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LECTURE ON LEGAL ETHICS ethics); (c) as independent as a judge (he has control over

procedural matters of engagement); his powers are entirely


A PROFESSION is a group of men & women pursuing a learned different and superior to those of an ordinary agent. An attorney
art as a common calling in the spirit of public service; has three is a public officer (in a limited sense, not within the statutory or
elements – (a) organization, (2) learning, and (3) spirit of public constitutional meaning), he is an officer of the court; a priest of
service; different from trade/business (economics/making profit is law and successfully passed the bar exams, admitted to the IBP
the primary purpose) considering that its primary purpose is the and remains a member in good standing; he is authorized to
pursuit of a learned art in the interest of public service. practice law in the Philippines; Membership in the Bar is a
privileged burdened with conditions, one of the most important of
PRACTICE OF LAW: any activity in and out of court which which is the cognizance that HE IS AN OFFICER OF THE COURT. In
requires the application of laws, legal procedure, knowledge, consequence of the latter, (i) public service is of the highest order
training and experience (Cayetano vs. Monsod, G.R. No. 100113, and (ii) an attorney is subject to the disciplinary authority of the
Sept. 3, 1991); both a RIGHT (a lawyer in good standing can court.
practice anywhere and deprivation of which must only be with
due process) and a PRIVILEGE (being limited only to qualified DUTIES OF THE OFFICE: as a privilege saddled with condition,
person). duties includes those under Section 20 of Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court (impressed with solemnity of Lawyer’s Oath): (i) to maintain
WHO MAY PRACTICE LAW: General Rule – Any person admitted allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and support the
as a member of the Bar in good and regular standing; exceptions Constitution and obey the laws, (ii) to observe and maintain
– (a) law student who have completed 3rd year law and enrolled in respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers, (iii) to
a recognized law school’s legal education program approved by counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings only as appears
the Supreme Court to represent indigent clients (provided that to him to be just and such defenses as he believes to be honestly
such appearance if before the Regional Trial Court should be debatable under the law, (iv) to employ means only consistent
accompanied at all times by a supervising lawyer [Rule 138-A]); with truth and honor and never to mislead the judge, (v) to
(b) before the MTC, a party may conduct his litigation in person, maintain inviolate the confidence and preserve the client’s
with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that secrets, (vi) to abstain from all offensive personality and advance
purpose, or with the aid of an attorney [Rule 138, Section 4]. no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness
unless required by the justice of the cause he is charged with,
(vii) not to encourage suit or delay any man’s cause for corrupt
PRE-REQUISITES & REQUISITES FOR PRACTICE OF LAW: (a)
motive, (viii) not to reject the cause of the defenseless or
for applicant to Bar [Rule 138, Sec. 2 of Rules of Court] –
oppressed for any personal consideration, (ix) in defense of a
Philippine citizen, at least 21 years of age, good moral character,
person accused of a crime, by all fair and honorable means,
Philippine resident, and satisfactory evidence before the Supreme
regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused,
Court of good moral character and that no charges against him
to present every defense that the law permits, so that due
involving moral turpitude have been filed or pending in any court
process may be ensured. Thus, a lawyer’s duty is four-fold, to
in the Philippines; and (b) for admission to the Bar – academic
Court, to the Public, the Bar and his Client.
requirements, passing the bar exam, oath-taking before the
Supreme Court, signing of the Attorney’s Roll and issuance of
certificate of membership from Clerk of Court of the Supreme PRACTICE OF LAW IS A PROFESSION: a form of public trust,
Court (must be in good standing). performance of which is ENTRUSTED only to those who are
qualified and of good moral character. Expressive of 3 ideals – (i)
Organization – Bar membership is a privilege burdened with
POWER TO REGULATE PRACTICE OF LAW: The practice of law
conditions/responsibility to live up to exacting standards and
is a PRIVILEGE impressed with public interest (thus, a lawyer’s
honored traditions, gain is secondary.
duty not only to his client, but also to the Court, his brethren and
to the public). A lawyer takes part in one of the most important
function of the state, that is, the administration of justice. Hence, LEGAL PROFESSION IS NOT A BUSINESS: Gain is secondary
being so intimately affected with public interest, law practice is (in Re: Sycip 92 SCRA 1); duty of public service where emolument
both a right and a duty of the State to control and regulate it in is by-product; a relation as officer of the court to the
order to promote the public welfare. This control is vested by the administration of justice; relation with client is of the highest
Constitution to the Supreme Court (see Article 8, Section 5 [5] of fiduciary degree; relation to colleagues at bar characterized by
the Constitution). candor, fairness, unwillingness to resort to usual schemes and
practices employed in business. Law is not a trade or craft; as a
profession its end-view is securing justice for those who seek its
HOWEVER, even without constitutional fiat, the right to define
aid. For the profession to remain honorable and attain its ideals,
and regulate the practice of law naturally and logically belongs to
those enrolled in its ranks should not only master its tenets and
the Judiciary represented by the Supreme Court considering that
principles, but also by their lives, accord continuing fidelity to
the practice of law is inseparably connected with the exercise of
them (Docena vs. Limon). Thus, the need to study LEGAL ETHICS.
its judicial power in the administration of justice. Supreme Court
authority to regulate law practice includes the authority to define
the term, prescribe qualifications of candidates to and the LEGAL ETHICS: embodiment of all principles of morality and
subjects of the Bar Examination, decide who will be admitted to refinement that should govern the conduct of every member of
the practice, discipline, suspend or disbar unfit and unworthy the Bar; the branch of moral science that treats of the duties
members, reinstate any disbarred or indefinitely suspended which a lawyer owes to the Court, his Client, his Colleagues, and
attorney; ordain the integration of the Philippine Bar, punish for the Public; is embodied in the Constitution, rules of Court, Code of
contempt unauthorized practice and exercise general supervision Professional Responsibility, Canons of Professional Ethics,
of the legal profession. jurisprudence, moral laws and special laws.

NATURE OF OFFICE OF ATTORNEY: (a) more than a mere CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
agent (his duty first is to the court and not his client); (b) attorney
possesses special powers of trust and confidence reposed in him LAWYER’S DUTIES TO SOCIETY (PUBLIC)
by his client (relationship of highly fiduciary nature, hence, legal
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CANON 1 – “A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE by means of contracts which retain exorbitant percentages of
CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND, AND recovery and illegal charges for court costs and expenses and by
PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES. “ – settlement for quick returns of fees against the just rights of the
First and foremost duty is to society because a lawyer is a servant injured person.
of the law; he belongs to a profession to which society has
entrusted the administration of law and dispensation of justice The useful function of a lawyer is not only to conduct litigation
(emphasized in the lawyer’s oath and Rule 138 of the Rules of but to avoid it where possible, by advising settlement or
Court). withholding suit. It is even the lawyer’s duty to temper the whims
and caprices of his client and to temper his client’s propensity to
Rule 1.01. – “A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, litigate.
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.” – Lawyer’s moral
character displayed when he applied for Bar admission must be Note: The signature of a lawyer on a pleading constitutes a
maintained incessantly, lest, his privilege to practice the legal certificate that he read the pleading, to his personal knowledge,
profession may be withdrawn from him. As a servant of the law, there is good ground to support it; and it is not for delay (Section
he must be an exemplar for others. 3, Rule 7 of Rules of Court).

Note: Unlawful conduct – act or omission against the law; Rule 1.04 – “A lawyer shall encourage his client to avoid,
dishonest conduct – act of lying or cheating; immoral conduct – end or settle a controversy if it will admit of a fair
involves moral turpitude, that is, anything done contrary to settlement”. – It is the duty of a lawyer in his exulted position as
justice, modesty or good morals or any vileness, baselessness or an officer of the court not to be an instigator of any controversy. A
depravity in the private and social duties that a man owes his compromise settlement is such that a party must give up some of
fellowmen or society contrary to accepted rule of right and duty his rights in consideration of the same act on the part of the other
between man and man. side. Settlement of cases in court is authorized and even
encouraged by express provision of law (Art. 2028 and 2029 of
Rule 1.02. – “A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities the Civil Code).
aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in
the legal system.” – Lawyer should not render any service or Note: Compromise is as often the better part of justice as
advice to any client no matter how powerful or important is the prudence is the better part of valor. A lawyer who encourages
cause which will involve disloyalty to the laws of the country compromise is no less the client’s champion in settlement in or
which he is bound to uphold and obey, lest he invites and merits out of court than he is the client’s champion in battle in court.
stern and just condemnation. He advances the honor of his Whenever the controversy will admit of a fair judgment, the client
profession and his client’s best interest when he renders service should be advised to avoid or end litigation (this also saves on
or gives advice tending to impress upon his client, his additional expense and declogs the court).
undertaking exact compliance with strictest principles of moral
law. Note: The rights of lawyers to fees due them for services in a
case cannot have a higher standing than client’s rights and
Lawyer must also observe and advise his client to observe the cannot be the ground for disapproving the compromise. The
law, though until a statute has been construed and interpreted by lawyer affected can enforce his rights in a propery proceeding in
competent adjudication, he is free and is entitled to advise as to accordance with the rules.
its validity and as to what he conscientiously believes to be its
just meaning and extent. In the judicial forum, the client is Note: As a rule, a lawyer cannot compromise his client’s case or
entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that receive anything in full discharge of his client’s claim but the full
is authorized by the law of the land, and he may expect his amount in cash, without special authority. Otherwise, the
lawyer to assert every such remedy and defense. However, the agreement is unenforceable (may however be ratified by the
GREAT TRUST OF THE LAWYER IS TO BE PERFORMED WITHIN AND client). However, a lawyer has exclusive management of
NOT WITHOUT THE BOUNDS OF LAW. procedural aspect of litigation including the enforcement of his
client’s rights and remedies. Also, a compromise entered into by
Rule 1.03 – “A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or the lawyer without consent of client may however be ratified by
interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any the latter.
man’s cause.” – A lawyer owes it to the Court and society not to
stir up litigations. While it is not a crime, it is proscribed by rules CANON 2 – A LAWYER SHAL MAKE HIS LEGAL SERVICES
of legal ethics. The rule is intended to prevent Barratry (offense of AVAILABLE IN AN EFFICIENT AND CONVENIENT MANNER
frequently stirring up quarrels and suits either at law or otherwise COMPATIBLE WITH INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY AND
except in rare cases where ties of blood, relationship or trust EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROFESSION – This cannon is a
make it his duty to do so; the act of fomenting suit among correlative duty to the necessity of legal representation and right
individuals and offering legal services to one of them for to counsel. Legal services should not only be efficient but also
monetary motives) and AMBULANCE CHASING (figuratively, a made available and accessible to those who need them in a
lawyers’ act of chasing the ambulance chasing the victim of an manner compatible with the ethics of the profession. Whenever a
accident for the purpose of talking to him or his relatives and lawyer decides to handle a case or extend his legal services for a
offering his legal services to file a case against the person who fee or even for free, he must see to it that he must do so with
caused the accident; a lawyer who haunts hospitals and visits the efficiency and convenience with the end in view of maintaining
home of afflicted persistently offering his legal services on the independence, integrity and effectiveness of the legal
contingent fee). profession.

Note: Evils of Ambulance Chasing – fomenting of litigation with Rule 2.01 – “A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid
resulting burden on courts and the public; subornation of perjury; reasons, the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed”. –
mulcting of innocent persons by judgment upon manufactured duty stems from one of the obligations incident to the status and
causes of action; defrauding innocent persons having proper privilege of a lawyer, that is, to represent the poor and the
cause of action but ignorant of legal rights and court procedure oppressed in the prosecution of their claims or the defense of
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their rights; duty empowers the court to require a lawyer to CANON 3 – A LAWYER IN MAKING KNOW HIS LEGAL
render professional services to any party in a case who is without SERVICES SHALL USE ONLY TRUE, HONEST, FAIR DIGNIFIED
means to employ an attorney whose services are necessary or to AND OBJECTIVE INFORMATION OF STATEMENT OF FACTS.
designate him as “counsel de officio” for the accused. A lawyer
must render effective legal services, under pains of disciplinary Rule 3.01 – “A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of
sanction should he fail to do so. EVERY LAWYER SHOULD any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified,
WELCOME ASSIGNMENT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO RENDER PUBLIC self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his
SERVICE – LAWYERING AFTER ALL IS A PROFESSION. qualification or legal services”. – Being a profession, a lawyer
cannot, without violating the ethics of the profession, advertise
Note: Defenseless – those who are not in a position to defend his talents or skills in a manner similar to merchants advertising
themselves due to poverty, weakness, ignorance or similar their wares. However, not all types of advertising or solicitation
reasons; Oppressed – victims of acts of cruelty, unlawful exaction, are prohibited, permitted forms of solicitation include, use of
domination or excessive use of authority. ordinary simple professional card with indication of special branch
of law practiced, publication in a reputable law list, simple
Note: Valid causes for refusing to accept representation of announcement of opening of law firm, listing in telephone
indigent clients – (a) lawyer is not in a position to carry out the directory. Also, a lawyer is not authorized to use in his legal
work effectively/competently; (b) lawyer labors under a conflict of practice a name other than the one inscribed in the Roll of
interest between him and the prospective client or between a Attorneys.
present client and the prospective client.
Rule 3.02. – In the choice of a firm name, no false,
Note: Legal aid is not charity but a public responsibility. (legal aid misleading or assumed name shall be used. The continued
guidelines of IBP) – A means of correction of social imbalance that use of the name of a deceased partner is permissible
may and often do lead to injustice, thus, it is a public provided that the firm indicates in all its communications
responsibility. that said partner is deceased”.

Rule 2.02 – “In such cases, even if a lawyer does not Rule 3.03 – “Where a partner accepts public office, he
accept a case, he shall not refuse to render legal advice to shall withdraw from the firm and his name shall be
the person concerned if only to the extent necessary to dropped from the firm name unless the law allows him to
safeguard the latter’s rights.” – Under the rule, the lawyer practice law concurrently”.
may recommend the client to another lawyer or advice him on
preliminary steps to take, refer to proper authorities. Rule 3.04 – “A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of
value to representatives of the mass media in anticipation
Rule 2.03 – “A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business”. –
any act designed primarily to solicit legal business.” – Law Seeking of publicity is prohibited.
as a profession is not a money-making trade or business and is
further characterized by: (i) duty of public service, where CANON 4 – A LAWYER SHALL PARTICIPATE IN THE
emoluments is a by-product; (ii) relation as an officer of the court DEVELOPMENT OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM BY INITIATING OR
to the administration of justice, (iii) highest degree of fiduciary SUPPORTING EFFORTS IN LAW REFORM AND IN THE
relation with client, and (iv) relation to colleagues at Bar IMPROVEMENT OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
described by candor, fairness and unwillingness to resort to
current business methods of advertising on their practice or CANON 5 – A LAWYER SHALL KEEP ABREAST OF LEGAL
directly dealing with their clients. As a profession, it is highly DEVELOPMENTS, PARTICIPATE IN CONTINUING LEGAL
unethical for any attorney to advertise his talents or skills as a EDUCATION PROGRAMS, SUPPORT EFFROTS TO ACHIEVE
merchant. HIGH STANDARDS IN LAW SCHOOLS AS WELL AS IN THE
PRACTICAL TRAINING OF LAW STUDENTS AND ASSIST IN
Note: Most worth and efficient advertisement, even for a young DISSEMINATING INFORMATION REGARDING THE LAW AND
attorney, is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for JURISPRUDENCE – Law is a progressive science. To comply with
professional capacity and fidelity to trust which cannot be forced the demand of professional compliance, a member of the Bar
but the outcome of character and conduct. Counsel of repute and must keep himself abreast with the trends of authoritative
eminence welcome the opportunity to be appointed counsel de pronouncements.
officio for this makes manifest the principle that practice of law is
a public service. CANON 6 – THESE CANONS SHALL APPLY TO LAWYERS IN
GOVERNMENT SERVICE IN THE DISCHARGE OF THEIR
Note: Public policy dictates that a lawyer cannot delegate OFFICIAL TASKS. – Under R.A. 6713, norms of conduct of public
authority to represent a client in a case to an unqualified person. officers include: (a) commitment to public interest over personal
This does not mean that retained counsel is automatically interest; (b) highest degree of excellence and professionalism; (c)
authorized to make such delegation to a qualified person because justness and sincerity, must not discriminate; (d) political
this must be with the client’s consent because retained counsel neutrality; (e) promptness, courteous, adequate service; (f)
was selected on account of his special fitness through learning nationalism and patriotism; (g) commitment to democracy; and
and probity for the work at hand. However, an associate may (h) simple living. Where the misconduct of a lawyer as a
appear for the client, unless contracted by client. government official is of such character as to affect his
qualification as a lawyer or to show moral delinquency, then he
Rule 2.04 – “A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than may be disciplined as a member of the Bar on such grounds.
those customarily prescribed unless the circumstances so
warrant”. – LAWYERING IS A PROFESSION, hence: (a) public Rule 6.01 – “The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in
service, emolument is a by-product; (b) relation as an officer of public prosecution is not to convict but to see to it that
the court; (c) fiduciary nature of client-attorney relationship; (d) justice is done. The suppression of facts or the
relationship of candor and fairness. concealment of witnesses capable of establishing the
innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible and is
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cause for disciplinary action”. – Hence, fiscal should person the performance of any task which by law may
recommend for acquittal of accused whose conviction is on only be performed by a member of the Bar in good
appeal if he finds no legal basis for the conviction. standing.”

Rule 6.02 – “A lawyer in the government service shall not Rule 9.02. – “Lawyer shall not divide legal fees with non-
use his public position to promote or advance his private lawyers.” – Confusion on public’s part as to who to consult,
interests, nor allow the latter to interfere with his public causes chaos in the bar plus non-lawyers are not subject to
duties”. – Lawyers who are also public officers should refrain disciplinary measures are the reasons for this rule.
from laying themselves open to such doubts and misgivings as to
their fitness, not only for the position occupied by them in public Note: Exceptions to the Rule (a) pre-existing agreement with
office, but also for the membership of the Bar. partner/associate that, upon latter’s death, money shall be paid
over a reasonable time to his estate or to persons specified in the
Rule 6.03 – “A lawyer shall not, after leaving government agreement (insurance/annuity); (b) lawyer undertakes to
service, accept engagement or employment in connection complete unfinished legal business of deceased lawyer (should
with any matter in which he had intervened while in said not even be considered an exception because this does not
office”. - involve a non-lawyer); and (c) lawyer/firm includes non-lawyer
employees in the retirement plan even if the plan is based in
CANON 7 – A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE whole or part on a profit-sharing agreement.
INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND
SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR. LAW AND THE COURT

Rule 7.01 – “A lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly Canon 10 – LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD
making a false statement or suppressing a material fact in FAITH TO THE COURT – rule based on the lawyer’s relation with
connection with his application for admission to the bar”. the court, that is, being an officer of the latter. It is burdensome
– it is the fact of concealment and not the commission of the on court’s part if it cannot take on face-value the assertions of
crime itself that makes applicant morally unfit to become a counsel and it is utterly a waste of the court’s time to be verifying
lawyer. such assertions.

Rule 7.02 – “A lawyer shall not support the application for Rule 10.01 – “A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor
admission to the bar of any person known by him to be consent to the doing of any in court, nor shall he mislead
unqualified in respect to character, education, or other or allow the court to be misled by any artifice.” – A lawyer
relevant attribute”. – lawyer’s act of supporting an application must be truthful, remember the lawyer’s oath.
to the Bar of any person known to him to be unqualified
constitutes gross misconduct in office. Rule 10.02 – “A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or
misrepresent the contents of a paper, language or
Rule 7.03 – “A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that argument of opposing counsel or text of a decision or
adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall authority or knowingly cite as a law, a provision already
he, whether in public or private life, behave in a rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment or assert
scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal as a fact that which has not been proved.” – Quote
profession”. – good moral character includes at least common verbatim. Mere typographical error in citation of an authority is
honesty. Such character is not only a condition precedent for not contemptuous unless intentionally done.
admission to the legal profession but must also remain intact in
order to maintain one’s good standing in that exclusive and Rule 10.03 – “A lawyer shall observe the rules of
honored fraternity. The Court may disbar or suspend a layer for procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends
misconduct whether in his professional or private capacity, which of justice.” – The aim of a lawsuit is to render justice. The rules
shows him to be wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity of procedure are precisely designed to attain such objective. A
and good demeanor, thus proving unworthy to continue as an lawyer who misuses the rules to frustrate the ends of justice
officer of the court. deserves stern condemnation.

CANON 8 – A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT HIMSELF WITH Canon 11 – A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN
COURTESY, FAIRNESS AND CANDOR TOWARD HIS RESPECT DUE COURTS AND JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND
PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES AND SHALL AVOID SHOULD INSIST ON A SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS. –
HARASSING TACTICS AGAINST OPPOSING COUNSEL. Lawyer’s first duty is to the Court being an officer thereof. His
public duty takes precedence over his private duties. This canon
Rule 8.01 – “A lawyer shall not, in his professional requires that a lawyer: (a) must be respectful in language and
dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or actions, oral or in his pleadings; (b) he must respect not just the
otherwise improper”. judge but other court officers like the clerk of court; (c) any gripe
with the court or its officers must be pursued within the bounds of
Rule 8.02 – “A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, law without promoting distrust in the administration of justice; (d)
encroach upon the professional employment of another the highest sign of respect to the Courts is the lawyer’s
lawyer; however, it is the right of any lawyer, without fear obedience to court orders and processes [refers from unexplained
or favour, to give proper advice and assistance to those absences at the court hearing]; (e) pleadings containing
seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful counsel.” derogatory, offensive or malicious statements submitted to the
court/judge in which proceedings are pending is DIRECT
CANON 9 – A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR CONTEMPT.
INDIRECTLY, ASSIST IN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF
LAW. Rule 11.01. – “A lawyer shall appear in court properly
attired.” – To maintain the integrity and respectability of the
Rule 9.01 – “A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified court. Traditionally consists of long-sleeves barong tagalong and
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coat and tie, female lawyers appear in semi-formal attire. will not attend the trial if unprepared, lest he violates rule 11.
Improper attire may be cited as contempt.
Rule 12.02. – “A lawyer shall not file multiple actions
Rule 11.02 – “A lawyer shall punctually appear at court arising from the same cause.” – A lawyer shall not file an
hearings.” – This is an attorney’s duty not just to his client but action which is subject of a similar pending action. Duplication or
to the court and the public as he has sworn not to delay any multiplicity of suits leads to congestion in court dockets. Forum-
man’s cause for money or malice. Motions or petitions set for shopping is contemptuous behaviour as an officer of the court.
hearing must be attended, even if already moot and academic. Certification of non forum-shopping is required in initiatory
Under Rule 20 of the Rules of Court, failure to appear in pre-trial pleadings otherwise the case is dismissed and administrative
may result in the plaintiff being non-suited or declaration of as in sanctions may be imposed against the lawyer and/or his litigant.
default in the case of the defendant. Tardiness and/or absences
may be punished as contempt. Rule 12.03. – “A lawyer shall not, after obtaining
extensions of time to file pleadings, memorandum or
Rule 11. 03. – “A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, briefs, let period lapse without submitting the same or
offensive and menacing language or behaviour before the offering explanation for failure to do so.” – The rule is
courts.” – Counsel’s language must be dignified in keeping with simple, file your pleadings on time.
the dignity of the legal profession. It is his duty to abstain from all
offensive personalty and to advance no fact prejudicial to the Rule 12.04 – “A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case,
honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the impede execution of judgment or misuse court
justice of the cause he is charged with. processes.” – Lawyers should not resort to or abet client’s resort
to a series of actions and petition for purpose of thwarting
Note: A lawyer’s arguments, written or oral, should be gracious execution of final judgment. Justice demands finality of decision.
to both the court and opposing counsel and be of such words as
may be properly addressed by one gentleman to another. Rule 12.05. – “A lawyer shall refrain from talking to his
Certainly and most especially in our culture, raising one’s voice is witness during a break or recess in trial while witness still
a sign of disrespect. under examination.” – The witness’ oath as well as the
lawyer’s oath requires that witness and lawyer shall not do any
Note: Counsel’s duty to maintain respectful attitude is not for the falsehood. The rule prevents coaching/teaching of witness.
sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office but for the
maintenance of its supreme importance. CANON 15 – A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR, LOYALTY
AND FAIRNESS IN ALL DEALINGS AND TRANSACTIONS
Rule 11. 04. – “A lawyer shall not attribute to a judge WITH HIS CLIENTS. – This is a lawyer’s duty to his clients,
motives not supported by the record and which are failure to comply means he is unfit to remain in the legal
immaterial to the case.” – A lawyer may be cited in direct profession.
contempt for breach of this rule. At times, it is the judge who
misbehaves during a court proceeding, the lawyer affected may Rule 15.01. – “A lawyer shall, as soon as practicable, in
demand that the incident be made of record. This act of the conferring with a prospective client, ascertain whether
lawyer is not contemptuous. the matter would involve a conflict with another client or
his own and if so, forthwith inform the prospective.” – As a
Rule 11.05 – “A lawyer shall submit grievance against a safeguard against disclosure of client’s confidences and secrets,
judge to the proper authorities only.” – It is his duty to Rule 130, Sec. 24 of the Rules of Court mandates that an attorney
defend a judge from unfounded criticisms and groundless cannot, without the consent of his client, be examined as to any
personal attack irrespective of whether he loses or wins his case communication made by the client to him or his advice given
in the sala of the judge. This duty does not however prevent the thereon in the course of professional employment, this privilege
lawyer from filing administrative charges against the erring judge extends to the lawyer’s secretary, stenographer or clerk. The
or from accepting cases of clients who have legitimate grievances communication may be oral or written or actions or signs, the
against judges. Such a complaint is to be filed with the proper transmission may be direct or through messenger, interpreter or
authorities only, that is, the Supreme Court through the Office of other modes of transmission.
the Court Administrator, if purely administrative or the office of
the Ombudsman, if criminal and not purely administrative. If the Requirements of Privileged Communication – (i) existence of
complaint is based on impeachable grounds against Justices of attorney-client relation or consultancy relations with prospective
the Supreme Court, the complaint is lodged before the house of client; (ii) communication made in the course of professional
Representatives in accordance with the Article 11 of the employment; (iii) communication intended to be confidential.
Constitution.
The privilege continues to exist even after termination of the
Canon 12 – A LAWYER SHALL EXERT EVERY EFFORT AND attorney-client relationship. This rule is intended to: (a)
CONSIDER IT HIS DUTY TO ASSIST IN SPEEDY AND encourage clients to make full disclosure of facts without fear;
EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATIVE OF THE JUSTICE. – The and (b) allows the attorney freedom to obtain full information
Constitution guarantees speedy administration of cases, this is from client.
the joint responsibility of judges and attorneys.
CANON 16 – A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL
Rule 12.01. – “A lawyer shall not appear for trial unless he MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENTS THAT MAY
has adequately prepared himself with law and facts of his COME INTO HIS POSSESSION. – An attorney is a trustee of his
case, the evidence he will adduce and the order of its client’s Money and property. Money collected by the attorney for
proferrence. He should also be ready with original his client belongs to the client. Consequently, the lawyer is under
documents for comparison with copies.” – It is depressing obligation to hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client
for a lawyer to appear in chic attire and yet not be ready with his that may come into his possession.
case. A newly-hired attorney is presumed to be acquainted with
the case prior to his takeover, it does not however mean that he Rule 16.01. – “A lawyer shall account for all money or
5
property collected or received for or from his clients.” – advantage of his influence over the client. On the other hand, the
Keep receipts, original or acknowledgment. rule against lending of money to the client is to assure the
lawyer’s independent and professional judgment and to prevent
Rule 16.02. – “A lawyer shall keep funds of each client the lawyer from acquiring financial interest in the outcome of the
separate and apart from his own and those of others kept case and to avoid champertous contract (a void contract where
by him.” – Being a mere trustee, he holds in trust moneys the lawyer spends for all legal expenses).
and properties he received from his clients, he is
accountable therefor to his client. The lawyer must maintain CANON 17 - A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF
adequate records of his client’s money or properties. Money HIS CLIENT, MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE
delivered to the attorney for a specific purpose such as for filing REPOSED IN HIM. – Fidelity to the cause of his client is the
fee, for appeal, for arrangement of amicable settlement, if not essence of the legal profession. Without fidelity, profession will
used for failure of counsel to take such steps must forthwith be not survive, o one will engage lawyer anymore.
returned.
CANON 18 – A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH
Note: A lawyer is not relieved of his obligation to make proper COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. – A lawyer should strive for
accounting even if he has an attorney’s lien over client’s money proficiency in his practice and should accept employment in
or funds in his possession. He is allowed however to apply so matters in which he is or can become competent after reasonable
much if the funds as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees preparation. Attainment and maintenance of competence by the
and disbursement subject to the condition that he shall promptly lawyer can be attained by: (i) keeping abreast of current legal
notify his client. literature; (ii) participating in legal education program; and (iii)
concentrating in particular areas of law and availing himself of
Rule 16.03. – “A lawyer shall deliver funds and property of these means.
his client when due or upon demand. However, he has lien
over funds and may apply them to the extent of his lawful Note: Competence required is one beyond formal qualification of
fees and disbursement, upon due notice to the client. He lawyer to practice law. Expertise – sufficiency of lawyer’s
has a lien to the same extent on all judgments and qualification to deal with a matter in question and includes
execution he has secured for his client.” – A lawyer’s failure knowledge, skill and ability to use them effectively in client’s
to return upon demand gives rise to the presumption that he has interest.
misappropriated the funds for his own use to the prejudice of
client and in violation of trust reposed in him. Rule 18.01. – “A lawyer shall not undertake a legal service
which he knows he is not qualified to render. He may do
Attorney’s lien consists of (a) LAWYER’S RETAINING LIEN – over so, but obtain corroborating counsel competent on the
property of client held by him to apply to his claims upon due matter with client’s consent.” – While lawyer, upon admission
notice to client; and (b) CHARGING LIENT [Rule 138, Sec. 37 of is qualified to practice law, Rule 18.01 deals with specific
Rules of Court] – a lien upon all judgments for the payment of engagement. When lawyer accepts a case, for a fee or not, his
money and executions issued in pursuance of such acceptance is an implied representation that he possess the
judgments/lawyer causes a statement of his claim of such lien to required degree of academic learning, skill and ability in the
be entered upon records of the court that rendered judgment or practice of his profession. That he will exert his best judgment in
issuing execution with written notice to client and the adverse the prosecution or defense of the litigation entrusted to him and
party. he will exercise reasonable and ordinary care and diligence in the
pursuit of the case. Thus, the probation under this rule.
Note: A lawyer’s retaining lien however does not apply to public
documents introduced in court as exhibits as they are subject to Rule 18.02. – “A lawyer shall not handle any legal matter
the court’s custody. without adequate preparation”. – Adequate preparation
covers a wide dimension in law practice. Sufficient legal
Note: A lawyer cannot be deprived of his attorney’s fees through knowledge, ability in trial technique and high proficiency in the
client’s manuever by settling, compromising or settling suit (this formulation of pleadings. Keep abreast with legal developments,
needs consent of the attorney). Lawyer is entitled to have and must be a proficient writer. Preparation begins in the law office.
recover reasonable compensation from his client. Most cases are won within four walls of the office before he goes
to court through hardwork and preparation.
Note: Client has prerogative to dismiss his lawyer anytime as the
relationship is based on trust and confidence. No illegal dismissal Rule 18.03. – “A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter
in client-attorney relationship. However, if dismissal is without entrusted to him and his negligence in connection
just cause, client will pay in full attorney’s fees expressly agreedtherewith renders him liable.” – Law license is a guarantee to
upon in their contract. the public of licensee’s skill and knowledge, thus, a lawyer owes it
to his client. However, a lawyer is not bound to know all laws and
Note: Charging lien is a property right, thus, assignable. Assignee he is not an insurer of the outcome of the case. Diligence merely
will be subrogated to all of lawyer’s right over charging lien. requires that lawyer should only accept so much cases as he can
Charging lien survives client’s death (if duly recorded already), handle.
hence, no need to be enforced in settlement proceedings of
deceased client’s estate. Rule 18.04. – “A lawyer shall keep the client informed of
status of the case and shall respond within a reasonable
Rule 16.04. – “A lawyer shall not borrow money from time to client’s request for information.” – A client’s right to
client unless client’s interests are fully protected by the be fully informed of status of the case. It is a lawyer’s gross
nature of the case or by independent advice. Lawyer shall negligence when he fails to inform client of scheduled pre-trial or
not lend money to the client except, when interest of trial or when he misinforms the client. However, it is also the duty
justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in a legal of a party-litigant as regard his case/s to keep in touch with his
matter he is handling for the client.” – A rule against counsel. No prudent party will have the fate of his case entirely to
borrowing money from the client is to prevent lawyer from taking his lawyer.
6
CANON 19 – A LAWYER SHALL REPRESENT CLIENT WITH in case of unjustified dismissal, the lawyer is entitled to recover
ZEAL WITHIN BOUNDS OF THE LAW. – A counsel owes entire the full compensation as stipulated against the client; (ii) Implied
devotion to the client’s interest, warm zeal in maintenance and – there is no agreement, oral or express, but the client is allowed
defense of his rights and the exertion of his utmost learning and lawyer to render legal services not intended to be gratuitous
ability. The client is entitled to the benefit of every and any without objection, client benefited by reason thereof, the lawyer
remedy and defense authorized by law and may expect his is entitled to compensation to prevent “unjust enrichment”. It is
attorney to assert every such remedy or defense. Such remedy or advisable that attorney’s fees be forthwith determined and fixed,
defense however, must be within and not without the bounds of and written.
the law considering that the office of an attorney does not permit,
much less does it demand of him for any client, violation of the Note: Situation when counsel cannot recover full amount despite
law or any manner of fraud of law or any manner of fraud or written contract for attorney’s fees – (i) when stipulated
chicanery. He must obey his conscience and not that of his client.
attorney’s fees are in excess of what the law expressly provides,
It is a lawyer’s duty is not to the client but to the administration
(ii) attorney is guilty of fraud or bad faith against the client; (iii)
of justice. Therefore, his client’s success is wholly subordinate.
counsel’s services were worthless because of his negligence; (iv)
contract of employment is illegal; (v) serving adverse interest,
Rule 19.01. – “A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest unless he acted with consent of both parties.
means to attain Every such remedy or defense is client’s
lawful objectives. He shall not present, participate in Note: Fees: (i) fixed/absolute fee – paid regardless of result; (ii)
presenting or threatening to present unfounded criminal contingent fee – conditioned upon securing favourable judgment
charges to obtain an improper advantage in any case or and execution based on percentage; (iii) fixed fee payable per
proceeding.” – A lawyer must not offer in evidence any appearance; (iv) time-charging; (v) fixed fee based on a piece of
document which he knows is false. It is an unethical practice to work.
counter-charge in order to force adversary of his client to
withdraw the case. A lawyer also shall not bribe or attempt to Rule 20.01. – Guidelines in determining attorney’s fees
bribe a judge to win his case. (quantum meruit) –

