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CANON 9 It is to be noted that we are not now considering an application for the suspension or removal of

the defendant Ney from his office as attorney. The defendant Bosque, not being an officer of the
court, could not be proceeded against in that way, and probably for that reason the Attorney-
G.R. No. 3593 March 23, 1907
General instituted this form of proceeding.

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff,


Should either of these defendants be thus punished for contempt?
vs.
C.W. NEY and JUAN GARCIA BOSQUE, defendants.
Section 232 of the Code of Civil Procedure describes contempt as follows:
Attorney-General Araneta for plaintiff.
C.W. Ney for defendants. 1. Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, judgment, or
command of a court, or injunction granted by a court or judge;
TRACEY, J.:
2. Misbehavior of an officer of the court in the performance of his official duties or in
his official transactions.
This proceeding is to punish the defendants for contempt.

Where the law defines contempt, the power of the courts is restricted to punishment for acts so
In the year 1902 this court decided that the defendant, J. Garcia Bosque, was not entitled to
defined. (Ex parteRobinson, 86 U.S., 505.)
admission to practice law in the Philippine Islands, upon the ground that after the change of
sovereignty he had elected to remain a Spanish subject and as such was not qualified for
admission to the bar (In re Bosque, 1 Phil. Rep., 88), and an order was entered accordingly. As to the first subdivision of this section, no direct order or command of this court has been
disobeyed or resisted by the defendant Ney. The only order that the defendant Bosque can have
disobeyed is the one denying him the right to practice law. This order, however, was directly
In the year 1904 he made an arrangement with the defendant Ney, a practicing attorney, to carry
binding upon him, notwithstanding proceedings taken for its review, and any hope on his part of
on business together, sending out a circular signed "Ney & Bosque," stating that they had
ultimately reversing it furnished no excuse for its violation. Even had he been entitled under the
established an office for the general practice of law in all the courts of the Islands and that
statute to practice law without any license from the court and without an application to it, yet its
Bosque would devote himself especially to consultation and office work relating to Spanish law.
order made on his own petition. A mandate of the court, while in force, must be obeyed. The
The paper was headed "Law Office — Ney & Bosque. Juan G. Bosque,jurisconsulto español —
irregular signature to papers, though affixed by his associate, had his authorization and
C.W. Ney, abogado americano."
constitutes a substantial attempt to engage in practice. Moreover the firm circular in setting forth
the establishment of an office for the general practice of law in all the courts of the Islands,
Since that time the defendant Bosque has not personally appeared in the courts, and with one amounted to an assertion of his right and purpose, not effectively qualified by the addition that
exception, occuring through an inadvertance, papers from the office were signed not with the he would devote himself to consultation and office work relating to Spanish law. Spanish law
firm name alone nor with any designation of the firm as attorneys, but with the words "Ney & plays an important part in the equipment of a lawyer in the Archipelago, standing on a different
Bosque — C.W. Ney, abogado." footing from the law of other foreign countries, in regard to which a skilled person might as a
calling, advise without practicing law. The fact stated on the circular that he was a Spanish
lawyer did not amount to a disclaimer of his professional character in the Islands. Independent of
On two occasions, one on May 1, 1905, and the other on September 15, 1906, this court refused statutory provisions, a foreigner is not by reason of his status disqualified from practicing law.
to consider petitions so singed with the names of the defendants and the practice being One of the most eminent American advocates was an alien barrister admitted to the bar after a
repeated, on the 2nd day of October, 1906, ordered the papers sent to the Attorney-General to contest in the court of New York State. (In re Thomas Addis Emmett, 2 Cain's Cases, 386.)
take appropriate action thereon, and he thereupon instituted this proceeding. Consequently the conduct of the defendant Bosque amounts to disobedience of an order made
in a proceeding to which he was a party.
The defendants disclaim any intentional contempt, and defend their acts as being within the law.
Under the second subdivision of the section cited, Bosque is obviously not answerable,
Section 102 of the Code of Civil procedure, providing that every pleading must be subscribed by inasmuch as he was not an officer of the court. On the other hand, under this subdivision, the
the party or his attorney, does not permit, and by implication prohibits, a subscription of the defendant Ney, as an admitted attorney, is liable if his conduct amounted to misbehavior. We
names of any other persons, whether agents or otherwise; therefore a signature containing the are of the opinion that it did. In the offense of Bosque in holding himself out as a general
name of one neither a party nor an attorney was not a compliance with this section, nor was it practitioner Ney participated, and for the improper signature of the pleadings he was chiefly and
aided by the too obvious subterfuge of the addition of the individual name of a licensed attorney. personally responsible. It is impossible to say that the signature itself was a violation of the law,
The illegality in this instance was aggravated by the fact that one of the agents so named was a and yet hold guiltless the man who repeatedly wrote it. Moreover we regret to add that his
person residing in these Islands to whom this court had expressly denied admission to the bar. persistent and rash disregard of the rulings of the court has not commended him to our
The papers in question were irregular and were properly rejected. We refuse to recognize as a indulgence, while the offensive character of certain papers recently filed by him forbids us from
practice any signature of names appended to pleadings or other papers in an action other than presuming on the hope of his voluntarily conforming to the customary standard of members of
those specified in the statute. A signature by agents amounts to a signing by non-qualified the bar.
attorneys, the office of attorney being originally one of agency. (In re Cooper, 22 N.Y., 67.) We
do not, however, mean to discountenance the use of a suitable firm designation by partners, all
The judgment of the court is that each of the defendants is fined in the sum of 200 pesos, to be
of whom have been duly admitted to practice.
paid into the office of the clerk of this court within ten days, with the costs de oficio. So ordered.
A.C. No. 9604 March 20, 2013 In a Resolution dated 19 September 2005, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the criminal
case for falsification of public document (OMB-V-C-05-0207-E) for insufficiency of evidence. The
dispositive portion states:
RODRIGO E. TAPAY and ANTHONY J. RUSTIA, Complainants,
vs.
ATTY. CHARLIE L. BANCOLO and ATTY. JANUS T. JARDER, Respondents. WHEREFORE, the instant case is hereby DISMISSED for insufficiency of evidence, without
prejudice to the re-filing by Divinagracia, Jr. of a proper complaint for violation of RA 3019 and
other offenses against Rustia and Tapay.
DECISION

SO ORDERED.4
CARPIO, J.:

The administrative case for dishonesty (OMB-V-A-05-0219-E) was also dismissed for lack of
The Case
substantial evidence in a Decision dated 19 September 2005.

This administrative case arose from a Complaint tiled by Rodrigo E. Tapay (Tapay) and Anthony
On 29 November 2005, Tapay and Rustia filed with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) a
J. Rustia (Rustia), both employees of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, against Atty. Charlie
complaint5 to disbar Atty. Bancolo and Atty. Jarder, Atty. Bancolo’s law partner. The
L. Bancolo (Atty. Bancolo) and Atty. Janus T. larder (Atty. Jarder) for violation of the Canons of
complainants alleged that they were subjected to a harassment Complaint filed before the Office
Ethics and Professionalism, Falsification of Public Document, Gross Dishonesty, and
of the Ombudsman with the forged signature of Atty. Bancolo. Complainants stated further that
Harassment.
the signature of Atty. Bancolo in the Complaint was not the only one that was forged.
Complainants attached a Report6 dated 1 July 2005 by the Philippine National Police Crime
The Facts Laboratory 6 which examined three other letter-complaints signed by Atty. Bancolo for other
clients, allegedly close friends of Atty. Jarder. The report concluded that the questioned
signatures in the letter-complaints and the submitted standard signatures of Atty. Bancolo were
Sometime in October 2004, Tapay and Rustia received an Order dated 14 October 2004 from not written by one and the same person. Thus, complainants maintained that not only were
the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas requiring them to file a counter-affidavit to a complaint for respondents engaging in unprofessional and unethical practices, they were also involved in
usurpation of authority, falsification of public document, and graft and corrupt practices filed falsification of documents used to harass and persecute innocent people.
against them by Nehimias Divinagracia, Jr. (Divinagracia), a co-employee in the Sugar
Regulatory Administration. The Complaint1 dated 31 August 2004 was allegedly signed on
behalf of Divinagracia by one Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo of the Jarder Bancolo Law Office based in On 9 January 2006, complainants filed a Supplement to the Disbarment Complaint Due to
Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. Additional Information. They alleged that a certain Mary Jane Gentugao, the secretary of the
Jarder Bancolo Law Office, forged the signature of Atty. Bancolo.
When Atty. Bancolo and Rustia accidentally chanced upon each other, the latter informed Atty.
Bancolo of the case filed against them before the Office of the Ombudsman. Atty. Bancolo In their Answer dated 26 January 2006 to the disbarment complaint, respondents admitted that
denied that he represented Divinagracia since he had yet to meet Divinagracia in person. When the criminal and administrative cases filed by Divinagracia against complainants before the
Rustia showed him the Complaint, Atty. Bancolo declared that the signature appearing above his Office of the Ombudsman were accepted by the Jarder Bancolo Law Office. The cases were
name as counsel for Divinagracia was not his. Thus, Rustia convinced Atty. Bancolo to sign an assigned to Atty. Bancolo. Atty. Bancolo alleged that after being informed of the assignment of
affidavit to attest to such fact. On 9 December 2004, Atty. Bancolo signed an affidavit denying the cases, he ordered his staff to prepare and draft all the necessary pleadings and documents.
his supposed signature appearing on the Complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman and However, due to some minor lapses, Atty. Bancolo permitted that the pleadings and
submitted six specimen signatures for comparison. Using Atty. Bancolo’s affidavit and other communications be signed in his name by the secretary of the law office. Respondents added
documentary evidence, Tapay and Rustia filed a counter-affidavit accusing Divinagracia of that complainants filed the disbarment complaint to retaliate against them since the cases filed
falsifying the signature of his alleged counsel, Atty. Bancolo. before the Office of the Ombudsman were meritorious and strongly supported by testimonial and
documentary evidence. Respondents also denied that Mary Jane Gentugao was employed as
secretary of their law office.
In a Resolution dated 28 March 2005, the Office of the Ombudsman provisionally dismissed the
Complaint since the falsification of the counsel’s signature posed a prejudicial question to the
Complaint’s validity. Also, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered that separate cases for Tapay and Rustia filed a Reply to the Answer dated 2 March 2006. Thereafter, the parties were
Falsification of Public Document2 and Dishonesty3 be filed against Divinagracia, with Rustia and directed by the Commission on Bar Discipline to attend a mandatory conference scheduled on 5
Atty. Bancolo as complainants. May 2006. The conference was reset to 10 August 2006. On the said date, complainants were
present but respondents failed to appear. The conference was reset to 25 September 2006 for
the last time. Again, respondents failed to appear despite receiving notice of the conference.
Thereafter, Divinagracia filed his Counter-Affidavit dated 1 August 2005 denying that he falsified Complainants manifested that they were submitting their disbarment complaint based on the
the signature of his former lawyer, Atty. Bancolo. Divinagracia presented as evidence an affidavit
documents submitted to the IBP. Respondents were also deemed to have waived their right to
dated 1 August 2005 by Richard A. Cordero, the legal assistant of Atty. Bancolo, that the Jarder participate in the mandatory conference. Further, both parties were directed to submit their
Bancolo Law Office accepted Divinagracia’s case and that the Complaint filed with the Office of respective position papers. On 27 October 2006, the IBP received complainants’ position paper
the Ombudsman was signed by the office secretary per Atty. Bancolo’s instructions. Divinagracia
dated 18 October 2006 and respondents’ position paper dated 23 October 2006.
asked that the Office of the Ombudsman dismiss the cases for falsification of public document
and dishonesty filed against him by Rustia and Atty. Bancolo and to revive the original Complaint
for various offenses that he filed against Tapay and Rustia. The IBP’s Report and Recommendation
On 11 April 2007, Atty. Lolita A. Quisumbing, the Investigating Commissioner of the Commission However, with regard to the charge against Atty. Janus T. Jarder, the Board of Governors
on Bar Discipline of the IBP, submitted her Report. Atty. Quisumbing found that Atty. Bancolo RESOLVED as it is hereby RESOLVED to AMEND, as it is hereby AMENDED the
violated Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility while Atty. Jarder Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner, and APPROVE the DISMISSAL of the
violated Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the same Code. The Investigating case for lack of merit.8

Commissioner recommended that Atty. Bancolo be suspended for two years from the practice of Tapay and Rustia filed a Motion for Reconsideration. Likewise, Atty. Bancolo filed his Motion for
law and Atty. Jarder be admonished for his failure to exercise certain responsibilities in their law Reconsideration dated 22 December 2007. Thereafter, Atty. Jarder filed his separate
firm. Consolidated Comment/Reply to Complainants’ Motion for Reconsideration and Comment Filed
by Complainants dated 29 January 2008.
In her Report and Recommendation, the Investigating Commissioner opined:
In Resolution No. XX-2012-175 dated 9 June 2012, the IBP Board of Governors denied both
complainants’ and Atty. Bancolo’s motions for reconsideration. The IBP Board found no cogent
x x x. In his answer, respondent Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo admitted that his signature appearing in
reason to reverse the findings of the Investigating Commissioner and affirmed Resolution No.
the complaint filed against complainants’ Rodrigo E. Tapay and Anthony J. Rustia with the
XVIII-2007-97 dated 19 September 2007.
Ombudsman were signed by the secretary. He did not refute the findings that his signatures
appearing in the various documents released from his office were found not to be his. Such
pattern of malpratice by respondent clearly breached his obligation under Rule 9.01 of Canon 9, The Court’s Ruling
for a lawyer who allows a non-member to represent him is guilty of violating the aforementioned
Canon. The fact that respondent was busy cannot serve as an excuse for him from signing
After a careful review of the records of the case, we agree with the findings and recommendation
personally. After all respondent is a member of a law firm composed of not just one (1) lawyer.
of the IBP Board and find reasonable grounds to hold respondent Atty. Bancolo administratively
The Supreme Court has ruled that this practice constitute negligence and undersigned finds the
liable.
act a sign of indolence and ineptitude. Moreover, respondents ignored the notices sent by
undersigned. That showed patent lack of respect to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines’
Commission on Bar Discipline and its proceedings. It betrays lack of courtesy and irresponsibility Atty. Bancolo admitted that the Complaint he filed for a former client before the Office of the
as lawyers. Ombudsman was signed in his name by a secretary of his law office. Clearly, this is a violation of
Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides:
On the other hand, Atty. Janus T. Jarder, a senior partner of the law firm Jarder Bancolo and
Associates Law Office, failed to exercise certain responsibilities over matters under the charge CANON 9
of his law firm. As a senior partner[,] he failed to abide to the principle of "command A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ASSIST IN THE UNAUTHORIZED
responsibility". x x x. PRACTICE OF LAW.

xxxx Rule 9.01 - A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task
which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good standing.
Respondent Atty. Janus Jarder after all is a seasoned practitioner, having passed the bar in
1995 and practicing law up to the present. He holds himself out to the public as a law firm This rule was clearly explained in the case of Cambaliza v. Cristal-Tenorio,9 where we held:
designated as Jarder Bancolo and Associates Law Office. It behooves Atty. Janus T. Jarder to
exert ordinary diligence to find out what is going on in his law firm, to ensure that all lawyers in
his firm act in conformity to the Code of Professional Responsibility. As a partner, it is his The lawyer’s duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law
responsibility to provide efficacious control of court pleadings and other documents that carry the is founded on public interest and policy. Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited
name of the law firm. Had he done that, he could have known the unethical practice of his law to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character. The permissive right
conferred on the lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to
partner Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo. Respondent Atty. Janus T. Jarder failed to perform this task and
is administratively liable under Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 7 maintain proper standards of moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the
public, the court, the client, and the bar from the incompetence or dishonesty of those
unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves
On 19 September 2007, in Resolution No. XVIII-2007-97, the Board of Governors of the IBP upon a lawyer to see that this purpose is attained. Thus, the canons and ethics of the profession
approved with modification the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. enjoin him not to permit his professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to make
The Resolution states: possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any agency, personal or corporate. And, the law
makes it a misbehavior on his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the
unauthorized practice of law.
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, with
modification, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-
entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A"; and, finding the In Republic v. Kenrick Development Corporation,10 we held that the preparation and signing of a
recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, pleading constitute legal work involving the practice of law which is reserved exclusively for
and considering Respondent Atty. Bancolo’s violation of Rule 9.01, Canon 9 of the Code of members of the legal profession. Atty. Bancolo’s authority and duty to sign a pleading are
Professional Responsibility, Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of personal to him. Although he may delegate the signing of a pleading to another lawyer, he may
law for one (1) year. not delegate it to a non-lawyer. Further, under the Rules of Court, counsel’s signature serves as
a certification that (1) he has read the pleading; (2) to the best of his knowledge, information and
belief there is good ground to support it; and (3) it is not interposed for delay. 11 Thus, by affixing Sophia Alawi was (and presumably still is) a sales representative (or coordinator) of E. B.
one’s signature to a pleading, it is counsel alone who has the responsibility to certify to these Villarosa & Partners Co., Ltd. of Davao City, a real estate and housing company. Ashari M.
matters and give legal effect to the document.1âwphi1 Alauya is the incumbent executive clerk of court of the 4th Judicial Shari'a District in Marawi City.
They were classmates, and used to be friends.
In his Motion for Reconsideration dated 22 December 2007, Atty. Bancolo wants us to believe It appears that through Alawi's agency, a contract was executed for the purchase on
that he was a victim of circumstances or of manipulated events because of his unconditional installments by Alauya of one of the housing units belonging to the above mentioned firm
trust and confidence in his former law partner, Atty. Jarder. However, Atty. Bancolo did not take (hereafter, simply Villarosa & Co.); and in connection therewith, a housing loan was also granted
any steps to rectify the situation, save for the affidavit he gave to Rustia denying his signature to to Alauya by the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC).
the Complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman. Atty. Bancolo had an opportunity to
maintain his innocence when he filed with the IBP his Joint Answer (with Atty. Jarder) dated 26 Not long afterwards, or more precisely on December 15, 1995, Alauya addressed a letter
January 2006. Atty. Bancolo, however, admitted that prior to the preparation of the Joint Answer, to the President of Villarosa & Co. advising of the termination of his contract with the company.
Atty. Jarder threatened to file a disbarment case against him if he did not cooperate. Thus, he He wrote:
was constrained to allow Atty. Jarder to prepare the Joint Answer. Atty. Bancolo simply signed
the verification without seeing the contents of the Joint Answer.
" ** I am formally and officially withdrawing from and notifying you of my intent to terminate the
Contract/Agreement entered into between me and your company, as represented by your Sales
In the Answer, Atty. Bancolo categorically stated that because of some minor lapses, the Agent/Coordinator, SOPHIA ALAWI, of your company's branch office here in Cagayan de Oro
communications and pleadings filed against Tapay and Rustia were signed by his secretary, City, on the grounds that my consent was vitiated by gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud,
albeit with his tolerance. Undoubtedly, Atty. Bancolo violated the Code of Professional dishonesty and abuse of confidence by the aforesaid sales agent which made said contract
Responsibility by allowing a non-lawyer to affix his signature to a pleading. This violation Is an void ab initio. Said sales agent acting in bad faith perpetrated such illegal and unauthorized acts
act of falsehood which IS a ground for disciplinary action. which made said contract an Onerous Contract prejudicial to my rights and interests."

He then proceeded to expound in considerable detail and quite acerbic language on the
The complainants did not present any evidence that Atty. Jarder was directly involved, had "grounds which could evidence the bad faith, deceit, fraud, misrepresentation, dishonesty and
knowledge of, or even participated in the wrongful practice of Atty. Bancolo in allowing or abuse of confidence by the unscrupulous sales agent ** ;" and closed with the plea that Villarosa
tolerating his secretary to sign pleadings for him. Thus, we agree with the finding of the IBP & Co. "agree for the mutual rescission of our contract, even as I inform you that I categorically
Board that Atty. Jarder is not administratively liable. state on record that I am terminating the contract **. I hope I do not have to resort to any legal
action before said onerous and manipulated contract against my interest be annulled. I was
In sum, we find that the suspension of Atty. Bancolo from the practice of law for one year is actually fooled by your sales agent, hence the need to annul the controversial contract."
warranted. We also find proper the dismissal of the case against Atty. larder.
Alauya sent a copy of the letter to the Vice-President of Villarosa & Co. at San Pedro,
Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City. The envelope containing it, and which actually went through the
WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the complaint against Atty. Janus T. larder for lack of merit. post, bore no stamps. Instead at the right hand corner above the description of the addressee,
the words, "Free Postage PD 26," had been typed.
We find respondent Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo administratively liable for violating Rule 9.01 of On the same date, December 15, 1995, Alauya also wrote to Mr. Fermin T. Arzaga, Vice-
Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is hereby SUSPENDED from the President, Credit & Collection Group of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation
practice of law for one year effective upon finality of this Decision. He is warned that a repetition (NHMFC) at Salcedo Village, Makati City, repudiating as fraudulent and void his contract with
of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely. Villarosa & Co.; and asking for cancellation of his housing loan in connection therewith, which
was payable from salary deductions at the rate of P4,338.00 a month. Among other things, he
Let a copy of this Decision be attached to respondent Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo's record in this said:
Court as attorney. Further, let copies of this Decision be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator, which is directed to circulate them to all the " ** (T)hrough this written notice, I am terminating, as I hereby annul, cancel, rescind and voided,
courts in the country for their information and guidance. the 'manipulated contract' entered into between me and the E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd., as
represented by its sales agent/coordinator, SOPHIA ALAWI, who maliciously and fraudulently
SO ORDERED. manipulated said contract and unlawfully secured and pursued the housing loan without my
authority and against my will. Thus, the contract itself is deemed to be void ab initio in view of
the attending circumstances, that my consent was vitiated by misrepresentation, fraud, deceit,
dishonesty, and abuse of confidence; and that there was no meeting of the minds between me
and the swindling sales agent who concealed the real facts from me."
[A.M. SDC-97-2-P. February 24, 1997] And, as in his letter to Villarosa & Co., he narrated in some detail what he took to be the
SOPHIA ALAWI, complainant, vs. ASHARY M. ALAUYA, Clerk of Court VI, Shari'a District anomalous actuations of Sophia Alawi.
Court, Marawi City, respondent. Alauya wrote three other letters to Mr. Arzaga of the NHMFC, dated February 21, 1996,
April 15, 1996, and May 3, 1996, in all of which, for the same reasons already cited, he insisted
DECISION on the cancellation of his housing loan and discontinuance of deductions from his salary on
account thereof.a He also wrote on January 18, 1996 to Ms. Corazon M. Ordoez, Head of the
NARVASA, C.J.: Fiscal Management & Budget Office, and to the Chief, Finance Division, both of this Court, to
stop deductions from his salary in relation to the loan in question, again asserting the anomalous subordinate whom he entrusted with the mailing of certain letters; that the words: "Free Postage
manner by which he was allegedly duped into entering into the contracts by "the scheming sales PD 26," were typewritten on the envelope by some other person, an averment corroborated by
agent."b the affidavit of Absamen C. Domocao, Clerk IV (subscribed and sworn to before respondent
himself, and attached to the comment as Annex J); [8] and as far as he knew, his subordinate
The upshot was that in May, 1996, the NHMFC wrote to the Supreme Court requesting it mailed the letters with the use of the money he had given for postage, and if those letters were
to stop deductions on Alauya's UHLP loan "effective May 1996," and began negotiating with indeed mixed with the official mail of the court, this had occurred inadvertently and because of
Villarosa & Co. "for the buy-back of ** (Alauya's) mortgage, and ** the refund of ** (his) an honest mistake.[9]
payments."c
Alauya justified his use of the title, "attorney," by the assertion that it is "lexically
On learning of Alauya's letter to Villarosa & Co. of December 15, 1995, Sophia Alawi filed synonymous" with "Counsellors-at-law," a title to which Shari'a lawyers have a rightful claim,
with this Court a verified complaint dated January 25, 1996 -- to which she appended a copy of adding that he prefers the title of "attorney" because "counsellor" is often mistaken for
the letter, and of the above mentioned envelope bearing the typewritten words, "Free Postage "councilor," "konsehal or the Maranao term "consial," connoting a local legislator beholden to the
PD 26."[1] In that complaint, she accused Alauya of: mayor. Withal, he does not consider himself a lawyer.

He pleads for the Court's compassion, alleging that what he did "is expected of any man
1. "Imputation of malicious and libelous charges with no solid grounds through manifest
unduly prejudiced and injured."[10] He claims he was manipulated into reposing his trust in Alawi,
ignorance and evident bad faith;"
a classmate and friend.[11] He was induced to sign a blank contract on Alawi's assurance that
she would show the completed document to him later for correction, but she had since avoided
2. "Causing undue injury to, and blemishing her honor and established reputation;" him; despite "numerous letters and follow-ups" he still does not know where the property --
subject of his supposed agreement with Alawi's principal, Villarosa & Co. -- is situated;[12] He
says Alawi somehow got his GSIS policy from his wife, and although she promised to return it
3. "Unauthorized enjoyment of the privilege of free postage **;" and the next day, she did not do so until after several months. He also claims that in connection with
his contract with Villarosa & Co., Alawi forged his signature on such pertinent documents as
4. Usurpation of the title of "attorney," which only regular members of the Philippine Bar may those regarding the down payment, clearance, lay-out, receipt of the key of the house, salary
properly use. deduction, none of which he ever saw.[13]

She deplored Alauya's references to her as "unscrupulous, swindler, forger, manipulator, Averring in fine that his acts in question were done without malice, Alauya prays for the
etc." without "even a bit of evidence to cloth (sic) his allegations with the essence of truth," dismissal of the complaint for lack of merit, it consisting of "fallacious, malicious and baseless
denouncing his imputations as irresponsible, "all concoctions, lies, baseless and coupled with allegations," and complainant Alawi having come to the Court with unclean hands, her complicity
manifest ignorance and evident bad faith," and asserting that all her dealings with Alauya had in the fraudulent housing loan being apparent and demonstrable.
been regular and completely transparent. She closed with the plea that Alauya "be dismissed
from the service, or be appropriately disciplined (sic) ** " It may be mentioned that in contrast to his two (2) letters to Assistant Clerk of Court
Marasigan (dated April 19, 1996 and April 22, 1996), and his two (2) earlier letters both dated
The Court resolved to order Alauya to comment on the complaint. Conformably with December 15, 1996 -- all of which he signed as "Atty. Ashary M. Alauya" -- in his Comment of
established usage that notices of resolutions emanate from the corresponding Office of the Clerk June 5, 1996, he does not use the title but refers to himself as "DATU ASHARY M. ALAUYA."
of Court, the notice of resolution in this case was signed by Atty. Alfredo P. Marasigan, Assistant
Division Clerk of Court.[2] The Court referred the case to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report
and recommendation.[14]
Alauya first submitted a "Preliminary Comment"[3] in which he questioned the authority of
Atty. Marasigan to require an explanation of him, this power pertaining, according to him, not to The first accusation against Alauya is that in his aforesaid letters, he made "malicious and
"a mere Asst. Div. Clerk of Court investigating an Executive Clerk of Court." but only to the libelous charges (against Alawi) with no solid grounds through manifest ignorance and evident
District Judge, the Court Administrator or the Chief Justice, and voiced the suspicion that the bad faith," resulting in "undue injury to (her) and blemishing her honor and established
Resolution was the result of a "strong link" between Ms. Alawi and Atty. Marasigan's office. He reputation." In those letters, Alauya had written inter alia that:
also averred that the complaint had no factual basis; Alawi was envious of him for being not only
"the Executive Clerk of court and ex-officio Provincial Sheriff and District Registrar," but also "a 1) Alawi obtained his consent to the contracts in question "by gross misrepresentation, deceit,
scion of a Royal Family **."[4] fraud, dishonesty and abuse of confidence;"
In a subsequent letter to Atty. Marasigan, but this time in much less aggressive, even
obsequious tones,[5] Alauya requested the former to give him a copy of the complaint in order 2) Alawi acted in bad faith and perpetrated ** illegal and unauthorized acts ** ** prejudicial to **
that he might comment thereon.[6] He stated that his acts as clerk of court were done in good (his) rights and interests;"
faith and within the confines of the law; and that Sophia Alawi as sales agent of Villarosa & Co.
had, by falsifying his signature, fraudulently bound him to a housing loan contract entailing
3) Alawi was an "unscrupulous (and "swindling") sales agent" who had fooled him by "deceit,
monthly deductions of P4,333.10 from his salary.
fraud, misrepresentation, dishonesty and abuse of confidence;" and
And in his comment thereafter submitted under date of June 5, 1996, Alauya contended
that it was he who had suffered "undue injury, mental anguish, sleepless nights, wounded 4) Alawi had maliciously and fraudulently manipulated the contract with Villarosa & Co., and
feelings and untold financial suffering," considering that in six months, a total of P26,028.60 had unlawfully secured and pursued the housing loan without ** (his) authority and against ** (his)
been deducted from his salary.[7] He declared that there was no basis for the complaint; in will," and "concealed the real facts **."
communicating with Villarosa & Co. he had merely acted in defense of his rights. He denied any
abuse of the franking privilege, saying that he gave P20.00 plus transportation fare to a
Alauya's defense essentially is that in making these statements, he was merely acting in G.R. No. L-46537 July 29, 1977
defense of his rights, and doing only what "is expected of any man unduly prejudiced and
injured," who had suffered "mental anguish, sleepless nights, wounded feelings and untold
JOSE GUBALLA, petitioner,
financial suffering," considering that in six months, a total of P26,028.60 had been deducted from
vs.
his salary.[15]
THE HON. EDUARDO P. CAGUIOA, RICARDO G. CARLOS and DOMINGO FORTEZA,
The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA JR., respondents.
6713) inter aliaenunciates the State policy of promoting a high standard of ethics and utmost
responsibility in the public service.[16] Section 4 of the Code commands that "(p)ublic officials and
employees ** at all times respect the rights of others, and ** refrain from doing acts contrary to SANTOS, J:
law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public
interest."[17] More than once has this Court emphasized that "the conduct and behavior of every
official and employee of an agency involved in the administration of justice, from the presiding In this petition for certiorari with Preliminary Injunction, petitioner seeks to set aside the Order of
judge to the most junior clerk, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. respondent Judge dated July 12, 1977, denying his Petition for Relief from Judgment and
Their conduct must at all times be characterized by, among others, strict propriety and decorum allowing a writ of execution to issue in Civil Case No. 680-V of the Court of First Instance of
so as to earn and keep the respect of the public for the judiciary." [18] Bulacan.

Now, it does not appear to the Court consistent with good morals, good customs or public
The factual antecedents may be recited as follows:
policy, or respect for the rights of others, to couch denunciations of acts believed -- however
sincerely -- to be deceitful, fraudulent or malicious, in excessively intemperate. insulting or
virulent language. Alauya is evidently convinced that he has a right of action against Sophia Petitioner is an operator of a public utility vehicle which was involved, on October 1, 1971, in an
Alawi. The law requires that he exercise that right with propriety, without malice or accident resulting to injuries sustained by private respondent Domingo Forteza Jr. As a
vindictiveness, or undue harm to anyone; in a manner consistent with good morals, good consequence thereof, a complaint for damages was filed by Forteza against petitioner with the
customs, public policy, public order, supra; or otherwise stated, that he "act with justice, give Court of First Instance of Bulacan (Branch VIII), docketed as Civil Case No. 680-V. An Answer
everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith."[19] Righteous indignation, or vindication thereto was filed on behalf of petitioner by Irineo W. Vida Jr., of the law firm of Vida Enriquez,
of right cannot justify resort to vituperative language, or downright name-calling. As a member of Mercado & Associates. 1
the Shari'a Bar and an officer of a Court, Alawi is subject to a standard of conduct more stringent
than for most other government workers. As a man of the law, he may not use language which is
abusive, offensive, scandalous, menacing, or otherwise improper. [20] As a judicial employee, it is Because petitioner and counsel failed to appear at the pretrial conference on April 6, 1972,
expected that he accord respect for the person and the rights of others at all times, and that his despite due notice, petitioner was treated as in default and private respondent was allowed to
every act and word should be characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy, dignity. His radical present his evidence ex parte. A decision was thereafter rendered by the trial court in favor of
deviation from these salutary norms might perhaps be mitigated, but cannot be excused, by his private respondent Forteza Jr. A Motion for Reconsideration was then filed by petitioner seeking
strongly held conviction that he had been grievously wronged. the lifting of the order of default, the reopening of the case for the presentation of his evidence
and the setting aside of the decision. Said Motion for Reconsideration was signed by Ponciano
As regards Alauya's use of the title of "Attorney," this Court has already had occasion to Mercado, another member of the law firm. The same was denied by the lower Court and
declare that persons who pass the Shari'a Bar are not full-fledged members of the Philippine petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals assigning the following alleged errors, to wit:
Bar, hence may only practice law before Shari'a courts.[21] While one who has been admitted to
the Shari'a Bar, and one who has been admitted to the Philippine Bar, may both be considered a. That the Hon. Court erred in denying defendant Jose Guballa his day in
"counsellors," in the sense that they give counsel or advice in a professional capacity, only the Court by declaring him in default, it being contrary to applicable law and
latter is an "attorney." The title of "attorney" is reserved to those who, having obtained the jurisprudence on the matter;
necessary degree in the study of law and successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have been
admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and remain members thereof in good standing;
and it is they only who are authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction. b. That this Hon. Court has no jurisdiction to hear and decide the case;

Alauya says he does not wish to use the title, "counsellor" or "counsellor-at-law," because
in his region, there are pejorative connotations to the term, or it is confusingly similar to that c. Award of damages in favor of plaintiff, more particularly award of moral
damages is contrary to law; and
given to local legislators. The ratiocination, valid or not, is of no moment. His disinclination to use
the title of "counsellor" does not warrant his use of the title of attorney.
d. Defendant has valid, legal and justiciable defenses.2
Finally, respecting Alauya's alleged unauthorized use of the franking privilege, the record
contains no evidence adequately establishing the accusation.
The appealed case was handled by Atty. Benjamin Bautista, an associate of the same law firm.
WHEREFORE, respondent Ashari M. Alauya is hereby REPRIMANDED for the use of The decision appealed from was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No.
excessively intemperate, insulting or virulent language, i.e., language unbecoming a judicial 52610R. A Motion for Reconsideration was filed by petitioner, through a different counsel, Atty.
officer, and for usurping the title of attorney; and he is warned that any similar or other Isabelo V.L. Santos II. However the same was denied and the decision became final on June 29,
impropriety or misconduct in the future will be dealt with more severely. 1977 and was then remanded to the lower Court, presided by respondent Judge for execution. 3
SO ORDERED.
A Motion for Execution was thereafter filed by private respondent with the lower Court which was
granted by respondent Judge. 4
On July 6, 1977, petitioner, through Atty. Isabelo V.L. Santos 11, filed a Petition for Relief from Petitioners Five J Taxi and/or Juan S. Armamento filed this special civil action for certiorari to
Judgment alleging his discovery that Irineo W. Vida Jr., who prepared his Answer to the annul the decision 1 of respondent National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) ordering
Complaint is not a member of the Philippine Bar and that consequently, his rights had not been petitioners to pay private respondents Domingo Maldigan and Gilberto Sabsalon their
adequately protected and his properties are in danger of being confiscated and/or levied upon accumulated deposits and car wash payments, plus interest thereon at the legal rate from the
without due process of law. 5 date of promulgation of judgment to the date of actual payment, and 10% of the total amount as
and for attorney's fees.
In an Order dated July 12, 1977, respondent Judge denied the Petition and directed the
issuance of a writ of execution for the reasons that said Petition is ". . a clear case of dilatory We have given due course to this petition for, while to the cynical the de minimis amounts
tactic on the part of counsel for defendant-appellant ..." herein petitioner, and, that the grounds involved should not impose upon the valuable time of this Court, we find therein a need to clarify
relied upon ". . . could have been ventilated in the appeal before the Court of Appeals ... " 6 some issues the resolution of which are important to small wage earners such as taxicab drivers.
As we have heretofore repeatedly demonstrated, this Court does not exist only for the rich or the
powerful, with their reputed monumental cases of national impact. It is also the Court of the poor
On July 19, 1977, respondent Deputy Sheriff Ricardo G. Carlos, acting upon the writ of
or the underprivileged, with the actual quotidian problems that beset their individual lives.
execution, issued by respondent Judge, levied on three motor vehicles, of petitioner for the
satisfaction of the judgment. 7
Private respondents Domingo Maldigan and Gilberto Sabsalon were hired by the petitioners as
taxi drivers 2 and, as such, they worked for 4 days weekly on a 24-hour shifting schedule. Aside
Hence the instant Petition.
from the daily "boundary" of P700.00 for air-conditioned taxi or P450.00 for non-air-conditioned
taxi, they were also required to pay P20.00 for car washing, and to further make a P15.00
Respondent Judge's forthright denial of the Petition for Relief to frustrate a dilatory maneuver is deposit to answer for any deficiency in their "boundary," for every actual working day.
well-taken; and this Petition must be denied for lack of merit. The alleged fact that the person
who represented petitioner at the initial stage of the litigation, i.e., the filing of an Answer and the
In less than 4 months after Maldigan was hired as an extra driver by the petitioners, he already
pretrial proceedings, turned out to be not a member of the Bar 8 did not amount to a denial of
failed to report for work for unknown reasons. Later, petitioners learned that he was working for
petitioner's day in court. It should be noted that in the subsequent stages of the proceedings,
"Mine of Gold" Taxi Company. With respect to Sabsalon, while driving a taxicab of petitioners on
after the rendition of the judgment by default, petitioner was duly represented by bona
September 6, 1983, he was held up by his armed passenger who took all his money and
fide members of the Bar in seeking a reversal of the judgment for being contrary to law and
thereafter stabbed him. He was hospitalized and after his discharge, he went to his home
jurisprudence and the existence of valid, legal and justifiable defenses. In other words,
province to recuperate.
petitioner's rights had been amply protected in the proceedings before the trial and appellate
courts as he was subsequently assisted by counsel. Moreover, petitioner himself was at fault as
the order of treatment as in default was predicated, not only on the alleged counsel's failure to In January, 1987, Sabsalon was re-admitted by petitioners as a taxi driver under the same terms
attend the pretrial conference on April 6, 1972, but likewise on his own failure to attend the and conditions as when he was first employed, but his working schedule was made on an
same, without justifiable reason. To allow this petition due course is to countenance further delay "alternative basis," that is, he drove only every other day. However, on several occasions, he
in a proceeding which has already taken well over six years to resolve, failed to report for work during his schedule.

WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the Petition for certiorari with Preliminary Injunction is hereby On September 22, 1991, Sabsalon failed to remit his "boundary" of P700.00 for the previous
dismissed. The law firm "Vida, Enriquez, Mercado & Associates" of 209 Sampaguita Bldg., day. Also, he abandoned his taxicab in Makati without fuel refill worth P300.00. Despite repeated
Cubao, Quezon City, is hereby ordered to explain, within ten (10) days from notice this requests of petitioners for him to report for work, he adamantly refused. Afterwards it was
Resolution, why Irineo W. Vida Jr. was permitted to sign the Answer in Civil Case No. 680-V of revealed that he was driving a taxi for "Bulaklak Company."
CFI, Bulacan, when he is not a member of the Bar.
Sometime in 1989, Maldigan requested petitioners for the reimbursement of his daily cash
G.R. No. 111474 August 22, 1994 deposits for 2 years, but herein petitioners told him that not a single centavo was left of his
deposits as these were not even enough to cover the amount spent for the repairs of the taxi he
was driving. This was allegedly the practice adopted by petitioners to recoup the expenses
FIVE J TAXI and/or JUAN S. ARMAMENTO, petitioners, incurred in the repair of their taxicab units. When Maldigan insisted on the refund of his deposit,
vs. petitioners terminated his services. Sabsalon, on his part, claimed that his termination from
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, DOMINGO MALDIGAN and GILBERTO employment was effected when he refused to pay for the washing of his taxi seat covers.
SABSALON, respondents.
On November 27, 1991, private respondents filed a complaint with the Manila Arbitration Office
Edgardo G. Fernandez for petitioners. of the National Labor Relations Commission charging petitioners with illegal dismissal and illegal
deductions. That complaint was dismissed, the labor arbiter holding that it took private
R E SO L U T I O N respondents two years to file the same and such unreasonable delay was not consistent with the
natural reaction of a person who claimed to be unjustly treated, hence the filing of the case could
be interpreted as a mere afterthought.

REGALADO, J.:
Respondent NLRC concurred in said findings, with the observation that private respondents
failed to controvert the evidence showing that Maldigan was employed by "Mine of Gold" Taxi
Company from February 10, 1987 to December 10, 1990; that Sabsalon abandoned his taxicab 1991 165.00 2,300.00
on September 1, 1990; and that they voluntarily left their jobs for similar employment with other
taxi operators. It, accordingly, affirmed the ruling of the labor arbiter that private respondents'
———— ———— ————
services were not illegally terminated. It, however, modified the decision of the labor arbiter by
ordering petitioners to pay private respondents the awards stated at the beginning of this
resolution. P 3,579.00 P 4,327.00 P 2,700.00

Petitioners' motion for reconsideration having been denied by the NLRC, this petition is now The foregoing accounting shows that from 1987-1991, Sabsalon was able to withdraw his
before us imputing grave abuse of discretion on the part of said public respondent. deposits through vales or he incurred shortages, such that he is even indebted to petitioners in
the amount of P3,448.00. With respect to Maldigan's deposits, nothing was mentioned
questioning the same even in the present petition. We accordingly agree with the
This Court has repeatedly declared that the factual findings of quasi-judicial agencies like the
recommendation of the Solicitor General that since the evidence shows that he had not
NLRC, which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters,
withdrawn the same, he should be reimbursed the amount of his accumulated cash deposits. 5
are generally accorded not only respect but, at times, finality if such findings are supported by
substantial evidence. 3 Where, however, such conclusions are not supported by the evidence,
they must be struck down for being whimsical and capricious and, therefore, arrived at with On the matter of the car wash payments, the labor arbiter had this to say in his decision: "Anent
grave abuse of discretion. 4 the issue of illegal deductions, there is no dispute that as a matter of practice in the taxi industry,
after a tour of duty, it is incumbent upon the driver to restore the unit he has driven to the same
clean condition when he took it out, and as claimed by the respondents (petitioners in the
Respondent NLRC held that the P15.00 daily deposits made by respondents to defray any
present case), complainant(s) (private respondents herein) were made to shoulder the expenses
shortage in their "boundary" is covered by the general prohibition in Article 114 of the Labor
for washing, the amount doled out was paid directly to the person who washed the unit, thus we
Code against requiring employees to make deposits, and that there is no showing that the
find nothing illegal in this practice, much more (sic) to consider the amount paid by the driver as
Secretary of Labor has recognized the same as a "practice" in the taxi industry. Consequently,
illegal deduction in the context of the law." 6 (Words in parentheses added.)
the deposits made were illegal and the respondents must be refunded therefor.

Consequently, private respondents are not entitled to the refund of the P20.00 car wash
Article 114 of the Labor Code provides as follows:
payments they made. It will be noted that there was nothing to prevent private respondents from
cleaning the taxi units themselves, if they wanted to save their P20.00. Also, as the Solicitor
Art. 114. Deposits for loss or damage. — No employer shall require his General correctly noted, car washing after a tour of duty is a practice in the taxi industry, and is,
worker to make deposits from which deductions shall be made for the in fact, dictated by fair play.
reimbursement of loss of or damage to tools, materials, or equipment
supplied by the employer, except when the employer is engaged in such
On the last issue of attorney's fees or service fees for private respondents' authorized
trades, occupations or business where the practice of making deposits is a
representative, Article 222 of the Labor Code, as amended by Section 3 of Presidential Decree
recognized one, or is necessary or desirable as determined by the
No. 1691, states that non-lawyers may appear before the NLRC or any labor arbiter only (1) if
Secretary of Labor in appropriate rules and regulations.
they represent themselves, or (2) if they represent their organization or the members thereof.
While it may be true that Guillermo H. Pulia was the authorized representative of private
It can be deduced therefrom that the said article provides the rule on deposits for loss or respondents, he was a non-lawyer who did not fall in either of the foregoing categories. Hence,
damage to tools, materials or equipments supplied by the employer. Clearly, the same does not by clear mandate of the law, he is not entitled to attorney's fees.
apply to or permit deposits to defray any deficiency which the taxi driver may incur in the
remittance of his "boundary." Also, when private respondents stopped working for petitioners,
Furthermore, the statutory rule that an attorney shall be entitled to have and recover from his
the alleged purpose for which petitioners required such unauthorized deposits no longer existed.
client a reasonable compensation for his services 7 necessarily imports the existence of an
In other case, any balance due to private respondents after proper accounting must be returned
attorney-client relationship as a condition for the recovery of attorney's fees, and such
to them with legal interest.
relationship cannot exist unless the client's representative is a lawyer. 8

However, the unrebutted evidence with regard to the claim of Sabsalon is as follows:
WHEREFORE, the questioned judgment of respondent National Labor Relations Commission is
hereby MODIFIED by deleting the awards for reimbursement of car wash expenses and
YEAR DEPOSITS SHORTAGES VALES attorney's fees and directing said public respondent to order and effect the computation and
payment by petitioners of the refund for private respondent Domingo Maldigan's deposits, plus
legal interest thereon from the date of finality of this resolution up to the date of actual payment
1987 P 1,403.00 P 567.00 P 1,000.00
thereof.

1988 720.00 760.00 200.00


SO ORDERED.

1989 686.00 130.00 1,500.00


CANON 10

1990 605.00 570.00


February 1987. On 11 March 1987, the Court of Appeals affirmed the order of dismissal of the
lower court. Petitioners' recourse to this Court was to be of no avail. The petition was denied,
and an entry of judgment was made on 14 July 1987.
G.R. No. 86421 May 31, 1994

Accordingly, the records were remanded to the MTC for execution. When petitioners refused to
SPS. THELMA R. MASINSIN and MIGUEL MASINSIN, SPS. GILBERTO and ADELINA,
remove their house on the premises in question, upon motion of private respondent, an order of
ROLDAN, petitioners,
demolition was issued. Shortly thereafter, the demolition began. Before the completion of the
vs.
demolition, a restraining order was issued by the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch XIX)
THE HON. ED VINCENT ALBANO, Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of
following a petition for certiorari, with preliminary injunction and restraining order, filed by
Manila, Branch X, DEPUTY SHERIFF JESS ARREOLA, VICENTE CAÑEDA and THE HON.
petitioners. On 23 February 1988, the trial court dismissed the petition.
LEONARDO CRUZ, in his capacity as Presiding Judge Regional Trial of Manila, Branch
XXV, respondents.
Unfazed by the series of dismissals of their complaints and petitions, petitioners assailed anew
the MTC decision in a petition for certiorari, with preliminary injunction, and for declaratory relief
Gregorio T. Fabros for petitioners.
(docketed Civil Case No. 88-43944) before the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch XXV),
which, again, issued a restraining order. 2
Isidro F. Molina for private respondent.
Private respondent then filed a motion for an alias writ of execution with the MTC. An ex-
RESOLUTION parte motion of petitioners for the issuance of a second restraining order was this time denied by
the RTC (Branch XXV). 3 On 23 August 1990, 4 the trial court, ultimately, dismissed the petition
with costs against petitioners.
VITUG, J.:
In this petition, petitioners contend that the MTC of Manila (Branch X) has lost jurisdiction to
enforce its decision, dated 01 July 1985, in Civil Case No. 107203, when the property in
Spouses Miguel and Thelma Masinsin, et al., instituted this petition for certiorari, prohibition, question was proclaimed an area for priority development by the National Housing Authority on
relief from judgment, as well as declaratory relief, with prayer for preliminary mandatory 01 December 1987 by authority of Presidential Decree 2016.
injunction, asking us to order the Metropolitan Trial Court ("MTC") of Manila, Branch X, to cease
and desist from further proceeding with Civil Case No. 107203-CV.
The petition is totally without merit.
This case emerged from an ejectment suit (docketed Civil Case No. 107203-CV) filed by private
respondent Vicente Cañeda ("Cañeda"), then as plaintiffs, against herein petitioners, as In resolving this issue, we only have to refer to our resolution of 01 February 1993 in G.R. No.
defendants, with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila (Branch X). After trial, the MTC, on 01 98446, entitled, "Spouses Thelma R. Masinsin, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al.," to which this
July 1985, rendered judgment; thus: case is intimately related, where we ruled:

PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the . . . The singular question common to both cases submitted for resolution of
defendants and all persons claiming right under them to vacate the this court is the implication of Presidential Decree No. 1517, otherwise
premises and to remove their house/apartment and surrender possession of known as the "Urban Land Reform Law," and its amendments or
the subject land to the plaintiff; to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P100.00 a ramifications embodied in Proclamation No. 1893, as amended by
month from January 1987 as the reasonable compensation for the use and Proclamation No. 1967 and Presidential Decree No. 2016. All the above
occupation of the premises until the land is actually vacated, and the costs statutes are being implemented by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory
of suit. 1 Board, and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council,
Office of the President.
No appeal having been taken therefrom, the judgment became final and executory. On 22
August 1985, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari before the Regional Trial Court of Manila There is a prejudicial issue the answer to which hangs the resolution of this
(Branch XXXII) seeking the annulment of the aforesaid decision in the ejectment case and to set case. On May 20, 1992, this Court required the National Housing Authority
aside an order of its execution. The petition was in due time dismissed. Again, no appeal was to submit a Comment on the status of the program of acquisition by the
taken therefrom. Government of the land area which includes the disputed property, as part
of the Areas for Priority Development (APD), under the aforementioned
decrees and proclamations.
On 07 October 1985, a complaint for "Annulment of Judgment, Lease Contract and Damages"
was filed by petitioners before the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch XLI) asking, in main,
for the nullification of the judgment in the ejectment case. The complaint was dismissed on the In compliance with said order of this Court, Mr. Andres C. Lingan, Manager
ground of res judicata. This time, petitioners appealed the dismissal to the Court of Appeals. of the Metro Manila Project Department of the National Housing Authority,
Meanwhile, a writ of execution was issued by the MTC for the enforcement of its decision. The submitted the following report on the status of Lot 6-A, Block 1012, located
writ, however, was held in abeyance when petitioners deposited with the Court of Appeals the at No. 1890 Obesis Street, Pandacan, Manila, known as the Carlos Estate,
sum of P3,000.00 in cash plus an amount of P100.00 to be paid every month beginning an APD site. Pertinent portions of the report read:
Please be informed that Lot 6-A, Block 1012 located at We have since emphasized in no uncertain terms that any act on the part of a lawyer, an officer
No. 1890 Obesis St., Pandacan, Manila which is the of the court, which visibly tends to obstruct, pervert, impede and degrade the administration of
subject matter of the case and located within the Carlos justice is contumacious calling for both an exercise of disciplinary action and warranting
Estate declared as APD site pursuant to Presidential application of the contempt power. 7
Proclamation No. 1967, is not for acquisition by NHA.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Petitioners' counsel of record is hereby strongly
The Carlos Estate is located outside of the NHA CENSURED and WARNED that a similar infraction of the lawyer's oath in the future will be dealt
projects under the Zonal Improvement Project (ZIP) and with most severely. Double costs against petitioners.
Community Mortgage Program (CMP). The site,
however, is under the administration of the Presidential
This resolution is immediately executory.
Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) for acquisition and
upgrading. (Emphasis Supplied.)
SO ORDERED.
The above information answers the uncertainty concerning the status of the
alleged negotiation for the acquisition by the government of certain areas in
Metro Manila. The NHA is definitely NOT acquiring the said lot for its
program.
[A.C. No. 5624. January 20, 2004]

It appearing that the purpose of this Petition for Review is to set aside the NATASHA HUEYSUWAN-FLORIDO, complainant, vs. ATTY. JAMES BENEDICT C.
decision of the respondent Court of Appeals which affirmed the decision of FLORIDO, respondent.
the lower courts, in order to avoid eviction from the disputed premises and
to be allowed to acquire the same allegedly under the Community Mortgage
DECISION
Program of the National Housing Authority, we find the petition without merit
and deny the same. Consequently, the petition is DISMISSED. 5 YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

What immediately catches one's attention to this case is the evident predilection of petitioners, This is an administrative complaint for the disbarment of respondent Atty. James Benedict
through different counsel, to file pleadings, one after another, from which not even this Court has C. Florido and his eventual removal from the Roll of Attorneys for allegedly violating his oath as
been spared. The utter lack of merit of the complaints and petitions simply evinces the deliberate a lawyer by manufacturing, flaunting and using a spurious and bogus Court of Appeals
intent of petitioners to prolong and delay the inevitable execution of a decision that has long Resolution/Order.[1]
become final and executory. In her Complaint-Affidavit, Natasha V. Heysuwan-Florido averred that she is the legitimate
spouse of respondent Atty. James Benedict C. Florido, but that they are estranged and living
Four times did the petitioners, with the assistance of counsel, try to nullify the same MTC separately from each other. They have two children namely, Kamille Nicole H. Florido, five years
decision before different branches of the court, trifling with judicial processes. Never, again, old, and James Benedict H. Florido, Jr., three years old both of whom are in complainants
should this practice be countenanced. 6 custody. Complainant filed a case for the annulment of her marriage with respondent, docketed
as Civil Case No. 23122, before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 24. Meanwhile,
there is another case related to the complaint for annulment of marriage which is pending before
The lawyer's oath to which we have all subscribed in solemn agreement in dedicating ourselves the Court of Appeals and docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 54235 entitled, James Benedict C.
to the pursuit of justice, is not a mere fictile of words, drift and hollow, but a sacred trust that we Florido v. Hon. Pampio Abarientos, et al.
must uphold and keep inviolable. Perhaps, it is time we are here reminded of that pledge; thus -
Sometime in the middle of December 2001, respondent went to complainants residence in
LAWYER'S OATH Tanjay City, Negros Oriental and demanded that the custody of their two minor children be
surrendered to him. He showed complainant a photocopy of an alleged Resolution issued by the
Court of Appeals which supposedly granted his motion for temporary child
I, . . ., do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of custody.[2] Complainant called up her lawyer but the latter informed her that he had not received
the Philippines; I will support and defend its Constitution and obey the laws any motion for temporary child custody filed by respondent.
as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I will do
no falsehood nor consent to its commission; I will not wittingly or willingly Complainant asked respondent for the original copy of the alleged resolution of the Court
promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit nor give aid nor of Appeals, but respondent failed to give it to her. Complainant then examined the resolution
consent to the same; I will not delay any man's cause for money or malice closely and noted that it bore two dates: November 12, 2001 and November 29, 2001. Sensing
and will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge something amiss, she refused to give custody of their children to respondent.
and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients and
I impose upon myself this obligation voluntary, without any mental In the mid-morning of January 15, 2002, while complainant was with her children in the
reservation or purpose of evasion. ABC Learning Center in Tanjay City, respondent, accompanied by armed men, suddenly arrived
and demanded that she surrender to him the custody of their children. He threatened to
forcefully take them away with the help of his companions, whom he claimed to be agents of the
SO HELP ME GOD. (Emphasis supplied.) National Bureau of Investigation.
Alarmed, complainant immediately sought the assistance of the Tanjay City Police. The Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood; nor consent to the doing of any in
responding policemen subsequently escorted her to the police station where the matter could be court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any
clarified and settled peacefully. At the police station, respondent caused to be entered in the artifice.
Police Blotter a statement that he, assisted by agents of the NBI, formally served on complainant
the appellate courts resolution/order.[3] In order to diffuse the tension, complainant agreed to
Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of
allow the children to sleep with respondent for one night on condition that he would not take
a paper, the language or the argument of an opposing counsel, or
them away from Tanjay City. This agreement was entered into in the presence of Tanjay City
the text of a decision or authority, or knowingly cite as a law a
Chief of Police Juanito Condes and NBI Investigator Roger Sususco, among others.
provision already rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment,
In the early morning of January 16, 2002, complainant received information that a van or assert as a fact that which has not been proved.
arrived at the hotel where respondent and the children were staying to take them to Bacolod
Moreover, the records show that respondent used offensive language in his pleadings in
City. Complainant rushed to the hotel and took the children to another room, where they stayed
describing complainant and her relatives. A lawyers language should be forceful but dignified,
until later in the morning.
emphatic but respectful as befitting an advocate and in keeping with the dignity of the legal
On the same day, respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City, profession.[9] The lawyers arguments whether written or oral should be gracious to both court
Branch 31, a verified petition[4] for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus asserting his right to and opposing counsel and should be of such words as may be properly addressed by one
custody of the children on the basis of the alleged Court of Appeals resolution. In the meantime, gentlemen to another.[10] By calling complainant, a sly manipulator of truth as well as a vindictive
complainant verified the authenticity of the Resolution and obtained a certification dated January congenital prevaricator, hardly measures to the sobriety of speech demanded of a lawyer.
18, 2002[5] from the Court of Appeals stating that no such resolution ordering complainant to
Respondents actions erode the public perception of the legal profession. They constitute
surrender custody of their children to respondent had been issued.
gross misconduct and the sanctions for such malfeasance is prescribed by Section 27, Rule 138
At the hearing of the petition for habeas corpus on January 23, 2002, respondent did not of the Rules of Court which states:
appear. Consequently, the petition was dismissed.
SEC. 27. Disbarment and suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefore.- A
Hence, complainant filed the instant complaint alleging that respondent violated his
member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme
attorneys oath by manufacturing, flaunting and using a spurious Court of Appeals Resolution in
Court for any deceit, malpractice or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral
and outside a court of law. Furthermore, respondent abused and misused the privileged granted
conduct or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of
to him by the Supreme Court to practice law in the country.
the oath which he is required to take before the admission to practice, or for a willful
After respondent answered the complaint, the matter was referred to the IBP-Commission disobedience appearing as attorney for a party without authority to do so.
on Bar Discipline for investigation, report and recommendation. The IBP-CBD recommended
Considering the attendant circumstances, we agree with the recommendation of the IBP
that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three years with a warning
Board of Governors that respondent should be suspended from the practice of law. However, we
that another offense of this nature will result in his disbarment.[6] On June 23, 2003, the IBP
find that the period of six years is too harsh a penalty. Instead, suspension for the lesser period
Board of Governors adopted and approved the Report and recommendation of the Commission
of two years, which we deem commensurate to the offense committed, is hereby imposed on
with the modification that the penalty of suspension be increased to six years.
respondent.
The issue to be resolved is whether or not the respondent can be held administratively
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, Atty. James Benedict C. Florido is
liable for his reliance on and attempt to enforce a spurious Resolution of the Court of Appeals.
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years.
In his answer to the complaint, respondent claims that he acted in good faith in invoking
Let copies of this resolution be entered in the personal record of respondent as a member
the Court of Appeals Resolution which he honestly believed to be authentic. This, however, is
of the Bar and furnished the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the
belied by the fact that he used and presented the spurious resolution several times. As pointed
Court Administrator for circulation to all courts of the country.
out by the Investigating Commissioner, the assailed Resolution was presented by respondent on
at least two occasions: first, in his Petition for Issuance of Writ of Habeas Corpus docketed as SO ORDERED.
Special Proc. Case No. 3898,[7] which he filed with the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City;
and second, when he sought the assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Tanjay
City to recover custody of his minor children from complainant. Since it was respondent who A.M. No. MTJ-93-781 November 16, 1993
used the spurious Resolution, he is presumed to have participated in its fabrication.

