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A.C. No. 6942 July 17, 2013


SONIC STEEL INDUSTRIES, INC. vs. ATTY. NONNATUS P. CHUA
Before us is a complaint for disbarment filed by complainant Sonic Steel Industries, Inc. against respondent, Atty. Nonnatus P. Chua.
The facts follow.
Complainant is a corporation doing business as a manufacturer and distributor of zinc and aluminum-zinc coated metal sheets known in the market as
Superzinc and Superlume. On the other hand, respondent is the Vice-President, Corporate Legal Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary of Steel
Corporation (STEELCORP).
The controversy arose when, on September 5, 2005, STEELCORP, with the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation, applied for and was
granted by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cavite City, Branch 17, a Search Warrant directed against complainant.
On the strength of the search warrant, complainants factory was searched and, consequently, properties were seized. A week after, STEELCORP filed
before the Department of Justice a complaint for violation of Section 168, in relation to Section 170, of Republic Act No. 8293
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against complainant and
the latters officers.
Based on three documents, to wit: (1) the Affidavit of Mr. Antonio Lorenzana (Executive Vice-President of STEELCORP), in support of the application for
the Search Warrant; (2) the exchange between Mr. Lorenzana and Judge Melchor Sadang of Branch 17, RTC of Cavite, during the searching inquiry
conducted by the latter for the application for warrant, as evidenced by the Transcript of Stenographic Notes (TSN) dated September 5, 2005 in People
v. John Doe a.k.a. Anthony Ong, et al.; and (3) the Complaint-Affidavit executed by respondent and filed before the Department of Justice, complainant
asserts that respondent performed the ensuing acts:
(a)
In stating that STEELCORP is the exclusive licensee of Philippine Patent No. 16269, respondent deliberately misled the court as well as the Department
of Justice, because Letters Patent No. 16269 have already lapsed, making it part of the public domain.
(b)
In refusing to provide the RTC of Cavite City, Branch 17 a copy of the patent, respondent intentionally deceived said court because even the first page of
the patent will clearly show that said patent already lapsed. It appears that Letters Patent No. 16269 was issued on August 25, 1983 and therefore had
already lapsed rendering it part of the public domain as early as 2000. Had respondent shown a copy of the patent to the judge, said judge would not
have been misled into issuing the search warrant because any person would know that a patent has a lifetime of 17 years under the old law and 20
years under R.A. 8293. Either way, it is apparent from the face of the patent that it is already a lapsed patent and therefore cannot be made basis for a
supposed case of infringement more so as basis for the application for the issuance of a search warrant.
In the affidavit submitted by Mr. Antonio Lorenzana, complainant asserts that the same includes statements expressing that STEELCORP is the licensee
of Philippine Patent No. 16269, to wit:
2. STEELCORP is the exclusive licensee of and manufacturer in the Philippines of "GALVALUME" metal sheet products, which are coated with
aluminum-zinc alloy, produced by using the technical information and the patent on Hot Dip Coating of Ferrous Strands with Patent Registration No.
16269 issued by the Philippine Intellectual Property Office ("IPO"), a process licensed by BIEC International, Inc. to STEELCORP for the amount of over
Two Million Five Hundred Thousand U.S. Dollars ($2,500,000.00).
x x x x
7. Specifically, the acts committed by RESPONDENTS of storing, selling, retailing, distributing, importing, dealing with or otherwise disposing of
"SUPERLUME" metal sheet products which are similarly coated with aluminum-zinc alloy and cannot be produced without utilizing the same basic
technical information and the registered patent used by STEELCORP to manufacture "GALVALUME" metal sheet products, the entire process of which
has been lawfully and exclusively licensed to STEELCORP by BIEC International, Inc., constitute unfair competition in that
x x x x
b. While SUPERLUME metal sheets have the same general appearance as those of GALVALUME metal sheets which are similarly coated with
aluminum-zinc alloy, produced by using the same technical information and the aforementioned registered patent exclusively licensed to and
manufactured in the Philippines since 1999 by STEELCORP, the machinery and process for the production of SUPERLUME metal sheet products were
not installed and formulated with the technical expertise of BIEC International, Inc. to enable the SONIC to achieve the optimum results in the production
of aluminum-zinc alloy-coated metal sheets;
x x x x
8. On the [bases] of the foregoing analyses of the features and characteristics of RESPONDENTS SUPERLUME metal sheet products, the process by
which they are manufactured and produced certainly involves an assembly line that substantially conforms with the technical information and registered
patent licensed to STEELCORP, which should include, but are not limited to, the following major components and specifications, viz.:
x x x x
9. It is plain from the physical appearance and features of the metal sheets which are coated with aluminum-zinc alloy and produced by using the
technical information and the registered patent exclusively licensed to STEELCORP by BIEC International, Inc.; the mark ending with the identical
syllable "LUME" to emphasize its major component (i.e., aluminum) which is used in Respondents "SUPERLUME" metal sheets while having the same
general appearance of STEELCORPs genuine "GALVALUME" metal sheets, that the intention of RESPONDENTS is to cash in on the goodwill of
STEELCORP by passing off its "SUPERLUME" metal sheet products as those of STEELCORPs "GALVALUME" metal sheet products, which increases
the inducement of the ordinary customer to buy the deceptively manufactured and unauthorized production of "SUPERLUME" metal sheet products.
x x x x
11. STEELCORP has lost and will continue to lose substantial revenues and will sustain damages as a result of the wrongful conduct of
RESPONDENTS and their deceptive use of the technical information and registered patent, exclusively licensed to STEELCORP, as well as the other
features of their SUPERLUME metal sheets, that have the same general appearance as the genuine GALVALUME metal sheets of STEELCORP. The
conduct of RESPONDENTS has also deprived and will continue to deprive STEELCORP of opportunities to expand its goodwill.
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Also, in the searching questions of Judge Melchor Sadang of the RTC of Cavite City, Branch 17, complainant asserts that respondent deliberately misled
and intentionally deceived the court in refusing to provide a copy of Philippine Patent No. 16269 during the hearing for the application for a search
warrant, to wit:
[COURT to Mr. Lorenzana]
Q: You stated here in your affidavit that you are the Executive Vice-President of Steel Corporation of the Philippines. Is that correct?
A: Yes sir.
Q: You also state that Steel Corporation owns a patent exclusively licensed to Steel Corporation by BIEC International, Inc. Do you have document to
show that?
ATTY. CHUA: We reserve the presentation of the trademark license, your Honor.
Q: Why are you applying a search warrant against the respondent Sonic Steel Industries?
A: We will know that Sonic is not licensed to produce that product coming from the technology which is exclusively licensed to our Company, your
Honor. We know that from our own knowledge. Also, the investigation of the NBI confirms further that the product has already been in the market for
quite some time. As a product, it has the same feature and characteristic as that of GALVALUME, your Honor.
Q: In other words, you are not saying that Sonic is using the trademark GALVALUME but only using the technology of the process which is only licensed
to Steel Corporation. Is that correct?
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A: Yes, your Honor.
x x x x
Court to Lorenzana:
Q: The patent on the Hot Dip Coating of Ferrous Strands, do you have a document regarding that?
A: Yes, your Honor. It is in the office.
ATTY. CHUA: We reserve the right to present it, your Honor.
Court:
Q: You stated a while ago that it is the Steel Corporation that has been licensed by the BIEC International to manufacture sheet products which are
coated with aluminum-zinc alloy. Is that correct?
A: Yes, your Honor.
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Subsequently, respondent initiated a complaint for violation of Section 168 of Republic Act No. 8293 against complainant, as well as its officers, before
the Department of Justice. In his complaint-affidavit, respondent stated that STEELCORP is the exclusive licensee of Philippine Patent No. 16269 on
Hot Dip Coating of Ferrous Strands which was allegedly violated by complainant. Thus:
2. STEELCORP is the exclusive licensee and manufacturer in the Philippines of "GALVALUME" metal sheet products, which are coated with aluminum-
zinc alloy, produced by using the technical information and the patent on Hot Dip Coating of Ferrous Strands with Patent Registration No. 16269, issued
by the Philippine Intellectual Property Office ("IPO"), a process licensed by BIEC International, Inc. to STEELCORP for the amount of over Two Million
Five Hundred Thousand U.S. Dollars ($2,500,000.00).
x x x x
13. x x x x
b. While SUPERLUME metal sheets have the same general appearance as those of GALVALUME metal sheets which are similarly coated with
aluminum-zinc alloy, produced by using the same technical information and the aforementioned registered patent exclusively licensed to and
manufactured in the Philippines since 1999 by STEELCORP, the machinery and process for the production of SUPERLUME metal sheet products were
not installed and formulated with the technical expertise of BIEC International, Inc. to enable SONIC to achieve the optimum results in the production of
aluminum-zinc alloy-coated metal sheets;
x x x x
15. The natural, probable and foreseeable result of RESPONDENTS conduct is to continue to deprive STEELCORP of the exclusive benefits of using
the technical information and patent for the manufacture and distribution of aluminum-zinc alloy-coated metal sheet products, deprive STEELCORP of
sales and goodwill, and continue to injure STEELCORPs relations with present and prospective customers.
16. STEELCORP has lost and will continue to lose substantial revenues and will sustain damages as a result of the wrongful conduct by
RESPONDENTS and their deceptive use the technical information and patent, exclusively licensed by BIEC International, Inc. to STEELCORP, used
and/or intended to be used by RESPONDENTS for the manufacture, retail, dealings with or otherwise disposals of unauthorized SUPERLUME
aluminum-zinc alloy-coated metal sheet products, as well as the other features of its product, having the same general appearance and characteristics
as those of the genuine GALVALUME aluminum-zinc alloy-coated metal sheet products. RESPONDENTS conduct has also deprived STEELCORP and
will continue to deprive STEELCORP of opportunities to expand its goodwill.
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For his part, respondent counters that he never made an allegation or reservation that STEELCORP owned Philippine Patent No. 16269. He asserts that
he merely reserved the right to present the trademark license exclusively licensed to STEELCORP by BIEC International, Inc. which is composed of the
technical information and the patent used to produce GALVALUME metal sheet products, the same technology being utilized by complainant without
authority from STEELCORP.
Respondent further avers that the Complaint-Affidavit filed before the Department of Justice did not categorically claim that STEELCORP is the owner of
the patent, but simply that STEELCORP is the exclusive licensee of the process by which GALVALUME is produced.
The complaint was then referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation.
In its Report and Recommendation dated July 10, 2007, the IBPs Commission on Bar Discipline resolved to suspend respondent from the practice of
law for three (3) months with admonition that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely.
On August 17, 2007, the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. XVIII-2007-76 wherein it resolved to adopt and approve the Report and
Recommendation of the Investigating Officer of the Commission on Bar Discipline, with the modification that respondent is suspended from the practice
of law for six (6) months.
Unfazed, respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration against said Resolution, but the same was denied on January 14, 2012.
Accordingly, the Resolution, together with the records of the case, was transmitted to this Court for final action.
We affirm in toto the findings and recommendations of the IBP.
Pertinent provisions in the Code of Professional Responsibility state:
Canon 1 A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal process.
Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest and immoral or deceitful conduct.
x x x x
Canon 10 A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court.
Rule 10.01 A lawyer shall do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court, nor shall he mislead or allow the Court to be misled by an artifice.
Lawyers are officers of the court, called upon to assist in the administration of justice. They act as vanguards of our legal system, protecting and
upholding truth and the rule of law. They are expected to act with honesty in all their dealings, especially with the court. Verily, the Code of Professional
Responsibility enjoins lawyers from committing or consenting to any falsehood in court or from allowing the courts to be misled by any artifice. Moreover,
they are obliged to observe the rules of procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.
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In the present case, it appears that respondent claimed or made to appear that STEELCORP was the licensee of the technical information and the
patent on Hot Dip Coating of Ferrous Strands or Philippine Patent No. 16269. However, an extensive investigation made by the IBPs Commission on
Bar Discipline showed that STEELCORP only has rights as a licensee of the technical information and not the rights as a licensee of the patent, viz.:
x x x In respondents words and crafted explanation, he claimed that STEELCORP had rights as a licensee of the process, consisting of a combination
of the Technical Information and the Patent. Considering, however, that STEELCORPs rights as a licensee of the process is severable into (a) rights as
licensee of the technical information and (b) rights as a licensee of Patent No. 16269, respondent was less than candid in asserting that STEELCORP
had rights to the entire process during the relevant periods, as will be explained below.
Under the TECHNICAL INFORMATION AND PATENT LICENSE AGREEMENT between STEELCORP and BIEC International, Inc., the terms
"technical information" and "patent" are separate and distinct. Thus, technical information is defined under such contract as "Licensors existing
proprietary data, know-how and technical information which relates to the subject of Sheet and/or Strip coated with an aluminum-zinc alloy xxx and to
facilities and equipment for the manufacture and use thereof and to data, know-how and technical information applicable thereto as of the Effective Date
xxxx." On the other hand, Licensed Patent is defined therein as "Patent No. 16269" entitled "Hot dip coating of ferrous strands." The combination of such
proprietary data, know-how and the patent on Hot Dip Coating of Ferrous Strands is the process over which STEELCORP claims it had proprietary
license, and represents the same process used by STEELCORP in producing GALVALUME products. This is supposedly the basis upon which
STEELCORP (through Mr. Lorenzana in his Affidavit in support of the application for a search warrant, presumably under the direction of respondent)
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and respondent (in his Complaint-Affidavit before the Department of Justice) asserted then that it was the exclusive licensee of the technical information
and registered Patent No. 16269.
However, from the time that STEELCORP applied for a search warrant over SONIC STEELs premises (through the affidavit of Mr. Lorenzana and
presumably with respondents strategy as counsel), Patent No. 16269 had long expired. This fact is crucial in that the license STEELCORP had, as
claimed by respondent, was over the entire process and not just the technical information as a component thereof. Accordingly, when the application for
search was filed and when respondent subscribed to his Complaint-Affidavit before the Department of Justice, STEELCORP had no more exclusive
license to Patent No. 16269. Said patent had already become free for anyones use, including SONIC STEEL. All that STEELCORP possessed during
those times was the residual right to use (even if exclusively) just the technical information defined in its agreement with BIEC International, Inc.
STEELCORP had only an incomplete license over the process. The expiration of the patent effectively negated and rendered irrelevant respondents
defense of subsistence of the contract between STEELCORP and BIEC International, Inc. during the filing of the application for search warrant and filing
of respondents affidavit before the Department of justice. There is basis, therefore, to the claim that respondent has not been "candid enough" in his
actuations.
It would also appear that respondent was wanting in candor as regards his dealings with the lower court.1wphi1 The interjection made by respondent
during Judge Sadangs (Branch 17, Regional Trial Court of Cavite) searching examination of Mr. Lorenzana illustrates this, viz.:
Q: You also state here that Steel Corporation owns a patent exclusively licensed to Steel Corporation by BIEC International, Inc. Do you have a
document to show that?
ATTY. CHUA: We reserve the presentation of the trademark license, your Honor.
x x x x x x x x x
Q: The patent on the Hot Dip Coating of Ferrous Strands, do you have a document regarding that?
A: Yes, your Honor. It is in the office.
ATTY. CHUA: We reserve the right to present it, your Honor.
It is worth underscoring that although Judge Sadang addressed his questions solely to Mr. Lorenzana, respondent was conveniently quick to interrupt
and manifest his clients reservation to present the trademark license. Respondent was equally swift to end Judge Sadangs inquiry over the patent by
reserving the right to present the same at another time. While it is not the Commissions province to dwell with suppositions and hypotheses, it is well
within its powers to make reasonable inferences from established facts. Given that Patent No. 16269 had been in expiry for more than five (5) years
when Judge Sadang propounded his questions, it logically appears that respondent, in making such reservations in open court, was trying to conceal
from the former the fact of the patents expiration so as to facilitate the grant of the search warrant in favor of STEELCORP. This is contrary to the
exacting standards of conduct required from a member of the Bar.
Indeed, the practice of law is not a right but merely a privilege bestowed upon by the State upon those who show that they possess, and continue to
possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. One of those requirements is the observance of honesty and candor.
Candor in all their dealings is the very essence of a practitioners honorable membership in the legal profession. Lawyers are required to act with the
highest standard of truthfulness, fair play and nobility in the conduct of litigation and in their relations with their clients, the opposing parties, the other
counsels and the courts. They are bound by their oath to speak the truth and to conduct themselves according to the best of their knowledge and
discretion, and with fidelity to the courts and their clients.
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From the foregoing, it is clear that respondent violated his duties as a lawyer to avoid dishonest and deceitful conduct, (Rule 1.01, Canon 1) and to act
with candor, fairness and good faith (Rule 10.01, Canon 10). Also, respondent desecrated the solemn oath he took before this Court when he sought
admission to the bar, i.e., not to do any falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in Court. Thus, even at the risk of jeopardizing the probability of
prevailing on STEELCORPs application for a search warrant, respondent should have informed the court of the patents expiration so as to allow the
latter to make an informed decision given all available and pertinent facts.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent Atty. Nonnatus P. Chua is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months with
ADMONITION that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely.


































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CBD Case No. 176 January 20, 1995
SALLY D. BONGALONTA, vs. ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO and ALFONSO M. MARTIJA
In a sworn letter-complaint dated February 15, 1995, addressed to the Commission on Bar Discipline, National Grievance Investigation Office, Integrated
Bar of the Philippines, complainant Sally Bongalonta charged Pablito M. Castillo and Alfonso M. Martija, members of the Philippine Bar, with unjust and
unethical conduct, to wit: representing conflicting interests and abetting a scheme to frustrate the execution or satisfaction of a judgment which
complainant might obtain.
The letter-complaint stated that complainant filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Criminal Case No. 7635-55, for estafa, against the Sps. Luisa
and Solomer Abuel. She also filed, a separate civil action Civil Case No. 56934, where she was able to obtain a writ of preliminary attachment and by
virtue thereof, a piece of real property situated in Pasig, Rizal and registered in the name of the Sps. Abuel under TCT No. 38374 was attached. Atty.
Pablito Castillo was the counsel of the Sps. Abuel in the aforesaid criminal and civil cases.
During the pendency of these cases, one Gregorio Lantin filed civil Case No. 58650 for collection of a sum of money based on a promissory note, also
with the Pasig Regional Trial Court, against the Sps. Abuel. In the said case Gregorio Lantin was represented by Atty. Alfonso Martija. In this case, the
Sps. Abuel were declared in default for their failure to file the necessary responsive pleading and evidence ex-parte was received against them followed
by a judgment by default rendered in favor of Gregorio Lantin. A writ of execution was, in due time, issued and the same property previously attached by
complainant was levied upon.
It is further alleged that in all the pleadings filed in these three (3) aforementioned cases, Atty. Pablito Castillo and Atty. Alfonso Martija placed the same
address, the same PTR and the same IBP receipt number to wit" Permanent Light Center, No. 7, 21st Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, PTR No. 629411
dated 11-5-89 IBP No. 246722 dated 1-12-88.
Thus, complainant concluded that civil Case No. 58650 filed by Gregorio Lantin was merely a part of the scheme of the Sps. Abuel to frustrate the
satisfaction of the money judgment which complainant might obtain in Civil Case No. 56934.
After hearing, the IBP Board of Governors issued it Resolution with the following findings and recommendations:
Among the several documentary exhibits submitted by Bongalonta and attached to the records is a xerox copy of TCT No. 38374,
which Bongalonta and the respondents admitted to be a faithful reproduction of the original. And it clearly appears under the
Memorandum of Encumbrances on aid TCT that the Notice of Levy in favor of Bongalonta and her husband was registered and
annotated in said title of February 7, 1989, whereas, that in favor of Gregorio Lantin, on October 18, 1989. Needless to state, the
notice of levy in favor of Bongalonta and her husband is a superior lien on the said registered property of the Abuel spouses over
that of Gregorio Lantin.
Consequently, the charge against the two respondents (i.e. representing conflicting interests and abetting a scheme to frustrate the
execution or satisfaction of a judgment which Bongalonta and her husband might obtain against the Abuel spouses) has no leg to
stand on.
However, as to the fact that indeed the two respondents placed in their appearances and in their pleadings the same IBP No.
"246722 dated 1-12-88", respondent Atty. Pablito M. Castillo deserves to be SUSPENDED for using, apparently thru his negligence,
the IBP official receipt number of respondent Atty. Alfonso M. Martija. According to the records of the IBP National Office, Atty.
Castillo paid P1,040.00 as his delinquent and current membership dues, on February 20, 1990, under IBP O.R. No. 2900538, after
Bongalonta filed her complaint with the IBP Committee on Bar Discipline.
The explanation of Atty. Castillo's Cashier-Secretary by the name of Ester Fraginal who alleged in her affidavit dated March 4, 1993,
that it was all her fault in placing the IBP official receipt number pertaining to Atty. Alfonso M. Martija in the appearance and
pleadings Atty. Castillo and in failing to pay in due time the IBP membership dues of her employer, deserves scant consideration, for
it is the bounded duty and obligation of every lawyer to see to it that he pays his IBP membership dues on time, especially when he
practices before the courts, as required by the Supreme Court.
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that Atty. Pablito M. Castillo be SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of
six (6) months for using the IBP Official Receipt No. of his co-respondent Atty. Alfonso M. Martija.
The complaint against Atty. Martija is hereby DISMISSED for lack of evidence. (pp. 2-4, Resolution)
The Court agrees with the foregoing findings and recommendations. It is well to stress again that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege
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. Courts are entitled to expect only complete candor and honesty from the
lawyers appearing and pleading before them. A lawyer, on the other hand, has the fundamental duty to satisfy that expectation. for this reason, he is
required to swear to do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court.
WHEREFORE, finding respondent Atty. Pablito M. Castillo guilty committing a falsehood in violation of his lawyer's oath and of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, the Court Resolved to SUSPEND him from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months, with a warning that commission of the same
or similar offense in the future will result in the imposition of a more severe penalty. A copy of the Resolution shall be spread on the personal record of
respondent in the Office of the Bar Confidant.
SO ORDERED.






















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G.R. No. 100113 September 3, 1991
RENATO CAYETANO vs. CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. JOVITO R. SALONGA, COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENT, and HON. GUILLERMO
CARAGUE, in his
We are faced here with a controversy of far-reaching proportions. While ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the Court's decision in this case would
indubitably have a profound effect on the political aspect of our national existence.
The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-C:
There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of
the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have
been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding -elections. However, a majority thereof, including the
Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. (Emphasis
supplied)
The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section l(l), Article XII-C of the 1973 Constitution which similarly provides:
There shall be an independent Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and eight Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the
Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age and holders of a college degree. However, a majority thereof, including
the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.' (Emphasis supplied)
Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence as to what constitutes practice of law as a legal qualification to an appointive office.
Black defines "practice of law" as:
The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and technique to serve the interest of
another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the
preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of legal
instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It embraces all advice to clients and all actions taken for them in
matters connected with the law. An attorney engages in the practice of law by maintaining an office where he is held out to be-an
attorney, using a letterhead describing himself as an attorney, counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel
about pending litigation, and fixing and collecting fees for services rendered by his associate. (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.)
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. (Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. Dworken, 129 Ohio St. 23, 193 N.E. 650) A
person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he:
... for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to their rights under
the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings pending or prospective, before any court,
commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and there, in
such representative capacity performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients under the
law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the
law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of
law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v..C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S.W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852)
This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association v.Agrava, (105 Phil. 173,176-177) stated:
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other
papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before
judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected
with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a judicial body,
the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting
proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the
preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal
effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263). (Emphasis supplied)
Practice of law under modem conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of any court and having no immediate
relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects, and the
preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust relations and other affairs. Although
these transactions may have no direct connection with court proceedings, they are always subject to become involved in litigation.
They require in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation
to difficult and complex situations. These customary functions of an attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate relation to the
administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns the question set forth in the order, can be drawn
between that part of the work of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part which involves advice and drafting of
instruments in his office. It is of importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold customary functions be performed by
persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all times under the heavy trust obligations
to clients which rests upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1953 ed.] , p. 665-666, citing In re
Opinion of the Justices [Mass.], 194 N.E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 179 A. 139,144).
(Emphasis ours)
The University of the Philippines Law Center in conducting orientation briefing for new lawyers (1974-1975) listed the dimensions of the practice of law in
even broader terms as advocacy, counselling and public service.
One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of employment in the profession. If what he does exacts knowledge of the law
and is of a kind usual for attorneys engaging in the active practice of their profession, and he follows some one or more lines of
employment such as this he is a practicing attorney at law within the meaning of the statute. (Barr v. Cardell, 155 NW 312)
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. "To
engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render any
kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill." (111 ALR 23)
The following records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that it has adopted a liberal interpretation of the term "practice of law."
MR. FOZ. Before we suspend the session, may I make a manifestation which I forgot to do during our review of
the provisions on the Commission on Audit. May I be allowed to make a very brief statement?
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir).
The Commissioner will please proceed.
MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications of the members of the Commission on Audit. Among others, the
qualifications provided for by Section I is that "They must be Members of the Philippine Bar" I am quoting
from the provision "who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years".
To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in excluding members of the Bar who are now employed in the COA or
Commission on Audit, we would like to make the clarification that this provision on qualifications regarding members of the Bar does
not necessarily refer or involve actual practice of law outside the COA We have to interpret this to mean that as long as the lawyers
6

who are employed in the COA are using their legal knowledge or legal talent in their respective work within COA, then they are
qualified to be considered for appointment as members or commissioners, even chairman, of the Commission on Audit.
This has been discussed by the Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Agencies and we deem it important to take it up on
the floor so that this interpretation may be made available whenever this provision on the qualifications as regards members of the
Philippine Bar engaging in the practice of law for at least ten years is taken up.
MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just one question.
MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.
MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in the COA by a lawyer is equivalent to the requirement of a law
practice that is set forth in the Article on the Commission on Audit?
MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of COA, although it is auditing, will necessarily involve legal
work; it will involve legal work. And, therefore, lawyers who are employed in COA now would have the
necessary qualifications in accordance with the Provision on qualifications under our provisions on the
Commission on Audit. And, therefore, the answer is yes.
MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is that this is equivalent to the practice of law.
MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.
MR. OPLE. Thank you.
... ( Emphasis supplied)
Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, provides, among others, that the Chairman and two Commissioners of the Commission on Audit
(COA) should either be certified public accountants with not less than ten years of auditing practice, or members of the Philippine Bar who have been
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. (emphasis supplied)
Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and which is in many ways synonymous with the word "lawyer." Today, although many lawyers do not
engage in private practice, it is still a fact that the majority of lawyers are private practitioners. (Gary Munneke, Opportunities in Law Careers [VGM
Career Horizons: Illinois], [1986], p. 15).
At this point, it might be helpful to define private practice. The term, as commonly understood, means "an individual or organization engaged in the
business of delivering legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers who practice alone are often called "sole practitioners." Groups of lawyers are called "firms." The
firm is usually a partnership and members of the firm are the partners. Some firms may be organized as professional corporations and the members
called shareholders. In either case, the members of the firm are the experienced attorneys. In most firms, there are younger or more inexperienced
salaried attorneyscalled "associates." (Ibid.).
The test that defines law practice by looking to traditional areas of law practice is essentially tautologous, unhelpful defining the practice of law as that
which lawyers do. (Charles W. Wolfram, Modern Legal Ethics [West Publishing Co.: Minnesota, 1986], p. 593). The practice of law is defined as the
performance of any acts . . . in or out of court, commonly understood to be the practice of law. (State Bar Ass'n v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 145
Conn. 222, 140 A.2d 863, 870 [1958] [quoting Grievance Comm. v. Payne, 128 Conn. 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626 [1941]). Because lawyers perform almost
every function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would obviously be too global to be workable.(Wolfram, op. cit.).
The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in behalf of a client is at once the most publicly familiar role for lawyers as well as an uncommon role for the
average lawyer. Most lawyers spend little time in courtrooms, and a large percentage spend their entire practice without litigating a case. (Ibid., p. 593).
Nonetheless, many lawyers do continue to litigate and the litigating lawyer's role colors much of both the public image and the self perception of the legal
profession. (Ibid.).
In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation in the public mind reflects history, not reality. (Ibid.). Why is this so? Recall that the late Alexander SyCip,
a corporate lawyer, once articulated on the importance of a lawyer as a business counselor in this wise: "Even today, there are still uninformed laymen
whose concept of an attorney is one who principally tries cases before the courts. The members of the bench and bar and the informed laymen such as
businessmen, know that in most developed societies today, substantially more legal work is transacted in law offices than in the courtrooms. General
practitioners of law who do both litigation and non-litigation work also know that in most cases they find themselves spending more time doing what [is]
loosely desccribe[d] as business counseling than in trying cases. The business lawyer has been described as the planner, the diagnostician and the trial
lawyer, the surgeon. I[t] need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in medicine, surgery should be avoided where internal medicine can be effective."
(Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).
In the course of a working day the average general practitioner wig engage in a number of legal tasks, each involving different legal doctrines, legal
skills, legal processes, legal institutions, clients, and other interested parties. Even the increasing numbers of lawyers in specialized practice wig usually
perform at least some legal services outside their specialty. And even within a narrow specialty such as tax practice, a lawyer will shift from one legal
task or role such as advice-giving to an importantly different one such as representing a client before an administrative agency. (Wolfram, supra, p. 687).
By no means will most of this work involve litigation, unless the lawyer is one of the relatively rare types a litigator who specializes in this work to the
exclusion of much else. Instead, the work will require the lawyer to have mastered the full range of traditional lawyer skills of client counselling, advice-
giving, document drafting, and negotiation. And increasingly lawyers find that the new skills of evaluation and mediation are both effective for many
clients and a source of employment. (Ibid.).
Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal work or in litigation work that is constrained in very important ways, at least theoretically, so as to remove
from it some of the salient features of adversarial litigation. Of these special roles, the most prominent is that of prosecutor. In some lawyers' work the
constraints are imposed both by the nature of the client and by the way in which the lawyer is organized into a social unit to perform that work. The most
common of these roles are those of corporate practice and government legal service. (Ibid.).
In several issues of the Business Star, a business daily, herein below quoted are emerging trends in corporate law practice, a departure from the
traditional concept of practice of law.
We are experiencing today what truly may be called a revolutionary transformation in corporate law practice. Lawyers and other
professional groups, in particular those members participating in various legal-policy decisional contexts, are finding that
understanding the major emerging trends in corporation law is indispensable to intelligent decision-making.
Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of today requires an accurate understanding of the nature and implications of
the corporate law research function accompanied by an accelerating rate of information accumulation. The recognition of the need
for such improved corporate legal policy formulation, particularly "model-making" and "contingency planning," has impressed upon
us the inadequacy of traditional procedures in many decisional contexts.
In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be processed, the sorting and weighing of significant conditional factors, the
appraisal of major trends, the necessity of estimating the consequences of given courses of action, and the need for fast decision
and response in situations of acute danger have prompted the use of sophisticated concepts of information flow theory, operational
analysis, automatic data processing, and electronic computing equipment. Understandably, an improved decisional structure must
stress the predictive component of the policy-making process, wherein a "model", of the decisional context or a segment thereof is
developed to test projected alternative courses of action in terms of futuristic effects flowing therefrom.
Although members of the legal profession are regularly engaged in predicting and projecting the trends of the law, the subject of
corporate finance law has received relatively little organized and formalized attention in the philosophy of advancing corporate legal
education. Nonetheless, a cross-disciplinary approach to legal research has become a vital necessity.
7

Certainly, the general orientation for productive contributions by those trained primarily in the law can be improved through an early
introduction to multi-variable decisional context and the various approaches for handling such problems. Lawyers, particularly with
either a master's or doctorate degree in business administration or management, functioning at the legal policy level of decision-
making now have some appreciation for the concepts and analytical techniques of other professions which are currently engaged in
similar types of complex decision-making.
Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance problems would require the services of an astute attorney because of the
complex legal implications that arise from each and every necessary step in securing and maintaining the business issue raised.
(Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).
In our litigation-prone country, a corporate lawyer is assiduously referred to as the "abogado de campanilla." He is the "big-time"
lawyer, earning big money and with a clientele composed of the tycoons and magnates of business and industry.
Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many people could not explain what it is that a corporate lawyer does. For one,
the number of attorneys employed by a single corporation will vary with the size and type of the corporation. Many smaller and some
large corporations farm out all their legal problems to private law firms. Many others have in-house counsel only for certain matters.
Other corporation have a staff large enough to handle most legal problems in-house.
A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a lawyer who handles the legal affairs of a corporation. His areas of concern or
jurisdiction may include, inter alia: corporate legal research, tax laws research, acting out as corporate secretary (in board
meetings), appearances in both courts and other adjudicatory agencies (including the Securities and Exchange Commission), and in
other capacities which require an ability to deal with the law.
At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume responsibilities other than the legal affairs of the business of the corporation he is
representing. These include such matters as determining policy and becoming involved in management. ( Emphasis supplied.)
In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of being isolated from the action, or not understanding how one's work
actually fits into the work of the orgarnization. This can be frustrating to someone who needs to see the results of his work first hand.
In short, a corporate lawyer is sometimes offered this fortune to be more closely involved in the running of the business.
Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes be engaged by a multinational corporation (MNC). Some large MNCs
provide one of the few opportunities available to corporate lawyers to enter the international law field. After all, international law is
practiced in a relatively small number of companies and law firms. Because working in a foreign country is perceived by many as
glamorous, tills is an area coveted by corporate lawyers. In most cases, however, the overseas jobs go to experienced attorneys
while the younger attorneys do their "international practice" in law libraries. (Business Star, "Corporate Law Practice," May 25,1990,
p. 4).
This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of the lawyer in the realm of finance. To borrow the lines of Harvard-educated lawyer
Bruce Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer is one who fails to spot problems, a good lawyer is one who perceives the difficulties, and
the excellent lawyer is one who surmounts them." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).
Today, the study of corporate law practice direly needs a "shot in the arm," so to speak. No longer are we talking of the traditional
law teaching method of confining the subject study to the Corporation Code and the Securities Code but an incursion as well into the
intertwining modern management issues.
Such corporate legal management issues deal primarily with three (3) types of learning: (1) acquisition of insights into current
advances which are of particular significance to the corporate counsel; (2) an introduction to usable disciplinary skins applicable to a
corporate counsel's management responsibilities; and (3) a devotion to the organization and management of the legal function itself.
These three subject areas may be thought of as intersecting circles, with a shared area linking them. Otherwise known as
"intersecting managerial jurisprudence," it forms a unifying theme for the corporate counsel's total learning.
Some current advances in behavior and policy sciences affect the counsel's role. For that matter, the corporate lawyer reviews the
globalization process, including the resulting strategic repositioning that the firms he provides counsel for are required to make, and
the need to think about a corporation's; strategy at multiple levels. The salience of the nation-state is being reduced as firms deal
both with global multinational entities and simultaneously with sub-national governmental units. Firms increasingly collaborate not
only with public entities but with each other often with those who are competitors in other arenas.
Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decision-making within the corporation is rapidly changing. The modem corporate
lawyer has gained a new role as a stakeholder in some cases participating in the organization and operations of governance
through participation on boards and other decision-making roles. Often these new patterns develop alongside existing legal
institutions and laws are perceived as barriers. These trends are complicated as corporations organize for global operations. (
Emphasis supplied)
The practising lawyer of today is familiar as well with governmental policies toward the promotion and management of technology.
New collaborative arrangements for promoting specific technologies or competitiveness more generally require approaches from
industry that differ from older, more adversarial relationships and traditional forms of seeking to influence governmental policies. And
there are lessons to be learned from other countries. In Europe, Esprit, Eureka and Race are examples of collaborative efforts
between governmental and business Japan's MITI is world famous. (Emphasis supplied)
Following the concept of boundary spanning, the office of the Corporate Counsel comprises a distinct group within the managerial
structure of all kinds of organizations. Effectiveness of both long-term and temporary groups within organizations has been found to
be related to indentifiable factors in the group-context interaction such as the groups actively revising their knowledge of the
environment coordinating work with outsiders, promoting team achievements within the organization. In general, such external
activities are better predictors of team performance than internal group processes.
In a crisis situation, the legal managerial capabilities of the corporate lawyer vis-a-vis the managerial mettle of corporations are
challenged. Current research is seeking ways both to anticipate effective managerial procedures and to understand relationships of
financial liability and insurance considerations. (Emphasis supplied)
Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate counsel, three factors are apropos:
First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics has been found an effective tool for new managerial thinking regarding both
planning and pressing immediate problems. An understanding of the role of feedback loops, inventory levels, and rates of flow,
enable users to simulate all sorts of systematic problems physical, economic, managerial, social, and psychological. New
programming techniques now make the system dynamics principles more accessible to managers including corporate counsels.
(Emphasis supplied)
Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make better decisions involving complexity and uncertainty. In the context of a law
department, it can be used to appraise the settlement value of litigation, aid in negotiation settlement, and minimize the cost and risk
involved in managing a portfolio of cases. (Emphasis supplied)
Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. Computer-based models can be used directly by parties and mediators in all lands of
negotiations. All integrated set of such tools provide coherent and effective negotiation support, including hands-on on instruction in
these techniques. A simulation case of an international joint venture may be used to illustrate the point.
8

[Be this as it may,] the organization and management of the legal function, concern three pointed areas of consideration, thus:
Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires special skills that comprise a major part of the general counsel's
responsibilities. They differ from those of remedial law. Preventive lawyering is concerned with minimizing the risks of legal trouble
and maximizing legal rights for such legal entities at that time when transactional or similar facts are being considered and made.
Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within which are undertaken those activities of the firm to which legal
consequences attach. It needs to be directly supportive of this nation's evolving economic and organizational fabric as firms change
to stay competitive in a global, interdependent environment. The practice and theory of "law" is not adequate today to facilitate the
relationships needed in trying to make a global economy work.
Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Counsel's Office. The general counsel has emerged in the last decade as one of the
most vibrant subsets of the legal profession. The corporate counsel hear responsibility for key aspects of the firm's strategic issues,
including structuring its global operations, managing improved relationships with an increasingly diversified body of employees,
managing expanded liability exposure, creating new and varied interactions with public decision-makers, coping internally with more
complex make or by decisions.
This whole exercise drives home the thesis that knowing corporate law is not enough to make one a good general corporate counsel
nor to give him a full sense of how the legal system shapes corporate activities. And even if the corporate lawyer's aim is not the
understand all of the law's effects on corporate activities, he must, at the very least, also gain a working knowledge of the
management issues if only to be able to grasp not only the basic legal "constitution' or makeup of the modem corporation. "Business
Star", "The Corporate Counsel," April 10, 1991, p. 4).
The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and the bench) is to have more than a passing knowledge of financial law affecting each
aspect of their work. Yet, many would admit to ignorance of vast tracts of the financial law territory. What transpires next is a
dilemma of professional security: Will the lawyer admit ignorance and risk opprobrium?; or will he feign understanding and risk
exposure? (Business Star, "Corporate Finance law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).
Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received by the
Secretariat of the Commission on Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not possess the
required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC. On June 18, 1991, he took his
oath of office. On the same day, he assumed office as Chairman of the COMELEC.
Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Monsod's nomination, petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed the
instant petition for certiorari and Prohibition praying that said confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission
on Elections be declared null and void.
Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86-55%. He has been a dues
paying member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying his professional license fees as lawyer
for more than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo)
After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and having hurdled the bar, Atty. Monsod worked in the law office of his father. During his stint in the
World Bank Group (1963-1970), Monsod worked as an operations officer for about two years in Costa Rica and Panama, which involved getting
acquainted with the laws of member-countries negotiating loans and coordinating legal, economic, and project work of the Bank. Upon returning to the
Philippines in 1970, he worked with the Meralco Group, served as chief executive officer of an investment bank and subsequently of a business
conglomerate, and since 1986, has rendered services to various companies as a legal and economic consultant or chief executive officer. As former
Secretary-General (1986) and National Chairman (1987) of NAMFREL. Monsod's work involved being knowledgeable in election law. He appeared for
NAMFREL in its accreditation hearings before the Comelec. In the field of advocacy, Monsod, in his personal capacity and as former Co-Chairman of the
Bishops Businessmen's Conference for Human Development, has worked with the under privileged sectors, such as the farmer and urban poor groups,
in initiating, lobbying for and engaging in affirmative action for the agrarian reform law and lately the urban land reform bill. Monsod also made use of his
legal knowledge as a member of the Davide Commission, a quast judicial body, which conducted numerous hearings (1990) and as a member of the
Constitutional Commission (1986-1987), and Chairman of its Committee on Accountability of Public Officers, for which he was cited by the President of
the Commission, Justice Cecilia Muoz-Palma for "innumerable amendments to reconcile government functions with individual freedoms and public
accountability and the party-list system for the House of Representative. (pp. 128-129 Rollo) ( Emphasis supplied)
Just a word about the work of a negotiating team of which Atty. Monsod used to be a member.
In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts as a team, and which is adequately constituted to meet the various
contingencies that arise during a negotiation. Besides top officials of the Borrower concerned, there are the legal officer (such as the
legal counsel), the finance manager, and an operations officer (such as an official involved in negotiating the contracts) who
comprise the members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven, "Loan Negotiating Strategies for Developing Country Borrowers," Staff
Paper No. 2, Central Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 1982, p. 11). (Emphasis supplied)
After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a country's Constitution; it lays down the law as far as the loan transaction is concerned.
Thus, the meat of any Loan Agreement can be compartmentalized into five (5) fundamental parts: (1) business terms; (2) borrower's
representation; (3) conditions of closing; (4) covenants; and (5) events of default. (Ibid., p. 13).
In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any debt restructuring program. For aside from performing the tasks of legislative
drafting and legal advising, they score national development policies as key factors in maintaining their countries' sovereignty.
(Condensed from the work paper, entitled "Wanted: Development Lawyers for Developing Nations," submitted by L. Michael Hager,
regional legal adviser of the United States Agency for International Development, during the Session on Law for the Development of
Nations at the Abidjan World Conference in Ivory Coast, sponsored by the World Peace Through Law Center on August 26-31,
1973). ( Emphasis supplied)
Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more so than purely renegotiation policies, demand expertise in the law of
contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting and in renegotiation. Necessarily, a sovereign lawyer may work with an international
business specialist or an economist in the formulation of a model loan agreement. Debt restructuring contract agreements contain
such a mixture of technical language that they should be carefully drafted and signed only with the advise of competent counsel in
conjunction with the guidance of adequate technical support personnel. (See International Law Aspects of the Philippine External
Debts, an unpublished dissertation, U.S.T. Graduate School of Law, 1987, p. 321). ( Emphasis supplied)
A critical aspect of sovereign debt restructuring/contract construction is the set of terms and conditions which determines the
contractual remedies for a failure to perform one or more elements of the contract. A good agreement must not only define the
responsibilities of both parties, but must also state the recourse open to either party when the other fails to discharge an obligation.
For a compleat debt restructuring represents a devotion to that principle which in the ultimate analysis is sine qua non for foreign
loan agreements-an adherence to the rule of law in domestic and international affairs of whose kind U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said: "They carry no banners, they beat no drums; but where they are, men learn that bustle and
bush are not the equal of quiet genius and serene mastery." (See Ricardo J. Romulo, "The Role of Lawyers in Foreign Investments,"
Integrated Bar of the Philippine Journal, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4, Third and Fourth Quarters, 1977, p. 265).
9

Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term Practice of law". particularly the modern concept of law practice, and taking into consideration
the liberal construction intended by the framers of the Constitution, Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a
lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor verily more than satisfy the
constitutional requirement that he has been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 143 SCRA 327, the Court said:
Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be performed by the officer in which it is vested according to his best
lights, the only condition being that the appointee should possess the qualifications required by law. If he does, then the
appointment cannot be faulted on the ground that there are others better qualified who should have been preferred. This is a
political question involving considerations of wisdom which only the appointing authority can decide. (emphasis supplied)
No less emphatic was the Court in the case of (Central Bank v. Civil Service Commission, 171 SCRA 744) where it stated:
It is well-settled that when the appointee is qualified, as in this case, and all the other legal requirements are satisfied, the
Commission has no alternative but to attest to the appointment in accordance with the Civil Service Law. The Commission has no
authority to revoke an appointment on the ground that another person is more qualified for a particular position. It also has no
authority to direct the appointment of a substitute of its choice. To do so would be an encroachment on the discretion vested upon
the appointing authority. An appointment is essentially within the discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested, subject to the only
condition that the appointee should possess the qualifications required by law. ( Emphasis supplied)
The appointing process in a regular appointment as in the case at bar, consists of four (4) stages: (1) nomination; (2) confirmation by the Commission on
Appointments; (3) issuance of a commission (in the Philippines, upon submission by the Commission on Appointments of its certificate of confirmation,
the President issues the permanent appointment; and (4) acceptance e.g., oath-taking, posting of bond, etc. . . . (Lacson v. Romero, No. L-3081,
October 14, 1949; Gonzales, Law on Public Officers, p. 200)
The power of the Commission on Appointments to give its consent to the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections is
mandated by Section 1(2) Sub-Article C, Article IX of the Constitution which provides:
The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for
a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two
Members for five years, and the last Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for
the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.
Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate opinion, suffice it to say that his definition of the practice of law is the traditional or
stereotyped notion of law practice, as distinguished from the modern concept of the practice of law, which modern connotation is
exactly what was intended by the eminent framers of the 1987 Constitution. Moreover, Justice Padilla's definition would require
generally a habitual law practice, perhaps practised two or three times a week and would outlaw say, law practice once or twice a
year for ten consecutive years. Clearly, this is far from the constitutional intent.
Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Justice Isagani Cruz states that in my written opinion, I made use of a definition of law practice which really
means nothing because the definition says that law practice " . . . is what people ordinarily mean by the practice of law." True I cited the definition but
only by way of sarcasm as evident from my statement that the definition of law practice by "traditional areas of law practice is essentially tautologous" or
defining a phrase by means of the phrase itself that is being defined.
Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that since the law covers almost all situations, most individuals, in making use of the law, or in advising others
on what the law means, are actually practicing law. In that sense, perhaps, but we should not lose sight of the fact that Mr. Monsod is a lawyer, a
member of the Philippine Bar, who has been practising law for over ten years. This is different from the acts of persons practising law, without first
becoming lawyers.
Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court can even disqualify an elected President of the Philippines, say, on the ground that he lacks one or more
qualifications. This matter, I greatly doubt. For one thing, how can an action or petition be brought against the President? And even assuming that he is
indeed disqualified, how can the action be entertained since he is the incumbent President?
We now proceed:
The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted doling the public hearings on Monsod's confirmation, implicitly determined that he possessed the
necessary qualifications as required by law. The judgment rendered by the Commission in the exercise of such an acknowledged power is beyond
judicial interference except only upon a clear showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1
Constitution). Thus, only where such grave abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the Commission's judgment. In the instant
case, there is no occasion for the exercise of the Court's corrective power, since no abuse, much less a grave abuse of discretion, that would amount to
lack or excess of jurisdiction and would warrant the issuance of the writs prayed, for has been clearly shown.
Additionally, consider the following:
(1) If the Commission on Appointments rejects a nominee by the President, may the Supreme Court reverse the Commission, and
thus in effect confirm the appointment? Clearly, the answer is in the negative.
(2) In the same vein, may the Court reject the nominee, whom the Commission has confirmed? The answer is likewise clear.
(3) If the United States Senate (which is the confirming body in the U.S. Congress) decides to confirm a Presidential nominee, it
would be incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court would still reverse the U.S. Senate.
Finally, one significant legal maxim is:
We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the spirit that giveth life.
Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the procurator of Judea asked Delilah (who was Samson's beloved) for help in capturing
Samson. Delilah agreed on condition that
No blade shall touch his skin;
No blood shall flow from his veins.
When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was captured, the procurator placed an iron rod burning white-hot two or three inches away from in front of
Samson's eyes. This blinded the man. Upon hearing of what had happened to her beloved, Delilah was beside herself with anger, and fuming with
righteous fury, accused the procurator of reneging on his word. The procurator calmly replied: "Did any blade touch his skin? Did any blood flow from his
veins?" The procurator was clearly relying on the letter, not the spirit of the agreement.
In view of the foregoing, this petition is hereby DISMISSED.









