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Atty. Prudencio Penticostes v. Prosecutor Diosdado Ibañez

304 SCRA 281

Facts: Pascual was sued for non-remittance of SSS benefits. She gave the contested amount to
respondent, who was supposed to forward the same to the SSS and drop the charges.
Respondent did not forward the amount. He only remitted the amount after his complaint for
misconduct was filed with the IBP.

Held: REPRIMANDED. A high sense of morality, honesty and fair dealing is expected and required
of a member of the bar. Rule 1.01 provides that a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct. While Pascual may not strictly be considered a client of respondent,
the rules relating to a lawyer’s handling of funds of a client is still applicable, thus, lawyers are
bound to promptly account for money or property received by them on behalf of their clients and
failure to do so constitutes professional misconduct. Also, even if he was acting as a prosecutor,
Canon 6 provides that these canons shall apply to lawyers in government service in the discharge
of their official tasks.

ABRAGAN V. RODRIGUEZ

FACTS:

The case is about a disbarment case against respondent Rodriguez, wherein it was alleged
by the petitioners that respondent represented them sometime in 1986, and that after the case
was won. Respondent disturbed the association, wherein the petitioners are members, by selling
their rights over the property without the consent of the petitioners. That after the petitioner
found out of the alleged selling of right, petitioners then severed the attorney client relationship.

In a later date petitioners hired the Atty. Salve for his services in the contempt case
against the sheriff Loncion. In the said contempt case, respondent allegedly represented the
sheriff and against the petitioners. It was also alleged that Rodriguez later on influenced Atty.
Salva.

Additionally on January 12, 1993 respondent without the consent of the petitioners filed
a motion to withdraw their exhibit in a civil case 11204.

Aside from the unethical maneuvers of the respondent, to make matters worse,
respondent allegedly fenced an area consisting of 10,200 square meters within the lot 1982,
which is the subject matter of civil case 11204.

On the other hand the respondent states that the land he fenced off was part of the
attorney’s fee paid to him for the services he rendered. The case was then referred to the IBP for
investigation. After the investigation it was suggested that the respondent be suspended from
practice for 6 months. For violating Rule 15.03 of Canon 15, which states that A lawyer shall not
represent conflicting interest except by written consent of all concerned parties, given the full
disclosure of facts. The recommendation was appealed to the IBP board of Governors and the
same was affirmed.

ISSUES:

Whether or not respondent violated Rule 15’03 of Canon 15.

RULING:

The Court affirmed the recommendation stating that, even if the allegations of the
petitioners pertaining to the selling of rights without petitioners consent, the inducement or
influence of respondent over atty. Salva and the fencing of the lot, were not proved due to lack of
evidence to back up the allegations, the court still finds respondent in violation of Rule 15.03 of
Canon 15 by representing conflicting interest, when respondent represented against the
petitioner in the indirect contempt case against the Sheriff.

The court states that lawyers owe undivided allegiance to their clients, and should at all
times weigh their actions, especially in their dealings with the latter and the public at large. That
they must conduct themselves beyond reproach at all times.

That due to the divided alleg9iance of respondent, his divided loyalty constitutes
malpractice which may be punished under sec 27 of rule 138 of the ROC.

ROLANDO B. PACANA, JR., Complainant,

vs.

ATTY. MARICEL PASCUAL-LOPEZ, Respondent.

A.C. No. 8243 July 24, 2009

FACTS:

Rolando Pacana, Jr. (complainant) filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Maricel
Pascual-Lopez (respondent) charging the latter with flagrant violation of the provisions of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.
Complainant worked for Multitel (later renamed as Precedent) and earned the ire of investors
after becoming the assignee of majority of the shares of stock of Precedent and after being
appointed as trustee of a fund amounting to Thirty Million Pesos (P30,000,000.00) deposited at
Real Bank.

Complainant sought the advice of respondent but no Retainer Agreement was executed. Atty.
Lopez gave regular advice, helped prepare standard quitclaims, solicited money and properties
from complainant to pay the creditors and even discussed a collection case for the company.