Candor and fairness are demanded of every lawyer. The burden cast on the judiciary EDUARDO R. SANTOS, Petitioner, vs. JUDGE ORLANDO C. PAGUIO, MTC, Meycauayan,
would be intolerable if it could not take at face value what is asserted by counsel. The time that Bulacan, Respondent.
will have to be devoted just to the task of verification of allegations submitted could easily be
imagined. Even with due recognition then that counsel is expected to display the utmost zeal in Eduardo R. Santos for and in his own behalf.
the defense of a clients cause, it must never be at the expense of the truth. [8] Thus, the Code of
professional Responsibility states:
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
CANON 10. A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH TO THE
COURT. The complainant herein is the lawyer for the defendants in Civil Case No. 90-1706, an action for
unlawful detainer commenced on 5 May 1990 with the Municipal Trial Court of Meycauayan,
Bulacan while the respondent is the presiding Judge of the said court. In his verified complaint
filed through the Office of the Court Administrator on 18 March 1993, the complainant charges then prays that the respondent "be removed from office if only to save the integrity of the
the respondent with gross ignorance of the law and gross incompetence. The complainant judiciary."chanrobles virtual law library
supports his charge with the allegation that after the answer in the said case was filed and
"without notice and hearing," the latter rendered a decision on 28 June 1991, 1 the decretal
In his Comment filed on 2 July 1993, 4the respondent denies the imputations and alleges, inter
portion of which reads as follows:
alia, that: (1) the complainant was not the original counsel for the defendants but one Atty.
Adriano Javier, Sr. who represented the latter until the time that the parties were directed to file
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, it is hereby respectfully prayed that their respective position papers, specifically until 29 November 1991 when Atty. Javier filed a
judgment be rendered in accordance with plaintiff's prayer in their Complaint in the above- motion to withdraw his appearance and the complainant filed his notice of appearance as
entitled case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library counsel for the defendants; (2) the Decision of 28 June 1991 was rendered only after a
preliminary conference was held where the parties with their respective counsels discussed the
possibility of an amicable settlement and after the defendants failed to comply with the 16
SO ORDERED.
November 1990 Order for the parties to submit in writing their "respective position statements
setting forth the law and the facts relied upon by them and to submit the affidavits of their
He further alleges that Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bulacan, in its Order of 19 witnesses and other evidences in support thereof within fifteen (15) days from receipt" thereof,
January 1993 in Sp. Civil Action No. 03-M-93 2 - a petition for certiorari filed by the defendants in prompting the plaintiff to file on 5 April 1991 an ex-partemotion praying that judgment be
Civil Case No. 90-1706 - had already opined that the said decision is void upon its face because rendered in this case; (3) the defendants did not appeal from the 28 June 1991 Decision, hence
it: the plaintiff filed a motion for execution on 2 September 1991, which the defendants did not
oppose; instead they filed a motion for reconsideration and to declare the decision null and void
on the ground that the plaintiff did not file her pre-trail brief and there was no valid pre-trial order;
. . . would be impossible to be implemented for the simple or obvious reason that the same (4) on 4 December 1991, the plaintiff's motion for execution was granted and a writ of execution
cannot be considered a decision at all. Instead of deciding or ordering something to be done, it was issued, a copy of which was sent to the Clerk of Court of the RTC of Malolos for service; (5)
merely prays that judgment be rendered. on 5 January 1991, 5 he received an order from Branch 18 of the RTC of Bulacan directing him
to desist from implementing the writ of execution; (6) the presiding judge of said Branch 18,
but despite this, the respondent still "changed and amended [his] final decision [of 28 June 1991] Judge Demetrio B. Macapagal, Sr., issued on 19 January 1993 its order disposing of Sp. Civil
in order to nullify the order of a superior Court, the RTC of Bulacan" via a new decision in Civil Action No. 03-M-93; (7) thereafter, he (respondent) handed down a new decision in Civil Case
Case No. 90-1706 3 promulgated on 25 January 1993. The dispositive portion of this new No. 90-1706 on 25 January 1993 that contained "completely the missing sentences needed in
decision reads as follows: the dispositive portion" of its earlier decision; (8) instead of appealing therefrom, the defendants
filed on 4 February 1993 a motion to set aside the decision, which the court set for its
consideration and to which the plaintiff filed its opposition on 8 February 1993 together with a
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff motion for immediate execution; (9) on 22 March 1993, the complainant filed a motion to inhibit
by: the respondent by the former did not appear on the date it was set for consideration. He finally
contends that the issue regarding the dispositive portion of the 28 June 1991 Decision was
1. Ordering defendants and persons claiming any rights under them to vacate the premises rendered moot and academic by the corrections made in the Decision of 25 January 1993; that
occupied by them, more particularly the portion on which are erected their respective dwelling the charge of gross ignorance is contemptuous and unfounded; and the complainant's sweeping
structure/unit, at 117 Bayugo, Meycauayan, Bulacan (or lot of plaintiff aforementioned) and to conclusions show his disrespectful attitude.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
remove said dwelling structure/units from said subject premises of plaintiff;chanrobles virtual law library
library
In his 17 June 1993 Rejoinder filed on 7 July 1993, 6 the complainant reiterates his charge that
2. Ordering defendants individually to pay the sum of P350.00 Philippine Currency, per month by the respondent is incompetent because he lacks the "ability to prepare a sensible and credible
way of monthly rental commencing from May 16, 1990, and thereafter until they shall have decision," and maintains that the respondent's attempt to convince this Court that the dispositive
vacated the premises of the plaintiff;chanrobles virtual law library portion of the 28 June 1991 Decision is permissible and proper shows "gross ignorance."
Further, that the respondent believes that "he could correct the decision after its finality" and
after the RTC of Bulacan had declared it to be null and void upon its face clearly manifests his
3. Ordering the defendants to pay jointly and severally the sum of P2,000.00, Philippine "patent ignorance of our laws and jurisprudence."chanrobles virtual law library
currency, on account of plaintiff's attorney's fees (retainer) and P500.00, Philippine Currency, for
every hearing/trial attended by said attorney before this Honorable Court; andchanrobles virtual
law library In his Sur-Rejoinder filed on 13 July 1993,7 the respondent argues that while the 28 June 1991
Decision "could hardly be enforced for the reason that there is some sort of ambiguity or
omission (sic) in its dispositive portion," he was not prohibited from having the defect "timely
4. Ordering the defendants to pay costs. corrected and clarified," which was what he had in fact done, and that the "clarified decision" did
not prejudice "the substantial rights of the parties" since they "were given their day in court and
SO ORDERED. passed through the usual course of the proceedings." Accordingly, he could not be guilty of
gross ignorance of the law and of lack of competence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
According to the complainant, the dispositive portion of the 28 June 1991 Decision exhibits the
respondent's gross ignorance in "decision preparation," and that respondent's "haste to amend
the same to favor plaintiff was both appalling (sic) and downright improper." The complainant
Wanting to have the last word, the complainant filed a Reply to Sur-rejoinder and Manifestation . . . a fine of P5,000.00 be imposed upon respondent with a warning that any repetition of the
on 28 July 1993. 8 Not to be outdone, the respondent filed a Manifestation to Reply on 9 August same or similar infraction shall be meted with a more severe penalty of dismissal from the
1993.9chanrobles virtual law library service. He is also admonished to exhibit greater care in the writing of his decisions.

The Court referred this to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and We find the above observations of the Office of the Court Administrator to be sufficiently
recommendation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library supported by the pleadings submitted by the parties in this
case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On 31 August 1993, the Office of the Court Administrator submitted its Memorandum containing
its evaluation, report and recommendation. After summarizing the antecedent facts, the said After a careful examination of the respondent's "Decision" of 28 June 1991, we do find its body
office submitted that the instant complaint is meritorious, and made the following findings: to be flawed with grammatical and syntactic errors. Its "dispositive portion" disposes of, resolves
or decrees nothing. It cannot even be called a dispositive or decretal portion at all. It is obviously
a prayer lifted from a pleading of the plaintiff, such as the Memorandum or the ex-
It is quite unbelievable, nay, impossible for respondent to have overlooked the missing
partemanifestation and motion praying that judgment be rendered filed after the defendants
dispositive portion of his original decision which is considered the executory portion thereof. The
failed to file their position paper, although not from the complaint as suspected by the Court
only ineluctable conclusion is that respondent never read said decision before he signed the
Administrator. How it gained entry into what should have been the fallo is an arcanum. Any
same. If only he devoted even only a little time to read the same, such a missing portion
attempt to unravel the mystery may only complicate the matter against the respondent who is
considered to be the most important part of a decision could not have escaped his attention. The
only charged herein with gross ignorance or incompetence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
alleged dispositive portion was a prayer. It did not have the effect of finally disposing the case.
virtual law library
Presumably, this must have been simply copied from plaintiff's
complaint.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
There can, however, be no dispute behind the errors of grammar and syntax and the fatally
infirmed "dispositive portion" is the inefficiency, neglect of duty or carelessness on the part of the
True, it was legally permissible for respondent to amend his original defective decision since the
respondent betraying the absence of due care, diligence, conscientiousness and thoroughness -
RTC dismissed the petition for certiorari although Judge Perfecto Macapagal found that what
qualities which Judges must, among others, possess. Respondent could have easily avoided the
was rendered by Judge Paguio "can not be considered a decision at all." It took respondent
errors and defects had he taken a little more time and effort to at least read its original copy
Judge 1-1/2 years to discover and correct his error; the error could have easily been discovered
before he finally affixed his signature thereon. While this Court cannot expect every Judge to be
at the time the Motion for Execution was filed on September 2, 1991. But the writ was
an expert on the English language or an authority in grammar, he must, however, do everything
nonetheless issued on December 4, 1991. Hence, the belated correction would not mitigate his
he can, through constant study, extraordinary diligence, and passion for excellence, to produce
liability. There is no denying that the quality of a decision rendered by the judge such as herein
a decision which fosters respect for and encourages obedience to it and enhances the prestige
respondent, is a reflection on the integrity of the court in dispensing justice to whom it is due.
of the court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Respondent was at the very least careless in failing to read carefully the decision that he signed.
In fact, both the original and amended decisions still contained errors in grammar and syntax
indicating that there was no adequate editing of the decision that was signed by him. If he had As we see it then, the respondent failed to comply with two standard of conduct prescribed by
been more careful, he would have avoided such fractured phrases as:chanrobles virtual law the Canons of Judicial Ethics, namely: that "[h]e should exhibit an industry and application
library commensurate with the duties imposed upon him" 10 and that he should be conscientious,
studious and thorough. 11chanrobles virtual law library
1. Plaintiff on being opposed to this motion, countered as follows: (Page 5, Decision, June 28,
1991);chanrobles virtual law library Moreover, the respondent did not only issue a manifestly infirmed "decision," he even granted
the motion for its execution and issued the corresponding writ with full knowledge that there was
nothing to execute. He could not have feigned ignorance of such nothingness for it is
2. For a more vivid explanation showing the incidental facts (Ibid);chanrobles virtual law library
embarrassingly self-evident. He nevertheless ordered its execution, exhibiting once more his
inefficiency, carelessness, negligence, or even his
3. And defendants seems that they are not really sincere(Ibid);chanrobles virtual law library incompetence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

4. But nothing has been done by the latter to renew such contract of lease of which right We must add, however, that it is not the respondent alone who must be blamed for such
becomes one of a detainer plain and simple (page 6, Ibid);chanrobles virtual law library unmitigated faux pas. The counsel for the parties in the case knew or ought to have known the
fatal defect of the dispositive portion and the obvious inefficacy of any writ of execution, yet, the
plaintiff's counsel still filed a motion for execution, while the counsel for the defendants - the
5. That being the case to allow them will mean ownership over the complainant herein - merely filed a motion for reconsideration based solely on the ground that
property (Ibid).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library the plaintiff did not file her pre-trial brief and that there was no valid pre-trial order. Obviously, the
complainant initially believed in the completeness of the decision. As a matter of fact, when he
It is possible that this is not the usual language of the Judge, for their fractured constructions assailed the 25 January 1993 Decision, he alleged that what was amended was a
have no place in a court decision. Careful editing and rewriting should have been done. "final decision," a position totally inconsistent with his claim that the latter was void as declared
by the RTC of Bulacan. As officers of the court who owe to it candor, fairness and good
faith, 12both attorneys should have called the court's attention to the glaring defect of the
and recommends that: "dispositive portion" of the 28 June 1991 Decision.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library
We thus conclude that the respondent Judge is guilty of, in the very least, inefficiency, neglect of SO ORDERED.
duty and the violation of Canons 5 and 31 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics. He could not,
however, be liable for ignorance of law and jurisprudence or for incompetence when he handed
down a new decision on 25 January 1993. The 28 June 1991 Decision was "incomplete" since, A.C. No. 2837 October 7, 1994
for all legal intents and purposes, it had no fallo and could not attain finality, hence the
respondent had the power to amend it to make it conformable to law and ESTEBAN M. LIBIT, complainant,
justice. 13 It is not therefore correct to say, as the complainant suggested, that the order of the vs.
RTC of Bulacan in Sp. Civil Action No. 03-M-93 stating that the respondent's Decision of 28 ATTYS. EDELSON G. OLIVA and FLORANDO A. UMALI, respondent.
June 1991 is "void upon its face" forever bars the respondent from rendering a new or amended
decision in the ejectment case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
RESOLUTION
We take this opportunity to stress once again that the administration of justice is a sacred task
and all those involved in it must faithfully adhere to, hold inviolate, and invigorate the principle
solemnly enshrined in the Constitution that a public office is a public trust and all public officers PER CURIAM:
and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost
responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, and act with patriotism and justice and lead In civil Case No. 84-24144 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, entitled "Pedro Cutingting,
modest lives. 14 Every Judge should never forget that he is the visible representation of the law plaintiff versus Alfredo Tan, defendant", the Honorable Presiding Judge Domingo Panis issued
and, more importantly, of justice. 15Therefore, he must constantly be the embodiment of the following order:
competence, diligence, conscientiousness, thoroughness, efficiency, and integrity so as to
preserve, promote and enhance the people's confidence in the
Judiciary.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library The Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is hereby ordered
to conduct an investigation with the end in view of determining the author of
the Sheriff's Return which appears to have been falsified and to institute
A few words must also be made of record regarding the complainant. We note that in his such criminal action as the evidence will warrant. (p. 1, Final Report.)
complaint in this case he alleged under oath that after the defendants filed their answer, the
respondent "without any hearing, or at least this counsel was never notified of any such
hearing," rendered the 28 June 1991 Decision. This is of course inaccurate, if not outright false. After conducting the necessary investigation, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), through
What the complainant conveniently left out in his complaint was that, as disclosed in the herein complainant, charged respondents as follows:
Comment which he did not refute, after the defendants' answer with counterclaim was admitted
by the court, the case was set for preliminary conference and thereafter the parties were That sometime in May 1984 in the City of Manila, at the Regional Trial
required to submit their position papers and the affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence. Court, Branch XLI, Manila, Philippines, the above-named Respondents, as
We find that the case was properly placed and considered under the Rule on Summary Counsels for PEDRO CUTINGTING in Civil Case No. 84-24144, entitled
Procedure and, accordingly, the court could decide the case on the basis of the submitted PEDRO CUTINGTING, Plaintiff vs. ALFREDO TAN, Defendant, did then
position papers, affidavits and other pieces of evidence. Complainant further suppressed the fact and there, knowingly, willfully introduced/presented in evidence before the
that he entered his appearance as counsel for the defendants only after the court had conducted aforesaid Regional Trial Court, a falsified Sheriff's Return of Summons
the preliminary conference and issued the order for the submission of the foregoing pleadings during the hearing of the aforesaid Civil Case thereby impending and/or
and documents. He was not, therefore, entitled to any notice before obstructing the speedy administration and/or dispensation of Justice. (p. 2,
then.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library Final Report, ff. p. 69, Record.)

The failure to divulge the foregoing facts may have been intended by the complainant to give his Respondents in their respective answers denied having any hand in the falsification of the said
complaint a strong prima facie case against the respondent. While he was entitled to adopt sheriff's return.
certain strategies in his pleadings, he forgot that he owes to this Court absolute candor, fairness
and good faith. This Court can neither condone nor tolerate attempts to mislead it through
suppression of important facts which would have a bearing on its initial action. Complainant Pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court and the resolution of the Court En Banc of April 12,
should, therefore, be admonished to faithfully adhere to the Code of Professional 1988, the case was referred to the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the
Responsibility.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation.

WHEREFORE, for inefficiency and neglect of duty amounting to a violation of Canons 5 and 31 In view, however, of the report of the National Bureau of Investigation to the effect that the
of the Canons of Judicial Ethics, respondent Judge ORLANDO C. PAGUIO is hereby sentenced signature above the typewritten name Florando Umali on the last page of the complaint in said
to pay a FINE of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00). He is further warned that a repetition of the civil case is not his signature, complainant, through counsel, agreed to the dismissal of the case
same or similar infractions shall be dealt with more with respect to Atty. Umali.
severely.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
With respect to Atty. Edelson G. Oliva, the IBP submitted the following report and
Complainant is hereby ADMONISHED to be more careful in the drafting of pleadings, always recommendation:
keeping in mind his duty under Canon 10 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
There is ample evidence extant in the records to prove that In this case, respondent Atty. Edelson Oliva has manifestly violated that part of his oath as a
Atty. Oliva has something to do with the falsification of the Sheriff's Return lawyer that he shall not do any falsehood. He has likewise violated Rule 10.01 of the Code of
on the Summons in said Civil Case No. 84-24144. Professional Responsibility which provides:

The oral and documentary evidence of the complainant strongly tend to A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court
show the following: (1) The Sheriff's Return of the Summon in the said civil nor shall he mislead or allow the court to be misled by any artifice.
case was falsified as it was not signed by Deputy Sheriff Rodolfo Torella
(Exh. "J" — Sworn Statement of Rodolfo Torella dated February 1, 1985,
Accordingly, the Court resolved to impose upon Atty. Edelson Oliva the supreme penalty of
and Exh. "S", which is the falsified Sheriff's Return); (2) The summons was
DISBARMENT. His license to practice law in the Philippines is CANCELLED and the Bar
received from the clerk of the Court of the Manila
Confidant is ordered to strike out his name from the Roll of Attorneys.
RTC-Branch LXI by Ronaldo Romero, a messenger in the law office of
Attys. Umali and Oliva and said messenger brought the summons to the law
office of the respondents (Exh. "H" — Sinumpaang Salaysay ni Ronaldo The case is ordered dismissed as against Atty. Florando Umali.
Romero, and Exh. "G", Exh. "I" — Sworn Statement dated February 28,
1985 of Mariano Villanueva, Chief Staff Asst. 2, RTC, Manila; (3) On the
basis of the falsified Sheriff's Return on the Summons, Atty. Oliva, counsel SO ORDERED.
for the defendant [should be plaintiff] in said civil case, filed a typewritten
Motion to Declare Defendant in Default (Exh.) "R" — Motion to Declare Per Rec. Nos. 3527, 3408 August 23, 1935
Defendant In Default in said civil case signed and filed by Atty. Oliva);
(4) On March 29, 1984, Atty. Oliva, in his capacity as Operations Manager
of Judge Pio R. Marcos Law Office, sent a final demand letter on Alfredo JUSTA MONTEREY, complainant,
Tan, the defendant in said Civil case, for payment of the sum of P70,174.00 vs.
(Exh. "T" — Demand Letter dated March 28, 1984 of Atty. Oliva addressed EUSTAQUIO V. ARAYATA and TERESO MA. MONTOYA, respondents.
to Alfredo Tan); (5) The demand letter of Atty. Oliva (Exh. "T"), the complaint
in said civil case (Exh. "Q", "Q-1", and "Q-2"), the falsified Sheriff's Return Eustaquio V. Arayata in his own behalf.
on the Summons (Exh. "S"), the Motion To Declare Defendant In Default Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for the Government.
dated October 30, 1984 signed and filed by
Atty. Oliva (Exh. "R" and "R-1") were typed on one and the same typewriter,
as shown in the Questioned Document Report No. 198-585 dated 19 June IMPERIAL, J.:
1985 (Exh. "Q", "Q-1" and "Q-2"; Exh. "V", "V-1" and
"V-2").
It is alleged in the charges filed against Attorney Eustaquio V. Arayata (1) that on August 27,
1931, while practicing his profession, he prepared and drew up in his favor a deed of sale of the
After the careful review of the record of the case and the report and recommendation of the IBP, land described in transfer certificate of title No. 7591, for the sum of P4,000, stating therein that
the Court finds that respondent Atty. Edelson G. Oliva committed acts of misconduct which the person who executed the document and sold the land to him was his father, Arcadio
warrant the exercise by the Court of its disciplinary powers. The facts, as supported by the Arayata, when he knew positively that this alleged vendor had already died on November 5,
evidence, obtaining in this case indubitably reveal respondent's failure to live up to his duties as 1916; that knowing the document to be fictitious, he appeared before notary public Tereso Ma.
a lawyer in consonance with the strictures of the lawyer's oath, the Code of Professional Montoya and made the latter legalize said document and state that Arcadio Arayata personally
Responsibility, and the Canons of Professional Ethics. A lawyer's responsibility to protect and appeared before him, although said fact was not true; and he later succeeded in having the
advance the interests of his client does not warrant a course of action propelled by ill motives register of deeds cancel the transfer certificate of title issued to Arcadio Arayata and issue
and malicious intentions against the other party. transfer certificate of title No. 8370 in his favor; and (2) that on June 5, 1933, being legally
married to Aurora L. Saguil, he filed an application to marry Engracia F. Ortega, stating therein
under oath that he was single when in fact he was married, said marriage not having been
At this juncture, it is well to stress once again that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege dissolved.
bestowed by the State on those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the
qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. One of these requirements is
the observance of honesty and candor. It can not be gainsaid that candidness, especially The charge filed against attorney and notary public Tereso Ma. Montoya consists in having
towards the courts, is essential for the expeditious administration of justice. Courts are entitled to ratified the deed of sale and having stated that Arcadio Arayata personally appeared before him
expect only complete candor and honesty from the lawyers appearing and pleading before them. and confirmed the sale, knowing fully well that said person is already dead and therefore could
A lawyer, on the other hand, has the fundamental duty to satisfy the expectation. It is essential do neither the one nor the other.
that lawyers bear in mind at all times that their first duty is not to their clients but rather to the
courts, that they are above all court officers sworn to assist the courts in rendering justice to all
The investigation was finally conducted by the Judge of the Court of First Instance of the
and sundry, and only secondarily are they advocates of the exclusive interests of their clients.
Province of Cavite, who recommended that a disciplinary action be taken against Arayata and
For this reason, he is required to swear to do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in
that Montoya be exonerated, it having been clearly established that the latter, in ratifying the
court (Chavez vs. Viola, 196 SCRA 10 [1991].
document, acted in good faith and relied on Arayata's assurance that the old man then with him
was really the vendor Arcadio Arayata who ratified all the contents of the instrument. We concur
in the appreciation of the facts and we are of the opinion that said notary public and attorney
should really be exonerated and held innocent.
The established facts show that the respondent Arayata is the son of Arcadio Arayata who died vs.
on November 5, 1916, leaving a widow and five children; that Arcadio Arayata in life, purchased THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., FGU INSURANCE GROUP, JOSE M. OLBES
from the Bureau of Lands lot No. 3448 of the Hacienda de Santa Cruz de Malabon, for which and COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, respondents.
transfer certificate of title No. 7591 was issued to him; that on August 27, 1931, many years after
Arcadio Arayata's death, the respondent attorney prepared the deed, Exhibit A, stating therein
Lacsina, Lontok and Perez and Luis F. Aquino for petitioners.
that his father sold the land in question to him for the sum of P4,000; that after affixing the
names of the alleged vendor and the two witnesses, the respondent brought an old man and the
two witnesses before notary public Tereso Ma. Montoya and requested the latter to ratify said Francisco de los Reyes for respondent Court of Industrial Relations.
document, assuring him that the old man was the grantor and vendor and the other two were the
instrumental witnesses thereto; that the notary honestly believing said information, legalized and
registered the document after verifying from the old man that he ratified the contents thereof; Araneta, Mendoza and Papa for other respondents.
that the transfer was invalid and the document not genuine because another, not Arcadio
Arayata, signed it; that the respondent later applied for and obtained transfer certificate of title
No. 8370 of said land from the registry of deeds of Cavite after the former title was cancelled; CASTRO, J.:
that sometime later, or on April 11, 1933, the respondent sold a portion of said land having an
area of two and one-half (2 ½) hectares to Sinforosa Torres, married to Basilio Sorosoro, for the
sum of P500. Appeal, by certiorari to review a decision and a resolution en banc of the Court of Industrial
Relations dated August 17, 1965 and October 20, 1965, respectively, in Case 1698-ULP.

With regard to the second charge, it likewise appears established that on June 5, 1933, the
respondent, being legally married to Aurora L. Saguil and said marriage not having been The Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd., Employees Association-NATU, FGU Insurance Group
dissolved, signed under oath an application to marry Engracia F. Ortega stating therein that he Workers & Employees Association-NATU, and Insular Life Building Employees Association-
was single, he being in fact married; the application was registered and duly considered and on NATU (hereinafter referred to as the Unions), while still members of the Federation of Free
September 25, 1933, the register of the Province of Cavite issued the corresponding license Workers (FFW), entered into separate collective bargaining agreements with the Insular Life
upon payment by the respondent of the sum of P2; for some unknown reasons the marriage Assurance Co., Ltd. and the FGU Insurance Group (hereinafter referred to as the Companies).
applied for was not solemnized; the respondent's wife, nevertheless, filed a complaint for bigamy
against the former, which is now pending in the justice of the peace court of Santa Rosa, Two of the lawyers of the Unions then were Felipe Enaje and Ramon Garcia; the latter was
Laguna, for which reason the investigator is of the opinion, and so recommends, that no action formerly the secretary-treasurer of the FFW and acting president of the Insular Life/FGU unions
should be taken on the second charge. The recommendation is well founded and has our and the Insular Life Building Employees Association. Garcia, as such acting president, in a
approval. circular issued in his name and signed by him, tried to dissuade the members of the Unions from
disaffiliating with the FFW and joining the National Association of Trade Unions (NATU), to no
In his first answer, respondent Arayata admitted that the sale had been made by his father who avail.
was his true predecessor in interest, but alleged that nobody, including the complainant, could
complain of the transfer because none was prejudiced, he being the true and only heir. In his Enaje and Garcia soon left the FFW and secured employment with the Anti-Dummy Board of the
second answer, however, and in the course of the investigation, he set up another defense Department of Justice. Thereafter, the Companies hired Garcia in the latter part of 1956 as
alleging that the person who had really sold him the land was his uncle Januario Arayata who, in assistant corporate secretary and legal assistant in their Legal Department, and he was soon
the deed and relative to the land, assumed the name of Arcadio Arayata. He further alleged that receiving P900 a month, or P600 more than he was receiving from the FFW. Enaje was hired on
it was his said uncle who signed the deed of transfer and ratified it before notary Montoya. We or about February 19, 1957 as personnel manager of the Companies, and was likewise made
find this second new defense improbable and unestablished. chairman of the negotiating panel for the Companies in the collective bargaining with the Unions.

The acts committed by the respondent Arayata relative to the deed of sale Exhibit A, and his In a letter dated September 16, 1957, the Unions jointly submitted proposals to the Companies
statements to notary Montoya with regard to said document, constitute malpractice and for a modified renewal of their respective collective bargaining contracts which were then due to
unprofessional conduct under the provisions of section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure, expire on September 30, 1957. The parties mutually agreed and to make whatever benefits
meriting for him a disciplinary action mitigated in this case by the circumstance that he was could be agreed upon retroactively effective October 1, 1957.
apparently the heir entitled to the ownership of the land and that the complainant has neither real
nor direct interest in the transaction complained of by her.
Thereafter, in the months of September and October 1957 negotiations were conducted on the
Union's proposals, but these were snagged by a deadlock on the issue of union shop, as a result
For the foregoing reasons, we hold Attorney Eustaquio V. Arayata guilty of malpractice and of which the Unions filed on January 27, 1958 a notice of strike for "deadlock on collective
suspend him from the practice of his profession for one (1) month, hereby reprimanding him for bargaining." Several conciliation conferences were held under the auspices of the Department of
having prepared and executed the deed of sale in question. So ordered. Labor wherein the conciliators urged the Companies to make reply to the Unions' proposals en
toto so that the said Unions might consider the feasibility of dropping their demand for union
security in exchange for other benefits. However, the Companies did not make any counter-
G.R. No. L-25291 January 30, 1971 proposals but, instead, insisted that the Unions first drop their demand for union security,
promising money benefits if this was done. Thereupon, and prior to April 15, 1958, the petitioner
THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, FGU Insular Life Building Employees Association-NATU dropped this particular demand, and
INSURANCE GROUP WORKERS and EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, and INSULAR requested the Companies to answer its demands, point by point, en toto. But the respondent
LIFE BUILDING EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, petitioners, Insular Life Assurance Co. still refused to make any counter-proposals. In a letter addressed to
the two other Unions by the joint management of the Companies, the former were also asked to From the date the strike was called on May 21, 1958, until it was called off on May 31, 1958,
drop their union security demand, otherwise the Companies "would no longer consider some management men tried to break thru the Unions' picket lines. Thus, on May 21, 1958
themselves bound by the commitment to make money benefits retroactive to October 1, 1957." Garcia, assistant corporate secretary, and Vicente Abella, chief of the personnel records section,
By a letter dated April 17, 1958, the remaining two petitioner unions likewise dropped their respectively of the Companies, tried to penetrate the picket lines in front of the Insular Life
demand for union shop. April 25, 1958 then was set by the parties to meet and discuss the Building. Garcia, upon approaching the picket line, tossed aside the placard of a picketer, one
remaining demands. Paulino Bugay; a fight ensued between them, in which both suffered injuries. The Companies
organized three bus-loads of employees, including a photographer, who with the said
respondent Olbes, succeeded in penetrating the picket lines in front of the Insular Life Building,
From April 25 to May 6, 1958, the parties negotiated on the labor demands but with no
thus causing injuries to the picketers and also to the strike-breakers due to the resistance
satisfactory result due to a stalemate on the matter of salary increases. On May 13, 1958 the
offered by some picketers.
Unions demanded from the Companies final counter-proposals on their economic demands,
particularly on salary increases. Instead of giving counter-proposals, the Companies on May 15,
1958 presented facts and figures and requested the Unions to submit a workable formula which Alleging that some non-strikers were injured and with the use of photographs as evidence, the
would justify their own proposals, taking into account the financial position of the former. Companies then filed criminal charges against the strikers with the City Fiscal's Office of Manila.
Forthwith the Unions voted to declare a strike in protest against what they considered the During the pendency of the said cases in the fiscal's office, the Companies likewise filed a
Companies' unfair labor practices. petition for injunction with damages with the Court of First Instance of Manila which, on the basis
of the pendency of the various criminal cases against striking members of the Unions, issued on
May 31, 1958 an order restraining the strikers, until further orders of the said court, from
Meanwhile, eighty-seven (87) unionists were reclassified as supervisors without increase in
stopping, impeding, obstructing, etc. the free and peaceful use of the Companies' gates,
salary nor in responsibility while negotiations were going on in the Department of Labor after the
entrance and driveway and the free movement of persons and vehicles to and from, out and in,
notice to strike was served on the Companies. These employees resigned from the Unions.
of the Companies' building.

On May 20, 1958 the Unions went on strike and picketed the offices of the Insular Life Building
On the same date, the Companies, again through the respondent Olbes, sent individually to the
at Plaza Moraga.
strikers a letter (exhibit B), quoted hereunder in its entirety:

On May 21, 1958 the Companies through their acting manager and president, the respondent
The first day of the strike was last 21 May 1958.
Jose M. Olbes (hereinafter referred to as the respondent Olbes), sent to each of the strikers a
letter (exhibit A) quoted verbatim as follows:
Our position remains unchanged and the strike has made us even more
convinced of our decision.
We recognize it is your privilege both to strike and to conduct picketing.

We do not know how long you intend to stay out, but we cannot hold your
However, if any of you would like to come back to work voluntarily, you may:
positions open for long. We have continued to operate and will continue to
do so with or without you.
1. Advise the nearest police officer or security guard of your intention to do
so.
If you are still interested in continuing in the employ of the Group
Companies, and if there are no criminal charges pending against you, we
2. Take your meals within the office. are giving you until 2 June 1958 to report for work at the home office. If by
this date you have not yet reported, we may be forced to obtain your
replacement.
3. Make a choice whether to go home at the end of the day or to sleep
nights at the office where comfortable cots have been prepared.
Before, the decisions was yours to make.
4. Enjoy free coffee and occasional movies.
So it is now.
5. Be paid overtime for work performed in excess of eight hours.
Incidentally, all of the more than 120 criminal charges filed against the members of the Unions,
except three (3), were dismissed by the fiscal's office and by the courts. These three cases
6. Be sure arrangements will be made for your families. involved "slight physical injuries" against one striker and "light coercion" against two others.

The decision to make is yours — whether you still believe in the motives of At any rate, because of the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction against them as well as
the strike or in the fairness of the Management.
the ultimatum of the Companies giving them until June 2, 1958 to return to their jobs or else be
replaced, the striking employees decided to call off their strike and to report back to work on
The Unions, however, continued on strike, with the exception of a few unionists who were June 2, 1958.
convinced to desist by the aforesaid letter of May 21, 1958.
However, before readmitting the strikers, the Companies required them not only to secure 4. In not ordering the reinstatement of officials and members of the Unions,
clearances from the City Fiscal's Office of Manila but also to be screened by a management with full back wages, from June 2, 1958 to the date of their actual
committee among the members of which were Enage and Garcia. The screening committee reinstatement to their usual employment.
initially rejected 83 strikers with pending criminal charges. However, all non-strikers with pending
criminal charges which arose from the breakthrough incident were readmitted immediately by
I. The respondents contend that the sending of the letters, exhibits A and B, constituted a
the Companies without being required to secure clearances from the fiscal's office.
legitimate exercise of their freedom of speech. We do not agree. The said letters were directed
Subsequently, when practically all the strikers had secured clearances from the fiscal's office,
to the striking employees individually — by registered special delivery mail at that — without
the Companies readmitted only some but adamantly refused readmission to 34 officials and
being coursed through the Unions which were representing the employees in the collective
members of the Unions who were most active in the strike, on the ground that they committed
bargaining.
"acts inimical to the interest of the respondents," without however stating the specific acts
allegedly committed. Among those who were refused readmission are Emiliano Tabasondra,
vice president of the Insular Life Building Employees' Association-NATU; Florencio Ibarra, The act of an employer in notifying absent employees individually during a
president of the FGU Insurance Group Workers & Employees Association-NATU; and Isagani strike following unproductive efforts at collective bargaining that the plant
Du Timbol, acting president of the Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd. Employees Association- would be operated the next day and that their jobs were open for them
NATU. Some 24 of the above number were ultimately notified months later that they were being should they want to come in has been held to be an unfair labor practice, as
dismissed retroactively as of June 2, 1958 and given separation pay checks computed under an active interference with the right of collective bargaining through dealing
Rep. Act 1787, while others (ten in number) up to now have not been readmitted although there with the employees individually instead of through their collective bargaining
have been no formal dismissal notices given to them. representatives. (31 Am. Jur. 563, citing NLRB v. Montgomery Ward & Co.
[CA 9th] 133 F2d 676, 146 ALR 1045)
On July 29, 1958 the CIR prosecutor filed a complaint for unfair labor practice against the
Companies under Republic Act 875. The complaint specifically charged the Companies with (1) Indeed, it is an unfair labor practice for an employer operating under a collective bargaining
interfering with the members of the Unions in the exercise of their right to concerted action, by agreement to negotiate or to attempt to negotiate with his employees individually in connection
sending out individual letters to them urging them to abandon their strike and return to work, with with changes in the agreement. And the basis of the prohibition regarding individual bargaining
a promise of comfortable cots, free coffee and movies, and paid overtime, and, subsequently, by with the strikers is that although the union is on strike, the employer is still under obligation to
warning them that if they did not return to work on or before June 2, 1958, they might be bargain with the union as the employees' bargaining representative (Melo Photo Supply
replaced; and (2) discriminating against the members of the Unions as regards readmission to Corporation vs. National Labor Relations Board, 321 U.S. 332).
work after the strike on the basis of their union membership and degree of participation in the
strike.
Indeed, some such similar actions are illegal as constituting unwarranted acts of interference.
Thus, the act of a company president in writing letters to the strikers, urging their return to work
On August 4, 1958 the Companies filed their answer denying all the material allegations of the on terms inconsistent with their union membership, was adjudged as constituting interference
complaint, stating special defenses therein, and asking for the dismissal of the complaint. with the exercise of his employees' right to collective bargaining (Lighter Publishing, CCA 7th,
133 F2d 621). It is likewise an act of interference for the employer to send a letter to all
employees notifying them to return to work at a time specified therein, otherwise new employees
After trial on the merits, the Court of Industrial Relations, through Presiding Judge Arsenio
would be engaged to perform their jobs. Individual solicitation of the employees or visiting their
Martinez, rendered on August 17, 1965 a decision dismissing the Unions' complaint for lack of
homes, with the employer or his representative urging the employees to cease union activity or
merit. On August 31, 1965 the Unions seasonably filed their motion for reconsideration of the
cease striking, constitutes unfair labor practice. All the above-detailed activities are unfair labor
said decision, and their supporting memorandum on September 10, 1965. This was denied by
practices because they tend to undermine the concerted activity of the employees, an activity to
the Court of Industrial Relations en banc in a resolution promulgated on October 20, 1965.
which they are entitled free from the employer's molestation.1

Hence, this petition for review, the Unions contending that the lower court erred:
Moreover, since exhibit A is a letter containing promises of benefits to the employees in order to
entice them to return to work, it is not protected by the free speech provisions of the Constitution
1. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor practice in sending out (NLRB v. Clearfield Cheese Co., Inc., 213 F2d 70). The same is true with exhibit B since it
individually to the strikers the letters marked Exhibits A and B; contained threats to obtain replacements for the striking employees in the event they did not
report for work on June 2, 1958. The free speech protection under the Constitution is
inapplicable where the expression of opinion by the employer or his agent contains a promise of
2. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor practice for
benefit, or threats, or reprisal (31 Am. Jur. 544; NLRB vs. Clearfield Cheese Co., Inc., 213 F2d
discriminating against the striking members of the Unions in the matter of
70; NLRB vs. Goigy Co., 211 F2d 533, 35 ALR 2d 422).
readmission of employees after the strike;

Indeed, when the respondents offered reinstatement and attempted to "bribe" the strikers with
3. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor practice for dismissing
"comfortable cots," "free coffee and occasional movies," "overtime" pay for "work performed in
officials and members of the Unions without giving them the benefit of
excess of eight hours," and "arrangements" for their families, so they would abandon the strike
investigation and the opportunity to present their side in regard to activities
and return to work, they were guilty of strike-breaking and/or union-busting and, consequently, of
undertaken by them in the legitimate exercise of their right to strike; and
unfair labor practice. It is equivalent to an attempt to break a strike for an employer to offer
reinstatement to striking employees individually, when they are represented by a union, since
the employees thus offered reinstatement are unable to determine what the consequences of
returning to work would be.
Likewise violative of the right to organize, form and join labor organizations are the following petitioners granted the respondents' demand that the former drop their demand for union shop
acts: the offer of a Christmas bonus to all "loyal" employees of a company shortly after the and in spite of urgings by the conciliators of the Department of Labor, the respondents
making of a request by the union to bargain; wage increases given for the purpose of mollifying adamantly refused to answer the Unions' demands en toto. Incidentally, Enage was the
employees after the employer has refused to bargain with the union, or for the purpose of chairman of the negotiating panel for the Companies in the collective bargaining between the
inducing striking employees to return to work; the employer's promises of benefits in return for former and the Unions. After the petitioners went to strike, the strikers were individually sent
the strikers' abandonment of their strike in support of their union; and the employer's statement, copies of exhibit A, enticing them to abandon their strike by inducing them to return to work upon
made about 6 weeks after the strike started, to a group of strikers in a restaurant to the effect promise of special privileges. Two days later, the respondents, thru their president and manager,
that if the strikers returned to work, they would receive new benefits in the form of respondent Jose M. Olbes, brought three truckloads of non-strikers and others, escorted by
hospitalization, accident insurance, profit-sharing, and a new building to work in.2 armed men, who, despite the presence of eight entrances to the three buildings occupied by the
Companies, entered thru only one gate less than two meters wide and in the process, crashed
thru the picket line posted in front of the premises of the Insular Life Building. This resulted in
Citing paragraph 5 of the complaint filed by the acting prosecutor of the lower court which states
injuries on the part of the picketers and the strike-breakers.lâwphî1.ñèt Then the respondents
that "the officers and members of the complainant unions decided to call off the strike and return
brought against the picketers criminal charges, only three of which were not dismissed, and
to work on June 2, 1958 by reason of the injunction issued by the Manila Court of First Instance,"
these three only for slight misdemeanors. As a result of these criminal actions, the respondents
the respondents contend that this was the main cause why the strikers returned to work and not
were able to obtain an injunction from the court of first instance restraining the strikers from
the letters, exhibits A and B. This assertion is without merit. The circumstance that the strikers
stopping, impeding, obstructing, etc. the free and peaceful use of the Companies' gates,
later decided to return to work ostensibly on account of the injunctive writ issued by the Court of
entrance and driveway and the free movement of persons and vehicles to and from, out and in,
First Instance of Manila cannot alter the intrinsic quality of the letters, which were calculated, or
of the Companies' buildings. On the same day that the injunction was issued, the letter, Exhibit
which tended, to interfere with the employees' right to engage in lawful concerted activity in the
B, was sent — again individually and by registered special delivery mail — to the strikers,
form of a strike. Interference constituting unfair labor practice will not cease to be such simply
threatening them with dismissal if they did not report for work on or before June 2, 1958. But
because it was susceptible of being thwarted or resisted, or that it did not proximately cause the
when most of the petitioners reported for work, the respondents thru a screening committee —
result intended. For success of purpose is not, and should not, be the criterion in determining
of which Ramon Garcia was a member — refused to admit 63 members of the Unions on the
whether or not a prohibited act constitutes unfair labor practice.
ground of "pending criminal charges." However, when almost all were cleared of criminal
charges by the fiscal's office, the respondents adamantly refused admission to 34 officials and
The test of whether an employer has interfered with and coerced employees union members. It is not, however, disputed that all-non-strikers with pending criminal charges
within the meaning of subsection (a) (1) is whether the employer has which arose from the breakthrough incident of May 23, 1958 were readmitted immediately by the
engaged in conduct which it may reasonably be said tends to interfere with respondents. Among the non-strikers with pending criminal charges who were readmitted were
the free exercise of employees' rights under section 3 of the Act, and it is Generoso Abella, Enrique Guidote, Emilio Carreon, Antonio Castillo, Federico Barretto, Manuel
not necessary that there be direct evidence that any employee was in fact Chuidian and Nestor Cipriano. And despite the fact that the fiscal's office found no probable
intimidated or coerced by statements of threats of the employer if there is a cause against the petitioning strikers, the Companies adamantly refused admission to them on
reasonable inference that anti-union conduct of the employer does have an the pretext that they committed "acts inimical to the interest of the respondents," without stating
adverse effect on self-organization and collective bargaining. (Francisco, specifically the inimical acts allegedly committed. They were soon to admit, however, that these
Labor Laws 1956, Vol. II, p. 323, citing NLRB v. Ford, C.A., 1948, 170 F2d alleged inimical acts were the same criminal charges which were dismissed by the fiscal and by
735). the courts..

Besides, the letters, exhibits A and B, should not be considered by themselves alone but should Verily, the above actuations of the respondents before and after the issuance of the letters,
be read in the light of the preceding and subsequent circumstances surrounding them. The exhibit A and B, yield the clear inference that the said letters formed of the respondents scheme
letters should be interpreted according to the "totality of conduct doctrine," to preclude if not destroy unionism within them.

... whereby the culpability of an employer's remarks were to be evaluated To justify the respondents' threat to dismiss the strikers and secure replacements for them in
not only on the basis of their implicit implications, but were to be appraised order to protect and continue their business, the CIR held the petitioners' strike to be an
against the background of and in conjunction with collateral circumstances. economic strike on the basis of exhibit 4 (Notice of Strike) which states that there was a
Under this "doctrine" expressions of opinion by an employer which, though "deadlock in collective bargaining" and on the strength of the supposed testimonies of some
innocent in themselves, frequently were held to be culpable because of the union men who did not actually know the very reason for the strike. It should be noted that
circumstances under which they were uttered, the history of the particular exhibit 4, which was filed on January 27, 1958, states, inter alia:
employer's labor relations or anti-union bias or because of their connection
with an established collateral plan of coercion or interference. (Rothenberg
TO: BUREAU OF LABOR RELATIONS
on Relations, p. 374, and cases cited therein.)
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MANILA
It must be recalled that previous to the petitioners' submission of proposals for an amended
renewal of their respective collective bargaining agreements to the respondents, the latter hired
Thirty (30) days from receipt of this notice by the Office, this [sic] unions
Felipe Enage and Ramon Garcia, former legal counsels of the petitioners, as personnel
intends to go on strike against
manager and assistant corporate secretary, respectively, with attractive compensations. After
the notice to strike was served on the Companies and negotiations were in progress in the
Department of Labor, the respondents reclassified 87 employees as supervisors without THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD.
increase in salary or in responsibility, in effect compelling these employees to resign from their Plaza Moraga, Manila
unions. And during the negotiations in the Department of Labor, despite the fact that the
THE FGU INSURANCE GROUP The respondents did not merely discriminate against all the strikers in general. They separated
Plaza Moraga, Manila the active from the less active unionists on the basis of their militancy, or lack of it, on the picket
lines. Unionists belonging to the first category were refused readmission even after they were
able to secure clearances from the competent authorities with respect to the criminal charges
INSULAR LIFE BUILDING ADMINISTRATION
filed against them. It is significant to note in this connection that except for one union official who
Plaza Moraga, Manila .
deserted his union on the second day of the strike and who later participated in crashing through
the picket lines, not a single union officer was taken back to work. Discrimination undoubtedly
for the following reason: DEADLOCK IN COLLECTIVE BARGAINING... exists where the record shows that the union activity of the rehired strikers has been less
prominent than that of the strikers who were denied reinstatement.
However, the employees did not stage the strike after the thirty-day period, reckoned from
January 27, 1958. This simply proves that the reason for the strike was not the deadlock on So is there an unfair labor practice where the employer, although authorized
collective bargaining nor any lack of economic concessions. By letter dated April 15, 1958, the by the Court of Industrial Relations to dismiss the employees who
respondents categorically stated what they thought was the cause of the "Notice of Strike," participated in an illegal strike, dismissed only the leaders of the strikers,
which so far as material, reads: such dismissal being evidence of discrimination against those dismissed
and constituting a waiver of the employer's right to dismiss the striking
employees and a condonation of the fault committed by them." (Carlos and
3. Because you did not see fit to agree with our position on the union shop, Fernando, Labor and Social Legislation, p. 62, citing Phil. Air Lines, Inc. v.
you filed a notice of strike with the Bureau of Labor Relations on 27 January Phil. Air Lines Emloyees Association, L-8197, Oct. 31, 1958.)
1958, citing `deadlock in collective bargaining' which could have been for no
other issue than the union shop." (exhibit 8, letter dated April 15, 1958.)
It is noteworthy that — perhaps in an anticipatory effort to exculpate themselves from charges of
discrimination in the readmission of strikers returning to work — the respondents delegated the
The strike took place nearly four months from the date the said notice of strike was filed. And the power to readmit to a committee. But the respondent Olbes had chosen Vicente Abella, chief of
actual and main reason for the strike was, "When it became crystal clear the management
the personnel records section, and Ramon Garcia, assistant corporate secretary, to screen the
double crossed or will not negotiate in good faith, it is tantamount to refusal collectively and unionists reporting back to work. It is not difficult to imagine that these two employees — having
considering the unfair labor practice in the meantime being committed by the management such been involved in unpleasant incidents with the picketers during the strike — were hostile to the
as the sudden resignation of some unionists and [who] became supervisors without increase in
strikers. Needless to say, the mere act of placing in the hands of employees hostile to the
salary or change in responsibility, such as the coercion of employees, decided to declare the strikers the power of reinstatement, is a form of discrimination in rehiring.
strike." (tsn., Oct. 14, 1958, p. 14.) The truth of this assertion is amply proved by the following
circumstances: (1) it took the respondents six (6) months to consider the petitioners' proposals,
their only excuse being that they could not go on with the negotiations if the petitioners did not Delayed reinstatement is a form of discrimination in rehiring, as is having
drop the demand for union shop (exh. 7, respondents' letter dated April 7, 1958); (2) when the the machinery of reinstatement in the hands of employees hostile to the
petitioners dropped the demand for union shop, the respondents did not have a counter-offer to strikers, and reinstating a union official who formerly worked in a unionized
the petitioners' demands. Sec. 14 of Rep. Act 875 required the respondents to make a reply to plant, to a job in another mill, which was imperfectly organized. (Morabe,
the petitioners' demands within ten days from receipt thereof, but instead they asked the The Law on Strikes, p. 473, citing Sunshine Mining Co., 7 NLRB 1252;
petitioners to give a "well reasoned, workable formula which takes into account the financial Cleveland Worsted Mills, 43 NLRB 545; emphasis supplied.)
position of the group companies." (tsn., Sept. 8, 1958, p. 62; tsn., Feb. 26, 1969, p. 49.)
Equally significant is the fact that while the management and the members of the screening
II. Exhibit H imposed three conditions for readmission of the strikers, namely: (1) the employee committee admitted the discrimination committed against the strikers, they tossed back and
must be interested in continuing his work with the group companies; (2) there must be no around to each other the responsibility for the discrimination. Thus, Garcia admitted that in
criminal charges against him; and (3) he must report for work on June 2, 1958, otherwise he exercising for the management the authority to screen the returning employees, the committee
would be replaced. Since the evidence shows that all the employees reported back to work at admitted the non-strikers but refused readmission to the strikers (tsn., Feb. 6, 1962, pp. 15-19,
the respondents' head office on June 2, 1953, they must be considered as having complied with 23-29). Vicente Abella, chairman of the management's screening committee, while admitting the
the first and third conditions. discrimination, placed the blame therefor squarely on the management (tsn., Sept. 20, 1960, pp.
7-8, 14-18). But the management, speaking through the respondent Olbes, head of the
Companies, disclaimed responsibility for the discrimination. He testified that "The decision
Our point of inquiry should therefore be directed at whether they also complied with the second whether to accept or not an employee was left in the hands of that committee that had been
condition. It is not denied that when the strikers reported for work on June 2, 1958, 63 members
empowered to look into all cases of the strikers." (tsn., Sept. 6, 1962, p. 19.)
of the Unions were refused readmission because they had pending criminal charges. However,
despite the fact that they were able to secure their respective clearances 34 officials and union
members were still refused readmission on the alleged ground that they committed acts inimical Of course, the respondents — through Ramon Garcia — tried to explain the basis for such
to the Companies. It is beyond dispute, however, that non-strikers who also had criminal discrimination by testifying that strikers whose participation in any alleged misconduct during the
charges pending against them in the fiscal's office, arising from the same incidents whence the picketing was not serious in nature were readmissible, while those whose participation was
criminal charges against the strikers evolved, were readily readmitted and were not required to serious were not. (tsn., Aug. 4, 1961, pp. 48-49, 56). But even this distinction between acts of
secure clearances. This is a clear act of discrimination practiced by the Companies in the slight misconduct and acts of serious misconduct which the respondents contend was the basis
process of rehiring and is therefore a violation of sec. 4(a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act. for either reinstatement or discharge, is completely shattered upon a cursory examination of the
evidence on record. For with the exception of Pascual Esquillo whose dismissal sent to the other
strikers cited the alleged commission by them of simple "acts of misconduct."
III. Anent the third assignment of error, the record shows that not a single dismissed striker was ... The Board found, and we cannot say that its finding is unsupported, that,
given the opportunity to defend himself against the supposed charges against him. As earlier in taking back six union men, the respondent's officials discriminated against
mentioned, when the striking employees reported back for work on June 2, 1958, the the latter on account of their union activities and that the excuse given that
respondents refused to readmit them unless they first secured the necessary clearances; but they did not apply until after the quota was full was an afterthought and not
when all, except three, were able to secure and subsequently present the required clearances, the true reason for the discrimination against them. (NLRB v. Mackay Radio
the respondents still refused to take them back. Instead, several of them later received letters & Telegraph Co., 304 U.S. 333, 58 Sup. Ct. 904, 82 L. Ed. 1381) (Mathews,
from the respondents in the following stereotyped tenor: Labor Relations and the Law, p. 725, 728)