10

Bar Matter No. 553 June 17, 1993
MAURICIO C. ULEP vs. THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC
Petitioner prays this Court "to order the respondent to cease and desist from issuing advertisements similar to or of the same tenor as that of annexes
"A" and "B" (of said petition) and to perpetually prohibit persons or entities from making advertisements pertaining to the exercise of the law profession
other than those allowed by law."
The advertisements complained of by herein petitioner are as follows:
Annex A
SECRET MARRIAGE?
P560.00 for a valid marriage.
Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE.
ANNULMENT. VISA.
THE Please call: 521-0767 LEGAL 5217232, 5222041 CLINIC, INC. 8:30 am 6:00 pm 7-Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Mla.
Annex B
GUAM DIVORCE.
DON PARKINSON
an Attorney in Guam, is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning Monday to Friday during office
hours.
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special Retiree's Visa. Declaration
of Absence. Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign Visa for Filipina Spouse/Children. Call
Marivic.
THE 7F Victoria Bldg. 429 UN Ave., LEGAL Ermita, Manila nr. US Embassy CLINIC, INC.
1
Tel. 521-7232; 521-7251; 522-2041;
521-0767
It is the submission of petitioner that the advertisements above reproduced are champterous, unethical, demeaning of the law profession, and
destructive of the confidence of the community in the integrity of the members of the bar and that, as a member of the legal profession, he is ashamed
and offended by the said advertisements, hence the reliefs sought in his petition as hereinbefore quoted.
In its answer to the petition, respondent admits the fact of publication of said advertisement at its instance, but claims that it is not engaged in the
practice of law but in the rendering of "legal support services" through paralegals with the use of modern computers and electronic machines.
Respondent further argues that assuming that the services advertised are legal services, the act of advertising these services should be allowed
supposedly
in the light of the case of John R. Bates and Van O'Steen vs. State Bar of Arizona,
2
reportedly decided by the United States Supreme Court on June 7,
1977.
Considering the critical implications on the legal profession of the issues raised herein, we required the (1) Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), (2)
Philippine Bar Association (PBA), (3) Philippine Lawyers' Association (PLA), (4) U.P. Womens Lawyers' Circle (WILOCI), (5) Women Lawyers
Association of the Philippines (WLAP), and (6) Federacion International de Abogadas (FIDA) to submit their respective position papers on the
controversy and, thereafter, their memoranda.
3
The said bar associations readily responded and extended their valuable services and cooperation of
which this Court takes note with appreciation and gratitude.
The main issues posed for resolution before the Court are whether or not the services offered by respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., as advertised by it
constitutes practice of law and, in either case, whether the same can properly be the subject of the advertisements herein complained of.
Before proceeding with an in-depth analysis of the merits of this case, we deem it proper and enlightening to present hereunder excerpts from the
respective position papers adopted by the aforementioned bar associations and the memoranda submitted by them on the issues involved in this bar
matter.
1. Integrated Bar of the Philippines:
xxx xxx xxx
Notwithstanding the subtle manner by which respondent endeavored to distinguish the two terms, i.e., "legal support services" vis-a-
vis "legal services", common sense would readily dictate that the same are essentially without substantial distinction. For who could
deny that document search, evidence gathering, assistance to layman in need of basic institutional services from government or
non-government agencies like birth, marriage, property, or business registration, obtaining documents like clearance, passports,
local or foreign visas, constitutes practice of law?
xxx xxx xxx
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) does not wish to make issue with respondent's foreign citations. Suffice it to state that
the IBP has made its position manifest, to wit, that it strongly opposes the view espoused by respondent (to the effect that today it is
alright to advertise one's legal services).
The IBP accordingly declares in no uncertain terms its opposition to respondent's act of establishing a "legal clinic" and of
concomitantly advertising the same through newspaper publications.
The IBP would therefore invoke the administrative supervision of this Honorable Court to perpetually restrain respondent from
undertaking highly unethical activities in the field of law practice as aforedescribed.
4

xxx xxx xxx
A. The use of the name "The Legal Clinic, Inc." gives the impression that respondent corporation is being operated by lawyers and
that it renders legal services.
While the respondent repeatedly denies that it offers legal services to the public, the advertisements in question give the impression
that respondent is offering legal services. The Petition in fact simply assumes this to be so, as earlier mentioned, apparently
because this (is) the effect that the advertisements have on the reading public.
The impression created by the advertisements in question can be traced, first of all, to the very name being used by respondent
"The Legal Clinic, Inc." Such a name, it is respectfully submitted connotes the rendering of legal services for legal problems, just like
a medical clinic connotes medical services for medical problems. More importantly, the term "Legal Clinic" connotes lawyers, as the
term medical clinic connotes doctors.
Furthermore, the respondent's name, as published in the advertisements subject of the present case, appears with (the) scale(s) of
justice, which all the more reinforces the impression that it is being operated by members of the bar and that it offers legal services.
In addition, the advertisements in question appear with a picture and name of a person being represented as a lawyer from Guam,
and this practically removes whatever doubt may still remain as to the nature of the service or services being offered.
It thus becomes irrelevant whether respondent is merely offering "legal support services" as claimed by it, or whether it offers legal
services as any lawyer actively engaged in law practice does. And it becomes unnecessary to make a distinction between "legal
services" and "legal support services," as the respondent would have it. The advertisements in question leave no room for doubt in
the minds of the reading public that legal services are being offered by lawyers, whether true or not.
11

B. The advertisements in question are meant to induce the performance of acts contrary to law, morals, public order and public
policy.
It may be conceded that, as the respondent claims, the advertisements in question are only meant to inform the general public of the
services being offered by it. Said advertisements, however, emphasize to Guam divorce, and any law student ought to know that
under the Family Code, there is only one instance when a foreign divorce is recognized, and that is:
Article 26. . . .
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter
validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have
capacity to remarry under Philippine Law.
It must not be forgotten, too, that the Family Code (defines) a marriage as follows:
Article 1. Marriage is special contract of permanent union between a man and woman entered into accordance
with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable
social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation,
except that marriage settlements may fix the property relation during the marriage within the limits provided by
this Code.
By simply reading the questioned advertisements, it is obvious that the message being conveyed is that Filipinos can avoid the legal
consequences of a marriage celebrated in accordance with our law, by simply going to Guam for a divorce. This is not only
misleading, but encourages, or serves to induce, violation of Philippine law. At the very least, this can be considered "the dark side"
of legal practice, where certain defects in Philippine laws are exploited for the sake of profit. At worst, this is outright malpractice.
Rule 1.02. A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening
confidence in the legal system.
In addition, it may also be relevant to point out that advertisements such as that shown in Annex "A" of the Petition, which contains a
cartoon of a motor vehicle with the words "Just Married" on its bumper and seems to address those planning a "secret marriage," if
not suggesting a "secret marriage," makes light of the "special contract of permanent union," the inviolable social institution," which
is how the Family Code describes marriage, obviously to emphasize its sanctity and inviolability. Worse, this particular
advertisement appears to encourage marriages celebrated in secrecy, which is suggestive of immoral publication of applications for
a marriage license.
If the article "Rx for Legal Problems" is to be reviewed, it can readily be concluded that the above impressions one may gather from
the advertisements in question are accurate. The Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion example alone confirms what the
advertisements suggest. Here it can be seen that criminal acts are being encouraged or committed
(a bigamous marriage in Hong Kong or Las Vegas) with impunity simply because the jurisdiction of Philippine courts does not
extend to the place where the crime is committed.
Even if it be assumed, arguendo, (that) the "legal support services" respondent offers do not constitute legal services as commonly
understood, the advertisements in question give the impression that respondent corporation is being operated by lawyers and that it
offers legal services, as earlier discussed. Thus, the only logical consequence is that, in the eyes of an ordinary newspaper reader,
members of the bar themselves are encouraging or inducing the performance of acts which are contrary to law, morals, good
customs and the public good, thereby destroying and demeaning the integrity of the Bar.
xxx xxx xxx
It is respectfully submitted that respondent should be enjoined from causing the publication of the advertisements in question, or any
other advertisements similar thereto. It is also submitted that respondent should be prohibited from further performing or offering
some of the services it presently offers, or, at the very least, from offering such services to the public in general.
The IBP is aware of the fact that providing computerized legal research, electronic data gathering, storage and retrieval,
standardized legal forms, investigators for gathering of evidence, and like services will greatly benefit the legal profession and
should not be stifled but instead encouraged. However, when the conduct of such business by non-members of the Bar encroaches
upon the practice of law, there can be no choice but to prohibit such business.
Admittedly, many of the services involved in the case at bar can be better performed by specialists in other fields, such as computer
experts, who by reason of their having devoted time and effort exclusively to such field cannot fulfill the exacting requirements for
admission to the Bar. To prohibit them from "encroaching" upon the legal profession will deny the profession of the great benefits
and advantages of modern technology. Indeed, a lawyer using a computer will be doing better than a lawyer using a typewriter,
even if both are (equal) in skill.
Both the Bench and the Bar, however, should be careful not to allow or tolerate the illegal practice of law in any form, not only for the
protection of members of the Bar but also, and more importantly, for the protection of the public. Technological development in the
profession may be encouraged without tolerating, but instead ensuring prevention of illegal practice.
There might be nothing objectionable if respondent is allowed to perform all of its services, but only if such services are made
available exclusively to members of the Bench and Bar. Respondent would then be offering technical assistance, not legal services.
Alternatively, the more difficult task of carefully distinguishing between which service may be offered to the public in general and
which should be made available exclusively to members of the Bar may be undertaken. This, however, may require further
proceedings because of the factual considerations involved.
It must be emphasized, however, that some of respondent's services ought to be prohibited outright, such as acts which tend to
suggest or induce celebration abroad of marriages which are bigamous or otherwise illegal and void under Philippine law. While
respondent may not be prohibited from simply disseminating information regarding such matters, it must be required to include, in
the information given, a disclaimer that it is not authorized to practice law, that certain course of action may be illegal under
Philippine law, that it is not authorized or capable of rendering a legal opinion, that a lawyer should be consulted before deciding on
which course of action to take, and that it cannot recommend any particular lawyer without subjecting itself to possible sanctions for
illegal practice of law.
If respondent is allowed to advertise, advertising should be directed exclusively at members of the Bar, with a clear and
unmistakable disclaimer that it is not authorized to practice law or perform legal services.
The benefits of being assisted by paralegals cannot be ignored. But nobody should be allowed to represent himself as a "paralegal"
for profit, without such term being clearly defined by rule or regulation, and without any adequate and effective means of regulating
his activities. Also, law practice in a corporate form may prove to be advantageous to the legal profession, but before allowance of
such practice may be considered, the corporation's Article of Incorporation and By-laws must conform to each and every provision of
the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Rules of Court.
5

2. Philippine Bar Association:
xxx xxx xxx.
12

Respondent asserts that it "is not engaged in the practice of law but engaged in giving legal support services to lawyers and laymen,
through experienced paralegals, with the use of modern computers and electronic machines" (pars. 2 and 3, Comment). This is
absurd. Unquestionably, respondent's acts of holding out itself to the public under the trade name "The Legal Clinic, Inc.," and
soliciting employment for its enumerated services fall within the realm of a practice which thus yields itself to the regulatory powers
of the Supreme Court. For respondent to say that it is merely engaged in paralegal work is to stretch credulity. Respondent's own
commercial advertisement which announces a certain Atty. Don Parkinson to be handling the fields of law belies its pretense. From
all indications, respondent "The Legal Clinic, Inc." is offering and rendering legal services through its reserve of lawyers. It has been
held that the practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court, but includes drawing of deeds, incorporation, rendering
opinions, and advising clients as to their legal right and then take them to an attorney and ask the latter to look after their case in
court See Martin, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 1984 ed., p. 39).
It is apt to recall that only natural persons can engage in the practice of law, and such limitation cannot be evaded by a corporation
employing competent lawyers to practice for it. Obviously, this is the scheme or device by which respondent "The Legal Clinic, Inc."
holds out itself to the public and solicits employment of its legal services. It is an odious vehicle for deception, especially so when
the public cannot ventilate any grievance for malpractice against the business conduit. Precisely, the limitation of practice of law to
persons who have been duly admitted as members of the Bar (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court) is to subject the members
to the discipline of the Supreme Court. Although respondent uses its business name, the persons and the lawyers who act for it are
subject to court discipline. The practice of law is not a profession open to all who wish to engage in it nor can it be assigned to
another (See 5 Am. Jur. 270). It is a personal right limited to persons who have qualified themselves under the law. It follows that
not only respondent but also all the persons who are acting for respondent are the persons engaged in unethical law practice.
6

3. Philippine Lawyers' Association:
The Philippine Lawyers' Association's position, in answer to the issues stated herein, are wit:
1. The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law;
2. Such practice is unauthorized;
3. The advertisements complained of are not only unethical, but also misleading and patently immoral; and
4. The Honorable Supreme Court has the power to supress and punish the Legal Clinic and its corporate officers for its
unauthorized practice of law and for its unethical, misleading and immoral advertising.
xxx xxx xxx
Respondent posits that is it not engaged in the practice of law. It claims that it merely renders "legal support services" to answers,
litigants and the general public as enunciated in the Primary Purpose Clause of its Article(s) of Incorporation. (See pages 2 to 5 of
Respondent's Comment). But its advertised services, as enumerated above, clearly and convincingly show that it is indeed engaged
in law practice, albeit outside of court.
As advertised, it offers the general public its advisory services on Persons and Family Relations Law, particularly regarding foreign
divorces, annulment of marriages, secret marriages, absence and adoption; Immigration Laws, particularly on visa related problems,
immigration problems; the Investments Law of the Philippines and such other related laws.
Its advertised services unmistakably require the application of the aforesaid law, the legal principles and procedures related thereto,
the legal advices based thereon and which activities call for legal training, knowledge and experience.
Applying the test laid down by the Court in the aforecited Agrava Case, the activities of respondent fall squarely and are embraced
in what lawyers and laymen equally term as "the practice of law."
7

4. U.P. Women Lawyers' Circle:
In resolving, the issues before this Honorable Court, paramount consideration should be given to the protection of the general public
from the danger of being exploited by unqualified persons or entities who may be engaged in the practice of law.
At present, becoming a lawyer requires one to take a rigorous four-year course of study on top of a four-year bachelor of arts or
sciences course and then to take and pass the bar examinations. Only then, is a lawyer qualified to practice law.
While the use of a paralegal is sanctioned in many jurisdiction as an aid to the administration of justice, there are in those
jurisdictions, courses of study and/or standards which would qualify these paralegals to deal with the general public as such. While it
may now be the opportune time to establish these courses of study and/or standards, the fact remains that at present, these do not
exist in the Philippines. In the meantime, this Honorable Court may decide to make measures to protect the general public from
being exploited by those who may be dealing with the general public in the guise of being "paralegals" without being qualified to do
so.
In the same manner, the general public should also be protected from the dangers which may be brought about by advertising of
legal services. While it appears that lawyers are prohibited under the present Code of Professional Responsibility from advertising, it
appears in the instant case that legal services are being advertised not by lawyers but by an entity staffed by "paralegals." Clearly,
measures should be taken to protect the general public from falling prey to those who advertise legal services without being
qualified to offer such services.
8

A perusal of the questioned advertisements of Respondent, however, seems to give the impression that information regarding
validity of marriages, divorce, annulment of marriage, immigration, visa extensions, declaration of absence, adoption and foreign
investment, which are in essence, legal matters , will be given to them if they avail of its services. The Respondent's name The
Legal Clinic, Inc. does not help matters. It gives the impression again that Respondent will or can cure the legal problems brought
to them. Assuming that Respondent is, as claimed, staffed purely by paralegals, it also gives the misleading impression that there
are lawyers involved in The Legal Clinic, Inc., as there are doctors in any medical clinic, when only "paralegals" are involved in The
Legal Clinic, Inc.
Respondent's allegations are further belied by the very admissions of its President and majority stockholder, Atty. Nogales, who
gave an insight on the structure and main purpose of Respondent corporation in the aforementioned "Starweek" article."
9

5. Women Lawyer's Association of the Philippines:
Annexes "A" and "B" of the petition are clearly advertisements to solicit cases for the purpose of gain which, as provided for under
the above cited law, (are) illegal and against the Code of Professional Responsibility of lawyers in this country.
Annex "A" of the petition is not only illegal in that it is an advertisement to solicit cases, but it is illegal in that in bold letters it
announces that the Legal Clinic, Inc., could work out/cause the celebration of a secret marriage which is not only illegal but immoral
in this country. While it is advertised that one has to go to said agency and pay P560 for a valid marriage it is certainly fooling the
public for valid marriages in the Philippines are solemnized only by officers authorized to do so under the law. And to employ an
agency for said purpose of contracting marriage is not necessary.
No amount of reasoning that in the USA, Canada and other countries the trend is towards allowing lawyers to advertise their special
skills to enable people to obtain from qualified practitioners legal services for their particular needs can justify the use of
advertisements such as are the subject matter of the petition, for one (cannot) justify an illegal act even by whatever merit the illegal
act may serve. The law has yet to be amended so that such act could become justifiable.
13

We submit further that these advertisements that seem to project that secret marriages and divorce are possible in this country for a
fee, when in fact it is not so, are highly reprehensible.
It would encourage people to consult this clinic about how they could go about having a secret marriage here, when it cannot nor
should ever be attempted, and seek advice on divorce, where in this country there is none, except under the Code of Muslim
Personal Laws in the Philippines. It is also against good morals and is deceitful because it falsely represents to the public to be able
to do that which by our laws cannot be done (and) by our Code of Morals should not be done.
In the case (of) In re Taguda, 53 Phil. 37, the Supreme Court held that solicitation for clients by an attorney by circulars of
advertisements, is unprofessional, and offenses of this character justify permanent elimination from the Bar.
10

6. Federacion Internacional de Abogados:
xxx xxx xxx
1.7 That entities admittedly not engaged in the practice of law, such as management consultancy firms or travel agencies, whether
run by lawyers or not, perform the services rendered by Respondent does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that Respondent is
not unlawfully practicing law. In the same vein, however, the fact that the business of respondent (assuming it can be engaged in
independently of the practice of law) involves knowledge of the law does not necessarily make respondent guilty of unlawful practice
of law.
. . . . Of necessity, no one . . . . acting as a consultant can render effective service unless he is familiar with
such statutes and regulations. He must be careful not to suggest a course of conduct which the law forbids. It
seems . . . .clear that (the consultant's) knowledge of the law, and his use of that knowledge as a factor in
determining what measures he shall recommend, do not constitute the practice of law . . . . It is not only
presumed that all men know the law, but it is a fact that most men have considerable acquaintance with broad
features of the law . . . . Our knowledge of the law accurate or inaccurate moulds our conduct not only
when we are acting for ourselves, but when we are serving others. Bankers, liquor dealers and laymen
generally possess rather precise knowledge of the laws touching their particular business or profession. A good
example is the architect, who must be familiar with zoning, building and fire prevention codes, factory and
tenement house statutes, and who draws plans and specification in harmony with the law. This is not practicing
law.
But suppose the architect, asked by his client to omit a fire tower, replies that it is required by the statute. Or the
industrial relations expert cites, in support of some measure that he recommends, a decision of the National
Labor Relations Board. Are they practicing law? In my opinion, they are not, provided no separate fee is
charged for the legal advice or information, and the legal question is subordinate and incidental to a major non-
legal problem.
It is largely a matter of degree and of custom.
If it were usual for one intending to erect a building on his land to engage a lawyer to advise him and the
architect in respect to the building code and the like, then an architect who performed this function would
probably be considered to be trespassing on territory reserved for licensed attorneys. Likewise, if the industrial
relations field had been pre-empted by lawyers, or custom placed a lawyer always at the elbow of the lay
personnel man. But this is not the case. The most important body of the industrial relations experts are the
officers and business agents of the labor unions and few of them are lawyers. Among the larger corporate
employers, it has been the practice for some years to delegate special responsibility in employee matters to a
management group chosen for their practical knowledge and skill in such matter, and without regard to legal
thinking or lack of it. More recently, consultants like the defendants have the same service that the larger
employers get from their own specialized staff.
The handling of industrial relations is growing into a recognized profession for which appropriate courses are
offered by our leading universities. The court should be very cautious about declaring [that] a widespread, well-
established method of conducting business is unlawful, or that the considerable class of men who customarily
perform a certain function have no right to do so, or that the technical education given by our schools cannot be
used by the graduates in their business.
In determining whether a man is practicing law, we should consider his work for any particular client or
customer, as a whole. I can imagine defendant being engaged primarily to advise as to the law defining his
client's obligations to his employees, to guide his client's obligations to his employees, to guide his client along
the path charted by law. This, of course, would be the practice of the law. But such is not the fact in the case
before me. Defendant's primarily efforts are along economic and psychological lines. The law only provides the
frame within which he must work, just as the zoning code limits the kind of building the limits the kind of building
the architect may plan. The incidental legal advice or information defendant may give, does not transform his
activities into the practice of law. Let me add that if, even as a minor feature of his work, he performed services
which are customarily reserved to members of the bar, he would be practicing law. For instance, if as part of a
welfare program, he drew employees' wills.
Another branch of defendant's work is the representations of the employer in the adjustment of grievances and
in collective bargaining, with or without a mediator. This is not per se the practice of law. Anyone may use an
agent for negotiations and may select an agent particularly skilled in the subject under discussion, and the
person appointed is free to accept the employment whether or not he is a member of the bar. Here, however,
there may be an exception where the business turns on a question of law. Most real estate sales are negotiated
by brokers who are not lawyers. But if the value of the land depends on a disputed right-of-way and the principal
role of the negotiator is to assess the probable outcome of the dispute and persuade the opposite party to the
same opinion, then it may be that only a lawyer can accept the assignment. Or if a controversy between an
employer and his men grows from differing interpretations of a contract, or of a statute, it is quite likely that
defendant should not handle it. But I need not reach a definite conclusion here, since the situation is not
presented by the proofs.
Defendant also appears to represent the employer before administrative agencies of the federal government,
especially before trial examiners of the National Labor Relations Board. An agency of the federal government,
acting by virtue of an authority granted by the Congress, may regulate the representation of parties before such
agency. The State of New Jersey is without power to interfere with such determination or to forbid
representation before the agency by one whom the agency admits. The rules of the National Labor Relations
Board give to a party the right to appear in person, or by counsel, or by other representative. Rules and
Regulations, September 11th, 1946, S. 203.31. 'Counsel' here means a licensed attorney, and ther
14

representative' one not a lawyer. In this phase of his work, defendant may lawfully do whatever the Labor Board
allows, even arguing questions purely legal. (Auerbacher v. Wood, 53 A. 2d 800, cited in Statsky, Introduction to
Paralegalism [1974], at pp. 154-156.).
1.8 From the foregoing, it can be said that a person engaged in a lawful calling (which may involve knowledge of the law) is not
engaged in the practice of law provided that:
(a) The legal question is subordinate and incidental to a major non-legal problem;.
(b) The services performed are not customarily reserved to members of the bar; .
(c) No separate fee is charged for the legal advice or information.
All these must be considered in relation to the work for any particular client as a whole.
1.9. If the person involved is both lawyer and non-lawyer, the Code of Professional Responsibility succintly states the rule of
conduct:
Rule 15.08 A lawyer who is engaged in another profession or occupation concurrently with the practice of law shall make clear to
his client whether he is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity.
1.10. In the present case. the Legal Clinic appears to render wedding services (See Annex "A" Petition). Services on routine,
straightforward marriages, like securing a marriage license, and making arrangements with a priest or a judge, may not constitute
practice of law. However, if the problem is as complicated as that described in "Rx for Legal Problems" on the Sharon Cuneta-
Gabby Concepcion-Richard Gomez case, then what may be involved is actually the practice of law. If a non-lawyer, such as the
Legal Clinic, renders such services then it is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
1.11. The Legal Clinic also appears to give information on divorce, absence, annulment of marriage and visas (See Annexes "A"
and "B" Petition). Purely giving informational materials may not constitute of law. The business is similar to that of a bookstore
where the customer buys materials on the subject and determines on the subject and determines by himself what courses of action
to take.
It is not entirely improbable, however, that aside from purely giving information, the Legal Clinic's paralegals may apply the law to
the particular problem of the client, and give legal advice. Such would constitute unauthorized practice of law.
It cannot be claimed that the publication of a legal text which publication of a legal text which purports to say
what the law is amount to legal practice. And the mere fact that the principles or rules stated in the text may be
accepted by a particular reader as a solution to his problem does not affect this. . . . . Apparently it is urged that
the conjoining of these two, that is, the text and the forms, with advice as to how the forms should be filled out,
constitutes the unlawful practice of law. But that is the situation with many approved and accepted texts.
Dacey's book is sold to the public at large. There is no personal contact or relationship with a particular
individual. Nor does there exist that relation of confidence and trust so necessary to the status of attorney and
client. THIS IS THE ESSENTIAL OF LEGAL PRACTICE THE REPRESENTATION AND ADVISING OF A
PARTICULAR PERSON IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION. At most the book assumes to offer general advice on
common problems, and does not purport to give personal advice on a specific problem peculiar to a designated
or readily identified person. Similarly the defendant's publication does not purport to give personal advice on a
specific problem peculiar to a designated or readily identified person in a particular situation in their
publication and sale of the kits, such publication and sale did not constitutes the unlawful practice of law . . . .
There being no legal impediment under the statute to the sale of the kit, there was no proper basis for the
injunction against defendant maintaining an office for the purpose of selling to persons seeking a divorce,
separation, annulment or separation agreement any printed material or writings relating to matrimonial law or
the prohibition in the memorandum of modification of the judgment against defendant having an interest in any
publishing house publishing his manuscript on divorce and against his having any personal contact with any
prospective purchaser. The record does fully support, however, the finding that for the change of $75 or $100
for the kit, the defendant gave legal advice in the course of personal contacts concerning particular problems
which might arise in the preparation and presentation of the purchaser's asserted matrimonial cause of action or
pursuit of other legal remedies and assistance in the preparation of necessary documents (The injunction
therefore sought to) enjoin conduct constituting the practice of law, particularly with reference to the giving of
advice and counsel by the defendant relating to specific problems of particular individuals in connection with a
divorce, separation, annulment of separation agreement sought and should be affirmed. (State v. Winder, 348,
NYS 2D 270 [1973], cited in Statsky, supra at p. 101.).
1.12. Respondent, of course, states that its services are "strictly non-diagnostic, non-advisory. "It is not controverted, however, that
if the services "involve giving legal advice or counselling," such would constitute practice of law (Comment, par. 6.2). It is in this light
that FIDA submits that a factual inquiry may be necessary for the judicious disposition of this case.
xxx xxx xxx
2.10. Annex "A" may be ethically objectionable in that it can give the impression (or perpetuate the wrong notion) that there is a
secret marriage. With all the solemnities, formalities and other requisites of marriages (See Articles 2, et seq., Family Code), no
Philippine marriage can be secret.
2.11. Annex "B" may likewise be ethically objectionable. The second paragraph thereof (which is not necessarily related to the first
paragraph) fails to state the limitation that only "paralegal services?" or "legal support services", and not legal services, are
available."
11

A prefatory discussion on the meaning of the phrase "practice of law" becomes exigent for the proper determination of the issues raised by the petition at
bar. On this score, we note that the clause "practice of law" has long been the subject of judicial construction and interpretation. The courts have laid
down general principles and doctrines explaining the meaning and scope of the term, some of which we now take into account.
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedures, knowledge, training and experience. To
engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristic of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to give advice or render any
kind of service that involves legal knowledge or skill.
12

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. It includes legal advice and counsel, and the preparation of legal instruments and
contract by which legal rights are secured, although such matter may or may not be pending in a court.
13

In the practice of his profession, a licensed attorney at law generally engages in three principal types of professional activity: legal advice and
instructions to clients to inform them of their rights and obligations, preparation for clients of documents requiring knowledge of legal principles not
possessed by ordinary layman, and appearance for clients before public tribunals which possess power and authority to determine rights of life, liberty,
and property according to law, in order to assist in proper interpretation and enforcement of law.
14

When a person participates in the a trial and advertises himself as a lawyer, he is in the practice of law.
15
One who confers with clients, advises them as
to their legal rights and then takes the business to an attorney and asks the latter to look after the case in court, is also practicing law.
16
Giving advice
15

for compensation regarding the legal status and rights of another and the conduct with respect thereto constitutes a practice of law.
17
One who renders
an opinion as to the proper interpretation of a statute, and receives pay for it, is, to that extent, practicing law.
18

In the recent case of Cayetano vs. Monsod,
19
after citing the doctrines in several cases, we laid down the test to determine whether certain acts
constitute "practice of law," thus:
Black defines "practice of law" as:
The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and technique to serve the interest of
another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the
preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of legal
instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It embraces all advice to clients and all actions taken for them in
matters connected with the law.
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases on court.(Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. Dworken , 129 Ohio St. 23, 193N. E. 650). A
person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he:
. . . . for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to their right
under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings, pending or prospective, before any court,
commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and there, in
such representative capacity, performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients under the
law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the
law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of
law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v. C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S. W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852).
This Court, in the case of Philippines Lawyers Association v. Agrava (105 Phil. 173, 176-177),stated:
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other
papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before
judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected
with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a judicial body,
the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting
proceedings in attachment, and in matters or estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the
preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal
effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263).
Practice of law under modern conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of any court and having no immediate
relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects and the
preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust relations and other affairs. Although
these transactions may have no direct connection with court proceedings, they are always subject to become involved in litigation.
They require in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation
to difficult and complex situations. These customary functions of an attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate relation to the
administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns the question set forth in the order, can be drawn
between that part of the work of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part which involves advice and drafting of
instruments in his office. It is of importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold customary functions be performed by
persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all times under the heavy trust obligations
to clients which rests upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules o Court, Vol. 3 [1973 ed.], pp. 665-666, citing In Re
Opinion of the Justices [Mass], 194 N. E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 197 A. 139, 144).
The practice of law, therefore, covers a wide range of activities in and out of court. Applying the aforementioned criteria to the case at bar, we agree with
the perceptive findings and observations of the aforestated bar associations that the activities of respondent, as advertised, constitute "practice of law."
The contention of respondent that it merely offers legal support services can neither be seriously considered nor sustained. Said proposition is belied by
respondent's own description of the services it has been offering, to wit:
Legal support services basically consists of giving ready information by trained paralegals to laymen and lawyers, which are strictly
non-diagnostic, non-advisory, through the extensive use of computers and modern information technology in the gathering,
processing, storage, transmission and reproduction of information and communication, such as computerized legal research;
encoding and reproduction of documents and pleadings prepared by laymen or lawyers; document search; evidence gathering;
locating parties or witnesses to a case; fact finding investigations; and assistance to laymen in need of basic institutional services
from government or non-government agencies, like birth, marriage, property, or business registrations; educational or employment
records or certifications, obtaining documentation like clearances, passports, local or foreign visas; giving information about laws of
other countries that they may find useful, like foreign divorce, marriage or adoption laws that they can avail of preparatory to
emigration to the foreign country, and other matters that do not involve representation of clients in court; designing and installing
computer systems, programs, or software for the efficient management of law offices, corporate legal departments, courts and other
entities engaged in dispensing or administering legal services.
20

While some of the services being offered by respondent corporation merely involve mechanical and technical knowhow, such as the installation of
computer systems and programs for the efficient management of law offices, or the computerization of research aids and materials, these will not suffice
to justify an exception to the general rule.
What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation gives out legal information to laymen and lawyers. Its contention that such function is non-advisory
and non-diagnostic is more apparent than real. In providing information, for example, about foreign laws on marriage, divorce and adoption, it strains the
credulity of this Court that all the respondent corporation will simply do is look for the law, furnish a copy thereof to the client, and stop there as if it were
merely a bookstore. With its attorneys and so called paralegals, it will necessarily have to explain to the client the intricacies of the law and advise him or
her on the proper course of action to be taken as may be provided for by said law. That is what its advertisements represent and for the which services it
will consequently charge and be paid. That activity falls squarely within the jurisprudential definition of "practice of law." Such a conclusion will not be
altered by the fact that respondent corporation does not represent clients in court since law practice, as the weight of authority holds, is not limited
merely giving legal advice, contract drafting and so forth.
The aforesaid conclusion is further strengthened by an article published in the January 13, 1991 issue of the Starweek/The Sunday Magazine of the
Philippines Star, entitled "Rx for Legal Problems," where an insight into the structure, main purpose and operations of respondent corporation was given
by its own "proprietor," Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales:
This is the kind of business that is transacted everyday at The Legal Clinic, with offices on the seventh floor of the Victoria Building
along U. N. Avenue in Manila. No matter what the client's problem, and even if it is as complicated as the Cuneta-Concepcion
domestic situation, Atty. Nogales and his staff of lawyers, who, like doctors are "specialists" in various fields can take care of it. The
Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation and criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor, litigation, and family law. These
specialist are backed up by a battery of paralegals, counsellors and attorneys.
16

Atty. Nogales set up The Legal Clinic in 1984. Inspired by the trend in the medical field toward specialization, it caters to clients who
cannot afford the services of the big law firms.
The Legal Clinic has regular and walk-in clients. "when they come, we start by analyzing the problem. That's what doctors do also.
They ask you how you contracted what's bothering you, they take your temperature, they observe you for the symptoms and so on.
That's how we operate, too. And once the problem has been categorized, then it's referred to one of our specialists.
There are cases which do not, in medical terms, require surgery or follow-up treatment. These The Legal Clinic disposes of in a
matter of minutes. "Things like preparing a simple deed of sale or an affidavit of loss can be taken care of by our staff or, if this were
a hospital the residents or the interns. We can take care of these matters on a while you wait basis. Again, kung baga sa hospital,
out-patient, hindi kailangang ma-confine. It's just like a common cold or diarrhea," explains Atty. Nogales.
Those cases which requires more extensive "treatment" are dealt with accordingly. "If you had a rich relative who died and named
you her sole heir, and you stand to inherit millions of pesos of property, we would refer you to a specialist in taxation. There would
be real estate taxes and arrears which would need to be put in order, and your relative is even taxed by the state for the right to
transfer her property, and only a specialist in taxation would be properly trained to deal with the problem. Now, if there were other
heirs contesting your rich relatives will, then you would need a litigator, who knows how to arrange the problem for presentation in
court, and gather evidence to support the case.
21

That fact that the corporation employs paralegals to carry out its services is not controlling. What is important is that it is engaged in the practice of law
by virtue of the nature of the services it renders which thereby brings it within the ambit of the statutory prohibitions against the advertisements which it
has caused to be published and are now assailed in this proceeding.
Further, as correctly and appropriately pointed out by the U.P. WILOCI, said reported facts sufficiently establish that the main purpose of respondent is
to serve as a one-stop-shop of sorts for various legal problems wherein a client may avail of legal services from simple documentation to complex
litigation and corporate undertakings. Most of these services are undoubtedly beyond the domain of paralegals, but rather, are exclusive functions of
lawyers engaged in the practice of law.
22

It should be noted that in our jurisdiction the services being offered by private respondent which constitute practice of law cannot be performed by
paralegals. Only a person duly admitted as a member of the bar, or hereafter admitted as such in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court,
and who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law.
23

Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character. The permissive right
conferred on the lawyers is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to 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.
24

The same rule is observed in the american jurisdiction wherefrom respondent would wish to draw support for his thesis. The doctrines there also stress
that the practice of law is limited to those who meet the requirements for, and have been admitted to, the bar, and various statutes or rules specifically so
provide.
25
The practice of law is not a lawful business except for members of the bar who have complied with all the conditions required by statute and
the rules of court. Only those persons are allowed to practice law who, by reason of attainments previously acquired through education and study, have
been recognized by the courts as possessing profound knowledge of legal science entitling them to advise, counsel with, protect, or defend the rights
claims, or liabilities of their clients, with respect to the construction, interpretation, operation and effect of law.
26
The justification for excluding from the
practice of law those not admitted to the bar is found, not in the protection of the bar from competition, but in the protection of the public from being
advised and represented in legal matters by incompetent and unreliable persons over whom the judicial department can exercise little control.
27

We have to necessarily and definitely reject respondent's position that the concept in the United States of paralegals as an occupation separate from the
law profession be adopted in this jurisdiction. Whatever may be its merits, respondent cannot but be aware that this should first be a matter for judicial
rules or legislative action, and not of unilateral adoption as it has done.
Paralegals in the United States are trained professionals. As admitted by respondent, there are schools and universities there which offer studies and
degrees in paralegal education, while there are none in the Philippines.
28
As the concept of the "paralegals" or "legal assistant" evolved in the United
States, standards and guidelines also evolved to protect the general public. One of the major standards or guidelines was developed by the American
Bar Association which set up Guidelines for the Approval of Legal Assistant Education Programs (1973). Legislation has even been proposed to certify
legal assistants. There are also associations of paralegals in the United States with their own code of professional ethics, such as the National
Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. and the American Paralegal Association.
29

In the Philippines, we still have a restricted concept and limited acceptance of what may be considered as paralegal service. As pointed out by FIDA,
some persons not duly licensed to practice law are or have been allowed limited representation in behalf of another or to render legal services, but such
allowable services are limited in scope and extent by the law, rules or regulations granting permission therefor.
30

Accordingly, we have adopted the American judicial policy that, in the absence of constitutional or statutory authority, a person who has not been
admitted as an attorney cannot practice law for the proper administration of justice cannot be hindered by the unwarranted intrusion of an unauthorized
and unskilled person into the practice of law.
31
That policy should continue to be one of encouraging persons who are unsure of their legal rights and
remedies to seek legal assistance only from persons licensed to practice law in the state.
32

Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned advertisements, the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer in making known his
legal services shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information or statement of facts.
33
He is not supposed to use or permit the use of
any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services.
34
Nor
shall he pay or give something of value to representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business.
35
Prior
to the adoption of the code of Professional Responsibility, the Canons of Professional Ethics had also warned that lawyers should not resort to indirect
advertisements for professional employment, such as furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments, or procuring his photograph to be published in
connection with causes in which the lawyer has been or is engaged or concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the interest involved,
the importance of the lawyer's position, and all other like self-laudation.
36

The standards of the legal profession condemn the lawyer's advertisement of his talents. A lawyer cannot, without violating the ethics of his profession.
advertise his talents or skill as in a manner similar to a merchant advertising his goods.
37
The prescription against advertising of legal services or
solicitation of legal business rests on the fundamental postulate that the that the practice of law is a profession. Thus, in the case of The Director of
Religious Affairs. vs. Estanislao R. Bayot
38
an advertisement, similar to those of respondent which are involved in the present proceeding,
39
was held to
constitute improper advertising or solicitation.
The pertinent part of the decision therein reads:
It is undeniable that the advertisement in question was a flagrant violation by the respondent of the ethics of his profession, it being
a brazen solicitation of business from the public. Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly provides among other things that "the practice of
soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice." It is highly
unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his wares. Law is a profession and not a trade. The
lawyer degrades himself and his profession who stoops to and adopts the practices of mercantilism by advertising his services or
offering them to the public. As a member of the bar, he defiles the temple of justice with mercenary activities as the money-changers
of old defiled the temple of Jehovah. "The most worthy and effective advertisement possible, even for a young lawyer, . . . . is the
17

establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced but must be the
outcome of character and conduct." (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.).
We repeat, the canon of the profession tell us that the best advertising possible for a lawyer is a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and
fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the outcome of character and conduct. Good and efficient service to a client as well as to the community has a
way of publicizing itself and catching public attention. That publicity is a normal by-product of effective service which is right and proper. A good and
reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to generate it and to magnify his success. He easily sees the difference between a normal by-product of
able service and the unwholesome result of propaganda.
40

Of course, not all types of advertising or solicitation are prohibited. The canons of the profession enumerate exceptions to the rule against advertising or
solicitation and define the extent to which they may be undertaken. The exceptions are of two broad categories, namely, those which are expressly
allowed and those which are necessarily implied from the restrictions.
41

The first of such exceptions is the publication in reputable law lists, in a manner consistent with the standards of conduct imposed by the canons, of brief
biographical and informative data. "Such data must not be misleading and may include only a statement of the lawyer's name and the names of his
professional associates; addresses, telephone numbers, cable addresses; branches of law practiced; date and place of birth and admission to the bar;
schools attended with dates of graduation, degrees and other educational distinction; public or quasi-public offices; posts of honor; legal authorships;
legal teaching positions; membership and offices in bar associations and committees thereof, in legal and scientific societies and legal fraternities; the
fact of listings in other reputable law lists; the names and addresses of references; and, with their written consent, the names of clients regularly
represented."
42

The law list must be a reputable law list published primarily for that purpose; it cannot be a mere supplemental feature of a paper, magazine, trade
journal or periodical which is published principally for other purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may not properly publish his brief biographical and
informative data in a daily paper, magazine, trade journal or society program. Nor may a lawyer permit his name to be published in a law list the conduct,
management or contents of which are calculated or likely to deceive or injure the public or the bar, or to lower the dignity or standing of the profession.
43

The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also permitted. The card may contain only a statement of his name, the name of the law firm which he
is connected with, address, telephone number and special branch of law practiced. The publication of a simple announcement of the opening of a law
firm or of changes in the partnership, associates, firm name or office address, being for the convenience of the profession, is not objectionable. He may
likewise have his name listed in a telephone directory but not under a designation of special branch of law.
44

Verily, taking into consideration the nature and contents of the advertisements for which respondent is being taken to task, which even includes a
quotation of the fees charged by said respondent corporation for services rendered, we find and so hold that the same definitely do not and conclusively
cannot fall under any of the above-mentioned exceptions.
The ruling in the case of Bates, et al. vs. State Bar of Arizona,
45
which is repeatedly invoked and constitutes the justification relied upon by respondent,
is obviously not applicable to the case at bar. Foremost is the fact that the disciplinary rule involved in said case explicitly allows a lawyer, as an
exception to the prohibition against advertisements by lawyers, to publish a statement of legal fees for an initial consultation or the availability upon
request of a written schedule of fees or an estimate of the fee to be charged for the specific services. No such exception is provided for, expressly or
impliedly, whether in our former Canons of Professional Ethics or the present Code of Professional Responsibility. Besides, even the disciplinary rule in
the Bates case contains a proviso that the exceptions stated therein are "not applicable in any state unless and until it is implemented by such authority
in that state."
46
This goes to show that an exception to the general rule, such as that being invoked by herein respondent, can be made only if and when
the canons expressly provide for such an exception. Otherwise, the prohibition stands, as in the case at bar.
It bears mention that in a survey conducted by the American Bar Association after the decision in Bates, on the attitude of the public about lawyers after
viewing television commercials, it was found that public opinion dropped significantly
47
with respect to these characteristics of lawyers:
Trustworthy from 71% to 14%
Professional from 71% to 14%
Honest from 65% to 14%
Dignified from 45% to 14%
Secondly, it is our firm belief that with the present situation of our legal and judicial systems, to allow the publication of advertisements of the kind used
by respondent would only serve to aggravate what is already a deteriorating public opinion of the legal profession whose integrity has consistently been
under attack lately by media and the community in general. At this point in time, it is of utmost importance in the face of such negative, even if unfair,
criticisms at times, to adopt and maintain that level of professional conduct which is beyond reproach, and to exert all efforts to regain the high esteem
formerly accorded to the legal profession.
In sum, it is undoubtedly a misbehavior on the part of the lawyer, subject to disciplinary action, to advertise his services except in allowable instances
48

or to aid a layman in the unauthorized practice of law.
49
Considering that Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales, who is the prime incorporator, major stockholder and
proprietor of The Legal Clinic, Inc. is a member of the Philippine Bar, he is hereby reprimanded, with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar
acts which are involved in this proceeding will be dealt with more severely.
While we deem it necessary that the question as to the legality or illegality of the purpose/s for which the Legal Clinic, Inc. was created should be passed
upon and determined, we are constrained to refrain from lapsing into an obiter on that aspect since it is clearly not within the adjudicative parameters of
the present proceeding which is merely administrative in nature. It is, of course, imperative that this matter be promptly determined, albeit in a different
proceeding and forum, since, under the present state of our law and jurisprudence, a corporation cannot be organized for or engage in the practice of
law in this country. This interdiction, just like the rule against unethical advertising, cannot be subverted by employing some so-called paralegals
supposedly rendering the alleged support services.
The remedy for the apparent breach of this prohibition by respondent is the concern and province of the Solicitor General who can institute the
corresponding quo warranto action,
50
after due ascertainment of the factual background and basis for the grant of respondent's corporate charter, in
light of the putative misuse thereof. That spin-off from the instant bar matter is referred to the Solicitor General for such action as may be necessary
under the circumstances.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to RESTRAIN and ENJOIN herein respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., from issuing or causing the publication or
dissemination of any advertisement in any form which is of the same or similar tenor and purpose as Annexes "A" and "B" of this petition, and from
conducting, directly or indirectly, any activity, operation or transaction proscribed by law or the Code of Professional Ethics as indicated herein. Let
copies of this resolution be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Office of the Bar Confidant and the Office of the Solicitor General for
appropriate action in accordance herewith.