Rule 19.02. – “A lawyer who has received information that (a) time spent and extent and services rendered and required;
his client has, in the course of representation,
perpetuated a fraud upon a person or tribunal, shall
(b) novelty and difficulty of questions involved – requires greater
promptly call upon his client to rectify the same and
efforts, deeper study and research are bound to burn lawyer’s
failing shich he has to terminate the relationship with
time and stamina;
such client in accordance with the Rules of Court.” – A
lawyer cannot volunteer information about his client’s
(c) important of subject matter – more important subject or
commission of the fraud to anyone for this will run counter to his
bigger value of interest or property in litigation, the higher the
duty of confidentiality.
attorney’s fees to justify and commensurate the greater
responsibility to be discharged by the lawyer;
Rule 19.03. – “A lawyer shall not allow his client to dictate
the procedure in handling the case.” - In matters of law, the
(d) skill demanded of lawyer – lawyer of greater skill justifies
client yields to the lawyer and not the other way around. A lawyer
higher fee than an ordinary practitioner, such skill is evidenced by
must not accede, but must resist, his client’s unlawful requests
the quality of his work both in pleadings and trial techniques;
and/or instructions. The rationale for the rule is that the lawyer is
attained only after several years of practice, hardwork and
trained and skilled in law. The rule speaks of procedure only, like,
devotion to his profession for he gains reputation for professional
number and order of presenting witnesses, trial dates, etc. The
capacity and fidelity to trust, lawyer’s skill is not necessarily
lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with laws and
equated by his income neither is length of practice;
principles of fairness. A lawyer, as an officer of the court, and not
an errand boy at the belk and call of his client, eager and willing
to do his bidding. When the client’s request however is proper (e) customary charges for similar services and IBP schedule of
and lawful, lawyer is bound to obliged, like – (a) client’s decision fees;
to settle or not; and (b) client’s decision to appeal or not.
(f) probability of losing other compensation;
CANON 20 – A LAWYER SHALL CHARGE ONLY FAIR AND
REASONABLE FEES. – Adequate compensation is necessary to (g) amount involved in controversy and the benefits resulting
enable the lawyer to serve his client effectively and to preserve from the service – the greater the amount or value, the greater
integrity and independence of the profession. A lawyer like all the lawyer’s responsibility which requires greater exertion of
other is a human beings has a right to livelihood. efforts, however, despite great efforts exerted, if the case is lost,
the attorneys is not deprived of his rights to collect his rightful
Note: As to fees: (a) Ordinary – reasonable compensation paid to compensation unless the agreement is on “contingent basis”;
a lawyer for legal services rendered to a client/based on the fact
of the employment by client; (b) Extra-ordinary – indemnity for (h) contingency or certainty of compensation – contingent
damages ordered by ordered by the court to be paid by losing agreement is in the nature of an obligation subject to a
party to prevailing party in litigation. condition/acceptance of initial fee before or during the progress of
litigation does not detract from the contingent nature of fees as
Note: Unauthorized counsel is not entitled to the compensation long as the bulk thereof is made dependent upon successful
for services even if such redounded to the benefit of such party. outcome of the case.

Note: Employment (Contract) as Counsel – (i) Oral – employed Note: A contract for contingent fee is not prohibited under Art.
without written agreement but conditions and amount of 1491 of the Civil Code, what the latter bars is the act of a lawyer
attorneys fees are agreed upon; (ii) Express – in a written contract of acquiring rights or property which may be the object of any
which is generally conclusive as to the amount of compensation, litigation. A contract for contingent fee is not covered by Art.

7
1491 because the transfer or assignment of property in litigation responsibility assumed.
takes effect only after finality of the favourable judgment. The
estate of the deceased attorney may recover the reasonable Rule 20.03. – “A lawyer shall not, without full knowledge
value of services rendered if said attorney retained on contingent and consent of his client, accept any fee, reward, costs,
basis died prior to final determination of the case. remuneration, etc., whatsoever related to his professional
employment from anyone other than his client.” – To secure
Note: A champertous contract is void. fidelity of the lawyer to his client, there should be no room for
suspicion by his client that his attorney is receiving compensation
(i) character of employment, whether occasional or established; in connection with the case from third persons with hostile
interest.
(j) professional standing of the lawyer – measured by skill and
competency. Rule 20.04 – “A lawyer shall avoid controversies with his
client concerning his compensation and shall resort to
Note: None of the foregoing considerations in itself is controlling. judicial action only to prevent imposition, injustice or
They are mere guides in determining the real worth as close as fraud.” – This is to prevent the public view that lawyers are
possible of the services rendered by a lawyer to a client. Resort to mercenaries. Judicial action may be (a) in the same case, that is,
the guidelines only when there are no conclusive contracts for filing of appropriate motion or petition as an incident to the main
attorney’s fees. action, or (b) institute a separate civil action.

Note: REASONABLENESS OF FEES – There is no hard or fast rule. CANON 21 – A LAWYER SHALL PRESERVE THE CONFIDENCE
It is determined from the facts of each case, the rule on fees in AND SECRETS OF HIS CLIENT EVEN AFTER THE ATTORNEY-
the CPR is a guide for consideration. If it is within the capacity ofCLIENT RELATION IS TERMINATED. – Confidence relates to the
the client to pay and is directly commensurate with value of legal information protected by the attorney-client privilege (Rule 130,
services rendered, it is reasonable. Where however the amount Section 21 of the Rules of Court). The attorney cannot, without
compared to the value of services rendered is clearly client’s consent, be examined as to any communication made by
disproportionate as to be revolting to the conscience, it is his client to him or his advice given thereon in the course of
unreasonable. professional employ. Secrets refer to other information gained in
the professional relationship that client has requested to be held
inviolable or the disclosure of which would be embarrassing or
Note: Kinds of Retainers Agreement on Attorney’s Fees – (a)
would be detrimental to his client.
General Retainer/Retaining Fee – Fee paid to the lawyer to secure
his future services as general counsel for any legal problem that
may arise in the ordinary business of the client. Future services of Note: Mere attorney-client relation does not raise the
lawyer are secured to the retaining client who pays the attorney a presumption of confidentiality. There must be INTENT that
fixed retainer fees, fees are paid whether there are cases or not communication relayed by client to the lawyer be confidential.
referred to the lawyer; (b) Special Retainer – fee for a specific
case or service rendered by attorney to client. Rule 21.01. – Exceptions to the confidentiality rule
includes: (a) authority from client after acquainting him of
Note: Fees on QUANTUM MERUIT – “As much as he deserved”, in the consequences of disclosure; (b) required by law; (c)
cases when: (a) no express contract for attorney’s fees; (b) fees necessary to collect his fees or defend himself, his
stipulated in the contract is found by the court to be employee or associates or by judicial action. – The law may
unconscionable or unreasonable; (c) contract for attorney’s fees require attorneys to make disclosure because the law does not
is void due to purely formal matters or defects in the execution [if make a law office a nest of vipers in which to hatch crimes or
invalid due to illegality of object, lawyer can in no way recover fraud. Thus, the announced intention of a client to commit a
attorney’s fees]; (d) counsel, for justifiable cause, was not able to crime is not included within the confidence which a lawyer is
finish the case to its conclusion; (e) when lawyer and client bound to respect. He may properly make such disclosures to
disregard the contract for attorney’s fees; (f) charging of fees prevent the act or protect those against whom it is threatened.
beyond what is fixed by law is malpractice. Also where a client jumped bail and his whereabouts are known to
the lawyer, the latter must inform the proper authorities. Finally,
the privilege does not cover the commission of future fraud or
Rule 20.02. – “In cases of referral, a lawyer shall, with
crime.
client’s consent, be entitled to a division of the fees in
proportion to work performed and responsibility
assumed.” – There is no problem if only one counsel handling Rule 21.02. – “A lawyer shall not, to his client’s
the case, there would be no division of attorney’s fees. However, disadvantage, use information acquired in the course of
where two or more lawyers are engaged simultaneously at engagement, nor shall he use the same to his own
different times, the rule is such that, when two lawyers jointly advantage or that of a third person, unless the client with
represent a client for a given fee without express agreement on full knowledge of circumstances, consents thereto.”
how much each will receive they will share equally (like “special”
partners for special purpose). If there are specific contracts for Rule 21.03. – “A lawyer shall not, without the written
the payment of fees of each lawyer, the contract prevails unless consent of his client, give information from his files to an
found unconscionable. If lawyers engaged at different stages of outside agency seeking such information for audit,
the case and no specific contracts have been executed, the statistics, bookkeeping, accounting, data processing or
lawyer who bore the brunt of prosecuting the case to its similar purpose.”
successful end is entitled to the full amount of his fees.
Rule 21.04. – “A lawyer may disclose the affairs of his
Note: LAWYER-REFERRAL SYSTEM – if another counsel is referred client to his partner or an associate of the firm, unless
to a client and the latter agrees to take him as collaborating prohibited by the client.” – This is if the client has engaged
counsel, without any express contract for attorney’s fees, said the law firm and not a particular counsel. In law firms, partners
counsel (or substituting counsel, if original counsel withdraws) will usually consult each other.
receive attorney’s fees in proportion to the work performed and
8
Rule 21.05. – “A lawyer shall adopt such measures as may Rule 22.02 – “A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged,
be required to prevent those whose services are utilized subject to a retainer lien, shall immediately turn over all
by him, from disclosing or using the confidences or papers and property to which the client is entitled and
secrets of his client.” – This rule is to make an extended shall cooperate with his successor in the orderly transfer
application of the rule on confidentiality. of the matter. – The rule mentions only a retainer lien because a
charging lien only arises after counsel has secured a favorable
Rule 21.06. – “A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet judgment.
conversations about a client’s affairs even with family
members.” – Confidence should not only be in the office but also ADMINISTRATIVE LIABILITIES OF LAWYERS
at home. Reckless or imprudent disclosure may jeopardize client’s
interest. Membership in the Bar is a privilege burdened with conditions,
including, that a lawyer is an officer of the court. The latter then
Rule 21.07. – “A lawyer shall not reveal that he has been has the inherent power to adopt proper and adequate measures
consulted about a particular case except to avoid possible to preserve its integrity. Membership being a privilege, same may
conflict of interest.” – Regardless of whether he was thereafter be suspended or removed from a lawyer for reasons provided in
hired as counsel, a lawyer should not divulge to others matters the Rules, law and jurisprudence. The professional activities, as
subject of consultation. Violation of this rule is tantamount to well as lawyer’s private lives, insofar as the latter may reflect
breach of confidentiality. By way of exception, disclosure in order unfavourably upon the good name and prestige of the profession
to avoid conflict of interest is permissible. and courts may at any time be the subject of inquiry. Ultimately,
A LAWYER MAY BE WARNED, ADMONISHED, REPRIMANDED,
CANON 22 – A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS SERVICES SUSPENDED OR DISBARRED FROM THE PROFESSION.
ONLY FOR GOOD CAUSE AND UPON NOTICE APPROPRIATE
IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES. – Appearance is the act of submitting CONTEMPT VS. DISBARMENT – Power to punish for contempt and
or presenting oneself to court, either as plaintiff or defendant the power to disbar are separate and distinct; exercise of one
personally or through counsel and seeking general or special does not preclude exercise of the other. Section 27, Rule 138 of
relief/s from the court. Two kinds of appearance: (a) General – the Rules of Court provide that the Supreme Court has full
party comes to court either as plaintiff or defendant and seeks authority and power to warn, admonish, reprimand, suspend and
general relief/s from the court for the satisfaction of claims or disbar a lawyer.
counter-claims; or (b) Special – where defendant appears in court
solely for the purpose of objecting to the court’s jurisdiction over Section 16, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court – Court of Appeals
his person. and Regional Trial Courts may warn, admonish, reprimand and
suspend (but cannot disbar) lawyers who appear before them
Note: A lawyer who appears de parte in a case before a lower from law practice for any cause mentioned in Section 27 of Rule
court is presumed to continue representing his client on appeal 138 of the Rules of Court.
unless he files a formal petition withdrawing his appearance in
the appeal court (Rule 138, Section 22 of Rules of Court). Regional Trial Courts cannot suspend an attorney for committing
indirect contempt. (section 6 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court)
Note: An attorney must make a formal or notice of appearance in
order to be made counsel of record, served upon adverse party Municipal Trial Courts have no power even to suspend an attorney
and filed with the court, such must be in writing to enable officers though it may cite or hold an attorney in contempt of court for
of the court to effectively serve notice on attorney of record. contemptuous acts.

Note: An attorney is presumed to be properly authorized to Justice and Judges being also lawyers, if found guilty of certain
represent any cause in which he appears and no written power of crimes and/or causes for disbarment under the Rules of Court,
attorney is required to authorize him to appear in court (Rule 138, may also be disbarred. However, Supreme Court Justices must be
Section 21 of Rules of Court). Judge however may require counsel impeached.
on reasonable ground to produce or prove his authority to appear
for a client. Note that it is contemptuous to appear for a party OBJECTIVES OF DISBARMENT AND SUSPENSION – (a) Compel
without having been engaged as counsel. attorney to deal fairly and honestly with his client; (b) remove
from the profession, a person whose misconduct has proved him
Rule 22.01. – Instances when counsel may validly UNFIT to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities
withdraw from a case: (a) client is pursuing an illegal or belonging to the office of an attorney; (c) punish lawyer although
immoral course of action; (b) client’s insistence that the not so much as to safeguard the administration of justice; (d) set
lawyer pursue acts violative of canons and rules; (c) as an example or warning for other members of the Bar; (e)
inability of counsel to work with co-counsel; (d) mental or safeguard the administration of justice from incompetence and
physical inability of counsel to handle case effectively; (e) dishonesty of lawyers; (f) protect the public.
client’s deliberate failure to pay attorney’s fees agreed
upon [while the legal profession is not a business, still, a NATURE OF DISBARMENT PROCEEDINGS – judicial in nature and
lawyer is entitled to right to livelihood]; (f) election or can only be exercised by COURTS (constitutional prerogative of
appointment to public office; (g) analogous cases. – Death the Supreme Court under Sec. 5[5] of Article IX of the
of client terminates ipso facto the relationship, unless, personal Constitution).
representatives of the deceased gives him authority to appear. It
is the duty of a lawyer to inform the court immediately of the
DISBARMENT PROCEEDING is sui generis (class by itself) and has
death of his client and to give the names and residence of his
the following characteristics: (a) neither civil or criminal; (b)
executor, administrator or the legal heirs. On the otherhand,
double jeopardy cannot be availed of in a disbarment proceeding
dissolution of the firm or partnership does not terminate relations.
against a lawyer as such a lawyer who is convicted like for
Also, client can terminate counsel at any time. The attorney may
falsification cannot claim double jeopardy; (c) can be initiated
only withdraw by written consent of the client or with court
motu proprio by the Supreme Court or the IBP and can be
permission after due notice and hearing.
initiated without a complainant; (d) can proceed regardless of the
9
interest or lack thereof, if facts proven warrant; (e) CASES IN LEGAL ETHICS
imprescriptible and as such the ordinary statues of limitations
have no application to disbarment proceedings however, CLETO DOCENA vs. ATTY. DOMINADOR Q. LIMON, SR., A.C.
unexplained delay in filing of an administrative case creates No. 2387, 9/10/1998 –lawyer disbarred for asking
suspicion over the motives of the complainant; (f) conducted P10,000.00 as bond to stay execution of a decision in a
confidentially being confidential in nature until its final case pending appeal. After favorable judgment in the appeal,
determination; (g) it is itself due process of law; (h) whatever has Complainant went to court to withdraw his bond only to discover
been decided in a disbarment case cannot be a source of right that no such bond was required or ever posted by Respondent.
that may be enforced in another action like reconveyance or Recommended penalty of suspension is too light. While the
damages; amount involved may be small, but the nature of the
transgression calls for a heavier penalty for violation of Canon 1,
RESTRICTION ON THE POWER TO SUSPEND AND DISBAR – Courts Rule 1(“a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral
should exercise sound discretion and extreme care in suspending or deceitful conduct) and Canon 16 (“a lawyer shall account for
and disbarring lawyers. Such power is not arbitrary or despotic to all money or property collected or received from the client”).
be exercised at the court’s pleasure or in the form of passion, Good moral character is not only a condition precedent to
prejudice or personal hostility. It is to be exercised wisely in a way admission to the legal profession, but must also be possessed at
that rights and independence of the Bar will be scrupulously all times in order to maintain one’s good standing in that
guarded and maintained by the court as the rights and dignity of exclusive and honored fraternity. The law is not a trade nor a craft
the court itself. The power to suspend or disbar should only be but a profession. If it has to remain an honorable profession and
evoked upon the finding that the continuance of an attorney in attain its basic ideal, those enrolled in its ranks should not only
the practice would be subversive to the proper regard for the master its tenets and principles but should also, by their lives,
integrity of the profession. accord continuing fidelity to them. By extorting money from his
client through deceit and misrepresentation, Respondent has
RATIONALE FOR THE RESTRICTION ON THE POWER TO SUSPEND reduced the law profession to a level so base, so low and
AND DISBAR – Lawyering is a means of support for the lawyer and dishonorable, and most contemptible. He has sullied the integrity
his family, to deprive him of such an office is often to decree of his brethren in the law and has, indirectly, eroded the people’s
poverty to the lawyer and destitution to his family. Disbarment confidence in the judicial system.
should never be decreed where any lesser penalty, such as
suspension would accomplish the end desired. LINDA VILLARIASA-RIESENBECK vs. ATTY. JAYNES
ABARRIENTOS, A.C. No. 6238, 11/4/2004. – Lawyer
GROUNDS FOR DISBARMENT (Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of suspended for failing to file the necessary appeal within
Court) – (a) Deceit; (b) Malpractice or other gross misconduct in the prescribed period despite having received payment
office; (c) Grossly immoral conduct; (d) Conviction of a crime for his services. Canon 17 (“a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause
involving moral turpitude; (e) Violation of the Oath of Office; (f) of his client and shall be mindful of the trust and confidence
Wilful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; and (g) reposed in him”)”, Canon 18 (“a lawyer shall serve his client with
Corrupt or Wilful appearance as attorney for a party to a case competence and diligence”), Rule 18.03 (“a lawyer shall not
without authority to do so. neglect legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable”), and Canon 19 (“a
Grounds under Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court are not lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of
limitative. Any misconduct whether in his professional or personal the law”). Otherwise put, the lawyer owes entire devotion to the
capacity which put his moral character in serious doubt as a Bar interest of the client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense
member will render him unfit to continue in the legal practice. of the client’s rights, and the exertion of the lawyer’s utmost
learning and ability to the end that nothing be taken or withheld
from the client, save by the rules of law legally applied.
REINSTATEMENT – restoration to a disbarred lawyer of the
Aggravating his negligence, Respondent failed to demonstrate
privilege to practice law; readmission to the membership in the
the candor he owed Complainant – he kept hiding from her the
bar; based upon Sec. 5(5) of Art. VIII of the Constitution, exclusive
fact that he already received a copy of the resolution despite
authority of the SC to readmit.
Complainant’s many visits to his law office. Worse, Respondent
made Complainant believe that the petition would be filed in time
OBJECTIVE AND CRITERION FOR REINSTATEMENT – Whether or not
before this Court. Needless to emphasize, a lawyer must not keep
an applicant for reinstatement to practice has satisfied and
a client in the dark as to the status of and developments in the
convinced the Court by positive evidence that the effort he
client’s case. The lawyer is obliged to respond within a
exerted toward rehabilitation of his character has been
reasonable time to a client’s request for information. A client is
successful.
entitled to the fullest disclosure of the mode or manner by which
that client’s interest is defended or why certain steps are taken or
Applicant for reinstatement must, like a candidate for Bar omitted. A lawyer who repeatedly fails to answer the inquiries or
admission, satisfy the Court that he is a person of good moral communications of a client violates the rules of professional
character – a fit and proper person to practice law. courtesy and neglects the client’s interests.

Reinstatement to the Roll of Attorneys wipes out the restrictions LUCILA S. BARBUCO vs. ATTY. RAYMUNDO N. BELTRAN,
and disabilities resulting from previous disbarment. However, A.C. No. 5092, 8/11/2004 – Lawyer suspended for failing to
added conditions may be required incident to reinstatement such file appellant’s brief resulting to the dismissal of his
as, to acknowledge support for biological child. client’s case. Rule 18.03 (“a lawyer shall not neglect a legal
matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
Executive pardon on a disbarred lawyer does not ipso facto therewith shall render him liable”). An attorney is bound to
reinstate him to practice. Considering that bar protect his client’s interest to the best of his ability and with
admission/readmission is a constitutional prerogative of the utmost diligence. Failure to file brief within the reglementary
Supreme Court, he must file the appropriate petition with the period certainly constitutes inexcusable negligence, more so if
Supreme Court. the delay of FORTY THREE (43) days resulted in the dismissal of
the appeal. That Respondent was involved in a vehicular accident
10
and suffered physical injuries as a result thereof cannot serve to RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED. Respondent issued eight (8)
excuse him from filing his pleadings on time considering that he worthless checks, seemingly without regard to its deleterious
was a member of a law firm composed of not just one lawyer. effects to public interest and public order. The issuance of
Respondent could have asked any of his partners in the law office worthless checks constitutes gross misconduct, and puts the
to file the Appellant’s Brief for him or, at least, to file a Motion for erring lawyer’s moral character in serious doubt, though it is not
Extension of Time to file the said pleading. Failure to timely file a related to his professional duties as a member of the bar. He not
pleading is by itself inexcusable negligence on Respondent’s part only sets himself liable for a serious criminal offense under B.P.
and his liability is further compounded by his failure to maintain Blg. 22, but also transgresses the CPR, specifically the mandate
an open line of communication with his client, in violation of Rule of Canon 1 to obey the laws of the land and promote the respect
18.04 (“a lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of for law.
his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client’s
request for information”).
A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct,
RICARDO A. FORONDA vs. ATTY. ARNOLD V. GUERRERO, even if it pertains to his private activities, as long as it
A.C. No. 5469, 8/10/2004 – Lawyer suspended for trifling shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity or
with judicial process by resort to forum shopping in filing good demeanor. Possession of good moral character is not only a
multifarious petitions, motions and actions concerning a good condition precedent to the practice of law, but a continuing
property despite the fact that SC had upheld the qualification for all members of the bar. A lawyer may be
judgment of the trial court and appellate court. While a disciplined for any conduct, in his professional or private capacity,
lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client, it should not be at that renders him unfit to continue to be an officer of the court.
the expense of truth and the administration of justice. In filing Thus, the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that, “A
multiple petitions before various courts concerning the same lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
subject matter, Respondent violated Canon 12 (“a lawyer shall deceitful conduct (Rule 1.01); “a lawyer shall not engage in
exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
and efficient administration of justice’) and Rule 12.02 and Rule shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous
12.04 of the Code, as well as a lawyer’s mandate “to delay no manner to the discredit of the legal profession Rule (7.03)”.
man for money or malice.” While lawyers owe their entire
devotion to the interest of their clients and zeal in the defense of DOLORES VDA. DE FAJARDO vs. ATTY. REXIE EFREN
their client’s right, they should not forget that they are, first and BUGARING, A.C. No. 5113, 10/7/2004.
foremost, officers of the court, bound to exert every effort to
assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
FACTS: Respondent assisted Complainant and her co-heirs in two
cases affecting an inherited land. For every hearing, Respondent
ISIDRA BARRIENTOS vs. ATTY. ELERIZZA A. LIBIRAN- was fetched from, and driven back to, his residence, paid P1,000-
METEORO, A.C. No. 6408, 8/31/2004 appearance fee and sent off with vegetables, candies and other
goodies. However, when asked the fee for legal services, he
- Lawyer suspended for having issued worthless checks for the would only say, ‘Huwag na ninyo alalahanin iyon. Para ko na
payment of a pre-existing debt. Deliberate failure to pay just kayong nanay o lola”. Later, Respondent devised two contracts at
debts and the issuance of worthless checks constitute gross P50,000.00 with 25% contingency fee for his services and advised
misconduct, for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with Complainant to show them to her co-heirs who had been asking
suspension from the practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for for the cost of legal services. When the cases were eventually
the administration of justice and vanguards of our legal system. settled, Complainant and her co-heirs offered Respondent
They are expected to maintain not only legal proficiency but also P100,000 as attorney’s fees, which he rejected. Respondent even
a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing so secretly proposed to Complainant that he would only charge her
that the people’s faith and confidence in the judicial system is P85,000.00 and her co-heirs P1,200,000.00. Three years later,
ensured. They conduct themselves in a manner that reflect the Complainant learned that her property had been attached by
values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the CPR Respondent after the latter filed a civil case against her for sum
which explicitly states that, “a lawyer shall uphold the of money.
constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for
law and for legal processes (CANON 1)”; “a lawyer shall not
engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct(Rule
1.01)”.
RULING: RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED. The proper time to
deal with the issue of professional fees is upon commencement of
LINDA VDA. DE ESPINO vs. ATTY. PEPITO C. PREQUITO, A.C. the lawyer-client relationship. In this case, Respondent should
No. 4762, 6/28/2004 have determined and entered into an agreement regarding his
fees in 1991 at the latest, when he was first retained by
FACTS: Complainant’s husband sold a piece of land to Respondent complainant as her counsel in the partition case. Such prudence
who issued 8 post-dated checks as payment and which checks would have spared the Court this controversy over a lawyer’s
however subsequently bounced prompting Complainant and her compensation, a suit that should be avoided except to prevent
husband to make repeated demands but to no avail. Complainant imposition, injustice or fraud. To be sure, a lawyer is entitled to
alleged that Respondent’s unlawful refusal and dilatory tactics the protection of the courts against any attempt on the part of a
partly triggered the death of her husband, who died “disillusioned client to escape payment of legitimate attorney’s fees. However,
and embittered”. Respondent countered that, Complainant did such protection must not be sought at the expense of truth.
not know the “real story”, and that the non-payment of the Complete candor or honesty is expected from lawyers,
checks was justified by the unresolved problem of right-of-way particularly when they appear and plead before the courts for
which Complainant’s husband supposedly had guaranteed. He their own causes against former clients, as in this case. With his
also alleged that he was entitled to set-off what he owed for the armada of legal knowledge and skills, Respondent clearly enjoyed
land acquisition against advances made by Complainant’s the upper hand. More important, he had the sole opportunity to
husband and for cost incurred when he defended Complainant’s present evidence in the collection case after complainant was
son in a criminal case. declared in default, and after he was allowed to present his

11
evidence ex parte. precluded from litigating personally his cases. A party’s right to
conduct litigation personally is recognized by Section 34 of Rule
138 of the Rules of Court that, “in the court of a justice of the
peace a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of
Respondent is reminded that he is first and foremost an officer of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the
the court. His bounden duty is to assist it in rendering justice to aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party may conduct his
all. Lest he has forgotten, lawyers must always be disciples of litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and his appearance
truth. It is highly reprehensible when they themselves make a must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of the
travesty of the truth and mangle the ends of justice. Such bar”.
behavior runs counter to the standards of honesty and fair
dealing expected from court officers. VIOLETA R. TAHAW vs. ATTY. JEREMIAS P. VITAN, Adm.
Case No. 6441, 10/21/2004

FACTS: Complainant hired and paid P30,000 to Respondent for


PEDRO G. TOLENTINO vs. ATTY. NORBERTO M. MENDOZA, the filing of a case for partition of a real property. Almost a year
A.C. No. 5151, 11/19/2004. lapsed, Complainant did not hear from Respondent regarding the
case status. In response to her letter-inquiry, Respondent assured
Complainant that he already filed the case. However, when
FACTS: Complainants alleged that Respondent, a former judge,
Complainant personally checked with the clerk of court she
abandoned his legal wife and cohabited with a married woman
discovered no such case filed. When the IBP intervened and
with whom he has two children in whose birth certificates
required him to comment, Respondent wrote that he would refund
Respondent false indicated that he and his paramour are married.
Complainant’s money, but, he never did. Complainant then filed
Further, in his certificate of candidacy, Respondent declared his
for disbarment.
legal wife as his spouse while in a subsequent certificate of
candidacy, he declared his civil status as separated. Respondent
contended that the fact that he was elected as Mayor shows that RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED. Canon 17 of the CPR provides
he has not offended the public’s sense of morality. that, “a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall
be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him”.

