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June 10, 1992 petitioner was deprived of her day in court and divested of her property without

VICTORIA LEGARDA, petitioner vs. COURT OF APPEALS, NEW CATHAY HOUSE, INC. due process of law through the gross, pervasive and malicious negligence of her
and REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 94, respondents. previous counsel, Atty. Coronel.
Sempio Diy, J. The court declared as null and void the decisions of the RTC and the CA and
required the former counsel to show cause within 10 days from notice why he
FACTS: should not be held administratively liable. Atty. Coronel filed a motion for an
extension of 30 days. The court granted said extension. Atty. Coronel filed again
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT: a second motion for extension which was denied by the court.

A complaint for specific performance with damages was filed by private respondent ISSUE:
New Cathay House, Inc. against Petitioner, compelling her to sign a lease contract
involving her house and lot in West Avenue, Quezon City which was intended by Whether or not Petitioners counsel, Atty. Coronel, is guilty of gross negligence
the private respondent to use in operating a restaurant.
Atty. Antonio P. Coronel entered his appearance as counsel for Petitioner and filed HELD:
an urgent motion for an extension of 10 days to answer the complaint.
Petitioner failed to file her answer within the extended period granted by the court. YES.
She was declared in default, thereby paving the way for the presentation of
evidence ex parte. The lower court rendered a decision in default. The show-cause resolution was addressed to Atty. Coronel not in his capacity as
Atty. Coronel received a copy of the decision but did not interpose an appeal a lawyer but in his personal capacity subject to the disciplinary powers of this court.
therefrom within the reglementary period. The decision became final. Atty. Coronel is expected to recognize the authority of this court and obey its lawful
processes and orders.
COURT OF APPEALS: Hence, this court considers his failure to show cause notwithstanding reasonable
notice therefor, as a waiver of his rights to be heard and to due process, thereby
Petitioner, represented by her attorney-in-fact, Ligaya Gomez, filed in the CA a warranting an ex parte determination of the matter for which he had been required
petition for annulment of the judgment against her. She alleged therein that the to explain.
decision was obtained through fraud and that it is not supported by the allegations Atty. Coronel violated Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
in the pleadings nor by the evidence submitted. mandates that a lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence.
CA promulgated its decision. On the issue of fraud, for which Petitioner claimed He failed to observe Rule 18.03 of the same Code which requires that a lawyer
that Robert Cabrera, who represented private respondent, made her believe shall not neglect any legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
through false pretenses that he was agreeable to the conditions of the lease and connection therewith shall render him liable.
that the latter would withdraw the complaint against her, thereby prompting her to By neglecting to file the answer to the complaint against petitioner, he set off the
advise her lawyer not to file an answer to the complaint. events which resulted in the deprivation of petitioners rights over her house and
CA said that it is their belief that this case is one of pure and simple negligence on lot.
the part of the defendants counsel, who simply failed to file the answer in behalf Atty. Coronels failure to exercise due diligence in protecting and attending to the
of defendant. But counsels negligence does not stop here. The defendants interest of the client caused the latter material prejudice. It should be remembered
counsel should have appealed or filed a petition for relief from the order declaring that the moment a lawyer takes a clients cause; he covenants that he will exert all
their client in default. Hence, defendant is bound by the acts of her counsel. effort for its prosecution until its final conclusion. A lawyer who fails to exercise due
CA dismissed the petition. However, in spite of the CAs tirade on his professional diligence or abandons his clients cause makes him unworthy of the trust reposed
competence, Atty. Coronel did not lift a finger to file a motion for reconsideration. on him by the latter.
Thus, the CA decision became final. Private respondents counsel sent a letter Moreover, a lawyer owes fealty, not only to his client, but also to the Court to which
demanding that Petitioner to vacate said property within 3 days from the receipt he is an officer.
thereof. Atty. Coronel did not inform petitioner of this development. Due to
petitioners persistent phone calls, Atty. Coronels secretary informed her of the DESPOSITIVE: Atty. Antonio Coronel is hereby found GUILTY of gross negligence in the
fact that private respondent had demanded her eviction from the property. defense of petitioner Victoria Legarda and accordingly SUSPENDED from the practice of law
Consequently, petitioner had no recourse but to vacate the property. for a period of six (6) months.


