this case is an action filed by an only son, his father's namesake, the only child and
therefore the only heir against his own father.

Two (2) observations were noted that may justify why this labor case deserves special considerations. First, most of
the complaints that petitioner and private respondent had with each other, were personal matters affecting father
and son relationship. And secondly, if any of the complaints pertain to their work, they allow their personal
relationship to come in the way.

Facts: Petitioner Jon de Ysasi III was employed by his father Jon de Ysasi and private respondent in this case, as farm
administrator of Hacienda Manucao in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental sometime in April, 1980. His employment as
farm administrator was on a fixed salary, and his duties include supervision of daily activities and operations of the
sugarcane farm such as land preparation, planting, etc.
He lived on the farm, occupying the upper floor of the house there. Following his marriage on June 6, 1982, petitioner
moved to Bacolod City with his wife and commuted to work daily. He suffered various ailments and was hospitalized
on two separate occasions in June and August, 1982.

In November, 1982, he underwent fistulectomy, or the surgical removal of the fistula, a deep sinuous ulcer.

In June, 1983, he was confined for acute gastroenteritis and, thereafter, for infectious hepatitis from December, 1983
to January, 1984.
During the entire periods of petitioner's illnesses, private respondent took care of his medical expenses and
petitioner continued to receive compensation.
However, in April, 1984, without due notice, private respondent ceased to pay the latter's salary. Petitioner made oral
and written demands for an explanation for the sudden withholding of his salary from Atty. Apolonio Sumbingco,
private respondent's auditor and legal adviser, as well as for the remittance of his salary. Both demands, however,
were not acted upon. Petitioner then filed an action with the NLRC, Regional Arbitration Branch No. VI, Bacolod City,
for illegal dismissal against private respondent.

NLRC dismissed the case and the subsequent MR filed by the petitioner was denied. The SolGen opined that the
petitioner's illness and strained family relation with respondent Jon de Ysasi II may be considered as justifiable
reason for petitioner Jon de Ysasi III's absence from work during the period of October 1982 to December 1982. In
any event, such absence does not warrant outright dismissal without notice and hearing.

ISSUE (relevant to the subject PALE): Was the conduct of the lawyers in this case in violation of the Code of
Professional Responsibility?

Ruling: The conduct of the respective counsel of the parties, as revealed by the records, sorely disappoints the Court
and invites reproof. Both counsels may well be reminded that their ethical duty as lawyers to represent their clients
with zeal goes beyond merely presenting their clients' respective causes in court. It is just as much their
responsibility, if not more importantly, to exert all reasonable efforts to smooth over legal conflicts, preferably out of
court and especially in consideration of the direct and immediate consanguineous ties between their clients. Once
again, we reiterate that the useful function of a lawyer is not only to conduct litigation but to avoid it whenever
possible by advising settlement or withholding suit. He is often called upon less for dramatic forensic exploits than for
wise counsel in every phase of life. He should be a mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise, rather than
a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of litigation. Rule 1.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly
provides that "(a) lawyer shall encourage his client to avoid, end or settle the controversy if it will admit of a fair
settlement." On this point, we find that both counsels herein fell short of what was expected of them, despite their
avowed duties as officers of the court. The records do not show that they took pains to initiate steps geared toward
effecting a rapprochement between their clients. On the contrary, their acerbic and protracted exchanges could not
but have exacerbated the situation even as they may have found favor in the equally hostile eyes of their respective
clients. In the same manner, we find that the labor arbiter who handled this regrettable case has been less than
faithful to the letter and spirit of the Labor Code mandating that a labor arbiter "shall exert all efforts towards the
amicable settlement of a labor dispute within his jurisdiction." Note: Petitioner was illegally dismissed. Dispositive
portion: Private respondent is ORDERED to pay petitioner back wages for a period not exceeding three (3) years,
without qualification or deduction, and, in lieu of reinstatement, separation pay equivalent to one (1) month for every
year of service, a fraction of six (6) months being considered as one (1) whole year.