The trust and confidence necessarily reposed by clients require in


RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY for immorality
a lawyer a high standard and appreciation of his duty to them. To
until he submits satisfactory proof that he has abandoned his
this end, nothing should be done by any member of the legal
immoral course of conduct. That Respondent continues to publicly
fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the
and openly cohabit with a woman who is not his legal wife, thus,
confidence of the public in the fidelity, honesty, and integrity of
siring children by her, shows his lack of good moral character.
the legal profession.
Respondent should keep in mind that the requirement of good
moral character is not only a condition precedent to admission to
the Philippine Bar but is also a continuing requirement to When a lawyer takes a client’s cause, he thereby covenants that
maintain one’s good standing in the legal profession. he will exert all effort for its prosecution until its final conclusion.
Thus, when Respondent’s services were engaged by Complainant,
the former took it upon himself to perform the legal services
FERDINAND A. CRUZ vs. ATTY. STANLEY CABRERA, A.C. No.
required of him. In the instant case, however, Respondent
5737, 10/25/2004
seemed to have forgotten his sworn duty after he received the
money from his client.
FACTS: Complainant was a 4 year law student who had
th

personally instituted and appeared in several cases in his own


Canon 7 of the CPR mandates that a “lawyer shall at all times
behalf. In one such instance, Respondent who was opposing
uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession.” The
party’s counsel remarked, “Appear ka ng appear, pumasa ka
strength of the legal profession lies in the dignity and integrity of
muna”. This remark became the basis of an administrative
its members. For this reason, this Court has been exacting in its
complaint against Respondent charging misconduct in violation of
demand of integrity and good moral character of the members of
the CPR.
the Bar.

RULING: Complaint for misconduct in violation of the CPR is


ISIDRA TING-DUMALI vs. ATTY. ROLANDO S. TORRES, A.C.
DISMISSED, Respondent ADMONISHED to be more circumspect
No 5161, 4/4/2004
in the performance of his duties as an officer of the court.
Respondent’s outburst does not amount to a violation of Rule
8.01. Based on the facts of the case, such came about when FACTS: Respondent who is Complainant’s brother-in-law,
Respondent pointed out to the trial court that Complainant is not participated in, consented to, and failed to advise against the
a lawyer to correct the judge’s impression of Complainant’s perjury committed by his wife and his sister-in-law in a deed of
appearance, inasmuch as the judge, in her order noted that extrajudicial settlement which made it appear that the two were
Complainant is a lawyer. Such single outburst, though uncalled the sole heirs of their deceased parents. Complainant also
for, is not of such magnitude as to warrant Respondent’s charged that (a) Respondent participated in, consented to, and
suspension or reproof. It is but a product of impulsiveness or the failed to advise against the forgery of Complainant’s signature in
heat of the moment in the course of an argument between them. a second deed of extrajudicial settlement despite knowledge that
It has been said that lawyers should not be held to too strict an Complainant was working abroad at that time, and (b)
account for words said in the heat of the moment, because of Respondent made gross misrepresentation and offered false
chagrin at losing cases, and that the big way is for the court to testimony in a petition for judicial reconstitution of title to the
condone even contemptuous language. effect that his wife and his sister-in-law Felicisima are the only
children and legal heirs of their deceased parents which
ultimately resulted in the issuance of a new title in the name only
of his wife and Felicisima.
We remind however, Respondent that Complainant is not

12
RULING: Respondent DISBARRED. Respondent has sufficiently relationship with another woman, co-Respondent Villarin.
demonstrated that he is morally and legally unfit to remain in the Respondent Alejandro exhibited by his conduct a deplorable lack
exclusive and honorable fraternity of the legal profession. In his of that degree of morality required of him as a member of the
long years as a lawyer, he must have forgotten his sworn pledge Bar.
as a lawyer. The Lawyer’s Oath to which all lawyers have
subscribed in solemn agreement to dedicate themselves to the MILAGROS N. ALDOVINO vs. ATTY. PEDRO C. PUJALTE, JR.,
pursuit of justice is not a mere ceremony or formality for A.C. No. 5082, 2/17/2004
practicing law to be forgotten afterwards; nor is it mere words,
drift and hollow, but a sacred trust that lawyers must uphold and FACTS: Respondent was Complainants’ counsel in a civil case
keep inviolable at all times. By swearing the lawyer’s oath, they against her sister to compel delivery of their shares in the estate
become guardians of truth and the rule of law, as well as of their deceased mother. Pursuant to the court’s decision, the
instruments in the fair and impartial dispensation of justice. clerk of court withdrew from the bank and divided into eight
shares P1,335,109.68. Respondent represented himself to be
authorized to receive P1,001,332.26 pertaining to Complainants’
Canon 1 provides that a lawyer, “bound to uphold the share in the estate but he failed to deliver their shares .
constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for Complainants engaged another lawyer to demand from
law and for legal processes”, “shall not engage in unlawful, Respondent their money. Respondent, after deducting P250,000
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct (Rule 1.01)” , “shall not as attorney’s fees (supposedly based upon a verbal agreement
counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at with Complainant Milagros), delivered only P751,332.26 to
lessening confidence in the legal system (Rule 1.02)”, “shall at all Complainants. Respondent ignored Complainants’ subsequent
times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession, and demand for him to return P236,000 (Complainants offered him
support the activities of the Integrated Bar (CANON 7)”, “shall not P14,000.00 in addition to the P86,000 he initially received, all in
engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to all, P100,000) as his attorney’s fees).
practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life,
behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession (Rule 7.03)”, “owes candor, fairness and good faith to RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED. Canon 16 provides, “A
the court (CANON 10)”, “shall not do any falsehood, nor consent LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES
to the doing of any in court; nor shall he mislead or allow the OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION”; “A
court to be misled by any artifice (Rule 10.01). lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due
or upon demand. However, he shall have a lien over the funds
JOVITA ALEJANDRO vs. ATTY. WARFREDO TOMAS and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy
ALEJANDRO & MARICRIS A. VILLARIN, A.C. No. 4256, his lawful fees and disbursements, giving notice promptly
2/13/2004 thereafter to his client. He shall also have a lien to the same
extent on all judgments and executions he has secured for his
FACTS: Respondents were administratively charged with bigamy client as provided for in the Rules of Court (Rule 16.03)”.
and concubinage. Complainant married Respondent in 1971 and
has three sons with him. He abandoned her and their family in
1990 to live with his mistress, Respondent Villarin with whom he Upon Complainants’ demand, Respondent should have promptly
had a son. Complainant claimed that her husband, nominated as heeded. Had they not hired a lawyer and charged him with
RTC judge is not fit for said position because he, and co- estafa, he would not have turned over the money to them. While
respondent Atty. Villarin, do not even possess the basic integrity it may be true that he has “a lien over the funds,” he should have
to remain as members of the Philippine Bar. notified Complainants about it in due time. He has no right to
retain or appropriate unilaterally as lawyer’s lien, the sum of
P250,000.00 based on an alleged verbal agreement. His mere
RULING: Respondent Alejandro DISBARRED for gross immorality; allegation or claim is not proof. Obviously, his failure to return the
complaint against Respondent Villarin (was never served money to Complainants upon demand gave rise to the
summons) REFERRED BACK to the IBP for further appropriate presumption that he misappropriated it in violation of the trust
proceedings. Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the CPR provides that, “a reposed on him. His act of holding on to their money without their
lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or acquiescence is conduct indicative of lack of, integrity and
deceitful conduct”. propriety. He was clinging to something not his and to which he
had no right.

The Court has disciplined members of the Bar found guilty of ANA MARIE CAMBALIZA vs. ATTY. ANA LUZ CRISTAL-
misconduct demonstrating lack of good moral character required TENORIO, A.C. No. 6290, 7/14/2004.
of them not only as a condition precedent for admission to the
Bar but, likewise, for their continued membership therein. No FACTS: Complainant who was Respondent’s former employee,
distinction has been made as to whether the misconduct was claimed that (a) Respondent falsely represented herself to be
committed in the lawyer’s professional capacity or in his private married to Felicisimo Tenorio despite the latter’s prior and
life because a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be subsisting marriage with another woman and that (b)
an attorney at one time and a mere citizen at another. He is Respondent, assisted Felicisimo in the illegal practice of law being
expected to be competent, honorable and reliable at all times not a member of the Philippine Bar. Respondent admitted that
since he who cannot apply and abide by the laws in his private Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., is not a lawyer, but he and a certain
affairs, can hardly be expected to do so in his professional Gerardo A. Panghulan, who is also not a lawyer, are named as
dealings nor lead others in doing so. senior partners because they have investments in her law office.
While the disbarment case was pending, Complainant filed a
motion to withdraw complaint supposedly because it arose out of
Though evidence presented was not sufficient to prove bigamy, a misunderstanding.
the evidence sufficiently showed that Respondent Alejandro,
while being lawfully married to Complainant, carried on an illicit RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED. An affidavit of withdrawal of
13
the disbarment case allegedly executed by Complainant does not, client’s cause. When a lawyer accepts a case, his acceptance is
in any way, exonerate Respondent. A suspension/disbarment an implied representation that he possesses the requisite
case may proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the academic learning, skill and ability to handle the case. The
complainant – such proceedings involve no private interest and lawyer has the duty to exert his best judgment in the prosecution
afford no redress for private grievance and are solely for the or defense of the case entrusted to him and to exercise
public welfare, that is, to preserve courts of justice from the reasonable and ordinary care and diligence in the pursuit or
official ministration of persons unfit to practice in them. Hence, if defense of the case.
the evidence on record warrants, the respondent may be
suspended or disbarred despite the desistance of complainant or A lawyer has the duty to give adequate attention and time to
his withdrawal of the charges. every case he accepts. A lawyer impliedly warrants that he
possesses the necessary diligence, learning and skill to handle
each case. He should exert his best judgment and exercise
Respondent is guilty of assisting in the unauthorized practice of reasonable and ordinary care and diligence in the pursuit or
law. The Code provides that, “a lawyer shall not directly or defense of his client’s cause. A license to practice law is a
indirectly assist in the unauthorized practice of law (Canon 9), “a guarantee by the courts to the public that the licensee possesses
lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the sufficient skill, knowledge and diligence to manage their cases.
performance of any task which by law may only be performed by The legal profession demands from a lawyer the vigilance and
a member of the Bar in good standing (Rule 9.01)”. Felicisimo R. attention expected of a good father of a family.
Tenorio, Jr., is not a lawyer, but he holds himself out as one. His
wife (Respondent admitted to abetting and aiding him in the Rule 18.01 of the Code is clear. A lawyer shall not undertake a
unauthorized practice of the legal profession as he is listed (in the legal service that he is not qualified to render. Rule 18.02 of the
letterhead of the law office) as a senior partners because of an Code provides that a lawyer shall not handle any legal matter
investment in her law office. That is a blatant misrepresentation. without adequate preparation. He has the duty to prepare for trial
with diligence and deliberate speed. Rule 18.03 of the Code also
The (Sagip Communication Radio Group) identification card is provides that a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted
another proof that Respondent assisted Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., to him and his negligence shall render him liable.
in misrepresenting to the public that he is a lawyer. Notably, the
identification card stating that he is “Atty. Felicisimo Tenorio, Jr.,” Pariñas’s affidavit of withdrawal of the disbarment case does not
bears the signature of the respondent as Chairperson of the exonerate Paguinto in any way. A compromise or withdrawal of
Group. charges does not terminate an administrative complaint against a
lawyer, especially in this case where the lawyer admitted his
The lawyer’s duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist in, misconduct.
the unauthorized practice of law is founded on public interest and
policy. Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to IN RE: SUSPENSION FROM LAW PRACTICE IN THE
those individuals found duly qualified in education and character. TERRITORY OF GUAM OF ATTY. LEON G. MAQUERA, B.M.
The permissive right conferred on the lawyer is an individual and No. 793, 7/30/2004.
limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain
proper standards of moral and professional conduct. The purpose FACTS: May a Philippine Bar member, disbarred or suspended
is to protect the public, the court, the client, and the bar from the from law practice in a foreign jurisdiction be meted the same
incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law sanction as a member of the Philippine Bar for the same
and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court. infraction committed in the foreign jurisdiction? Atty. Leon
Maquera, admitted to the Phil. Bar in 1958, was later admitted to
DOLORES D. PARIÑAS vs. ATTY. OSCAR P. PAGUINTO, A.C. law practice in the territory of Guam in 1974. The District Court of
No. 6297, 7/13/2004. Guam wrote (and subsequent transmitted certified copies of the
records) the Supreme Court that the Superior Court of Guam
FACTS: Respondent accepted from Complainant P2,500 for filing SUSPENDED Atty. Maquera from law practice for two (2) years
fee and P10,000 (as partial payment for the P25,000) acceptance pursuant to a decision in a disciplinary case filed by the Guam Bar
fee to annul her marriage. About a month later, Respondent Ethics Committee for misconduct in acquiring (by way of
represented to Complainant that the case was already filed and redemption right assigned by his client) his client’s property as
had been set for hearing (but was postponed on various payment for his legal services, which property he later sold for
occasions). Upon inquiry with the court, Complainant learned that profit.
no petition for annulment of her marriage had been filed.
Respondent returned Complainant’s money only after she filed a
complaint for disbarment against him. Subsequently, RULING: Atty. Leon G. Maquera REQUIRED TO SHOW CAUSE
Complainant filed an affidavit withdrawing her disbarment within 15 days from receipt of resolution why he should not be
complaint stating that the complaint arose due to suspended or disbarred for his acts which gave rise to his
misapprehension of facts and misunderstanding. suspension in Guam; Atty. Maquera SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for one year or until he shall have paid his
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED. Rule 16.01 provides that, “a membership dues, whichever comes later.
lawyer shall account for all money or property collected for or
from the client”. Acceptance of money from a client establishes
an attorney-client relationship and gives rise to the duty of fidelity Power to disbar or suspend a lawyer for acts or omissions
to the client’s cause. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific committed in a foreign jurisdiction is found in Section 27,
purpose, such as for filing fee, but not used for failure to file the Rule 138 (Revised Rules of Court), as amended by February
case must immediately be returned to the client on demand. 13, 1992 SC Resolution that “x x x disbarment or
Paguinto returned the money only after Pariñas filed this suspension of a member of the Philippine Bar by a
administrative case for disbarment. competent court or other disciplinary agency in a
foreign jurisdiction where he has also been admitted
Paguinto should know that as a lawyer, he owes fidelity to his as an attorney is a ground for his disbarment or
14
suspension if the basis of such action includes any of practice. Want of moral integrity is to be more severely
the acts hereinabove enumerated. The judgment, condemned in a lawyer who holds a responsible public office.
resolution or order of the foreign court or disciplinary Rule 1.02 of the CPR provides that “a lawyer shall not counsel or
agency shall be prima facie evidence of the ground abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening
for disbarment or suspension”. confidence in the legal system”. Extortion by a government
lawyer, an outright violation of the law, calls for the
corresponding grave sanctions. With the aforesaid rule a high
The Guam court found that Maquera acquired his client’s property standard of integrity is demanded of a government lawyer as
by exercising the right of redemption previously assigned to him compared to a private practitioner because the delinquency of a
by the client in payment of his legal services. Such transaction government lawyer erodes the people’s trust and confidence in
falls squarely under Article 1492 in relation to Article 1491(par.5) the government.
of the Civil Code which prohibits the lawyer’s acquisition by
assignment of the client’s property which is the subject of the
litigation handled by the lawyer. This prohibition is founded on Needless to say, lawyers owe it to the court and to society not to
public policy because, by virtue of his office, an attorney may stir up litigations. Employees of the billiards hall, Ditan and
easily take advantage of the credulity and ignorance of his client Ubante, swore that respondent public officer encouraged
and unduly enrich himself at the expense of his client. Such acts complainant Lim’s workers to file a case against the latter. Rule
are violative of a lawyer’s sworn duty to act with fidelity toward 1.03 of the same Code states that “a lawyer shall not, for any
his clients. They are also violative of the CPR, that, “a lawyer corrupt motive or interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or
owes fidelity to the cause of his client and shall be mindful the delay any man’s cause”.
trust and confidence reposed in him (Canon 17)”, and Rule 1.01
which prohibits lawyers from engaging in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct. The requirement of good moral As lawyer and chief of NLRC Public Assistance Center, Respondent
character is not only a condition precedent to admission to the failed to observe prudence by hanging out and playing in the
Philippine Bar but is also a continuing requirement to maintain billiard hall. By so doing, he exposed himself unnecessarily to
one’s good’s standing in the legal profession. certain elements and situations which could compromise his
official position and his status as a lawyer.

The Guam Superior Court’s judgment ordering Maquera’s


suspension from the practice of law in Guam does not The practice of law is a noble profession, a special privilege
automatically result in his suspension or disbarment in the bestowed only upon those who are competent intellectually,
Philippines. Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of academically and morally. A lawyer must at all times conduct
Court, the acts which led to his suspension in Guam are mere himself, especially in his dealings with his clients and the public
grounds for disbarment or suspension in this jurisdiction, at that at large, with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach.
only if the basis of the foreign court’s action includes any of the A violation of the high standards of the legal profession subjects
grounds for disbarment or suspension in this jurisdiction. Maquera the lawyer to administrative sanctions which includes suspension
however is suspended from law practice for non-payment of his and disbarment. More importantly, possession of good moral
IBP membership dues from 1977 up to the present. Under Section character must be continuous as a requirement to the enjoyment
10, Rule 139-A of the Revised Rules of Court, non-payment of of the privilege of law practice; otherwise, the loss thereof is a
membership dues for six (6) months shall warrant suspension of ground for the revocation of such privilege.
membership in the IBP, and default in such payment for one year
shall be ground for removal of the name of the delinquent
member from the Roll of Attorneys.
ROSARIO H. MEJARES vs. ATTY. DANIEL T. ROMANA, A.C.
No. 6196, 3/17/2004
DAN JOEL V. LIM vs. ATTY. EDILBERTO BARCELONA, A.C.
No. 5438, 3/10/2004

FACTS: Complainant alleged that she and her union engaged


FACTS: In a joint complaint, businessmen Joel Lim and Richard Tan
Respondent to represent them in the labor case for illegal
charged Respondent (formerly chief of the Public Assistance
termination against their employer. Respondent demanded P500
Center of the NLRC) with robbery or extortion and violation of the
per union member, and collected, all in all, about P100,000, on
R.A. 3019. Both Complainants alleged that Respondent had
top of the agreed 10% attorney’s fee on contingent basis.
demanded money from them supposedly in settlement of labor
Respondent supposedly duped the union president into signing a
cases purportedly filed by their employees and, had even
document increasing his attorney’s fees from 10% to 30%. After
threatened to close their businesses and have them jailed if they
union members objected to the said increase, Respondent
refused to settle. Complainant Tan sought the NBI’s assistance
supposedly abandoned the union’s case and neglected to inform
and Respondent was apprehended in the act of receiving marked
them of the dismissal of their case then with the Court of Appeals
money.
resulting in the denialwhich neglect adversely affected their case
because the motion for reconsideration filed by their new counsel,
was denied for being filed late.
RULING: Respondent DISBARRED for corrupt activity, deceit and
gross misconduct.

RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 6 months for violating Rule


16.01 and Rule 18.04 of the CPR; DIRECTED to render an
If a lawyer’s misconduct in the discharge of his official duties as accounting, within thirty (30) days from notice of this Decision, of
government official is of such a character as to affect his all the money he received from the union.
qualification as a lawyer or to show moral delinquency, he may
be disciplined as a member of the Bar on such ground. More
significantly, lawyers in government service in the discharge of
A lawyer should be scrupulously careful in handling money
their official tasks have more restrictions than lawyers in private
15
entrusted to him in his professional capacity. Consequently, when
a lawyer receives money from a client for a particular purpose,
the lawyer is bound to render an accounting to his client, showing Respondent’s argument that to disbar him now is tantamount to
that he spent the money for the purpose intended. Rule 16.01 of deprivation of property without due process of law is also
the Code provides that, “a lawyer shall account for all money or untenable. As he himself admits, the practice of law is a
property collected or received for or from the client”. privilege. Disbarment proceedings are intended to “to protect the
administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise this
important function shall be competent, honorable and reliable;
The Code also provides that, “a lawyer shall serve his client men in whom courts and clients may repose confidence.” “A
with competence and diligence (Canon 18)” and “a lawyer proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not in any sense a
shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and civil action where the complainant is plaintiff and the respondent
shall respond within a reasonable time to the client’s lawyer is a defendant. Disciplinary proceedings involve no
request for information (Rule 18.04)”. Indeed, the private interest and afford no redress for private grievance. They
relationship of lawyer-client being one of confidence, there are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare, and
is ever present the need for the lawyer to inform timely and for the purpose of preserving courts of justice from the official
adequately the client of important developments affecting ministrations of persons unfit to practice them.”
the client’s case. The lawyer should not leave the client in
the dark on how the lawyer is defending the client’s
interests.
For the same reasons, we are disinclined to take Respondent’s old
age and the fact that he served in the judiciary in various
Respondent failed to inform timely and adequately his clients of capacities in his favor. If at all, we hold Respondent to a higher
the decision. Instead of simply leaving a note to his clients, standard for it, for a judge should be the embodiment of
Respondent should have immediately contacted them, explained competence, integrity, and independence, and his conduct should
the decision to them, and advised them on further steps that be above reproach. The fact that respondent has chosen to
could be taken to protect their interest. Had not two of his engage in private practice does not mean he is now free to
clients persisted in following-up their case, the Union members conduct himself in less honorable – or indeed in a less than
would not have known of the CA decision. It is clear that honorable – manner.
Respondent’s nonchalance contributed to the subsequent denial
of his clients’ motion for reconsideration, filed by another counsel. We stress that membership in the legal profession is a privilege,
By his lackadaisical handling of his clients’ case, respondent all demanding a high degree of good moral character, not only as a
too clearly indicated his “failure to exercise such skill, care, and condition precedent to admission, but also as a continuing
diligence as men of the legal profession commonly possess and requirement for the practice of law. Sadly, herein respondent falls
exercise in such matters of the professional employment.” short of the exacting standards expected of him as a vanguard of
the legal profession.
MICHAEL BARRIOS vs. ATTY. FRANCISCO MARTINEZ, A.C.
No. 4585, 11/12/2004 SUSAN CUIZON vs. ATTY. RODOLFO MACALINO, A.C. NO.
4334, 7/7/2004.
FACTS: This is a verified petition for disbarment against
Respondent for having been convicted by final judgment of a FACTS: Complainant hired Respondent to represent her husband
crime (violation of BP22) involving moral turpitude. Twice fined for convicted of a drug charge. Upon Respondent’s suggestion,
failing to comment, he was cited in contempt (three years later) Complainant delivered possession of her car to Respondent as
and ordered imprisoned and was subsequently released only after compensation for legal services. Later, Respondent offered to buy
paying the fine and filing his two-paged comment. Pending the the car for P85,000.00 and paid a P24,000-downpayment.
case, the Court received a letter that Respondent was charged in However, Complainant was forced to hire another lawyer because
another estafa case and was ordered in another case to return Respondent failed to attend to her husband’s case. After
the P60,000 (of the P90,000) he withheld as attorney’s fees in a Complainant filed for Respondent’s disbarment, she reported to
civil suit involving victims of the Doña Paz tragedy in 1987 which the Supreme Court that he again committed an infraction of the
case he accepted pro bono. law by issuing a worthless check.

RULING: Respondent DISBARRED, his name ORDERED RULING: Respondent DISBARRED for gross misconduct rendering
STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys. In the present case, him unfit to discharge the duties of his office and unworthy of the
Respondent has been found guilty and convicted by final trust and confidence reposed on him as an officer of the court. No
judgment for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 for issuing a worthless check lawyer is obliged to act either as adviser or advocate for every
in the amount of P8,000. The issue which concerns us is whether person who may wish to become his client. However, once he
or not said crime involves moral turpitude. Moral turpitude agrees to take up the client’s cause, the lawyer owes fidelity to
“includes everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty, such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and
modesty, or good morals.” It involves “an act of baseness, confidence reposed in him. He must serve his client with
vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man owes his competence and diligence, and champion the latter’s cause with
fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and whole-hearted fidelity. AN ATTORNEY WHO UNDERTAKES TO
customary rule of right and duty between man and woman, or CONDUCT AN ACTION IMPLIEDLY STIPULATES TO CARRY IT TO ITS
conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.” CONCLUSION.

Enumerating the elements of that crime, we held that the act of a


person in issuing a check knowing at the time of the issuance that
he or she does not have sufficient funds in, or credit with, the After agreeing to represent Complainant’s husband, taking
drawee bank for the check in full upon its presentment, is a possession of their car and persuading Complainant to sell the
manifestation of moral turpitude. same to him for a nominal amount, Respondent refused to carry
out his duties as counsel prompting Complainant to secure
16
another lawyer’s services. Respondent clearly breached his pending case, he would again put blame on his third wife in order
obligation under Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the CPR which provides to send the marriage to oblivion.
that, “a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him,
and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him
liable”. Respondent has exhibited the vice of entering into multiple
marriages and then leaving them behind by the mere expedient
Respondent’s infraction is compounded by his issuance of a check of resorting to legal remedies to sever them. The impact of
in favor of Complainant’s husband which was later dishonored. respondent’s conduct is incalculable upon his ex-wives as well as
Such conduct indicates Respondent’s unfitness for the trust and the children he had by them, their lives having been dislocated
confidence reposed on him, shows such lack of personal honesty beyond recall. Such pattern of misconduct by Respondent
and good moral character as to render him unworthy of public undermines the institutions of marriage and family, institutions
confidence and constitutes a ground for disciplinary action. that this society looks to for the rearing of our children, for the
development of values essential to the survival and well-being of
FLORENCE MACARRUBO vs. ATTY. EDMUNDO L. our communities, and for the strengthening of our nation as a
MACARRUBO, A.C. No. 6148, 2/27/2004 whole. This must be checked if not stopped.

