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12. Khan, Jr. v. Simbillo, A.C. No. 5299, 19 August 2003 (Mustang)

Nature: Administrative complaint arose from a paid advertisement at Philippine Daily Inquirer, which
Petitioner: Atty. Rizalino Simbillo – who allegedly made a paid advertisement
Respondent: Atty. Ismael G. Khan, Jr - Assistant Court Administrator and Chief of the Public
Information Office
Theresa B. Espeleta, a staff member of the Public Information Office of the Supreme Court, called up the
published telephone number and pretended to be an interested party. She spoke to Mrs. Simbillo, who
claimed that her husband, Atty. Rizalino Simbillo, was an expert in handling annulment cases and can
guarantee a court decree within four to six months, provided the case will not involve separation of
property or custody of children.
Further research by the Office of the Court Administrator and the Public Information Office revealed
that similar advertisements were published by Manila Bulletin and of The Philippine Star.
Atty. Ismael G. Khan, Jr., in his capacity as Assistant Court Administrator and Chief of the Public
Information Office, filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Rizalino T. Simbillo for improper
advertising and solicitation of his legal services, in violation of Rule 2.03 and Rule 3.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court
Rule 2.03 - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit legal
Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading,
deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his
qualifications or legal services.
Section 27. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally
or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.
Khan on his answer:
He admitted the acts imputed to him, but argued that advertising and solicitation per se are not
prohibited acts; that the time has come to change our views about the prohibition on advertising and
solicitation; that the interest of the public is not served by the absolute prohibition on lawyer
advertising; that the Court can lift the ban on lawyer advertising; and that the rationale behind the
decades-old prohibition should be abandoned.

Issues: W/N Simbillo should be disbarred for soliciting legal business in violation of Rule 2.03, Rule
3.01 and Section 27 of Rules of Court

Ruling: Yes.
Lawyering is not for Money - It has been repeatedly stressed that the practice of law is not a business.
It is a profession in which duty to public service, not money, is the primary consideration.Lawyering is
not primarily meant to be a money-making venture, and law advocacy is not a capital that necessarily
yields profits

Public Service and administration of justice - The duty to public service and to the administration of
justice should be the primary consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their personal interests
or what they owe to themselves

Elements distinguish the legal profession from a business:

1. A duty of public service, of which the emolument is a by-product, and in which one may
attain the highest eminence without making much money;
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2. A relation as an officer of the court to the administration of justice involving thorough
sincerity, integrity and reliability;

3. A relation to clients in the highest degree of fiduciary (trustee);

4. A relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by candor, fairness, and

unwillingness to resort to current business methods of advertising and
encroachment on their practice, or dealing directly with their clients
There is no question that respondent committed the acts complained of. He himself admits that he
caused the publication of the advertisements.

What adds to the gravity of respondents acts is that in advertising himself as a self-styled Annulment of
Marriage Specialist, he wittingly or unwittingly erodes and undermines not only the stability but
also the sanctity of an institution still considered sacrosanct despite the contemporary climate of
permissiveness in our society.

The law list must be a reputable law list published primarily for that purpose; it cannot be a mere
supplemental feature of a paper, magazine, trade journal or periodical which is published principally for
other purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may not properly publish his brief biographical and
informative data in a daily paper, magazine, trade journal or society program.Nor may a lawyer
permit his name to be published in a law list the conduct, management, or contents of which are
calculated or likely to deceive or injure the public or the bar, or to lower dignity or standing of the

What is permitted:

1. The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also permitted.

The card may contain only a statement of his name, the name of the law firm which he is
connected with, address, telephone number and special branch of law practiced.

2. The publication of a simple announcement of the opening of a law firm or of changes in the
partnership, associates, firm name or office address, being for the convenience of the
profession, is not objectionable.
4. He may likewise have his name listed in a telephone directory but not under a designation of
special branch of law. (emphasis and italics supplied)

Canon 3 Rule 3.01 to 3.04


Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive,
undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services.

Rule 3.02 - In the choice of a firm name, no false, misleading or assumed name shall be used. The
continued use of the name of a deceased partner is permissible provided that the firm indicates in all
its communications that said partner is deceased.

Rule 3.03 - Where a partner accepts public office, he shall withdrawal from the firm and his name shall
be dropped from the firm name unless the law allows him to practice law currently.
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Rule 3.04 - A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of value to representatives of the mass media in
anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business.

2) In the Matter of the Use of the Firm Name Sycip, Salazar, Feliciano, Hernandez, and Castillo et
al. and In the Matter of the Petition for Authority to Continue the Use of the Firm Name Ozeta
Romulo Mabanta de Leon and Reyes, July 30, 1979 (Nelson)


Nature: Two separate Petitions were filed before this Court 1) by the surviving partners of Atty.
Alexander Sycip, who died on May 5, 1975, and 2) by the surviving partners of Atty. Herminio
Ozaeta, who died on February 14, 1976, praying that they be allowed to continue using, in the
names of their firms, the names of partners who had passed away.
Petitioner: Surviving Partners of Sycip and Ozaeta
Respondent: N/A

Arguments of Petitioners:
1. Article 1840 of the Civil Code - partnership is not prohibited from continuing its business under
a firm name which includes the name of a deceased partner
2. In regulating other professions, such as accountancy and engineering, the legislature has
authorized the adoption of firm names without any restriction as to the use, in such firm name,
of the name of a deceased partner
3. Canon 33 - The continued use of the name of a deceased or former partner when permissible
by local custom, is not unethical but care should be taken that no imposition or deception is
practiced through this use
4. No possibility of imposition or deception because the deaths of their respective deceased
partners were well-publicized in all newspapers of general circulation for several days
5. No local custom prohibits the continued use of a deceased partner's name in a professional firm's
6. The continued use of a deceased partner's name in the firm name of law partnerships has been
consistently allowed by U.S. Courts and is an accepted practice in the legal profession of most
countries in the world.

Won the surviving partner of Sycip and Ozaeta should be allowed to use the name of deceased partners?
Held: No (denied and petitioners advised to drop the names "SYCIP" and "OZAETA" from their
respective firm names)
1. Previous Jurisprudence (court not allowed to drop the name of deceased partners)
Perkins & Ponce Enrile - The Court believes that, in view of the personal and confidential nature
of the relations between attorney and client, and the high standards demanded in the canons of
professional ethics, no practice should be allowed which even in a remote degree could give
rise to the possibility of deception.

