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G.R. No.


July 29, 1968

MERCEDES RUTH COBB-PEREZ and DAMASO P. PEREZ, petitioners, vs. HON. GREGORIO LANTIN, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, RICARDO P. HERMOSO and the CITY SHERIFF OF MANILA, respondents. Crispin D. Baizas and Associates for petitioners. Isidro T. Almeda for respondents. CASTRO, J.: This is a motion for partial reconsideration of this Court's decision of May 22, 1968, specifically directed against the following observation therein made: We feel compelled to observe that during the protracted litigation below, the petitioners resorted to a series of actions and petitions, at some stages alternatingly, abetted by their counsel, for the sole purpose of thwarting the execution of a simple 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 Some of the actions were filed, only to be abandoned or withdrawn.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 to subvert the very ends of justice. Corollarily, this Court assessed treble costs against the petitioners, to "be paid by their counsel.". The herein movants, Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A. N. Bolinas, counsels for the petitioners, while submitting to the judgment on the merits, seek reconsideration of the decision in so far as it reflects adversely upon their "professional conduct" and condemns them to pay the treble costs adjudged against their clients. At first blush, the motion for reconsideration presents a semblance of merit. After mature deliberation and patient reprobing into the records of the case, however, we are of the firmer conviction that the protracted litigation, alluded to in the above-quoted portion of our decision, was designed to cause delay, and the active participation of the petitioners' counsels in this adventure is patent. After November 15, 1962 when the Court of Appeals rendered judgment sustaining Damaso Perez' position with respect to the extent of the levy, the subsequent proceedings interposed alternatingly by the petitioner spouses were obviously quixotic maneuvers expected to be overthrown by the courts but calculated to delay an execution long overdue. Had the petitioners and their counsels seriously believed that the levied shares of stock were conjugal property, why did they not adopt this position from the very start, or, at the latest, in CA-G.R. 29962-R, wherein Damaso Perez challenged the legality of the

levy's coverage, in order to end the litigation with reasonable dispatch? They chose, however, to attack the execution in a piecemeal fashion, causing the postponement of the projected execution sale six times. More than eight years after the finality of the judgment have passed, and the same has yet to be satisfied. In a determined effort to prolong the litigation, the Perez spouses, as represented by their counsels, sought the issuance of preliminary injunctions to restrain the execution of the final judgment in civil case 39407 from courts which did not have jurisdiction and which would, as expected, initially or ultimately deny their prayer. For instance, after Damaso Perez bowed out temporarily from the scene following the rendition of the aforementioned Court of Appeals decision, his wife, Mercedez, Ruth Cobb-Perez, intruded into the controversy and asked for an ex parte writ of preliminary injunction from the Court of First Instance of Rizal in connection with civil case 7532 which she filed with the said court, knowing fully well that the basic civil case 39407 was decided by the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch VII presided by the 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 restrain acts outside their territorial jurisdictions, lifted on October 4, 1963 the ex parte writ which 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 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 39407 an urgent motion to lift the writ of execution issued on August 15, 1961, alleging as 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 evidence in support of her aforesaid urgent motion, as in fact neither she nor her counsels appeared during the scheduled hearing, prompting the respondent judge to issue the following order: When the urgent motion to recall or lift writ of execution was called this morning for 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 execution. Said urgent motion is therefore deemed submitted for resolution. Despite the recall of the aforementioned writ of injunction by Judge Mencias on a disclaimer of jurisdiction (since the execution sought to be enjoined was ordered by another tribunal), Mrs. Perez, now assisted by her husband who had staged a comeback, prayed for the issuance of 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 7532, then still pending in