FACTS: Complainant, by herself and her two children sought to


disbar Respondent for having deceived her into marrying him by As officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good
representing that his previous marriage with a certain Helen moral character but must also be perceived to be of good moral
Esparza was void. Respondent later abandoned Complainant and character and must lead a life in accordance with the highest
their children and then entered a third marriage with one moral standards of the community. The moral delinquency that
Josephine T. Constantino. Respondent denied employing affects the fitness of a member of the bar to continue as such,
deception in marrying Complainant and insisted that she, despite including that which makes a mockery of the inviolable social
full knowledge of his prior marriage, dragged him against his will institution of marriage, outrages the generally accepted moral
to a sham wedding to protect her and her family’s reputation standards of the community.
because she was 3-months pregnant. Respondent presented a
court decision declaring the nullity of his marriage to Complainant HON. MARIANO S. MACIAS vs. ATTY. ALANIXON A. SELDA,
for being a sham, vitiated by fraud, deceit, force and intimidation, A.C. No. 6442, 10/21/2004
barred by legal impediment and want of a valid marriage license.
FACT: Reasoning that he could not cope with the pace of the
proceedings vis-à-vis his workload, Respondent submitted to
RULING: Respondent DISBARRED and his name STRICKEN OFF Complainant his withdrawal as counsel for protestee in an
from Roll of Attorneys due to gross immorality. Respondent election contest before Complainant – motion was granted.
breached the following precepts of the CPR, that: “a lawyer shall Subsequently, Respondent executed an affidavit disavowing his
not engage in A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, ground for withdrawal and declared that the real reason for
immoral or deceitful conduct (Rule 1.01); “a lawyer shall at all withdrawing was that Complainant supposed pre-judged the case
times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession, and and even insinuated to him that his client would lose in the
support the activities of the Integrated Bar” (CANON 7); and, “a protest. On the basis of Respondent’s affidavit, the protestee
lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his moved to inhibit Complainant, which motion, Complainant
fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private granted. However, the Supreme Court set aside complainant’s
life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal inhibition after finding no strong and valid reason therefor, and
profession (Rule 7.03)”. directed Complainant to continue hearing the case and to resolve
it with reasonable dispatch. Complainant charged that
Respondent’s conduct constituted “serious deceit, malpractice,
While Respondent’s marriage to Complainant has been annulled gross misconduct as a lawyer and in utter violation of the
by final judgment, this does not cleanse his conduct of every lawyer’s oath”.
tinge of impropriety. Having lived with Complainant as husband
and wife in December 1991 when his first marriage was still RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 1 year; STERNLY
subsisting, makes him liable for concubinage – his first marriage WARNED that repetition of a similar offense will call for a more
having been only annulled on August 21, 1998. Such conduct is severe consequence. All members of the legal profession made a
inconsistent with the good moral character required for the solemn oath to, inter alia, “do no falsehood” and “conduct
continued right to practice law as a member of the Philippine bar. [themselves] as [lawyers] according to the best of [their]
It imports moral turpitude and is a public assault upon the basic knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the
social institution of marriage. Even assuming that, Complainant courts as to [their] clients.” These particular fundamental
coerced him into marriage, the duress, by his own admission principles are reflected in the CPR, specifically that, “a lawyer
ceased after their wedding day, yet, Respondent freely cohabited owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court(Canon 10)”, “a
with her and even begot a second child by her. lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of
any in Court, nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be
misled by an artifice(Rule 10.01)”.
In both his marriages to his first wife and to Complainant,
Respondent claimed having entered into the marital union When Respondent executed his affidavit retracting his reason for
against his will. That claim is an affront to the intelligence of the withdrawing as counsel for protestee, he acknowledged, under
members of this Court to distinguish fact from fiction, reality from oath, his misrepresentation. He misled the court in clear
fantasy. It is not easy to believe that a lawyer like Respondent violation of his oath as lawyer and failed to abide by the CPR.
could easily be cowered to enter into any marriage. One incident Candor towards the courts is a cardinal requirement of the
of a “shotgun marriage” is believable, but two such in succession practicing lawyer. In fact, this obligation to the bench for candor
would tax one’s credulity. And then, there is a third marriage to and honesty takes precedence. Thus, saying one thing in his
Josephine T. Constantino which is again the subject of another Motion to Withdraw as Counsel for Private Protestee and another
annulment case. It would not come as a surprise if in that in his subsequent affidavit is a transgression of this imperative
17
which necessitates appropriate punishment. by their license and the law, the court may be justified in
suspending or removing them from that
ROBERTO SORIANO vs. ATTY. MANUEL DIZON, A.C. No.
6792, 1/25/2006 EDUARDO MENESES vs. ATTY. RODOLFO MACALINO, A.C.
No. 6651, 2/27/2006
FACTS: Respondent, who was driving his car under the influence
of liquor, reacted violently when the taxicab driven by FACTS: Respondent, for a “package deal” of P60,000 offered his
Complainant overtook him. When Respondent caught up with legal services to help secure the release of Complainant’s car
Complainant, he confronted Complainant and tried to physically from the Bureau of Customs. Despite Complainant’s repeated
assault the latter. Respondent, being elderly, was easily subdued attempts to inquire as to the status of the release of his car and
but when Complainant let go and returned to his car, Respondent having already paid therefor a total of P40,000.00, more than a
got his gun and shot Complainant who was unarmed. year lapsed without any update. After Complainant filed a
Complainant fell and held on to Respondent’s thigh, Respondent complaint against Respondent before the NBI, Respondent made
simply pushed him out and fled the scene. Criminal charged, partial payment of P20,000.00 but never fully paid Complainant.
Respondent was convicted for frustrated murder. Complainant filed for the disbarment of Respondent who neither
filed answer nor showed up for the investigation despite due
RULING: Respondent DISBARRED; his name ORDERED notice.
STRICKEN from Attorney’s Roll. Under Section 27 of Rule 138 of
the Rules of Court, conviction for a crime involving moral RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 1 year; ORDERED TO
turpitude is a ground for disbarment or suspension. By such RETURN to complainant within 30 days from receipt of decision
conviction, a lawyer is deemed to have become unfit to uphold full amount of P20,000 with 12% interest per annum.
the administration of justice and to be no longer possessed of
good moral character. In this case, Respondent has been found Respondent liable for violation of Canon 16,[14] Rule 16.01,[15]
guilty; and he stands convicted, by final judgment, of frustrated Rule 16.03,[16] and Rule 18.04[17] of the CPR. The relationship of
homicide. The only question that stands is whether such lawyer-client being one of confidence, it is the lawyer’s duty to
conviction involves moral turpitude? keep the client regularly and fully updated on the developments
of the client’s case. After receiving P40,000, Respondent was
Moral turpitude has been defined as “everything which is done never heard of again, kept Complainant in the dark about the
contrary to justice, modesty, or good morals; an act of baseness, status of the release of the car. Only after Complainant filed a
vileness or depravity in the private and social duties which a man complaint with the NBI did Respondent communicate with
owes his fellowmen, or to society in general, contrary to justice, Complainant. Moreover, it appears that Respondent failed to
honesty, modesty, or good morals.” Homicide may or may not render any legal service to facilitate the car’s release and in fact,
involve moral turpitude depending on the degree of the crime. failed to secure the release of the same.
Moral turpitude is not involved in every criminal act and is not
shown by every known and intentional violation of statute, but The CPR mandates that every “lawyer shall hold in trust all
whether any particular conviction involves moral turpitude may moneys and properties of his client that may come into his
be a question of fact and frequently depends on all the possession” and that “a lawyer shall account for all money or
surrounding circumstances. property collected or received for or from the client” and that he
“shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due and
Respondent was definitely the aggressor, as he pursued and shot upon demand.”
Complainant when the latter least expected it. The act of
aggression shown by Respondent will not be mitigated by the fact Respondent specifically received the P40,000 for his legal
that he was hit once and his arm twisted by Complainant. Under services and for the processing fee to facilitate the release of
the circumstances, those were reasonable actions clearly Complainant’s car. Since Respondent failed to render any legal
intended to fend off the lawyer’s assault. Further, there was service to Complainant and he also failed to secure the car’s
treachery as a further indication of Respondent’s skewed morals – release, Respondent should have promptly accounted for and
he shot the victim when the latter was not in a position to defend returned the money to complainant. But even after demand,
himself. In fact, under the impression that the assault was Respondent did not return the money. Again, Respondent waited
already over, the unarmed complainant was merely returning until complainant filed a complaint with the NBI before he
Respondent’s eyeglasses when he was shot. To make matters refunded the P20,000. Even then, Respondent failed to return the
worse, respondent wrapped the handle of his gun with a balance of P20,000 as he promised. His failure to return
handkerchief so as not to leave fingerprints. In so doing, he Complainant’s money upon demand is conduct indicative of lack
betrayed his sly intention to escape punishment for his crime. of integrity and propriety and a violation of the trust reposed on
him. Respondent’s unjustified withholding of money belonging to
The totality of the facts unmistakably bears the earmarks of the complainant warrants the imposition of disciplinary action.
moral turpitude. By his conduct, respondent revealed his
extreme arrogance and feeling of self-importance. As it were, he Respondent’s actuation reveals a high degree of irresponsibility
acted like a god on the road, who deserved to be venerated and and shows his lack of respect for the IBP and its proceedings.
never to be slighted. Clearly, his inordinate reaction to a simple Respondent’s attitude demonstrates a character which stains the
traffic incident reflected poorly on his fitness to be a member of nobility of the legal profession.
the legal profession. It is also glaringly clear that respondent
seriously transgressed Canon 1 of the Code of Professional RUTHIE LIM-SANTIAGO vs. ATTY. CARLOS B. SAGUCIO, A.C.
Responsibility. No. 6705, 3/31/2006

Conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude may relate, not FACT: Complainant, the daughter and special administratrix of the
to the exercise of the profession of lawyers, but certainly to their estate of the late Alfonso Lim, took over the management of
good moral character. Where their misconduct outside of their Taggat Industries, Inc. Respondent, prior to his appointment as
professional dealings is so gross as to show them morally unfit for provincial prosecutor was the former personnel manager and
their office and unworthy of the privileges conferred upon them retained counsel of Taggat Industries. A criminal case filed by
18
Taggat employees against Complainant for non-payment of wages the CPR. Here, respondent’s violation of RA 6713 also constitutes
was assigned to Respondent for preliminary investigation. a violation of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, which mandates that “[a]
Thereafter, Respondent recommended the filing of the lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
information against Complainant for violation of Art. 222 in deceitful conduct.” Respondent’s admission that he received
relation to Art. 116 of the Labor Code. Complainant sought to from Taggat fees for legal services while serving as a government
disbar Respondent for violating Rule 15.03 of the CPR and for prosecutor is an unlawful conduct, which constitutes a violation of
defying the prohibition against private practice of law while Rule 1.01.
working as a government prosecutor (alleging that Respondent
continued to accept monthly retainer’s fee even when he was MARILI C. RONQUILLO, ET. AL. vs. ATTY. HOMOBONO T.
already a government prosecutor). CEZAR, A.C. No. 6288, 2006.

RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 6 months; although FACTS: Respondent executed a deed assigning all his rights and
exonerated from the charge of violating Rule 15.03 of the CPR, interest over a townhouse unit and lot in favor of Complainant for
Respondent is guilty of violating Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the same the price of P1.5M. Complainant paid P750,000 with the balance
code against unlawful conduct when he violated Section 7(b)(2) to be paid on staggered basis covered by post-dated checks with
of RA6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Respondent’s undertaking to deliver to Complainant a copy of his
Officials and Employees). contract to sell with the townhouse developer and to have the
latter execute a deed of absolute sale in Complainant’s favor.
Canon 6 provides that the CPR “shall apply to lawyers in After Respondent encashed the first check, Complainant learned
government service in the discharge of their official duties.” A from the developer that Respondent had not paid the townhouse
government lawyer is thus bound by the prohibition “not [to] in full when he assigned it to Complainant. Complainant stopped
represent conflicting interests.” However, this rule is subject to payment for the second check and demanded, alternatively for
certain limitations as when there is no conflict of interest, when Respondent to deliver a deed of absolute sale in her favor or the
written consent of all concerned is given after a full disclosure of return of her money. Respondent asked for time to comply but
the facts or when no true attorney-client relationship exists. never did so.

Here, there is no conflict of interests when Respondent handled RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 3 years. Respondent may
the preliminary investigation of the criminal complaint filed by have acted in his private capacity when he entered into a
Taggat employees in 1997. The issue in the criminal complaint contract with Complainant representing to have the rights to
pertains to non-payment of wages that occurred from April 1, transfer title over the townhouse unit and lot in question. When
1996 to July 15, 1997. Clearly, Respondent was no longer he failed in his undertaking, Respondent fell short of his duty
connected with Taggat during that period since he resigned under Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the CPR. It cannot be gainsaid that it
sometime in 1992. To charge Respondent for representing was unlawful for respondent to transfer property over which one
conflicting interests, evidence must be presented to prove that has no legal right of ownership. Respondent was likewise guilty
Respondent used against Taggat, his former client, any of dishonest and deceitful conduct when he concealed this lack of
confidential information acquired through his previous right from Complainant. He did not inform Complainant that he
employment. The only established participation Respondent had has not yet paid in full the price for the subject property and
with respect to the criminal complaint is that he was the one who therefore, had no right to sell, transfer or assign said property at
conducted the preliminary investigation. On that basis alone, it the time of the execution of the Deed of Assignment. His
does not necessarily follow that respondent used any confidential acceptance of the bulk of the purchase price amounting to
information from his previous employment with complainant or P937,500.00, despite knowing he was not entitled to it, made
Taggat in resolving the criminal complaint. matters worse for him.

The fact alone that Respondent was the former Personnel Respondent’s adamant refusal to return to Complainant the
Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat and the case he money she paid him, which was the fruit of her labor as an
resolved as government prosecutor was labor-related is not a Overseas Filipino Worker for ten (10) years, is morally
sufficient basis to charge him for representing conflicting reprehensible. By his actuations, Respondent failed to live up to
interests. A lawyer’s immutable duty to a former client does not the strict standard of morality required by the Code of
cover transactions that occurred beyond the lawyer’s Professional Responsibility and violated the trust and respect
employment with the client. The intent of the law is to impose reposed in him as a member of the Bar, and an officer of the
upon the lawyer the duty to protect the client’s interests only on court.
matters that he previously handled for the former client and not
for matters that arose after the lawyer-client relationship has FIDELA VDA. DE ENRIQUEZ vs. ATTY. MANUEL G. SAN JOSE,
terminated. A.C. No. 3569, 2/23/2007

“Private practice of law” contemplates a succession of acts of the FACTS: Complainant paid Respondent P2,000 as attorney’s fees to
same nature habitually or customarily holding one’s self to the file an unlawful detainer suit. When Respondent failed to file the
public as a lawyer. Respondent argues that he only rendered case, Complainant wrote demanding for the return of her
consultancy services to Taggat intermittently and he was not a documents. Respondent refused and failed to return her papers
retained counsel of Taggat from 1995 to 1996 as alleged. This resulting in the prescription of the case. Respondent claimed that,
argument is without merit because the law does not distinguish by Complainant’s letter withdrawal, he thought that suit was
between consultancy services and retainer agreement. For as unnecessary as the parties had supposedly agreed that the
long as Respondent performed acts that are usually rendered by occupant would voluntarily vacate. Respondent further claimed
lawyers with the use of their legal knowledge, the same falls that he advised Complainant that they could not file the case
within the ambit of the term “practice of law.” because the position of municipal trial court judge was vacant.

Respondent’s action violated RA6713, however, violations of this RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 6 months; ORDERED TO
act is not subject to the disciplinary action under the CPR unless RETURN Complainant’s money plus 12% per annum. The CPR in
the violations also constitute infractions of specific provisions of Rule 18.03 enjoins “a lawyer not to neglect a legal matter

19
entrusted to him”, and his negligence in connection therewith shall and on the lips (with one hand holding her breast) on two
render him liable. A lawyer engaged to represent a client in a case separate occasions, Complainant alleged that she had been
bears the responsibility of protecting the latter’s interest with meeting Respondent to discuss a collection suit she was
utmost diligence. It is the duty of a lawyer to serve his client with intending to file when he committed the acts complained of. In his
competence and diligence and he should exert his best efforts to defense, Respondent admitted kissing Complainant after she
protect, within the bounds of the law, the interest of his client. It is offered her lips to him and that considering he had dropped her
not enough that a practitioner is qualified to handle a legal matter; off at a busy street teeming with people, it would have been
he is also required to prepare adequately and give the appropriate impossible to commit the acts imputed to him.
attention to his legal work.
RULING: Complaint for disbarment DISMISSED. Respondent
Respondent fell short of the diligence required of a lawyer REPRIMANDED to be more prudent and cautious in his dealing
entrusted with a case. Complainant hired Respondent and after with his clients; STERN WARNING that repetition of same or
he wrote a demand to vacate, nine months lapsed and he had similar offense would be sanctioned more severely.
done nothing further in connection with the case. AN ATTORNEY
WHO UNDERTAKES TO CONDUCT AN ACTION IMPLIEDLY The CPR provides that, “a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
STIPULATES TO CARRY IT TO ITS CONCLUSION. Respondent’s dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct (Rule 1.01, Canon 1)”; “a
failure to file a pleading is by itself inexcusable negligence. He lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the
further aggravates his misconduct by blaming the courts, that is, legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated Bar
his excuse that the MCTC having jurisdiction over the case was (Canon 7)”; “a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely
vacant; that filing of a case would be useless; and that the best reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in
thing to do was to wait for the vacancy to be filled, finds no public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the
support in the practice of law. The vacancy in court did not discredit of the legal profession (Rule 7.03)”.
suspend the court’s official existence, much less render it functus
oficio.

MELVIN D. SMALL vs. ATTY. JERRY BANARES, A.C. No. 7021, Possession of good moral character is a continuing condition to
2/21/2007 preserve membership in the Bar in good standing, as such, it is
the bounden duty of lawyers to adhere unwaveringly to the
FACTS: Complainant paid Respondent P20,0000 as acceptance highest standards of morality. The legal profession exacts from
fee and P60,000 as filing fees to file several cases. Despite its members nothing less. This requirement of good moral
constant follow-up regarding the status of the cases, Respondent character has four ostensible purposes, namely: (1) to protect the
merely informed Complainant that he was still preparing the public; (2) to protect the public image of lawyers; (3) to protect
necessary documents. Months later, when Respondent failed, prospective clients; and (4) to protect errant lawyers from
upon demand, to present all the documents he supposedly themselves.
prepared, Complainant demanded for a full refund and even
engaged another lawyer to recover her money. Respondent failed Immorality has not been confined to sexual matters, but includes
to comply, prompting Complainant to file a disbarment complaint. conduct inconsistent with rectitude, or indicative of corruption,
indecency, depravity and dissoluteness; or is willful, flagrant, or
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 2 years for violating Canons shameless conduct showing moral indifference to opinions of
16 and 18 and Rules 16.01, 16.03, and 18.04 of the CPR; respectable members of the community, and an inconsiderate
ORDERED to RETURN Complainant’s P80,000, with interest at attitude toward good order and public welfare. Acts of kissing or
12% per annum. beso-beso on the cheeks as mere gestures of friendship and
camaraderie, forms of greetings, casual and customary.
The Code provides that “a lawyer shall serve his client with Respondent’s acts though, in turning the head of Complainant
competence and diligence”; “shall keep the client informed of the towards him and kissing her on the lips are distasteful. However,
status of his case”; and, “shall respond within a reasonable time such act, even if considered offensive and undesirable, cannot be
to the client’s request for information”. After money, Respondent considered grossly immoral.
was never heard from again and failed to give Complainant an
update on the status of the cases and even actually file the Complainant’s bare allegation that Respondent made use and
appropriate cases. Respondent’s failure to communicate with took advantage of his position as a lawyer to lure her to agree to
Complainant was an unjustified denial of Complainant’s right to have sexual relations with him, deserves no credit. Burden of
be fully informed of the status of the cases. When he agreed to proof rests on Complainant, and she must establish the case
be Complainant’s counsel, Respondent undertook to take all the against Respondent by clear, convincing and satisfactory proof. A
necessary steps to safeguard Complainant’s interests. By his mere charge or allegation of wrongdoing does not suffice.
inaction, Respondent disregarded his duties as a lawyer. Accusation is not synonymous with guilt.

The Code also mandates for every lawyer to hold in trust all
Respondent admitted kissing Complainant on the lips but the
moneys of his client that may come into his possession.
same was not motivated by malice because right after
Furthermore, he shall account for all money received from the
Complainant expressed her annoyance at being kissed,
client and deliver the funds of the client upon demand.
Respondent promptly extended his apology via cellular phone
Respondent received money and since he failed to render any
text message. Also, the incident happened in a place where there
legal service to Complainant, he should have promptly accounted
were several people in the vicinity considering that Roosevelt
for and returned the money, but he failed to do so.
Avenue is a major jeepney route for 24 hours. If respondent truly
had malicious designs on complainant, he could have brought her
CYNTHIA ADVINCULA vs. ATTY. ERNESTO M. MACABATA, to a private place or a more remote place where he could freely
A.C. No 7204, 3/7/2007 accomplish the same.

FACTS: Complainant sought to disbar Respondent for allegedly The primary purposes of disciplinary proceedings are to protect
taking advantage of her, that is, forcibly kissing her on the check the public; to foster public confidence in the Bar; to preserve the
20
integrity of the profession; and to deter other lawyers from similar considering that said proceedings are either “taken by the
misconduct. The power to disbar or suspend ought always to be Supreme Court motu proprio, or by the Integrated Bar of the
exercised on the preservative and not on the vindictive principle, Philippines (IBP) upon the verified complaint of any person.”
with great caution and only for the most weighty reasons and Thus, if the complainant in a disbarment case fails to attach a
only on clear cases of misconduct which seriously affect the certification against forum shopping, the pendency of another
standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the court disciplinary action against the same respondent may still be
and member of the Bar. ascertained with ease.

ROSA YAP-PARAS vs. ATTY. JUSTO PARAS, A.C. No. 4947, Respondent does not deny authorship of the threatening letter to
6/7/2007 Complainant, even spiritedly contesting the charge that the letter
is unethical. Canon 19 of the CPR states that, “a lawyer shall
FACTS: Based upon the administrative complaint (for deceit, represent his client with zeal within the bounds of the law,”
malpractice, grave misconduct, grossly immoral conduct and reminding legal practitioners that a lawyer’s duty is not to his
violation of the lawyer’s oath) filed by his wife, Respondent was client but to the administration of justice; to that end, his client’s
sentenced to one-year suspension from law practice. Upon receipt success is wholly subordinate; and his conduct ought to and must
of the decision, Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration. always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics. In particular,
Pending said motion, Complainant filed a motion to cite Rule 19.01 commands that a “lawyer shall employ only fair and
Respondent in contempt and/or to disbar his for having continued honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his client and shall
his law practice despite the one-year suspension order. not present, participate in presenting or threaten to present
Respondent belatedly (due to deteriorating health) filed his court- unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper advantage in
required comment to the motion to cite him in contempt. any case or proceeding.” Under this Rule, a lawyer should not file
or threaten to file any unfounded or baseless criminal case or
RULING: Motion for Contempt and/or Disbarment DENIED; cases against the adversaries of his client designed to secure a
Respondent REPRIMANDED for failure to observe the respect leverage to compel the adversaries to yield or withdraw their own
due the Court in not promptly complying with this Court’s cases against the lawyer’s client.
resolution; WARNED that a more drastic punishment will be
imposed upon him for a repetition of the same act. In the case at bar, Respondent did exactly what Canon 19 and its
Rule proscribe. Through his letter, he threatened complainant
The purpose of disbarment is not meant as a punishment to that should the latter fail to pay the amounts they propose as
deprive an attorney of a means of livelihood but is rather settlement, he would file and claim bigger amounts including
intended to protect the courts and the public from members of moral damages, as well as multiple charges such as tax evasion,
the bar who have become unfit and unworthy to be part of the falsification of documents, and cancellation of business license to
esteemed and noble profession. Likewise, the purpose of the operate due to violations of laws. The threats are not only
exercise of the power to cite for contempt is to safeguard the unethical for violating Canon 19, but they also amount to
functions of the court to assure respect for court orders by blackmail – that is, “the extortion of money from a person by
attorneys who, as much as judges, are responsible for the orderly threats of accusation or exposure or opposition in the public
administration of justice. We find no sufficient basis to support prints,…obtaining of value from a person as a condition of
petitioner-movant’s allegation that e himself took the initiative to refraining from making an accusation against him, or disclosing
inform the lower court of his one-year suspension. some secret calculated to operate to his prejudice.”

All told, the Court deems a reprimand with warning as a sufficient It is quite obvious that Respondent’s threat to file cases against
sanction for Respondent’s failure to promptly comply with its Complainant was designed to secure some leverage to compel
directives. The imposition of this sanction in the present case the latter to give in to his client’s demands. It was not
would be more consistent with the avowed purpose of a Respondent’s intention to point out Complainant’s violations of
disciplinary case, which is not so much to punish the individual the law as he so gallantly claims. Far from it, the letter even
attorney as to protect the dispensation of justice by sheltering the contains an implied promise to “keep silent” about the said
judiciary and the public from the misconduct or inefficiency of violations if payment of the claim is made on the date indicated.
officers of the court.
Indeed, the writing of demand letters is a standard practice and
FERNANDO MARTIN O. PENA vs. ATTY. LOLITO G. APARICIO, tradition in this jurisdiction, usually done by a lawyer pursuant to
A.C. No. 7298, 6/25/2007 the principal-agent relationship with his client, the principal. Thus,
in the performance of his role as agent, the lawyer may be tasked
to enforce his client’s claim and to take all the steps necessary to
FACTS: Respondent was counsel for an employee of Respondent
collect it, such as writing a letter of demand requiring payment
in a labor complaint for illegal dismissal against Complainant. The
within a specified period. However, the letter in this case contains
latter rejected Respondent’s claim for separation pay and ordered
more than just a simple demand to pay. It even contains a threat
the employee concerned to report back to work. Respondent then
to file retaliatory charges against complainant which have
wrote Complainant reiterating the claim for separation pay with
nothing to do with his client’s claim for separation pay.
the threat that, in case of non-compliance, Complainant would be
facing bigger liability from criminal cases for tax evasion and
falsification, being held in abeyance. Respondent cannot claim the sanctuary provided by the
privileged communication rule under which a private
communication executed in the performance of a legal duty is not
RULING: Respondent REPRIMANDED for violation of Rule 19.01
actionable. The privileged nature of the letter was removed when
of Canon 19 of the CPR; STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of
respondent used it to blackmail complainant and extort from the
the same or similar act will be dealt with more severely.
latter compliance with the demands of his client.

As to the necessity of a certification against forum shopping to a


While the writing of the letter went beyond ethical standards, we
disbarment complaint, it would seem that the scenario sought to
hold that disbarment is too severe a penalty to be imposed on
be avoided, i.e., the filing of multiple suits and the possibility of
respondent, considering that he wrote the same out of his
conflicting decisions, rarely happens in disbarment complaints
21
overzealousness to protect his client’s interests. Accordingly, the protected by the Constitution and affirmed by our laws.
more appropriate penalty is reprimand.
Respondent admittedly is aware of Section 2 of Article XV (The
JOSELANO GUEVARRA vs. ATTY. JOSE EMMANUEL EALA, Family), that, “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the
A.C. No. 7136, 8/1/2007 foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State. In
this connection, the Family Code, echoing this constitutional
FACTS; Complainant first met Respondent in 2000 when Irene, his provision, obligates the husband and the wife “to live together,
then fiancée (later that year became his wife) introduced observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help
Respondent as her friend who was married and with three and support.” Respondent then violated Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of
children. After their wedding, Complainant noticed his wife the CPR which prohibits a lawyer from engaging in “unlawful,
receiving calls and text messages (some read, “I love you or I dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct,” and Rule 7.03 of Canon
miss you”) from Respondent. Also, his wife started coming home 7 of the same Code which proscribes a lawyer from engaging in
either late or early in the morning at other times, did not go home any “conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice
at all. A confrontation ensued after Complainant saw his wife with law.”
Respondent, thereafter, his wife left the conjugal house.
Complainant later found a love letter from Respondent bearing That the marriage between Complainant and Irene was
the date of their wedding day. Still later, Complainant learned that subsequently declared void ab initio is immaterial. The acts
Respondent and his wife had been seen on various occasions in complained of took place before the marriage was declared null
public, and that they were already living together, and in fact, and void. As a lawyer, Respondent should be aware that a man
already had a child of their own. In answer to the disbarment and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife are
complaint, Respondent posited that, his special friendship with presumed, unless proven otherwise, to have entered into a lawful
Irene was low-profile and not scandalous (as Complainant contract of marriage. In carrying on an extra-marital affair with
claimed), and that, he had damaged the institution of marriage as Irene prior to the judicial declaration that her marriage with
he was still civil and in good terms with his wife who supposedly complainant was null and void, and despite Respondent himself
knew of his relationship with Irene. being married, he showed disrespect for an institution held sacred
by the law. And he betrayed his unfitness to be a lawyer.
RULING: Respondent DISBARRED for grossly immoral conduct in
violation of his oath of office, and violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 TAN TIONG BIO vs. ATTY. RENATO L. GONZALES, A.C. No.
and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the CPR. 6634, 8/23/2007

From his answer, Respondent does not deny his adulterous FACTS: Complainant made a purchase for a real property from the
relationship with Irene, “adultery” defined in Art. 333 of the vendor, Fil-Estates Property, Inc., represented by Alice Bondco.
Revised Penal Code as that “committed by any married woman The deed of sale therefore was notarized by Respondent (with
who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband notarial commission for the jurisdiction of Quezon City). When the
and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her, knowing her to vendor failed to deliver the title to a second property purchased
be married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void.” by Complainant, he instituted estafa charges and a complaint for
What Respondent denies is having flaunted such relationship, he disbarment against Respondent for having notarized a deed of
maintaining that it was “low profile and known only to the sale in Pasig City (at vendor’s headquarter) and for not having
immediate members of their respective families.” Respondent’s required the presence of the parties to the deed of sale.
denial is a negative pregnant – a denial with admission of the
substantial facts in the pleading responded to which are not RULING: Respondent PERMANENTLY BARRED from being
squarely denied. commissioned as Notary Public; SUSPENDED from law practice
for 2 years. There can be quibbling that Respondent breached the
Without doubt, the adulterous relationship between Respondent injunction against notarizing a document in a place outside one’s
and Irene has been sufficiently proven by more than clearly commission. Respondent acknowledged that from February 1,
preponderant evidence – that evidence adduced by one party 1996 to September 30, 2001, within which period the questioned
which is more conclusive and credible than that of the other party document was notarized, his notarial commission then issued was
and, therefore, has greater weight than the other – which is the for Quezon City, yet the document was notarized in Pasig City. To
quantum of evidence needed in an administrative case against a compound matters, he admitted having notarized hundreds of
lawyer. documents in Pasig City, where he used to hold office, during the
period that his notarial commission was only for and within
Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which provides the Quezon City.
ground for disbarment/suspension uses the phrase “grossly
immoral conduct,” not “under scandalous circumstances.” While seemingly appearing to be a harmless incident,
Sexual intercourse under scandalous circumstances is, following Respondent’s act of notarizing documents in a place outside of or
Article 334 (Concubinage) of the Revised Penal Code. beyond the authority granted by his notarial commission,
partakes of malpractice of law and falsification. Notarization is not
On the charge of immorality, Respondent does not deny that he an empty, meaningless, routinary act, it is invested with
had an extra-marital affair with complainant, albeit brief and substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified
discreet, and which act is not “so corrupt and false as to or authorized may act as notaries public. Hence, the
constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible requirements for the issuance of a commission as notary public
to a high degree” in order to merit disciplinary sanction. While are treated with a formality definitely more than casual.
the mere fact of sexual relations between two unmarried adults is
not sufficient to warrant administrative sanction for such illicit For all legal intents and purposes, Respondent, by performing
behavior, it is not so with respect to betrayals of the marital vow through the years notarial acts in Pasig City where he is not so
of fidelity. Even if not all forms of extra-marital relations are authorized, has indulged in deliberate falsehood. By such
punishable under penal law, sexual relations outside marriage is malpractice as a notary public, respondent likewise violated
considered disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate Canon 7 of the CPR, which directs every lawyer to uphold at all
disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows times the integrity and dignity of the legal profession.
22
WILFREDO T. GARCIA vs. ATTY. BENIAMINO A. LOPEZ, A.C. interest that it is both a power and a duty of the State (through
No. 6422, 8/28/2007 this Court) to control and regulate it in order to protect and
promote the public welfare. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
FACTS: After Complainant secured a favorable judgment (final and provides for the statutory requirements to practice law.
executory) in favor of the late Angelina Sarmiento in a petition for
registration of title, he moved to cite the Land Registration May a lawyer who has lost his Filipino citizenship still practice law
Authority in contempt for failing to issue the decree of in the Philippines? No. The Constitution provides that the practice
registration and certificate of title. Respondent then, claiming to of all professions in the Philippines shall be limited to Filipino
be counsel for the heirs of Sarmiento, filed his entry of citizens save in cases prescribed by law. Since Filipino citizenship
appearance and motion for postponement. Complainant was is a requirement for admission to the bar, loss thereof terminates
surprise by Respondent’s entry considering that he (Complainant) membership in the Philippine bar and, consequently, the privilege
had not withdrawn from the case. Complainant contended that to engage in the practice of law. In other words, the loss of
Respondent should be sanctioned for misrepresenting to the court Filipino citizenship ipso jure terminates the privilege to practice
that he was the counsel of all the heirs of Sarmiento and omitting law in the Philippines. The practice of law is a privilege denied to
to mention that complainant was the counsel of record. foreigners.
Complainant claimed that, his attorney's fee being on contingent
basis, Respondent’s attempt to enter his appearance at the final The exception is when Filipino citizenship is lost by reason of
stage of the proceedings was tantamount to “unfair harvesting” naturalization as a citizen of another country but subsequently
of the fruit of Complainant's labors. reacquired pursuant to RA 9225. This is because “all Philippine
citizens who become citizens of another country shall be deemed
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 1 month for violating not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of
Canons 8 and 10, Rules 8.02 and 10.01 of the CPR; WARNED that RA 9225.” Therefore, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of
commission of the same or similar act will be dealt with more another country is deemed never to have lost his Philippine
severely. Lawyers are officers of the court who are empowered to citizenship if he reacquires it in accordance with RA 9225.
appear, prosecute and defend the causes of their clients. The law Although he is also deemed never to have terminated his
imposes on them peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities. membership in the Philippine bar, no automatic right to resume
Membership in the bar imposes on them certain obligations. They law practice accrues.
are duty bound to uphold the dignity of the legal profession. They
must act honorably, fairly and candidly towards each other and Before a lawyer who reacquires Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA
otherwise conduct themselves beyond reproach at all times. 9225 can resume his law practice, he must first secure from this
Court the authority to do so, conditioned on: (a) updating and
Complainant was the counsel of Sarmiento, the original applicant. payment in full of the annual membership dues in the IBP; (b)
Upon her death, the attorney-client relationship was terminated. payment of professional tax; (c) completion of at least 36 credit
However, complainant was retained as counsel by Gina Jarviña hours of mandatory continuing legal education; this is specially
and Alfredo Ku. In filing an entry of appearance with motion of significant to refresh the applicant/petitioner’s knowledge of
postponement in behalf of the “compulsory heirs of the late Philippine laws and update him of legal developments and (d)
Angelita Sarmiento” when in truth he was merely representing retaking of the lawyer’s oath which will not only remind him of his
some of the heirs but not all of them, Respondent was guilty of duties and responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the
misrepresentation which could have deceived the court. He had Court, but also renew his pledge to maintain allegiance to the
no authorization to represent all the heirs. He clearly violated his Republic of the Philippines.
lawyer's oath that he will “do no falsehood nor consent to the
doing of any in court.” (Canon 10, Rule 10.01, Canon 8 of the CLARITA J. SAMALA vs. ATTY. LUCIANO D. VALENCIA, A.C.
CPR). No. 5439, January 2007.