This will confirm the termination of your employment with the Insular Life- The respondents' allegation that Tabasondra should have returned after being refused
FGU Insurance Group as of 2 June 1958. readmission on June 2, 1958, is not persuasive. When the employer puts off reinstatement when
an employee reports for work at the time agreed, we consider the employee relieved from the
duty of returning further.
The termination of your employment was due to the fact that you committed
acts of misconduct while picketing during the last strike. Because this may
not constitute sufficient cause under the law to terminate your employment Sixto Tongos was dismissed allegedly because he revealed that despite the fact that the
without pay, we are giving you the amount of P1,930.32 corresponding to Companies spent more than P80,000 for the vacation trips of officials, they refused to grant
one-half month pay for every year of your service in the Group Company. union demands; hence, he betrayed his trust as an auditor of the Companies. We do not find this
allegation convincing. First, this accusation was emphatically denied by Tongos on the witness
stand. Gonzales, president of one of the respondent Companies and one of the officials referred
Kindly acknowledge receipt of the check we are sending herewith.
to, took a trip abroad in 1958. Exchange controls were then in force, and an outgoing traveller on
a combined business and vacation trip was allowed by the Central Bank, per its Circular 52
. (Notification to Authorized Agent Banks) dated May 9, 1952, an allocation of $1,000 or only
P2,000, at the official rate of two pesos to the dollar, as pocket money; hence, this was the only
amount that would appear on the books of the Companies. It was only on January 21, 1962, per
The respondents, however, admitted that the alleged "acts of misconduct" attributed to the its Circular 133 (Notification to Authorized Agent Banks), that the Central Bank lifted the
dismissed strikers were the same acts with which the said strikers were charged before the exchange controls. Tongos could not therefore have revealed an amount bigger than the above
fiscal's office and the courts. But all these charges except three were dropped or dismissed.
sum. And his competence in figures could not be doubted considering that he had passed the
board examinations for certified public accountants. But assuming arguendo that Tongos indeed
Indeed, the individual cases of dismissed officers and members of the striking unions do not revealed the true expenses of Gonzales' trip — which the respondents never denied or tried to
indicate sufficient basis for dismissal. disprove — his statements clearly fall within the sphere of a unionist's right to discuss and
advertise the facts involved in a labor dispute, in accordance with section 9(a)(5) of Republic Act
875 which guarantees the untramelled exercise by striking employees of the right to give
Emiliano Tabasondra, vice-president of the petitioner FGU Insurance Group Workers & "publicity to the existence of, or the fact involved in any labor dispute, whether by advertising,
Employees Association-NATU, was refused reinstatement allegedly because he did not report speaking, patrolling or by any method not involving fraud or violence." Indeed, it is not only the
for duty on June 2, 1958 and, hence, had abandoned his office. But the overwhelming evidence right, it is as well the duty, of every unionist to advertise the facts of a dispute for the purpose of
adduced at the trial and which the respondents failed to rebut, negates the respondents' charge informing all those affected thereby. In labor disputes, the combatants are expected to expose
that he had abandoned his job. In his testimony, corroborated by many others, Tabasondra the truth before the public to justify their respective demands. Being a union man and one of the
particularly identified the management men to whom he and his group presented themselves on strikers, Tongos was expected to reveal the whole truth on whether or not the respondent
June 2, 1958. He mentioned the respondent Olbes' secretary, De Asis, as the one who received Companies were justified in refusing to accede to union demands. After all, not being one of the
them and later directed them — when Olbes refused them an audience — to Felipe Enage, the supervisors, he was not a part of management. And his statement, if indeed made, is but an
Companies' personnel manager. He likewise categorically stated that he and his group went to expression of free speech protected by the Constitution.
see Enage as directed by Olbes' secretary. If Tabasondra were not telling the truth, it would
have been an easy matter for the respondents to produce De Asis and Enage — who testified
anyway as witnesses for the respondents on several occasions — to rebut his testimony. The Free speech on both sides and for every faction on any side of the labor
respondents did nothing of the kind. Moreover, Tabasondra called on June 21, 1958 the relation is to me a constitutional and useful right. Labor is free ... to turn its
respondents' attention to his non-admission and asked them to inform him of the reasons publicity on any labor oppression, substandard wages, employer unfairness,
therefor, but instead of doing so, the respondents dismissed him by their letter dated July 10, or objectionable working conditions. The employer, too, should be free to
1958. Elementary fairness required that before being dismissed for cause, Tabasondra be given answer and to turn publicity on the records of the leaders of the unions
"his day in court." which seek the confidence of his men ... (Concurring opinion of Justice
Jackson in Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516, 547, 65 Sup. Ct. 315, 89 L. Ed.
430.) (Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law, p. 591.)
At any rate, it has been held that mere failure to report for work after notice to return, does not
constitute abandonment nor bar reinstatement. In one case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that
the taking back of six of eleven men constituted discrimination although the five strikers who The respondents also allege that in revealing certain confidential information, Tongos committed
were not reinstated, all of whom were prominent in the union and in the strike, reported for work not only a betrayal of trust but also a violation of the moral principles and ethics of accountancy.
at various times during the next three days, but were told that there were no openings. Said the But nowhere in the Code of Ethics for Certified Public Accountants under the Revised Rules and
Court: Regulations of the Board of Accountancy formulated in 1954, is this stated. Moreover, the
relationship of the Companies with Tongos was that of an employer and not a client. And with
regard to the testimonies of Juan Raymundo and Antolin Carillo, both vice-presidents of the
Trust Insurance Agencies, Inc. about the alleged utterances made by Tongos, the lower court Fist-fighting between union and non-union employees in the midst of a strike is no bar to
should not have given them much weight. The firm of these witnesses was newly established at reinstatement. (Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective Bargaining, Vol. II, p. 855 citing Stackpole
that time and was still a "general agency" of the Companies. It is not therefore amiss to conclude Carbon, Co. 6 NLRB 171, enforced 105 F2d 167.)
that they were more inclined to favor the respondents rather than Tongos.
Furthermore, assuming that the acts committed by the strikers were transgressions of law, they
Pacifico Ner, Paulino Bugay, Jose Garcia, Narciso Daño, Vicente Alsol and Hermenigildo amount only to mere ordinary misdemeanors and are not a bar to reinstatement.
Ramirez, opined the lower court, were constructively dismissed by non-readmission allegedly
because they not only prevented Ramon Garcia, assistant corporate secretary, and Vicente
In cases involving misdemeanors the board has generally held that unlawful acts are not bar to
Abella, chief of the personnel records section of the Companies, from entering the Companies'
reinstatement. (Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective Bargaining, Id., p. 854, citing Ford Motor
premises on May 21, 1958, but they also caused bruises and abrasions on Garcia's chest and
Company, 23 NLRB No. 28.)
forehead — acts considered inimical to the interest of the respondents. The Unions, upon the
other hand, insist that there is complete lack of evidence that Ner took part in pushing Garcia;
that it was Garcia who elbowed his way through the picket lines and therefore Ner shouted Finally, it is not disputed that despite the pendency of criminal charges against non-striking
"Close up," which the picketers did; and that Garcia tossed Paulino Bugay's placard and a fight employees before the fiscal's office, they were readily admitted, but those strikers who had
ensued between them in which both suffered injuries. But despite these conflicting versions of pending charges in the same office were refused readmission. The reinstatement of the strikers
what actually happened on May 21, 1958, there are grounds to believe that the picketers are not is thus in order.
responsible for what happened.lâwphî1.ñèt The picketing on May 21, 1958, as reported in the
police blotter, was peaceful (see Police blotter report, exh. 3 in CA-G.R. No. 25991-R of the
Court of Appeals, where Ner was acquitted). Moreover, although the Companies during the [W]here the misconduct, whether in reinstating persons equally guilty with
those whose reinstatement is opposed, or in other ways, gives rise to the
strike were holding offices at the Botica Boie building at Escolta, Manila; Tuason Building at San
Vicente Street, Manila; and Ayala, Inc. offices at Makati, Rizal, Garcia, the assistant corporate inference that union activities rather than misconduct is the basis of his
secretary, and Abella, the chief of the personnel records section, reported for work at the Insular [employer] objection, the Board has usually required reinstatement."
(Teller, supra, p. 853, citing the Third Annual Report of NLRB [1938], p.
Life Building. There is therefore a reasonable suggestion that they were sent to work at the latter
building to create such an incident and have a basis for filing criminal charges against the 211.)
petitioners in the fiscal's office and applying for injunction from the court of first instance.
Besides, under the circumstances the picketers were not legally bound to yield their grounds and Lastly, the lower Court justified the constructive dismissal of Florencio Ibarra allegedly because
withdraw from the picket lines. Being where the law expects them to be in the legitimate exercise he committed acts inimical to the interest of the respondents when, as president of the FGU
of their rights, they had every reason to defend themselves and their rights from any assault or Workers and Employees Association-NATU, he advised the strikers that they could use force
unlawful transgression. Yet the police blotter, about adverted to, attests that they did not resort and violence to have a successful picket and that picketing was precisely intended to prevent the
to violence. non-strikers and company clients and customers from entering the Companies' buildings. Even if
this were true, the record discloses that the picket line had been generally peaceful, and that
incidents happened only when management men made incursions into and tried to break the
The heated altercations and occasional blows exchanged on the picket line do not affect or
diminish the right to strike. Persuasive on this point is the following commentary: . picket line. At any rate, with or without the advice of Ibarra, picketing is inherently explosive. For,
as pointed out by one author, "The picket line is an explosive front, charged with the emotions
and fierce loyalties of the union-management dispute. It may be marked by colorful name-
We think it must be conceded that some disorder is unfortunately quite calling, intimidating threats or sporadic fights between the pickets and those who pass the line."
usual in any extensive or long drawn out strike. A strike is essentially a (Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law, p. 752). The picket line being the natural result of the
battle waged with economic weapons. Engaged in it are human beings respondents' unfair labor practice, Ibarra's misconduct is at most a misdemeanor which is not a
whose feelings are stirred to the depths. Rising passions call forth hot bar to reinstatement. Besides, the only evidence presented by the Companies regarding Ibarra's
words. Hot words lead to blows on the picket line. The transformation from participation in the strike was the testimony of one Rodolfo Encarnacion, a former member of the
economic to physical combat by those engaged in the contest is difficult to board of directors of the petitioner FGU Insurance Group Workers and Employees Union-NATU,
prevent even when cool heads direct the fight. Violence of this nature, who became a "turncoat" and who likewise testified as to the union activities of Atty. Lacsina,
however much it is to be regretted, must have been in the contemplation of Ricardo Villaruel and others (annex C, Decision, p. 27) — another matter which emphasizes the
the Congress when it provided in Sec. 13 of Act 29 USCA Sec. 163, that respondents' unfair labor practice. For under the circumstances, there is good ground to believe
nothing therein should be construed so as to interfere with or impede or that Encarnacion was made to spy on the actvities of the union members. This act of the
diminish in any way the right to strike. If this were not so, the rights afforded respondents is considered unjustifiable interference in the union activities of the petitioners and
to employees by the Act would indeed be illusory. We accordingly recently is unfair labor practice.
held that it was not intended by the Act that minor disorders of this nature
would deprive a striker of the possibility of reinstatement. (Republic Steel
Corp. v. N. L. R. B., 107 F2d 472, cited in Mathews, Labor Relations and the It has been held in a great number of decisions at espionage by an
Law, p. 378) employer of union activities, or surveillance thereof, are such instances of
interference, restraint or coercion of employees in connection with their right
to organize, form and join unions as to constitute unfair labor practice.
Hence the incident that occurred between Ner, et al. and Ramon Garcia was but a necessary
incident of the strike and should not be considered as a bar to reinstatement. Thus it has been
held that: ... "Nothing is more calculated to interfere with, restrain and coerce
employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization than such
activity even where no discharges result. The information obtained by
means of espionage is in valuable to the employer and can be used in a
variety of cases to break a union." The unfair labor practice is committed discrimination, that is, from the date of their discharge (Cromwell Commercial Employees and
whether the espionage is carried on by a professional labor spy or detective, Laborers Union vs. Court of Industrial Relations, supra).
by officials or supervisory employees of the employer, or by fellow
employees acting at the request or direction of the employer, or an ex-
The respondents notified the petitioner strikers to report back for work on June 2, 1958, which
employee..." (Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective Bargaining, Vol. II, pp.
the latter did. A great number of them, however, were refused readmission because they had
765-766, and cases cited.) .
criminal charges against them pending before the fiscal's office, although non-strikers who were
also facing criminal indictments were readily readmitted. These strikers who were refused
IV. The lower court should have ordered the reinstatement of the officials and members of the readmission on June 2, 1958 can thus be categorized as discriminatorily dismissed employees
Unions, with full back wages from June 2, 1958 to the date of their actual reinstatement to their and are entitled to backpay from said date. This is true even with respect to the petitioners Jose
usual employment. Because all too clear from the factual and environmental milieu of this case, Pilapil, Paulino Bugay, Jr. and Jose Garcia, Jr. who were found guilty only of misdemeanors
coupled with settled decisional law, is that the Unions went on strike because of the unfair labor which are not considered sufficient to bar reinstatement (Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective
practices committed by the respondents, and that when the strikers reported back for work — Bargaining, p. 854), especially so because their unlawful acts arose during incidents which were
upon the invitation of the respondents — they were discriminatorily dismissed. The members provoked by the respondents' men. However, since the employees who were denied
and officials of the Unions therefore are entitled to reinstatement with back pay. readmission have been out of the service of the Companies (for more than ten years) during
which they may have found other employment or other means of livelihood, it is only just and
equitable that whatever they may have earned during that period should be deducted from their
[W]here the strike was induced and provoked by improper conduct on the
back wages to mitigate somewhat the liability of the company, pursuant to the equitable principle
part of an employer amounting to an 'unfair labor practice,' the strikers are
that no one is allowed to enrich himself at the expense of another (Macleod & Co. of the
entitled to reinstatement with back pay. (Rothenberg on Labor Relations, p.
Philippines v. Progressive Federation of Labor, 97 Phil. 205 [1955]).
418.)

The lower court gave inordinate significance to the payment to and acceptance by the dismissed
[A]n employee who has been dismissed in violation of the provisions of the
employees of separation pay. This Court has ruled that while employers may be authorized
Act is entitled to reinstatement with back pay upon an adjudication that the
under Republic Act 1052 to terminate employment of employees by serving the required notice,
discharge was illegal." (Id., citing Waterman S. S. Corp. v. N. L. R. B., 119
or, in the absence thereof, by paying the required compensation, the said Act may not be
F2d 760; N. L. R. B. v. Richter's Bakery, 140 F2d 870; N. L. R. B. v.
invoked to justify a dismissal prohibited by law, e.g., dismissal for union activities.
Southern Wood Preserving Co., 135 F. 2d 606; C. G. Conn, Ltd. v. N. L. R.
B., 108 F2d 390; N. L. R. B. v. American Mfg. Co., 106 F2d 61; N. L. R. B. v.
Kentucky Fire Brick Co., 99 F2d 99.) ... While Republic Act No. 1052 authorizes a commercial establishment to
terminate the employment of its employee by serving notice on him one
month in advance, or, in the absence thereof, by paying him one month
And it is not a defense to reinstatement for the respondents to allege that the positions of these
compensation from the date of the termination of his employment, such Act
union members have already been filled by replacements.
does not give to the employer a blanket authority to terminate the
employment regardless of the cause or purpose behind such termination.
[W]here the employers' "unfair labor practice" caused or contributed to the Certainly, it cannot be made use of as a cloak to circumvent a final order of
strike or where the 'lock-out' by the employer constitutes an "unfair labor the court or a scheme to trample upon the right of an employee who has
practice," the employer cannot successfully urge as a defense that the been the victim of an unfair labor practice. (Yu Ki Lam, et al. v. Nena
striking or lock-out employees position has been filled by replacement. Micaller, et al., 99 Phil. 904 [1956].)
Under such circumstances, if no job sufficiently and satisfactorily
comparable to that previously held by the aggrieved employee can be
Finally, we do not share the respondents' view that the findings of fact of the Court of Industrial
found, the employer must discharge the replacement employee, if
Relations are supported by substantial and credible proof. This Court is not therefore precluded
necessary, to restore the striking or locked-out worker to his old or
from digging deeper into the factual milieu of the case (Union of Philippine Education Employees
comparable position ... If the employer's improper conduct was an initial
v. Philippine Education Company, 91 Phil. 93; Lu Do & Lu Ym Corporation v. Philippine-Land-
cause of the strike, all the strikers are entitled to reinstatement and the
Air-Sea Labor Union, 11 SCRA 134 [1964]).
dismissal of replacement employees wherever necessary; ... . (Id., p. 422
and cases cited.)
V. The petitioners (15 of them) ask this Court to cite for contempt the respondent Presiding
Judge Arsenio Martinez of the Court of Industrial Relations and the counsels for the private
A corollary issue to which we now address ourselves is, from what date should the backpay
respondents, on the ground that the former wrote the following in his decision subject of the
payable to the unionists be computed? It is now a settled doctrine that strikers who are entitled
instant petition for certiorari, while the latter quoted the same on pages 90-91 of the respondents'
to reinstatement are not entitled to back pay during the period of the strike, even though it is
brief: .
caused by an unfair labor practice. However, if they offer to return to work under the same
conditions just before the strike, the refusal to re-employ or the imposition of conditions
amounting to unfair labor practice is a violation of section 4(a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act and ... Says the Supreme Court in the following decisions:
the employer is liable for backpay from the date of the offer (Cromwell Commercial Employees
and Laborers Union vs. Court of Industrial Relations, L-19778, Decision, Sept. 30, 1964, 12
In a proceeding for unfair labor practice, involving a
SCRA 124; Id., Resolution on motion for reconsideration, 13 SCRA 258; see also Mathews,
determination as to whether or not the acts of the
Labor Relations and the Law, p. 730 and the cited cases). We have likewise ruled that
employees concerned justified the adoption of the
discriminatorily dismissed employees must receive backpay from the date of the act of
employer of disciplinary measures against them, the
mere fact that the employees may be able to put up a It is plain to the naked eye that the 60 un-underscored words of the paragraph quoted by the
valid defense in a criminal prosecution for the same respondent Judge do not appear in the pertinent paragraph of this Court's decision in L-20179-
acts, does not erase or neutralize the employer's right 81. Moreover, the first underscored sentence in the quoted paragraph starts with "For it is settled
to impose discipline on said employees. For it is settled ..." whereas it reads, "For it must be remembered ...," in this Court's decision. Finally, the second
that not even the acquittal of an employee of the and last underlined sentence in the quoted paragraph of the respondent Judge's decision,
criminal charge against him is a bar to the employer's appears not in the same paragraph of this Court's decision where the other sentence is, but in
right to impose discipline on its employees, should the the immediately succeeding paragraph.
act upon which the criminal charged was based
constitute nevertheless an activity inimical to the
This apparent error, however, does not seem to warrant an indictment for contempt against the
employer's interest... The act of the employees now
respondent Judge and the respondents' counsels. We are inclined to believe that the
under consideration may be considered as a
misquotation is more a result of clerical ineptitude than a deliberate attempt on the part of the
misconduct which is a just cause for dismissal. (Lopez,
respondent Judge to mislead. We fully realize how saddled with many pending cases are the
Sr., et al. vs. Chronicle Publication Employees Ass'n. et
courts of the land, and it is not difficult to imagine that because of the pressure of their varied
al., G.R. No. L-20179-81, December 28, 1964.)
and multifarious work, clerical errors may escape their notice. Upon the other hand, the
(emphasis supplied)
respondents' counsels have the prima facie right to rely on the quotation as it appears in the
respondent Judge's decision, to copy it verbatim, and to incorporate it in their brief. Anyway, the
The two pertinent paragraphs in the above-cited decision * which contained the underscored import of the underscored sentences of the quotation in the respondent Judge's decision is
portions of the above citation read however as follows: substantially the same as, and faithfully reflects, the particular ruling in this Court's decision, i.e.,
that "[N]ot even the acquittal of an employee, of the criminal charges against him, is a bar to the
employer's right to impose discipline on its employees, should the act upon which the criminal
Differently as regard the dismissal of Orlando Aquino and Carmelito
charges were based constitute nevertheless an activity inimical to the employer's interest."
Vicente, we are inclined to uphold the action taken by the employer as
proper disciplinary measure. A reading of the article which allegedly caused
their dismissal reveals that it really contains an insinuation albeit subtly of Be that as it may, we must articulate our firm view that in citing this Court's decisions and rulings,
the supposed exertion of political pressure by the Manila Chronicle it is the bounden duty of courts, judges and lawyers to reproduce or copy the same word-for-
management upon the City Fiscal's Office, resulting in the non-filing of the word and punctuation mark-for-punctuation mark. Indeed, there is a salient and salutary reason
case against the employer. In rejecting the employer's theory that the why they should do this. Only from this Tribunal's decisions and rulings do all other courts, as
dismissal of Vicente and Aquino was justified, the lower court considered well as lawyers and litigants, take their bearings. This is because the decisions referred to in
the article as "a report of some acts and omissions of an Assistant Fiscal in article 8 of the Civil Code which reads, "Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the
the exercise of his official functions" and, therefore, does away with the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines," are only those enunciated
presumption of malice. This being a proceeding for unfair labor practice, the by this Court of last resort. We said in no uncertain terms in Miranda, et al. vs. Imperial, et al. (77
matter should not have been viewed or gauged in the light of the doctrine on Phil. 1066) that "[O]nly the decisions of this Honorable Court establish jurisprudence or doctrines
a publisher's culpability under the Penal Code. We are not here to in this jurisdiction." Thus, ever present is the danger that if not faithfully and exactly quoted, the
determine whether the employees' act could stand criminal prosecution, but decisions and rulings of this Court may lose their proper and correct meaning, to the detriment of
only to find out whether the aforesaid act justifies the adoption by the other courts, lawyers and the public who may thereby be misled. But if inferior courts and
employer of disciplinary measure against them. This is not sustaining the members of the bar meticulously discharge their duty to check and recheck their citations of
ruling that the publication in question is qualified privileged, but even on the authorities culled not only from this Court's decisions but from other sources and make certain
assumption that this is so, the exempting character thereof under the Penal that they are verbatim reproductions down to the last word and punctuation mark, appellate
Code does not necessarily erase or neutralize its effect on the employer's courts will be precluded from acting on misinformation, as well as be saved precious time in
interest which may warrant employment of disciplinary measure. For it must finding out whether the citations are correct.
be remembered that not even the acquittal of an employee, of the criminal
charges against him, is a bar to the employer's right to impose discipline on
Happily for the respondent Judge and the respondents' counsels, there was no substantial
its employees, should the act upon which the criminal charges was based
change in the thrust of this Court's particular ruling which they cited. It is our view, nonetheless,
constitute nevertheless an activity inimical to the employer's interest.
that for their mistake, they should be, as they are hereby, admonished to be more careful when
citing jurisprudence in the future. ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the Court of Industrial
In the herein case, it appears to us that for an employee to publish his Relations dated August 17, 1965 is reversed and set aside, and another is entered, ordering the
"suspicion," which actually amounts to a public accusation, that his respondents to reinstate the dismissed members of the petitioning Unions to their former or
employer is exerting political pressure on a public official to thwart some comparatively similar positions, with backwages from June 2, 1958 up to the dates of their actual
legitimate activities on the employees, which charge, in the least, would reinstatements. Costs against the respondents.
sully the employer's reputation, can be nothing but an act inimical to the said ATTY. LEON L. ASA and ATTY. JOSE A. OLIVEROS, A.C. No. 6501
employer's interest. And the fact that the same was made in the union Complainants, (CBD Case Nos. 03-1076, 03-1108, 03-1
newspaper does not alter its deleterious character nor shield or protect a 1125)
reprehensible act on the ground that it is a union activity, because such end
can be achieved without resort to improper conduct or behavior. The act of -versus- Present:
the employees now under consideration may be considered as a
misconduct which is a just cause for dismissal.** (Emphasis ours) QUISUMBING, Chairperson,
ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO and ATTY. GINGER CARPIO,
ANNE CASTILLO, CARPIO MORALES, Court (RTC) of Angeles City, Branch 59. Castillo appeared as counsel of record for the therein
Respondents. TINGA, and petitioner, Dr. Salvador H. Laurel, guardian ad litem of the minors Nonan who appear to have
VELASCO, JR., JJ. inherited a sizeable amount of US dollars.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO, A misunderstanding later occurred between Asa and Castillo as regards their sharing
Complainant, Promulgated: in the attorneys fees in the guardianship case.

On page 6 of a pleading entitled Reply to Petitioner-Guardians


-versus- August 31, 2006 Comment/Opposition,[1] ETC. dated July 19, 2002 filed before Branch 59 of the Angeles RTC
and signed by Castillos daughter Ginger Anne Castillo (Ginger Anne) as counsel for Castillo who
filed a Notice Ad Cautelam, it was alleged that, inter alia, Asa wants to be paid an additional
ATTY. JOSE A. OLIVEROS, $75,000.00 for his services in providing coffee and opening doors whenever there is a
Respondent. conference at the Laurel Law Offices.[2]

x-----------------------x Finding the above statement of Castillo and Ginger Anne to be a brazen falsehood
concocted to besmirch Asas reputation, Asa and Oliveros filed before IBP an administrative
[3]
ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO, complaint against Castillo and Ginger Anne, for gross violation of the lawyers oath and the
Complainant, Code of Professional Responsibility. The case was docketed as CBD Case No. 03-1076.

In their complaint, Asa and Oliveros also charged Castillo with machinations and
-versus- deceit arising from the following alleged incidents:

In a conference held at the Laurel Law Offices prior to January 20, 2000 attended by
ATTY. LEON L. ASA, Dr. Laurel, the Nonan minors counsel abroad Atty. Benjamin Cassiday III (Cassiday), Asa and
Respondent. Castillo, it was agreed that the amount to be received by Dr. Laurel in trust for the Nonan heirs
would be deposited at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), St. Francis Square
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x Branch, PasigCity under Dollar Savings Account No. 8-250-00043-0. Castillo, however,
proposed that the funds be deposited instead at the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), he
explaining that he knew an employee there who could facilitate the transaction. Dr. Laurel
rejected this proposition and instead instructed Castillo to file the appropriate motion to have the
ATTY. LEON L. ASA, funds deposited at the RCBC.[4]
Complainant,
Without showing to Dr. Laurel the motion he was instructed to prepare, Castillo filed
the same with the Angeles trial court. Dr. Laurel subsequently received a copy of a March 2,
-versus- 2000 RTC Order[5] signed by the then trial Judge Eliezer R. De los Santos granting his motion
and accordingly directing that the funds to be held in trust for the Nonan children be deposited at
the Trust Department of the UCPB Head Office. Dr. Laurel, Cassiday and Asa thus filed with the
ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO, Angeles City trial court an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration[6] of the March 2, 2000 Angeles
Respondent. RTC Order in order to have the funds deposited at the RCBC transferred to the RTC, as
previously agreed upon.This motion was granted.

x--------------------------------------------------x Still in the same complaint, Asa and Oliveros alleged that in a Reply to Answer[7] dated
June 25, 2001 filed by Castillo with the RTC of Makati City, Branch 145 in Civil Case No. 01-
DECISION 506, Atty. P.M. Castillo v. United Coconut Planters Bank, Lorenzo V. Tan and Angelica S.
Hernandez, Castillo again committed a clear falsehood when he therein stated that:
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
On the other hand, retired Justice Felipe Kalalo of the Court of
Appeals who personally knew the plaintiff [Castillo] was also profuse in
Subject of the present Decision are four administrative cases, docketed by the extolling his academic credentials and accomplishments as a Trial lawyer as
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) as Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) Case Nos. 03- follows:
1076,03-1108,03-1109, and 03-1125.
Q: Do you know the claimant Atty. P.M. Castillo?
I. CBD Case No. 03-1076
A: Yes sir, because we were both active Senior Trial lawyers of
In 1996, Atty. Pablito M. Castillo (Castillo), then an associate of the Laurel Law Offices the Laurel Law Offices,[8](Underscoring supplied),
of which Attorneys Leon L. Asa (Asa) and Jose A. Oliveros (Oliveros) are partners, endorsed to
the law firm a guardianship case, Special Proceeding No. 5222, In re: Guardianship of the
Minors Honeylyn, Alexandra and Jerill Nonan, which was pending before the Regional Trial
he knowing that retired Justice Kalalo had never been at any time a lawyer at the Laurel Law receive as attorneys fees, Asa secretly pocketed the amounts of $24,500 and $160,500 from the
Offices. In support of this allegation, they appended to the complaint a certified true copy of the guardianship case on April 18, 2000; (4) Asa refused to account for and turn over the amount of
Service Record[9] of Justice Kalalo which does not show that he was ever connected with the $130,000 in attorneys fees which belonged to him (Castillo); and (5) Asa embarked on a scheme
Laurel Law Office. to force him into resigning as counsel for Dr. Laurel to enable them to exercise absolute control
over the guardianship case and appropriate for themselves the attorneys fees allocated for him.
In their Answer[10] to the complaint, Castillo and Ginger Anne declared:
In his Answer to the Complaint[17] in CBD Case No. 03-1109, Asa alleged as follows: It
There is nothing wrong or objectionable to the statement that Asas services in the was in fact Castillo who reneged on their February 16, 2000 Agreement as the latter had earlier
guardianship case consisted in providing coffee and opening doors whenever there was a bluntly told him that he changed his mind and that he would not give him (Asa) any share in the
conference at the Laurel Law Offices, as this was in fact the truth, the comportment being strictly attorneys fees he would receive from the guardianship case, Castillo reasoning that he was the
in accordance with long cherished Filipino hospitality, and he [Castillo] would have done the therein counsel of record and had endorsed the case to the Laurel Law Offices. He thus reported
same with his own visitors.[11] In any event, they claim that the assailed factual narration was the matter to Dr. Laurel and informed him that he would likewise not give Castillos share in the
material and relevant to Castillos question why Asa was given the lions share of attorneys fees attorneys fees he [Asa] might receive because [Castillo] has no word of honor.[18]
when he had not rendered any known material service which redounded to the benefit of
the Nonan children. As regards the $24,500 that he allegedly secretly pocketed, Asa explained that
several days prior to April 18, 2000, Dr. Laurel and Atty. Cassiday fixed the attorneys fees of
Moreover, the Castillos declared that the deposit of the Nonan funds at the UCPB was both Castillo and Asa at $100,000 each, based on the amount to be paid by the four heirs or
not attended with malice or bad faith, nor was it intended to benefit them as the funds could only $25,000 per heir. When the first heir Merceditas Feliciano (Merceditas) paid $1,150,000 on April
be withdrawn by Dr. Laurel who had exclusive access to all the information pertaining to the 18, 2000, he deposited $24,500 of this amount in his and his wifes joint Dollar Account No. 247-
interest and benefits accruing thereto. 702-9275 at the Philippine National Bank (PNB), Ortigas Branch as his share in the attorneys
fees, while he opened a new account in the name of Dr. Laurel to which he deposited the
As regards the assailed June 25, 2001 Reply to Answer filed with the Makati RTC in amount of $160,500.
Civil Case No. 01-506, the Castillos asserted that Castillo had no control nor influence over the
voluntary and spontaneous testimony of retired Justice Kalalo in his favor during the Asa went on to declare that Castillo received his own $25,000 plus interest amounting
proceedings adverted to.[12] to $25,023.13 representing full payment of his attorneys fees from Merceditas, as evidenced by
a Receipt[19] dated May 2, 2000 signed by Castillo.
II. CBD Case No. 03-1108
Continuing, Asa declared that of the $160,500 belonging to Dr. Laurel, $100,000
Castillo subsequently filed a complaint[13] against Oliveros before the IBP, docketed represented partial payment for his consenting to be the guardian ad litem of the Nonan heirs
as CBD Case No. 03-1108, for gross violation of lawyers oath and the Code of Professional and $60,000 represented reimbursement for expenses incurred over several years by Dr. Laurel,
Responsibility. the total of which was placed temporarily on April 18, 2000 in his (Asas) Dollar Account No. 8-
250-00047-3 in RCBC. Dr. Laurel, however, withdrew $160,000.00 the following day from RCBC
Castillo alleged that: (1) Oliveros assisted Cassiday in embezzling US $950,000 and placed it in his own Dollar Time Deposit Account for which $500.00 was spent for the
representing the share adjudicated to the Nonan heirs; (2) in conspiracy with Dr. Laurel and a purpose. A Certification[20] to this effect, issued by RCBC Ortigas Business Center Manager
certain Atty. Douglas Cushnie, Oliveros resorted to forum shopping to undermine and defeat the Dolores L. Del Valle, was appended to Asas Answer.
jurisdiction of the Philippine court in the guardianship proceedings; (3) Oliveros, along with Asa,
Dr. Laurel and Cassiday, perpetuated other acts of fraud in the guardianship proceedings; and Finally, Asa declared that Castillos claim for $130,000 in attorneys fees is baseless
(4) Oliveros, together with Asa, deliberately and maliciously filed a groundless administrative and unconscionable, and that Castillo filed the complaint merely to harass him in retaliation for
complaint against him and Ginger Anne. the complaint he and Oliveros priorly filed against him and Ginger Anne.

In his Answer[14] to the Complaint in CBD Case No. 03-1108, Oliveros, decrying the IV. CBD Case No. 03-1125
allegations against him as patently false, baseless and malicious, claimed that the complaint
was Castillos way of retaliating against him for having joined Asa in filing the administrative On August 25, 2003, Asa filed yet another administrative complaint,[21] against
complaint against him and Ginger Anne (CBD Case No. 03-1076). Castillo before the IBP, for disbarment/suspension, docketed as CBD Case No. 03-1125,
charging him with deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct in office, immoral conduct, violation of
III. CBD Case No. 03-1109 the lawyers oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility in light of his baseless, malicious
and derogatory allegations in CBD Case No. 03-1109 which were founded on deceit and
Castillo also filed an administrative complaint[15] against Asa before the IBP, deliberate falsehood, and of promoting a groundless, false and unlawful suit.
charging him with embezzlement, dishonesty, betrayal of trust, grave abuse of confidence and
violation of the lawyers oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. The case was
docketed as CBD Case No. 03-1109. IBP REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION:

Castillo alleged that (1) Asa, Cassiday and Dr. Laurel scandalously mismanaged the By Report and Recommendation[22] of February 27, 2004, the IBP CBD, through
estate of the Nonan heirs, the bulk of which they indiscriminately pocketed; Commissioner Rebecca Villanueva-Maala, recommended the dismissal of the consolidated
(2) Asa and Oliveros filed a groundless administrative complaint against him and Ginger Anne to cases in this wise.
compel him to withdraw his claim for attorneys fees against Dr. Laurel and his bid to replace the
latter as guardian of the Nonanheirs; (3) despite an Agreement[16] dated February 16, 2000 From the facts and evidence presented, what have been shown
between him and Asa that the latter would receive only 25% of whatever he (Castillo) would by the counsels are mutualbickerings, unjustified recriminations and
offensive personalities between brother lawyers which detract from the language that a lawyer best demonstrates his observance or respect due to the courts and
dignity of the legal profession and do not deserve the attention of the judicial officers.[33]
Commission.The voluminous case record contains but personal peculiarities
and idiosyncrasies hurled by the counsels against each other which In the case at bar, Castillo and Ginger Annes choice of words manifestly falls short of
constitute highly unprofessional conduct. A great part of mans comfort, as this criterion. Their disparaging statements in the pleading referred to above belie their proffered
well as of his success at the bar, depends upon his relations with his good intention and exceed the bounds of civility and propriety.
professional brethren.With them he is in daily necessary intercourse, and he
must have their respect and confidence, if he wishes to sail along in smooth Castillos claim that the statement about Asas services is relevant and pertinent to the
waters. Hence, the parties are advised to conduct themselves honorably, claim for attorneys fees and was, for all legal intents and purposes, a privileged
fairly and candidly toward each other and try to maintain the dignity of the communication[34] deserves short shrift. Indulging in offensive personalities in the course of
legal profession.[23](Underscoring supplied) judicial proceedings constitutes unprofessional conduct subject to disciplinary action, even if the
publication thereof is privileged.[35]

By Resolution[24] of April 16, 2004, the Board of Governors of the IBP adopted and x x x this Court will not be inhibited from exercising its supervisory
approved the February 27, 2004 Report and Recommendation and dismissed the consolidated authority over lawyers who misbehave or fail to live up to that standard
cases for lack of merit. expected of them as members of the Bar. Indeed, the rule of absolute
privileged communication absolves beforehand the lawyer from civil and
The records of the cases were then forwarded for final action to this Court. criminal liability based on the statements made in the pleadings. But like the
member of the legislature who enjoys immunity from civil and criminal
Asa filed with this Court an August 2, 2004 a Motion for Reconsideration[25] in CBD liability arising from any speech or debate delivered in the Batasan or in any
Case No. 03-1125. He too, together with Oliveros, filed on August 3, 2004 a Motion for committee thereof, but nevertheless remains subject to the disciplinary
Reconsideration[26] in CBD Case No. 03-1076. authority of the legislature for said speech or debate, a lawyer equally
remains subject to this Courts supervisory and disciplinary powers for lapses
Castillo likewise filed with this Court a Consolidated Omnibus Motion for Partial in the observance of his duty as a member of the legal
Reconsideration[27] dated August 9, 2004 in CBD Case No. 03-1108 and CBD Case No. 03- profession.[36] (Underscoring supplied)
1109.

On January 12, 2005, Asa filed his Comment[28] on Castillos Consolidated Omnibus Castillo and Ginger Anne are thus ADMONISHED to exercise greater care and
Motion for Partial Reconsideration in CBD Case No. 03-1109 while also Oliveros filed his circumspection in the preparation of their pleadings and refrain from using offensive or otherwise
Comment on the same motion on February 28, 2005. improper language.

On March 16, 2005, Castillo filed his Consolidated Reply to the Comments In support of Asa and Oliveros allegation that Castillo employed deceit and falsehood
of Asa and Oliveros, with Omnibus Motion to Appoint a Commissioner.[29] in attempting to change the depositary bank for the funds to be held in trust by Dr. Laurel for
the Nonanheirs, they presented the March 2, 2000 RTC Order directing Dr. Laurel and his
THIS COURTS RULING principal counsel Castillo to deposit the balance of the proceeds of the settlement with any and
all of the adjudicated heirs with UCPB and the March 14, 2000 RTC Order directing the deposit
In his questioned Reply to Petitioner-Guardians Comment/Opposition, Castillos of the settlement proceeds with the RCBC.
statement reads:
A perusal of the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration dated March 8, 2000 signed by Dr.
x x x Atty. Leon Asa wants to be paid an additional $75,000.00 for Laurel, however, fails to establish any wrongdoing on the part of Castillo in having filed the
his services in providing coffee and opening the doors whenever there is a Motion to deposit the funds at UCPB. It simply stated that:
conference at the Laurel Law Offices. He also conveniently provides himself
with the Nonan expediente to give assistance to the parties during their so- Considering the present raging controversy arising from the P50
called conferences. Worse, his express reluctance to appear before this Billion coconut levy funds, the stability of the United Coconut Planters Bank
Honorable Court was repeatedly announced by Atty. Jose Oliveros because (UCPB), Head Office at Makati, may be seriously affected x x x
of his so-called failing health x x x[30]
The Petitioner-Guardian can best protect the deposits of
the Nonan children if the proceeds of the settlement will be deposited with a
Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that a lawyer shall solvent and more conservative bank like the RIZAL COMMERCIAL
conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor toward his professional colleagues and shall BANKING CORPORATION (RCBC) x x x[37]
avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel. Rule 8.01 of the same Canon mandates that a
lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or
otherwise improper. In administrative cases against lawyers, the quantum of proof required is clearly
preponderant evidence and the burden of proof rests upon the complainant. Moreover, an
That a member of the bar is enjoined to observe honorable, candid and courteous administrative case against a lawyer must show the dubious character of the act done as well as
dealing with other lawyers[31] and employ respectful and restrained language is in keeping with the motivation thereof.[38] In the case at bar, Asa and Oliveros failed to present clear and
the dignity of the legal profession.[32] It is through a scrupulous preference for respectful preponderant evidence to show that Castillo willfully and deliberately resorted to deceit and
falsehood in filing the Motion to have the funds deposited at UCPB.
Respecting Castillos June 25, 2001 Reply to Answer in the Makati RTC Civil Case No. And Section 20(d), Rule 138 of the Rules of Court directs that a lawyer must employ
01-506, he therein alleged: such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and never seek to mislead the judge or
any judicial officer by any artifice or false statement of fact or law. [43]
On the other hand, retired Justice Felipe Kalalo of the Court of
Appeals who personally knew the plaintiff, was also profuse in extolling his Complete candor or honesty is thus expected from lawyers, particularly when they
academic credentials and accomplishments as a Trial lawyer, as follows: appear and plead before the courts.[44] They have an obligation to the court as well as to the
opposing party to make only truthful statements in their pleadings. [45] The burden cast on the
Q: Do you know the claimant Atty. P.M. Castillo? judiciary would be intolerable if it could not take at face value what is asserted by counsel. The
time that will have to be devoted just to the task of verification of allegations submitted could
A: Yes sir, because we were both active Senior Trial lawyers easily be imagined.[46]
at the Laurel Law Offices.
In light of the above findings reflecting Castillos administrative culpability, his charge
Q: How could you characterize and rate the trial competency, against Asa and Oliveros of filing groundless disbarment cases against him and Ginger Anne
performance and expertise of Atty. P.M. Castillo? necessarily fails.

A: He is highly competent, low key, aggressive and very As regards Castillos claim that Asa secretly pocketed $24,500 and $160,500, the
brilliant in the conduct of trial, as well as, in the undated certification issued by RCBC Branch Operation Head Dolores del Valle reading:
formulation of courtroom strategies. His pleadings are
also very well written, direct to the point, convincing, This is to certify that on April 18, 2000, Mr. Leon L. Asa opened a
scholarly and exhaustive. To be sure, he is one of the Dollar Savings Account at our Business Center. A credit was made to his
popular trial lawyers of our firm (The Laurel Law assigned Dollar Savings Account Number 8-250-00047-3 in the amount of
Offices), not only because he came from an exclusive US Dollars: One Hundred Sixty Thousand Five Hundred (USD: 160,500.00)
school, but also because of his scholastic records as initial transaction. We further certify that on April 19, 2000, there was a
at Ateneo de Manila was also impressive. That is why debit made for said account in the amount of US Dollars: One Hundred Sixty
he was taken in by former VP Salvador H. Laurel even Thousand (USD: 160,000.00) and that same amount was placed in the
before the release of the 1964 bar where he was also Dollar Time Deposit Account of Salvador H. Laurel. Mr. Leon Asa left the
No. 2 among the Ateneo bar candidates for the year. He amount of USD: Five Hundred in his account to serve as the maintaining
was No. 15 among the bar topnotchers. This is not to balance requirement. Subject Dollar Savings Account had closed already,[47]
mention his impressive and highly (sic) batting average
of winning about 80% to 90% of his load cases and
work. He was also one of the busy lawyers of our office, and Dr. Laurel Partial Inventory, Account and Report of Guardian[48] dated February 13,
until he went on private practice and excelled as one of 2002 filed with the Angeles City RTC, Branch 59 in Sp. Proc. No. 5222 stating that:
the more successful and respected trial
practitioners.[39] (Underscoring supplied) 3. On April 18, 2000, Guardian Ad Litem Salvador H. Laurel and
his Principal Foreign Legal Counsel, Atty. Benjamin Cassiday III received by
way of settlement from one of the duly adjudicated heirs of Larry
To Asa, by the foregoing allegation, Castillo committed clear falsehood for Lee Hillblom, Mercedita Feliciano, by and through her Guardian Ad Litem,
Justice Kalalo had never been a lawyer at any time at the Laurel Law Offices. Milagros Feliciano, the amount of ONE MILLION ONE HUNDRED FIFTY
THOUSAND US DOLLARS (US$1,150,000.00) which was deposited with
Castillo explained, however, that he can only say that he has no control, nor influence the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), St. Francis Square
on the voluntary and spontaneous declaration and testimony of Retired Justice Felipe Kalalo of Branch, Ortigas Center, Pasig City under Dollar Savings Account No. 8-250-
the Court of Appeals in his favor during the highly adversarial proceedings.[40] 000430-ABA. Routing No. RCBC PH MM in the name of Salvador H. Laurel,
in trust for Honeylyn, Alexandra and Jeril Nonan, in compliance with the
Castillos explanation does not impress, however. The records show that the above- Order of this Honorable Court dated April 26, 2000;
quoted statements attributed by Castillo to Justice Kalalo were lifted from an unsigned and
unsubscribed affidavit entitled Question and Answer Format in Lieu of Direct Testimony of 4. Pursuant to the above-stated Orders of this Honorable Court,
Justice Felipe Kalalo[41] dated January 21, 1993. This affidavit was earlier filed by Castillo with the Guardian Ad Litem and Atty. Benjamin Cassiday III disbursed the
the Pasig RTC, Branch 154 in connection with his claim for attorneys fees in Civil Cases Nos. following amounts for the purposes indicated:
43049 and 56637 which affidavit was subsequently withdrawn, [42] however, as it was unsigned
and unsubscribed. A. ATTORNEYS FEES & OTHER NECESSARY LEGAL
EXPENSES:
Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer owes
candor, fairness and good faith to the courts. Rule 10.01 of said Canon specifically commands xxxx
that a member of the bar 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 10.02 of the same Canon (7) Partial payment of the fee of Salvador H. Laurel for consenting
provides that a member of the bar shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of to be the guardian ad litemof the Nonan children and accepting all
a paper or assert as a fact that which has not been proved. responsibilities attached to said position .US$100,000.00
brother attorneys detract from the dignity of the legal profession and will not receive any
(8) Reimbursement to Salvador H. Laurel for expenses incurred sympathy from this Court.[56] Personal colloquies between counsels which promote unseemly
during the last six (6) years for airfare, car rentals, overseas calls, and wrangling should thus be carefully avoided.[57]
representation and other incidental expenses while in the various states in
the United States in order to pursue the claim of the Nonan children against It appears that Castillo had previously been suspended for Six (6) Months by this
the Hillblom estate .US$60,000.00 Court in CBD Case No. 176, Bongalonta v. Castillo,[58] for committing falsehood in violation of his
lawyers oath and of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He was then warned that
x x x x[49] (Underscoring supplied), commission of the same or similar offense in the future would call for the imposition of a more
severe penalty. This Court thus imposes upon him a penalty of suspension from the practice of
law for a period of One (1) year.
validate Asas explanation that the amount of $160,500 belonged to Dr. Laurel but was merely WHEREFORE, the administrative cases filed against Atty. Leon L. Asa and Atty. Jose
temporarily placed in his (Asas) account. A. Oliveros are DISMISSED.

The Partial Inventory, Account and Report of Guardian shows that $12,500 was Atty. Ginger Anne Castillo is found GUILTY of breach of Canon 8 of the Code of
received by Asa as attorneys fees for assisting Dr. Laurel and Castillo from 1996 to Professional Responsibility and is hereby admonished to refrain from using offensive and
2000.[50] Confirming such disbursement is a Receipt[51] dated April 18, 2000 signed by Asa. The improper language in her pleadings.
remaining $12,500 of the $25,000 attorneys fees of Asa per heir (as priorly agreed upon by Dr.
Laurel and Cassiday) were remitted by Asa to the Laurel Law Offices as Official Receipt No. Atty. Pablito M. Castillo is likewise found GUILTY of breach of Canons 8, as well as
1766[52] issued by the treasurer/cashier of the Laurel Law Offices dated April 19, 2000 shows: Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and is SUSPENDED from the practice of
law for a period of One (1) Year, effective upon receipt of this Decision.
RECEIVED from Atty. Leon L. Asa the sum of Twelve thousand five hundred
US Dollars US$12,500.00 as fifty percent (50%) share of LLO [Laurel Law Let copies of this Decision be entered in the respective personal records of Atty.
Offices] in attorneys fees of US$25,000 of Atty. Asa in SP Proc. 5222 of Ginger Anne Castillo and of Atty. Pablito M. Castillo in the Office of the Bar Confidant. Let copies
RTC Angeles City, Br. 59. too be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Cash.US$12,500-
SO ORDERED.
By: Sgd.
Treasurer/Cashier

On Asas alleged unjust refusal to turn over Castillos attorneys fees: It appears G.R. No. L-35469 October 9, 1987
that Asa and Castillo each received $25,000 as attorneys fees but pursuant to their February
2000 Agreement, the aggregate amount of $50,000 would be divided between them, and Castillo ENCARNACION BANOGON, ZOSIMA MUNOZ, and DAVIDINA MUNOZ, petitioners,
would receive 75% thereof or $37,500, while Asa would receive 25% or $12,500. The records vs.
show that Asa kept only $12,500 for himself, he having remitted, as reflected above, the MELCHOR ZERNA, CONSEJO ZERNA DE CORNELIO, FRANCISCO ZERNA, and the HON.
remaining $12,500 to the Laurel Law Offices. CIPRIANO VAMENTA, JR., Judge of the Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental (Branch
III).
Dr. Laurel eventually gave Castillo $10,000 out of the $12,500 which Asa remitted to
the Laurel Law Offices, as reflected in the Partial Inventory, Account and Report of Guardian. [53]

Respecting Castillos claim that, in violation of the Code of Professional CRUZ, J.:
Responsibility, Asaand Oliveros embarked on another sinister strategy to spite, insult and
provoke him to ostracize him and make him feel unwanted to continue as [Dr. Laurels] lawyer in It's unbelievable. The original decision in this case was rendered by the cadastral court way back
furtherance of their conspiracy to force him into resignation for them to replace him and have on February 9, 1926, sixty one years ago. A motion to amend that decision was filed on March 6,
absolute control over the guardianship case, the funds of the estate and the attorneys fees, the 1957, thirty one years later. This was followed by an amended petition for review of the judgment
same is unsubstantiated, hence, deserves no further consideration. on March 18, 1957, and an opposition thereto on March 26, 1957. On October 11, 1971, or after
fourteen years, a motion to dismiss the petition was filed. The petition was dismissed on
As to Castillos charge against Asa and Oliveros of embezzlement due to alleged December 8, 1971, and the motion for reconsideration was denied on February 14, 1972. 1 The
scandalous mismanagement of the estate of the Nonan heirs, premised on the October 13, petitioners then came to us on certiorari to question the orders of the respondent judge. 2
2003 RTC Order[54]in SP No. 5222, this Court finds the evidence presented insufficient to warrant
the imposition of sanctions against them.
These dates are not typographical errors. What is involved here are errors of law and lawyers.
Finally, on Castillos Omnibus Motion to Appoint a Commissioner, the matters raised
therein[55] being entirely inappropriate, to say the least, for consideration in these administrative The respondent court dismissed the petition for review of the decision rendered in 1926 on the
proceedings, the same is denied. ground that it had been filed out of time, indeed thirty one years too late. Laches, it was held,
had operated against the petitioners. 3
A final word. The spectacle of members of the bar being engaged in bickering and
recrimination is far from edifying. Mutual bickerings and unjustified recriminations between
The petitioners contend that the said judgment had not yet become final and executory because they are to put an end to controversies, courts should frown upon any
the land in dispute had not yet been registered in favor of the private respondents. The said attempt to prolong them."8
judgment would become so only after one year from the issuance of the decree of registration. If
any one was guilty of laches, it was the private respondents who had failed to enforce the
There should be a greater awareness on the part of litigants that the time of
judgment by having the land registered in their the pursuant thereto. 4
the judiciary, much more so of this Court, is too valuable to be wasted or
frittered away by efforts, far from commendable, to evade the operation of a
For their part, the private respondents argue that the decision of February 9, 1926, became final decision final and executory, especially so, where, as shown in this case,
and executory after 30 days, same not having been appealed by the petitioners during that the clear and manifest absence of any right calling for vindication, is quite
period. They slept on their rights for thirty one years before it occurred to them to question the obvious and indisputable. 9
judgment of the cadastral court. In fact, their alleged predecessor-in-interest, Filomeno Banogon,
lived for nineteen more years after the 1926 decision and did not see fit to challenge it until his
This appeal moreover, should fail, predicated as it is on an insubstantial
death in 1945. The herein petitioners themselves waited another twelve years, or until 195 7, to
objection bereft of any persuasive force. Defendants had to display
file their petition for review. 5
ingenuity to conjure a technicality. From Alonso v. Villamor, a 1910 decision,
we have left no doubt as to our disapproval of such a practice. The aim of a
While arguing that they were not guilty of laches because the 1926 decision had not yet become lawsuit is to render justice to the parties according to law. Procedural rules
final and executory because the land subject thereof had not yet been registered, the petitioners are precisely designed to accomplish such a worthy objective. Necessarily,
rationalize: "If an aggrieved party is allowed the remedy of re-opening the case within one year therefore, any attempt to pervert the ends for which they are intended
after the issuance of the decree, why should the same party be denied this remedy before the deserves condemnation. We have done so before. We do so again. 10
decree is issued? 6
Regarding the argument that the private respondents took fourteen years to move for the
Why not indeed? Why then did they not file their petition earlier? Why do they now pretend that dismissal of the petition for review, it suffices to point out that an opposition thereto had been
they have all the time in the world because the land has not yet been registered and the one- made as early as March 26, 1957, or nine days after the filing of the petition. 11 Moreover, it was
year reglementary period has not yet expired? for the petitioners to move for the hearing of the petition instead of waiting for the private
respondents to ask for its dismissal. After all, they were the parties asking for relief, and it was
the private respondents who were in possession of the land in dispute.
Thinking to support their position, the petitioners cite Rivera v. Moran 7 where it was held:

One reason why there is a degree of public distrust for lawyers is the way some of them
... It is conceded that no decree of registration has been entered and section
misinterpret the law to the point of distortion in a cunning effort to achieve their purposes. By
38 of the Land Registration Act provides that a petition for review of such a
doing so, they frustrate the ends of justice and at the same time lessen popular faith in the legal
decree on the grounds of fraud must be filed "within one year after entry of
profession as the sworn upholders of the law. While this is not to say that every wrong
the decree." Giving this provision a literal interpretation, it may first blush
interpretation of the law is to be condemned, as indeed most of them are only honest errors, this
seem that the petition for review cannot be presented until the final decree
Court must express its disapproval of the adroit and intentional misreading designed precisely to
has been entered. But on further reflection, it is obvious that such could not
circumvent or violate it.
have been the intention of the Legislature and that what it meant would
have been better expressed by stating that such petitioners must be
presented before the expiration of one year from the entry of the decree. As officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to assist in the proper administration of
Statutes must be given a reasonable construction and there can be no justice. They do not discharge this duty by filing pointless petitions that only add to the workload
possible reason for requiring the complaining party to wait until the final of the judiciary, especially this Court, which is burdened enough as it is. A judicious study of the
decree is entered before urging his claim of fraud. We therefore hold that a facts and the law should advise them when a case, such as this, should not be permitted to be
petition for review under section 38, supra, may be filed at any time the filed to merely clutter the already congested judicial dockets. They do not advance the cause of
rendition of the court's decision and before the expiration of one year from law or their clients by commencing litigations that for sheer lack of merit do not deserve the
the entry of the final decree of registration. (Emphasissupplied). attention of the courts.

A reading thereof will show that it is against their contentions and that under this doctrine they This petition is DISMISSED, with costs against the petitioners. This decision is immediately
should not have delayed in asserting their claim of fraud. Their delay was not only for thirty executory. It is so ordered.
one days but for thirty one years. Laches bars their petition now. Their position is clearly contrary
to law and logic and to even ordinary common sense.
G.R. No. L-22320 July 29, 1968
This Court has repeatedly reminded litigants and lawyers alike:
MERCEDES RUTH COBB-PEREZ and DAMASO P. PEREZ, petitioners,
vs.
"Litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is HON. GREGORIO LANTIN, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila,
assent essential to an effective and efficient administration of justice that, RICARDO P. HERMOSO and the CITY SHERIFF OF MANILA, respondents.
once a judgment has become final, the winning party be not, through a mere
subterfuge, deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Courts must therefore guard
against any scheme calculated to bring about that result. Constituted as
Crispin D. Baizas and Associates for petitioners. restrain acts outside their territorial jurisdictions, lifted on October 4, 1963 the ex parte writ which
Isidro T. Almeda for respondents. he previously issued enjoining the respondent sheriff from carrying out the execution sale. It is
clear, however, that Mrs. Perez and her counsels, the movants, knew or ought to have known
beforehand that the Court of First Instance of Rizal did not have jurisdiction to issue the writ
CASTRO, J.:
which Mrs. Perez herself sought, and, anticipating the recall of the writ improvidently issued, on
September 3, 1963, a month before the said writ was actually lifted, filed in the basic civil case
This is a motion for partial reconsideration of this Court's decision of May 22, 1968, specifically 39407 an urgent motion to lift the writ of execution issued on August 15, 1961, alleging as
directed against the following observation therein made: justification the conjugal nature of the levied shares of stock and the personal nature of Damaso
Perez' judgment debt, the very same reasons advanced in civil case 7532 which was then still
pending in the Court of First Instance of Rizal. Incidentally, Mrs. Perez failed to adduce any
We feel compelled to observe that during the protracted litigation below, the evidence in support of her aforesaid urgent motion, as in fact neither she nor her counsels
petitioners resorted to a series of actions and petitions, at some stages alternatingly, appeared during the scheduled hearing, prompting the respondent judge to issue the following
abetted by their counsel, for the sole purpose of thwarting the execution of a simple order:
money judgment which has long become final and executory. Some of the actions
were filed, only to be abandoned or withdrawn. The petitioners and their counsel, far
from viewing courts as sanctuaries for those who seek justice, have tried to use them When the urgent motion to recall or lift writ of execution was called this morning for
to subvert the very ends of justice. hearing, counsel for the movant did not appear despite the fact that he had been duly
notified of the motion for hearing. In view thereof the court assumes that he is waiving
his right to present evidence in support of his urgent motion to recall or lift writ of
Corollarily, this Court assessed treble costs against the petitioners, to "be paid by their counsel.". execution. Said urgent motion is therefore deemed submitted for resolution.

The herein movants, Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A. N. Bolinas, counsels for the petitioners,
Despite the recall of the aforementioned writ of injunction by Judge Mencias on a disclaimer of
while submitting to the judgment on the merits, seek reconsideration of the decision in so far as jurisdiction (since the execution sought to be enjoined was ordered by another tribunal), Mrs.
it reflects adversely upon their "professional conduct" and condemns them to pay the treble
Perez, now assisted by her husband who had staged a comeback, prayed for the issuance of
costs adjudged against their clients. another injunction, this time from Branch XXII of the Court of First Instance of Manila (not the
same Branch which issued the controverted writ of execution), in connection with civil case
At first blush, the motion for reconsideration presents a semblance of merit. After mature 7532, then still pending in the Court of First Instance of Rizal. As most probably anticipated
deliberation and patient reprobing into the records of the case, however, we are of the firmer anew by the Perez spouses and their counsels, Judge Alikpala, presiding judge of Branch XXII,
conviction that the protracted litigation, alluded to in the above-quoted portion of our decision, on November 8, 1963 denied the preliminary injunction sought, on the ground, among others,
was designed to cause delay, and the active participation of the petitioners' counsels in this that he had no power to interfere by injunction with the judgment or decree of a court of
adventure is patent. concurrent or coordinate jurisdiction. On the very day the injunction was denied, Damaso Perez,
as if expecting the reversal from Judge Alikpala, was already prepared with another "remedy," as
in fact on that day, November 8, 1963, he filed in the basic civil case 39407 an "Urgent Motion
After November 15, 1962 when the Court of Appeals rendered judgment sustaining Damaso for Reconsideration" of the order of October 19, 1963, which denied his wife's above-mentioned
Perez' position with respect to the extent of the levy, the subsequent proceedings interposed motion to recall the controverted writ of execution.
alternatingly by the petitioner spouses were obviously quixotic maneuvers expected to be
overthrown by the courts but calculated to delay an execution long overdue.
The foregoing motion, far from seriously seeking the reconsideration of the order of October 19,
1963, which in the first place Damaso Perez could not legally do for he was not even a party to
Had the petitioners and their counsels seriously believed that the levied shares of stock were the denied "Urgent Motion to Recall Writ of Execution" (filed by his wife alone), was merely an
conjugal property, why did they not adopt this position from the very start, or, at the latest, in CA- offer to replace the levied stocks with supposed cash dividends due to the Perez spouses as
G.R. 29962-R, wherein Damaso Perez challenged the legality of the levy's coverage, in order to stockholders in the Republic Bank.1 As a matter of fact, when the motion was set for hearing on
end the litigation with reasonable dispatch? They chose, however, to attack the execution in a December 21, 1963, the counsels for Damaso Perez promised to produce the said cash
piecemeal fashion, causing the postponement of the projected execution sale six times. More dividends within five days, but the promise was never fulfilled.2 Consequently, the respondent
than eight years after the finality of the judgment have passed, and the same has yet to be Judge on January 4, 1964, denied the said motion for reconsideration.
satisfied.

