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PEREA V. ATTY.

RUBEN ALMADRO

FACTS:
Atty. Ruben L. Almadro engaged the services of the Sua & Alambra Law Offices to represent him in this disbarment case. In
their Entry of Appearance with Motion/Manifestation dated November 20, 2000, signed by Atty. Alan Andres B. Alambra, he
stated that respondent has yet to receive a copy of the complaint and thus prayed that a copy of the said complaint be
furnished him so he can file an answer. Complainant Edgar O. Perea filed a Manifestation dated November 29, 2000,
asseverating that he had furnished respondent copies of the complaint through facsimile machine.

In the Resolution dated March 20, 2003, the Court sustained the Integrated Bar of the Philippines order requiring Atty.
Kenton Sua and Atty. Alambra to show cause for their deliberate falsehood and misrepresentation in the preparation of the
answer for respondent, and accordingly remanded the case to the IBP for further action on the contempt proceedings.

Before the Court now is the Resolution No. XVII-2005-162 dated December 17, 2005 of the Board of Governors of
the IBP finding that Atty. Sua and Atty. Alambra were less than honest and forthright in their representation before the Court
and imposing a fine of P2,000.00 each with warning that any further unprofessional conduct will be dealt with more severely.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Sua and Atty. Alambra acted in good faith

RULING:
A perusal of the aforesaid letter of Atty. Almadro reveals that indeed stated that he had not received a copy of the
complaint. However, in Atty. Almadros three Motions for Extension of Time to Comment which he filed before the Court before
engaging the services of the law office, there was no mention that he had not received a copy of the complaint. In fact, in the
second paragraph of the second motion for extension, Atty. Almadro stated that: “He is in the process of reviewing an initial
draft of said comment and will need said period of ten (10) days to complete and finalize the draft.”
Said statement shows very clearly that Atty. Almadro has received a copy of the complaint. For how can he prepare a
draft of his comment if it were not so? This should have alerted Atty. Alambra to verify the veracity of the claim of Atty.
Almadro. Atty. Alambra should not have relied on the statement given by Atty. Almadro. Their being classmates in the law
school is not a reason to be less cautious in his dealings with the Court. He is an officer of the court, and as such, he owes
candor, fairness and good faith to the Court. As explicitly stated in Rule 10.01, Canon 10 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, to wit: “A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he misled, or
allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.”
Considering the admission made by Atty. Alambra regarding the non-participation of Atty. Sua, the latter should be
absolved of any liability.

ALLIED BANKING CORPORATION vs. COURT OF APPEALS and POTENCIANO L. GALANIDA


FACTS:
• Potenciano Galanida was hired by Allied Banking Corporation and rose from accountant-bookeeper to assistant
manager. His appointment was covered by a Notice of Personnel Action which provides as one of the conditions,
petitioners right to transfer employees.
• Petitioner listed respondent in the order of assistant managers to be assigned outside of Cebu City.
• Having been stationed in Cebu for 7 years already. Private respondent manifested his refusal to be transferred
to Bacolod City citing as reason parental obligations, expenses, and the anguish that would result if he is away from
his family. He then filed a complaint before the Labor Arbiter for constructive dismissal.
• Subsequently, petitioner bank informed private respondent that he was to report to the Tagbilaran City Branch
effective.Private respondent refused.
• In a letter, petitioner warned private respondent.
• Galanida received an inter-office communication (Memo) from Allied Banks Vice-President for Personnel, Mr. Leonso
C. Pe. The Memo informed Galanida that Allied Bank had terminated his services. The reasons given for the
dismissal were:
o Galanidas continued refusal to be transferred from the Jakosalem, CebuCity branch; and
o his refusal to report for work despite the denial of his application for additional vacation leave.
• After several hearings, the Labor Arbiter held that Allied Bank had abused its management prerogative in ordering the
transfer of Galanida. In ruling, the Labor Arbiter misquoted this Courts decision in Dosch v. NLRC, thus:
o While it may be true that the right to transfer or reassign an employee is an employers exclusive right and the
prerogative of management, such right is not absolute. The right of an employer to freely select or discharge
his employee is limited by the paramount police power xxx for the relations between capital and labor are not
merely contractual but impressed with public interest. xxx And neither capital nor labor shall act oppressively
against each other.
• On appeal, the NLRC likewise ruled that Allied Bank terminated Galanida without just cause
• The Court of Appeals held that Galanidas refusal to comply with the transfer orders did not warrant his dismissal. The
appellate court ruled that the transfer from a regional office to the smaller Bacolod or Tagbilaran branches was
effectively a demotion.

ISSUE:
• WHETHER UNDER THE FACTS PRESENTED THERE IS LEGAL BASIS IN PETITIONERS EXERCISE OF ITS
MANAGEMENT PREROGATIVE

HELD:
• The syllabus of cases in official or unofficial reports of Supreme Court decisions is not the work of the Court, nor does
it state this Courts decision. The syllabus is simply the work of the reporter who gives his understanding of the
decision. The reporter writes the syllabus for the convenience of lawyers in reading.
• A syllabus is not a part of the courts decision. A counsel should not cite a syllabus in place of the carefully considered
text in the decision of the Court.

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
• The Labor Arbiter Almirante and Atty. Durano began by quoting from Dosch, but substituted a portion of the decision
with a headnote from the SCRA syllabus, which they even underscored. In short, they deliberately made the quote
from the SCRA syllabus appear as the words of the Supreme Court.
• We admonish them for what is at the least patent carelessness, if not an outright attempt to mislead the parties and
the courts taking cognizance of this case. Rule 10.02, Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates
that a lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the text of a decision or authority . It is the duty of all
officers of the court to cite the rulings and decisions of the Supreme Court accurately.

• The rule is that the transfer of an employee ordinarily lies within the ambit of the employers prerogatives. The
employer exercises the prerogative to transfer an employee for valid reasons and according to the requirement of its
business, provided the transfer does not result in demotion in rank or diminution of the employees salary, benefits
and other privileges.
• Galanida was well aware of Allied Banks policy of periodically transferring personnel to different branches. As the
Court of Appeals found, assignment to the different branches of Allied Bank was a condition of Galanidas
employment.
• Neither was Galanidas transfer in the nature of a demotion. Galanida did not present evidence showing that the
transfer would diminish his salary, benefits or other privileges. Instead, Allied Banks assured Galanida that he would
not suffer any reduction in rank or grade, and that the transfer would involve the same rank, duties and obligations
• The refusal to obey a valid transfer order constitutes willful disobedience of a lawful order of an employer. Employees
may object to, negotiate and seek redress against employers for rules or orders that they regard as unjust or
illegal. However, until and unless these rules or orders are declared illegal or improper by competent authority, the
employees ignore or disobey them at their peril.
• For Galanidas continued refusal to obey Allied Banks transfer orders, we hold that the bank dismissed Galanida for
just cause in accordance with Article 282 (a) of the Labor Code
• Galanida is thus not entitled to reinstatement or to separation pay.

SELUDO vs. FINEZA


FACTS:
- Resp judge ordered the arrest of complainant for the failure of accused, Errol De Villar and Rodeo Lerio, as well as their
counsel, Atty. Antonio Seludo, to appear in the promulgation of (the) decision despite due notice
- The Order of Arrest commanded any officer of the law to arrest complainant and to keep him in jail until the decision in
Criminal Case No. 58093 shall have been promulgated.
- Complainant averred that he was the defense counsel in two separate Criminal Cases
- complainant received an order from respondent setting the promulgation of the decision in Criminal Case No. 58093 on
November 18.
- The promulgation did not push through as respondent judge was confined in a hospital.
- On November 25, complainant received another order setting the promulgation at 8:30 a.m. of November 27.
- However, upon checking his calendar, complainant noticed that on the said date and time, he had a previously-set
hearing of Criminal Case Nos. 178462-64 before Judge Ramizo.
- Due to the conflicting schedule, he instructed his secretary to inform the office of respondent judge that he could not
attend the promulgation of his decision.
- He was thus surprised to receive on November 28, the aforementioned order directing his arrest and detention.
- Upon his arrest, complainant requested permission to go to the court of respondent judge to ask for reconsideration.
- In court, respondent judge refused to see him.
- Complainant waited and was able to talk to respondent judge when the latter went out of his chambers and walked to his
car.
- Complainant pleaded with respondent judge, who opened the windows of his car and, in the presence of the police
officers, said, kung gusto mo, pumunta ka sa harap ng kotse ko at sasagasaan na lang kita
- Complainant claimed that he attended all scheduled hearings of Criminal Case No. 58093 before respondent judge, and
that it was only the promulgation set on November 27 that he missed due to a conflict in schedule. He alleged that due to
his incarceration, he failed to attend to the hearing of his cases involving six paying clients set in the morning of November
29.
- Respondent judge denied the allegations of the complaint
- called the complainant a fact fabricator, a congenital liar, and an Indian, meaning, he failed to comply with his
commitment
- Report of the Office of the Court Administrator
- The arrest of the complainant was, therefore, not only illegal, but also oppressive, and it violated his constitutional
right to due process. Complainant was arrested and detained without giving him the opportunity to be heard
- respondent judge used the words: fact fabricator, congenital liar, Indian who fails to comply with his commitment and
dim-witted lawyer, as descriptive of the complainant. These words are inflammatory which should have been avoided.
In explaining why he issued the order of arrest against the complainant, the use of intemperate and insulting rhetorics
is not necessary, if only to maintain the dignity of, and respect for, the court as an institution.
- Pay a fine of 20,000

