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Enriquez v.

De Vera
A.C. No. 8330, March 16, 2015

Facts: Teresita Enriquez filed a complaint for the disbarment or suspension of Atty. Trina De Vera in
relation to the latter’s issuance of worthless checks and non-payment of a loan. According to Enriquez,
she is a businesswoman involved in building cell site towers. She is acquainted with Atty. De Vera
through the business by subcontracting the cell site acquisition to Atty. De Vera.
Sometime in April 2006, Atty. De Vera borrowed Php500,000 from Enriquez with interest of
Php20,000 per month until fully paid. Since Enriquez did not have the full amount, she was persuaded
by Atty. De Vera to borrow from a common friend, Mary Jane D. Luzon, by mortgaging her property in
Lucena City. Atty. De Vera issued a post-dated check for 500,000 and two more checks to cover the
interest agreed upon. In June 2006, Atty. De Vera obtained another loan from Enriquez’s sister for
100,000, to which, Enriquez was the guarantor. Another post-dated check was issued by Atty. De Vera to
Enriquez for the said amount.
Upon maturity of the checks, Enriquez presented them for payment but the checks bounced for
being drawn against insufficient funds. When attempted to be encashed a second time, the checks were
dishonoured because the account was closed. Thus, Enriquez demanded payment from Atty. De Vera
but the latter failed to settle her obligations. This prompted Enriquez to file a complaint against Atty. De
Vera for violation of B.P. 22 and estafa under Art. 315, par. 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code.
On the other hand, Atty. De Vera claims that she only issued said checks to guaranty Enriquez’s
loan and they were not meant to be deposited.

ISSUE: WON De Vera committed serious misconduct and should be held liable administratively for
issuance and dishonour of worthless checks in violation of the Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of
Professional Responsibility?

RULING: Yes. In De Jesus v. Collado, the Court found respondent lawyer guilty of serious misconduct for
issuing post-dated checks that were dishonoured upon presentment for payment.
Misconduct involves “wrongful intention and not a mere error of judgment”; it is serious or
gross when it is flagrant.
In the case, the Investigating Commissioner correctly pointed out that Atty. De Vera’s allegation
of “lending” her checks to Enriquez is contrary to ordinary human experience. As a lawyer, she is
presumed to know the consequences of her acts.
Membership in the bar requires high degree of fidelity to the laws whether in a private of
professional capacity. Any transgression of this duty on his part would not only diminish his reputation
as a lawyer but would also erode the public’s faith in the Legal Profession as a whole. A lawyer may be
removed or otherwise disciplined not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but also for
gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties which showed him to be unfit for the office
and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer to him.

RELATED CANONS:

CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND
PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES.

Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL
PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.

Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession.