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ROBERTO BERNARDINO vs. ATTY. VICTOR REY SANTOS, A.C. No.

fees out of the estate’s funds could be considered as “expenses of


10583, February 18, 2015 administration.”

Facts: The Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
recommended that Atty. Santos
Complainant Roberto C. Bernardino filed a Letter-Complaint against Atty. be suspended for three (3) months. It found that Bernardino failed to prove
Victor Rey Santos before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, praying that his allegation that Atty. Santos
Atty. Santos be investigated and subjected to disciplinary action. Bernardino knew that the death certificate was falsified and used it to support Mariano
alleged that the death certificate of his aunt, Rufina de Castro Turla, was Turla’s Affidavit of Self-
falsified by Atty. Santos. Atty. Santos made it appear that Rufina Turla died in Adjudication. Likewise, Atty. Caringal failed to prove that Atty. Santos
1992, when in fact, she died in 1990. converted funds from Mariano
Turla’s estate. Further, Atty. Santos did not engage in forum shopping. The
He alleged that Atty. Santos used the falsified death certificate to support the various cases filed involved
Affidavit of Self- Adjudication executed by Mariano Turla, husband of Rufina different parties and prayed for different reliefs. However, the Commission on
Turla, which states: Being her surviving spouse, I am the sole legal heir Bar Discipline agreed with
entitled to succeed to and inherit the estate of said deceased who did not Bernardino and Atty. Caringal that Atty. Santos represented clients with
leave any descendant or any other heir entitled to her estate. conflicting interests.

Issue:
Another Complaint was filed against Atty. Santos by Atty. Jose Mangaser
Caringal. Similar to Bernardino’s Complaint, Atty. Caringal alleged that Atty. Whether respondent Atty. Santos violated the Code of Professional
Santos represented clients with conflicting interests. He also alleged that in Responsibility?
representing Marilu Turla, Atty. Santos would necessarily go against the
claims of Mariano Turla. RULING:
Yes, he violated Canon 15 and Canon 10.
In his Answer, Atty. Santos denied having falsified the death certificate. He Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states:
explained that the death certificate and the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication were CANON 15 — A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his
given to him by Mariano Turla and that he was not aware that there was a dealings and transactions with his client.
falsified entry in the death certificate. Rule 15.03 — A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by
written consent of all
As regards the issue on conflict of interest, Atty. Santos argued that he did concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.
not represent and was not representing conflicting interests since Mariano
Turla was already dead. Further, “he [was] representing Marilu Turla against The rule on conflict of interest is based on the fiduciary obligation in a lawyer-
those who ha[d] an interest in her father’s estate.” Mariano Turla’s Affidavit of client relationship. Lawyers
Self- adjudication never stated that there was no other legal heir but only must treat all information received from their clients with utmost
“that Mariano Turla was the sole heir of Rufina Turla.” Atty. Santos insisted confidentiality in order to encourage clients to fully inform their counsels of
that he did not commit forum shopping because the various cases filed had the facts of their case. There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents
different issues. As to the conversion of funds, Atty. Santos explained that inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties. The test is “whether or
the funds used were being held by his client as the special administratrix of not in behalf of one client, it is the lawyer’s duty to fight for an issue or claim,
the estate of Mariano Turla. According to Atty. Santos, payment of attorney’s 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 Adeva Group issued a Board Resolution which authorized the Executive Vice
bestowed or will be used. Also, there is conflict of interests if the acceptance President and Treasurer of thecomplainant at that time, and the Vice
of the new retainer will require the attorney to perform an act which will President for Administration and Finance, to apply for a loan with the Rural
injuriously affect his first client in any matter in which he represents him and Bank of Paracale (RBP), Daet Branch, Camarines Norte in favor of Mabini
also whether he will be called upon in his new relation to use against his first Colleges, Inc.
client any knowledge acquired through their connection. Another test of the Lukban Group sent a letter to RBP to oppose the loan application because
inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation will the Adeva Group appointed Librado Guerra and Cesar Echano, who
prevent an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity were allegedly not registered as stockholders in the Stock and Transfer Book
and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing of the complainant, as members of the Board of Trustees. The Lukban Group
in the performance thereof. also alleged that Mabini Colleges, Inc. was having financial difficulties.