The above exposition of the circumstances relative to the protracted litigation clearly negates the
In a determined effort to prolong the litigation, the Perez spouses, as represented by their avowal of the movants that "in none of the various incidents in the case at bar has any particular
counsels, sought the issuance of preliminary injunctions to restrain the execution of the final counsel of petitioners acted with deliberate aforethought to delay the enforcement of the
judgment in civil case 39407 from courts which did not have jurisdiction and which would, as judgment in Civil Case No. 39407." From the chronology of antecedent events, the fact becomes
expected, initially or ultimately deny their prayer. For instance, after Damaso Perez bowed out inescapable that the Perez spouses, coached by their counsels, had sallied forth on a strategem
temporarily from the scene following the rendition of the aforementioned Court of Appeals of "remedies" projected to foil the lawful execution of a simple money judgment. It is equally
decision, his wife, Mercedez, Ruth Cobb-Perez, intruded into the controversy and asked for an obvious that they foreshadowed their own reversals in the "remedies" they ventured to adopt,
ex parte writ of preliminary injunction from the Court of First Instance of Rizal in connection with such that even before, one remedy had been exhausted, they interposed another until the case
civil case 7532 which she filed with the said court, knowing fully well that the basic civil case reached this Court for the second time. 3 Meanwhile, justice was delayed, and more than one
39407 was decided by the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch VII presided by the member of this Court are persuaded that justice was practically waylaid.
respondent Judge Lantin), which latter court was the proper forum for any action relative to the
execution. Judge Eulogio Mencias of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, looking to Acosta vs.
Alvendia (L-14598, October 31, 1960), which held that courts of first instance have no power to
The movants also contend that even this Court sanctions the aforesaid civil cases 7532 and The movants finally state that the "Petitioners have several counsel in this case but the
55292 as the "proper remedy" when we said that. participation of each counsel was rather limited implying that the decision of this Court ordering
that "treble costs are assessed against the petitioners, which shall be paid by their counsel" is
not clear. The word "counsel" may be either singular or plural in construction, so that when we
In reality, what they attacked is not the writ of execution, the validity and regularity of
said "counsel" we meant the counsels on record of the petitioners who were responsible for the
which are unchallenged, but the levy made by the respondent Sheriff. In this regard,
inordinate delay in the execution of the final judgment in the basic civil case 39407, after the
the remedy is not the recall of the writ, but an independent action to enjoin the Sheriff
Court of Appeals had rendered its aforementioned decision of November 15, 1962. And it is on
from proceeding with the projected sale, in which action the conjugal nature of the
record that the movants are such counsels. Atty. Bolinas, upon his own admission, "entered his
levied stocks should be established as a basis for the subsequent issuance of a
appearance in the case at bar about the time the Court of First Instance of Manila dismissed the
permanent injunction, in the event of a successful claim. Incidentally, in the course of
petitioners' Petition for Relief in Civil Case No. 39407," or about August 3, 1961 and even prior
the protracted litigation, the petitioners had already availed of this remedy in civil
to the Court of Appeals decision above-mentioned. Atty. Baizas claims that he "became
cases 7532 and 55292, only to abandon it as they incessantly sought other, and often
petitioners' counsel only in October, 1963 when he filed, with Atty. A.N. Bolinao, Jr. Civil Case
simultaneous, devices of thwarting satisfaction of the judgment debt. (Emphasis
No. 55292 before the Court of First Instance of Manila presided by the Hon. Judge Alikpala
supplied) .
although it appears on record that the urgent motion to recall writ of execution filed by Mrs.
Perez in the basic civil case 39407 on September 3, 1963, was over the signature of one Ruby
And because of this statement, they now counter that the said cases could not be branded as Zaida of the law firm of "Crispin Baizas & Associates" as counsel for Mrs. Perez. It is to be
having been instituted for delay. recalled that the said urgent motion is the same motion discussed above, which, curiously
enough, antedated by at least one month the lifting of the writ of preliminary injunction issued in
civil case 7532.
The reference we made to civil cases 7532 and 55292 in the above-quoted statement must not
be considered out of context. We said that the petitioners incidentally had already availed of the
suggested remedy only in the sense that said civil cases 7532 and 55292 ACCORDINGLY, the motion for partial reconsideration is denied. Our decision of May 22, 1968
were apparently instituted to prove the conjugal nature of the levied shares of stocks in question. is hereby modified in the sense that Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A.N. Bolinao, Jr. shall pay
We used the word incidentally advisedly to show that in their incessant search for devices to jointly and severally the treble costs assessed against the petitioners.
thwart the controverted execution, they accidentally stumbled on the suggested remedy. But the
said civil cases were definitely not the "proper remedy" in so far as they sought the issuance of
writs of preliminary injunction from the Court of First Instance of Rizal and the Court of First G.R. No. L-77691 August 8,1988
Instance of Manila (Branch XXII) where civil cases 7532 and 55292 were filed respectively, for
the said courts did not have jurisdiction to restrain the enforcement of the writ of execution PATERNO R. CANLAS, petitioner,
issued by the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch VII) under the settled doctrines that vs.
Courts are without power to restrain acts outside of their territorial jurisdiction 4 or interfere with HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and FRANCISCO HERRERA, respondents.
the judgment or decree of a court of concurrent or coordinate jurisdiction. 5 However, the recall
and the denial of the writs of preliminary injunction in civil cases 7532 and 55292 did not amount
to the termination or dismissal of the principal action in each case. Had the Perez spouses Paterno R. Canlas Law Offices for petitioner.
desired in earnest to continue with the said cases they could have done so. But the fact is that
Mrs. Perez practically abandoned civil case 7532 when she instituted the above mentioned Abalos, Gatdula & Bermejo for private respondent.
urgent motion to recall writ of execution in the basic civil case 39407, anchored on the same
grounds which she advanced in the former case, until the said civil case 7532 was dismissed on
November 9, 1963, upon her own motion. Anent civil case 55292, the Perez spouses virtually
deserted the same when they instituted the herein petition for certiorari with urgent writ of SARMIENTO, J.:
preliminary injunction based on the same grounds proffered in the said civil case — until the
latter was also dismissed on March 20, 1964, with the consent of the parties because of the The case dramatizes the unpleasant spectacle of a lawyer tangling with his own client, more
pendency then of the aforesaid petition for certiorari. often than not, in the matter of fees. The lawyer, the petitioner himself, would have his petition
decided on pure questions of procedure, yet, the Court cannot let pass unnoticed the murkier
The movants further contend that "If there was delay, it was because petitioners' counsel face of the controversy, wherein the law is corrupted to promote a lawyer's selfseeking ends,
happened to be more assertive ... a quality of the lawyers (which) is not to be condemned." and the law profession, debased into a simple business dealing. Accordingly, we resolve it on
the basis not only of the questions raised by the petitioner pertaining to procedure, but
considering its serious ethical implications, on its merits as well.
A counsel's assertiveness in espousing with candour and honesty his client's cause must be
encouraged and is to be commended; what we do not and cannot countenance is a lawyer's
insistence despite the patent futility of his client's position, as in the case at bar. We turn to the facts.

It is the duty of a counsel to advise his client, ordinarily a layman to the intricacies and vagaries The private respondent was the registered owner of eight (six, according to the petitioner)
of the law, on the merit or lack of merit of his case. If he finds that his client's cause is parcels of land located in Quezon City. 1 Between 1977 and 1978, 2 he obtained various loans
defenseless, then it is his bounden duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and submit, rather than from the L & R Corporation, a financing institution, in various sums totalling P420,000.00 As
traverse the incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his client, and security therefor, he executed deeds of mortgage in favor of the corporation over the parcels
temper his client's propensity to litigate. A lawyer's oath to uphold the cause of justice is superior aforesaid. On August 28,1979, and upon the maturing of said loans, the firm caused an
to his duty to his client; its primacy is indisputable. extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage following his failure to pay, as a consequence of which, the
said eight (six, according to the petitioner) parcels of land were disposed of at public auction, by the Sheriff of Quezon City and subject matter of the above Compromise
and in which L & R Corporation was itself the highest bidder. Agreement in Civil Case No. Q30679. . .10

Pending redemption, the private respondent filed a complaint for injunction against L & R As a consequence, the private respondent caused the annotation of an adverse claim upon the
Corporation, to enjoin consolidation of title in its name, in which he succeeded in obtaining respective certificates of title embracing the properties. Upon learning of the same, the petitioner
preliminary injunctive relief. He was represented by the petitioner. Two years later, and with no moved for the cancellation of the adverse claim and for the issuance of a writ of possession. The
imminent end to the litigation in sight, the parties entered into a compromise agreement whereby court granted both motions. The private respondent countered with a motion for a temporary
L & R Corporation accorded the private respondent another year to redeem the foreclosed restraining order and later, a motion to recall the writ of possession. He likewise alleges that he
properties subject to payment of P600,000.00, with interest thereon at one per cent per month. commenced disbarment proceedings before this Court against the petitioner 11 as well as various
They likewise stipulated that the petitioner shall be entitled to attorney's fees of P100,000.00. On criminal complaints for estafa, falsification, and "betrayal of trust" 12 with the Department of
November 19, 1982, the court 3 approved the compromise. Justice. On December 1, 1983, finally, he instituted an action for reconveyance and reformation
of document, 13praying that the certificates of title issued in the name of the petitioner be
cancelled and that "the Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of Equity of Redemption and/or to
The private respondent, however, remained in dire financial straits — a fact the petitioner himself
Redeem dated May 3, 1983 ... be reformed to reflect the true agreement of Francisco Herrera
concede 4 — for which reason he failed to acquire the finding to repay the loans in question, let
and Paterno R. Canlas, of a mortgage." 14 He vehemently maintains that the petitioner's
alone the sum of P100,000.00 in attorney's fees demanded by the petitioner. That
"agreement with [him] was that the latter would lend the money to the former for a year, so that
notwithstanding, the petitioner moved for execution insofar as his fees were concemed. The
[petitioner] would have time to look for a loan for the wet market which [the petitioner] intended
court granted execution, although it does not appear that the sum was actually collected. 5
to put up on said property." 15 Predictably, the petitioner moved for dismissal.

Sometime thereafter, the petitioner and the private respondent met to discuss relief for the latter
The trial court, however, denied the private respondent's petition. It held that the alteration
with respect to his liability to L & R Corporation on the one hand, and his obligation to the
complained of did not change the meaning of the contract since it was "well within [the
petitioner on the other. The petitioner contends that the private respondent "earnestly
petitioner's] rights" 16 "to protect and insure his interest of P654,000.00 which is the redemption
implored" 6 him to redeem the said properties; the private respondent maintains that it was the
price he has paid;" 17 secondly, that the petitioner himself had acquired an interest in the
petitioner himself who 'offered to advance the money," 7 provided that he, the private
properties subject of reconveyance based on the compromise agreement approved by Judge
respondent, executed a "transfer of mortgage" 8 over the properties in his favor. Who implored
Castro in the injunction case, pursuant to Section 29(b), of Rule 39, of the Rules of Court, that
whom is a bone of contention, but as we shall see shortly, we are inclined to agree with the
had, consequently, made him a judgment creditor in his own right; thirdly, that the private
private respondent's version, considering primarily the petitioner's moral ascendancy over his
respondent had lost all rights over the same arising from his failure to redeem them from L & R
client and the private respondent's increasing desperation.
Corporation within the extended period; and finally, that the petitioner cannot be said to have
violated the ban against sales of properties in custodia legis to lawyers by their clients pendente
The records further show that the parties, pursuant to their agreement, executed a "Deed of Sale lite, since the sale in question took place after judgment in the injunction case abovesaid had
and Transfer of Rights of Redemption and/or to Redeem," a document that enabled the attained finality. The complaint was consequently dismissed, a dismissal that eventually attained
petitioner, first, to redeem the parcels in question, and secondly, to register the same in his a character of finality.
name. The private respondent alleges that he subsequently filed loan applications with the
Family Savings Bank to finance a wet market project upon the subject premises to find,
Undaunted, the private respondent, on December 6, 1985, filed a suit for "Annulment Of
according to him, and to his dismay, the properties already registered in the name of the
Judgment 18 in the respondent Court of Appeals, 19 praying that the orders of Judge Castro: (1).
petitioner. He likewise contends that the "Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of Redemption
granting execution over the portion of the compromise agreement obliging the private
and/or to Redeem" on file with the Register of Deeds (for Quezon City) had been falsified as
respondent to pay the petitioner P100,000.00 as attorney's fees; (2) denying the private
follows:
respondent's prayer for a restraining order directed against the execution: and (3) denying the
motion to recall writ of possession, all be set aside.
WHEREFORE, for and in full settlement of the attorney's fees of
TRANSFEREE in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS
The petitioner filed a comment on the petition, but followed it up with a motion to dismiss. On
(Pl00,000.00) I, FRANCISCO HERRERA, hereby transfer, assign and
December 8, 1986, the respondent Court of Appeals promulgated the first of its challenged
convey unto TRANSFEREE, Atty. Paterno R. Canlas, any and all my rights
resolutions, denying the motion to dismiss. On March 3, 1987, the Appellate Court denied
of the real properties and/or to redeem from the Mortgagee, L & R
reconsideration. 20
Corporation my mortgaged properties foreclosed and sold at public auction
by the Sheriff of Quezon City and subject matter of the above Compromise
Agreement in Civil Case No. Q30679 ... 9 Hence the instant petition.

whereas it originally reads: As we stated, the petitioner assails these twin resolutions on grounds of improper procedure.
Specifically, he assigns the following errors:
WHEREFORE, for and in full settlement of the attorney's fees of
TRANSFEREE in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS I.
(P100,000.00), I, FRANCISCO HERRERA, hereby transfer, assign and
convey unto TRANSFEREE, Atty. Paterno R. Canlas, any and all my rights
of equity of redemption and/or to redeem from the Mortgagee, L & R
Corporation my mortgaged properties foreclosed and sold at public auction
THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSE [sic] ITS DISCRETION IN NOT DISMISSING as Makabingkil defines it, indeed vitiated the proceedings presided over by Judge Castro. On the
AC G.R. NO. 07860 ON THE GROUND THAT IT IS IN REALITY A PETITION FOR contrary, Herrera's petition in the respondent court will show that he was privy to the incidents he
CERTIORARI FILED OUT OF TIME AND SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN DUE COURSE. complains of, and in fact, had entered timely oppositions and motions to defeat Atty. Canlas'
claims under the compromise agreement.
II.
What he objects to is his suspected collusion between Atty. Canlas and His Honor to expedite
the former's collection of his fees. He alleges that his counsel had deliberately, and with
THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSE [sic] ITS DISCRETION IN NOT DISMISSING
malevolent designs, postponed execution to force him (Herrera) to agree to sell the properties in
AC G.R. NO. 07860 ON THE GROUND OF RES JUDICATA
controversy to him (Atty. Canlas) subject to redemption. ("...[I]t was understandable that
respondent Atty. Paterno R. Canlas did not implement the writ of execution, instead he
III. contacted petitioner in order that petitioner would sign the questioned documents. This was the
clincher of the plan of respondent Atty, Paterno R. Canlas to divest petitioner of his properties.
For this purpose, it is obvious that respondent Atty. Paterno R. Canlas had to conspire with the
THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSE [sic] ITS DISCRETION IN NOT respondent court judge to achieve his plan." 25) Aside from being plain speculation, it is no
CONSIDERING AC G. R. 07860 AS MOOT AND ACADEMIC SINCE PETITIONER HAD argument to justify annulment. Clearly, it does not amount to extrinsic fraud as the term is
DISPOSED OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTIES LONG BEFORE THE FILING OF THIS SUIT. defined in law.

IV
Neither is it proper for the extraordinary remedy of certiorari. Certiorari presupposes the absence
of an appeal 26 and while there is no appeal from execution of judgment, appeal lies in case of
THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT DENYING irregular implementation of the writ. 27 In the case at bar, there is no irregular execution to speak
PETITIONER'S MOTION TO DISMISS SOLELY ON THE GROUND THAT THE ARGUMENT of As a rule, "irregular execution" means the failure of the writ to conform to the decree of the
RAISED THEREIN ARE BUT REHASH OF THE ARGUMENTS IN HIS COMMENT TO THE decision executed. 28 In the instant case, respondent Herrera's charges, to wit, that Judge Castro
PETITION. 21 had erred in denying his motions for temporary restraining order and to recall writ of possession,
or that His Honor had acted hastily (". . . that respondent court/judge took only one [1) day to
resolve petitioner's motion for issuance of [a] [restraining] order. . ." 29) in denying his twofold
The petitioner argues that the petition pending with the respondent court "is actually a petition for motions, do not make out a case for irregular execution. The orders impugned are conformable
certiorari," 22disguised as a pleading for annulment of judgment and that in such a case, it faces to the letter of the judgment approving the parties'compromise agreement.
alleged legal impediments (1) It had been filed out of time, allegedly two years from the issuance
of the assailed orders, and (2) It was not preceded by a motion for reconsideration. He adds that
assuming annulment of judgment were proper, no judgment allegedly exists for annulment, the The lengths the private respondent, Francisco Herrera, would go to in a last-ditch bid to hold on
aforesaid two orders being in the nature of interlocutory issuances. to his lands and constraints of economic privation have not been lost on us. It is obvious that he
is uneasy about the judgment on compromise itself, as well as the subsequent contract between
him and his lawyer. In such a case, Article 2038 of the Civil Code applies:
On purely technical grounds, the petitioner's arguments are impressive. Annulment of judgment,
we have had occasion to rule, rests on a single ground: extrinsic fraud. What "extrinsic fraud"
means is explained in Macabingkil v. People's Homesite and Housing Corporation : 23 Art. 2038. A compromise in which there is mistake, fraud, violence
intimidation, undue influence, or falsity of documents, is subject to the
provisions of article 1330 of this Code ...
xxx xxx xxx

in relation to Article 1330 thereof:


It is only extrinsic or collateral fraud, as distinguished from intrinsic fraud,
however, that can serve as a basis for the annulment of judgment. Fraud
has been regarded as extrinsic or collateral, within the meaning of the rule, Art. 1330. A contract where consent is given through mistake, violence,
"where it is one the effect of which prevents a party from having a trial, or intimidation, undue influence, or fraud is voidable.
real contest, or from presenting all of his case to the court, or where it
operates upon matters pertaining, not to the judgment itself, but of the
in relation to its provisions on avoidance of'contracts. 30 The court notes that he had, for this
manner in which it was procured so that there is not a fair submission of the purpose, gone to the Regional Trial Court, a vain effort as we stated, and in which the decision
controversy." In other words, extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of had become final.
the prevailing party in the litigation which is committed outside of the trial of
the case, whereby the defeated party has been prevented from exhibiting
fully his side of the case, by fraud or deception practiced on him by his We, however, sustain Atty. Canlas' position-on matters of procedure — for the enlightenment
opponent. 24 solely of the bench and the bar. It does not mean that we find merit in his petition. As we have
intimated, we cannot overlook the unseemlier side of the proceeding, in which a member of the
bar would exploit his mastery of procedural law to score a "technical knockout" over his own
A perusal of the petition of therein private respondent Herrera pending before the respondent client, of all people. Procedural rules, after all, have for their object assistance unto parties "in
Court reveals no cause of action for annulment of judgment. In the first place, and as herein
obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding." 31If
petitioner Canlas correctly points out, the judgment itself is not assailed, but rather, the orders procedure were to be an impediment to such an objective, "it deserts its proper office as an aid
merely implementing it. Secondly, there is no showing that extrinsic fraud,
32
to justice and becomes its great hindrance and chief enemy." It was almost eight decades ago work for the petitioner to warrant his demands. The fact that the properties subject thereof
that the Court held: commanded quite handsome prices in the market should not be a measure of the importance or
non-importance of the case. We are not likewise persuaded that the petitioner's stature warrants
the sum claimed.
... A litigation is not a game of technicalities in which one, more deeply
schooled and skilled in the subtle art of movement and position, entraps and
destroys the other. It is, rather, a contest in which each contending party All things considered, we reduce the petitioner's fees, on a quantum meruit basis, to P20,000.00.
fully and fairly lays before the court the facts in issue and then, brushing
aside as wholly trivial and indecisive all imperfections of form and
It is futile to invoke the rule granting attorneys a lien upon the things won in litigation similar to
technicalities of procedure, asks that justice be done upon the merits.
that vested upon redemptioners. 38 To begin with, the rule refers to realty sold as a result of
Lawsuits, unlike duels, are not to be won by the a rapier's thrust ... 33
execution in satisfaction of judgment. In this case, however, redemption was decreed by
agreement (on compromise) between the mortgagor and mortgagee. It did not give the petitioner
It is a ruling that almost eight decades after it was rendered, holds true as ever. any right to the properties themselves, much less the right of redemption, although provisions for
his compensation were purportedly provided. It did not make him a redemptioner for the plain
reason that he was not named one in the amicable settlement. To this extent, we reverse Judge
By Atty. Canlas' own account, "due to lack of paying capacity of respondent Herrera, no
Pedro Santiago's ruling in Civil Case No. 40066, recognizing Atty. Canlas' "legal right,
financing entity was willing to extend him any loan with which to pay the redemption price of his
independent of the questioned deed of sale and transfer which was executed subsequently on
mortgaged properties and petitioner's P100,000.00 attorney's fees awarded in the Compromise
May 3, 1983, to redeem the subject realty from the L & R Corporation pursuant to Sec. 29 (b),
Judgment," 34 a development that should have tempered his demand for his fees. For obvious
Rule 39 of the Rules of Court." 39 Whatever right he had, it was, arguably with respect alone to
reasons, he placed his interests over and above those of his client, in opposition to his oath to
his renumeration. It did not extend to the lands.
"conduct himself as a lawyer ... with all good fidelity ... to [his] clients." 35 The Court finds the
occasion fit to stress that lawyering is not a moneymaking venture and lawyers are not
merchants, a fundamental standard that has, as a matter of judicial notice, eluded not a few law Secondly, and assuming that such a right exists, it must be in proportion to the "just fees and
advocates. The petitioner's efforts partaking of a shakedown" of his own client are not becoming disbursements" 40 due him. It is still subject to the tempering hand of this Court.
of a lawyer and certainly, do not speak well of his fealty to his oath to "delay no man for
money." 36
The Court notes a hidden agenda in the petitioner's haste to execute the compromise agreement
and subsequently, to force the transfer of the properties to himself. As we have observed, in
It is true that lawyers are entitled to make a living, in spite of the fact that the practice of law is spite of the issuance of the writ of execution, it does not appear that the petitioner took pains to
not a commercial enterprise; but that does not furnish an excuse for plain lust for material implement it. We find this perplexing given his passionate and persistent pleas that he was
wealth, more so at the expense of another. Law advocacy, we reiterate, is not capital that yields entitled to the proceeds. There can indeed be no plausible explanation other than to enable him
profits. The returns it births are simple rewards for a job done or service rendered. It is a calling to keep an "ace" against the private respondent that led finally, to the conveyance of the
that, unlike mercantile pursuits which enjoy a greater deal of freedom from government properties in his favor. To be sure, he would have us beheve that by redeeming the same from
interference, is impressed with a public interest, for which it is subject to State the mortgagee and by in fact parting with his own money he had actually done the private
regulation. 37 Anent attomey's fees, section 24, of Rule 138, of the Rules, provides in part as respondent a favor, but this is to assume that he did not get anything out of the transaction.
follows: Indeed, he himself admits that "[t]itles to the properties have been issued to the new owners long
before the filing of private respondents [sic] petition for annulment." 41 To say that he did not
profit therefrom is to take either this Court or the petitioner for naive, a proposition this Court is
SEC. 24. Compensation of attorneys, agreement as to fees. — An attorney
not prepared to accept under the circumstances.
shall be entitled to have and recover from his client no more than a
reasonable compensation for his services, with a view to the importance of
the subject matter of the controversy, the extent of the services rendered, We are likewise convinced that it was the petitioner who succeeded in having the private
and the professional standing of the attorney... A written contract for respondent sign the "Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of Equity of Redemption and/or to
services shall control the amount to be paid therefor unless found by the Redeem," a pre-prepared document apparently, that allowed him (the petitioner) to exercise the
court to be unconscionable or unreasonable. right of redemption over the properties and to all intents and purposes, acquire ownership
thereof. As we have earlier averred, the private respondent, by reason of bankruptcy, had
become an easy quarry to his counsel's moral influence and ascendancy. We are hard put to
So also it is decreed by Article 2208 of the Civil Code, reproduced in part, as follows:
believe that it was the private respondent who "earnestly implored" 42 him to undertake the
redemption amid the former's obstinate attempts to keep his lands that have indeed led to the
Art. 2208 ... multiple suits the petitioner now complains of, apart from the fact that the latter himself had
something to gain from the transaction, as alluded to above. We are of the opinion that in ceding
his right of redemption, the private respondent had intended merely to forestall the total loss of
In all cases, the attorney's fees and expenses of litigation must be the parcels to the mortgagee upon the understanding that his counsel shall acquire the same
reasonable. and keep them therefore within reach, subject to redemption by his client under easier terms and
conditions. Surely, the petitioner himself would maintain that he agreed to make the
We do not find the petitioner's claim of attorney's fees in the sum of P100,000.00 reasonable. redemption"in order that [he] may already be paid the P100,000.00 attorney's fees awarded him
We do not believe that it satisfies the standards set forth by the Rules. The extent of the services in the Compromise Agreement," 43 and if his sole concern was his fees, there was no point in
he had rendered in Civil Case No. 30679, and as far as the records will yield, is not impressive keeping the properties in their entirety.
to justify payment of such a gargantuan amount. The case itself moreover did not involve
complex questions of fact or law that would have required substantial effort as to research or leg
The Court simply cannot fag for the petitioner's pretensions that he acquired the properties as a In Rubias v. Batiller, 50 we declared such contracts to be void by force of Article 1409, paragraph
gesture of magnanimity and altruism He denies, of course, having made money from it, but what (7), of the Civil Code, defining inexistent contracts. In Director of Lands v. Ababa 51 however, we
he cannot dispute is the fact that he did resell the properties. 44 said that the prohibition does not apply to contingent contracts, in which the conveyance takes
place after judgment, so that the property can no longer be said to be "subject of litigation."
But if he did not entertain intents of making any profit, why was it necessary to reword the
conveyance document executed by the private respondent? It shall be recalled that the deed, as In the instant case, the Court observes that the "Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of Equity of
originally drafted, provided for conveyance of the private respondent's "rights of equity of Redemption and/or to Redeem" was executed following the finality of the decision approving the
redemption and/or redeem" 45 the properties in his favor, whereas the instrument registered with compromise agreement. It is actually a new contract — not one in pursuance of what had been
the Register of Deeds purported to transfer "any and all my rights of the real properties and/or to agreed upon on compromise — in which, as we said, the petitioner purportedly assumed
redeem," 46 in his favor. He admits having entered the intercalations in question but argues that redemption rights over the disputed properties (but in reality, acquired absolute ownership
he did so "to facilitate the registration of the questioned deed with the Register of Deeds" 47 and thereof). By virtue of such a subsequent agreement, the lands had ceased to be properties
that it did not change the meaning of the paper, for which Judge Santiago acquitted him of any which are "the object of any litigation." Parenthetically, the Court states that a writ of possession
falsification charges. 48 To start with, the Court is at a loss how such an alteration could is improper to eject another from possession unless sought in connection with: (1) a land
"facilitate" registration. Moreover, if it did not change the tenor of the deed, why was it necessary registration proceeding; (2) an extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage of real property; (3) in a
then? And why did he not inform his client? At any rate, the agreement is clearly a contract of judicial foreclosure of property provided that the mortgagor has possession and no third party
adhesion. Its provisions should be read against the party who prepared it. has intervened; and (4) in execution sales. 52 It is noteworthy that in this case, the petitioner
moved for the issuance of the writ pursuant to the deed of sale between him and the private
respondent and not the judgment on compromise. (He was, as we said, issued a writ of
But while we cannot hold the petitioner liable for falsification — this is not the proper occasion for
execution on the compromise agreement but as we likewise observed, he did not have the same
it — we condemn him nonetheless for infidelity to his oath "to do no falsehood" 49
enforced. The sale agreement between the parties, it should be noted, superseded the
compromise.) The writ does not lie in such a case. His remedy is specific performance.
This brings us to the final question: Whether or not the conveyance in favor of the petitioner is
subject to the ban on acquisition by attorneys of things in litigation. The pertinent provisions of
At any rate, the transfer, so we hold, is not subject to the injunction of Article 1491 of the Civil
the Civil Code state as follows:
Code. But like all voidable contracts, it is open to annulment on the ground of mistake, fraud, or
undue influence, 53 which is in turn subject to the right of innocent purchasers for value. 54
Art. 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase, even at a
public or judicial action, either in person or through the mediation of another:
For this reason, we invalidate the transfer in question specifically for undue influence as earlier
detailed. While the respondent Herrera has not specifically prayed for invalidation, this is the
(1) The guardian, the property of the person or persons who may be under clear tenor of his petition for annulment in the Appellate Court. It appearing, however, that the
his guardianship; properties have been conveyed to third persons whom we presume to be innocent purchasers
for value, the petitioner, Atty. Paterno Canlas, must be held liable, by way of actual damages, for
such a loss of properties.
(2) Agents, the property whose administration or sale may have been
intrusted to them, unless the consent of the principal have been given;
We are not, however, condoning the private respondent's own shortcomings. In condemning
Atty. Canlas monetarily, we cannot overlook the fact that the private respondent has not settled
(3) Executors and administrators, the property of the estate under his hability for payment of the properties. To hold Atty. Canlas alone liable for damages is to
administration;
enrich said respondent at the expense of his lawyer. The parties must then set off their
obligations against the other. To obviate debate as the actual amounts owing by one to the
(4) Public officers and employees, the property of the State or of any other, we hold Francisco Herrera, the private respondent, liable to Atty. Paterno Canlas, the
subdivision thereof, or of any government owned or controlled corporation, petitioner, in the sum of P654,000.00 representing the redemption price of the properties, 55 in
or institution, the administration of which has been instrusted to them; this addition to the sum of P20,000. 00 as and for attomey's fees. We order Atty. Canlas, in turn, to
provision shall apply to judges and government experts who, in any manner pay the respondent Herrera the amount of P1,000,000.00, the sum he earned from the resale
whatsoever, take part in the sale; thereof, 56 such that he shall, after proper adjustments, be indebted to his client in the sum of
P326,000.00 as and for damages.
(5) Justice judges prosecuting attorneys clerks of superior and inferior
courts, and other officers and employees connected with the administration Needless to say, we sustain the action of the respondent Court of Appeals in taking cognizance
of justice, the property and rights in litigation or levied upon an execution of the petition below. But as we have stated, we are compelled, as the final arbiter of justiciable
before the court within whose jurisdiction or territory they exercise their cases and in the highest interests ofjustice, to write finis to the controversy that has taxed
respective functions; this prohibition includes the act of acquiring by considerably the dockets of the inferior courts.
assignment and shall apply to lawyers, with respect to the property and
rights which may be the object of any litigation in which they may take part Let the Court further say that while its business is to settle actual controversies and as a matter
by virtue of their profession.
of general policy, to leave alone moot ones, its mission is, first and foremost, to dispense justice.
At the outset, we have made clear that from a technical vantage point, certiorari, arguably lies,
(6) Any others specially disqualified by law.** but as we have likewise stated, the resolution of the case rests not only on the mandate of
technical rules, but if the decision is to have any real meaning, on the merits too. This is not the
first time we would have done so; in many cases we have eschewed the rigidity of the Rules of respondent Judge, in the very same case where your petitioner was convicted and for which he
Court if it would establish a barrier upon the administration ofjustice. It is especially so in the served sentence, Criminal Case No. 15289, a 'Motion to Order the Warden to Hold the Release
case at bar, in which no end to suit and counter-suit appears imminent and for which it is high of Manuel de Gracia (your petitioner)' alleging as a ground that the 'father of the victim, Gilberts
time that we have the final say. We likewise cannot, as the overseer of good conduct in both the Valenzuela, informed the movant (respondent Asst. Fiscal, not the People of the Philippines),
bench and the bar, let go unpunished what convinces us as serious indiscretions on the part of a that the victim in the above-entitled case died and for this reason the undersigned will file an
lawyer. amended information. 3 Then came this paragraph in the petition: "That on the following day,
November 20, 1975, the respondent Judge, despite the clear and incontrovertible fact that he
had no jurisdiction to act on said motion because the case had long been terminated and his
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered.
decision therein had already been executed, and, further, even assuming that the respondent
Judge could still act in the case, he could not and should not act on the Fiscal's motion because
1. ORDERING the petitioner, Atty. Patemo Canlas, to pay to the private respondent, Francisco the same was not set for hearing and no copy thereof was furnished to your petitioner whose
Herrera, the sum of P326,000.00, as and for damages; very liberty was being sought to be deprived, still [he] persisted in acting upon the Fiscal's
motion and granted the same 'in the interest of justice,' not at all minding that your petitioner,
while maybe a convict in the eyes of the respondent Judge, is still entitled to due process of law
2. ORDERING the petitioner to SHOW CAUSE why no disciplinary action may be imposed on and to some justice; ...." 4 There was a motion for reconsideration, but it was fruitless. 5 Hence
him for violation of his oath, as a lawyer, within ten (10) days from notice, after which the same this petition.
will be consolidated with AC No. 2625;

On December 8, 1975, this Court issued the following resolution: "The Court [issued] the writ of
3. DISMISSING this petition and REMANDING the case to the respondent Court of Appeals for habeas corpus returnable to this Court on Friday, December 12, 1975 and required the
execution; and
respondents to make a [return] of the writ not later than the aforesaid date. The Court further
Resolved: (a) to set this case for hearing on Monday, December 15, 1975 at 10:30 a.m.; and (b)
4. ORDERING the petitioner to pay costs. to [grant] the motion of petitioner to litigate as pauper in this case." 6 On the date set for hearing,
respondent Judge Reynaldo P. Honrado filed his return, worded as follows: "1. That the
petitioner Manuel de Gracia has already been ordered released by this court per order dated
SO ORDERED. December 11, 1975, in view of the fact that Trial Fiscal Marciano P. Sta. Ana, Jr. has not as of
this time filed the amended information for Homicide after the death of Florante Valenzuela, the
CANON 11 offended party in this case, notwithstanding his motion entitled 'Motion to Order the Warden to
hold the Release of Manuel de Gracia dated November 19, 1975, ...; 2. That in view of the
release from custody of Manuel de Gracia, the present petition for habeas corpus has become
moot and academic. ..." 7 Fiscal of Rizal, did likewise. The return stated: "1. That the
Respondent Marciano P. Sta. Ana, Jr., the Assistant Provincial petitioner is not in his custody or
power although, as alleged in the petition, it was upon his motion that the respondent Judge
G.R. No. L-42032 January 9, 1976
issued the Order ... ordering the warden to hold the release of the accused (herein petitioner). 2.
That the reason for his said motion ... is, as stated therein, that he was informed of the death of
IN THE MATTER OF THE PRODUCTION OF THE BODY OF MANUEL DE GRACIA ON A the victim and he was going to file an amended information. 3. That because of the necessity for
WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS. MANUEL DE GRACIA, petitioner, immediate action so as to avoid the accused being released so that he could be held to answer
vs. for a crime of homicide, and in the honest belief at that time that the proper remedy was the filing
THE WARDEN, MUNICIPAL JAIL, Makati, Rizal; THE PROVINCIAL WARDEN, PROVINCIAL of an amended information for homicide, the undersigned filed the motion on said ground. The
JAIL, Pasig, Rizal; HON. REYNALDO P. HONRADO, Judge of the Court of First Instance of information concerning the death of the victim was given to the undersigned by the victim's
Rizal, Branch XXV, Pasig, Rizal; and MARCIANO P. STA. ANA, Assistant Provincial Fiscal, father only on November 19, 1975, the last day of confinement of the accused. However, after
Pasig, Rizal, respondents. being able to study the applicable rule and jurisprudence, the undersigned concluded that the
proper remedy is not amendment of the information because judgment had already been
rendered on the first information, but the filing of a new information for homicide upon the
authority of this Honorable Court's ruling in People v. Manolong, and It is similar cases. 8
FERNANDO, J.:

As no return of the writ had been filed on the date set for hearing by respondent wardens, a
It is settled law-that habeas corpus is the appropriate remedy for release from confinement of a
resolution of the following tenor was adopted by this Court: "When this case was called for
person who has served his sentence. 1 It i s on such a doctrine that reliance is placed by
hearing this morning, Atty. Salvador N. Beltran appeared for the petitioner while Assistant
petitioner Manuel de Gracia in this application for the issuance of such a writ. It is undisputed
Provincial 'Fiscal Marciano P. Sta. Ana, Jr. and Major o Maristela appeared for the respondents.
that while the information against petitioner charged him with the commission of frustrated
Thereafter, the Court Resolved (a) to require Assistant Provincial Fiscal Marciano P. Sta. Ana,
homicide to which he pleaded not guilty, it was later amended to one of serious physical injuries.
Jr. to file a [return] of the writ for the respondent wardens not later than 10:30 a.m. of
It is to such lesser offense that on September 10, 1971, he entered a plea of guilty. On the very
Wednesday, December 17, 1975; and (b) to [reset] the hearing of this case on the aforesaid
same day, respondent Judge Reynaldo P. Honrado imposed upon him the penalty of four
date and time. 9 It should be stated likewise that Major Edgardo Maristela assured the Court that
months and one day of arrests mayor without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
petitioner had been release What was declared orally by him was thereafter set forth in writing in
That period of confinement he had duly served by November 10, 1975, considering that he had
accordance with his return dated December 16, 1975: II That on Sept. 18, 1975, the Office of the
been under detention since July 18, 1975. 2 This notwithstanding, the petition alleged that he
Provincial Warden received a commitment order issued by Judge Reynaldo Honrado, dated 16
was not set free, the reason being that on November 19, 1975, the last day of the prison term
September 1975, ...; IV. That by virtue 6f that commitment order which the petitioner was
imposed upon him, "respondent Assistant Provincial Fiscal Marciano P. Sta. Ana filed with the
sentenced to suffer the penalty of from four (4) months and one (1) day, he was transferred to SPOUSES PEDRO M. REGALADO and ZANITA F. G.R. No. 134154
Makati Municipal Jail, on Sept. 18, 1975, to service his prison term thereat pursuant to REGALADO, Present:
Presidential Decree No. 29 as said prisoner is classified as Municipal prisoner; V That the Petitioners,
petitioner was brought back and confined again to the Rizal Provincial Jail on Dec. 3, 1975, by PUNO, J., Chairperson,
virtue of Remittance order issued by Judge Pedro Revilla, Executive Judge CFI Rizal dated Dec. SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ
3, 1975, ...; VI. That on December 12, 1975, the Office of the Provincial Warden of Rizal CORONA,
received an Order from the Court of First Instance of Rizal presided by Honorable Judge - versus - AZCUNA, and
Reynaldo Honrado, directing him to release Manuel de Gracia, the petitioner in this case; VII. GARCIA, JJ.
That by virtue of odd order ... and the Order of Release, ... the undersigned respondent released
on said date the petitioner as evidenced by certificate of discharge from prison and that is the Promulgated:
reason why he cannot produce the body of said person before this Honorable Court; VIII That he ABRAHAM M. REGALADO, CIRILO M. REGALADO,
was not able to make the return of the writ immediately on the ground that he was at that time ISIDRO M. REGALADO, CIRIACO M. REGALADO,
confined in the hospital, and he was d only on December 13, 1975." 10 There was likewise a JORGE M. REGALADO, JULIANA R. ABELLO, February 28, 2006
return of the writ on such a date on behalf of respondent Cresencio T. Pimentel, Municipal LUCIO M. REGALADO, and APOLONIO M.
Warden of Makati, Rizal. It was therein declared: "1. That the petitioner was not in his custody REGALADO, JR.,
when he received copy of the petition as the petitioner was transferred to 'the Rizal Provincial Respondents.
Jail on December 3, 1975, as he was going to be charged with the crime of homicide and
'therefore, his confinement has to be in the Rizal Provincial Jail and that by virtue of said
transfer, respondent Municipal Warden could not produce the body of the 'petitioner before this-
Honorable Court."11

On the morning Deeember 17, 1975, respondent Assistant Provincial Fiscal Marciano P. Sta.
Ana, Jr. and the two aforesaid wardens appeared. Neither petitioner nor his counsel, Salvador
N. Beltran, was present. There was this manifestation though: '[Petitioner thru counsel,
respectfully manifests that he has already been released from confinement, for which reason the
present petition has been rendered moot and academic .... 12 It would appear, therefore, that x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
with the release of petitioner, the matter had indeed become moot and academic. That disposes
of this petition, except for one final note. There was a lapse in judicial propriety by counsel DECISION
Salvador N. Beltran who did not even take the trouble of appearing in Court on the very day his
own petition was reset for hearing, a lapse explicable, it may be assumed, by his comparative GARCIA, J.:
inexperience and paucity of practice before this Tribunal. it suffices to call his attention to such
failing by way of guidance for his future actuations as a member of the bar.
Herein petitioners, the spouses Pedro Regalado and Zanita Regalado, have come to this
Court via this appeal[1] by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court to nullify and set aside
WHEREFORE, the petition for habeas corpus is dismissed for being moot and academic. the following issuances of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Kalibo, Aklan, Branch 8, in its Spl.
Civil Action No. 4518, to wit:

1. Order dated July 26, 1995,[2] granting the petition for


appointment of a receiver embodied in the main complaint filed by
respondents, and directing such receiver to put up a bond;

2. Decision dated November 28, 1997,[3] declaring the parcel of


fishpond land subject of the case as the common property of all
the parties; ordering the partition of the same into nine (9) equal
parts; requiring petitioners to render an accounting of the produce
of said fishpond starting 1980 until actual partition is effected;
ordering petitioners to pay jointly and severally attorneys fees and
litigation expenses and other costs; and ordering the appointment
of a receiver agreeable to all parties upon the filing of the bond for
receivership;

3. Order dated January 14, 1998,[4] dismissing the appeal filed


by petitioners for failure to file their record on appeal and to pay
the appellate court docket and other lawful fees; and

4. Order dated May 19, 1998,[5] denying petitioners petition for


relief from judgment.
subject fishpond was public property which belongs to the Government, hence it would be folly
and a waste of money to pay the real property taxes thereon in addition to the fishpond rentals to
The facts: the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Petitioner Pedro M. Regalado, married to co-petitioner Zanita F. Regalado, and In the herein first assailed Order dated July 26, 1995,[8] the trial court granted
respondents Abraham, Cirilo, Isidro, Ciriaco, Jorge, Lucio, and Apolonio, all surnamed respondents petition for receivership, explaining that respondents had rights and interests on the
Regalado, and Juliana R. Abello (hereinafter collectively referred to as respondents), are the subject property, which property is in danger of being foreclosed by petitioners creditors or
children of the deceased spouses Apolonio Regalado and Sofia Regalado. forfeited by the Government for non-payment of taxes.

It appears that as early as 1929, the parties parents had been in possession of a 40- Aggrieved by the aforementioned Order, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration,
hectare fishpond which the parents developed and even leased to third persons for a time.At contending that said Order was premature as they (petitioners) were not yet finished with their
one time, their father leased part of the fishpond property to one Benjamin Roxas for a period of presentation of evidence in opposition to respondents petition for the appointment of a receiver.
nine (9) years commencing January 6, 1972 to January 6, 1981. However, in 1980, before the
termination of the lease contract with Roxas, petitioner Pedro Regalado with one of the Acting thereon, the trial court issued an Order[9] on August 14, 1995 holding in
respondents, Ciriaco Regalado, forcibly took possession of the fishpond from its lessee. abeyance the resolution of the receivership issue and setting the main case for trial on the
merits.
Upon the death of their father, respondents demanded from petitioner-spouses who
are in the possession of the entire fishpond, the partition thereof. Respondents alleged that Eventually, in the herein assailed Decision[10] dated November 28, 1997, the trial
petitioners refused and merely requested for another three (3) years to be in possession of the court rendered judgment for the respondents, as follows:
subject property.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered:
Again, in 1989, respondents reiterated their demand for partition but petitioners again
refused and once more requested that they be allowed to remain in possession and usufruct of a) Declaring the parcel of fishpond land located at Barangay
the property for five (5) more years after all the litigations concerning the same shall have been Camanci, Batan, Aklan described under paragraph 4 of the complaint and
terminated, reasoning out that they have not yet recovered all their expenses in developing and herein referred to as the land in question, the common property of all the
recovering possession of the fishpond from third persons. parties herein;

In 1992, respondents again demanded for partition but as before, petitioners again b) Ordering the partition of the fishpond in question into nine (9)
refused. Hence, on August 20, 1992, in the RTC of Kalibo, Aklan, respondents filed against equal parts, each part shall represent the share of Abraham M. Regalado,
petitioners a complaint for Partition of Real Estate, Accounting, Damages and Appointment of a Cirilo M. Regalado, Isidro M. Regalado, Ciriaco M. Regalado, Jorge M.
Receiver,[6] thereat docketed as Spl. Civil Action No. 4518 which was raffled to Branch 8 of the Regalado, Juliana R. Abello, Lucio M. Regalado, Apolonio M. Regalado, Jr.
court. and Pedro M. Regalado in the following manner: Within thirty (30) days from
receipt by the parties of this decision, they may make partition among
In their Answer, petitioner-spouses, as defendants a quo, claimed that the fishpond in themselves, if they are able to agree, by proper instruments of conveyance
question was not part of the hereditary estate of their parents as it is a public land covered by a to be conformed by the court, otherwise, partition would be effected in
Fishpond Lease Agreement. They argued that even if it were to be considered as part of the accordance with Sections 3 or 5, Rule 69 of the Revised Rules of Court, as
hereditary estate of the parents, respondents as plaintiffs below are not entitled to share equally amended;
in the fishpond property as it was allegedly only petitioner Pedro Regalado who recovered the
actual physical possession of the same from third persons.Petitioners also claimed that c) Ordering the defendants [now petitioners] to render an
respondents did not keep their part in the agreement to let the spouses recover all the expenses accounting of the produce of the fishpond in question starting 1980 when
they incurred in the development and re-possession of the subject fishpond and to enjoy sole they first actually took possession of the same until actual partition of the
usufruct thereof for five (5) years. property is effected among the parties;

On May 31, 1993, respondents filed in Spl. Civil Case No. 4518, d) Ordering the defendants [now petitioners], to pay jointly and
a verified Petition forReceivership,[7] thereunder alleging that severally, the plaintiffs [now respondents] the sum of P10,000.00 attorneys
there was a compelling need for the appointmentof a receiver fees, and litigation expenses and to pay the costs;
to safeguard the property and its produce from being wasted
or materiallyinjured on account of petitioners failure to pay the real estate taxes and fishpond e) Ordering, upon filing of the petitioners [plaintiffs] bond for
rentals due thereon. Respondents further averred that the property and the income receivership in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS
derivedtherefrom are in danger of being lost or misappropriated by (P100,000.00), the appointment of a receiver agreeable to all the parties,
petitioners who were allegedlyconstructing their own house who is likewise directed to put-up a bond before assuming his duties as
thereat out of the income of the fishpond, throwing lavish parties frequently and getting heavily such in the amount which will be fixed later by this Court. [Words in brackets
indebted to several persons. supplied]

Petitioners opposed the petition for receivership, claiming that mere co-ownership SO ORDERED.
does not justify the appointment of a receiver, since it was actually petitioner Pedro Regalado
who risked his own life, spent his own money and time in recovering the fishpond without the
other parties contributing a single centavo. Petitioners also argued in their opposition that the
Against said decision, petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal[11] on December 17, 1997, therein In all the above instances where the judgment or final order
making known their intention to take an appellate recourse to the Court of Appeals. is not appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special
civil action under Rule 65. (Emphasis supplied)
In the herein other assailed Order[12] dated January 14, 1998, the lower court denied due
course to petitioners notice of appeal, saying that while the notice was timely filed, yet petitioners Hence, in seeking the reversal of the trial courts Order dated May 19, 1998 which
did not pay the appellate court docket and other lawful fees nor a record on appeal filed by them. denied their petition for relief from judgment, petitioners, in coming to us via the vehicle of appeal
by certiorari under Rule 45, have thus clearly availed of the wrong remedy.
With the November 28, 1997 Decision having become final and executory,
respondents filed a Motion for Execution which was granted by the trial court. In time, an Entry In any event, even if petitioners came to us by certiorari under Rule 65, still the
of Judgment[13] was made on February 27, 1998. recourse must fail. For, from a perusal of the petition itself, it is quite apparent that no allegation
of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court was ever presented by them, and even
Then, on March 10, 1998, petitioners, this time thru one Atty. Pedro Icamina who was without assuming there was, the same would still have to be dismissed.
any proof of entry of appearance in the case either as new or collaborating counsel for the
petitioners, filed a Petition for Relief from Order,[14] thereto attaching an affidavit of Atty. Tirol, A petition for relief from denial of an appeal is governed by Rule 38, Section 2 of the
petitioners counsel on record about whom there is no indication of any withdrawal of Rules of Court which provides:
appearance. In that affidavit, Atty. Tirol alleged that while his office received on January 19,
1998 a copy of the January 14, 1998 Order (denying due course topetitioners appeal), his law Section 2. Petition for relief from denial of appeal. When a judgment or final
clerk did not personally inform him about it and just placed said order on his table among the order is rendered by any court in a case, and a party thereto, by fraud,
piles of legal and court papers, adding that he (Atty. Tirol) had several court hearings, not to accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, has been prevented from taking
mention the fact that he was a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan which an appeal, he may file a petition in such court and in the same case praying
required his attendance, all of which caused him to overlook the filing of the Record on that the appeal be given due course.
Appeal. In the same pleading, Atty. Icamina attached petitioners Record on Appeal and a check
for P400.00 as appellate court docket fee.
In Tuason v. Court of Appeals,[16] we ruled:
[15]
In the herein last assailed Order dated May 19, 1998, the trial court denied petitioners
petition for relief on the ground that the instances therein cited by counsel are not those
excusable negligence which warrant the granting of relief under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court. A petition for relief from judgment is an equitable remedy; it is
allowed only in exceptional cases where there is no other available or
Hence, this recourse by the petitioners. adequate remedy. When a party has another remedy available to him,
which may be either a motion for new trial or appeal from an adverse
We DENY. decision of the trial court, and he was not prevented by fraud, accident,
mistake or excusable negligence from filing such motion or taking such
At the outset, it must be stressed that in seeking the reversal and setting aside of the assailed appeal, he cannot avail himself of this petition. Indeed, relief will not be
Orders and Decision of the trial court in its Spl. Civil Action No. 4518, petitioners came to us on a granted to a party who seeks avoidance from the effects of the judgment
petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence;
otherwise the petition for relief can be used to revive the right to appeal
Under Section 1(b), Rule 41 of the Rules, the denial of a petition for relief from judgment or an which had been lost thru inexcusable negligence. (Citations omitted)
order disallowing or dismissing an appeal may only be challenged through the special civil action Here, there was no fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence that prevented
of certiorari under Rule 65: petitioners from filing their Record on Appeal on time and paying the necessary appellate court
docket and filing fees therefor. In the precise words of the trial court:
Section 1. Subject of appeal. An appeal may be taken from a
judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case, or of a The petition for relief stresses the reasons that the clerk of Atty.
particular matter therein when declared by these Rules to be appealable. Tirol, a certain Ms. Nina Temporaza, in charged (sic) of receiving and filing
of office papers failed to bring to the attention of Atty. Tirol the order of
No appeal may be taken from: denial dated January 14, 1998 and secondly, Atty. Tirol due to pressure of
work and court appearances and being an incumbent Sangguniang
xxx xxx xxx Panlalawigan of Aklan, thinking all the time that his notice of appeal filed by
(b) An order denying a petition for relief or any similar motion him was in order (sic).
seeking relief from judgment;
On the first excuse, the Supreme Court in an analogous case had
xxx xxx xxx the occasion to rule, viz;

(d) An order disallowing or dismissing an appeal; The excuse offered by respondent Santos as reason for
his failure to perfect in due time his appeal from the judgment of
xxx xxx xxx the Municipal Court, that counsels clerk forgot to hand him the
court notice, is the most hackneyed and habitual subterfuge
employed by litigants who fail to observe the procedural
requirements prescribed by the Rules of Court. x x x in the face of
the Supreme Court repeated rulings (that) they are neither
credible nor constitutive of excusable negligence (Phil. Airlines There must, therefore, be an end to this litigation.
Inc. vs. Arca, et al., Vol. 19 SCRA 350).

As to the second excuse, the Supreme Court has this to say, We take this occasion to require Atty. Pedro Icamina to explain within ten (10) days
from receipt hereof why he should not be proceeded administratively for filing the very petition in
Volume and pressure of work is not an excusable this case and the Petition for Relief from Order in the lower court without first entering his
negligence. Moreover, the said petition was not based on a valid ground as appearance as petitioners counsel.
We have consistently ruled that volume and pressure of work does not
constitute mistake or excusable negligence as to warrant relief from
judgment which is available only in exceptional cases (Biscarra vs.
Republic, 95 SCRA 248).
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
Furthermore, the appellate court docket fee and other lawful fees
are now required to be paid within the period for taking an appeal to the Costs against petitioners.
clerk of court which rendered the judgment or order appealed from. Failure
to pay said fees on time is also a ground for dismissal of the appeal (Sec. 1
(c) of Rule 50). SO ORDERED.
ANTERO J. POBRE, A.C. No. 7399
Complainant,
To stress, even in the matter of questioning the trial courts Order dated January14, Present:
1998 denying due course to petitioners appeal, the glaring fact reveals that again, petitioners
availed of the wrong remedy. - versus - CHICO-NAZARIO, J.,
It must be remembered that a party aggrieved by an order disallowing or dismissing Acting Chairperson,
an appeal may file an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65. Sadly, however, petitioners CARPIO MORALES,*
erroneously filed an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45. Sen. MIRIAM DEFENSOR- SANTIAGO, VELASCO, JR.,
Respondent. NACHURA, and
Assuming, arguendo, that petitioners are allowed to take an appeal from said Order, PERALTA, JJ.
we find no excusable negligence to merit the grant of the petition for relief.
Promulgated:
In this case, it is undisputed that petitioners merely filed a Notice of Appeal. The August 25, 2009
Record on Appeal was belatedly filed, as in fact it was merely attached to their March 10, x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
1998 Petition for Relief from Order. What is more, no appellate docket and legal fees were paid
with the filing of the Notice of Appeal. Petitioners merely harp on their counsels alleged DECISION
excusable negligence resulting in their failure to seasonably file their Record on Appeal and pay
the required appellate docket and other legal fees.
VELASCO, JR., J.:
Unfortunately for petitioners, negligence, to be excusable, must be one which ordinary
diligence and prudence could not have guarded against.[17] Again, petitioners failure to file a
Record on Appeal and pay the appellate docket fees cannot be considered as excusable In his sworn letter/complaint dated December 22, 2006, with enclosures, Antero J. Pobre invites
negligence due to counsels pressure of work and inadvertence of his office clerk. the Courts attention to the following excerpts of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiagos speech
delivered on the Senate floor:
On a final note, we emphasize that petitioners are bound by the acts of their counselin x x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I
the conduct of the instant case. They have to bear the consequences thereof. Petitioners am suicidal. I am humiliated, debased, degraded. And I am not only that, I
cannot thereafter be heard to complain that the result might feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of this nature.
have been different had theircounsel proceeded differently. So it is that in Rivera v. Court of I am nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and
[18]
Appeals, we ruled: his cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no longer interested in the position
[of Chief Justice] if I was to be surrounded by idiots. I would rather be in
xxx It has been held time and again that blunders and mistakes another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x.
made in the conduct of theproceedings in the trial court as a result To Pobre, the foregoing statements reflected a total disrespect on the part of the speaker
of the ignorance, inexperience or incompetence of counsel do not qualify as towards then Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and the other members of the Court and
a ground for new trial. If such were to be admitted as constituted direct contempt of court. Accordingly, Pobre asks that disbarment proceedings or
valid reasons for reopening cases,there would never be an end to litigation other disciplinary actions be taken against the lady senator.
so long as a new counsel could be employed to allege and show that the
prior counsel had not been sufficiently diligent, experienced or learned. This In her comment on the complaint dated April 25, 2007, Senator Santiago, through
will put a premium on the willful and intentional commission of errors by counsel, does not deny making the aforequoted statements. She, however, explained that those
counsel, with a view to securing new trials in the event of conviction. statements were covered by the constitutional provision on parliamentary immunity, being part of
a speech she delivered in the discharge of her duty as member of Congress or its committee.
The purpose of her speech, according to her, was to bring out in the open controversial
anomalies in governance with a view to future remedial legislation. She averred that she wanted The lady senator alluded to In Re: Vicente Sotto.[6] We draw her attention to the
to expose what she believed to be an unjust act of the Judicial Bar Council [JBC], which, after ensuing passage in Sotto that she should have taken to heart in the first place:
sending out public invitations for nomination to the soon to-be vacated position of Chief Justice,
would eventually inform applicants that only incumbent justices of the Supreme Court would x x x [I]f the people lose their confidence in the honesty and
qualify for nomination. She felt that the JBC should have at least given an advanced advisory integrity of this Court and believe that they cannot expect justice therefrom,
that non-sitting members of the Court, like her, would not be considered for the position of Chief they might be driven to take the law into their own hands, and disorder and
Justice. perhaps chaos would be the result.