PAJARES VS. ABAD SANTOS


30 SCRA 748

FACTS:
1. Udharam Bazar & Co., sued Gloria Pajares before the Municipal Court of Manila for recovery of a certain sum of
money. (Php 354.85)

2. The complaint averred that defendant ordered from the plaintiff quantities of ready made goods and delivered to her
in good condition and same were already sold, but did not make the full payment up to the present time.
3. Instead of answering the complaint, Gloria moved for a bill of particulars praying that Udharam Bazar itemize the
kinds of goods which she supposedly purchased from the said company, the respective dates they were taken and by
whom they were received as well as their purchase prices, alleging that without this bill she would not be able to meet
the issues raised in the complaint.

4. The court , through Judge Estrella Abad Santos, denied the motion for a bill of particulars.

5. When her motion for reconsideration was denied, Gloria filed a petition for certiorari in the CFI of Manila alleging that
respondent Judge acted in grave abuse of discretion in denying her motion for a bill of particulars

6. Udharam Bazar filed a motion to dismiss the petition for the reasons that the allegations of the complaint are clear,
specific and sufficiently appraise the defendant of the nature of the case of action against her and that the things asked
for in the motion for a bill of particulars are evidentiary matters which are beyond the pale of such bill.

7. The lower court dismissed the petition also a motion for reconsideration

8. Hence this appeal.

ISSUE:
Are the allegations of the complaint sufficient to appraise Gloria Pajares of the nature of the cause of action against her?

HELD:
It is plain and clear that no error of law, much less any grave abuse of discretion, was committed by respondent judge in
denying appellant's motion for a bill of particulars in the collection case instituted in the Municipal Court of Manila by
private respondent- appellee for the recovery of her indebtedness of P 354.85 representing the overdue balance of her
account for ready-made goods ordered by and delivered to her in 1961. Appellee’s complaint precisely and concisely
informed appellant of the ultimate or essential facts constituting the cause of action against her, in accordance with the
requirement of the Rules of Court.

It was therefore improper for appellant, through her counsel, to insist on her motion that appellee as plaintiff “submit a
bill of particulars, specifying therein in detail the goods represented by the alleged amount of P 354.85, giving the dates
and invoice numbers on which they were delivered to the defendant, the amount due on each such invoice and by whom
they were received.|” These particulars sought all concerned evidentiary matters and do not come within the scope of
Rule 12, Section 1 of the Rules of Court which permits a party “to move for a definite statement or for a bill of particulars
of any matter which is not averred with sufficient definiteness or particularity to enable him to prepare his responsive
pleading or to prepare for trial.”

MANUEL C. YUHICO, vs. ATTY. FRED L. GUTIERREZ A.C. No. 8391 November 23, 2010

FACTS: Atty. Fred Gutierrez asked for a cash loan of P30,000.00 from Manuel Yuhico. Gutierrez then claimed that he
needed money to pay for the medical expenses of his mother who was seriously ill. Yuhico immediately handed the
money. In turn, Gutierrez promised to pay the loan very soon, since he was expecting to collect his attorney's fees from a
Japanese client. Gutierrez again asked Yuhico for a loan, in the amount of P60,000.00, allegedly to pay the medical
expenses of his wife who was also hospitalized. Again, Yuhico readily issued to Gutierrez a check amounting to
P60,000.00. Again, Gutierrez promised to pay his two loans totalling to P90,000.00 "within a short time." Yuhico asked
Gutierrez to pay his loans. Gutierrez failed to pay and in a text message he asked for an extension of time to pay. Later,
thru a text message, Gutierrez attempted to borrow money from Yuhico again. Gutierrez claimed that his daughter
needed P70,000.00 to pay the fees required to take the licensure examination in the U.S. Medical Board. Gutierrez
assured him that he will pay all his debts within a month. However, this time, Yuhico refused to lend Gutierrez any
amount of money. Instead, he demanded from Gutierrez the payment of his debts. Gutierrez then sent another text
message to Yuhico and requested him to give him another week to pay his debts. Gutierrez failed to make the payment.
Yuhico's counsel sent a demand letter to Gutierrez to pay his debts, but to no avail. Thus, Yuhico filed the instant
complaint against Gutierrez before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD). On
January 12, 2006, the IBP-CBD directed Gutierrez to submit his Answer on the complaint against him. In a Resolution,
IBP-CBD found Gutierrez guilty of non-payment of just debts and ordered him to return the amount of P90,000.00 to
Yuhico, with interest until full payment.

ISSUE: Whether or not Gutierrez guilty of non-payment of just debts and likewise guilty of gross misconduct.
RULING: Atty. Gutierrez is guilty of GROSS MISCONDUCT. He is ordered to pay the amount of P90,000.00 to the Yuhico
with interest.