Even assuming that it was not a calculated deception, FACTS: Complainant charged that, in one case for non-payment of
Respondent was still reiss in his duty to his fellow lawyer and the rentals, Respondent acted as counsel for the defendant (Valdez)
court. He should have been more careful about his actuation and also as counsel for the tenants (Lagmay, Bustamante, etc.),
since the court was relying on him in its task of ascertaining the then, in another case for ejectment, Respondent acted as counsel
truth. for the plaintiff (Valdez and Alba) against Bustamante. Later, in a
civil suit for rescission of contract, Respondent represented
PETITION FOR LEAVE TO RESUME PRACTICE OF LAW, plaintiff (Valdez) against Alba (a former client). Further,
BENJAMIN M. DACANAY, Petitioner,, B.M. No. 1678, Complainant charged that Respondent knowingly misled the court
12/17/2007 by submitting as evidence for his client, plaintiff (Valdez) title to
real property which had already been cancelled to prove his
FACTS: Petitioner was admitted to the Phil. Bar in 1960 and client’s ownership. Lastly, Complainant alleged that Respondent
practiced law till he migrated to Canada in December 1998. He is immoral for siring illegitimate children.
later applied and became a Canadian citizen in 2004 to avail of
Canda’s free medical aid program for his ailments. In July 2006, RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 3 years for misconduct
pursuant to RA9225 (Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act and violation of Canons 21, 10 and 1 of the CPR. Rule 15.03,
of 2003), Petitioner reacquired his Phil. Citizenship. It is his Canon 15 of the CPR provides that a lawyer shall not represent
intention to resume his law practice, hence, the question – conflicting interests, except by written consent of all concerned
whether Petitioner lost his membership in the Phil. Bar when he given after a full disclosure of the facts. A lawyer may not,
gave up his citizenship in 2004. without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for
a person whose interest conflicts with that of his present or
RULING: Petition GRANTED, subject to compliance with former client. This stern rule is founded on the principles of public
conditions stated above and submission of such compliance to policy and good taste and springs from the relation of attorney
the Bar Confidant, after which he may retake his oath as a and client which is one of trust and confidence. Lawyers are
member of the Philippine bar. The practice of law is a privilege expected not only to keep inviolate the client’s confidence, but
burdened with conditions. It is so delicately affected with public also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for

23
only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to the completion of the specific task for which the attorney was
their lawyers, which is of paramount importance in the employed. In this case, upon their appointment as special co-
administration of justice. administrators of the estate, Complainants terminated their
attorney-client relationship with Respondent. Notably, the
Respondent MUST comply with Canon 21 of the CPR that, “a difference between revocation of the authority by the act of the
lawyer shall preserve the confidences and secrets of his client client and by the act of the attorney is that the first may be done
even after the attorney-client relation is terminated.” This is so at any time with or without cause, whereas the second can be
because attorney-client relation is one of trust and confidence of made only with the client’s written consent or for justified cause.
the highest degree. A lawyer becomes familiar with all the facts
connected with his client’s case. He learns from his client the Respondent’s obstinate refusal to withdraw from the intestate
weak and strong points of the action – this knowledge must be proceedings was improper. Since his unauthorized appearance
considered sacred and guarded with care. was willful, he could have been cited in contempt as an officer of
the court who has misbehaved in his official transactions. In
Respondent cannot feign ignorance of the fact that the title he addition, he may be disciplined for professional misconduct. A
submitted, in a case filed in 2002, proving his client’s ownership lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any violation of his
was already cancelled in lieu of a new title in favor of the oath, a patent disregard of his duties, or an odious deportment
defendant considering that the new title was issued in 1995. unbecoming an attorney. Among the grounds enumerated in
Respondent failed to comply with Canon 10 of the CPR that, “a Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court are deceit; malpractice;
lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of gross misconduct in office, etc.
any in court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled
by any artifice”. A LAWYER IS THE SERVANT OF THE LAW AND A lawyer must at no time be wanting in probity and moral fiber
BELONGS TO A PROFESSION TO WHICH SOCIETY HAS ENTRUSTED which are not only conditions precedent to his entrance to the Bar
THE ADMINISTRATION OF LAW AND DISPENSATION OF JUSTICE. AS but are likewise essential demands for his continued membership
SUCH, HE SHOULD MAKE HIMSELF MORE EXEMPLAR FOR OTHERS therein.
TO EMULATE.
CELIA ARROYO-POSIDIO vs. ATTY. JEREMIAS R. VITAN, A.C.
NAPOLEON R. GONZAGA vs. ATTY. EUGENIO V. No. 6051, 4/2/2007
VILLANUEVA, JR., A.C. No. 1954, 7/23/07
FACTS: Complainant paid P20,000 for Respondent to represent
FACTS: Respondent, representing himself to be a relative of her in an estate settlement case. When Respondent withdrew,
Complainants, offered to handle pro bono, the criminal case she was forced to hire another lawyer. Respondent later
involving the murder of their parents. After accepting his offer, convinced Complainant to file another case to recover her share
Respondent made Complainants sign a piece of paper in certain properties which he claimed had been left out in the
purportedly authorizing him to appear in said case. Later, prior estate settlement case. This time, Complainant paid
Complainants engaged one Atty. Mirano to institute estate Respondent P100,000 as legal fees. After several months lapsed
proceedings for their deceased parents’ estate. Respondent also without any action filed by Respondent, Complainant decided to
filed a similar intestate petition without Complainants’ knowledge forego filing and demanded the return of her P100,000. Due to his
and consent and despite knowledge of the filing of a prior refusal to heed Complainant’s repeated demands, Complainant
petition. Complainants were shocked when Respondent showed filed a civil case against Respondent which was decided in
them the paper they had previously signed on which was inserted Complainant’s favor. To satisfy the judgment against him,
his supposed authority to represent them in the estate Respondent issued a P120,00000-check which later on bounced.
proceedings. So as not to embarrass Respondent, Complainants
allowed him to assist their counsel in the intestate proceedings, RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 1 year; STERNLY
but even after Complainants’ appointment as co-administrators WARNED that repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt
(and formal termination of Respondent’s appearance in the with more severely. The ethics of the legal profession rightly
intestate case), Respondent continued to appear. Administrative enjoin every lawyer to act with the highest standards of
complaint against Respondent was filed in 1978 but was resolved truthfulness, fair play and nobility in the course of his practice of
by IBP on 2003 due to repeated postponements. During the law. Lawyers are prohibited from engaging in unlawful, dishonest,
pendency of the complaint, Complainants died and Respondent’s immoral or deceitful conduct and are mandated to serve their
whereabouts were unknown. clients with competence and diligence. To this end, nothing
should be done by any member of the legal fraternity which
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 6 months; WARNING might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in
that a repetition of the same or similar acts as those complained the fidelity, honesty, and integrity of the profession.
of, to be dealt with more severely.
Rule 16.01, Canon 16 of the CPR requires the lawyer “to account
Complainants never intended to authorize Respondent to for all money or property collected or received for or from his
represent them in the intestate proceedings considering that, (i) client”. Where a client gives money to his lawyer for a specific
after signing the questioned “authority” in Respondents’ favor, purpose, such as to file an action, the lawyer should, upon failure
Complainants engaged another lawyer for that purpose, (ii) the to take such step and spend the money for it, immediately return
other lawyer actually filed the petition signed by all heirs, (iii) the money to his client. Respondent received P100,000.00 as
Respondent’s petition was signed only by him and contained legal fees but he failed to file the case. It was imperative that he
glaring errors on the ages and respective residences of the heirs, immediately return the amount to Complainant upon demand
(iv) Complainants did not appear before the notary public who therefor. Respondent was unjustified in keeping money received
supposedly acknowledged the supposed “authority”. as payment for services not rendered. His refusal to return
Complainant’s money despite demand constitutes a violation of
The relation of attorney-client may be terminated by (1) act of the his oath not to delay any man for money and to conduct himself
client; (2) act of the attorney; (3) death of the client; (4) death of with good fidelity to his clients.
the attorney; or (5) accomplishment of the purpose for which it
was created. Ordinarily, the attorney-client relation is ended by A lawyer should, at all times, comply with what the court lawfully
24
requires. Respondent failed to comply with the order to pay commissioned when he is not, is indulging in deliberate
complainant the amount of P100,000.00 as well as interest and falsehood, which the lawyer’s oath similarly proscribes. These
attorney’s fees. This refusal constitutes a willful disobedience to violations fall squarely within the prohibition of Rule 1.01 of
the court’s lawful orders. As officers of the court, lawyers are Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
particularly called upon to obey court orders and processes and provides that “a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
are expected to stand foremost in complying with court dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.”
directives.
DOLORES DELA CRUZ vs. ATTY. JOSE R. DIMAANO, JR., A.C.
The act of issuing a bouncing check further compounded No. 7781, 9/12/2008.
Respondent’s infractions. A lawyer’s act of issuing a check
without sufficient funds constitutes willful dishonesty and immoral FACTS: Complainants alleged that Respondent notarized a deed of
conduct as to undermine the public confidence in law and extrajudicial settlement which allowed their sister (Navarro) to
lawyers. Such conduct indicates the respondent’s unfitness for assume full ownership of their deceased parents’ estate.
the trust and confidence reposed on him, shows such lack of Complainants alleged that the signatures in the said deed are
personal honesty and good moral character as to render him forged, that they never appeared and acknowledged the same
unworthy of public confidence and constitutes a ground for before Respondent. Respondent explained that, having known,
disciplinary action. and being neighbors with Navarro for a long time, he believed she
would not lie to him and that he relied on her representation that
Membership in the legal profession is a privilege. Whenever it is the signatures and community tax certificates appearing in the
made to appear that an attorney is no longer worthy of the trust document were true and correct.
and confidence of the public, it becomes not only the right but
also the duty of this Court, which made him one of its officers and RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 1 year; notarial
gave him the privilege of ministering within its Bar, to withdraw commission REVOKED; DISQUALIFIED from being a commission as
the privilege. notary public for 2 years. Notaries public should refrain from
affixing their signature and notarial seal on a document unless
JESSICA UY vs. ATTY. EMMANUEL SAÑO, A.C. No. 6505, the persons who signed it are the same individuals who executed
9/11/2008. and personally appeared before them to attest to the truth of
what are stated therein. Without such appearance, notaries public
FACTS: Complainant charged Respondent of notarizing several would be unable to verify the genuineness of the signatures of
documents despite the expiration of his notarial commission. the acknowledging parties and to ascertain that the document is
Respondent admitted the act complaint of, but claimed that the the party’s free act or deed. Further, notaries public are required
office aide assigned had represented to him that his commission by the Notarial Law to certify that the party to the instrument has
had already been renewed. acknowledged and presented the proper residence certificate
while the Notarial Law requires the party to the instrument to
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED from law practice for 6 present competent proof of identity.
months; present notarial commission REVOKED; DISQUALIFIED
from reappointment as notary public for 2 years; WARNED that Lawyers commissioned as notaries public are mandated to
any similar act/infraction would be dealt with more severely. discharge with fidelity the duties of their offices, such duties
being dictated by public policy and impressed with public
Practice of law, not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State interest. Notarization is not a mere routinary, meaningless act, for
on those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, notarization converts a private document to a public instrument,
qualifications required by law for conferment of such privilege. making it admissible in evidence without the necessity of
Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution.

Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is ATTY. RICARDO SALOMON, JR. vs. ATTY. JOSELITO FRIAL,
invested with substantive public interest, such that only those A.C. No. 7820, 9/12/2008
who are qualified and authorized may act as notaries public as
such act converts a private document into a public document, Facts: Respondent, as counsel in a civil complaint against
making it admissible in evidence without further proof of Complainant, secured the attachment of 2 of the latter’s vehicles.
Instead of depositing said vehicles, Respondent took possession
authenticity. A notarial document is, by law, entitled to full faith
and credit upon its face. For this reason, notaries public must of them upon his own undertaking and without court approval.
observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the Complainant averred that, on several occasions, one of the
performance of their duties. vehicles was spotted being used by unauthorized individuals. The
second vehicle was destroyed in a fire while being parked in the
Respondent’s alleged reliance upon the representation of the residence of Respondent who failed to inform the court of such
office aide shows disregard of the requirements for issuance of a fact.
notarial commission. To be sure, the requirements for the
issuance of a notarial commission must not be treated as a mere RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 1 year for grave
casual formality. A LAWYER’S ACT OF NOTARIZING DOCUMENTS misconduct and infidelity in the custody of properties in custodial
WITHOUT THE REQUISITE COMMISSION THEREFOR IS egis. A writ of attachment issues to prevent the defendant from
REPREHENSIBLE, CONSTITUTING AS IT DOES, NOT ONLY disposing of the attached property, thus securing satisfaction of
MALPRACTICE, BUT ALSO THE CRIME OF FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC any judgment that may be recovered by the plaintiff or any
DOCUMENTS. proper party. When the attached objects are destroyed, then the
attached properties would necessarily be of no value and the
Where the notarization of a document is done by a member of the attachment would be for naught.
Bar at a time when he has no authorization or commission to do
so, the offender may be subjected to disciplinary action, being a Respondent is guilty of grave misconduct for violating Canon 11
violation of the lawyer’s oath to obey the laws, more specifically, of the Canons of Professional Ethics (“lawyer should refrain from
the Notarial Law. Also, by making it appear that he is duly any action whereby for his personal benefit or gain he abuses or
25
takes advantage of the confidence reposed in him by his client x receiving the full amount of legal fees and after assuring the
x x money of the client or collected for the client or other trust client of his commitment and responsibility violates the CPR.
property coming into the possession of the lawyer should
be reported and accounted for promptly and should not
under any circumstance be commingled with his own or
be used by him”). “A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct” (Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the CPR). Deceitful
Disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that conduct involves moral turpitude and includes anything done
seriously affect the standing and moral character of a lawyer as contrary to justice, modesty or good morals. It is an act of
an officer of the court and member of the bar. Disbarment, baseness, vileness or depravity in the private and social duties
jurisprudence teaches, should not be decreed where any which a man owes to his fellowmen or to society in general,
punishment less severe, such as reprimand, suspension, or fine, contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.
would accomplish the end desired. This is as it should be Representing to Complainant that he would take care of the cases
considering the consequence of disbarment on the economic life filed against him, assuring Complainant that his property involved
and honor of the erring person. in a civil case would be safeguarded, and then collecting the full
amount of legal fees of PhP900,000.00, only to desert the
PHILUX, INC. vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 151854, 9/3/2008 complainant after receipt of the fees, were manifestly deceitful
and dishonest.
FACTS: Petitioner ascribes to their lawyer the failure to attach the
required appeal bond to his motion for reconsideration. Due to
said defect, the NLRC dismissed the appeal taken by Petitioner
from the Labor Arbiter’s decision finding illegal dismissal. A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. A
Petitioner argues that they should not suffer the consequences of lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his
their counsel’s negligence and/or gross ignorance of the rules of negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
procedure because gross injustice would result.

RULING: Petition is DENIED. Petitioners’ case does not fall under


the exception but rather is squarely within the ambit of the The CPR further provides that a lawyer is required to keep the
general rule, that, A CLIENT IS BOUND BY THE ACTS, EVEN client informed of the status of his case and to respond within a
MISTAKES, OF HIS COUNSEL IN THE REALM OF PROCEDURAL reasonable time to the client’s request for information. The
TECHNIQUE. The exception to this rule is WHEN COUNSEL’S respondent did the opposite. Despite Complainant’s efforts to
NEGLIGENCE IS SO GROSS, RECKLESS AND INEXCUSABLE THAT consult him and notwithstanding numerous attempts to contact
THE CLIENT IS DEPRIVED OF HIS DAY IN COURT, IN WHICH CASE him, simply to ask for an update of the status of the cases,
THE REMEDY IS TO REOPEN THE CASE AND ALLOW THE PARTY Respondent was able to avoid Complainant and never bothered to
DENIED HIS DAY IN COURT TO ADDUCE HIS EVIDENCE. This reply.
ground cannot be lightly invoked, otherwise, there would never
be an end to a suit so long as new counsel would be employed
“A lawyer shall account for all money and property collected or
who could allege and show that prior counsel had not been
received for and from the client” (Rule 16.01, Canon 16).
sufficiently diligent, or experienced, or learned.
Complainant paid p900,000.00 to Respondent for legal services to
be rendered. However, since Respondent did not carry out any of
TORBEN B. OVERGAARD vs. ATTY. GODWIN VALDEZ, A.C. the services he was engaged to perform, he must immediately
No. 7902, 9/20/2008 return the money he received from the client upon demand.
However, he refused to return the money he received from
FACTS: Complainant, a Dutch national paid Respondent P900,000 Complainant despite written demands, and was not even able to
to represent him in several cases filed by, and against him. give a single report regarding the status of the cases.
Despite continued efforts to contact (via unanswered phone calls
and e-mails) Respondent to inquire on the status of the cases,
Later, Complainant learned that Respondent did not file his entry
of appearance in the cases he filed. Further, Respondent failed to
Acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client
inform him that he was entitled to prepare a counter-affidavit to
relationship and gives rise to the duty of fidelity to the client's
answer the complaint for other light threats. Worse, Complainant
cause. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose – such
had no knowledge that there had already been arraignment dates
as for filing fees – but not used for failure to file the case, must
for the criminal cases against him, and that warrants had already
immediately be returned to the client on demand.
been issued for his non-attendance.

WILFREDO M. CATU vs. ATTY. VICENTE G. RELLOSA, A.C.


RULING: Respondent DISBARRED, his name STRICKEN from the
No. 5738, 2/19/2008
Roll of Attorneys; ordered to immediately RETURN to
Complainant all his papers and documents and his money.
FACTS: Respondent entered his appearance as counsel for the
defendants in an ejectment case when he, as barangay captain,
had previously presided over the Lupon conciliation proceedings
involving the same parties in the ejectment case.
Respondent has indubitably fallen below the exacting standards
demanded of members of the bar. He did not merely neglect his
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 6 months for professional
client’s cause, he abandoned his client and left him without any
misconduct in violating his lawyer’s oath and Canons 1 and 7 and
recourse but to hire another lawyer. To hide from Complainant,
Rule 1.01 of the CPR; STERNLY WARNED that any repetition of
avoid his calls, ignore his letters, and leave him helpless is
similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.
unforgivable; and to commit all these acts and omissions after
26
Respondent cannot be found liable for violation of Rule 6.03 of language. Language abounds with countless possibilities for one
the Code of Professional Responsibility. As worded, that Rule to be emphatic but respectful, convincing but not derogatory,
applies only to a lawyer who has left government service and in illuminating but not offensive. In keeping with the dignity of the
connection “with any matter in which he intervened while in said legal profession, a lawyer’s language even in his pleadings must
service.” In PCGG v. Sandiganbayan,[11] we ruled that Rule 6.03 be dignified. It is of no consequence that the allegedly malicious
prohibits former government lawyers from accepting statements of respondent were made not before a court but
“engagement or employment in connection with any matter in before the BSP.
which [they] had intervened while in said service.” Respondent
was an incumbent punong barangay at the time he committed Respecting respondent’s argument that the matters stated in the
the act complained of. Therefore, he was not covered by that Answer he filed before the BSP were privileged, it suffices to
provision. stress that lawyers, though they are allowed a latitude of
pertinent remark or comment in the furtherance of the causes
Section 90 of RA 7160, Not Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713, Governs they uphold and for the felicity of their clients, should not trench
The Practice of Profession of Elective Local Government Officials. beyond the bounds of relevancy and propriety in making such
While certain local elective officials (like governors, mayors, remark or comment.
provincial board members and councilors) are expressly
subjected to a total or partial proscription to practice their This Court has consistently considered disbarment and
profession or engage in any occupation, no such interdiction is suspension of an attorney as the most severe forms of
made on the punong barangay and the members of the disciplinary action to be imposed with great caution and to be
sangguniang barangay. Since they are excluded from any meted out only for duly proven serious administrative charges.
prohibition, the presumption is that they are allowed to practice Thus, while Respondent is guilty of using infelicitous language,
their profession. And this stands to reason because they are not such transgression is not of a grievous character as to merit
mandated to serve full time. In fact, the sangguniang barangay is respondent’s disbarment. In light of respondent’s apologies, the
supposed to hold regular sessions only twice a month. Court finds it best to temper the penalty for his infraction which,
Accordingly, as punong barangay, respondent was not forbidden under the circumstances, is considered simple, rather than grave,
to practice his profession. However, he should have procured misconduct.
prior permission or authorization from the head of his
Department, as required by civil service regulations. WILSON CHAM vs. ATTY. EVA PAITA-MOYA, A.C. No. 7494,
6/27/2008
As punong barangay, respondent should have therefore obtained
the prior written permission of the Secretary of Interior and Local FACTS: Respondent leased an apartment unit from Greenville
Government before he entered his appearance as counsel. Realty and Development Corp. represented by Complainant as its
Respondent’s failure to comply with Section 12, Rule XVIII of the president and general manager. Her total unpaid account reached
Revised Civil Service Rules constitutes a violation of his oath as a P71,1007.88. Despite repeated demands, Respondent failed to
lawyer: to obey the laws. Lawyers are servants of the law. pay her account and even vacated the leased premises without
notifying Complainant.
In acting as counsel for a party without first securing the required
written permission, respondent not only engaged in the RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 1 month; WARNED that
unauthorized practice of law but also violated civil service rules repetition of same or similar act will be dealt with more severely.
which is a breach of Rule 1.01 of the CPR that, “A lawyer shall not Having incurred just debts, Respondent had the moral duty and
engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct”. legal responsibility to settle them when they became due.

JOSE C. SABERON vs. ATTY. FERNANDO T. LARONG, A.C. Respondent left the apartment unit without settling her unpaid
No. 6567, 4/16/2008 obligations, and without the complainant’s knowledge and
consent. Respondent’s abandonment of the leased premises to
FACTS: Complainant filed before the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas avoid her obligations for the rent and electricity bills constitutes
(BSP) to cancel Surigaonon Rural Banking Corporation’s deceitful conduct violative of the Code of Professional
registration and franchise for refusing to return various checks Responsibility, particularly Canon I (“a lawyer shall uphold the
and land titles given as security for a loan despite alleged full constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for
payment. Respondent, as counsel for the bank filed various law and legal processes”) and Rule 1.01 (“a lawyer shall not
pleadings with the BSP allegedly using abusive and offensive engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct”).
language hinting that Complainant was merely blackmailing/
coercing the bank for financial gain. Lawyers are instruments for the administration of justice. As
vanguards of our legal system, they are expected to maintain not
RULING: Respondent FINED P20,000 for simple negligence in only legal proficiency but also a high standard of morality,
using intemperate language; STERNLY WARNED that repetition of honesty, integrity and fair dealing. In so doing, the people’s faith
this or similar act will be dealt with more severely. The CPR and confidence in the judicial and legal system is ensured.
mandates that, “A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy,
fairness and candor toward his professional colleagues, and shall MARISA BACATAN WILLIAMS vs. ATTY. RODRIGO ICAO, A.C.
avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel” (Canon 8), No. 6882, 12/24/2008
particularly that, “a lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings,
use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper”
FACTS: Complainants claim that Respondent notarized a
Rule 8.01).
“Declaration of Heirship and Partition making it appear that three
of the signatories thereto signed it in his presence when in truth
The adversarial nature of our legal system has tempted members they did not.
of the bar to use strong language in pursuit of their duty to
advance the interests of their clients. However, while a lawyer is
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 1 year from practice of law
entitled to present his case with vigor and courage, such
and from his commission as a notary public; WARNED that
enthusiasm does not justify the use of offensive and abusive
commission of same or similar acts will be dealt with more
27
severely. FACT: Complainant and Respondent were married in 1942 and
with 12 children. Sometime in 1968, Respondent abandoned his
The document does not bear the residence certificate number of family and cohabited with Benita (a married woman) with whom
one of the signatories. In subsequently notarizing the document, he has 4 children. Complainant prayed for Respondent’s
Respondent violated the Notarial Law then effective which disbarment on grounds of immorality and abandonment.
required the notary public to certify that a party to the instrument
which was acknowledged before him had presented the proper RULING: Respondent DISBARRED; his name STRICKEN from
residence certificate. This formality is mandatory and cannot be Attorney’s Roll, for violating Rule 1.01 (“a lawyer shall not engage
neglected, failure to comply with which results in the revocation in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct”), Canon 7
of a notary’s commission. (“a lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the
legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated Bar”),
By Respondent’s admission, the signatories to the document did and Rule 7.03 (“a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that
not personally sign it in his presence. He, however, claims that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he,
they appeared before him and confirmed their identities and whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner
acknowledged that the signatures appearing thereon were theirs. to the discredit of the legal profession”).
If indeed the heirs-signatories and their witnesses had personally
appeared before respondent, it is beyond comprehension why he The requirement of good moral character is of much greater
did not ask them to affix their signatures in his presence. By such import, as far as the general public is concerned, than the
omission, he failed to heed his duty as a notary public to demand possession of legal learning. Good moral character is not only a
that the document for notarization be signed in his presence. condition precedent for admission to the legal profession, but it
must also remain intact in order to maintain one’s good standing
WALTER WILKIE vs. ATTY. SINAMAR E. LIMOS, A.C. No. in that exclusive and honored fraternity.
7505, 10/24/2008
Immoral conduct has been described as that conduct which is so
FACTS: Complainant hired Respondent for his petition to adopt his willful, flagrant, or shameless as to show indifference to the
wife’s nephew. Sometime later, Respondent borrowed opinion of good and respectable members of the community. To
P250,000.00 covered by a loan agreement stipulating for 24% per be the basis of disciplinary action, such conduct must not only be
annum. Respondent issued two post-dated checks to cover for immoral, but grossly immoral.
her loan which later however “bounced” due to insufficiency of
funds. Repeated demands were merely ignored by Respondent. As officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good
moral character but must also be seen to be of good moral
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 3 months; WARNED that character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral
repetition of same or similar acts will merit a more severe penalty. standards of the community. A member of the bar and an officer
of the court is not only required to refrain from adulterous
We have held that the issuance of checks which were later relationships or keeping a mistress but must also so behave
dishonored for having been drawn against a closed account himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the
indicates a lawyer’s unfitness for the trust and confidence impression that he is flouting those moral standards.
reposed on her. It shows a lack of personal honesty and good
moral character as to render her unworthy of public confidence. While the onus rests Complainant proffering the charges to prove
The issuance of a series of worthless checks also shows the the same, Respondent owes himself and the Court the duty to
remorseless attitude of respondent, unmindful to the deleterious show that he is morally fit to remain a member of the bar. Mere
effects of such act to the public interest and public order. It also denial of wrongdoing would not suffice in the face of clear
manifests a lawyer’s low regard to her commitment to the oath evidence demonstrating unfitness. When one’s moral character is
she has taken when she joined her peers, seriously and assailed, such that his right to continue practicing his cherished
irreparably tarnishing the image of the profession she should hold profession is imperiled, it behooves the individual concerned to
in high esteem. meet the charges squarely and present evidence, to the
satisfaction of the investigating body and this Court, that he is
Section 5, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court provides in part that, morally fit to keep his name in the Roll of Attorneys.
“no investigation shall be interrupted or terminated by reason of
the desistance, settlement, compromise, restitution, withdrawal ANTONIO DE ZUZUARREGUI, JR. vs. ATTY. APOLONIA
of the charges, or failure of the complainant to prosecute the SOGUILON A.C. No. 4495, 10/8/2008
same”.
FACTS: Complainant charged that Respondent, as counsel for
Disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that petitioner in a case for reconstitution of title submitted certain
seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an documents as evidence, and thereby misled the trial court by not
officer of the court. While we will not hesitate to remove an erring calling its attention to the notations indicated in the documents.
attorney from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers, where the
evidence calls for it, we will also not disbar him where a lesser RULING: Petition DENIED; administrative complaint for
penalty will suffice to accomplish the desired end. In this case, disbarment of Respondent DISMISSED for lack of merit.
Respondent has fully paid her obligation to Complainant. The
criminal cases filed by Complainant have been dismissed and this The crux of the controversy is whether Respondent maliciously
is the first time a complaint of such nature has been filed against misled the court by failing to point out material notations in the
Respondent. Under these circumstances, the Court rules and so documents she had submitted. Respondent did not employ deceit
holds that a suspension of three months from the practice of law or misrepresentation in acting as counsel for the petitioner in the
would be sufficient sanction on the respondent. petition for reconstitution of title. Anent respondent’s failure to
point out the notations in the documents, there was absence of
REBECCA B. ARNOBIT vs. ATTY. PONCIANO P. ARNOBIT proof that Respondent had intended to mislead or deceive the
A.C. No. 1481, 10/17/2008 trial court. In fact, the said notations were laid bare for the trial
court’s evaluation. There were no attempts on respondent’s part
28
to manipulate or hide them. profession.