the Court of First Instance of Rizal. As most probably anticipated anew by the Perez spouses and their counsels, Judge Alikpala, presiding judge of Branch XXII, on November 8, 1963 denied the preliminary injunction sought, on the ground, among others, that he had no power to interfere by injunction with the judgment or decree of a court of 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 for Reconsideration" of the order of October 19, 1963, which denied his wife's above-mentioned motion to recall the controverted writ of execution. 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 the denied "Urgent Motion to Recall Writ of Execution" (filed by his wife alone), was merely an offer to replace the levied stocks with supposed cash dividends due to the Perez spouses as stockholders in the Republic Bank.1 As a matter of fact, when the motion was set for hearing on December 21, 1963, the counsels for Damaso Perez promised to produce the said cash dividends within five days, but the promise was never fulfilled.2 Consequently, the respondent Judge on January 4, 1964, denied the said motion for reconsideration. The above exposition of the circumstances relative to the protracted litigation clearly negates the avowal of the movants that "in none of the various incidents in the case at bar has any particular counsel of petitioners acted with deliberate aforethought to delay the enforcement of the judgment in Civil Case No. 39407." From the chronology of antecedent events, the fact becomes inescapable that the Perez spouses, coached by their counsels, had sallied forth on a strategem of "remedies" projected to foil the lawful execution of a simple money judgment. It is equally obvious that they foreshadowed their own reversals in the "remedies" they ventured to adopt, such that even before, one remedy had been exhausted, they interposed another until the case reached this Court for the second time. 3 Meanwhile, justice was delayed, and more than one member of this Court are persuaded that justice was practically waylaid. The movants also contend that even this Court sanctions the aforesaid civil cases 7532 and 55292 as the "proper remedy" when we said that. In reality, what they attacked is not the writ of execution, the validity and regularity of which are unchallenged, but the levy made by the respondent Sheriff. In this regard, the remedy is not the recall of the writ, but an independent action to enjoin the Sheriff from proceeding with the projected sale, in which action the conjugal nature of the levied stocks should be established as a basis for the subsequent issuance of a permanent injunction, in the event of a successful claim. Incidentally, in the course of the protracted litigation, the petitioners had already availed of this remedy in civil cases 7532 and 55292, only to abandon it as they incessantly sought other, and often simultaneous, devices of thwarting satisfaction of the judgment debt. (Emphasis supplied) .

And because of this statement, they now counter that the said cases could not be branded as having been instituted for delay. 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 were apparently instituted to prove the conjugal nature of the levied shares of stocks in question. We used the word incidentally advisedly to show that in their incessant search for devices to 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 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 issued by the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch VII) under the settled doctrines that Courts are without power to restrain acts outside of their territorial jurisdiction 4 or interfere with 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 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 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 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 pendency then of the aforesaid petition for certiorari. The movants further contend that "If there was delay, it was because petitioners' counsel happened to be more assertive ... a quality of the lawyers (which) is not to be condemned." 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. It is the duty of a counsel to advise his client, ordinarily a layman to the intricacies and vagaries of the law, on the merit or lack of merit of his case. If he finds that his client's cause is defenseless, then it is his bounden duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and submit, rather than traverse the incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his client, and temper his client's propensity to litigate. A lawyer's oath to uphold the cause of justice is superior to his duty to his client; its primacy is indisputable.

The movants finally state that the "Petitioners have several counsel in this case but the 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 said "counsel" we meant the counsels on record of the petitioners who were responsible for the inordinate delay in the execution of the final judgment in the basic civil case 39407, after the Court of Appeals had rendered its aforementioned decision of November 15, 1962. And it is on record that the movants are such counsels. Atty. Bolinas, upon his own admission, "entered his appearance in the case at bar about the time the Court of First Instance of Manila dismissed the petitioners' Petition for Relief in Civil Case No. 39407," or about August 3, 1961 and even prior to the Court of Appeals decision above-mentioned. Atty. Baizas claims that he "became petitioners' counsel only in October, 1963 when he filed, with Atty. A.N. Bolinao, Jr. Civil Case No. 55292 before the Court of First Instance of Manila presided by the Hon. Judge Alikpala 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 Zaida of the law firm of "Crispin Baizas & Associates" as counsel for Mrs. Perez. It is to be 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. ACCORDINGLY, the motion for partial reconsideration is denied. Our decision of May 22, 1968 is hereby modified in the sense that Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A.N. Bolinao, Jr. shall pay jointly and severally the treble costs assessed against the petitioners A.C. No. 6057 June 27, 2006