2. Art 1815 - prohibits a third person from including his name in the firm name under pain of
assuming the liability of a partner. The heirs of a deceased partner in a law firm cannot be
held liable as the old members to the creditors of a firm particularly where they are non-lawyers.
Canon 34 - neither the widow nor the heirs can be held liable for transactions entered into after
the death of their lawyer-predecessor.
A partnership for the practice of law cannot be likened to partnerships formed by other
professionals or for business
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3. Practice of Law Not ordinary Money making-trade - The practice of law is intimately and
peculiarly related to the administration of justice and should not be considered like an ordinary
"money-making trade
“as in the era of wide free opportunity, we think of free competitive self assertion as the highest
good, lawyer and grocer and farmer may seem to be freely competing with their fellows in their
calling in order each to acquire as much of the world's good as he may within the allowed him
by law. But the member of a profession does not regard himself as in competition with his
professional brethren.”
4. Practical obligations: A lawyer can just ride on the reputation of the old firm.
5. Law is a profession, not a business. A professional partnership rides on the individual skill of
the members.
Profession - a group of men pursuing a learned art as a common calling in the spirit of public
service (def. by Dean Pound)
Dissenting Aquino:
the purpose of the two firms in continuing the use of the names of their deceased founders is to retain
the clients who had customarily sought the legal services of Attorneys Sycip and Ozaeta and to benefit
from the goodwill attached to the names of those respected and esteemed law practitioners. That is a
legitimate motivation
-Can be granted if indicated in letterhead that they are dead and the period served.

3)Pangan v. Ramos, A.C. No. 1053, Sept. 7, 1979 (Yana)


Nature: Motion of complainant, Santa Pangan, to cite respondent Dionisio Ramos for contempt. It
appears, the hearings in this administrative case were postponed on the basis of respondent's motions
for postponement.
Petitioner: Santa Pangan (not indicated the involvement)
Respondent: Dionisio Ramos
Roll’s of Attorney: Dionisio
Cited his name in court: Pedro D.D. Ramos


Respondent's allegations that on said dates he had a case set for hearing. Upon verification, the attorney
of record of the accused in said case is one "Atty. Pedro D.D. Ramos. Respondent admits that he used
the name of "Pedro D.D. Ramos" but avers that he had a right to do so because in his Birth Certificate,
his name is "Pedro Dionisio Ramos", and -his parents are Pedro Ramos and Carmen Dayaw, and that the
D.D. in "Pedro D.D. Ramos" is but an abbreviation of "Dionisio Dayaw his other given name and maternal
surname. However, in the roll of attorneys, his name listed was Dionisio D. Ramos.
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Ramos may use the name Pedro D.D Ramos and not his name Dionisio
Ramos which was inscribed in the roll of attorneys.
The official oath obliges the attorney solemnly to swear that he will do no falsehood". As an officer
in the temple of justice, an attorney has irrefragable obligations of "truthfulness, candor and
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This has to be so because the court has the right to rely upon him in ascertaining the truth. In
representing himself to the court as "Pedro D.D. Ramos" instead of "Dionisio D. Ramos", respondent has
violated his solemn oath.
In using the name of' Pedro D.D. Ramos" before the courts instead of the name by which he was
authorized to practice law - Dionisio D. Ramos - respondent in effect resorted to deception. The
demonstrated lack of candor in dealing with the courts.
The Supreme Court hence severely reprimanded Atty. Ramos and warned that a similar
infraction will warrant suspension or disbarment.

4) Dacanay v. Baker & McKenzie, A.C. No. 2131, May 10, 1985 (Edward)

Ponente: AQUINO, J.

Nature: N/A
Petitioner: Lawyer Adriano E. Dacanay and 9 other lawyers
Respondent: Baker & McKenzie (Vicente A. Torres), a law firm organized in Illinois.


Atty. Vicente Torres sent a letter to one Rosie Clurman, represented by Atty. Adriano Dacanay, asking
Clurman to release some shares to Torres’ client. The letterhead contained the name “Baker &
McKenzie”. Dacanay denied Clurman’s liability and at the same time he asked why is Torres using the
letterhead “Baker & McKenzie”, a foreign partnership established in Chicago, Illinois. No reply
was received so Dacanay filed an administrative complaint enjoining Torres from using “Baker &

Later, Torres said that he is an associate of the law firm Guerrero & Torres; that their law firm is a
member of Baker & McKenzie; that the said foreign firm has members in 30 cities all over the world;
that they associated with them in order to make a representation that they can render legal services of
the highest quality to multinational business enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade and

ISSUE: Whether or not the use of a foreign law office name is allowed.

As pointed out by the Solicitor General, respondents' use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie
constitutes a representation that being associated with the firm they could "render legal services
of the highest quality to multinational business enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade and
investment" (p. 3, respondents' memo). This is unethical because Baker & McKenzie is not
authorized to practise law here.

WHEREFORE, the respondents are enjoined from practising law under the firm name Baker &

5)Tabao v. Asis, RTJ 95-1330, January 30, 1996(Erica)

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Nature: A complaint filed by the sisters of Judge Enrique C. Asis charging him with (a) gross
irregularity in the performance of his duties as MTCC Judge of Tacloban City, Br. 1; (b) violation of
Supreme Court circulars and regulations; and (c) abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming of a
Petitioner: Azucena Cinco Tabao and Jesusa Cinco Acosta (Sister of respondent)
Respondent: Judge Enrique C. Asis

Complainants charge that while acting as MTCC Judge of Tacloban City respondent notarized a Special
Power of Attorney purportedly executed in behalf of their aunt Mariquita M. Cinco-Jocson, now

The Special Power of Attorney enabled another aunt, Cirila Cinco-Caintic, sister of Mariquita M. Cinco-
Jocson, to sell Lot 19-D situated in Quezon City and registered in her name.

Defense of Judge Asis:

He admitted that he notarized the Special Power of Attorney but only as a gesture of christian charity
and brotherly love for people in need considering that the proceeds of the sale would be used to
defray the medical expenses of Mariquita M. Cinco-Jocson. Respondent further alleged that he did
not receive payment therefor.

Response of Sisters:
Negates respondents professed christian charity and brotherly love for people in need since those
documents were already notarized on 3 June 1992 by Notary Public Flaviano V. Caintic while
respondent notarized them on 23 July 1992.
Clearly, therefore, there was no need for respondent to further notarize the documents. What for, it may
be asked. Respondent Judge should know, if he does not, that a notarized document executed by a party
alone -and not by two (2) or more parties executing the document in different places - does not need to
be notarized twice.
Why he had to do it taxes credulity and defies logic and reason. Consequently, Deputy Court
Administrator Bernardo P. Abesamis recommends that respondent Judge Enrique C. Asis be fined in an
amount equivalent to his one (1) month salary, and notes without action the prayer for annulment of
the assailed Special Power of Attorney as it does not fall within the purview of this proceeding.