In administrative cases for disbarment or suspension against


The pendency of the criminal case against Respondent is of no
lawyers, the quantum of proof required is clearly preponderant
moment. Respondent, being a member of the bar, should note
evidence and the burden of proof rests upon the complainant. In
that administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of
the present case, Complainant, who notably owns one of the
their own. They are distinct from and they may proceed
properties subject of the title sought to be reconstituted, and is
independently of criminal cases. A criminal prosecution will not
consequently an adverse party, failed to present clear and
constitute a prejudicial question even if the same facts and
preponderant evidence to show Respondent’s guilt of the charges
circumstances are attendant in the administrative proceedings.
he had leveled against her. Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no
redress for private grievance but, are undertaken and prosecuted
AURELIO M. SIERRA, versus JHOSEP Y. LOPEZ, ET. AL., A.C. solely for the public welfare and for preserving courts of justice
No. 7549, 8/29/2008 from the official ministration of persons unfit to practice law.

FACTS: Complainant filed several criminal cases before the Manila The fact that respondent went into hiding in order to avoid
City Prosecutor’s Office. Later, in her complaint for disbarment, service upon him of the warrant of arrest issued by the court
Complainant charged Respondents (all assistant city prosecutors) (where his criminal case is pending) exacerbates his offense.
with dereliction of duty and gross ignorance of the law for not
requiring the parties in the criminal cases to appear Respondent’s contumacious behavior grossly degrades the legal
simultaneously during preliminary investigation. profession and warrants the imposition of a much graver penalty
--- disbarment. Of all classes and professions, the lawyer is most
RULING: Complaint DENIED for lack of merit. Rule 112 of the sacredly bound to uphold the laws. He is their sworn servant; and
Rules of Court lays down the basic procedure in preliminary for him, of all men in the world, to repudiate and override the
investigation. This provision of the Rules does not require a laws, to trample them underfoot and to ignore the very bonds of
confrontation between the parties. Preliminary investigation is society, argues recreancy to his position and office, and sets a
ordinarily conducted through submission of affidavits and pernicious example to the insubordinate and dangerous elements
supporting documents, through the exchange of pleadings. Since of the body politic.
confrontation between the parties is not imperative, it follows
that it is not necessary that the counter-affidavit of respondent be JUANITA MANOIS vs. ATTY. VICTOR DECIEMBRE, A.C. No.
sworn to before the investigating prosecutor himself. It can be 5364, 8/20/2008
sworn to before another prosecutor.
FACTS: Complainant loaned P20,000.00 from Respondent and
Lastly, we hold that the investigating prosecutors did not abuse delivered to him blanks checks to be accordingly filled out by
their discretion when they denied the request of the complainant Respondent with the agreed monthly installments. Despite full
for the conduct of clarificatory questioning. The rule provides payment, Respondent refused to return the remaining blank
that the conduct of clarificatory questioning is discretionary upon checks supposedly because the loan had not yet been fully paid
the prosecutor. as payments made were allegedly credited to interest on the
loan. Respondent thereafter filled out the blank checks to an
CATHERINE & HENRY YU vs ATTY. ANTONIUTTI K. PALAÑA, amount of P287,500.00 and later used this checks as basis in
A.C. No. 7747, 7/14/2008 filing cases against Complainant for estafa and violation of B.P.
22.
FACTS: Complainants invested their money in Wealth Marketing
and General Services Corp., a company engaged in spot currency RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY for gross
trading which company issued post-dated checks to cover for misconduct and violation of Rule 1.01 and 7.03 of the CPR. A
their investments. When said checks bounced, Complainants lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land
learned that the company had ceased operation and a new and promote respect for law and legal processes (Canon 1);
corporation was formed. Complainants met Respondent (in the “lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
office of the new corporation) who assured them that the new deceitful conduct (Rule 1.01).” The CPR likewise mandates that
corporation would assume the rights and pay the obligations of “a lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the
the previous company. Respondent even signed an agreement to legal profession”. To this end, nothing should be done by any
put some semblance of validity to his representation. Despite member of the legal fraternity which might tend to lessen in any
demand, Complainants were never paid and were forced to file degree the confidence of the public in the fidelity, honesty and
criminal charges for syndicated estafa and violation of BP22. They integrity of the profession.
also sought to disbar Respondent. Despite the standing warrant
for his arrest, Respondent went into hiding and has been Respondent failed to comply with the foregoing canons.
successful in defying the law, to this date. Complainant had supplied Respondent with blank personal checks
as security for the P20,000 loan contracted and which
RULING: Respondent DISBARRED; his name ORDERED Respondent later deceitfully filled out with various amounts they
STRICKEN from Attorney’s Roll. had not agreed upon and with full knowledge that the loan had
already been paid. After the filled-out checks had been
Lawyers are instruments in the administration of justice. As dishonored upon presentment, Respondent even imprudently
vanguards of our legal system, they are expected to maintain not filed multiple lawsuits against Complainant. Verily, Respondent is
only legal proficiency but also a high standard of morality, guilty of serious dishonesty and professional misconduct. He
honesty, integrity and fair dealing. In so doing, the people’s faith committed an act indicative of moral depravity not expected from
and confidence in the judicial system is ensured. In the present and highly unbecoming of a member of the Bar. The fact that the
case, two corporations were created where the respondent played conduct pertained to Respondent’s private dealings with
a vital role, being Wealth Marketing’s Chairman of the Board and complainant is of no moment. A lawyer may be suspended or
Ur-Link’s representative. Respondent’s conduct falls short of the disbarred for any misconduct, even if it pertains to his private
exacting standards expected of him as a vanguard of the legal activities, as long as it shows him to be wanting in moral
29
character, honesty, probity or good demeanor. Possession of good principal does not make this case less serious since it is
moral character is not only a good condition precedent to the immaterial whether Ms. Samaniego is in pari delicto. We must
practice of law, but also a continuing qualification for all members emphasize that this Court’s investigation is not about Ms.
of the Bar. Samaniego’s acts but Atty. Ferrer’s conduct as one of its officers
and his fitness to continue as a member of the Bar.
JUDGE ALDEN CERVANTES vs. ATTY. JUDE JOSUE SABIO,
A.C. No. 7828, 8/11/2008 Finally, it is opportune to remind Atty. Ferrer and all members of
the bar of the following norms under the CPR: “A lawyer shall not
FACTS: Complainant, a retired MTC judged formerly presided over engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct”
ejectment cases filed by Extra-Ordinary Development Corporation (Rule 1.01); “A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and
(EDC) against Respondent’s clients. Respondent had, in these dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the
cases, sought for Complainant’s inhibition supposedly because integrated bar” (Canon 7); and “A lawyer shall not engage in
EDC gave Complainant a house and lot. These motions were conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
denied. Respondent then lodged a complaint for bribery against shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous
Complainant after the latter’s retirement claiming that manner to the discredit of the legal profession” (Rule 7.03).
Complainant’s orders and decisions came from a computer when Respondent ought always to keep in mind the responsibilities of a
the court did not have one; that an EDC personnel would go to father to all his children. If there be a resultant hardship on them
court with certain papers for Complainant to sign; that because of this case, let it be impressed on all concerned that the
Complainant allegedly received P500.00 for every order or direct cause thereof was his own misconduct.
decision released in EDC’s favor; that Complainant refused
attempts to postpone hearings of EDC’s complaints to expedite EUGENIA MENDOZA vs. ATTY. VICTOR V. DECIEMBRE, A.C.
the disposition thereof. When the Office of the Court No. 5338, 2/23/2009
Administrator (OCA) dismissed Respondent’s complaint for being
“unsubstantiated and motivated by plain unfounded suspicion”, FACTS: Complainant charged that Respondent had fraudulently
Complainant filed a disbarment complaint against Respondent. filled up blank post-dated checks without her authority and used
the same for filing unfounded criminal suits against her. For a
RULING: Respondent FINED P5,000 Pesos; WARNED that certain loan Complainant took out, she delivered several blank
repetition of the same or similar act will be dealt with more checks to Respondent. Later, claiming that Complainant had
severely. Respondent ought to be aware that if a court official or received P100,000, Respondent filled up two of the blank checks
employee or a lawyer is to be disciplined, the evidence against for P50,000 each. When these checks bounced, Respondent
him should be substantial, competent and derived from direct initiated BP22 cases against Complainant.
knowledge, not on mere allegations, conjectures, suppositions, or
on the basis of hearsay. RULING: Respondent DISBARRED for gross misconduct and
violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the
No doubt, it is this Court’s duty to investigate the truth behind CPR; his name ORDERED STRICKEN OFF the Attorney’s Roll.
charges against judges and lawyers. But it is also its duty to The practice of law is not a right but merely a privilege bestowed
shield them from unfounded suits which are intended to, among by the State upon those who show that they possess, and
other things, harass them. continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for the
conferment of such privilege. A high sense of morality, honesty
By filing the groundless bribery charge against Complainant, and fair dealing is expected and required of members of the bar.
Respondent violated the proscription of the Code of Professional They must conduct themselves with great propriety, and their
Responsibility against “wittingly or willingly promot[ing] or su[ing] behavior must be beyond reproach anywhere and at all times.
any groundless suit” including baseless administrative complaints
against judges and other court officers and employees. Absence of attorney-client relationship in this case what with the
Respondent violated Canons 10, 11 and 12 and Rule 11.04 of the transactions having been entered into by Respondent in his
CPR under his oath of office. private capacity cannot shield Respondent, as a lawyer, from
liability. A lawyer may be disciplined for acts committed even in
MARJORIE F. SAMANIEGO vs. ATTY. ANDREW V. FERRER, his private capacity for acts which tend to bring reproach on the
A.C. No. 7022, 6/18/2008 legal profession or to injure it in the favorable opinion of the
public.
FACTS: Complainant was Respondent’s client. The lawyer-client
relationship became intimate, they lived together as husband and Respondent's offenses are manifold. First, he demands excessive
wife (1996-1997) and had a daughter. In 2000, the affair ended payments from his borrowers; then he fills up his borrowers' blank
and since then Respondent failed to give support to their checks with fictitious amounts, falsifying commercial documents
daughter. As it so happened, Respondent prior to his cohabitation for his material gain; and then he uses said checks as bases for
with Complainant was already married with 10 children filing unfounded criminal suits against his borrowers in order to
(Complainant claimed that he did not know that Respondent was harass them. Such acts manifest respondent's perversity of
already married; Respondent insists that Complainant was character, meriting his severance from the legal profession.
complacent, knowing well that he was a married man).
While the power to disbar is exercised with great caution and is
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 6 months for gross withheld whenever a lesser penalty could accomplish the end
immorality; WARNED that the same or similar act in the future will desired, the seriousness of Respondent's offense compels the
be dealt with more severely. Respondent did not abandon Court to wield its supreme power of disbarment. Indeed, the
Complainant, he simply returned to his family. Court will not hestitate to remove an erring attorney from the
esteemed brotherhood of lawyers where the evidence calls for it
On another point, we may agree with respondent’s contention because in exercising this disciplinary power , the Court merely
that complainant was not entirely blameless. She knew about his calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as
wife but blindly believed him to be unmarried. However, that one an officer of the Court, with the end in view of preserving the
complicit in the affair complained of immorality against her co- purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest
30
administration of justice. As respondent's misconduct brings confidence in the legal system.
intolerable dishonor to the legal profession, the severance of his
privilege to practice law for life is in order. A lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of
the law (Canon 19 of the CPR). For this reason, Rule 15.07 of the
REY VARGAS vs. ATTY. MICHAEL IGNES, AC#8096, 7/5/10 CPR requires a lawyer to impress upon his client compliance with
the law and principles of fairness. A lawyer must employ only fair
FACTS: Koronadal Water District (KWD), a gov’t-owned and and honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his client. It
controlled corporation (GOCC), with approval from the Office of is his duty to counsel his clients to use peaceful and lawful
the Gov’t corporate Counsel (OGCC), hired Respondent Ignes as methods in seeking justice and refrain from doing an intentional
its attorney on a one-year retainer. Respondent Ignes then filed wrong to their adversaries.
certain cases where co-respondents Nadua, Viajar and Mann
served as his collaborating counsels. Complainants charged that
Respondents filed and continued to appear in KWD cases without
legal authority. 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
RULING: Petition GRANTED. Respondents GUILTY of willfully which is resorted to by the lawyer, even in the pursuit of his
appearing as attorneys for a party to a case without authority to devotion to his client’s cause, is condemnable and unethical.
do so; FINED P5,000 each; STERNLY WARNED that a similar
offense in the future will be dealt with more severely. Respondent
Ignes appeared as KWD counsel without authority, after such had
expired. While the OGCC and COA approved his retainership TANU REDDI vs. ATTY. DIOSDADO C. SEBRIO, JR., A.C. No.
contract for one (1) year effective April 17, 2006, even assuming 7027, 2009 Jan 30
that he was not notified of the pre-termination contract, the
records disprove his claim that he stopped representing KWD
after April 17, 2007 – he continued appearing in KWD cases by
arguing a motion on January 28, 2008 and filing a notice of FACTS: Respondent was introduced to Complainant (an American
appeal on February 28, 2008. Respondents Nadua, Viajar and citizen) whom he enticed to acquire certain real estate to further
Mann had no valid authority to appear as KWD collaborating her philanthropic desire of establishing a hospital for the poor.
counsels there being no proof that their engagements were with Respondent advised Complainant (being a foreigner), to use
OGCC and COA approvals. corporate vehicles (thus, the formation of three corporations) for
the purchases of lands in Tagaytay City (which turned out to be
have been acquired by another person via foreclosure sale), Las
Respondents’ continued unatuhorized appearance for KWD is Piñas City, Makati City(which she later discovered was not
wilful and deliberate. They had full grasp that there are actually owned by the buyer), Quezon City (which lot is occupied
indispensable conditions before a GOCC can hire private counsel by SM North Mall but claimed by Respondent to be owned by his
and that for non-compliance with the requirements set by client), and Pasay City (supposedly vacant lots which were
Memorandum Circular No. 9, the private counsel would have no actually owned by certain banks). Complainant alleged that
authority to file a case in a GOCC’s behalf. Still, respondents Respondent duped her into giving him a total of $3M for these
acted as counsels of KWD without complying with what the rule purchases.
requires. They signed pleadings as counsels of KWD. They
presented themselves voluntarily, on their own volition, as RULING: Respondent DISBARRED for violating Canon 1 (to
counsels of KWD even in the absence of authority threfor. uphold the Constitution, obey laws of the land and promote
respect for the law and legal processes), Rule 1.01 (not to engage
in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct), Canon 16
(to hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may
come into his possession), Rule 16.01 (not to state or imply that
RURAL BANK OF CALAPE, INC. vs. ATTY. JAMES FLORIDO, he is able to influence any public official, tribunal or legislative
AC#5736, 6/18/10 body); his name ORDERED STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys;
ORDERED TO RETURN to Complainant US$544,828. Respondent
violated

By Respondent’s own admission, he received a total of


FACTS: Respondent and his clients (the minority stockholders of
US$544,828 from Complainant, which he could not properly
Complainant), through force and intimdation and with the use of
account for. The orchestrated manner in which he carried out his
armed men, forcibly took over the banks’ management and
fraudulent scheme, in connivance with other persons, and by
premises, forcibly evicted the the bank manager, destroyed the
taking advantage of Complainant’s naivete in the workings of the
bank vault thereafter changing its lock, and installed their own
real estate business in the Philippines, depict a man whose
staff to run the bank. Members of the Board filed for
character falls way, way short of the exacting standards required
Respondent’s disbarment for acts for “acts constituting grave
of him as a member of the bar and an officer of the court. Thus,
coercion and threats in violation of his oath and the CPR.
Respondent is no longer fit to remain as such.

RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for one year from law


Respondent only ordered to return US$544,828 because, while
practice. A lawyer’s first and foremost duty is to maintain
Complainant submitted documents showing her bank remittances
allegiance to the Republic of the Phippines, uphold the
involving different sums of money, some of these remittances
Constitution and obey the laws of the land. Likewise, it is his duty
were not made in Respondent’s name. Complainant herself
to promote respect for the law and legal processes and to abstain
declares, the amount of US$3,000,000 as a mere estimate of her
from activities aimed at defiance of the lawor lessening
total claim (Complainant is not precluded from litigating her claim
31
for any balance due her in the proper forum). certificate could have easily passed off as a document evidencing
title. In fact, Complainant actually tried, but failed, to register the
ROSARIO MECARAL vs. ATTY. DANILO VASQUEZ, AC#8392, Certificate of Land Occupancy in the Register of Deeds.
EN BANC, 6/29/10 Complainant readily parted with P70T because of the false
assurance afforded by the sham certificate.

FACTS: Complainant was Respondent’s secretary (in 2002), later


she became his lover and common-law wife. Still later, Respondent violated Rule 1.01 (not to engage in unlawful,
Respondent brought her to a mountainous part in Biliran where dishonest, immoral, or deceitful conduct) of the CPR. Conduct, as
he left her with the Faith Healers Association of the Philippines, a used in the Rule, is not confined to the performance of a lawyer’s
religious group which Respondent headed. Thereafter, and upon professional duties. A lawyer may be disciplined for misconduct
Respondent’s instruction, his followers tortured, brainwashed and committed either in his professional or private capacity. The test
injected Complainant with drugs. She remained in captivity until is whether his conduct shows him to be wanting in moral
her mother aided by the Provincial Welfare Development and the character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or whether it
police, rescued her. Complainant sought Respondent’s renders him unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.
disbarment alleging as well that Respondent contracted a
bigamous marriage in marrying Leny Azur despite the
subsistence of a prior marriage to Ma. Shirley Yunzal.
Respondent acted in his private capacity, misrepresented that he
owned the lot he sold to Complainant, later refused to return his
money. As a final blow, he denied having any transaction with
RULING: Respondent DISBARRED for violating Canon 1 (A complainant. It is crystal-clear in the mind of the Court that he fell
lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land short of his duty under Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of
and promote respect for law and legal processes) and Rule 7 (A Professional Responsibility.
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) of the CPR; his name ORDERED STRICKEN from the REYNARIA BARCENAS vs. ATTY. ANORLITO ALVERO,
Roll of Attorneys. Respondent’s acts of converting his secretary AC#8159, 4/23/10
into a mistress, contracting two marriages with Shirley and Leny
are grossly immoral which no civilized society in the world can
countenance. Complainant’s subsequent detention and torture is
gross misconduct which only a beast may be able to do. Canon 1
FACTS: Upon receiving P300T from Complainant to redeem his
of the CPR
(Complainant’s) deceased father’s rights as tenant of a ricefield,
Respondent issued a receipt stating he would deposit the money
in court because the creditor refused to accept the same.
Complainant later learned that Respondent was losing a lot of
When a lawyer’s moral character is assailed, such that his right to money in cockfights, and the redemption money was never
continue practicing his cherished profession is imperiled, it judicially deposited. In his letters, Respondent admitted receiving
behooves him to meet the charges squarely and present Complainant’s money, promised to return the same, but never
evidence, to the satisfaction of the investigating body and this did.
Court, that he is morally fit to keep his name in the Roll of
Attorneys. In fine, by engaging himself in acts which are grossly RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for two years from law
immoral and acts which constitute gross misconduct, Respondent practice; WARNED that repetition of the same or a similar act will
has ceased to possess the qualifications of a lawyer. be dealt with more severely. Undoubtedly, Respondent breached
Rule 1.01 (not to engage in unlawful dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct), Canon 1 (uphold the Constitution, obey the
laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal process)
ALFREDO ROA vs. ATTY. JUAN MORENO, AC#8382, 4/21/10 and Rules 16.01 (account for money and property
collected/received for or from a client), 16.02 (keep funds of each
client separe and apart from his own and those of others kept by
him) and 16.03 (deliver funds and property of his client when due
FACTS: Complainant paid Respondent P70T for the purchase of a or upon demand xxx), Canon 16 (hold in trust all moneys and
piece of land. Instead of a deed of sale, Respondent issued a properties of his client that may come into his possession) of the
temporary receipt and a certificate of land occupancy assuring CPR.
Complainant that he could already use the lot. Complainant, upon
learning that the certificate could not be registered with the
Register of Deeds, then confronted Respondent who admitted
that the real owner was a certain Rubio and that the lot was still When a lawyer receives money from a client for a particular
pending litigation. purpose, the lawyer is bound to render an accounting to the client
showing that the money was spent for a particular purpose. If he
does not use the money for the intended purpose, he must
promptly return the money to his client. These, Respondent
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED from law practice for 2 years. failed to do. This omission demonstrated his lack of integrity and
Respondent’s credibility is highly questionable – he even issued a moral soundness, and warranted the imposition of disciplinary
bogus certificate of land occupancy to Complainant whose only action.
fault was that he did not know better. To the unlettered, said

32
SPS. MANUEL & LOLITA RAFOLS vs. ATTY.
RICARDO FACTS: Respondent, not being an incumbent board member of
BARRIOS, AC#4973, 3/15/10 Gen. Marinao Alvarez Service Cooperative, Inc. (GEMASCO),
prepared the notice for a special general assembly, and actually
presided over the said assembly during which Complainant (plus
3 other persons) was removed from the Board. Day after said
FACTS: Respondent, on at least two occasions, facilitated private assembly, Respondent and his group took over the GEMASCO
meetings between his clients (Complainants) and the trial judge, office and its premises, pumphouses, water facilities and
during which, said judge asked for P150T in exchange for a operations.
favorable decision. Fearing that the judge would be biased
against them, Complainants paid a total of P130T. After sensing
that they were being duped, Complainants consulted a friend in
the media which led to an expose being published in the local RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for two years from law
newspaper. Subsequently, Respondent and the judge attempted practice. Respondent, by conniving with Gerangco (who became
several times to appease Complainants (sending gifts and President of the Board) in taking over the Board and GEMASCO
offering to return a portion of the money). Complainants also facilities, violated provisions of the Cooperative Code of the
claimed that Respondent demanded P25T (on top of other cash Philippines and GEMASCO’s by-laws as well as the Lawyer’s oath
demands) to secure the testimony of a certain witness. which provides that a lawyer shall support the Constitution and
Respondent insisted he had no part in the supposed bribe but obey the laws.
admitted receiving P80T from Complainants – a loan supposedly
made by the judge. Of said amount, Respondent admitted When, after obtaining an extension of time to file comment on
keeping P30T upon the judge’s instruction as a token of their the complaint, Respondent failed to file any and ignored this
friendship. Court’s subsequent show cause order, he violated Rule 12.03 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, which states that “A
lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file
pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse without
RULING: Respondent DISBARRED. Respondent and the submitting the same or offering an explanation for his failure to
disgraced Judge Dizon, being conspirators against the former’s do so.”
own clients whom he was sworn to protect and to serve with
utmost fidelity and morality, both deserve the highest penalty.
The disbarment of the respondent is in order, because such
sanction is on par with the dismissal of Judge Dizon, Jr. ATTY. BONIFACIO BARANDON, JR. vs. ATTY. EDWIN FERRER,
AC#5768, 3/26/10

FACTS: Respondent is charged of (a) filing a pleading with


Respodnent’s denial of knowledge of the transaction between abusive, offensive and improper language insinuating that
Complainants and Judge Dizon was not only implausible but also Complainant presented a falsified document in court, (b) filing a
unsubstantiated. Respondent himself introduced Complainants to case (which was later dismissed) for falsification against
the judge – an act strongly implying that Respondent was aware Complainant involving a document notarized when Complainant
of the judge’s purpose in wanting to talk with Complainants. was not yet even a lawyer nor a signatory thereto, (c) of making
Further, Respondent’s admission of having received P80T from threats (i.e. “Laban kung laban, patayan kung patayan, kasama
Complainants, keeping P30T of it pursuant to the judge’s ang lahat ng pamilya. Wala na palang magaling na abogado ditto
instructions proved that Respondent had known all along of the sa Camarines Norte”), while evidently drunk, against Complainant
“illegal transaction” and belied his feigned knowledge of delivery inside a courtroom before trial therein began.
of money to the judge.

RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for one year from law


Respondent did not measure up to the exacting standards of the practice. Practice of law is a privilege given to lawyers who meet
Law Profession demanding of him, as an attorney, absolute the high standards of legal proficiency and morality – any
abdication of any personal advantage that conflicted in any way, violation of these standards exposes the lawyer to administrative
directly or indirectly, with the interest of his clients. For monetary liability. Respondent’s actions do not measure up to Canon 8 (to
gain, he disregarded the vow to “delay no man for money or conduct themselves with courtesy, fairness and candor towards
malice” and to “conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best their fellow lawyers and avoid harassing tactics against opposing
of my knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as well to counsel) and Rule 8.01 (not to use, in his professional dealings,
the courts as to my clients” that he made when he took the abusive, offense or otherwise improper language) of the CPR.
Lawyer’s Oath. He also disobeyed the explicit command to him as
an attorney “to accept no compensation in connection with his
client’s business except from him or with his knowledge and
approval.” He conveniently ignored that the relation between him
Respondent violated Canon 7 (to uphold dignity and integrity of
and his clients was highly fiduciary in nature and of a very
legal profession at all times) and Rule 7.03 (not to engage in
delicate, exacting, and confidential character. conduct that adversely reflect on his fitness to practice law or
behave in a scandalous manner tothe discredit of the legal
profession). Evidently, Respondent’s utterances inside the
courtroom were with the intent annoy, humiliate, incriminate, and
ATTY. ILUMINADA FABROA vs. ATTY. OSCAR PAGUINTO, discredit Atty. Barandon in the presence of lawyers, court
AC#6273, 3/15/10 personnel, and litigants waiting for the start of hearing in court.
These language is unbecoming a member of the legal profession.
33
The Court cannot countenance it.

Respondent Garrido did not possess the good moral character


required of a lawyer at the time of his admission to the Bar. As a
Lawyers must use dignified language in their pleadings despite lawyer, he violated his lawyer’s oath, Section 20(a) of Rule 138 of
the adversarial nature of our legal system. Lawyer’s language the Rules of Court, and Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
may be forceful and emphatic, yet, always dignified and Responsibility, all of which commonly require him to obey the
respectful, befitting the dignity of the legal profession. The use of laws of the land. In marrying Complainant, he committed the
intemperate language and unkind ascriptions has no place in the crime of bigamy, as he entered this second marriage while his
dignity of judicial forum. first marriage with Constancia was subsisting. He openly
admitted his bigamy when he filed his petition to nullify his
marriage to Maelotisea.

LIGAYA MANIAGO vs. ATTY. LOURDES DE DIOS, AC#7472,


3/30/10
He violated ethical rules of the profession, specifically, Rule 1.01
FACTS: Due to a prior admin case, Respondent was penalized (not to engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
with a 6-month suspension beginning May 16, 2001. Complainant conduct), Canon 7 ( at all time to uphold the integrity and dignity
filed a criminal case against Miyata (a Japanse national). of the legal profession), Rule 7.03 (not to engage in conduct that
Respondent served as counsel for Miyata in said criminal case (as adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law or to behave in a
well as in other cases). Complainant averred that Respondent scandalous manner to discredit the profession) of the CPR.
ought to be disbarred for her flagrant violation and deliberate
disobedience of a lawful suspension order of the Supreme Court.