PETER T. DONTON, Complainant, vs. ATTY. EMMANUEL O. TANSINGCO, Respondent. Peter T. Donton ("complainant") stated that he filed a criminal complaint for estafa thru falsification of a public document4 against Duane O. Stier ("Stier"), Emelyn A. Maggay ("Maggay") and respondent, as the notary public who notarized the Occupancy Agreement. The disbarment complaint arose when respondent filed a counter-charge for perjury5 against complainant. Respondent, in his affidavit-complaint, stated that: Complainant averred that respondents act of preparing the Occupancy Agreement, despite knowledge that Stier, being a foreign national, is disqualified to own real property in his name, constitutes serious misconduct and is a deliberate violation of the Code. Complainant prayed that respondent be disbarred for advising Stier to do something in violation of law and assisting Stier in carrying out a dishonest scheme.

By his own admission, respondent admitted that Stier, a U.S. citizen, was disqualified from owning real property.11Yet, in his motion for reconsideration,12 respondent admitted that he caused the transfer of ownership to the parcel of land to Stier. Respondent, however, aware of the prohibition, quickly rectified his act and transferred the title in complainants name. But respondent provided "some safeguards" by preparing several documents,13including the Occupancy Agreement, that would guarantee Stiers recognition as the actual owner of the property despite its transfer in complainants name. In effect, respondent advised and aided Stier in circumventing the constitutional prohibition against foreign ownership of lands14 by preparing said documents. Respondent had sworn to uphold the Constitution. Thus, he violated his oath and the Code when he prepared and notarized the Occupancy Agreement to evade the law against foreign ownership of lands. Respondent used his knowledge of the law to achieve an unlawful end. Such an act amounts to malpractice in his office, for which he may be suspended.15 In Balinon v. De Leon,16 respondent Atty. De Leon was suspended from the practice of law for three years for preparing an affidavit that virtually permitted him to commit concubinage. In In re: Santiago,17 respondent Atty. Santiago was suspended from the practice of law for one year for preparing a contract which declared the spouses to be single again after nine years of separation and allowed them to contract separately subsequent marriages. WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty. Emmanuel O. Tansingco GUILTY of violation of Canon 1 and Rule 1.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, we SUSPEND respondent Atty. Emmanuel O. Tansingco from the practice of law for SIX MONTHS effective upon finality of this Decision. 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. SO ORDERED. A.C. No. 8392 June 29, 2010 [ Formerly CBD Case No. 08-2175 ] ROSARIO T. MECARAL, Complainant, vs. ATTY. DANILO S. VELASQUEZ, Respondent. After respondent hired her as his secretary in 2002, she became his lover and commonlaw wife. In October 2007, respondent brought her to the mountainous Upper San Agustin in Caibiran, Biliran where he left her with a religious group known as the Faith

