Anda di halaman 1dari 20

NERY VS SAMPANA

FACTS: Nery alleged that in June 2008, she engaged the services of Sampana for the annulment of her marriage
and for her adoption by an alien adopter. The petition for annulment was eventually granted, and Nery paid
₱200,000.00 to Sampana. As for the adoption, Sampana asked Nery if she had an aunt, whom they could
represent as the wife of her alien adopter. Sampana then gave Nery a blurred copy of a marriage contract,
which they would use for her adoption.

Sampana sent a text message informing Nery that he already filed the petition for adoption and it was already
published. Sampana further informed Nery that they needed to rehearse before the hearing. Subsequently,
Sampana told Nery that the hearing was set on 5 March 2010. When Nery asked why she did not receive
notices from the court, Sampana claimed that her presence was no longer necessary because the hearing was
only jurisdictional. Sampana told Nery that the hearing was reset to 12 March 2010.

Nery inquired from Branch 11 of Malolos, Bulacan about the status of the petition for adoption and discovered
that there was no such petition filed in the court. Thus, in the afternoon of the same day, Nery met Sampana
and sought the reimbursement of the ₱100,000.00 she paid him. Sampana agreed, but said that he would
deduct the filing fee worth ₱12,000.00. Nery insisted that the filing fee should not be deducted, since the
petition for adoption was never filed. Thereafter, Nery repeatedly demanded for the reimbursement of the
₱100,000.00 from Sampana, but the demands were left unheeded.

ISSUE: Whether or not Sampana committed a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility

Sampana denied that he misled Nery as to the filing of the petition for adoption. Sampana claimed that Nery
could have mistaken the proceeding for the annulment case with the petition for adoption, and that the
annulment case could have overshadowed the adoption case. In any case, Sampana committed to refund the
amount Nery paid him, after deducting his legal services and actual expenses.

The IBP’s Report and Recommendation: Commissioner Antiquiera found Sampana guilty of malpractice for
making Nery believe that he already filed the petition for adoption and for failing to file the petition despite
receiving his legal fees. Thus, Commissioner Antiquiera recommended a penalty of three (3) months suspension
from the practice of law.

The Ruling of the Court: The recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors is well-taken, except as to the
penalty.

Acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client relationship and gives rise to the duty of
fidelity to the client’s cause.8 Every case accepted by a lawyer deserves full attention, diligence, skill and
competence, regardless of importance.9 A lawyer also owes it to the court, their clients, and other lawyers to
be candid and fair.

WHEREFORE, we SUSPEND Atty. Glicerio A. Sampana from the practice of law for THREE (3) YEARS with a stern
warning that a repetition of a similar act shall be dealt with more severely. We also ORDER Atty. Glicerio A.
Sampana to RETURN to complainant Melody R. Nery the amount of One Hundred Thousand Pesos
(₱100,000.00), with 12% interest per annum from the time of his receipt of the full amount of money on 17
November 2008 until 30 June 2013, then 6% interest per annum from 1 July 2013 until fully paid.
Ruby vs. Bayot

Facts: Complainant and his mother engaged the services of herein respondents in connection with a case for
cancellation and nullification of deeds of donation. As per the retainer agreement, the acceptance fee was
P100,000: 70% to be paid upon signing and the balance, after the hearing on the issuance of a TRO. Also, the
parties agreed on a P4,000 appearance fee for every hearing.

Complainant gave respondent Atty. Espejo P50,000 which will serve as filing fee. However, the actual filing fee
paid for was only P7,561. She failed to account for the excess amount despite several demand letters therefor.

Thereafter, Atty Espejo allegedly asked that Atty Bayot be paid the acceptance fee balance, notwithstanding
that the hearing for the issuance of the TRO has not yet taken place because the latter was in dire need of
money. Complainant acceded but only to the payment of P8,000 and contended that the amount was not yet
due. Also, Atty. Espejo asked for another P50,000 (which was later bargained to P20,000) as “representation
fee” alleging that she needs to file a separate petition for the issuance of a TRO.

Meanwhile, the RTC denied the prayer for the issuance of the TRO, which the complainant learned of more
than a week later, when he visited the RTC. He was not notified of such fact by respondents.

On the date of the hearing of the motion to serve summons by publication, Atty. Bayot failed to appear in court
even though complainant had duly paid his appearance fee for the said hearing. Instead, he just met the
complainants at the lobby of the Quezon City Hall of Justice, telling them that he already talked to the clerk of
10
court who assured him that the court would grant their motion.

The complainant alleged, that the respondents failed to update him as to the status of his complaint, and
claimed that Atty. Bayot had suddenly denied that he was their counsel. On the other hand, Atty. Bayot
asserted that it was Atty. Espejo alone who was the counsel of the complainant and that he was merely a
collaborating counsel. His assistance was merely sought and that it was Atty. Espejo who signed and filed the
complaint in the RTC. He further pointed out that he had no part in the retainer agreement and denied having
any knowledge as to the payments made to Atty. Espejo. He admitted that he was the one who drafted the
motion to serve summons through publication, but pointed out that it was Atty. Espejo who signed and filed it
in the RTC. He also admitted that he was the one who was supposed to attend the hearing of the said motion,
but claimed that he was only requested to do so by Atty. Espejo since the latter had another commitment. As to
the appearance fee he received for the hearing, he denied having requested for such but the complainant
allegedly insisted to pay.

19
On the other hand, Atty. Espejo, in her Answer, denied asking for P50,000.00 from the complainant as filing
fees. She insisted that it was the complainant who voluntarily gave her the money to cover the filing fees. She
further alleged that she was not able to account for the excess amount because her files were destroyed when
her office was flooded due to a typhoon. She also denied having asked another P50,000.00 from the
complainant as "representation fee," asserting that the said amount was for the payment of the injunction
bond once the prayer for the issuance of a TRO is issued.

*Atty. Espejo passed away while the case was pending with the IBP Board of Governors

ISSUES:

1. Whether or not Atty. Bayot was complainant’s counsel. 


2. Whether or not Atty Bayot violated the Code of Professional Responsibility 


HELD:

1. YES. The Court modified the findings of the Investigating Commissioner and the IBP Board of Governors.
It is undisputed that Atty. Espejo was the counsel of record in the case that was filed in the RTC. Equally
undisputed is the fact that it was only Atty. Espejo who signed the retainer agreement. However, the evidence
on record, including Atty.

Bayot’s admissions, points to the conclusion that a lawyer- client relationship existed between him and the
complainant.

Atty. Bayot was the one who prepared the complaint and the motion to serve summons which were filed in the
RTC. He likewise appeared as counsel in court, and advised the complainants of the status of their case. More
importantly, Atty. Bayot admitted that he received P8,000.00, which is part of the acceptance fee indicated in
the retainer agreement.

The foregoing circumstances clearly established that a lawyer- client relationship existed between Atty. Bayot
and the complainant. "Documentary formalism is not an essential element in the employment of an attorney;
the contract may be express or implied. To establish the relation, it is sufficient that the advice and assistance
28
of an attorney is sought and received in any matter pertinent to his profession." Further, acceptance of
29
money from a client establishes an attorney- client relationship. Accordingly, as regards the case before the
RTC, the complainant had two counsels – Atty. Espejo and Atty. Bayot..

2. NO. A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of the complainant and is obliged to keep the latter informed of the
status of his case. He must exercise due diligence in protecting his client’s rights. He is likewise bound to hold in
trust, and to duly account for the money of his client that may come to his possession. Failure to return gives
rise to a presumption that he has misappropriated it in violation of the trust reposed on him. And the
conversion of funds entrusted to him constitutes gross violation of professional ethics and betrayal of public
confidence in the legal profession.

Nevertheless, the administrative liability of a lawyer for any infractions of his duties attaches only to such
circumstances, which he is personally accountable for. It would be plainly unjust if a lawyer would be held
accountable for acts, which he did not commit. Atty. Bayot may not be held liable for Atty. Espejo’s failure to
account for the money she received from complainants.