Issue: WON Judge Asis committed act in violation of Code of Judicial Code
Held: Yes

Section 35, Rule 138

Section 35. Certain attorneys not to practice. — No judge or other official or employee of the
superior courts or of the Office of the Solicitor General, shall engage in private practice as a
member of the bar or give professional advice to clients.

RULE 5.07 - A judge shall not engage in the private practice of law. Unless prohibited by the
Constitution or law, a judge may engage in the practice of any other profession provided that such
practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with judicial functions.

Section 35, Rule 138, of the Revised Rules of Court as well as Canon 5, Rule 5.07 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct provides that no judge or other official or employee of the superior courts shall engage
in private practice as a member of the bar or give professional advice to clients.
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Specifically, Sec. 35 of Rule 138 was promulgated pursuant to the constitutional power of the Court to
regulate the practice of law. It is based on sound reasons of public policy, for there is no question that
the rights, duties, privileges and functions of the office of an attorney-at-law are so inherently
incompatible with the high official functions, duties, powers, discretions and privileges of a judge of the
Regional Trial Court. This rule makes it obligatory upon the judicial officers concerned to give
their full time and attention to their judicial duties, prevent them from extending special favors
for their own private interests and assure the public of impartiality in the performance of their
functions. These objectives are dictated by a sense of moral decency and the desire to promote public

Moreover, Sec. N, Chapter VIII, of the Manual for Clerks of Court provides municipal judges can
administer oaths or execute certificates only on matters related to their official functions. Thus they
cannot notarize private documents such as the Special Power of Attorney and the Affidavit of
Consciousness involved in the case before us.

Asis not only notarized documents executed by private individuals concerning private interests but
even acted as private counsel to safeguard the interest of Ms. Mariquita M. Cinco-Jocson upon
request of Cirila Cinco Caintic. That he acted in the spirit of christian charity is not a valid excuse
for acting as private counsel and notary public, and that complainants were motivated with vengeance
and personal gain is immaterial.

ACCORDINGLY, as recommended, respondent JUDGE ENRIQUE C. ASIS is found administratively liable

as charged and is consequently FINED TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00) with a warning that the
commission of the same or similar act will warrant a more severe sanction.

6) Dia-Anonuevo v. Bercacio, 68 SCRA 81 (Jerald)


Nature: Judge of Tabaco, Albay, faces this administrative complaint for conduct unbecoming a judge
on two counts: (1) engaging in the practice of law, and (2) failure to return promptly to complainant,
Concepcion Dia-Añonuevo, the money deposited with him.

Petitioner: Concepcion Dia-Añonuevo

Respondent: Judge Bonifacio Bercacio


Mrs. Concepcion Dia-Añonuevo, the complainant, claims to be a co-owner of an undivided interest

of a certain parcel of irrigated riceland situated in Cabilogan, Sto. Niño, Sto. Domingo, Albay. This
property was the object of a deed of sale executed in favor of Alfredo Ong and acknowledged before
Municipal Judge Bonifacio Bercacio, respondent herein, as ex-officio notary public, on January 25,
1972. Having been apprised of the execution of this deed of sale, complainant went to the office of
Judge Bercacio to verify the matter. Judge Bercacio advised the complainant to redeem or
repurchase the property from the vendee, Alfredo Ong. Complainant then requested the judge to
intercede in their behalf with the vendee to allow them to redeem the property and for that purpose
she gave respondent the amount of P3,500.00 to be used to pay Alfredo Ong. Respondent agreed and
received the amount of P3,500.00 for which he issued a corresponding receipt.
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During the pendency of the civil case, complainant asked respondent judge to allow her to withdraw
P1,500.00 from the P3,500.00 she had deposited with him as she was then in need of money, but
no action was taken by respondent. The verbal request was followed by a registered letter dated
January 24, 1973 advising Judge Bercacio that complainant herein was withdrawing the amount of
P3,500.00 deposited with him and requesting him to remit the said amount within ten days from receipt
of the letter. There was still no response from respondent Judge.

Mrs. Añonuevo sought the assistance of a lawyer in the person of Atty. Rodolfo A. Madrid. Due to the
non-remittance of the aforementioned amount. Atty. Rodolfo A. Madrid who accordingly wrote to
respondent on March 16, 1973, giving the lattera final period of grace within which to return the
sum of P3,500.00, otherwise proper measures would be taken to protect the interests of his

Respondent finally broke his silence and answered with

you will note that the amount was entrusted to me to make it available anytime "for the purpose
of exercising her right to the legal redemption of the property sold to Mr. Alfredo Ong." The case
instituted by the plaintiffs, among whom is Mrs. Añonuevo for the determination of their right is
still pending in Court due to the illness of Judge Zurbano and the prolonged vacation of the
Presiding Judge.

Due to the non-remittance of the aforementioned amount, Atty. Madrid filed with the Court of First
Instance an urgent motion dated August 20, 1973, praying that Judge Bercacio be directed to consign in
court the amount deposited with him.
Upon receipt of the foregoing motion, respondent manifested to the trial judge that he would be ready
to deliver the money as soon as the plaintiffs won the case. the Trial court rendered judgment in favor
of the plaintiffs, and on the same date, issued an order directing Judge Bercacio to deposit with the Clerk
of Court the amount of P3,500.00 within five (5) days from receipt of the order. Judge Bercacio received
a copy of the order and on September 26, 1973, he turned over the amount to Atty. Rodolfo Madrid

ISSUE: WoN Judge Bercasio violated the prohibition on municipal judges to engage in private practice
or give professional advice to clients.

HELD: Yes.

1. Respondent violated Section 77 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, which provides in part:

All provisions relative to the observance of office hours and the holding of sessions applicable to
courts of first instance shall likewise apply to municipal judges, but the latter may, after office hours
and with the permission of the district judge concerned, engage in teaching or other vocation not
involving the practice of law ... (Emphasis supplied)

and which was implemented by Circular No. 37 of the Secretary of Justice dated June 22, 1971 to the
effect that

... no Municipal Judge shall ... engage in private practice as a member of the bar or give professional
advice to clients ...
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2. Respondent's failure to return the amount of P3,500.00 to herein complainant upon her
demand is highly reproachable (shameful), to say the least.

Mrs. Añonuevo gave to respondent the aforesaid amount with the understanding that it would
be offered to Alfredo Ong for purposes of redeeming the property sold by Mrs. Añonuevo's co-
owners. When Alfredo Ong refused the extra-judicial offer of redemption, respondent
should have either returned the money to Mrs. Añonuevo or consigned it in court.

