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Donna Mae G. Marquez 2013-10082-MN-0 JD 1-2 Basic Legal Ethics Atty. Araceli G.

Linatoc

MERCADO V. VITRIOLO A.C. No. 5108 May 26, 2005 Second Division FACTS: In August 1992, Atty. Anastacio P. de Leon, counsel of complainant, died. On February 7, 1994, respondent entered his appearance before the trial court as collaborating counsel for complainant. On March 16, 1994, respondent filed his Notice of Substitution of Counsel, informing the RTC of Pasig City that he has been appointed as counsel for the complainant, in substitution of Atty. de Leon. On April 13, 1999, respondent filed a criminal action against complainant before the Office of the City Prosecutor, Pasig City for violation of Articles 171 and 172 of the Revised Penal Code. Respondent alleged that complainant made false entries in the Certificates of Live Birth of her children by indicating in said Certificates of Live Birth that she is married to a certain Ferdinand Fernandez when in truth, she is legally married to Ruben G. Mercado. Complainant denied the accusations of respondent against her. She denied using any other name than Rosa F. Mercado. She claims that, in filing the criminal case for falsification, respondent is guilty of breaching their privileged and confidential lawyer-client relationship, and should be disbarred. In a Resolution dated February 9, 2000, the Court referred the administrative case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation. The IBP Commission on Bar Discipline set two dates for hearing but complainant failed to appear in both. Investigating Commissioner Rosalina R. Datiles granted respondents motion to file his memorandum, and the case was submitted for resolution based on the pleadings submitted by the parties. On June 21, 2003, the IBP Board of Governors approved the report of investigating commissioner Datiles, finding the respondent guilty of violating the rule on privileged communication between attorney and client, and recommending his suspension from the practice of law for one (1) year. On August 6, 2003, complainant, upon receiving a copy of the IBP report and recommendation, wrote Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., a letter of desistance. She stated that after the passage of so many years, she has now found forgiveness for those who have wronged her. ISSUE: Whether or nor respondent violated the rule on privileged communication between attorney and client when he filed a criminal case for falsification of public document against his former client. RULING: The Supreme Court explained that in engaging the services of an attorney, the client reposes on him special powers of trust and confidence. Their relationship is strictly personal and highly confidential and fiduciary. The relation is of such delicate, exacting and confidential nature that is required by necessity and public interest.

Thus, the duty of a lawyer to preserve his clients secrets and confidence outlasts the termination of the attorney-client relationship, and continues even after the clients death. The factors essential to establish the existence of the privilege are: 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. 2. 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. 3. The legal advice must be sought from the attorney in his professional capacity. The communication made by a client to his attorney must not be intended for mere information, but for the purpose of seeking legal advice from his attorney as to his rights or obligations. The Court held that the evidence on record fails to substantiate complainants allegations. The Court noted that complainant did not even specify the alleged communication in confidence disclosed by respondent. All her claims were couched in general terms and lacked specificity. She contends that respondent violated the rule on privileged communication when he instituted a criminal action against her for falsification of public documents because the criminal complaint disclosed facts relating to the civil case for annulment then handled by respondent. She did not, however, spell out these facts which will determine the merit of her complaint. Wherefore, the complaint against respondent Atty. Julito D. Vitriolo is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

GENATO V. SILAPAN A.C. No. 4078 July 14, 2003 Third Division FACTS: In July 1992, respondent asked if he could rent a small office space in complainants building in Quezon City for his law practice. Complainant acceded and introduced respondent to Atty. Benjamin Dacanay, complainants retained lawyer, who accommodated respondent in the building and made him handle some of complainants cases. Hence, the start of the legal relationship between complainant and respondent. The conflict between the parties started when respondent borrowed P200,000.00 from complainant which he intended to use as down payment for the purchase of a new car. In return, respondent issued to complainant a postdated check in the amount of P176,528.00 to answer for the six (6) months interest on the loan. He likewise mortgaged to complainant his house and lot in Quezon City but did not surrender its title claiming that it was the subject of reconstitution proceedings before the Quezon City Register of Deeds. With the money borrowed from complainant, respondent purchased a new car. However, the document of sale of the car was issued in complainants name and financed through City Trust Company. In January 1993, respondent introduced to complainant a certain Emmanuel Romero. Romero likewise wanted to borrow money from complainant. Complainant lent Romero the money and, from this transaction, respondent earned commission in the amount of P52,289.90. Complainant used the commission to pay respondents arrears with the car financing firm. Subsequently, respondent failed to pay the amortization on the car and the financing firm sent demand letters to complainant. Complainant tried to encash respondents postdated check with the drawee bank but it was dishonored as respondents account therein was already closed. Respondent failed to heed complainants repeated demands for payment. Complainant then filed a criminal case against respondent for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and a civil case for judicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage. In a Resolution, dated October 27, 1993, the Court referred the administrative case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation. On August 3, 2002, the Board of Governors of the IBP approved the report of the investigating commissioner finding the respondent guilty as charged and recommending his suspension from the practice of law for one (1) year. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent committed a breach of trust and confidence by imputing to complainant illegal practices and disclosing complainants alleged intention to bribe government officials in connection with a pending case. RULING: The Supreme Court affirmed the findings and recommendation of the IBP. The privilege against disclosure of confidential communications or information is limited only to communications which are legitimately and properly within the scope of a lawful employment of a lawyer. It does not extend to those made in contemplation of a crime or perpetration of a fraud. Respondents explanation that it was necessary for him to make the disclosures in his pleadings fails to satisfy the court. The disclosures were not indispensable to protect his rights as they were not pertinent to the foreclosure case. It was improper for the respondent to use it against the complainant in the foreclosure case as it was not the subject matter of litigation and respondents professional competence and legal advice were not being attacked in said case. A lawyer must conduct himself, especially in his dealings with his clients, with integrity in a

manner that is beyond reproach. His relationship with his clients should be characterized by the highest degree of good faith and fairness. Court agrees with the evaluation of the IBP and finds that respondents allegations and disclosures in the foreclosure case amount to a breach of fidelity sufficient to warrant the imposition of disciplinary sanction against him. However, the recommended penalty of one (1) year suspension of respondent from the practice of law seems to be disproportionate to his breach of duty considering that a review of the records of this Court reveals that this is the first administrative complaint against him. Wherefore, Atty. Essex L. Silapan is ordered suspended from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months.