Soon, complainant noticed that respondent began to avoid communicating with him.
Complainant then wrote to respondent a letter formally asking for a full accounting of all the
money, documents and properties given to the latter but respondent failed to provide a clear
audited financial report of all the properties turned over by the complainant to the respondent.
Complainant filed an affidavit-complaint against respondent before the Commission on Bar
Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) seeking the disbarment of respondent.

ISSUE: WON a lawyer-client relationship was created.

RULING: YES.

After due hearing, IBP Investigating Commissioner Patrick M. Velez issued a Report and
Recommendation finding that a lawyer-client relationship was established between respondent
and complainant despite the absence of a written contract. The absence of a written contract will
not preclude the finding that there was a professional relationship between the parties.
Documentary formalism is not an essential element in the employment of an attorney; the
contract may be express or implied. To establish the relation, it is sufficient that the advice and
assistance of an attorney is sought and received in any matter pertinent to his profession.

Given the situation, the most decent and ethical thing which respondent should have done was
either to advise complainant to engage the services of another lawyer since she was already
representing the opposing parties, or to desist from acting as representative of Multitel investors
and stand as counsel for complainant. She cannot be permitted to do both because that would
amount to double-dealing and violate our ethical rules on conflict of interest.

Nakpil vs Valdes [A.C. No. 2040. March 4, 1998]

FACTS:

Jose Nakpil, husband of the complainant, became interested in purchasing a summer residence in
Moran Street, Baguio City. For lack of funds, he requested respondent to purchase the Moran
property for him. They agreed that respondent would keep the property in thrust for the Nakpils
until the latter could buy it back. Pursuant to their agreement, respondent obtained two (2) loans
from a bank which he used to purchase and renovate the property. Title was then issued in
respondent’s name.

The ownership of the Moran property became an issue in the intestate proceedings when Jose
Nakpil died. Respondent acted as the legal counsel and accountant of his widow. Respondent
excluded the Moran property from the inventory of Jose’s estate and transferred his title to the
Moran property to his company, the Caval Realty Corporation.

ISSUE:

Whether or not there was conflict of interest between the respondent Atty. Valdes and the
complainant.

HELD:

YES. Respondent was suspended from practice of law for one (1) year.

[T]here is no question that the interests of the estate and that of its creditors are adverse to each
other. Respondent’s accounting firm prepared the list of assets and liabilities of the estate and,
at the same time, computed the claims of two creditors of the estate. There is clearly a conflict
between the interest of the estate which stands as the debtor, and that of the two claimants who
are creditors of the estate.

In the case at bar, respondent exhibited less than full fidelity to his duty to observe candor,
fairness and loyalty in his dealings and transactions with his clients.

PNB v ATTY CEDO

Facts: PNB filed a complaint against Atty. Cedo for violation of Rule 6.02 that states: A lawyer
shall not, after leaving gov’t. service, accept engagement or employment in connection with any
matter which he had intervened with in said service. Cedo was the former Asst. Vice-President of
the Asset management Group of PNB.

During Cedo’s stint with PNB, he became involved in 2 transactions: 1.) sale of
steel sheets to Ms. Ong and 2.) intervened in the handling of a loan of spouses Almeda. When a
civil action arose because of #1, Cedo, after leaving the bank appeared as one of the counsel of
Ms. Ong. Also, when #2 was involved in a civil action, the Almedas were represented by the law
firm Cedo, Ferrer, Maynigo & Associates of which Cedo was a Senior Partner.

Cedo claims that he did not participate in the litigation of Ms. Ong’s case. He
also claims that even if it was his law firm handling the Almeda case, the case was being handled
by Atty. Ferrer.

Issue: Whether Cedo violated Rule 6.02.

Held: Yes. Cedo violated Rule 6.02.

In the complexity of what is said in the course of dealings between the atty. and the
client, inquiry of the nature suggested would lead to the revelation, in advance of the trial,
of other matters that might only further prejudice the complainant cause. Whatever may be
said as to w/n the atty. utilized against his former client information given to him in a professional
capacity, the mere fact that their previous relationship should have precluded him from
appearing as counsel for the other side.