Respondent contends that he kept the money because he wanted it ready for payment to the
vendee should the complaint for redemption prosper. In fact, according to respondent, he brought
the amount with him during the pre-trial of July 5, 1972, just in case an amicable settlement would be
effected between the parties, but when this failed, he gave the P3,500.00 to Atty. Berango for custody.
However, on April 9, 1973, Atty. Berango returned to him the money because Mrs. Añonuevo had
secured the services of another counsel. Due to this development, he wrote to complainant herein to
come to his office for a conference with Atty. Berango on the latter's attorney's fee and also in order
that she may get back the money she had deposited.

The explanation of respondent fails to convince Us of his good faith. Even if we were to concede that
his intention in keeping the money was to have it ready at any time for payment to Alfredo Ong should
the civil case prosper, nevertheless, when complainant herein made demands on him, verbal as
well as written, to return the money, he should have immediately turned it over to
complainant to forestall or erase any possible suspicion that he had spent it; or he could have
deposited it in court, anyway, his purpose, as he said, was to keep the money available at all

While the Court does not make a categorical finding that respondent made use of the money deposited
with him, nonetheless, We hold that by his actuations, respondent placed his honesty and
integrity under serious doubt.

Although every office in the government service is a public trust, no position exacts a greater demand
on moral righteousness and uprightness of an individual than a seat in the Judiciary. A magistrate of
the law must comport himself at all times in such a manner that his conduct, official or otherwise, can
bear the most searching scrutiny of the public that looks up to him as the epitome of integrity and
justice. To a certain degree, respondent herein failed to meet these exacting standards of judicial

WHEREFORE, We find respondent Judge Bonifacio B. Bercacio guilty as charged, and hereby suspend
him from office for a period of six (6) months effective immediately upon finality of this
decision, with the warning that commission of other acts unbecoming of a Judge will warrant a
more severe penalty from the Court.

7) Maderado v. Mediodea, A.M. No. MTJ-02-1459, October 14, 2003 (Jued)????


Nature: The judge was charged with gross ignorance of the law amounting to grave misconduct for
failing to observe and apply the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure

Petitioner: Imelda Y. Maderada

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Respondent: Judge Ernesto H. Mediodea
Maderada filed before the MCTC, which was presided by Judge Tersol (different Judge), an action
for forcible entry with a prayer for preliminary injunction, TRO and damages covered by the
Rule on Summary Procedure. Maderada was the clerk of court in the said sala, Judge Tersol
inhibited herself from the case. Thus, Judge Mediodea was designated to hear and decide the case.

Judge Mediodea required the defendants in the civil case to show cause why the preliminary
injunction should not be granted. Defendants filed Manifestation praying for an extension to file an
answer. Thereafter, defendants in the case, together with their original prayer, questioned the
authority of Maderada, clerk of court (not a lawyer) of the same sala, to appear on behalf of and as
counsel for her co-plaintiff. Judge Mediodea gave a chance to the defendants to motion on why
Mederada should be disqualified as counsel and to file also their opposition.

Afterwards, Judge Mediodea denied the defendants Motion to disqualify Maderada from
appearing on behalf of and as counsel for her co-plaintiff.

Maderada then filed 3 Motions praying for judgment to be rendered on the civil case. Judge Mediodea
denied Maderada’s Motions because of the pending hearing for the issuance of a restraining order and
an injunction.

Judge Mediodea commented that Maderada filed a petition for his inhibition after filing two
administrative cases against him. He argues that the mere filing of administrative charges against
judges is not a ground for disqualifying them from hearing cases. In the exercise of their discretion,
however, they may voluntarily disqualify themselves. It is worth noting that Mediodea later inhibited
himself from the civil case. The case was then reassigned.

Further Judge Mediodea avers the following:

1.) The delay to the resolution cannot be attributed to him considering that he was mandated by
law to pass upon every motion presented before him. To which, Maderada allegedly failed to
present necessary evidence for such immediate resolution.
2.) Maderada appeared as counsel on her own behalf without securing for a proper authority
from the Court to appear as counsel likewise failing to file for a leave of absence every
time she appeared to the court.

The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) rendered recommendations for the above circumstances:

For Judge Mediodea:

● For not resolving the preliminary injunction within 30 days from the filing thereof, Judge
Mediodea should be fined PHP 1,000.00 with a stern warning that a similar infractions in the
future would be dealt with more severity.
For Complainant Maderada:
● Since officials and employees of the judiciary must devote their full time to government service,
although they are not absolutely prohibited from engaging such vocation or profession, one must
do so only with prior approval of this Court. Due to the foregoing, Maderada shoukd be fined of
PHP 1,000.00 with a stern a stern warning that any similar infraction in the future would be dealt
with more severely. The OCA also recommended that she be directed to file her application for
leaves of absence on the days she had appeared in court to litigate her case.

ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Mediodea and Complainant Maderada, through the
recommendations of the OCA should be held administratively liable?
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HELD: The Court agreed with the findings and recommendations of the OCA, yet modified the penalties
to conform with the rules.

For Judge Mediodea:

Technicalities or details of procedure that may cause unnecessary delays should be carefully avoided.
The actions for forcible entry and unlawful detainer are designed to provide expeditious means of
protecting actual possession or the right to possession of the property involved. Both are time
procedures designed to bring immediate relief.

As such, Judge Mediodea should have resolved the Motion for Preliminary Injunction within 30 days
from its filing. There can be no mistaking the clear command of Section 15 of Rule 70 of the Rules of
Court. Judges have no other option but to obey. In fact, the provision uses the word shall to evince its
mandatory character. We cannot subscribe to the belief of respondent that since there was a prayer for
the issuance of a preliminary injunction, the main case for forcible entry would have to wait until after
he shall have decided the injunction plea, no matter how long it took. If that were so, then the main case
would lose its summary nature.

Their failure to do so constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition of administrative
sanction on them. Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct specifically obliges judges to dispose of the
courts business promptly and decide cases within the required periods. Often have we ruled that their
inability to decide a case within the required period is not excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency.
To avoid sanction, they should ask this Court for an extension and give their reasons for the delay.

For Complainant Maderada:

Since complainant was charged with engaging in a private vocation or profession when she
appeared on her own behalf in court, the necessary implication was that she was in the practice
of law. We clarify. A party’s right to conduct litigation personally is recognized by law (Section 34 of
Rule 138 of the Rules of Court).

