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Ferdinand A. Cruz filed before the MeTC a formal Entry of Appearance, as private prosecutor, where his
father, Mariano Cruz, is the complaining witness.

The petitioner, describing himself as a third year law student, justifies his appearance as private
prosecutor on the bases of Section 34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court and the ruling of the Court En
Banc in Cantimbuhan v. Judge Cruz, Jr. that a non-lawyer may appear before the inferior courts as an
agent or friend of a party litigant. The petitioner furthermore avers that his appearance was with the prior
conformity of the public prosecutor and a written authority of Mariano Cruz appointing him to be his agent
in the prosecution of the said criminal case.

However, in an Order dated February 1, 2002, the MeTC denied permission for petitioner to appear as
private prosecutor on the ground that Circular No. 19 governing limited law student practice in conjunction
with Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court (Law Student Practice Rule) should take precedence over the ruling
of the Court laid down in Cantimbuhan; and set the case for continuation of trial.


whether the petitioner, a law student, may appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend of a party


The rule, however, is different if the law student appears before an inferior court, where the issues and
procedure are relatively simple. In inferior courts, a law student may appear in his personal capacity
without the supervision of a lawyer. Section 34, Rule 138 provides:

Sec. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. — In the court of a justice of the peace, a party may conduct his
litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of
an attorney. In any other court, a party may conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and
his appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of the bar.

Thus, a law student may appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend of a party without the
supervision of a member of the bar. (Emphasis supplied)

Gatchalian Promotions Talent Pool, Inc. vs. Naldoza, 315 SCRA 406


The case at bar is a petition for disbarment against Atty. Primo L. Naldoza for appealing a decision which
is final and executory, deceitfully obtaining $2,555 from the client allegedly for “cash bond” in the
appealed case, and issuing a spurious receipt to conceal the illegal act. Respondent denies that he
persuaded complainant to file an appeal and asserted that it was the latter who initiated the action to
delay the execution of POEA decision. He also denied the two other charges. Trial procedures were
instituted before the IBP.

Meanwhile, a criminal case based on the same facts was filed before RTC Makati, Branch 141. Although
acquitted on reasonable doubt, he was declared civilly liable in the amount of $2,555. Having been
acquitted in the criminal case, he manifested a Motion for Dismissal of the IBP case.

Commissioner Jose brushed aside respondent's contention on the ground that the criminal case for
estafa is completely different from the proceedings before him. Acquittal in the former did not exonerate
respondent in the latter. He further noted that the RTC Decision itself hinted at the administrative liability
of respondent, since it found him civilly liable to herein complainant for $2,555. He was suspended by the
IBP for one (1) year. Thus, he appealed before the Supreme Court.


(1) Whether or not respondent should be freed of the administrative proceeding since he was acquitted of
the criminal charge.

(2) Whether or not respondent is negligent when he appealed the decision of the POEA knowing it to be
final and executory.


(1) Administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own. They are distinct from and they
may proceed independently of civil and criminal cases.


Thus, a criminal prosecution will not constitute a prejudicial question even if the same facts and
circumstances are attendant in the administrative proceedings.

It should be emphasized that a finding of guilt in the criminal case will not necessarily result in a finding of
liability in the administrative case. Conversely, respondent’s acquittal does not necessarily exculpate him
administratively. In the same vein, the trial court’s finding of civil liability against the respondent will not
inexorably lead to a similar finding in the administrative action before this Court.

(2) Complainant has failed to present proof regarding the status of the appeal. Neither has there been any
showing that the appeal was dismissed on the ground that the POEA Decision had become final and
executory. Worse, there has been no evidence that respondent knew that the case was unappealable.
Indeed, the records of this Court shows that the Petition for Review was dismissed for petitioner's failure
to submit an Affidavit of Service and a legible duplicate of the assailed Order. Clearly, this charge has no
leg to stand on.


WHEREFORE, Primo R. Naldoza is hereby DISBARRED. The Office of the Clerk of Court is directed to
strike out his name from the Roll of Attorneys and to inform all courts of this Decision.
Laput’s acts were improper and censurable especially considering that de Barrerra was 45
years old. Being amember of the Bar, Laput should have set the example as a man of peace and a
champion of the Rule of Law. Anattorney’s client is a person who is supposed to be defended and
protected by such counsel


A.C. No. 7973 and A.C. No. 10457 | February 3, 2015

By: Karen P. Lustica


Garcia filed a complaint for disbarment against Sesbreño before the Office of the Bar Confidant.