On the other hand, Atty. Bayot is legally entitled to
the P8,000.00 he received from the complainant on as his
share in the acceptance fee and to the payment of his appearance fees, only on the days when there is a
scheduled hearing and he duly appeared for such.

As regards the complainant’s charge of gross neglect against Atty. Bayot, the Court finds the same
unsubstantiated. The Court has consistently held that in suspension or disbarment proceedings against lawyers,
the lawyer enjoys the presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof rests upon the complainant to prove
33
the allegations in his complaint.

The complainant merely alleged that the respondents had "made themselves scarce" and failed to update him
on the status of the case before the RTC. However, other than his bare allegations, the complainant failed to
present any evidence that would show that Atty. Bayot was indeed remiss in his duties to the complainant. In
any case, the charge of neglect against Atty. Bayot was premature, if not unfair,

considering that, at that time, the case before the RTC was still in the early stages; the pre-trial and trial have
not even started yet. That they lost their bid for the issuance of a TRO is not tantamount to neglect on the part
of Atty. Bayot.

However, Atty. Bayot is not entirely without fault. He undertook to the duties of a counsel without formally
entering his appearance as counsel of record. He was able to obtain remuneration for his legal services sans any
direct responsibility as to the progress of the case. He is reminded to be more circumspect in his dealings with
clients. WHEREFORE, Atty. Rudolph Dilla Bayot is hereby ADMONISHED to exercise more prudence and
judiciousness in dealing with his clients. He is also ordered to return to the complainant the amount of the
appearance fee he received for the hearing of the motion to serve summons by publication which he never
attended.

Jessie Campugan vs A y. Victorio, Jr. and A y. Caluya (Quilala)

Facts:

A y. Victorio, Jr. had replaced A y. Edgardo Abad as counsel of the complainants in a civil ac on seeking
annulment of a TCT.

The par es entered into an amicable se lement during the pendency of the civil case whereby complainants
agreed to sell the property and the proceeds therof shall be divided equally between the par es, and the
complaint and counterclaims thereon would be withdrawn by them.

Pursuant to such term, A y. Victorio, Jr. led a Mo on to Withdraw Complaint which the RTC granted. Since then,
A y. Victorio could no longer be located nor contact.

Complainants then found out upon veri ca on in the Register of Deeds in Q.C. that new annota ons were made
in the TCT, speci cally (1) an annota on reques ng the cancella on of the a davit of adverse claim, no ce of lis
pendens, and (2) an annota on of the decision gran ng the mo on to withdraw complaint.

Feeling aggrieved, the led an appeal en consulta with the LRA assailing the unlawful cancella on of their no ce of
adverse claim and lis pendends thereon.

Unable to receive any response or assistance from A y. Victorio Jr. despite their having paid him for his
professional services, the complainants felt that said counsel had abandoned their case. They also submi ed
that there was connivance and conspiracy at work between A y. Victorio, A y. Tolen no and, A y. Quilala in
taking advantage of their posi on in cancelling their no ce of adverse claims and lis pendens without a court
order.

A y. Victorio, Jr. assserted in his comment that the complainants, a er having aggressively par cipated in the
amicable se lement, could not now claim that they had been deceived nor feign ignorance of the condi ons
contained therein: that he did not commit any abandonment reasoning that he should not be held responsible
for their representa on in other proceedings, such as that before the LRA, which required a separate
engagement.

Issue: Whether A y. Victorio, Jr. should be disbarred for not assis ng complainants in their separate proceeding
in the LRA..

Held: No. A y. Victorio, jr. could not be held liable for abandonment.

A orney-Client Rela onship; The Law Profession did not burden its members with the responsibility of inde nite
service to the clients; hence, the rendi on of professional services depends on the agreement between the a
orney and the client.

A y. Victorio, jr. could not be faulted for the perceived ina en on to any other ma ers subsequent to the termina
on of the Civil case. Unless otherwise expressly s pulated between them at any me during the engagement, the
complainants had no right to assume that A y. Victorio's legal representa on was inde nite as to extend to his
representa on of them in the LRA.

A y. Victorio, Jr.'s alleged failure to respond to the complainants' calls or visits, or to provide them with his
whereabouts to enable them to have access to him despite the termina on of his engagement in the civil case
did not equate to abandonment without the credible showing that he con nued to come under the professional
obliga on towards them a er the termina on of the Civil Case.
Jose no Aninon vs Clemencio Sabitsana

Facts:

3. Jose na M. Anion (complainant) related that she previously engaged the legal services of A
y. Sabitsana in the prepara on and execu on in her favor of a Deed of Sale over a parcel of land owned
by her late common-law husband, Brigido Caneja, Jr. 


4. A y. Sabitsana allegedly violated her con dence when he subsequently led a civil case
against her for the annulment of the Deed of Sale in behalf of Zenaida L. Caete, the legal wife of
Brigido Caneja, Jr. 


5. The complainant accused A y. Sabitsana of using the con den al informa on he obtained
from her in ling the civil case. 


6. A y. Sabitsana admi ed having advised the complainant in the prepara on and execu on of
the Deed of Sale. However, he denied having received any con den al informa on. 
Issue: Whether A y.
Sabitsana violated Rule 15.03 in represen ng con ic ng interest. Held:Yes. 
The rela onship between a
lawyer and his/her client should ideally be imbued with the highest level of trust and con dence. This
is the standard of con den ality that must prevail to promote a full disclosure of the clients most con
den al informa on to his/her lawyer for an unhampered exchange of informa on between them.
Needless to state, a client can only entrust con den al informa on to his/her lawyer based on an
expecta on from the lawyer of utmost secrecy and discre on; the lawyer, for his part, is duty-bound to
observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all dealings and transac ons with the client. Part of the lawyers
duty in this regard is to avoid represen ng con ic ng interests, a ma er covered by Rule 15.03, Canon 15
of the Code of Professional Responsibility quoted below: 


Rule 15.03. -A lawyer shall not represent con ic ng interests except by wri en consent of all concerned given a er
a full disclosure of the facts.

The proscrip on against representa on of con ic ng interests applies to a situa on where the opposing par es are
present clients in the same ac on or in an unrelated ac on. The prohibi on also applies even if the lawyer would
not be called upon to contend for one client that which the lawyer has to oppose for the other client, or that
there would be no occasion to use the con den al informa on acquired from one to the disadvantage of the
other as the two ac ons are wholly unrelated. To be held accountable under this rule, it is enough that the
opposing par es in one case, one of whom would lose the suit, are present clients and the nature or condi ons
of the lawyers respec ve retainers with each of them would a ect the performance of the duty of undivided
delity to both clients.

Jurisprudence has provided three tests in determining whether a viola on of the above rule is present in a given
case.

One test is whether a lawyer is duty-bound to ght for an issue or claim in behalf of one
client and, at the same me, to oppose that claim for the other client. Thus, if a lawyers argument for
one client has to be opposed by that same lawyer in arguing for the other client, there is a viola on of
the rule. 


Another test of inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new rela on


would prevent the full discharge of the lawyers duty of undivided delity and loyalty to the client or
invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty. 


S ll another test is whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new rela on to use
against a former client any con den al informa on acquired through their connec on or previous
employment. 
In the present case, respondent clearly violated the above rule due to the following
circumstances: 
One, his legal services were ini ally engaged by the complainant to protect her
interest over a certain property. The records show that upon the legal advice of A y. Sabitsana, the
Deed of Sale over the property was prepared and executed in the complainants favor. 
Two, A y.
Sabitsana met with Zenaida Caete to discuss the la ers legal interest over the property subject of the
Deed of Sale. At that point, A y. Sabitsana already had knowledge that Zenaida Caetes interest clashed
with the complainants interests. 
Three, despite the knowledge of the clashing interests between his
two clients, A y. Sabitsana accepted the engagement from Zenaida Caete. 
Four, A y. Sabitsanas actual
knowledge of the con ic ng interests between his two clients was demonstrated by his own ac ons: rst,
he led a case against the complainant in behalf of Zenaida Caete; second, he impleaded the
complainant as the defendant in the case; and third, the case he led was for the annulment of the
Deed of Sale that he had previously prepared and executed for the complainant. 