Atty. Pajarillo sent a letter to RBP to assure the latter of Mabini College's fina
Applying the test to determine whether conflict of interest exists, respondent
ncial capacity to pay the loan.RBP granted the loan application in the amount
would necessarily refute of P200,000 which was secured by a Real Estate Mortgage over the
Mariano Turla’s claim that he is Rufina Turla’s sole heir when he agreed to properties of the complainant. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
represent Marilu Turla. Worse, he knew that Mariano Turla was not the only issued an Order which nullified the appointment of Librado Guerra and Cesar
heir. However, Rule 15.03 provides for an exception, specifically, “by written Echano by the Adeva Group as members of the Board of Trustees of the
consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.” complainant. As a result, complainant sent a letter to RBP to inform the latter
Respondent had the duty to inform Mariano Turla and Marilu Turla that there of the SEC Order. RBP sent a letter to the complainant acknowledging
is a conflict of interest and to obtain their written consent. receipt of the SEC Order and informing the latter that the SEC Order was
Mariano Turla died on February 5, 2009, while respondent represented referred to RBP's legal counsel, Atty. Pajarillo. Mabini Colleges alleged that it
Marilu Turla in March 2009. It is was only upon receipt of such letter that it became aware that Atty. Pajarillo
understandable why respondent was unable to obtain Mariano Turla’s is also the legal counsel of RBP. On April 18, 2000, Mabini Colleges and
RBP increased the loan to P400,000. On April 23, 2002, RBP moved to
consent. Still, respondent did not
foreclose the Real Estate Mortgage. Mabini Colleges Inc. filed a complaint for
present evidence showing that he disclosed to Marilu Turla that he previously
Annulment of Mortgage with a Prayer for Preliminary Injunction against
represented Mariano Turla
RBP. Atty. Pajarillo entered his appearance as counsel for RBP. Mabini
and assisted him in executing the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication. Respondent Colleges filed the present complaint for disbarment against Atty. Pajarillo for
also violated Canon 10, Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional allegedly representing conflicting interests and for failing to exhibit candor,
Responsibility, which states: fairness, and loyalty. Atty. Pajarillo raised three defenses against the
complaint for disbarment. First, that Marcel N. Lukban, Alberto I. Garcia Jr.,
CANON 10 — A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court. and Ma. Pamela Rossana Apuya cannot represent Mabini Colleges in this
Rule 10.01 — A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing disbarment case because they were not duly authorized by the Board of
of any in court; nor Directors to file the complaint. Second, that he is not covered by the
shall he mislead or allow the court to be mislead by any artifice. prohibition on conflict of interest which applies only to the legal counsel of
complainant. Atty. Pajarillo argued that he merely served as the corporate
secretary of Mabini Colleges and did not serve as its legal counsel. Third,
that there was no conflict of interest when he represented RBP in the case
Mabini Colleges Inc. vs. Atty. Jose Pajarillo
for annulment of mortgage because all the documents and information
FACTS: Mabini Colleges, Inc., had a Board of Trustees which was divided related to the loan transaction between RBP and the Mabini Colleges were
into two opposing factions. The first faction, called the Adeva Group, the public records. Thus, Atty. Pajarillo claimed that he could not have taken
other faction is called the Lukban Group. It appointed the Atty. Jose D. advantage of his position as the mere corporate secretary of the Mabini
Pajarillo as its corporate secretary. Colleges, Inc. On February 14, 2013, the Investigating Commissioner issued
a Report and Recommendation finding Atty. Pajarillo guilty of representing concerned (particularly the complainant) given after a full disclosure of the
conflicting interests and recommending that he be suspended from the facts representing conflicting interests.
practice of law for at least one year. The Investigating Commissioner noted
that respondent appeared for RBP in the case for annulment of mortgage We also note that the respondent acted for the complainant's
filed by his former client, the complainant herein. The Investigating interest on the loan transaction between RBP and the complainant when he
Commissioner cited cash vouchers from sent a letter to RBP to assure the latter of the financial capacity of the
complainant to pay the loan. But as counsel for RBP in the case for
annulment of mortgage, he clearly acted against the interest of the
complainant, his former client. Finally, we agree with the Investigating
1994 to 2001 showing that respondent was paid by complainant for his Commissioner that a complaint for disbarment is imbued with public
retained legal services. According to the Investigating Commissioner, these interest which allows for a liberal rule on legal standing. Under Section 1,
vouchers debunk respondent's claim that the complainant merely appointed Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, "[proceedings for the disbarment,
him as its corporate secretary. The Investigating Commissioner also held that suspension or discipline of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court
the personality of complainant's representatives to file this administrative motu proprio, or by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) upon the
case is immaterial since proceedings for disbarment, suspension or discipline verified complaint of any person." Thus, in the present case, we find that
of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court motu proprio or by Marcel N. Lukban, Alberto I. Garcia Jr., and Ma. Pamela Rossana A. Apuya
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) upon the verified complaint of any can institute the complaint for disbarment even without authority from the
person. The Board of Governors of the IBP issued a resolution which Board of Directors of the complainant.
affirmed the findings of the Investigating Commissioner and imposed a
penalty of suspension from the practice of law for one year against WILFREDO ANGLO v. ATTY. JOSE MA. V. VALENCIA, et.al
respondent. It denied the motion for reconsideration filed by respondent. A.C. No. 10567, February 25, 2015
ISSUE:
FACTS: In his complaint-affidavit, complainant alleged that he availed the
whether Atty. Pajarillo is guilty of representing conflicting interests when he services of the law firm Valencia Ciocon Dabao Valencia De La Paz Dionela
entered his appearance as counsel for RBP in the case for annulment of Pandan Rubica Law Office(law firm), of which Attys. Valencia, Ciocon,
mortgage filed by Mabini Colleges, Inc. against RBP. Dabao, Uy-Valencia, De La Paz, Dionela, Pandan, Jr., and Rubica were
RULING: partners, for two (2) consolidated labor cases where he was impleaded as
respondent. Atty. Dionela, a partner of the law firm, was assigned to
Yes, he represented conflicting interests in violation of Canon 15, Rule 15.03 represent complainant. The labor cases were terminated on June 5, 2008
of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that "[a] lawyer upon the agreement of both parties
shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all
concerned given after a full disclosure of the On September 18, 2009, a criminal case or qualified theft was filed against
facts." This rule prohibits a lawyer from representing new clients whose intere complainant and his wife by FEVE Farms Agricultural Corporation (FEVE
sts oppose those of a former client in anymanner, whether or not they are Farms) acting through a certain Michael Villacorta (Villacorta). Villacorta,
parties in the same action or on totally unrelated cases. Respondent however, was represented by the law firm, the same law office which
represented conflicting interests when he served as counsel for RBP in the handled complainant’s labor cases. Aggrieved, complainant filed this
case for annulment of mortgage filed by the complainant, respondent's disbarment case against respondents, alleging that they violated Rule 15.03,
former client, against RBP. The finding of the Investigating Commissioner Canon 15 and Canon 21 of the CPR.
that respondent was compensated by complainant for his retained legal
services is supported by the evidence on record, the cash vouchers from
1994 to 2001. Clearly, complainant was respondent's former client. And ISSUE: Whether or not respondents are guilty of representing conflicting
respondent appeared as counsel of RBP in a case filed by his former client
interests in violation of the pertinent provisions of the CPR.
against RBP. This makes respondent guilty of representing conflicting
interests since respondent failed to show any written consent of all
RULING:
Respondents Attys. Jose Ma. V. Valencia, Jose Ma. J. Ciocon, Lily Uy-
Valencia, Joey P. De La Paz, Cris G. Dionela, Raymundo T. Pandan, Jr.,
Rodney K. Rubica, and Wilfred Ramon M. Penalosa are found GUILTY of
representing conflicting interests in violation of Rule 15.03, Canon 15 and
Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and are therefore
REPRIMANDED for said violations, with a STERN WARNING that a
repetition of the same or similar infraction would be dealt with more severely.
Meanwhile, the case against Atty. Philip Dabao is DISMISSED in view of his
death.