Healers Association of the Philippines, of which he was the leader. Although he visited her daily, his visits became scarce in November to December 2007, prompting her to return home to Naval, Biliran. Furious, respondent brought her back to San Agustin where, on his instruction, his followers tortured, brainwashed and injected her with drugs. When she tried to escape on December 24, 2007, the members of the group tied her spread-eagled to a bed. Made to wear only a T-shirt and diapers and fed stale food, she was guarded 24 hours a day by the women members including a certain Bernardita Tadeo. Aside then from the IBPs finding that respondent violated Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, he also violated the Lawyers Oath reading: I _________, having been permitted to continue in the practice of law in the Philippines, do solemnly swear that I recognize the supreme authority of the Republic of the Philippines; I will support its Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit, nor give aid nor consent to the same; I will delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well as to the courts as to my clients; and I impose upon myself this voluntary obligation without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God, (underscoring supplied), and Rule 7.03, Canon 7 of the same Code reading: Rule 7.03 A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. The April 30, 2008 Resolution18 of the Provincial Prosecutor on complainants charge against respondent and Bernardita Tadeo for Serious Illegal Detention bears special noting, viz: [T]he counter-affidavit of x x x Bernardita C. Tadeo (co-accused in the complaint) has the effect of strengthening the allegations against Atty. Danilo Velasquez. Indeed, it is clear now that there was really physical restraint employed by Atty. Velasquez upon the person of Rosario Mecaral. Even as he claimed that on the day private complainant was fetched by the two women and police officers, complainant was already freely roaming around the place and thus, could not have been physically detained. However, it is not really necessary that Rosario be physically kept within an enclosure to restrict her freedom of locomotion. In fact, she was always accompanied wherever she would wander, that it could be impossible for her to escape especially considering the remoteness and the distance between Upper San Agustin, Caibiran, Biliran to Naval, Biliran where she is a resident. The people from the Faith Healers Association had the express and implied orders coming from respondent Atty. Danilo Velasquez to keep guarding Rosario Mecaral and not to let her go freely. That can be gleaned from the

affidavit of co-respondent Bernardita Tadeo. The latter being reprimanded whenever Atty. Velasquez would learn that complainant had untangled the cloth tied on her wrists and feet.19 (emphasis and underscoring supplied) That, as reflected in the immediately-quoted Resolution in the criminal complaint against respondent, his therein co-respondent corroborated the testimonies of complainants witnesses, and that the allegations against him remain unrebutted, sufficiently prove the charges against him by clearly preponderant evidence, the quantum of evidence needed in an administrative case against a lawyer.20 In fine, by engaging himself in acts which are grossly immoral and acts which constitute gross misconduct, respondent has ceased to possess the qualifications of a lawyer.21 WHEREFORE, respondent, Atty. Danilo S. Velasquez, is DISBARRED, and his name ORDERED STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys. This Decision is immediately executory and ordered to be part of the records of respondent in the Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines. Let copies of the Decision be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and circulated to all courts. SO ORDERED Adm. Case No. 4680 August 29, 2000

AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., complainant, vs. ATTYS. ANTONIO M. LLORENTE and LIGAYA P. SALAYON, respondents. Salayon, then election officer of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), was designated chairman of said Board, while Llorente, who was then City Prosecutor of Pasig City, served as its ex oficio vice-chairman as provided by law.1 Complainant, now a senator, was also a candidate for the Senate in that election. Complainant alleges that, in violation of R.A. No. 6646, 27(b),2 respondents tampered with the votes received by him, with the result that, as shown in the Statements of Votes (SoVs) and Certificate of Canvass (CoC) pertaining to 1,263 precincts of Pasig City, (1) senatorial candidates Juan Ponce Enrile, Anna Dominique Coseteng, Gregorio Honasan, Marcelo Fernan, Ramon Mitra, and Rodolfo Biazon were credited with votes which were above the number of votes they actually received while, on the other hand, petitioner's votes were reduced; (2) in 101 precincts, Enrile's votes were in excess of the total number of voters who actually voted therein; and (3) the votes from 22 precincts were twice recorded in 18 SoVs. Complainant maintains that, by signing the SoVs and CoC despite respondents' knowledge that some of the entries therein were false, the latter committed a serious breach of public trust and of their lawyers' oath.