By his acts, not only did A y. Sabitsana agree to represent one client against another client in the same ac on; he
also accepted a new engagement that entailed him to contend and oppose the interest of his other client in a
property in which his legal services had been previously retained.

DR. Teresita Lee vs. A y. Amador Simando (LEE vs SIMANDO)

Facts:

Dr. Lee retained A y. Simando as counsel from 2004 to 2008. During said period, A y. Simando was able to
convince Dr. Lee to lend money to one Mejorado by assuring Dr.Lee that she will be paid. To quote:

"Ipapahamak ba kita, kliyente kita. Sigurado ito, kung gusto mo gagaran yahan ko pa ito, at pipirma din ako.
Isang buwan lang at hindi hihigit sa dalawang buwan, bayad ka na"

Dr.Lee agreed to give Mejorado sizeable amount of money amoun ng to 1.4M.

When the obliga on was due, Mejorado failed and refused to comply with the obliga on. Since A y. Mejando
was s ll his lawyer then, she instructed him to ini ate legal ac on. However, Simando just said that he would get
in touch with Mejorado so as to avoid legal ac on.

Despite complainant's repeated requests, respondent ignored her and failed to bring legal ac ons against
Mejorado. Thus, complainant terminated A y. Simando and hired a new lawyer who then sent demand le ers to
Mejorado and A y. Simando as co-maker.

Complainant led this instant pe on for disbarment.

A y. Simando, in his answer, insisted that he did not violate their lawyer-client rela onship, since Dr. Lee
voluntarily made the nancial investment with Mejorado and that he merely introduced complainant to
Mejorado. He further claimed that there is no con ict of interest because he is Mejorado's lawyer rela ve to the
la er's claim for informer's reward in the Bureau of Custom, and not Mejorado's lawyer against Dr. Lee. He
reiterated that there is no con ic ng interest as there was no case between Mejorado and Dr. Lee that he is
handling for both of them.

Issue: Whether A y. Simando was guilty of viola ng rule 15.03 in represen ng con lc ng interest. HELD:
Yes.
Three test in determining whether a lawyer is guilty of represen ng con ic ng interest.

A lawyer may not, without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as a counsel for a person whose
interest con ict with that of his present or former client. Thus, respondent's asser on that there is no con ict of
interest because complainant and respondent are his clients in unrelated cases fails to convince. His representa
on of opposing clients in both cases, though unrelated, obviously cons tutes con ict of interest, or, at least,
invites suspicion of double-dealing.

The proscrip on against representa on of con ic ng interests nds applica on where the con ic ng interest arise
with respect to the same general ma er however slight the adverse interest may be. It applies even if the con
ict pertains to the lawyer's private ac vity or in the performance of a func on in a non-professional capacity. In
the process of determining con ict of interest, an important criterion is PROBABILITY, NOT CERTAINTY, OF
CONFLICT.

The termina on of the rela on of a orney and client provides no jus ca on for a lawyer to represent an interest
adverse to or in con ict with that of the former client. The reason for this rule is that the client's con dence
once reposed cannot be divested by the expira on of the professional employment.

Ferdinand Samson vs Edgardo Era.

Facts: Samson charge Respondent Era for viola ng his trust and con dence by represen ng the interest of his
present client, Emilia Sison, in a manner that con icted his interest.

Samson and his rela ves were vic ms of a pyramiding scam, ICS Exports, whose corporate o cers were led by the
Sison. Samson then engaged A y. Era to assist him in the criminal prosecu on of Sison and her group.

Demand letters were sent and complaint-a davits for several count for estafe was presented to the prosecutors.

Later on, Atty. Era called a mee ng with Samson and his relatives and was able to convince them to enter an
amicable settlement by guaranteeing the turnover to them of a certain property belonging to ICS corpora on in
exchange of their desitance. The later acceded and executed the a davit of desistance.

A er delivering copies of the deed of absolute deed of sale to Samson, Era told them that he would not be
responsible for any encumbrance or lien thereon. He told them that as far as he was concerned, he had already
accomplished his professional responsibility over the amicable se lement.

Samson veri ed the tle at the RD of an polo and was dismayed that they could not liquidate said property for it
is not registered under the name of ICS coproa on anymore.

Due to the silence of A y. Era, Samson hired another lawyer. However, they were shocked to nd out later on
that Era had already been entering his appearance as the counsel for Sison in her other criminal cases in the
other branches of RTC QC involving the same pyramiding scam. Thus, Samson executed an a davit and prayed
for the disbarment of Era.

In his comment, A y. Era alleged that the conclusion of the compromise se lement between Samson and Sison
had terminated the lawyer-client rela onship between him and Samson.

Issue: Whether A y. Era represented con ic ng interest in viola on of the CPR.

Held: Yes. The Lawyer-client rela onship did not terminate as of then, for the fact remained that he s ll needed
to oversee the implementa on of the se lement as well as to proceed with the criminal cases un l they were
dismissed or otherwise concluded by the trial court. The execu on of a compromise se lement in the criminal
case did not ipso facto cause the termina on of the cases not only because the approval of the compromise by
the trial court was s ll required, but also because the compromise would have applied only to the civil aspect,
and excluded the criminal aspect pursuant to Ar cle 2034 of the Civil Code.

A lawyer shall not represent con ic ng interests except by wri en consent of all concerned given a er a full
disclosure of the facts. - Rule 15.03.

A y. Era thus owed to Samson and his group en re devo on to their genuine interest, and warm zeal in the
maintenance and defense of their rights. He was expected to exert his best e orts and ability to preserve the
client's cause, for the unwavering loyalty displayed to his clients likewise served the ends of jus ce.

The rule prohibi ng con ict of interest was fashioned to prevent situa on wherein a lawyer would be represen ng
a client whose interest is directly adverse to any of his present or former clients. It is grounded in the duciary
obliga on of loyalty. It behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the client's con dence, but also to avoid the
appearance of treachery and double-dealing, for only then can li gants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to
their lawyers.

Even a er the severance of the rela on, a lawyer should not do anything that will injuriously a ect his former
client in any ma er in which the lawyer previously represented the client. Nor should the lawyer disclose or use
any of the client's con dences acquired in the previous rela on.

The protec on given to the client is perpetual and does not cease with the termina on of the li ga on, nor is it a
ected by the client's ceasing to employ the a orney and retaining, or by any other change of rela on between
them.

The termina on of the a y-client rela onship does not jus fy a lawyer to represent an interest adverse to or in
con ict with that of the former client. Con dence, once given should not be stripped by the mere expira on of
the professional employment.

Jimenez vs. Francisco


FACTS: This refers to the complaint received by Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) on September 6, 2007, filed
by Caroline Castañeda Jimenez (complainant) against Atty. Francisco for multiple violations of the CPR.
Complainant was shocked upon reading the allegations in the complaint for estafa filed by Jimenez against her.
She felt even more betrayed when she read the affidavit of Atty. Francisco, on whom she relied as her personal
lawyer and Clarion’s corporate counsel and secretary of Clarion. This prompted her to file a disciplinary case
against Atty. Francisco for representing conflicting interests. According to her, she usually conferred with Atty.
Francisco regarding the legal implications of Clarion’s transactions. More significantly, the principal documents
relative to the sale and transfer of Clarion’s property were all prepared and drafted by Atty. Francisco or the
members of his law office. Atty. Francisco was the one who actively participated in the transactions involving
the sale of the Forbes property. Without admitting the truth of the allegations in his affidavit, complainant
argued that its execution clearly betrayed the trust and confidence she reposed on him as a lawyer. For this
reason, complainant prayed for the disbarment of Atty. Francisco.