[A.C. No. 4349. December 22, 1997]


LOURDES R. BUSIÑOS, complainant, vs. ATTY. FRANCISCO
RICAFORT, respondent.

Complainant charged respondent with having committed the crime of estafa


by misappropriating the sum of P32,000.00. Of this amount, P30,000.00 was
entrusted to respondent for deposit in the bank account of complainant’s
husband, while P2,000.00 represented the amount respondent demanded
from complainant supposedly for a bond in a Civil Case when no such bond
was required. Respondent did not appear in the administrative proceedings
to clear his name. Respondent was able to pay the amount, complainant
withdrew the estafa case but proceeded with the administrative case.

Held: DISBARRED. There is no doubt that respondent is guilty of having


used the money of his clients without their consent. Money collected by a
lawyer in pursuance of a judgment in favor of his clients is held in trust and
must be immediately turned over to them

Respondent, by converting the money of his clients to his own personal use
without their consent , and by deceiving the complainant into giving him the
amount of P2,000.00 purportedly to be used as a bond which was not
required, is, undoubtedly, guilty of deceit, malpractice and gross misconduct.
By so doing, he betrays the confidence reposed in him by his clients. Not
only has he degraded himself but as an unfaithful lawyer he has besmirched
the fair name of an honorable profession.

“When an attorney unjustly retains in his hands money of his client after it
has been demanded he may be punished for contempt as an officer of the
Court who has misbehaved in his official transactions; but proceedings under
this section shall not be a bar to a criminal prosecution.”
Martinez. Hence, complainant informed the Investigating
Commissioner of their letter terminating the services of Atty. Lizardo as
counsel for total loss of trust and confidence and prayed for the latter's
disbarment.