18

A.C. No. 244 March 29, 1963
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR DISBARMENT OF TELESFORO A. DIAO vs. SEVERINO G. MARTINEZ,
After successfully passing the corresponding examinations held in 1953, Telesforo A. Diao was admitted to the Bar.
About two years later, Severino Martinez charged him with having falsely represented in his application for such Bar examination, that he had the
requisite academic qualifications. The matter was in due course referred to the Solicitor General who caused the charge to be investigated; and later he
submitted a report recommending that Diao's name be erased from the roll of attorneys, because contrary to the allegations in his petition for
examination in this Court, he (Diao) had not completed, before taking up law subjects, the required pre-legal education prescribed by the Department of
Private Education, specially, in the following particulars:
(a) Diao did not complete his high school training; and
(b) Diao never attended Quisumbing College, and never obtained his A.A. diploma therefrom which contradicts the credentials he had
submitted in support of his application for examination, and of his allegation therein of successful completion of the "required pre-legal
education".
Answering this official report and complaint, Telesforo A. Diao, practically admits the first charge: but he claims that although he had left high school in
his third year, he entered the service of the U.S. Army, passed the General Classification Test given therein, which (according to him) is equivalent to a
high school diploma, and upon his return to civilian life, the educational authorities considered his army service as the equivalent of 3rd and 4th year
high school.
We have serious doubts, about the validity of this claim, what with respondent's failure to exhibit any certification to that effect (the equivalence) by the
proper school officials. However, it is unnecessary to dwell on this, since the second charge is clearly meritorious. Diao never obtained his A.A. from
Quisumbing College; and yet his application for examination represented him as an A.A. graduate (1940-1941) of such college. Now, asserting he had
obtained his A.A. title from the Arellano University in April, 1949, he says he was erroneously certified, due to confusion, as a graduate of Quisumbing
College, in his school records.
Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the
parties adducing other evidence to prove their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. 1wph1.t
This explanation is not acceptable, for the reason that the "error" or "confusion" was obviously of his own making. Had his application disclosed his
having obtained A.A. from Arellano University, it would also have disclosed that he got it in April, 1949, thereby showing that he began his law studies
(2nd semester of 1948-1949) six months before obtaining his Associate in Arts degree. And then he would not have been permitted to take the bar tests,
because our Rules provide, and the applicant for the Bar examination must affirm under oath, "That previous to the study of law, he had successfully
and satisfactorily completed the required pre-legal education(A.A.) as prescribed by the Department of Private Education," (emphasis on "previous").
Plainly, therefore, Telesforo A. Diao was not qualified to take the bar examinations; but due to his false representations, he was allowed to take it, luckily
passed it, and was thereafter admitted to the Bar. Such admission having been obtained under false pretenses must be, and is hereby revoked. The fact
that he hurdled the Bar examinations is immaterial. Passing such examinations is not the only qualification to become an attorney-at-law; taking the
prescribed courses of legal study in the regular manner is equally essential..
The Clerk is, therefore, ordered to strike from the roll of attorneys, the name of Telesforo A. Diao. And the latter is required to return his lawyer's diploma
within thirty days. So ordered.









































19

B.M. No. 712 July 13, 1995
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND OATH-TAKING OF SUCCESSFUL BAR APPLICANT AL C. ARGOSINO
A criminal information was filed on 4 February 1992 with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 101, charging Mr. A.C. Argosino along with
thirteen (13) other individuals, with the crime of homicide in connection with the death of one Raul Camaligan on 8 September 1991. The death of Raul
Camaligan stemmed from the infliction of severe physical injuries upon him in the course of "hazing" conducted as part of university fraternity initiation
rites. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused then entered into plea bargaining with the prosecution and as a result of such bargaining, pleaded guilty to the
lesser offense of homicide through reckless imprudence. This plea was accepted by the trial court. In a judgment dated 11 February 1993, each of the
fourteen (14) accused individuals was sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a period ranging from two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to four
(4) years.
Eleven (11) days later, Mr. Argosino and his colleagues filed an application for probation with the lower court. The application for probation was granted
in an Order dated 18 June 1993 issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Pedro T. Santiago. The period of probation was set at two (2) years, counted from
the probationer's initial report to the probation officer assigned to supervise him.
Less than a month later, on 13 July 1993, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition for Admission to Take the 1993 Bar Examinations. In this Petition, he disclosed
the fact of his criminal conviction and his then probation status. He was allowed to take the 1993 Bar Examinations in this Court's En Banc Resolution
dated 14 August 1993.
1
He passed the Bar Examination. He was not, however, allowed to take the lawyer's oath of office.
On 15 April 1994, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition with this Court to allow him to take the attorney's oath of office and to admit him to the practice of law,
averring that Judge Pedro T. Santiago had terminated his probation period by virtue of an Order dated 11 April 1994. We note that his probation period
did not last for more than ten (10) months from the time of the Order of Judge Santiago granting him probation dated 18 June 1993. Since then, Mr.
Argosino has filed three (3) Motions for Early Resolution of his Petition for Admission to the Bar.
The practice of law is not a natural, absolute or constitutional right to be granted to everyone who demands it. Rather, it is a high personal privilege
limited to citizens of good moral character, with special educational qualifications, duly ascertained and certified.
2
The essentiality of good moral
character in those who would be lawyers is stressed in the following excerpts which we quote with approval and which we regard as having persuasive
effect:
In Re Farmer:
3

xxx xxx xxx
This "upright character" prescribed by the statute, as a condition precedent to the applicant's right to receive a license to practice
law in North Carolina, and of which he must, in addition to other requisites, satisfy the court, includes all the elements necessary to
make up such a character. It is something more than an absence of bad character. It is the good name which the applicant has
acquired, or should have acquired, through association with his fellows. It means that he must have conducted himself as a man of
upright character ordinarily would, or should, or does. Such character expresses itself, not in negatives nor in following the line of
least resistance, but quite often, in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right, and the resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is
wrong. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
And we may pause to say that this requirement of the statute is eminently proper. Consider for a moment the duties of a lawyer. He
is sought as counsellor, and his advice comes home, in its ultimate effect, to every man's fireside. Vast interests are committed to
his care; he is the recipient of unbounded trust and confidence; he deals with is client's property, reputation, his life, his all. An
attorney at law is a sworn officer of the Court, whose chief concern, as such, is to aid the administration of justice. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
4

In Re Application of Kaufman,
5
citing Re Law Examination of 1926 (1926) 191 Wis 359, 210 NW 710:
It can also be truthfully said that there exists nowhere greater temptations to deviate from the straight and narrow path than in the
multiplicity of circumstances that arise in the practice of profession. For these reasons the wisdom of requiring an applicant for
admission to the bar to possess a high moral standard therefore becomes clearly apparent, and the board of bar examiners as an
arm of the court, is required to cause a minute examination to be made of the moral standard of each candidate for admission to
practice. . . . It needs no further argument, therefore, to arrive at the conclusion that the highest degree of scrutiny must be
exercised as to the moral character of a candidate who presents himself for admission to the bar. The evil must, if possible, be
successfully met at its very source, and prevented, for, after a lawyer has once been admitted, and has pursued his profession, and
has established himself therein, a far more difficult situation is presented to the court when proceedings are instituted for disbarment
and for the recalling and annulment of his license.
In Re Keenan:
6

The right to practice law is not one of the inherent rights of every citizen, as in the right to carry on an ordinary trade or business. It is
a peculiar privilege granted and continued only to those who demonstrate special fitness in intellectual attainment and in moral
character. All may aspire to it on an absolutely equal basis, but not all will attain it. Elaborate machinery has been set up to test
applicants by standards fair to all and to separate the fit from the unfit. Only those who pass the test are allowed to enter the
profession, and only those who maintain the standards are allowed to remain in it.
Re Rouss:
7

Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions, and a fair private and professional character is one of them; to refuse
admission to an unworthy applicant is not to punish him for past offense: an examination into character, like the examination into
learning, is merely a test of fitness.
Cobb vs. Judge of Superior Court:
8

Attorney's are licensed because of their learning and ability, so that they may not only protect the rights and interests of their clients,
but be able to assist court in the trial of the cause. Yet what protection to clients or assistance to courts could such agents give?
They are required to be of good moral character, so that the agents and officers of the court, which they are, may not bring discredit
upon the due administration of the law, and it is of the highest possible consequence that both those who have not such
qualifications in the first instance, or who, having had them, have fallen therefrom, shall not be permitted to appear in courts to aid in
the administration of justice.
It has also been stressed that the requirement of good moral character is, in fact, of greater importance so far as the general public and the proper
administration of justice are concerned, than the possession of legal learning:
. . . (In re Applicants for License, 55 S.E. 635, 143 N.C. 1, 10 L.R.A. [N.S.] 288, 10 Ann./Cas. 187):
The public policy of our state has always been to admit no person to the practice of the law unless he covered
an upright moral character. The possession of this by the attorney is more important, if anything, to the public
and to the proper administration of justice than legal learning. Legal learning may be acquired in after years, but
if the applicant passes the threshold of the bar with a bad moral character the chances are that his character
will remain bad, and that he will become a disgrace instead of an ornament to his great calling a curse
instead of a benefit to his community a Quirk, a Gammon or a Snap, instead of a Davis, a Smith or a Ruffin.
9

20

All aspects of moral character and behavior may be inquired into in respect of those seeking admission to the Bar. The scope of such inquiry is, indeed,
said to be properly broader than inquiry into the moral proceedings for disbarment:
Re Stepsay:
10

The inquiry as to the moral character of an attorney in a proceeding for his admission to practice is broader in scope than in a
disbarment proceeding.
Re Wells:
11

. . . that an applicant's contention that upon application for admission to the California Bar the court cannot reject him for want of
good moral character unless it appears that he has been guilty of acts which would be cause for his disbarment or suspension,
could not be sustained; that the inquiry is broader in its scope than that in a disbarment proceeding, and the court may receive any
evidence which tends to show the applicant's character as respects honesty, integrity, and general morality, and may no doubt
refuse admission upon proofs that might not establish his guilt of any of the acts declared to be causes for disbarment.
The requirement of good moral character to be satisfied by those who would seek admission to the bar must of necessity be more stringent than the
norm of conduct expected from members of the general public. There is a very real need to prevent a general perception that entry into the legal
profession is open to individuals with inadequate moral qualifications. The growth of such a perception would signal the progressive destruction of our
people's confidence in their courts of law and in our legal system as we know it.
12

Mr. Argosino's participation in the deplorable "hazing" activities certainly fell far short of the required standard of good moral character. The deliberate
(rather than merely accidental or inadvertent) infliction of severe physical injuries which proximately led to the death of the unfortunate Raul Camaligan,
certainly indicated serious character flaws on the part of those who inflicted such injuries. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused had failed to discharge their
moral duty to protect the life and well-being of a "neophyte" who had, by seeking admission to the fraternity involved, reposed trust and confidence in all
of them that, at the very least, he would not be beaten and kicked to death like a useless stray dog. Thus, participation in the prolonged and mindless
physical beatings inflicted upon Raul Camaligan constituted evident rejection of that moral duty and was totally irresponsible behavior, which makes
impossible a finding that the participant was then possessed of good moral character.
Now that the original period of probation granted by the trial court has expired, the Court is prepared to consider de novo the question of whether
applicant A.C. Argosino has purged himself of the obvious deficiency in moral character referred to above. We stress that good moral character is a
requirement possession of which must be demonstrated not only at the time of application for permission to take the bar examinations but also, and
more importantly, at the time of application for admission to the bar and to take the attorney's oath of office.
Mr. Argosino must, therefore, submit to this Court, for its examination and consideration, evidence that he may be now regarded as complying with the
requirement of good moral character imposed upon those seeking admission to the bar. His evidence may consist, inter alia, of sworn certifications from
responsible members of the community who have a good reputation for truth and who have actually known Mr. Argosino for a significant period of time,
particularly since the judgment of conviction was rendered by Judge Santiago. He should show to the Court how he has tried to make up for the
senseless killing of a helpless student to the family of the deceased student and to the community at large. Mr. Argosino must, in other words, submit
relevant evidence to show that he is a different person now, that he has become morally fit for admission to the ancient and learned profession of the
law.
Finally, Mr. Argosino is hereby DIRECTED to inform this Court, by appropriate written manifestation, of the names and addresses of the father and
mother (in default thereof, brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan), within ten (10) day from notice hereof. Let a copy of this Resolution be
furnished to the parents or brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan.







































21

BAR MATTER No. 914 October 1, 1999
RE: APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION TO THE PHILIPPINE BAR vs. VICENTE D. CHING
Can a legitimate child born under the 1935 Constitution of a Filipino mother and an alien father validly elect Philippine citizenship fourteen (14) years
after he has reached the age of majority? This is the question sought to be resolved in the present case involving the application for admission to the
Philippine Bar of Vicente D. Ching.
The facts of this case are as follows:
Vicente D. Ching, the legitimate son of the spouses Tat Ching, a Chinese citizen, and Prescila A. Dulay, a Filipino, was born in Francia West, Tubao, La
Union on 11 April 1964. Since his birth, Ching has resided in the Philippines.
On 17 July 1998, Ching, after having completed a Bachelor of Laws course at the St. Louis University in Baguio City, filed an application to take the
1998 Bar Examinations. In a Resolution of this Court, dated 1 September 1998, he was allowed to take the Bar Examinations, subject to the condition
that he must submit to the Court proof of his Philippine citizenship.
In compliance with the above resolution, Ching submitted on 18 November 1998, the following documents:
1. Certification, dated 9 June 1986, issued by the Board of Accountancy of the Professional Regulations Commission showing that
Ching is a certified public accountant;
2. Voter Certification, dated 14 June 1997, issued by Elizabeth B. Cerezo, Election Officer of the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) in Tubao La Union showing that Ching is a registered voter of the said place; and
3. Certification, dated 12 October 1998, also issued by Elizabeth B. Cerezo, showing that Ching was elected as a member of the
Sangguniang Bayan of Tubao, La Union during the 12 May 1992 synchronized elections.
On 5 April 1999, the results of the 1998 Bar Examinations were released and Ching was one of the successful Bar examinees. The oath-taking of the
successful Bar examinees was scheduled on 5 May 1999. However, because of the questionable status of Ching's citizenship, he was not allowed to
take his oath. Pursuant to the resolution of this Court, dated 20 April 1999, he was required to submit further proof of his citizenship. In the same
resolution, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was required to file a comment on Ching's petition for admission to the bar and on the documents
evidencing his Philippine citizenship.
The OSG filed its comment on 8 July 1999, stating that Ching, being the "legitimate child of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother born under the 1935
Constitution was a Chinese citizen and continued to be so, unless upon reaching the age of majority he elected Philippine citizenship"
1
in strict
compliance with the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 625 entitled "An Act Providing for the Manner in which the Option to Elect Philippine
Citizenship shall be Declared by a Person Whose Mother is a Filipino Citizen." The OSG adds that "(w)hat he acquired at best was only an inchoate
Philippine citizenship which he could perfect by election upon reaching the age of majority."
2
In this regard, the OSG clarifies that "two (2) conditions
must concur in order that the election of Philippine citizenship may be effective, namely: (a) the mother of the person making the election must be a
citizen of the Philippines; and (b) said election must be made upon reaching the age of majority."
3
The OSG then explains the meaning of the phrase
"upon reaching the age of majority:"
The clause "upon reaching the age of majority" has been construed to mean a reasonable time after reaching the age of majority
which had been interpreted by the Secretary of Justice to be three (3) years (VELAYO, supra at p. 51 citing Op., Sec. of Justice No.
70, s. 1940, Feb. 27, 1940). Said period may be extended under certain circumstances, as when a (sic) person concerned has
always considered himself a Filipino (ibid., citing Op. Nos. 355 and 422, s. 1955; 3, 12, 46, 86 and 97, s. 1953). But in Cuenco, it
was held that an election done after over seven (7) years was not made within a reasonable time.
In conclusion, the OSG points out that Ching has not formally elected Philippine citizenship and, if ever he does, it would already be beyond the
"reasonable time" allowed by present jurisprudence. However, due to the peculiar circumstances surrounding Ching's case, the OSG recommends the
relaxation of the standing rule on the construction of the phrase "reasonable period" and the allowance of Ching to elect Philippine citizenship in
accordance with C.A. No. 625 prior to taking his oath as a member of the Philippine Bar.
On 27 July 1999, Ching filed a Manifestation, attaching therewith his Affidavit of Election of Philippine Citizenship and his Oath of Allegiance, both dated
15 July 1999. In his Manifestation, Ching states:
1. I have always considered myself as a Filipino;
2. I was registered as a Filipino and consistently declared myself as one in my school records and other official documents;
3. I am practicing a profession (Certified Public Accountant) reserved for Filipino citizens;
4. I participated in electoral process[es] since the time I was eligible to vote;
5. I had served the people of Tubao, La Union as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan from 1992 to 1995;
6. I elected Philippine citizenship on July 15, 1999 in accordance with Commonwealth Act No. 625;
7. My election was expressed in a statement signed and sworn to by me before a notary public;
8. I accompanied my election of Philippine citizenship with the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the Government of the
Philippines;
9. I filed my election of Philippine citizenship and my oath of allegiance to (sic) the Civil Registrar of Tubao La Union, and
10. I paid the amount of TEN PESOS (Ps. 10.00) as filing fees.
Since Ching has already elected Philippine citizenship on 15 July 1999, the question raised is whether he has elected Philippine citizenship within a
"reasonable time." In the affirmative, whether his citizenship by election retroacted to the time he took the bar examination.
When Ching was born in 1964, the governing charter was the 1935 Constitution. Under Article IV, Section 1(3) of the 1935 Constitution, the citizenship
of a legitimate child born of a Filipino mother and an alien father followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon reaching the age of majority, the child
elected Philippine citizenship.
4
This right to elect Philippine citizenship was recognized in the 1973 Constitution when it provided that "(t)hose who elect
Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five" are citizens of the Philippines.
5
Likewise, this
recognition by the 1973 Constitution was carried over to the 1987 Constitution which states that "(t)hose born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino
mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority" are Philippine citizens.
6
It should be noted, however, that the 1973 and
1987 Constitutional provisions on the election of Philippine citizenship should not be understood as having a curative effect on any irregularity in the
acquisition of citizenship for those covered by the 1935 Constitution.
7
If the citizenship of a person was subject to challenge under the old charter, it
remains subject to challenge under the new charter even if the judicial challenge had not been commenced before the effectivity of the new Constitution.
8

C.A. No. 625 which was enacted pursuant to Section 1(3), Article IV of the 1935 Constitution, prescribes the procedure that should be followed in order
to make a valid election of Philippine citizenship. Under Section 1 thereof, legitimate children born of Filipino mothers may elect Philippine citizenship by
expressing such intention "in a statement to be signed and sworn to by the party concerned before any officer authorized to administer oaths, and shall
be filed with the nearest civil registry. The said party shall accompany the aforesaid statement with the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the
Government of the Philippines."
However, the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 did not prescribe a time period within which the election of Philippine citizenship should be made. The
1935 Charter only provides that the election should be made "upon reaching the age of majority." The age of majority then commenced upon reaching
twenty-one (21) years.
9
In the opinions of the Secretary of Justice on cases involving the validity of election of Philippine citizenship, this dilemma was
resolved by basing the time period on the decisions of this Court prior to the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution. In these decisions, the proper period for
electing Philippine citizenship was, in turn, based on the pronouncements of the Department of State of the United States Government to the effect that
22

the election should be made within a "reasonable time" after attaining the age of majority.
10
The phrase "reasonable time" has been interpreted to mean
that the election should be made within three (3) years from reaching the age of
majority.
11
However, we held in Cuenco vs. Secretary of Justice,
12
that the three (3) year period is not an inflexible rule. We said:
It is true that this clause has been construed to mean a reasonable period after reaching the age of majority, and that the Secretary
of Justice has ruled that three (3) years is the reasonable time to elect Philippine citizenship under the constitutional provision
adverted to above, which period may be extended under certain circumstances, as when the person concerned has always
considered himself a Filipino.
13

However, we cautioned in Cuenco that the extension of the option to elect Philippine citizenship is not indefinite:
Regardless of the foregoing, petitioner was born on February 16, 1923. He became of age on February 16, 1944. His election of
citizenship was made on May 15, 1951, when he was over twenty-eight (28) years of age, or over seven (7) years after he had
reached the age of majority. It is clear that said election has not been made "upon reaching the age of majority."
14

In the present case, Ching, having been born on 11 April 1964, was already thirty-five (35) years old when he complied with the requirements of C.A. No.
625 on 15 June 1999, or over fourteen (14) years after he had reached the age of majority. Based on the interpretation of the phrase "upon reaching the
age of majority," Ching's election was clearly beyond, by any reasonable yardstick, the allowable period within which to exercise the privilege. It should
be stated, in this connection, that the special circumstances invoked by Ching, i.e., his continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines and his being
a certified public accountant, a registered voter and a former elected public official, cannot vest in him Philippine citizenship as the law specifically lays
down the requirements for acquisition of Philippine citizenship by election.
Definitely, the so-called special circumstances cannot constitute what Ching erroneously labels as informal election of citizenship. Ching cannot find a
refuge in the case of In re: Florencio Mallare,
15
the pertinent portion of which reads:
And even assuming arguendo that Ana Mallare were (sic) legally married to an alien, Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage
when he came of age, constitutes a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship. It has been established that Esteban Mallare
was a registered voter as of April 14, 1928, and that as early as 1925 (when he was about 22 years old), Esteban was already
participating in the elections and campaigning for certain candidate[s]. These acts are sufficient to show his preference for Philippine
citizenship.
16

Ching's reliance on Mallare is misplaced. The facts and circumstances obtaining therein are very different from those in the present case, thus, negating
its applicability. First, Esteban Mallare was born before the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution and the enactment of C.A. No. 625. Hence, the
requirements and procedures prescribed under the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 for electing Philippine citizenship would not be applicable to him.
Second, the ruling in Mallare was an obiter since, as correctly pointed out by the OSG, it was not necessary for Esteban Mallare to elect Philippine
citizenship because he was already a Filipino, he being a natural child of a Filipino mother. In this regard, the Court stated:
Esteban Mallare, natural child of Ana Mallare, a Filipina, is therefore himself a Filipino, and no other act would be necessary to
confer on him all the rights and privileges attached to Philippine citizenship (U.S. vs. Ong Tianse, 29 Phil. 332; Santos Co vs.
Government of the Philippine Islands, 42 Phil. 543, Serra vs. Republic, L-4223, May 12, 1952, Sy Quimsuan vs. Republic, L-4693,
Feb. 16, 1953; Pitallano vs. Republic, L-5111, June 28, 1954). Neither could any act be taken on the erroneous belief that he is a
non-filipino divest him of the citizenship privileges to which he is rightfully entitled.
17

The ruling in Mallare was reiterated and further elaborated in Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives,
18
where we held:
We have jurisprudence that defines "election" as both a formal and an informal process.
In the case of In re: Florencio Mallare (59 SCRA 45 [1974]), the Court held that the exercise of the right of suffrage and the
participation in election exercises constitute a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship. In the exact pronouncement of the
Court, we held:
Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when he came of age constitutes a positive act of Philippine
citizenship. (p. 52: emphasis supplied)
The private respondent did more than merely exercise his right of suffrage. He has established his life here in the Philippines.
For those in the peculiar situation of the respondent who cannot be excepted to have elected Philippine citizenship as they were
already citizens, we apply the In Re Mallare rule.
xxx xxx xxx
The filing of sworn statement or formal declaration is a requirement for those who still have to elect citizenship. For those already
Filipinos when the time to elect came up, there are acts of deliberate choice which cannot be less binding. Entering a profession
open only to Filipinos, serving in public office where citizenship is a qualification, voting during election time, running for public office,
and other categorical acts of similar nature are themselves formal manifestations for these persons.
An election of Philippine citizenship presupposes that the person electing is an alien. Or his status is doubtful because he is a
national of two countries. There is no doubt in this case about Mr. Ong's being a Filipino when he turned twenty-one (21).
We repeat that any election of Philippine citizenship on the part of the private respondent would not only have been superfluous but
it would also have resulted in an absurdity. How can a Filipino citizen elect Philippine citizenship?
19

The Court, like the OSG, is sympathetic with the plight of Ching. However, even if we consider the special circumstances in the life of Ching like his
having lived in the Philippines all his life and his consistent belief that he is a Filipino, controlling statutes and jurisprudence constrain us to disagree with
the recommendation of the OSG. Consequently, we hold that Ching failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship. The span of fourteen (14) years that
lapsed from the time he reached the age of majority until he finally expressed his intention to elect Philippine citizenship is clearly way beyond the
contemplation of the requirement of electing "upon reaching the age of majority." Moreover, Ching has offered no reason why he delayed his election of
Philippine citizenship. The prescribed procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and painstaking process. All that is required of
the elector is to execute an affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same with the nearest civil registry. Ching's unreasonable
and unexplained delay in making his election cannot be simply glossed over.
Philippine citizenship can never be treated like a commodity that can be claimed when needed and suppressed when convenient.
20
One who is
privileged to elect Philippine citizenship has only an inchoate right to such citizenship. As such, he should avail of the right with fervor, enthusiasm and
promptitude. Sadly, in this case, Ching slept on his opportunity to elect Philippine citizenship and, as a result. this golden privilege slipped away from his
grasp.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court Resolves to DENY Vicente D. Ching's application for admission to the Philippine Bar.









23

G.R. No. 000 July 18, 1975
IN RE: PEDRO A. AMPARO (1974 Bar Candidate), petitioner,
Pedro A. Amparo of Guindulman, Bohol filed a petition to take the 1974 Bar examinations. This petition was granted.
In the afternoon of December 1, 1974 he was at his assigned seat no. 17, room 401, fourth floor, Manuel L. Quezon University Building on R. Hidalgo,
Manila. The Bar examination that afternoon was in Criminal Law.
While the examination was in progress, the headwatcher in room 401, Lilian Mendigorin, reported that examinee Amparo was found reading, at
approximately 3:15 o'clock, a piece of paper containing notes in Criminal Law. He at first refused to surrender the paper, but later gave it to Mendigorin
when she threatened to report the matter to the authorities. A verbal report was relayed to the Bar Chairman who forthwith gave instructions that no
investigation be then made in order to forestall any commotion that might disturb the other candidates. Amparo was permitted to continue answering the
questions. Headwatcher Mendigorin thereafter submitted a special report on the incident.
On the following day, Clerk of Court Romeo Mendoza filed a formal report. Acting thereon, the Court en banc, on December 3, 1974, unanimously
resolved "to disqualify Pedro Amparo from taking the Bar examinations still to be given, namely, in the subjects of Remedial Law and Labor and Social
Legislation, on Sunday, December 8, 1974, without prejudice to allowing him to take the Bar examinations after this year."
In a letter dated December 5, 1974, Amparo requested that "before final action is or becomes effective" he "be given a chance to explain" his side. On
December 5, 1974 the Court reconsidered its prior resolution and allowed Amparo to take the Bar examinations on the coming Sunday, December 8,
1974, without prejudice to further action by the Court after a formal and more detailed investigation of the incident.
As ordered, the Clerk of Court conducted an investigation on December 9, 1974 at which the respondent Amparo (a) appeared in his own behalf, (b)
cross-examined the witnesses against him.(c) presented himself as his own witness, and (d) presented as his witnesses three Bar candidates who in the
afternoon of December 1 were seated near him in the examination room.
At the investigation, headwatcher Mendigorin identified Amparo as the Bar examinee whom she saw reading a piece of paper inside the examination
room in the course of the examination in Criminal Law. The piece of paper, later marked as exhibit C, contains handwritten notes, on both sides, on the
durations of penalties and a formula of computing them, particularly reclusion temporal. Mendigorin testified that she approached Amparo and asked for
the piece of paper; that he refused and put the paper in his pocket; that when she approached him a second time, he fished the paper from his pocket
and gave it to her; that when, at the end of the examination period, Amparo submitted his examination notebook, he told her that he really had intended
to cheat. On cross-examination, she elaborated that Amparo gave the piece of paper only when she told him that she would bring the matter up to higher
authority.
Vernon B. Vasquez, a watcher under headwatcher Mendigorin, corroborated the latter's testimony. He declared that from a distance of five meters, he
saw Amparo reading a piece of paper on his lap; that he wanted to approach him but his headwatcher was already ahead of him; and that Amparo
thereupon placed the paper in his pocket, but when Mendigorin threatened to report the matter, Amparo yielded exhibit C with a smile.
In his testimony, Amparo admitted having in his possession, in the course of the examination, the piece of paper, exhibit C, explaining that because he
was perspiring, he took his handkerchief from his pocket, and out also came the piece of paper which fell to the floor; that the notes were not in his
handwriting as they were given by a friend, and that it was by accident that he picked up the paper to find out what it was, as he had forgotten about it,
but had no intention to use it; that while he was reading it, the headwatcher saw him and demanded it from him, but he refused because he thought that
he might need it for "future reference," but when the headwatcher insisted as otherwise she would report the matter to her supervisor, Amparo
surrendered the paper. On cross-examination, he declared that exhibit C had been in his pocket a long time before December 1; that he had not
changed his pants for three weeks; that when the first bell rang for the examination in Criminal Law, he was required to put "all his things" out of the
room; that he forgot about the paper inside his pocket; that when he took out his handkerchief to wipe his perspiration, the paper fell to the floor, and he
wondered what it was and then recalled upon reading it that it had been given by a friend; and that as he was reading it, "that diligent headwatcher came
and asked for that paper." He further admitted that he knew it is contrary to the rules to bring notes and books inside the examination room.
Bar candidates Jovencio Fajilan, Norman M. Balagtas and Apolinario O. Calix, Sr., who were seated near Amparo in room 401, were presented by the
respondent as his witnesses, but all of them professed lack of knowledge about the incident as they were engrossed in answering the examination
questions.
It is clear that Amparo, in the course of the examination in Criminal Law, had possession of the piece of paper containing notes on the durations of
penalties and that he knew that it is contrary to the rules to bring notes and books inside the examination room. It thus results that he knowingly violated
Section 10, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, which pertinently provides that "Persons taking the examination shall not bring papers, books or notes into
the examination rooms."
Amparo's impression that the notes had no "material use" to him is correct, in the sense that they bore no reference to any question asked in the
examination in Criminal Law; even so he committed an overt act indicative of an attempt to cheat by reading the notes, His refusal to surrender the
paper containing the notes when first demanded; his eventual surrender of it only after he was informed that he would be reported; and the facts that the
notes pertained to Criminal Law and the examination then in Criminal Law all these override and rebut his explanation that he merely read the notes
to find out what they were as he had forgotten about them.
We find the respondent Amparo guilty of (1) bringing notes into the examination room and (2) attempted cheating. According to the official report of the
Bar Confidant, approved by the Court, Amparo did not pass the 1974 Bar examinations.
ACCORDINGLY, it is the sense of the Court that Pedro A. Amparo should be as he is hereby disqualified from taking the Bar examinations for the year
1975.




















24

G.R. No. L-51813-14 November 29, 1983
ROMULO CANTIMBUHAN, NELSON B. MALANA, and ROBERT V. LUCILA vs. HON. NICANOR J. CRUZ, JR., Presiding Judge of the Municipal
Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila, and FISCAL LEODEGARIO C. QUILATAN
Appeal from the Order, dated August 16, 1979, of respondent Judge Nicanor J. Cruz, Jr., of the then Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila,
disallowing the appearances of petitioners Nelson B. Malana and Robert V. Lucila as private prosecutors in Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550, both
for less serious physical injuries, filed against Pat. Danilo San Antonio and Pat. Rodolfo Diaz, respectively, as well as the Order, dated September 4,
1979, denying the motion for reconsideration holding, among others, that "the fiscal's claim that appearances of friends of party-litigants should be
allowed only in places where there is a scarcity of legal practitioner, to be well founded. For, if we are to allow non-members of the bar to appear in court
and prosecute cases or defend litigants in the guise of being friends of the litigants, then the requirement of membership in the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines and the additional requirement of paying professional taxes for a lawyer to appear in court, would be put to naught. " (p. 25, Rollo)
Records show that on April 6, 1979, petitioner Romulo Cantimbuhan filed separate criminal complaints against Patrolmen Danilo San Antonio and
Rodolfo Diaz for less serious physical injuries, respectively, and were docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550 in the then Municipal Court of
Paraaque, Metro Manila.
Petitioners Nelson B. Malana and Robert V. Lucila, in 1979, were senior law students of the U.P.assistance to the needy clients in the Office of the Legal
Aid. Thus, in August 1979, petitioners Malana and Lucila filed their separate appearances, as friends of complainant-petitioner Cantimbuhan. Herein
respondent Fiscal Leodegario C. Quilatan opposed the appearances of said petitioners, and respondent judge, in an Order dated August 16, 1979,
sustained the respondent fiscal and disallowed the appearances of petitioners Malana and Lucila, as private prosecutors in said criminal cases.
Likewise, on September 4, 1979, respondent Judge issued an order denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration.
Hence, this petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition with prayers, among others, that the Orders of respondent judge, dated August 16, 1979
and September 4, 1979, be set aside as they are in plain violation of Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court and/or were issued with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Upon motion, the Court, on November 8, 1979, issued a temporary restraining order "enjoining respondent
judge and all persons acting for and in his behalf from conducting any proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 (People of the Philippines vs. Danilo
San Antonio) and 58559 (People of the Philippines vs. Rodolfo Diaz) of the Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila on November 15, 1979 as
scheduled or on any such dates as may be fixed by said respondent judge.
Basis of this petition is Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which states: t.hqw
SEC. 34. By whom litigation conducted. In the court of a justice of the peace a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the
aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party may conduct his
litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of the bar.
Thus, a non-member of the Philippine Bar a party to an action is authorized to appear in court and conduct his own case; and, in the inferior courts,
the litigant may be aided by a friend or agent or by an attorney. However, in the Courts of First Instance, now Regional Trial Courts, he can be aided only
by an attorney.
On the other hand, it is the submission of the respondents that pursuant to Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, it is the fiscal who is
empowered to determine who shall be the private prosecutor as was done by respondent fiscal when he objected to the appearances of petitioners
Malana and Lucila. Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court provide: t.hqw
SEC. 4. Who must prosecute criminal actions. All criminal actions either commenced by complaint or by information shall be
prosecuted under the direction and control of the fiscal.
xxx xxx xxx
SEC. 15. Intervention of the offended party in criminal action. Unless the offended party has waived the civil action or expressly
reserved the right to institute it separately from the criminal action, and subject to the provisions of section 4 hereof, he may
intervene, personally or by attorney, in the prosecution of the offense.
And, they contend that the exercise by the offended party to intervene is subject to the direction and control of the fiscal and that his appearance, no less
than his active conduct of the case later on, requires the prior approval of the fiscal.
We find merit in the petition. Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, clearly provides that in the municipal court a party may conduct his litigation in
person with the aid of an agent appointed by him for the purpose. Thus, in the case of Laput vs. Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, a law student was allowed to
represent the accused in a case pending before the then Municipal Court, the City Court of Manila, who was charged for damages to property through
reckless imprudence. "It is accordingly our view that error was committed in the municipal court in not allowing Crispiniano V. Laput to act as an agent or
friend of Catalino Salas to aid the latter in conducting his defense." The permission of the fiscal is not necessary for one to enter his appearance as
private prosecutor. In the first place, the law does not impose this condition. What the fiscal can do, if he wants to handle the case personally is to
disallow the private prosecutor's participation, whether he be a lawyer or not, in the trial of the case. On the other hand, if the fiscal desires the active
participation of the private prosecutor, he can just manifest to the court that the private prosecutor, with its approval, will conduct the prosecution of the
case under his supervision and control. Further, We may add that if a non-lawyer can appear as defense counsel or as friend of the accused in a case
before the municipal trial court, with more reason should he be allowed to appear as private prosecutor under the supervision and control of the trial
fiscal.
In the two criminal cases filed before the Municipal Court of Paraaque, petitioner Cantimbuhan, as the offended party, did not expressly waive the civil
action nor reserve his right to institute it separately and, therefore, the civil action is deemed impliedly instituted in said criminal cases. Thus, said
complainant Romulo Cantimbuhan has personal interest in the success of the civil action and, in the prosecution of the same, he cannot be deprived of
his right to be assisted by a friend who is not a lawyer.
WHEREFORE, the Orders issued by respondent judge dated August 16, 1979 and September 4, 1979 which disallowed the appearances of petitioners
Nelson B. Malana and Robert V. Lucila as friends of party-litigant petitioner Romulo Cantimbuhan. are hereby SET ASIDE and respondent judge is
hereby ordered to ALLOW the appearance and intervention of petitioners Malana and Lucila as friends of Romulo Cantimbuhan. Accordingly, the
temporary restraining order issued on November 8, 1979 is LIFTED.
Separate Opinions

AQUINO, J ., dissenting:
Senior law students should study their lessons anti prepare for the bar. They have no business appearing in court.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J ., dissenting:
Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifically provides that it is "a party" who may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or
friend appointed by him for that purpose in the Court of a Justice of the Peace. Romulo Cantimbuhan, as the complaining witness in Criminal Cases
Nos. 58549 and 58550 of the then Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila, is not a "party" within the meaning of the said Rule. The parties in a
criminal case are the accused and the People. A complaining witness or an offended party only intervene in a criminal action in respect of the civil
liability. The case of Laput and Salas vs. Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, is authority only in respect of the accused, as a "party", in a criminal case.
Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, being the more specific provisions in respect of criminal cases, should take precedence over Section
34, Rule 138 and should be controlling (Bagatsing vs. Hon. Ramirez, 74 SCRA 306 [1976]). Section 4 provides that all criminal actions shall be
prosecuted under the direction and control of the Fiscal, while Section 15 specifically provides that the offended party may intervene, personally or by
attorney, in the prosecution of the offense.
25

I vote, therefore, to uphold the Order of respondent Municipal Judge, dated August 16, 1979, disallowing the appearances of petitioners as private
prosecutors in the abovementioned criminal cases. Orders set aside.
Separate Opinions

AQUINO, J ., dissenting:
Senior law students should study their lessons anti prepare for the bar. They have no business appearing in court.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J ., dissenting:
Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifically provides that it is "a party" who may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or
friend appointed by him for that purpose in the Court of a Justice of the Peace. Romulo Cantimbuhan, as the complaining witness in Criminal Cases
Nos. 58549 and 58550 of the then Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila, is not a "party" within the meaning of the said Rule. The parties in a
criminal case are the accused and the People. A complaining witness or an offended party only intervene in a criminal action in respect of the civil
liability. The case of Laput and Salas vs. Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, is authority only in respect of the accused, as a "party", in a criminal case.
Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, being the more specific provisions in respect of criminal cases, should take precedence over Section
34, Rule 138 and should be controlling (Bagatsing vs. Hon. Ramirez, 74 SCRA 306 [1976]). Section 4 provides that all criminal actions shall be
prosecuted under the direction and control of the Fiscal, while Section 15 specifically provides that the offended party may intervene, personally or by
attorney, in the prosecution of the offense.
I vote, therefore, to uphold the Order of respondent Municipal Judge, dated August 16, 1979, disallowing the appearances of petitioners as private
prosecutors in the abovementioned criminal cases. Orders set aside
Separate Opinions
AQUINO, J ., dissenting:
Senior law students should study their lessons anti prepare for the bar. They have no business appearing in court.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J ., dissenting:
Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifically provides that it is "a party" who may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or
friend appointed by him for that purpose in the Court of a Justice of the Peace. Romulo Cantimbuhan, as the complaining witness in Criminal Cases
Nos. 58549 and 58550 of the then Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila, is not a "party" within the meaning of the said Rule. The parties in a
criminal case are the accused and the People. A complaining witness or an offended party only intervene in a criminal action in respect of the civil
liability. The case of Laput and Salas vs. Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, is authority only in respect of the accused, as a "party", in a criminal case.
Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, being the more specific provisions in respect of criminal cases, should take precedence over Section
34, Rule 138 and should be controlling (Bagatsing vs. Hon. Ramirez, 74 SCRA 306 [1976]). Section 4 provides that all criminal actions shall be
prosecuted under the direction and control of the Fiscal, while Section 15 specifically provides that the offended party may intervene, personally or by
attorney, in the prosecution of the offense.
I vote, therefore, to uphold the Order of respondent Municipal Judge, dated August 16, 1979, disallowing the appearances of petitioners as private
prosecutors in the abovementioned criminal cases.










































26

[A.C. No. 4943. January 26, 2001]
DIANA D. DE GUZMAN, complainant, vs. ATTY. LOURDES I. DE DIOS, respondent.
The case before the Court is a complainti[1] for disbarment against Atty. Lourdes I. De Dios on the ground of violation of Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the
code of Professional Responsibility, for representing conflicting interests, and of Article 1491 Civil Code, for acquiring property in litigation.
In 1995, complainant engaged the services of respondent as counsel in order to form a corporation, which would engage in hotel and restaurant
business in Olongapo City.
On January 10, 1996, with the assistance of Atty. De Dios, complainant registered Suzuki Beach Hotel, Inc. (SBHI) with the Securities and Exchange
Commission.ii[2] Complainant paid on respondent a monthly retainer fee of P5,000.00.
On December 15, 1997, the corporation required complainant to pay her unpaid subscribed shares of stock amounting to two million two hundred and
thirty five thousand pesos (P2,235,000.00) or 22,350 shares, on or before December 30, 1997.
On January 29, 1998,iii[3] complainant received notice of the public auction sale of her delinquent shares and a copy of a board resolution dated
January 6, 1998 authorizing such sale.iv[4] Complainant soon learned that her shares had been acquired by Ramon del Rosario, one of the
incorporators of SBHI. The sale ousted complainant from the corporation completely. While respondent rose to be president of the corporation,
complainant lost all her lifes savings invested therein.
Complainant alleged that she relied on the advice of Atty. De Dios and believed that as the majority stockholder, Atty. de Dios would help her with the
management of the corporation.
Complainant pointed out that respondent appeared as her counsel and signed pleadings in a case where complainant was one of the parties.v[5]
Respondent, however, explained that she only appeared because the property involved belonged to SBHI. Respondent alleged that complainant
misunderstood the role of respondent as legal counsel of Suzuki Beach Hotel, Inc. Respondent manifested that her appearance as counsel for
complainant Diana de Guzman was to protect the rights and interest of SBHI since the latter was real owner of the land in controversy.
Respondent further said that the land on which the resort was established belonged to the Japanese incorporators, not to complainant. The relationship
of the complainant and the Japanese investors turned sour because complainant misappropriated the funds and property of the corporation. To save
the corporation from bankruptcy, respondent advised all concerned stockholders that it was proper to call for the payment of unpaid subscriptions and
subsequent sale of the delinquent shares. These lead to the auction of the unpaid shares of complainant and hence, the ouster of complainant from the
corporation.
Meantime, Mr. Del Rosario transferred one hundred (100) shares to respondent in payment of legal services as evidenced by a Deed of Waiver and
Transfer of corporate Shares of Stock.
On October 22, 1999, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines issued a resolutionvi[6] finding that the acts of respondent were not motivated by ill will as she
acts in the best interest of her client, SBHI. The IBP found that complainant failed to present convincing proof of her attorney-client relationship with
respondent other than the pleadings respondent filed in the trial court where complainant was one of the parties.
We disagree.
We find merit in the complaint. There are certain facts presented before us that created doubt on the propriety of the declaration of delinquent shares
and subsequent sale of complainants entire subscription. Complainant subscribed to 29,800 shares equivalent to two million nine hundred and eighty
thousand pesos (P2,980,000.00). She was the majority stockholder. Out of the subscribed shares, she paid up seven hundred forty-five thousand
pesos (P745,000.00) during the stage of incorporation.
How complainant got ousted from the corporation considering the amount she had invested in it is beyond us. Granting that the sale of her delinquent
shares was valid, what happened to her original shares? This, at least, should have been explained.
Respondent claims that there was no attorney-client relationship between her and complainant. The claim has no merit. It was complainant who
retained respondent to form a corporation. She appeared as counsel in behalf of complainant.
There was evidence of collusion between the board of directors and respondent. Indeed, the board of directors nowe included respondent as the
president, Ramon del Rosario as secretary, Hikoi Suzuki as chairman, Agnes Rodriguez as treasurer and Takayuki Sato as director.vii[7] The present
situation shows a clear case of conflict of interest of the respondent.
Lawyers must conduct themselves, especially in their dealings with their clients and the public at large, with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond
reproach.viii[8]
We said:
To say that lawyers must at all times uphold and respect the law is to state the obvious, but such statement can never be overemphasized. Considering
that, of all classes and professions, [lawyers are] most sacredly bound to uphold the law, it is imperative that they live by the law. Accordingly, lawyers
who violate their oath and engage in deceitful conduct have no place in the legal profession.ix[9]
Clearly, respondent violated the prohibition against representing conflicting interests and engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.x[10]
As a lawyer, respondent is bound by her oath to do no falsehood or consent to its commission and to conduct herself as a lawyer according to the best
of her knowledge and discretion. The lawyers oath is a source of obligations and violation thereof is a ground for suspension, disbarment,xi[11] or other
disciplinary action.xii[12] The acts of respondent Atty. De Dios are clearly in violation of her solemn oath as a lawyer that this Court will not tolerate.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Atty. Lourdes I. De Dios remiss in her sworn duty to her client, and to the bar. The Court hereby SUSPENDS
her from the practice of law for six (6) months, with warning that a repetition of the charges will be dealth with more severely.
Let a copy ofthis decision be entered in the personal records of respondent as an attorney and as a member of the Bar, and furnish the Bar Confidant,
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country.


