ISSUE: whether or not respondent judge should be held liable

HELD:
- Yes. The court agrees with OCA
- Section 6, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court is likewise of no help to the respondent. It does not require the presence of the
counsel during the promulgation of a judgment
- We hold that respondent violated Rule 3.04, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
- Rule 3.04. A judge should be patient, attentive, and courteous to lawyers, especially the inexperienced, to litigants,
witnesses, and others appearing before the court. A judge should avoid consciously falling into the attitude of mind
that the litigants are made for the courts, instead of the courts for the litigants

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
- It is plain that respondent was impatient and discourteous in dealing with complainant. Judges should respect all people
appearing before their courts, be they lawyers or litigants. Respondent ordered complainants arrest without according him
the elementary right to challenge the order. The violation of his right to due process cannot be denied.
- the judge should have issue an order directing him (Seludo), within a reasonable time, to show cause why he should
not be punished for indirect contempt of court and, reset the promulgation of the decision to some other time at the
convenience of the court. If the explanation is not satisfactory to the court, then and only then, that a penalty should
be imposed upon the contemner.
- A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC
- administrative cases against judges of lower courts, who are likewise lawyers, are based on grounds which are also
grounds for disciplinary action of members of the Bar, among others, for violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
- Respondent judge to have violated:
(1) Rule 8.01, Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which prohibits the use of inappropriate language:

Rule 8.01. A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or
otherwise improper; and

(2) Rule 10.03, Canon 10, which mandates the proper observance of the rules of procedure:

Rule 10.03 A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of
justice.

- respondent judge guilty of gross ignorance of procedure and impose on him a fine of P40,000.00, and gross misconduct
and impose on him a fine of P40,000.00, considering his repetition of the offense.

JUDGE RENE BACULI vs. ATTY MELCHOR BATTUNG

FACTS:
Petitioner filed a disbarment complaint against repondent alleging that on July 24, 2008, during the hearing on the motion for
reconsideration of a civil case the respondent was shouting while arguing his motion. Judge Baculi advised him to tone down
his voice but instead, the respondent shouted at the top of his voice. When warned that he would be cited for direct contempt,
the respondent shouted, Then cite me! Judge Baculi cited him for direct contempt and imposed a fine of P100.00. The
respondent then left. While other cases were being heard, the respondent re-entered the courtroom and shouted, Judge, I will
file gross ignorance against you! I am not afraid of you! Judge Baculi ordered the sheriff to escort the respondent out of the
courtroom and cited him for direct contempt of court for the second time.

After his hearings, Judge Baculi went out and saw the respondent at the hall of the courthouse, apparently waiting for him.
The respondent again shouted in a threatening tone, Judge, I will file gross ignorance against you! I am not afraid of you! He
kept on shouting, I am not afraid of you! and challenged the judge to a fight. Staff and lawyers escorted him out of the
building.

According to Judge Baculi, the respondent filed dilatory pleadings in an ejectment case. The respondent filed a motion to
quash the previously issued writ of execution, raising as a ground the motion to dismiss filed by the defendant for lack of
jurisdiction. Judge Baculi asserted that the respondent knew as a lawyer that ejectment cases are within the jurisdiction of
First Level Courts and the latter was merely delaying the speedy and efficient administration of justice.

Respondent alleged that he was provoked by the Judge that is why he shouted back at him.

IBP Commissioner Report


- Commissioner found that the respondent failed to observe Canon 11 of the CPR that requires a lawyer to observe and
maintain respect due the courts and judicial officers. The respondent also violated Rule 11.03 of Canon 11 that provides
that a lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behavior before the courts.
- The respondents argument that Judge Baculi provoked him to shout should not be given due consideration since the
respondent should not have shouted at the presiding judge; by doing so, he created the impression that disrespect of a
judge could be tolerated.
- What the respondent should have done was to file an action before the Office of the Court Administrator if he believed
that Judge Baculi did not act according to the norms of judicial conduct.
- Suspension from the practice of law for 6 months

IBP Board of Governors


- approved the Report and Recommendation of the investigating commissioner

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent should be held liable for violation of the CPR?

HELD:
We agree with the IBPs finding that the respondent violated Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Atty. Battung disrespected Judge Baculi by shouting at him inside the courtroom during court proceedings in the presence of
litigants and their counsels, and court personnel. This behavior, in front of many witnesses, cannot be allowed.

These actions were not only against the person, the position and the stature of Judge Baculi, but against the court as well
whose proceedings were openly and flagrantly disrupted, and brought to disrepute by the respondent.

Litigants and counsels, particularly the latter because of their position and avowed duty to the courts, cannot be allowed to
publicly ridicule, demean and disrespect a judge, and the court that he represents.

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
It is the duty of a lawyer, as an officer of the court, to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts. Respect for the courts
guarantees the stability of the judicial institution; without this guarantee, the institution would be resting on very shaky
foundations.

A lawyer who insults a judge inside a courtroom completely disregards the latters role, stature and position in our justice
system. When the respondent publicly berated and brazenly threatened Judge Baculi that he would file a case for gross
ignorance of the law against the latter, the respondent effectively acted in a manner tending to erode the public confidence in
Judge Baculis competence and in his ability to decide cases. Incompetence is a matter that, even if true, must be handled
with sensitivity in the manner provided under the Rules of Court; an objecting or complaining lawyer cannot act in a manner
that puts the courts in a bad light and bring the justice system into disrepute.

Atty. Battung is found guilty and shall be suspended for 1 year

ROXAS V. DE ZUZUARREGUI
FACTS:
In 1977, the National Housing Authority (NHA) filed expropriation proceedings against the Zuzuarreguis, petitioners in
G.R. No. 152104, for parcels of land belonging to the latter situated in Antipolo, Rizal, with a total land area of 1,790,570.36
square meters, more or less. This case was lodged before the RTC, Branch 141, Municipality of Makati. On 25 May 1983,
said case was ordered archived by Branch 141.
About a month before the aforecited case was ordered archived, the Zuzuarreguis engaged the legal services of
Attys. Romeo G. Roxas and Santiago N. Pastor, to represent them in Civil Case No. 26804. This was sealed by a Letter-
Agreement dated 22 April 1983.
“We shall endeavor to secure the just compensation with the National Housing Authority and other governmental
agencies at a price of ELEVEN PESOS (P11.00) or more per square meter. Any lower amount shall not entitle us to
any attorneys fees. At such price of P11.00 per square meter or more our contingent fee[s] is THIRTY PERCENT
(30%) of the just compensation.
The other terms and conditions of our proposal are:
xxxx
5. You are willing to accept NHA 5-year bonds as part payment up to 75% of the total compensation. In the event of
your desire to discount the bonds, we shall assist to have them discounted at 75% of its face value.
6. Our lawyers fees shall be in the proportion of the cash/bonds ratio of the just compensation. Likewise our fees are
subject to 10% withholding tax.”

A Motion to Set Case for Hearing, dated 14 February 1984, was filed by Attys. Roxas and Pastor in Civil Case No.
26804, praying that the case be revived and be set for hearing by the court at the earliest date available in its calendar. The
appropriate proceedings thereafter ensued. A Partial Decision was rendered by Branch 141 fixing the just compensation to be
paid to the Zuzuarreguis at P30.00 per square meter.
The NHA filed a Motion for Reconsideration praying that the Partial Decision be reconsidered and set aside, and a
new one rendered lowering the amount of just compensation in accordance with applicable laws. Pending resolution thereof,
a Joint Special Power of Attorney was executed by Antonio De Zuzuarregui, Jr., Enrique De Zuzuarregui and Pacita Javier, in
favor of Attys. Roxas and Pastor.
(2) To represent us in the negotiations for a compromise with the National Housing Authority for our properties subject
of the above case;
(3) To negotiate for and in our behalves for the settlement of the just compensation of our properties payable in cash
or in bonds;
(4) To sign and prepare all papers relative to the preparation of a Compromise Agreement or any papers and
communications which shall eventually bear our signatures; and
(5) That this Special Power of Attorney is enforce (sic) as long as ATTYS. ROMEO G. ROXAS AND SANTIAGO
PASTOR are our lawyers in Civil Case No. 26804 before the Regional Trial Court, Makati, Branch CXLI.