When they, however, act as their own attorneys, they are restricted to the same rules of evidence and
procedure as those qualified to practice law; otherwise, ignorance would be unjustifiably rewarded.
Individuals have long been permitted to manage, prosecute and defend their own actions; and when
they do so, they are not considered to be in the practice of law. One does not practice law by acting for
himself any more than he practices medicine by rendering first aid to himself.

The practice of law, though impossible to define exactly, involves the exercise of a profession or
vocation usually for gain, mainly as attorney by acting in a representative capacity and as counsel by
rendering legal advice to others.

The law allows persons who are not lawyers by profession to litigate their own case in court. The right
of complainant to litigate her case personally cannot be taken away from her. Her being an employee of
the judiciary does not remove from her the right to proceedings in propria persona or to self-
representation. To be sure, the lawful exercise of a right cannot make one administratively liable. Thus,
we need not go into a discussion of the Court’s ruling in Cayetano v. Monsod regarding the extent of the
practice of law.

NOTE THIS DEFINITION FOR PRIVATE PRACTICE: Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it
consists in frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent
habitual exercise. Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute [referring to the prohibition for
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judges and other officials or employees of the superior courts or of the Office of the Solicitor General from
engaging in private practice] has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to
the public, as a lawyer and demanding payment for such services.

However, it was also clearly established that complainant had appeared on behalf of her co-plaintiff in
the case below, for which act the former cannot be completely exonerated. Representing oneself is
different from appearing on behalf of someone else.

Obviously, because she was already defending the rights of another person when she appeared for her
co-plaintiff, it cannot be argued that complainant was merely protecting her rights. That their rights
may be interrelated will not give complainant authority to appear in court. The undeniable fact remains
that she and her co-plaintiff are two distinct individuals. The former may be impairing the efficiency of
public service once she appears for the latter without permission from this Court.

WHEREFORE, Respondent Judge Ernesto H. Mediodea is hereby found GUILTY of gross inefficiency in
failing to observe the reglementary periods in deciding cases, and is FINED in the amount of P10,000
with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or of a similar act in the future shall be dealt with
more severely. On the other hand, Imelda Y. Maderada is hereby REPRIMANDED for appearing as
counsel on behalf of a co-plaintiff without court authority and is likewise warned that a future similar
act shall be sanctioned more severely.

8) Catu v. Rellosa, A.C. No. 5738, February 19, 2008 (Mark)

Ponente: CORONA, J

Nature: Punong Barangay prohibiting to be a councel on case that he was presided before

Petitioner: Wilfredo M. Catu

Respondent: Atty. Vicente Rellosa (Punong Barangay) became counsel of Mother and brother of

FACTS: Complainant Wilfredo M. Catu is a co-owner of a lot and the building erected thereon
located in Manila. His mother and brother contested the possession of Elizabeth C. Diaz-Catu and
Antonio Pastor of one of the units in the building. The latter ignored demands for them to vacate
the premises. Thus, a complaint was initiated against them in the Lupong Tagapamayapa of
Barangay. Respondent, as punong barangay, summoned the parties to conciliation meetings. When
the parties failed to arrive at an amicable settlement, respondent issued a certification for the filing
of the appropriate action in court.
Rellosa entered his appearance as counsel for the defendants in the (subsequent ejectment) case.
Complainant filed the instant administrative complaint, claiming that respondent committed an
act of impropriety as a lawyer and as a public officer when he stood as counsel for the defendants
despite the fact that he presided over the conciliation proceedings between the litigants as punong
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Rellosa violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Rule 6.03 A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept engagement or
employment in connection with any matter in which he intervened while in said service.
we ruled that Rule 6.03 prohibits former government lawyers from accepting engagement or
employment in connection with any matter in which [they] had intervened while in said service.
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Respondent was an incumbent punong barangay at the time he committed the act complained of.
Therefore, he was not covered by that provision.
2. For elective local government officials, Section 90 of RA 7160[12]governs:
Of these elective local officials, governors, city mayors and municipal mayors are prohibited
from practicing their profession or engaging in any occupation other than the exercise of their
functions as local chief executives. This is because they are required to render full time service.
They should therefore devote all their time and attention to the performance of their official
members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan may
practice their professions, engage in any occupation, or teach in schools except during session
hours. In other words, they may practice their professions, engage in any occupation, or teach in
schools outside their session hours.

As punong barangay, respondent should have therefore obtained the prior written
permission of the Secretary of Interior and Local Government before he entered his
appearance as counsel for Elizabeth and Pastor. This he failed to do

Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or

deceitful conduct. (emphasis supplied)


Respondent was strongly advised to look up and take to heart the meaning of the word delicadeza.
Respondent suspended for six (6) months.

Canon 4 - Duty to support the improvement of the legal system.


Canon 5 - MCLE


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9) Rabanal v. Tugalde, A.C. No. 1372, June 27, 2002 (Mustang)

Ponente: MENDOZA, J.:

Nature: This is an administrative complaint filed by complainant spouses Cayetano and Lirio
Rabanal against Atty. Faustino F. Tugade. It is alleged that respondent, as counsel for complainant
Cayetano Rabanal, did not file the appellants brief in the Court of Appeals, as a result of which
the appeal filed by Cayetano was dismissed and the decision of the then Circuit Criminal Court
of Tuguegarao, Cagayan became final and executory.

Petitioner: Cayetano Rabanal

Respondent: Atty. Faustino F. Tugade


Cayetano Rabanal was one of the accused-appellants in Criminal Case. He was found guilty of homicide
and the case was appealed to the Court of Appeals. Complainant terminated the services of his
previous counsel and engaged the services of respondent Atty. Faustino F. Tugade as new counsel
to prosecute the appeal. Despite the extension of time granted to him totalling 60 days, Atty. Tugade
failed to file the appellants brief, resulting in the dismissal of the appeal Cayetano filed a motion for
Complainants sought the suspension from the practice of law or the disbarment of respondent attorney.
Respondent said he did not want to accept complainants case due to his busy schedule, but that he was
nonetheless prevailed upon by the latter, who is his kababayan, to sign the appellants brief to be filed
in the case.
Cayetano gave the transcripts of stenographic notes (TSN) pertaining to the case to respondent, and the
sum of P600.00 as litigation expenses, after which respondent asked another lawyer to prepare the
appellants brief. However, on May 11, 1974, Cayetano informed respondent that the Court of Appeals
had dismissed his appeal for failure of counsel to file an appellants brief. Respondent alleged he then
entered his appearance as counsel for Cayetano and filed a motion for reconsideration with the Court
of Appeals, for which he was paid P800.00, The motion was, however, denied and Cayetano served
sentence from 1974 to 1979, when he was released on conditional pardon.