ATTY. ELMER SOLIDON vs. ATTY. ELMER MACALALAD,


AC#8158, 2/24/10
RULING: Petition DENIED. Respondent had served her prior 6-
months suspension and resumed her law practice on November FACTS: Complainant solicited Respondent’s services at P80T to
17, 2001. A suspended lawyer must first present proof of his handle a petition for judicial titling of a land owned by
compliance by submitting certifications from the IBP and Complainant’s relatives. P50T was initially paid and the balance
Executive Judge that he has indeed desisted from the practice of was to be paid upon delivery of the tile. However, Respondent
law during the period of suspension. Thereafter, the Court, after never filed such petition despite Complainant’s various attempts
evaluation, and upon a favorable recommendation from the Office to follow-up on the status of said petition.
of the Bar Confidant will issue a resolution lifting the suspension
order and allowing him to resume his practice. It was unfortunate
that this procedure was overlooked with regards to suspension
order in the prior admin case against Respondent. RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 6 months from law
practice; STERNLY WARNED that repetition of the same/similar
acts would be dealt with more severely; ORDERED TO RETURN
Complainant’s money. Mere failure of a lawyer to perform the
MAELOTISEA GARRIDO vs. ATTY. ANGEL GARRIDO & obligations due to the client is considered per se a violation.
ROMANA VALENCIA, AC#6593, MARCH 2010 Respondent failed to act as he committed when he failed to file
the required petition. He cannot now shift the balme to his client
FACTS: Complainant alleged that she was Respondent Garrido’s since it was his duty as a lawyer to communicate with them.
legal wife with whom she has 6 children, one of whom confided Respondent violated Rule 18.03 (not to neglect a legal matter
that an unknown caller claimed to be Respondent Garrido’s entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith shall
daughter. Later, another daughter admitted to Complainant about render him liable) and Rule 16.01 (to account for all the money
seeing Respondent in a mall with another woman. To confirm her received from the client) of the CPR.
suspicions, Complainant obtained a birth certificate confirming
that Respondents had a child and were married in Hongkong.
Thereafter, Respondent left the conjugal home and lived with co-
respondent. Respondent Garrido denied that Complainant was his CONRADO QUE vs. ATTY. ANASTACIO REVILLA, JR.,
legal wife due to a prior subsisting marriage with one Constancia AC#7054, 12/4/09
David.

FACTS: Complainant charged Respondent with multiple


RULING: Respondents DISBARRED. Laws dealing with double infractions of the CPR and Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, to
jeopardy or with procedure – such as the verification of pleadings include: (a) abuse of court remedies and processes by filing
and prejudicial questions, or in this case, prescription of offenses various petitions (in violation of the rule against forum-shopping)
or the filing of affidavits of desistance by the complainant – do attacking the MeTC and RTC decisions in an unlawful detainer
not apply in the determination of a lawyer’s qualifications and case against his clients; (b) wilful and revolting falsehood that
fitness for membership in the Bar. Ergo, the time that elapsed unjustly maligned and defaned the good name and reputation of
between the immoral acts charged and the filing of the complaint the deceased/former counsel of his clients; (c) deliberate,
is not material in considering the qualification of Respondent fraudulent and unauthorized appearances in court for 15 litigants
Garrido when he applied for admission to law practice, and his (three of whom were already dead) and appearing as counsel for
continuing qualification to be a member of the profession. the Republic of the Philippines without authority to do so.

34
the return of its money yet Respondent failed to comply.

RULING: Respondent DISBARRED from the practice of law.


Respondent is guilty of serious misconduct for abusing court
procedures and processes to shield his clients from the execution RULING: Respondent DISBARRED for violating of Rules 1.01 and
of challenged final judgments. These repeated attempts go 1.02, Canon 15, Rule 15.05, Canon 16, Rules 16.01 and 16.03,
beyond the legitimate means allowed by professional ethical rules and Canon 18, Rule 18.04 of the CPR; ORDERED TO RETURN all
in defending the client’s interest and are already uncalled for documents in his possession covering the titling matter referred
measures to avoid the enforcement of final judgments in to him. Every lawyer has the responsibility to protect and
violation of Rule 10.03 (to observe rules of procedure and . . . not advance the interests of his client such that he must promptly
to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice) of the CPR. By his account for whatever money or property his client may have
actions, Respondent used procedural rules to thwart and obstruct entrusted to him. A lawyer’s conversion of funds entrusted to him
the speedy and efficient administration of justice, resulting in is a gross violation of professional ethics.
prejudice to the winning parties in that case.

Even more unfortunate for Respondent, he admitted under oath


Respondent likewise violated Rule 12.02 and Rule 12.04, Canon having bribed a government official to act favorably on his
12 of the CPR, as well as the rule against forum shopping, both of client’s application to acquire title to a dried-up creek. That is
which are directed against the filing of multiple actions to attain quite dishonest. The Court is not, therefore, inclined to let him off
the same objective. Both violations constitute abuse of court with the penalty of indefinite suspension which is another way of
processes that tend to degrade the administration of justice, saying he can resume his practice after a time if he returns the
wreck havoc on orderly judicial procedure, and add to the money and makes a promise to shape up.
congestion of the heavily burdened dockets of the courts.

PEDRO LINSANGAN vs. ATTY. NICOMEDES TOLENTINO,


To support the charge of extrinsic fraud in his petition for AC#6672, 9/4/09
annulment of judgment, Respondent attacked the name and
reputation of the late Atty. Catolico and accused him of deliberate
neglect, corrupt motives and connivance with the counsel for the
adverse party. However, Respondent failed to demonstrate how
FACTS: Complainant, of the Linsangan Linsangan & Linsangan
he came upon his accusation against Atty. Catolico. By this,
Law Office, claimed that Respondent (aided by a private
Respondent has been less than fair in his professional relationship
individual named Lobiano) solicited clients and encroached upon
with Atty. Catolico and is thus liable for violating Canon 8 (to
professional services by persistently texting and calling
conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor toward his
Complainant’s clients in order to convince them to transfer legal
professional colleagues) of the CPR. He was unfair because he
representation with promises of financial assistance and
imputed wrongdoing to Atty. Catolico without showing any factual
expeditious collection of claims. Respondent’s calling card bears
basis therefor; he effectively maligned Atty. Catolico, who is now
such promise of financial assistance and even one of
dead and unable to defend himself.
Complainant’s clients swore that he was asked to transfer (from
Complainant) to Respondent in exchange for a loan of P50T.

Respondent twice represented parties without proper


authorization: first, in the petition for annulment of judgment; and
RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED from law practice for 1 year;
second, in the second petition for annulment of title. In both
STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts
instances, Respondent violated Sections 21 and 27, Rule 138 of
in the future shall be dealt with more severely. Lawyers are
the Rules of Court when he undertook the unauthorized
reminded that the practice of law is a profession and not a
appearances. The settled rule is that a lawyer may not represent
business; they should not advertise their talents as merchants
a litigant without authority from the latter or from the latter’s
advertise their wares. To allow a lawyer to advertise his talent or
representative or, in the absence thereof, without leave of court.
skill is to commercialize the practice of law, degrade the
Such willful unauthorized appearance by a lawyer for a party in a
profession in the public’s estimation and impair its ability to
given case constitutes contumacious conduct and also warrants
efficiently render that high character of service to which every
disciplinary measures against the erring lawyer for professional
member of the bar is called. Hence, lawyers are prohibited from
misconduct.
soliciting cases for the purpose of gain, either personally or
through paid agents or brokers. Such actuation constitutes
malpractice, a ground for disbarment.

ARELLANO UNIVERSITY, INC. vs. ATTY. LEOVIGILDO


MIJARES III, AC#8380, 11/20/09
Respondent clearly solicited clients violating Rule 2.03 (not to do
FACTS: Complainant hired Respondent to secure the certificate of or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit legal
title for a certain property. Complainant then gave Respondent business), Rule 1.03 (not to encourage any suit/proceeding or
P500T which he claimed was for “facilitation and processing” delay any man’s cause for any corrupt motive or interest), Canon
expenses. When Respondent claimed that he already secured the 3 (to use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective
required MMDA approval, Complainant demanded for copies information or statement of facts in making his legal services) of
thereof. Respondent failed to meet Complainant’s demand and the CPR and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court.
later made himself scarce prompting Complainant to withdraw all
cases entrusted to him. Complainant sent two demand letters for
35
relationships (being himself a human being) in disposing of cases.
He must base his decision solely on evidence and law.
Moreover, by engaging in a money-lending venture with his
clients as borrowers, Respondent violated Rule 16.04 (not to Rule 2.04 – “A judge shall refrain from influencing, in any manner
borrow money from his clients or to lend money to a client x x x). the outcome of litigation or dispute pending before another court
or administrative agency.”

CANON 3 – A JUDGE SHALL PERFORM OFFICIAL DUTIES HONESTY


JUDICIAL ETHICS AND WITH IMPARTIALITY. – Judges being visible representative of
the law must be model for uprightness, fairness and honesty. He
– branch of moral science which treats of the right and proper should observe the prescribed periods for rendition of judgment.
conduct to be observed by all judges in trying and deciding He may ask clarificatory questions to the witness for full
controversies brought before them for adjudication which conduct understanding of facts. However, if the judge extensively
must be demonstrative of IMPARTIALITY, INTEGRITY, propounds questions to the witness with the effect of or will tend
COMPETENCE, INDEPENDENCE & FREEDOM FOR IMPROPRIETY. to build or bolster the case for one of the parties, this is partiality.

Rule 3.12 – DISQUALIFICATIONS – A judge shall have no part in


Sources of Judicial Ethics – (i) Code of Judicial Conduct (effective
October 20, 1989); (ii) Constitutional provisions (Article VIII, proceedings where his impartiality might reasonably be
questioned, including in: (a) where judge has personal knowledge
Article XI, Article III of the Constitution); (iii) provisions of the rules
of court; (iv) Revised Penal Code provisions; (v) RA 3019; (vi) of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding; (b)
where judge served as executor, administrator, guardian, trustee
Canons of Judicial Ethics; (vii) Code of Professional Responsibility;
(viii) Judiciary Act of 1948; (ix) BP 129 (Judiciary Reorganizationor lawyer in a case or matter in controversy or a former associate
Act of 1980); and (x) Supreme Court decisions. of the judge served as counsel during their association or where
the judge or lawyer was a material witness therein; (c) where the
judge’s ruling in the lower court is the subject of review; (d)
IMPORTANCE OF JUDICIAL ETHICS – When rule of law ends, law of
where he is related by blood or affinity to a party-litigant within
tyranny begins. Law of force rather than force of law will thrive.
the 6th degree or to counsel within the 4th civil degree; (e) where
Judicial ethics is preventive of tyranny and anarchy.
the judge knows that the judge’s spouse or child has financial
interest as an heir, legatee, creditor, fiduciary or otherwise, in a
CANON 1 – JUDGES SHALL UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND
subject matter in controversy.
INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY

Mere friendship between the judge and counsel is not a ground


Rule 1.01 – “A judge shall be the embodiment of competence,
for disqualification. Petition for disqualification must be filed
integrity and independence.” – A judge is the visible
before rendition of judgment.
representation of the law and justice; he should avoid even the
slightest infraction of law. Judges are projected as personification
Rule 137, Section 1 of Rules of Court provides of grounds for
of proficiency (competence), incorruptibility (integrity), and
disqualification. Rule 140 of the Rules of Court provide the
impartiality (independence).
grounds for dismissal to include serious misconduct and
inefficiency.
Rule 1.02 – “A judge shall administer justice impartiality and
without delay.” – A party-litigant is entitled to no less than the
Rule 3.13 – REMITTAL OF DISQUALIFICATION – Instead of
cold neutrality of an impartial judge. Justice delayed is justice
withdrawing, the judge may disclose on record the basis for
denied.
disqualification, if parties and counsel independently of judge’s
participation all agree in writing that the reason to inhibit is
Rule 1.03 – “A judge shall be vigilant against any attempt to
immaterial or unsubstantial, the judge may participate in the
subvert the independence of the judiciary and shall resist
proceedings – the written agreement shall be incorporated in the
pressure from whatever source.”
records.

CANON 2 – A JUDGE SHALL AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE


CANON 4 – A JUDGE SHALL ENGAGE IN ACTIVITES TO IMPROVE
APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY.
THE LAW, THE LEGAL SYSTEM AND THE ADMINISTRATIION OF
JUSTICE. – Judge must speak, lecture and even teach.
Rule 2.01 – “A judge shall behave at all times as to promote
public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the
CANON 5 – A JUDGE SHAL REGULATE HIS EXTRA-JUDICAL
judiciary.” – Judge’s conduct and his behaviour in performance of
ACTIVITIES TO MINIMIZE RISK OF CONFLICT WITH JUDICIAL
his duties should be free from appearance of impropriety and
DUTIES. – A judge is not prohibited from engaging or having any
must be beyond reproach. Even in his private life, he must be
interest in any lawful business but he is to refrain only from those
beyond reproach. Thus, in-chamber sessions without the
which would lead to partiality or disqualification. He cannot
presence of the other party and his counsel must be avoided. This
engage in private practice of law. He may entertain personal
rule is intended to preserve public faith.
views on political questions but he should avoid the suspicion of
political partisanship, thus, he cannot also make political
Rule 2.02 – “A judge should not seek publicity for personal speeches, contribute to party funds or publicly endorse
vainglory.” – as in the case of lawyers, the rule is a bar to candidates (this rule is against electioneering).
subjudice and prevents pre-judgment of a case. A judge’s
comments may lay basis for disqualification and worst, might
In no of the proceedings should judge’s impartiality be reasonably
undermine the dignity and impartiality of a judge.
questioned.

Rule 2.03 – “A judge shall not allow family, social or other


CASES IN JUDICIAL ETHICS
relations to influence judicial conduct or judgment.” – Judges
must insulate himself from the thread of his interpersonal
36
SALVADOR SISON vs. JUDGE JOSE F. CAOIBES, JR., A.M. No. visible representation of the law. The irresponsible or improper
RTJ-03-1771, 5/27/2004 conduct of judges erodes public confidence in the judiciary; as
such, a judge must avoid all impropriety and the appearance
FACTS: Complainant, an MMDA traffic enforcer issued a ticket for thereof.
traffic violation against Respondent’s son, notwithstanding the
fact that, the latter introduced himself as a son of a judge. RUFINO CASIMIRO vs. JUDGE OCTAVIO FERNANDEZ, A.M.
Complainant claimed that Respondent issued an order requiring No. MTJ-04-1525, 1/29/2004.
him to appear and explain the traffic incident and that when he
failed to comply, he was cited in contempt and ordered arrested.
Complainant further claimed that he was only discharged after he FACTS: Respondent failed to return the P4,000-cash bond posted
admitted before Respondent that hat he made a mistake and that in a criminal case by Complainant despite the dismissal of the
the traffic incident was all a misunderstanding. Respondent criminal complaint against the latter. Complainant claimed that
vehemently denied the accusations saying that he was merely he gave the cash bond to the Respondent (who then handed it to
preserving the dignity and honor due to the courts. He explained the clerk of court); no official receipt was issued therefore.
that, at the time Complainant flagged down his son, the latter Respondent claimed that he had issued a check to refund
was on official business, that is, on an errand for Respondent, to Complainant’s cash bond and that the same had been remitted to
which Complainant reportedly uttered, “Walang Judge, Judge his counsel because Complainant had supposedly changed his
Caoibes sa akin; kahapon nga, abogado ang hinuli ko.” address without informing the court, thus, he could not be
contacted.

RULING: Respondent DISMISSED from service with forfeiture of all


retirement benefits except accrued leave credits with prejudice to RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for 3 months without pay;
re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of the FINED P20,000.00, with WARNING that repetition of the same or
government including government-owned or controlled similar offenses will be dealt with more severely for gross
corporations for serious impropriety unbecoming a judge in misconduct in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
violation of Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Per SC Circular No. 50-95, all collections from bail bonds, rental
Initially, Respondent appeared to be justified in holding deposits and other fiduciary collections shall be deposited within
Complainant for contempt, due to the latter’s refusal to comply 24 hours by the Clerk of Court concerned, upon receipt thereof,
with his Order. However, it is not lost upon this Court that with the Land Bank of the Philippines, in the name of the court,
Complainant was not a party to any of the cases pending. What with its Clerk of Court and the Executive Judge as authorized
triggered the contempt charge was, in fact, the traffic violation signatories; and every withdrawal thereof via withdrawal slips
incident involving Respondent’s son. Since the incident involved bearing the signature of the Executive/ Presiding Judge and
his own son and the matter was personal to him, Respondent countersigned by the Clerk of Court must be accompanied by a
should have refrained from ordering Complainant’s arrest and court order which indicates the amount to be withdrawn.
detention. That Respondent insisted that Complainant personally
file his comment in court gives rise to doubts as to the motive
behind it.
Upon acceptance of Complainant’s cash bond then, Respondents
were bound by law to immediately turn it over to the custody of
the official or bank authorized to receive them. Following proper
Respondent Judge was not justified to so consider Complainant’s procedure for the withdrawal of fiduciary funds, respondent Judge
act and remarks as thereby displaying arrogance towards and should have issued an order directing the withdrawal of the cash
deliberate disregard of the usual respect, courtesy and bond from the authorized depository bank and referred the
accommodation due to a court of law and its representative. As a matter to the authorized signatories.
public official himself, Respondent knew that Complainant was
only doing his duty of enforcing evenly the particular traffic
regulation against swerving into a one-way street from the wrong
While there is no direct and hard evidence that Respondent made
direction, regardless of the office or position of the violator’s
personal use of the cash bond, his wife’s issuance of her personal
father. Respondent and his son should have challenged the
check to Complainant in the amount of the cash bond, indicates
issuance of the traffic violation receipt pursuant to the pertinent
so. By his actuations then, Respondent placed his honesty and
rules if they did not agree with the basis of the apprehension and
integrity under serious doubt.
also administratively charged Complainant for any unwarranted
act committed. Since neither was done by them, but, on the
contrary, both ultimately accepted the validity of the
apprehension, as borne out by the retrieval of the driver’s license The Code of Judicial Conduct dictates that a judge should avoid
and payment of the corresponding fine, it follows that Respondent impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities.
had the consciousness that his son was at fault, instead of Rule 2.01 of Canon 2 of the Canon of Judicial Ethics mandates
Complainant. that a judge should so behave at all times as to promote public
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. A
judge should thus be above reproach and free from the
appearance of impropriety, and should at all times conduct
Respondent’s act in citing a person in contempt of court in a
himself in such a manner as to be above suspicion.
manner which smacks of retaliation, is appalling and violative of
Rule 2.01 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which mandates that “a
judge should so behave at all times to promote public confidence
in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” The very delicate Both the safekeeping of funds and collections are essential to an
function of administering justice demands that a judge should orderly administration of justice and no protestation of good faith
conduct himself at all times in a manner which would reasonably can override the mandatory nature of the circulars which are
merit the respect and confidence of the people, for he is the designed to promote full accountability for government funds. It
37
needs no emphasis that failure to deposit fiduciary collections hearing of the complaint filed by Respondent’s wife, Complainant
immediately with the authorized bank deprives the National and another witness Ruel Mutia (who were on-board the same
Treasury of the interest which such collections should have boat as Respondent) were arrested and detained by police
earned. Respondent judge’s paying back of the collection does officers following Respondent’s report that they (Complainant and
not thus absolve him. Mutia) were would-be assassins. Hence, this administrative
complaint against Respondent for oppression, abuse of authority,
GEORGE L. KAW vs. JUDGE ADRIANO R. OSORIO, A.M. No. incriminating an innocent person, grave misconduct and
RTJ-03-1801, 2004. obstruction of justice. Complainant latter wrote that he was
withdrawing his complaint the contents of which he claimed he
FACTS: In exchange for a favorable judgment in criminal cases for did not read and was merely prepared for him and instigated by
estafa filed by Complainant, Respondent demanded P100,000. Respondent’s wife.
Complainant paid P40,000 with the balance payable upon
promulgation of judgment. Respondent also extracted money
from Complainant on various occasions, such as, his birthday, his RULING: Respondent FINED p20,000 for oppression. The
son’s project, his wife’s wake. Complainant heard rumors that the withdrawal or disavowal by a complainant of the contents of his
alleged mastermind of the accused had bragged that he would be administrative complaint does not necessarily warrant its
acquitted having supposedly paid Respondent P1,000,000. When dismissal. Administrative actions cannot depend on the will or
asked to inhibit from the case, Respondent denied such motion pleasure of the complainant who may, for reasons of his own,
and ultimately rendered judgment acquitting the alleged condone what may be detestable. The Court does not dismiss
mastermind (though convicting the other co-accused). administrative cases against members of the Bench merely on
the basis of withdrawal of the charges. Desistance cannot divest
RULING: Respondent is FINED P40,000.00 for violation of the the Court of its jurisdiction to investigate and decide the
Code of Judicial Conduct and Canons of Judicial Ethics to be complaint against the respondent because public interest is at
deducted from his retirement benefits. Having retired upon stake in the conduct and actuations of officials and employees of
reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70, it is no longer the judiciary.
possible to impose the penalty of dismissal or suspension on him.
While Respondent may not necessarily be held liable for extortion
and graft and corruption as it was not substantially proven, he Having purportedly not seen the list of witness against him in the
should be made accountable for violating Code of Judicial immorality complaint, Respondent may not indeed have known
Conduct that prescribes that, “a judge should avoid impropriety that Complainant was going to testify against him, yet,
and appearance of impropriety in all activities(CANON 2)”, “a Respondent was well aware that Mutia, who was in Complainant’s
judge should so behave at all times as to promote public company in the same boat ride taken by Respondent (and who
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary(Rule was also arrested and detained by the Pasay City Police), was in
2.01)”, “a judge should regulate extra-judicial activities to the said list of witnesses. Respondent’s disclaimer then that he
minimize the risk of conflict with judicial duties(CANON 5)”, “a could not have committed “obstruction of justice” does not
judge or any immediate member of the family shall not accept a readily persuade.
gift, bequest, favor or loan from anyone except as may be
allowed by law(Rule 5.04)”.
By respondent’s act of requesting for complainant’s and his
Respondent judge’s conduct fell short of the standard expected of companion’s warrantless arrest, he violated complainant’s
a magistrate of the law. His act of inviting complainant and his constitutional right, an act which partakes of the nature of
wife to his birthday party corroded public confidence in the oppression, defined as an “act of cruelty, severity, unlawful
integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, considering that exaction, domination or excessive use of authority.”
complainant had a pending case in his sala. A judge is not only
required to be impartial; he must also appear to be impartial.
ATTY. GLORIA LASTIMOSA-DALAWAMPU vs. JUDGE
Fraternizing with litigants tarnishes this image.
RAPHAEL B. YRASTORZA, A.M. No. RTJ-03-1793, 2/5/2004

Respondent was not only aware of the money given by


FACTS: Complainant appeared before Respondent’s court and
Complainant on the occasion of his wife’s death, he signed the
asked for a resetting but Respondent cut her off by saying that,
back of the check and even encashed it. This contravenes the
“Do not give me so many excuses, Atty. Dalawampu! I don’t care
Canons of Judicial Ethics that expressly provides that a judge
who you are!”. As she was leaving the courtroom, Respondent
should not accept any present or favors from litigants or from
said, “I don’t care who you are”. “You can file one thousand
lawyers practicing before him.
administrative cases against me. I don’t care”. In another case,
Complainant appeared as private prosecutor, Respondent scolded
No position exacts a greater demand on the moral righteousness her for failure to file pre-trial brief. Subsequently, when pre-trial
and uprightness of an individual than a seat in the judiciary. A was conducted and Complainant was absent due to another
magistrate of the law must comport himself at all times in such a engagement, Respondent ordered Complainant’s client to
manner that his conduct, official or otherwise, can bear the most produce the original documents in five minutes, or the case would
searching scrutiny of the public that looks up to him as an be dismissed – this, despite the fact that, Complainant’s
epitome of integrity and justice. submitted pre-trial brief indicating that documentary exhibits
would be marked in the course of trial.
ENGRACIO DIALO, JR. vs. JUDGE MARIANO MACIAS, A.M.
RTJ-04-1859, 7/13/2004
RULING: Respondent REPRIMANDED for discourtesy against
FACTS: A prior administrative complaint was filed by Complainant; WARNED that repetition of this or similar acts will
Respondent’s wife for immorality. Complainant, upon request by be dealt with more severely. Mere desistance on Complainant’s
Respondent’s wife to help catch and gather evidence to prove her part does not warrant dismissal of an administrative complaint
husband’s philandering, witnessed Respondent retreat to the against any member of the bench and the judiciary. The Court’s
house of his suspected mistress. On their way to Manila for the interest in the affairs of the judiciary is a paramount concern that
38
knows no bounds. Hence, instead of dismissing the charge as RULING: Respondent FINED P5,000.00 for notarizing documents
recommended, the Court, in the exercise of its power of without the requisite notarial commission. It is settled that a
administrative supervision, resolves to reprimand respondent judge may be disciplined for acts committed prior to his
judge for his failure to exercise greater circumspection in dealing
appointment to the judiciary. This is recognized by the new Rule
with the complainant. itself which provides for the immediate forwarding to the
Supreme Court for disposition and adjudication of charges against
justices and judges before the IBP, including those filed prior to
Upon his assumption to office, a judge ceases to be an ordinary their appointment to the judiciary.
mortal. He becomes the visible representation of the law and,
more importantly, of justice. He must be the embodiment of
competence, integrity and independence. A magistrate of the law Good moral character is a requirement that is not dispensed with
must comport himself at all times in such manner that his upon admission to the Bar. It is not only a condition precedent to
conduct, official or otherwise, can bear the most searching admission to the legal profession – its continued possession is
scrutiny of the public that looks up to him as the epitome of essential to maintain one’s good standing in the profession. Thus,
integrity and justice. a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct,
even if it pertains to his private activities, as long as it shows him
to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity or good
The tenor of Respondent’s statement can easily instill in the demeanor. Possession of good moral character is not only a
minds of those who heard them that as a judge he is above the prerequisite to admission to the bar but also a continuing
law. Such a remark creates an impression on the public that requirement to the practice of law.
whatever administrative case they will file against respondent or
against any judge will only be a futile exercise. Statements such
as those made by respondent judge erode the public’s confidence Respondent is being charged not for acts committed as a judge;
in the integrity of the judiciary. Respondent’s unwarranted he is charged, as a member of the bar, with notarizing documents
statement is a clear derogation of his duty to be faithful to the without the requisite notarial commission therefor. Even then,
law which he swore to uphold as a member of the judiciary. though Respondent has already retired from the judiciary, he is
still considered as a member of the bar and as such, is not
immune to the disciplining arm of the Supreme Court, pursuant to
Respondent’s unfounded act of insulting Complainant in open Article VIII, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution.
court and cutting her off in mid-sentence while she was still
explaining her side exhibited a manifest disregard by respondent
of his duty to be patient, attentive, and courteous to lawyers. A The requirements for the issuance of a commission as notary
judge should conduct proceedings in court with fitting dignity and public must not be treated as a mere casual formality. The Court
decorum. has characterized a lawyer’s act of notarizing documents without
the requisite commission therefore as “reprehensible, constituting
as it does not only malpractice, but also the crime of falsification
A judge’s duty to observe courtesy to those who appear before of public documents.”
him is not limited to lawyers. The said duty also includes being
courteous to litigants and witnesses. Respondent’s conduct
towards Consuelo Aznar leaves a lot to be desired. Respondent’s Pursuant to Resolution A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC, administrative cases
act in this instance smacks of judicial tyranny. A judge anywhere against erring justices of the CA and the Sandiganbayan, judges,
should be the last person to be perceived as a petty tyrant and lawyers in the government service may be automatically
holding imperious sway over his domain. Thus, the role of a judge treated as disbarment cases. However, this case was filed prior to
in relation to those who appear before his court must be one of the effectivity of said resolution, hence, the latter will not apply in
temperance, patience and courtesy. this case.

Judges are strictly mandated to abide by the law, the Code of To protect members of the judiciary from harassing complaint, an
Judicial Conduct and existing administrative policies in order to administrative complaint against a retiring or retired judge or
maintain the faith of our people in the administration of justice. justice to be dismissed outright requires the concurrence of the
Any act which falls short of the exacting standard for public office, following: (1) the complaint must have been filed within six
especially on the part of those expected to preserve the image of months from the compulsory retirement of the judge or justice;
the judiciary, shall not be countenanced. (2) the cause of action must have occurred at least a year before
such filing; and, (3) it is shown that the complaint was intended
HEINZ R. HECK vs. JUDGE ANTHONY E. SANTOS, A.M. No. to harass the respondent. In this case, the complaint was filed
RTJ-01-1657, 2/23/2004 more than one year after Respondent retired compulsorily from
the service. Likewise, the ground for disbarment or disciplinary
FACTS: “MAY A RETIRED JUDGE CHARGED WITH NOTARIZING action alleged to have been committed by Respondent did not
DOCUMENTS WITHOUT THE NECESSARY COMMISSION MORE occur a year before Respondent’s separation from the service.
THAN 20 YEARS AGO BE DISCIPLINE THEREFOR? Complainant Furthermore, and most importantly, the instant complaint was not
charged that, prior to appointment as RTC Judge, Respondent prima facie shown to be without merit and intended merely to
violated the notarial law for notarizing documents in 1980 to harass the respondent.
1984 without being duly commissioned as notary public.
Respondent countered that Complainant was neither privy to, nor
prejudiced by the documents in question and that further, RODRIGO Q. TUGOT vs. JUDGE MAMERTO COLIFLORES,
Complainant had an axe to grind being one of the defendants in a A.M. No. MTJ-00-1332, 2/16/2004
civil suit which he decided in favor of the plaintiff therein.

39
FACTS: Respondent dismissed an ejectment case wherein as “lies, they are lies”, “Lies! Can you do that even if they are
Complainant was one of the plaintiffs who were later advised to lies? Even if you are being deceived?”) at the council members.
re-file their notice of appeal because the latter was not in the Municipal officials later filed a joint affidavit-complaint for
records transmitted to the appellate court. As it turned out, the Respondent’s dismissal and disbarment. Respondent admitted his
notice of appeal was not lost but was simply misplaced in presence during the council session, but contended that he was
Respondent’s office. Also, Respondent waited for 900 days for not drunk and that he was there merely in his private capacity as
defendants to submit their pre-trial brief, and conducted the a taxpayer.
preliminary conference in violation of the requirements of the
applicable rules on summary procedure.
RULING: Respondent FINED P20,000 for conduct unbecoming of a
judge in violation of Canon 2, Rule 2.01 and Rule 2.03 of the Code
RULING: Respondent FINED P20,000 for negligence and violation of Judicial Conduct; with STERN WARNING that the commission
of a Supreme Court Rule and directive. Courts exist to dispense of the same or a similar act or omission in the future will be dealt
and promote justice. The realization of this solemn purpose with more severely. His actuations constitute palpable violations
depends to a great extent on the intellectual, moral and personal of the Code of Judicial Conduct, that, “a judge should avoid
qualities of the men and women who are called to serve as impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities
judges. Verily, the Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that they (Canon 2)”, “a judge should so behave at all times as to promote
possess the highest degree of competence, integrity and public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary
independence. (Rule 2.01)”; “a judge shall not allow family, social, or other
relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. The
prestige of judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the
Judicial competence demands that judges should be proficient in private interests of others, nor convey or permit others to convey
both procedural and substantive aspects of the law. They have to the impression that they are in a special position to influence the
exhibit more than just cursory acquaintance with statutes and judge (Rule 2.03)”.
procedural rules and be conversant, as well, with basic legal
principles and well-settled authoritative doctrines. To the end that
they be the personification of justice and rule of law, they should Respondent needs to be reminded that his judicial identity does
strive for a level of excellence exceeded only by their passion for not terminate at the end of the day when he takes off his judicial
truth. Anything less than this strict standard would subject them robes. Even when garbed in casual wear outside of the halls of
to administrative sanction. justice, a judge retains the air of authority and moral ascendancy
that he or she wields inside the sala.