27

[AC-5365. April 27, 2005]
Spouses FRANKLIN and LOURDES OLBES, complainants, vs. Atty. VICTOR V. DECIEMBRE, respondent.
Constituting a serious transgression of the Code of Professional Responsibility was the malevolent act of respondent, who filled up the blank checks
entrusted to him as security for a loan by writing on those checks amounts that had not been agreed upon at all, despite his full knowledge that the loan
they were meant to secure had already been paid.
The Case
Before us is a verified Petition[1] for the disbarment of Atty. Victor V. Deciembre, filed by Spouses Franklin and Lourdes Olbes with the Office of the Bar
Confidant of this Court. Petitioners charged respondent with willful and deliberate acts of dishonesty, falsification and conduct unbecoming a member of
the Bar. After he had filed his Comment[2] on the Petition, the Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation,
report and recommendation.
The IBPs Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD), through Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, held several hearings. During those hearings, the last of
which was held on May 12, 2003,[3] the parties were able to present their respective witnesses and documentary evidence. After the filing of the parties
respective formal offers of evidence, as well as petitioners Memorandum,[4] the case was considered submitted for resolution. Subsequently, the commissioner
rendered his Report and Recommendation dated January 30, 2004, which was later adopted and approved by the IBP Board of Governors in its Resolution No.
XV-2003-177 dated July 30, 2004.
The Facts
In their Petition, Spouses Olbes allege that they were government employees working at the Central Post Office, Manila; and that Franklin was a letter
carrier receiving a monthly salary of P6,700, and Lourdes, a mail sorter, P6,000.[5]
Through respondent, Lourdes renewed on July 1, 1999 her application for a loan from Rodela Loans, Inc., in the amount of P10,000. As security for the
loan, she issued and delivered to respondent five Philippine National Bank (PNB) blank checks (Nos. 0046241-45), which served as collateral for the
approved loan as well as any other loans that might be obtained in the future.[6]
On August 31, 1999, Lourdes paid respondent the amount of P14,874.37 corresponding to the loan plus surcharges, penalties and interests, for which
the latter issued a receipt,[7] herein quoted as follows:
August 31, 1999
Received the amount of P14,874.37 as payment of the loan of P10,000.00 taken earlier by Lourdes Olbes.
(Sgd.) Atty. Victor V. Deciembre
8-31-99
P10,000.00
PNB Check No. 46241 8/15/99[8]
Notwithstanding the full payment of the loan, respondent filled up four (of the five) blank PNB Checks (Nos. 0046241, 0046242, 0046243 and 0046244)
for the amount of P50,000 each, with different dates of maturity -- August 15, 1999, August 20, 1999, October 15, 1999 and November 15, 1999,
respectively.[9]
On October 19, 1999, respondent filed before the Provincial Prosecution Office of Rizal an Affidavit-Complaint against petitioners for estafa and violation
of Batas Pambansa (BP) 22. He alleged therein that on July 15, 1999, around one-thirty in the afternoon at Cainta, Rizal, they personally approached
him and requested that he immediately exchange with cash their postdated PNB Check Nos. 0046241 and 0046242 totaling P100,000.[10]
Several months after, or on January 20, 2000, respondent filed against petitioners another Affidavit-Complaint for estafa and violation of BP 22. He
stated, among others, that on the same day, July 15, 1999, around two oclock in the afternoon at Quezon City, they again approached him and
requested that he exchange with cash PNB Check Nos. 0046243 and 0046244 totaling P100,000.[11]
Petitioners insisted that on the afternoon of July 15, 1999, they never went either to Cainta, Rizal, or to Quezon City to transact business with
respondent. Allegedly, they were in their office at the time, as shown by their Daily Time Records; so it would have been physically impossible for them
to transact business in Cainta, Rizal, and, after an interval of only thirty minutes, in Quezon City, especially considering the heavy traffic conditions in
those places.[12]
Petitioners averred that many of their office mates -- among them, Juanita Manaois, Honorata Acosta and Eugenia Mendoza -- had suffered the same
fate in their dealings with respondent.[13]
In his Comment,[14] respondent denied petitioners claims, which he called baseless and devoid of any truth and merit. Allegedly, petitioners were the
ones who had deceived him by not honoring their commitment regarding their July 15, 1999 transactions. Those transactions, totaling P200,000, had
allegedly been covered by their four PNB checks that were, however, subsequently dishonored due to ACCOUNT CLOSED. Thus, he filed criminal
cases against them. He claimed that the checks had already been fully filled up when petitioners signed them in his presence. He further claimed that
he had given them the amounts of money indicated in the checks, because his previous satisfactory transactions with them convinced him that they had
the capacity to pay.
Moreover, respondent said that the loans were his private and personal transactions, which were not in any way connected with his profession as a
lawyer. The criminal cases against petitioners were allegedly private actions intended to vindicate his rights against their deception and violation of their
obligations. He maintained that his right to litigate should not be curtailed by this administrative action.
Report of the Investigating Commissioner
In his Report and Recommendation, Commissioner Dulay recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for two years for
violating Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
The commissioner said that respondents version of the facts was not credible. Commissioner Dulay rendered the following analysis and evaluation of
the evidence presented:
In his affidavit-complaint x x x executed to support his complaint filed before the Provincial Prosecution Office of Rizal respondent stated that:
2. That last July 15, 1999, in the jurisdiction of Cainta, Rizal, both LOURDES E. OLBES and FRANKLIN A. OLBES x x x, personally met and
requested me to immediately exchange with cash, right there and then, their postdated checks totaling P100,000.00 then, to be immediately used by
them in their business venture.
Again in his affidavit-complaint executed to support his complaint filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City respondent stated that:
2. That last July 15, 1999, at around 2PM, in the jurisdiction of Quezon City, M.M., both LOURDES E. OLBES and FRANKLIN A. OLBES x x x,
personally met and requested me to immediately exchange with cash, right there and then, their postdated checks totaling P100,000.00 then, to be
immediately used by them in their business venture.
The above statements executed by respondent under oath are in direct contrast to his testimony before this Commission on cross-examination during
the May 12, 2003 hearing, thus:
ATTY PUNZALAN: (continuing)
Q. Based on these four (4) checks which you claimed the complainant issued to you, you filed two separate criminal cases against them, one, in Pasig
City and the other in Quezon City, is that correct?
A. Yes, Your Honor, because the checks were deposited at different banks.
Q. These four checks were accordingly issued to you by the complainants on July 15, 1999, is that correct?
A. I will consult my records, You Honor, because its quite a long time. Yes, Your Honor, the first two checks is in the morning and the next two checks
is in the afternoon (sic).
28

COMM. DULAY:
Which are the first two checks?
ATTY. DECIEMBRE:
The first two checks covering check Nos. 46241 and 46242 in the morning. And Check No. 46243 and 46244 in the afternoon, Your Honor.
ATTY. PUNZALAN:
Q. Could you recall what particular time in the morning that these two checks with number 0046241 and 0046242 xxx have been issued to you?
A. I could not remember exactly but in the middle part of the morning around 9:30 to 10:00.
Q. This was issued to you in what particular place?
A. Here in my office at Garnet Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
Q. Is that your house?
A. No, its not my house?
Q. What is that, is that your law office?
A. That is my retainer client.
Q. What is the name of that retainer client of yours?
ATTY. DECIEMBRE:
Your Honor, may I object because what is the materiality of the question?
ATTY. PUNZALAN:
That is very material. I am trying to test your credibility because according to you these checks have been issued in Pasig in the place of your client on a
retainer. Thats why I am asking your client
COMM. DULAY:
The name of the client is not material I think. It is enough that he said it was issued here in Pasig. What building?
ATTY. DECIEMBRE:
AIC Corporate Center, Your Honor.
COMM. DULAY:
What is the materiality of knowing the name of his clients office?
ATTY. PUNZALAN:
Because, Your Honor, the materiality is to find out whether he is telling the truth. The place, Your Honor, according to the respondent is his client. Now I
am asking who is that client?
COMM. DULAY:
Your answer.
ATTY. DECIEMBRE:
A. It is AIC Realty Corporation at AIC Building.
Q. And the same date likewise, the complainants in the afternoon issued PNB Check Nos. 0046243 and 0046244, is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. So would you want to tell this Honorable office that there were four checks issued in the place of your client in Pasig City, two in the morning and
two in the afternoon?
A. That is correct, sir.
Respondent was clearly not being truthful in his narration of the transaction with the complainants. As between his version as to when the four checks
were given, we find the story of complainant[s] more credible. Respondent has blatantly distorted the truth, insofar as the place where the transaction
involving the four checks took place. Such distortion on a very material fact would seriously cast doubt on his version of the transaction with
complainants.
Furthermore respondents statements as to the time when the transactions took place are also obviously and glaringly inconsistent and contradicts the
written statements made before the public prosecutors. Thus further adding to the lack of credibility of respondents version of the transaction.
Complainants version that they issued blank checks to respondent as security for the payment of a loan of P10,000.00 plus interest, and that
respondent filled up the checks in amounts not agreed upon appears to be more credible. Complainants herein are mere employees of the Central Post
Office in Manila who had a previous loan of P10,000.00 from respondent and which has since been paid x x x. Respondent does not deny the said
transaction. This appears to be the only previous transaction between the parties. In fact, complainants were even late in paying the loan when it fell
due such that they had to pay interest. That respondent would trust them once more by giving them another P200,000.00 allegedly to be used for a
business and immediately release the amounts under the circumstances described by respondent does not appear credible given the background of the
previous transaction and personal circumstances of complainants. That respondent who is a lawyer would not even bother to ask from complainants a
receipt for the money he has given, nor bother to verify and ask them what businesses they would use the money for contributes further to the lack of
credibility of respondents version. These circumstances really cast doubt as to the version of respondent with regard to the transaction. The resolution
of the public prosecutors notwithstanding we believe respondent is clearly lacking in honesty in dealing with the complainants. Complainant Franklin
Olbes had to be jailed as a result of respondents filing of the criminal cases. Parenthetically, we note that respondent has also filed similar cases
against the co-employees of complainants in the Central Post Office and respondent is facing similar complaints in the IBP for his actions.[15]
The Courts Ruling
We agree with the findings and conclusions of Commissioner Dulay, as approved and adopted by the IBP Board of Governors. However, the penalty
should be more severe than what the IBP recommended.
Respondents Administrative Liability
Membership in the legal profession is a special privilege burdened with conditions.[16] It is bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in the
law, but also known to possess good moral character.[17] A lawyer is an oath-bound servant of society whose conduct is clearly circumscribed by
inflexible norms of law and ethics, and whose primary duty is the advancement of the quest for truth and justice, for which he [or she] has sworn to be a
fearless crusader.[18]
By taking the lawyers oath, an attorney becomes a guardian of truth and the rule of law, and an indispensable instrument in the fair and impartial
administration of justice.[19] Lawyers should act and comport themselves with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach, in order to promote
the publics faith in the legal profession.[20]
The Code of Professional Responsibility specifically mandates the following:
Canon 1. A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.
x x x x x x x x x
Canon 7. A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated Bar.
x x x x x x x x x
Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private
life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
29

A high standard of excellence and ethics is expected and required of members of the bar.[21] Such conduct of nobility and uprightness should remain
with them, whether in their public or in their private lives. As officers of the courts and keepers of the publics faith, they are burdened with the highest
degree of social responsibility and are thus mandated to behave at all times in a manner consistent with truth and honor.[22]
The oath that lawyers swear to likewise impresses upon them the duty of exhibiting the highest degree of good faith, fairness and candor in their
relationships with others. The oath is a sacred trust that must be upheld and kept inviolable at all times. Thus, lawyers may be disciplined for any
conduct, whether in their professional or in their private capacity, if such conduct renders them unfit to continue to be officers of the court.[23]
In the present case, the IBP commissioner gave credence to the story of petitioners, who said that they had given five blank personal checks to
respondent at the Central Post Office in Manila as security for the P10,000 loan they had contracted. Found untrue and unbelievable was respondents
assertion that they had filled up the checks and exchanged these with his cash at Quezon City and Cainta, Rizal. After a careful review of the records,
we find no reason to deviate from these findings.
Under the circumstances, there is no need to stretch ones imagination to arrive at an inevitable conclusion. Respondent does not deny the P10,000
loan obtained from him by petitioners. According to Franklin Olbes testimony on cross-examination, they asked respondent for the blank checks after
the loan had been paid. On the pretext that he was not able to bring the checks with him,[24] he was not able to return them. He thus committed
abominable dishonesty by abusing the confidence reposed in him by petitioners. It was their high regard for him as a member of the bar that made them
trust him with their blank checks.[25]
It is also glaringly clear that the Code of Professional Responsibility was seriously transgressed by his malevolent act of filling up the blank checks by
indicating amounts that had not been agreed upon at all and despite respondents full knowledge that the loan supposed to be secured by the checks
had already been paid. His was a brazen act of falsification of a commercial document, resorted to for his material gain.
And he did not stop there. Because the checks were dishonored upon presentment, respondent had the temerity to initiate unfounded criminal suits
against petitioners, thereby exhibiting his vile intent to have them punished and deprived of liberty for frustrating the criminal duplicity he had wanted to
foist on them. As a matter of fact, one of the petitioners (Franklin) was detained for three months[26] because of the Complaints. Respondent is clearly
guilty of serious dishonesty and professional misconduct. He committed an act indicative of moral depravity not expected from, and highly unbecoming,
a member of the bar.
Good moral character is an essential qualification for the privilege to enter into the practice of law. It is equally essential to observe this norm
meticulously during the continuance of the practice and the exercise of the privilege.[27] Good moral character includes at least common honesty.[28]
No moral qualification for bar membership is more important than truthfulness and candor.[29] The rigorous ethics of the profession places a premium on
honesty and condemns duplicitous behavior.[30] Lawyers must be ministers of truth. Hence, they must not mislead the court or allow it to be misled by
any artifice. In all their dealings, they are expected to act in good faith.[31]
Deception and other fraudulent acts are not merely unacceptable practices that are disgraceful and dishonorable;[32] they reveal a basic moral flaw.
The standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by conduct that merely enables one to escape the penalties of criminal laws.[33]
Considering the depravity of the offense committed by respondent, we find the penalty recommended by the IBP of suspension for two years from the
practice of law to be too mild. His propensity for employing deceit and misrepresentation is reprehensible. His misuse of the filled-up checks that led to
the detention of one petitioner is loathsome.
In Eustaquio v. Rimorin,[34] the forging of a special power of attorney (SPA) by the respondent to make it appear that he was authorized to sell anothers
property, as well as his fraudulent and malicious inducement of Alicia Rubis to sign a Memorandum of Agreement to give a semblance of legality to the
SPA, were sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law for five years. Here, the conduct of herein respondent is even worse. He used falsified
checks as bases for maliciously indicting petitioners and thereby caused the detention of one of them.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Victor V. Deciembre is found guilty of gross misconduct and violation of Rules 1.01 and 7.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. He is hereby indefinitely SUSPENDED from the practice of law effective immediately. Let copies of this Decision be furnished all courts
as well as the Office of the Bar Confidant, which is directed to append a copy to respondents personal record. Let another copy be furnished the
National Office of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.


































30

G.R. No. 79690-707 February 1, 1989
ENRIQUE A. ZALDIVAR vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN and HONORABLE RAUL M. GONZALEZ, claiming to be and acting as
Tanodbayan-Ombudsman under the 1987 Constitution
PER CURIAM:
We have examined carefully the lengthy and vigorously written Motion for Reconsideration dated October 18, 1988 filed by counsel for respondent Raul
M. Gonzalez, relating to the per curiam Resolution of the Court dated October 7, 1988. We have reviewed once more the Court's extended per curiam
Resolution, in the light of the argument adduced in the Motion for Reconsideration, but must conclude that we find no sufficient basis for modifying the
conclusions and rulings embodied in that Resolution. The Motion for Reconsideration sets forth copious quotations and references to foreign texts which,
however, whatever else they may depict, do not reflect the law in this jurisdiction.
Nonetheless, it might be useful to develop further, in some measure, some of the conclusions reached in the per curiam Resolution, addressing in the
process some of the "Ten (10) Legal Points for Reconsideration," made in the Motion for Reconsideration.
1. In respondent's point A, it is claimed that it was error for this Court "to charge respondent [with] indirect contempt and convict him
of direct contempt."
In the per curiam Resolution (page 50), the Court concluded that "respondent Gonzalez is guilty both of contempt of court in facie curiae and of gross
misconduct as an officer of the court and member of the bar." The Court did not use the phrase "in facie curiae" as a technical equivalent of "direct
contempt," though we are aware that courts in the United States have sometimes used that phrase in speaking of "direct contempts' as "contempts in
the face of the courts." Rather, the court sought to convey that it regarded the contumacious acts or statements (which were made both in a pleading
filed before the Court and in statements given to the media) and the misconduct of respondent Gonzalez as serious acts flaunted in the face of the Court
and constituting a frontal assault upon the integrity of the Court and, through the Court, the entire judicial system. What the Court would stress is that it
required respondent, in its Resolution dated 2 May 1988, to explain "why he should not be punished for contempt of court and/or subjected to
administrative sanctions" and in respect of which, respondent was heard and given the most ample opportunity to present all defenses, arguments and
evidence that he wanted to present for the consideration of this Court. The Court did not summarily impose punishment upon the respondent which it
could have done under Section 1 of Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court had it chosen to consider respondent's acts as constituting "direct contempt."
2. In his point C, respondent's counsel argues that it was "error for this Court to charge respondent under Rule 139 (b) and not 139
of the Revised Rules of Court."
In its per curiam Resolution, the Court referred to Rule 139 (b) of the Revised Rules of Court pointing out that:
[R]eference of complaints against attorneys either to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or to the Solicitor General is not
mandatory upon the Supreme Court such reference to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or to the Solicitor General is certainly not
an exclusive procedure under the terms of Rule 139 (b) of the Revised Rules of Court, especially where the charge consists of acts
done before the Supreme Court.
The above statement was made by the Court in response to respondent's motion for referral of this case either to the Solicitor General or to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines under Rule 139 (b). Otherwise, there would have been no need to refer to Rule 139 (b). It is thus only necessary to
point out that under the old rule, Rule 139, referral to the Solicitor General was similarly not an exclusive procedure and was not the only course of
action open to the Supreme Court. It is well to recall that under Section 1 (entitled "Motion or complaint") of Rule 139, "Proceedings for the removal or
suspension of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court, (1) on its own motion, or (2) upon the complaint under oath of another in writing"
(Parentheses supplied). The procedure described in Sections 2 et seq. of Rule 139 is the procedure provided for suspension or disbarment proceedings
initiated upon sworn complaint of another person, rather than a procedure required for proceedings initiated by the Supreme Court on its own motion. It
is inconceivable that the Supreme Court would initiate motu proprio proceedings for which it did not find probable cause to proceed against an attorney.
Thus, there is no need to refer a case to the Solicitor General, which referral is made "for investigation to determine if there is sufficient ground to
proceed with the prosecution of the respondent" (Section 3, Rule 139), where the Court itself has initiated against the respondent. The Court may, of
course, refer a case to the Solicitor General if it feels that, in a particular case, further factual investigation is needed. In the present case, as pointed out
in the per curiam Resolution of the Court (page 18), there was "no need for further investigation of facts in the present case for it [was] not substantially
disputed by respondent Gonzalez that he uttered or wrote certain statements attributed to him" and that "in any case, respondent has had the amplest
opportunity to present his defense: his defense is not that he did not make the statements ascribed to him but that those statements give rise to no
liability on his part, having been made in the exercise of his freedom of speech. The issues which thus need to be resolved here are issues of law and of
basic policy and the Court, not any other agency, is compelled to resolve such issues."
In this connection, we note that the quotation in page 7 of the Motion for Reconsideration is from a dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Black in Green v.
United State.
1
It may be pointed out that the majority in Green v. United States, through Mr. Justice Harlan, held, among other things, that: Federal
courts do not lack power to impose sentences in excess of one year for criminal contempt; that criminal contempts are not subject to jury trial as a matter
of constitutional right; nor does the (US) Constitution require that contempt subject to prison terms of more than one year be based on grand jury
indictments.
In his concurring opinion in the same case, Mr. Justice Frankfurter said:
Whatever the conflicting views of scholars in construing more or less dubious manuscripts of the Fourteenth Century, what is
indisputable is that from the foundation of the United States the constitutionality of the power to punish for contempt without the
intervention of a jury has not been doubted. The First Judiciary Act conferred such a power on the federal courts in the very act of
their establishment, 1 State 73, 83, and of the Judiciary Committee of eight that reported the bill to the Senate, five member
including the chairman, Senator, later to be Chief Justice, Ellsworth, had been delegates to the Constitutional Convention (Oliver
Ellsworth, Chairman, William Paterson, Caleb Strong, Ricard Basett, William Few. 1 Annals of Cong 17). In the First Congress itself
no less than nineteen member including Madison who contemporaneously introduced the Bill of Rights, had been delegates to the
Convention. And when an abuse under this power manifested itself, and led Congress to define more explicitly the summary power
vested in the courts, it did not remotely deny the existence of the power but merely defined the conditions for its exercise more
clearly, in an Act "declaratory of the law concerning contempts of court." Act of Mar. 2, 1831, 4 Stat 487.
x x x x x x x x x
Nor has the constitutionality of the power been doubted by this Court throughout its existence . In at least two score cases in this
Court, not to mention the vast mass of decisions in the lower federal courts, the power to punish summarily has been accepted
without question. ...
2

To say that a judge who punishes a contemnor judges his own cause, is simplistic at best. The judge who finds himself compelled to exercise the power
to punish for contempt does so not really to avenge a wrong inflicted upon his own person; rather he upholds and vindicates the authority, dignity and
integrity of the judicial institution and its claim to respectful behaviour on the part of all persons who appears before it, and most especially from those
who are officers of the court.
3. In his point D, respondent counsel urges that it is error "for this Court to apply the "visible tendency" rule rather than the "clear
and present danger" rule in disciplinary and contempt charges."
The Court did not purport to announce a new doctrine of "visible tendency," it was, more modestly, simply paraphrasing Section 3 (d) of Rule 71 of the
Revised Rules of Court which penalizes a variety of contumacious conduct including: "any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede,
obstruct or degrade the administration of justice."
31

The "clear and present danger" doctrine invoked by respondent's counsel is not a magic incantation which dissolves all problems and dispenses with
analysis and judgment in the testing of the legitimacy of claims to free speech, and which compels a court to exonerate a defendant the moment the
doctrine is invoked, absent proof of impending apocalypse. The clear and present danger" doctrine has been an accepted method for marking out the
appropriate limits of freedom of speech and of assembly in certain contexts. It is not, however, the only test which has been recognized and applied by
courts. In Logunzad v. Vda. de Gonzales,
3
this Court, speaking through Mme. Justice Melencio-Herrera said:
...The right of freedom of expression indeed, occupies a preferred position in the "hierarchy of civil liberties" (Philippine Blooming
Mills Employees Organization v. Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., 51 SCRA 191 [1963]. It is not, however, without limitations. As
held in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 27 SCRA 835, 858 [1960]:
"From the language of the specific constitutional provision, it would appear that the right is not susceptible of any limitation. No law
may be passed abridging the freedom of speech and of the press. The realities of life in a complex society preclude however, a
literal interpretation. Freedom of expression is not an absolute. It would be too much to insist that all times and under all
circumstances it should remain unfettered and unrestrained. There are other societal values that press for recognition."
The prevailing doctrine is that the clear and present danger rule is such a limitation. Another criterion for permissible limitation on
freedom of speech and of the press, which includes such vehicles of the mass media as radio, television and the movies, is the
"balancing-of-interests test" (Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando on the Bill of Rights, 1970 ed., p. 79). The principle "requires a court
to take conscious and detailed consideration of the interplay of interests observable in a given situation or type of situation
(Separate Opinion of the late Chief Justice Castro in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, supra, p. 899). (Emphasis Supplied)
4

Under either the "clear and present danger" test or the "balancing-of-interest test," we believe that the statements here made by respondent Gonzalez
are of such a nature and were made in such a manner and under such circumstances, as to transcend the permissible limits of free speech. This
conclusion was implicit in the per curiam Resolution of October 7, 1988. It is important to point out that the "substantive evil" which the Supreme Court
has a right and a duty to prevent does not, in the instant case, relate to threats of physical disorder or overt violence or similar disruptions of public order.
5
What is here at stake is the authority of the Supreme Court to confront and prevent a "substantive evil" consisting not only of the obstruction of a free
and fair hearing of a particular case but also the avoidance of the broader evil of the degradation of the judicial system of a country and the destruction
of the standards of professional conduct required from members of the bar and officers of the courts. The "substantive evil" here involved, in other
words, is not as palpable as a threat of public disorder or rioting but is certainly no less deleterious and more far reaching in its implications for society.
4. In his point H, respondent's counsel argues that it is error "for this Court to hold that intent is irrelevant in charges of misconduct."
What the Court actually said on this point was:
Respondent Gonzalez disclaims an intent to attack and denigrate the Court. The subjectivities of the respondent are irrelevant so far
as characterization of his conduct or misconduct is concerned. He will not, however, be allowed to disclaim the natural and plain
import of his words and acts. It is, upon the other hand, not irrelevant to point out that the respondent offered no apology in his two
(2) explanations and exhibited no repentance (Resolution, p. 7; footnotes omitted).
The actual subjectivities of the respondent are irrelevant because such subjectivities (understood as pyschological phenomena) cannot be ascertained
and reached by the processes of this Court. Human intent can only be shown derivatively and implied from an examination of acts and statements.
Thus, what the Court was saying was that respondent's disclaimer of an intent to attack and denigrate the Court, cannot prevail over the plain import of
what he did say and do. Respondent cannot negate the clear import of his acts and statements by simply pleading a secret intent or state of mind
incompatible with those acts or statements. It is scarcely open to dispute that, e.g., one accused of homicide cannot successfully deny his criminal intent
by simply asserting that while he may have inserted a knife between the victim's ribs, he actually acted from high motives and kind feelings for the latter.
5 In his point 1, respondent's counsel argues that it is error "for this Court to punish respondent for contempt of court for out of court
publications."
Respondent's counsel asks this Court to follow what he presents as alleged modern trends in the United Kingdom and in the United States concerning
the law of contempt. We are, however, unable to regard the texts that he cites as binding or persuasive in our jurisdiction. The Court went to some length
to document the state of our case law on this matter in its per curiam Resolution. There is nothing in the circumstances of this case that would suggest to
this Court that that case law, which has been followed for at least half a century or so, ought to be reversed.
6. In his point J, respondent's counsel pleads that the imposition of indefinite suspension from the practice of law constitutes "cruel,
degrading or inhuman punishment". The Court finds it difficult to consider this a substantial constitutional argument. The
indefiniteness of the respondent's suspension, far from being "cruel" or "degrading" or "inhuman," has the effect of placing, as it
were, the key to the restoration of his rights and privileges as a lawyer in his own hands. That sanction has the effect of giving
respondent the chance to purge himself in his own good time of his contempt and misconduct by acknowledging such misconduct,
exhibiting appropriate repentance and demonstrating his willingness and capacity to live up to the exacting standards of conduct
rightly demanded from every member of the bar and officer of the courts.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to DENY the Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit. The denial is FINAL.
The Court also NOTED the Ex-Parte Manifestation and Motion, dated October 25, 1988 and the Supplemental Manifestation, dated October 27, 1988,
filed by respondent












32






















[A.C. No. 3319. June 8, 2000]
LESLIE UI vs. ATTY. IRIS BONIFACIO
Before us is an administrative complaint for disbarment against Atty. Iris Bonifacio for allegedly carrying on an immoral relationship with Carlos L. Ui,
husband of complainant, Leslie Ui.
The relevant facts are:
On January 24, 1971 complainant Leslie Ui married Carlos L. Ui at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Quezon Cityxii[1] and as a result of their marital
union, they had four (4) children, namely, Leilani, Lianni, Lindsay and Carl Cavin, all surnamed Ui. Sometime in December 1987, however, complainant
found out that her husband, Carlos Ui, was carrying on an illicit relationship with respondent Atty. Iris Bonifacio with whom he begot a daughter
sometime in 1986, and that they had been living together at No. 527 San Carlos Street, Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City. Respondent who is a
graduate of the College of Law of the University of the Philippines was admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1982.
Carlos Ui admitted to complainant his relationship with the respondent. Complainant then visited respondent at her office in the later part of June 1988
and introduced herself as the legal wife of Carlos Ui. Whereupon, respondent admitted to her that she has a child with Carlos Ui and alleged, however,
that everything was over between her and Carlos Ui. Complainant believed the representations of respondent and thought things would turn out well
from then on and that the illicit relationship between her husband and respondent would come to an end.
However, complainant again discovered that the illicit relationship between her husband and respondent continued, and that sometime in December
1988, respondent and her husband, Carlos Ui, had a second child. Complainant then met again with respondent sometime in March 1989 and pleaded
with respondent to discontinue her illicit relationship with Carlos Ui but to no avail. The illicit relationship persisted and complainant even came to know
later on that respondent had been employed by her husband in his company.
A complaint for disbarment, docketed as Adm. Case No. 3319, was then filed on August 11, 1989 by the complainant against respondent Atty. Iris
Bonifacio before the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (hereinafter, Commission) on the ground of immorality, more
particularly, for carrying on an illicit relationship with the complainants husband, Carlos Ui. In her Answer,xii[2] respondent averred that she met Carlos
Ui sometime in 1983 and had known him all along to be a bachelor, with the knowledge, however, that Carlos Ui had children by a Chinese woman in
Amoy, China, from whom he had long been estranged. She stated that during one of their trips abroad, Carlos Ui formalized his intention to marry her
and they in fact got married in Hawaii, USA in 1985xii[3]. Upon their return to Manila, respondent did not live with Carlos Ui. The latter continued to live
with his children in their Greenhills residence because respondent and Carlos Ui wanted to let the children gradually to know and accept the fact of his
second marriage before they would live together.xii[4]
In 1986, respondent left the country and stayed in Honolulu, Hawaii and she would only return occasionally to the Philippines to update her law practice
and renew legal ties. During one of her trips to Manila sometime in June 1988, respondent was surprised when she was confronted by a woman who
insisted that she was the lawful wife of Carlos Ui. Hurt and desolate upon her discovery of the true civil status of Carlos Ui, respondent then left for
Honolulu, Hawaii sometime in July 1988 and returned only in March 1989 with her two (2) children. On March 20, 1989, a few days after she reported to
work with the law firmxii[5] she was connected with, the woman who represented herself to be the wife of Carlos Ui again came to her office, demanding
to know if Carlos Ui has been communicating with her.
It is respondents contention that her relationship with Carlos Ui is not illicit because they were married abroad and that after June 1988 when
respondent discovered Carlos Uis true civil status, she cut off all her ties with him. Respondent averred that Carlos Ui never lived with her in Alabang,
and that he resided at 26 Potsdam Street, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. It was respondent who lived in Alabang in a house which belonged to her
mother, Rosalinda L. Bonifacio; and that the said house was built exclusively from her parents funds.xii[6] By way of counterclaim, respondent sought
moral damages in the amount of Ten Million Pesos (Php10,000,000.00) against complainant for having filed the present allegedly malicious and
groundless disbarment case against respondent.
In her Replyxii[7] dated April 6, 1990, complainant states, among others, that respondent knew perfectly well that Carlos Ui was married to complainant
and had children with her even at the start of her relationship with Carlos Ui, and that the reason respondent went abroad was to give birth to her two (2)
children with Carlos Ui.
33


During the pendency of the proceedings before the Integrated Bar, complainant also charged her husband, Carlos Ui, and respondent with the crime of
Concubinage before the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal, docketed as I.S. No. 89-5247, but the same was dismissed for insufficiency of evidence
to establish probable cause for the offense charged. The resolution dismissing the criminal complaint against respondent reads:
Complainants evidence had prima facie established the existence of the "illicit relationship" between the respondents allegedly
discovered by the complainant in December 1987. The same evidence however show that respondent Carlos Ui was still living with
complainant up to the latter part of 1988 and/or the early part of 1989.
It would therefore be logical and safe to state that the "relationship" of respondents started and was discovered by complainant
sometime in 1987 when she and respondent Carlos were still living at No. 26 Potsdam Street, Northeast Greenhills, San Juan,
MetroManila and they, admittedly, continued to live together at their conjugal home up to early (sic) part of 1989 or later 1988, when
respondent Carlos left the same.
From the above, it would not be amiss to conclude that altho (sic) the relationship, illicit as complainant puts it, had been prima facie
established by complainants evidence, this same evidence had failed to even prima facie establish the "fact of respondents
cohabitation in the concept of husband and wife at the 527 San Carlos St., Ayala Alabang house, proof of which is necessary and
indispensable to at least create probable cause for the offense charged. The statement alone of complainant, worse, a statement
only of a conclusion respecting the fact of cohabitation does not make the complainants evidence thereto any better/stronger (U.S.
vs. Casipong and Mongoy, 20 Phil. 178).
It is worth stating that the evidence submitted by respondents in support of their respective positions on the matter support and
bolster the foregoing conclusion/recommendation.
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully recommended that the instant complaint be dismissed for want of evidence to establish
probable cause for the offense charged.
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED.xii[8]
Complainant appealed the said Resolution of the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal to the Secretary of Justice, but the same was dismissed xii[9] on the ground
of insufficiency of evidence to prove her allegation that respondent and Carlos Ui lived together as husband and wife at 527 San Carlos Street, Ayala
Alabang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila.
In the proceedings before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, complainant filed a Motion to Cite Respondent in Contempt of the Commission xii[10]
wherein she charged respondent with making false allegations in her Answer and for submitting a supporting document which was altered and
intercalated. She alleged that in the Answer of respondent filed before the Integrated Bar, respondent averred, among others, that she was married to
Carlos Ui on October 22, 1985 and attached a Certificate of Marriage to substantiate her averment. However, the Certificate of Marriage xii[11] duly
certified by the State Registrar as a true copy of the record on file in the Hawaii State Department of Health, and duly authenticated by the Philippine
Consulate General in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA revealed that the date of marriage between Carlos Ui and respondent Atty. Iris Bonifacio was October 22,
1987, and not October 22, 1985 as claimed by respondent in her Answer. According to complainant, the reason for that false allegation was because
respondent wanted to impress upon the said IBP that the birth of her first child by Carlos Ui was within the wedlock.xii[12] It is the contention of
complainant that such act constitutes a violation of Articles 183xii[13] and 184xii[14] of the Revised Penal Code, and also contempt of the Commission;
and that the act of respondent in making false allegations in her Answer and submitting an altered/intercalated document are indicative of her moral
perversity and lack of integrity which make her unworthy to be a member of the Philippine Bar.
In her Opposition (To Motion To Cite Respondent in Contempt),xii[15] respondent averred that she did not have the original copy of the marriage
certificate because the same was in the possession of Carlos Ui, and that she annexed such copy because she relied in good faith on what appeared on
the copy of the marriage certificate in her possession.
Respondent filed her Memorandum xii[16] on February 22, 1995 and raised the lone issue of whether or not she has conducted herself in an immoral
manner for which she deserves to be barred from the practice of law. Respondent averred that the complaint should be dismissed on two (2) grounds,
namely:
(i) Respondent conducted herself in a manner consistent with the requirement of good moral character for the practice of
the legal profession; and
(ii) Complainant failed to prove her allegation that respondent conducted herself in an immoral manner.xii[17]
In her defense, respondent contends, among others, that it was she who was the victim in this case and not Leslie Ui because she did not know that
Carlos Ui was already married, and that upon learning of this fact, respondent immediately cut-off all her ties with Carlos Ui. She stated that there was
no reason for her to doubt at that time that the civil status of Carlos Ui was that of a bachelor because he spent so much time with her, and he was so
open in his courtship.xii[18]
On the issue of the falsified marriage certificate, respondent alleged that it was highly incredible for her to have knowingly attached such marriage
certificate to her Answer had she known that the same was altered. Respondent reiterated that there was no compelling reason for her to make it appear
that her marriage to Carlos Ui took place either in 1985 or 1987, because the fact remains that respondent and Carlos Ui got married before complainant
confronted respondent and informed the latter of her earlier marriage to Carlos Ui in June 1988. Further, respondent stated that it was Carlos Ui who
testified and admitted that he was the person responsible for changing the date of the marriage certificate from 1987 to 1985, and complainant did not
present evidence to rebut the testimony of Carlos Ui on this matter.
Respondent posits that complainants evidence, consisting of the pictures of respondent with a child, pictures of respondent with Carlos Ui, a picture of a
garage with cars, a picture of a light colored car with Plate No. PNS 313, a picture of the same car, and portion of the house and ground, and another
picture of the same car bearing Plate No. PNS 313 and a picture of the house and the garage,xii[19] does not prove that she acted in an immoral
manner. They have no evidentiary value according to her. The pictures were taken by a photographer from a private security agency and who was not
presented during the hearings. Further, the respondent presented the Resolution of the Provincial Fiscal of Pasig in I.S. Case No. 89-5427 dismissing
the complaint filed by Leslie Ui against respondent for lack of evidence to establish probable cause for the offense charged xii[20] and the dismissal of
the appeal by the Department of Justice xii[21] to bolster her argument that she was not guilty of any immoral or illegal act because of her relationship
with Carlos Ui. In fine, respondent claims that she entered the relationship with Carlos Ui in good faith and that her conduct cannot be considered as
willful, flagrant, or shameless, nor can it suggest moral indifference. She fell in love with Carlos Ui whom she believed to be single, and, that upon her
discovery of his true civil status, she parted ways with him.
In the Memorandum xii[22] filed on March 20, 1995 by complainant Leslie Ui, she prayed for the disbarment of Atty. Iris Bonifacio and reiterated that
respondent committed immorality by having intimate relations with a married man which resulted in the birth of two (2) children. Complainant testified
that respondents mother, Mrs. Linda Bonifacio, personally knew complainant and her husband since the late 1970s because they were clients of the
bank where Mrs. Bonifacio was the Branch Manager.xii[23] It was thus highly improbable that respondent, who was living with her parents as of 1986,
would not have been informed by her own mother that Carlos Ui was a married man. Complainant likewise averred that respondent committed
disrespect towards the Commission for submitting a photocopy of a document containing an intercalated date.
In her Reply to Complainants Memorandum xii[24], respondent stated that complainant miserably failed to show sufficient proof to warrant her
disbarment. Respondent insists that contrary to the allegations of complainant, there is no showing that respondent had knowledge of the fact of
34


marriage of Carlos Ui to complainant. The allegation that her mother knew Carlos Ui to be a married man does not prove that such information was
made known to respondent.
Hearing on the case ensued, after which the Commission on Bar Discipline submitted its Report and Recommendation, finding that:
In the case at bar, it is alleged that at the time respondent was courted by Carlos Ui, the latter represented himself to be single. The
Commission does not find said claim too difficult to believe in the light of contemporary human experience.
Almost always, when a married man courts a single woman, he represents himself to be single, separated, or without any firm
commitment to another woman. The reason therefor is not hard to fathom. By their very nature, single women prefer single men.
The records will show that when respondent became aware the (sic) true civil status of Carlos Ui, she left for the United States (in
July of 1988). She broke off all contacts with him. When she returned to the Philippines in March of 1989, she lived with her brother,
Atty. Teodoro Bonifacio, Jr. Carlos Ui and respondent only talked to each other because of the children whom he was allowed to
visit. At no time did they live together.
Under the foregoing circumstances, the Commission fails to find any act on the part of respondent that can be considered as
unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high degree. To be sure, she was more of a victim that (sic) anything else and
should deserve compassion rather than condemnation. Without cavil, this sad episode destroyed her chance of having a normal and
happy family life, a dream cherished by every single girl.
x..........................x..........................x"
Thereafter, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines issued a Notice of Resolution dated December 13, 1997, the dispositive
portion of which reads as follows:
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution/Decision as Annex "A", and, finding the
recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, the complaint for Gross Immorality
against Respondent is DISMISSED for lack of merit. Atty. Iris Bonifacio is REPRIMANDED for knowingly and willfully attaching to
her Answer a falsified Certificate of Marriage with a stern warning that a repetition of the same will merit a more severe penalty."
We agree with the findings aforequoted.
The practice of law is a privilege. A bar candidate does not have the right to enjoy the practice of the legal profession simply by passing the bar
examinations. It is a privilege that can be revoked, subject to the mandate of due process, once a lawyer violates his oath and the dictates of legal
ethics. The requisites for admission to the practice of law are:
a. he must be a citizen of the Philippines;
b. a resident thereof;
c. at least twenty-one (21) years of age;
d. a person of good moral character;
e. he must show that no charges against him involving moral turpitude, are filed or pending in court;
f. possess the required educational qualifications; and
g. pass the bar examinations.xii[25] (Italics supplied)
Clear from the foregoing is that one of the conditions prior to admission to the bar is that an applicant must possess good moral character. More
importantly, possession of good moral character must be continuous as a requirement to the enjoyment of the privilege of law practice, otherwise, the
loss thereof is a ground for the revocation of such privilege. It has been held -
If good moral character is a sine qua non for admission to the bar, then the continued possession of good moral character is also a
requisite for retaining membership in the legal profession. Membership in the bar may be terminated when a lawyer ceases to have
good moral character. (Royong vs. Oblena, 117 Phil. 865).
A lawyer may be disbarred for "grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude". A
member of the bar should have moral integrity in addition to professional probity.
It is difficult to state with precision and to fix an inflexible standard as to what is "grossly immoral conduct" or to specify the moral
delinquency and obliquity which render a lawyer unworthy of continuing as a member of the bar. The rule implies that what appears
to be unconventional behavior to the straight-laced may not be the immoral conduct that warrants disbarment.
Immoral conduct has been defined as "that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to
the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community." (7 C.J.S. 959).xii[26]
In the case at bar, it is the claim of respondent Atty. Bonifacio that when she met Carlos Ui, she knew and believed him to be single. Respondent fell in
love with him and they got married and as a result of such marriage, she gave birth to two (2) children. Upon her knowledge of the true civil status of
Carlos Ui, she left him.
Simple as the facts of the case may sound, the effects of the actuations of respondent are not only far from simple, they will have a rippling effect on how
the standard norms of our legal practitioners should be defined. Perhaps morality in our liberal society today is a far cry from what it used to be before.
This permissiveness notwithstanding, lawyers, as keepers of public faith, are burdened with a higher degree of social responsibility and thus must
handle their personal affairs with greater caution. The facts of this case lead us to believe that perhaps respondent would not have found herself in such
a compromising situation had she exercised prudence and been more vigilant in finding out more about Carlos Uis personal background prior to her
intimate involvement with him.
Surely, circumstances existed which should have at least aroused respondents suspicion that something was amiss in her relationship with Carlos Ui,
and moved her to ask probing questions. For instance, respondent admitted that she knew that Carlos Ui had children with a woman from Amoy, China,
yet it appeared that she never exerted the slightest effort to find out if Carlos Ui and this woman were indeed unmarried. Also, despite their marriage in
1987, Carlos Ui never lived with respondent and their first child, a circumstance that is simply incomprehensible considering respondents allegation that
Carlos Ui was very open in courting her.
All these taken together leads to the inescapable conclusion that respondent was imprudent in managing her personal affairs. However, the fact remains
that her relationship with Carlos Ui, clothed as it was with what respondent believed was a valid marriage, cannot be considered immoral. For immorality
connotes conduct that shows indifference to the moral norms of society and the opinion of good and respectable members of the community.xii[27]
Moreover, for such conduct to warrant disciplinary action, the same must be "grossly immoral," that is, it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a
criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree.xii[28]
We have held that "a member of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required to refrain from adulterous relationships x x x but must also so
behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral standards."xii[29] Respondents act of
immediately distancing herself from Carlos Ui upon discovering his true civil status belies just that alleged moral indifference and proves that she had no
intention of flaunting the law and the high moral standard of the legal profession. Complainants bare assertions to the contrary deserve no credit. After
all, the burden of proof rests upon the complainant, and the Court will exercise its disciplinary powers only if she establishes her case by clear,
convincing and satisfactory evidence.xii[30] This, herein complainant miserably failed to do.
35


On the matter of the falsified Certificate of Marriage attached by respondent to her Answer, we find improbable to believe the averment of respondent
that she merely relied on the photocopy of the Marriage Certificate which was provided her by Carlos Ui. For an event as significant as a marriage
ceremony, any normal bride would verily recall the date and year of her marriage. It is difficult to fathom how a bride, especially a lawyer as in the case
at bar, can forget the year when she got married. Simply stated, it is contrary to human experience and highly improbable.
Furthermore, any prudent lawyer would verify the information contained in an attachment to her pleading, especially so when she has personal
knowledge of the facts and circumstances contained therein. In attaching such Marriage Certificate with an intercalated date, the defense of good faith of
respondent on that point cannot stand.
It is the bounden duty of lawyers to adhere unwaveringly to the highest standards of morality. The legal profession exacts from its members nothing less.
Lawyers are called upon to safeguard the integrity of the Bar, free from misdeeds and acts constitutive of malpractice. Their exalted positions as officers
of the court demand no less than the highest degree of morality.
WHEREFORE, the complaint for disbarment against respondent Atty. Iris L. Bonifacio, for alleged immorality, is hereby DISMISSED.
However, respondent is hereby REPRIMANDED for attaching to her Answer a photocopy of her Marriage Certificate, with an altered or intercalated date
thereof, with a STERN WARNING that a more severe sanction will be imposed on her for any repetition of the same or similar offense in the future.





