Respondents denied the allegations against them. They alleged that the preparation of the SoVs was made by the 12 canvassing committees which the Board had constituted to assist in the canvassing. They claimed that the errors pointed out by complainant could be attributed to honest mistake, oversight, and/or fatigue. Now, a lawyer who holds a government position may not be disciplined as a member of the bar for misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a government official.25 However, if the misconduct also constitutes a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility or the lawyer's oath or is of such character as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or shows moral delinquency on his part, such individual may be disciplined as a member of the bar for such misconduct.26 Here, by certifying as true and correct the SoVs in question, respondents committed a breach of Rule 1.01 of the Code which stipulates that a lawyer shall not engage in "unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct." By express provision of Canon 6, this is made applicable to lawyers in the government service. In addition, they likewise violated their oath of office as lawyers to "do no falsehood." Nowhere is the-need for lawyers to observe honesty both in their private and in their public dealings better expressed in Sabayle v. Tandayag27 in which this Court said: There is a strong public interest involved in requiring lawyers to behave at all times in a manner consistent with truth and honor it is important that the common caricature that lawyers by and large do not feel compelled to speak the truth and to act honestly, should not become a common reality . . .28 It may be added that, as lawyers in the government service, respondents were under greater obligation to observe this basic tenet of the profession because a public office is a public trust. Third. Respondents' participation in the irregularities herein reflects on the legal profession, in general, and on lawyers in government in particular. Such conduct in the performance of their official duties, involving no less than the ascertainment of the popular will as expressed through the ballot, would have merited for them suspension were it not for the fact that this is their first administrative transgression and, in the case of Salayon, after a long public service.29 Under the circumstances, a penalty of fine in the amount of P10,000.00 for each of the respondents should be sufficient. WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondents Antonio M. Llorente and Ligaya P. Salayon GUILTY of misconduct and imposes on each of them a FINE in the amount of P10,000.00 with a WARNING that commission of similar acts will be dealt with more severely.1wphi1.nt SO ORDERED G.R. No. 104599 March 11, 1994

JON DE YSASI III, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (FOURTH DIVISION), CEBU CITY, and JON DE YSASI,respondents. F.B. Santiago, Nalus & Associates for petitioner. Ismael A. Serfino for private respondent.

petitioner was employed by his father, herein private respondent, as farm administrator of Hacienda Manucao in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental sometime in April, 1980. Prior thereto, he was successively employed as sales manager of Triumph International (Phil.), Inc. and later as operations manager of Top Form Manufacturing (Phil.), Inc. His employment as farm administrator was on a fixed salary, with other allowances covering housing, food, light, power, telephone, gasoline, medical and dental expenses. During the entire periods of petitioner's illnesses, private respondent took care of his medical expenses and petitioner continued to receive compensation. However, in April, 1984, without due notice, private respondent ceased to pay the latter's salary. Petitioner made oral and written demands for an explanation for the sudden withholding of his salary from Atty. Apolonio Sumbingco, private respondent's auditor and legal adviser, as well as for the remittance of his salary. Both demands, however, were not acted upon. we find that both petitioner and private respondent can equally be faulted for fanning the flames which gave rise to and ultimately aggravated this controversy, instead of sincerely negotiating a peaceful settlement of their disparate claims. The records reveal how their actuations seethed with mutual antagonism and the undeniable enmity between them negates the likelihood that either of them acted in good faith. It is apparent that each one has a cause for damages against the other. For this reason, we hold that no moral or exemplary damages can rightfully be awarded to petitioner. The conduct of the respective counsel of the parties, as revealed by the records, sorely disappoints the Court and invites reproof. Both counsel may well be reminded that their ethical duty as lawyers to represent their clients with zeal 55 goes beyond merely presenting their clients' respective causes in court. It is just as much their responsibility, if not more importantly, to exert all reasonable efforts to smooth over legal conflicts, preferably out of court and especially in consideration of the direct and immediate consanguineous ties between their clients. Once again, we reiterate that the useful function of a lawyer is not only to conduct litigation but to avoid it whenever possible by advising settlement or withholding suit. He is often called upon less for dramatic forensic exploits than for wise counsel in every phase of life. He should be a mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise, rather than a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of litigation. 56