Garcia alleged that in 2005 while he was in Japan, Sesbreño, representing Maria Margarita and Angie
Ruth, filed an action for support against him and his sister Milagros Garcia Soliman. At the time of the
filing of the case, Maria Margarita was already 39 years old while Angie Ruth was 35 years old. The case
was dismissed. In 2007, Garcia returned from Japan. When Sesbreño and Garcia’s children learned
about his return, Sesbreño filed a Second Amended Complaint against him.

Garcia alleged that he learned that Sesbreño was convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City,
Branch 18, for Homicide in Criminal Case No. CBU-31733. Garcia alleged that Sesbreño is only on
parole. Garcia alleged that homicide is a crime against moral turpitude; and thus, Sesbreño should not be
allowed to continue his practice of law.

In his answer to the complaint, Sesbreño alleged that his sentence was commuted and the phrase “with
the inherent accessory penalties provided by law” was deleted. Sesbreño argued that even if the
accessory penalty was not deleted, the disqualification applies only during the term of the sentence.
Sesbreño further alleged that homicide does not involve moral turpitude. Sesbreño claimed that Garcia’s
complaint was motivated by extreme malice, bad faith, and desire to retaliate against him for representing
Garcia’s daughters in court.


A.C. No. 5816, March 10, 2015

By: Karen P. Lustica


Atty. Tristan A. Catindig admitted to Dr. Elmar Perez that he was already wed to Lily Corazon Gomez.
Atty. Catindig told Dr. Perez that he was in the process of obtaining a divorce in a foreign country to
dissolve his marriage to Gomez, and that he would eventually marry her once the divorce had been
decreed. Consequently, sometime in 1984, Atty. Catindig and Gomez obtained a divorce decree from the
Dominican Republic.

On July 14, 1984, Atty. Catindig married Dr. Perez in the State of Virginia in the United States of America
Years later, Dr. Perez came to know that her marriage to Atty. Catindig is a nullity since the divorce
decree that was obtained from the Dominican Republic by the latter and Gomez is not recognized by
Philippine laws. Sometime in 1997, Dr. Perez reminded Atty. Catindig of his promise to legalize their
union by filing a petition to nullify his marriage to Gomez.
Sometime in 2001, Dr. Perez alleged that she received an anonymous letter in the mail informing her of
Atty. Catindig’s scandalous affair with Atty. Baydo, and that sometime later, she came upon a love letter
written and signed by Atty. Catindig for Atty. Baydo dated April 25, 2001. In the said letter, Atty. Catindig
professed his love to Atty. Baydo, promising to marry her once his “impediment is removed.”
On October 31, 2001, Atty. Catindig abandoned Dr. Perez and their son; he moved to an upscale
condominium in Salcedo Village, Makati City where Atty. Baydo was frequently seen.

Atty. Catindig, in his Comment, admitted that he married Gomez on May 18, 1968. He claimed, however,
that immediately after the wedding, Gomez showed signs that she was incapable of complying with her
marital obligations. Eventually, their irreconcilable differences led to their de facto separation in 1984.
Atty. Catindig claimed that Dr. Perez knew of the foregoing, including the fact that the divorce decreed by
the Dominican Republic court does not have any effect in the Philippines.
Atty. Catindig claimed that his relationship with Dr. Perez turned sour. Eventually, he left their home in
October 2001 to prevent any acrimony from developing.anroblesvirtuallawlibrary

He denied that Atty. Baydo was the reason that he left Dr. Perez.
For her part, Atty. Baydo denied that she had an affair with Atty. Catindig.

IBP – recommended the disbarment of Atty. Catindig for gross immorality, violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 7
and Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Complaint against Atty. Baydo – dismissed for
dearth of evidence.

WON the respondents committed gross immorality, which would warrant their disbarment.




The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Rule 1.01 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

Canon 7 – A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support
the activities of the Integrated Bar.