Petitioner, represented by a new counsel, filed before this court a petition for
certiorari contending that the decisions of the court below are null and void as

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April 27, 2007 against petitioner for the simple rule that Rule 138-A is not the basis for the
FERDINAND A. CRUZ, petitioner, vs. ALBERTO MINA, HON. ELEUTERIO F. petitioners appearance.
GUERRERO and HON. ZENAIDA LAGUILLES, respondents. Section 34, Rule 138 is clear that appearance before the inferior courts by a non-
Austria-Martinez, J. lawyer is allowed, irrespective of whether or not he is a law student. A law student
may appear, as an agent or a friend of a party litigant, without the supervision of a
FACTS: lawyer before inferior courts.

Ferdinand A. Cruz, the petitioner, filed before the MeTC a formal Entry of DISPOSITIVE: Petition is GRANTED. MeTC is directed to admit the Entry of Appearance of
Appearance, as private prosecutor, in a criminal case for Grave Threats, where his petitioner as a private prosecutor under the direct control and supervision of the public
father, Mariano Cruz, is the complaining witness. prosecutor.
The petitioner, describing himself as a third year law student, justifies his
appearance as a private prosecutor in the bases of Section 34 of Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court and the ruling of the Court En Banc in Cantimbuhan vs. Judge Cruz, August 3, 1978
that a non-lawyer may appear before the inferior courts as an agent or friend of a IN THE MATTER OF THE IBP MEMBERSHIP DUES DELINQUENCY OF ATTY. MARCIAL
party litigant. The petitioner avers that his appearance was with the prior conformity A. EDILLON
of the public prosecutor and a written author of Mariano Cruz appointing him to be Castro, C.J.
his agent in the prosecution of the said criminal case.
MeTC denied permission on the ground that Circular No. 19 governing limited law FACTS:
student practice in conjunction with Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court (Law Student
Practice Rule) should take precedence over the ruling of the Court laid down in The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines unanimously
Catimbuhan, and set the case for continuation of the trial. adopted and submitted to the Supreme Court a resolution recommending the
Petitioner filed before the MeTC a motion for reconsideration seeking to reverse removal of the respondents name for its Roll of Attorneys for his stubborn refusal
the said order alleging that Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court (Law Student Practice to pay his membership dues to the IBP.
Rule) does not have the effect of suspending Section 34 of Rule 138, for authority Respondent questions the all-encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership in
to interpret the rule is the source itself of the rule, which is the Supreme Court the IBP and the obligation to pay membership dues arguing that the provisions
alone. therein (Section 1 and 9 of the Court Rule 139-A) constitute an invasion of his
MeTC denied the motion for reconsideration. Hence, this petition. constitutional right in the sense that he is being compelled, as a precondition to
maintain his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and
ISSUE: to pay the corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled
financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly antagonistic, he
Whether or not the petitioner, a law student, may appear before an inferior court is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the
as an agent or friend of a party litigant. Constitution.
Respondent likewise questions the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike his
HELD: name from the Roll of Attorneys, contending that this matter is nor among the
justiciable cases triable by the Court but is an administrative nature pertaining to
YES. an administrative body.
Respondent further argues that the enforcement of the penalty provisions would
The Law Student Practice as encapsulated in Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, amount to a deprivation of property without due process and hence infringes on
prohibits the petitioner, as a law student, from entering his appearance in behalf of one of his constitutional rights.
his father, the private complainant in the criminal case without the supervision of
an attorney duly accredited by the law school. HELD:
There is really no problem as to the application of Section 34 of Rule 138 and Rule
138-A. In the former, the appearance of a non-lawyer as an agent or friend of a The Supreme Court held that all legislation directing the interrogation of the Bar
party litigant, is expressly allowed, while the latter rule provides for conditions when are valid exercise of the police power over an important profession.
a a law student, not as an agent or friend of a party litigant, may appear before the To compel a lawyer to be a member of the IBP is not violative of his constitutional
courts. freedom to associate.
The court a quo must have been confused by the fact that petitioner referred to The requirement to pay membership frees is imposed as a regulatory measure
himself as a law student in his entry of appearance. Rule 138-A should not have designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of
been used by the courts a quo in denying permission to act as private prosecutor interrogation.
The penalty provisions for non-payment are not void as unreasonable or arbitrary.