The Findings of the Investigating Commissioner:

The Investigating Commissioner, Atty. Jose I. dela Rama, Jr. (Investigating Commissioner),found Atty. Francisco
guilty of violations of the CPR and recommended that he be

suspended for one (1) year from the practice of law. The Investigating Commissioner also pointed out Atty.
Francisco’s clear admission that the transfer of shares within Clarion were "without any consideration," ran
counter to the deeds of assignment that he again admittedly executed as corporate counsel. Worse, Atty.
Francisco admitted to have simulated the loan and undervalued the consideration of the effected sale of the
Forbes property, which displayed his unlawful, dishonest, immoral, and deceitful conduct in violation of Canon
1 of the CPR. Further, when he executed the affidavit containing allegations against the interest of Clarion and
complainant, the Investigating Commissioner held that Atty. Francisco violated the rule on privileged
communication and engaged in an act that constituted representation of conflicting interests in violation of
Canons 15 and 21 of the CPR.

In its January 3, 2013 Resolution, the IBP-BOG adopted and approved, in toto, the findings and
recommendation of the CBD against Atty. Francisco. Atty. Francisco appealed to the compassion of the IBP-
BOG, reasoning out that the penalty of suspension of one (1) year is too severe considering that in his more
than three decades of practice, he had never been involved in any act that would warrant the imposition of
disciplinary action upon him. In its March 22, 2014 Resolution, the IBP-BOG denied the respondent’s motion for
reconsideration. No petition for review was filed with the Court.

The Estafa case aforementioned: (Mark Jimenez vs Caroline Jimenez, et. al.)
The Antecedents Mario Crespo, otherwise known as Mark Jimenez (Jimenez), filed a complaint for estafa
against complainant, her sister Rosemarie Flaminiano, Marcel Crespo, Geraldine Antonio, Brenda Heffron,
Magdalena Cunanan, and Isabel Gonzalez. Jimenez alleged that he was the true and beneficial owner of the
shares of stock in Clarion Realty and Development Corporation (Clarion), which was incorporated specifically
for the purpose of purchasing a residential house located in Forbes Park, Makati City (Forbes property).
Jimenez’s complaint for estafa was based on complainant’s alleged participation in the fraudulent means in
selling the Forbes property which was acquired by Clarion with Jimenez’s money. Complainant was duty bound
to remit all the proceeds of the sale to Jimenez as the true and beneficial owner. Complainant and her co-
respondents, however, misappropriated and converted the funds for their personal use and benefit.

ISSUE/S:
1. WON Atty. Edgar Francisco should be suspended or disbarred in view of the allegations against
him.
2. WON there exist attorney-client relationship.
3. WON whether or not Atty. Francisco violated the rule
on conflict of interests.

HELD:
1. Yes. Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court, a member of the Bar may be disbarred
or suspended on any of the following grounds: (1) deceit; (2) malpractice or other gross misconduct in office;
(3) grossly immoral conduct; (4) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; (5) violation of the lawyer's
oath; (6) willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; and (7) willful appearance as an attorney
for a party without authority. A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for misconduct, whether in his
professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good
demeanor, or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.

In the instant case, he violated Violations of Canons 1 and 10 of the CPR and the Lawyer’s Oath.

Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the CPR provide: CANON 1 – A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE

CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES. Rule
1.0 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

In the facts obtaining in this case, Atty. Francisco clearly violated the canons and his sworn duty. He is guilty of
engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct when he admitted to having allowed his corporate client, Clarion,
to actively misrepresent to the SEC, the significant matters regarding its corporate purpose and subsequently,
its corporate shareholdings. In the documents submitted to the SEC, such as the deeds of assignment and the
GIS, Atty. Francisco, in his professional capacity, feigned the validity of these transfers of shares, making it
appear that these were done for consideration when, in fact, the said transactions were fictitious, albeit upon
the alleged orders of Jimenez. As corporate secretary of Clarion, it was his duty and obligation to register valid
transfers of stocks. Nonetheless, he chose to advance the interests of his clientele with patent disregard of his
duties as a lawyer. Worse, Atty. Francisco admitted to have simulated the loan entered into by Clarion and to
have undervalued the consideration of the effected sale of the Forbes property. He permitted this fraudulent
ruse to cheat the government of taxes. Unquestionably, therefore, Atty. Francisco participated in a series of
grave legal infractions and was content to have granted the requests of the persons involved.

Canon 10 of the CPR provides that, “[a] lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court.” Corollary
thereto, Rule 10.0 of the CPR provides that “a lawyer shall do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in
Court, nor shall he mislead or allow the Court to be misled by an artifice.” Lawyers are officers of the court,
called upon to assist in the administration of justice. They act as vanguards of our legal system, protecting and
upholding truth and the rule of law. They are expected to act with honesty in all their dealings, especially with
the court. From the foregoing, Atty. Francisco clearly violated his duties as a lawyer embodied in the CPR,
namely, to avoid dishonest and deceitful conduct, (Rule 1.01, Canon 1) and to act with candor, fairness and
good faith (Rule 10.01, Canon 10). Also, Atty. Franciso desecrated his solemn oath not to do any falsehood nor
consent to the doing of the same.

2. None. The claim of being Atty. Francisco’s client remains unsubstantiated. There was no detailed explanation
as to how she supposedly engaged the services of Atty. Francisco as her personal counsel and as to what and
how she communicated with the latter anent the dealings she had entered into. Moreover, the complainant
failed to attend hearings at the IBP.

3. No. Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the CPR provides that, "[a] lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except
by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts."

st
TESTS that may be used to show conflicting interests:
1 : Whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue
nd
or claim in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that claim for the other client.
2 : Whether
the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyer’s duty of undivided fidelity and
rd
loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty.
3 :
Whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against a former client any confidential
information acquired through their connection or previous employment.

From the foregoing, the rule on conflict of interests presupposes a lawyer-client relationship. The purpose of
the rule is precisely to protect the fiduciary nature of the ties between an attorney and his client.

The factors to establish existence of the rule on lawyer-client privilege:
(1) There exists an attorney-client
relationship, or a prospective attorney-client relationship, and it is by reason of this relationship that the client
made the communication.

(2) The client made the communication in confidence.
(3) The legal advice must be sought from the attorney in
his professional capacity.

The Court holds that the evidence on record fails to demonstrate the claims of complainant. As discussed, the
complainant failed to establish the professional relationship between her and Atty. Francisco. The records are
further bereft of any indication that the "advice" regarding the sale of the Forbes property was given to Atty.
Francisco in confidence. Neither was there a demonstration of what she had communicated to Atty. Francisco
nor a recital of circumstances under which the confidential communication was relayed. All that complaint
alleged in her complainant was that "she sought legal advice from respondent in various occasions."

WHEREFORE, the Court finds Atty. Edgar B. Francisco GUILTY of violation of Canons 1 and 10 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility for which he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months.

NILO B. DIONGZON, vs. ATTY. WILLIAM MIRANO

Facts: 
On the dates material to this case, the complainant was a businessman engaged in the fishing industry
in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. In 1979, he retained the respondent as his legal counsel to represent him as
the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 10679 then pending in the City Court of Bacolod City (Branch 1). In November
1981, the complainant again retained the respondent as his lawyer in relation to the execution of two deeds of
sale covering the boats the former was selling to Spouses Almanzur and Milagros Gonzales (Gonzaleses)

In February 1982, the Gonzaleses sued the complainant for replevin and damages, and sought the annulment of
the aforementioned deeds of sale. 4 They were represented by Atty. Romeo Flora, the associate of the
respondent in his law of ce. It appears that the bond they led to justify the manual delivery of the boats subject
of the suit had been notarially acknowledged before the respondent without the knowledge and prior consent
of the complainant; 5 and that the respondent eventually entered his appearance as the counsel for the
Gonzaleses against the respondent.

the respondent stated that the complainant had been his client in a different civil case; that the complainant
had never consulted him upon any other legal matter; that the complainant had only presented the deeds of
sale prepared by another lawyer because he had not been contented with the terms thereof; that he had not
been the complainant's retained counsel because the retainer agreement did not take effect; that he had
returned the amount paid to him by the complainant; that he had appeared for the Gonzaleses only after their
evidence against the complainant had been presented; that the complainant had approached him when he
needed a lawyer to defend him from an estafa charge; and that the complainant had even wanted him to falsify
documents in relation to that estafa case, but because he had refused his bidding, the complainant had then
led this administrative case against him.