IBP:

The Investigation Commissioner recommended that respondent


be suspended from the practice of law for two years. The Board of
Governors of the IBP issued a Resolution adopting and approving the
Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner,
thereby suspending Atty. Lizardo from the practice of law for two years.
Silvestra Medina and Santos Medina Loraya Vs. Atty.
Rufino Lizardo
Ruling:
A.C. No. 10533.
This Court resolves to adopt with modification the Resolutions
January 31, 2017
of the IBP Board of Governors. The main charge against Atty. Lizardo
is his alleged violation of Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of
Facts:
Professional Responsibility, which provides:
Complainant Silvestra, because of her advanced age, allegedly
Rule 15.03 - A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests
entrusted the owner's duplicates of Transfer Certificates of Titles
except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure
(TCTs) to respondent. However, since complainants are not the only
of the facts.
owners of the properties covered by said TCTs, and other heirs were
asking for the original duplicate copies, complainants went to the
This Court has explained the test in determining whether
residence of Atty. Lizardo and requested the return of said TCTs.
conflicting interests are being represented in this wise:
However, respondent claimed that Silvestra entrusted the TCTs to him
because they sold their shares in in favor of a certain Renato Martinez
There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents
(Martinez). He refused to return the subject TCTs because
inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties. The test is
complainants did not secure the written consent of Martinez.
"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
Respondent notes that complainants only had a one-fourth
brief, if he argues for one client, this argument will be opposed by him
share in the subject lots based on a compromise agreement.
when he argues for the other client." This rule covers not only cases in
Complainants allegedly sold this one-fourth share to Martinez, but their
which confidential communications have been confided, but also those
co-owners resisted the transfer of the titles to said properties, forcing
in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be used. Also, there
Silvestra and Alicia to file a Complaint for Partition. Upon the death of
is conflict of interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require
Alicia, her heirs executed an Extrajudicial Settlement with Sale wherein
the attorney to perform an act which will injuriously affect his first client
said heirs appear to have agreed to convey in favor of Martinez and his
in any matter in which he represents him and also whether he will be
spouse all their shares.
called upon in his new relation to use against his first client any
knowledge acquired through their connection. Another test of the
Complainants averred that they did not notice that the subject
inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation
lots were sold together with another subject lots. Santos claims that
will prevent an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided
they did not read the Extrajudicial Settlement since they trusted Atty.
Lizardo to sell only one parcel of land covering 1,000 square meters to
fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or several provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility. For this
double dealing in the performance thereof. reason, we also uphold the grant of complainants' prayer for the return
of the subject titles which they turned over to Atty. Lizardo for
In the case at bar, it is undeniable that complainants Silvestra safekeeping. In any event, the return of said TCTs will not unduly
and Santos, on one hand, and Martinez, on the other, have conflicting prejudice Martinez who may cause his adverse claim to be duly
interests with regard to the disputed property, particularly lot which annotated thereon.
complainants assert they never sold to Martinez. Atty. Lizardo now finds
himself arguing against the ownership by Silvestra and Santos of their However, we refrain from passing upon the finding of the
shares in the disputed property, which is the very legal position he was Investigating Commissioner that Atty. Lizardo was guilty of deceit. The
bound to defend as their counsel in the partition case. matter of fraud in the execution of said agreement which will have
implications on its validity and legal effects must be first threshed out
The Court observes that the complaint for partition in the RTC by the parties in the appropriate proceedings.
of Makati is the only case filed in court concerning the subject
properties, and Atty. Lizardo is the counsel of record therein of Silvestra We find insufficient basis to hold Atty. Lizardo liable for violation
and Alicia. There is no mention of Martinez in said Complaint. These of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 at this point in time, a
inactions make it hard for us to believe Atty. Lizardo's claim that lighter penalty is in order. Suspension from the practice of law for one
Martinez engaged his services concurrently with Silvestra and Alicia in year is sufficient in the case at bar.
the filing of the partition case. There is no credible proof on record that
Atty. Lizardo was from the beginning engaged to represent Silvestra, FALLO:
Alicia and Martinez as their common counsel.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Atty. Rufino C. Lizardo
Respondent is required to deliver the property of his client when GUILTY of violating Canons 16 and 17, and Rules 15.03 and 16.03 of
due or upon demand, and mandated to always be loyal to them and the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, the Court
vigilant to protect their interests, in accordance with the following SUSPENDS him from the practice of law for one year effective upon
provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility: finality of this Decision, ORDERS him, under pain of contempt, to return
TCTs No. 3900 and 13866 to complainant Silvestra Medina within 15
CANON 16 - A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and days from notice of this Decision, and WARNS him that a repetition of
properties of his client that may come into his possession. Rule the same or similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.
16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client
when due or upon demand. However, he shall have a lien over
the funds and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary
to satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements, giving notice
promptly thereafter to his client. He shall also have a lien to the
same extent on all judgments and executions he has secured
for his client as provided for in the Rules of Court.