The immunity Senator Santiago claims is rooted primarily on the provision of Article
VI, Section 11 of the Constitution, which provides: A Senator or Member of the House of
Representative shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be No lawyer who has taken an oath to maintain the respect due to the courts should be
privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No member shall be questioned nor allowed to erode the peoples faith in the judiciary. In this case, the lady senator clearly violated
be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which respectively
committee thereof. Explaining the import of the underscored portion of the provision, the Court, provide:
in Osmea, Jr. v. Pendatun, said:
Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity which is a Canon 8, Rule 8.01.A lawyer shall not, in his professional
fundamental privilege cherished in every legislative assembly of the dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.
democratic world. As old as the English Parliament, its purpose is to enable
and encourage a representative of the public to discharge his public trust Canon 11.A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to
with firmness and success for it is indispensably necessary that he should the courts and to the judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by
enjoy the fullest liberty of speech and that he should be protected from others.
resentment of every one, however, powerful, to whom the exercise of that
liberty may occasion offense.[1]
Senator/Atty. Santiago is a cut higher than most lawyers. Her achievements speak for
As American jurisprudence puts it, this legislative privilege is founded upon long themselves. She was a former Regional Trial Court judge, a law professor, an oft-cited authority
experience and arises as a means of perpetuating inviolate the functioning process of the on constitutional and international law, an author of numerous law textbooks, and an elected
legislative department. Without parliamentary immunity, parliament, or its equivalent, would senator of the land. Needless to stress, Senator Santiago, as a member of the Bar and officer of
degenerate into a polite and ineffective debating forum. Legislators are immune from deterrents the court, like any other, is duty-bound to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court and to
to the uninhibited discharge of their legislative duties, not for their private indulgence, but for the maintain the respect due its members. Lawyers in public service are keepers of public faith and
public good. The privilege would be of little value if they could be subjected to the cost and are burdened with the higher degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher than their brethren
inconvenience and distractions of a trial upon a conclusion of the pleader, or to the hazard of a in private practice.[7]Senator Santiago should have known, as any perceptive individual, the
judgment against them based upon a judges speculation as to the motives.[2] impact her statements would make on the peoples faith in the integrity of the courts.

This Court is aware of the need and has in fact been in the forefront in upholding the As Senator Santiago alleged, she delivered her privilege speech as a prelude to
institution of parliamentary immunity and promotion of free speech. Neither has the Court lost crafting remedial legislation on the JBC. This allegation strikes the Court as an afterthought in
sight of the importance of the legislative and oversight functions of the Congress that enable this light of the insulting tenor of what she said. We quote the passage once more:
representative body to look diligently into every affair of government, investigate and denounce
anomalies, and talk about how the country and its citizens are being served. Courts do not x x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am
interfere with the legislature or its members in the manner they perform their functions in the homicidal. I am suicidal. Iam humiliated, debased, degraded. And I am not
legislative floor or in committee rooms. Any claim of an unworthy purpose or of the falsity only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of
and mala fides of the statement uttered by the member of the Congress does not destroy the this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio
privilege.[3] The disciplinary authority of the assembly[4] and the voters, not the courts, can Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no longer
properly discourage or correct such abuses committed in the name of parliamentary immunity.[5] interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I was to be surrounded by
idiots. I would rather be in another environment but not in the Supreme
Court of idiots x x x. (Emphasis ours.)
For the above reasons, the plea of Senator Santiago for the dismissal of the complaint
for disbarment or disciplinary action is well taken. Indeed, her privilege speech is not actionable
criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court. It is felt, however, that this A careful re-reading of her utterances would readily show that her statements were
could not be the last word on the matter. expressions of personal anger and frustration at not being considered for the post of Chief
Justice. In a sense, therefore, her remarks were outside the pale of her official parliamentary
The Court wishes to express its deep concern about the language Senator Santiago, a functions. Even parliamentary immunity must not be allowed to be used as a vehicle to ridicule,
member of the Bar, used in her speech and its effect on the administration of justice. To the demean, and destroy the reputation of the Court and its magistrates, nor as armor for personal
Court, the lady senator has undoubtedly crossed the limits of decency and good professional wrath and disgust. Authorities are agreed that parliamentary immunity is not an individual
conduct. It is at once apparent that her statements in question were intemperate and highly privilege accorded the individual members of the Parliament or Congress for their personal
improper in substance. To reiterate, she was quoted as stating that she wanted to spit on the benefit, but rather a privilege for the benefit of the people and the institution that represents
face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, and calling the them.
Court a Supreme Court of idiots.
To be sure, Senator Santiago could have given vent to her anger without indulging in the dignity and authority of the courts to which he owes fidelity, not to
insulting rhetoric and offensive personalities. promote distrust in the administration of justice. Faith in the courts, a lawyer
should seek to preserve. For, to undermine the judicial edifice is disastrous
Lest it be overlooked, Senator Santiagos outburst was directly traceable to what she to the continuity of government and to the attainment of the liberties of the
considered as an unjust act the JBC had taken in connection with her application for the position people. Thus has it been said of a lawyer that [a]s an officer of the court, it is
of Chief Justice. But while the JBC functions under the Courts supervision, its individual his sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily that
members, save perhaps for the Chief Justice who sits as the JBCs ex-officio chairperson,[8] have high esteem and regard towards the courts so essential to the proper
no official duty to nominate candidates for appointment to the position of Chief Justice. The administration of justice.[13]
Court is, thus, at a loss to understand Senator Santiagos wholesale and indiscriminate assault The lady senator belongs to the legal profession bound by the exacting injunction of a
on the members of the Court and her choice of critical and defamatory words against all of them. strict Code. Society has entrusted that profession with the administration of the law and
dispensation of justice. Generally speaking, a lawyer holding a government office may not be
At any event, equally important as the speech and debate clause of Art. VI, Sec. 11 of disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct committed while in the discharge of official
the Constitution is Sec. 5(5) of Art. VIII of the Constitution that provides: duties, unless said misconduct also constitutes a violation of his/her oath as a lawyer.[14]

Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: Lawyers may be disciplined even for any conduct committed in their private capacity,
as long as their misconduct reflects their want of probity or good demeanor,[15] a good character
xxxx being an essential qualification for the admission to the practice of law and for continuance of
such privilege.When the Code of Professional Responsibility or the Rules of Court speaks of
(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of conduct or misconduct, the reference is not confined to ones behavior exhibited in connection
constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the with the performance of lawyers professional duties, but also covers any misconduct, whichalbeit
admission to the practice of the law, the Integrated Bar, and legal unrelated to the actual practice of their professionwould show them to be unfit for the office and
assistance to the underprivileged. (Emphasis ours.) unworthy of the privileges which their license and the law invest in them. [16]

This Court, in its unceasing quest to promote the peoples faith in courts and trust in
The Court, besides being authorized to promulgate rules concerning pleading, the rule of law, has consistently exercised its disciplinary authority on lawyers who, for
practice, and procedure in all courts, exercises specific authority to promulgate rules governing malevolent purpose or personal malice, attempt to obstruct the orderly administration of justice,
the Integrated Bar with the end in view that the integration of the Bar will, among other things: trifle with the integrity of courts, and embarrass or, worse, malign the men and women who
compose them. We have done it in the case of former Senator Vicente Sotto in Sotto, in the
(4) Shield the judiciary, which traditionally cannot defend itself case of Atty. Noel Sorreda in Sorreda, and in the case of Atty. Francisco B. Cruz in Tacordan v.
except within its own forum, from the assaults that politics and self interest Ang[17] who repeatedly insulted and threatened the Court in a most insolent manner.
may level at it, and assist it to maintain its integrity, impartiality and
independence; The Court is not hesitant to impose some form of disciplinary sanctions on
Senator/Atty. Santiago for what otherwise would have constituted an act of utter disrespect on
xxxx her part towards the Court and its members. The factual and legal circumstances of this case,
however, deter the Court from doing so, even without any sign of remorse from her. Basic
(11) Enforce rigid ethical standards x x x.[9] constitutional consideration dictates this kind of disposition.

We, however, would be remiss in our duty if we let the Senators offensive and
In Re: Letter Dated 21 February 2005 of Atty. Noel S. Sorreda,[10] we reiterated our disrespectful language that definitely tended to denigrate the institution pass by. It is imperative
pronouncement in Rheem of the Philippines v. Ferrer[11] that the duty of attorneys to the courts on our part to re-instill in Senator/Atty. Santiago her duty to respect courts of justice, especially
can only be maintained by rendering no service involving any disrespect to the judicial office this Tribunal, and remind her anew that the parliamentary non-accountability thus granted to
which they are bound to uphold. The Court wrote in Rheem of the Philippines: members of Congress is not to protect them against prosecutions for their own benefit, but to
enable them, as the peoples representatives, to perform the functions of their office without fear
x x x As explicit is the first canon of legal ethics which pronounces of being made responsible before the courts or other forums outside the congressional hall. [18] It
that [i]t is the duty of a lawyer to maintain towards the Courts a respectful is intended to protect members of Congress against government pressure and intimidation
attitude, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, aimed at influencing the decision-making prerogatives of Congress and its members.
but for the maintenance of its supreme importance. That same canon, as a
corollary, makes it peculiarly incumbent upon lawyers to support the courts The Rules of the Senate itself contains a provision on Unparliamentary Acts and
against unjust criticism and clamor. And more. The attorneys oath solemnly Languagethat enjoins a Senator from using, under any circumstance, offensive or improper
binds him to a conduct that should be with all good fidelity x x x to the language against another Senator or against any public institution.[19] But as to Senator
courts. Santiagos unparliamentary remarks, the Senate President had not apparently called her to
order, let alone referred the matter to the Senate Ethics Committee for appropriate disciplinary
action, as the Rules dictates under such circumstance.[20] The lady senator clearly violated the
Also, in Sorreda, the Court revisited its holding in Surigao Mineral Reservation Board rules of her own chamber. It is unfortunate that her peers bent backwards and avoided imposing
v. Cloribel[12] that: their own rules on her.

A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, like the court itself, an


instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice. His duty is to uphold
Finally, the lady senator questions Pobres motives in filing his complaint, stating that Raul S. Sison Law Offices for intervenor-petitioner Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. Renato L.
disciplinary proceedings must be undertaken solely for the public welfare. We cannot agree with Dela Fuente for respondent Ayala Corporation.
her more. We cannot overstress that the senators use of intemperate language to demean and
denigrate the highest court of the land is a clear violation of the duty of respect lawyers owe to
G.R. No. L-74376:
the courts.[21]

Finally, the Senator asserts that complainant Pobre has failed to prove that she in fact Raul S. Sison Law Offices for petitioner.
made the statements in question. Suffice it to say in this regard that, although she has not
categorically denied making such statements, she has unequivocally said making them as part
of her privilege speech. Her implied admission is good enough for the Court. Sergio L. Guadiz for private respondents.

WHEREFORE, the letter-complaint of Antero J. Pobre against Senator/Atty. Miriam G.R. No. L-76394:
Defensor-Santiago is, conformably to Art. VI, Sec. 11 of the Constitution, DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED. Raul S. Sison Law Offices for petitioner.

Gruba, Tanlimco Lamso and Apuhin Law Offices for respondents.


G.R. No. 71169 December 22, 1988

G.R. No. L-78182:


JOSE D. SANGALANG and LUTGARDA D. SANGALANG, petitioners, FELIX C. GASTON
and DOLORES R. GASTON, JOSE V. BRIONES and ALICIA R. BRIONES, and BEL-AIR
VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC., intervenors-petitioners, Funk & Associates for petitioners.
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, and AYALA CORPORATION, respondents. Tee Tomas & Associates for respondents.

G.R. No. 74376 December 22, 1988 G.R. No. L-82281:

BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner, Funk & Associates for petitioner.
vs.
THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ROSARIO DE JESUS TENORIO, and CECILIA
GONZALVEZ, respondents. Castillo, Laman, Tan & Associates for private respondents.

G.R. No. 76394 December 22,1988


SARMIENTO, J.:
BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner,
vs. Before the Court are five consolidated petitions, 1 docketed as G.R. Nos. 71169, 74376, 76394,
THE COURT OF APPEALS, and EDUARDO and BUENA ROMUALDEZ respondents. 78182, and 82281 hereof, in the nature of appeals (by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court) from five decisions of the Court of Appeals, denying specific performance and damages.
G.R. No. 78182 December 22, 1988
The proceedings were commenced at the first instance by Jose Sangalang, joined by his wife
Lutgarda Sangalang, both residents of No. 110 Jupiter Street, Makati, Metro Manila (G.R. No.
BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner, 71169) to enforce by specific performance restrictive easement upon property, specifically the
vs. Bel- Air Village subdivision in Makati, Metro Manila, pursuant to stipulations embodied in the
COURT OF APPEALS, DOLORES FILLEY, and J. ROMERO & ASSOCIATES, respondents. deeds of sale covering the subdivision, and for damages. Later, the Sangalangs were joined by
Felix Gaston, a resident of No. 64 Jupiter Street of the same municipality, and by Mr. and Mrs.
G.R. No. 82281 December 22, 1988 Jose and Alicia Briones, both of No. 66 Jupiter Street. Pending further proceedings, the Bel-Air
Village Association, Inc. (BAVA), an incorporated homeowners' association, entered its
appearance as plaintiff-in-intervention.
BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, VIOLETA MONCAL, and MAJAL DEVELOPMENT BAVA itself had brought its own complaints, four in number, likewise for specific performance
CORPORATION, respondents. and damages to enforce the same 'deed restrictions.' (See G.R. Nos. 74376, 76394, 78182, and
82281.)
Sangco, Anastacio, Castaneda & Duran Law Office for petitioners & private intervenors-
petitioners. ANTECEDENTS FACTS
I. G.R. No. 71169 a. This lot/s shall not be subdivided. However, three or more lots may be
consolidated and subdivided into a lesser number of lots provided that none
of the resulting lots be smaller in area than the smallest lot before the
The facts are stated in the decision appealed from. We quote:
consolidation and that the consolidation and subdivision plan be duly
approved by the governing body of the Bel-Air Association.
xxxxxxxxx
b. This lot/s shall only be used for residential purposes.
(1) Bel-Air Village is located north of Buendia Avenue extension (now Sen.
Gil J. Puyat Ave.) across a stretch of commercial block from Reposo Street
c. Only one single family house may be constructed on a single lot, although
in the west up to Zodiac Street in the east, When Bel-Air Village was
separate servants' quarters or garage may be built.
planned, this block between Reposo and Zodiac Streets adjoining Buendia
Avenue in front of the village was designated as a commercial block.
(Copuyoc TSN, p. 10, Feb. 12, 1982). d. Commercial or advertising signs shall not be placed, constructed, or
erected on this lot. Name plates and professional signs of homeowners are
permitted so long as they do not exceed 80 x 40 centimeters in size.
(2) Bel-Air Village was owned and developed into a residential subdivision in
the 1950s by Makati Development Corporation (hereinafter referred to as
MDC), which in 1968 was merged with appellant Ayala Corporation. e. No cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, ducks, geese, roosters or rabbits shall be
maintained in the lot, except that pets may be maintained but must be
controlled in accordance with the rulings of the Association. The term "pets'
(3) Appellees-spouses Sangalang reside at No. 11O Jupiter Street between
includes chickens not in commercial quantities.
Makati Avenue and Reposo Street; appellees-spouses Gaston reside at No.
64 Jupiter Street between Makati Avenue and Zodiac Street; appellees-
spouses Briones reside at No. 66 Jupiter Street also between Makati f. The property is subject to an easement of two (2) meters within the lot and
Avenue and Zodiac Street; while appellee Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. adjacent to the rear and sides thereof not fronting a street for the purpose of
(hereinafter referred to as BAVA) is the homeowners' association in Bel-Air drainage, sewage, water and other public facilities as may be necessary
Village which takes care of the sanitation, security, traffic regulations and and desirable; and the owner, lessee or his representative shall permit
general welfare of the village. access thereto by authorized representatives of the Bel-Air Association or
public utility entities for the purposes for which the easement is created.
(4) The lots which were acquired by appellees Sangalang and spouse
Gaston and spouse and Briones and spouse in 1960, 1957 and 1958, g. This lot shall not be used for any immoral or illegal trade or activity.
respectively, were all sold by MDC subject to certain conditions and
easements contained in Deed Restrictions which formed a part of each
h. The owner and/or lessee of this lot/s shall at all times keep the grass cut
deed of sale. The pertinent provisions in said Deed Restrictions, which are
and trimmed to reduce the fire hazard of the property.
common to all lot owners in Bel-Air Village, are as follows:

xxx xxx xxx


I-BEL-AIR ASSOCIATION

VI-TERM OF RESTRICTIONS
The owner of this lot/s or his successors in interest is required to be and is
automatically a member of the Bel-Air Association and must abide by such
rules and regulations laid down by the Association in the interest of the The foregoing restrictions shall remain in force for fifty years from January
sanitation, security and the general welfare of the community. 15, 1957, unless sooner cancelled in its entirety by two thirds vote of
members in good standing of the Bel-Air Association. However, the
Association may, from time to time, add new ones, amend or abolish
The association will also provide for and collect assessments, which will
particular restrictions or parts thereof by majority rule.
constitute as a lien on the property junior only to liens of the government for
taxes and to voluntary mortgages for sufficient consideration entered into in
good faith. VII--ENFORCEMENT OF RESTRICTIONS

II-USE OF LOTS The foregoing restrictions may be enjoined and/or enforced by court action
by the Bel-Air Association, or by the Makati Development Corporation or its
assigns, or by any registered owner of land within the boundaries of the Bel-
Subject to such amendments and additional restrictions, reservations,
Air Subdivision (Sub-division plan PSD-49226 and Lot 7-B, Psd-47848) or
servitudes, etc., as the Bel- Air Association may from time to time adopt and
by any member in good standing of the Bel-Air association." (Exh. 1 -b; Exh.
prescribe, this lot is subject to the following restrictions:
22, Annex "B"). (Appellant's Brief, pp. 4- 6)
(5) When MDC sold the above-mentioned lots to appellees' predecessors- accepted by the Association as members was reduced to 76,726 square
in-interest, the whole stretch of the commercial block between Buendia meters. Thus, the corresponding dues at P.50 per square meter should be
Avenue and Jupiter Street, from Reposo Street in the west to Zodiac Street reduced to P38,363.00. This amount, therefore, was remitted by the
in the east, was still undeveloped. Access, therefore, to Bel-Air Village was appellant to BAVA. Since then, the latter has been collecting membership
opened to all kinds of people and even animals. So in 1966, although it was dues from the owners of the commercial lots as special members of the
not part of the original plan, MDC constructed a fence or wall on the Association. As a matter of fact, the dues were increased several times. In
commercial block along Jupiter Street. In 1970, the fence or wall was partly 1980, the commercial lot owners were already being charged dues at the
destroyed by typhoon "Yoling." The destroyed portions were subsequently rate of P3.00 per square meter. (Domingo, TSN, p. 36, March 19, 1980). At
rebuilt by the appellant. (Copuyoc TSN, pp. 31-34, Feb. 12, 1982). When this rate, the total membership dues of the commercial lot owners amount to
Jupiter Street was widened in 1972 by 3.5 meters, the fence or wall had to P230,178. 00 annually based on the total area of 76,726 square meters of
be destroyed. Upon request of BAVA, the wall was rebuilt inside the the commercial lots.
boundary of the commercial block. (Copuyoc TSN, pp. 4447, Feb. 12,1982).
(9) Meantime, on April 4, 1975, the municipal council of Makati enacted its
(6) When the appellant finally decided to subdivide and sell the lots in the ordinance No. 81, providing for the zonification of Makati (Exh. 18). Under
commercial block between Buendia and Jupiter, BAVA wrote the appellant this Ordinance, Bel-Air Village was classified as a Class A Residential Zone,
on May 9, 1972, requesting for confirmation on the use of the commercial with its boundary in the south extending to the center line of Jupiter Street
lots. The appellant replied on May 16, 1972, informing BAVA of the (Exh. 18-A).
restrictions intended to be imposed in the sale and use of the lots. Among
these restrictions are: that the building shall have a set back of 19 meters;
Thus, Chapter III, Article 1, Section 3.03, par. F. of the Ordinance provides:
and that with respect to vehicular traffic along Buendia Avenue, entrance
only will be allowed, and along Jupiter Street and side streets, both entrance
and exit will be allowed. F. Bel-Air Village area, as bounded on the N by Polaris and Mercedes
streets and on the NE by Estrella Street; on the SE by Epifanio de los
Santos Avenue and on the SW by the center line of Jupiter Street. Then
(7) On June 30, 1972, appellant informed BAVA that in a few months it shall
bounded on the N by the abandoned MRR Pasig Line; on the E by Makati
subdivide and sell the commercial lots bordering the north side of Buendia
Avenue; on the S by the center line of Jupiter Street and on the W by the
Avenue Extension from Reposo Street up to Zodiac Street. Appellant also
center line of Reposo Street." (Exh. 18-A)
informed BAVA that it had taken all precautions and will impose upon the
commercial lot owners deed restrictions which will harmonize and blend with
the development and welfare of Bel-Air Village. Appellant further applied for Similarly, the Buendia Avenue Extension area was classified as
special membership in BAVA of the commercial lot owners. A copy of the Administrative Office Zone with its boundary in the North-North East
deed restrictions for the commercial lots was also enclosed. The proposed Extending also up to the center line of Jupiter Street (Exh. 18b).
deed restrictions shall include the 19 meter set back of buildings from
Jupiter Street, the requirement for parking space within the lot of one (1)
parking slot for every seventy five (75) meters of office space in the building Thus, Chapter III, Article I, Section 3.05, par. C. of the Ordinance provides:
and the limitation of vehicular traffic along Buendia to entrance only, but
allowing both vehicular entrance and vehicular exit through Jupiter Street C. The Buendia Avenue Extension areas, as bounded on the N-NE by the
and any side street. center line of Jupiter Street, on the SE by Epifanio de los Santos Avenue;
on the SW by Buendia Avenue and on the NW by the center line of Reposo
In its letter of July 10, 1972, BAVA acknowledged the above letter of Street, then on the NE by Malugay Street; on the SE by Buendia Avenue
and on the W by Ayala Avenue Extension." (Exh. 18-B)
appellant and informed the latter that the application for special membership
of the commercial lot owners in BAVA would be submitted to BAVA's board
of governors for decision. The Residential Zone and the Administrative Office Zone, therefore, have a
common boundary along the center line of Jupiter Street.
(8) On September 25, 1972, appellant notified BAVA that, after a careful
study, it was finally decided that the height limitation of buildings on the The above zoning under Ordinance No. 81 of Makati was later followed
commercial lots shall be increased from 12.5 meters to 15 meters. Appellant under the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance for the National Capital Region
further informed BAVA that Jupiter Street shall be widened by 3.5 meters to adopted by the Metro Manila Commission as Ordinance 81 -01 on March
improve traffic flow in said street. BAVA did not reply to said letter, but on 14, 1981 (Exh. 19). However, under this ordinance, Bel-Air Village is simply
January 22, 1973, BAVA wrote a letter to the appellant informing the latter bounded in the South-Southeast by Jupiter Street-not anymore up to the
that the Association had assessed the appellant, as special member of the center line of Jupiter Street (Exh. B). Likewise, the blockdeep strip along the
association, the amount of P40,795.00 (based on 81,590 square meters at northwest side of Buendia Avenue Extension from Reposo to EDSA was
P.50 per square meter) representing the membership dues to the classified as a High Intensity Commercial Zone (Exh. 19-c).
commercial lot owners for the year 1973, and requested the appellant to
remit the amount which its board of governors had already included in its
current budget. In reply, appellant on January 31, 1973 informed BAVA that Thus, the Zoning District Boundaries -Makati, in Annex B of the Ordinance provides:
due to the widening of Jupiter Street, the area of the lots which were
R-I-Low Intensity Residential Amapola Street - from Estrella Street to Mercedes Street

xxxxxxxxx Amapola Street -junction of Palma Street gate going to J. Villena Street

4. Bel-Air 1, 3, 4 Mercedes Street -- from EDSA to Imelda Avenue and Amapola junction

Bounded on the North -- J.P. Rizal and Amapola St. Zodiac Street - from Mercedes Street to Buendia Avenue

South - Rockwell Jupiter Street -- from Zodiac Street to Reposo Street connecting
Metropolitan Avenue to Pasong Tamo and V. Cruz Extension intersection
Northwest - P. Burgos
Neptune Street - from Makati Avenue to Reposo Street Orbit Street - from F.
Zobel-Candelaria intersection to Jupiter Street
Southeast - Jupiter

Paseo de Roxas - from Mercedes Street to Buendia Avenue (Exh. 17,


Southwest - Epifanio de los Santos Ave. (EDSA)
Annex A, BAVA Petition)

5. Bel-Air 2
On February 10, 1977, BAVA wrote the Mayor of Makati, expressing the
concern of the residents about the opening of the streets to the general
Bounded on the Northwest - J.P. Rizal public, and requesting specifically the indefinite postponement of the plan to
open Jupiter Street to public vehicles. (Exh. 17, Annex B, BAVA Petition).
Southwest - Makati Avenue
However, BAVA voluntarily opened to the public Amapola, Mercedes,
Zodiac, Neptune and Paseo de Roxas streets. (Exh. 17-A, Answer of Makati
South --- Jupiter par. 3-7).

Southeast -- Pasig Line


Later, on June 17,1977, the Barangay Captain of Bel-Air Village was
advised by the Office of the Mayor that, in accordance with the agreement
East - South Avenue" (Exh. 19-b) entered into during the meeting on January 28, 1 977, the Municipal
Engineer and the Station Commander of the Makati Police were ordered to
open for public use Jupiter Street from Makati Avenue to Reposo Street.
xxxxxxxxx Accordingly, he was requested to advise the village residents of the
necessity of the opening of the street in the interest of public welfare. (Exh.
C-3-High Intensity Commercial Zone 17, Annex E, BAVA Petition).

2. A block deep strip along the northwest side of Buendia Ave. Ext. from Then, on June 10, 1977, the Municipal Engineer of Makati in a letter
Reposo to EDSA." (Exh, 19-c) addressed to BAVA advised the latter to open for vehicular and pedestrian
traffic the entire portion of Jupiter Street from Makati Avenue to Reposo
Street (Exh. 17, BAVA Petition, par. 14).
Under the above zoning classifications, Jupiter Street, therefore, is a
common boundary of Bel-Air Village and the commercial zone.
Finally, on August 12, 1977, the municipal officials of Makati concerned
allegedly opened, destroyed and removed the gates constructed/located at
(10) Meanwhile, in 1972, BAVA had installed gates at strategic locations the corner of Reposo Street and Jupiter Street as well as the gates/fences
across Jupiter Street which were manned and operated by its own security located/constructed at Jupiter Street and Makati Avenue forcibly, and then
guards who were employed to maintain, supervise and enforce traffic opened the entire length of Jupiter Street to public traffic. (Exh. 17, BAVA
regulations in the roads and streets of the village. (Villavicencio, TSN, pp, Petition, pars. 16 and 17).
22-25, Oct. 30, 1980; BAVA Petition, par. 11, Exh. 17).

(11) Before the gates were-removed, there was no parking problem or traffic
Then, on January 17, 1977, the Office of the Mayor of Makati wrote BAVA problem in Jupiter Street, because Jupiter Street was not allowed to be
directing that, in the interest of public welfare and for the purpose of easing used by the general public (Villavicencio, TSN, pp. 24-25, Oct. 30, 1980).
traffic congestion, the following streets in Bel-Air Village should be opened However, with the opening of Zodiac Street from Estrella Street to Jupiter
for public use: Street and also the opening to the public of the entire length of Jupiter
Street, there was a tremendous increase in the volume of traffic passing Jose V. Briones and Alicia R. Briones, and the homeowners' association
along Jupiter Street coming from EDSA to Estrella Street, then to Zodiac (BAVA) intervened in the case.
Street to Jupiter Street, and along the entire length of Jupiter Street to its
other end at Reposo Street. (Villavicencio, TSN, pp. 30-32, Oct. 30, 1980).
(15) After trial on the merits, the then Court of First Instance of Rizal, Pasig,
Metro Manila, rendered a decision in favor of the appellees the dispositive
In the meantime, the purchasers of the commercial lots between Jupiter portion of which is as follows:
Street and Buendia Avenue extension had started constructing their
respective buildings in 1974-1975. They demolished the portions of the
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby accordingly rendered as follows:
fence or wall standing within the boundary of their lots. Many of the owners
constructed their own fences or walls in lieu of the wall and they employed
their own security guards. (TSN, p. 83, Feb. 20,1981; TSN, pp. 53-54; 72- ON PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT:
74, March 20,1981; TSN, pp. 54-55, July 23, 1981).
Defendant is ordered to pay to the plaintiffs-spouses Sangalang the
(12) Then, on January 27, 1978, appellant donated the entire Jupiter Street following damages:
from Metropolitan Avenue to Zodiac Street to BAVA (Exh. 7)- However,
even before 1978, the Makati Police and the security force of BAVA were
already the ones regulating the traffic along Jupiter Street after the gates 1. The sum of P500,000.00 as actual and consequential damages;
were opened in 1977. Sancianco TSN, pp. 26-30, Oct. 2,1981).
2. The sum of P2,000,000.00 as moral damages;
In October, 1979, the fence at the corner of Orbit and Neptune Streets was
opened and removed (BAVA Petition, par. 22, Exh. 17). The opening of the 3. The sum of P500,000.00 as exemplary damages;
whole stretch of Orbit Street from J.P. Rizal Avenue up to Imelda Avenue
and later to Jupiter Street was agreed to at the conference attended by the
President of BAVA in the office of the Station Commander of Makati, subject 4. The sum of P100,000.00 as attorney's fees; and
to certain conditions, to wit:
5. The costs of suit.
That, maintenance of Orbit St. up to Jupiter St. shall be shouldered by the
Municipality of Makati. ON INTERVENORS FELIX and DOLORES GASTON'S COMPLAINT:

That, street lights will be installed and maintenance of the same along Orbit Defendant is ordered to pay to the spouses Felix and Dolores Gaston, the
St. from J.P. Rizal Ave. up to Jupiter St. shall be undertaken by the following damages:
Municipality.
1 . The sum of P400,000.00 as consequential damages;
That for the security of the residents of San Miguel Village and Bel-Air
Village, as a result of the opening of Orbit Street, police outposts shall be
constructed by the Municipality of Makati to be headed by personnel of 2 The sum of P500,000.00 as moral damages;
Station No. 4, in close coordination with the Security Guards of San Miguel
Village and Bel-Air Village." (CF. Exh. 3 to Counter-Affidavit, of Station 3 The sum of P500,000.00 as exemplary damages:
Commander, Ruperto Acle p. 253, records)" (Order, Civil Case No. 34948,
Exh. 17-c).
4 The sum of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees; and

(13) Thus, with the opening of the entire length of Jupiter Street to public
traffic, the different residential lots located in the northern side of Jupiter 5 The costs of suit.
Street ceased to be used for purely residential purposes. They became, for
all purposes, commercial in character. ON INTERVENORS JOSE and ALICIA BRIONES' COMPLAINT:

(14) Subsequently, on October 29, 1979, the plaintiffs-appellees Jose D. Defendant is ordered to pay to the spouses Jose and Alicia Briones, the
Sangalang and Lutgarda D. Sangalang brought the present action for following damages:
damages against the defendant-appellant Ayala Corporation predicated on
both breach of contract and on tort or quasi-delict A supplemental complaint
was later filed by said appellees seeking to augment the reliefs prayed for in 1 . The sum of P400,000.00 as consequential damages;
the original complaint because of alleged supervening events which
occurred during the trial of the case. Claiming to be similarly situated as the 2 The sum of P500,000.00 as moral damages;
plaintiffs-appellees, the spouses Felix C. Gaston and Dolores R. Gaston,
3 The sum of P500,000.00 as exemplary damages; Street, Bel-Air Village, Makati, Metro Manila, into a restaurant, without its knowledge and
consent, and in violation of the deed restrictions which provide that the lot and building thereon
must be used only for residential purposes upon which the prayed for main relief was for 'the
4 The sum of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees; and
defendants to permanently refrain from using the premises as commercial and to comply with
the terms of the Deed Restrictions." 6 The trial court dismissed the complaint on a procedural
5 The costs of suit. ground, i.e., pendency of an Identical action, Civil Case No. 32346, entitled "Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc. v. Jesus Tenorio." The Court of Appeals 7 affirmed, and held, in addition, that
Jupiter Street "is classified as High density commercial (C-3) zone as per Comprehensive
ON INTERVENOR BAVA'S COMPLAINT: Zoning Ordinance No. 81-01 for National Capital Region," 8 following its own ruling in AC-G.R.
No. 66649, entitled "Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. vs. Hy-Land Realty & Development
Defendant is ordered to pay intervenor BAVA, the following damages: Corporation, et al."

1. The sum of P400,000.00 as consequential damages; III. G.R. No. 76394

2. The sum of P500,000.00 as exemplary damages; xxxxxxxxx

3. The sum of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees; and Defendants-spouses Eduardo V. Romualdez, Jr. and Buena Tioseco are the
owners of a house and lot located at 108 Jupiter St., Makati, Metro Manila
as evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 332394 of the Registry of
4. The costs of suit. Deeds of Rizal. The fact is undisputed that at the time the defendants
acquired the subject house and lot, several restrictions were already
The above damages awarded to the plaintiffs and intervenors shall bear annotated on the reverse side of their title; however, for purposes of this
legal interest from the filing of the complaint. appeal we shall quote hereunder only the pertinent ones, to wit:

Defendant is further ordered to restore/reconstruct the perimeter wall at its (b,) This lot/shall be used only for residential purposes.
original position in 1966 from Reposo Street in the west to Zodiac Street in
the east, at its own expense, within SIX (6) MONTHS from finality of xxxxxxxxx
judgment.

IV. Term of Restriction


SO ORDERED.

The foregoing restriction(s) shall remain in force for fifty years from January
(Record on Appeal, pp. 400-401) 2 15, 1957, unless sooner cancelled in its entirety by two-thirds vote of the
members in good standing of the Bel-Air Association. However, the
xxxxxxxxx Association may from time to time, add new ones, amend or abolish
particular restrictions or parts thereof by majority rule.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals 3 rendered a reversal, and disposed as
follows: During the early part of 1979, plaintiff noted that certain renovations and
constructions were being made by the defendants on the subject premises,
for which reason the defendants were advised to inform the plaintiff of the
ACCORDINGLY, finding the decision appealed from as not supported by kind of construction that was going on. Because the defendants failed to
the facts and the law on the matter, the same is hereby SET ASIDE and comply with the request of the plaintiff, the latter's chief security officer
another one entered dismissing the case for lack of a cause of action. visited the subject premises on March 23, 1979 and found out that the
Without pronouncement as to costs. defendants were putting up a bake and coffee shop, which fact was
confirmed by defendant Mrs. Romualdez herself. Thereafter, the plaintiff
SO ORDERED. 4 reminded defendants that they were violating the deed restriction. Despite
said reminder, the defendants proceeded with the construction of the bake
shop. Consequently, plaintiff sent defendants a letter dated April 30, 1979
II. G.R. No. 74376 warning them that if they will not desist from using the premises in question
for commercial purposes, they will be sued for violations of the deed
This petition was similarly brought by BAVA to enforce the aforesaid restrictions stipulated in the restrictions.
deeds of sale executed by the Ayala Corporation. The petitioner originally brought the complaint
in the Regional Trial Court of Makati, 5 principally for specific performance, plaintiff [now, Despite the warning, the defendants proceeded with the construction of their
petitioner] alleging that the defendant [now, private respondent] Tenorio allowed defendant bake shop. 9
[Tenorio's co-private respondent] Gonzalves to occupy and convert the house at 50 Jupiter
xxxxxxxxx ESTOPPED FROM ENFORCING THE RESTRICTIVE PROHIBITIONS
SUBJECT MATTER OF THIS CASE.
The trial court 10 adjudged in favor of BAVA. On appeal, the Court of Appeals 11 reversed, on the
strength of its holding in AC-G.R. No. 66649 earlier referred to. III.

BAVA then elevated the matter to the Court by a petition for review on certiorari. The THE COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THERE EXISTED A
Court 12 initially denied the petition "for lack of merit, it appearing that the conclusions of the BILATERAL CONTRACT BETWEEN THE PARTIES AND THAT SINCE
respondent Court of Appeals that private respondents' bake and coffee shop lies within a APPELLEE HAD NOT PERFORMED ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THIS
commercial zone and that said private respondents are released from their obligations to ARRANGEMENT THE APPELLANT IN TURN WAS UNDER NO
maintain the lot known as 108 Jupiter Street for residential purposes by virtue of Ordinance No. OBLIGATION TO ANNOTATE THE RESTRICTIVE PROHIBITIONS ON
81 of the Municipality of Makati and Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance No. 81-01 of the THE BACK OF THE TITLE.
Metropolitan Manila Commission, are in accord with law and jurisprudence," 13 for which BAVA
sought a reconsideration. Pending resolution, the case was referred to the Second Division of
Appellants anchor their appeal on the proposition that the Bel-Air Village
this Court, 14 and thereafter, to the Court En Banc en consulta. 15 Per our Resolution, dated April
area, contrary to plaintiff- appellee's pretension of being a strictly residential
29, 1988, we consolidated this case with G.R. Nos. 74376 and 82281. 16
zone, is in fact commercial and characterize the restrictions contained in
appellant Filley's deed of sale from the appellee as completely outmoded,
IV. G.R. No. 78182. which have lost all relevance to the present-day realities in Makati, now the
premier business hub of the nation, where there is a proliferation of
numerous commercial enterprises established through the years, in fact
xxxxxxxxx
even within the heart of so-called "residential" villages. Thus, it may be said
that appellants base their position on the inexorable march of progress
The case stemmed from the leasing by defendant Dolores Filley of her which has rendered at naught the continued efficacy of the restrictions.
building and lot situated at No. 205 Reposo Street, Bel-Air Village Makati, Appellant on the other hand, relies on a rigid interpretation of the contractual
Metro Manila to her co-defendant, the advertising firm J. Romero and stipulations agreed upon with appellant Filley, in effect arguing that the
Associates, in alleged violation of deed restrictions which stipulated that restrictions are valid ad infinitum.
Filley's lot could only be used for residential purposes. Plaintiff sought
judgment from the lower court ordering the defendants to "permanently
The lower court quite properly found that other commercial establishments
refrain" from using the premises in question "as commercial" and to comply
exist in the same area (in fact, on the same street) but ignored it just the
with the terms of the deed restrictions.
same and said-

After the proper proceedings, the court granted the plaintiff the sought for
The fact that defendants were able to prove the existence of several
relief with the additional imposition of exemplary damages of P50,000.00
commercial establishments inside the village does not exempt them from
and attorney's fees of P10,000.00. The trial court gave emphasis to the
liability for violating some of the restrictions evidently choosing to accord
restrictive clauses contained in Filley's deed of sale from the plaintiff, which
primacy to contractual stipulation. 17
made the conversion of the building into a commercial one a violation.

xxxxxxxxx
Defendants now seek review and reversal on three (3) assignments of errors, namely:

The Court of Appeals 18 overturned the lower court, 19 likewise based on AC-G.R. No. 66649.
I.
The respondent Court observed also that J. Romero & Associates had been given authority to
open a commercial office by the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE REGULATIONS
PROMULGATED BY THE MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES IN MAKATI AND
V. G.R. No. 82281
THE MINISTRY OF HUMAN SETTLEMENT'S CHANGING THE
CHARACTER OF THE AREAS IN QUESTION HAD RENDERED THE
RESTRICTIVE EASEMENT ON THE TITLE OF THE APPELLANTS The facts of this case have been based on stipulation. We quote:
VACATED.
COMES NOW, the Parties, assisted by their respective counsel and to this
II. Honorable Court, respectfully enter into the following stipulations of facts, to
wit:
THE COURT ERRED IN NOT RULING THAT BECAUSE THE
APPELLEE(S) HAD ALLOWED THE USE OF THE PROPERTY WITHIN 1. The parties admit the personal circumstances of each other as well as
THE VILLAGE FOR NON- RESIDENTIAL PURPOSES, IT IS NOW their capacities to sue and be sued.
2. The parties admit that plaintiff BAVA for short) is the legally constituted and unreasonable," 23 a development that had excused compliance altogether under Article
homeowners' association in Bel-Air Subdivision, Makati, Metro Manila. 1267 of the Civil Code.

3. The parties admit that defendant Violets Moncal is the registered owner VI. The cases before the Court; the Court's decision.
of a parcel of land with a residential house constructed thereon situated at
No. 104 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air Village, Makati, Metro Manila; that as such lot
In brief, G.R. Nos. 74376, 76394, 78182, and 82281 are efforts to enforce the "deed restrictions"
owner, she is a member of the plaintiff association.
in question against specific residents (private respondents in the petitions) of Jupiter Street and
with respect to G.R. No. 78182, Reposo Street. The private respondents are alleged to have
4. The parties admit that defendant Majal Development Corporation (Majal converted their residences into commercial establishments (a restaurant in G.R. No. 74376, a
for short) is the lessee of defendant Moncal's house and lot located at No. bakery and coffee shop in G.R. No. 76394, an advertising firm in G.R. No. 78182; and a
104 Jupiter Street. construction company, apparently, in G.R. No. 82281) in violation of the said restrictions. 24

5. The parties admit that a deed restrictions is annotated on the title of Their mother case, G. R. No. 71169 is, on the other hand, a petition to hold the vendor itself,
defendant Moncal, which provides, among others, that the lot in question Ayala Corporation (formerly Makati Development Corporation), liable for tearing down the
must be used only for residential purposes;' that at time Moncal purchased perimeter wall along Jupiter Street that had therefore closed its commercial section from the
her aforesaid lot in 1959 said deed restrictions was already annotated in the residences of Bel-Air Village and ushering in, as a consequence, the full "commercialization" of
said title. Jupiter Street, in violation of the very restrictions it had authored.

6. The parties admit that when Moncal leased her subject property to Majal, As We indicated, the Court of Appeals dismissed all five appeals on the basis primarily of its
she did not secure the consent of BAVA to lease the said house and lot to ruling in AC-G.R. No. 66649, "Bel-Air Village, Inc. v. Hy-Land Realty Development Corporation,
the present lessee. et al.," in which the appellate court explicitly rejected claims under the same 'deed restrictions"
as a result of Ordinance No. 81 enacted by the Government of the Municipality of Makati, as well
as Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance No. 8101 promulgated by the Metropolitan Manila
7. The parties admit that along Jupiter Street and on the same side where
Commission, which two ordinances allegedly allowed the use of Jupiter Street both for
Moncal's property is located, there are restaurants, clinics placement or
residential and commercial purposes. It was likewise held that these twin measures were valid
employment agencies and other commercial or business establishments.
as a legitimate exercise of police power.
These establishments, however, were sued by BAVA in the proper court.

The Court of Appeals' reliance on Ordinance Nos. 81. and 8101 is now assailed in these
8. The parties admit that at the time Moncal purchased the subject property
petitions, particularly the Sangalang, et al. petition.
from the Makati Development Corporation, there was a perimeter wall,
running along Jupiter Street, which wall was constructed by the subdivision
owner; that at that time the gates of the entrances to Jupiter Street were Aside from this fundamental issue, the petitioners likewise raise procedural questions. G.R. No.
closed to public traffic. In short, the entire length of Jupiter which was inside 71169, the mother case, begins with one.
the perimeter wall was not then open to public traffic
1. G.R. No. 71169
9. The parties admit that subsequent thereto, Ayala tore down the perimeter
wall to give way to the commercial building fronting Buendia Avenue (now
In this petition, the following questions are specifically put to the Court:
Gil J. Puyat Avenue).

May the Honorable Intermediate Appellate Court reverse the decision of the
10. The parties admit that on August 12, 1977, the Mayor of Makati forcibly
trial court on issues which were neither raised by AYALA in its Answers
opened and removed the street gates constructed on Jupiter Street and
either to the Complaint or Supplemental Complaint nor specifically assigned
Reposo Street, thereby opening said streets to the public.
as one of the alleged errors on appeal? 25

11. The parties admit plaintiffs letters of October 10, 23 and 31, 1984; as
May the Honorable Intermediate Appellate Court arbitrarily ignore the
well as defendants' letters-reply dated October 17 and 29, 1984. 20
decisive findings of fact of the trial court, even if uncontradicted and/or
documented, and premised mainly on its own unsupported conclusions
xxxxxxxxx totally reverse the trial court's decision? 26

The trial court 21 dismissed the petitioner's complaint, a dismissal affirmed on May the Honorable Intermediate Appellate Court disregard the trial court's
appeal, 22 According to the appellate court, the opening of Jupiter Street to human and vehicular documented findings that respondent Ayala for its own self-interest and
traffic, and the commercialization of the Municipality of Makati in general, were circumstances commercial purposes contrived in bad faith to do away with the Jupiter
that had made compliance by Moncal with the aforesaid "deed restrictions" "extremely difficult Street perimeter wall it put up three times which wall was really intended to
separate the residential from the commercial areas and thereby insure the
privacy and security of Bel Air Village pursuant to respondent Ayala's for the exclusive use of either block, least of all the residents of Bel-Air Village, but, we repeat, in
express continuing representation and/or covenant to do so? 27 favor of both, as distinguished from the general public.

a. When the wall was erected in 1966 and rebuilt twice, in 1970 and 1972, it was not for the
purpose of physically separating the two blocks. According to Ayala Corporation, it was put up to
enable the Bel-Air Village Association "better control of the security in the area, 41 and as the
The first question represents an attack on the appellate court's reliance on Ordinances Nos. 81
Ayala Corporation's "show of goodwill " 42 a view we find acceptable in the premises. For it
and 81-01, a matter not supposedly taken up at the trial or assigned as an error on appeal. As a
cannot be denied that at that time, the commercial area was vacant, "open for [sic] animals and
rule, the Court of Appeals (then the Intermediate Appellate Court) may determine only such
people to have access to Bel-Air Village." 43 There was hence a necessity for a wall.
questions as have been properly raised to it, yet, this is not an inflexible rule of procedure. In
Hernandez v. Andal, 28 it was stated that "an unassigned error closely related to an error
properly assigned, or upon which the determination of the question raised by the error properly In any case, we find the petitioners' theory, that maintaining the wall was a matter of a
assigned is dependent, will be considered by the appellate court notwithstanding the failure to contractual obligation on the part of Ayala, to be pure conjecture. The records do not establish
assign it as error." 29 the existence of such a purported commitment. For one, the subdivision plans submitted did not
mention anything about it. For another, there is nothing in the "deed restrictions" that would point
to any covenant regarding the construction of a wall. There is no representation or promise
In Baquiran v. Court of Appeals, 30 we referred to the " modern trend of procedure . . . according]
whatsoever therein to that effect.
the courts broad discretionary power" 31 and in which we allowed consideration of matters
"having some bearing on the issue submitted which the parties failed to raise or the lower court
ignore[d]. 32 And in Vda. de Javellana v. Court of Appeals, 33 we permitted the consideration of a With the construction of the commercial buildings in 1974, the reason for which the wall was
'patent error' of the trial court by the Court of Appeals under Section 7, of Rule 51, of the Rules built- to secure Bel-Air Village from interlopers had naturally ceased to exist. The buildings
of Court, 34 although such an error had not been raised in the brief. But what we note is the fact themselves had provided formidable curtains of security for the residents. It should be noted that
that the Ayala Corporation did raise the zoning measures as affirmative defenses, first in its the commercial lot buyers themselves were forced to demolish parts of the wall to gain access to
answers 35 and second, in its brief, 36 and submitted at the trial as exhibits. 37 There is Jupiter Street, which they had after all equal right to use.
accordingly no cause for complaint on the part of the petitioners for Ayala's violation of the
Rules. But while there was reason for the consideration, on appeal, of the said zoning
In fine, we cannot hold the Ayala Corporation liable for damages for a commitment it did not
ordinances in question, this Court nevertheless finds as inaccurate the Court of Appeals' holding
make, much less for alleged resort to machinations in evading it. The records, on the contrary,
that such measures, had "in effect, [made] Jupiter Street ... a street which could be used not only
will show that the Bel-Air Village Association had been informed, at the very outset, about the
for residential purposes," 38 and that "[It lost its character as a street for the exclusive benefit of
impending use of Jupiter Street by commercial lot buyers. We quote:
those residing in Bel-Air Village completely." 39

xxxxxxxxx
Among other things, there is a recognition under both Ordinances Nos. 81 and 8 1-01 that
Jupiter Street lies as the boundary between Bel-Air Village and Ayala Corporation's commercial
section. And since 1957, it had been considered as a boundary not as a part of either the 1. Exh. I of appellee, the memorandum of Mr. Carmelo Caluag, President of
residential or commercial zones of Ayala Corporation's real estate development projects. Thus, BAVA, dated May 10, 1972, informing the BAVA Board of Governors and
the Bel-Air Village Association's articles of incorporation state that Bel-Air Village is 'bounded on Barrio Council members about the future use of Jupiter Street by the lot
the NE., from Amapola St., to de los Santos Ave., by Estrella St., on the SE from Extrella St., to owners fronting Buendia Avenue. The use of Jupiter Street by the owners of
Pedestrian Lane by E. De los Santos Ave., on the SW., from Pedestrian Lane to Reposo St., by the commercial lots would necessarily require the demolition of the wall
Jupiter Street along the commercial block adjoining Jupiter Street.

. . . . 40 Hence, it cannot be said to have been "for the exclusive benefit" of Bel-Air Village 2. Exh. J of appellee, the minutes of the joint meeting of BAVA Board of
residents. Governors and the Bel-Air Barrio Council where the matter that "Buendia lot
owners will have equal rights to use Jupiter Street," and that Ayala's "plans
about the sale of lots and use of Jupiter Street" were precisely taken up.
We come to the perimeter wall then standing on the commercial side of Jupiter Street the
This confirms that from the start BAVA was informed that the commercial lot
destruction of which opened the street to the public. The petitioners contend that the opening of
owners will use Jupiter Street and that necessarily the wall along Jupiter
the thoroughfare had opened, in turn, the floodgates to the commercialization of Bel-Air Village.
Street would be demolished.
The wall, so they allege, was designed precisely to protect the peace and privacy of Bel-Air
Village residents from the din and uproar of mercantile pursuits, and that the Ayala Corporation
had committed itself to maintain it. It was the opinion of the Court of Appeals, as we said, that 3. Exh. 10, the letter of Mr. Demetrio Copuyoc to the President of BAVA,
Ayala's liability therefor, if one existed, had been overtaken by the passage of Ordinances Nos. dated May 16, 1972, expressly stating that vehicular entrance and exit to
81 and 82-01, opening Jupiter Street to commerce. the commercial lots would be allowed along Jupiter and side streets.

It is our ruling, we reiterate, that Jupiter Street lies as a mere boundary, a fact acknowledged by 4. Exhs. 27, 27-A, 27-B, the letter of Atty. Salvador J. Lorayes dated June
the authorities of Makati and the National Government and, as a scrutiny of the records 30, 1972, with enclosed copy of proposed restriction for the commercial lots
themselves reveals, by the petitioners themselves, as the articles of incorporation of Bel-Air to BAVA. He proposed restriction again expressly stated that "Vehicular
Village Association itself would confirm. As a consequence, Jupiter Street was intended for the entrances and exits are allowed thru Jupiter and any side streets."
use by both -the commercial and residential blocks. It was not originally constructed, therefore,
5. Exh. L of appellee, the minutes of the meeting of the members of BAVA, 682 (1903), where it was held that "whether the plaintiffs services were solicited or whether they
dated August 26, 1972, where it is stated "Recently, Ayala Corporation were offered to the defendant for his assistance, inasmuch as these services were accepted and
informed the Board that the lots fronting Buendia Avenue will soon be made use of by the latter, we must consider that there was a tacit and mutual consent as to the
offered for sale, and that future lot owners will be given equal rights to use rendition of services." (At 686.) In that case, the defendant had enormously benefitted from the
Jupiter Street as well as members of the Association." services that entitled the plaintiff to compensation on the theory that no one may unjustly enrich
himself at the expense of another (Solutio indebiti) The facts of this case differ.
6. Exh. 25, the letter of Atty. Lorayes dated September 25, 1972, informing
BAVA of the widening of Jupiter Street by 3.5 meters to improve traffic flow As we stated, the Ayala Corporation's alleged conduct prior to or during the proceedings below
in said street to benefit both the residents of Bel-Air and the future owners of are not necessarily at war with claims that no commitment had been in fact made.
the commercial lots. 44
With respect to Ayala's alleged announcement before the association, the Court does not agree
The petitioners cannot successfully rely on the alleged promise by Demetrio Copuyoc, Ayala's that Ayala had categorically assumed as an obligation to maintain the wall "perpetually," i.e.,
manager, to build a "[f]ence along Jupiter with gate for entrance and/or exit 45 as evidence of until the year 2007 (the expiration date under the "deed restrictions.") There is nothing in its
Ayala's alleged continuing obligation to maintain a wall between the residential and commercial statement that would bare any commitment. In connection with the conference between the
sections. It should be observed that the fence referred to included a "gate for entrance and or parties "during the pendency" of the trial, it is to be noted that the Ayala Corporation denies
exit" which would have defeated the purpose of a wall, in the sense the petitioners would put in having warranted the restoration of the said wall therein. What, on the other hand, appears in the
one, that is to say, an impenetrable barrier. But as Ayala would point out subsequently, the records is the fact that Ayala did make that promise, but provided that the Mayor allowed it. It
proposed fence was not constructed because it had become unnecessary when the commercial turned out, however, that the Mayor balked at the Idea. 52 But assuming that Ayala did promise
lot owners commenced constructions thereon. to rebuild the wall (in that conference), it does not seem to us that it did consequently promise to
maintain it in perpetuity.
Be that as it may, the Court cannot visualize any purported obligation by Ayala Corporation to
keep the wall on the strength of this supposed promise alone. If truly Ayala promised anything It is unfair to say, as the trial court did, that the Ayala had "contrived to make future commercial
assuming that Capuyoc was authorized to bind the corporation with a promise it would have lot owners special members of BAVA and thereby acquire equal right with the regular members
been with respect to the fence. It would not have established the pre-existing obligation alleged thereof to use Jupiter Street 53 since, as we stated, the commercial lot buyers have the right, in
with respect to the wall. any event, to make use of Jupiter Street, whether or not they are members of the association. It
is not their memberships that give them the right to use it. They share that right with Bel-Air
residents from the outset.
Obligations arise, among other things, from contract. 46 If Ayala, then, were bound by an
obligation, it would have been pursuant to a contract. A contract, however, is characterized by a
"meeting of minds between two persons . 47As a consensual relation, it must be shown to exist The objective of making the commercial lot owners special members of the Bel-Air Village
as a fact, clearly and convincingly. But it cannot be inferred from a mishmash of circumstances Association was not to accord them equal access to Jupiter Street and inferentially, to give them
alone disclosing some kind of an "understanding," when especially, those disparate the right to knock down the perimeter wall. It was, rather, to regulate the use of the street owing
circumstances are not themselves incompatible with contentions that no accord had existed or precisely to the "planned" nature of Ayala's development project, and real estate development in
had been reached. 48 general, and this could best be done by placing the commercial lot owners under the
association's jurisdiction.
The petitioners cannot simply assume that the wall was there for the purpose with which they
now give it, by the bare coincidence that it had divided the residential block from the commercial Moreover, Ayala's overtures with the association concerning the membership of commercial lot
section of Bel-Air. The burden of proof rests with them to show that it had indeed been built buyers therein have been shown to be neither perfidious nor unethical nor devious
precisely for that objective, a proof that must satisfy the requirements of our rules of evidence. It (paraphrasing the lower court). We quote anew:
cannot be made to stand on the strength of plain inferences.
xxxxxxxxx
b.
(7) On June 30, 1972, appellant informed BAVA that in a few months it shall
This likewise answers the petitioners' second query, whether or not the Court of Appeals had subdivide and sell the commercial lots bordering the north side of Buendia
"arbitrarily ignore(d) the decisive findings of the trial court."49 i.e., findings pointing to alleged acts Avenue Extension from Reposo Street up to Zodiac Street. Appellant also
performed by the Ayala Corporation proving its commitment to maintain the wall abovesaid. informed BAVA that it had taken all precautions and will impose upon the
Specifically, the petitioners refer to, among other things: (1) Ayala's alleged announcement to commercial lot owners deed restrictions which will harmonize and blend with
Bel- Air Village Association members that "[the perimeter wall along Jupiter Street will not be the development and welfare of Bel-Air Village. Appellant further applied for
demolished," 50 (2) Ayala's alleged commitment "during the pendency of the case in the trial special membership in BAVA of the commercial lot owners. A copy of the
court" to restore the wall; (3) alleged assurances by Copuyoc that the wall will not be removed; deed restrictions for the commercial lots was also enclosed. The proposed
(4) alleged contrivances by the corporation to make the association admit as members the deed restrictions shall include the 19 meter set back of buildings from
commercial lot buyers which provided them equal access to Jupiter Street; and (5) Ayala's Jupiter Street, the requirement for parking space within the lot of one (1)
donation to the association of Jupiter Street for "private use" of Bel-Air residents. 51 parking slot for every seventy five (75) meters of office space in the building
and the limitation of vehicular traffic along Buendia to entrance only, but
allowing both vehicular entrance and vehicular exit through Jupiter Street
and any side street.
In its letter of July 10, 1972, BAVA acknowledged the above letter of appellant and informed the The Court cannot then say, accepting the veracity of the petitioners' facts" enumerated above,
latter that the application for special membership of the commercial lot owners in BAVA would that the Ayala Corporation may be held liable for specific performance of a demandable
be submitted to BAVA's board of governors for decision. obligation, let alone damages.