Rule 1.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly provides that "(a) lawyer shall encourage his client to avoid, end or settle the controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement." On this point, we find that both counsel herein fell short of what was expected of them, despite their avowed duties as officers of the court. The records do not show that they took pains to initiate steps geared toward effecting a rapprochement between their clients. On the contrary, their acerbic and protracted exchanges could not but have exacerbated the situation even as they may have found favor in the equally hostile eyes of their respective clients. In the same manner, we find that the labor arbiter who handled this regrettable case has been less than faithful to the letter and spirit of the Labor Code mandating that a labor arbiter "shall exert all efforts towards the amicable settlement of a labor dispute within his jurisdiction." 57 If he ever did so, or at least entertained the thought, the copious records of the proceedings in this controversy are barren of any reflection of the same. One final word. This is one decision we do not particularly relish having been obliged to make. The task of resolving cases involving disputes among members of a family leaves a bad taste in the mouth and an aversion in the mind, for no truly meaningful and enduring resolution is really achieved in such situations. While we are convinced that we have adjudicated the legal issues herein squarely on the bases of law and jurisprudence, sanssentimentality, we are saddened by the thought that we may have failed to bring about the reconciliation of the father and son who figured as parties to this dispute, and that our adherence here to law and duty may unwittingly contribute to the breaking, instead of the strengthening, of familial bonds. In fine, neither of the parties herein actually emerges victorious. It is the Court's earnest hope, therefore, that with the impartial exposition and extended explanation of their respective rights in this decision, the parties may eventually see their way clear to an ultimate resolution of their differences on more convivial terms. WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent National Labor Relations Commission is hereby SET ASIDE. Private respondent is ORDERED to pay petitioner back wages for a period not exceeding three (3) years, without qualification or deduction, 58 and, in lieu of reinstatement, separation pay equivalent to one (1) month for every year of service, a fraction of six (6) months being considered as one (1) whole year. SO ORDERED. A. C. No. 6281 September 26, 2011

VALENTIN C. MIRANDA, Complainant, vs. ATTY. MACARIO D. CARPIO, Respondent. During the course of the proceedings, complainant engaged the services of respondent Atty. Carpio as counsel in the said case when his original counsel, Atty. Samuel Marquez, figured in a vehicular accident.

In complainant's Affidavit,[2] complainant and respondent agreed that complainant was to pay respondent Twenty Thousand Pesos (PhP20,000.00) as acceptance fee and Two Thousand Pesos (PhP2,000.00) as appearance fee. Complainant paid respondent the amounts due him, as evidenced by receipts duly signed by the latter. During the last hearing of the case, respondent demanded the additional amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (PhP10,000.00) for the preparation of a memorandum, which he said would further strengthen complainant's position in the case, plus twenty percent (20%) of the total area of the subject property as additional fees for his services. . He was surprised to discover that the same had already been claimed by and released to respondent on March 29, 2000. On May 4, 2000, complainant talked to respondent on the phone and asked him to turn over the owner's duplicate of the OCT, which he had claimed without complainant's knowledge, consent and authority. Respondent insisted that complainant first pay him the PhP10,000.00 and the 20% share in the property equivalent to 378 square meters, in exchange for which, respondent would deliver the owner's duplicate of the OCT. Once again, complainant refused the demand, for not having been agreed upon. In addition to the alleged agreement between him and complainant for the payment of the 20% professional fees, respondent invoked the principle of "quantum meruit" to justify the amount being demanded by him. An attorney's retaining lien is fully recognized if the presence of the following elements concur: (1) lawyer-client relationship; (2) lawful possession of the client's funds, documents and papers; and (3) unsatisfied claim for attorney's fees.[9] Further, the attorney's retaining lien is a general lien for the balance of the account between the attorney and his client, and applies to the documents and funds of the client which may come into the attorney's possession in the course of his employment.[10] In the present case, complainant claims that there is no such agreement for the payment of professional fee consisting of 20% of the total area of the subject property and submits that their agreement was only for the payment of the acceptance fee and the appearance fees. As correctly found by the IBP-CBD, there was no proof of any agreement between the complainant and the respondent that the latter is entitled to an additional professional fee consisting of 20% of the total area covered by OCT No. 0-94. The agreement between the parties only shows that respondent will be paid the acceptance fee and the appearance fees, which the respondent has duly received. Clearly, there is no unsatisfied claim for attorney's fees that would entitle respondent to retain his client's property. Hence, respondent could not validly withhold the title of his client absence a clear and justifiable claim. Respondent's unjustified act of holding on to complainant's title with the obvious aim of forcing complainant to agree to the amount of attorney's fees sought is an alarming abuse by respondent of the exercise of an attorney's retaining lien, which by no means