[A.C. No. 5118. September 9, 1999]
MARILOU SEBASTIAN vs. ATTY. DOROTHEO CALIS
For unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct as well as violation of his oath as lawyer, respondent Atty. Dorotheo Calis faces disbarment.
The facts of this administrative case, as found by the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP),xii[1] in its Report, are
as follows:
Complainant (Marilou Sebastian) alleged that sometime in November, 1992, she was referred to the respondent who promised to process all necessary
documents required for complainants trip to the USA for a fee of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P150,000.00).
On December 1, 1992 the complainant made a partial payment of the required fee in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), which was
received by Ester Calis, wife of the respondent for which a receipt was issued.
From the period of January 1993 to May 1994 complainant had several conferences with the respondent regarding the processing of her travel
documents. To facilitate the processing, respondent demanded an additional amount of Sixty Five Thousand Pesos (P65,000.00) and prevailed upon
complainant to resign from her job as stenographer with the Commission on Human Rights.
On June 20, 1994, to expedite the processing of her travel documents complainant issued Planters Development Bank Check No. 12026524 in the
amount of Sixty Five Thousand Pesos (P65,000.00) in favor of Atty. D. Calis who issued a receipt. After receipt of said amount, respondent furnished
the complainant copies of Supplemental to U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Of. 156) and a list of questions which would be asked during interviews.
When complainant inquired about her passport, Atty. Calis informed the former that she will be assuming the name Lizette P. Ferrer married to Roberto
Ferrer, employed as sales manager of Matiao Marketing, Inc. the complainant was furnished documents to support her assumed identity.
Realizing that she will be travelling with spurious documents, the complainant demanded the return of her money, however she was assured by
respondent that there was nothing to worry about for he has been engaged in the business for quite sometime; with the promise that her money will be
refunded if something goes wrong.
Weeks before her departure respondent demanded for the payment of the required fee which was paid by complainant, but the corresponding receipt
was not given to her.
When complainant demanded for her passport, respondent assured the complainant that it will be given to her on her departure which was scheduled on
September 6, 1994. On said date complainant was given her passport and visa issued in the name of Lizette P. Ferrer. Complainant left together with
Jennyfer Belo and a certain Maribel who were also recruits of the respondent.
Upon arrival at the Singapore International Airport, complainant together with Jennyfer Belo and Maribel were apprehended by the Singapore Airport
Officials for carrying spurious travel documents; Complainant contacted the respondent through overseas telephone call and informed him of by her
predicament. From September 6 to 9, 1994, complainant was detained at Changi Prisons in Singapore.
On September 9, 1994 the complainant was deported back to the Philippines and respondent fetched her from the airport and brought her to his
residence at 872-A Tres Marias Street, Sampaloc, Manila. Respondent took complainants passport with a promise that he will secure new travel
documents for complainant. Since complainant opted not to pursue with her travel, she demanded for the return of her money in the amount of One
Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P150,000.00).
On June 4, 1996, June 18 and July 5, 1996 respondent made partial refunds of P15,000.00; P6,000.00; and P5,000.00.
On December 19, 1996 the complainant through counsel, sent a demand letter to respondent for the refund of a remaining balance of One Hundred
Fourteen Thousand Pesos (P114,000.00) which was ignored by the respondent.
Sometime in March 1997 the complainant went to see the respondent, however his wife informed her that the respondent was in Cebu attending to
business matters.
In May 1997 the complainant again tried to see the respondent however she found out that the respondent had transferred to an unknown residence
apparently with intentions to evade responsibility.
36


Attached to the complaint are the photocopies of receipts for the amount paid by complainant, applications for U.S.A. Visa, questions and answers
asked during interviews; receipts acknowledging partial refunds of fees paid by the complainant together with demand letter for the remaining balance of
One Hundred Fourteen Thousand Pesos (P114,000.00); which was received by the respondent.xii[2]
Despite several notices sent to the respondent requiring an answer to or comment on the complaint, there was no response. Respondent likewise failed
to attend the scheduled hearings of the case. No appearance whatsoever was made by the respondent.xii[3] As a result of the inexplicable failure, if not
obdurate refusal of the respondent to comply with the orders of the Commission, the investigation against him proceeded ex parte.
On September 24, 1998, the Commission on Bar Discipline issued its Report on the case, finding that:
It appears that the services of the respondent was engaged for the purpose of securing a visa for a U.S.A. travel of complainant. There was no mention
of job placement or employment abroad, hence it is not correct to say that the respondent engaged in illegal recruitment.
The alleged proposal of the respondent to secure the U.S.A. visa for the complainant under an assumed name was accepted by the complainant which
negates deceit on the part of the respondent. Noted likewise is the partial refunds made by the respondent of the fees paid by the complainant.
However, the transfer of residence without a forwarding address indicates his attempt to escape responsibility.
In the light of the foregoing, we find that the respondent is guilty of gross misconduct for violating Canon 1 Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that ATTY. DOROTHEO CALIS be SUSPENDED as a member of the bar until he fully refunds the fees
paid to him by complainant and comply with the order of the Commission on Bar Discipline pursuant to Rule 139-B, Sec. 6 of the Rules of Court.xii[4]
Pursuant to Section 12, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, this administrative case was elevated to the IBP Board of Governors for review. The Board in
a Resolutionxii[5] dated December 4, 1998 resolved to adopt and approve with amendment the recommendation of the Commission. The Resolution of
the Board states:
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution/Decisions as Annex A; and, finding the recommendation fully supported
by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, with an amendment that Respondent Atty. Dorotheo Calis be DISBARRED for having
been found guilty of Gross Misconduct for engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
We are now called upon to evaluate, for final action, the IBP recommendation contained in its Resolution dated December 4, 1998, with its supporting
report.
After examination and careful consideration of the records in this case, we find the resolution passed by the Board of Governors of the IBP in order. We
agree with the finding of the Commission that the charge of illegal recruitment was not established because complainant failed to substantiate her
allegation on the matter. In fact she did not mention any particular job or employment promised to her by the respondent. The only service of the
respondent mentioned by the complainant was that of securing a visa for the United States.
We likewise concur with the IBP Board of Governors in its Resolution, that herein respondent is guilty of gross misconduct by engaging in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct contrary to Canon 1, Rule 101 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Respondent deceived the
complainant by assuring her that he could give her visa and travel documents; that despite spurious documents nothing untoward would happen; that he
guarantees her arrival in the USA and even promised to refund her the fees and expenses already paid, in case something went wrong. All for material
gain.
Deception and other fraudulent acts by a lawyer are disgraceful and dishonorable. They reveal moral flaws in a lawyer. They are unacceptable
practices. A lawyers relationship with others should be characterized by the highest degree of good faith, fairness and candor. This is the essence of
the lawyers oath. The lawyers oath is not mere facile words, drift and hollow, but a sacred trust that must be upheld and keep inviolable.xii[6] The
nature of the office of an attorney requires that he should be a person of good moral character.xii[7] This requisite is not only a condition precedent to
admission to the practice of law, its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law.xii[8] We have sternly warned that any
gross misconduct of a lawyer, whether in his professional or private capacity, puts his moral character in serious doubt as a member of the Bar, and
renders him unfit to continue in the practice of law.xii[9]
It is dismaying to note how respondent so cavalierly jeopardized the life and liberty of complainant when he made her travel with spurious documents.
How often have victims of unscrupulous travel agents and illegal recruiters been imprisoned in foreign lands because they were provided fake travel
documents? Respondent totally disregarded the personal safety of the complainant when he sent her abroad on false assurances. Not only are
respondents acts illegal, they are also detestable from the moral point of view. His utter lack of moral qualms and scruples is a real threat to the Bar
and the administration of justice.
The practice of law is not a right but a privilege 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.xii[10] We must stress that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. A lawyer
has the privilege to practice law only during good behavior. He can be deprived of his license for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of
the court after giving him the opportunity to be heard.xii[11]
Here, it is worth noting that the adamant refusal of respondent to comply with the orders of the IBP and his total disregard of the summons issued by the
IBP are contemptuous acts reflective of unprofessional conduct. Thus, we find no hesitation in removing respondent Dorotheo Calis from the Roll of
Attorneys for his unethical, unscrupulous and unconscionable conduct toward complainant.
Lastly, the grant in favor of the complainant for the recovery of the P114,000.00 she paid the respondent is in order.xii[12] Respondent not only
unjustifiably refused to return the complainants money upon demand, but he stubbornly persisted in holding on to it, unmindful of the hardship and
humiliation suffered by the complainant.
WHEREFORE, respondent Dorotheo Calis is hereby DISBARRED and his name is ordered stricken from the Roll of Attorneys. Let a copy of this
Decision be FURNISHED to the IBP and the Bar Confidant to be spread on the personal records of respondent. Respondent is likewise ordered to pay
to the complainant immediately the amount of One Hundred Fourteen Thousand (P114,000.00) Pesos representing the amount he collected from














37




































[A C. No. 3919. January 28, 1998]
SOCORRO T. CO vs. ATTY. GODOFREDO N. BERNARDINO
This is an administrative complaint for disbarment filed by complainant Socorro T. Co, a businesswoman, against Atty. Godofredo N. Bernardino
charging him with unprofessional and unethical conduct indicating moral deficiency and unfitness to stay in the profession of law.
Socorro T. Co alleged that in October 1989, as she was following up the documents for her shipment at the Bureau of Customs, she was approached by
respondent, Atty. Godofredo N. Bernardino, introducing himself as someone holding various positions in the Bureau of Customs such as Executive
Assistant at the NAIA, Hearing Officer at the Law Division, and OIC of the Security Warehouse. Respondent offered to help complainant and
promised to give her some business at the Bureau. In no time, they became friends and a month after, or in November of the same year, respondent
succeeded in borrowing from complainant P120,000.00 with the promise to pay the amount in full the following month, broadly hinting that he could use
his influence at the Bureau of Customs to assist her. To ensure payment of his obligation, respondent issued to complainant several postdated Boston
Bank checks: No. 092601 dated 1 December 1989 for P21,950.00, No. 092602 dated 4 December 1989 for P6,750.00, No. 092615 dated 15 January
1990 for P65,000.00 and No. 092622 dated 15 January 1990 for P10,000.00 (Exhs. "A-3," "B," "C," "D," respectively). Respondent also issued a
postdated Urban Development Bank check No. 051946 dated 9 January 1990 for P5,500.00 (Exh. "E"). However, the checks covering the total amount
of P109,200.00 were dishonored for insufficiency of funds and closure of account.
Pressed to make good his obligation, respondent told complainant that he would be able to pay her if she would lend him an additional amount of
P75,000.00 to be paid a month after to be secured by a chattel mortgage on his Datsun car.xii[1] As complainant agreed respondent handed her three
(3) copies of a deed of chattel mortgage which he himself drafted and six (6) copies of the deed of sale of his car with the assurance that he would turn
over its registration certificate and official receipt. The agreement was not consummated as respondent later sold the same car to another.
Despite several chances given him to settle his obligation respondent chose to evade complainant altogether so that she was constrained to write him
a final demand letter dated 22 September 1992xii[2] preceding the filing of several criminal complaints against him for violation of BP Blg. 22.xii[3]
Complainant also filed a letter-complaint dated 5 October 1992 with the Office of the Ombudsman.xii[4]
It may be worth mentioning that a certain Emelinda Ortiz also filed several criminal and civil cases against respondent similarly involving money
transactions.xii[5] Ms. Ortiz claimed that respondent had volunteered to sell to her a 20-footer container van filled with imported cotton fabric shirting raw
materials from the Bureau of Customs warehouse for P600,000.00 in time for the holidays. However, despite her successive payments to respondent
totalling P410,000.00, the latter failed to deliver the goods as promised. Worse, respondent's personal check for P410,000.00 representing
reimbursement of the amount he received from Ms. Ortiz was returned dishonored for insufficiency of funds.
By way of defense, respondent averred that he gave the checks to complainant Co by way of rediscounting and that these were fully paid when he
delivered five cellular phones to her. He brushed aside the allegations of complainant and Ms. Ortiz as ill-motivated, vague, confusing, misleading and
full of biases and prejudices. Although he is married he insinuated a special relationship with the two (2) women which caused him to be careless in his
dealings with them.
On 3 March 1993 the Court referred this administrative case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation, report and recommendation.
On 17 May 1997 the IBP issued a resolution recommending the suspension of respondent from the practice of law for six (6) months based on the
following findings -
1. No receipt has been produced by respondent showing that the face value of the subject checks has been paid or that the alleged five (5) units of
cellular phones have been delivered to the complainant;
2. The Decision in the criminal cases that were filed vis-a-vis the subject bouncing checks and wherein he was acquitted clearly shows that his acquittal
was not due to payment of the obligation but rather that 'private complainant knew at the time the accused issued the checks that the latter did not have
sufficient funds in the bank to cover the same. No violation of BP Blg. 22 is committed where complainant was told by the drawer that he does not have
sufficient funds in the bank; and
38


3. Respondent subsequently paid the complainant as shown by a receipt dated 26 August 1995 x x x and the release of real estate mortgage x x x x If it
is true that he had already paid his obligation with five (5) cellular phones, why pay again?
The general rule is that a lawyer may not be suspended or disbarred, and the court may not ordinarily assume jurisdiction to discipline him for
misconduct in his non-professional or private capacity (In Re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 5569 [1923]). Where, however, the misconduct outside of the lawyer's
professional dealings is so gross a character as to show him morally unfit for the office and unworthy of the privilege which his licenses and the law
confer on him, the court may be justified in suspending or removing him from the office of attorney (In Re Sotto, 38 Phil. 569 [1923]).
The evidence on record clearly shows respondent's propensity to issue bad checks. This gross misconduct on his part, though not related to his
professional duties as a member of the bar, puts his moral character in serious doubt. The Commission, however, does not find him a hopeless case in
the light of the fact that he eventually paid his obligation to the complainant, albeit very much delayed.xii[6]
While it is true that there was no attorney-client relationship between complainant and respondent as the transaction between them did not require the
professional legal services of respondent, nevertheless respondent's abject conduct merits condemnation from this Court. Thus we held in Lizaso v.
Amantexii[7] where Atty. Amante enticed complainant to invest in the casino business with the proposition that her investment would yield her an interest
of 10% profit daily, and Atty. Amante not only failed to deliver the promised return on the investment but also the principal thereof (P5,000.00)
despite complainant's repeated demands -
As early as 1923, however, the Court laid down in In Re Vicente Pelaez [44 Phil.567 (1923)] the principle that it can exercise its power to discipline
lawyers for causes which do not involve the relationship of an attorney and client x x x x In disciplining the respondent, Mr. Justice Malcolm said: x x x x
As a general rule, a court will not assume jurisdiction to discipline one of its officers for misconduct alleged to have been committed in his private
capacity. But this is a general rule with many exceptions x x x x The nature of the office, the trust relation which exists between attorney and client, as
well as between court and attorney, and the statutory rules prescribing the qualifications of attorneys, uniformly require that an attorney shall be a person
of good moral character. If that qualification is a condition precedent to a license or privilege to enter upon the practice of the law, it would seem to be
equally essential during the continuance of the practice and the exercise of the privilege. So it is held that an attorney will be removed not only for
malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties, which shows him to be unfit for
the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer upon him x x x xxii[8]
Ten years later, in Piatt v. Abordoxii[9] where the erring lawyer was suspended for one year from the practice of law for attempting to engage in an
opium deal, Justice Malcolm reiterated that an attorney may be removed not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but also for gross
misconduct not related to his professional duties which show him to be an unfit and unworthy lawyer. "The courts are not curators of the morals of the
bar. At the same time the profession is not compelled to harbor all persons whatever their character, who are fortunate enough to keep out of prison.
As good character is an essential qualification for admission of an attorney to practice, when the attorney's character is bad in such respects as to show
that he is unsafe and unfit to be entrusted with the powers of an attorney, the courts retain the power to discipline him x x x x Of all classes and
professions, the lawyer is most sacredly bound to uphold the law x x x and to that doctrine we give our unqualified support."xii[10]
Finally, reference is made to Rule 1.01, Chapter 1, entitled The Lawyer and Society of the Code of Professional Responsibility which requires that "a
lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct." "Conduct," as used in this Rule, is not limited to conduct exhibited in
connection with the performance of professional duties.
In the case at bar, it is glaringly clear that the procurement of personal loans through insinuations of his power as an influence peddler in the Bureau of
Customs, the issuance of a series of bad checks and the taking undue advantage of his position in the aforesaid government office constitute conduct in
gross violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
The recommended suspension of respondent for six (6) months is less than what he justly deserves. His propinquity for employing deceit and
misrepresentations as well as his cavalier attitude towards incurring debts without the least intention of repaying them is reprehensible. This disturbing
behavior cannot be tolerated most especially in a lawyer who is an officer of the court.
WHEREFORE, respondent ATTY. GODOFREDO N. BERNARDINO is SUSPENDED FOR ONE (1) YEAR from the practice of law with warning that
repetition of the same or similar acts will merit a more severe penalty. Let copies of this Decision be furnished all courts in the land, the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines, the Office of the Bar Confidant and spread in respondent's personal records.































39



































[A.C. No. 4585. November 12, 2004]
MICHAEL P. BARRIOS vs. ATTY. FRANCISCO P. MARTINEZ
This is a verified petitionxii[1] for disbarment filed against Atty. Francisco Martinez for having been convicted by final judgment in Criminal Case No.
6608 of a crime involving moral turpitude by Branch 8 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tacloban City.xii[2]
The dispositive portion of the same states:
WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused Francisco Martinez guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime for (sic) violation of Batas Pambansa Blg.
22 charged in the Information. He is imposed a penalty of ONE (1) YEAR imprisonment and fine double the amount of the check which is EIGHT
THOUSAND (8,000.00) PESOS, plus payment of the tax pursuant to Section 205 of the Internal Revenue Code and costs against the accused.xii[3]
Complainant further submitted our Resolution dated 13 March 1996 and the Entry of Judgment from this Court dated 20 March 1996.
On 03 July 1996, we requiredxii[4] respondent to comment on said petition within ten (10) days from notice. On 17 February 1997, we issued a second
resolutionxii[5] requiring him to show cause why no disciplinary action should be imposed on him for failure to comply with our earlier Resolution, and to
submit said Comment. On 07 July 1997, we imposed a fine of P1,000 for respondents failure to file said Comment and required him to comply with our
previous resolution within ten days.xii[6] On 27 April 1998, we fined respondent an additional P2,000 and required him to comply with the resolution
requiring his comment within ten days under pain of imprisonment and arrest for a period of five (5) days or until his compliance.xii[7] Finally, on 03
February 1999, or almost three years later, we declared respondent Martinez guilty of Contempt under Rule 71, Sec. 3[b] of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure and ordered his imprisonment until he complied with the aforesaid resolutions.xii[8]
On 05 April 1999, the National Bureau of Investigation reportedxii[9] that respondent was arrested in Tacloban City on 26 March 1999, but was
subsequently released after having shown proof of compliance with the resolutions of 17 February 1997 and 27 April 1998 by remitting the amount of
P2,000 and submitting his long overdue Comment.
In the said Commentxii[10] dated 16 March 1999, respondent stated that:
1. He failed to respond to our Resolution dated 17 February 1997 as he was at that time undergoing medical treatment at Camp Ruperto
Kangleon in Palo, Leyte;
2. Complainant Michael Barrios passed away sometime in June 1997; and
3. Said administrative complaint is an offshoot of a civil case which was decided in respondents favor (as plaintiff in the said case). Respondent
avers that as a result of his moving for the execution of judgment in his favor and the eviction of the family of herein complainant Michael Barrios, the
latter filed the present administrative case.
In the meantime, on 11 September 1997, a certain Robert Visbal of the Provincial Prosecution Office of Tacloban City submitted a letterxii[11] to the First
Division Clerk of Court alleging that respondent Martinez also stood charged in another estafa case before the Regional Trial Court of Tacloban City,
Branch 9, as well as a civil case involving the victims of the Doa Paz tragedy in 1987, for which the Regional Trial Court of Basey, Samar, Branch 30
rendered a decision against him, his appeal thereto having been dismissed by the Court of Appeals.
In the said Decision of Branch 30 of the Regional Trial Court of Basey, Samar,xii[12] it appears that herein respondent Atty. Martinez offered his legal
services to the victims of the Doa Paz tragedy for free. However, when the plaintiff in the said civil case was issued a check for P90,000 by Sulpicio
Lines representing compensation for the deaths of his wife and two daughters, Atty. Martinez asked plaintiff to endorse said check, which was then
deposited in the account of Dr. Martinez, Atty. Martinezs wife. When plaintiff asked for his money, he was only able to recover a total of P30,000. Atty.
Martinez claimed the remaining P60,000 as his attorneys fees. Holding that it was absurd and totally ridiculous that for a simple legal service he
would collect 2/3 of the money claim, the trial court ordered Atty. Martinez to pay the plaintiff therein the amount of P60,000 with interest, P5,000 for
moral and exemplary damages, and the costs of the suit.
Said trial court also made particular mention of Martinezs dilatory tactics during the trial, citing fourteen (14) specific instances thereof. Martinezs
appeal from the above judgment was dismissed by the Court of Appeals for his failure to file his brief, despite having been granted three thirty (30)-day
extensions to do so.xii[13]
40


On 16 June 1999, we referredxii[14] the present case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation.
The reportxii[15] of IBP Investigating Commissioner Winston D. Abuyuan stated in part that:
Several dates for the hearing of the case were scheduled but none of the parties appeared before the Commission, until finally it was considered
submitted for resolution last 27 June 2002. On the same date respondent filed a motion for the dismissal of the case on the ground that the complainant
died sometime in June 1997 and that dismissal is warranted because the case filed by him does not survive due to his demise; as a matter of fact, it is
extinguished upon his death.
We disagree with respondents contention.
Pursuant to Section 1, Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of Court, the Honorable Supreme Court or the IBP may motu proprio initiate the proceedings
when they perceive acts of lawyers which deserve sanctions or when their attention is called by any one and a probable cause exists that an act has
been perpetrated by a lawyer which requires disciplinary sanctions.
As earlier cited, respondent lawyers propensity to disregard or ignore orders of the Honorable Supreme Court for which he was fined twice, arrested and
imprisoned reflects an utter lack of good moral character.
Respondents conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude (estafa and/or violation of BP Blg. 22) clearly shows his unfitness to protect the
administration of justice and therefore justifies the imposition of sanctions against him (see In re: Abesamis, 102 Phil. 1182; In re: Jaramillo, 101 Phil.
323; In re: Vinzon, 19 SCRA 815; Medina vs. Bautista, 12 SCRA 1, People vs. Tuanda, Adm. Case No. 3360, 30 Jan. 1990).
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully recommended that respondent Atty. Francisco P. Martinez be disbarred and his name stricken out
from the Roll of Attorneys immediately.
On 27 September 2003, the IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolutionxii[16] adopting and approving the report and recommendation of its
Investigating Commissioner.
On 03 December 2003, respondent Martinez filed a Motion for Reconsideration and/or Reinvestigation,xii[17] in the instant case alleging that:
1. The Report and Recommendation of the IBP Investigating Commissioner is tantamount to a deprivation of property without due process of
law, although admittedly the practice of law is a privilege;
2. If respondent is given another chance to have his day in court and allowed to adduce evidence, the result/outcome would be entirely different
from that arrived at by the Investigating Commissioner; and
3. Respondent is now 71 years of age, and has served the judiciary in various capacities (from acting city judge to Municipal Judges League
Leyte Chapter President) for almost 17 years prior to resuming his law practice.
On 14 January 2004, we requiredxii[18] complainant to file a comment within ten days. On 16 February 2004, we received a Manifestation and
Motionxii[19] from complainants daughter, Diane Francis Barrios Latoja, alleging that they had not been furnished with a copy of respondents Motion,
notwithstanding the fact that respondent ostensibly lives next door to complainants family. Required to Comment on 17 May 2004, respondent has until
now failed to do so.
The records show that respondent, indeed, failed to furnish a copy of said Motion to herein complainant. The records also show that respondent was
given several opportunities to present evidence by this Courtxii[20] as well as by the IBP.xii[21] Indeed, he only has himself to blame, for he has failed to
present his case despite several occasions to do so. It is now too late in the day for respondent to ask this court to receive his evidence.
This court, moreover, is unwilling to exercise the same patience that it did when it waited for his comment on the original petition. At any rate, after a
careful consideration of the records of the instant case, we find the evidence on record sufficient to support the IBPs findings.
Under Sec. 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a member of the Bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court
for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral
turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a
superior court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so.
In the present case, respondent has been found guilty and convicted by final judgment for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 for issuing a worthless check in the
amount of P8,000. The issue with which we are now concerned is whether or not the said crime is one involving moral turpitude. xii[22]
Moral turpitude includes everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.xii[23] It involves an act of baseness, vileness,
or depravity in the private duties which a man owes his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty
between man and woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.xii[24]
In People of the Philippines v. Atty. Fe Tuanda,xii[25] where the erring lawyer was indefinitely suspended for having been convicted of three counts of
violation of B.P. Blg. 22, we held that conviction by final judgment of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 involves moral turpitude and stated:
We should add that the crimes of which respondent was convicted also import deceit and violation of her attorney's oath and the Code of Professional
Responsibility under both of which she was bound to "obey the laws of the land." Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude might not (as in the
instant case, violation of B.P. Blg. 22 does not) relate to the exercise of the profession of a lawyer; however, it certainly relates to and affects the good
moral character of a person convicted of such offensexii[26] (emphasis supplied)
Over ten years later, we reiterated the above ruling in Villaber v. Commission on Electionsxii[27] and disqualified a congressional candidate for having
been sentenced by final judgment for three counts of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 in accordance with Sec. 12 of the Omnibus Election Code, which states:
SEC. 12. Disqualifications. Any person who has been declared by competent authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final
judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offense for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months, or for a
crime involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted
amnesty. (emphasis supplied)
Enumerating the elements of that crime, we held that the act of a person in issuing a check knowing at the time of the issuance that he or she does not
have sufficient funds in, or credit with, the drawee bank for the check in full upon its presentment, is a manifestation of moral turpitude. Notwithstanding
therein petitioners averment that he was not a lawyer, we nevertheless applied our ruling in People v. Tuanda, to the effect that
(A) conviction for violation of B.P. Blg. 22, imports deceit and certainly relates to and affects the good moral character of a person. [Indeed] the
effects of the issuance of a worthless check, as we held in the landmark case of Lozano v. Martinez, through Justice Pedro L. Yap, transcends the
private interests of the parties directly involved in the transaction and touches the interests of the community at large. The mischief it creates is not only
a wrong to the payee or holder, but also an injury to the public since the circulation of valueless commercial papers can very well pollute the channels
of trade and commerce, injure the banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public interest. Thus, paraphrasing Black's
definition, a drawer who issues an unfunded check deliberately reneges on his private duties he owes his fellow men or society in a manner contrary to
accepted and customary rule of right and duty, justice, honesty or good morals.xii[28] (emphasis supplied)
In the recent case of Barrientos v. Libiran-Meteoro,xii[29] we stated that:
(T)he issuance of checks which were later dishonored for having been drawn against a closed account indicates a lawyers unfitness for the trust and
confidence reposed on her. It shows a lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render her unworthy of public confidence. [Cuizon v.
Macalino, A.C. No. 4334, 07 July 2004] The issuance of a series of worthless checks also shows the remorseless attitude of respondent, unmindful to
the deleterious effects of such act to the public interest and public order. [Lao v. Medel, 405 SCRA 227] It also manifests a lawyers low regard for her
commitment to the oath she has taken when she joined her peers, seriously and irreparably tarnishing the image of the profession she should hold in
high esteem. [Sanchez v. Somoso, A.C. No. 6061, 03 October 2003]
41


Clearly, therefore, the act of a lawyer in issuing a check without sufficient funds to cover the same constitutes such willful dishonesty and immoral
conduct as to undermine the public confidence in law and lawyers. And while the general rule is that a lawyer may not be suspended or disbarred, and
the court may not ordinarily assume jurisdiction to discipline him for misconduct in his non-professional or private capacity, where, however, the
misconduct outside of the lawyer's professional dealings is so gross a character as to show him morally unfit for the office and unworthy of the privilege
which his licenses and the law confer on him, the court may be justified in suspending or removing him from the office of attorney.xii[30]
The argument of respondent that to disbar him now is tantamount to a deprivation of property without due process of law is also untenable. As
respondent himself admits, the practice of law is a privilege. The purpose of a proceeding for disbarment is to protect the administration of justice by
requiring that those who exercise this important function shall be competent, honorable and reliable; men in whom courts and clients may repose
confidence.xii[31] A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not in any sense a civil action where the complainant is plaintiff and the respondent
lawyer is a defendant. Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and
prosecuted solely for the public welfare, and for the purpose of preserving courts of justice from the official ministrations of persons unfit to practice
them.xii[32] Verily, lawyers must at all times faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to their clients. Their conduct must
always reflect the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility. On these considerations, the Court
may disbar or suspend lawyers for any professional or private misconduct showing them to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good
demeanor or to be unworthy to continue as officers of the Court.xii[33]
Nor are we inclined to look with favor upon respondents plea that if given another chance to have his day in court and to adduce evidence, the
result/outcome would be entirely different from that arrived at. We note with displeasure the inordinate length of time respondent took in responding to
our requirement to submit his Comment on the original petition to disbar him. These acts constitute a willful disobedience of the lawful orders of this
Court, which under Sec. 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court is in itself a cause sufficient for suspension or disbarment. Thus, from the time we issued
our first Resolution on 03 July 1996 requiring him to submit his Comment, until 16 March 1999, when he submitted said Comment to secure his release
from arrest, almost three years had elapsed.
It is revealing that despite the unwarranted length of time it took respondent to comply, his Comment consists of all of two pages, a copy of which, it
appears, he neglected to furnish complainant.xii[34] And while he claims to have been confined while undergoing medical treatment at the time our
Resolution of 17 February 1997 was issued, he merely reserved the submission of a certification to that effect. Nor, indeed, was he able to offer any
explanation for his failure to submit his Comment from the time we issued our first Resolution of 03 July 1996 until 16 March 1999. In fact, said
Comment alleged, merely, that the complainant, Michael Barrios, passed away sometime in June 1997, and imputed upon the latter unsupported ill-
motives for instituting the said Petition against him, which argument has already been resolved squarely in the abovementioned IBP report.
Moreover, the IBP report cited the failure of both parties to appear before the Commission as the main reason for the long delay, until the same was
finally submitted for Resolution on 27 June 2002. Respondent, therefore, squandered away seven years to have his day in court and adduce evidence
in his behalf, which inaction also unduly delayed the courts prompt disposition of this petition.
In Pajares v. Abad Santos,xii[35] we reminded attorneys that there must be more faithful adherence to Rule 7, Section 5 of the Rules of Court [now Rule
7, Section 3] which provides that the signature of an attorney constitutes a certificate by him that he has read the pleading and that to the best of his
knowledge, information and belief, there is good ground to support it; and that it is not interposed for delay, and expressly admonishes that for a willful
violation of this rule an attorney may be subjected to disciplinary action.xii[36] It is noteworthy that in the past, the Court has disciplined lawyers and
judges for willful disregard of its orders to file comments or appellants briefs, as a penalty for disobedience thereof. xii[37]
For the same reasons, we are disinclined to take respondents old age and the fact that he served in the judiciary in various capacities in his favor. If at
all, we hold respondent to a higher standard for it, for a judge should be the embodiment of competence, integrity, and independence,xii[38] and his
conduct should be above reproach.xii[39] The fact that respondent has chosen to engage in private practice does not mean he is now free to conduct
himself in less honorable or indeed in a less than honorable manner.
We stress that membership in the legal profession is a privilege,xii[40] demanding a high degree of good moral character, not only as a condition
precedent to admission, but also as a continuing requirement for the practice of law.xii[41] Sadly, herein respondent falls short of the exacting standards
expected of him as a vanguard of the legal profession.
The IBP Board of Governors recommended that respondent be disbarred from the practice of law. We agree.
We come now to the matter of the penalty imposable in this case. In Co v. Bernardino and Lao v. Medel, we upheld the imposition of one years
suspension for non-payment of debt and issuance of worthless checks, or a suspension of six months upon partial payment of the obligation.xii[42]
However, in these cases, for various reasons, none of the issuances resulted in a conviction by the erring lawyers for either estafa or B.P. Blg. 22. Thus,
we held therein that the issuance of worthless checks constitutes gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension from the
practice of law.
In the instant case, however, herein respondent has been found guilty and stands convicted by final judgment of a crime involving moral turpitude. In
People v. Tuanda, which is similar to this case in that both respondents were convicted for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 which we have held to be such a
crime, we affirmed the order of suspension from the practice of law imposed by the Court of Appeals, until further orders.
However, in a long line of cases, some of which were decided after Tuanda, we have held disbarment to be the appropriate penalty for conviction by
final judgment for a crime involving moral turpitude. Thus:
1. In In The Matter of Disbarment Proceedings v. Narciso N. Jaramillo,xii[43] we disbarred a lawyer convicted of estafa without discussing the
circumstances behind his conviction. We held that:
There is no question that the crime of estafa involves moral turpitude. The review of respondent's conviction no longer rests upon us. The judgment not
only has become final but has been executed. No elaborate argument is necessary to hold the respondent unworthy of the privilege bestowed on him as
a member of the bar. Suffice it to say that, by his conviction, the respondent has proved himself unfit to protect the administration of justice.xii[44]
2. In In Re: Dalmacio De Los Angeles,xii[45] a lawyer was convicted of the crime of attempted bribery in a final decision rendered by the Court of
Appeals. And since bribery is admittedly a felony involving moral turpitude (7 C.J.S., p. 736; 5 Am. Jur. p. 428), this Court, much as it sympathizes with
the plight of respondent, is constrained to decree his disbarment as ordained by Section 25 of Rule 127.xii[46]
3. In Ledesma De Jesus-Paras v. Quinciano Vailoces,xii[47] the erring lawyer acknowledged the execution of a document purporting to be a last
will and testament, which later turned out to be a forgery. He was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of falsification of public document,
which the Court held to be a crime involving moral turpitude, said act being contrary to justice, honesty and good morals, and was subsequently
disbarred.
4. In In Re: Disbarment Proceedings Against Atty. Diosdado Q. Gutierrez,xii[48] Atty. Gutierrez was convicted for murder. After serving a portion
of the sentence, he was granted a conditional pardon by the President. Holding that the pardon was not absolute and thus did not reach the offense
itself but merely remitted the unexecuted portion of his term, the court nevertheless disbarred him.
5. In In Re: Atty. Isidro P. Vinzon,xii[49] Atty. Vinzon was convicted of the crime of estafa for misappropriating the amount of P7,000.00, and was
subsequently disbarred. We held thus:
Upon the other hand, and dealing now with the merits of the case, there can be no question that the term moral turpitude includes everything which is
done contrary to justice, honesty, or good morals. In essence and in all respects, estafa, no doubt, is a crime involving moral turpitude because the act is
42


unquestionably against justice, honesty and good morals (In re Gutierrez, Adm. Case No. 263, July 31, 1962; Bouvier's Law Dictionary; In re Basa, 41
Phil. 275-76). As respondent's guilt cannot now be questioned, his disbarment is inevitable. (emphasis supplied)xii[50]
6. In In Re: Attorney Jose Avancea,xii[51] the conditional pardon extended to the erring lawyer by the Chief Executive also failed to relieve him
of the penalty of disbarment imposed by this court.
7. In In Re Disbarment of Rodolfo Pajo,xii[52] a lawyer was charged and found guilty of the crime of falsification of public document for having
prepared and notarized a deed of sale of a parcel of land knowing that the supposed affiant was an impostor and that the vendor had been dead for
almost eight years. We ruled that disbarment follows as a consequence of a lawyer's conviction by final judgment of a crime involving moral turpitude,
and since the crime of falsification of public document involves moral turpitude, we ordered respondents name stricken off the roll of attorneys.
8. In Adelina T. Villanueva v. Atty. Teresita Sta. Ana,xii[53] we upheld the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors to disbar a lawyer who
had been convicted of estafa through falsification of public documents, because she was totally unfit to be a member of the legal profession.xii[54]
9. In Victoriano P. Resurreccion v. Atty. Ciriaco C. Sayson,xii[55] a lawyer was disbarred for having been convicted of estafa by final judgment
for misappropriating the funds of his client.
In this case as well, we find disbarment to be the appropriate penalty. Of all classes and professions, the lawyer is most sacredly bound to uphold the
laws. He is their sworn servant; and for him, of all men in the world, to repudiate and override the laws, to trample them underfoot and to ignore the very
bands of society, argues recreancy to his position and office and sets a pernicious example to the insubordinate and dangerous elements of the body
politic.xii[56]
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Francisco P. Martinez is hereby DISBARRED and his name is ORDERED STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys. Let a
copy of this Decision be entered in the respondents record as a member of the Bar, and notice of the same be served on the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, and on the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country.















[SBC Case No. 519. July 31, 1997]
PATRICIA FIGUEROA vs. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR.
In a complaint made way back in 1971, Patricia Figueroa petitioned that respondent Simeon Barranco, Jr. be denied admission to the legal profession.
Respondent had passed the 1970 bar examinations on the fourth attempt, after unsuccessful attempts in 1966, 1967 and 1968. Before he could take his
oath, however, complainant filed the instant petition averring that respondent and she had been sweethearts, that a child out of wedlock was born to
them and that respondent did not fulfill his repeated promises to marry her.
The facts were manifested in hearings held before Investigator Victor F. Sevilla in June and July 1971. Respondent and complainant were townmates in
Janiuay, Iloilo. Since 1953, when they were both in their teens, they were steadies. Respondent even acted as escort to complainant when she reigned
as Queen at the 1953 town fiesta. Complainant first acceded to sexual congress with respondent sometime in 1960. Their intimacy yielded a son,
Rafael Barranco, born on December 11, 1964.xii[1] It was after the child was born, complainant alleged, that respondent first promised he would marry
her after he passes the bar examinations. Their relationship continued and respondent allegedly made more than twenty or thirty promises of marriage.
He gave only P10.00 for the child on the latters birthdays. Her trust in him and their relationship ended in 1971, when she learned that respondent
married another woman. Hence, this petition.
Upon complainants motion, the Court authorized the taking of testimonies of witnesses by deposition in 1972. On February 18, 1974, respondent filed a
Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss the case citing complainants failure to comment on the motion of Judge Cuello seeking to be relieved from the duty
to take aforesaid testimonies by deposition. Complainant filed her comment stating that she had justifiable reasons in failing to file the earlier comment
required and that she remains interested in the resolution of the present case. On June 18, 1974, the Court denied respondents motion to dismiss.
On October 2, 1980, the Court once again denied a motion to dismiss on the ground of abandonment filed by respondent on September 17, 1979.xii[2]
Respondents third motion to dismiss was noted in the Courts Resolution dated September 15, 1982.xii[3] In 1988, respondent repeated his request,
citing his election as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Janiuay, Iloilo from 1980-1986, his active participation in civic organizations and good
standing in the community as well as the length of time this case has been pending as reasons to allow him to take his oath as a lawyer.xii[4]
On September 29, 1988, the Court resolved to dismiss the complaint for failure of complainant to prosecute the case for an unreasonable period of time
and to allow Simeon Barranco, Jr. to take the lawyers oath upon payment of the required fees.xii[5]
Respondents hopes were again dashed on November 17, 1988 when the Court, in response to complainants opposition, resolved to cancel his
scheduled oath-taking. On June 1, 1993, the Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and
recommendation.
The IBPs report dated May 17, 1997 recommended the dismissal of the case and that respondent be allowed to take the lawyers oath.
We agree.
Respondent was prevented from taking the lawyers oath in 1971 because of the charges of gross immorality made by complainant. To recapitulate,
respondent bore an illegitimate child with his sweetheart, Patricia Figueroa, who also claims that he did not fulfill his promise to marry her after he
passes the bar examinations.
We find that these facts do not constitute gross immorality warranting the permanent exclusion of respondent from the legal profession. His engaging in
premarital sexual relations with complainant and promises to marry suggests a doubtful moral character on his part but the same does not constitute
grossly immoral conduct. The Court has held that to justify suspension or disbarment the act complained of must not only be immoral, but grossly
immoral. A grossly immoral act is one that is so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible
to a high degree.xii[6] It is a willful, flagrant, or shameless act which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of respectable members of the
community.xii[7]
43


We find the ruling in Arciga v. Maniwangxii[8] quite relevant because mere intimacy between a man and a woman, both of whom possess no impediment
to marry, voluntarily carried on and devoid of any deceit on the part of respondent, is neither so corrupt nor so unprincipled as to warrant the imposition
of disciplinary sanction against him, even if as a result of such relationship a child was born out of wedlock.xii[9]
Respondent and complainant were sweethearts whose sexual relations were evidently consensual. We do not find complainants assertions that she
had been forced into sexual intercourse, credible. She continued to see and be respondents girlfriend even after she had given birth to a son in 1964
and until 1971. All those years of amicable and intimate relations refute her allegations that she was forced to have sexual congress with him.
Complainant was then an adult who voluntarily and actively pursued their relationship and was not an innocent young girl who could be easily led astray.
Unfortunately, respondent chose to marry and settle permanently with another woman. We cannot castigate a man for seeking out the partner of his
dreams, for marriage is a sacred and perpetual bond which should be entered into because of love, not for any other reason.
We cannot help viewing the instant complaint as an act of revenge of a woman scorned, bitter and unforgiving to the end. It is also intended to make
respondent suffer severely and it seems, perpetually, sacrificing the profession he worked very hard to be admitted into. Even assuming that his past
indiscretions are ignoble, the twenty-six years that respondent has been prevented from being a lawyer constitute sufficient punishment therefor. During
this time there appears to be no other indiscretion attributed to him.xii[10] Respondent, who is now sixty-two years of age, should thus be allowed, albeit
belatedly, to take the lawyers oath.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. Respondent Simeon Barranco, Jr. is ALLOWED to take his oath as a lawyer upon payment of
the proper fees.




