(8) On September 25,1972, appellant notified BAVA that, after a careful The Court adds that Ayala can hardly be held responsible for the alleged deterioration of "living
study, it was finally decided that the height limitation of buildings on the and environmental conditions" 56 of the Bel-Air area, as a consequence of "Ayala's authorized
commercial lots shall be increased from 12.5 meters to 15 meters. Appellant demolition of the Jupiter perimeter wall in 1974-1975. " 57 We agree with Ayala that until 1976,
further informed BAVA that Jupiter Street shall be widened by 3.5 meters to "there was peace and quiet" at Jupiter Street, as the petitioners' (Sangalang, Gaston, and
improve traffic flow in said street. BAVA did not reply to said letter, but on Briones) complaints admit. Hence, the degeneration of peace and order in Bel-Air cannot be
January 22, 1973, BAVA wrote a letter to the appellant informing the latter ascribed to the destruction of the wall in 1974 and 1975.
that the Association had assessed the appellant, as special member of the
association, the amount of P40,795.00 (based on 81,590 square meters at
What Ayala submits as the real cause was the opening of Jupiter Street to vehicular traffic in
P.50 per square meter) representing the membership dues of the
1977., 58 But this was upon orders of the Mayor, and for which the homeowners' association had
commercial lot owners for the year 1973, and requested the appellant to
precisely filed suit (Civil Case No. 34998) 59 to contest the act of the Mayor.
remit the amount which its board of governors had already included in its
current budget. In reply, appellant on January 31, 1973 informed BAVA that
due to the widening of Jupiter Street, the area of the lots which were c.
accepted by the Association as members was reduced to 76,726 square
meters. Thus, the corresponding due at P.50 per square meter should be
reduced to P38,363.00. This amount, therefore, was remitted by the This likewise disposes of the third question presented. The petitioners' reliance on Ayala's
appellant to BAVA. Since then, the latter has been collecting membership alleged conduct (proving its alleged commitment), so we have ruled, is not well-taken. Ayala's
dues from the owners of the commercial lots as special members of the alleged acts do not, by themselves, reflect a commitment to maintain the wall in dispute. It
cannot be therefore said that the Court of Appeals "arbitrarily ignore(d]" 60 the lower court's
Association. As a matter of fact, the dues were increased several times. In
1980, the commercial lot owners were already being charged dues at the findings. Precisely, it is the duty of the appellate court to review the findings of the trial judge, be
rate of P3.00 per square meter. (Domingo, TSN, p. 36, March 19, 1980). At they of fact or law. 61 It is not bound by the conclusions of the judge, for which reason it makes
its own findings and arrives at its own conclusions. Unless a grave abuse of discretion may be
this rate, the total membership dues of the commercial lot owners amount to
P230,178.00 annually based on the total area of 76,726 square meters of imputed to it, it may accept or reject the lower tribunal's determinations and rely solely on the
the commercial lots. 54 records.

xxxxxxxxx Accordingly, the Court affirms the Court of Appeals' holding that the Ayala Corporation, in its
dealings with the petitioners, the Bel-Air Village Association in particular, had "acted with justice,
gave the appellees [petitioners] their due and observed honesty and good faith." 62 "Therefore,
The alleged undertaking, finally, by Ayala in the deed of donation (over Jupiter Street) to leave under both Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code, the appellant [Ayala] cannot be held liable for
Jupiter Street for the private use of Bel-Air residents is belied by the very provisions of the deed. damages." 63
We quote:
2. G.R. Nos. 74376, 76394, 78182, & 82281
xxxxxxxxx
Our decision also resolves, quite anticlimactically, these companion cases. But we do so for
IV. That the offer made by the DONOR had been accepted by the DONEE various other reasons. In the Sangalang case, we absolve the Ayala Corporation primarily owing
subject to the condition that the property will be used as a street for the use to our finding that it is not liable for the opening of Jupiter Street to the general public. Insofar as
of the members of the DONEE, their families, personnel, guests, domestic these petitions are concerned, we likewise exculpate the private respondents, not only because
help and, under certain reasonable conditions and restrictions, by the of the fact that Jupiter Street is not covered by the restrictive easements based on the "deed
general public, and in the event that said lots or parts thereof cease to be restrictions" but chiefly because the National Government itself, through the Metro Manila
used as such, ownership thereof shall automatically revert to the DONOR. Commission (MMC), had reclassified Jupiter Street into high density commercial (C-3)
The DONEE shall always have Reposo Street, Makati Avenue, and Paseo zone, 64 pursuant to its Ordinance No. 81-01. Hence, the petitioners have no cause of action on
de Roxas open for the use of the general public. It is also understood that the strength alone of the said "deed restrictions.
the DONOR shall continue the maintenance of the street at its expense for a
period of three years from date hereof." (Deed of Donation, p. 6, Exh. 7) 55
In view thereof, we find no need in resolving the questions raised as to procedure, since this
disposition is sufficient to resolve these cases.
xxxxxxxxx
It is not that we are saying that restrictive easements, especially the easements herein in
The donation, on the contrary, gave the general public equal right to it. question, are invalid or ineffective. As far as the Bel-Air subdivision itself is concerned, certainly,
they are valid and enforceable. But they are, like all contracts, subject to the overriding
demands, needs, and interests of the greater number as the State may determine in the
legitimate exercise of police power. Our jurisdiction guarantees sanctity of contract and is said to
be the "law between the contracting parties, 65 but while it is so, it cannot contravene 'law,
morals, good customs, public order, or public policy. 66 Above all, it cannot be raised as a arbitrary or unreasonable to warrant the reversal of the judgments so appealed. In that
deterrent to police power, designed precisely to promote health, safety, peace, and enhance the connection, we find no reversible error to have been committed by the Court of Appeals.
common good, at the expense of contractual rights, whenever necessary. In Ortigas & Co.,
Limited Partnership v. Feati Bank and Trust Co., 67 we are told:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, these petitions are DENIED No pronouncement as to
costs.
xxxxxxxxx
IT IS SO ORDERED.
2. With regard to the contention that said resolution cannot nullify the JUDGE RENE B. BACULI, A.C. No. 8920
contractual obligations assumed by the defendant-appellee referring to the Complainant,
restrictions incorporated in the deeds of sale and later in the corresponding Present:
Transfer Certificates of Title issued to defendant-appellee it should be
stressed, that while non-impairment of contracts is constitutionally BRION, J.,*
guaranteed, the rule is not absolute, since it has to be reconciled with the Acting Chairperson,
legitimate exercise of police power, i.e., "the power to prescribe regulations - versus - DEL CASTILLO,**
to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety and PEREZ,
general welfare of the people.' Invariably described as "the most essential, MENDOZA,*** and
insistent, and illimitable of powers" and "in a sense, the greatest and most SERENO, JJ.
powerful attribute of government," the exercise of the power may be
judicially inquired into and corrected only if it is capricious, whimsical, unjust Promulgated:
or unreasonable, there having been a denial of due process or a violation of ATTY. MELCHOR A. BATTUNG,
any other applicable constitutional guarantee. As this Court held through Respondent. September 28, 2011
Justice Jose P. Bengson in Philippine Long Distance Company vs. City of
Davao, et al. police power 'is elastic and must be responsive to various x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
social conditions; it is not confined within narrow circumscriptions of
precedents resting on past conditions; it must follow the legal progress of a
democratic way of life.' We were even more emphatic in Vda. de Genuino DECISION
vs. The Court of agrarian Relations, et al., when We declared: "We do not
see why public welfare when clashing with the individual right to property BRION, J.:
should not be made to prevail through the state's exercise of its police
power."

Resolution No. 27, 1960 declaring the western part of High way 54, now E.
de los Santos Avenue (EDSA, for short) from Shaw Boulevard to the Pasig Before us is the resolution[1] of the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the
River as an industrial and commercial zone, was obviously passed by the Philippines (IBP) finding Atty. Melchor Battung liable for violating Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the
Municipal Council of Mandaluyong, Rizal in the exercise of police power to Code of Professional Responsibility and recommending that he be reprimanded. The
safeguard or promote the health, safety, peace, good order and general complainant is Judge Rene B. Baculi, Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities,
welfare of the people in the locality. Judicial notice may be taken of the Branch 2, TuguegaraoCity. The respondent, Atty. Battung, is a member of the Bar with postal
conditions prevailing in the area, especially where Lots Nos. 5 and 6 are address on Aguinaldo St., Tuguegarao City.
located. The lots themselves not only front the highway; industrial and
commercial complexes have flourished about the place. EDSA, a main Background
traffic artery which runs through several cities and municipalities in the
Metro Manila area, supports an endless stream of traffic and the resulting Judge Baculi filed a complaint for disbarment [2] with the Commission on Discipline of
activity, noise and pollution are hardly conducive to the health, safety or the IBP against the respondent, alleging that the latter violated Canons 11[3] and 12[4] of the
welfare of the residents in its route. Having been expressly granted the Code of Professional Responsibility.
power to adopt zoning and subdivision ordinances or regulations, the
municipality of Mandaluyong, through its Municipal Council, was reasonably, Violation of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
if not perfectly, justified under the circumstances, in passing the subject
resolution. 68 Judge Baculi claimed that on July 24, 2008, during the hearing on the motion for
reconsideration of Civil Case No. 2502, the respondent was shouting while arguing his
motion. Judge Baculi advised him to tone down his voice but instead, the respondent
xxxxxxxxx shouted at the top of his voice. When warned that he would be cited for direct contempt, the
respondent shouted, Then cite me! [5] Judge Baculi cited him for direct contempt and
Undoubtedly, the MMC Ordinance represents a legitimate exercise of police power. The imposed a fine of P100.00. The respondent then left.
petitioners have not shown why we should hold otherwise other than for the supposed "non-
impairment" guaranty of the Constitution, which, as we have declared, is secondary to the more While other cases were being heard, the respondent re-entered the courtroom
compelling interests of general welfare. The Ordinance has not been shown to be capricious or and shouted, Judge, I will file gross ignorance against you! I am not afraid of you! [6] Judge
Baculi ordered the sheriff to escort the respondent out of the courtroom and cited him for The IBP conducted its investigation of the matter through Commissioner Jose de la
direct contempt of court for the second time. Rama, Jr. In his Commissioners Report,[11] Commissioner De la Rama stated that during the
mandatory conference on January 16, 2009, both parties merely reiterated what they alleged in
After his hearings, Judge Baculi went out and saw the respondent at the hall of their submitted pleadings. Both parties agreed that the original copy of the July 24, 2008 tape of
the courthouse, apparently waiting for him. The respondent again shouted in a threatening the incident at the courtroom would be submitted for the Commissioners review. Judge Baculi
tone, Judge, I will file gross ignorance against you! I am not afraid of you! He kept on submitted the tape and the transcript of stenographic notes on January 23, 2009.
shouting, I am not afraid of you! and challenged the judge to a fight. Staff and lawyers
escorted him out of the building.[7] Commissioner De la Rama narrated his findings, as follows:[12]

Judge Baculi also learned that after the respondent left the courtroom, he At the first part of the hearing as reflected in the TSN, it was
continued shouting and punched a table at the Office of the Clerk of Court.[8] observed that the respondent was calm. He politely argued his case but the
voice of the complainant appears to be in high pitch. During the mandatory
Violation of Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility conference, it was also observed that indeed, the complainant maintains a
high pitch whenever he speaks. In fact, in the TSN, where there was already
According to Judge Baculi, the respondent filed dilatory pleadings in Civil Case an argument, the complainant stated the following:
No. 2640, an ejectment case.
Court: Do not shout.
Judge Baculi rendered on October 4, 2007 a decision in Civil Case No. 2640, Atty. Battung: Because the court is shouting.
which he modified on December 14, 2007. After the modified decision became final and Court: This court has been constantly under this kind of
executory, the branch clerk of court issued a certificate of finality. The respondent filed a voice Atty. Battung, we are very sorry if you do not want
motion to quash the previously issued writ of execution, raising as a ground the motion to to appear before my court, then you better attend to
dismiss filed by the defendant for lack of jurisdiction. Judge Baculi asserted that the your cases and do not appear before my court if you do
respondent knew as a lawyer that ejectment cases are within the jurisdiction of First Level not want to be corrected! (TSN, July 24, 2008, page 3)
Courts and the latter was merely delaying the speedy and efficient administration of justice. (NOTE: The underlined words we are very sorry [ were]
actually uttered by Atty. Battung while the judge was
saying the quoted portion of the TSN)

The respondent filed his Answer,[9] essentially saying that it was Judge Baculi That it was during the time when the complainant asked the
who disrespected him.[10] We quote from his Answer: following questions when the undersigned noticed that Atty. Battung
shouted at the presiding judge.
23. I only told Judge Rene Baculi I will file Gross ignorance of the Law
against him once inside the court room when he was lambasting Court: Did you proceed under the Revised Rules on
me[.] Summary Procedure?

24. It was JUDGE BACULI WHO DISRESPECTED ME. He did not like that *
I just submit the Motion for Reconsideration without oral argument Atty. Battung: It is not our fault Your Honor to proceed
because he wanted to have an occasion to just HUMILIATE ME because we were asked to present our evidence ex
and to make appear to the public that I am A NEGLIGENT parte. Your Honor, so, if should we were ordered (sic)
LAWYER, when he said YOU JUSTIFY YOUR NEGLIGENCE by the court to follow the rules on summary
BEFORE THIS COURT making it an impression to the litigants procedure. (TSN page 3, July 24, 2008)
and the public that as if I am a NEGLIGENT, INCOMPETENT,
MUMBLING, and IRRESPONSIBLE LAWYER. It was observed that the judge uttered the following:

25. These words of Judge Rene Baculi made me react[.] Court: Do not shout.
Atty. Battung: Because the court is shouting.
xxxx (Page 3, TSN July 24, 2008)
Note: * it was at this point when the respondent shouted
28. Since I manifested that I was not going to orally argue the Motion, Judge at the complainant.
Rene Baculi could have just made an order that the Motion for
Reconsideration is submitted for resolution, but what he did was Thereafter, it was observed that both were already shouting at
that he forced me to argue so that he will have the room to each other.
humiliate me as he used to do not only to me but almost of the
lawyers here (sic). Respondent claims that he was provoked by the presiding judge
that is why he shouted back at him. But after hearing the tape, the
undersigned in convinced that it was Atty. Battung who shouted first at the
Atty. Battung asked that the case against him be dismissed. complainant.
Presumably, there were other lawyers and litigants present On October 9, 2010, the IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution adopting and
waiting for their cases to be called.They must have observed the incident. In approving the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner, with the
fact, in the joint-affidavit submitted by Elenita Pacquing et al., they stood as modification that the respondent be reprimanded.
one in saying that it was really Atty. Battung who shouted at the judge that is
why the latter cautioned him not to shout. The Courts Ruling

The last part of the incident as contained in page 4 of the TSN We agree with the IBPs finding that the respondent violated Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of
reads as follows: the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Battung disrespected Judge Baculi by shouting at
him inside the courtroom during court proceedings in the presence of litigants and their
Court: You are now ordered to pay a fine of P100.00. counsels, and court personnel. The respondent even came back to harass Judge Baculi. This
behavior, in front of many witnesses, cannot be allowed. We note that the respondent continued
Atty. Battung: We will file the necessary action against this court to threaten Judge Baculi and acted in a manner that clearly showed disrespect for his
for gross ignorance of the law. position even after the latter had cited him for contempt. In fact, after initially leaving the court,
the respondent returned to the courtroom and disrupted the ongoing proceedings. These actions
Court: Yes, proceed. were not only against the person, the position and the stature of Judge Baculi, but against the
(NOTE: Atty. Battung went out the courtroom) court as well whose proceedings were openly and flagrantly disrupted, and brought to disrepute
by the respondent.
Court: Next case.
Litigants and counsels, particularly the latter because of their position and avowed
Interpreter: Civil Case No. 2746. duty to the courts, cannot be allowed to publicly ridicule, demean and disrespect a judge, and
(Note: Atty. Battung entered again the courtroom) the court that he represents. The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:

Atty. Battung: But what we do not like (not finished) Canon 11 - A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due
the courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by
Court: The next time others.

Atty. Battung: We would like to clear Rule 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or
menacing language or behavior before the Courts.
Court: Sheriff, throw out the counsel, put that everything in
record. If you want to see me, see me after the court.
Next case. We ruled in Roxas v. De Zuzuarregui, Jr.[13] that it is the duty of a lawyer, as an officer
of the court, to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts. Respect for the courts guarantees
Civil Case No. 2746 for Partition and Damages, Roberto Cabalza the stability of the judicial institution; without this guarantee, the institution would be resting on
vs. Teresita Narag, et al. very shaky foundations.
(nothing follows)
A lawyer who insults a judge inside a courtroom completely disregards the latters role,
stature and position in our justice system. When the respondent publicly berated and brazenly
Commissioner De la Rama found that the respondent failed to observe Canon 11 of threatened Judge Baculi that he would file a case for gross ignorance of the law against the
the Code of Professional Responsibility that requires a lawyer to observe and maintain respect latter, the respondent effectively acted in a manner tending to erode the public confidence in
due the courts and judicial officers. The respondent also violated Rule 11.03 of Canon 11 that Judge Baculis competence and in his ability to decide cases. Incompetence is a matter that,
provides that a lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or even if true, must be handled with sensitivity in the manner provided under the Rules of Court;
behavior before the courts. The respondents argument that Judge Baculi provoked him to shout an objecting or complaining lawyer cannot act in a manner that puts the courts in a bad light and
should not be given due consideration since the respondent should not have shouted at the bring the justice system into disrepute.
presiding judge; by doing so, he created the impression that disrespect of a judge could be
tolerated. What the respondent should have done was to file an action before the Office of the The IBP Board of Governors recommended that Atty. Battung be reprimanded, while
Court Administrator if he believed that Judge Baculi did not act according to the norms of judicial the Investigating Commissioner recommended a penalty of six (6) months suspension.
conduct.
We believe that these recommended penalties are too light for the offense.
With respect to the charge of violation of Canon 12 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, Commissioner De la Rama found that the evidence submitted is insufficient to In Re: Suspension of Atty. Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo, Former Senior State
support a ruling that the respondent had misused the judicial processes to frustrate the ends of Prosecutor,[14] we suspended Atty. Bagabuyo for one year for violating Rule 11.05, Canon 11,
justice. and Rule 13.02, Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and for violating the
Lawyers Oath for airing his grievances against a judge in newspapers and radio programs. In
Commissioner De la Rama recommended that the respondent be suspended from the this case, Atty. Battungs violations are no less serious as they were committed in the courtroom
practice of law for six (6) months. in the course of judicial proceedings where the respondent was acting as an officer of the court,
and before the litigating public. His actions were plainly disrespectful to Judge Baculi and to the
court, to the point of being scandalous and offensive to the integrity of the judicial system itself.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Atty. Melchor A. Battung is found GUILTY of 3. knowingly rendering an unlawful order;
violating Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, for which he
is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) year effective upon the finality of this
4. maliciously delaying the administration of justice;
Decision. He is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of a similar offense shall be dealt with
more severely.
5. grave misconduct. . . .
Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, to be
appended to the respondents personal record as an attorney; the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines; the Department of Justice; and all courts in the country, for their information and (2) his Reply to RTJ-89-361 dated May 18, 1990:
guidance.
It is respectfully submitted, that the respondent has made Branch 68 as his
SO ORDERED. personal court thus making it as a court for his friends, the rich, powerful
and influential and against his foes, the poor and powerless. This claim will
be discussed lengthily in the next administrative charge which complainant
A.M. Nos. RTJ-89-331, 355, 361, 362, 438, 439 September 28, 1990 will file against the respondent [Emphasis supplied].

PRUDENCIO S. PENTICOSTES, complainant, (3) his letter to the Court dated August 8, 1990, opposing respondent's application for
vs. disability benefits because of the "pendency of administrative cases against him filed
JUDGE RAFAEL HIDALGO, respondent. by me and some more will follow as soon as I consolidate my evidences" [Emphasis
supplied].
RESOLUTION
In a memorandum dated July 13, 1990, the OCA, after enumerating some of the charges, noted
PER CURIAM: that complainant's persistent filing of administrative cases against respondent "signif(ies) a
desire to unjustifiably bring respondent to public disdain and ridicule." Also brought to the
attention of the Court was complainant's letter dated June 7, 1990, which contains accusations
Complainant Prudencio S. Penticostes has filed a series of administrative charges against Judge that respondent has a "conspirator" in the Office of the Clerk of Court. The conspirator allegedly
Rafael B. Hidalgo of Regional Trial Court Branch 68 of Tarlac, Tarlac. In the resolution dated inserted inconsistent words in a final Court resolution, and supplied lies in respondent's
June 20, 1989 dismissing RTJ-89-294, the Court admonished the complainant "to exercise more comment. From the foregoing, the OCA recommended that complainant be strongly
care and decorum in filing unfounded and unsubstantiated charges against officers of the court reprimanded, if not suspended from the practice of law for three (3) months.
in order to maintain and uphold the dignity of the same of which he is a part" (also dismissed
was RTJ-88213 in a Resolution dated July 18, 1989.) Complainant did not heed this admonition.
A careful study of the charges in these complaints, the Comment in RTJ-89-361, the Compliance
filed by respondent in RTJ-89-355, the records of the consolidated cases, and the memorandum
In his Comment in RTJ-89-361, and his Compliance by way of comment in RTJ-89-355, the of the OCA dated July 13, 1990, clearly reveals that all but three cases ** can be dismissed
respondent judge asked that the other administrative cases by the same complainant be outright because: (1) the complainant failed to establish prima facie cases: (2) the complainant
consolidated. Complainant, in his Reply in RTJ-89-355, made a similar request. filed administrative cases as substitute for the appropriate remedy in rulings adverse to him; and
(3) the complaints involve the appropriate exercise of respondent's discretionary authority.
The Court directed the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to gather all charges filed by the
complainant against the respondent judge and thereafter consolidated six (6) administrative First, no prima facie cases have been established in: (1) the Seventh Cause of Action in RTJ-89-
complaints: RTJ-89-331 (which recites ten [10] causes of action), RTJ-89-355, RTJ-89-361, 331, since the same grounds have already been found to be without merit by the Court
RTJ-89-362, RTJ-89-439, and RTJ-89-438. in Prudencio Penticostes, Sr. v. DBP, et al. [G.R. No. 89620, July 13, 1990]; (2) RTJ-89-361,
which charges respondent with falsification of three separate orders in three different cases,
Subsequent to the June 20, 1989 admonition, complainant continued to file charges against since no indication of such falsification can be gleaned from the record; and (3) RTJ-89-438,
respondent. He also threatened to bang more cases, as evidenced by the following: (1) a which takes issue with the order to archive Civil Case No. 280, "pending resolution of the
Manifestation dated March 1, 1990 (submitted to respondent judge in relation to two civil cases), matters raised by complainant in the Supreme Court," there being nothing irregular in such
which reads: order.

Counsel will make it appear on record that if the motion and joint motion will Second, in the First, Second and Fifth Causes of Action in RTJ-89-331 (which arose from
not be acted (upon) on March 21, 1990 as scheduled he will be forced much respondent's dismissal of Civil Case Nos. 198, 234, and 205, respectively), the complainant
to his regret to file the following administrative and criminal complaints, resorted to the filing of administrative complaints against respondent judge instead of availing of
against the presiding judge, namely: the appropriate legal remedies from the adverse rulings, i.e., by motion for reconsideration,
appeal or petition for review or for certiorari.

1. violation of his oath;


Third, the complainant challenges the due exercise by respondent judge of his discretion in the
following instances: (1) RTJ-89-331, the Third Cause of Action, the order denying a motion to
2. falsification under Art. 171 of the Revised Penal Code; declare defendants in contempt, and the order deferring action on a motion for an accounting of
harvests; the Fourth Cause of Action, the denial of a motion to dismiss; the Sixth Cause of vs.
Action, the denial of a motion for inhibition and two motions for reconsideration; the Eighth HON. OMBUDSMAN CONRADO M. VASQUEZ AND ATTY. NAPOLEON A. ABIERA,
Cause of Action, the order setting aside an order of dismissal; the Ninth Cause of Action, the respondents.
order granting a motion for reconsideration; the Tenth Cause of Action, the denial of a motion for
inhibition; (2) RTJ-89-362, separate orders setting aside the amended complaints in Civil Case
Bonifacio Sanz Maceda for and in his own behalf.
Nos. 228, 253, 255, which complaints were amended to implead respondent as co-defendant for
his alleged use of his judicial powers to prejudice complainant during the proceedings of the
aforestated cases; (3) RTJ-89-355, direct contempt orders, and (4) RTJ-89-439, the failure of Public Attorney's Office for private respondent.
respondent judge to strike out the answer in two civil cases.
SYLLABUS
Considering the nature, frequency and indiscriminate filing of groundless charges and despite
the admonition previously given by resolution of the Court dated June 20, 1989, which the
complainant willfully ignored and disobeyed by manifesting the intent to file more of the same, 1. REMEDIAL LAW; JURISDICTION; OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN HAS JURISDICTION TO
INVESTIGATE OFFENSE COMMITTED BY JUDGE WHETHER OR NOT OFFENSE RELATES
the complainant imposed upon the time, resources and forbearance of the Court and diverted
the energies of the respondent judge who has been called upon to comment and defend his TO OFFICIAL DUTIES; REASON. — Petitioner also contends that the Ombudsman has no
every action. This is not to say that a judge may not be answerable for violation of the law and jurisdiction over said cases despite this Court's ruling in Orap vs. Sandiganbayan, since the
offense charged arose from the judge's performance of his official duties, which is under the
the Code of Judicial Conduct, but not every order or ruling adverse to a party can be made the
basis for an administrative charge. control and supervision of the Supreme Court . . . The Court disagrees with the first part of
petitioner's basic argument. There is nothing in the decision in Orap that would restrict it only to
offenses committed by a judge unrelated to his official duties. A judge who falsifies his certificate
As a member of the bar, the complainant has responsibilities to the judiciary. The Code of of service is administratively liable to the Supreme Court for serious misconduct and inefficiency
Professional Responsibility and the rules thereunder impose obligations on the lawyer in relation under Section 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and criminally liable to the State under the
to the court: Canon 10 states that a lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court. Revised Penal Code for his felonious act.
Canon 11 provides that a lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the court and to
judicial officers, while Canon 12 mandates that a lawyer shall exert very effort and consider it his
duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. Through his imprudent filing of 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; JURISDICTION TO INVESTIGATE OFFENSE RELATED TO OFFICIAL DUTIES
SUBJECT TO PRIOR ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN AGAINST JUDGE BY SUPREME
administrative cases against respondent judge, complainant has transgressed the provisions of
the Code of Professional Responsibility and miserably failed to observe conduct expected of a COURT; REASON. — However, We agree with petitioner that in the absence of any
member of the bar under the Code and in accordance with his lawyer's oath. administrative action taken against him by this Court with regard to his certificates of service, the
investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman encroaches into the Court's power of
administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of
WHEREFORE, having found the charges above-mentioned to be absolutely without basis, the separation of powers.
Court Resolved to:
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PROCEDURE TO BE OBSERVED BY OMBUDSMAN REGARDING
(1) DISMISS outright the following complaints: RTJ-89-331; RTJ-89-362; RTJ-89-438; and RTJ- COMPLAINT AGAINST JUDGE OR OTHER COURT EMPLOYEE; PURPOSE. — Thus, the
89-355. RTJ-89-361 and RTJ 89-439 are likewise dismissed, except as to charges for which Ombudsman should first refer the matter of petitioner's certificates of service to this Court for
comment has been required; and determination of whether said certificates reflected the true status of his pending case load, as
the Court has the necessary records to make such a determination . . . In fine, where a criminal
complaint against a judge or other court employee arises from their administrative duties, the
(2) IMPOSE upon complainant a FINE of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) payable within ten
Ombudsman must defer action on said complaint and refer the same to this Court for
(10) days from receipt of this Resolution, or IMPRISONMENT of ten (10) days in the local jail in
determination whether said judge or court employee had acted within the scope of their
case of failure to pay the fine within the time appointed; and
administrative duties.

(3) SUSPEND complainant from the practice of law for one (1) year for his willful disregard and
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; OMBUDSMAN CANNOT SUBPOENA SUPREME COURT AND ITS
disobedience of the admonition made by the Court in RTJ-89-294, and his violation of Canons
PERSONNEL; REASON. — The Ombudsman cannot compel this Court, as one of the three
10, 11 and 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, with a stern warning that a repetition of
branches of government, to submit its records, or to allow its personnel to testify on this matter,
the same will be dealt with more severely. The suspension shall take effect from the date of
as suggested by public respondent Abiera in his affidavit-complaint. The rationale for the
receipt of this Resolution. Let copies of this Resolution be circulated to all courts of this country
foregoing pronouncement is evident in this case. Administratively, the question before Us is this:
for their information and guidance, and spread in the personal record of Atty. Penticostes.
should a judge, having been granted by this Court an extension of time to decide cases before
him, report these cases in his certificate of service? As this question had not yet been raised
SO ORDERED. with, much less resolved by, this Court, how could the Ombudsman resolve the present criminal
complaint that requires the resolution of said question?

G.R. No. 102781. April 22, 1993.


DECISION

BONIFACIO SANZ MACEDA, Presiding Judge, Branch 12, Regional Trial Court, Antique,
petitioner, NOCON, J p:
The issue in this petition for certiorari with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction and/or Constitution granting supervisory powers to the Supreme Court over all courts and their
restraining order is whether the Office of the Ombudsman could entertain a criminal complaint personnel, but likewise undermines the independence of the judiciary.
for the alleged falsification of a judge's certification submitted to the Supreme Court, and
assuming that it can, whether a referral should be made first to the Supreme Court.
Thus, the Ombudsman should first refer the matter of petitioner's certificates of service to this
Court for determination of whether said certificates reflected the true status of his pending case
Petitioner Bonifacio Sanz Maceda, Presiding Judge of Branch 12 of the Regional Trial Court of load, as the Court has the necessary records to make such a determination. The Ombudsman
Antique, seeks the review of the following orders of the Office of the Ombudsman: (1) the Order cannot compel this Court, as one of the three branches of government, to submit its records, or
dated September 18, 1991 denying the ex-parte motion to refer to the Supreme Court filed by to allow its personnel to testify on this matter, as suggested by public respondent Abiera in his
petitioner; and (2) the Order dated November 22, 1951 denying petitioner's motion for affidavit-complaint. 4
reconsideration and directing petitioner to file his counter-affidavit and other controverting
evidences.
The rationale for the foregoing pronouncement is evident in this case. Administratively. the
question before Us is this: should a judge, having been granted by this Court an extension of
In his affidavit-complaint dated April 18, 1991 filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, time to decide cases before him, report these cases in his certificate of service? As this question
respondent Napoleon A. Abiera of the Public Attorney's Office alleged that petitioner had falsified had not yet been raised with, much less resolved by, this Court. how could the Ombudsman
his Certificate of Service 1 dated February 6, 1989, by certifying "that all civil and criminal cases resolve the present criminal complaint that requires the resolution of said question?
which have been submitted for decision or determination for a period of 90 days have been
determined and decided on or before January 31, 1998," when in truth and in fact, petitioner
In fine, where a criminal complaint against a Judge or other court employee arises from their
knew that no decision had been rendered in five (5) civil and ten (10) criminal cases that have
administrative duties, the Ombudsman must defer action on said complaint and refer the same
been submitted for decision. Respondent Abiera further alleged that petitioner similarly falsified
to this Court for determination whether said Judge or court employee had acted within the scope
his certificates of service for the months of February, April, May, June, July and August, all in
of their administrative duties.
1989; and the months beginning January up to September 1990, or for a total of seventeen (17)
months.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Ombudsman is hereby directed to
dismiss the complaint filed by public respondent Atty. Napoleon A. Abiera and to refer the same
On the other hand, petitioner contends that he had been granted by this Court an extension of
to this Court for appropriate action.
ninety (90) days to decide the aforementioned cases.

SO ORDERED.
Petitioner also contends that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over said case despite this
Court's ruling in Orap vs. Sandiganbayan, 2 since the offense charged arose from the judge's
performance of his official duties, which is under the control and supervision of the Supreme A.M. No. 188 November 29, 1976
Court. Furthermore, the investigation of the Ombudsman constitutes an encroachment into the
Supreme Court's constitutional duty of supervision over all inferior courts.
RICARDA GABRIEL DE BUMANGLAG, complainant,
vs.
The Court disagrees with the first Part of petitioner's basic argument. There is nothing in the ESTEBAN T. BUMANGLAG, respondent.
decision in Orap that would restrict it only to offenses committed by a judge unrelated to his
official duties. A judge who falsifies his certificate of service is administratively liable to the
Supreme Court for serious misconduct and inefficiency under Section 1, Rule 140 of the Rules RESOLUTION
of Court, and criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act.

However, We agree with petitioner that in the absence of any administrative action taken against
him by this Court with regard to his certificates of service, the investigation being conducted by TEEHANKEE, J.:
the Ombudsman encroaches into the Court's power of administrative supervision over all courts
and its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.
In the Court's decision of September 24, 1973, the Court found respondent guilty of gross
immoral conduct and ordered his suspension from the practice of law for a period of two (2)
Article VIII, section 6 of the 1987 Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court years. Respondent filed several motions for reconsideration, all of which were denied per the
administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the Court's Resolutions of November 20, 1973, December 19, 1973, January 9, 1974 and October
Court of Appeals down to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power, it is only 30, 1974.
the Supreme Court that can oversee the judges' and court personnel's compliance with all laws,
and take the proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation thereof. No
other branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of On March 31, 1975, the Clerk of Court received a 1st Indorsement dated February 21, 1975
separation of powers. from then Assistant Executive Secretary Ronaldo B. Zamora "requesting comment and/or
appropriate action" on the therewith enclosed petition of respondent to the President of the
Philippines that he "promulgate(s) a decree that the order of suspension by the Supreme Court
The Ombudsman cannot justify its investigation of petitioner on the powers granted to it by the be set aside and that your humble self be allowed to become an active member of the New
Constitution, 3 for such a justification not only runs counter to the specific mandate of the Society".
The Court per its Resolution of June 16, 1975 directed the Clerk of Court "to furnish the Office of SO ORDERED.
the President through Assistant Executive Secretary Zamora with copies of the Court's decision RE : SUSPENSION OF ATTY. ADM. CASE No. 7006
of September 24, 1973 wherein the Court in a spirit of liberality by majority vote imposed a ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO, FORMER
lesser penalty of two-year suspension instead of disbarment (as voted by a minority composed SENIOR STATE PROSECUTOR Present:
of Justices Castro and Makasiar) and of the Court's resolutions of November 20, 1973 and
December 19, 1973 denying for lack of merit respondent's two motions for reconsideration dated PUNO, C.J.,
October 18, 1973 and December 12, 1973"; and further resolved "to require respondent to show QUISUMBING,
cause within ten (10) days from notice why he should not be subjected to further disciplinary YNARES-SANTIAGO,
action for making false statements and misrepresentations in his petition to the President that he SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ.
has been allegedly deprived of due process of law contrary to the facts of record as stated in the CARPIO,
Court's decision, and for gross ignorance of the law and of the Constitution in asking the AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
President to set aside by decree this Court's decision imposing upon him two-year suspension CORONA,
from the practice of law". CARPIO MORALES,
AZCUNA,
In a 2nd Indorserment of June 18, 1975 and received by the Clerk of Court on the same day, TINGA,
then Assistant Executive Secretary Zamora forwarded respondent's letter of the same date to CHICO-NAZARIO,
the President stating that "(T)he undersigned by now (has) come to realize that I made a big GARCIA,
mistake by making said letter to you, Your Excellency, because the Honorable Supreme Court VELASCO, JR.,
may believe that I may be challenging the decision which is already final and executory and as NACHURA, and
such do not observe the doctrine of protocol of separation of power(s)", and withdrawing and REYES, JJ.
asking the President to disregard his first letter.
Promulgated:
October 9, 2007
Respondent in his Explanation of July 23, 1975 cited the fact that he had "immediately" X ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ X
withdrawn his letter asking for the President's intervention and that "lately, however, he has fully
realized that the Chief Executive is bereft (of) any authority to set aside or modify the decision of
this Honorable Supreme Court" and "with folded hands begs and asks an apology from the DECISION
members of this Honorable Court, with the full assurance that nothing of this sort will be
repeated by him in the future." AZCUNA, J.:

Respondent served his two-year suspension, as duly noted in the Court's Resolution of
November 7, 1975. Since respondent has apologized for his "big mistake" and now appreciates This administrative case stemmed from the events of the proceedings in Crim. Case
that under the fundamental principle of separation of powers enshrined in both the 1935 and No. 5144, entitled People v. Luis Bucalon Plaza, heard before the sala of Presiding Judge Jose
1973 Constitutions, a decision of this Court may not be set aside by the President, the Court is Manuel P. Tan, Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Surigao City, Branch 29.
disposed to view his misconduct and/or ignorance with liberality and will administer a reprimand
with warning of severe action on any future transgressions, considering respondent's unenviable Crim. Case No. 5144 was originally raffled to the sala of Judge Floripinas C. Buyser,
record. RTC of Surigao City, Branch 30. In an Order dated March 14, 2002, Judge Buyser denied the
Demurrer to the Evidence of the accused, declaring that the evidence thus presented by the
prosecution was sufficient to prove the crime of homicide and not the charge of murder.
A final word is called for on respondent's statement in his Explanation inferring that he was led to Consequently, the counsel for the defense filed a Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail
file his petition with the President by the fact that his motions for reconsideration "were only Bond. Respondent Atty. Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo, then Senior State Prosecutor and the deputized
denied by the Clerk of Court without any comment whatsoever". As the Court has had occasion prosecutor of the case, objected thereto mainly on the ground that the original charge
to state in People vs. Catolico * and earlier cases, this remark of respondent exposes his lack of of murder, punishable with reclusion perpetua, was not subject to bail under Sec. 4, Rule 114 of
appreciation or disregard of the time-honored usage of the Court that minute resolutions, the Rules of Court.[1]
summons and processes of the Court, upon being duly adopted and recorded are transmitted to
the interested parties by and upon the signature of the Clerk of Court who is duly authorized to In an Order dated August 30, 2002,[2] Judge Buyser inhibited himself from further
do so. With the thousands of resolutions approved monthly by the Court, it would unduly tax the trying the case because of the harsh insinuation of Senior Prosecutor Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo that
time and attention of the Chief Justice and members of the Court to the prejudice of the he lacks the cold neutrality of an impartial magistrate, by allegedly suggesting the filing of
administration of justice if all such papers, other than decisions, could be released only upon the motion to fix the amount of bail bond by counsel for the accused.
their own signatures.
The case was transferred to Branch 29 of the RTC of Surigao City, presided by Judge
ACCORDINGLY, respondent is hereby administered a reprimand for gross ignorance of the law Jose Manuel P. Tan. In an Order dated November 12, 2002, Judge Tan favorably
and of the Constitution in having asked the President to set aside by decree the Court's decision resolved the Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail Bond, and fixed the amount of the bond
which suspended him for two years from the practice of law, with warning that the commission of at P40,000.
any transgression in the future of his oath and duties as a member of the bar will be severely
dealt with. Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order dated November 12, 2002,
which motion was denied for lack of merit in an Order dated February 10, 2003. In October,
2003, respondent appealed from the Orders dated November 12, 2002 and February 10, 2003,
to the Court of Appeals (CA). Respondent admitted that he caused the holding of the press conference, but refused
to answer whether he made the statements in the article until after he shall have filed a motion to
Instead of availing himself only of judicial remedies, respondent caused the publication dismiss. For his refusal to answer, the trial court declared him in contempt of court pursuant to
of an article regarding the Order granting bail to the accused in the August 18, 2003 issue of the Sec. 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court.[6] The Courts Order dated September 30, 2003 reads:
Mindanao Gold Star Daily. The article, entitled Senior prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge for
allowing murder suspect to bail out, reads: ORDER
Mr. Mark Francisco for publishing this article which is a lie clothed
SENIOR state prosecutor has lashed at a judge in half truth to give it a semblance of truth is hereby ordered to pay a fine
in Surigao City for allowing a murder suspect to go out on bail. of P10,000. Prosecutor Bagabuyo, for obstinately refusing to explain why he
should not be cited for contempt and admitting that the article published in
Senior state prosecutor Rogelio Bagabuyo lambasted Judge the Mindanao Gold Star Daily on August 18, 2003 and quoted in the Order
Manuel Tan of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 29 based of this Court dated August 21, 2003 which is contemptuous was caused by
in Surigao City for ruling on a motion that sought a bailbond him to be published, is hereby adjudged to have committed indirect
for LuisPlaza who stands charged with murdering a policeman . . . . contempt of Court pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court
and he is hereby ordered to suffer the penalty of 30 days in jail. The BJMP
Plaza reportedly posted a P40-thousand bail bond. is hereby ordered to arrest Prosecutor Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo if he does not
put up a bond of P100,000.00.
Bagabuyo argued that the crime of murder is a non-bailable
offense. But Bagabuyo admitted that a judge could still opt to allow a murder SO ORDERD.[7]
suspect to bail out in cases when the evidence of the prosecution is weak.

But in this murder case, Bagabuyo said the judge who previously Respondent posted the required bond and was released from the custody of the
handled it, Judge F[lori]pinasB[uy]ser, described the evidence to be law. He appealed the indirect contempt order to the CA.
strong. B[uy]ser inhibited from the case for an unclear reason.
Despite the citation of indirect contempt, respondent presented himself to the media
xxx for interviews in Radio Station DXKS, and again attacked the integrity of Judge Tan and the trial
courts disposition in the proceedings of Crim. Case No. 5144.
Bagabuyo said he would contest Tans decision before the Court
of Appeals and would file criminal and administrative charges In an Order dated October 20, 2003, the RTC of Surigao City, Branch 29, required
of certiorari against the judge. respondent to explain and to show cause within five days from receipt thereof why he should not
be held in contempt for his media interviews that degraded the court and the presiding judge,
Bagabuyuo said he was not afraid of being cited in contempt by and why he should not be suspended from the practice of law for violating the Code of
Judge Tan. Professional Responsibility, specifically Rule 11.05 of Canon 11[8] and Rule 13.02 of Canon 13.[9]

This is the only way that the public would know that there are In the Order, the trial court stated that respondent was interviewed by Jun Clergio, and
judges there who are displaying judicial arrogance. he said.[3] that the interview was repeatedly aired on September 30, 2003 and in his news program
between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m. on October 1, 2003. He was also interviewed by Tony Consing on
In an Order dated August 21, 2003, the RTC of Surigao City, Branch 29, directed October 1 and 2, 2003, between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. in his radio program. In those radio
respondent and the writer of the article, Mark Francisco of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, to interviews, respondent allegedly called Judge Tan a judge who does not know the law, a liar,
appear in court on September 20, 2003 to explain why they should not be cited for indirect and a dictator who does not accord due process to the people.
contempt of court for the publication of the article which degraded the court and its presiding
judge with its lies and misrepresentation. The hearing for the second contempt charge was set on December 4, 2003.

The said Order stated that contrary to the statements in the article, Judge Buyser On November, 20, 2003, respondent filed an Urgent Motion for Extension of Time to
described the evidence for the prosecution as not strong, but sufficient to prove the guilt of the File Answer to Contempt alleging that he was saddled with work of equal importance and
accused only for homicide. Moreover, it was not true that Judge Buyser inhibited himself from needed ample time to answer the same. He also prayed for a bill of particulars in order to
the case for an unclear reason. Judge Buyser, in an Order dated August 30, 2002, declared in properly prepare for his defense.
open court in the presence of respondent that he was inhibiting himself from the case due to the
harsh insinuation of respondent that he lacked the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. In an Order dated November 20, 2003, the trial court denied the motion. It stated that
a bill of particulars is not applicable in contempt proceedings, and that respondents actions and
On the scheduled hearing of the contempt charge, Mark Francisco admitted that the statements are detailed in the Order of October 20, 2003.
Mindanao Gold Star Daily caused the publication of the article. He disclosed that respondent, in
a press conference, stated that the crime of murder is non-bailable. When asked by the trial On the scheduled hearing of December 4, 2003 respondent neither appeared in court
court why he printed such lies, Mr. Francisco answered that his only source was nor informed the court of his absence. The trial court issued an Order dated December 4, 2003
respondent.[4] Mr. Francisco clarified that in the statement alleging that Judge Buyser inhibited cancelling the hearing to give Prosecutor Bagabuyo all the chances he asks for, and
himself from the case for an unclear reason, the phrase for an unclear reason, was added by the ordered him to appear on January 12, 2004 to explain in writing or orally why he should not be
newspapers Executive Editor Herby S. Gomez.[5]
cited in contempt of court pursuant to the facts stated in the Order dated October 20, bag-ong jurisprudence ug sa atong
2003. However, respondent did not appear in the scheduled hearing of January 12, 2004. balaod aron sa pagsiguro gayod nga
inigsang-at unya nako sa kaso
On January 15, 2004, the trial court received respondents Answer dated January 8, nga disbarment niining di mahibalo nga
2004. Respondent denied the charge that he sought to be interviewed by radio station Huwes, sigurado gayod ako nga
DXKS. He, however, stated that right after the hearing of September 30, 2003, he was katangtangan siya sa lisensiya . . .
approached by someone who asked him to comment on the Order issued in open court, and that . Ang kini nga Huwes nga dili mahibalo
his comment does not fall within the concept of indirect contempt of court. He also admitted that sa balaod, pagatangtangon na, dili
he was interviewed by his friend, Tony Consing, at the latters instance. He justified his response lamang sa pagka-Huwes kon dili sa
during the interview as a simple exercise of his constitutional right of freedom of speech and that pagka-abogado. Tan-awa ra gyod kining
it was not meant to offend or malign, and was without malice. iyang gibuhat nga Order, Ton, ang iyang
pagkabakakon . . . .
On February 8, 2004, the trial court issued an Order, the dispositive portion of which
reads: (Thats true, Ton, and this conviction I have now about judges who are
WHEREFORE, finding preponderant evidence that Prosecutor ignorant of the law is made firmer by
Bagabuyo has grossly violated the Canons of the legal profession and [is] time. I study everyday. I read new
guilty of grave professional misconduct, rendering him unfit to continue to be jurisprudence and the law to insure that
entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to the office of an when I file the disbarment case
attorney, he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law. against this Judge who does notknow
his law, I am certain that he loses his
Likewise, he is also found guilty of indirect contempt of court, for license. . . . This judge who is ignorant
which he is hereby ordered to suffer the penalty of IMPRISONMENT for of the law should not only be removed
ninety (90) days to be served at the Surigao City Jail and to pay the as a judge but should also be
maximum fine of THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00). Future acts of disbarred. Just take a look at his Order,
contempt will be dealt with more severely. Ton, and see what a liar he is . . . .)

Let copies of the relevant records be immediately forwarded to xxx


the Supreme Court for automatic review and for further determination of
grounds for [the] disbarment of Prosecutor Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo. [10] BAGABUYO : Yes, nag-ingon ang iyang Order. . . . Ngano nga nakaingon
ako nga bakakon kini, nag-ingon nga
The trial court found respondents denials to be lame as the tape of his interview kini konong order given in open
on October 2, 2003, duly transcribed, showed disrespect of the court and its officers, thus: court, ang kalooy sa dios, ang
iyang order sa Korte wala siya mag-
TONY CONSING: Fiscal, nanglabay ang mga oras, nanglabay ingon ug kantidad
ang gamayng panahon ang samad sa nga P100,000.00 nga bail bond. . . .
imong kasingkasing nagpabilin pa ba
ni. O ingnon nato duna na bay pagbag-o (Yes, his Order said that . . . . Why did I say that he is a liar? It states that
sa imong huna-huna karon? this Order was given in open court,
and in Gods mercy, he did not state the
(Fiscal, after the lapse of time, are you still hurt? Or have you not changed amount of P100,000.00 as bailbond. . .
your mind yet?) .)

BAGABUYO : Ang akong huna-huna kon aduna man ugaling pagbag-o ang BAGABUYO : Kay dili man lagi mahibalo sa balaod, ako
pagsiguro, ang mga Huwes nga dili siyang gui-ingnan, Your Honor, I have the right to appeal. Mibalik dayon, ug
mahibalo sa balaod tangtangon pagka miingon siya, BJMP arrest Bagabuyo.
abogado, mao kana.
(Because he does not know the law, I
(If my mind has changed at all, it is that I ensure that all judges who are said, Your Honor, I have the right to
ignorant of the law should be appeal. Then he came back and said,
disbarred. Thats it.) BJMP, arrest Bagabuyo.)

xxx xxx

BAGABUYO : Mao kana ang tinuod, Ton, ug kining akong guibatonan karon BAGABUYO : . . . P100,000.00 ang iyang guipapiyansa.
nga hunahuna mahitungod nianang mga Naunsa na? Dinhi makita nimo ang
Huwes nga dili kahibalo sa balaod, iyang pagka gross ignorance of the law.
magkadugay magkalami. Kada adlao ...
nagatoon ako. Nagabasa ako sa mga
(He imposed a bail of P100,000.00. How come? This is where you will you, Mr. Tan? Please read the
see his gross ignorance of the law. . . . ) law. What is your thinking? That when
you are a judge, you are also a
xxx dictator? No way, no sir, ours is a
democratic country where all and
TONY CONSING : So karon, unsay plano nimo karon? everyone is entitled to due process of
law you did not accord me due process
(So what is your plan now?) of law. . . .)

BAGABUYO : Sumala sa akong gui-ingon moundang lang ako kon TONY CONSING: So mopasaka kang disbarment, malaumon kita nga
matangtang na siya sa pagka abogado. maaksiyonan kini, with all this
... problem sa Korte Suprema.

(As I have said, I will only stop if he is already disbarred. . . .) (So you are filing a disbarment case? We hope that this be given action with
all the problems in the Supreme Court.)
xxx
BAGABUYO : Dili ako mabalaka niana kay usa ka truck ang
BAGABUYO : Nasuko siya niini kay hambugero kuno, pero angayan niyang akong jurisprudence, nga ang mga
hibaw-an nga ang trabajo sa Huwes dili Huwes nga di mahibalo sa balaod
ang pagtan-aw kon ang tawo pagatangtangon gayod sa ilang pagka
hambugero . . . . Ug ang akong gisulti Huwes. . . . Apan unsa man intawon ang
mao lamang ang balaod nga siya in fact balaod ang iyang gibasa niini
at that time I said he is not conversant of nadunggan ko nga kini kuno siya
the law, with regards to the case of madjongero, mao bitaw na, madjong
murder. . . . ang iyang guitunan?

(He got angry because I was allegedly bragging but he should know that it is (I am not worried because I have a truckload of jurisprudence that judges
not for a judge to determine if a person who are ignorant of the law must be
is a braggart. . . .And what I said was removed from the Bench. But what law
based on the law. In fact, at that time, I has he been reading? I heard that he is
said he is not conversant of the law, with a mahjong aficionado (mahjongero) and
regards to the case of murder . . . .) that is why he is studying mahjong.[11]

xxx

BAGABUYO : Ah, mi sit down sab ako, contempt ra ba kadto . . . . Mao


kana, pero unsa may iyang katuyoan The trial court concluded that respondent, as a member of the bar and an officer of the
ang iyang katuyoan nga ipa-adto ako court, is duty bound to uphold the dignity and authority of the court, and should not promote
didto kay didto, iya akong pakauwawan distrust in the administration of justice.
kay iya kong sikopon, iya kong ipa-priso,
pero kay di man lagi mahibalo sa The trial court stated that it is empowered to suspend respondent from the practice of
balaod, ang iyang gui orderan BJMP, law under Sec. 28, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court [12] for any of the causes mentioned in Sec.
intawon por dios por Santo, Mr. Tan, 27[13] of the same Rule. Respondent was given the opportunity to be heard, but he opted to be
pagbasa intawon ug balaod, naunsa ka silent. Thus, it held that the requirement of due process has been duly satisfied.
ba Mr. Tan? Unsa may imong hunahuna
nga kon ikaw Huwes, ikaw na ang
diktador, no way, no sir, ours is a In accordance with the provisions of Sec. 29, [14] Rule 138 and Sec. 9,[15] Rule 139 of
democratic country where all and the Rules of Court, the RTC of Surigao City, Branch 29, transmitted to the Office of the Bar
everyone is entitled to due process of Confidant the Statement of Facts of respondents suspension from the practice of law, dated July
law you did not accord me due process 14, 2005, together with the order of suspension and other relevant documents.
of law . . . .
In its Report dated January 4, 2006, the Office of the Bar Confidant found that the
(I sat down. . . . Thats it. But what was his purpose? He made me come in article in the August 18, 2003 issue of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, which maligned the
order to humiliate me because he integrity and independence of the court and its officers, and respondents criticism of the trial
wanted me arrested, he wanted me courts Order dated November 12, 2002, which was aired in radio station DXKS, both in
imprisoned, but because he is ignorant connection with Crim. Case No. 5144, constitute grave violation of oath of office by
of the law, he ordered the BMJP. For respondent. It stated that the requirement of due process was complied with when respondent
Gods sake, Mr. Tan, whats wrong with was given an opportunity to be heard, but respondent chose to remain silent.
As a senior state prosecutor and officer of the court, respondent should have set the
The Office of the Bar Confidant recommended the implementation of the trial courts example of observing and maintaining the respect due to the courts and to judicial
order of suspension dated February 8, 2004, and that respondent be suspended from the officers. Montecillo v. Gica[19] held:
practice of law for one year, with a stern warning that the repetition of a similar offense will be
dealt with more severely. It is the duty of the lawyer to maintain towards the courts a
respectful attitude. As an officer of the court, it is his duty to uphold the
The Court approves the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant. It has dignity and authority of the court to which he owes fidelity, according to the
been reiterated in Gonzaga v. Villanueva, Jr.[16] that: oath he has taken. Respect for the courts guarantees the stability of our
A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any violation of his democratic institutions which, without such respect, would be resting on a
oath, a patent disregard of his duties, or an odious deportment unbecoming very shaky foundation.
an attorney. Among the grounds enumerated in Section 27, Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court are deceit; malpractice; gross misconduct in office; grossly
immoral conduct; conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; any The Court is not against lawyers raising grievances against erring judges but the rules
violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to the clearly provide for the proper venue and procedure for doing so, precisely because respect for
practice of law; willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; the institution must always be maintained.
corrupt or willful appearance as an attorney for a party to a case WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Atty. Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo is found guilty of
without authority to do so. The grounds are not preclusive in nature even as violating Rule 11.05, Canon 11 and Rule 13.02, Canon 13 of the Code of Professional
they are broad enough as to cover practically any kind of impropriety that a Responsibility, and of violating the Lawyers Oath, for which he is SUSPENDED from the practice
lawyer does or commits in his professional career or in his private life. A of law for one (1) year effective upon finality of this Decision, with a STERN WARNING that the
lawyer must at no time be wanting in probity and moral fiber which are not repetition of a similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.
only conditions precedent to his entrance to the Bar, but are likewise
essential demands for his continued membership therein. Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant to be
appended to respondents personal record as an attorney, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines,
the Department of Justice, and all courts in the country for their information and guidance.

Lawyers are licensed officers of the courts who are empowered to appear, prosecute No costs.
and defend; and upon whom peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by law
as a consequence.[17] Membership in the bar imposes upon them certain obligations. [18] Canon SO ORDERED.
11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates a lawyer to observe and maintain the
respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and [he] should insist on similar conduct by
others. Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 states that a lawyer shall submit grievances against a judge to CANON 12
the proper authorities only.

Respondent violated Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 when he admittedly caused the holding
of a press conference where he made statements against the Order dated November 12,
2002 allowing the accused in Crim. Case No. 5144 to be released on bail. G.R. No. L-34369 September 30, 1974

Respondent also violated Canon 11 when he indirectly stated that Judge Tan was ANTONIO VILLASIS, MATERNIDAD V. VILLASIS and SANTIAGO ORENDAIN, petitioners,
displaying judicial arrogance in the article entitled, Senior prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge for vs.
allowing murder suspect to bail out, which appeared in the August 18, 2003 issue of the HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ELEUTERIO VILLASIS and LAURA S.
Mindanao Gold Star Daily. Respondents statements in the article, which were made while Crim. VILLASIS, respondents.
Case No. 5144 was still pending in court, also violated Rule 13.02 of Canon 13, which states
that a lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to
arouse public opinion for or against a party. Augusto A. Kimpo for petitioners.

In regard to the radio interview given to Tony Consing, respondent violated Rule 11.05 Silvestre Untaran, Jr. for respondents.
of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for not resorting to the proper authorities
only for redress of his grievances against Judge Tan. Respondent also violated Canon 11 for his
disrespect of the court and its officer when he stated that Judge Tan was ignorant of the law,
that as a mahjong aficionado, he was studying mahjong instead of studying the law, and that he
was a liar. TEEHANKEE, J.:p
Respondent also violated the Lawyers Oath, as he has sworn to conduct [himself] as a
lawyer according to the best of [his] knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the The Court in dismissing the petition and affirming the appellate court's dismissal of petitioners-
courts as to [his] clients. appellants' appeal for failure to file appellants' brief finds that petitioners have shown no valid
and justifiable reason for their inexplicable failure to file their brief and have only themselves to
blame for their counsel's utter inaction and gross indifference and neglect in not having filed their
brief for a year since receipt of due notice to file the same.
The case originated in the Antique court of first instance where after due trial judgment was The appeal is patently without merit.
rendered in favor of respondents-plaintiffs upholding their action for quieting of title with recovery
of possession and damages.
New counsel Tayco's claim in his motion for reconsideration that he had not received the notice
to file brief borders on the frivolous. Such notice to file brief had been received by his
Petitioners-defendants appealed the adverse judgment to the Court of Appeals. On June 25, predecessor-counsel Atty. Valente and is binding on him as the successor. A new counsel who
1970, petitioners as appellants received notice through their counsel Benjamin M. Valente to accepts a case in midstream is presumed and obliged to acquaint himself with all the antecedent
submit the appellants' brief within the reglementary forty-five day period to expire on August 9, processes and proceedings that have transpired in the record prior to his takeover. It is
1970. noteworthy that Atty. Tayco makes no claim that he was unaware that notice to file brief had
been duly served on Atty. Valente and that the period would expire on August 10, 1970 and that
Atty. Valente had asked in his two withdrawal motions that he (Tayco) as new counsel be
On August 10, 1970 (the last day of the reglementary period, August 9 being a Sunday),
granted "sufficient time" to file the brief.
petitioners' counsel, Atty. Valente, filed a motion to withdraw as counsel due to his having been
employed as technical assistant in the Supreme Court, with a prayer that appellants' newly
engaged counsel be given sufficient time to file their brief. Said new counsel, Atty. Esdras F. Here the notice to file the brief had been received on June 25, 1970 to expire on August 10,
Tayco, filed on August 18, 1970 his appearance with the appellate court. 1970. The appellate court did not dismiss the appeal at appellees' instance for failure of
appellants to file brief until one year later as per its resolution of June 25, 1971 or until almost
eleven months after the expiration of the reglementary period on August 10, 1970.
On August 27, 1970, the appellate court received respondents-appellees' motion to dismiss the
appeal dated August 5, 1970 for appellants' failure to file their brief within the reglementary
period. The appellate court gave appellants all the time and opportunity to duly prosecute their appeal
by filing their brief in the interval to no avail. It asked both counsels per its resolution of
September 12, 1970 (which in effect granted appellants the sufficient time asked by Atty.
On September 12, 1970, the appellate court required both counsels of appellants, Atty. Valente
Valente in his withdrawal motion to file their brief) to comment on the dismissal motion but
(whose withdrawal it held in abeyance until he filed a proper motion in verified form with the
withdrawing counsel Valente claimed he could not file any comment as he had not received the
signed conformity of the clients as per its resolution of August 18, 1970) and Atty. Tayco to
motion while new counsel Tayco ignored the court's resolution and filed no comment and filed no
comment on the dismissal motion.
brief!

