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Viscal Development

V.
Atty. Cruz-Buendia
Facts:
In a case entitled, Dell Equipment & Construction
Corp. v. Viscal Development Corporation before the
Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC), CIAC
issued a writ of execution ordering Atty. Cruz-Buendia to
enforce a money judgment against Viscal Development,
and to levy/garnish the latters properties in case it fails to
fully settle its obligation.
When the sheriffs under her supervision served the
writ of execution on the general counsel of Viscal
Development, he refused to pay and exercise the options
under Section 9, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Instead, the
corporation merely offered a Certification from Pioneer
and Insurance Corporation covering a surety bond.
Unsatisfied, the sheriffs then garnished the bank deposits
of Viscal Development. Meanwhile, a levy on the latters
real properties was also made by Dell Equipment.
Viscal Development then filed an administrative
complaint against the respondent sheriffs alleging that the
writ of execution was prematurely served and that they
failed to comply with the procedures for enforcement of
execution and the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel.
Issues:
1. Whether or not the sheriffs failed to observe the
procedure under Section 9, Rule 39 of the Rules of
Court (on enforcement of money judgment),
2. Whether or not the sheriffs violated Sec. 14, Rule 39
when they omitted to: include the fact of levy of in
the return; file the same within the prescribed period;
and serve the parties of the return;
3. Whether or not Atty. Cruz-Buendia and respondent
sheriffs
acted
with
grave
abuse
of
authority/discretion in violation of Section 6, Canon IV
of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel

Ruling:
1. No, the sheriffs did not fail to observe the rule on
enforcement of money judgment. Notably, upon
refusal of the complainant to pay and exercise its
options under the Rules of Court, Viscal Development
showed inability/incapability to pay the judgment
debt. Accordingly, the sheriffs could properly satisfy
the judgment by levying on their personal properties,
including garnishment of bank deposits, and on real
properties of judgment debtor.
2. Yes, Section 14 of Rule 39, however, was violated.
There was a simple neglect of duty. Simple neglect of
duty is the failure of an employee to give ones
attention to a task expected of him, and signifies a
disregard of a duty resulting from carelessness or
indifference. In this case, this was made manifest
when the sheriffs failed to make a return within the
prescribed period and when they admitted in not
serving the parties copies of the return. As officers of
the court, they are presumed to know what duties
they must discharge.
3. No, there was no grave abuse of authority/discretion
on the part of Atty. Cruz-Buendia and the respondent
sheriffs. Atty. Cruz-Buendia properly reminded the
sheriffs to implement the execution according to the
terms and Rules of Court. Meanwhile, the sheriffs did
not exceed the limits of their authority in garnishing
the bank deposits of Viscal Development. To be clear,
there was proper compliance with the rules on
enforcement of money judgment. Furthermore, there
was no bad faith in the garnishment, since it was
disclosed that it was Dell Equipment who were
responsible for the levy of the real properties--an
error which was rectified before CIAC--without
respondents knowledge and consent.

Penalty: SUSPENSION plus STERN WARNING against


respondent sheriffs (excluding Atty. Cruz-Buendia)

Catherine Vitug
V.
Rongcal
Facts:
Vitug narrates that she and Atty. Rongcal met in 2000
when she was looking for a lawyer to assist her in suing
Aquino, the biological father of her minor daughter, for
support. Allegedly, Atty. Rongcal started courting her and
deceived her into yielding into his sexual desires by
promising her a job, his services as counsel and by stating
that his prior marriage was already annulled.
In 2001, Atty. Rongcal purportedly convinced her to
sign an Affidavit of Disclaimer, stating that Aquino was not
the real father of her daughter. She claimed that she was
not allowed to read the contents thereof and was merely
assured that the document meant nothing.
In the same year, Atty. Rongcal also allegedly advised
Vitug that Aquino gave him P150,000.00 cash and P58,000
in two post dated checks. However, the latter amount
never reached her.
Vitug maintained that respondent failed to keep his
promises and failed to file the case against Aquino but
instead referred her to Atty. Tolentino. Furthermore, she
claimed that Atty. Rongcal failed to protect her interest
when he personally prepared the Affidavit and caused her
to sign the same, which obviously worked to her
disadvantage when the criminal case against Aquino was
eventually dismissed and the civil case was decided based
on compromise.
Meanwhile, Atty. Rongal admitted their sexual
relationship, but denied luring Vitug and pocketing the
P58,000. Instead, he asserted that it was P38,000 and the
same amount was given to him for his attorneys fees. In