Rule 7.03 – A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal

In this regard, Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides that a lawyer may be removed or
suspended from the practice of law, inter alia, for grossly immoral conduct.

“A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct showing any fault or deficiency in his moral
character, honesty, probity or good demeanor.” Immoral conduct involves acts that are willful, flagrant, or
shameless, and that show a moral indifference to the opinion of the upright and respectable members of
the community. Immoral conduct is gross when it is so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act, or so
unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree, or when committed under such scandalous or
revolting circumstances as to shock the community’s sense of decency. The Court makes these
distinctions, as the supreme penalty of disbarment arising from conduct requires grossly immoral, not
simply immoral, conduct.roblesvirtuallawlibrary

Contracting a marriage during the subsistence of a previous one amounts to a grossly immoral conduct.

The facts gathered from the evidence adduced by the parties and, ironically, from Atty. Catindig’s own
admission, indeed establish a pattern of conduct that is grossly immoral; it is not only corrupt and
unprincipled, but reprehensible to a high degree.

Moreover, assuming arguendo that Atty. Catindig’s claim is true, it matters not that Dr. Perez knew that
their marriage is a nullity. The fact still remains that he resorted to various legal strategies in order to
render a façade of validity to his otherwise invalid marriage to Dr. Perez. Such act is, at the very least, so
unprincipled that it is reprehensible to the highest degree.

Further, after 17 years of cohabiting with Dr. Perez, and despite the various legal actions he resorted to in
order to give their union a semblance of validity, Atty. Catindig left her and their son. It was only at that
time that he finally decided to properly seek the nullity of his first marriage to Gomez. Apparently, he was
then already entranced with the much younger Atty. Baydo, an associate lawyer employed by his firm.

While the fact that Atty. Catindig decided to separate from Dr. Perez to pursue Atty. Baydo, in itself,
cannot be considered a grossly immoral conduct, such fact forms part of the pattern showing his
propensity towards immoral conduct. Lest it be misunderstood, the Court’s finding of gross immoral
conduct is hinged not on Atty. Catindig’s desertion of Dr. Perez, but on his contracting of a subsequent
marriage during the subsistence of his previous marriage to Gomez.
Atty. Catindig’s subsequent marriage during the subsistence of his previous one definitely manifests a
deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows protected by the Constitution and
affirmed by our laws. By his own admission, Atty. Catindig made a mockery out of the institution of
marriage, taking advantage of his legal skills in the process. He exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree
of morality required of him as a member of the bar, which thus warrant the penalty of disbarment.

There is insufficient evidence to prove the affair between the respondents.

As it is, the evidence that was presented by Dr. Perez to prove her claim was mere allegation, an
anonymous letter informing her that the respondents were indeed having an affair and the purported love
letter to Atty. Baydo that was signed by Atty. Catindig.

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 the
allegations in his complaint. The evidence required in suspension or disbarment proceedings is
preponderance of evidence.

DISPOSITION: Catindig – disbarred. Baydo – dismissed.

Case: Pangalangan v.Ecraela GR. No. 10676

The complainant was Atty. Roy B. Ecraela and the respondent was Atty. Ian Raymond A. Pangalangan.
The complainant and the respondent were best friends and both graduated from UP College of Law in
1990. The respondent was formerly married to Shiela P. Jardiolin. The complainant stated that while the
respondent had series of adulterous and illicit relations with married and unmarried women from 1990 to
2007, including the complainant’s wife. The complainant also said that the Respondent attempted to bribe
the MIAA and received the car as a gift. The Respondent also abused his authority as an educator in
some schools where he induced his male students to engage in nocturnal preoccupation and entertained
romance with female students for passing grades. Furthermore, the respondent did not attend his

Whether or not the respondent committed gross immoral conduct which would warrant his disbarment.

The Supreme Court found the respondent to be guilty of gross immorality and violating the Section 2 of
Article XV of 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, Canon 1 and Rule 1.01, Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 and
Rule 10.1 of Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and also the Lawyer’s Oath. He is
hereby disbarred from the practice of Law and his name is ordered stricken from the Rolls of Attorney
effective immediately.

The 1987 Constitution, specifically Article XV. Section 2 thereof clearly provides that marriage, an
inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the state.