The Court referred the administrative case against respondent to the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) for investigation, report, and recommendation. The OSG conducted hearings on February 5, 1976
and November 27, 1976, during which the spouses Rabanal testified in support of their complaint.
Cayetano was released from the New Bilibid Prisons on conditional pardon.

A few years later, the Committee on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
assumed jurisdiction over the administrative case.
IBP Board of Governors recommended to the Court the suspension of respondent from the practice
of law for at least one (1) year. After a review of the records of this case, the Court finds no basis for
reversing the findings and recommendation of the IBP and the OBC. Their recommendation is affirmed
with the modification that the penalty imposed is reduced from one (1) year to six (6) months.
Respondent claims that he was not the counsel of complainant Cayetano Rabanal prior to
the filing of a motion for reconsideration before the Court of Appeals and he could not be held
responsible for the dismissal of complainants appeal for failure of counsel to file the appellants
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Issue: Whether there is no lawyer and client relationship between Tugade and Rabana, thus Tugade
didn’t violate the Professional Responsibility?

Held: No.

The absence of a written contract does not preclude a finding that there was a professional
relationship which merits attorney’s fees for professional services rendered. A written contract
is not an essential element in the employment of an attorney; the contract may be express or
implied. To establish the relation, it is sufficient that the advice and assistance of an attorney is sought
and received in any matter pertinent to his profession. In this case, complainant sought and received
legal advice from respondent Tugade, who admitted that he agreed to sign the appellant’s brief to
be filed and that he received P600.00 from complainant spouses. It is therefore clear that a
lawyer-client relationship existed between the two. He thus violated the Code of Professional
Responsibility which provides:

RULE 12.03. A lawyer shall not, after obtaining 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.

Once Tugade agrees to take up the cause of a client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and
must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. He must serve the client with
competence and diligence, and champion the latters cause with wholehearted fidelity, care, and
devotion. Elsewise stated, he owes entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm zeal in the
maintenance and defense of his clients rights, and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability to the
end that nothing be taken or withheld from his client, save by the rules of law, legally applied.

This simply means that his client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is
authorized by the law of the land and he may expect his lawyer to assert every such remedy or defense.
If much is demanded from an attorney, it is because the entrusted privilege to practice law carries with
it the correlative duties not only to the client but also to the court, to the bar, and to the public. A lawyer
who performs his duty with diligence and candor not only protects the interest of his client; he
also serves the ends of justice, does honor to the bar, and helps maintain the respect of the
community to the legal profession.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Atty. Faustino F. Tugade is SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for six (6) months effective upon finality hereof with WARNING that a repetition of the
same negligent act charged in this complaint will be dealt with even more severely.

10) Fajardo v. de la Torre, A.C. No. 6295, April 14, 2004 (Yanabells)



Petitioner: Josefina Fajardo

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Respondent: Atty. Faustino F. Tugade - was the defendant and plaintiff in a civil case for Forcible

Atty. Tugade was the defendant and plaintiff in a civil case for Forcible Entry and for Unlawful
Detainer, respectively. The cases were consolidated and tried jointly by the MTC of Ba-ao, Camarines
Sur, which rendered a judgment not in their favour.
Atty. Tugade demanded P4,300.00 from the complainant for the preparation and filing of the
petition for review before the Court of Appeals. Complainant complied but was surprised upon
learning that the said petition was dismissed for insufficient payment of docket fees and failure
to attach the certified true copy of the assailed decision.

Complainant only knew of the resolution dismissing her petition when her opponent filed a
motion for new trial attaching a copy thereof in the separate action filed by complainant with the
RTC of Iriga City for recovery of possession.
Hence, the latter filed a complaint charging respondent of “Gross Ignorance of the Law and
Negligence in the Performance of Profession.”

The IBP-CBD directed respondent to answer the complaint however despite receipt of the order, Atty.
still failed to answer the complaint. Subsequently, a notice of hearing was sent to respondent but
then again, he still failed to appear at the scheduled hearing. Records further show that a similar
complaint for malpractice and unethical behavior has been filed against respondent by
complainant’s son with the IBP for the dismissal of Special Proceedings No. 1471 as a result of
respondent’s gross negligence. Such serves to aggravate and to underscore respondent’s malfeasance.

W/N Atty. Tugade failed his duty which in violation Code of Professional Responsibility?


1.Respondent was not only remiss in the preparation of the petition,

2. but may have misappropriated a portion of the sum remitted to him by complainant for the
purpose of filing the petition because the docketing fees he remitted was short of P280.00.
3. What is worse is that respondent failed to inform complainant of the actual status of the
Such behavior cannot and should not be countenanced because they run afoul with the following
provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility:

CANON 15. A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions
with his clients.

CANON 16. A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and property collected or received for or from
the client.

Rule 16.01. A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the

Rule 16.02. A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and those
of others kept by him.
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Rule 16.03. A lawyer shall deliver the funds and the property of his client when due or upon
demand. However, he shall have a lien over the funds and may apply so much thereof as may be
necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to his client.
He shall also have lien to same extent on all judgments and executions he has secured for his client as
provided for in the Rules of Court

Moreover, Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that a lawyer shall not
neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith shall render
him liable. Verily:

The records further show that a similar complaint for malpractice and unethical behavior has been
filed against respondent by complainants son with the IBP for the dismissal of Special
Proceedings No. 1471 as a result of respondents gross negligence. The foregoing only serves to
aggravate and to underscore respondents malfeasance

The penalty of suspension from the practice of law for one (1) month imposed by the IBP
Board of Governors is not proportionate to respondents violation of several Canons of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Thus, he deserves a graver penalty,
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, respondent Atty. DANILO DELA TORRE is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year

11) Williams v. Enriquez, A.C. No. 6353, February 27, 2006(Edward)

Ponente: PANGANIBAN, J.:

Nature: Atty. Rudy T. Enriquez stands charged with unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful acts
in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Canons of Professional Ethics, and with
conduct unbecoming an attorney.
Petitioner: spouses David W. Williams and Marisa B. Williams.
Respondent: Atty. Rudy T. Enriquez

Facts: The Atty. Enriquez is the counsel of record of the plaintiffs in the case pending before the
RTC of Dumaguete City where complainants are the defendants. According to the complainant-spouses,
Marisa Williams bought the lot subject of the controversy. TTCT was then issued in her favor,
stating that she is Filipino, married to David W. Williams, an American citizen
Atty. Enriquez Atty. Enriquez charged her with falsification of public documents before the Office of
the City Prosecutor of Dumaguete City.
The spouses Williams further alleged, thus:
21. That, in malicious violation of the rules governing the practice of law,
Attorney Rudy T. Enriquez cited outdated material in his complaint-affidavit. He
then knowingly applied this stale law in a perverse fashion to argue that Marisa
Batacan Williams automatically lost her Filipino citizenship when she married an
American, and was thus prohibited to own land in the Philippines, thereby making
her guilty of falsification in the Deed she executed to buy property in Negros

2.2. That in paragraph #1 of her counter-affidavit (Annex A-2) Marisa cites

Article IV, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that she would not
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lose her citizenship when she married an American unless she renounced it in a
specific act.