A.M. No. 3360 January 30, 1990
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ATTY. FE T. TUANDA
In a Motion to Lift Order of Suspension dated 12 July 1989, respondent Fe T. Tuanda, a member of the Philippine Bar, asks this Court to lift the
suspension from the practice of law imposed upon her by a decision of the Court of Appeals dated 17 October 1988 in C.A.-G.R. CR No. 05093.
On 17 December 1983, respondent received from one Herminia A. Marquez several pieces of jewelry, with a total stated value of P36,000.00, for sale
on a commission basis, with the condition that the respondent would turn over the sales proceeds and return the unsold items to Ms. Marquez on or
before 14 February 1984. Sometime in February 1984, respondent, instead of returning the unsold pieces of jewelry which then amounted to
approximately P26,250.00, issued three checks: (a) a check dated 16 February 1984 for the amount of P5,400.00; (b) a check dated 23 February 1984
also for the amount of P5,400.00; and (c) a check dated 25 February 1984 for the amount of P15,450.00. Upon presentment for payment within ninety
(90) days after their issuance, all three (3) checks were dishonored by the drawee bank, Traders Royal Bank, for insufficiency of funds. Notwithstanding
receipt of the notice of dishonor, respondent made no arrangements with the bank concerning the honoring of checks which had bounced and made no
effort to settle her obligations to Ms. Marquez.
Consequently, four (4) informations were filed against respondent with the Regional Trial Court of Manila: (a) one for estafa, docketed as Criminal Case
No. 85-38358; and (b) three (3) for violation of B.P. Blg. 22, docketed respectively as Criminal Cases Nos. 85-38359, 85-38360 and 85-38361. In due
time, after trial, the trial court rendered a decision dated 25 August 1987 which:
(a) acquitted respondent of the charge of estafa; and
(b) convicted respondent of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 in all three (3) cases, and sentenced respondent to pay a fine of P6,000.00, with
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to indemnify the complainant in the amount of P5,400.00 in Criminal Case No.
8538359;
to pay a fine of P 6,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to indemnify the complainant in the amount of
P5,400.00, in Criminal Case No. 85-38360; and
to pay a fine of P16,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to indemnify the complainant in the amount of
P15,450.00, in Criminal Case No. 85-38361, and to pay the costs in all three (3) cases.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CR No. 05093 affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court but, in addition, suspended respondent Tuanda
from the practice of law. The pertinent portion of the decision read as follows:
For reasons above stated and finding the evidence sufficient to sustain the conviction, the judgment is hereby AFFIRMED subject to
this modification.
It appearing from the records that the accused Fe Tuanda is a member of the Bar, and the offense for (sic) which she is found guilty
involved moral turpitude, she is hereby ordered suspended from the practice of law and shall not practice her profession until further
action from the Supreme Court, in accordance with Sections 27 and 28 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. A copy of this decision
must be forwarded to the Supreme Court as required by Section 29 of the same Rule.
SO ORDERED.
1

On 16 December 1988, respondent filed a Notice of Appeal with the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals, in a Resolution dated 9 January 1989,
noted respondent's Notice of Appeal and advised her "to address her Notice of Appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court, the proper forum." On 1
February 1989, respondent filed with this Court a Notice of Appeal.
In a Resolution dated 31 May 1989, the Supreme Court noted without action respondent's Notice of Appeal and declared that the Court of Appeals'
decision of 17 October 1988 had become final and executory upon expiration of the period for filing a petition for review on certiorari on 16 December
44


1988. In that Resolution, the Court found that respondent had lost her right to appeal by certiorari when she posted with this Court a Notice of Appeal
instead of filing a petition for review on certiorari under Section 1, Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court within the reglementary period.
In the instant Motion to Lift Order of Suspension, respondent states:
that suspension from the practice of law is indeed a harsh if not a not painful penalty aggravating the lower court's penalty of fine
considering that accused-appellant's action on the case during the trial on the merits at the lower court has always been motivated
purely by sincere belief that she is innocent of the offense charged nor of the intention to cause damage to the herein plaintiff-
appellee.
We read the above statement as a claim by the respondent that, she had not violated her oath as a member of the Philippine Bar upon the ground that
when she issued the checks which bounced, she did not intend to cause damage to complainant Ms. Marquez.
The Court affirms the suspension from the practice of law imposed by the Court of Appeals upon respondent Tuanda. The Court of Appeals correctly
ruled that "the offense [of] which she is found guilty involved moral turpitude." We should add that violation of B.P. Blg. 22 is a serious criminal offense
which deleteriously affects public interest and public order. In Lozano v. Martinez,
2
the Court explained the nature of the offense of violation of B.P. Blg.
22 in the following terms:
xxx xxx xxx
The gravamen of the offense punished by B.P. Blg. 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless check or a check that is
dishonored upon its presentation for payment. . . . The thrust of the law is to prohibit under pain of penal sanctions, the making of
worthless checks and putting them in circulation. Because of its deleterious effects on the public interest, the practice is prescribed
by the law. The law punishes the act not as an offense against property but an offense against public order.
xxx xxx xxx
The effects of the issuance of a worthless check transcends the private interests of the parties directly involved in the transaction
and touches the interests of the community at large. The mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the payee or holder, but also an
injury to the public. The harmful practice of putting valueless commercial papers in circulation, multiplied a thousandfold, can very
well pollute the channels of trade and commerce, injure the banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public
interest.
3
(Italics supplied)
Respondent was thus correctly suspended from the practice of law because she had been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude. Sections 27
and 28 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court provide as follows:
Sec. 27. Attorneys renewed or suspended by Supreme Court on what grounds. A member of the bar may be removed or suspended
from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court of any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly
immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is
required to take before admission to practice, or for a wilful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or
wilfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the
purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice. (Italics supplied)
Sec. 28. Suspension of attorney by the Court of Appeals or a Court of First Instance. The Court of Appeals or a Court of First
Instance may suspend an attorney from practice for any of the causes named in the last preceding section, and after such
suspension such attorney shall not practice his profession until further action of the Supreme Court in the premises. (Italics supplied)
We should add that the crimes of which respondent was convicted also import deceit and violation of her attorney's oath and the Code of Professional
Responsibility under both of which she was bound to "obey the laws of the land." Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude might not (as in the
instant case, violation of B.P. Blg. 22 does not) relate to the exercise of the profession of a lawyer; however, it certainly relates to and affects the good
moral character of a person convicted of such offense. In Melendrez v. Decena,
4
this Court stressed that:
the nature of the office of an attorney at law requires that she shall be a person of good moral character. This qualification is not only
a condition precedent to an admission to the practice of law; its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice
of law.
5

ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to DENY the Motion to Lift Order of Suspension. Respondent shall remain suspended from the practice of law until
further orders from this Court. A copy of this Resolution shall be forwarded to the Bar Confidant and to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and spread
on the record of respondent.




























45





































A.M. No. 3249 SALVACION DELIZO CORDOVA vs. ATTY. LAURENCE D. CORDOVA, November 29, 1989
In an unsworn letter-complaint dated 14 April 1988 addressed to then Mr. Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, complainant Salvacion Delizo charged her
husband, Atty. Laurence D. Cordova, with immorality and acts unbecoming a member of the Bar. The letter-complaint was forwarded by the Court to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Commission on Bar Discipline ("Commission"), for investigation, report and recommendation.
The Commission, before acting on the complaint, required complainant to submit a verified complaint within ten (10) days from notice. Complainant
complied and submitted to the Commission on 27 September 1988 a revised and verified version of her long and detailed complaint against her husband
charging him with immorality and acts unbecoming a member of the Bar.
In an Order of the Commission dated 1 December 1988, respondent was declared in default for failure to file an answer to the complaint within fifteen
(15) days from notice. The same Order required complainant to submit before the Commission her evidence ex parte, on 16 December 1988. Upon the
telegraphic request of complainant for the resetting of the 16 December 1988 hearing, the Commission scheduled another hearing on 25 January 1989.
The hearing scheduled for 25 January 1989 was rescheduled two (2) more times-first, for 25 February 1989 and second, for 10 and 11 April 1989. The
hearings never took place as complainant failed to appear. Respondent Cordova never moved to set aside the order of default, even though notices of
the hearings scheduled were sent to him.
In a telegraphic message dated 6 April 1989, complainant informed the Commission that she and her husband had already "reconciled". In an order
dated 17 April 1989, the Commission required the parties (respondent and complainant) to appear before it for confirmation and explanation of the
telegraphic message and required them to file a formal motion to dismiss the complaint within fifteen (15) days from notice. Neither party responded and
nothing was heard from either party since then.
Complainant having failed to submit her evidence ex parte before the Commission, the IBP Board of Governors submitted to this Court its report
reprimanding respondent for his acts, admonishing him that any further acts of immorality in the future will be dealt with more severely, and ordering him
to support his legitimate family as a responsible parent should.
The findings of the IBP Board of Governors may be summed up as follows:
Complainant and respondent Cordova were married on 6 June 1976 and out of this marriage, two (2) children were born. In 1985, the couple lived
somewhere in Quirino Province. In that year, respondent Cordova left his family as well as his job as Branch Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court,
Cabarroguis, Quirino Province, and went to Mangagoy, Bislig, Surigao del Sur with one Fely G. Holgado. Fely G. Holgado was herself married and left
her own husband and children to stay with respondent. Respondent Cordova and Fely G. Holgado lived together in Bislig as husband and wife, with
respondent Cordova introducing Fely to the public as his wife, and Fely Holgado using the name Fely Cordova. Respondent Cordova gave Fely Holgado
funds with which to establish a sari-sari store in the public market at Bislig, while at the same time failing to support his legitimate family.
On 6 April 1986, respondent Cordova and his complainant wife had an apparent reconciliation. Respondent promised that he would separate from Fely
Holgado and brought his legitimate family to Bislig, Surigao del Sur. Respondent would, however, frequently come home from beerhouses or cabarets,
drunk, and continued to neglect the support of his legitimate family. In February 1987, complainant found, upon returning from a trip to Manila
necessitated by hospitalization of her daughter Loraine, that respondent Cordova was no longer living with her (complainant's) children in their conjugal
home; that respondent Cordova was living with another mistress, one Luisita Magallanes, and had taken his younger daughter Melanie along with him.
Respondent and his new mistress hid Melanie from the complinant, compelling complainant to go to court and to take back her daughter by habeas
corpus. The Regional Trial Court, Bislig, gave her custody of their children.
Notwithstanding respondent's promises to reform, he continued to live with Luisita Magallanes as her husband and continued to fail to give support to his
legitimate family.
Finally the Commission received a telegram message apparently from complainant, stating that complainant and respondent had been reconciled with
each other.
46


After a review of the record, we agree with the findings of fact of the IBP Board. We also agree that the most recent reconciliation between complainant
and respondent, assuming the same to be real, does not excuse and wipe away the misconduct and immoral behavior of the respondent carried out in
public, and necessarily adversely reflecting upon him as a member of the Bar and upon the Philippine Bar itself. An applicant for admission to
membership in the bar is required to show that he is possessed of good moral character. That requirement is not exhausted and dispensed with upon
admission to membership of the bar. On the contrary, that requirement persists as a continuing condition for membership in the Bar in good standing.
In Mortel v. Aspiras, 1 this Court, following the rule in the United States, held that "the continued possession ... of a good moral character is a requisite
condition for the rightful continuance in the practice of the law ... and its loss requires suspension or disbarment, even though the statutes do not specify
that as a ground for disbarment. " 2 It is important to note that the lack of moral character that we here refer to as essential is not limited to good moral
character relating to the discharge of the duties and responsibilities of an attorney at law. The moral delinquency that affects the fitness of a member of
the bar to continue as such includes conduct that outrages the generally accepted moral standards of the community, conduct for instance, which makes
"a mockery of the inviolable social institution or marriage." 3 In Mortel, the respondent being already married, wooed and won the heart of a single, 21-
year old teacher who subsequently cohabited with him and bore him a son. Because respondent's conduct in Mortel was particularly morally repulsive,
involving the marrying of his mistress to his own son and thereafter cohabiting with the wife of his own son after the marriage he had himself arranged,
respondent was disbarred.
In Royong v. Oblena, 4 the respondent was declared unfit to continue as a member of the bar by reason of his immoral conduct and accordingly
disbarred. He was found to have engaged in sexual relations with the complainant who consequently bore him a son; and to have maintained for a
number of years an adulterous relationship with another woman.
In the instant case, respondent Cordova maintained for about two (2) years an adulterous relationship with a married woman not his wife, in full view of
the general public, to the humiliation and detriment of his legitimate family which he, rubbing salt on the wound, failed or refused to support. After a brief
period of "reform" respondent took up again with another woman not his wife, cohabiting with her and bringing along his young daughter to live with
them. Clearly, respondent flaunted his disregard of the fundamental institution of marriage and its elementary obligations before his own daughter and
the community at large.
WHEREFORE, the Court Resolved to SUSPEND respondent from the practice of law indefinitely and until farther orders from this Court. The Court will
consider lifting his suspension when respondent Cordova submits proof satisfactory to the Commission and this Court that he has and continues to
provide for the support of his legitimate family and that he has given up the immoral course of conduct that he has clung to.










A.M. No. 439 September 30, 1982, IN RE: QUINCIANO D. VAILOCES
This is a petition filed by Quinciano D. Vailoces for readmission to the practice of law and the inclusion of his name in the roll of attorneys.
The records disclose that the Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental in a decision promulgated on September 30, 1955 found petitioner guilty of
falsification of public document, penalized under Article 117 of the Revised Penal Code, and imposed on him an indeterminate sentence ranging from 2
years, 4 months and 1 day of prision mayor, as minimum, to 8 years and 1 day of prision mayor, as maximum, with the accessory penalties to the law,
plus fine and costs. In its decision the court found that petitioner, as a member of the bar and in his capacity as a notary public, aknowledged the
execution of a document purporting to be the last will and testament of one Tarcila Visitacion de Jesus. Presented for probate before the Court of First
Instance of Negros Oriental, the genuineness of the document was impugned by the forced heirs of the alleged testatrix, and the court, finding that the
document was a forgery, denied probate to the will.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the verdict of conviction; and upon finality thereof, petitioner commenced service of the sentence.
Thereafter, Ledesma de Jesus-Paras, complainant in the criminal case, instituted before this Court disbarment proceedings against petitioner. The same
culminated in his disbarment on April 12, 1961.
1

On December 27, 1967, the President of the Philippines granted petitioner "absolute and unconditional pardon" and restored him "to full civil and political
rights.
2

Since August 23, 1968, petitioner had repeatedly sought readmission to the practice of law, the first of which was denied by this Court in a minute
resolution dated August 30, 1968.
On February 27, 1970, petitioner reiterated his plea, but consideration thereof was deferred "until after the integration of the bar has been effected."
3

On December 12, 1977, he filed another petition, attaching thereto copies, among others, of the following documents, to wit: the resolution of the Negros
Oriental Bar Association signed by 78 members thereof, indorsing his plea for reinstatement
4
; the certificate of the mayor of the municipality of Bindoy,
Negros Oriental, where petitioner has been residing, to the effect that the latter "is a person of exemplary moral character, a peace-loving and law-
abiding citizen
5
a certification of Governor William B. Villegas of Negros Oriental, attesting to the fact that since the grant of absolute pardon to
petitioner, "he has comported himself as a morally straight and respectable citizen and that he has been active and has cooperated in civic and social
undertakings, sincere and honest in his desire to lead a decent and dignified life"
6
; the certification of Dean Eduardo G. Flores of the College of Law,
Siliman University, vouching to petitioner's "honest, upright and moral life ... and because of his conduct he has earned the sympathy of the people of
the community and regained the confidence of the people and of his other associates:
7
the statement of Atty. Alexander G. Amor, former president of
the Negros Oriental Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, certifying "that Mr. Quinciano D. Vailoces ... is a person of good moral character,
whose integrity is beyond question"
8
; and the clearance certificates issued by Judge Romeo R. Solis of the City Court of Dumaguete, Provincial Fiscal
Andrew S. Namukatkat of Negros Oriental, and City Fiscal Pablo E. Cabahug of Dumaguete City, to the effect that petitioner "is a person of good moral
character" and that since his release from the national penitentiary he "has never been accused or convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude."
9

When asked to comment, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, through its then president, Atty. Marcelo D. Fernan, favorably indorsed petitioner's
request for reinstatement.
On February 13, 1978, Ledesma de Jesus-Paras, complainant in the original disbarment proceedings, filed an opposition to the petitions for
reinstatement; and this was followed by a telegram of Nicanor Vailoces, barangay captain of Domolog, Bindoy, Negros, Oriental, addressed to his
Excellency, President Ferdinand E. Marcos, and referred to this Court, opposing petitioner's readmission to the bar "on grounds of his non-reformation,
immoral conduct and pretensions of being a licensed lawyer."
Anent these oppositions, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, through Atty. Fernan, made the following observations:
By resolution of the Court En Banc dated August 24, 1978, the following matters have been referred to the Integrated Bar for
comment:
47


(1) The opposition of complainant Ledesma de Jesus-Paras to respondent's petition and supplementary petition
for reinstatement in the roll of attorneys; and
(2) The telegram dated February 16, 1978 of Nicanor Vailoces, Barangay Captain of Domolog, Bindoy, Negros
Oriental, addressed to his Excellency Ferdinand E. Marcos, requesting the Office of the President to oppose the
petition of Quinciano Vailoces for reinstatement in the Roll of Attorneys on grounds stated therein.
It may be recalled that on January 17, 1978, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar transmitted to the Honorable Supreme
Court for its favorable consideration the above stated petition for reinstatement.
Subsequent to its being served with a copy of the resolution of the Supreme Court, the Integrated Bar received a petition dated
February 14, 1978 signed by 'the people of the Municipality of Bindoy, Province of Negros Oriental' vehemently opposing the
reinstatement of Mr. Vailoces in the Roll of Attorneys. On October 5, 1978 the President of the Integrated Bar wrote to Mr. Vailoces
asking him to comment on the above mentioned petitions and telegram.
This Office is now in receipt of Mr. Vailoces' comment dated November 3, 1978, which is being forwarded herewith to the Honorable
Supreme Court together with other pertinent papers.
It is believed that Mr. Vailoces' comment is a satisfactory answer to the adverse allegations and charges which have been referred
to him. The charges of immorality (publicly maintaining a querida) and gambling are general statements devoid of particular
allegations of fact and may well be disregarded. Then, too, the Municipal Mayor of Bindoy, Negros Oriental - namely, Mr. Jesus A.
Mana-ay - who tops the list of persons who have signed the February 14, 1978 petition vehemently opposing the reinstatement of
Mr. Vailoces, appears to be the very same official who on October 25, 1977 issued a Certification to the effect that Mr. Vailoces 'is
personally known to me as a person of exemplary character, a peace loving and law abiding citizen' and that 'he is cooperative in all
our civic and social activities and that he is one of our respectable citizens in our community.' That this official should now sign a
petition containing statements exactly opposite in thrust and tenor is very intriguing, to say the least, and it is not altogether difficult
to believe Mr. Vailoces' imputations of politics in the conduct of Mayor Mana-ay.
As for the opposition of Mrs. Ledesma de Jesus-Paras, the alleged absence of remorse on the part of Mr. Vailoces, and his alleged
belligerence and display of open defiance and hostility, etc. are matters so subjective in character that her general allegations and
charges in this regard cannot be properly considered. It is significant that Mr. Vailoces in his comment states: "If she is indeed that
much desperately so in need of cash assistance, considering really that she is an old woman being recently widowed the second
time, for her satisfaction and as a gesture of goodwill, I am willing to assist her but only with a modest amount because I am only a
small farmer with still three college students to support."
Regarding the telegram dated February 16, 1978 of one Nicanor Vailoces stating as grounds for denial of Mr. Quinciano D.
Vailoces' petition for reinstatement the alleged 'grounds of non-reformation, immoral conduct and pretensions of being a licensed
lawyer by soliciting cases,' there is such a lack of specificity and particularity in such statement of grounds that one is at a loss as to
how a person in the place of Mr. Quinciano D. Vailoces could properly defend himself against such charges.
Thus, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines reaffirmed its indorsement of petitioner's "reinstatement in the rolls of attorneys."
This Court likewise referred the oppositions interposed by Mrs. Ledesma de Jesus-Paras and Nicanor Vailoces to the Solicitor General for investigation
and recommendation; and on August 4, 1982, the latter, after conducting an investigation, submitted his report, recommending that "Quinciano D.
Vailoces be reinstated in the roll of attorneys upon taking his oath anew of the corresponding oath of office."
The Court sustains the conclusion of the Solicitor General that petitioner has sufficiently proven himself fit to be readmitted to the practice of law. True it
is that the plenary pardon extended to him by the President does not of itself warrant his reinstatement.
Evidence of reformation is required before applicant is entitled to reinstatement, notwithstanding the attorney has received a pardon
following his conviction, and the requirements of reinstatement had been held to be the same as for original admission to the bar,
except that the court may require a greater degree of proof than in an original evidence [7 C.J.S. Attorney & Client, Sept. 41, p. 815]
The decisive question on an application for reinstatement is whether applicant is 'of good moral character' in the sense in which that
phrase is used when applied to attorneys-at-law and is a fit and proper person to be entrusted with the privileges of the office of an
attorney ... [7 C.J.S. Attorney & Client, Sept. 41, p. 816].
Petitioner's conduct after disbarment can stand searching scrutiny. He has regained the respect and confidence of his fellow attorneys as well as of the
citizens of his community. The favorable indorsements of both the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and its Negros Oriental Chapter, the testimonials
expressed in his behalf by the provincial governor of Negros Oriental as well as the municipal and barrio officials of Bindoy, Negros Oriental, his active
participation in civic and social undertakings in the community attest to his moral reform and rehabilitation and justify his reinstatement. Petitioner, now
69 years of age, has reached the twilight of his life. He has been barred from the practice of his profession for a period of 21 years. Adequate
punishment has been exacted.
Chastened by his painful and humiliating experience, he further "pledges with all his honor ... that if reinstated in the roll of attorneys he will surely and
consistently conduct himself honestly, uprightly and worthily." Indeed, there is reasonable expectation that he will endeavor to lead an irreproachable life
and maintain steadfast fidelity to the lawyer's oath.
WHEREFORE, petitioner Quinciano D. Vailoces is hereby ordered reinstated in the roll of attorneys.



















48



































A.M. No. 1608 August 14, 1981, MAGDALENA T. ARCIGA vs. SEGUNDINO D. MANIWANG
Magdalena T. Arciga in her complaint of February 24, 1976 asked for the disbarment of lawyer Segundino D. Maniwang (admitted to the Bar in 1975 ) on
the ground of grossly immoral conduct because he refused to fulfill his promise of marriage to her. Their illicit relationship resulted in the birth on
September 4, 1973 of their child, Michael Dino Maniwang.
Magdalena and Segundino got acquainted sometime in October, 1970 at Cebu City. Magdalena was then a medical technology student in the Cebu
Institute of Medicine while Segundino was a law student in the San Jose Recoletos College. They became sweethearts but when Magdalena refused to
have a tryst with Segundino in a motel in January, 1971, Segundino stopped visiting her.
Their paths crossed again during a Valentine's Day party in the following month. They renewed their relationship. After they had dinner one night in
March, 1971 and finding themselves alone (like Adam and Eve) in her boarding house since the other boarders had gone on vacation, they had sexual
congress. When Segundino asked Magdalena why she had refused his earlier proposal to have sexual intercourse with him, she jokingly said that she
was in love with another man and that she had a child with still another man. Segundino remarked that even if that be the case, he did not mind because
he loved her very much.
Thereafter, they had repeated acts of cohabitation. Segundino started telling his acquaintances that he and Magdalena were secretly married.
In 1972 Segundino transferred his residence to Padada, Davao del Sur. He continued his law studies in Davao City. .Magdalena remained in Cebu. He
sent to her letters and telegrams professing his love for her (Exh. K to Z).
When Magdalena discovered in January, 1973 that she was pregnant, she and Segundino went to her hometown, Ivisan, Capiz, to apprise Magdalena's
parents that they were married although they were not really so. Segundino convinced Magdalena's father to have the church wedding deferred until
after he had passed the bar examinations. He secured his birth certificate preparatory to applying for a marriage license.
Segundino continued sending letters to Magdalena wherein he expressed his love and concern for the baby in Magdalena's womb. He reassured her
time and again that he would marry her once he passed the bar examinations. He was not present when Magdalena gave birth to their child on
September 4, 1973 in the Cebu Community Hospital. He went to Cebu in December, 1973 for the baptism of his child.
Segundino passed the bar examinations. The results were released on April 25, 1975. Several days after his oath-taking, which Magdalena also
attended, he stopped corresponding with Magdalena. Fearing that there was something amiss, Magdalena went to Davao in July, 1975 to contact her
lover. Segundino told her that they could not get married for lack of money. She went back to Ivisan.
In December, 1975 she made another trip to Davao but failed to see Segundino who was then in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. She followed him there only to
be told that their marriage could not take place because he had married Erlinda Ang on November 25, 1975. She was broken-hearted when she
returned to Davao.
Segundino followed her there and inflicted physical injuries upon her because she had a confrontation with his wife, Erlinda Ang. She reported the
assault to the commander of the Padada police station and secured medical treatment in a hospital (Exh. I and J).
Segundino admits in his answer that he and Magdalena were lovers and that he is the father of the child Michael. He also admits that he repeatedly
promised to marry Magdalena and that he breached that promise because of Magdalena's shady past. She had allegedly been accused in court of oral
defamation and had already an illegitimate child before Michael was born.
The Solicitor General recommends the dismissal of the case. In his opinion, respondent's cohabitation with the complainant and his reneging on his
promise of marriage do not warrant his disbarment.
An applicant for admission to the bar should have good moral character. He is required to produce before this Court satisfactory evidence of good moral
character and that no charges against him, involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court.
If good moral character is a sine qua non for admission to the bar, then the continued possession of good moral character is also a requisite for retaining
membership in the legal profession. Membership in the bar may be terminated when a lawyer ceases to have good moral character (Royong vs. Oblena,
117 Phil. 865).
49


A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude". A member of the bar should
have moral integrity in addition to professional probity.
It is difficult to state with precision and to fix an inflexible standard as to what is "grossly immoral conduct" or to specify the moral delinquency and
obliquity which render a lawyer unworthy of continuing as a member of the bar. The rule implies that what appears to be unconventional behavior to the
straight-laced may not be the immoral conduct that warrants disbarment.
Immoral conduct has been defined as "that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the
good and respectable members of the community" (7 C.J.S. 959).
Where an unmarried female dwarf possessing the intellect of a child became pregnant by reason of intimacy with a married lawyer who was the father of
six children, disbarment of the attorney on the ground of immoral conduct was justified (In re Hicks 20 Pac. 2nd 896).
There is an area where a lawyer's conduct may not be inconsonance with the canons of the moral code but he is not subject to disciplinary action
because his misbehavior or deviation from the path of rectitude is not glaringly scandalous. It is in connection with a lawyer's behavior to the opposite
sex where the question of immorality usually arises. Whether a lawyer's sexual congress with a woman not his wife or without the benefit of marriage
should be characterized as "grossly immoral conduct," will depend on the surrounding circumstances.
This Court in a decision rendered in 1925, when old-fashioned morality still prevailed, observed that "the legislator well knows the frailty of the flesh and
the ease with which a man, whose sense of dignity, honor and morality is not well cultivated, falls into temptation when alone with one of the fair sex
toward whom he feels himself attracted. An occasion is so inducive to sin or crime that the saying "A fair booty makes many a thief" or "An open door
may tempt a saint" has become general." (People vs. De la Cruz, 48 Phil. 533, 535).
Disbarment of a lawyer for grossly immoral conduct is illustrated in the following cases:
(1) Where lawyer Arturo P. Lopez succeeded in having carnal knowledge of Virginia C. Almirez, under promise of marriage, which he refused to fulfill,
although they had already a marriage license and despite the birth of a child in consequence of their sexual intercourse; he married another woman and
during Virginia's pregnancy, Lopez urged her to take pills to hasten the flow of her menstruation and he tried to convince her to have an abortion to
which she did not agree. (Almirez vs. Lopez, Administrative Case No. 481, February 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 169. See Sarmiento vs. Cui, 100 Phil. 1102).
(2) Where lawyer Francisco Agustin made Anita Cabrera believe that they were married before Leoncio V. Aglubat in the City Hall of Manila, and, after
such fake marriage, they cohabited and she later give birth to their child (Cabrera vs. Agustin, 106 Phil. 256).
(3) Where lawyer Jesus B. Toledo abandoned his lawful wife and cohabited with another women who had borne him a child (Toledo vs. Toledo, 117
Phil. 768. As to disbarment for contracting a bigamous marriage, see Villasanta vs. Peralta, 101 Phil. 313).
(4) The conduct of Abelardo Simbol in making a dupe of Concepcion Bolivar by living on her bounty and allowing her to spend for his schooling and
other personal necessities, while dangling before her the mirage of a marriage, marrying another girl as soon as he had finished his studies, keeping his
marriage a secret while continuing to demand money from the complainant, and trying to sponge on her and persuade her to resume their broken
relationship after the latter's discovery of his perfidy are indicative of a character not worthy of a member of the bar (Bolivar vs. Simbol, 123 Phil. 450).
(5) Where Flora Quingwa, a public school teacher, who was engaged to lawyer Armando Puno, was prevailed upon by him to have sexual congress with
him inside a hotel by telling her that it was alright to have sexual intercourse because, anyway, they were going to get married. She used to give Puno
money upon his request. After she became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy, Puno refused to marry her. (Quingwa vs. Puno, Administrative Case
No. 389, February 28, 1967, 19 SCRA 439).
(6) Where lawyer Anacleto Aspiras, a married man, misrepresenting that he was single and making a promise of marriage, succeeded in having sexual
intercourse with. Josefina Mortel. Aspiras faked a marriage between Josefina and his own son Cesar. Aspiras wrote to Josefina: "You are alone in my
life till the end of my years in this world. I will bring you along with me before the altar of matrimony." "Through thick and thin, for better or for worse, in
life or in death, my Josephine you will always be the first, middle and the last in my life." (Mortel vs. Aspiras, 100 Phil. 586).
(7) Where lawyer Ariston Oblena, who had been having adulterous relations for fifteen years with Briccia Angeles, a married woman separated from her
husband, seduced her eighteen-year-old niece who became pregnant and begot a child. (Royong vs. Oblena, 117 Phil. 865).
The instant case can easily be differentiated from the foregoing cases. This case is similar to the case of Soberano vs. Villanueva, 116 Phil. 1206, where
lawyer Eugenio V. Villanueva had sexual relations with Mercedes H. Soberano before his admission to the bar in 1954. They indulged in frequent sexual
intercourse. She wrote to him in 1950 and 1951 several letters making reference to their trysts in hotels.
On letter in 1951 contain expressions of such a highly sensual, tantalizing and vulgar nature as to render them unquotable and to impart the firm
conviction that, because of the close intimacy between the complainant and the respondent, she felt no restraint whatsoever in writing to him with
impudicity.
According to the complainant, two children were born as a consequence of her long intimacy with the respondent. In 1955, she filed a complaint for
disbarment against Villanueva.
This Court found that respondent's refusal to marry the complainant was not so corrupt nor unprincipled as to warrant disbarment. (See Montana vs.
Ruado, Administrative Case No. 507, February 24, 1975, 62 SCRA 382; Reyes vs. Wong, Administrative Case No. 547, January 29, 1975, 63 SCRA
667, Viojan vs. Duran, 114 Phil. 322; Abaigar vs. Paz, Administrative Case No. 997, September 10, 1979,93 SCRA 91).
Considering the facts of this case and the aforecited precedents, the complaint for disbarment against the respondent is hereby dismissed.





















50




































A.M. No. 1334 November 28, 1989, ROSARIO DELOS REYES vs. ATTY. JOSE B. AZNAR
This is a complaint for disbarment filed against respondent on the ground of gross immorality.
Complainant, a second year medical student of the Southwestern University (Cebu), alleged in her verified complaint that respondent Atty. Jose B.
Aznar, then chairman of said university, had carnal knowledge of her for several times under threat that she would fail in her Pathology subject if she
would not submit to respondent's lustful desires. Complainant further alleged that when she became pregnant, respondent, through a certain Dr. Gil
Ramas, had her undergo forced abortion.
In compliance with the Resolution of the Court dated July 9, 1974, respondent filed his Answer denying any personal knowledge of complainant as well
as all the allegations contained in the complaint and by way of special defense, averred that complainant is a woman of loose morality.
On September 2, 1974, the Court Resolved to refer the case to the Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation.
The findings of the Solicitor General is summarized as follows:
EVIDENCE FOR THE COMPLAINANT
Complainant Rosario delos Reyes testified that:
1) she was a second year medical student of the Southwestern University, the Chairman of the Board of which
was respondent Jose B. Aznar (pp. 11, 15, tsn, June 6, 1975);
2) she however failed in her Pathology subject which prompted her to approach respondent in the latter's house
who assured her that she would pass the said subject (pp. 15,16, 26, 33, tsn, June 6, 1975);
3) despite this assurance, however, she failed (p. 33, tsn, June 6, 1975);
4) sometime in February, 1973, respondent told her that she should go with him to Manila, otherwise, she would
flunk in all her subjects (pp. 42, 50, tsn, June 6, 1975); ... ... ... ;
5) on February 12, 1973, both respondent and complainant boarded the same plane (Exh. "A") for Manila; from
the Manila Domestic Airport, they proceeded to Room 905, 9th Floor of the Ambassador Hotel where they
stayed for three days (Exhs. "K", "K-1" to "K-6"; p. 55, tsn, June 6, 1 975);
6) after arriving at the Ambassador Hotel, they dined at a Spanish restaurant at San Marcelino, Malate, Manila
for around three hours (pp 56-57, tsn, June 6, 1975);
7) they returned to the hotel at around twelve o'clock midnight, where respondent had carnal knowledge of her
twice and then thrice the next morning (p. 59, tsn, June 6, 1975; pp. 154, 155 & 157, tsn, July 18, 1975);
8) complainant consented to the sexual desires of respondent because for her, she would sacrifice her personal
honor rather than fail in her subjects (p.6l, tsn, June 6, 1975); ... ... ...;
9) sometime in March, 1973, complainant told respondent that she was suspecting pregnancy because she
missed her menstruation (p. 76, tsn, July 17, 1975); ... ... ...;
10) later, she was informed by Dr. Monsanto (an instructor in the college of medicine) that respondent wanted
that an abortion be performed upon her (p.82, tsn, July l7, 1975); ... ... ... ;
11) thereafter, Ruben Cruz, a confidant of respondent, and Dr. Monsato fetched her at her boarding house on
the pretext that she would be examined by Dr. Gil Ramas (pp. 87-88, tsn, July 17, 1975);
12) upon reaching the clinic of Dr. Ramas she was given an injection and an inhalation mask was placed on her
mouth and nose (pp. 88-90, tsn, July 17, 1 975);
13) as a result, she lost consciousness and when she woke up, an abortion had already been performed upon
her and she was weak, bleeding and felt pain all over her body (pp. 90-91, tsn, July 17, 1975); ... ... ... (Rollo,
pp. 38-40)
51


Monica Gutierrez Tan testified that she met complainant and a man whom complainant introduced as Atty. Aznar in front of the
Ambassador Hotel (pp. 183-184, tsn, Sept. 10, 1975; Rollo, p. 41).
Dr. Rebecca Gucor and Dr. Artemio Ingco, witnesses for the complainant, testified that abdominal examinations and x-ray examination of the lumbro-
sacral region of complainant showed no signs of abnormality (Rollo, p. 42).
The evidence for the respondent as reported by the Solicitor General is summarized as follows:
Edilberto Caban testified that:
1. In December, 1972, respondent Atty. Aznar stayed at Ambassador Hotel with his wife and children;
respondent never came to Manila except in December, 1972; (pp. 8-9,. tsn, Nov. 24, 1977);
2. He usually slept with respondent everytime the latter comes to Manila (p. 13, tsn, Nov. 24, 1977; Rollo, pp.
42-43).
Oscar Salangsang, another witness for the respondent stated that:
1. In February, 1973, he went to Ambassador Hotel to meet respondent; the latter had male companions at the
hotel but he did not see any woman companion of respondent Aznar;
2. He usually slept with respondent at the Ambassador Hotel and ate with him outside the hotel together with
Caban (pp. 8-9, 13-15, tsn, Jan. 13, 1978; Rollo, p. 43).
The Court notes that throughout the period of the investigation conducted by the Solicitor General, respondent Aznar was never presented to refute the
allegations made against him.
In his Answer, respondent Aznar alleges that he does not have any knowledge of the allegations in the complaint. As special defense, respondent
further alleged that the charge levelled against him is in furtherance of complainant's vow to wreck vengeance against respondent by reason of the
latter's approval of the recommendation of the Board of Trustees barring complainant from enrollment for the school year 1973-1974 because she failed
in most of her subjects. It is likewise contended that the defense did not bother to present respondent in the investigation conducted by the Solicitor
General because nothing has been shown in the hearing to prove that respondent had carnal knowledge of the complainant.
Contrary to respondent's averments, the Solicitor General made a categorical finding to the effect that respondent had carnal knowledge of complainant,
to wit:
From the foregoing, it is clear that complainant was compelled to go to Manila with respondent upon the threat of respondent that if
she failed to do so, she would flunk in all her subjects and she would never become a medical intern (pp. 42, 50, tsn, June 6, 1975).
As respondent was Chairman of the College of Medicine, complainant had every reason to believe him.
It has been established also that complainant was brought by respondent to Ambassador Hotel in Manila for three days where he
repeatedly had carnal knowledge of her upon the threat that if she would not give in to his lustful desires, she would fail in her
Pathology subject (Exhs. "A", "K", "K-1" to "K-6" pp. 51, 52, 55-59, tsn, June 6, 1975);
xxx xxx xxx
On the other hand, respondent did not bother to appear during the hearing. It is true that he presented Edilberto Caban and Oscar
Salangsang who testified that respondent usually slept with them every time the latter came to Manila, but their testimony (sic) is not
much of help. None of them mentioned during the hearing that they stayed and slept with respondent on February 12 to February
14, 1973 at Ambassador Hotel. ... ... ... Besides, Edilberto Caban testified that respondent stayed at Ambassador Hotel with his wife
and children in December, 1972. The dates in question, however, are February 12 to 14, 1973, inclusive. His (Caban's) testimony,
therefore, is immaterial to the present case" (Rollo, pp. 43-44).
In effect, the Solicitor General found that the charge of immorality against respondent Aznar has been substantiated by sufficient evidence both
testimonial and documentary; while finding insufficient and uncorroborated the accusation of intentional abortion. The Solicitor General then
recommends the suspension of respondent from the practice of law for a period of not less than three (3) years.
On March 16, 1989, the Court Resolved to require the parties to Move in the premises to determine whether any intervening event occurred which would
render the case moot and academic (Rollo, p. 69).
On April 12, 1989, the Solicitor General filed a manifestation and motion praying that the case at bar be considered submitted for decision on the bases
of the report and recommendation previously submitted together with the record of the case and the evidence adduced (Rollo, p. 75).
After a thorough review of the records, the Court agrees with the finding of the Solicitor General that respondent Aznar, under the facts as stated in the
Report of the investigation conducted in the case, is guilty of "grossly immoral conduct" and may therefore be removed or suspended by the Supreme
Court for conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar (Sec. 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court).
Respondent failed to adduce evidence sufficient to engender doubt as to his culpability of the offense imputed upon him. With the exception of the self-
serving testimonies of two witnesses presented on respondent's behalf, the records are bereft of evidence to exonerate respondent of the act
complained of, much less contradict, on material points, the testimonies of complainant herself.
While respondent denied having taken complainant to the Ambassador Hotel and there had sexual intercourse with the latter, he did not present any
evidence to show where he was at that date. While this is not a criminal proceeding, respondent would have done more than keep his silence if he really
felt unjustly traduced.
It is the duty of a lawyer, whenever his moral character is put in issue, to satisfy this Court that he is a fit and proper person to enjoy continued
membership in the Bar. He cannot dispense with nor downgrade the high and exacting moral standards of the law profession (Go v. Candoy, 21 SCRA
439 [1967]). As once pronounced by the Court:
When his integrity is challenged by evidence, it is not enough that he denies the charges against him; he must meet the issue and
overcome the evidence for the relator (Legal and Judicial Ethics, by Malcolm, p. 93) and show proofs that he still maintains the
highest degree of morality and integrity, which at all times is expected of him. ... In the case of United States v. Tria, 17 Phil. 303,
Justice Moreland, speaking for the Court, said:
An accused person sometimes owes a duty to himself if not to the State. If he does not perform that duty, he may not always expect
the State to perform it for him. If he fails to meet the obligation which he owes to himself, when to meet it is the easiest of easy
things, he is hardy indeed if he demand and expect that same full and wide consideration which the State voluntarily gives to those
who by reasonable effort seek to help themselves. This is particularly so when he not only declines to help himself but actively
conceals from the State the very means by which it may assist him (Quingwa SCRA 439 [1967]).
The Solicitor General recommends that since the complainant is partly to blame for having gone with respondent to Manila knowing fully well that
respondent is a married man ,with children, respondent should merely be suspended from the practice of law for not less than three (3) years (Rollo, p.
47).
On the other hand, respondent in his manifestation and motion dated April 18, 1989 alleges that since a period of about ten (10) years had already
elapsed from the time the Solicitor General made his recommendation for a three (3) years suspension and respondent is not practicing his profession
as a lawyer, the court may now consider the respondent as having been suspended during the said period and the case dismissed for being moot and
academic.
We disagree.
52


Complainant filed the instant case for disbarment not because respondent reneged on a promise to marry (Quingwa v. Puno, supra). More importantly.
complainant's knowledge of of respondent's marital status is not at issue in the case at bar. Complainant submitted to respondent's solicitation for sexual
intercourse not because of a desire for sexual gratification but because of respondent's moral ascendancy over her and fear that if she would not
accede, she would flunk in her subjects. As chairman of the college of medicine where complainant was enrolled, the latter had every reason to believe
that respondent could make good his threats. Moreover, as counsel for respondent would deem it "worthwhile to inform the the Court that the
respondent is a scion of a rich family and a very rich man in his own right and in fact is not practicing his profession before the court" (Rollo, p. 70), mere
suspension for a limited period, per se, would therefore serve no redeeming purpose. The fact that he is a rich man and does not practice his profession
as a lawyer, does not render respondent a person of good moral character. Evidence of good moral character precedes admission to bar (Sec.2, Rule
138, Rules of Court) and such requirement is not dispensed with upon admission thereto. Good moral character is a continuing qualification necessary
to entitle one to continue in the practice of law. The ancient and learned profession of law exacts from its members the highest standard of morality
(Quingwa v. Puno, supra).
Under Section 27, Rule 138, "(a) member of the bar may be removed or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit,
malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for
any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, ... " In Arciga v. Maniwang (106 SCRA 591, [1981]), this Court had
occasion to define the concept of immoral conduct, as follows:
A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. A
member of the bar should have moral integrity in addition to professional probity.
It is difficult to state with precision and to fix an inflexible standard as to what is grossly immoral conduct or to specify the moral
delinquency and obliquity which render a lawyer unworthy of continuing as a member of the bar. The rule implies that what appears
to be unconventional behavior to the straight-laced may not be the immoral conduct that warrants disbarment.
Immoral conduct has been defined as 'that which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the
opinion of the good and respectable members of the community' (7 C.J.S. 959).
Where an unmarried female dwarf possessing the intellect of a child became pregnant by reason of intimacy with a married lawyer
who was the father of six children, disbarment of the attorney on the ground of immoral conduct was justified (In re Hicks 20 Pac.
2nd 896).
In the present case, it was highly immoral of respondent, a married man with children, to have taken advantage of his position as chairman of the college
of medicine in asking complainant, a student in said college, to go with him to Manila where he had carnal knowledge of her under the threat that she
would flunk in all her subjects in case she refused.
WHEREFORE, respondent Jose B. Aznar is hereby DISBARRED and his name is ordered stricken off from the Roll of Attorneys.