Rule 1.01 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.


Rule 7.03 – A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal

Rule 10.01 – A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he
mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.

Rule 10.03 – A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends
of justice.

The Lawyer’s Oath

I,__________ , do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines; [will
support its Constitution and obey laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities
therein; 1 will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any court; I will not wittingly nor willingly
promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit, or give aid nor consent to the same; 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; and I impose upon myself this
voluntary obligations without any menial reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God.
10, 1985] →

People vs. Tuanda [A.M. No. 3360 January 30, 1990]


[Per Curiam]


Atty. Fe Tuanda was convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Manila in violation of B.P. 22 with a fine and
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to indemnify the complainant Herminia Marquez.
Respondent appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court and imposed
upon Atty. Fe Tuanda, in addition, the suspension from the practice of law until further orders from the
Supreme Court. The respondent filed a Notice of Appeal with the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals
noted respondent’s Notice of Appeal and advised her “to address her Notice of Appeal to the Honorable
Supreme Court, the proper forum.” In the said motion, responded stated:

that suspension from the practice of law is indeed a harsh if not a not painful penalty aggravating the
lower court’s penalty of fine considering that accused-appellant’s action on the case during the trial on the
merits at the lower court has always been motivated purely by sincere belief that she is innocent of the
offense charged nor of the intention to cause damage to the herein plaintiff-appellee.

Whether or not the imposed suspension for Atty. Tuanda may be lifted.


NO. Motion to Lift Order of Suspension denied.


[T]he crimes of which respondent was convicted [also] import deceit and violation of her attorney’s oath
and the Code of Professional Responsibility under both of which she was bound to “obey the laws of the
land.” Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude might not (as in the instant case, violation of B.P.
Blg. 22 does not) relate to the exercise of the profession of a lawyer; however, it certainly relates to and
affects the good moral character of a person convicted of such offense.

DIGEST: Legal Profession Case 23


AC No. 376 April 30, 1963
En Banc, Barrera

• Complainant Josefina Royong charge the respondent Ariston Oblena, a member of the bar and bench,
with rape. The Solicitor General immediately conducted an investigation and found out that there was no
rape, the carnal knowledge between complainant and respondent seems to be consensual sex.
• In view of his own findings as a result of his investigation, that even if respondent did not commit the
alleged rape, nevertheless, he was guilty of other misconduct. The Solicitor General made another
complaint charging the respondent of falsely and deliberately alleging in his application for admission to
the bar that he is a person of good moral character, of living adulterously with Briccia Angeles at the
same time maintaining illicit relations with the 18 year old Josefina Royong. Thus rendering him unfit to
practice law, praying that this Court render judgment ordering the permanent removal of the respondent
as lawyer and judge.

Whether or not the illicit relation of the respondent with Josefina Royong and the adulterous cohabitation
of respondent with Briccia Angeles warrants disbarment.

Ariston Oblena was disbarred.

The continued possession of a fair private and professional character or a good moral character is a
requisite condition for the rightful continuance in the practice of law for one who has been admitted, and
its loss requires suspension or disbarment even though the statutes do not specify that as ground for
Respondent's conduct though unrelated to his office and in no way directly bearing on his profession, has
nevertheless rendered him unfit and unworthy of the privileges of a lawyer.
Fornication, if committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as have proven in this case,
as to shock common sense of decency, certainly may justify positive action by the Court in protecting the
prestige of the noble profession of the law.
As former Chief Justice Moran observed: An applicant for license to practice law is required to show good
moral character, or what he really is, as distinguished from good reputation, or from the opinion generally
entertained of him, the estimate in which he is held by the public in the place where he is known.
Respondent, therefore, did not possess a good moral character at the time he applied for admission to
the bar. He lived an adulterous life with Briccia Angeles, and the fact that people who knew him sqemed
to have acuuiesced to his utatus, did noq render him a person of good moral character. It is of no moment
that his immoral state was discovered then or now as he is clearly not fit to remain a member of the bar.