ISSUE: Was the respondent guilty of representing conflict of interest?


HELD: YES. The lawyer-client relationship begins from the moment a client seeks the lawyer's advice upon a
legal concern. The seeking may be for consultation on transactions or other legal concerns, or for
representation of the client in an actual case in the courts or other fora. From that moment on, the lawyer is
bound to respect the relationship and to maintain the trust and con dence of his client. No written agreement is
necessary to generate a lawyer-client relationship, but in formalizing it, the lawyer may present a retainer
agreement to be considered and agreed to by the client. As with all contracts, the agreement must contain all
the terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties.
The lawyer-client relationship between the parties was
duly established beginning in 1979 and lasted until 1982. The respondent's claim that he returned the retainer
fee did not alter the juridical existence of their lawyer-client relationship. When the complainant consulted him
on the sale of the boats to the Gonzaleses, the respondent reviewed the contracts of sale in the capacity of the
complainant's lawyer, and even notarized the same. He became aware of the details of the sale by virtue of the
confidentiality generated by his lawyer-client relationship with the complainant.

Lydia Castro-justo vs A y. Rodolfo Galing

Facts:

Complainant Justo engaged the services of A y. Galing in connec on with dishonored checks issued by Manila
City Counselor Arelene Koa.

Responded dra ed and sent a demand le er to Ms. Koa and subsequently led a criminal complaint. (BP 22)

Not a month have passed, complainant received a copy of a Mo on for consolida on led by respondent for and
on behalf of Ms. Koa. Furthermore, a few days a er, respondent appeared as counsel for Ms. Koa before the
prosecutor of Manila.

Complainant now submit that by represen ng con ic ng interest, respondent violated the CPR.

Respondent denies the allega ons and that while he admi ed that he dra er a demand le er for complainant, it
was merely made in deference to their long standing friendship and not by reason of professional engagement
as professed by complainant. He also denied receiving any professional fee for the services he rendered and
that based on their agreement, complainant would have to retain the services of another lawyer, A y. Manuel
Ano.

Respondent insit that his ac ons were merely mo vated by an inten on to help the par es to achieve an out of
court se lement.

Issue: Whether respondent is guilty of viola ng rule 15.03, represen ng con ic ng interest?

Held:Yes.

The non-payment of professional fee will not exculpate respondent from liability. Absence of monetary
considera on does not exempt lawyers from complying with the prohibi on against pursuing cases with con ic
ng interests. The prohibi on a aches from the moment the a orney-client rela onship is established and extends
beyond the dura on of the professional rela onship.

It is not necessary that any retainer be paid, promised, or charged; neither is it material that the a orney
consulted did not a erward handle the case for which his service had been sought.

This prohibitioon against represen ng con ic ng interest is founded on the principles of public policy and good
taste.

Also, the excuse pro ered by respondent that it was not him but A y. Ano who was eventually engaged by
complainant will not exonerate him from viola on of Rule 15.03. The take-over of a client's cause of action by
another lawyer does not give the former lawyer the right to represent the opposing party. It is not only
malprac ce but also cons tutes a viola on of the con dence resul ng from the a orney- client rela onship.

Sabitsana vs Muartegui

Facts: On September 2,1981, Alberto Garcia sold a 7,500 sqm parcel of unregistered land in Leyte Del Norte to
Juanito Muertegui. They took possesion thereof and planted coconut and ipil ipil trees and paid the RPT for the
years 1980 to 1998.

On October 17, 1991, Garcia again sold the same lot to Muartegui family's lawyer, A y. Celemencio Sabitsana.
The sale was registered with the Register of Deeds in 1992.

Upon the death of the possessor, Domingo Sr., the la er's heirs applied for registra on but was dismayed
knowing that it was registered to Sabitsana. They then led for quie ng of tle against Sabitsana.

Sabitsana claimed that he was a purchaser in good faith but evidence and tes monies of the respondent's
witnesses revealed in trial that Sabitsana was the Muartegui Family's lawyer and that at the me Garcia sold the
lot to the Muartegui, Sabitsana was consulted by the family. Thus it was unlikely that Sabitsana had no
knowledge of the previous sale.

Sabitsana feigned ignorance by sta ng that since the land was unregistered, the muarteguis could have only
been blu ng so as to discourage him to buy the property because they were interested to buy it themselves.

Both RTC and CA ruled that Sabitsana, being the family lawyer, is a purchaser in bad faith. By rela onship with
the muartegui family, pe oners came to know about the prior sale and possession yet they s ll pushed through
with the second sale. It also awarded a orney's fees and li ga on expenses because of pe oner's bad faith.

Issue: Whether the award of a orney's fees and li ga on expenses are proper.

Held: Yes. A y. Sabitsana was remiss in his du es as counsel of the Muarteguis. Instead of advising the
Muarteguis to register their purchase as soon as possible, he did the exact opposit and took advantage of the
informa on and situa on by buying the very same land. Pe oner Sabitsana took advantage of con den al informa
on disclosed to him by his client.

As the Muarteguis family lawyer, he had no right to take a posi on, using informa on disclosed to him in con
dence by his client, that would place him in possible con ict with his duty.

He was under obliga on to safeguard his client's property, and not jeopardize it. Such is his duty as an a orney,
and pursuant to his general agency.

Even gran ng that A y. Sabitsana has ceased to act as the Murategui family's lawyer, he s ll owed them his
loyalty. The Termina on of a orney-client rela on provides no jus ca on for a lawyer to represent an interest
adverse to or in con ict with that of the former client on a ma er involving con den al informa on which the
lawyer acquired when he was counsel. The client's con dence, once reposed should not be divested by mere
expira on of professional employment. This is underscored by the fact that A y. Sabitsana obtained informa on
from Carmen which he used to his advantage and to the detriment of his client.

Daging v. Davis

Facts: Complainant, owner and operator of Nashville Country Music Lounge, leased from Pinlac a building space
where she operated said bar. During said lease, complainant entered into a Retainer Agreement with
respondent’s law firm. Because complainant was delinquent in paying the monthly rentals, Pinlac terminated
the lease, inventoried the bar’s equipment and informed the former that Balageo will take over the operation
of the bar. Complainant then filed an ejectment suit against Pinlac and Balageo before MTCC Baguio where
respondent appeared as counsel for Balageo despite the susbsistence of the Retainer Agreement. The
complainant then filed an administrative complaint for disbarment before the IBP (Benguet Chapter) against
respondent, Atty. Riz Tingalon Davis. After finding respondent guilty of betrayal of his client’s trust and for
misuse of information obtained from his client to the disadvantage of the latter and to the advantage of
another person, the IBP imposed the penalty of six months suspension from the practice of law.

RESPONDENT’S CONTENTION: Complainant’s case is actually handled only by his partner Atty. Sabling thus, he
is not privy to any transaction between the two and has no knowledge of any information or legal matter the
former entrusted/confided to the latter. He claims that he could not have taken advantage of an information
obtained by his law firm by virtue of the Retainer Agreement.

Issue: WoN the respondent is guilty of betrayal of his client’s trust.

Held: YES. Based on the established facts, it is indubitable that respondent transgressed Rule 15.03 of Canon 15
of the Code of Professional Responsibility. It provides that “a lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests
except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.”

"A lawyer may not, without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person whose interest
conflicts with that of his present or former client." The prohibition against representing conflicting interests is
absolute and the rule applies even if the lawyer has acted in good faith and with no intention to represent
conflicting interests. This Court emphasized that lawyers are expected not only to keep inviolate the client's
confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for only then can litigants be
encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is of paramount importance in the administration of
justice.

The Court also held that a lawyer who takes up the cause of the adversary of the party who has engaged the
services of his law firm brings the law profession into public disrepute and suspicion and undermines the
integrity of justice. Undeniably aware of the fact that complainant is a client of his law firm, respondent should
have immediately informed both the complainant and Balageo that he, as well as

the other members of his law firm, cannot represent any of them in their legal tussle; otherwise, they would be
representing conflicting interests and violate the Code of Professional Responsibility. Indeed, respondent could
have simply advised both complainant and Balageo to instead engage the services of another lawyer.