On 22 November 1985, a Special Power of Attorney was executed by Beatriz Zuzuarregui vda. De Reyes in favor of
Attys. Romeo G. Roxas, Santiago Pastor and Basilio H. Toquero.
1. To represent me in the negotiation for a Compromise with the National Housing Authority for my properties
subject to my approval in CIVIL CASE No. 26804, entitled National Housing Authority vs. Pilar Ibaez de
Zuzuarregui, et al., before the Regional Trial Court, Makati, Branch CXLI;
2. To negotiate for and in my behalf for the settlement of the just compensation of my properties payable in cash or
in bond, subject to my approval;
3. To sign and prepare all papers relative to the preparation of a Compromise Agreement or any papers and
communications which shall eventually bear my signature;
4. To accept for and in my behalf payments for my properties after the Compromise Agreement is duly approved by
the Court, the actual receipts of which payments shall be signed by me.
On 10 December 1985, a Letter-Agreemen was executed by and between Antonio Zuzuarregui, Jr., Pacita Javier and
Enrique De Zuzuarregui, on the one hand, and Attys. Romeo G. Roxas and Santiago Pastor, on the other. It provided that the
Zuzuarreguis commit and bind themselves to pay the Attys. Roxas and Pastor, their heirs or assignees-in-interest, as their
contingent attorney’s fees, any and all amount in excess of the P17.00 per square meter payable in NHA bonds. The Letter
Agreement serves also as the counsel’s authority to collect directly from NHA the amount pertaining to you as your contingent
attorneys fees, and it also amends and supersedes their previous agreement regarding your attorneys fees as our lawyers
and counsels in the above-mentioned expropriation case.
Resolution No. 1174 dated 16 December 1985 was issued by the NHA stating that the Zuzuarregui property would be
acquired at a cost of P19.50 per square meter; that the Zuzuarreguis would be paid in NHA Bonds, subject to the availability
of funds; and that the yield on the bonds to be paid to the Zuzuarreguis shall be based on the Central Bank rate at the time of
payment. As a result of the aforesaid NHA Resolution, a Compromise Agreement was executed between the Zuzuarreguis
and the NHA in Civil Case No. 26804. The Compromise Agreement, stipulated among other things, that the just
compensation of the Zuzuarregui properties would be at P19.50 per square meter payable in NHA Bonds. In a Decision the
RTC, Branch 141, Makati, approved the Compromise Agreement submitted by the parties.
The total amount in NHA bonds released to Atty. Romeo G. Roxas in behalf of the Zuzuarreguis amounted to
P54,500,000.00. Out of this amount, the records show that the amount turned over to the Zuzuarreguis by Atty. Roxas
PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
amounted to P30,520,000.00 in NHA bonds. Computed at P19.50 per square meter, the 1,790,570.36 square meters property
of the Zuzuarreguis was expropriated at a total price of P34,916,122.00. The total amount released by the NHA was
P54,500,000.00. The difference of P19,583,878.00 is, undoubtedly, the yield on the bonds.
On 25 August 1987, a letter was sent by the Zuzuarreguis new counsel, Jose F. Gonzalez, to Attys. Roxas and
Pastor, demanding that the latter deliver to the Zuzuarreguis the yield corresponding to bonds paid by the NHA within a period
of 10 days from receipt, under pain of administrative, civil and/or criminal action. Attys. Roxas and Pastor answered via a
letter explaining their side of the story. They stated therein, among other things, that the amount that they got seems huge
from the surface, but it just actually passed their hands, as it did not really go to them.
On 29 September 1987, a letter was sent by the Zuzuarreguis through Antonio De Zuzuarregui, Jr., to Attys. Romeo
G. Roxas and Santiago N. Pastor, informing the latter that their services as counsels of the Zuzuarreguis (except Betty) in the
expropriation proceedings filed by the NHA, was being formally terminated.
Apparently unsatisfied with the explanation of Attys. Roxas and Pastor, the Zuzuarreguis filed a civil action for Sum of
Money and Damages before the RTC, Quezon City, Branch 98, against the NHA, Jose B. H. Pedrosa, Atty. Romeo G. Roxas
and Atty. Santiago N. Pastor. The Zuzuarreguis demanded that the yield on the NHA bonds be turned over to them. The case
was dismissed. On appeal, the decision of RTC was reversed and set aside.
Attys. Roxas and Pastor filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals,
docketed as G.R. No. 152072. Likewise, on 21 March 2002, the Zuzuarreguis filed their own Petition for Review on Certiorari
assailing the same Decision, docketed as G.R. No. 152104.

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE LETTER-AGREEMENT DATED 10 DECEMBER 1985, EXECUTED BY THE
ZUZUARREGUIS, AND ATTYS. ROXAS AND PASTOR, FIXING THE EXACT AMOUNT THAT MUST GO TO THE FORMER,
SHOULD STAND AS LAW BETWEEN THE PARTIES.

RULING:
Under Article 1318 of the Civil Code, there are three essential requisites which must concur in order to give rise to a
binding contract: (1) consent of the contracting parties; (2) object certain which is the subject matter of the contract; and (3)
cause of the obligation which is established. All these requisites were present in the execution of the Letter-Agreement.
The Zuzuarreguis, in entering into the Letter-Agreement, fully gave their consent thereto. In fact, it was them (the
Zuzuarreguis) who sent the said letter to Attys. Roxas and Pastor, for the purpose of confirming all the matters which they had
agreed upon previously. There is absolutely no evidence to show that anybody was forced into entering into the Letter-
Agreement. Verily, its existence, due execution and contents were admitted by the Zuzuarreguis themselves. The objects in
this case are twofold. One is the money that will go to the Zuzuarreguis (P17.00 per square meter), and two, the money that
will go to Attys. Roxas and Pastor (any and all amount in excess of P17.00 per square meter). There was certainty as to the
amount that will go to the Zuzuarreguis, and there was likewise certainty as to what amount will go to Attys. Roxas and
Pastor. The cause is the legal service that was provided by Attys. Roxas and Pastor. In general, cause is the why of the
contract or the essential reason which moves the contracting parties to enter into the contract.
It is basic that a contract is the law between the parties. Obligations arising from contracts have the force of law
between the contracting parties and should be complied with in good faith. Unless the stipulations in a contract are contrary to
law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy, the same are binding as between the parties.

Under the contract in question, Attys. Roxas and Pastor are to receive contingent fees for their professional services.
It is a deeply-rooted rule that contingent fees are not per se prohibited by law. They are sanctioned by Canon 13 of the
Canons of Professional Ethics and Canon 20, Rule 20.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. However, in cases
where contingent fees are sanctioned by law, the same should be reasonable under all the circumstances of the case, and
should always be subject to the supervision of a court, as to its reasonableness, such that under Canon 20 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, a lawyer is tasked to charge only fair and reasonable fees.
Indubitably entwined with the lawyers duty to charge only reasonable fees is the power of this Court to reduce the
amount of attorneys fees if the same is excessive and unconscionable. Thus, Section 24, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
partly states:
SEC. 24. Compensation of attorneys; agreement as to fees. An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover from
his client no more than a reasonable compensation for his services, with a view to the importance of the subject
matter of the controversy, the extent of the services rendered, and the professional standing of the attorney. x x x. A
written contract for services shall control the amount to be paid therefore unless found by the court to be
unconscionable or unreasonable.
Attorneys fees are unconscionable if they affront ones sense of justice, decency or reasonableness. It becomes axiomatic
therefore, that power to determine the reasonableness or the, unconscionable character of attorney's fees stipulated by the
parties is a matter falling within the regulatory prerogative of the courts.
In the instant case, Attys. Roxas and Pastor received an amount which was equal to forty-four percent (44%) of the
just compensation paid (including the yield on the bonds) by the NHA to the Zuzuarreguis, or an amount equivalent to
P23,980,000.00 of the P54,500,000.00. Considering that there was no full blown hearing in the expropriation case, ending as
it did in a Compromise Agreement, the 44% is, undeniably, unconscionable and excessive under the circumstances. Its
reduction is, therefore, in order.

RE : SUSPENSION OF ATTY. ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO, FORMER SENIOR STATE PROSECUTOR


FACTS:
• Judge Buyser inhibited himself from further trying the case because of the harsh insinuation of Senior Prosecutor
Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo that he lacks the cold neutrality of an impartial magistrate, by allegedly suggesting the filing of
the motion to fix the amount of bail bond by counsel for the accused
• The case was transferred to the RTC of Surigao City, presided by Judge Jose Manuel P. Tan.
• Judge Tan favorably resolved the Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail Bond, and fixed the amount of the bond
at P40,000.
• Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order, which motion was denied for lack of merit.

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
• Instead of availing himself only of judicial remedies, respondent caused the publication of an article in the issue of the
Mindanao Gold Star Daily. The article, entitled Senior prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge for allowing murder suspect
to bail out.
• The RTC of Surigao City, directed respondent and the writer of the article, Mark Francisco, to appear in court to
explain why they should not be cited for indirect contempt of court for the article which degraded the court and its
presiding judge with its lies and misrepresentation.
• Mark Francisco disclosed that respondent, in a press conference, stated that the crime of murder is non-bailable.
When asked by the trial court why he printed such lies, Mr. Francisco answered that his only source was respondent.
• Respondent admitted that he caused the holding of the press conference, but refused to answer whether he made
the statements in the article. For his refusal to answer, the trial court declared him in contempt of court pursuant to
Sec. 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court

• Despite the citation of indirect contempt, respondent presented himself to the media for interviews in Radio Station
DXKS, and again attacked the integrity of Judge Tan and the trial courts disposition in the proceedings
• The RTC of Surigao City required respondent to explain why he should not be held in contempt for his media
interviews that degraded the court and the presiding judge, and why he should not be suspended from the practice of
law for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility, specifically Rule 11.05 of Canon 11and Rule 13.02 of Canon
13.
• Respondent filed an Urgent Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer to Contempt alleging that he was saddled
with work of equal importance and needed ample time to answer the same. He also prayed for a bill of particulars in
order to properly prepare for his defense.
• The trial court denied the motion. It stated that a bill of particulars is not applicable in contempt proceedings
• The trial court received respondents Answer. Respondent denied the charge that he sought to be interviewed by
radio station DXKS. He, however, stated that right after the hearing, he was approached by someone who asked him
to comment on the Order issued in open court, and that his comment does not fall within the concept of indirect
contempt of court. He also admitted that he was interviewed by his friend, Tony Consing, at the latters instance. He
justified his response during the interview as a simple exercise of his constitutional right of freedom of speech and
that it was not meant to offend or malign, and was without malice.
• The trial court found respondents denials to be lame as the tape of his interview, duly transcribed, showed disrespect
of the court and its officers

• The RTC of Surigao City, transmitted to the Office of the Bar Confidant the Statement of Facts of respondents
suspension from the practice of law, together with the order of suspension and other relevant documents.
• The Office of the Bar Confidant recommended the implementation of the trial courts order of suspension, and that
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year, with a stern warning that therepetition of a similar
offense will be dealt with more severely.