Deliberate failure to pay just debts constitutes gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension
from the practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for the administration of justice and vanguards of our legal system.
They are expected to maintain not only legal proficiency, but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair
dealing so that the people¶s faith and confidence in the judicial system is ensured. They must, at all times, faithfully
perform their duties to society, to the bar, the courts and to their clients, which include prompt payment of financial
obligations. They must conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and norms of the legal profession as
embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility. In the instant case, there is no question as to Gutierrez's guilt. His
admission of the loan he contracted and his failure to pay the same leaves no room for interpretation. Neither can he
justify his act of non-payment of debt by his dire financial condition. Gutierrez should not have contracted loans which
are beyond his financial capacity to pay.

Likewise, it cannot be overlooked Gutierrez's propensity of employing deceit and misrepresentations for the purpose of
obtaining debts without the intention of paying them. Records show Gutierrez's pattern of habitually making promises of
paying his debts, yet repeatedly failing to deliver. The series of text messages he sent to Yuhico promising to pay his loans,
while simultaneously giving excuses without actually making good of his promises, is clearly reprehensible. Undoubtedly,
his acts demonstrate lack of moral character to satisfy the responsibilities and duties imposed on lawyers as
professionals and as officers of the court. Supreme Court also noted that in Huyssen v. Atty. Gutierrez, the Court had
already disbarred Gutierrez from the practice of law for gross misconduct due to non-payment of just debts and issuance
of bouncing checks. In view of the foregoing, while the court agrees with the findings of the IBP, it cannot, however, adopt
its recommendation to disbar Gutierrez for the second time, considering that Gutierrez had already been previously
disbarred. Indeed, as the IBP pointed out, the court does not have double or multiple disbarments in its laws or
jurisprudence. Neither do it have a law mandating a minimum 5year requirement for readmission, as cited by the IBP.
Thus, while Gutierrez's infraction calls for the penalty of disbarment, court cannot disbar him anew.

Nelia Pasumbal de Chavez-Blanco vs Atty. Jaime Lumasag, Jr,

RESOLUTION

TINGA, J.:

This is an administrative complaint for disbarment filed by complainant Nelia P. de Chavez-Blanco


against respondent Atty. Jaime Lumasag, Jr., for deceit, dishonesty and gross misconduct.

In a Report and Recommendation dated 11 December 2001,[1] the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
Commissioner Milagros San Juan found respondent guilty of the charges and recommended the penalty of
disbarment. Subsequently, the IBP Board of Governors reduced the penalty to a five (5)-year suspension in its
Resolution XV-2002-229 dated 29 June 2001. In a Resolution dated 9 December 2002, the Court, however, remanded
the case to the IBP in view of its findings that no formal hearing/investigation was conducted.

Upon remand to the IBP, the case was re-assigned to IBP Commissioner Dennis A.B. Funa and hearings were
accordingly held thereafter.

Through her attorney-in-fact, Atty. Eugenia J. Muñoz, complainant alleged in her Complaint[2] that she was a
resident of theUnited States of America together with her husband, Mario Blanco. She also stated that she owned two
(2) adjacent parcels of land in Quezon City, each with an area of 400 square meters, covered by Transfer Certificates
of Title (TCT) Nos. 22162 and 22163 registered in her name. In a document dated 20 November 1989, she
authorized respondent, who were her husband’s first cousin, to sell said lots.[3]

In a letter dated 20 March 1990, respondent reported that he had sold only one lot for the price of P320,000.00
and therefrom he deducted P38,130.00 for taxes and commissions. And, allegedly, per complainant’s instructions, he
remitted the remaining balance of P281,900.00 to a certain Belen Johnnes.[4]

In 1995, complainant was informed by respondent that the other lot remained unsold due to the presence of
squatters on the property.
In December 1998, Mario Blanco discovered that in truth, the two (2) lots had been sold on 11 March 1990 to
the spouses Celso and Consolacion Martinez for the price of P1,120,000.00, and that new titles had been issued to the
transferees. Mario Blanco confronted respondent with these facts in a letter, but the latter disregarded the same.
Thus, in May 1999, complainant, through Atty. Muñoz sent a demand letter to respondent directing him to remit and
turn over to her the entire proceeds of the sale of the properties.