The penalty for representing conflicting interests may either be reprimand or suspension from the practice of
law ranging from six months to two years.

JIMENEZ vs. FRANCISCO (same as above)

Anglo VS Valencia


FACTS: In his complaint-affidavit, complainant alleged that he availed the services of the law firm Valencia
Ciocon Dabao Valencia De La Paz Dionela Pandan Rubica Law Office(law firm), of which Attys. Valencia, Ciocon,
Dabao, Uy-Valencia, De La Paz, Dionela, Pandan, Jr., and Rubica were partners, for two (2) consolidated labor
cases where he was impleaded as respondent. Atty. Dionela, a partner of the law firm, was assigned to
represent complainant. The labor cases were terminated on June 5, 2008 upon the agreement of both parties.

On September 18, 2009, a criminal case for qualified theft was filed against complainant and his wife by FEVE
Farms Agricultural Corporation (FEVE Farms) acting through a certain Michael Villacorta. Villacorta, however,
was represented by the law firm, the same law office which handled complainant’s labor cases. Complainant
filed this disbarment case against respondents, alleging that they violated Rule 15.03, Canon 15 and Canon 21
of the CPR
The IBP Commissioner found respondents to have violated the rule on conflict of interest with the exception of
Atty. Dabao. In a Resolution, the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the IBP Commissioner’s Report
and Recommendation with modification. Instead of the penalty of reprimand, the IBP Board of Governors
dismissed the case with warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.
Complainant filed a motion for reconsideration thereof, which the IBP Board of Governors granted.

RESPONDENT’S CONTENTION:

In their defense, respondents admitted that they indeed operated under the name Valencia Ciocon Dabao
Valencia De La Paz Dionela Pandan Rubica Law Office, but explained that their association is not a formal
partnership, but one that is subject to certain "arrangements." According to them, each lawyer contributes a
fixed amount every month for the maintenance of the entire office; and expenses for cases, such

as transportation, copying, printing, mailing, and the like are shouldered by each lawyer separately, allowing
7
each lawyer to fix and receive his own professional fees exclusively. As such, the lawyers do not discuss their
clientele with the other lawyers and associates, unless they agree that a case be handled collaboratively.
Respondents claim that this has been the practice of the law firm since its inception. They averred that
complainant’s labor cases were solely and exclusively handled by Atty. Dionela and not by the entire law firm.
Moreover, respondents asserted that the qualified theft case filed by FEVE Farms was handled by Atty.
Peñalosa, a new associate who had no knowledge of complainant’s labor cases, as he started working for the
firm after the termination thereof. Meanwhile, Atty. Dionela confirmed that he indeed handled complainant’s
labor cases but averred that it was terminated on June 13, 2008, and that complainant did not have any
monthly retainer contract

ISSUE:

Whether or not respondents are guilty of representing conflicting interests in violation of the pertinent
provisions of the CPR

HELD:
 YES, Rule 15.03, Canon 15 and Canon 21 of the CPR

provide: CANON 15 – A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND LOYALTY IN ALL HIS DEALINGS AND
TRANSACTIONS WITH HIS CLIENTS.

xxxx

RULE 15.03 – A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given
after a full disclosure of the facts.

xxxx

CANON 21 – A LAWYER SHALL PRESERVE THE CONFIDENCES AND SECRETS OF HIS CLIENT EVEN AFTER THE
ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP IS TERMINATED.

There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties.
The test is "whether or not in behalf of one client, it is the lawyer’s duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is
his duty to oppose it for the other client. This rule covers not only cases in which confidential communications
have been confided, but also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be used. Also, there is
conflict of interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require the attorney to perform an act which will
injuriously affect his first client in any matter in which he represents him and also whether he will be called
upon in his new relation to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through their connection.
Another test of the inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation will prevent an
attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of
unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof. As such, a lawyer is prohibited from representing
new clients whose interests oppose those of a former client in any manner, whether or not they are parties in
the same action or on totally unrelated cases. The prohibition is founded on the principles of public policy and
good taste.

In this case, the Court concurs with the IBP’s conclusions that respondents represented conflicting interests and
must therefore be held liable. As the records bear out, respondents’ law firm was engaged and, thus,
represented complainant in the labor cases instituted against him. However, after the termination thereof, the
law firm agreed to represent a new client, FEVE Farms, in the filing of a criminal case for qualified theft against
complainant, its former client, and his wife. As the Court observes, the law firm’s unethical acceptance of the
criminal case arose from its failure to organize and implement a system by which it would have been able to
keep track of all cases assigned to its handling lawyers to the end of, among others, ensuring that every
engagement it accepts stands clear of any potential conflict of interest. As an organization of individual lawyers
which, albeit engaged as a collective, assigns legal work to a corresponding handling lawyer, it behooves the
law firm to value coordination in deference to the conflict of interest rule. This lack of coordination, as
respondents’ law firm exhibited in this case, intolerably renders its clients’ secrets vulnerable to undue and
even adverse exposure, eroding in the balance the lawyer-client relationship’s primordial ideal of unimpaired
trust and confidence. Thus, for this shortcoming, herein respondents, as the charged members of the law firm,
ought to be administratively sanctioned. Note that the Court finds no sufficient reason as to why Atty. Dionela
should suffer the greater penalty of suspension. As the Court sees it, all respondents stand in equal fault for the
law firm’s deficient organization for which Rule 15.03, Canon 15 and Canon 21 of the CPR had been violated. As
such, all of them are meted with the same penalty of reprimand, with a stern warning that a repetition of the
same or similar infraction would be dealt with more severely.

TULIO V. BUHANGIN

FACTS
Arthur Tulio has been acquainted with Atty. Buhangin even prior to the latter becoming a lawyer as he was the
surveyor who prepared survey plans for the complainant in connection with the estate left by his mother. On
June 29, 2000, by virtue of Tulio’s agreement with his siblings, Atty. Buhangin prepared and notarized a Deed of
Waiver of Rights signed by all of Tulio’s siblings in his favour. Thereafter, Tulio engaged the services of Atty.
Buhangin to represent him in filing a civil case before the RTC Baguio. Through his efforts, Tulio claims that he
and the defendants in said agreed to a settlement and that he exclusively paid the defendants.

On December 10, 2005, Atty. Buhangin represented Tulio’s siblings and filed a complaint against him over legal
matters which he entrusted to him. The complaint was for the rescission of the deed of waiver of rights which
the lawyer himself prepared and notarized. Tulio claimed that Atty. Buhangin made misrepresentations in the
complaint since he know beforehand that his siblings waived their rights over the parcel of land they inherited
and even before such recent case was filed.

Tulio filed a Motion to Disqualiy Atty. Buhangin for his unethical conduct in gross violation of his duties and
responsibilities as a lawyer. The lawyer subsequently filed a Motion to Withdraw counsel on the ground of
conflict of interest. Tulio alleged that the actions of Buhangin were deliberate and intentional in order to serve
his own personal interesent against the interest of his clients. Thus this complaint for disbarment was filed.
Atty. Buhangin, in his Comment, admitted that he had been engaged as legal counsel of the Estate of Angeline
Tulio and represented the sublings. However, he asserted that his legal representation was neither personal nor
directed in favor of Complainant Tulio alone but instead in the latter’s capacity as an heir of Angeline. He
disputed that Tulio personally engaged his services as a counsel and insisted that his legal representation was
made for and in behalf of all the heirs. He also alleged that Tulio abused the confidence given by his siblings by
executing the deed of waiver of rights in his favour for the purpose of depriving them of their lawful shares. He
maintained that there was no conflict of interest when he filed the complaint for the declaration of nullity of
the waiver of rights as he was in fact merely protecting the interests of the other heirs of Angeline Tulio.