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The Supreme Courts jurisdiction and power to strike the name of a lawyer from its The IBP Board of Governors passed a resolution to annul and set aside the
Roll of Attorneys is expressly provided by Art. X, Section 5(5) of the Constitution recommendation of the investigating commissioner and to approve the dismissal
and held as an inherent judicial function by a host of decided cases. of the case for lack of merit.
The provisions of Rules of Court 139-A ordaining the IBP and the IBP By-Laws
complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal. HELD:

DISPOSITIVE: Marcial A. Edillion is hereby DISBARRED, and his name is hereby ordered The court held that the IBP Board of Governors failed to observe the procedural
stricken from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court. requirements of Sec. 12 of Rule 139-B. The resolution did not contain any findings
of facts of law upon which it based its ruling.
Respondents outburst does not amount to a violation of Rule 8.01 of the Code of
October 25, 2004 professional Responsibility,
FERDINAND A. CRUZ, complainant, vs. ATTY. STANLEY CABRERA, respondent. Such single outburst, though uncalled for, is not of such magnitude as to warrant
Austria-Martinez, J. respondents suspension or reproof. It is but a product of impulsiveness or the heat
of the moment in the course of an argument between them. It has been said that
FACTS: lawyers should not be held to too strict an account for words said in the heat of the
moment, because of chagrin at losing cases, and that the big way is for the court
Ferdinand A. Cruz filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Stanley Cabrera to condone even contemptuous language.
charging him with misconduct in violation of the Code of Professional Complainant is not precluded from litigating personally his cases. A partys right to
Responsibility. conduct litigation personally is recognized by Section 34 Rule 138 of the Rules of
Complainant alleges that he is a fourth year law student. During a hearing in one Court.
case before the RTC, respondents imputations against complainant were uncalled Though a lawyers language may be forceful and emphatic, it should always be
for and that the respondents act of compelling the court to ask complainant dignified and respectful, befitting the dignity of the legal profession. The use of
whether he is a lawyer or not was intended to malign him before the public, intemperate language and unkind ascriptions has no place in the dignity of judicial
inasmuch as respondent knew that complainant is not a lawyer, having appeared forum.
for and in his behalf as a party litigant in prior cases; respondents imputations of
complainants misrepresentation as a lawyer was patently with malice to discredit DISPOSITIVE: Complaint DISMISSED for lack of merit.
his honor, with the intention to threaten him not to appear anymore in cases
respondent was handling.
appear ka ng appear, pumas aka muna! were totally with the intention to annoy, December 20, 1978
vex, humiliate and discredit complainant before the public. JULIO ZETA, complainant, vs. FELICISIMO MALINAO, respondent.
Complainant claims that the respondents attitude and misconduct was a patent BARREDO, J.
transgression of the very ethics that lawyers are sworn to uphold in their dealings
with society and corresponding appropriate penalty or sanctions for the said FACTS:
administrative violations should be imposed on the respondent.
Respondent contends that the complaint filed against him is a vicious scheme to An administrative complaint was filed against Felicisimo Malinao, court interpreter
dissuade him from appearing as counsel for the Mina family against whom of the Court of First Instance of Catbalogan, Samar.
complainant had filed several civil and criminal cases including him to further Mr. Malinao has been appearing in the municipal court for parties as an attorney.
complainants illegal practice of law. He was not authorized to do so and he makes it his means of livelihood as he
Respondent contends that the reason he informed the court that complainant is collects fees from his clients.
not a lawyer was because the presiding judge did not know that complainant is is The DOJ that had jurisdiction over the matter referred the said complaint and
not a lawyer. answer to the CFI Catbalogan for investigation.
He stated pumas aka muna out of indignation because of complainants temerity CFI found out that the complainant, Julio Zeta, appears to be a fictitious person.
in misrepresenting himself as a lawyer. In spite of the complainants failure to appear in the investigation, the court
The administrative case was referred to the IBP for investigation, report and nevertheless proceeded to investigate the case.
IBP Commissioner Lydia Navarro recommended respondents suspension from HELD:
the practice of law for a period of three months for violation Rule 8.01 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility which provides that A lawyer shall not, in his
professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise

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The court found the conclusions of fact of the Investigator to be amply supported Adherence to rigid standards of mental fitness, maintenance of the highest degree
by evidence, particularly documents consisting of public records and the of morality, faithful observance of the rules of the legal profession, compliance with
declarations of judges before whom respondent had appeared. the mandatory continuing legal education requirement and payment of the
It is clear to the court that respondent, apart from appearing as counsel, falsified membership fees to the IBP are the conditions required for membership in good
his time record of service by making it appear therein that he was present in his standing in the Bar and for enjoying the privilege to practice of law.
office on occasions when in fact he was in the municipal courts appearing as The Rules of Court mandates that an applicant for admission to the Bar be a citizen
counsel, without being a member of the bar, which, furthermore, constitutes illegal of the Philippines, at least twenty-one years of age, of good moral character, and
practice of law. a resident of the Philippines and that no charges against him, involving moral
turpitude, have been filed or pending in any court in the Philippines,
DISPOSITIVE: Respondent is hereby ordered dismissed from his position as interpreter in The Constitution provides that the practice of all professions in the Philippines shall
the CFI Western Samar, with prejudice to reemployment in the judicial branch of the be limited to Filipino citizens save in cases prescribed by law. Since Filipino
government. citizenship is a requirement for admission to the Bar, loss thereof terminates
membership in the Philippine Bar and consequently, the privilege to engage in the
practice of law.
December 17, 2007 The exception s when Filipino citizenship is lost by reason of naturalization as a
PETITION FOR LEAVE TO RESUME PRACTICE OF LAW, BENJAMIN M. DACANAY, citizen of another country but subsequently reacquired pursuant to R.A. 9225. This
petitioner. is because all Philippine citizens who become citizens of another country shall be
CORONA, J. deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of R.A.
FACTS: Before a lawyer who reacquires Filipino citizenship pursuant to R.A. 9225 can
resume his law practice, he must first from this Court the authority to do so,
Petitioner was admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1960. He practiced law until he conditioned on:
migrated to Canada in 1998 to seek medical attention for his ailments. He a. Updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in the
subsequently applied for Canadian citizenship to avail of Canadas free medical IBP;
aid program. His application was approved and he became a Canadian citizen in b. Payment of professional tax;
2004. c. Completion of at least 36 credit hours of MCLE;
Pursuant to R.A. 9225 (Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003), d. Retaking of the Lawyers Oath
petitioner reacquired his Philippine citizenship. He returned to the Philippines and
now intends to resume his law practice. DISPOSITIVE: Petition GRANTED, subject to the compliance with the conditions stated
The Office of the Bar Confidant opines that, by virtue of petitioners reacquisition above.
of Philippine citizenship in 2006, petitioner has again met all the qualifications and
has none of the disqualifications for membership in the Bar. It recommends that
he be allowed to resume practice of law in the Philippines, conditioned on his
retaking the lawyers oath to remind him of his duties and responsibilities as a
member of the Philippine Bar.


Whether or not petitioner lost his membership in the Philippine Bar when he gave
up his Philippine citizenship in 2004


The court approved the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant with
certain modifications.
The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. It is so delicately
affected with public interest that it is both a power and a duty of the State (through
this Court) to control and regulate it in order to protect and promote the public

D.A. Songano | FEU Institute of Law