2.3 That, in reply, Attorney Enriquez, quotes more outdated law, declaring
that her act of marrying her husband was equivalent to renouncing her
citizenship. He also doggedly attempts to show that the 1987 Constitution supports his
position, not Marisas (Annex A-4).[5]

In the case at bar, complainant argued that the Atty. Enriquez of the spouses acted in malicious
violation of the rules governing the practice of law, the counsel cited outdated material in his
complaint-affidavit and in his comments to counter-affidavit. He then knowingly applied this stale
law in a perverse fashion to argue that Marisa Batacan Williams automatically lost her Filipino
citizenship when she married an American, and was thus prohibited to own land in the
Philippines, thereby making her guilty of falsification in the Deed she executed to buy property
in Negros Oriental. As such, Atty. Rudy T. Enriquez was charged with "unlawful, dishonest, immoral
and deceitful acts in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Canons of Professional
Ethics, and with conduct unbecoming an attorney."

On December 1, 2004, the case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for
investigation, report and recommendation..
IBP Ruling- led that respondent was guilty of gross ignorance of the law and should be
suspended for six (6) months.

Issue: Whether the respondent is guilt of violation of Canon 5 of the code of professional responsibility

Held: Yes

The Court agrees that respondent is administratively liable for his actuations. As found by the
Investigating Commissioner:

There is no evidence shown by respondent that complainant Marisa Bacatan-

Williams has renounced her Filipino citizenship except her Certificate of Marriage,
which does not show that she has automatically acquired her husbands citizenship
upon her marriage to him. The cases cited by respondent are not applicable in this case
as it is clear that they refer to aliens acquiring lands in the Philippines.

Canon 5 of the Code of Professional Responsibility requires that a lawyer be updated in the latest
laws and jurisprudence. Indeed, when the law is so elementary, not to know it or to act as if one does
not know it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. As a retired judge, respondent should have
known that it is his duty to keep himself well-informed of the latest rulings of the Court on the
issues and legal problems confronting a client.

In this case, the law he apparently misconstrued is no less than the Constitution, the most basic law of
the land. Implicit in a lawyer’s mandate to protect a client’s interest to the best of his/her ability
and with utmost diligence is the duty to keep abreast of the law and legal developments, and
participate in continuing legal education programs. Thus, in championing the interest of clients and
defending cases, a lawyer must not only be guided by the strict standards imposed by the lawyer’s oath,
but should likewise espouse legally sound arguments for clients, lest the latter’s cause be dismissed on
a technical ground.
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We find too harsh the recommended penalty of the Investigating Commissioner. It must be stressed
that the power to disbar or suspend must be exercised with great caution. Only in a clear case of
misconduct that seriously affects the standing and character of a lawyer as an officer of the Court
and member of the bar will disbarment or suspension be imposed as a penalty

As such, for gross ignorance of the law, Atty. Rudy T. Enriquez is REPRIMANDED and ADVISED to
carefully study the opinions he may give to his clients. He is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of a
similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

12)Jonar Santiago v. Edison V. Rafana, October 5, 2004, A.C. No. 6252 (Erica)

Ponente: PANGANIBAN, J.:

Nature: Jonar Santiago, an employee of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology filed for the
disbarment of Atty. Edison V. Rafanan.
Petitioner: Jonar Santiago
Respondent: Atty. Edison V. Rafanan

The Complaint was filed with the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
The Santiago stated that Rafanan, in notarizing several documents on different dates failed and/or
refused to:
a) make the proper notation regarding the cedula or community tax certificate of the affiants;
b) enter the details of the notarized documents in the notarial register; and
c) make and execute the certification and enter his PTR and IBP numbers in the documents he had
notarized, all in violation of the notarial provisions of the Revised Administrative Code.

Santigao likewise alleged that Respondent executed an Affidavit in favor of his client and offered
the same as evidence in the case wherein he was actively representing his client.
The IBP Board of Governors modified the disbarment proposal and instead imposed a penalty of P3,000
with a warning that any repetition of the violation will be dealt with a heavier penalty.

Contention of Rafanan:
o Admitted having administered the oath to the affiants whose Affidavits were attached to the
Complaint of Santiago. But Rafanan believed that the non-notation of their Residence
Certificates in the Affidavits and Counter-Affidavits were allowed because:
 Notation of residence certificates applied only to documents acknowledged by a notary
public, and
 Was not mandatory for affidavits related to cases pending before courts and other
government offices
 He also pointed out that older practitioners in Nueva Ecija also do what he did –
they do not indicate affiants’ residence certificates on documents they notarized,
or have entries in the notarial register for these documents.

o As to his alleged failure to comply with Sec.3 Rule 112 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure: as
counsel to the affiants, he had the option not comply or not with the certification.
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o As to his alleged violation of Rule 12.08 of CPR: lawyers could testify on behalf of their clients
“on substantial matters, in cases where [their] testimony is essential to the ends of justice.”
 Santiago charged Rafanan’s clients with attempted murder. Rafanan said that since his
clients were in his house during the alleged crime, that’s why he said his testimony is
very essential.
o He also contends that the case filed by Santiago was only to harass Rafanan since he is the
counsel of the parties who filed cases against him before the ombudsman (Brgy. Capt.
Ernesto Ramos and BJMP)

 Whether or not Rafanan is guilty in violating the Notarial Law.
 Whether or not a lawyer (in this case, Rafanan) can stand as witness in favor of his clients.

 Yes, he violated the Notarial Law for not making the proper notation and entering the details of
the notarized documents.
 Yes, a lawyer can stand as witness of a client.

On Issue No. 1
 The Notarial Law is explicit on the obligations and duties of notaries public. And these
formalities are mandatory and cannot be simply neglected.
 They are required to certify that the party to every document acknowledged before them has
presented the proper residence certificate (or exemption from the residence tax); and to enter its
number, place of issue and the date as part of such certification.
 They are also required to keep a notarial register; to enter therein all instruments notarized
by them; etc.
 As to Rafanan’s defense that it’s a common practice in Nueva Ecija, SC says: It is appalling and
inexcusable that he did away with the basics of notarial procedure allegedly because others
were doing so. Being swayed by the bad example of others is not an acceptable justification for
breaking the law.