ISSUE:
• Whether or not the Order of the Office of the Bar Confidant should be affirmed.

HELD:
• Lawyers are licensed officers of the courts who are empowered to appear, prosecute and defend; and upon whom
peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by law as a consequence.
• Membership in the bar imposes upon them certain obligations. Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
mandates a lawyer to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and [he] should insist
on similar conduct by others. Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 states that a lawyer shall submit grievances against a judge to
the proper authorities only.
• Respondent violated Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 when he admittedly caused the holding of a press conference where he
made statements against the Order.
• Respondent also violated Canon 11 when he indirectly stated that Judge Tan was displaying judicial arrogance in the
article of Mindanao Gold Star Daily.
• Respondent also violated the Lawyers Oath, as he has sworn to conduct [himself] as a lawyer according to the best
of [his] knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to [his] clients.
• Atty. Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo is found guilty of violating Rule 11.05, Canon 11 and Rule 13.02, Canon 13 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, and of violating the Lawyers Oath, for which he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law
for one (1) year effective upon finality of this Decision, with a STERN WARNING that the repetition of a similar
offense shall be dealt with more severely.

GABRIEL vs. CA
FACTS:

Atty. Cornelio M. Orteza is hereby required to SHOW CAUSE why he should not be held in contempt and/or disciplinary dealt
with for filing a second petition on behalf of the same petitioners for review of the same decision of the Court of Appeals which
was already previously denied with finality within ten (10) days from notice hereof.

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
Respondent Atty. Orteza still filed without leave of court on July 6, 1976 a motion for reconsideration of the Court's above-
quoted resolution denying his petition for review and after having secured for the purpose an extension (on the ground of
pressure of work) filed on July 12, 1976 his explanation.

ISSUE.
Should Atty. Orteza be liable form contempt court?

HELD:

Yes. Such filing constitutes abuse of the Court's processes and improper conduct that tends to impede obstruct and degrade
the administration of justice and will be punished as contempt of court. Needless to add, the lawyer who filed such multiple or
repetitious petitions (which obviously delays the execution of a final and executory judgment) subjects himself to disciplinary
action for incompetence (for not knowing any better or for willful violation of his duties as an attorney to act with all good
fidelity to the courts and to maintain only such actions as appear to him to be just and are consistent with truth and honor.

Thus in several instances in the past, the Court has admonished that (L)itigants and their counsels are warned under pain of
contempt and disciplinary action that a party who has already failed to have a decision of the Court of Appeals set aside
through a petition for review by certiorari with the denial of his petition (by the First Division to which such petitions for review
are assigned under the Court's standing resolution of November 15, 1973) should not under the guise of a special civil action
file a second petition for the same purpose of setting aside the same Court of Appeals' decision to be acted upon by the
Second Division (to which special civil actions are assigned under the Court's resolution of November 15, 1973). and vice-
versa, for such conduct would tend to trifle with the Court and impede, obstruct and impede the administration of justice".

Respondent Atty. Orteza is therefore adjudged guilty of contempt of court and is ordered to pay a fine of Five Hundred
(P500.00) pesos with ten (10) days from notice hereof failing which, he shall be imprisoned for a period of (50) days.

JONAR SANTIAGO vs. ATTY EDISON RAFANAN


FACTS:
- complainant (employee of the BJMP) alleged that Respondent 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.
- Complainant 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.
- Finally, Complainant alleges that on a certain date, Respondent accompanied by several persons waited for Complainant
after the hearing and after confronting the latter disarmed him of his sidearm and thereafter uttered insulting words and
veiled threats
- Pursuant to the order of the Commission on Bar Discipline
- Atty. Rafanan filed his verified Answer.
- He admitted having administered the oath to the affiants whose Affidavits were attached to the verified Complaint.
- He believed, however, that the non-notation of their Residence Certificates in the Affidavits and the Counter-affidavits
was allowed.
- He opined that the 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
- After receipt of respondents Answer, the CBD set the case for hearing (June 5). Notices of the hearing were sent to the
parties by registered mail. On the scheduled date and time of the hearing, only complainant appeared. Respondent was
unable to do so, apparently because he had received the Notice only on June 8, 2001.

IBP Recommendation
- IBP Board of Governors issued Resolution approving and adopting the Investigating Commissioners Report that
respondent had violated specific requirements of the Notarial Law on the execution of a certification, the entry of such
certification in the notarial register, and the indication of the affiants residence certificate.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of violation of the CPR?

Held:
- Agree with resolution of IBP Board of Governors
- Notarial Law is explicit on the obligations and duties of notaries public.
- 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 date as part of
such certification.
- They are also required to maintain and keep a notarial register; to enter therein all instruments notarized by them; and
to give to each instrument executed, sworn to, or acknowledged before [them] a number corresponding to the one in
[their] register [and to state therein] the page or pages of [their] register, on which the same is recorded.
- Failure to perform these duties would result in the revocation of their commission as notaries public.
- formalities are mandatory and cannot be simply neglected, considering the degree of importance and evidentiary weight
attached to notarized documents. Notaries public entering into their commissions are presumed to be aware of these
elementary requirements.
- Importance of notarization
- Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest, such that only
those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization converts a private document into a
public document thus making that document admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. A notarial
document is by law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. Courts, administrative agencies and the public at

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
large must be able to rely upon the acknowledgment executed by a notary public and appended to a private
instrument.
- notaries public should not take for granted the solemn duties pertaining to their office.
- It is clear from the pleadings before us -- and respondent has readily admitted -- that he violated the Notarial Law by failing
to enter in the documents notations of the residence certificate, as well as the entry number and the pages of the notarial
registry.
- Section 3 of Rule 112 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure expressly requires respondent as notary -- in the absence of any
fiscal, state prosecutor or government official authorized to administer the oath -- to certify that he has personally examined
the affiants and that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and understood their affidavits. Respondent failed to do so
with respect to the subject Affidavits and Counter-Affidavits in the belief that -- as counsel for the affiants -- he was not
required to comply with the certification requirement.

FOODSPHERE, INC. V. ATTY. MELANIO MAURICIO, JR.


FACTS:
Foodsphere, Inc. (complainant), a corporation engaged in the business of meat processing and manufacture and
distribution of canned goods and grocery products under the brand name CDO, filed a Verified Complaint for disbarment
before the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) against Atty. Melanio L.
Mauricio, Jr., for (1) grossly immoral conduct; (2) violation of lawyers oath and (3) disrespect to the courts and to investigating
prosecutors.
On June 22, 2004, a certain Alberto Cordero (Cordero) purportedly bought from a grocery in Valenzuela City canned
goods including a can of CDO Liver spread. On June 27, 2004, as Cordero and his relatives were eating bread with the CDO
Liver spread, they found the spread to be sour and soon discovered a colony of worms inside the can. Corderos wife thus
filed a complaint with the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration (BFAD). Laboratory examination confirmed the presence of
parasites in the Liver spread.
BFAD conducted a conciliation hearing on July 27, 2004 during which the spouses Cordero demanded P150,000 as
damages from complainant. Complainant refused to heed the demand, however, as being in contravention of company policy
and, in any event, outrageous. Complainant instead offered to return actual medical and incidental expenses incurred by the
Corderos as long as they were supported by receipts, but the offer was turned down. And the Corderos threatened to bring
the matter to the attention of the media.
Complainant was later required by the BFAD to file its Answer to the complaint. In the meantime or on August 6,
2004, respondent sent complainant via fax a copy of the front page of the would-be August 10-16, 2004 issue of the tabloid
Balitang Patas BATAS, Vol. 1, No. 12 which complainant found to contain articles maligning, discrediting and imputing vices
and defects to it and its products. Respondent threatened to publish the articles unless complainant gave in to the P150,000
demand of the Corderos. Complainant thereupon reiterated its counter-offer earlier conveyed to the Corderos, but respondent
turned it down. Respondent later proposed to settle the matter for P50,000, P15,000 of which would go to the Corderos and
P35,000 to his BATAS Foundation. And respondent directed complainant to place paid advertisements in the tabloids and
television program.
On August 11, 2004, respondent sent complainant an Advertising Contract asking complainant to advertise in the
tabloid Balitang Patas BATAS for its next 24 weekly issues at P15,000 per issue or a total amount of P360,000, and a
Program Profile of the television program KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS also asking complainant to place spot advertisements.
As a sign of goodwill, complainant offered to buy three full-page advertisements in the tabloid amounting to P45,000
at P15,000 per advertisement, and three spots of 30-second TVC in the television program at P7,700 each or a total of
P23,100. Acting on complainants offer, respondent relayed to it that he and his Executive Producer were disappointed with
the offer and threatened to proceed with the publication of the articles/columns.
On August 28, 2004, respondent, in his radio program Double B- BATAS NG BAYAN at radio station DZBB,
announced the holding of a supposed contest sponsored by said program with the following question: “Ang tanong, aling liver
spread sa Pilipinas ang may uod?”
And respondent wrote in his columns in the tabloids articles which put complainant in bad light.
Complainant thus filed criminal complaints against respondent and several others for Libel and Threatening to
Publish Libel under Articles 353 and 356 of the Revised Penal Code before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City
and Valenzuela City. The complaints were pending at he time of the filing of the present administrative complaint. In the
criminal complaints pending before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Valenzuela City, docketed as I.S. Nos. V-04-2917-
2933, respondent filed his Entry of Appearance with Highly Urgent Motion to Elevate These Cases to the Department of
Justice using foul and disrespectful words.
Meanwhile, complainant filed a civil case against respondent and several others before the RTC, Valenzuela City and
raffled to Branch 75 thereof. The pending cases against him and the issuance of a status quo order notwithstanding,
respondent continued to publish articles against complainant and to malign complainant through his television shows.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent should be disbarred