Withdrawing counsel Valente filed his manifestation dated September 28, 1970 alleging inter
Even going by new counsel Tayco's mistaken notion that he was entitled to a new notice to file
alia that he had not received a copy of the dismissal motion and could not therefore comment
brief, the appellate court's resolution of September 12, 1970 requiring his comment on the
thereon and submitting therewith the signed conformity of his clients to his withdrawal and
motion to dismiss appeal for failure to file appellant's brief was tantamount to such notice and he
reiterating his prayer for the court to grant his withdrawal and to grant appellants sufficient time
should then have prepared and filed the brief within forty-five days thereafter. But as already
to file their brief. New counsel Tayco filed no comment whatsoever.
pointed out, he never filed the appellants' brief during the interval of almost 11 months that the
appellate court took before it finally dismissed the appeal per its resolution of June 25, 1971.
The appellate court granted withdrawing counsel's motion to withdraw per its resolution of During all this period and even during the three months that followed when he filed two motions
October 9, 1970 but meanwhile issued no resolution on the appellees' motion to dismiss the for reconsideration, he presented no earnest of prosecuting the appeal by at least filing the brief
appeal. even at that late date but contented himself with a perfunctory prayer in his motion that
"appellants be allowed to file their brief."!
On June 25, 1971 or after the lapse of more than eleven (11 months or to be more exact, 319
days) without appellants having filed their brief at all, the appellate court's special sixth The appellate court committed no error therefore in dismissing the appeal. Petitioners-appellants
division1 issued its resolution granting the dismissal motion and dismissing the appeal on the have shown no valid and justifiable reason for their inexplicable failure to file their brief and have
ground stated by appellees in their motion that appellants had failed to file their brief within the only themselves to blame for their counsel's utter inaction and grow indifference and neglect in
reglementary 45-day period. not having filed their brief for a year since receipt of due notice to file the same. They could not
even claim ignorance of the appellate court's notice to file brief since it had required withdrawing
counsel Valente to secure their written conformity before granting his withdrawal as counsel, and
It was only then that new counsel Tayco apparently stirred from almost a year of inaction and
certainly they must have ascertained from him as well as new counsel the status of their appeal
filed a motion dated July 13, 1971 for reconsideration of the dismissal of the appeal on the — which accounts for Atty. Valente's repeated prayers in his two motions for withdrawal for the
ground that he as new counsel had not received the notice to file brief. The appellate court per granting of sufficient time for new counsel to file the brief. They had almost a year thereafter to
its resolution of August 17, 1971 denied the motion for reconsideration, pointing out that
make sure that their new counsel did attend to their appeal and did file the brief.
"Attorney Tayco's appearance was entered [on August 18, 1970] after the period for filing brief
had already expired [on August 10, 1970]."2
The case of Alonso vs. Rosario4 cited by petitioners is clearly inapplicable. There, appellants had
filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss their appeal (filed by appellee just five days after the
New counsel Tayco filed a second motion for reconsideration on September 10, 1971 still notice to file brief was served) asking that they be allowed to file the brief after notice of denial of
without having filed appellants, brief, which the appellate court 3 denied per its resolution of the motion, and when the appellate court denied both the dismissal and the extension, they
October 6, 1971.
moved for reconsideration and for at least 15 days to file their brief, but the court therein both
denied reconsideration and dismissed the appeal as well for failure to file brief within the
Hence, the present appeal by certiorari wherein petitioners are represented by their third reglementary period. Within five (5) days of such dismissal, appellants nevertheless filed their
counsel, Atty. Augusto A. Kimpo vice Atty. Tayco. brief. This Court in reinstating the appeal held that "the period consumed during the pendency of
the motion to dismiss should be excluded from the period given to petitioners to submit their Our task is to determine who is the rightful owner of the disputed shares.
brief, and if this is done, the brief submitted by them on April 17, 1957 may be deemed
presented in due time."
Pursuant to our resolution dated 30 May 1994, the instant case is a consolidation of two petitions
for review filed before us as follows:
It is manifest that there are two basic differences in this case: here, the motion to dismiss the
appeal was filed precisely on the ground of failure to file the brief after the expiration of the 45-
In G.R. Nos. 112438-39, CEIC seeks the reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals (former
day reglementary period and no question of suspension of the period arises, whereas there, the
Twelfth Division) promulgated on 30 June 1993 and its resolution of 29 October 1993, denying
appellee questioned appellants' right to appeal when only 5 days of their 45-day period had
petitioner's motion for reconsideration in the consolidated cases entitled "Dynetics, Inc., et al. v.
elapsed such that the rule5 that a motion to dismiss "interrupts the time to plea" was applied by
PISO, et al." (CA-G.R. No. 20467) and "Dynetics, Inc., et al. v. PISO, et al.; CEIC, Intervenor-
this Court by analogy; and here, petitioners-appellants never filed their brief while there
Appellee" (CA-G.R. CV No. 26511).
appellants immediately filed their brief within 5 days of notice of dismissal of their appeal.

The dispositive portion of the assailed decision reads, thus:


It may parenthetically be noted that aside from petitioners' bare assertion of merit in their appeal,
the Court has not been shown that to reinstate the appeal would serve any purpose and not just
be a futile waste of time, since petitioners have never submitted their brief nor their proposed WHEREFORE, this Court resolves in these consolidated cases as follows:
assignment of errors against the trial court's verdict. To cap it all, petitioners in praying for a
reversal of the appellate court's dismissal of their appeal, pray that they be given an extension of
fifteen (15) days from notice of the decision within which to file the appellants' brief (at last!). 1. The Orders of the Regional Trial Court, dated March 25, 1988, and May
Such laches and lassitude on their part serve but to confirm the correctness of the appellate 20, 1988, subject of CA-G.R. CV No. 10467, are SET ASIDE and judgment
is hereby rendered in favor of the consortium and against appellee Dynetics,
court's dismissal of their appeal.
Inc., the amount of the judgment, to be determined by Regional Trial Court,
taking into account the value of assets that the consortium may have
ACCORDINGLY, the petition at bar is dismissed with costs against petitioners. already recovered and shall have recovered in accordance with the other
portions of this decision.
G.R. Nos. 112438-39 December 12, 1995
2. The Orders of the Regional Trial Court dated December 19, 1989 and
March 5, 1990 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and judgment is
CHEMPHIL EXPORT & IMPORT CORPORATION (CEIC), petitioner, hereby rendered confirming the ownership of the consortium over the
vs. Chemphil shares of stock, subject of CA-G.R. CV No. 26511, and the Order
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS JAIME Y. GONZALES, as Assignee of the Bank dated September 4, 1989, is reinstated.
of the Philippine Islands (BPI), RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION (RCBC),
LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES (LBP), PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL & INTERNATIONAL
BANK (PCIB) and THE PHILIPPINE INVESTMENT SYSTEM ORGANIZATION No pronouncement as to costs.
(PISO), respondents.
SO ORDERED. 1
G.R. No. 113394 December 12, 1995
In G.R. No. 113394, PCIB and its assignee, Jaime Gonzales, ask for the annulment of the Court
PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INDUSTRIAL BANK (AND ITS ASSIGNEE JAIME Y. of Appeals' decision (former Special Ninth Division) promulgated on 26 March 1993 in "PCIB v.
GONZALES) petitioner, Hon. Job B. Madayag & CEIC" (CA-G.R. SP NO. 20474) dismissing the petition for certiorari,
vs. prohibition and mandamus filed by PCIB and of said court's resolution dated 11 January 1994
HONORABLE COURT OR APPEALS and CHEMPHIL EXPORT AND IMPORT denying their motion for reconsideration of its decision.2
CORPORATION (CEIC), respondents.
The antecedent facts leading to the aforementioned controversies are as follows:

On September 25, 1984, Dynetics, Inc. and Antonio M. Garcia filed a complaint for declaratory
KAPUNAN, J.: relief and/or injunction against the PISO, BPI, LBP, PCIB and RCBC or the consortium with the
Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 45 (Civil Case No. 8527), seeking judicial declaration,
construction and interpretation of the validity of the surety agreement that Dynetics and Garcia
Before us is a legal tug-of-war between the Chemphil Export and Import Corporation (hereinafter had entered into with the consortium and to perpetually enjoin the latter from claiming, collecting
referred to as CEIC), on one side, and the PISO and Jaime Gonzales as assignee of the Bank of and enforcing any purported obligations which Dynetics and Garcia might have undertaken in
the Philippine Islands (BPI), Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Land Bank of the said agreement.3
Philippines (LBP) and Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCIB), on the other (hereinafter
referred to as the consortium), over 1,717,678 shares of stock (hereinafter referred to as the
"disputed shares") in the Chemical Industries of the Philippines (Chemphil/CIP). The consortium filed their respective answers with counterclaims alleging that the surety
agreement in question was valid and binding and that Dynetics and Garcia were liable under the
terms of the said agreement. It likewise applied for the issuance of a writ of preliminary The Court could have stood pat on its order dated 25 March 1988, in regard
attachment against Dynetics and Garcia.4 to which the defendants-banks concerned filed motions for reconsideration.
However, inasmuch as plaintiffs commented on said motions that: "3). In
any event, so as not to unduly foreclose on the rights of the respective
Seven months later, or on 23 April 1985, Dynetics, Antonio Garcia and Matrix Management &
parties to refile and prosecute their respective causes of action, plaintiffs
Trading Corporation filed a complaint for declaratory relief and/or injunction against the Security
manifest their conformity to the modification of this Honorable Court's order
Bank & Trust Co. (SBTC case) before the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 135 docketed
to indicate that the dismissal of the complaint and the counterclaims is
as Civil Case No. 10398.5
without prejudice." (p. 2, plaintiffs' COMMENT etc. dated May 20, 1988).
The Court is inclined to so modify the said order.
On 2 July 1985, the trial court granted SBTC's prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
attachment and on 9 July 1985, a notice of garnishment covering Garcia's shares in
WHEREFORE , the order issued on March 25, 1988, is hereby modified in
CIP/Chemphil (including the disputed shares) was served on Chemphil through its then
the sense that the dismissal of the complaint as well as of the counterclaims
President. The notice of garnishment was duly annotated in the stock and transfer books of
of defendants RCBC, LBP, PCIB and BPI shall be considered as without
Chemphil on the same date.6
prejudice (p. 675, record, Vol. I).11

On 6 September 1985, the writ of attachment in favor of SBTC was lifted. However, the same
Unsatisfied with the aforementioned order, the consortium appealed to the Court of Appeals,
was reinstated on 30 October 1985.7
docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 20467.

In the meantime, on 12 July 1985, the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. 8527 (the
On 17 January 1989 during the pendency of consortium's appeal in CA-G.R. CV No. 20467,
consortium case) denied the application of Dynetics and Garcia for preliminary injunction and
Antonio Garcia and the consortium entered into a Compromise Agreement which the Court of
instead granted the consortium's prayer for a consolidated writ of preliminary attachment. Hence,
Appeals approved on 22 May 1989 and became the basis of its judgment by compromise.
on 19 July 1985, after the consortium had filed the required bond, a writ of attachment was
Antonio Garcia was dropped as a party to the appeal leaving the consortium to proceed solely
issued and various real and personal properties of Dynetics and Garcia were garnished,
against Dynetics, Inc.12 On 27 June 1989, entry of judgment was made by the Clerk of Court. 13
including the disputed shares.8 This garnishment, however, was not annotated in Chemphil's
stock and transfer book.
Hereunder quoted are the salient portions of said compromise agreement:
On 8 September 1987, PCIB filed a motion to dismiss the complaint of Dynetics and Garcia for
lack of interest to prosecute and to submit its counterclaims for decision, adopting the evidence it xxx xxx xxx
had adduced at the hearing of its application for preliminary attachment. 9
3. Defendants, in consideration of avoiding an extended litigation, having
On 25 March 1988, the Regional Trial Court dismissed the complaint of Dynetics and Garcia in agreed to limit their claim against plaintiff Antonio M. Garcia to a principal
Civil Case No. 8527, as well as the counterclaims of the consortium, thus: sum of P145 Million immediately demandable and to waive all other claims
to interest, penalties, attorney's fees and other charges. The aforesaid
compromise amount of indebtedness of P145 Million shall earn interest of
Resolving defendant's, Philippine Commercial International Bank, MOTION
eighteen percent (18%) from the date of this Compromise.
TO DISMISS WITH MOTION TO SUBMIT DEFENDANT PCIBANK's
COUNTERCLAIM FOR DECISION, dated September 7, 1987:
4. Plaintiff Antonio M. Garcia and herein defendants have no further claims
against each other.
(1) The motion to dismiss is granted; and the instant case is hereby ordered
dismissed pursuant to Sec. 3, Rule 17 of the Revised Rules of Court,
plaintiff having failed to comply with the order dated July 16, 1987, and 5. This Compromise shall be without prejudice to such claims as the parties
having not taken further steps to prosecute the case; and herein may have against plaintiff Dynetics, Inc.

(2) The motion to submit said defendant's counterclaim for decision is 6. Plaintiff Antonio M. Garcia shall have two (2) months from date of this
denied; there is no need; said counterclaim is likewise dismissed under the Compromise within which to work for the entry and participation of his other
authority of Dalman vs. City Court of Dipolog City, L-63194, January 21, creditor, Security Bank and Trust Co., into this Compromise. Upon the
1985, wherein the Supreme Court stated that if the civil case is dismissed, expiration of this period, without Security Bank and Trust Co. having joined,
so also is the counterclaim filed therein. "A person cannot eat his cake and this Compromise shall be submitted to the Court for its information and
have it at the same time" (p. 645, record, Vol. I).10 approval (pp. 27, 28-31, rollo, CA-G.R. CV No. 10467).14

The motions for reconsideration filed by the consortium were, likewise, denied by the trial court It appears that on 15 July 1988, Antonio Garcia under a Deed of Sale transferred to Ferro
in its order dated 20 May 1988: Chemicals, Inc. (FCI) the disputed shares and other properties for P79,207,331.28. It was
agreed upon that part of the purchase price shall be paid by FCI directly to SBTC for whatever
judgment credits that may be adjudged in the latter's favor and against Antonio Garcia in the
aforementioned SBTC case.15
On 6 March 1989, FCI, through its President Antonio M. Garcia, issued a Bank of America September 1989
Check No. 860114 in favor of SBTC in the amount of P35,462,869.62. 16 SBTC refused to order.24
accept the check claiming that the amount was not sufficient to discharge the debt. The check
was thus consigned by Antonio Garcia and Dynetics with the Regional Trial Court as payment of
On 2 October 1989, the consortium filed their opposition to CEIC's motion for intervention
their judgment debt in the SBTC case.17
alleging that their attachment lien over the disputed shares of stocks must prevail over the
private sale in favor of the CEIC considering that said shares of stock were garnished in the
On 26 June 1989, FCI assigned its 4,119,614 shares in Chemphil, which included the disputed consortium's favor as early as 19 July 1985.25
shares, to petitioner CEIC. The shares were registered and recorded in the corporate books of
Chemphil in CEIC's name and the corresponding stock certificates were issued to it.18
On 4 October 1989, the consortium filed their opposition to CEIC's motion to set aside the 4
September 1989 order and moved to lift the 27 September 1989 order.26
Meanwhile, Antonio Garcia, in the consortium case, failed to comply with the terms of the
compromise agreement he entered into with the consortium on 17 January 1989. As a result, on
On 12 October 1989, the consortium filed a manifestation and motion to lift the 27 September
18 July 1989, the consortium filed a motion for execution which was granted by the trial court on
1989 order, to reinstate the 4 September 1989 order and to direct CEIC to surrender the
11 August 1989. Among Garcia's properties that were levied upon on execution were his
disputed stock certificates of Chemphil in its possession within twenty-four (24) hours, failing in
1,717,678 shares in Chemphil (the disputed shares) previously garnished on 19 July 1985. 19
which the President, Corporate Secretary and stock and transfer agent of Chemphil be directed
to register the names of the banks making up the consortium as owners of said shares, sign the
On 22 August 1989, the consortium acquired the disputed shares of stock at the public auction new certificates of stocks evidencing their ownership over said shares and to immediately deliver
sale conducted by the sheriff for P85,000,000.00. 20 On same day, a Certificate of Sale covering the stock certificates to them.27
the disputed shares was issued to it.
Resolving the foregoing motions, the trial court rendered an order dated 19 December 1989, the
On 30 August 1989,21 the consortium filed a motion (dated 29 August 1989) to order the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
corporate secretary of Chemphil to enter in its stock and transfer books the sheriff's certificate of
sale dated 22 August 1989, and to issue new certificates of stock in the name of the banks
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Urgent Motion dated September
concerned. The trial court granted said motion in its order dated 4 September 1989, thus:
25, 1989 filed by CEIC is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Order of
September 4, 1989, is hereby SET ASIDE, and any and all acts of the
For being legally proper, defendant's MOTION TO ORDER THE Corporate Secretary of CHEMPHIL and/or whoever is acting for and in his
CORPORATE SECRETARY OF CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES OF THE behalf, as may have already been done, carried out or implemented
PHILS., INC. (CHEMPIL) TO ENTER IN THE STOCK AND TRANSFER pursuant to the Order of September 4, 1989, are hereby nullified.
BOOKS OF CHEMPHIL THE SHERIFF'S CERTIFICATE OF SALE DATED
AUGUST 22, 1989 AND TO ISSUE NEW CERTIFICATES OF STOCK IN
PERFORCE, the CONSORTIUM'S Motions dated October 3, 1989 and
THE NAME OF THE DEFENDANT BANKS, dated August 29, 1989, is
October 11, 1989, are both hereby denied for lack of merit.
hereby granted.

The Cease and Desist Order dated September 27, 1989, is hereby
WHEREFORE, the corporate secretary of the aforesaid corporation, or
AFFIRMED and made PERMANENT.
whoever is acting for and in his behalf, is hereby ordered to (1) record
and/or register the Certificate of Sale dated August 22, 1989 issued by
Deputy Sheriff Cristobal S. Jabson of this Court; (2) to cancel the certificates SO ORDERED.28
of stock of plaintiff Antonio M. Garcia and all those which may have
subsequently been issued in replacement and/or in substitution thereof; and
In so ruling, the trial court ratiocinated in this wise:
(3) to issue in lieu of the said shares new shares of stock in the name of the
defendant Banks, namely, PCIB, BPI, RCBC, LBP and PISO bank in such
proportion as their respective claims would appear in this suit (p. 82, record, xxx xxx xxx
Vol. II).22
After careful and assiduous consideration of the facts and applicable law
On 26 September 1989, CEIC filed a motion to intervene (dated 25 September 1989) in the and jurisprudence, the Court holds that CEIC's Urgent Motion to Set Aside
consortium case seeking the recall of the abovementioned order on grounds that it is the rightful the Order of September 4, 1989 is impressed with merit. The
owner of the disputed shares.23 It further alleged that the disputed shares were previously owned CONSORTIUM has admitted that the writ of attachment/garnishment issued
by Antonio M. Garcia but subsequently sold by him on 15 July 1988 to Ferro Chemicals, Inc. on July 19, 1985 on the shares of stock belonging to plaintiff Antonio M.
(FCI) which in turn assigned the same to CEIC in an agreement dated 26 June 1989. Garcia was not annotated and registered in the stock and transfer books of
CHEMPHIL. On the other hand, the prior attachment issued in favor of
On 27 September 1989, the trial court granted CEIC's motion allowing it to intervene, but limited SBTC on July 2, 1985 by Branch 135 of this Court in Civil Case No. 10398,
against the same CHEMPHIL shares of Antonio M. Garcia, was duly
only to the incidents covered by the order dated 4 September 1989. In the same order, the trial
court directed Chemphil's corporate secretary to temporarily refrain from implementing the 4 registered and annotated in the stock and transfer books of CHEMPHIL.
The matter of non-recording of the Consortium's attachment in Chemphil's
stock and transfer book on the shares of Antonio M. Garcia assumes II
significance considering CEIC's position that FCI and later CEIC acquired
the CHEMPHIL shares of Antonio M. Garcia without knowledge of the
WHETHER OR NOT THE DISMISSAL OF CIVIL CASE NO. 8527
attachment of the CONSORTIUM. This is also important as CEIC claims
RESULTED IN THE DISCHARGE OF THE WRIT OF ATTACHMENT
that it has been subrogated to the rights of SBTC since CEIC's predecessor-
ISSUED THEREIN EVEN AS THE CONSORTIUM APPEALED THE
in-interest, the FCI, had paid SBTC the amount of P35,462,869.12 pursuant
ORDER DISMISSING CIVIL CASE NO. 8527;
to the Deed of Sale and Purchase of Shares of Stock executed by Antonio
M. Garcia on July 15, 1988. By reason of such payment, sale with the
knowledge and consent of Antonio M. Garcia, FCI and CEIC, as party-in- III
interest to FCI, are subrogated by operation of law to the rights of SBTC.
The Court is not unaware of the citation in CEIC's reply that "as between
two (2) attaching creditors, the one whose claims was first registered on the WHETHER OR NOT THE JUDGMENT BASED ON COMPROMISE
books of the corporation enjoy priority." (Samahang Magsasaka, Inc. vs. RENDERED BY THIS COURT ON MAY 22, 1989 HAD THE EFFECT OF
DISCHARGING THE ATTACHMENTS ISSUED IN CIVIL CASE NO. 8527;
Chua Gan, 96 Phil. 974.)

The Court holds that a levy on the shares of corporate stock to be valid and IV
binding on third persons, the notice of attachment or garnishment must be
registered and annotated in the stock and transfer books of the corporation, WHETHER OR NOT THE ATTACHMENT OF SHARES OF STOCK, IN
more so when the shares of the corporation are listed and traded in the ORDER TO BIND THIRD PERSONS, MUST BE RECORDED IN THE
stock exchange, as in this case. As a matter of fact, in the CONSORTIUM's STOCK AND TRANSFER BOOK OF THE CORPORATION; AND
motion of August 30, 1989, they specifically move to "order the Corporate
Secretary of CHEMPHIL to enter in the stock and transfer books of
CHEMPHIL the Sheriff's Certificate of Sale dated August 22, 1989." This V
goes to show that, contrary to the arguments of the CONSORTIUM, in order
that attachment, garnishment and/or encumbrances affecting rights and WHETHER OR NOT FERRO CHEMICALS, INC. (FCI), AND ITS
ownership on shares of a corporation to be valid and binding, the same has SUCCESSOR-IN-INTEREST, CEIC, WERE SUBROGATED TO THE
to be recorded in the stock and transfer books. RIGHTS OF SECURITY BANK & TRUST COMPANY (SBTC) IN A
SEPARATE CIVIL ACTION. (This issue appears to be material as SBTC is
Since neither CEIC nor FCI had notice of the CONSORTIUM's attachment alleged to have obtained an earlier attachment over the same Chemphil
of July 19, 1985, CEIC's shares of stock in CHEMPHIL, legally acquired shares that the consortium seeks to recover in the case at bar). 33
from Antonio M. Garcia, cannot be levied upon in execution to satisfy his
judgment debts. At the time of the Sheriff's levy on execution, Antonio M. On 6 April 1990, the PCIB separately filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari,
Garcia has no more in CHEMPHIL which could be levied upon.29 prohibition and mandamus with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction (CA-
G.R. No. SP-20474), likewise, assailing the very same orders dated 19 December 1989 and 5
xxx xxx xxx March 1990, subject of CA-G.R. No. 26511.34

On 23 January 1990, the consortium and PCIB filed separate motions for reconsideration of the On 30 June 1993, the Court of Appeals (Twelfth Division) in CA-G.R. No. 26511 and CA-G.R.
aforestated order which were opposed by petitioner No. 20467 rendered a decision reversing the orders of the trial court and confirming the
CEIC.30 ownership of the consortium over the disputed shares. CEIC's motion for reconsideration was
denied on 29 October 1993.35

On 5 March 1990, the trial court denied the motions for


reconsideration.31 In ruling for the consortium, the Court of Appeals made the following ratiocination: 36

On 16 March 1990, the consortium appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. No. 26511). In its On the first issue, it ruled that the evidence offered by the consortium in
Resolution dated 9 August 1990, the Court of Appeals consolidated CA-G.R. No. 26511 with support of its counterclaims, coupled with the failure of Dynetics and Garcia
CA-G.R. No. 20467.32 to prosecute their case, was sufficient basis for the RTC to pass upon and
determine the consortium's counterclaims.

The issues raised in the two cases, as formulated by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
The Court of Appeals found no application for the ruling in Dalman v. City
Court of Dipolog, 134 SCRA 243 (1985) that "a person cannot eat his cake
I and have it at the same time. If the civil case is dismissed, so also is the
counterclaim filed therein" because the factual background of the present
action is different. In the instant case, both Dynetics and Garcia and the
WHETHER OR NOT, UNDER THE PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF
THE CASE, THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE consortium presented testimonial and documentary evidence which clearly
COUNTERCLAIMS OF THE CONSORTIUM IN CIVIL CASE NO. 8527; should have supported a judgment on the merits in favor of the consortium.
As the consortium correctly argued, the net atrocious effect of the Regional The Court of Appeals further opined that while the check used to pay SBTC
Trial Court's ruling is that it allows a situation where a party litigant is forced was a FCI corporate check, it was funds of Garcia in FCI that was used to
to plead and prove compulsory counterclaims only to be denied those pay off SBTC. That the funds used to pay off SBTC were funds of Garcia
counterclaims on account of the adverse party's failure to prosecute his has not been refuted by FCI or CEIC. It is clear, therefore, that there was an
case. Verily, the consortium had no alternative but to present its attempt on the part of Garcia to use FCI and CEIC as convenient vehicles to
counterclaims in Civil Case No. 8527 since its counterclaims are deny the consortium its right to make itself whole through an execution sale
compulsory in nature. of the Chemphil shares attached by the consortium at the inception of Civil
Case No. 8527. The consortium, therefore, is entitled to the issuance of the
Chemphil shares of stock in its favor. The Regional Trial Court's order of
On the second issue, the Court of Appeals opined that unless a writ of
September 4, 1989, should, therefore, be reinstated in toto.
attachment is lifted by a special order specifically providing for the discharge
thereof, or unless a case has been finally dismissed against the party in
whose favor the attachment has been issued, the attachment lien subsists. Accordingly, the question of whether or not the attachment lien in favor of
When the consortium, therefore, took an appeal from the Regional Trial SBTC in the SBTC case is superior to the attachment lien in favor of the
Court's orders of March 25, 1988 and May 20, 1988, such appeal had the consortium in Civil Case No. 8527 becomes immaterial with respect to the
effect of preserving the consortium's attachment liens secured at the right of intervenor-appellee CEIC. The said issue would have been relevant
inception of Civil Case No. 8527, invoking the rule in Olib v. Pastoral, 188 had CEIC established its subrogation to the rights of SBTC.
SCRA 692 (1988) that where the main action is appealed, the attachment
issued in the said main case is also considered appealed.
On 26 March 1993, the Court of Appeals (Special Ninth Division) in CA-G.R. No. SP 20474
rendered a decision denying due course to and dismissing PCIB's petition for certiorari on
Anent the third issue, the compromise agreement between the consortium grounds that PCIB violated the rule against forum-shopping and that no grave abuse of
and Garcia dated 17 January 1989 did not result in the abandonment of its discretion was committed by respondent Regional Trial Court in issuing its assailed orders dated
attachment lien over his properties. Said agreement was approved by the 19 December 1989 and 5 March 1990. PCIB's motion for reconsideration was denied on 11
Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated 22 May 1989. The judgment based January 1994.37
on the compromise agreement had the effect of preserving the said
attachment lien as security for the satisfaction of said judgment (citing BF
On 7 July 1993, the consortium, with the exception of PISO, assigned without recourse all its
Homes, Inc. v. CA, 190 SCRA 262, [1990]).
rights and interests in the disputed shares to Jaime Gonzales. 38

As to the fourth issue, the Court of Appeals agreed with the consortium's
On 3 January 1994, CEIC filed the instant petition for review docketed as G.R. Nos. 112438-39
position that the attachment of shares of stock in a corporation need not be
and assigned the following errors:
recorded in the corporation's stock and transfer book in order to bind third
persons.
I.
Section 7(d), Rule 57 of the Rules of Court was complied with by the
consortium (through the Sheriff of the trial court) when the notice of THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN
garnishment over the Chemphil shares of Garcia was served on the SETTING ASIDE AND REVERSING THE ORDERS OF THE REGIONAL
president of Chemphil on July 19, 1985. Indeed, to bind third persons, no TRIAL COURT DATED DECEMBER 5, 1989 AND MARCH 5, 1990 AND IN
law requires that an attachment of shares of stock be recorded in the stock NOT CONFIRMING PETITIONER'S OWNERSHIP OVER THE DISPUTED
and transfer book of a corporation. The statement attributed by the Regional CHEMPHIL SHARES AGAINST THE FRIVOLOUS AND UNFOUNDED
Trial Court to the Supreme Court in Samahang Magsasaka, CLAIMS OF THE CONSORTIUM.
Inc. vs. Gonzalo Chua Guan, G.R. No. L-7252, February 25, 1955
(unreported), to the effect that "as between two attaching creditors, the one
whose claim was registered first on the books of the corporation enjoys II.
priority," is an obiter dictum that does not modify the procedure laid down in
Section 7(d), Rule 57 of the Rules of Court. THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED:

Therefore, ruled the Court of Appeals, the attachment made over the (1) In not holding that the Consortium's attachment over
Chemphil shares in the name of Garcia on July 19, 1985 was made in the disputed Chemphil shares did not vest any priority
accordance with law and the lien created thereby remained valid and right in its favor and cannot bind third parties since
subsisting at the time Garcia sold those shares to FCI (predecessor-in- admittedly its attachment on 19 July 1985 was not
interest of appellee CEIC) in 1988. recorded in the stock and transfer books of Chemphil,
and subordinate to the attachment of SBTC which
SBTC registered and annotated in the stock and
Anent the last issue, the Court of Appeals rejected CEIC's subrogation
theory based on Art. 1302 (2) of the New Civil Code stating that the transfer books of Chemphil on 2 July 1985, and that the
obligation to SBTC was paid by Garcia himself and not by a third party Consortium's attachment failed to comply with Sec.
7(d), Rule 57 of the Rules as evidenced by the notice of
(FCI).
garnishment of the deputy sheriff of the trial court dated
19 July 1985 (annex "D") which the sheriff served on a A. FCI PAID THE SBTC DEBT BY VIRTUE OF A
certain Thelly Ruiz who was neither President nor CONTRACT BETWEEN FCI AND GARCIA, THUS,
managing agent of Chemphil; LEGAL SUBROGATION DOES NOT ARISE;

(2) In not applying the case law enunciated by this B. THE SBTC DEBT WAS PAID BY GARCIA HIMSELF
Honorable Supreme Court in Samahang Magsasaka, AND NOT BY FCI, HENCE, SUBROGATION BY
Inc. vs. Gonzalo Chua Guan, 96 Phil. 974 that as PAYMENT COULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED;
between two attaching creditors, the one whose claim
was registered first in the books of the corporation
C. FCI DID NOT ACQUIRE ANY RIGHT OVER THE
enjoys priority, and which respondent Court erroneously
DISPUTED SHARES AS SBTC HAD NOT YET
characterized as mere obiter dictum;
LEVIED UPON NOR BOUGHT THOSE SHARES ON
EXECUTION. ACCORDINGLY, WHAT FCI ACQUIRED
(3) In not holding that the dismissal of the appeal of the FROM SBTC WAS SIMPLY A JUDGMENT CREDIT
Consortium from the order of the trial court dismissing AND AN ATTACHMENT LIEN TO SECURE ITS
its counterclaim against Antonio M. Garcia and the SATISFACTION.
finality of the compromise agreement which ended the
litigation between the Consortium and Antonio M.
II. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR
Garcia in the Dynetics case had ipso jure discharged
IN SUSTAINING THE ORDERS OF THE TRIAL COURT DATED
the Consortium's purported attachment over the
DECEMBER 19, 1989 AND MARCH 5, 1990 WHICH DENIED
disputed shares.
PETITIONER'S OWNERSHIP OVER THE DISPUTED SHARES
NOTWITHSTANDING PROVISIONS OF LAW AND EXTANT
III. JURISPRUDENCE ON THE MATTER THAT PETITIONER AND THE
CONSORTIUM HAVE PREFERRED SENIOR RIGHTS THEREOVER.
THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT
HOLDING THAT CEIC HAD BEEN SUBROGATED TO THE RIGHTS OF III. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEAL COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR
SBTC SINCE CEIC'S PREDECESSOR IN INTEREST HAD PAID SBTC IN CONCLUDING THAT THE DISMISSAL OF THE COMPLAINT AND THE
PURSUANT TO THE DEED OF SALE AND PURCHASE OF STOCK COUNTERCLAIM IN CIVIL CASE NO. 8527 ALSO RESULTED IN THE
EXECUTED BY ANTONIO M. GARCIA ON JULY 15, 1988, AND THAT BY DISCHARGE OF THE WRIT OF ATTACHMENT DESPITE THE RULINGS
REASON OF SUCH PAYMENT, WITH THE CONSENT AND OF THIS HONORABLE COURT IN BF HOMES VS. COURT OF
KNOWLEDGE OF ANTONIO M. GARCIA, FCI AND CEIC, AS PARTY IN APPEALS, G.R. NOS. 76879 AND 77143, OCTOBER 3, 1990, 190 SCRA
INTEREST TO FCI, WERE SUBROGATED BY OPERATION OF LAW TO 262, AND IN OLIB VS. PASTORAL, G.R. NO. 81120, AUGUST 20, 1990,
THE RIGHTS OF SBTC. 188 SCRA 692 TO THE CONTRARY.

IV. IV. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS EXCEEDED ITS JURISDICTION


IN RULING ON THE MERITS OF THE MAIN CASE NOTWITHSTANDING
THAT THOSE MATTERS WERE NOT ON APPEAL BEFORE IT.
THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED AND
MADE UNWARRANTED INFERENCES AND CONCLUSIONS, WITHOUT
ANY SUPPORTING EVIDENCE, THAT THERE WAS AN ATTEMPT ON V. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR
THE PART OF ANTONIO M. GARCIA TO USE FCI AND CEIC AS IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER IS GUILTY OF FORUM SHOPPING
CONVENIENT VEHICLES TO DENY THE CONSORTIUM ITS RIGHTS TO DESPITE THE FACT THAT SC CIRCULAR NO. 28-91 WAS NOT YET IN
MAKE ITSELF WHOLE THROUGH AN EXECUTION OF THE CHEMPHIL FORCE AND EFFECT AT THE TIME THE PETITION WAS FILED BEFORE
SHARES PURPORTEDLY ATTACHED BY THE CONSORTIUM ON 19 RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT, AND THAT ITS COUNSEL AT THAT
JULY 1985. 39 TIME HAD ADEQUATE BASIS TO BELIEVE THAT CERTIORARI AND
NOT AN APPEAL OF THE TRIAL COURT'S ORDERS WAS THE
APPROPRIATE RELIEF.40
On 2 March 1994, PCIB filed its own petition for review docketed as G.R. No. 113394 wherein it
raised the following issues:
As previously stated, the issue boils down to who is legally entitled to the disputed shares of
Chemphil. We shall resolve this controversy by examining the validity of the claims of each party
I. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR
and, thus, determine whose claim has priority.
IN RENDERING THE DECISION AND RESOLUTION IN QUESTION
(ANNEXES A AND B) IN DEFIANCE OF LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE BY
FINDING RESPONDENT CEIC AS HAVING BEEN SUBROGATED TO CEIC's claim
THE RIGHTS OF SBTC BY THE PAYMENT BY FCI OF GARCIA'S DEBTS
TO THE LATTER DESPITE THE FACT THAT —
CEIC traces its claim over the disputed shares to the attachment lien obtained by SBTC on 2
July 1985 against Antonio Garcia in Civil Case No. 10398. It avers that when FCI, CEIC's
predecessor-in-interest, paid SBTC the due obligations of Garcia to the said bank pursuant to et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al." G.R. Nos. 82282-83 becomes final and
the Deed of Absolute Sale and Purchase of Shares of Stock, 41FCI, and later CEIC, was executory. 43 (Emphasis ours.)
subrogated to the rights of SBTC, particularly to the latter's aforementioned attachment lien over
the disputed shares.
Hence, when FCI issued the BA check to SBTC in the amount of P35,462,869.62 to pay
Garcia's indebtedness to the said bank, it was in effect paying with Garcia's money, no longer
CEIC argues that SBTC's attachment lien is superior as it was obtained on 2 July 1985, ahead of with its own, because said amount was part of the purchase price which FCI owed Garcia in
the consortium's purported attachment on 19 July 1985. More importantly, said CEIC lien was payment for the sale of the disputed shares by the latter to the former. The money "paid" by FCI
duly recorded in the stock and transfer books of Chemphil. to SBTC, thus properly belonged to Garcia. It is as if Garcia himself paid his own debt to SBTC
but through a third party — FCI.
CEIC's subrogation theory is unavailing.
It is, therefore, of no consequence that what was used to pay SBTC was a corporate check of
FCI. As we have earlier stated, said check no longer represented FCI funds but Garcia's money,
By definition, subrogation is "the transfer of all the rights of the creditor to a third person, who
being as it was part of FCI's payment for the acquisition of the disputed shares. The FCI check
substitutes him in all his rights. It may either be legal or conventional. Legal subrogation is that
should not be taken at face value, the attendant circumstances must also be considered.
which takes place without agreement but by operation of law because of certain acts; this is the
subrogation referred to in article 1302. Conventional subrogation is that which takes place by
agreement of the parties . . ."42 The aforequoted contractual stipulation in the Deed of Sale dated 15 July 1988 between Antonio
Garcia and FCI is nothing more but an arrangement for the sake of convenience. Payment was
to be effected in the aforesaid manner so as to prevent money from changing hands needlessly.
CEIC's theory is premised on Art. 1302 (2) of the Civil Code which states:
Besides, the very purpose of Garcia in selling the disputed shares and his other properties was
to "settle certain civil suits filed against him."44
Art. 1302. It is presumed that there is legal subrogation:
Since the money used to discharge Garcia's debt rightfully belonged to him, FCI cannot be
(1) When a creditor pays another creditor who is preferred, even without the considered a third party payor under Art. 1302 (2). It was but a conduit, or as aptly categorized
debtor's knowledge; by respondents, merely an agent as defined in Art. 1868 of the Civil Code:

(2) When a third person, not interested in the obligation, pays with the Art. 1868. By the contract of agency a person binds himself to render some
express or tacit approval of the debtor; service or to do something in representation or on behalf of another, with
the consent or authority of the latter.
(3) When, even without the knowledge of the debtor, a person interested in
the fulfillment of the obligation pays, without prejudice to the effects of FCI was merely fulfilling its obligation under the aforementioned Deed of Sale.
confusion as to the latter's share. (Emphasis ours.)
Additionally, FCI is not a disinterested party as required by Art. 1302 (2) since the benefits of the
Despite, however, its multitudinous arguments, CEIC presents an erroneous interpretation of the extinguishment of the obligation would redound to none other but itself. 45 Payment of the
concept of subrogation. An analysis of the situations involved would reveal the clear judgment debt to SBTC resulted in the discharge of the attachment lien on the disputed shares
inapplicability of Art. 1302 (2). purchased by FCI. The latter would then have a free and "clean" title to said shares.

Antonio Garcia sold the disputed shares to FCI for a consideration of P79,207,331.28. FCI, In sum, CEIC, for its failure to fulfill the requirements of Art. 1302 (2), was not subrogated to the
however, did not pay the entire amount to Garcia as it was obligated to deliver part of the rights of SBTC against Antonio Garcia and did not acquire SBTC's attachment lien over the
purchase price directly to SBTC pursuant to the following stipulation in the Deed of Sale: disputed shares which, in turn, had already been lifted or discharged upon satisfaction by
Garcia, through FCI, of his debt to the said bank.46
Manner of Payment
The rule laid down in the case of Samahang Magsasaka, Inc. v. Chua Guan,47 that as between
two attaching creditors the one whose claim was registered ahead on the books of the
Payment of the Purchase Price shall be made in accordance with the corporation enjoys priority, clearly has no application in the case at bench. As we have amply
following order of preferenceprovided that in no instance shall the total discussed, since CEIC was not subrogated to SBTC's right as attaching creditor, which right in
amount paid by the Buyer exceed the Purchase Price:
turn, had already terminated after Garcia paid his debt to SBTC, it cannot, therefore, be
categorized as an attaching creditor in the present controversy. CEIC cannot resurrect and claim
a. Buyer shall pay directly to the Security Bank and Trust Co. the amount a right which no longer exists. The issue in the instant case, then, is priority between an
determined by the Supreme Court as due and owing in favor of the said attaching creditor (the consortium) and a purchaser (FCI/CEIC) of the disputed shares of stock
bank by the Seller. and not between two attaching creditors — the subject matter of the aforestated Samahang
Magsasaka case.
The foregoing amount shall be paid within fifteen (15) days from the date
the decision of the Supreme Court in the case entitled "Antonio M. Garcia,
CEIC, likewise, argues that the consortium's attachment lien over the disputed Chemphil shares recorded in the corporation's stock and transfer book in order to have "force and effect as
is null and void and not binding on third parties due to the latter's failure to register said lien in against third persons."
the stock and transfer books of Chemphil as mandated by the rule laid down by the Samahang
Magsasaka v. Chua Guan.48
xxx xxx xxx

The attachment lien acquired by the consortium is valid and effective. Both the Revised Rules of
The word "transferencia" (transfer) is defined by the "Diccionario de la
Court and the Corporation Code do not require annotation in the corporation's stock and transfer
Academia de la Lengua Castellana" as "accion y efecto de transfeir" (the act
books for the attachment of shares of stock to be valid and binding on the corporation and third
and effect of transferring); and the verb "transferir", as "ceder or renunciar
party.
en otro el derecho o dominio que se tiene sobre una cosa, haciendole
dueno de ella" (to assign or waive the right in, or absolute ownership of, a
Section 74 of the Corporation Code which enumerates the instances where registration in the thing in favor of another, making him the owner thereof).
stock and transfer books of a corporation provides:
In the Law Dictionary of "Words and Phrases", third series, volume 7, p.
Sec. 74. Books to be kept; stock transfer agent. — 5867, the word "transfer" is defined as follows:

xxx xxx xxx "Transfer" means any act by which property of one
person is vested in another, and "transfer of shares", as
used in Uniform Stock Transfer Act (Comp. St. Supp.
Stock corporations must also keep a book to be known as the stock and
690), implies any means whereby one may be divested
transfer book, in which must be kept a record of all stocks in the names of
of and another acquire ownership of stock. (Wallach vs.
the stockholders alphabetically arranged; the installments paid and unpaid
Stein [N.J.], 136 A., 209, 210.)
on all stock for which subscription has been made, and the date of payment
of any settlement; a statement of every alienation, sale or transfer of stock
made, the date thereof, and by and to whom made; and such other entries xxx xxx xxx
as the by-laws may prescribe. The stock and transfer book shall be kept in
the principal office of the corporation or in the office of its stock transfer
In the case of Noble vs. Ft. Smith Wholesale Grocery Co. (127 Pac., 14, 17;
agent and shall be open for inspection by any director or stockholder of the
34 Okl., 662; 46 L.R.A. [N.S.], 455), cited in Words and Phrases, second
corporation at reasonable hours on business days. (Emphasis ours.)
series, vol. 4, p. 978, the following appears:

xxx xxx xxx


A "transfer" is the act by which the owner of a thing
delivers it to another with the intent of passing the rights
Section 63 of the same Code states: which he has in it to the latter, and a chattel mortgage is
not within the meaning of such term.
Sec. 63. Certificate of stock and transfer of shares. — The capital stock of
stock corporations shall be divided into shares for which certificates signed xxx xxx xxx.50
by the president or vice-president, countersigned by the secretary or
assistant secretary, and sealed with the seal of the corporation shall be
Although the Monserrat case refers to a chattel mortgage over shares of stock, the same may be
issued in accordance with the by-laws. Shares of stock so issued are
applied to the attachment of the disputed shares of stock in the present controversy since an
personal property and may be transferred by delivery of the certificate or
attachment does not constitute an absolute conveyance of property but is primarily used as a
certificates indorsed by the owner or his attorney-in-fact or other person
means "to seize the debtor's property in order to secure the debt or claim of the creditor in the
legally authorized to make the transfer. No transfer, however, shall be valid,
event that a judgment is rendered."51
except as between the parties, until the transfer is recorded in the books of
the corporation so as to show the names of the parties to the transaction,
the date of the transfer, the number of the certificate or certificates and the Known commentators on the Corporation Code expound, thus:
number of shares transferred.
xxx xxx xxx
No shares of stock against which the corporation holds any unpaid claim
shall be transferable in the books of the corporation. (Emphasis ours.)
Shares of stock being personal property, may be the subject matter of
pledge and chattel mortgage. Such collateral transfers are however not
Are attachments of shares of stock included in the term "transfer" as provided in Sec. 63 of the covered by the registration requirement of Section 63, since our Supreme
Corporation Code? We rule in the negative. As succinctly declared in the case of Monserrat Court has held that such provision applies only to absolute transfers thus,
v. Ceron,49 "chattel mortgage over shares of stock need not be registered in the corporation's the registration in the corporate books of pledges and chattel mortgages of
stock and transfer book inasmuch as chattel mortgage over shares of stock does not involve a shares cannot have any legal effect. 52(Emphasis ours.)
"transfer of shares," and that only absolute transfers of shares of stock are required to be
xxx xxx xxx Moreover, the service and receipt of the notice of garnishment on 19 July 1985 was duly
acknowledged and confirmed by the corporate secretary of Chemphil, Rolando Navarro and his
successor Avelino Cruz through their respective certifications dated 15 August 198957 and 21
The requirement that the transfer shall be recorded in the books of the
August 1989.58
corporation to be valid as against third persons has reference only to
absolute transfers or absolute conveyance of the ownership or title to a
share. We rule, therefore, that there was substantial compliance with Sec. 7(d), Rule 57 of the Rules of
Court.
Consequently, the entry or notation on the books of the corporation of
pledges and chattel mortgages on shares is not necessary to their validity Did the compromise agreement between Antonio Garcia and the consortium discharge the
(although it is advisable to do so) since they do not involve absolute latter's attachment lien over the disputed shares?
alienation of ownership of stock (Monserrat vs. Ceron, 58 Phil. 469 [1933];
Chua Guan vs. Samahang Magsasaka, Inc., 62 Phil. 472 [1935].) To affect
CEIC argues that a writ of attachment is a mere auxiliary remedy which, upon the dismissal of
third persons, it is enough that the date and description of the shares
the case, dies a natural death. Thus, when the consortium entered into a compromise
pledged appear in a public instrument. (Art. 2096, Civil Code.) With respect
agreement, 59 which resulted in the termination of their case, the disputed shares were released
to a chattel mortgage constituted on shares of stock, what is necessary is its
from garnishment.
registration in the Chattel Mortgage Registry. (Act No. 1508 and Art. 2140,
Civil Code.)53
We disagree. To subscribe to CEIC's contentions would be to totally disregard the concept and
purpose of a preliminary attachment.
CEIC's reliance on the Samahang Magsasaka case is misplaced. Nowhere in the said decision
was it categorically stated that annotation of the attachment in the corporate books is mandatory
for its validity and for the purpose of giving notice to third persons. A writ of preliminary attachment is a provisional remedy issued upon order
of the court where an action is pending to be levied upon the property or
properties of the defendant therein, the same to be held thereafter by the
The only basis, then, for petitioner CEIC's claim is the Deed of Sale under which it purchased
Sheriff as security for the satisfaction of whatever judgment might be
the disputed shares. It is, however, a settled rule that a purchaser of attached property acquires
secured in said action by the attaching creditor against the
it subject to an attachment legally and validly levied thereon.54
defendant.60 (Emphasis ours.)

Our corollary inquiry is whether or not the consortium has indeed a prior valid and existing
Attachment is a juridical institution which has for its purpose to secure the
attachment lien over the disputed shares.
outcome of the trial, that is, the satisfaction of the pecuniary obligation really
contracted by a person or believed to have been contracted by him, either
Jaime Gonzales' /Consortium's Claim by virtue of a civil obligation emanating from contract or from law, or by
virtue of some crime or misdemeanor that he might have committed, and
the writ issued, granted it, is executed by attaching and safely keeping all
Is the consortium's attachment lien over the disputed shares valid?
the movable property of the defendant, or so much thereof may be sufficient
to satisfy the plaintiff's demands . . .61 (Emphasis ours.)
CEIC vigorously argues that the consortium's writ of attachment over the disputed shares of
Chemphil is null and void, insisting as it does, that the notice of garnishment was not validly
The chief purpose of the remedy of attachment is to secure a contingent lien
served on the designated officers on 19 July 1985.
on defendant's property until plaintiff can, by appropriate proceedings,
obtain a judgment and have such property applied to its satisfaction, or to
To support its contention, CEIC presented the sheriff's notice of garnishment 55 dated 19 July make some provision for unsecured debts in cases where the means of
1985 which showed on its face that said notice was received by one Thelly Ruiz who was neither satisfaction thereof are liable to be removed beyond the jurisdiction, or
the president nor managing agent of Chemphil. It makes no difference, CEIC further avers, that improperly disposed of or concealed, or otherwise placed beyond the reach
Thelly Ruiz was the secretary of the President of Chemphil, for under the above-quoted of creditors.62 (Emphasis ours.)
provision she is not among the officers so authorized or designated to be served with the notice
of garnishment.
We reiterate the rule laid down in BF Homes, Inc. v. CA 63 that an attachment lien continues
until the debt is paid, or sale is had under execution issued on the judgment or until judgment is
We cannot subscribe to such a narrow view of the rule on proper service of writs of attachment. satisfied, or the attachment discharged or vacated in the same manner provided by law. We
expounded in said case that:
A secretary's major function is to assist his or her superior. He/she is in effect an extension of
the latter. Obviously, as such, one of her duties is to receive letters and notices for and in behalf The appointment of a rehabilitation receiver who took control and custody of
of her superior, as in the case at bench. The notice of garnishment was addressed to and was BF has not necessarily secured the claims of Roa and Mendoza. In the
actually received by Chemphil's president through his secretary who formally received it for him. event that the receivership is terminated with such claims not having been
Thus, in one case,56 we ruled that the secretary of the president may be considered an "agent" satisfied, the creditors may also find themselves without security therefor in
of the corporation and held that service of summons on him is binding on the corporation. the civil action because of the dissolution of the attachment. This should not
be permitted. Having previously obtained the issuance of the writ in good
faith, they should not be deprived of its protection if the rehabilitation plan The non-fulfillment of the terms and conditions of a compromise agreement
does not succeed and the civil action is resumed. approved by the Court justifies execution thereof and the issuance of the
writ for said purpose is the Court's ministerial duty enforceable
by mandamus.
xxx xxx xxx

Likewise we ruled in Canonizado v. Benitez:65


As we ruled in Government of the Philippine Islands v. Mercado:

A judicial compromise may be enforced by a writ of execution. If a party fails


Attachment is in the nature of a proceeding in rem. It is
or refuses to abide by the compromise, the other party may enforce the
against the particular property. The attaching creditor
compromise or regard it as rescinded and insist upon his original demand.
thereby acquires specific lien upon the attached
property which ripens into a judgment against
the res when the order of sale is made. Such a If we were to rule otherwise, we would in effect create a back door by which a debtor can easily
proceeding is in effect a finding that the property escape his creditors. Consequently, we would be faced with an anomalous situation where a
attached is an indebted thing and a virtual debtor, in order to buy time to dispose of his properties, would enter into a compromise
condemnation of it to pay the owner's debt. The law agreement he has no intention of honoring in the first place. The purpose of the provisional
does not provide the length of time an attachment lien remedy of attachment would thus be lost. It would become, in analogy, a declawed and toothless
shall continue after the rendition of judgment, and it tiger.
must therefore necessarily continue until the debt is
paid, or sale is had under execution issued on the
From the foregoing, it is clear that the consortium and/or its assignee Jaime Gonzales have the
judgment or until judgment is satisfied, or the
better right over the disputed shares. When CEIC purchased the disputed shares from Antonio
attachment discharged or vacated in some manner
Garcia on 15 July 1988, it took the shares subject to the prior, valid and existing attachment lien
provided by law.
in favor of and obtained by the consortium.

It has been held that the lien obtained by attachment


Forum Shopping in G.R. No. 113394
stands upon as high equitable grounds as a mortgage
lien:
We uphold the decision of the Court of Appeals finding PCIB guilty of forum-shopping.66
The lien or security obtained by an attachment even
before judgment, is a fixed and positive security, a The Court of Appeals opined:
specific lien, and, although whether it will ever be made
available to the creditor depends on contingencies, its
existence is in no way contingent, conditioned or True it is, that petitioner PCIB was not a party to the appeal made by the
inchoate. It is a vested interest, an actual and four other banks belonging to the consortium, but equally true is the rule that
substantial security, affording specific security for where the rights and liabilities of the parties appealing are so interwoven
satisfaction of the debt put in suit, which constitutes a and dependent on each other as to be inseparable, a reversal of the
cloud on the legal title, and is as specific as if created appealed decision as to those who appealed, operates as a reversal to all
and will inure to the benefit of those who did not join the appeal (Tropical
by virtue of a voluntary act of the debtor and stands
upon as high equitable grounds as a mortgage. (Corpus Homes vs. Fortun, 169 SCRA 80, p. 90, citing Alling vs. Wenzel, 133 111.
Juris Secundum, 433, and authorities therein cited.) 264-278; 4 C.J. 1206). Such principal, premised upon communality of
interest of the parties, is recognized in this jurisdiction (Director of Lands vs.
Reyes, 69 SCRA 415). The four other banks which were part of the
xxx xxx xxx consortium, filed their notice of appeal under date of March 16, 1990,
furnishing a copy thereof upon the lawyers of petitioner. The petition
for certiorari in the present case was filed on April 10, 1990, long after the
The case at bench admits of a peculiar character in the sense that it involves a compromise
other members of the consortium had appealed from the assailed order of
agreement. Nonetheless, the rule established in the aforequoted cases still applies, even more
December 19, 1989.
so since the terms of the agreement have to be complied with in full by the parties thereto. The
parties to the compromise agreement should not be deprived of the protection provided by an
attachment lien especially in an instance where one reneges on his obligations under the We view with skepticism PCIB's contention that it did not join the consortium because it
agreement, as in the case at bench, where Antonio Garcia failed to hold up his own end of the "honestly believed that certiorari was the more efficacious and speedy relief available under the
deal, so to speak. circumstances."67 Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court is not difficult to
understand. Certiorari is available only if there is no appeal or other plain, speedy and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law. Hence, in instituting a separate petition for certiorari, PCIB
Moreover, a violation of the terms and conditions of a compromise agreement entitles the
has deliberately resorted to forum-shopping.
aggrieved party to a writ of execution.

In Abenojar & Tana v. CA, et al., 64 we held:


PCIB cannot hide behind the subterfuge that Supreme Court Circular 28-91 was not yet in force delaying the administration of justice, and violating with impunity his oath of office and applicable
when it filed the certiorari proceedings in the Court of Appeals. The rule against forum-shopping laws and jurisprudence.[1]
has long been established.68Supreme Court Circular 28-91 merely formalized the prohibition and
provided the appropriate penalties against transgressors. After the respondent submitted his Comment, dated August 21, 1993, we referred the
case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on September 27, 1993 for investigation,
report and recommendation. On August 15, 1997, we received a resolution from the IBP Board
It alarms us to realize that we have to constantly repeat our warning against forum-shopping. We of Governors, finding respondent guilty of violating Canons 10 and 12 of the Code of
cannot over-emphasize its ill-effects, one of which is aptly demonstrated in the case at bench Professional Responsibility and recommending his suspension from the practice of law for a
where we are confronted with two divisions of the Court of Appeals issuing contradictory period of six months, viz:
decisions69 one in favor of CEIC and the other in favor of the consortium/Jaime Gonzales.