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.

Atty. Lizardo's withholding of the TCTs entrusted to him by his


clients to protect another purported client who surreptitiously acquired
his services despite a conflict of interest is therefore a clear violation of
entrusted to her by not filing the adoption case - for almost a
year until complainants finally withdrew their documents from
respondent and opted to have the filing of the case handled by
another lawyer. Worse, respondent refused to return the amount
of P75,000.00 representing legal fees paid by complainants to
her.

ISSUE:

Whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable


for violating the Rule 18.03 of the CPR,

HELD:
Respondent's acts constitute a flagrant violation of Rule 18.03,
Canon 18 of the CPR, to wit:

Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted


to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render
him liable.
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. 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, as in this case.
A.C. No. 7618, February 02, 2016
SPOUSES JONATHAN AND ESTER LOPEZ, Complainants,
v. ATTY. SINAMAR E. LIMOS, Respondent.

FACTS:

Complainants filed a disbarment case on Atty. Limos for


violation of 18.03 of the CPR, as she neglected the legal matter
A.C. No. 10868 [Formerly CBD Case No. 07-2041], January
26, 2016
CHERYL E. VASCO-TAMARAY, Complainant, v. ATTY.
DEBORAH Z. DAQUIS, Respondent.

FACTS

Cheryl Vasco Tamaray, filed a complaint before the IBP on July


30 2007 alleging that respondent Atty Deborah Daquis filed on
her behalf a petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage without
her consent and forged her signature on the petition. She also
alleged that Atty Daquis signed the petition for declaration of
Nullity of Marriage as” counsel for petitioner” referring to the
complainant. The Commission on Bar Discipline required the
parties to submit position papers but only the complainant
complied.
ISSUE: 3. Canon 10, Rule 10.01

Whether or not Atty Daquis violates canons from Code of


Professional Responsibility?

Ruling:

Respondent is found guilty of Violating :

1. Canon 1 Rule 1.01 4. Canon 17

The penalty of DISBARMENT is imposed upon respondent Atty


Daquis. The Office of the Bar confidant is directed to remove the
name of DEBorah Z. Daquis from the Roll of Attorneys.

2. Canon 7, Rule 7.03

A comparison of the signatures appearing on The Petition for


Declaration of Nullity of Marriage on complainant’s identification
cards show difference in the stroke. While there is no evidence
to prove that the respondent forged complainant’s signature, the
fact remains that respondent allowed a forged signature to be
used on a petition she prepared and notarized.
A.C. No. 10945 (Formerly CBD 09-2507), February 23, 2016
ANGELITO RAMISCAL AND MERCEDES ORZAME,
Complainants, v. ATTY. EDGAR S. ORRO, Respondent.

Facts:

The respondent did not inform the Ramiscals of the adverse


decision of the CA which they only learned about from their
neighbors.. They endeavored to communicate with the
respondent but their efforts were initially in vain. When they
finally reached him, he asked an additional P7,000.00 from them
as his fee in filing a motion for reconsideration in their behalf,
albeit telling them that such motion would already be belated. .
To their dismay, they later discovered that he did not file the
motion for reconsideration; hence, the decision attained finality,
eventually resulting in the loss of their property measuring 8.479
hectares with a probable worth of P3,391,600.00

Issue:

WON the respondent did not competently and diligently


discharge his duties as the lawyer of the Ramiscal

Held

Every lawyer, upon becoming a member of the Philippine Bar,


solemnly takes the Lawyer’s Oath, by which he vows, among
others, that: “I will delay no man for money or malice, and will
conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my
knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as well to the
courts as to my clients.” If he should violate the vow, he
contravenes the Code of Professional Responsibility, particularly
its Canon 17, and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of Canon 18, viz.:
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
therewith 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 the client's request for
information.
HEIRS OF SIXTO L. TAN, SR. vs. ATTY. BELTRAN

HEIRS OF SIXTO L. TAN, SR., represented by RECTO A. TAN vs. ATTY. NESTOR
B. BELTRAN

A.C. No. 5819

February 1, 2017

”Before this Court is an administrative complaint against respondent, Atty.


Nestor B. Beltran. His derelictions allegedly consisted of his belated filing of
an appeal in a criminal case and failure to relay a court directive for the
payment of docket fees in a civil case to his clients - complainants Heirs of
Sixto L. Tan, Sr. represented by Recto A. Tan. The latter also accused him of
unduly receiving ₱200,000 as payment for legal services.”