RULING:
No, only suspension of 2 years. Respondent violated Rule 1.01 of the CPR which mandates lawyers to refrain from
engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. For, as the IBP found, he engaged in deceitful conduct by, inter
alia, taking advantage of the complaint against CDO to advance his interest to obtain funds for his BATAS Foundation and
seek sponsorships and advertisements for the tabloids and his television program. He also violated Rule 13.02 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, which mandates: “A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending
case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.”
For despite the pendency of the civil case against him and the issuance of a status quo order restraining/enjoining
further publishing, televising and broadcasting of any matter relative to the complaint of CDO, respondent continued with his
attacks against complainant and its products. At the same time, respondent violated Canon 1 also of the CPR, which
mandates lawyers to uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. For
he defied said status quo order, despite his (respondents) oath as a member of the legal profession to obey the laws as well
as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities.
Further, respondent violated Canon 8 and Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which mandate, viz:
CANON 8 - A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor toward his professional colleagues, and
shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel.
PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
Rule 8.01 A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise
improper,
by using intemperate language.
By failing to live up to his oath and to comply with the exacting standards of the legal profession, respondent also
violated Canon 7 of the CPR, which directs a lawyer to at all times uphold the integrity and the dignity of the legal profession.
To the Court, suspension of respondent from the practice of law for three years is, in the premises, sufficient.

DANTE LA JIMENEZ & LAURO G. VIZCONDE, vs. ATTY. FELISBERTO L. VERANO, JR; ATTY. OLIVER O. LOZANO, vs.
ATTY. FELISBERTO L. VERANO, JR
FACTS:
• Brodett and Tecson ("Alabang Boys") were the accused in cases filed by the PDEA for the illegal sale and use of
dangerous drugs. In a Joint Inquest Resolution, the charges were dropped for lack of probable cause.
• Because of the failure of Prosecutor John R. Resado to ask clarificatory questions during the evaluation of the case,
several media outlets reported on incidents of bribery and "cover-up" allegedly prevalent in investigations of the drug
trade.
• This prompted the House Committee on Illegal Drugs to conduct its own congressional hearings. It was revealed
during one such hearing that respondent had prepared the release order for his three clients using the letterhead of
the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the stationery of then Secretary Raul Gonzales.
• Jimenez and Vizconde, in their capacity as founders of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), sent a
letter of complaint to Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno.
o They stated that respondent had admitted to drafting the release order, and had thereby committed a highly
irregular and unethical act. They argued that respondent had no authority to use the DOJ letterhead and
should be penalized for acts unbecoming a member of the bar
• For his part, Atty. Lozano anchored his Complaint on alleged violation of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which states that a lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land, and promote
respect for legal processes.
o Atty. Lozano contended that respondent showed disrespect for the law and legal processes in drafting the
said order and sending it to a high-ranking public official, even though the latter was not a government
prosecutor
• Officers of the IBP, Cebu City Chapter, issued a Resolution condemning the unethical conduct of respondent and
showing unqualified support for the VACC’s filing of disbarment proceedings.
• In his Comment, respondent alludes to the Joint Inquest Resolution dropping the charges against his clients for lack
of probable cause, arguing that the resolution also ordered the immediate release of Brodett and Tecson; yet, "if the
Secretary of Justice approves it, then everything may be expedited." In any case, respondent continues, the drafted
release order was not signed by the Secretary and therefore remained "a mere scrap of paper with no effect at all."

ISSUE:
• Whether or not respondent should be disbarred.

HELD:
• After a careful review of the records,we agree with the IBP in finding reasonable grounds to hold respondent
administratively liable. Canon 13, the provision applied by the Investigating Commissioner, states that "a lawyer shall
rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain from any impropriety which tends to influence, or gives the appearance
of influencing the court." We believe that other provisions in the Code of Professional Responsibility likewise prohibit
acts of influence-peddling not limited to the regular courts, but even in all other venues in the justice sector, where
respect for the rule of law is at all times demanded from a member of the bar.
• The primary duty of lawyers is not to their clients but to the administration of justice. To that end, their clients’ success
is wholly subordinate. The conduct of a member of the bar ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of
the law and ethics. Any means, not honorable, fair and honest which is resorted to bythe lawyer, even inthe pursuit of
his devotion to his client’s cause, is condemnable and unethical
• Rule 1.02 states: "A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence
in the legal system." Further, according to Rule 15.06, "a lawyer shall not state or imply that he is able to influence
any public official, tribunal or legislative body." The succeeding rule, Rule 15.07, mandates a lawyer "to impress upon
his client compliance with the laws and the principles of fairness."
• Zeal and persistence in advancing a client’s cause must always be within the bounds of the law. A self-respecting
independence in the exercise of the profession is expected if an attorney is to remain a member of the bar. In the
present case, we find that respondent fell short of these exacting standards. Given the import of the case, a warning
is a mere slap on the wrist that would not serve as commensurate penalty for the offense.
• Atty. Felisberto L. Verano, Jr. is found GUILTYof violating Rules 1.02 and 15.07, in relation to Canon 13 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, for which he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months effective
immediately. This also serves as an emphatic WARNING that repetition of any similar offense shall be dealt with
more severely.

UY vs. GONZALES
FACTS:

In this case, complainant engaged the services of respondent lawyer to prepare and file a petition for the issuance of a new
certificate of title. After confiding with respondent the circumstances surrounding the lost title and discussing the fees and
costs, respondent prepared, finalized and submitted to him a petition to be filed before the Regional Trial Court.

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
When the petition was about to be filed, respondent went to complainant’s office demanding a certain amount other than what
was previously agreed upon. Respondent left his office after reasoning with him. Expecting that said petition would be filed,
he was shocked to find out later that instead of filing the petition for the issuance of a new certificate of title, respondent filed a
letter-complaint against him with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor for Falsification of Public Documents. The letter-
complaint contained facts and circumstances pertaining to the transfer certificate of title that was the subject matter of the
petition which respondent was supposed to have filed.

Respondent claims that he gave complainant a handwritten letter telling complainant that he is withdrawing the petition he
prepared and that complainant should get another lawyer to file the petition thereby terminating the lawyer-client relationship
between him and complainant; that there was no longer any professional relationship between the two of them when he filed
the letter-complaint for falsification of public document; that the facts and allegations contained in the letter-complaint for
falsification were culled from public documents procured from the Office of the Register of Deeds.

The IBP found him guilty of violating Rule 21.02, Canon 21 of the Canons of Professional Responsibility and recommended
for his suspension for 6 months.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent violated Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
No. Evidently, the facts alleged in the complaint for Estafa Through Falsification of Public Documents filed by respondent
against complainant were obtained by respondent due to his personal dealings with complainant. Respondent volunteered his
service to hasten the issuance of the certificate of title of the land he has redeemed from complainant. Clearly, there was no
attorney-client relationship between respondent and complainant.

The preparation and the proposed filing of the petition was only incidental to their personal transaction.

Whatever facts alleged by respondent against complainant were not obtained by respondent in his professional capacity but
as a redemptioner of a property originally owned by his deceased son and therefore, when respondent filed the complaint for
estafa against herein complainant, which necessarily involved alleging facts that would constitute estafa, respondent was not,
in any way, violating Canon 21. There is no way we can equate the filing of the affidavit-complaint against herein complainant
to a misconduct that is wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity and good demeanor or that renders him unworthy to
continue as an officer of the court. To hold otherwise would be precluding any lawyer from instituting a case against anyone to
protect his personal or proprietary interests.

PETITION DISMISSED for lack of merit

TEODORO REGALA vs. SANDIGANBAYAN

FACTS:
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala and Cruz Law Offices (ACCRA Law Firm) performed legal services for its clients, which
included, among others, the organization and acquisition of business associations and/or organizations, with the correlative
and incidental services where its members acted as incorporators, or simply, as stockholders. More specifically, in the
performance of these services, the members of the law firm delivered to its client documents which substantiate the client's
equity holdings.

In the course of their dealings with their clients, the members of the law firm acquire information relative to the assets of
clients as well as their personal and business circumstances. As members of the ACCRA Law Firm, petitioners and private
respondent Raul Roco admit that they assisted in the organization and acquisition of the companies included in Civil Case
No. 0033 (PCGG Case 33 entitled Republic vs Eduardo Cojuangco et al), and in keeping with the office practice, ACCRA
lawyers acted as nominees-stockholders of the said corporations involved in sequestration proceedings.

Respondent PCGG alleged that defendants conspired with each other in setting up, through the use of the coconut levy
funds, the financial and corporate framework and structures that led to the establishment of UCPB, UNICOM, COCOLIFE,
COCOMARK, CIC, and more than twenty other coconut levy funded corporations, including the acquisition of San Miguel
Corporation shares and its institutionalization through presidential directives of the coconut monopoly. ACCRA Investments
Corporation, became the holder of approximately fifteen million shares representing roughly 3.3% of the total outstanding
capital stock of UCPB

Respondent PCGG set the following conditions precedent for the exclusion of petitioners, namely:
(a) the disclosure of the identity of its clients;
(b) submission of documents substantiating the lawyer-client relationship; and
(c) the submission of the deeds of assignments petitioners executed in favor of its clients covering their respective
shareholdings

Respondent Sandiganbayan promulgated the Resolution, herein questioned, denying the exclusion of petitioners in PCGG
Case No. 33, for their refusal to comply with the conditions required by respondent PCGG

ISSUE: whether or not this duty may be asserted in refusing to disclose the name of petitioners' client(s) in the case at bar -
YES

HELD:
The petitioners were impleaded by the PCGG as co-defendants to force them to disclose the identity of their clients.
Petitioners are merely standing in for their clients as defendants in the complaint. Petitioners are being prosecuted solely on
the basis of activities and services performed in the course of their duties as lawyers. Petitioners inclusion as co-defendants
in the complaint is merely being used as leverage to compel them to name their clients and consequently to enable the
PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
PCGG to nail these clients. Such being the case, respondent PCGG has no valid cause of action as against petitioners and
should exclude them from the Third Amended Complaint.

The nature of lawyer-client relationship is premised on the Roman Law concepts of


- locatio conductio operarum (contract of lease of services)
- where one person lets his services and another hires them without reference to the object of which the services are to
be performed, wherein lawyers' services may be compensated by honorarium or for hire, and
- mandato (contract of agency)
- wherein a friend on whom reliance could be placed makes a contract in his name, but gives up all that he gained by
the contract to the person who requested him.

All communications made by a client to his counsel, for the purpose of professional advice or assistance, are privileged,
whether they relate to a suit pending or contemplated, or to any other matter proper for such advice or aid; x x x And
whenever the communication made, relates to a matter so connected with the employment as attorney or counsel as to afford
presumption that it was the ground of the address by the client, then it is privileged from disclosure. xxx.

The clients indeed consulted the petitioners, in their capacity as lawyers, regarding the financial and corporate structure,
framework and set-up of the corporations in question. In turn, petitioners gave their professional advice in the form of, among
others, the aforementioned deeds of assignment covering their clients shareholdings.

There is no question that the preparation of the aforestated documents was part and parcel of petitioners legal service to their
clients. More important, it constituted an integral part of their duties as lawyers. Petitioners, therefore, have a legitimate fear
that identifying their clients would implicate them in the very activity for which legal advice had been sought

The revelation of the client's name would obviously provide the necessary link for the prosecution to build its case, where
none otherwise exists. It is the link, that would inevitably form the chain of testimony necessary to convict the (client) of a...
crime."

We have no choice but to uphold petitioners' right not to reveal the identity of their clients under pain of the breach of fiduciary
duty owing to their clients, because the facts of the instant case clearly fall within recognized exceptions to the rule that the
clients name is not privileged information.

If we were to sustain respondent PCGG that the lawyer-client confidential privilege under the circumstances obtaining here
does not cover the identity of the client, then it would expose the lawyers themselves to possible litigation by their clients in
view of the strict fiduciary responsibility imposed on them in the exercise of their duties.

By compelling petitioners, not only to reveal the identity of their clients, but worse, to submit to the PCGG documents
substantiating the client-lawyer relationship, as well as deeds of assignment petitioners executed in favor of its clients
covering their respective shareholdings, the PCGG would exact from petitioners a link that would inevitably form the chain of
testimony necessary to convict the (client) of a crime.

ANION V. ATTY. CLEMENCIO SABITSANA, JR.

FACTS:
In her complaint, Josefina M. Anion (complainant) related that she previously engaged the legal services of Atty.
Sabitsana in the preparation and execution in her favor of a Deed of Sale over a parcel of land owned by her late common-
law husband, Brigido Caneja, Jr. Atty. Sabitsana allegedly violated her confidence when he subsequently filed a civil case
against her for the annulment of the Deed of Sale in behalf of Zenaida L. Caete, the legal wife of Brigido Caneja, Jr. The
complainant accused Atty. Sabitsana of using the confidential information he obtained from her in filing the civil case.
Atty. Sabitsana admitted having advised the complainant in the preparation and execution of the Deed of Sale.
However, he denied having received any confidential information. Atty. Sabitsana asserted that the present disbarment
complaint was instigated by one Atty. Gabino Velasquez, Jr., the notary of the disbarment complaint who lost a court case
against him (Atty. Sabitsana) and had instigated the complaint for this reason.
IBP Commissioner Pedro A. Magpayo Jr. found Atty. Sabitsana administratively liable for representing conflicting
interests. IBP Commissioner opined that complainant and respondents present client, being contending claimants to the
same property, the conflict of interest is obviously present. There is said to be inconsistency of interest when on behalf of one
client, it is the attorneys duty to contend for that which his duty to another client requires him to oppose. In brief, if he argues
for one client this argument will be opposed by him when he argues for the other client. Such is the case with which we are
now confronted, respondent being asked by one client to nullify what he had formerly notarized as a true and valid sale
between Bontes and the complainant. The IBP Commissioner recommended that Atty. Sabitsana be suspended from the
practice of law for a period of one (1) year.
IBP Board of Governors resolved to adopt and approve the Report and Recommendation of the IBP Commissioner
after finding it to be fully supported by the evidence on record, the applicable laws and rules. The IBP Board of Governors
agreed with the IBP Commissioners recommended penalty. Atty. Sabitsana moved to reconsider the above resolution, but the
IBP Board of Governors denied his motion in a resolution.

ISSUE: Whether Atty. Sabitsana is guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests.

RULING:
After a careful study of the records, we agree with the findings and recommendations of the IBP Commissioner and
the IBP Board of Governors.
The relationship between a lawyer and his/her client should ideally be imbued with the highest level of trust and
confidence. This is the standard of confidentiality that must prevail to promote a full disclosure of the clients most confidential
information to his/her lawyer for an unhampered exchange of information between them. Needless to state, a client can only
entrust confidential information to his/her lawyer based on an expectation from the lawyer of utmost secrecy and discretion;
the lawyer, for his part, is duty-bound to observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all dealings and transactions with the client.
PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
Part of the lawyers duty in this regard is to avoid representing conflicting interests, a matter covered by Rule 15.03, Canon 15
of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).
The proscription against representation of conflicting interests applies to a situation where the opposing parties are
present clients in the same action or in an unrelated action. The prohibition also applies even if the lawyer would not be called
upon to contend for one client that which the lawyer has to oppose for the other client, or that there would be no occasion to
use the confidential information acquired from one to the disadvantage of the other as the two actions are wholly unrelated.
To be held accountable under this rule, it is enough that the opposing parties in one case, one of whom would lose the suit,
are present clients and the nature or conditions of the lawyers respective retainers with each of them would affect the
performance of the duty of undivided fidelity to both clients.
Jurisprudence has provided three tests in determining whether a violation of the above rule is present in a given
case.
(1) whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that
claim for the other client. Thus, if a lawyers argument for one client has to be opposed by that same lawyer in arguing for
the other client, there is a violation of the rule.
(2) whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyers duty of undivided fidelity and
loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty.
(3) whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against a former client any confidential information
acquired through their connection or previous employment.

On the basis of the attendant facts of the case, we find substantial evidence to support Atty. Sabitsanas violation of the above
rule, as established by the following circumstances on record:
One, his legal services were initially engaged by the complainant to protect her interest over a certain property. The
records show that upon the legal advice of Atty. Sabitsana, the Deed of Sale over the property was prepared and executed in
the complainants favor.
Two, Atty. Sabitsana met with Zenaida Caete to discuss the latters legal interest over the property subject of the Deed
of Sale. At that point, Atty. Sabitsana already had knowledge that Zenaida Caetes interest clashed with the complainants
interests.
Three, despite the knowledge of the clashing interests between his two clients, Atty. Sabitsana accepted the
engagement from Zenaida Caete.
Four, Atty. Sabitsanas actual knowledge of the conflicting interests between his two clients was demonstrated by his
own actions: first, he filed a case against the complainant in behalf of Zenaida Caete; second, he impleaded the complainant
as the defendant in the case; and third, the case he filed was for the annulment of the Deed of Sale that he had previously
prepared and executed for the complainant.
By his acts, not only did Atty. Sabitsana agree to represent one client against another client in the same action; he
also accepted a new engagement that entailed him to contend and oppose the interest of his other client in a property in
which his legal services had been previously retained.
To be sure, Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the CPR provides an exception to the above prohibition. However, we find no
reason to apply the exception due to Atty. Sabitsanas failure to comply with the requirements set forth under the rule. Atty.
Sabitsana did not make a full disclosure of facts to the complainant and to Zenaida Caete before he accepted the new
engagement with Zenaida Caete. The records likewise show that although Atty. Sabitsana wrote a letter to the complainant
informing her of Zenaida Caetes adverse claim to the property covered by the Deed of Sale and, urging her to settle the
adverse claim; Atty. Sabitsana however did not disclose to the complainant that he was also being engaged as counsel by
Zenaida Caete. Moreover, the records show that Atty. Sabitsana failed to obtain the written consent of his two clients, as
required by Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the CPR.