Soon thereafter, respondent admitted the sale of the properties and his receipt of its proceeds, but he never
tendered or offered to tender the same to complainant. Despite repeated and continued demands, respondent has
since not remitted the amount equivalent to P838,100.00 (P278,000.00 for the first parcel of land and P560,000.00
for the second).[5]

Complainant also averred that the Special Power of Attorney dated 16 January 1989, which respondent had
used to sell the lots is a forgery and a falsified document, as the signature therein were not the real signatures of
complainant and her spouse. In addition, they could not have acknowledged the document before a notary, as they
were not in the Philippines at the time.[6]

For his part, respondent vehemently denied all the accusations of deceit, dishonesty and gross misconduct.[7]

Respondent countered that Mario Blanco was the true owner of the properties, which had to be titled in
complainant’s name, as Mario Blanco was a U.S. citizen. Mario Blanco had requested him to look for a buyer of the
properties and, in the course of selling them, respondent claimed that he had only transacted with the former and
never with complainant. Respondent averred that he had been authorized in November 1989 to sell the property,
through a Special Power of Attorney, for a price of not less thanP250,000.00 net for the owner.[8]

Respondent also alleged that the deed of absolute sale if the two (2) lots had been executed on 19 March
1990 but, only one lot was initially paid in the amount of P281,980.00, which he immediately remitted to Mario
Blanco. The payment for the other lot was withheld, pending the relocation of the squatters who had been occupying
the premises. And when respondent had finally collected the proceeds of the second lot more than three (3) years
after, he asked Mario Blanco if the former could use the amount for a real estate venture whose profit, if successful, he
would share with the latter. Mario Blanco allegedly did not think twice and consented to the proposal. The venture,
however, did not push through.[9]

Respondent strongly maintained that the two (2) lots had been sold for only P563,960.00.[10]

Finally, respondent denied the charge of falsification. He claimed that complainant and her spouse, Mario
Blanco, had in fact signed the Special Power of Attorney, but it was only notarized later. [11]

In his Report and Recommendation dated 4 December 2006, Atty. Dennis A.B. Funa arrived at the following
findings:

It appears from the records that the two lots were sold by Respondent for P560,000.00,
not P1,120,000.00 as alleged by Complainant. The basis is the Deed of Absolute Sale dated March
11, 1990 which shows that the two lots composing 800 sq. meters being sold forP560,000.00.
There appears to be no documentary basis for the claimed amount of P1,120,000.00 of
Complainant. However, Respondent in his Comment stated that the two lots were sold by him
for P563,960.00. In any case, we shall uphold and apply the amount stated in the Deed of Absolute
Sale.

In Respondent’s letter dated March 20, 1990, he acknowledged that he already


received P320,000.00 as the “total value of one lot”. Moreover, the computation shows that
the P320,000.00 was only for 400 sq.m. as the computation stated: “400 sq.m.
x 800p/sqm=P320,000.00.” Therefore, if the first lot was sold for P320,000.00, then the second lot
must have been sold for P240,000 x x x

x x x there was clear deception on the part of Respondent when he wrote the letter
dated March 20, 1990 “informing” the Blanco spouses that he had sold only one of the two parcels
of land for P320,000.00. This is belied by the fact that on March 11, 1990, or 9 days before he
wrote the letter, a Deed of Absolute Sale was executed by him selling the two lots for P560,000.00.
This Deed of Absolute Sale was notarized on March 19, 1990. During the hearing, Respondent
admitted that the Deed of Sale covered two lots. Clearly, Respondent was not forthcoming
towards the Blanco spouses.

xxx
x x x Instead of representing that two lots had been sold for P560,000.00. Respondent
only represented that he sold only one lot forP320,000.00 and pocketing the balance
of P240,000.00.

xxx

During the course of hearing, Respondent claims that the Deed of Sale referred to above
is a fake, and that there is a Deed of Sale showing a selling price of P320,000.00 which is the real
Deed of Sale. However, no such Deed of Sale has been presented by Respondent and no such Deed
of Sale appears in the records. Later in the hearing, Respondent retracted his statement claiming
he was merely confused.