It is unprofessional to represent conflicting interests, except by express consent of all


the parties concerned after the disclosure of facts. A lawyer represents conflicting interests when,
in behalf of one client, it is his duty to contend for that which duty to another client requires him
to oppose.

Areola vs. Mendoza, 713 SCRA 173, January 15, 2014, A.C. No. 10135

Facts:

Interestingly, Atty. Mendoza admitted that she advised her clients to approach the judge and
plead for compassion so that their motions would be granted. This admission corresponds to one
of Areola’s charges against Atty. Mendoza — that she told her clients “Iyak-iyakan lang ninyo
si Judge Martin at palalayain na kayo. Malambot ang puso noon.” Atty. Mendoza made it appear
that the judge is easily moved if a party resorts to dramatic antics such as begging and crying in
order for their cases to be dismissed. As such, the Court agrees with the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) Board of Governors that Atty. Mendoza made irresponsible advices to her clients
in violation of Rule 1.02 and Rule 15.07 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Issue: Whether Atty. Mendoza violates Rule 1.02 and Rule 15.07 of the Code of Professioalnal
Responsibility.

Held.

Atty. Mendoza’s improper advice only lessens the confidence of the public in our legal system.
Judges must be free to judge, without pressure or influence from external forces or factors
according to the merits of a case. Atty. Mendoza’s careless remark is uncalled for. It must be
remembered that a lawyer’s duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice. To that
end, his client’s success is wholly subordinate. His conduct ought to and must always be
scrupulously observant of the law and ethics. Any means, not honorable, fair and honest which is
resorted to by the lawyer, even in the pursuit of his devotion to his client’s cause, is
condemnable and unethical.

Licuanan v. Melo (1989)

Facts:

Leonila Licuanan, through her counsel Atty. Melo, filed an ejectment case against Aida Pineda
who was one of her tenants. The City Court of Manila ruled for Licuanan and ordered Pineda to
pay her rentals. In the months following

the favorable judgement, Pineda proceeded to pay rentals to Atty. Melo. However,

Atty. Melo did not remit the money

to Licuanan. In fact, he did not even tell Licuanan about receiving them even when Licuanan
called him regularly to ask for updates regarding the ejectment case.

(This paragraph tells a not so important side story. If you’re in a hurry, skip this paragraph.)
Because Licuanan was not receiving any of the rental payments, she filed an administrative
complaint against Pineda before the Chief of the Tuberculosis Society accusing her of moral
turpitude for not paying the rentals which the court had ordered her to pay. Of course, the
complaint was found to be groundless because Pineda was actually paying the rentals to Atty.
Melo who was not remitting to Licuanan. In turn, Pineda filed a case for damages against
Licuanan because the accusation that she was not paying her rentals had caused her humiliation.

Licuanan later found out, through another counsel, about the money paid by Pineda to Atty.
Melo. Licuanan’s new counsel demandad the same from Atty. Melo who only then remitted the
rentals. (This was about a year after he actually received them.) However, he explains by saying
that he did not tell Licuanan about the money and only kept it to himself for a while because he
wanted to surprise her by his success. (Hehe. Sweet.) Atty. Melo collected a total amount of
P5220 over a period of one year. Licuanan filed a complaint against Atty. Melo for breach of
professional ethics.

Issues:

Whether Atty. Melo was guilty of breach of professional ethics

Held:

YES, Atty. Melo was guilty of breach of professional ethics.

The acts of Atty. Melo of keeping the money for his personal benefit, depriving Licuanan of use of
money that was rightfully hers, and withholding information regarding their receipt despite
inquiries made by her, is obviously in breach of professional ethics.

The lawyer should refrain from any action whereby for his personal benefit or gain he abuses or
takes advantage of the confidence reposed in him by his client.

Quilban vs. Robinol

171 SCRA 768

Facts:

On 15 April 1980 the Samahan officers filed this Administrative complaint before
this Court requesting the invention of Atty. Robinol for refusal to return the P75000 and praying
that the court exercise its power to discipline over members of the bar unworthy to practice law.

In his defense, Atty. Robinol maintains that he was hired by complainants


to appeal their case to the CA after they had lost in the lower court. The
agreement as to the attorneys’ fees was on a contingent basis if he obtains a reversal of
the decision of the lower Courts decision, they will give him a portion of the property subject
matter of
the litigation. There was confusion as to payment and they want the
lawyers to be

disciplined for the said actions of the lawyers engaged in their complaint.
It is equally

true that the Court cannot pass judgment on complainants pleas that the
amount

deposited by respondent be returned to them as this prayer should be


ventilated in an

ordinary action that he does not have the slightest intention to appropriate the
money

in his possession for himself but he is holding it until the fees are satisfied there being no
guarantee for its satisfaction because of the complainants refusal to pay him.

Issue:

Whether Atty. Robinol is unworthy to practice

law.

Held:

Atty. Robinol has, in fact been guilty of ethical infractions and grave
misconduct

that make him unworthy to continue in the practice of his profession. After the
CA had

rendered a decision favorable to his clients and he had received the latter’
s funds, suddenly he had change of mind and decided to convert a portion of the land equivalent
to that of each plaintiffs to P50000 which he alleges to be the monetary
value of that area. Certainly, Atty. Robinol had no right to unilaterally
appropriate

his client’s money not only because he is bound by a written agreement but
also because under the circumstances it was highly unjust for him to do so. His clients were
mere squatters who

could barely eke out an existence. They had painstakingly raised their respective quotas

per family with which after having seen the color of money, heartlessly took
advantage
of them.

EMILIA O. DHALIWAL vs. ATTY. ABELARDO B. DUMAGUING A.C. No. 9390, 1 August 2012

Facts:

Atty. Dumaguing as counsel was given

P 342,000.00 by Dhaliwal for the purchase of a parcel of land from Fil Estate Development. He th
en purchased 2 manager ’
s checks and consigned them with HLURB. Atty. Dumaguing, on behalf of complainant, filed with t
he HLURB a complaint for delivery of title and damages against Fil-Estate. A week after Atty. with
drew the two manager ’
s checks that were previously consigned. Complainant then informed the HLURB that respondent
was no longer representing her. The HLURB promulgated its Decision, adverse to complainant, fi
nding the case for delivery of title and damages premature as there was no evidence of full paym
ent of the purchase price. Thereafter, complainant made demands upon respondent to return an
d account to her the amounts previously consigned with the HLURB. Respondent did not comply.
Thus, complainant prayed that respondent be disbarred.

Issue:

Whether Atty. Dumaguing violated Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Held:

Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose, such as payment for the balance of the purch
ase price of a parcel of land as in the present case, but not used for the purpose, should be imme
diately returned. “ A lawyer ’
s failure to return upon demand the funds held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the pre
sumption that he has appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in hi
m by his client. Such act is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics. It
impairs public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment.”

Atty. Abelardo B. Dumaguing was adjudged GUILTY of violating Canon 16 of the Code of Professio
nal Responsibility. He was SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months.
NAVARRO & PRESBITERO VS. ATTY. SOLIDUM (2014)

A.C. No. 9872

FACTS: Hilda S. Presbitero and Natividad P. Navarro filed a disbarment case against

Atty. Ivan M. Solidum, Jr.

Presbitero and her other daughter, Ma. Theresa P. Yulo, engaged in the services

of Solidum for each of their own cases concerning land. Yulo, pursuant to her land

registration case, convinced Navarro to finance the expenses. Navarro paid

Php200,000 for the registration expenses, but later learned that the property was

already registered in the name of one Teodoro Yulo.

Meanwhile, Solidum obtained two loans of Php1,000,000.00 from Navarro and

one loan of Php1,000,000.00 to finance his sugar trading business, securing them with

postdated checks and drafting a MOA in each.

Solidum was able to pay complainants a total of Php900,000.00. Thereafter, he

failed to pay either the principal amount or the interest thereon. The checks issued by

Solidum to the complainants could no longer be negotiated because the accounts

against which they were drawn were already closed. When complainants called

Solidum’s attention, he promised to pay the agreed interest for September and October

2006 but asked for a reduction of the interest for the succeeding months.

Complainants alleged that Solidum induced them to grant him loans by offering

very high interest rates. He also prepared and signed the checks which turned out to be

drawn against his son’s accounts. Complainants further alleged that respondent

deceived them regarding the identity and value of the property he mortgaged because

he showed them a different property from that which he owned. Presbitero further

alleged that respondent mortgaged his 263-square-meter property to her for

Php1,000,000.00 but he later sold it for only Php150,000.00.

The IBP-CBD found that respondent was guilty of violating Rule 1.01 of the Code

of Professional Responsibility for committing the following acts:


(1) signing drawn checks against the account of his son as if they were from his own

account;

(2) misrepresenting to Navarro the identity of the lot he mortgaged to her;

(3) misrepresenting to Presbitero the true value of the 263-square-meter lot he

mortgaged to her;

(4) conspiring with Yulo to obtain the loans from complainants;

(5) agreeing or promising to pay 10% interest on his loans although he knew that it

was exorbitant; and

(6) failing to pay his loans because the checks he issued were dishonored as the

accounts were already closed.

ISSUE: Whether respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD: Respondent violated at least four provisions: Rule 1.01, Canon 16, Rule 16.01,

and Rule 16.04 of the CPR. Solidum was disbarred from the practice of law.

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

conduct.

Respondent agreed to pay a high interest rate on his loan from the complainants. He

drafted the MOA. Yet, when he could no longer pay his loan, he sought to nullify the

same MOA he drafted on the ground that the interest rate was unconscionable. It was

also established that respondent mortgaged a 263-square-meter property to Presbitero

for P1,000,000.00, but he later sold the property for only P150,000.00, showing that he deceived
his client as to the real value of the mortgaged property. Respondent’s

allegation that the sale was eventually rescinded did not distract from the fact that he

did not apprise Presbitero as to the real value of the property.

Respondent failed to refute that the checks he issued to his client Presbitero and to

Navarro belonged to his son, Ivan Garcia Solidum III whose name is similar to his

name. He only claimed that complainants knew that he could no longer open a current

bank account, and that they even suggested that his wife or son issue the checks for

him. However, we are inclined to agree with the IBP-CBD’s finding that he made
complainants believe that the account belonged to him. In fact, respondent signed in the

presence of Navarro the first batch of checks he issued to Navarro. Respondent sent

the second batch of checks to Navarro and the third batch of checks to Presbitero

through a messenger, and complainants believed that the checks belonged to accounts

in respondent’s name.

G.R. No. 173188 January 15, 2014

THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF THE SPOUSES VICENTE CADAVEDO AND BENITA


ARCOY-CADAVEDO (both deceased), substituted by their heirs, namely: HERMINA, PASTORA,
Heirs of FRUCTUOSA, Heirs of RAQUEL, EVANGELINE, VICENTE, JR., and ARMANDO, all surnamed
CADAVEDO vs. VICTORINO (VIC) T. LACAYA, married to Rosa Legados

FACTS

The Spouses Vicente Cadavedo and Benita Arcoy-Cadavedo acquired a homestead grant over a
230,765-square meter parcel of land known as Lot 5415 (subject lot) located in Gumay, Piñan,
Zamboanga del Norte. They were issued Homestead Patent . The spouses Cadavedo sold the
subject lot to the spouses Vicente Ames and Martha Fernandez was subsequently issued in the
name of the spouses Ames.

The present controversy arose when the spouses Cadavedo filed an action5 before the RTC(then
Court of First Instance) of Zamboanga City against the spouses Ames for sum of money and/or
voiding of contract of sale of homestead after the latter failed to pay the balance of the purchase
price. The spouses Cadavedo initially engaged the services of Atty. Rosendo Bandal who, for
health reasons, later withdrew from the case; he was substituted by Atty. Lacaya.