VERONICA S. SANTIAGO, BENJAMIN Q. HONTIVEROS, MR. SOCORRO F. MANAS, and TRINIDAD NORDISTA, vs.
ATTY. AMADO R. FOJAS

FACTS:
• Veronica Santiago, Benjamin Hontiveros, Ma. Socorro Manas, and Trinidad Nordista were the President, Vice-
President, Treasurer, and Auditor, respectively, of the FEUFA. They allegedly expelled from the union Paulino
Salvador. The latter then commenced with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) a complaint to declare
illegal his expulsion from the union.
• Med-Arbiter Tomas Falconitin declared illegal Salvador's expulsion and directed the union and all its officers to
reinstate Salvador's name in the roll of union members with all the rights and privileges appurtenant thereto. This
resolution was affirmed in toto by the Secretary of Labor and Employment
• Subsequently, Paulino Salvador filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Valenzuela, a complaint against the
complainants herein for actual, moral, and exemplary damages and attorney's fee
• Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the said case on grounds of (1) res judicata by virtue of the final decision of the
Med-Arbiter and (2) lack of jurisdiction, since what was involved was an intra-union issue cognizable by the DOLE.
Later, he filed a supplemental motion to dismiss.
• Judge Teresita Dizon-Capulong, granted the motion and ordered the dismissal of the case. Upon Salvador's motion
for reconsideration, however, it reconsidered the order of dismissal, reinstated the case, and required the
complainants herein to file their answer
• Instead of filing an answer, the respondent filed a motion for reconsideration and dismissal of the case. This motion
having been denied, the respondent filed with this Court a petition for certiorari, which was later referred to the Court
of Appeals.
• Although that petition and his subsequent motion for reconsideration were both denied, the respondent still did not file
the complainants' answer. Hence, upon plaintiff Salvador's motion, the complainants were declared in default,
• The respondent then filed a motion to set aside the order of default and to stop the ex-parte reception of evidence
before the Clerk of Court, but to no avail
• Thereafter, the trial court rendered a decision ordering the complainants herein to pay, jointly and severally, plaintiff
Salvador the amounts of P200,000.00 as moral damages; P50,000.00 as exemplary damages or corrective
damages; and P65,000.00 as attorney's fees; plus cost of suit.

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
• The complainants, still assisted by the respondent, elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, which, however,
affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court.
• The respondent asserts that he was about to appeal the said decision to this Court, but his services as counsel for
the complainants and for the union were illegally and unilaterally terminated by complainant Veronica Santiago.

ISSUE:
• Whether the respondent committed culpable negligence, as would warrant disciplinary action, in failing to file for the
complainants an answer for which reason the latter were declared in default and judgment was rendered against
them

HELD:
• No lawyer is obliged to act either as adviser or advocate for every person who may wish to become his client. He has
the right to decline employment, subject, however, to Canon 14 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
• Once he 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 latter's cause with wholehearted fidelity, care, and devotion.
• 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.
• Certainly, "overzealousness" on the one hand and "volume and pressure of legal work" on the other are two distinct
and separate causes or grounds. The first presupposes the respondent's full and continuing awareness of his duty to
file an answer which, nevertheless, he subordinated to his conviction that the trial court had committed a reversible
error or grave abuse of discretion in issuing an order reconsidering its previous order of dismissal of Salvador's
complaint and in denying the motion to reconsider the said order. The second ground is purely based on
forgetfulness because of his other commitments.
• All told, the respondent committed a breach of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which requires
him to serve his clients, the complainants herein, with diligence and, more specifically, Rule 18.03 thereof which
provides: "A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall
render him liable."
• The respondent's negligence is not excused by his claim that Civil Case No. 3526-V-91 was in fact a "losing cause"
for the complainants since the claims therein for damages were based on the final decision of the Med-Arbiter
declaring the complainants' act of expelling Salvador from the union to be illegal. This claim is a mere afterthought
which hardly persuades us. If indeed the respondent was so convinced of the futility of any defense therein, he
should have seasonably informed the complainants thereof. Rule 15.05, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility expressly provides: A lawyer, when advising his client, shall give a candid and honest opinion on the
merits and probable results of the client's case, neither overstating nor understanding the prospects of the case.
• ATTY. AMADO R. FOJAS is hereby REPRIMANDED and ADMONISHED to be, henceforth, more careful in the
performance of his duty to his clients.

CASTRO vs. GALING


FACTS:
In 2003, complainant Lydia Castro-Justo engaged the services of respondent Atty. Rodolfo Galing in connection with
dishonored checks issued by Manila City Councilor Arlene W. Koa (Ms. Koa). After she paid his professional fees, the
respondent drafted and sent a letter to Ms. Koa demanding payment of the checks.Respondent advised complainant to wait
for the lapse of the period indicated in the demand letter before filing her complaint. complainant filed a criminal complaint
against Ms. Koa for estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila.

Complainant then received a copy of Motion for Consolidation that was filed for the respondent on behalf of the opposing
party. Complainant submits that by representing conflicting interests, respondent violated the Code of Professional
Responsibility. He admitted that he drafted a demand letter for complainant but argued that it was made only in deference to
their long standing friendship and not by reason of a professional engagement as professed by complainant. He denied
receiving any professional fee for the services he rendered. It was allegedly their understanding that complainant would have
to retain the services of another lawyer. He alleged that complainant, based on that agreement, engaged the services of Atty.
Manuel A. Ao.respondent stated that the movants in these cases are mother and daughter while complainants are likewise
mother and daughter and that these cases arose out from the same transaction. Thus, movants and complainants will be
adducing the same sets of evidence and witnesses. Respondent argued that no lawyer-client relationship existed between
him and complainant because there was no professional fee paid for the services he rendered. Complainant filed filed the
instant administrative complaint against Atty.Galing seeking his disbarment from the practice of law for violation of Canon 15
of Code of Professional Responsibility and conflict of interest.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent violated Canon 15 Rule 15.03 of Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
Yes,the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) found respondent guilty of violating Canon 15, Rule
15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility by representing conflicting interests and for his daring audacity and for the
pronounced malignancy of his act. Under Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that [a] lawyer shall not
represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. Respondent
was therefore bound to refrain from representing parties with conflicting interests in a controversy. The prohibition against
representing conflicting interest is founded on principles of public policy and good taste. A lawyer-client relationship can exist
notwithstanding the close friendship between complainant and respondent.

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
The relationship was established the moment complainant sought legal advice from respondent regarding the dishonored
checks. By drafting the demand letter respondent further affirmed such relationship. The fact that the demand letter was not
utilized in the criminal complaint filed and that respondent was not eventually engaged by complainant to represent her in the
criminal cases is of no moment. In the course of the lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer learns of the facts connected with
the clients case, including the weak and strong points of the case.

The nature of the relationship is, therefore, one of trust and confidence of the highest degree.It behooves lawyers not only to
keep inviolate the clients 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.The excuse proffered by respondent that it was not him but Atty. Ao who was eventually engaged by complainant will
not exonerate him from the clear violation of Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The take- over of a clients
cause of action by another lawyer does not give the former lawyer the right to represent the opposing party. It is not only
malpractice but also constitutes a violation of the confidence resulting from the attorney-client relationship.Considering that it
is respondents first infraction, the disbarment sought in the complaint is deemed to be too severe. As recommended by the
Board of Governors of the IBP,respondent is suspended from the practice of law for one (1) year.

CAROLINE JIMENEZ vs. ATTY EDGAR FRANCISCO


FACTS:
Mario Crespo (Mark Jimenez) filed a complaint for estafa against complainant et. al. The complaint was docketed with the
Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati City.

Jimenez alleged that he was the true and beneficial owner of the shares of stock in Clarion Realty and Development
Corporation (Clarion), which was incorporated specifically for the purpose of purchasing a residential house located in Forbes
Park, Makati City.

The stockholders executed a deed of assignment of their respective shares in favour of complainant (Jimenez’s common law
partner). Clarion’s total capitalization was only ₱5,000,000.00. Thus, in order to achieve its purpose of purchasing the Forbes
property, Clarion simulated a loan from the complainant in the amount of ₱80,750,000.00. Thereafter, Clarion purchased the
Forbes property in the amount of ₱117,000,000.00. To effect the sale, Myla Villanueva handed a check in the said amount
which was funded entirely by Jimenez. The sale, however, was undervalued. In the deed of sale, it was made to appear that
the Forbes property was purchased for ₱78,000,000.00 only. Further, the money used as the purchase price was not
reflected in the books of Clarion.