FACTS :
After agreeing to pay attorney's fees of ₱200,000, complainants engaged papers needed for the filing of the said cases."13 He did not deny his receipt
the services of respondent counsel for the filing of cases to recover their of ₱7,000 for fees and other sundry expenses, of which ₱l,722 had already
commercial properties valued at approximately ₱30 million. Complainants been paid to the Clerk of Court for docket fees. In any event, Atty. Beltran
filed a criminal action for falsification of public documents and use of argued that ₱200,000 as attorney's fees was inadequate, considering that
falsified documents against Spouses Melanio and Nancy Fernando and Sixto the property under dispute was worth ₱30 million.
Tan, Jr., this case was dismissed by the provincial prosecutor of Albay.

this Court referred the administrative case to the Integrated Bar of the
Respondent was notified of the order of dismissal. He filed an appeal via a Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation.IBP found
Petition for Review before the Secretary of the Department of Justice (SOJ). respondent guilty of neglect in handling the criminal case and
It was, however, filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period to perfect an recommended his suspension from the practice of law for three months.
appeal. The SOJ dismissed the belated Petition for Review. Respondent no
longer filed a motion for reconsideration to remedy the ruling.

ISSUES:
Complainants instituted a related civil suit to annul the sale of their
commercial properties before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Naga City.
After being given ₱7,000 by his clients, respondent tasked his secretary to
pay the docket fees computed at ₱1,722. Unfortunately, the Clerk of Court
erred in the assessment of the docket fees. To correct the error, the RTC Whether respondent neglected legal matters entrusted to him when he
required the payment of additional docket fees through an Order which belatedly filed an appeal before the SOJ, resulting in the dismissal of LS. No.
respondent received. However, two weeks earlier, he had moved to 2001-03 7
withdraw as counsel with the conformity of his clients. No separate copy of
the Order was sent to any of the complainants. Whether respondent is guilty of violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and other ethical standards for failing to inform complainants
of the RTC Order to pay the balance of the docket fees in Civil Case No.
The balance of the docket fees remained unpaid. The RTC dismissed the civil 2001-0329
case, citing the nonpayment of docket fees as one of its bases. Whether respondent unduly received ₱200,000 as attorney's fees
Complainants wrote this Court a letter-complaint asking that disciplinary
actions be meted out to respondent. They likewise contended that he had
unduly received ₱200,000 as attorney's fees, despite his failure to render
effective legal services for them. As for the dismissal of the civil action for
nonpayment of docket fees, respondent disclaimed any fault on his part,
since he had already withdrawn as counsel in that case.1âwphi1Anent his
RULING:
receipt of ₱200,000 as attorney's fees, respondent denied collecting that
amount. He only admitted that he had received ₱30,000 to cover expenses
for "the preparation of the complaints, docket fee, affidavits, and other
The Court set aside the unsubstantiated recommendation of the IBP Board evidence adduced by one side is superior to or has greater weight than that
of Governors. Its resolutions are only recommendatory and always subject of the other. The Investigating Commissioner did not explain the
to this Court’s review. recommendation for the restitution of that sum. Moreover, complainants
do not contest that respondent received this sum for fees and other sundry
expenses. Neither do the records show that they demanded the return of
In the first issue: this amount from respondent. In consideration of these facts, the proper
corrective action is to order the accounting of the full sum of ₱35,278.

The Court ruled that failure of the counsel to appeal within the prescribed
period constitutes negligence and malpractice. The Court elucidated that
per Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, "a
lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence
in connection therewith shall render him liable." In the case at bar,
respondent similarly admits that he failed to timely file the Petition for
Review before the SOJ. As a result of his delayed action, his clients lost the
criminal case. this Court sanctions him for belatedly filing an appeal.

In the second issue:

Respondent argues that he was no longer bound to inform complainants of


the RTC Order requiring the payment of full docket fees, given that he had
already moved to withdraw as counsel with the conformity of the latter. We
find that argument unjustified. Taking into consideration the attendant
circumstances herein vis-à-vis the aforementioned administrative cases
decided by this Court, we deem it proper to impose on Atty. Beltran a two-
month suspension from the practice of law for belatedly filing an appeal
before the SOJ. We also admonish him to exercise greater care and diligence
in the performance of his duty to administer justice.

In the third issue:

In administrative cases against lawyers, the quantum of proof required is


preponderance of evidence. Preponderance of evidence means that the
Atty. Baylosis denied the accusation and insisted that when Roldan went to
his office in January 2011, he personally interviewed him and asked him to
submit his personal documents; that Roldan provided him a Certification
from the Chairman, that Roldan reviewed the petition and affixed his
signature in the Verification and Certification; that Roldan personally
appeared before him, swore in accordance with law and verified his petition
in accordance with the Rules of Court. Atty. Baylosis further averred that the
date of recording on May 13, 2011 of the Verification and Certification of
the petition was an honest mistake and excusable error on the part of his
staff but his claim that Roldan personally appeared before him was true.

LOBERES-PINTAL v. ATTY. BAYLOSIS


The IBP-Board of Governors reversed and set aside the report and
SUSAN LOBERES-PINTAL, Complainant - versus - ATTY. RAMONCITO B. recommendation of the CBD. In its Extended Resolution, the IBP-Board
BAYLOSIS, Respondent ofGovernors found Atty. Baylosis guilty of violating the 2004 Rules
onNotarial Practice when he made it appear that Roldan was present during
A.C. No. 11545
thenotarization of the petition on May 13, 2011 and recommended the
January 24, 2017 immediate revocation of his notarial commission and his
disqualificationfrom being commissioned as notary public for two (2) years.

FACTS:
ISSUE:

Susan Loberes-Pintal (Susan) filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty.


Baylosis for committing perjury, falsification of public documents and the Whether or not Atty. Baylosis guilty of violating the 2004 Rules on Notarial
use of falsified documents. She alleged that Roldan C. Pintal (Roldan) filed a Practice
Petition for Declaration of Nullity of their Marriage before the Regional Trial
Court of Caloocan City (RTC); that Atty. Baylosis conspired with Roldan by
making it appear that he was a resident of Caloocan City when in fact he
was a resident of Quezon City; and that Atty. Baylosis notarized the
verification and certification against non-forum shopping of the petition on HELD:
May 13, 2011, but, at that time, Roldan was out of the country. Susan
submitted a Certification from the Barangay Chairman and a Certification
from the Bureau of Immigration as proof.
YES. Without a quibble, Atty. Baylosis was negligent in the performance of After the aforementioned cases were filed, complainants had
his duty as a notary public when he notarized the petition for declaration of found out that the Honorable Supreme Court promulgated a
the nullity of marriage without the presence of Roldan. This was evidenced resolution in the case entitled Wilson Cham versus Atty. Eva
by the Certification issued by the Bureau of Immigration that Roldan was Paita-Moya suspending respondent from the practice of law for
not in the Philippines on May 13, 2011 as he had left the Philippines on April
one month and such has not yet been lifted.
10, 2011 and came back only on September 8, 2011. Atty.
Baylosis'contention that he personally interviewed Roldan when the latter
Issue: whether or not the Respondent engaged in the
went into his office and personally read and signed the petition cannot be
accorded a shred of credence. In notarizing a document in the absence of a unauthorized practice of law, that is, the practice of law despite
party, Atty. Baylosis violated not only the rule on notarial practice but also the clear language of this Court’s suspension order.
the Code of Professional Responsibility which proscribes a lawyer from
Held:
engaging in any unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or deceitful conduct. By
affixing his signature and notarial seal on the document, he attested that Yes, Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, willful
Roldan personally appeared before him on the day it was notarized and disobedience to any lawful order of a superior court is a ground
verified the contents thereof. His conduct is fraught with dangerous for disbarment or suspension from the practice of law:
possibilities considering the conclusiveness on the due execution of a
document that our courts and the public accord to notarized documents. It
must be emphasized that a lawyer commissioned as a notary public, is
mandated to discharge with fidelity the sacred duties appertaining to his ATTY. EVA PAITA-MOYA is found GUILTY of violating Section
office, such duties being dictated by public policy and impressed with public 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, and is hereby SUSPENDED
interest. It is for this reason that a notary public must observe with utmost from the practice of law for an additional period of six (6) months
care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties; otherwise, from her one (1) month suspension, totaling seven (7) months
the public's confidence in the integrity of the document would be from service of this resolution, with a WARNING that a repetition
undermined. of the same or similar offense will warrant a more severe
penalty.
A.C. No. 8313, July 14, 2015
PILAR IBANA-ANDRADE AND CLARE SINFOROSA
ANDRADE-CASILIHAN, Complainants, v. ATTY. EVA PAITA-
MOYA, Respondent.

Facts:

Complainants, Clare Sinforosa I. Andrade-Casilihan and Alven


Bernardo I. Andrade filed a separate illegal dismissal case
against respondent,, Mabini College Inc., Atty. Eva Paita-Moya
appeared as counsel for respondents.
ALVIN S. FELICIANO vs. ATTY. CARMELITA BAUTISTA-
LOZADA, A.C. No. 7593, March 11, 2015

FACTS

Arty Carmelita Lozada was found guilty of violating Canon 15.03


and 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and was
suspended from practice of law for a period of 2 years, with a
stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be
dealt with more severely. Her suspension was finalized on May
4 2006.
On June 5, 2007, a complaint was filed by Alvin Feliciano
against Atty Lozada for appearing as counsel for Edilberto
Lozada, her husband and actively participated in the
proceedings while still suspended from the practice of law. She
commented on the complaint against her that she believed in
good faith that her appearance as a wife of Edilberto Lozada
was not a prohibition of practice of law, considering she was
defending her husband and not a client.
ISSUE

Whether or not Atty Carmelita Lozada is guilty of violating Rule


138 of the Rules of Court?

RULING:

YES. Atty Carmelita Lozada was found guilty of violation Section


27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court:

Section 27. Attorneys removed or suspended by Supreme


Court on what grounds. — A member of the bar may be
removed or suspended from his office as attorney by the
Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross
misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by
reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or
for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before
the admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience of any
lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or willful
appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority
so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose
of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers,
constitutes malpractice.

She willfully disobeyed lawful order of the superior court by


appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority MELVYN G. GARCIA, v. ATTY. RAUL H. SESBREÑO A.C. No.
to do so. She was suspended for a period of 6 months from 7973 and A.C. No. 10457, February 03, 2015
practice of law, with a warning that a repetition of the same or
similar offense will warrant a more severe penalty.
Facts:
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court states that a member
Garcia alleged that he married Virginia Alcantara and they had
of the bar may be disbarred or suspended as attorney by this
two children but was separated in 1971. Garcia alleged while he
Court by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral
was in Japan, Sesbreño, representing complainant’s children,
turpitude. This Court has ruled that disbarment is the appropriate
filed an action for support against him and his sister. At the time
penalty for conviction by final judgment for a crime involving moral
of the filing of the case, Maria Margarita was already 39 years old
turpitude. Moral turpitude is somewhat a vague and indefinite
while Angie Ruth was 35 years old. The case was dismissed.
term, the meaning of which must be left to the process of judicial
Garcia filed a complaint for disbarment against Sesbreño,
inclusion or exclusion as the cases are reached.
alleging that he is practicing law despite his previous conviction
for homicide, and that he is only on parole and he has not fully
There was no mention that the executive clemency granted to
served his sentence. Garcia alleged that Sesbreño violated
Sesbreño’s was absolute and unconditional and restored his full
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court by continuing to
civil and political rights.
engage in the practice of law despite his conviction of a crime
involving moral turpitude.
In this case, the executive clemency merely “commuted to an
indeterminate prison term of 7 years and 6 months to 10 years
Sesbreño alleged that, Garcia filed a similar complaint against imprisonment” the penalty imposed on Sesbreño. Hence, the
him before the IBP and Garcia’s complaint was motivated by Parcasio case has no application here. Even if Sesbreño has
resentment and desire for revenge because he acted as pro bono been granted pardon, there is nothing in the records that shows
counsel for Maria Margarita and Angie Ruth. Sesbreño alleged that it was a full and unconditional pardon. In addition, the
that his sentence was commuted and the phrase “with the practice of law is not a right but a privilege. It is granted only to
inherent accessory penalties provided by law” was deleted. those possessing good moral character. A violation of the high
Sesbreño argued that even if the accessory penalty was not moral standards of the legal profession justifies the imposition of
deleted, the disqualification applies only during the term of the the appropriate penalty against a lawyer, including the penalty of
sentence. Sesbreño further alleged that homicide does not disbarment.
involve moral turpitude.

ISSUE: WON MORAL TURPITUDE IS INVOLVED IN A


CONVICTION FOR HOMICIDE.

HELD:

YES, the IBP-CBD recommended that Sesbreño be disbarred


and his name stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.
A.C. No. 5161, August 25, 2015
RE: IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR
REINSTATEMENT OF ROLANDO S. TORRES AS A
MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR.

FACTS:
Isidra Ting-Dumali charges respondent Atty. Rolando S. Torres
with presentation of false testimony; participation in, consent to,
and failure to advise against, the forgery of complainant’s
signature in a purported Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement; and
gross misrepresentation in court for the purpose of profiting from
such forgery, thereby violating his oath as a lawyer and the
canons of legal and judicial ethics. According to the
complainant, the respondent took advantage of his relationship
with her and her brothers and used his profession to deprive
them of what was lawfully due them even if it involved the
commission of an illegal, unlawful, or immoral act. the
respondent denies the allegations of the complaint and asserts
that he did not take advantage of his profession to deprive any
of the co-heirs of his wife of the estate left by his parents-in-law.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the act of the respondent is a violation of the
lawyer’s oath.

HELD:
The Supreme Court finds respondent Atty. Rolando S. Torres
guilty of gross misconduct and violation of the lawyer’s oath, as
well as Canons 1 and 10 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, thereby rendering him unworthy of continuing
membership in the legal profession. He is thus ordered
DISBARRED from the practice of law, and his name is ordered
stricken off the Roll of Attorneys, effective immediately.