ISSUE
Whether, in representing the heirs of Angeline Tulio, Atty. Buhangin did not personally represent Tulio alone,
and thus is not precluded from representing Tulio’s siblings in a case against him
HELD
No. Under Canon 15 and Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, it is explicit that a lawyer is
prohibited from representing new clients whose interests oppose those of a former client in any manner,
whether or not they are parties in the same action or on totally unrelated cases. The prohibition is founded on
the principles of public policy and good taste. It behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the client's
confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for only then can litigants be
encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is of paramount importance in the administration of
justice.

There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties.
The test is "whether or not in behalf of one client, it is the lawyer's duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is
his duty to oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this argument will be opposed by
him when he argues for the other client." This rule covers not only cases in which confidential communications
have been confided, but also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be used. Also, there is
conflict of interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require the attorney to perform an act which will
injuriously affect his first client in any matter in which he represents him and also whether he will be called
upon in his new relation to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through their connection.
Another test of the inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation will prevent an
attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of
unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof.

Atty. Buhangin's allegation that he represents for and in behalf of the Heirs of Angeline Tulio and not personal
or exclusive to complainant cannot be given any credence. First, Atty. Buhangin himself admitted in his Motion
to Withdraw that he was withdrawing his appearance in Civil Case No. 6185 against Tulio due to conflict of
interest. Secondly, it cannot be denied that there was an exclusive attorney-client relationship between Tulio
and Atty. Buhangin as evidenced by the demand letters which Atty. Buhangin prepared specifically as counsel of
Tulio. Thirdly, as correctly observed by the IBP, other than his bare assertion that he was representing the
estate and the Heirs of Angeline Tulio, Atty. Buhangin failed to satisfactorily show any circumstance that he was
actually representing the Heirs of Angeline Tulio and not solely for Tulio.

Also, in both Civil Case No. 4866-R (Heirs of Angeline S. Tulio represented by Arthur S. Tulio vs. Heirs of Artemio
Patacsil) and Civil Case No. 6185-R (Deogracias S. Tulio, et al. vs. Arthur Tulio), the subject property under
dispute, particularly TCT No. T-67145, is one and the same. This is also the same subject property of the Deed of
Waiver of Rights which the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 6185-R have executed and signed in favor of Tulio, which
Atty. Buhangin later on used against Tulio. Clearly, the series of Atty. Buhangin's actions in protecting the rights
and interest of Tulio over the subject property before and after the filing of Civil Case No. 4866-R, to the
preparation of the Deed of Waiver of Rights in favor of Tulio runs counter and in conflict to his subsequent filing
of Civil Case No. 6185-R and his imputation of fraud against Tulio. There is no question that Atty. Buhangin took
an inconsistent position when he filed Civil Case No. 6185-R against Tulio whom he has defended and protected
as client in the past. Even if the inconsistency is remote or merely probable or even if he has acted in good faith
and with no intention to represent conflicting interests, it is still in violation of the rule of conflict of interest.

Atty. Buhangin was held guilty of representing conflicting interests in violation of Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the
CPR and was suspended from the practice of law for a period of 6 months with a warning.

TRINIDAD, ET.AL. vs. ATTY. ANGELITO VILLARIN

Facts : The instant case stemmed from a Complaint for specific performance filed with the Housing and Land
Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) by the buyers of the lots in Don Jose Zavalla Subdivision against the subdivision's
owner and developer- Purence Realty Corporation and Roberto Bassig. The HLURB ordered the owner and the
developer to deliver the Deeds of Sale and the Transfer Certificates of Title to the winning litigants.
The Decision did not show any directive for the buyers to vacate the property. Purence Realty and
Roberto Bassig did not appeal the Decision, thus making it final and executory. Thereafter, the HLURB issued a
Writ of Execution. It was at this point that respondent Villarin entered his special appearance to represent
Purence Realty. Specifically, he filed an Omnibus Motion to set aside the Decision and to quash the Writ of
Execution for being null and void on the ground of lack of jurisdiction due to the improper service of summons
on his client. This motion was not acted upon by the HLURB. Respondent sent demand letters to herein
complainants.
In all of these letters, he demanded that they immediately vacate the property and surrender it to
Purence Realty within five days from receipt. Otherwise, he would file the necessary action against them. True
enough, Purence Realty, as represented by respondent, filed a Complaint for forcible entry before the
Municipal Trial Court (MTC) against Trinidad, Lander, Casubuan and Mendoza.
Aggrieved, the four complainants filed an administrative case against respondent. A month after,
Alojado, Villamin and Tolentino filed a disbarment case against respondent. As found by the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP) and affirmed by its Board of Governors, complainants asserted in their respective verified
Complaints that the demand letters sent by Villarin had been issued with malice and intent to harass them.
They insisted that the letters also contravened the HLURB Decision ordering his client to permit the buyers to
pay the balance of the purchase price of the subdivision lots.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent should be administratively sanctioned for sending the demand letters?

Ruling: The respondent’s action is clearly proscribed by Rule 19.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
which states that:
Rule 19.01 - A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his client
and shall not present, participate in presenting or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to
obtain an improper advantage in any case or proceeding.
The rule requires that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain lawful objectives. Lawyers
must not present and offer in evidence any document that they know is false like in the case at bar.

PESTO VS. MILLO

Facts: Johnny Pesto (Johnny), a Canadian national, charged Atty. Marcelito M. Millo with conduct unbecoming
an officer of the Court, misleading his client, bungling the transfer of title, and incompetence and negligence in
the performance of his duty as a lawyer.

In May 1990, his wife Abella Pesto (Abella) retained the services of Atty. Millo to handle the transfer of title
over a parcel of land to her name, and the adoption of her niece, Arvi Jane Dizon.

Johnny and Abella gave to Atty. Millo the amounts of P14,000.00 for the transfer of title and P10,000.00 for the
adoption case. Atty. Millo thereafter repeatedly gave them false information and numerous excuses to explain
his inability to complete the transfer of title and made them believe that the capital gains tax for the property
had been paid way back in 1991, but they found out upon their return to the country in February 1995 that he
had not yet paid the tax. When they confronted him, Atty. Millo insisted that he had already paid the same, but
he could not produce any receipt for the supposed payment. Atty. Millo then further promised in writing to
assume the liability for the accrued penalties.

Exasperated by Atty. Millo’s neglect and ineptitude, Johnny brought this administrative complaint in the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). On October 11, 2001, the IBP-CBD, through Commissioner Victoria
Gonzalez-De los Reyes, deemed the case submitted for resolution. On October 4, 2010, Investigating
Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez, to whom the case had been meanwhile transferred, submitted a report and
recommendation, whereby he found Atty. Millo liable for violating Canon 18 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, and recommended his suspension from the practice of law for six months.

Issue: WON Atty. Millo violated the CPR

Ruling: Every attorney owes fidelity to the causes and concerns of his clients. He must be ever mindful of the
trust and confidence reposed in him by the clients. His duty to safeguard the clients’ interests commences from
his engagement as such, and lasts until his effective release by the clients. In that time, he is expected to take
every reasonable step and exercise ordinary care as his clients’ interests may require.
Without doubt, Atty. Millo had the obligation to serve his clients with competence and diligence. Rule 18.03,
Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, expressly so demanded of him, to wit:
CANON 18 – A
LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.

Rule 18.03 – A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable.

Atty. Millo claimed that his belated response to the charge was due to the assurances of Abella that she would
be withdrawing the complaint. The Court disbelieves him, however, and treats his claim as nothing but a
belated attempt to save the day for himself. He ought to remember that the withdrawal of an administrative
charge for suspension or disbarment based on an attorney’s professional misconduct or negligence will not
furnish a ground to dismiss the charge. Suspension or disbarment proceedings that are warranted will still
proceed regardless of the lack or loss of interest on the part of the complainant. The Court may even entirely
ignore the withdrawal of the complaint, and continue to investigate in order to finally determine whether the
charge of professional negligence or misconduct was borne out by the record. This approach bespeaks the
Court’s consistent view that the Legal Profession is not only a lofty and noble calling, but also a rare privilege
reserved only for the deserving.