On February 24, 1969, Atty. Lacaya amended the complaint to assert the nullity of the sale and
the issuance of TCT No. T-4792 in the names of the spouses Ames as gross violation of the public
land law. The amended complaint stated that the spouses Cadavedo hired Atty. Lacaya on a
contingency fee basis. The contingency fee stipulation specifically reads:
The RTC noted that, as stated in the amended complaint filed by Atty. Lacaya, the agreed
attorney’s fee on contingent basis was P2,000.00. Nevertheless, the RTC also pointed out that
the parties novated this agreement when they executed the compromise agreement in Civil Case
No. 215 (ejectment case), thereby giving Atty. Lacaya one-half of the subject lot. The RTC added
that Vicente’s decision to give Atty. Lacaya one-half of the subject lot, sans approval of Benita,
was a valid act of administration and binds the conjugal partnership. The RTC reasoned out that
the disposition redounded to the benefit of the conjugal partnership as it was done precisely to
remunerate Atty. Lacaya for his services to recover the property itself.

These considerations notwithstanding, the RTC considered the one-half portion of the subject lot,
as Atty. Lacaya’s contingent fee,excessive, unreasonable and unconscionable. The RTC was
convinced that the issues involved in Civil Case No. 1721were not sufficiently difficult and
complicated to command such an excessive award; neither did it require Atty. Lacaya to devote
much of his time or skill, or to perform extensive research.

Issue:

Whether the attorney’s fee consisting of one-half of the subject lot is valid and reasonable, and
binds the petitioners.

Held:

No. We rule in the NEGATIVE. The spouses Cadavedo and Atty. Lacaya agreed on a contingent fee
of P2,000.00 and not, as asserted by the latter, one-half of the subject lot. The stipulation
contained in the amended complaint filed by Atty. Lacaya clearly stated that the spouses
Cadavedo hired the former on a contingency basis; the Spouses Cadavedo undertook to pay their
lawyer P2,000.00 as attorney’s fees should the case be decided in their favor.

Contrary to the respondents’ contention, this stipulation is not in the nature of a penalty that
the court would award the winning party, to be paid by the losing party. The stipulation is a
representation to the court concerning the agreement between the spouses Cadavedo and Atty.
Lacaya, on the latter’s compensation for his services in the case; it is not the attorney’s fees in
the nature of damages which the former prays from the court as an incident to the main action.

Corazon T. Reontoy v. Atty. Liberato R. Ibadlit


302 SCRA 604

Facts: On January 28, 1998 the SC found Ibadlit administratively liable and suspended him from
the practice of law for 1 year for failing to appeal within the reglementary period the decision
rendered against his client. His reason was, an appeal would only be futile. SC declared that it
was highly improper for him to have adopted such opinion. SC said that a lawyer was without
authority to waive his client’s right to appeal and that his failure to appeal within the
reglementary period constituted negligence and malpractice, proscribed by Rule 18.03, Canon 18
of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides “(a) lawyer shall not neglect a legal
matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.”
This is a motion for reconsideration.

Issue:

Whether Atty. Ibadlit violated Canon 18 of the CPR.

Held: YES. Suspension lowered to 2 months – his arguments are partly persuasive, he believed
in good faith that his client’s case was weak and that she accepted his explanation that the
adverse decision was not worth appealing anymore. Besides, it was only several years later that
she complained when no more relief was available to her. Also, complainant had reasonable
opportunity to hire another counsel for a second opinion whether to appeal from the judgment
or file a petition for relief, that he did not commit to handle his client’s case on appeal and that
the testimonies of complainant and her brother were unpersuasive. This is also his first offense.

Cosmos Foundry Shop Workers Union vs. Lo Bu, 63 SCRA 313 (1975)

G.R. No. L-40136 March 25, 1975

FACTS:

Despite the finality of the decision of the SC, petition was made that Lo Bu filed an urgent motion
to recall the writ of execution alleging lack of jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the sale,
followed by another motion praying for the return of the levied properties this time asserting
that petitioner labor union failed to put up an indemnity bond and then a third, this time to allow
the sheriff to keep the levied properties at his factory, all of which were denied by the Court.
Counsel Busmente had the temerity to deny such allegations.

ISSUE:

Whether the actions are mere dilatory tactic and not commendable

HELD:

Yes. The conduct of denying the facts alleged in a petition is far from commendable. A lawyer
should not act like an errand boy at the beck and call of his client, ready and eager to do his every
bidding; failure to keep this in mind puts into serious question his good standing in the bar.