is an absolute right, and cannot at all justify inordinate delay in the delivery of money and property to his client when due or upon demand.[11] Atty. Carpio failed to live up to his duties as a lawyer by unlawfully withholding and failing to deliver the title of the complainant, despite repeated demands, in the guise of an alleged entitlement to additional professional fees. He has breached Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 and Rule 16.03 of Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which read: CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESS. Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. CANON 16 - A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION.

Rule 16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon demand. However, he shall have a lien over the funds and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to his client. He shall also have a lien to the same extent on all judgments and executions he has secured for his client as provided for in the Rules of Court. Further, in collecting from complainant exorbitant fees, respondent violated Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which mandates that "a lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees." It is highly improper for a lawyer to impose additional professional fees upon his client which were never mentioned nor agreed upon at the time of the engagement of his services. At the outset, respondent should have informed the complainant of all the fees or possible fees that he would charge before handling the case and not towards the near conclusion of the case. This is essential in order for the complainant to determine if he has the financial capacity to pay respondent before engaging his services. Respondent's further submission that he is entitled to the payment of additional professional fees on the basis of the principle of quantum meruit has no merit. "Quantum meruit, meaning `as much as he deserved' is used as a basis for determining the lawyer's professional fees in the absence of a contract but recoverable by him from his client."[12] The principle of quantum meruit applies if a lawyer is employed without a price agreed upon for his services. In such a case, he would be entitled to receive what he merits for his services, as much as he has earned.[13] In the present case, the parties had already entered into an agreement as to the attorney's fees of the respondent, and thus, the principle of quantum meruit does not fully find application because the respondent is already compensated by such agreement.

The Court notes that respondent did not inform complainant that he will be the one to secure the owner's duplicate of the OCT from the RD and failed to immediately inform complainant that the title was already in his possession. Complainant, on April 3, 2000, went to the RD of Las Pias City to get the owner's duplicate of OCT No. 0-94, only to be surprised that the said title had already been claimed by, and released to, respondent on March 29, 2000. A lawyer must conduct himself, especially in his dealings with his clients, with integrity in a manner that is beyond reproach. His relationship with his clients should be characterized by the highest degree of good faith and fairness.[14] By keeping secret with the client his acquisition of the title, respondent was not fair in his dealing with his client. Respondent could have easily informed the complainant immediately of his receipt of the owner's duplicate of the OCT on March 29, 2000, in order to save his client the time and effort in going to the RD to get the title. Respondent's inexcusable act of withholding the property belonging to his client and imposing unwarranted fees in exchange for the release of said title deserve the imposition of disciplinary sanction. Hence, the ruling of the IBP Board of Governors, adopting and approving with modification the report and recommendation of the IBPCBD that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months and that respondent be ordered to return the complainant's owner's duplicate of OCT No. 0-94 is hereby affirmed. However, the fifteen-day period from notice given to respondent within which to return the title should be modified and, instead, respondent should return the same immediately upon receipt of the Court's decision. WHEREFORE, Atty. Macario D. Carpio is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months, effective upon receipt of this Decision. He is ordered to RETURN to the complainant the owner's duplicate of OCT No. 0-94 immediately upon receipt of this decision. He is WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant, to be appended to the personal record of Atty. Macario D. Carpio as a member of the Bar; the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country for their information and guidance.


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