On Issue No. 2
 A lawyer is not disqualified from being a witness, except only in certain cases pertaining to
privileged communication arising from an attorney-client relationship.
 Reason: The difficulty posed upon lawyers by the task of dissociating their relationship to their
clients as witnesses from that as an advocate (Note: A witness must only say what happened. Only
the truth. As compared with the task of a lawyer who will use all the available remedies and actions
in his arsenal for his client to win the case.)
 It is difficult to distinguish the fairness and impartiality of a disinterested witness from the zeal of
an advocate.
 The preference is for lawyers to REFRAIN from testifying as witnesses, unless they absolutely have
to; and should they do so, to withdraw from active management of the case.
 In the case at bar:
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o Atty. Rafanan cannot be administratively liable because:
 It’s a duty of the lawyer to assert every remedy and defense that is authorized by law for
the benefit of the client. (Remember, there is a criminal case of attempted murder
against his client which will deprive his client of his life and liberty, if they fail to display
a good defense.)

On the Side Issues:

 There is no harassment of the part of Rafanan against Santiago because there were no pieces of
evidence presented.
Mere allegation is never equivalent to proof, and a bare charge cannot be equated with liability
RULING: Atty. Rafanan is GUILTY of violating the Notarial Law and Canon 5 of the CPR. He is fined
P3,000.00 with a warning that similar infractions will be dealt more severely

13)Edna Benito v. Rosad Balindong, A.M. No. RTJ 08-2013, February 23, 2009 (Jerald)

Ponente: CORONA, J
Petitioner: Dr. Edna S.V. Ogka Benito, then acting mayor of the Municipality of Balabagan, Lanao del
Respondent: Judge Rasad G. Balindong of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Malabang, Lanao

Complainant alleged that on May 3, 2005, Dr. Benito filed administrative and criminal complaints
against Mamarinta G. Macabato, then municipal treasurer of Balabagan, Lanao del Sur, for grave
misconduct in the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao (Ombudsman).

The Ombudsman impleaded then Mayor Hadji Amer R. Sampiano as co-respondent. Complainant
claimed that these Sapiano refused to pay her salary as vice mayor since July 1, 2004 despite
repeated demands.

On May 16, 2006, the Ombudsman rendered a decision in that case finding respondents therein
guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and imposing on them the penalty of
suspension from office without pay for a period of nine months..

In compliance with the decision of the Ombudsman, the Regional Secretary of the DILG-ARMM issued
Department Order (D.O.) No. 2006-38 dated September 1, 2006 implementing said decision. Due to
the suspension of Mayor Sampiano, complainant was sworn in as acting mayor.

Meanwhile, on September 4, 2006, Sampiano in OMB-M-A-05-175-E filed a petition for certiorari and
prohibition in the RTC of Malabang, Lanao del Sur, Branch 12. The petition was raffled to the sala of
herein respondent.

On the same date, Judge Rasad issued an order granting a temporary restraining order (TRO) effective
for 72 hours directing the Regional Secretary of the DILG-ARMM to cease, desist and refrain from
implementing the D.O. In an order dated September 6, 2006, Judge Rasad extended the TRO for a
period of 20 days. On September 25, 2006, respondent issued another order for the issuance of a writ
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of preliminary injunction directing the Regional Secretary to cease, desist and refrain from
implementing D.O. No. 2006-38.

The CA held that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the petition filed by the respondents in
No court shall hear any appeal or application for remedy against the decision or findings of
the Ombudsman, except the Supreme Court, on [a] pure question of law.

Complainant asserted that, despite the clear provisions of the law and procedure, respondent
took cognizance of SCA No. 12-181 and issued the TROs, writ of preliminary injunction and October 5,
2006 decision. Hence, she submitted that respondent should be administratively disciplined because of
his gross ignorance of the law which prejudiced the rights of her constituents in Balabagan, Lanao del

Respondent countered that he issued the orders in good faith.

ISSUE: WoN respondent Judge Balindong is guilty of gross ignorance of law.

HELD: Yes.

Respondents defense of good faith has no merit. Indeed, good faith and absence of malice, corrupt
motives or improper considerations, are sufficient defenses in which a judge charged with ignorance of
the law can find refuge

A patent disregard of simple, elementary and well-known rules constitutes gross ignorance of
the law. Judges are expected to exhibit more than just cursory acquaintance with laws and
procedural rules. They must know the law and apply it properly in good faith. They are likewise
expected to keep abreast of prevailing jurisprudence. For a judge who is plainly ignorant of the law
taints the noble office and great privilege vested in him. Respondents gross ignorance of the law
constituted inexcusable incompetence which was anathema to the effective dispensation of justice.

Respondents defense of good faith has no merit. Indeed, good faith and absence of malice, corrupt
motives or improper considerations, are sufficient defenses in which a judge charged with ignorance of
the law can find refuge. However good faith in situations of fallible discretion inheres only within the
parameters of tolerable judgment and does not apply where the issues are so simple and the applicable
legal principles evident and basic as to be beyond possible margins of error.

When respondent entertained SCA No. 12-181, issued a TRO and writ of preliminary injunction and
subsequently granted the petition, he acted contrary to law, rules and jurisprudence. In doing so, he
consented to the filing of an unlawful suit, in violation of the Lawyers Oath. A judge who falls short of
the ethics of the judicial office tends to diminish the peoples respect for the law and legal processes. He
also fails to observe and maintain the esteem due to the courts and to judicial officers. Thus, respondent
violated Canons 1 and 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR):

Canon 1. A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote
respect for law and legal processes.
xxx xxx xxx
Canon 11. A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to
judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others. (Emphasis supplied)

Respondents gross ignorance of the law also runs counter to Canons 5 and 6 of the CPR:
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Canon 5. A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal developments, participate in continuing legal
education programs, support efforts to achieve high standards in law schools as well as in
the practical training of law students and assist in disseminating information regarding the law
and jurisprudence.

Canon 6. These Canons shall apply to lawyers in government service in the discharge of their
official tasks. (Emphasis supplied)

Judges should be well-informed of existing laws, recent amendments and current jurisprudence, in
keeping with their sworn duty as members of the bar (and bench) to keep abreast of legal

WHEREFORE, Rasad G. Balindong, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Malabang, Lanao del Sur,
Branch 12 is hereby found GUILTY of gross ignorance of the law. He is FINED P30,000.

Respondent is further hereby FINED P10,000 for his violation of the Lawyers Oath and Canons 1,
5, 6 and 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is STERNLY WARNED that the commission
of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.