addition, he insisted that Vitug pestered him for financial


assistance and urged him to file the Petition for Support
against Aquino. When he said that he could not do so for
having notarized the affidavit of desistance, it was only
then that he referred her to Atty. Tolentino.
Issues:
1. Whether or not respondent is guilty of immorality;
2. Whether or not respondent violated the Code of
Professional
Responsibility
by
preparing
and
notarizing the Affidavit, a document disadvantageous
to his client;
3. Whether or not complainant is entitled to moral
damages and attorneys fees
Ruling:
1. Yes, Atty. Rongcal, in admitting his illicit sexual
relations with Vitug despite the subsistence of his
marriage, is guilty of immorality. It has been held that
possession of good moral character is a continuing
condition for the enjoyment of law practice. Officers
of the court must not only in fact be of good moral
character but must also be seen to be of good moral
character. This is in consonance with Rule 1.01 of the
Code that a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
It is worthy to note that there is no merit in the
contention of complainant that he lured her
to
satisfy his carnal desires. The Court has concluded
that she freely entered such immoral relationship.
2. No, respondent did not violate the code when he
prepared and notarized the affidavit. It was not
unlawful for respondent to assist his client into
entering into a settlement with Aquino after
explaining all available options to her. The law
encourages amicable settlement. Moreover, there
was not even any proof that Aquino knew for sure the
paternity of her child, and that Aquino deliberately
worked against her by acting as Aquinos counsel as
well.
3. No, complainant is not entitled to moral damages and
attorneys fees. An administrative case against a
lawyer is sui generis. It is an investigation against the

fitness of a lawyer to remain in the legal profession.


As such, it involves no private interest and affords no
redress for private grievance.

Campos v.Campos
Facts:
Aida and Judge Eliseo Campos were husband and
wife and had two children, Alistair and Chairmane. In
2008, Judge Eliseo filed a petition for declaration of nullity
of marriage, alleging that they were both psychologically
incapacitated and that he was homosexual. Aida opposed
and claimed that he only wanted such declaration for
purposes of marrying another woman.
In addition, Aida alleged that Judge Eliseo executed
an Affidavit of Loss over a parcel of land previously
registered under Alistairs name. Aida alleged that the title
was not lost but Judge Eliseo simply wanted the property
back in case the petition for declaration of nullity of
marriage was granted.
Before the investigating judge and the Office of the
Court Administrator, it was discovered that Judge Eliseo
was not guilty of immorality since his admission of
homosexuality does not automatically make him immoral.
There was also no evidence of him having a relationship
with another woman.
Furthermore, Judge Eliseo was not guilty of
dishonesty, since the fact that he had children was not a
proof that he was not homosexual; and that he was indeed
the real owner of the parcel of land although it was
registered in Alistairs name. However, it was found that
the registration in Alistairs name was purposes of
defrauding a judgment against the spouses.
Issue: Whether or not Judge Eliseo Campos was guilty of
simply misconduct
Ruling: Yes, Judge Elisepo Campos was guilty of simple
misconduct. Simple misconduct is a transgression of some

established rule of action, an unlawful behavior or


negligence committed by a public officer. In this case,
respondent knew at that time of the registration of the
property that he had a pending case and that he could
possibly lose the case. In order to manipulate the situation
and taking advantage of his knowledge of the law,
respondent caused the registration in Alistairs name. This
improper behavior warrants a disciplinary sanction.