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Fidela Bengco and Teresita Bengco vs. Atty. Bernardo (A.C. No.

6368)
Facts: This is a disbarment case filed against Atty. Bernardo. Complainants alleged that Atty.
Bernardo wilfully and with intent to defraud the complainants. Atty. Bernardo, with one Magat,
connived in defrauding the Bengcos to give the former Php495,000.00 for them to be able to
expedite the titling of the land of the Miranda’s in Tagaytay. Atty. Bernardo even represented
that he had connections in the CENRO, DENRO, NAMREA and Register of Deeds that will help
them expedite the titling. A further representation made by Atty. Bernardo was that he was,
according to him, the lawyer of Wiliam Gatchalian who was the prospective buyer, after the
land would already have a title. All the representations were allegedly made with the
knowledge of it falsity. In the said disbarment case, Atty. Bernardo requested multiple times to
extend his period to answer but when, finally, a mandatory conference was called by the
Commisioner, Atty. Bernardo never showed up.
Simultaneous with the disbarment case was a criminal case filed in court for Estafa, which
ended with the conviction of Atty. Bernardo and Magat.
One of the defences of Atty. Bernardo was that the action was already prescribed because the
alleged act was committed on 1997 but the action was only filed on 2004.
Issue: WON Atty. Bernardo is liable for the acts commited.
Ruling:
The SC emphasized the duty of every lawyer not just to maintain legal proficiency but also high
standards of morality, honesty and integrity, since in that case the peoples faith and confidence
of the legal system is ensured. Under Rule 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, a lawyer should not do acts primarily to solicit legal business and a lawyer shall
not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-
laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services,
respectively. The act of Atty. Bernardo in making representations that he can expedite the
titling of the land for Php495,000.00 is a blatant violation of the rule. Much more, the wilful act
of deceiving the Bengcos is an express violation of the rule.

SC said that the practice of law is not a enterprise. It is primarily for public service, more than
anything. Furthermore, the SC took the failure of Atty. Bernardo to immediately file his answer
and his failure to appear in the mandatory conference is showing of his little regard to the legal
system, a system that he took oath to protect. The SC suspended Atty. Bernardo for 1 year.