Respondent failed to demonstrate the required competence in


administering an ejectment case. Unlawful detainer and forcible A judge’s official life cannot simply be detached or separated
entry cases are covered by summary procedure because they from his personal existence. Indeed, the Code of Judicial Conduct,
involve the disturbance of the social order which must be Canon 2 in particular, mandates that a judge should avoid
restored as promptly as possible. Respondent caused undue delay impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities, as
in dispensing the civil suit by failing to observe the period within well as behave at all times as to promote public confidence in the
which to conduct the preliminary conference which, according to integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. Thus, the Court has to
Sec. 8 of Rule 70, shall be held “not later than thirty (30) days dismiss outright Judge Malanyaon’s suggestion that his actions be
after the last answer is filed.” Respondent conducted the evaluated as one of a taxpayer or ordinary citizen and not as that
preliminary conference more than two years after the filing of the of a judge. In fact, his utterances were not made under a cloak of
last answer. Note that the adoption of the Rule on Summary anonymity, for the members of the council, as well as some of the
Procedure is part of the commitment of the judiciary to enforce people in the gallery knew very well that he was a judge. It is
the constitutional right of litigants to a speedy disposition of their highly probable that his invectives took on a greater imperative
cases. Any member of the judiciary who causes the delay sought on the listeners precisely because he was a judge, with all the
to be prevented by the Rule is sanctionable. authority attendant to the office.

The misplacement of the notice of appeal indicates gross ELENA R. ALCARAZ vs. JUDGE FRANCISCO S. LINDO, A.M.
negligence. Respondent should have been more prudent in No. MTJ-04-1539, 4/14/2004
determining the cause of its temporary loss, which caused
unnecessary inconvenience to Complainant, whose right to
appeal was affected. As administrative officers of the courts,
FACTS: Complainant alleged that she and her co-defendants in a
judges should organize and supervise court personnel to ensure
civil suit for collection before Respondent were declared in
the prompt and efficient dispatch of business, as well as the
default. After ex-parte presentation of evidence by plaintiff,
observance of high standards of public service and fidelity at all
judgment was rendered against Complainant and her co-
times. He should adopt a system of records management, so that
defendants from which they filed a motion to annul judgment.
files are kept intact despite the temporary absence of the person
The latter motion however was denied. Complainant alleged that
primarily responsible for their custody. she was not furnished various pleading and orders including
plaintiff’s motion to declare defendants in default and the order
HON. JULIETA DECENA vs. JUDGE NILO MALANYAON, A.M. granting the same.
No. RTJ-02-1669, 4/14/2004

FACTS: A session was conducted wherein revocation of two RULING: Respondent FINED P5,000 for violating Rule 3.01 of the
previous resolutions granting authority to operate a cockpit in the Code of Judicial Conduct; WARNED that repetition of this or
locale was being deliberated. Respondent, whose nephew-in-law similar acts will be dealt with more severely. Rule 9, Section 3 (a)
was one of the cockpit operators, heckled and interrupted the of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that, “a party in
session by hurling various accusatory remarks and insults (such
40
default shall be entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings but As an advocate of justice and a visible representation of the law,
shall not take part in the trial”. As such, even when a defendant is a judge is expected to keep abreast with and be proficient in the
already declared in default, he is entitled to notice of subsequent interpretation of our laws. Having accepted the exalted position
proceedings. Complainant’s assertion that she was not furnished, of a judge, Respondent owes the public and the court she sits in
not only with the order of default, but the subsequent orders of proficiency in the law.
Respondent and Respondent’s failure to controvert this
allegations, leaves us with no other conclusion other than that Respondent also clearly violated Rule 2.01 of Canon 2 of the Code
respondent judge was remiss in his duty to observe the Rules. of Judicial Conduct that, “a judge should behave at all times as to
promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the
judiciary”. Respondent showed partiality in accused’s favor when
Respondent’s failure to comply with the elementary dictates of she ordered the dismissal of the criminal case supposedly due to
procedural rules constitutes a violation of the Code of Judicial payment of civil liability and private complainant’s disinterest in
Conduct. The Code is explicit in its mandate that, “a judge shall prosecuting the criminal aspect when the records revealed that
be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence”. on that same day, Complainants had refused to sign the affidavit
Competence is the mark of a good judge. Having accepted the of desistance already prepared for them.
exalted position of a judge, whereby he judges his own
fellowmen, the judge owes it to the public who depend on him, Rule 3.01, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that
and to the dignity of the court he sits in, to be proficient in the “a judge shall be faithful to the law and maintain professional
law. competence”. Unfamiliarity with the Rules of Court is a sign of
incompetence. When a judge displays an utter lack of familiarity
with the rules, such incompetence erodes the public’s confidence
We reiterate that judges are duty bound to be faithful to the law in the competence of our courts. Basic rules of procedure must
and to maintain professional competence at all times. Their role be at the palm of a judge’s hands.
in the administration of justice requires a continuous study of the
law, lest public confidence in the judiciary be eroded by We cannot countenance Respondent’s discourtesy in insulting
incompetence and irresponsible conduct. Complainant during the hearing and her statement then was
unbecoming a judge – a display of petulance and impatience in
SPS. RODOLFO & SYLVIA CABICO vs. JUDGE EVELYN L. the conduct of a trial which is incompatible with the needful
DIMACULANGAN-QUERIJERO, A.M. No. RTJ-02-1735, attitude and sobriety of a good judge. Respondent’s actuations
4/27/2007 violated Rule 3.04 of Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct,
that, “a judge should be patient, attentive, and courteous to
lawyers, especially the inexperienced, to litigants, witnesses, and
FACTS: Complainants were the parents of a 17-year old rape
others appearing before the court. A judge should avoid
victim in a criminal case pending before Respondent’s sala. When
unconsciously falling into the attitude of mind that the litigants
Complainants’ counsel manifested in court that there would be no
are made for the courts, instead of the courts for the litigants”.
settlement in the rape case, Respondent angrily shouted at
Complainant (Silva) to right then and there return all the money
already received as partial payment for settlement of the civil MARISSA MONDALA vs. JUDGE REBECCA MARIANO, A.M.
aspect. Later, Respondent forced them to sign an affidavit of No. RTJ-06-2010, 1/25/2007
desistance, and despite their refusal, issued an order dismissing
the case against the three accused supposedly on the ground of FACTS: Complainant, who is Respondent’s legal researcher,
full payment of civil liability and disinterest to prosecute the charged that Respondent misrepresented in the January 2005
criminal aspect. Respondent claimed that the charges against her Report of Pending Cases by reporting that a decision had already
was a machination of Complainants’ counsel who had an axe to been rendered in a certain civil case when in fact it was still with
grind against her for losing a petition for habeas corpus decided Complainant for research and drafting. Respondent claimed mere
by Respondent. Respondent added that in disposing the criminal oversight on her part and not misrepresentation, considering that,
case, she applied Section 2(a), Rule 18 of the Rules of Court at the time she prepared the monthly report, a decision had
requiring courts to “consider the possibility of an amicable actually been prepared.
settlement or of a submission to alternative modes of resolution.”
RULING: Respondent FINED P40,000 for gross misconduct due to
RULING: Respondent FINED P21,000 for gross ignorance of the violations of the Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct and
law; with STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or provisions of Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 4-2004,
similar act will merit more severe sanction. Respondent as well as of making untruthful statements in the monthly
dismissed the criminal case after the accused had paid their reports; with STERN WARNING that a commission of the same
individual civil liability. This is in utter disregard and in gross or a similar offense will be dealt with more severely.
ignorance of the law because payment of civil liability does not
extinguish criminal liability. There is no merit in Respondent’s claim that the inclusion of the
Amanet case in the list of decided cases was due to the fact that
The victim’s affidavit of desistance] (subsequently made) could a decision had already been prepared and was due for printing in
not have justified the dismissal of the criminal cases. Republic final form. A decision in a civil case is rendered only upon the
Act No. 8353, (Anti-Rape Law of 1997) having reclassified rape as signing by the judge who penned the same and upon filing with
a crime against persons, any public prosecutor, even without the the clerk of court. What constitutes rendition of judgment is not
complaint of the victim or her parents, or guardian, can the mere pronouncement of the judgment in open court but the
prosecute the offender. Even further, the victim’s affidavit of filing of the decision signed by the judge with the Clerk of Court.
desistance, would not justify the dismissal because said affidavit, A draft of a decision does not operate as judgment on a case until
by itself, is not a ground for the dismissal of an action, once the the same is duly signed and delivered to the clerk for filing and
action has been instituted in court. When a law or a rule is promulgation.
basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply apply the
law. Anything less is gross ignorance of the law. Respondent misrepresented herself regarding the promulgation
date of the decision in the Amanet case. While the January 2005
41
monthly report was submitted on March 7, 2005, the subject reasonable extension of time to dispose of his cases.
decision in the Amanet case had not yet been printed. Amanet
had obviously not yet been decided in January 2005. As frontline of the judiciary, judges should, at all times, act with
efficiency and with probity. They are duty-bound not only to be
Under SC Admin. Cir. No. 4-2004, the penalty for judges and faithful to the law, but likewise to maintain professional
clerks of court who are responsible for inaccurate entries in their competence to sustain the trust and confidence which the public
monthly reports is to have their salaries withheld. However, the reposed in them and the institution they represent. The judge is
circumstances in the instant case warrant a penalty under the the visible representation of the law and, more importantly, of
Rules of Court as the entries are not simply inaccurate or the justice. Thus, he must be the first to abide by the law and weave
result of mere oversight, but rather the product of a deliberate an example for the others to follow. He should be studiously
misrepresentation of the status of Amanet and other undecided careful to avoid committing even the slightest infraction of the
cases. Under Sec. 1, Canon 2 of the New Code of Judicial Rules.
Conduct, judges ought to ensure that not only is their conduct
above reproach, but that it is perceived to be so in the view of a JULIO VERSOZA vs. JUDGE MANUEL CONTRERAS, A.M. No.
reasonable observer. Integrity is essential not only to the proper MTJ-06-1636, 3/12/2007
discharge of the judicial office but also to the personal demeanor
of judges. FACTS: Respondent, whose information to the police regarding the
looting of a PLDT tower implicating Complainant as accessory
GIDEON JUSON vs. JUDGE VICENTE MONDRAGON, A.M. No. thereto, later conducted the preliminary investigation over the
MTJ-07-1685, 10/3/2007 criminal case involving the alleged looting. Complainant claimed
that Respondent was motivated with ill-will because he
FACTS: Complainant charged that Respondent unduly delayed (Complainant) had surmised that Respondent is the mastermind
resolving (for over three years), the motion to intervene which of treasure-hunting activities.
Complainant filed in a civil case for recovery of possession of a
land. The pendency of Complainant’s motion caused numerous RULING: Respondent REPRIMANDED for violating Rule 3.12(a),
postponements and resetting of the main case. Respondent Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct; WARNED that a
admitted the delays but cited, failing health due to a stroke and repetition of the same or similar act in the future shall be dealt
his load of supervising three courts at a time, as causes of delay. with more severely. The issue of whether a judge should
voluntarily inhibit himself is addressed to his sound discretion
RULING: Respondent FINED P10,000 for undue delay in the pursuant to Sec. 1 (2), Rule 137, Rules of Court, that, “a judge
disposition of Complainant’s motion for intervention; WARNED may, in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself
that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with from sitting in a case for just or valid reason other than those
more severely. mentioned in the first paragraph”.

Rules prescribing time within which certain acts must be done, or True, a judge should possess proficiency in law so that he can
certain proceedings taken, are considered absolutely competently construe and enforce the law. However, it is more
indispensable to the prevention of needless delays and the important that he should act and behave in such a manner that
orderly and speedy discharge of judicial business. By their very the parties before him have confidence in his impartiality. In this
nature, these rules are regarded as mandatory. Judicial office case, Respondent had prior knowledge of the looting and
exacts nothing less than faithful observance of the Constitution dismantling at the PLDT Tower and he was instrumental in the
and the law in the discharge of official duties. Section 15(1), apprehension of the robbers. Respondent should have been
Article VIII of the Constitution, mandates that cases or matters aware of the impropriety of conducting the preliminary
filed with the lower courts must be decided or resolved within investigation considering that Rule 3.12(a), Canon 3 of the Code
three months from the date they are submitted for decision or of Judicial Conduct enjoins a judge from taking part in
resolution. proceedings where the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be
questioned. Respondent ignored said rule, warranting disciplinary
Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, directs judges sanction from this Court.
to “dispose of the court’s business promptly and decide cases
within the required periods.” Strict adherence to this rule is That, his prior knowledge of the commission of a crime is not a
intended to preserve the integrity, competence, and mandatory ground to recuse himself from conducting preliminary
independence of the judiciary and make the administration of investigation, holds no water. As a judge, Respondent must keep
justice more efficient and in order not to negate the Court’s himself abreast with the law. He should have known that it is well
efforts minimize, if not totally eradicate, the twin problems of entrenched in the Code of Judicial Conduct, prevailing at that
congestion and delay that have long plagued Philippine courts. time, that personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts
Canons 6 and 7 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics also exhort judges concerning the proceedings disqualifies him from taking part in
“to be prompt in disposing of all matters submitted to him, such proceeding as the same would necessarily spawn a
remembering that justice delayed is often justice denied” and “to perception that he is bias and impartial. It is of no moment that
be punctual in the performance of his judicial duties x x x”. the finding of probable cause was sustained by the provincial
prosecutor.
His failing health, as an excuse for the delay hardly merits serious
consideration. Even if he was stricken by an illness hampering his FRANCISCO PALON, JR. vs. JUDGE PLACIDO VILLARTA, A.M.
due performance of his duties, it was incumbent upon him to No. MTJ-04-1530, 3/7/2007
inform this Court of his inability to seasonably decide the cases
assigned to him. As to his additional work in supervising three FACTS: Complainant was the accused in a frustrated murder case
courts at a time, such will not exonerate him. His failure to decide filed by one Carlos Pangilinan before Respondent’s court.
the case on time cannot be ignored. Respondent should have Respondent failed to act on Complainant’s motion for remand of
know that if his caseload, additional assignments or designations, the case, postponed at his (Respondent’s) instance hearings, and
health reasons or other facts prevented the timely disposition of refused Complainant’s request for resetting when his counsel was
his pending cases, all he had to do was simply ask this Court for a unavailable and even uttered during one hearing that it was best
42
for Complainant to use money intended for bail as indemnity for RULING: Respondent FINED P20,000.00 for gross inefficiency.
Pangilinan. In another criminal case for attempted homicide filed Sec. 15, Art. 8 of the Constitution requires lower courts to
by Complainant (as offended party), Carlos Pangilinan was one of decide or resolve all cases within three months from date
the accused. In this second criminal case, Respondent failed to of submission. Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial
sign the arrest warrants for the accused including Pangilinan who Conduct states that, “a judge shall dispose of the court’s
was Respondent’s 4th degree relative by affinity. business promptly and decide cases within the required periods”.
The 90-day period is mandatory. Any delay in the administration
Complainant lodged a complaint for Ignorance of the Law, of justice, no matter how brief, deprives the litigant of his right to
Dereliction of Duty, and Partiality against Respondent. a speedy disposition of his case.
Respondent, instead of submitting his answer to the complaint,
tendered his resignation letter. Respondent failed to decide five (5) cases and to resolve a
pending motion within the mandatory period, and offered no
RULING: Respondent GUILTY as charged, all benefits due him are explanation for it. Worse, he submitted his compliance with the
FORFEITED, with prejudice to re-employment in the government OCA directives only two (2) years after they were issued against
service, including government-owned or controlled corporations. him. Failure to decide even a single case within the required
Every officer or employee in the judiciary has the duty to obey period, absent sufficient justification, constitutes gross
the orders and processes of this Court without delay. A court inefficiency meriting administrative sanction.
resolution requiring comment on an administrative complaint is
not a mere request and cannot be complied with partially, Regarding directives from the OCA, judges should treat them as if
inadequately, or selectively. Respondents in administrative issued directly by the Court and comply promptly and
complaints should comment on all accusations or allegations conscientiously with them since it is through the OCA that this
against them because it is their duty to preserve the judiciary’s Court exercises its constitutionally mandated administrative
integrity. There is no place in the judiciary for those who cannot supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof. Failure to
meet the exacting standards of judicial conduct and integrity. It is do so constitutes misconduct and exacerbates administrative
gross misconduct, even disrespect to the highest Court of the liability.
land, for a respondent judge to exhibit indifference to the
resolution requiring him to comment on the accusations in the In the case at bar, suspension is not an option considering that
complaint. Judge Bagundang retired compulsorily on July 10, 2004. Hence,
the imposition of a fine.
Complainant alleged that Respondent “failed to evaluate the
information” or “sign the warrant of arrest” because the latter is SILAS Y. CAÑADA vs. ILDEFONSO B. SUERTE, A.M. No. RTJ-
related by affinity within the 4th civil degree to one of the 04-1884, 2/22/2008
accused. Rule 3.12, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
provides that, “a judge should take no part in a proceeding where FACTS: Complainant alleged that sometime in 1998, he refused
the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, Respondent who was trying to sell him a dilapidated cargo truck
including proceedings where x x x (d) The judge is related by and Daewoo car. Later, Respondent allegedly offered to act as
consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth degree broker for the sale of Complainant’s real property, to which
or to counsel within the fourth civil degree x x x”. This Complainant agreed. When he had a prospective buyer,
disqualification springs from the long-standing precept that a Respondent demanded that of the P1.6M purchase price he would
judge should not handle a case where there is a perception, get a P1M-commission. Complainant refused, and the sale did not
rightly or wrongly, that he is susceptible to bias and partiality push through, thereupon Respondent became angry and
because of relationship or some other ground. threatened Complainant that, as a judge, he could deprive
Complainant of his property, even have him arrested and
As a dispenser of justice, a judge should demonstrate sensitivity executed. Later, despite the deal being botched, Respondent
in his choice of words as normally expected of men of his stature. demanded a P200T-commission, Complainant allegedly paid
Respondent had used language hardly the kind of circumspect P100T. In his defense, Respondent denied forcing Complainant to
words expected of a magistrate. Judges must observe judicial purchase certain vehicles but made no mentioned about
decorum, which requires a magistrate to be at all times receiving P100T from Complainant.
temperate in his language, refraining from vilification or
inflammatory rhetoric. Patience is an essential part of dispensing RULING: RULING: Respondent FINED p40,000 for dishonesty;
justice and courtesy is a mark of culture and good breeding. DISBARRED for violating Canons 1 and 11 and Rules 1.01 and
Belligerent behavior has no place in the judiciary where its judges 10.01 of the CPR; his name ORDERED STRICKEN from Attorney’s
and personnel should act at all times with self-restraint and Roll. While this case was pending, respondent was dismissed from
civility even when confronted with rudeness and insolence. the service in another administrative case for gross misconduct,
gross ignorance of the law and incompetence.
OCA vs. vs. JUDGE ISMAEL BAGUNDANG, A.M. No. RTJ-05-
1937 In administrative proceedings, complainant has the burden of
proving the allegations in his complaint with substantial evidence,
FACTS: Following a judicial and physical inventory of cases, in i.e., that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind
March 2003, Respondent was ordered by the Office of the Court might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. If a judge should
Administrator (OCA) to explain his failure to decide and take be disciplined for a grave offense, the evidence against him
action on various cases. About two years later, Respondent should be competent and derived from direct knowledge. Here,
submitted his compliance attaching copies of the decisions and Complainant failed to present concrete evidence to substantiate
orders issued by him in the cases cited by the OCA memo in his charges against Respondent. He did not appear before the
2003. He however offered no explanation as to his failure to investigating justice to prove his allegations . While he attached
decide within the mandatory period the cases cited in the same to his complaint two affidavits to corroborate his story, the
memo. affiants—a prospective business partner and an AFP comrade—
were not disinterested witnesses whose statements could be
given credence. Mere allegations will leave an administrative
43
complaint with no leg to stand on. The use of a letterhead should not be considered independently
of the surrounding circumstances of the use – the underlying
However, Respondent should be held for dishonesty. Respondent reason that marks the use with the element of “impropriety” or
claimed he never owned a dilapidated cargo pick-up truck and “appearance of impropriety”. Respondent crossed the line of
could not recall if he had a Daewoo car in 1998. But his propriety when he used his letterhead to report a complaint
Statements of Assets and Liabilities for the years 1998 to 2001 on involving an alleged violation of church rules and, possibly, of
file in the Court prove otherwise. They show that among his Philippine laws. Coming from a judge with the letter addressed to
personal properties were a Daewoo car acquired in 1996 and an a foreign reader, such report could indeed have conveyed the
L-200 double cab acquired in 1998. impression of official recognition or notice of the reported
violation.
Dishonesty is defined as the disposition to lie, cheat, deceive or
The same problem that the use of letterhead poses, occurs in the
defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty,
use of the title of “Judge” or “Justice” in the correspondence of a
probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and
member of the Judiciary. While use of the title is an official
straightforwardness; disposition to defraud, deceive or betray.
designation as well as an honor that an incumbent has earned, a
This is a grave offense that carries the extreme penalty of
line still has to be drawn based on the circumstances of the use
dismissal from the service, even for the first offense. Respondent
thereof. While the title can be used for social and other
showed his capacity to lie and evade the truth. His dishonesty not
identification purposes, it cannot be used with the intent to use
only tended to mislead the Court but also tarnished the image of
the prestige of his judicial office to gainfully advance his personal,
the judiciary. It will warrant the maximum penalty of dismissal, if
family or other pecuniary interests. Nor can the prestige of a
not for the fact that he has already been dismissed from the
service in another administrative case. judicial office be used or lent to advance the private interests of
others, or to convey or permit others to convey the impression
CONRADO LADIGON vs. JUDGE RIXON GARONG, A.M. No. that they are in a special position to influence the judge. To do
MTJ-08-1712, 8/20/2008 any of these is to cross into the prohibited field of impropriety.

FACTS: Respondent wrote a letter-complaint to the Chairman of SYLVIA SANTOS vs. JUDGE EVELYN S. ARCAYA- CHUA, A.M.
the Administrative Council of the First United Methodist Church in No. RTJ-07-2093, 2009.
Michigan, USA, complaining of the surreptitious manner of the
incorporation of the Banard Kelly Memorial United Methodist FACTS: Complainant, an aunt of Respondent’s husband sought
Church and singling out Complainant to be part of the deception. Respondent’s help in connection with pending cases involving
Complainant, prompted by Respondent’s letter, complained to the Complainant’s friend before the Supreme Court. Respondent, a
Justices of this Court against the Respondent’s improper conduct former employee of the Court, said that she could help as she had
as an MTC Judge and his use in a private communication of his connections with some Justices of the Court and for that purpose,
official court stationery and his title as a judge. Respondent, she needed P100,000 to give an employee of the Court for the
admitting that he used his court’s letterhead and signed his letterspeedy resolution of said cases. Sometime after giving the
using the word “judge”, reasoned that he merely used an money however, Respondent told Complainant that there was a
ordinary bond paper and typed thereon his court’s station “to problem considering that the other party was offering P10 million
indicate the return or inside address”. He further alleged that he to the Justices. Complainant asked respondent to return the
“did not see any harm or abuse in using the word ‘judge’ on the P100,000.00; however respondent could no longer be contacted.
honest belief that he is entitled to use such appellation. After the filing of the administrative complaint against
Respondent, Complainant moved to withdraw the same citing the
RULING: Respondent ADMONISHED to be ever mindful of the return of the money and familial considerations as reasons for
standards he has to observe in his use of hi letterhead and title; withdrawal.
WARNED that a repetition of this transgression shall be dealt
with more severely. RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED for gross misconduct;
WARNED that commission of the same or a similar act will merit
What is involved here is the rule that “Judges shall avoid a more severe penalty. It is settled in administrative proceedings,
impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their the quantum of proof required to establish malfeasance is not
activities”. Indeed, members of the Judiciary should be beyond proof beyond reasonable doubt, but substantial evidence, i.e.,
reproach and suspicion in their conduct, and should be free from that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might
any appearance of impropriety in the discharge of their official accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
duties as well as in their personal behavior and everyday life. No
position exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness and Try as she might to show the implausibility of complainant's
uprightness on the individual than a seat in the Judiciary. claims, respondent could not deny that she and complainant met
at her office sometime in September 2002; that she and her
That Respondent used an ordinary bond paper and placed husband knew Muñoz and associated with her on several
thereon his official station as return address is not totally occasions, and that it was she (respondent), being a former
unmeritorious. This is not an unusual practice and it would be employee of the Supreme Court, who stood to know who Tolosa
hypocritical to deny its occurrence at all levels of the Judiciary, was. But most telling of all the circumstances pointing to
eg., some members of the Judiciary may use a social card with respondent's guilt is the unwavering stance of complainant that
the letterhead of their office to indicate their address as well as respondent did solicit and receive P100,000.00 from her in order
their station within the judicial hierarchy; some also use notepads to facilitate a favorable ruling in Muñoz's cases. While
bearing their names, designation and station. A thin line, Complainant's claim that Respondent returned the money to her
however, exists between what is proper and what is improper in was given during a clarificatory hearing and Respondent did make
such use, and this was the line that the Respondent crossed when a belated objection to this testimony via a motion filed one month
he used his letterhead and title the way he did. Respondent’s later, still, Respondent could not deny that she was present
transgression was not per se in the use of the letterhead, but in during the clarificatory hearing and could have very well objected
not being very careful and discerning in considering the to and refuted complainant's declaration on the matter.
circumstances surrounding the use of his letterhead and his title. Respondent, however, did not make any objection at the time,

44
which failure is truly damaging. system. There are agents of the law, specifically, officers of the
court and the police who can be called upon to implement
As defined, misconduct is a transgression of some established contempt orders and restore order as needed.
and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty,
unlawful behavior, willful in character, improper or wrong Respondent overreacted in his handling of the situation before his
behavior; while “gross,” has been defined as “out of all measure; court. Bringing out a gun for everyone present in the court to see,
beyond allowance; flagrant; shameful; such conduct as is not to even for purposes of maintaining order and decorum in the court,
be excused. is inexcusable in the absence of overt acts of physical aggression
by a party before the court. The New Code of Judicial Conduct
As a final word, let it be stressed once again that the office of a requires “`(Judges) shall ensure that not only is their conduct
judge is sacred and imbued with public interest. The need to above reproach, but that it is perceived to be so in the view of a
maintain the public’s confidence in the judiciary cannot be made reasonable observer,” and their “behavior and conduct x x x must
to depend solely on the whims and caprices of complainants who reaffirm the peoples' faith in the integrity of the judiciary”.
are, in a real sense, only witnesses therein. Thus, withdrawal of a
complaint or desistance from a complaint will not deprive this The Code itself sets limits on how a judge should do this. Section
Court of its power under the Constitution to ferret out the truth 6, Canon 6 of the Code provides: “Judges shall maintain order and
and discipline its members accordingly. decorum in all proceedings before the court and be patient,
dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers
ATTY. ANTONIO CAÑEDA vs. JUDGE ERIC MENCHAVEZ, A.M. and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity.
No. RTJ-06-2026, 3/4/2009 Judges shall require similar conduct of legal representatives, court
staff and others subject to their influence, direction or control.
FACTS: Complainant was counsel for one of the defendants in a
civil case for partition before Respondent’s sala. During the
hearing, Respondent asked Complainant if his clients were
amenable to segregate only a share of one of the plaintiffs, to
Complainant advanced the idea that the parties go to mediation.
Respondent then blurted out, “never mind mediation, walay
hinundan na (it's useless).” When Respondent checked on the
progress of the case, Complainant remarked that it was being
delayed because no proper summons (by publication) had been
served on defendants residing outside the country. Respondent
reacted by angrily banging his gavel and shouting, “I said no
publication period.” He banged the gavel so hard, it broke and its
head flew into the air almost hitting Complainant. Respondent
then slammed the table with his hand, went inside his chambers
and later returned with a holstered handgun which he smashed
on the table. Angrily Respondent shouted at Complainant, “Unsay
gusto nimo? Yawa! Gahig ulo!” (What do you want? Devil!
Hardheaded!).

RULING: Respondent FINED for for vulgar and unbecoming


conduct a judge; WARNED that repetition of the same or similar
infraction will be dealt with more severely; Complainant
ADMONISHED to be mindful of the respect due to the court and
avoid actions bordering on disrespect in representing his clients.

There were basic disagreements on approaches and issues in the


partition case. In the courtroom, a lawyer makes submissions
before a judge whose role is to hear and consider the
submissions, and subsequently rule on the matter. It is not a
situation where two equals, such as the opposing counsels, argue
against each other. Respondent apparently had a misplaced
concept of what a courtroom situation should ideally be, so that
he was effectively arguing with counsel as shown by his clearly
contentious stance when he made his ruling. This was
Respondent’s first error; he should have coolly ruled and allowed
counsel to respond to his ruling, instead of proceeding in a
manner that invited further arguments.

Complainant also erred since he continued to argue despite


Respondent’s ruling. Respondent judge’s response, under this
situation, should have been to direct Complainant to wind up his
arguments under pain of direct contempt if this warning would be
disregarded. Thereafter, he could have declared Complainant in
direct contempt if he persisted in his arguments. A direct
contempt, of course, is not enforced by a judge’s act of bringing
out his weapon and asking counsel the direct question “What do
you want?” This confrontational manner – shown usually in the
western genre of movies – has no place in our present justice
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