EN BANC[ A.C. No. 4148, July 30, 1998 ]



In a letter-complaint dated November 22, 1993, complainant Remedios Ramirez Tapucar sought the
disbarment of her husband, Atty. Lauro L. Tapucar, on the ground of continuing grossly immoral conduct
for cohabiting with a certain Elena (Helen) Peña under scandalous circumstances.

Prior to this complaint, respondent was already administratively charged four times for conduct
unbecoming an officer of the court. in Administrative Matter No. 1740, resolved on April 11, 1980,
respondent, at that time the Judge of Butuan City, was meted the penalty of six months suspension
without pay, while in Administrative Matter Nos. 1720, 1911 and 2300-CFI, which were consolidated, this
Court on January 31, 1981 ordered the separation from service of respondent.


Whether or not respondent violated canon 1 of the code of professional responsibility



The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that:

Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
Rule 7.03 A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal

A lawyer is expected at all times to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession by faithfully
performing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. Exacted from him, as a
member of the profession charged with the responsibility to stand as a shield in the defense of what is
right, are such positive qualities of decency, truthfulness and responsibility that have been compendiously
described as “moral character.” To achieve such end, every lawyer needs to strive at all times to honor
and maintain the dignity of his profession, and thus improve not only the public regard for the Bar but also
the administration of justice.


Facts: An administrative case against Atty. de Vera was filed before the State Bar of California, docketed
then as Adm. Case No. 86-0-18429. It arose from an insurance case Atty. de Vera handled involving
Julius Willis, III who figured in an automobile accident in 1986. Atty. de Vera was authorized by the elder
Willis (father of Julius who was given authority by the son to control the case because the latter was then
studying in San Diego California) for the release of the funds in settlement of the case. Atty. de Vera
received a check in settlement of the case which he then deposited to his personal account; The Hearing
referee in the said administrative case recommended that Atty. de Vera be suspended from the practice
of law for three years; Atty. de Vera resigned from the California Bar which resignation was accepted by
the Supreme Court of California. Atty. de Vera vehemently insists that the foregoing facts do not prove
that he misappropriated his client’s funds as the latter’s father (the elder Willis) gave him authority to use
the same and that, unfortunately, the hearing officer did not consider this explanation notwithstanding the
fact that the elder Willis testified under oath that he “expected de Vera might use the money for a few
days. Petitioner claims that such information was concealed by the respondent. Such and other
circumstances which the IBP board deems that respondent is not fit to be a member of the board, hence
his removal was sought.

Issue: Whether or not a member of the Philippine Bar, who is concomitantly an attorney in a foreign
jurisdiction and who was suspended from the practice of law in said foreign jurisdiction, can be
sanctioned as member of the Philippine Bar for the same infraction committed in the foreign jurisdiction.

Held: No. We take the issue in Atty. Maquera one notch higher in the case of Atty. de Vera who was
admitted to the practice of law in a foreign jurisdiction (State Bar of California, U.S.A.) and against whom
charges were filed in connection with his practice in said jurisdiction. However, unlike the case of Atty.
Maquera, no final judgment for suspension or disbarment was meted against Atty. de Vera despite a
recommendation of suspension of three years as he surrendered his license to practice law before his
case could be taken up by the Supreme Court of California.

In Maquera, we emphasized that the judgment of suspension against a Filipino lawyer in a foreign
jurisdiction does not automatically result in his suspension or disbarment in the Philippines as the acts
giving rise to his suspension are not grounds for disbarment and suspension in this jurisdiction. Judgment
of suspension against a Filipino lawyer may transmute into a similar judgment of suspension in the
Philippines only if the basis of the foreign court’s action includes any of the grounds for disbarment or
suspension in this jurisdiction. We likewise held that the judgment of the foreign court merely
constitutes prima facie evidence of unethical acts as lawyer.

A foreign judgment is presumed to be valid and binding in the country from which it comes, until a
contrary showing, on the basis of a presumption of regularity of proceedings and the giving of due notice
in the foreign forum.

In herein case, considering that there is technically no foreign judgment to speak of, the recommendation
by the hearing officer of the State Bar of California does not constitute prima facieevidence of unethical
behavior by Atty. de Vera. Complainant must prove by substantial evidence the facts upon which the
recommendation by the hearing officer was based. If he is successful in this, he must then prove that
these acts are likewise unethical under Philippine law.