RESOLUTION NO. XII-97-149


Forum-shopping or the act of a party against whom an adverse judgment has been rendered in Adm. Case NO. 4058
one forum, of seeking another (and possibly favorable) opinion in another forum (other than by Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. vs.
appeal or the special civil action of certiorari), or the institution of two (2) or more actions or Atty. Ernesto B. Flores
proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or the other court would
make a favorable disposition,70 has been characterized as an act of malpractice that is prohibited
and condemned as trifling with the Courts and abusing their processes. It constitutes improper RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and
conduct which tends to degrade the administration of justice. It has also been aptly described as APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the
deplorable because it adds to the congestion of the already heavily burdened dockets of the above-entitled case, hereinmade [sic] part of this Resolution/Decision as Annex A; and
courts.71 finding the recommendation therein to be fully supported by the evidence on record and
the applicable laws and rules, Respondent Atty. Ernesto Flores is hereby SUSPENDED
from the practice of law for six (6) months for violating the provision of Canon[s] 10 and 12
WHEREFORE, premises considered the appealed decision in G.R. Nos. 112438-39 is hereby of the Code of Professional Responsibility.[2]
AFFIRMED and the appealed decision in G.R. No. 113394, insofar as it adjudged the CEIC the
rightful owner of the disputed shares, is hereby REVERSED. Moreover, for wantonly resorting to
forum-shopping, PCIB is hereby REPRIMANDED and WARNED that a repetition of the same or
similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely. The Facts

SO ORDERED.
Because the parties[3] agreed to dispense with the presentation of testimonial evidence,
the case was submitted for resolution on the basis of their documentary evidence. As found by
Investigating Commissioner Plaridel C. Jose, the facts are as follows:

[A.C. No. 4058. March 12, 1998]


x x x. On February 25, 1993, Labor Arbiter Irenarco Rimando of the National Labor
Relations Commission, Regional Arbitration Branch, Cordillera Administrative Region,
Baguio City, issued a Writ of Execution (x x x) in NLRC Case No. RAB-1-0313-84 to
enforce the decision rendered by the Supreme Court on May 18, 1992 in G.R. No. 89070
BENGUET ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. complainant, vs. ATTY. ERNESTO B. (Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. vs. NLRC, 209 SCRA 55). The Writ of Execution was
FLORES, respondent. issued on motion of Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO for short) to collect the
amount of P344,000.00 which it paid to Peter Cosalan during the pendency of the case
before the Supreme Court, on the basis of its decision ordering the respondent board
DECISION members to reimburse petitioner BENECO any amount that it may be compelled to pay to
respondent Cosalan by virtue of the decision of Labor Arbiter Amado T. Adquilen.
PANGANIBAN, J.:

After issuance of the writ of execution, the respondent, as new counsel for the
The profession of law exacts the highest standards from its members and brooks no losing litigant-members of the BENECO Board of Directors, filed a Motion for Clarification
violation of its code of conduct. Accordingly, a lawyer who trifles with judicial processes, with the Third Division of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 89070, the minute resolution to
engages in forum shopping and blatantly lies in his pleadings must be sanctioned. wit: to note without action the aforesaid motion.

Thereafter, the respondent instituted a suit docketed as Civil Case NO. 2738-R (x
The Case x x) with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Baguio City, seeking to enjoin the defendants
Clerk of Court, et al. from levying on their properties in satisfaction of the said writ of
execution. That case, however, was dismissed by the Presiding Judge Clarence
Villanueva in his Order dated March 18, 1993 (x x x).
This is an administrative complaint against Atty. Ernesto Flores filed by Benguet Electric
Cooperative, Inc. (BENECO) before this Court on July 5, 1993, seeking his removal or
suspension from the bar for forum shopping, which amounted to grave misconduct, x x x unduly
Accordingly, the Office of the Clerk of Court, MTC, Baguio City, through Sheriff III A cursory glance of (sic) x x x the complaint filed by the respondent in Civil Case No. 2738-R
Wilfredo Mendez, proceeded to levy on the properties of the losing board members of before the RTC of Baguio City, which complaint was signed and verified under oath by the
BENECO. Thus, a sale at public auction was set on June 1, 1993, at 10:00 oclock in the respondent, reveals that it lacks the certification required by Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91
morning in front of the Baguio City Hall, per Sheriffs Notice of Sale dated May 4, 1993 (x x which took effect on January 1, 1992 to the effect that to the best of his knowledge, no such
x), of the properties of Abundio Awal and Nicasio Aliping[,] two of the losing members of action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals or different divisions
the Board of Directors of BENECO in the aforementioned case. thereof or any tribunal or agency. If there is any other action pending, he must state the status of
the same. If he should learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or pending before
the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals or different divisions thereof or any tribunal or agency[,] he
Respondent claims in his comment (x x x) that Branch 7, motu proprio, dismissed
should notify the court, tribunal or agency within five (5) days from such notice.
Civil Case No. 2738-R for lack of jurisdiction on March 18,1993, which dismissal was [sic]
became final due to respondents failure to perfect an appeal therefrom which claim
according to the complainant, constitute[s] deliberate misrepresentation, if not falsehood, Among the other penalties, the said circular further provides that the lawyer may also be
because the respondent indeed interposed an appeal such that on May 11, 1993, the RTC subjected to disciplinary proceedings for non-compliance thereof.
7 of Baguio City transmitted the entire record of Civil Case No. 2738-R to the Court of
Appeals per certified machine copy of the letter transmittal of same date (x x x).
In sum, it is clear that the respondent violated the provisions of Canon[s] 10 and 12 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility under which the lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to
While respondent never essentially intended to assail the issuance by the NLRC of the court and exert[s] every effort and consider[s] it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient
the Writ of Execution x x x nor sought to undo it (x x x) the complaint in Civil Case No. administration of justice.[4]
2738-R which he filed prays for the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order
and/or preliminary writ of injunction for defendants Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio City
Sheriff to cease and desist from enforcing the execution and levy of the writ of execution
issued by the NLRC-CAR, pending resolution of the main action in said court (x x x) which This Courts Ruling

complainant likewise claims as an unprocedural maneuver to frustrate the execution of the


decision of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 89070 in complete disregard of settled
jurisprudence that regular courts have no jurisdiction to hear and decide questions which
We adopt and affirm the recommendation of the IBP suspending the respondent from the
arise and are incidental to the enforcement of decisions, orders and awards rendered in
bar, but we increase the period from six (6) months to one (1) year and six (6) months.
labor cases citing the case of Cangco vs. CA, 199 SCRA 677, a display of gross
ignorance of the law.

On May 26, 1993, respondent again filed for Abundio Awal and Nicasio Aliping with the Forum Shopping

Regional Trial Court, Branch 9, La Trinidad, Benguet, separate complaints for Judicial
Declaration of Family Home Constituted, Ope Lege, and thus Exempt from Levy and
Execution the subject properties with Damages, etc. docketed as Civil Cases Nos. 93-F- Circular No. 28-91,[5] dated September 4, 1991 which took effect on January 1, 1992,
0414 (x x x) and 93-F-0415 (x x x), which are essentially similar actions to enjoin the
requires a certificate of non-forum shopping to be attached to petitions filed before this Court and
enforcement of the judgment rendered in NLRC Case No. RAB-1-0313-84. He also filed the Court of Appeals. This circular was revised on February 8, 1994. The IBP found that the
an urgent Motion Ex-parte (x x x) praying for temporary restraining order in these two (2)
respondent had violated it, because the complaint he filed before the RTC of Baguio City
cases. lack[ed] the certification required by Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91.[6]

The complainant further alleges that respondents claim for damages against the We distinguish. Respondents failure to attach the said certificate cannot be deemed a
defendant Sheriff is another improper and unprocedural maneuver which is likewise a violation of the aforementioned circular, because the said requirement applied only to petitions
violation of respondents oath not to sue on groundless suit since the said Sheriff was filed with this Court and the Court of Appeals.[7] Likewise inapplicable is Administrative Circular
merely enforcing a writ of execution as part of his job. No. 04-94 dated February 8, 1994 which extended the requirement of a certificate of non-forum
shopping to all initiatory pleadings filed in all courts and quasi-judicial agencies other than this
Court and the Court of Appeals. Circular No. 04-94 became effective only on April 1, 1994, but
the assailed complaint for injunction was filed on March 18, 1993, and the petition for the
Recommendation of the IBP constitution of a family home was instituted on May 26, 1993.

Be that as it may, respondent is still guilty of forum shopping. In Chemphil Export and
Import Corporation vs. Court of Appeals,[8] this Court declared that (t)he rule against forum
As noted earlier, Investigating Commissioner Plaridel C. Jose recommended, and the IBP shopping has long been established and subsequent circulars [9] of this Court merely formalized
Board of Governors concurred, that respondent be suspended from the bar for six months for: the prohibition and provided the appropriate penalties against transgressors. The prohibition is
found in Section 1(e) of Rule 16 and Section 4 of Rule 2 of the 1964 Rules of Court, which
1. Falsehood, for stating in his comment before this Court that the order of the RTC provide:
dismissing the complaint in Civil Case No. 2738-R was not appealed on time

2. Failure to comply with Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91 on forum shopping SECTION 1. Grounds. -- Within the time for pleading, a motion to dismiss the action may be
made on any of the following grounds:
Commissioner Jose ratiocinated:
xxx xxx xxx When this injunction case was dismissed, Respondent Flores filed with another branch of
the RTC two identical but separate actions both entitled Judicial Declaration of Family Home
Constituted, ope lege,Exempt from Levy and Execution; with Damages, etc., docketed as Civil
(e) That there is another action pending between the same parties for the same cause;
Case Nos. 93-F-0414 and 93-F-0415.[21] The said complaints were supplemented by an Urgent
Motion Ex Parte[22] which prayed for an order to temporarily restrain Sheriff Wilfredo V. Mendez
xxx xxx xxx[10] from proceeding with the auction sale of plaintiffs property to avoid rendering ineffectual and
functus [oficio] any judgment of the court later in this [sic] cases, until further determined by the
court.
SEC. 4. Effect of splitting a single cause of action. -- If two or more complaints are brought for
different parts of a single cause of action, the filing of the first may be pleaded in abatement of Civil Case Nos. 93-F-0414 and 93-F-0415 are groundless suits. Modequillo vs.
the other or others, in accordance with section 1 (e) of Rule 16, and a judgment upon the merits Breva,[23] reiterated in Manacop vs. Court of Appeals,[24] shows the frivolity of these proceedings:
in any one is available as a bar in the others.[11]

Under the Family Code, a family home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it
The prohibition is also contained in Circular No. 28-91. This circular did not only require is occupied as a family residence. There is no need to constitute the same judicially or
that a certification of non-forum shopping be attached to the petitions filed before this Court or extrajudicially as required in the Civil Code. If the family actually resides in the premises, it is,
the Court of Appeals; it also decreed that forum shopping constituted direct contempt of court therefore, a family home as contemplated by law. Thus, the creditors should take the necessary
and could subject the offending lawyer to disciplinary action. The third paragraph thereof reads: precautions to protect their interest before extending credit to the spouses or head of the family
who owns the home.
3. Penalties.
xxx.
(a) Any violation of this Circular shall be a cause for the summary dismissal of the multiple
petition or complaint. The exemption provided as aforestated is effective from the time of the constitution of the family
home as such, and lasts so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein.
(b) Any willful and deliberate forum shopping by any party and his lawyer wit the filing of multiple
petitions and complaints to ensure favorable action shall constitute direct contempt of court. Adhering to the Courts declaration in said cases, the subject properties are deemed
constituted as family homes by operation of law under Article 153 of the Family Code.
(c) The submission of false certification under Par. 2 of the Circular shall likewise constitute
The suits for the constitution of a family home were not only frivolous and
contempt of Court, without prejudice to the filing of criminal action against the guilty party. The
unnecessary; they were clearly asking for reliefs identical to the prayer previously dismissed by
lawyer may also be subjected to disciplinary proceedings. (Underscoring supplied.)
another branch of the RTC, i.e., to forestall the execution of a final judgment of the labor
arbiter. That they were filed ostensibly for the judicial declaration of a family home was a mere
The foregoing were substantially reproduced in Revised Circular No. 28-91[12] and smoke screen; in essence, their real objective was to restrain or delay the enforcement of the
Administrative Circular No. 04-94.[13] writ of execution. In his deliberate attempt to obtain the same relief in two different courts,
Respondent Flores was obviously shopping for a friendly forum which would capitulate to his
In a long line of cases, this Court has held that forum shopping exists when, as a result of improvident plea for an injunction and was thereby trifling with the judicial process. [25]
an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or
certiorari) in another,[14]or when he institutes two or more actions or proceedings grounded on We remind the respondent that, under the Code of Professional Responsibility, [26] he had a
the same cause, on the gamble that one or the other court would make a favorable duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. [27] The Code also enjoins him
disposition.[15] The most important factor in determining the existence of forum shopping is the from unduly delaying a case by impeding the execution of a judgment or by misusing court
vexation caused the courts and parties-litigants by a party who asks different courts to rule on processes.[28]
the same or related causes or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs.[16]
In consonance with Millare vs. Montero[29] and Garcia vs. Francisco,[30] respondent should
After this Court rendered its Decision[17] in Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. vs. National be suspended from the practice of law for one year. In Millare, the respondent filed with different
Labor Relations Commission, et al.[18] and upon motion of BENECO, Labor Arbiter Irenarco R. courts a total of six appeals, complaints and petitions which frustrated and delayed the execution
Rimando issued a writ of execution[19] ordering the clerk of court and ex officio city sheriff of the of a final judgment.Holding that respondent made a mockery of the judicial processes and
Municipal Trial Court of Baguio City to levy on and sell at public auction personal and real disregarded canons of professional ethics in intentionally frustrating the rights of a litigant in
property of the members of the Board of Directors of BENECO. whose favor a judgment in the case was rendered [and], thus, abused procedural rules to defeat
the ends of substantial justice,[31] this Court suspended the respondent from the practice of law
On March 18, 1993, Respondent Flores, acting as counsel for BENECO Board Members for one year.
Victor Laoyan, Nicasio Aliping, Lorenzo Pilando and Abundio Awal, filed with the RTC an
injunction suit praying for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) to preserve In Garcia, the respondent was also suspended for one year from the practice of law, for
the status quo as now obtaining between the parties, as well as a writ of preliminary preventive violating the proscription against forum shopping. This Court held that he deserve[d] to be
injunction ordering the clerk of court and the ex officio city sheriff of the MTC of Baguio to cease sanctioned, not only as a punishment for his misconduct but also as a warning to other lawyers
and desist from enforcing by execution and levy the writ of execution from the NLRC-CAR, who may be influenced by his example.[32]
pending resolution of the main action raised in court.[20]
Falsehood
A lawyer must be a disciple of truth. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, he
owes candor, fairness and good faith to the courts. [37] He shall neither do any falsehood, nor
consent to the doing of any. He also has a duty not to mislead or allow the courts to be misled by
The investigating commissioner also held respondent liable for committing a falsehood any artifice.[38]
because, in this administrative case, he stated in his comment that he had not perfected an
For this offense, we suspend the respondent from the practice of law for another
appeal on the dismissal of his petition for injunction. In his said comment, the respondent stated: year. True, in Ordonio vs. Eduarte,[39] Porac Trucking, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals [40] and Erectors,
Inc. vs. NLRC,[41] we imposed a suspension of only six months for a similar malfeasance. But in
Branch 7 (of the RTC) motu proprio, dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction on March 18, Flores case, his falsehood is aggravated by its brazenness, for it was committed in an attempt,
1993. Not having perfected an appeal on the dismissal, the order of dismissal became final vain as it was, to cover up his forum shopping.
under the Rules 15 days after its receipt by respondent on record, or before April 6, 1993. So
that today this case is no longer pending. Before we close, we note that this simple case was referred to the IBP on September 27,
1993. It was deemed submitted for resolution per the investigating commissioners order dated
May 10, 1995. However, the investigating commissioner submitted his report only on May 5,
xxx. 1997. Moreover, the IBP transmitted its recommendation to the Court only through a letter dated
July 31, 1997, which was received by the Office of the Bar Confidant on August 15, 1997. Why it
It should be noted that when Civil Case Nos. 93-F-0414 and 93-F-0415 for family homes and took the IBP almost four years to finish its investigation of the case and over two years from the
damages were filed in the court below on May 26, 1993, Civil Case NO. 2378-R which seems to date the parties filed their last pleadings to resolve it escapes us.After all, the case did not
give basis to the present Complaint was deemed terminated, there being no appeal formally require any trial-type investigation, and the parties submitted only documentary evidence to
taken and perfected in accordance with the Rules. prove or rebut their respective cases. Thus, we find it opportune to urge the IBP to hasten the
disposition of administrative cases and to remind it that this Court gives it only ninety days to
finish its investigation, report and recommendation. Should it require more time, it should file with
xxx. the Court a request for extension, giving the reason for such request.

WHEREFORE, for trifling with judicial processes by resorting to forum shopping,


And that precisely was the primal reason why respondent decided not to appeal any further Respondent Ernesto B. Flores is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of
anymore [sic] the order of dismissal for lack of jurisdiction of the court below in Civil Case No. ONE (1) YEAR and, for violating his oath and the Canon of Professional Responsibility to do no
2738, and let it be deemed final by the Rules and jurisprudence. [33] (Underscoring supplied.) falsehood, he is SUSPENDED for another period of ONE (1) YEAR, resulting in a total period of
TWO (2) YEARS, effective upon finality of this Decision. He is WARNED that a repetition of a
The indelible fact, however, is that respondent did file an appeal which was perfected later similar misconduct will be dealt with more severely.
on. The original records of the injunction suit had been transmitted to the appellate
court.[34] Moreover, the Court of Appeals issued a resolution dismissing the appeal. [35] Thus, in Let a copy of this Decision be included in his files which are with the Office of the Bar
denying that he had appealed the decision of the RTC, respondent was making a false Confidant, and circularized to all courts and to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
statement. SO ORDERED.
Respondent argues that the withdrawal of his appeal means that no appeal was made
under Section 2 of Rule 50 of the Rules of Court. The pertinent provisions of Rule 50[36]read:

SEC. 2. Effect of dismissal.-- Fifteen (15) days after the dismissal of an appeal, the clerk shall [G.R. No. 130068. October 1, 1998]
return to the court below the record on appeal with a certificate under the seal of the court
showing that the appeal has been dismissed. Upon the receipt of such certificate in the lower
court the case shall stand there as though no appeal had ever been taken, and the judgment of
the said court may be enforced with the additional costs allowed by the appellate court upon
dismissing the appeal. FAR EASTERN SHIPPING COMPANY, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPELAS and
PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY, respondents.
xxx xxx xxx

SEC. 4. Withdrawal of appeal.-- An appeal may be withdrawn as of right at any time before the
filing of appellees brief. x x x. The withdrawal of an appeal shall have the same effect as that of a [G.R. No. 130150. October 1, 1998]
dismissal in accordance with section 2 of this rule.

Respondents explanation misses the point. True, he withdrew his appeal. But it is likewise
true that he had actually filed an appeal, and that this was perfected. False then is his statement
MANILA PILOTS ASSOCIATION, petitioner, vs. PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY and FAR
that no appeal was perfected in the injunction suit. Worse, he made the statement before this
EASTERN SHIPPING COMPANY, respondents.
Court in order to exculpate himself, though in vain, from the charge of forum shopping.

DECISION
REGALADO, J.: a decision dated August 1, 1985, the trial court ordered the defendants therein jointly and
severally to pay the PPA the amount of P1,053,300.00 representing actual damages and the
cost of suit.[5]
These consolidated petitions for review on certiorari seek in unison to annul and set aside
the decision[1] of respondent Court of Appeals of November 15, 1996 and its resolution[2] dated The defendants appealed to the Court of Appeals and raised the following issues: (1) Is
July 31, 1997 in CA-G.R. CV No. 24072, entitled Philippine Ports Authority, Plaintiff- the pilot of a commercial vessel, under compulsory pilotage, solely liable for the damage caused
Appellee vs. Far Eastern Shipping Company, Senen C. Gavino and Manila Pilots by the vessel to the pier, at the port of destination, for his negligence? And (2) Would the owner
Association. Defendants-Appellants, which affirmed with modification the judgment of the trial of the vessel be liable likewise if the damage is caused by the concurrent negligence of the
court holding the defendants-appellants therein solidarily liable for damages in favor of herein master of vessel and the pilot under a compulsory pilotage?
private respondent.
As stated at the outset, respondent appellate court affirmed the findings of the court a
There is no dispute about the facts as found by the appellate court, thus -- quo except that it found no employer-employee relationship existing between herein private
respondents Manila Pilots Association (MPA, for short) and Capt. Gavino. [6] This being so, it
x x x On June 20, 1980, the M/V PAVLODAR, flying under the flagship of the USSR, owned and ruled instead that the liability of MPA is anchored, not on Article 2180 of the Civil Code, but on
operated by the Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESC for brevitys sake), arrived at the Port of the provisions of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65,[7] and accordingly modified said
Manila from Vancouver, British Columbia at about 7:00 oclock in the morning. The vessel was decision of the trial court by holding MPA, along with its co-defendants therein, still solidarily
assigned Berth 4 of the Manila International Port, as its berthing space. Captain Roberto liable to PPA but entitled MPA to reimbursement from Capt. Gavino for such amount of the
Abellana was tasked by the Philippine Port Authority to supervise the berthing of the adjudged pecuniary liability in excess of the amount equivalent to seventy-five percent (75%) of
vessel. Appellant Senen Gavino was assigned by the appellant Manila Pilots Association (MPA its prescribed reserve fund.[8]
for brevitys sake) to conduct docking maneuvers for the safe berthing of the vessel to Berth No.
Neither Far Eastern Shipping Co. (briefly, FESC) nor MPA was happy with the decision of
4.
the Court of Appeals and both of them elevated their respective plaints to us via separate
petitions for review on certiorari.
Gavino boarded the vessel at the quarantine anchorage and stationed himself in the bridge, with
the master of the vessel, Victor Kavankov, beside him. After a briefing of Gavino by Kavankov of In G.R. No. 130068, which was assigned to the Second Division of this Court, FESC
the particulars of the vessel and its cargo, the vessel lifted anchor from the quarantine imputed that the Court of Appeals seriously erred:
anchorage and proceeded to the Manila International Port. The sea was calm and the wind was
ideal for docking maneuvers. 1. in not holding Senen C. Gavino and the Manila Pilots Association as the parties solely
responsible for the resulting damages sustained by the pier deliberately ignoring the established
When the vessel reached the landmark (the big church by the Tondo North Harbor) one-half mile jurisprudence on the matter.
from the pier, Gavino ordered the engine stopped. When the vessel was already about 2,000
feet from the pier, Gavino ordered the anchor dropped. Kavankov relayed the orders to the crew 2. in holding that the master had not exercised the required diligence demanded from him by the
of the vessel on the bow.The left anchor, with two (2) shackles were dropped. However, the circumstances at the time the incident happened;
anchor did not take hold as expected.The speed of the vessel did not slacken. A commotion
ensued between the crew members. A brief conference ensued between Kavankov and the
crew members. When Gavino inquired what was all the commotion about, Kavankov assured 3. in affirming the amount of damages sustained by the respondent Philippine Ports Authority
Gavino that there was nothing of it. despite a strong and convincing evidence that the amount is clearly exorbitant and
unreasonable;
After Gavino noticed that the anchor did not take hold, he ordered the engines half-
astern. Abellana, who was then on the pier apron, noticed that the vessel was approaching the 4. in not awarding any amount of counterclaim prayed for by the petitioner in its answer; and
pier fast. Kavankov likewise noticed that the anchor did not take hold. Gavino thereafter gave the
full-astern code. Before the right anchor and additional shackles could be dropped, the bow of 5. in not granting herein petitioner's claim against pilot Senen C. Gavino and Manila Pilots'
the vessel rammed into the apron of the pier causing considerable damage to the pier. The Association in the event that it be held liable.[9]
vessel sustained damage too. (Exhibit 7-Far Eastern Shipping). Kavankov filed his sea protest
(Exhibit 1-Vessel). Gavino submitted his report to the Chief Pilot (Exhibit 1-Pilot) who referred
the report to the Philippine Ports Authority (Exhibit 2-Pilot) Abellana likewise submitted his report Petitioner asserts that since the MV PAVLODAR was under compulsory pilotage at the
of the incident (Exhibit B). time of the incident, it was a compulsory pilot, Capt. Gavino, who was in command and had
complete control in the navigation and docking of the vessel. It is the pilot who supersedes the
master for the time being in the command and navigation of a ship and his orders must be
Per contract and supplemental contract of the Philippine Ports Authority and the contractor for obeyed in all respects connected with her navigation. Consequently, he was solely responsible
the rehabilitation of the damaged pier, the same cost the Philippine Ports Authority the amount for the damage caused upon the pier apron, and not the owners of the vessel. It claims that the
of P1,126,132.25 (Exhibits D and E).[3] master of the boat did not commit any act of negligence when he failed to countermand or
overrule the orders of the pilot because he did not see any justifiable reason to do so. In other
On January 10, 1983, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA, for brevity), through the Solicitor words, the master cannot be faulted for relying absolutely on the competence of the compulsory
General, filed before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 39, a complaint for a sum of pilot. If the master does not observe that a compulsory pilot is incompetent or physically
money against Far Eastern Shipping Co., Capt. Senen C. Gavino and the Manila Pilots incapacitated, the master is justified in relying on the pilot.[10]
Association, docketed as Civil Case No. 83-14958,[4] praying that the defendants therein be held
jointly and severally liable to pay the plaintiff actual and exemplary damages plus costs of suit. In
Respondent PPA, in its comment, predictably in full agreement with the ruling of same issues in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals or different divisions thereof or any other
respondent court on the solidary liability of FESC, MPA and Capt. Gavino, stresses the tribunal or agency.
concurrent negligence of Capt. Gavino, the harbor pilot, and Capt. Viktor Kabankov, * shipmaster
of MV Pavlodar, as the basis of their solidary liability for damages sustained by PPA. It posits More particularly, the second paragraph of Section 2, Rule 42 provides:
that the vessel was being piloted by Capt. Gavino with Capt. Kabankov beside him all the while
on the bridge of the vessel, as the former took over the helm of MV Pavlodar when it rammed xxxxxxxxx
and damaged the apron of the pier of Berth No. 4 of the Manila International Port. Their
concurrent negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of the collision between the The petitioner shall also submit together with the petition a certification under oath that he has
vessel and the pier - Capt. Gavino, for his negligence in the conduct of docking maneuvers for not therefore commenced any other action involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the
the safe berthing of the vessel; and Capt. Kabankov, for failing to countermand the orders of the Court of Appeals or different divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency; if there is such
harbor pilot and to take over and steer the vessel himself in the face of imminent danger, as well other action or proceeding, he must state the status of the same; and if he should thereafter
as for merely relying on Capt. Gavino during the berthing procedure.[11] learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court,
the Court of Appeals or different divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency, he undertakes
On the other hand, in G.R. No. 130150, originally assigned to the Court's First Division to promptly inform the aforesaid courts and other tribunal or agency thereof within five (5) days
and later transferred to the Third Division, MPA, now as petitioner in this case, avers the therefrom. (Italics supplied.)
respondent court's errors consisted in disregarding and misinterpreting Customs Administrative
Order No. 15-65 which limits the liability of MPA. Said pilots' association asseverates that it
should not be held solidarily liable with Capt. Gavino who, as held by respondent court, is only a For petitions for review filed before the Supreme Court, Section 4(e), Rule 45 specifically
member, not an employee, thereof. There being no employer-employee relationship, neither can requires that such petition shall contain a sworn certification against forum shopping as provided
MPA be held liable for any vicarious liability for the respective exercise of profession by its in the last paragraph of Section 2, Rule 42.
members nor be considered a joint tortfeasor as to be held jointly and severally liable. [12] It
further argues that there was erroneous reliance on Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 The records show that the law firm of Del Rosario and Del Rosario through its associate,
and the constitution and by-laws of MPA, instead of the provisions of the Civil Code on damages Atty. Herbert A. Tria, is the counsel of record for FESC in both G.R. No. 130068 and G.R. No.
which, being a substantive law, is higher in category than the aforesaid constitution and by-laws 130150.
of a professional organization or an administrative order which bears no provision classifying the G.R. No. 130068, which is assigned to the Court's Second Division, commenced with the
nature of the liability of MPA for the negligence its member pilots. [13] filing by FESC through counsel on August 22, 1997 of a verified motion for extension of time to
As for Capt. Gavino, counsel for MPA states that the former had retired from active file its petition for thirty (30) days from August 28, 1997 or until September 27, 1997.[20] Said
pilotage services since July 28, 1994 and has ceased to be a member of petitioner pilots' motion contained the following certification against forum shopping[21] signed by Atty. Herbert A.
association. He is not joined as a petitioner in this case since his whereabouts are unknown.[14] Tria as affiant:

FESC's comment thereto relied on the competence of the Court of Appeals in construing CERTIFICATION
provisions of law or administrative orders as basis for ascertaining the liability of MPA, and AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING
expressed full accord with the appellate court's holding of solidary liability among itself, MPA and
Capt. Gavino. It further avers that the disputed provisions of Customs Administrative Order No. I/we hereby certify that I/we have not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the
15-65 clearly established MPA's solidary liability.[15] same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency; that to
the best of my own knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court,
On the other hand, public respondent PPA, likewise through representations by the the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency; that if I/we should thereafter learn that a
Solicitor General, assumes the same supportive stance it took in G.R. No. 130068 in declaring similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of
its total accord with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that MPA is solidarily liable with Capt. Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, I/we undertake to report that fact within five (5) days
Gavino and FESC for damages, and in its application to the fullest extent of the provisions of therefrom to this Honorable Court.
Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 in relation to MPA's constitution and by-laws which
spell out the conditions of and govern their respective liabilities.These provisions are clear and
ambiguous as regards MPA's liability without need for interpretation or construction. Although This motion having been granted, FESC subsequently filed its petition on September 26, 1997,
Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 is a mere regulation issued by an administrative this time bearing a "verification and certification against forum-shopping" executed by one
agency pursuant to delegated legislative authority to fix details to implement the law, it is legally Teodoro P. Lopez on September 24, 1997,[22] to wit:
binding and has the same statutory force as any valid statute.[16]
VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION
Upon motion[17] by FESC dated April 24, 1998 in G.R. No. 130150, said case was AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING
consolidated with G.R. No. 130068.[18]

Prefatorily, on matters of compliance with procedural requirements, it must be mentioned in compliance with Section 4(e), Rule 45 in relation to Section 2, Rule 42 of the Revised Rules of
that the conduct of the respective counsel for FESC and PPA leaves much to be desired, to the Civil Procedure
displeasure and disappointment of this Court.
I, Teodoro P. Lopez, of legal age, after being duly sworn, depose and state:
Section 2, Rule 42 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure[19] incorporates the former Circular
No. 28-91 which provided for what has come to be known as the certification against forum
shopping as an additional requisite for petitions filed with the Supreme Court and the Court of 1. That I am the Manager, Claims Department of Filsov Shipping Company, the local agent of
Appeals, aside from the other requirements contained in pertinent provisions of the Rules of petitioner in this case.
Court therefor, with the end in view of preventing the filing of multiple complaints involving the
2. That I have caused the preparation of this Petition for Review on Certiorari. As between the lawyer and the courts, a lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to
the court.[26]He is an officer of the court exercising a privilege which is indispensable in the
administration of justice.[27]Candidness, especially towards the courts, is essential for the
3. That I have read the same and the allegations therein contained are true and correct based
expeditious administration of justice. Courts are entitled to expect only complete honesty from
on the records of this case.
lawyers appearing and pleading before them.[28] Candor in all dealings is the very essence of
honorable membership in the legal profession.[29] More specifically, a lawyer is obliged to
4. That I certify that petitioner has not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the observe the rules of procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice. [30]It
same issues in the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, that to behooves a lawyer, therefore, to exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy
the best of my own knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court, and efficient administration of justice.[31] Being an officer of the court, a lawyer has a
the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, that I should thereafter learn that a similar responsibility in the proper administration of justice. Like the court itself, he is an instrument to
action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of advance its ends -- the speedy, efficient, impartial, correct and inexpensive adjudication of cases
Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, I undertake to report the fact within five (5) days and the prompt satisfaction of final judgments. A lawyer should not only help attain these
therefrom to this Honorable Court. (Italics supplied for emphasis.) objectives but should likewise avoid any unethical or improper practices that impede, obstruct or
prevent their realization, charged as he is with the primary task of assisting in the speedy and
Reviewing the records, we find that the petition filed by MPA in G.R. No. 130150 then efficient administration of justice.[32]
pending with the Third Division was duly filed on August 29, 1997 with a copy thereof furnished
on the same date by registered mail to counsel for FESC.[23] Counsel of record for MPA, Atty. Sad to say, the members of said law firm sorely failed to observe their duties as
Jesus P. Amparo, in his verification accompanying said petition dutifully revealed to the Court responsible members of the Bar. Their actuations are indicative of their predisposition to take
that-- lightly the avowed duties of officers of the Court to promote respect for law and for legal
processes.[33] We cannot allow this state of things to pass judicial muster.
xxxxxxxxx
In view of the fact that at around the time these petitions were commenced, the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure had just taken effect, the Court treated infractions of the new Rules
3. Petitioner has not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in his then with relative liberality in evaluating full compliance therewith. Nevertheless, it would do well
Honorable Court, the Court of Appeals or different Divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or
to remind all concerned that the penal provisions of Circular No. 28-91 which remain operative
agency, but to the best of his knowledge, there is an action or proceeding pending in this provides, inter alia:
Honorable Court, entitled Far Eastern Shipping Co., Petitioner, vs. Philippine Ports Authority and
Court of Appeals with a Motion for Extension of time to file Petition for Review by Certiorari filed
sometime on August 18, 1997. If undersigned counsel will come to know of any other pending 3. Penalties.-
action or claim filed or pending he undertakes to report such fact within five (5) days to this
Honorable Court.[24] (Italics supplied.) xxxxxxxxx

Inasmuch as MPA's petition in G.R. No. 130150 was posted by registered mail on August
(c) The submission of a false certification under Par. 2 of the Circular shall likewise constitute
29, 1997 and taking judicial notice of the average period of time it takes local mail to reach its
contempt of court, without prejudice to the filing of criminal action against the guilty party. The
destination, by reasonable estimation it would be fair to conclude that when FESC filed its
lawyer may also be subjected to disciplinary proceedings.
petition in G.R. No. 130068 on September 26, 1997, it would already have received a copy of
the former and would then have knowledge of the pendency of the other petition initially filed It must be stressed that the certification against forum shopping ordained under the Rules
with the First Division. It was therefore incumbent upon FESC to inform the Court of that fact is to be executed by the petitioner, and not by counsel. Obviously it is the petitioner, and not
through its certification against forum shopping. For failure to make such disclosure, it would always the counsel whose professional services have been retained for a particular case, who is
appear that the aforequoted certification accompanying the petition in G.R. No. 130068 is in the best position to know whether he or it actually filed or caused the filing of a petition in that
defective and could have been a ground for dismissal thereof. case. Hence, a certification against forum shopping by counsel is a defective certification. It is
clearly equivalent to non-compliance with the requirement under Section 2, Rule 42 in relation to
Even assuming that FESC has not yet received its copy of MPA's petition at the time it
Section 4, Rule 45, and constitutes a valid cause for dismissal of the petition.
filed its own petition and executed said certification, its signatory did state "that if I should
thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Hence, the initial certification appended to the motion for extension of time to file petition n
Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, I undertake to report the G.R. No. 130068 executed in behalf of FESC by Atty. Tria is procedurally deficient. But
fact within five (5) days therefrom in this Honorable Court."[25] Scouring the records page by page considering that it was a superfluity at that stage of the proceeding, it being unnecessary to file
in this case, we find that no manifestation concordant with such undertaking was then or at any such a certification with a mere motion for extension, we shall disregard such error. Besides, the
other time thereafter ever filed by FESC nor was there any attempt to bring such matter to the certification subsequently executed by Teodoro P. Lopez in behalf of FESC cures that defect to
attention of the Court. Moreover, it cannot feign non-knowledge of the existence of such other a certain extent, despite the inaccuracies earlier pointed out. In the same vein, we shall consider
petition because FESC itself filed the motion for consolidation in G.R. No. 130150 of these two the verification signed in behalf of MPA by its counsel, Atty. Amparo, in G.R. No. 130150 as
cases on April 24, 1998. substantial compliance inasmuch as it served the purpose of the Rules of informing the Court of
the pendency of another action or proceeding involving the same issues.
It is disturbing to note that counsel for FESC, the law firm of Del Rosario and Del Rosario,
displays an unprofessional tendency of taking the Rules for granted, in this instance exemplified It bears stressing that procedural rules are instruments in the speedy and efficient
by its pro formacompliance therewith but apparently without full comprehension of and with less administration of justice. They should be used to achieve such end and not to derail it.[34]
than faithful commitment to its undertakings to this Court in the interest of just, speedy and
orderly administration of court proceedings. Counsel for PPA did not make matters any better. Despite the fact that, save for the
Solicitor General at the time, the same legal team of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG, for
short) composed of Assistant Solicitor General Roman G. Del Rosario and Solicitor Luis F.
Simon, with the addition of Assistant Solicitor General Pio C. Guerrero very much later in the The OSG is reminded that just like other members of the Bar, the canons under the Code
proceedings, represented PPA throughout the appellate proceedings in both G.R. No. 130068 of Professional Responsibility apply with equal force on lawyers in government service in the
and G.R. No. 130150 and was presumably fully acquainted with the facts and issues of the case, discharge of their official tasks.[43] These ethical duties are rendered even more exacting as to
it took the OSG an inordinately and almost unreasonably long period of time to file its comment, them because, as government counsel, they have the added duty to abide by the policy of the
thus unduly delaying the resolution of these cases. It took several changes of leadership in the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service. [44] Furthermore, it is incumbent upon
OSG -- from Silvestre H. Bello III to Romeo C. dela Cruz and, finally, Ricardo P. Galvez -- before the OSG, as part of the government bureaucracy, to perform and discharge its duties with the
the comment in behalf of PPA was finally filed. highest degree of professionalism, intelligence and skill[45] and to extend prompt, courteous and
adequate service to the public.[46]
In G.R. No. 130068, it took eight (8) motions for extension of time totaling 210 days, a
warning that no further extensions shall be granted, and personal service on the Solicitor Now, on the merits of the case. After a judicious examination of the records of this case,
General himself of the resolution requiring the filing of such comment before the OSG indulged the pleadings filed, and the evidence presented by the parties in the two petitions, we find no
the Court with the long required comment on July 10, 1998. [35] This, despite the fact that said cogent reason to reverse and set aside the questioned decision. While not entirely a case of first
office was required to file its comment way back on November 12, 1997. [36] A closer scrutiny of impression, we shall discuss the issues seriatim and, correlatively by way of a judicial once-over,
the records likewise indicates that petitioner FESC was not even furnished a copy of said inasmuch as the matters raised in both petitions beg for validation and updating of well worn
comment as required by Section 5, Rule 42. Instead, a copy thereof was inadvertently furnished maritime jurisprudence. Thereby, we shall write finisto the endless finger-pointing in this
to MPA which, from the point of view of G.R. No. 130068, was a non-party.[37] The OSG fared shipping mishap which has been stretched beyond the limits of judicial tolerance.
slightly better in G.R. No. 130150 in that it took only six (6) extensions, or a total of 180 days,
before the comment was finally filed.[38] And while it properly furnished petitioner MPA with a The Port of Manila is within the Manila Pilotage District which is under compulsory pilotage
copy of its comment, it would have been more desirable and expedient in this case to have pursuant to Section 8, Article III of Philippine Ports Authority Administrative Order No. 03-
furnished its therein co-respondent FESC with a copy thereof, if only as a matter of professional 85,[47] which provides that:
courtesy.[39]
SEC. 8. Compulsory Pilotage Service.- For entering a harbor and anchoring thereat, or passing
This undeniably dilatory disinclination of the OSG to seasonably file required pleadings
through rivers or straits within a pilotage district, as well as docking and undocking at any
constitutes deplorable disservice to the tax-paying public and can only be categorized as
pier/wharf, or shifting from one berth or another, every vessel engaged in coastwise and foreign
censurable inefficiency on the part of the government law office. This is most certainly
trade shall be under compulsory pilotage. x x x
professionally unbecoming of the OSG.

Another thing that baffles the Court is why the OSG did not take the initiative of filing a In case of compulsory pilotage, the respective duties and responsibilities of the
motion for consolidation in either G.R. No. 130068 or G.R. No. 130150, considering its familiarity compulsory pilot and the master have been specified by the same regulation in this wise:
with the background of the case and if only to make its job easier by having to prepare and file
only one comment. It could not have been unaware of the pendency of one or the other petition
because, being counsel for respondent in both cases, petitioner is required to furnish it with a SEC. 11. Control of vessels and liability for damage. - On compulsory pilotage grounds, the
copy of the petition under pain of dismissal of the petition for failure otherwise. [40] Harbor Pilot, providing the service to a vessel shall be responsible for the damage caused to a
vessel or to life and property at ports due to his negligence or fault. He can only be absolved
Besides, in G.R. 130068, it prefaces its discussions thus -- from liability if the accident is caused by force majeure or natural calamities provided he has
exercised prudence and extra diligence to prevent or minimize damage.
Incidentally, the Manila Pilots' Association (MPA), one of the defendants-appellants in the case
before the respondent Court of Appeals, has taken a separate appeal from the said decision to The Master shall retain overall command of the vessel even on pilotage grounds whereby he
this Honorable Court, which was docketed as G.R. No. 130150 and entitled "Manila Pilots' can countermand or overrule the order or command of the Harbor Pilot on board. In such event,
Association, Petitioner, versus Philippine Ports Authority and Far Eastern Shipping Co., any damage caused to a vessel or to life and property at ports by reason of the fault or
Respondents.[41] negligence of the Master shall be the responsibility and liability of the registered owner of the
vessel concerned without prejudice to recourse against said Master.
Similarly, in G.R. No. 130150, it states -
Incidentally, respondent Far Eastern Shipping Co. (FESC) had also taken an appeal from the Such liability of the owner or Master of the vessel or its pilots shall be determined by competent
said decision to this Honorable Court, docketed as G.R. No. 130068, entitled "Far Eastern authority in appropriate proceedings in the light of the facts and circumstances of each particular
Shipping Co. vs. Court of Appeals and Philippine Ports Authority."[42] case.

We find here a lackadaisical attitude and complacency on the part of the OSG in the SEC. 32. Duties and responsibilities of the Pilot or Pilots' Association. - The duties and
handling of its cases and an almost reflexive propensity to move for countless extensions, as if responsibilities of the Harbor Pilot shall be as follows:
to test the patience of the Court, before favoring it with the timely submission of required
pleadings.
xxxxxxxxx
It must be emphasized that the Court can resolve cases only as fast as the respective
parties in a case file the necessary pleadings. The OSG, be needlessly extending the pendency f) a pilot shall be held responsible for the direction of a vessel from the time he assumes his
of these cases through its numerous motions for extension, came very close to exhausting this work as a pilot thereof until he leaves it anchored or berthed safely; Provided, however, that his
Court's forbearance and has regrettably fallen short of its duties as the People's Tribune. responsibility shall cease at the moment the Master neglects or refuses to carry out his order.
Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 issued twenty years earlier likewise provided in should give all directions as to speed, course, stopping and reversing, anchoring, towing and the
Chapter I thereof for the responsibilities of pilots: like. And when a licensed pilot is employed in a place where pilotage is compulsory, it is his duty
to insist on having effective control of the vessel, or to decline to act as pilot. Under certain
systems of foreign law, the pilot does not take entire charge of the vessel, but is deemed merely
Par. XXXIX. - A Pilot shall be held responsible for the direction of a vessel from the time he
the adviser of the master, who retains command and control of the navigation even on localities
assumes control thereof until he leaves it anchored free from shoal; Provided, That his
where pilotage is compulsory.[55]
responsibility shall cease at the moment the master neglects or refuses to carry out his
instructions. It is quite common for states and localities to provide for compulsory pilotage, and safety
laws have been enacted requiring vessels approaching their ports, with certain exceptions, to
xxxxxxxxx take on board pilots duly licensed under local law. The purpose of these laws is to create a body
of seamen thoroughly acquainted with the harbor, to pilot vessels seeking to enter or depart, and
thus protect life and property from the dangers of navigation.[56]
Par. XLIV. - Pilots shall properly and safely secure or anchor vessels under their control when
requested to do so by the master of such vessels. In line with such established doctrines, Chapter II of Customs Administrative Order No.
15-65 prescribes the rules of compulsory pilotage in the covered pilotage districts, among which
is the Manila Pilotage District, viz. --
I. G.R. No. 130068

Petitioner FESC faults the respondent court with serious error in not holding MPA and PARAGRAPH I. - Pilotage for entering a harbor and anchoring thereat, as well as docking
Capt. Gavino solely responsible for the damages caused to the pier. It avers that since the and undocking in any pier or shifting from one berth to another shall be compulsory, except
vessel was under compulsory pilotage at the time with Capt. Gavino in command and having Government vessels and vessels of foreign governments entitled to courtesy, and other vessels
exclusive control of the vessel during the docking maneuvers, then the latter should be engaged solely in river or harbor work, or in a daily ferry service between ports which shall be
responsible for damages caused to the pier.[48] It likewise holds the appellate court in error for exempt from compulsory pilotage provisions of these regulations: provided, however, that
holding that the master of the ship, Capt. Kabankov, did not exercise the required diligence compulsory pilotage shall not apply in pilotage districts whose optional pilotage is allowed under
demanded by the circumstances.[49] these regulations.
We start our discussion of the successive issues bearing in mind the evidentiary rule in
American jurisprudence that there is a presumption of fault against a moving vessel that strikes Pursuant thereto, Capt. Gavino was assigned to pilot MV Pavlodar into Berth 4 of the
a stationary object such as a dock or navigational aid. In admiralty, this presumption does more Manila International Port. Upon assuming such office as compulsory pilot, Capt. Gavino is held
than merely require the ship to go forward and produce some evidence on the presumptive to the universally accepted high standards of care and diligence required of a pilot, whereby he
matter. The moving vessel must show that it was without fault or that the collision was assumes to have skill and knowledge in respect to navigation in the particular waters over which
occasioned by the fault of the stationary object or was the result of inevitable accident. It has his license extends superior to and more to be trusted than that of the master. [57] A pilot should
been held that such vessel must exhaust every reasonable possibility which the circumstances have a thorough knowledge of general and local regulations and physical conditions affecting
admit and show that in each, they did all that reasonable care required. [50] In the absence of the vessel in his charge and the waters for which he is licensed, such as a particular harbor or
sufficient proof in rebuttal, the presumption of fault attaches to a moving vessel which collides river. He is not held to the highest possible degree of skill and care, but must have and exercise
with a fixed object and makes a prima facie case of fault against the vessel.[51] Logic and the ordinary skill and care demanded by the circumstances, and usually shown by an expert in
experience support this presumption: his profession. Under extraordinary circumstances, a pilot must exercise extraordinary care. [58]

In Atlee vs. The Northwestern Union Packet Company,[59] Mr. Justice Miller spelled out in
The common sense behind the rule makes the burden a heavy one. Such accidents simply do great detail the duties of a pilot:
not occur in the ordinary course of things unless the vessel has been mismanaged in some
way. It is not sufficient for the respondent to produce witnesses who testify that as soon as the
danger became apparent everythingpossible was done to avoid an accident. The question x x x (T)he pilot of a river steamer, like the harbor pilot, is selected for his personal
remains, How then did the collision occur? The answer must be either that, in spite of the knowledge of the topography through which he steers his vessel. In the long course of a
testimony of the witnesses, what was done was too little or too late or, if not, then the vessel was thousand miles in one of these rivers, he must be familiar with the appearance of the shore on
at fault for being in a position in which an unavoidable collision would occur.[52] each side of the river as he goes along. Its banks, towns, its landings, its houses and trees, are
all landmarks by which he steers his vessel. The compass is of little use to him. He must know
where the navigable channel is, in its relation to all these external objects, especially in the
The task, therefore, in these cases is to pinpoint who was negligent - the master of the ship, the night. He must also be familiar with all dangers that are permanently located in the course of the
harbor pilot or both. river, as sand-bars, snags, sunken rocks or trees or abandoned vessels or barges. All this he
must know and remember and avoid. To do this, he must be constantly informed of the changes
A pilot, in maritime law, is a person duly qualified, and licensed, to conduct a vessel into or
in the current of the river, of the sand-bars newly made, of logs or snags, or other objects newly
out of ports, or in certain waters. In a broad sense, the term "pilot" includes both (1) those whose presented, against which his vessel might be injured.
duty it is to guide vessels into or out of ports, or in particular waters and (2) those entrusted with
the navigation of vessels on the high seas.[53] However, the term "pilot" is more generally
understood as a person taken on board at a particular place for the purpose of conducting a ship xxxxxxxxx
through a river, road or channel, or from a port.[54]

Under English and American authorities, generally speaking, the pilot supersedes the It may be said that this is exacting a very high order of ability in a pilot. But when we
master for the time being in the command and navigation of the ship, and his orders must be consider the value of the lives and property committed to their control, for in this they are
obeyed in all matters connected with her navigation. He becomes the master pro hac vice and absolute masters, the high compensation they receive, the care which Congress has taken to
secure by rigid and frequent examinations and renewal of licenses, this very class of skill, we do are required not only to exercise reasonable care in what they do but also possess a standard
not think we fix the standard too high. minimum of special knowledge and ability.[63]

Every man who offers his services to another, and is employed, assumes to exercise in
Tested thereby, we affirm respondent court's finding that Capt. Gavino failed to measure the employment such skills he possesses, with a reasonable degree of diligence. In all these
up to such strict standard of care and diligence required of pilots in the performance of their employments where peculiar skill is requisite, if one offers his services he is understood as
duties. Witness this testimony of Capt. Gavino: holding himself out to the public as possessing the degree of skill commonly possessed by
others in the same employment, and if his pretensions are unfounded he commits a species of
Court:
fraud on every man who employs him in reliance on his public profession.[64]
You have testified before that the reason why the vessel bumped the pier was
Furthermore, there is an obligation on all persons to take the care which, under ordinary
because the anchor was not released immediately or as soon as you have given the
circumstances of the case, a reasonable and prudent man would take, and the omission of that
order. Do you remember having stated that?
care constitutes negligence.[65] Generally, the degree of care required is graduated according to
A Yes, your Honor. the danger a person or property attendant upon the activity which the actor pursues or the
instrumentality which he uses. The greater the danger the greater the degree of care
Q And you gave this order to the captain of the vessel? required. What is ordinary under extraordinary of conditions is dictated by those conditions;
extraordinary risk demands extraordinary care. Similarly, the more imminent the danger, the
A Yes, your Honor. higher the degree of care.[66]
Q By that testimony, you are leading the Court to understand that is that anchor was We give our imprimatur to the bases for the conclusion of the Court of Appeals that Capt.
released immediately at the time you gave the order, the incident would not have Gavino was indeed negligent in the performance of his duties:
happened. Is that correct?
xxxxxxxxx
A Yes, sir, but actually it was only a presumption on my part because there was a
commotion between the officers who are in charge of the dropping of the anchor and
the captain. I could not understand their language, it was in Russian, so I presumed x x x As can be gleaned from the logbook, Gavino ordered the left anchor and two (2)
the anchor was not dropped on time. shackles dropped at 8:30 o'clock in the morning. He ordered the engines of the vessel stopped
at 8:31 o'clock. By then, Gavino must have realized that the anchor did not hit a hard object and
Q So, you are not sure whether it was really dropped on time or not? was not clawed so as to reduce the momentum of the vessel. In point of fact, the vessel
continued travelling towards the pier at the same speed. Gavino failed to react. At 8:32 o'clock,
A I am not sure, your Honor. the two (2) tugboats began to push the stern part of the vessel from the port side but the
momentum of the vessel was not contained. Still, Gavino did not react. He did not even order the
xxxxxxxxx other anchor and two (2) more shackles dropped to arrest the momentum of the vessel. Neither
did he order full-astern. It was only at 8:34 o'clock, or four (4) minutes, after the anchor was
Q You are not even sure what could have caused the incident. What factor could have
dropped that Gavino reacted. But his reaction was even (haphazard) because instead of
caused the incident?
arresting fully the momentum of the vessel with the help of the tugboats, Gavino ordered merely
A Well, in this case now, because either the anchor was not dropped on time or the anchor "half-astern". It took Gavino another minute to order a "full-astern". By then, it was too late. The
did not hold, that was the cause of the incident, your Honor.[60] vessel's momentum could no longer be arrested and, barely a minute thereafter, the bow of the
vessel hit the apron of the pier. Patently, Gavino miscalculated. He failed to react and undertake
It is disconcertingly riddled with too much incertitude and manifests a seeming indifference adequate measures to arrest fully the momentum of the vessel after the anchor failed to claw to
for the possibly injurious consequences his commands as pilot may have. Prudence required the seabed. When he reacted, the same was even (haphazard). Gavino failed to reckon the bulk
that he, as pilot, should have made sure that his directions were promptly and strictly of the vessel, its size and its cargo. He erroneously believed that only one (1) anchor would
followed. As correctly noted by the trial court - suffice and even when the anchor failed to claw into the seabed or against a hard object in the
seabed, Gavino failed to order the other anchor dropped immediately. His claim that the anchor
was dropped when the vessel was only 1,000 feet from the pier is but a belated attempt to
Moreover, assuming that he did indeed give the command to drop the anchor on time, as extricate himself from the quagmire of his own insouciance and negligence. In sum, then,
pilot he should have seen to it that the order was carried out, and he could have done this in a Appellants' claim that the incident was caused by "force majeure" is barren of factual basis.
number of ways, one of which was to inspect the bow of the vessel where the anchor
mechanism was installed. Of course, Captain Gavino makes reference to a commotion among
the crew members which supposedly caused the delay in the execution of the command. This xxxxxxxxx
account was reflected in the pilot's report prepared four hours later, but Capt. Kavankov, while
not admitting whether or not such a commotion occurred, maintained that the command to drop
The harbor pilots are especially trained for this job. In the Philippines, one may not be a
anchor was followed "immediately and precisely." Hence, the Court cannot give much weight or
harbor pilot unless he passed the required examination and training conducted then by the
consideration to this portion of Gavino's testimony."[61]
Bureau of Custom, under Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65, now under the Philippine
Ports Authority under PPA Administrative Order 63-85. Paragraph XXXIX of the Customs
An act may be negligent if it is done without the competence that a reasonable person in Administrative Order No. 15-65 provides that "the pilot shall be held responsible for the direction
the position of the actor would recognize as necessary to prevent it from creating an of the vessel from the time he assumes control thereof, until he leaves it anchored free from
unreasonable risk of harm to another.[62] Those who undertake any work calling for special skills shoal: Provided, that his responsibility shall cease at the moment the master neglects or
refuse(s) to carry out his instructions." The overall direction regarding the procedure for docking
and undocking the vessel emanates from the harbor pilot. In the present recourse, Gavino failed
to live up to his responsibilities and exercise reasonable care or that degree of care required by A Yes sir, our ship touched the pier and the pier was damaged.
the exigencies of the occasion. Failure on his part to exercise the degree of care demanded by
the circumstances is negligence (Reese versus Philadelphia & RR Co. 239 US 463, 60 L ed. Court (to the witness)
384, 57 Am Jur. 2d 12age 418).[67]
Q When you said touched the pier, are you leading the court to understand that your ship
bumped the pier?
This affirms the findings of the trial court regarding Capt. Gavino's negligence:
A I believe that my vessel only touched the pier but the impact was very weak.
This discussion should not however, divert the court from the fact that negligence in Q Do you know whether the pier was damaged as a result of that slight or weak impact?
manuevering the vessel must be attributed to Capt. Senen Gavino. He was an experienced pilot
and by this time should have long familiarized himself with the depth of the port and the distance A Yes sir, after the pier was damaged.
he could keep between the vessel and port in order to berth safely. [68]
xxxxxxxxx

The negligence on the part of Capt. Gavino is evident; but Capt. Kabankov is no less Q Being most concerned with the safety of your vessel, in the maneuvering of your vessel,
responsible for the allision. His unconcerned lethargy as master of the ship in the face of to the port, did you observe anything irregular in the maneuvering by Capt. Gavino at
troublous exigence constitutes negligence. the time he was trying to cause the vessel to be docked at the pier?

While it is indubitable that in exercising his functions a pilot-is in sole command of the A You mean the action of Capt. Gavino or his condition?
ship[69] and supersedes the master for the time being in the command and navigation of a ship
and that he becomes master pro hac vice of a vessel piloted by him,[70] there is overwhelming Court:
authority to the effect that the master does not surrender his vessel to the pilot and the pilot is
Q Not the actuation that conform to the safety maneuver of the ship to the harbor?
not the master. The master is still in command of the vessel notwithstanding the presence of a
pilot. There are occasions when the master may and should interfere and even displace the A No sir, it was a usual docking.
pilot, as when the pilot is obviously incompetent or intoxicated and the circumstances may
require the master to displace a compulsory pilot because of incompetency or physical Q By that statement of yours, you are leading the court to understand that there was nothing
incapacity. If, however, the master does not observe that a compulsory pilot is incompetent or irregular in the docking of the ship?
physically incapacitated, the master is justified in relying on the pilot, but not blindly. [71]
A Yes sir, during the initial period, of the docking, there was nothing unusual that happened.
The master is not wholly absolved from his duties while a pilot is on board his vessel, and
may advise with or offer suggestions to him. He is still in command of the vessel, except so far Q What about in the last portion of the docking of the ship, was there anything unusual or
as her navigation is concerned, and must cause the ordinary work of the vessel to be properly abnormal that happened?
carried on and the usual precaution taken. Thus, in particular, he is bound to see that there is
sufficient watch on deck, and that the men are attentive to their duties, also that engines are A None Your Honor, I believe that Capt. Gavino thought that the anchor could keep or hold
stopped, towlines cast off, and the anchors clear and ready to go at the pilot's order.[72] the vessel.

A perusal of Capt. Kabankov's testimony makes it apparent that he was remiss in the Q You want us to understand, Mr. Witness, that the dropping of the anchor of the vessel was
discharge of his duties as master of the ship, leaving the entire docking procedure up to the pilot, not timely?
instead of maintaining watchful vigilance over this risky maneuver: A I don't know the depth of this port but I think, if the anchor was dropped earlier and with
Q Will you please tell us whether you have the right to intervene in docking of your ship in more shackles, there could not have been an incident.
the harbor? Q So you could not precisely tell the court that the dropping of the anchor was timely
A No sir, I have no right to intervene in time of docking, only in case there is imminent because you are not well aware of the seabed, is that correct?
danger to the vessel and to the pier.