On July 19, 2001, Thomas Chua and Teresita Alsua assigned their shares in Clarion to Jimenez by virtue of a deed of trust.
On the other hand, Myla’s 249,997 shares were transferred to complainant based on a deed of assignment. The remaining
one (1) share was transferred to Ma. Carolina C. Crespo. These transactions appeared in Clarion’s General Information
Sheet (GIS) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Jimenez transferred all his shares to complainant by
another deed of assignment, making her the holder of Clarion shares amounting to ₱1,249,997.00.

According to Jimenez while he was in prison in the United States in 2004, he learned from Atty. Francisco that his son, Marcel
Crespo (Marcel), approached the complainant and threatened her, claiming that the United States Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) was about to go after their properties. Marcel succeeded in persuading complainant to transfer her nominal shares in
Clarion to Geraldine Antonio, through another deed of assignment.

Jimenez was informed by Atty. Francisco that, through fraudulent means, complainant and her co-respondents in the estafa
case, put the Forbes property for sale sometime in August 2004. The said property was eventually sold to Philmetro
Southwest Enterprise Inc. for the amount of ₱118,000,000.00 without Jimenez’s knowledge. This sale was again undervalued
at ₱78,000.000.00 per the deed of sale. Atty. Francisco relayed to Jimenez that he was the one who received the payment for
the sale of the Forbes property and that he handed all the proceeds thereof to Rosemarie Flaminiano in the presence of
complainant. Complainant was duty bound to remit all the proceeds of the sale to Jimenez as the true and beneficial owner.
Complainant and her co-respondents, however, misappropriated and converted the funds for their personal use and benefit.

In support of Jimenez’s complaint for estafa, Atty. Francisco executed an affidavit reiterating its factual averments

Complainant’s Allegation
- She relied on respondent as her personal lawyer and Clarion’s corporate counsel and secretary of Clarion.
- According to her, she usually conferred with Atty. Francisco regarding the legal implications of Clarion’s transactions.
- More significantly, the principal documents relative to the sale and transfer of Clarion’s property were all prepared and
drafted by Atty. Francisco or the members of his law office.
- Atty. Francisco was the one who actively participated in the transactions involving the sale of the Forbes property. Without
admitting the truth of the allegations in his affidavit, complainant argued that its execution clearly betrayed the trust and
confidence she reposed on him as a lawyer.
- For this reason, complainant prayed for the disbarment of Atty. Francisco.

Findings of IBP Investigating Commissioner


- Respondent is guilty of violations of the CPR and recommended that he be suspended for one (1) year from the practice of
law.
- After weighing on the claims of the parties, the Investigating Commissioner concluded that nothing in the records would
show that a lawyer-client relationship existed between Atty. Francisco and Jimenez.
- circumstances would show that Atty. Francisco was an original incorporator and shareholder of Clarion. He was also the
legal counsel and corporate secretary of the said corporation, the articles of incorporation of which did not include Jimenez
as an original incorporator.

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
- he also allowed misrepresentations as to Clarion’s ownership to be reported to the SEC and have admitted to have
simulated the loan and undervalued the consideration of the effected sale of the Forbes property, which displayed his
unlawful, dishonest, immoral, and deceitful conduct in violation of Canon 1 of the CPR.
- Further, when he executed the affidavit containing allegations against the interest of Clarion and complainant, the
Investigating Commissioner held that Atty. Francisco violated the rule on privileged communication and engaged in an act
that constituted representation of conflicting interests in violation of Canons 15 and 21 of the CPR.

Issue: Whether or not respondent should be held liable for violation of the CPR?

Held:
When Atty. Francisco was admitted to the Bar, he also took an oath to "obey the laws," "do no falsehood," and conduct
himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion.

In the facts obtaining in this case, Atty. Francisco clearly violated the canons and his sworn duty. He is guilty of engaging in
dishonest and deceitful conduct when he admitted to having allowed his corporate client, Clarion, to actively misrepresent to
the SEC, the significant matters regarding its corporate purpose and subsequently, its corporate shareholdings. In the
documents submitted to the SEC, such as the deeds of assignment and the GIS, Atty. Francisco, in his professional capacity,
feigned the validity of these transfers of shares, making it appear that these were done for consideration when, in fact, the
said transactions were fictitious, albeit upon the alleged orders of Jimenez.

As corporate secretary of Clarion, it was his duty and obligation to register valid transfers of stocks. Nonetheless, he chose to
advance the interests of his clientele with patent disregard of his duties as a lawyer. Worse, Atty. Francisco admitted to have
simulated the loan entered into by Clarion and to have undervalued the consideration of the effected sale of the Forbes
property. He permitted this fraudulent ruse to cheat the government of taxes. Unquestionably, therefore, Atty. Francisco
participated in a series of grave legal infractions and was content to have granted the requests of the persons involved.

If the Court allows this highly irregular practice for the specious reason that lawyers are constrained to obey their clients’
flawed scheming and machinations, the Court would, in effect, sanction wrongdoing and falsity. This would undermine the role
of lawyers as officers of the court.

the Court has reminded lawyers that their support for the cause of their clients should never be attained at the expense of
truth and justice. 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. It needs to be emphasized that the lawyer's fidelity to his client must not be pursued at
the expense of truth and justice, and must be held within the bounds of reason and common sense. His responsibility to
protect and advance the interests of his client does not warrant a course of action propelled by ill motives and malicious
intentions.

Atty. Francisco’s admissions show that he lacks candor regarding his dealings. Canon 10 of the CPR provides that, "[a]
lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court." Corollary thereto, Rule 10.0 of the CPR provides that "a lawyer
shall do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court, nor shall he mislead or allow the Court to be misled by an
artifice." Lawyers are officers of the court, called upon to assist in the administration of justice. They act as vanguards of our
legal system, protecting and upholding truth and the rule oflaw. They are expected to act with honesty in all their dealings,
especially with the court.

From the foregoing, Atty. Francisco clearly violated his duties as a lawyer embodied in the CPR, namely, to avoid dishonest
and deceitful conduct, (Rule 1.01, Canon 1) and to act with candor, fairness and good faith (Rule 10.01, Canon 10). Also, Atty.
Franciso desecrated his solemn oath not to do any falsehood nor consent to the doing of the same.

Re: alleged representation of conflicting interests and disclosure of privileged communication

lawyers are deemed to represent conflicting interests when, in behalf of one client, it is their duty to contend for that which
duty to another client requires them to oppose. Developments in jurisprudence have particularized various tests to determine
whether a lawyer’s conduct lies within this proscription.

2 Tests
1. whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that
claim for the other client.
- Thus, if a lawyer’s argument for one client has to be opposed by that same lawyer in arguing for the other client, there
is a violation of the rule.
2. 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. Still another test
is whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against a former client any confidential information
acquired through their connection or previous employment.

Factors essential to establish the existence of the lawyer-client privilege


1. There exists an attorney-client relationship, or a prospective attorney-client relationship, and it is by reason of this
relationship that the client made the communication.
- matters disclosed by a prospective client to a lawyer are protected by the rule on privileged communication even if the
prospective client does not thereafter retain the lawyer or the latter declines the employment.
- Reason: to make the prospective client free to discuss whatever he wishes with the lawyer without fear that what he
tells the lawyer will be divulged or used against him, and for the lawyer to be equally free to obtain information from
the prospective client
3. The client made the communication in confidence.
- The mere relation of attorney and client does not raise a presumption of confidentiality
- the client must intend the communication to be confidential.
- confidential communication refers to information transmitted by voluntary act of disclosure between attorney and
client in confidence and by means which, so far as the client is aware, discloses the information to no third person
PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles
other than one reasonably necessary for the transmission of the information or the accomplishment of the purpose for
which it was given.
4. The legal advice must be sought from the attorney in his professional capacity.
- communication made by a client to his attorney must be for the purpose of seeking legal advice from his attorney as
to his rights or obligations. The communication must have been transmitted by a client to his attorney for the purpose
of seeking legal advice.

The proscription against representation of conflicting interest applies to a situation where the opposing parties are present
clients in the same action or in an unrelated action.

It is enough that the opposing parties in one case, one of whom would lose the suit, are present clients and the nature or
conditions of the lawyer’s respective retainers with each of them would affect the performance of the duty of undivided fidelity
to both clients.

From the foregoing, it is obvious that the rule on conflict of interests presupposes a lawyer-client relationship. The purpose of
the rule is precisely to protect the fiduciary nature of the ties between an attorney and his client. Conversely, a lawyer may not
be precluded from accepting and representing other clients on the ground of conflict of interests, if the lawyer-client
relationship does not exist in favor of a party in the first place.

The complainant failed to establish the professional relationship between her and Atty. Francisco. The records are further
bereft of any indication that the "advice" regarding the sale of the Forbes property was given to Atty. Francisco in confidence.
Neither was there a demonstration of what she had communicated to Atty. Francisco nor a recital of circumstances under
which the confidential communication was relayed.

Penalty: Atty. Edgar B. Francisco GUILTY of violation of Canons 1 and 10 of the Code and is suspended for 6 months

PALE Case Digests (3rd and 4th Set) Culajara. Diaz. Prado. Verceles