[A.C. No. 4431. June 19, 1997], PRISCILLA CASTILLO VDA. DE MIJARES vs. JUSTICE ONOFRE A. VILLALUZ (Retired)
Doubly distressing as the subject of administrative recourse to this Court is the present case where the cause celebre is a star-crossed marriage, and
the unlikely protagonists are in incumbent and a retired member of the Judiciary.
In a sworn complaint for disbarment filed with this Court on June 6, 1995, complainant Judge Priscilla Castillo Vda. de Mijares charged respondent
Onofre A. Villaluz, a retired Justice of the Court of Appeals, with gross immorality and grave misconduct.xii[1]
After an answerxii[2] and a replyxii[3] were respectively filed by respondent and complainant, the Court, in its Resolution dated February 27, 1996,
resolved to refer the administrative case to Associate Justice Fidel P. Purisima of the Court of Appeals for investigation, report and recommendation.
On March 4, 1997, Justice Purisima submitted his Report to this Court, with the following recommendation:
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing and without prejudice to the outcome of the aforesaid Criminal Case No. 142481 for Bigamy, it is respectfully
recommended that the respondent, former Justice Onofre A. Villaluz, be found guilty of gross misconduct, within the contemplation of Rule 138 of the
Revised Rules of Court on removal or suspension of attorneys, and therefor(e), he be suspended from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years,
commencing from the finality of the Decision in this case, with a warning that a repetition of the same or any other misconduct will be dealt with more
severely.
On the bases of the evidence adduced by the parties, Justice Purisima summarized the antecedent facts in his aforestated Report and which we feel
should be reproduced hereunder so that his disposition of this case may be duly appreciated:
Complainant is the Presiding Judge of Branch 108 of the Regional Trial Court, Pasay City, while respondent former Justice Onofre A. Villaluz is a
consultant at the Presidential Anti Crime Commission (PACC) headed by Vice-President Joseph E. Estrada.
Widowed by the death of her first husband, Primitivo Mijares, complainant commenced Special Proceeding No. 90-54650 and therein obtained a decree
declaring the said Primitivo Mijares presumptively dead, after an absence of sixteen (16) years.
Complainant narrated that on January 7, 1994, she got married to respondent in a civil wedding before Judge Myrna Lim Verano, then Presiding Judge
of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Carmona, Cavite and now Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Mandaluyong City. Their marriage was the
culmination of a long engagement. They met sometime in 1977, when respondent, as Presiding Judge of the Criminal Circuit Court in Pasig, Metro
Manila, was trying a murder case involving the death of a son of Judge Mijares. Since then, respondent became a close family friend of complainant (
TSN, p. 14; April 10, 1996 ). After the wedding, they received their guests at a German restaurant in Makati. With the reception over, the newlywed(s)
resumed their usual work and activities. At 6:00 oclock in the afternoon of the same day, respondent fetched complainant from her house in Project 8,
Quezon City, and reached the condominium unit of respondent two hours later at which time, she answered the phone. At the other end of the line was
a woman offending her with insulting remarks. Consternated, complainant confronted respondent on the identity of such caller but respondent simply
remarked it would have been just a call at the wrong number. What followed was a heated exchange of harsh words, one word led to another, to a
point when respondent called complainant a nagger, saying Ayaw ko nang ganyan! Ang gusto ko sa babae, yong sumusunod sa bawat gusto ko.
Get that marriage contract and have it burned. Such unbearable utterances of respondent left complainant no choice but to leave in haste the place of
their would-be honeymoon. Since then, the complainant and respondent have been living separately because as complainant rationalized, contrary to
her expectation respondent never got in touch with her and did not even bother to apologized for what happened ( TSN, p. 13, April 10, 1996 ).
Several months after that fateful encounter of January 7, 1994, in a Bible Study session, the complainant learned from Manila RTC Judge Ramon
Makasiar, a member of the Bible Group, that he ( Judge Makasiar ) solemnized the marriage between former Justice Onofre A. Villaluz and a certain
Lydia Geraldez. Infuriated and impelled by the disheartening news, complainant lost no time in gathering evidence against respondent, such that, on
June 6, 1995 she filed the instant Complaint for Disbarment against him ( Exh. A ).
On August 7, 1995, when she discovered another incriminatory document against respondent, the complainant executed against respondent her
Supplemental Complaint Affidavit for Falsification ( Exhs. D and D-1 ).
53


Exhibit C, marriage contract of respondent and Lydia Geraldez, dated May 10, 1994, was offered by complainant to prove that respondent immorally
and bigamously entered into a marriage, and to show that the respondent distorted the truth by stating his civil status as SINGLE, when he married Lydia
Geraldez. This, the respondent did, to lead an immoral and indiscreet life. He resorted to falsification to distort the truth, complainant lamented. Also
presented for complainant were: Marriage Contract between her and respondent ( Exh. B ); Order declaring her first husband, Primitivo Mijares,
presumptively dead ( Exh. E ); and Affidavit of Judge Myrna Lim Verano, who solemnized the marriage between her (complainant) and respondent
(Exhs. F and F-1).
Respondent gave a different version. According to him, what he inked with the complainant on January 7, 1994 was merely but a sham marriage. He
explained that he agreed as, in fact, he voluntarily signed the Marriage Contract marked Exh. B, in an effort to help Judge Mijares in the administrative
case for immorality filed against her by her Legal Researcher, Atty. Joseph Gregorio Naval, Jr., sometime in 1993. Respondent theorized that when his
marriage with complainant took place before Judge Myrna Lim Verano, his marriage with Librada Pea, his first wife, was subsisting because the
Decision declaring the annulment of such marriage had not yet become final and executory, for the reason that said Decision was not yet published as
required by the Rules, the service of summons upon Librada Pea having been made by publication, and subject Decision was not yet published. To
this effect was the Certification by Mrs. Nelia B. Rosario, Acting Branch Clerk of Court of Branch 37 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila ( Exh. 4 ).
After a thorough review of the records, the Court finds itself in full accord with the findings and recommendation of Justice Purisima. Herein respondent
is undeniably guilty of deceit and grossly immoral conduct. He has made a mockery of marriage which is a sacred institution demanding respect and
dignity.xii[4] He himself asserts that at the time of his marriage to herein complainant, the decision of the court annulling his marriage to his first wife,
Librada Pea, had not yet attained finality. Worse, four months after his marriage to petitioner, respondent married another woman, Lydia Geraldez, in
Cavite, after making a false statement in his application for marriage license that his previous marriage had been annulled.
Respondents subterfuge that his marriage to petitioner was just a sham marriage will not justify his actuations. Even if the said marriage was just a
caper of levity in bad taste, a defense which amazes and befuddles but does not convince, it does not speak well of respondents sense of social
propriety and moral values. This is aggravated by the fact that he is not a layman nor even just an ordinary lawyer, but a former Judge of the Circuit
Criminal Court and, thereafter, a Justice of the Court of Appeals who cannot but have been fully aware of the consequence of a marriage celebrated with
all the necessary legal requisites.xii[5]
On this score, we rely once again on the perceptive findings and discussion of Investigating Justice Purisima which we quote with approval:
That, on January 7, 1994 respondent knowingly and voluntarily entered into and signed a Marriage Contract with complainant before Judge Myrna Lim
Verano, then Presiding Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Carmona, Cavite, competent under the law to solemnized a civil marriage, is beyond
cavil. As stated under oath by respondent himself, he could not be forced to do anything not of his liking (TSN, April 2, 1996, p. 15a).
That what complainant and respondent contracted was a valid marriage is borne out by law and the evidence. To be sure, all the essential and formal
requisites of a valid marriage under Articles 2 and 3 of the Family Code, i.e., legal capacity of the contracting parties, who must be a male and a female;
consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer; authority of the solemnizing officer; a valid marriage license except in the cases provided
for in Chapter 2 of Title I on marriage, Family Code; and a marriage ceremony with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing
officer, and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife, in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age, were
satisfied and complied with.
The theory of respondent that what (was) solemnized with complainant was nothing but a sham marriage is too incredible to deserve serious
consideration. According to respondent, he entered into subject marriage in an effort to save the complainant from the charge of immorality against her.
But, to repeat: regardless of the intention of respondent in saying I do with complainant before a competent authority, all ingredients of a valid
marriage were present. His consent thereto was freely given. Judge Myrna Lim Verano was authorized by law to solemnize the civil marriage, and both
contracting parties had the legal capacity to contract such marriage.
Without in anyway pre-empting whatever the Regional Trial Court of Manila will find in the criminal case for Bigamy against herein respondent, and even
assuming for the sake of argument that the judgment in Civil Case No. 93-67048 decreeing the annulment of the marriage between respondent and
Librada Pea had not attained complete finality due to non publication of said judgment in a newspaper of general circulation; that circumstance, alone,
only made subject marriage voidable and did not necessarily render the marriage between complainant and respondent void.
Besides, as stressed upon by complainant, respondent stated under oath that his marriage with Librada Pea had been annulled by a decree of
annulment, when he (respondent) took Lydia Geraldez as his wife by third marriage, and therefore, he is precluded, by the principle of estoppel, from
claiming that when he took herein complainant as his wife by second marriage, his first marriage with Librada Pea was subsisting and unannulled.
But, anyway, as it is not proper to make here a definitive finding as to whether or not respondent can be adjudged guilty of bigamy under the attendant
facts and circumstances, a crucial issue pending determination in Criminal Case No. 142481 before Branch 12 of the Manila Regional Trial Court, even
assuming arguendo that what respondent contracted with complainant on January 7, 1994 was a sham marriage, as he terms it, the ineluctible
conclusion is that what respondent perpetrated was a gross misconduct on his part as a member of the Philippine Bar and as former appellate Justice,
at that. Even granting that the immorality charge against herein complainant in the administrative case instituted against her by Atty. Joseph Gregorio
Naval, Jr., is unfounded, respondent was not justified in resorting to a sham marriage to protect her (complainant) from said immorality charge. Being
a lawyer, the respondent is surely conversant with the legal maxim that a wrong cannot be righted by another wrong. If he never had any immoral love
affair with Judge Priscilla Castillo Vda. de Mijares and therefore, he felt duty bound to help her in ventilating the whole truth and nothing but the truth,
respondent could have testified in her favor in said administrative case, to assure all and sundry that what Atty. Joseph Gregorio Naval, Jr. complained
of in said administrative case was without any factual and legal basis.
In this only Christian country of the Far East, society cherishes and protects the sanctity of marriage and the family as a social institution. Consequently,
no one can make a mockery thereof and perform a sham marriage with impunity. To make fun of and take lightly the sacredness of marriage is to court
the wrath of the Creator and mankind. Therefore, the defense of respondent that what was entered into by him and complainant on January 7, 1994
was nothing but a sham marriage is unavailing to shield or absolve him from liability for his gross misconduct, nay sacrilege.
From the foregoing, it is evident that respondent dismally fails to meet the standard of moral fitness for continued membership in the legal profession.
The nature of the office of an attorney at law requires that he shall be a person of good moral character. This qualification is not only a condition
precedent for admission to the practice of law; its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law.xii[6] Under Rule 1.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. The commission of grossly immoral
conduct and deceit are grounds for suspension or disbarment of lawyers.xii[7]
However, considering that respondent is in the declining years of his life; that his impulsive conduct during some episodes of the investigation reveal a
degree of aberrant reactive behavior probably ascribable to advanced age; and the undeniable fact that he has rendered some years of commendable
service in the judiciary, the Court feels that disbarment would be too harsh a penalty in this peculiar case. Hence, a suspension of two years, as
recommended, would suffice as a punitive but compassionate disciplinary measure.
WHEREFORE, finding herein respondent, former Justice Onofre A. Villaluz, GUILTY of immoral conduct in violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years effective upon notice hereof, with the specific WARNING
that a more severe penalty shall be imposed should he commit the same or a similar offense hereafter.


54





































A.C. No. 3694 June 17, 1993, ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, ISABELO ONGTENGCO, ACHILLES BARTOLOME, AND ST. LUKES MEDICAL CENTER
vs. ATTORNEY BENJAMIN M. GRECIA
This disbarment complaint against Attorney Benjamin M. Grecia was filed on August 20, 1991 by Doctors Alberto Fernandez, Isabelo Ongtengco and
Achilles Bartolome and the St. Luke's Medical Center (hereafter "St. Luke's" for brevity) where they are accredited medical practitioners. The respondent
is charged with dishonesty and grave misconduct in connection with the theft of some pages from a medical chart which was material evidence in a
damage suit filed by his clients against the aforenamed doctors and St. Luke's.
Disciplinary proceedings like this one are in a class by themselves. As we observed in In Re Almacen, 31 SCRA 562,600, they are neither purely civil
nor purely criminal. "Public interests is the primary objective, and the real question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to
be allowed the privileges as such." The purpose is "to protect the court and the public from the misconduct of officers of the court" (In Re Montagne &
Dominguez, 3 Phil. 577, 588), or to remove from the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him unfit to be entrusted with the duties and
responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney (Ledesma vs. Climaco, 57 SCRA 473; Atienza vs. Evangelista, 80 SCRA 338).
Disbarment is nothing new to respondent Grecia. On November 12, 1987, he was disbarred for his immoral complicity or "unholy alliance" with a judge in
Quezon City to rip off banks and Chinese business firms which had the misfortune to be sued in the latter's court (Prudential Bank vs. Judge Jose P.
Castro and Atty. Benjamin M. Grecia [Adm. Case No. 2756], 155 SCRA 604).
Three years later, on December 18, 1990, the Court, heeding his pleas for compassions and his promise to mend his ways, reinstated him in the
profession. Only eight (8) months later, on August 20, 1991, he was back before the court facing another charge of dishonesty and unethical practice.
Apparently, the earlier disciplinary action that the Court took against him did not effectively reform him.
The complaint of St. Luke's against Attorney Grecia was referred by the Court to Deputy Court of Administrator Juanito A. Bernad for investigation,
report and recommendation. The following are Judge Bernad's findings:
The late Fe Linda Aves was seven (7) months pregnant when she was admitted as a patient at St. Luke's Hospital on December 20, 1990. She
complained of dizziness, hypertension, and abdominal pains with vaginal bleeding. Dr. Fernandez, head of the OB-GYNE Department of St. Luke's, Dr.
Ongtengco, Jr., a cardiologist, and Dr. Bartolome, a urologist, examined Mrs. Aves and diagnosed her problem as mild pre-eclampsia (p. 63, Rollo). Five
(5) days later, on Christmas day, December 25, 1990, Mrs. Aves was discharged from the hospital, to celebrate Christmas with her family.
However, she was rushed back to the hospital the next day, December 26, 1990. On December 27, 1990, she died together with her unborn child.
Blaming the doctors of St. Luke's for his wife's demise, Attorney Damaso B. Aves, along with his three (3) minor children, brought an action for damages
against the hospital and the attending physicians of his wife. Their counsel, respondent Attorney Benjamin Grecia, filed a complaint entitled: "Attorney
Damaso B. Aves, et al. vs. St. Luke's Medical Center, Drs. Alberto Fernandez, Isabelo Ongtengco, Jr. and Achilles Bartolome" in the Regional Trial
Court of Valenzuela, Bulacan, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 3548-V and assigned to Branch 172, presided over by Judge Teresita Dizon-
Capulong.
On July 4, 1991, the medical records of Fe Linda Aves were produced in court by St. Luke's, as requested by Attorney Grecia. The records were
entrusted to the Acting Branch Clerk of Court, Avelina Robles.
On July 16, 1991, between 8:30-9:00 o' clock in the morning, upon arriving in court for another hearing of the case, Attorney Grecia borrowed from Mrs.
Robles the folder containing the medical records of Mrs. Aves.
While leafing through the folder, Grecia surreptitiously tore off two (2) pages of the medical records. The respondent's act was notified by Mrs. Robles
and Maria Arnet Sandico, a clerk. They saw Grecia crumple the papers and place them inside the right pocket of his coat. He immediately returned the
folder to Mrs. Roblesa (who was momentarily rendered speechless by his audacious act) and left the office.
Mrs. Robles examined the medical chart and found pages "72" and "73" missing. She ordered Sandico to follow the respondent. Sandico saw Grecia
near the canteen at the end of the building, calling a man (presumably his driver) who was leaning against a parked car (presumably Grecia's car).
55


When the man approached, Grecia gave him the crumpled papers which he took from his coatpocket. Sandico returned to the office and reported what
she had seen to Mrs. Robles. The latter in turn reported it to Judge Capulong. The three of
them Judge Capulong, Mrs. Robles and Ms. Sandico went downstairs. Ms. Sandico pointed to Judge Capulong the man to whom Grecia had given
the papers which he had filched from medical folder of Linda Aves. Judge Capulong told Sandico to bring the man to her chamber. On the way back to
chamber, Judge Capulong saw the plaintiff, Attorney Damaso Aves, and St. Luke's counsel, Attorney Melanie Limson. She requested them to come to
her office.
In the presence of Attorneys Aves and Limson, Mrs. Robles, Ms. Sandico, and a visitor, Judge Capulong confronted the man and ordered him to give
her the papers which Grecia had passed on to him. The man at first denied that he had the papers in his possession. However, when Sandico declared
that she saw Grecia hand over the papers to him, the man sheepishly took them from his pants pocket and gave them to Judge Capulong. When the
crumpled pages "72" and "73" of the medical folder were shown to Sandico, she identified them as the same papers that she saw Grecia hand over to
the man.
After the confrontation, Sandicio and Robles went back to their office. Mrs. Robles collapsed in a dead faint and was rushed to the Fatima Hospital
where she later regained consciousness.
In the ensuing excitement and confusion of recovering the stolen exhibits, no one thought of ascertaining the identity of the man from whom they were
recovered. Judge Capulong belatedly realized this, so she directed the Valenzuela Police to find out who he was. She also ordered Sandico to submit a
formal report of the theft of the exhibits to the police.
A police investigator, PO3 Arnold Alabastro, tried to ascertain the name of Grecia's driver who was known only as "SID." He located Grecia's house in
Quezon City. Although he was not allowed to enter the premises, he was able to talk with a house maid. He pretended to be a cousin of "SID" and asked
for the latter. The housemaid informed him that "SID" was sent home to his province by Grecia.
He talked with Grecia himself but the latter denied that he had a driver named "SID."
PO3 Alabastro also talked wit one of Grecia's neighbors across the street. The neighbor confirmed that Grecia's driver was a fellow named "SID".
The incident caused enormous emotional strain to the personnel of Judge Capulong's court, so much so that the Acting Branch Clerk of Court, Avelina
Robles, was hospitalized. Because of the incident, Judge Capulong inhibited herself from conducting the trial of Civil Case No. 3548-V.
On August 20, 1991, St. Luke's failed this disbarment case against Grecia.
At the investigation of the case by Judge Bernad, Attorney Damaso Aves, the surviving spouse of the late Fe Linda Aves and plaintiff in Civil case No.
3548-V, testified that it was Attorney Bu Castro, counsel of the defendants in said Civil Case No. 3548-V, who lifted two pages from the medical folder
which lay among some papers on top of the table of Acting Branch Clerk of Court Robles. When he allegedly went outside the courthouse to wait for
Attorney Grecia to arrive, he noticed Attorney Castro come out of the building and walk toward a man in the parking lot to whom he handed a piece of
paper. Afterward, Attorney Castro reentered the courthouse.
Respondent Grecia denied any knowledge of the theft of the exhibits in the Aves case. He alleged that the person who was caught in possession of the
detached pages of the medical record was actually "planted" by his adversaries to discredit him and destroy his reputation.
He denied that he had a driver. He alleged that his car was out of order on July 16, 1991, so he was fetched by the driver of Attorney Aves in the latter's
"Maxima" car. He arrived in the courthouse at exactly 9:15 in the morning and went straight to the courtroom on the second floor of the building. He did
not leave the place until his case was called at 9:40. Since it was allegedly a very warm day, he wore a dark blue barong tagalog, not a business suit. He
branded the testimony of Ms. Sandico as an absolute falsehood. He alleged that he would not have done the act imputed to him, because the medical
chart was the very foundation of the civil case which he filed against St. Luke's and its doctors. He wondered why the man, alleged to be his driver, to
whom he supposedly gave the detached pages of the medical chart, was neither held nor arrested. His identity was not even established.
He likewise branded the testimony of Police Investigator Alabastro as a fabrication for he had never seen him before.
He underscored the fact that none of the lawyers in the courthouse, nor any of the court personnel, accosted him about the purloined pages of the
medical record and he alleged that the unidentified man remained in the courtroom even after the confrontation in the Judge's chamber.
In evaluating the testimonies of the witnesses, Judge Bernad found the court employee, Maria Arnie Sandico, and Acting branch Clerk of Court Avelina
Robles entirely credible and "without any noticeable guile nor attempt at fabrication, remaining constant even under pressure of cross examination" (p.
11, Judge Bernad's Report).
That the Acting Branch Clerk of Court, Mrs. Robles, who is not even a lawyer, and her lowly clerk, Ms. Sandico, did not promptly raise a hue and cry on
seeing Grecia tear off two pages of the medical record, was understandable for they hesitated to confront a man of his stature. Nevertheless, they had
the presence of mind to immediately report the matter to their Judge who forthwith took appropriate steps to recover the exhibits. Robles, Sandico and
PO3 Alabastro had absolutely no motive to testify falsely against the respondent.
While Judge Capulong took the blame for failing to ascertain the identity of Attorney Grecia's "driver," her swift action in summoning and confronting him
led to the recovery of the stolen pages of the medical chart.
Unfortunately, the inquiry made by Police Investigation Arnold Alabastro into identity of the man was fruitless for he was never seen again.
Attorney Aves' allegation that it was St. Luke's counsel, Attorney Castro, not Grecia, who stole the pages from the medical folder and slipped them to an
unidentified man, is an incredible fabrication. Not only is it directly contradicted by Mrs. Robles and Ms. Sandico, but, significantly, Attorney Aves failed
to mention it during the confrontation with the man inside Judge Capulong's chamber where he (Attorney Aves) was present.
His other allegation that he saw the man inside the courtroom afterwards, is not credible for he would have called the attention of Judge Capulong who,
he knew, had been looking for the man to ascertain his identity.
In view of his obvious bias for his counsel, Aves' testimony was properly disregarded by the investigator, Judge Bernad. Likewise wanting in truth and
candor was Grecia's testimony. Judge Bernad noted that while Grecia was punctilious when testifying on the hour of his arrival in court (9:15 A.M.) on
July 16, 1991, and he even remembered that on that day he wore a dark blue barong tagalog (an apparel that has no pockets), his memory was not
sharp when he was cross-examined regarding more recent events. For instance, he insisted that Judge Bernad was absent on August 4, 1992, but the
truth is that a hearing was held on that date as shown by the transcript.
When he was confronted with exhibits "A" and "B," Grecia tried to make an issue of the absence of a court order to deposit Li nda Aves' medical chart in
court. He forgot that it was he who asked that the chart be left with the clerk of court.
His allegation that he would be the last person to remove pages 72 and 73 of the medical chart for the entries therein are favorable to his client's cause
is specious. As a matter of fact, the entries show that after Mrs. Aves was readmitted to the hospital on December 26, 1990, the doctors were able to
stabilize her blood pressure with a normal reading of 120/80.
On the basis of the evidence presented before Judge Bernad, the Court is convinced that the charge against Attorney Benjamin M. Grecia is true. By
stealing two pages from Linda Aves' medical chart and passing them on to his driver, he violated Rule 1.01, canon 1 of the Rules of Professional
Responsibility as well as canon 7 thereof which provide that:
Canon 1. . . .
Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct.
Canon 7. A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated
Bar.
56


A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is "like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice" (People ex rel Karlin vs. Culkin, 60
A.L.R. 851, 855). An incorrigible practitioner of "dirty tricks," like Grecia would be ill-suited to discharge the role of "an instrument to advance the ends of
justice."
The importance of integrity and good moral character as part of a lawyer's equipment in the practice of his profession has been stressed by this Court
repeatedly.
. . . The bar should maintain a high standard of legal proficiency as well as of honesty and fair dealing. Generally speaking, a lawyer
can do honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. To this
end, nothing should be done by any member of the legal fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the
public in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the profession. (Marcelo vs. Javier, Sr., A.C. No. 3248, September 18, 1992, pp. 13-
14.)
. . . . The nature of the office of an attorney at law requires that he shall be a person of good moral character. This qualification is not
only a condition precedent to admission to the practice of law; its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice
of law, in the exercise of privileges of members of the Bar. Gross misconduct on the part of a lawyer, although not related to the
discharge of professional duties as a member of the bar, which puts his moral character in serious doubt, renders him unfit to
continue in the practice of law. (Melendrez vs. Decena, 176 SCRA 662, 676.)
. . . public policy demands that legal work in representation of parties litigant should be entrusted only to those possessing tested
qualifications and who are sworn to observe the rules and the ethics of the profession, a s well as being subject for judicial
disciplinary control for the protection of court, clients and the public. (Phil. Association of Free Labor Unions [PAFLU] vs. Binalbagan
Isabela Sugar Company, 42 SCRA 302, 305.)
By descending to the level of a common thief, respondent Grecia has demeaned and disgraced the legal profession. He has demonstrated his moral
unfitness to continue as a member of the honorable fraternity of lawyers. He has forfeited his membership in the BAR.
Generally, a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity, which
shows him to be wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity and good demeanor or unworthy to continue as an officer of the
court, or an unfit or unsafe person to enjoy the privileges and to manage the business of others in the capacity of an attorney, or for
conduct which tends to bring reproach on the legal profession or to injure it in the favorable opinion of the public. (Marcelo vs.
Javier, Sr., A.C. No. 3248, September 18, 1992, p. 15.)
WHEREFORE, the Court finds Attorney Benjamin Grecia guilty of grave misconduct, dishonesty, and grossly unethical behavior as a lawyer.
Considering that this is his second offense against the canons of the profession, the Court resolved to impose upon him once more the supreme penalty
of DISBARMENT. His license to practice law in the Philippines is hereby CANCELLED and the Bar Confidant is ordered to strike out his name from the
Roll of Attorneys.






April 7, 1922
In Re MARCELINO LONTOK
Ramon Diokno for respondent.
Attorney-General Villa-Real for the Government.
MALCOLM, J .:
The Attorney-General asks that an order issue for the removal of Marcelino Lontok from his office of lawyer in the Philippine Islands, because of having
been convicted of the crime of bigamy. The respondent lawyer, in answer, prays that the charges be dismissed, and bases his plea principally on a
pardon issued to him by former Governor-General Harrison.
Marcelino Lontok was convicted by the Court of First Instance of Zambales of the crime of bigamy. This judgement was affirmed on appeal to the
Supreme Court, while a further attempt to get the case before the United States Supreme Court was unsuccessful. On February 9, 1921, a pardon was
issued by the Governor-General of the following tenor:
By virtue of the authority conferred upon me by the Philippine Organic Act on August 29, 1916, the sentence in the case of Marcelino Lontok
convicted by the Court of First Instance of Zambales of bigamy and sentenced on February 27, 1918, to imprisonment for eight years, to suffer
the accessory penalties prescribed by law, and to pay the costs of the proceedings, which sentence was, on September 8, 1919, confirmed by
the Supreme Court is hereby remitted, on condition that he shall not again be guilty of any misconduct.
The particular provision of the Code of Civil Procedure, upon which the Attorney-General relies in asking for the disbarment of Attorney Lontok, provides
that a member of the bar may be removed or suspended form his office of lawyer by the Supreme Court "by reason of his conviction of a crime involving
moral turpitude." (Sec. 21) That conviction of the crime of bigamy involves moral turpitude, within the meaning of the law, cannot be doubted. The
debatable question relates to the effect of the pardon by the Governor-General. On the one hand, it is contended by the Government that while the
pardon removes the legal infamy of the crime, it cannot wash out the moral stain; on the other hand, it is contended by the respondent that the pardon
reaches the offense for which he was convicted and blots it out so that he may not be looked upon as guilty of it.
The cases are not altogether clear as to just what effect a pardon has on the right of a court of disbar an attorney for conviction of a felony. On close
examination, however, it will be found that the apparent conflict in the decisions is more apparent than real, and arises from differences in the nature of
the charges on which the proceedings to disbar are based. Where preceedings to strike an attorney's name from the rolls are founded on, and depend
alone, on a statute making the fact of a conviction for a felony ground for disbarment, it has been held that a pardon operates to wipe out the conviction
and is a bar to any proceeding for the disbarment of the attorney after the pardon has been granted. (In re Emmons [1915], 29 Cal. App., 121; Scott vs.
State [1894], 6 Tex. Civ. App., 343). But where proceedings to disbar an attorney are founded on the professional misconduct involved in a transaction
which has culminated in a conviction of felony, it has been held that while the effect of the pardon is to relieve him of the penal consequences of his act,
it does not operate as a bar to the disbarment proceedings, inasmuch as the criminal acts may nevertheless constitute proof that the attorney does not
possess a good moral character and is not a fit or proper person to retain his license to practice law. (People vs. Burton [1907], 39 Colo., 164; People vs.
George [1900],186 Ill., 122; Nelson vs. Com. [1908],128 Ky., 779; Case of In re [1881],86 N.Y., 563.)
The celebrated case of Ex parte Garland [1866], 4 Wall., 380, is directly in point. The petitioner in this case applied for a license to practice law in the
United States courts, without first taking an oath to the effect that he had never voluntarily given aid to any government hostile to the United States, as
required by statute. The petitioner, it seems, had been a member of the Conferate Congress, during the secession of the South, but had been pardons
by the President of the United States. It was held, buy a divided court, that to exclude the petitioner from the practice of law for the offense named would
be to enforce a punishment for the offense, notwithstanding the pardon which the court had no right to do; and the opinion of the court, in part, said:
57


A pardon reaches both the punishment prescribed for the offense and the guilt of the offender; and when the pardon is full, it releases the
punishment and blots out of existence the guilt, so that in the eye of the law the offender is an innocent as if he had never committed the
offense. If granted before conviction, it prevents any of the penalties and disabilities, consequent upon conviction, from attaching; if granted
after conviction, it removes the penalties and disabilities, and restores him to all his civil rights; it makes him, as it were, a new man, and gives
him a new credit and capacity.
There is only this limitation to its operation; it does not restore offices forfeited, or property or interest vested in others in consequence of the
conviction and judgement.
Although much which is contained in the opinion of the four dissenting justices, in the Garland case, appeals powerfully to the minds of the court, we feel
ourselves under obligation to follow the rule laid down by the majority decision of the higher court. We do this with the more grace when we recall that
according to the article 130 of the Penal Code, one of the different ways by which criminal liability is extinguished is by pardon. We must also remember
that the motion for disbarment is based solely on the judgement of conviction for a crime of which the respondent has been pardoned, We must also
remember that the motion for disbarment is based solely on the judgment of conviction for crime of which the respondent has been pardoned, and that
the language of the pardon is not such as to amount to a conditional pardon similar in nature to a parole. It may be mentioned however, in this
connection, that if Marcelino Lontok should again be guilty of any misconduct, the condition of his pardon would be violated, and he would then become
subject to disbarment.
It results, therefore, that the petition of the Attorney-General cannot be granted, and that the proceedings must be dismissed. Costs shall be taxed as
provided by section 24 of the Code of Civil Procedure. So ordered.




















A.M. No. 2019 June 3, 1991, SHIRLEY CUYUGAN LIZASO vs. ATTY. SERGIO AMANTE
On 27 March 1979, Shirley Cuyugan-Lizaso filed a sworn Complaint for disbarment against respondent Atty. Sergio G. Amante charging the latter with
deceitful and grossly immoral conduct. The Court required respondent Amante to file an Answer to the complaint, and respondent did so on 25 May
1979. A Reply dated 23 September 1980 was filed by complainant.
By a Resolution dated 10 November 1980, the Court referred this case to the Office of the Solicitor General for investigation, report and
recommendation.
On 18 June 1981, complainant wrote a letter to this Court requesting an order restraining respondent from leaving the country and an order restraining
respondent's employer, the University of the East, from disbursing monies that may be due to respondent on account of his retirement from the
University's service. The Court referred this request to the Office of the Solicitor General in a Resolution dated 15 July 1981.
The Office of the Solicitor General accordingly held hearings at which the complainant appeared and testified on her own behalf and submitted
documentary evidence to support her allegations of misconduct on the part of the respondent Amante. Respondent Amante appeared at these hearings,
testified on his own behalf and was cross-examined. Respondent also presented documentary evidence on his behalf, but failed to complete his
presentation of evidence despite repeated notices to do so. Moreover, respondent Amante failed to offer formally his documentary evidence.
The complainant's case was summarized by the Solicitor General in his Report and Recommendation dated 7 February 1990 in the following manner:
On August 7, 1978, complainant handed to respondent Prudential Bank Check No. 655615 dated August 4, 1978 in the amount of
P5,000.00 (Exh. "A") payable to the latter and which, per agreement between the two of them, was to be invested in respondent's
business venture in the casino. Complainant was enticed into investing in the business by respondent's proposition that the
business will guarantee her an interest of 10% profit a day. Complainant was further convinced because she knows of her sister's
friend who deals in the same business in the casino and who even accepts jewelries from gamblers who have lost heavily. The
check was encashed by respondent as shown by his signature appearing at the back of the check.
A written receipt (Exh. "B") for the amount of P5,000.00 was signed by respondent on August 7, 1978 and which states:
Mrs. Shirley Cuyugan Lizaso entrusted the amount of P5,000.00 to Atty. Sergio Amante to be invested in
business with a guarantee of 10% net profit a day starting Aug. 7, 1978, capital to be returned after two months.
Received by:
S.M Amante
(signed)
The complainant originally prepared the check and the receipt on August 4, 1978. She tried to seek respondent's signature on the
receipt but it was only on August 7, 1978 when she was able to see respondent and gave to him the P5,000.00 check for which
respondent signed the receipt/promissory note.
Three days after August 7, 1978, complainant tried to see respondent in order to collect the interest on her investment but
respondent failed to give her any. For the many weeks that followed, complainant even begged respondent to return her money if he
could not give the interests but respondent merely made promises.
Afraid that her investment will not be returned, complainant sought the help of the U.E Legal Department Head, Atty. Pedro Siojo
and presented her written complaint dated August 27, 1978 against respondent (Exh. "C"). Atty. Siojo scheduled a confrontation but
the respondent failed to come. The second scheduled confrontation likewise resulted in respondent's failure to appear. In view of
these, Atty. Siojo informed her that he cannot do anything if respondent refuses to appear.
58


Because of this, complainant sought the help of Mr. Antonio Ravelo, U.E Faculty President, but the latter was not able to help her
because respondent denied that he ever owed complainant anything.
Again, complainant sought the help of the University President, Conrado Aquino, by her letter of December 11, 1978 (Exh. "D"). Mr.
Aquino, however, was of the opinion that this was a personal agreement best left between the two of them to settle.
1

Respondent Amante presented a different version of the facts, which was substantially as follows. Sometime in June 1978, complainant allegedly
approached respondent for a loan of P20,000.00 needed to forestall foreclosure of a mortgage on complainant's house. Respondent Amante allegedly
lent P5,000.00 to complainant, which loan fell due a month later. Complainant was allegedly very slow in repaying the loan. To provide complainant with
an incentive for repaying her loan from the respondent, the latter dangled the possibility of a second loan for P20,000.00 to complainant, upon
complainant's repayment of her first loan. Thus, on 7 August 1978, complainant tendered to respondent Amante the P5,000.00 check referred to in the
complaint. Amante admitted he encashed the check, but' argued that he did so to realize the payment of complainant's prior obligation to him.
Respondent said he had no real intention of extending a second loan to complainant. This outraged the complainant and she allegedly then tried to
extort money from respondent Amante by harassing him with her false and fabricated complaint.
The respondent also denied having signed the receipt for P5,000.00 with the wording appearing in Exhibit "B" of the Complaint. At the same time, to
substantiate his own version of the evidence, respondent offered in evidence Exhibits "1" and "2" being a copy of a receipt for P5,000.00 allegedly given
in payment of complainant's loan from respondent, and purportedly signed by complainant.
After careful examination of the records of this case, we agree with the Solicitor General that complainant has discharged the burden of showing, by
clear and convincing evidence, that she had delivered P5,000.00 to respondent Amante for investment purposes and that respondent not only failed to
deliver the promised return on the investment but also the principal thereof, despite repeated demands therefor. The reasoning and conclusions of fact
of the Solicitor General follow:
First. Most persuasive in lending credence to this is the fact that the check, at the time of encashment by respondent, already
contained the words "capital investment" at the back thereof. The bank's microfilm copy of the reverse side of the check confirms it.
This amply and clearly substantiate the material fact that at the time the check was received by respondent and presented by him to
the bank, the agreement between him and complainant was to invest the amount in respondent's business venture. It totally negates
respondent's claim that the check was in payment of a previous loan given by him to complainant.
Second. The receipt/promissory note (Exh. "B") dated August 7, 1978 clearly expresses the terms of their oral agreement that the
amount of P5,000.00 was entrusted to respondent to be invested by him in his business venture, that said amount has a guarantee
of 10% profit per day starting August 7, 1978, and that the capital of P5,000.00 shall be returned to complainant after two months
from date thereof. Said receipt unquestionably bears the signature of respondent. To all these terms, respondent affixed his
signature.
Third. After complainant had repeatedly demanded the return of her P5,000.00 capital investment which respondent failed to do, the
latter wrote a note dated November 7, 1978 addressed to a certain Mr. Resty Noriega (Exh. "H") authorizing complainant to collect
in his (respondent's) behalf his fee from Mr. Noriega. Complainant presented this note to Mr. Noriega who informed her that the note
is not clear enough to entrust complainant with payment of respondent's fee. Mr. Noriega then returned the note to her with the
advice that she should secure a letter from respondent to specify the amount to be collected by complainant. Respondent's note
does not show an admission of his obligation to return or reimburse complainant's money.
Fourth. The tenacity and resourcefulness with which complainant repeatedly sought help from various school officials, such as the
U.E Head of Legal Department, the U.E Faculty President and the University President himself, in separate written complaints, prior
to finally securing legal assistance from a private lawyer, all directed to seeking the return or reimbursement of her P5,000.00
investment, are evincive of the credibility and faithfulness to the truth of complainant's cause of action against respondent.
2

Upon the other hand, the Solicitor General found respondent's version of the facts to be unreal and implausible. Moreover, the exhibits submitted by
respondent Amante appeared to have been fabricated by respondent. The analysis of respondent's evidence by the Solicitor General follows:
xxx xxx xxx
1. Annex "1" photocopy of a stub in an actual size as short and as small as one inch by three inches, dated August 7, 1987,
addressed to "Gigi" which is the nickname of respondent and embodying ten words: "Attached is check No. 655615 as payment of
my "utang'" and bearing the signature Shirley C. Lizaso. This evidence can only elicit disbelief as being incredible if not
manufactured for the following reasons:
xxx xxx xxx
Furthermore, the situation raises the question why complainant would give and sign such a note of receipt when, in the ordinary
course of things as in the case at bar, it should be the respondent who should sign and give a receipt for the check of P5,000.00, if
indeed complainant paid her loan to respondent.
d) Finally, the stub receipt had never been presented by respondent in any of the investigations/confrontations set by the U.E. Legal
Department Head or the U.E Faculty President. If there was any truth to the genuineness of the stub receipt claimed by respondent,
he should have immediately presented this in the scheduled confrontations if only to dismiss the complaint outright or the malicious
rumor he claimed complainant was spreading within the university. Instead, the stub receipt suddenly surfaced only during the
investigation of this disbarment case.
2. Annex "2", subsequently marked as Exh. "1", is the alleged receipt dated August 4, 1978 embodying the following words:
Received from Shirley C. Lizaso Check No. 655615C (P5,000.00) in payment of her loan.
[Unusually long vacant space between the above words and signature below]
Sergio G. Amante
(signed)
Exh. "1" is fully handwritten. According to respondent, Exh. "1" and Exh. "B" are one and the same and that in view of the long and
big vacant space between the handwritten words and his signature, he claimed that complainant inserted the words in Exh. "B"
embodying the agreement that the P5,000.00 was received by respondent as her capital to be invested in respondent's business
venture with a guarantee of 10% net profit a day starting August 7, 1978 and the same to be returned two months thereafter; and
that complainant allegedly cut off all the wordings of Exh. "1" that what remained is the receipt promissory note or Exh. "B" of the
complainant and the same signature of respondent.
xxx xxx xxx
Moreover, it taxes credulity on why respondent in Exh. "1" would affix his signature so far away below from the handwritten words,
leaving a big void or vacant space in between which any ordinary layman knows may be used to another's advantage and
manipulated to the prejudice of the signatory, even more so that respondent is a lawyer.
Furthermore, a comparison of the edge of the cut top portion of Exh. "B" with the last handwritten line in Exh. "1" which consisted of
only one word "loan" would readily show that the handwritten loops appearing on the edge of the cut portion of the top of Exh. "B" do
not, at all, correspond to the last line of Exh. "1", which does not contain any tail loops at all. In other words, the last line of
59


respondent's Exh. "1" containing the handwritten word "loan" does not have any tail loops that would correspond with those
appearing on the edge of the top cut portion of complainant's Exh. "B", if it were true that the paper showing Exh. "B" is a physical
continuation of Exh. "1" as respondent would want the undersigned Hearing Officer to believe. Immediately clear, therefore, is the
conclusion that Exh. "1" and "B" are not the same and are far different from each other.
Lastly, Exh. "1", just like Annex "1" (stub receipt), had never been presented by respondent in any of the confrontations set by the
university officials between complainant and respondent, but was only presented during the investigation at bar.
3. Respondent's claim that he enticed complainant to pay him the alleged P5,000.00 loan he earlier gave to her, by promising to
give her P20,000.00 if she pays the P5,000.00 loan, is quite hollow and very unlikely. Any person, the complainant no less, who
knows that she will be given a P20,000.00 loan would very unlikely pay a previous loan of P5,000.00 but would merely partially
offset said amount and received instead the balance of P15,000.00.
Moreover, it must be remembered that complainant secured from the Prudential Bank a loan of P5,000.00 on August 4, 1978 in
order to invest it on respondent's business venture. To follow respondent's twisted reasoning, it evokes wonder why complainant
would secure a P5,000.00 loan from the bank just to pay a P5,000.00 loan to respondent who promised to give her, anyway, a
P20,000.00 loan. If complainant really needed the balance of P15,000.00, she could have very well secured the same from the bank
and not from the respondent. In other words, there was no necessity for complainant to obtain a subsequent loan from respondent
because she could, just as well, get the same loan from the bank as she was able to.
xxx xxx xxx
5. For a lawyer, as the respondent is, it appears strange that he has not required complainant to sign any receipt for the P5,000.00
loan he allegedly gave her "sometime in June, 1978." If complainant, who is not a lawyer, was able to make him sign a receipt for
P5,000.00 she gave him, respondent, with all his legal expertise, would be doubly expected to protect his loan by a similar receipt.
And yet, respondent was not able to, as there was actually none to secure.
3

Thus, it appears to the Court that respondent failed to return and account for complainant's money notwithstanding repeated demands of complainant for
such return and accounting. It also appears that when finally brought before the Office of the Solicitor General in the disbarment proceedings,
respondent tried to controvert complainant's charges by using in evidence documents that appear to be falsified and which try to make it appear that
complainant had delivered the P5,000.00 to respondent in payment of a prior loan from the latter.
It is true, of course, that there was no attorney-client relationship between respondent Amante and complainant Cuyugan-Lizaso. The transaction that
complainant entered into with respondent did not require respondent to perform professional legal services for complainant nor did that transaction relate
to the rendition of professional services by respondent to any other person.
As early as 1923, however, the Court laid down in In Re Vicente Pelaez
4
the principle that it can exercise its power to discipline lawyers for causes
which do not involve the relationship of an attorney and client. In that case, the respondent Vicente Pelaez, a member of the Bar, was appointed
guardian of a minor child. As such guardian, he came into possession of certain property, including some shares of stock in certain corporations. Pelaez,
while still guardian of the minor, borrowed money from the Philippine National Bank and to guarantee that personal loan, Pelaez, without the knowledge
or consent of the guardianship court, pledged the shares of stock belonging to the minor. In disciplining the respondent, Mr. Justice Malcolm said:
. . . [A]s a general rule, a court will not assume jurisdiction to discipline one of its officers for misconduct alleged to have been
committed in his private capacity. But this is a general rule with many exceptions. The courts sometimes stress the point that the
attorney has shown, through misconduct outside of his professional dealings, a want of such professional honesty as render him
unworthy of public confidence, and an unfit and unsafe person to manage the legal business of others. The reason why such a
distinction can be drawn is because it is the court which admits an attorney to the bar, and the court requires for such admission the
possession of a good moral character.
5

xxx xxx xxx
The nature of the office, the trust relation which exists between attorney and client,, as well as between court and attorney, and the
statutory rule prescribing the qualifications of attorneys, uniformly require that an attorney shall be a person of a good moral
character. If that qualification is a condition precedent to a license or privilege to enter upon the practice of the law, it would seem to
be equally essential during the continuance of the practice and the exercise of the privilege. So it is held that an attorney will be
removed not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional
duties, which shows him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer upon him.
6

(Emphasis supplied)
The rationale of the rule that misconduct, indicative of moral unfitness, whether relating to professional or non-professional matters, justifies suspension
or disbarment, was expressed by Mr. Chief Justice Prentice in In Re Disbarment of Peck,
7
with eloquence and restraint:
As important as it is that an attorney be competent to deal with the oftentimes intricate matters which may be entrusted to him, it is
infinitely more so that he be upright and trustworthy. Unfortunately, it is not easy to limit membership in the profession to those who
satisfy the standard test of fitness. But scant progress in that direction can be hoped for if, in the determination of the qualification of
professional fitness, non-professional dishonor and dishonesty in whatsoever path of life is to be ignored. Professional honesty and
honor are not to be expected as the accompaniment of dishonesty and dishonor in other relations. So it is that we, in common with
other courts, hold, as did Lord Mansfield more than a century ago, that misconduct, indicative of moral unfitness for the profession,
whether it be professional or non-professional, justifies dismission as well as exclusion from the bar.
8
(Emphasis supplied)
The rule in this jurisdiction was stated by Mr. Justice Malcolm in Piatt v. Abordo
9
in the following terms: that an attorney may be removed or otherwise
disciplined "not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties, which
showed him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer to him." Mr. Justice Malcolm went on to say:
The courts are not curators of the morals of the bar. At the same time the profession is not compelled to harbor all persons whatever
their character, who are fortunate enough to keep out of prison. As good character is an essential qualification for admission of an
attorney to practice, when the attoney's character is bad in such respects as to show that he is unsafe and unfit to be entrusted with
the powers of an attorney, the courts retain the power to discipline him.
10

Finally, we should refer to Rule 191 set out in Chapter I entitled "The Lawyer and Society" of the "Code of Professional Responsibility" which requires
that "a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct." We emphasize here that "conduct," as used in this rule, is not
limited to conduct exhibited in connection with the performance of professional duties.
In the case at bar, it is clear to the Court that the conduct of respondent Amante in failing to account for and return the P5,000.00 delivered to him for
investment purposes by complainant, constituted dishonest and immoral conduct. We are compelled to conclude that respondent attorney converted
complainant's monies to his personal uses. This dishonest conduct was compounded by the efforts of respondent attorney to deny and dissimulate the
transaction that he had entered into with complainant. As far as the records of this case show, respondent has not to date returned complainant's
monies.
60


WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Sergio G. Amante is hereby SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY from the practice of law. Copies of this Resolution shall be
furnished to all courts of the land. Copies shall also be finished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and to the Office of the Bar Confidant and spread
on the personal record of respondent attorney.




