Ramirez v. Bagayang-Margallo

Facts:
Complainant Reynaldo Ramirez (Ramirez) engaged Atty. Margallo’s services as legal counsel in a civil
case for Quieting of Title entitled “Spouses Roque v. Ramirez.” According to Ramirez, Atty. Margallo contacted
him as per a referral from a friend of Ramirez’s sister. He alleged that Atty. Margallo had offered her legal
services on the condition that she be given 30% of the land subject of the controversy instead of attorney’s
fees. It was also agreed upon that Ramirez would pay Atty. Margallo P1,000.00 per court appearance.
On October 19, 2006, the Regional Trial Court promulgated a Decision adverse to Ramirez. Atty.
Margallo advised him to appeal the judgment. She committed to file the Appeal before the Court of Appeals.
The Appeal was perfected and the records were sent to the Court of Appeals sometime in 2008. On December
5, 2008, the Court of Appeals directed Ramirez to file his Appellant’s Brief. Ramirez notified Atty. Margallo, who
replied that she would have one prepared.
On January 8, 2009, Ramirez contacted Atty. Margallo to follow up on the Appellant’s Brief. Atty.
Margallo informed him that he needed to meet her to sign the documents necessary for the brief. On several
occasions, Ramirez followed up on the status of the brief, but he was told that there was still no word from the
Court of Appeals.
On August 26, 2009, Atty. Margallo informed Ramirez that his Appeal had been denied. She told him
that the Court of Appeals’ denial was due to Ramirez’s failure to establish his filiation with his alleged father,
which was the basis of his claim. She also informed him that they could no longer appeal to this court since the
Decision of the Court of Appeals had been promulgated and the reglementary period for filing an Appeal had
already lapsed. Ramirez went to the Court of Appeals. There, he discovered that the Appellant’s Brief was filed
on April 13, 2009 with a Motion for Reconsideration and Apologies for filing beyond the reglementary period.
Ramirez alleged that Atty. Margallo had violated Canon 17 and Canon 18, Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.
By way of defense, Atty. Margallo argued that she had agreed to take on the case for free, save for
travel expense of P1,000.00 per hearing. She also claimed that she had candidly informed Ramirez and his
mother that they only had a 50% chance of winning the case. She denied ever having entered into an
agreement regarding the contingent fee worth 30% of the value of the land subject of the controversy. Atty.
Margallo asserted that she would not have taken on the Appeal except that the mother of Ramirez had begged
her to do so. She claimed that when she instructed Ramirez to see her for document signing on January 8, 2009,
he ignored her. When he finally showed up on March 2009, he merely told her that he had been busy. Her
failure to immediately inform Ramirez of the unfavorable Decision of the Court of Appeals was due to losing her
client’s number because her 8-year-old daughter played with her phone and accidentally erased all her
contacts.
The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines adopted and approved the
recommendation of the Commission on Bar Discipline. The Board of Governors resolved to recommend a
penalty of reprimand to Atty. Margallo with a stern warning that repetition of the same or similar act shall be
dealt with more severely.

Issue: Whether Atty. Margallo should be held administratively liable?

Held:
Yes, Atty. Mercedes Buhayang-Margallo’s (Atty. Margallo) inaction resulted in a lost appeal,
terminating the case of her client not on the merits but due to her negligence. She made it appear that the case
was dismissed on the merits when, in truth, she failed to file the Appellant’s Brief on time. She did not
discharge her duties of candor to her client.
Canon 17 and Canon 18, Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility clearly
provide:
CANON 17 - A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL OF
THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM.

CANON 18 - A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.

Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection there with shall render him liable.

Rule 18.04 - A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within
a reasonable time to client’s request for information.

Respondent Atty. Margallo was unjustifiably remiss in her duties as legal counsel to Ramirez. The lack
of communication and coordination between respondent Atty. Margallo and her client was palpable but was
not due to the lack of diligence of her client. This cost complainant Ramirez his entire case and left him with no
appellate remedies. His legal cause was orphaned not because a court of law ruled on the merits of his case,
but because a person privileged to act as counsel failed to discharge her duties with the requisite diligence. Her
assumption that complainant Ramirez was no longer interested to pursue the Appeal is a poor excuse. There
was no proof that she exerted efforts to communicate with her client. This is an admission that she abandoned
her obligation as counsel on the basis of an assumption. Respondent Atty. Margallo failed to exhaust all
possible means to protect complainant Ramirez’s interest, which is contrary to what she had sworn to do as a
member of the legal profession. For these reasons, she clearly violated Canon 17 and Canon 18, Rules 18.03
and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

EDUARDO A. MAGLENTE v. ATTY. DELFIN R. AGCAOILI, JR.

COMPLAINANTS’ CONTENTION:
Complainant, as President of “Samahan ng mga Maralitang Taga Ma. Corazon III, Incorporated”(Samahan),
alleged that he engaged the services of respondent for the purpose of filing a case in order to determine the
true owner of the land being occupied by the members of Samahan.2 In connection therewith, he gave
respondent the aggregate amount of P48,000.00 intended to cover the filing fees for the action to be instituted,
as evidenced by a written acknowledgment executed by respondent himself.3 Despite the payment, respondent
failed to file an action in court. When confronted, respondent explained that the money given to him was not
enough to fully pay for the filing fees in court.4Thus, complainant asked for the return of the money, but
respondent claimed to have spent the same and even demanded more money. 5 Complainant further alleged
that when he persisted in seeking restitution of the aforesaid sum, respondent told him to shut up because it
was not his money in the first place.

RESPONDENT’S CONTENTION:
Respondent denied spending complainant’s money, explaining that he had already prepared the initiatory
pleading and was poised to file the same, when he discovered through the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial
Court of Antipolo City that the filing fee was quite costly. This prompted him to immediately relay such
information to complainant who undertook to raise the amount needed. While waiting, however, the instant
administrative case was filed against him.
IBP-CBD RECOMMENDATION:

Atty. Agcaoili is guilty of violating Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR), and accordingly,
recommended that he be: (a) meted with the penalty of Censure, with a warning that a repetition of the same
will be met with a stiffer penalty; and (b) directed to account for or return the amount of P48,000.00 to
complainant.

ISSUE: Whether or not Agcaoili is guilty of violating the CPR

SUPREME COURT RULING:


Atty. Agcaoili is found GUILTY of violating Rules 16.01 and 16.03 of Canon 16, and Rule 18.03 of Canon 18 of the
CPR. Accordingly, he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year, effective upon
his receipt of the SC Decision, with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt
with more severely. He was also ordered to return to complainant Eduardo A. Maglente the amount of
P48,000.00 he received from the latter within ninety (90) days from the finality of this Decision.

It must be stressed that once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client, he is duty-bound to serve the latter with
competence, and to attend to such client’s cause with diligence, care, and devotion, whether he accepts it for a
fee or for free. He owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed
upon him.16 Therefore, a lawyer’s neglect of a legal matter entrusted to him by his client constitutes
inexcusable negligence for which he must be held administratively liable for violating Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of
the CPR.

The lawyer is bound to render an accounting to the client showing that the money was spent for the intended
purpose when a lawyer receives money from the client for a particular purpose. Consequently, if the money
was not used accordingly, the same must be immediately returned to the client. A lawyer’s failure to return the
money to his client despite numerous demands is a violation of the trust reposed on him and is indicative of his
lack of integrity, as in this case.

It is well to note that “while the Court has previously held that disciplinary proceedings should only revolve
around the determination of the respondent-lawyer’s administrative and not his civil liability, it must be
clarified that this rule remains applicable only to claimed liabilities which are purely civil in nature – for
instance, when the claim involves moneys received by the lawyer from his client in a transaction separate and
distinct [from] and not intrinsically linked to his professional engagement. Since the aforesaid amount was
intended to answer for filing fees which is intimately related to the lawyer-client relationship between
complainant and respondent, the Court finds the return thereof to be in order.

APPLICABLE CPR:
CANON 18 – A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.

Rule 18.03 – A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
[therewith] shall render him liable.

CANON 16 – A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME
INTO HIS POSSESSION.
Rule 16.01 – A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client.
Rule 16.03 – A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon demand.