As for the alleged falsification of a Special Power of Attorney dated January 16, 1989,
wherein the signatures of the Blanco spouses appear in the SPA when they were not in the
Philippines on January 16, 1989 but were allegedly in the United States, their absence in the
country has not been satisfactorily established since mere xerox copies of their passports,
although noted by a notary public, cannot duly establish their absence in the country on that date.
Other acceptable documents such as a certification from the Bureau of Immigration would have
been appropriate but which, however, had not been presented. In any case, Respondent denies the
charge of falsification.[12] (Citations omitted) [Emphasis supplied]

Accordingly, the IBP Commissioner recommended that, in view of the fact that respondent was already 72
years old, he be meted out the penalty of suspension of one (1)-year suspension, not disbarment as had been prayed
for and not 5 year-suspension as had been earlier resolved by the IBP Board of Governors. Moreover, the IBP
Commissioner recommended that respondent be ordered to deliver to Complainant the amount of P240,000.00 plus
the legal interest rate of 6% per annum computed from March 1990.

On 31 May 2007, the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. XVII-2007-222 adopting and approving
the Report and Recommendation of the IBP Commissioner.[13]

The Court agrees with the findings and conclusion of the IBP, but a reduction of the recommended penalty is
called for, following the dictum that the appropriate penalty for an errant lawyer depends on the exercise of sound
judicial discretion based on the surrounding facts.[14]

A lawyer may be disciplined for any conduct, in his professional or private capacity, that renders him unfit to
continue to be an officer of the court. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility commands all lawyers to
uphold at all times the dignity and integrity of the legal profession. Specifically, Rule 1.01 thereof provides:

Rule 1.01—A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest and immoral or deceitful
conduct.

There is no need to stretch one’s imagination to arrive at an inevitable conclusion that respondent
committed dishonesty and abused the confidence reposed in him by the complainant and her spouse.

Records show that two lots had been sold by respondent as evidenced by the Deed of Absolute Sale of 11
March 1990. Respondent, however, taking advantage of the absence of complainant and her spouse from the
Philippines and their complete trust in him, deceitfully informed them in a letter dated 20 March 1990 that he had
sold only one. It can be reasonably deduced from the exchanges between the parties that the proceeds of the first lot
had been transmitted to complainant and her spouse. Respondent’s contention, though, that he had been authorized
to retain the proceeds of the second is specious, as complainant and her spouse could not have given the same, having
been left in the dark as regards its sale. And despite repeated demands, to date, there is no showing that the
outstanding amount has been paid. Thus, respondent’s deceitful conduct warrants disciplinary sanction and a
directive for the remittance of the remaining proceeds is in order.

As to the charge of falsification, the Court agrees with the IBP that the same appears to be unsubstantiated.
Settled is the rule that, in administrative proceedings, the burden of proof that the respondent committed the acts
complained of rests on the complainant. In fact, if the complainant, upon whom rests the burden of proving his cause
of action, fails to show in a satisfactory manner the facts upon which he bases his claim, the respondent is under no
obligation to prove his exception or defense.[15] Mere allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof.[16]

Respondent’s actions erode the public perception of the legal profession. They constitute gross misconduct
for which he may be suspended, following Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, which provides:

Sec. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefor.— A


member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme
Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral
conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of
the oath which he is required to take before the admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience
appearing as attorney for a party to a case without authority to so do.

Complainant asks that respondent be disbarred. The Court finds, however, that suspension from the practice
of law is sufficient to discipline respondent. The supreme penalty of disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of
misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and member of the
bar. While the Court will not hesitate to remove an erring attorney from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers, where
the evidence calls for it, the Court will also not disbar him where a lesser penalty will suffice to accomplish the desired
end. In this case, the Court finds the recommended penalty of suspension of two (2) years for respondent to be too
severe, considering his advanced age. The Court believes that a suspension of six (6) months is sufficient. Suspension,
by the way, is not primarily intended as punishment, but as a means to protect the public and the legal profession. [17]

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Atty. Jaime Lumasag, Jr. is SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for a period of SIX (6) MONTHS, effective immediately, with a warning that a repetition of the same or
a similar act will be dealt with more severely. Further, respondent is ordered to deliver to complainant the amount
of P240,000.00 plus legal interest rate of 6% per annum computed from March 1990.

Let notice of this Resolution be spread in respondent’s record as an attorney in this Court, and notice
thereof be served on the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and on the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation
to all the courts concerned.

SO ORDERED.