A.M. No. L-363 July 31, 1962
IN RE: DISBARMENT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST ATTY. DIOSDADO Q. GUTIERREZ, respondent.
Victoriano A. Savellano for complaint.
Nestor M. Andrada for respondent.
MAKALINTAL, J .:
Respondent Diosdado Q. Gutierrez is a member of the Philippine Bar, admitted to it on October 5, 1945. In criminal case No. R-793 of the Court of First
Instance of Oriental Mindoro he was convicted of the murder of Filemon Samaco, former municipal mayor of Calapan, and together with his co-
conspirators was sentenced to the penalty of death. Upon review by this Court the judgment of conviction was affirmed on June 30, 1956 (G.R. No. L-
17101), but the penalty was changed to reclusion perpetua. After serving a portion of the sentence respondent was granted a conditional pardon by the
President on August 19, 1958. The unexecuted portion of the prison term was remitted "on condition that he shall not again violate any of the penal laws
of the Philippines."
On October 9, 1958 the widow of the deceased Filemon Samaco, victim in the murder case, filed a verified complaint before this Court praying that
respondent be removed from the roll of lawyers pursuant to Rule 127, section 5. Respondent presented his answer in due time, admitting the facts
alleged by complainant regarding pardon in defense, on the authority of the decision of this Court in the case of In re Lontok, 43 Phil. 293.
Under section 5 of Rule 127, a member of the bar may be removed suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court by reason of his
conviction of a crime insolving moral turpitude. Murder is, without doubt, such a crime. The term "moral turpitude" includes everything which is done
contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals. In re Carlos S. Basa, 41 Phil. 275. As used in disbarment statutes, it means an act of baseness,
vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellowmen or to society in general, contrary to the accepted rule of right
and duty between man and man. State ex rel. Conklin v. Buckingham, 84 P. 2nd 49; 5 Am. Jur. Sec. 279. pp. 428-429.
The only question to be resolved is whether or not the conditional pardon extended to respondent places him beyond the scope of the rule on
disbarment aforecited. Reliance is placed by him squarely on the Lontok case. The respondent therein was convicted of bigamy and thereafter pardoned
by the Governor-General. In a subsequent viction, this Court decided in his favor and held: "When proceedings to strike an attorney's name from the
rolls the fact of a conviction for a felony ground for disbarment, it has been held that a pardon operates to wipe out the conviction and is a bar to any
proceeding for the disbarment of the attorney after the pardon has been granted."
It is our view that the ruling does not govern the question now before us. In making it the Court proceeded on the assumption that the pardon granted to
respondent Lontok was absolute. This is implicit in the ratio decidendi of the case, particularly in the citations to support it, namely. In Re Emmons, 29
Cal. App. 121; Scott vs. State, 6 Tex. Civ. App. 343; and Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall, 380. Thus in Scott vs. State the court said:
We are of opinion that after received an unconditional pardon the record of the felony conviction could no longer be used as a basis for the
proceeding provided for in article 226. The record, when offered in evidence, was met with an unconditional pardon, and could not, therefore,
properly be said to afford "proof of a conviction of any felony." Having been thus cancelled, all its force as a felony conviction was taken away.
A pardon falling short of this would not be a pardon, according to the judicial construction which that act of executive grace was received. Ex
parte Garland, 4 Wall, 344; Knote v. U.S., 95 U.S. 149, and cases there cited; Young v. Young, 61 Tex. 191.
And the portion of the decision in Ex parte Garland quoted with approval in the Lontok case is as follows:
61


A pardon reaches both the punishment prescribed for the offense and the guilt of the offender; and when the pardon is full, it releases the
punishment and blots out the existence of guilt, so that in the eye of the law the offender is as innocent as if he had never committed the
offense. It granted before conviction, it prevents any of the penalties and disabilities, consequent upon conviction, from attaching; if granted
after conviction, it removes the penalties and disabilities, and restores him to all his civil rights it makes him, as it were, a new man, and gives
him a new credit and capacity.
The pardon granted to respondent here is not absolute but conditional, and merely remitted the unexecuted portion of his term. It does not reach the
offense itself, unlike that in Ex parte Garland, which was "a full pardon and amnesty for all offense by him committed in connection with rebellion (civil
war) against government of the United States."
The foregoing considerations rendered In re Lontok are inapplicable here. Respondent Gutierrez must be judged upon the fact of his conviction for
murder without regard to the pardon he invokes in defense. The crime was qualified by treachery and aggravated by its having been committed in hand,
by taking advantage of his official position (respondent being municipal mayor at the time) and with the use of motor vehicle. People vs. Diosdado
Gutierrez, supra. The degree of moral turpitude involved is such as to justify his being purged from the profession.
The practice of law is a privilege accorded only to those who measure up to certain rigid standards of mental and moral fitness. For the admission of a
candidate to the bar the Rules of Court not only prescribe a test of academic preparation but require satisfactory testimonials of good moral character.
These standards are neither dispensed with nor lowered after admission: the lawyer must continue to adhere to them or else incur the risk of suspension
or removal. As stated in Ex parte Wall, 107 U.S. 263, 27 Law ed., 552, 556: "Of all classes and professions, the lawyer is most sacredly bound to uphold
the laws. He is their sworn servant; and for him, of all men in the world, to repudiate and override the laws, to trample them under foot and to ignore the
very bonds of society, argues recreancy to his position and office and sets a pernicious example to the insubordinate and dangerous elements of the
body politic.
WHEREFORE, pursuant to Rule 127, Section 5, and considering the nature of the crime for which respondent Diosdado Q. Gutierrez has been
convicted, he is ordered disbarred and his name stricken from the roll of lawyers.



















A.M. No. 1625 February 12, 1990
ANGEL L. BAUTISTA, complainant,
vs.
ATTY. RAMON A. GONZALES, respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N

PER CURIAM:
In a verified complaint filed by Angel L. Bautista on May 19, 1976, respondent Ramon A. Gonzales was charged with malpractice, deceit, gross
misconduct and violation of lawyer's oath. Required by this Court to answer the charges against him, respondent filed on June 19, 1976 a motion for a
bill of particulars asking this Court to order complainant to amend his complaint by making his charges more definite. In a resolution dated June 28,
1976, the Court granted respondent's motion and required complainant to file an amended complaint. On July 15, 1976, complainant submitted an
amended complaint for disbarment, alleging that respondent committed the following acts:
1. Accepting a case wherein he agreed with his clients, namely, Alfaro Fortunado, Nestor Fortunado and Editha
Fortunado [hereinafter referred to as the Fortunados] to pay all expenses, including court fees, for a contingent
fee of fifty percent (50%) of the value of the property in litigation.
2. Acting as counsel for the Fortunados in Civil Case No. Q-15143, wherein Eusebio Lopez, Jr. is one of the
defendants and, without said case being terminated, acting as counsel for Eusebio Lopez, Jr. in Civil Case No.
Q-15490;
3. Transferring to himself one-half of the properties of the Fortunados, which properties are the subject of the
litigation in Civil Case No. Q-15143, while the case was still pending;
4. Inducing complainant, who was his former client, to enter into a contract with him on August 30, 1971 for the
development into a residential subdivision of the land involved in Civil Case No. Q-15143, covered by TCT No.
T-1929, claiming that he acquired fifty percent (50%) interest thereof as attorney's fees from the Fortunados,
while knowing fully well that the said property was already sold at a public auction on June 30, 1971, by the
Provincial Sheriff of Lanao del Norte and registered with the Register of Deeds of Iligan City;
5. Submitting to the Court of First Instance of Quezon City falsified documents purporting to be true copies of
"Addendum to the Land Development Agreement dated August 30, 1971" and submitting the same document to
the Fiscal's Office of Quezon City, in connection with the complaint for estafa filed by respondent against
complainant designated as I.S. No. 7512936;
6. Committing acts of treachery and disloyalty to complainant who was his client;
7. Harassing the complainant by filing several complaints without legal basis before the Court of First Instance
and the Fiscal's Office of Quezon City;
62


8. Deliberately misleading the Court of First Instance and the Fiscal's Office by making false assertion of facts in
his pleadings;
9. Filing petitions "cleverly prepared (so) that while he does not intentionally tell a he, he does not tell the truth
either."
Respondent filed an answer on September 29, 1976 and an amended answer on November 18, 1976, denying the accusations against him.
Complainant filed a reply to respondent's answer on December 29, 1976 and on March 24, 1977 respondent filed a rejoinder.
In a resolution dated March 16, 1983, the Court referred the case to the Office of the Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation. In
the investigation conducted by the Solicitor General, complainant presented himself as a witness and submitted Exhibits "A" to "PP", while respondent
appeared both as witness and counsel and submitted Exhibits "1" to "11". The parties were required to submit their respective memoranda.
On May 16, 1988 respondent filed a motion to dismiss the complaint against him, claiming that the long delay in the resolution of the complaint against
him constitutes a violation of his constitutional right to due process and speedy disposition of cases. Upon order of the Court, the Solicitor General filed a
comment to the motion to dismiss on August 8, 1988, explaining that the delay in the investigation of the case was due to the numerous requests for
postponement of scheduled hearings filed by both parties and the motions for extension of time to file their respective memoranda." [Comment of the
Solicitor General, p. 2; Record, p. 365]. Respondent filed a reply to the Solicitor General's comment on October 26, 1988. In a resolution dated January
16, 1989 the Court required the Solicitor General to submit his report and recommendation within thirty (30) days from notice.
On April 11, 1989, the Solicitor General submitted his report with the recommendation that Atty. Ramon A. Gonzales be suspended for six (6) months.
The Solicitor General found that respondent committed the following acts of misconduct:
a. transferring to himself one-half of the properties of his clients during the pendency of the case where the properties were involved;
b. concealing from complainant the fact that the property subject of their land development agreement had already been sold at a
public auction prior to the execution of said agreement; and
c. misleading the court by submitting alleged true copies of a document where two signatories who had not signed the original (or
even the xerox copy) were made to appear as having fixed their signatures [Report and Recommendation of the Solicitor General,
pp. 17-18; Rollo, pp. 403-404].
Respondent then filed on April 14, 1989 a motion to refer the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation and disposition pursuant
to Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of Court. Respondent manifested that he intends to submit more evidence before the IBP. Finally, on November 27,
1989, respondent filed a supplemental motion to refer this case to the IBP, containing additional arguments to bolster his contentions in his previous
pleadings.
I.
Preliminarily, the Court will dispose of the procedural issue raised by respondent. It is respondent's contention that the preliminary investigation
conducted by the Solicitor General was limited to the determination of whether or not there is sufficient ground to proceed with the case and that under
Rule 139 the Solicitor General still has to file an administrative complaint against him. Respondent claims that the case should be referred to the IBP
since Section 20 of Rule 139-B provides that:
This Rule shall take effect on June 1, 1988 and shall supersede the present Rule 139 entitled DISBARMENT OR SUSPENSION OF
ATTORNEYS. All cases pending investigation by the Office of the Solicitor General shall be transferred to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines Board of Governors for investigation and disposition as provided in this Rule except those cases where the investigation
has been substantially completed.
The above contention of respondent is untenable. In the first place, contrary to respondent's claim, reference to the IBP of complaints against lawyers is
not mandatory upon the Court [Zaldivar v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 79690-707; Zaldivar v. Gonzales, G.R. No. 80578, October 7, 1988]. Reference of
complaints to the IBP is not an exclusive procedure under the terms of Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of Court [Ibid]. Under Sections 13 and 14 of
Rule 139-B, the Supreme Court may conduct disciplinary proceedings without the intervention of the IBP by referring cases for investigation to the
Solicitor General or to any officer of the Supreme Court or judge of a lower court. In such a case, the report and recommendation of the investigating
official shall be reviewed directly by the Supreme Court. The Court shall base its final action on the case on the report and recommendation submitted by
the investigating official and the evidence presented by the parties during the investigation.
Secondly, there is no need to refer the case to the IBP since at the time of the effectivity of Rule 139-B [June 1, 1988] the investigation conducted by the
Office of the Solicitor General had been substantially completed. Section 20 of Rule 139-B provides that only pending cases, the investigation of which
has not been substantially completed by the Office of the Solicitor General, shall be transferred to the IBP. In this case the investigation by the Solicitor
General was terminated even before the effectivity of Rule 139-B. Respondent himself admitted in his motion to dismiss that the Solicitor General
terminated the investigation on November 26, 1986, the date when respondent submitted his reply memorandum [Motion to Dismiss, p. 1; Record, p.
353].
Thirdly, there is no need for further investigation since the Office of the Solicitor General already made a thorough and comprehensive investigation of
the case. To refer the case to the IBP, as prayed for by the respondent, will result not only in duplication of the proceedings conducted by the Solicitor
General but also to further delay in the disposition of the present case which has lasted for more than thirteen (13) years.
Respondent's assertion that he still has some evidence to present does not warrant the referral of the case to the IBP. Considering that in the
investigation conducted by the Solicitor General respondent was given ample opportunity to present evidence, his failure to adduce additional evidence
is entirely his own fault. There was therefore no denial of procedural due process. The record shows that respondent appeared as witness for himself
and presented no less than eleven (11) documents to support his contentions. He was also allowed to cross-examine the complainant who appeared as
a witness against him.
II.
The Court will now address the substantive issue of whether or not respondent committed the acts of misconduct alleged by complainant Bautista.
After a careful review of the record of the case and the report and recommendation of the Solicitor General, the Court finds that respondent committed
acts of misconduct which warrant the exercise by this Court of its disciplinary power.
The record shows that respondent prepared a document entitled "Transfer of Rights" which was signed by the Fortunados on August 31, 1971. The
document assigned to respondent one-half (1/2) of the properties of the Fortunados covered by TCT No. T-1929, with an area of 239.650 sq. mm., and
TCT No. T-3041, with an area of 72.907 sq. m., for and in consideration of his legal services to the latter. At the time the document was executed,
respondent knew that the abovementioned properties were the subject of a civil case [Civil Case No. Q-15143] pending before the Court of First
Instance of Quezon City since he was acting as counsel for the Fortunados in said case [See Annex "B" of Original Complaint, p. 12; Rollo, p. 16]. In
executing the document transferring one-half (1/2) of the subject properties to himself, respondent violated the law expressly prohibiting a lawyer from
acquiring his client's property or interest involved in any litigation in which he may take part by virtue of his profession [Article 1491, New Civil Code].
This Court has held that the purchase by a lawyer of his client's property or interest in litigation is a breach of professional ethics and constitutes
malpractice [Hernandez v. Villanueva, 40 Phil. 774 (1920); Go Beltran v. Fernandez, 70 Phil. 248 (1940)].
However, respondent notes that Canon 10 of the old Canons of Professional Ethics, which states that "[t]he lawyer should not purchase any interests in
the subject matter of the litigation which he is conducting," does not appear anymore in the new Code of Professional Responsibility. He therefore
63


concludes that while a purchase by a lawyer of property in litigation is void under Art. 1491 of the Civil Code, such purchase is no longer a ground for
disciplinary action under the new Code of Professional Responsibility.
This contention is without merit. The very first Canon of the new Code states that "a lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and
promote respect for law and legal process" (Emphasis supplied), Moreover, Rule 138, Sec. 3 of the Revised Rules of Court requires every lawyer to take
an oath to 44 obey the laws [of the Republic of the Philippines] as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein." And for any
violation of this oath, a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred by the Supreme Court [Rule 138, Sec. 27, Revised Rules of Court]. All of these
underscore the role of the lawyer as the vanguard of our legal system. The transgression of any provision of law by a lawyer is a repulsive and
reprehensible act which the Court will not countenance. In the instant case, respondent, having violated Art. 1491 of the Civil Code, must be held
accountable both to his client and to society.
Parenthetically, it should be noted that the persons mentioned in Art. 1491 of the Civil Code are prohibited from purchasing the property mentioned
therein because of their existing trust relationship with the latter. A lawyer is disqualified from acquiring by purchase the property and rights in litigation
because of his fiduciary relationship with such property and rights, as well as with the client. And it cannot be claimed that the new Code of Professional
Responsibility has failed to emphasize the nature and consequences of such relationship. Canon 17 states that "a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of
his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him." On the other hand, Canon 16 provides that "a lawyer shall hold in trust all
moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession." Hence, notwithstanding the absence of a specific provision on the matter in the
new Code, the Court, considering the abovequoted provisions of the new Code in relation to Art. 1491 of the Civil Code, as well as the prevailing
jurisprudence, holds that the purchase by a lawyer of his client's property in litigation constitutes a breach of professional ethics for which a disciplinary
action may be brought against him.
Respondent's next contention that the transfer of the properties was not really implemented, because the land development agreement on which the
transfer depended was later rescinded, is untenable. Nowhere is it provided in the Transfer of Rights that the assignment of the properties of the
Fortunados to respondent was subject to the implementation of the land development agreement. The last paragraph of the Transfer of Rights provides
that:
... for and in consideration of the legal services of ATTY. RAMON A. GONZALES, Filipino, married to Lilia Yusay, and a resident of
23 Sunrise Hill, New Manila, Quezon City, rendered to our entire satisfaction, we hereby, by these presents, do transfer and convey
to the said ATTY. RAMON A. GONZALES, his heirs, successor, and assigns, one-half (1/2) of our rights and interests in the
abovedescribed property, together with all the improvements found therein [Annex D of the Complaint, Record, p. 28; Emphasis
supplied].
It is clear from the foregoing that the parties intended the transfer of the properties to respondent to be absolute and unconditional, and irrespective of
whether or not the land development agreement was implemented.
Another misconduct committed by respondent was his failure to disclose to complainant, at the time the land development agreement was entered into,
that the land covered by TCT No. T-1929 had already been sold at a public auction. The land development agreement was executed on August 31, 1977
while the public auction was held on June 30, 1971.
Respondent denies that complainant was his former client, claiming that his appearance for the complainant in an anti-graft case filed by the latter
against a certain Gilbert Teodoro was upon the request of complainant and was understood to be only provisional. Respondent claims that since
complainant was not his client, he had no duty to warn complainant of the fact that the land involved in their land development agreement had been sold
at a public auction. Moreover, the sale was duly annotated at the back of TCT No. T-1929 and this, respondent argues, serves as constructive notice to
complainant so that there was no concealment on his part.
The above contentions are unmeritorious. Even assuming that the certificate of sale was annotated at the back of TCT No. T-1929, the fact remains that
respondent failed to inform the complainant of the sale of the land to Samauna during the negotiations for the land development agreement. In so doing,
respondent failed to live up to the rigorous standards of ethics of the law profession which place a premium on honesty and condemn duplicitous
conduct. The fact that complainant was not a former client of respondent does not exempt respondent from his duty to inform complainant of an
important fact pertaining to the land which is subject of their negotiation. Since he was a party to the land development agreement, respondent should
have warned the complainant of the sale of the land at a public auction so that the latter could make a proper assessment of the viability of the project
they were jointly undertaking. This Court has held that a lawyer should observe honesty and fairness even in his private dealings and failure to do so is a
ground for disciplinary action against him [Custodio v. Esto, Adm. Case No. 1113, February 22, 1978, 81 SCRA 517].
Complainant also charges respondent with submitting to the court falsified documents purporting to be true copies of an addendum to the land
development agreement.
Based on evidence submitted by the parties, the Solicitor General found that in the document filed by respondent with the Court of First Instance of
Quezon City, the signatories to the addendum to the land development agreement namely, Ramon A. Gonzales, Alfaro T. Fortunado, Editha T.
Fortunado, Nestor T. Fortunado, and Angel L. Bautistawere made to appear as having signed the original document on December 9, 1972, as
indicated by the letters (SGD.) before each of their names. However, it was only respondent Alfaro Fortunado and complainant who signed the original
and duplicate original (Exh. 2) and the two other parties, Edith Fortunado and Nestor Fortunado, never did. Even respondent himself admitted that Edith
and Nestor Fortunado only signed the xerox copy (Exh. 2-A) after respondent wrote them on May 24, 1973, asking them to sign the said xerox copy
attached to the letter and to send it back to him after signing [Rejoinder to Complainant's Reply, pp. 4-6; Rollo, pp. 327-329]. Moreover, respondent
acknowledged that Edith and Nestor Fortunado had merely agreed by phone to sign, but had not actually signed, the alleged true copy of the addendum
as of May 23, 1973 [Respondent's Supplemental Motion to Refer this Case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, p. 16]. Thus, when respondent
submitted the alleged true copy of the addendum on May 23, 1973 as Annex "A" of his Manifestation filed with the Court of First Instance of Quezon
City, he knowingly misled the Court into believing that the original addendum was signed by Edith Fortunado and Nestor Fortunado. Such conduct
constitutes willful disregard of his solemn duty as a lawyer to act at all times in a manner consistent with the truth. A lawyer should never seek to mislead
the court by an artifice or false statement of fact or law [Section 20 (d), Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court; Canon 22, Canons of Professional Ethics;
Canon 10, Rule 10.01, Code of Professional Responsibility].
Anent the first charge of complainant, the Solicitor General found that no impropriety was committed by respondent in entering into a contingent fee
contract with the Fortunados [Report and Recommendation, p. 8; Record, p. 394]. The Court, however, finds that the agreement between the
respondent and the Fortunados, which provides in part that:
We the [Fortunados] agree on the 50% contingent fee, provided, you [respondent Ramon Gonzales] defray all expenses, for the
suit, including court fees.
Alfaro T. Fortunado [signed]
Editha T. Fortunado [signed]
Nestor T. Fortunado [signed]
CONFORME
Ramon A. Gonzales [signed]
[Annex A to the Complaint, Record, p. 4].
64


is contrary to Canon 42 of the Canons of Professional Ethics which provides that a lawyer may not properly agree with a client to pay or bear the
expenses of litigation. [See also Rule 16.04, Code of Professional Responsibility]. Although a lawyer may in good faith, advance the expenses of
litigation, the same should be subject to reimbursement. The agreement between respondent and the Fortunados, however, does not provide for
reimbursement to respondent of litigation expenses paid by him. An agreement whereby an attorney agrees to pay expenses of proceedings to enforce
the client's rights is champertous [JBP Holding Corp. v. U.S. 166 F. Supp. 324 (1958)]. Such agreements are against public policy especially where, as
in this case, the attorney has agreed to carry on the action at his own expense in consideration of some bargain to have part of the thing in dispute [See
Sampliner v. Motion Pictures Patents Co., et al., 255 F. 242 (1918)]. The execution of these contracts violates the fiduciary relationship between the
lawyer and his client, for which the former must incur administrative sanctions.
The Solicitor General next concludes that respondent cannot be held liable for acting as counsel for Eusebio Lopez, Jr. in Civil Case No. Q-15490 while
acting as counsel for the Fortunados against the same Eusebio Lopez, Jr. in Civil Case No. Q-15143. The Court, after considering the record, agrees
with the Solicitor General's findings on the matter. The evidence presented by respondent shows that his acceptance of Civil Case No. Q-15490 was
with the knowledge and consent of the Fortunados. The affidavit executed by the Fortunados on June 23, 1976 clearly states that they gave their
consent when respondent accepted the case of Eusebio Lopez, Jr. [Affidavit of Fortunados, dated June 23, 1976; Rollo, p. 198]. One of the recognized
exceptions to the rule against representation of conflicting interests is where the clients knowingly consent to the dual representation after full disclosure
of the facts by counsel [Canon 6, Canons of Professional Ethics; Canon 15, Rule 15.03, Code of Professional Responsibility].
Complainant also claims that respondent filed several complaints against him before the Court of First Instance and the Fiscal's Office of Quezon City for
the sole purpose of harassing him.
The record shows that at the time of the Solicitor General's investigation of this case, Civil Case No. Q-18060 was still pending before the Court of First
Instance of Quezon City, while the complaints for libel (I.S. No. 76-5912) and perjury (I.S. No. 5913) were already dismissed by the City Fiscal for
insufficiency of evidence and lack of interest, respectively [Report and Recommendation, pp. 16-17; Rollo, pp. 402-403]. The Solicitor General found no
basis for holding that the complaints for libel and perjury were used by respondent to harass complainant. As to Civil Case No. Q-18060, considering
that it was still pending resolution, the Solicitor General made no finding on complainants claim that it was a mere ploy by respondent to harass him. The
determination of the validity of the complaint in Civil Case No. Q-18060 was left to the Court of First Instance of Quezon City where the case was
pending resolution.
The Court agrees with the above findings of the Solicitor General, and accordingly holds that there is no basis for holding that the respondent's sole
purpose in filing the aforementioned cases was to harass complainant.
Grounds 6, 8 and 9 alleged in the complaint need not be discussed separately since the above discussion on the other grounds sufficiently cover these
remaining grounds.
The Court finds clearly established in this case that on four counts the respondent violated the law and the rules governing the conduct of a member of
the legal profession. Sworn to assist in the administration of justice and to uphold the rule of law, he has "miserably failed to live up to the standards
expected of a member of the Bar." [Artiaga v. Villanueva, Adm. Matter No. 1892, July 29, 1988, 163 SCRA 638, 647]. The Court agrees with the Solicitor
General that, considering the nature of the offenses committed by respondent and the facts and circumstances of the case, respondent lawyer should be
suspended from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months.
WHEREFORE, finding that respondent Attorney Ramon A. Gonzales committed serious misconduct, the Court Resolved to SUSPEND respondent from
the practice of law for SIX (6) months effective from the date of his receipt of this Resolution. Let copies of this Resolution be circulated to all courts of
the country for their information and guidance, and spread in the personal record of Atty. Gonzales.







Piatt September 1, 1933
C.E. PIATT, Chief of Police of Manila, complainant,
vs.
PERFECTO ABORDO, respondent.
The Respondent in his own behalf.
Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for the Government.
MALCOLM, J .:
On February 19, 1932, Perfecto Abordo, a member of the Philippine Bar, accepted the offer of two individuals to sell him a quantity of opium, a
prohibited drug, and agreed to pay P1.50 per tin for the opium. On the afternoon of the same day, Abordo was picked up at the corner of Taft Avenue
extension and Vito Cruz in the City of Manila, by one of the individuals who had made him the opium proposition, and was taken to Rizal Avenue
Extension outside of the city limits where they found a number of persons awaiting them in an automobile. A can was disclosed to Abordo as containing
opium, and believing that it was opium, he delivered to one Cabrales the amount of P600 in payment of the stuff. The can was loaded in the automobile
which brought Abordo to the scene of the delivery, but in returning to Manila another automobile overtook them and the parties riding therein, pretending
to be constabulary soldiers, told Abordo to stop. Instead Abordo drew his revolver and commanding the driver of the car to turn into Calle Vito Cruz was
able to evade his pursuers and to arrive safely at his home in Pasay. Once in his home Abordo examined the contents of the can and found it to contain
fake opium and sand. Thereupon Abordo reported to the Luneta Police Station of Manila that he had been robbed of P600. Two individuals were later
arrested, charged with the crime of estafa, and convicted.
Abordo admits that he entered into the transaction detailed above, adding that "he is sincerely sorry for it and vows not to repeat". His defense is that
"there being no evidence in the record establishing the relationship of attorney and client between the respondent and the malefactors", and "the act
complained of not having been committed in the exercise of his profession of attorney-at-law", the acts he committed could not affect his status as
attorney-at-law and could not, therefore, constitute a ground for disciplinary action.
Section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure enumerates the grounds for the suspension or disbarment of a lawyer. Nevertheless, it is well settled that a
member of the bar may be suspended or removed from his office as lawyer for other than statutory grounds. However, as a general rule, a court will not
assume jurisdiction to discipline one of its officers for misconduct alleged to be committed in his private capacity. The exception to the rule is that an
attorney will be removed not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional
duties, which shows him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer upon him. (In re Pelaez [1923], 44
Phil., 567.)
The courts are not curators of the morals of the bar. At the same time the profession is not compelled to harbor all persons whatever their character, who
are fortunate enough to keep out of prison. As good character is an essential qualification for admission of an attorney to practice, when the attorney's
65


character is bad in such respect as to show that he is unsafe and unfit to be entrusted with the powers of an attorney, the courts retain the power to
discipline him.
It will be recalled that Perfecto Abordo, a member of the Philippine Bar, attempted to engage in an opium deal in direct contravention of the criminal law
of the Philippine Islands. All that kept the nefarious plan from succeeding was the treacherous conduct of his co-conspirators. The intention to flaunt the
law was present even if consummation of the overt act was not accomplished. In the eyes of the canons of professional ethics which govern the conduct
of attorneys, the act was as reprehensible as if it had been brought to a successful culmination. "Of all classes and professions, the lawyer is most
sacredly bound to uphold the laws" said the United States Supreme Court in the well known case of Ex Parte Wall ( [1882], 107 U.S., 265), and to that
doctrine we give our unqualified support.
The Solicitor-General submits that the respondent should be reprimanded and warned that a repetition of similar conduct in the future will be dealt with
more severely. To our minds such leniency on the part of the Supreme Court would serve merely to condone a pernicious example set by a member of
the bar, and would result in action entirely inadequate considering the aggravated nature of the case. In this respect we are not without judicial
precedents to guide us. Thus, in the case of In re Terrel ( [1903], 2 Phil., 266), although the respondent had been acquitted on the charge of estafa, yet it
was held that, since the promotion of an organization for the purpose of violating or evading the penal laws amounted to such malpractice on the part of
an attorney as will justify removal or suspension, the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a term of one year. Again, In re Pelaez,
supra, where an attorney-at-law who, as a guardian, pledged the shares of stock belonging to his ward to guarantee the payment of his personal debt,
although this was misconduct committed in his private capacity, the court nevertheless suspended the respondent from the legal profession for one year.
We think the instant case grave, and meriting as severe a sentence.
It is the order of the court that the respondent Perfecto Abordo be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year to begin on September 1,
1933.

























[G.R. No. 159486-88. November 25, 2003]
PRESIDENT JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN [SPECIAL DIVISION], HON. MINITA CHICO-NAZARIO,
HON. EDILBERTO SANDOVAL, HON. TERESITA LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
On 23 September 2003, this Court issued its resolution in the above-numbered case; it read:
The case for consideration has been brought to this Court via a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court filed by Joseph Ejercito
Estrada, acting through his counsel Attorney Alan F. Paguia, against the Sandiganbayan, et al. The Petition prays
1. That Chief Justice Davide and the rest of the members of the Honorable Court disqualify themselves from hearing and deciding
this petition;
2. That the assailed resolutions of the Sandiganbayan be vacated and set aside; and
3. That Criminal Cases No. 26558, No. 26565 and No. 26905 pending before the Sandiganbayan be dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction.
Attorney Alan F. Paguia, speaking for petitioner, asserts that the inhibition of the members of the Supreme Court from hearing the petition is called for
under Rule 5.10 of the Code of Judicial Conduct prohibiting justices or judges from participating in any partisan political activity which proscription,
according to him, the justices have violated by attending the EDSA 2 Rally and by authorizing the assumption of Vice-President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo to the Presidency in violation of the 1987 Constitution. Petitioner contends that the justices have thereby prejudged a case that would assail the
legality of the act taken by President Arroyo. The subsequent decision of the Court in Estrada v. Arroyo (353 SCRA 452 and 356 SCRA 108) is,
petitioner states, a patent mockery of justice and due process.
Attorney Paguia first made his appearance for petitioner when he filed an Omnibus Motion on 19 May 2003, before the Sandiganbayan, asking that the
appointment of counsels de officio (sic) be declared functus officio and that, being the now counsel de parte, he be notified of all subsequent
proceedings in Criminal Cases No. 26558, No. 26565 and No. 26905 pending therein. Finally, Attorney Paguia asked that all the foregoing criminal
cases against his client be dismissed.
During the hearing of the Omnibus Motion on 30 May 2003, petitioner presented to the court several portions of the book, entitled Reforming the
Judiciary, written by Justice Artemio Panganiban, to be part of the evidence for the defense. On 9 June 2003, petitioner filed a motion pleading, among
other things, that
a) x x x President Estrada be granted the opportunity to prove the truth of the statements contained in Justice Artemio
Panganibans book, REFORMING THE JUDICIARY, in relation to the prejudgment committed by the Supreme Court
justices against President Estrada in the subject case/s of Estrada v. Arroyo, 353 SCRA 452 and 356 SCRA 108; and,
b) A subpoena ad testificandum and duces tecum be issued to Justice Artemio Panganiban, Justice Antonio Carpio, Justice
Renato Corona, Secretary Angelo Reyes of the Department of National Defense, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-
66


Arroyo, Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., and Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. for them to testify and bring whatever
supporting documents they may have in relation to their direct and indirect participation in the proclamation of Vice
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on January 20, 2001, as cited in the book of Justice Panganiban, including the
material events that led to that proclamation and the ruling/s in the Estrada vs. Arroyo, supra. (Rollo, pp. 6-7.)
The truth referred to in paragraph a) of the relief sought in the motion of petitioner pertains to what he claims should have been included in the
resolution of the Sandiganbayan; viz:
The request of the movant is simply for the Court to include in its Joint Resolution the TRUTH of the acts of Chief Justice Davide, et al., last January 20,
2001 in:
a) going to EDSA 2;
b) authorizing the proclamation of Vice-President Arroyo as President on the ground of permanent disability even without
proof of compliance with the corresponding constitutional conditions, e.g., written declaration by either the President or
majority of his cabinet; and
c) actually proclaiming Vice-President Arroyo on that same ground of permanent disability.
It is patently unreasonable for the Court to refuse to include these material facts which are obviously undeniable. Besides, it is the only defense of
President Estrada. (Petition, Rollo, pp. 13-14.)
On 2 July 2003, the Sandiganbayan issued an order denying the foregoing motion, as well as the motion to dismiss, filed by petitioner. Forthwith,
petitioner filed a Mosyong Pangrekonsiderasyon of the foregoing order. According to Attorney Paguia, during the hearing of his Mosyong
Pangrekonsiderasyon on 11 June 2003, the three justices of the Special Division of the Sandiganbayan made manifest their bias and partiality against
his client. Thus, he averred, Presiding Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario supposedly employed foul and disrespectful language when she blurted out,
Magmumukha naman kaming gago, (Rollo, p. 13.) and Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro characterized the motion as insignificant even before the
prosecution could file its comments or opposition thereto, (Rollo, p. 12.) remarking in open court that to grant Estradas motion would result in chaos and
disorder. (Ibid.) Prompted by the alleged bias and partial attitude of the Sandiganbayan justices, Attorney Paguia filed, on 14 July 2003, a motion for
their disqualification. On 31 July 2003, petitioner received the two assailed resolutions, i.e., the resolution (Promulgated on 30 July 2003.) of 28 July
2003, denying petitioners motion for reconsideration of 6 July 2003; viz:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused-movant Joseph Ejercito Estradas Mosyong Pangrekonsiderasyon (Na tumutukoy sa Joint Resolution
ng Hulyo 2, 2003) dated July 6, 2003 is DENIED for lack of merit. (Rollo, p. 37.)
and the resolution (Promulgated on 30 July 2003.) of 25 July 2003, denying petitioners motion for disqualification of 14 July 2003; viz:
WHEREFORE, prescinding from all the foregoing, the Court, for want of merit, hereby DENIES the Motion for Disqualification. (Rollo, p. 48.)
The instant petition assailing the foregoing orders must be DISMISSED for gross insufficiency in substance and for utter lack of merit. The
Sandiganbayan committed no grave abuse of discretion, an indispensable requirement to warrant a recourse to the extraordinary relief of petition for
certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. On the one hand, petitioner would disclaim the authority and jurisdiction of the
members of this tribunal and, on the other hand, he would elevate the petition now before it to challenge the two resolutions of the Sandiganbayan. He
denounces the decision as being a patent mockery of justice and due process. Attorney Pagula went on to state that-
The act of the public officer, if LAWFUL, is the act of the public office. But the act of the public officer, if UNLAWFUL, is not the act of the public office.
Consequently, the act of the justices, if LAWFUL, is the act of the Supreme Court. But the act of the justices, if UNLAWFUL, is not the act of the
Supreme Court. It is submitted that the Decision in ESTRADA vs. ARROYO being patently unlawful in view of Rule 5.10 of the CODE OF JUDICIAL
CONDUCT, is not the act of the Supreme Court but is merely the wrong or trespass of those individual Justices who falsely spoke and acted in the name
of the Supreme Court. (Urbano vs. Chavez, 183 SCRA [347]). Furthermore, it would seem absurd to allow the Justices to use the name of the Supreme
Court as a shield for their UNLAWFUL act. (Petition, Rollo, p. 11.)
Criticism or comment made in good faith on the correctness or wrongness, soundness or unsoundness, of a decision of the Court would be welcome
for, if well-founded, such reaction can enlighten the court and contribute to the correction of an error if committed. (In Re Sotto, 82 Phil 595.)
The ruling in Estrada v. Arroyo, being a final judgment, has long put to end any question pertaining to the legality of the ascension of Arroyo into the
presidency. By reviving the issue on the validity of the assumption of Mme. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the presidency, Attorney Paguia is vainly
seeking to breathe life into the carcass of a long dead issue.
Attorney Paguia has not limited his discussions to the merits of his clients case within the judicial forum; indeed, he has repeated his assault on the
Court in both broadcast and print media. Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility prohibits a member of the bar from making such public
statements on any pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party. By his acts, Attorney Paguia may have stoked the fires of public
dissension and posed a potentially dangerous threat to the administration of justice.
It is not the first time that Attorney Paguia has exhibited similar conduct towards the Supreme Court. In a letter, dated 30 June 2003, addressed to
Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., and Associate Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, he has demanded, in a clearly disguised form of forum shopping, for
several advisory opinions on matters pending before the Sandiganbayan. In a resolution, dated 08 July 2003, this Court has strongly warned Attorney
Alan Paguia, on pain of disciplinary sanction, to desist from further making, directly or indirectly, similar submissions to this Court or to its Members. But,
unmindful of the well-meant admonition to him by the Court, Attorney Paguia appears to persist on end.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is DISMISSED, and the Court hereby orders Attorney Alan Paguia, counsel for petitioner Joseph
Ejercito Estrada, to SHOW CAUSE, within ten days from notice hereof, why he should not be sanctioned for conduct unbecoming a lawyer and an officer
of the Court.
On 10 October 2003, Atty. Paguia submitted his compliance with the show-cause order. In a three-page pleading, Atty. Paguia, in an obstinate display of
defiance, repeated his earlier claim of political partisanship against the members of the Court.
Canon 5.10 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which Atty. Paguia has tirelessly quoted to give some semblance of validity for his groundless attack on the
Court and its members, provides -
Rule 5.10. A judge is entitled to entertain personal views on political questions. But to avoid suspicion of political partisanship, a judge shall not make
political speeches, contribute to party funds, publicly endorse candidates for political office or participate in other partisan political activities.
Section 79(b) of the Omnibus Election Code defines the term partisan political activities; the law states:
The term election campaign or partisan political activity refers to an act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or
candidates to a public office which shall include:
(1) Forming organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any
campaign for or against a candidate;
(2) Holding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or
undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate.
(3) Making speeches, announcements or commentaries, or holding interviews for or against the election of any candidate for public office;
(4) Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate; or
(5) Directly or indirectly soliciting votes, pledges or support for or against a candidate.
67


It should be clear that the phrase partisan political activities, in its statutory context, relates to acts designed to cause the success or the defeat of a
particular candidate or candidates who have filed certificates of candidacy to a public office in an election. The taking of an oath of office by any
incoming President of the Republic before the Chief Justice of the Philippines is a traditional official function of the Highest Magistrate. The assailed
presence of other justices of the Court at such an event could be no different from their appearance in such other official functions as attending the
Annual State of the Nation Address by the President of the Philippines before the Legislative Department.
The Supreme Court does not claim infallibility; it will not denounce criticism made by anyone against the Court for, if well-founded, can truly have
constructive effects in the task of the Court, but it will not countenance any wrongdoing nor allow the erosion of our peoples faith in the judicial system,
let alone, by those who have been privileged by it to practice law in the Philippines.
Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that the lawyer should observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial
officers and, indeed, should insist on similar conduct by others. In liberally imputing sinister and devious motives and questioning the impartiality,
integrity, and authority of the members of the Court, Atty. Paguia has only succeeded in seeking to impede, obstruct and pervert the dispensation of
justice.
The attention of Atty. Paguia has also been called to the mandate of Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility prohibiting a
member of the bar from making such public statements on a case that may tend to arouse public opinion for or against a party. Regrettably,
Atty. Paguia has persisted in ignoring the Courts well-meant admonition.
On the 7th September 2003 issue of the Daily Tribune, Atty. Paguia wrote to say -
What is the legal effect of that violation of President Estradas right to due process of law? It renders the decision in Estrada vs. Arroyo
unconstitutional and void. The rudiments of fair play were not observed. There was no fair play since it appears that when President Estrada
filed his petition, Chief Justice Davide and his fellow justices had already committed to the other party - GMA - with a judgment already made
and waiting to be formalized after the litigants shall have undergone the charade of a formal hearing. After the justices had authorized the
proclamation of GMA as president, can they be expected to voluntarily admit the unconstitutionality of their own act?
Unrelentingly, Atty. Paguia has continued to make public statements of like nature.
The Court has already warned Atty. Paguia, on pain of disciplinary sanction, to become mindful of his grave responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer
of the Court. Apparently, he has chosen not to at all take heed.
WHEREFORE, Attorney Alan Paguia is hereby indefinitely suspended from the practice of law, effective upon his receipt hereof, for conduct
unbecoming a lawyer and an officer of the Court.
Let copies of this resolution be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and all courts of the land through the Office
of the Court Administrator.

















May 15, 1903
G.R. No. 1203
In the matter of the suspension of HOWARD D. TERRELL from the practice of law.
Solicitor-General Araneta for Government.
W. A. Kincaid for defendant.
PER CURIAM:
Howard D. Terrell, an attorney-at-law, was ordered to show cause in the Court of First Instance, in the city of Manila, on the 5th day of February, 1903,
why he should not be suspended as a member of the bar of the city of Manila for the reasons:
First, that he had assisted in the organization of the "Centro Bellas Artes" Club, after he had been notified that the said organization was made for the
purpose of evading the law then in force in said city; and,
Secondly, for acting as attorney for said "Centro Bellas Artes" during the time of and after its organization, which organization was known to him to be
created for the purpose of evading the law.
The accused appeared on the return day, and by his counsel, W. A. Kincaid, made answer to these charges, denying the same, and filed affidavits in
answer thereto. After reading testimony given by said Howard D. Terrell, in the case of the United States vs. H. D. Terrell,
1
wherein he was charged
with estafa, and after reading the said affidavits in his behalf, and hearing his counsel, the court below found, and decided as a fact, that the charges
aforesaid made against Howard D. Terrell were true, and thereupon made an order suspending him from his office as a lawyer in the Philippine Islands,
and directed the clerk of the court to transmit to this court a certified copy of the order of suspension, as well as a full statement of the facts upon which
the same was based.
We have carefully considered these facts, and have reached the conclusion that they were such as to justify the court below in arriving at the conclusion
that the knowledge and acts of the accused in connection with the organization of the "Centro Bellas Artes" Club were of such a nature and character as
to warrant his suspension from practice.
The promoting of organizations, with knowledge of their objects, for the purpose of violating or evading the laws against crime constitutes such
misconduct on the part of an attorney, an officer of the court, as amounts to malpractice or gross misconduct in his office, and for which he may be
removed or suspended. (Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 21.) The assisting of a client in a scheme which the attorney knows to be dishonest, or the
conniving at a violation of law, are acts which justify disbarment.
In this case, however, inasmuch as the defendant in the case of the United States, vs. Terrell was acquitted on the charge of estafa, and has not,
therefore, been convicted of crime, and as the acts with which he is charged in this proceeding, while unprofessional and hence to be condemned, are
68


not criminal in their nature, we are of opinion that the ends of justice will be served by the suspension of said Howard D. Terrell from the practice of law
in the Philippine Islands for the term of one year from the 7th day of February, 1903.
It is therefore directed that the said Howard D. Terrell be suspended from the practice of law for a term of one year from February 7, 1903. It is so
ordered.










































A.C. No. 4497 September 26, 2001, MR. and MRS. VENUSTIANO G. SABURNIDO vs. ATTY. FLORANTE E. MADROO,
1
respondent.
For our resolution is the administrative complaint
2
for disbarment of respondent, Atty. Florante E. Madroo filed by spouses Venustiano and Rosalia
Saburdino. Complainants allege that respondent has been harassing them by filing numerous complaints against them, in addition to committing acts of
dishonesty.
Complainant Venustiano Saburnido is a member of the Philippine National Police stationed at Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, while his wife Rosalia is a
public school teacher. Respondent is a former judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Balingasag-Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental.
Previous to this administrative case, complainants also filed three separate administrative cases against respondent.
In A. M. No. MTJ-90-383,
3
complainant Venustiano Saburnido filed charges of grave threats and acts unbecoming a member of the judiciary against
respondent. Respondent was therein found guilty of pointing a high-powered firearm at complainant, who was unarmed at the time, during a heated
altercation. Respondent was accordingly dismissed from the service with prejudice to reemployment in government but without forfeiture of retirement
benefits.
Respondent was again administratively charged in the consolidated cases of Sealana-Abbu v. Judge Madroo, A.M. No. 92-1-084-RTC and Sps.
Saburnido v. Judge Madroo, A.M. No. MTJ-90-486.
4
In the first case, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Florencia Sealana-Abbu charged that respondent
granted and reduced bail in a criminal case without prior notice to the prosecution. In the second case, the spouses Saburnido charged that respondent,
in whose court certain confiscated smuggled goods were deposited, allowed other persons to take the goods but did not issue the corresponding
memorandum receipts. Some of the goods were lost while others were substituted with damaged goods. Respondent was found guilty of both charges
and his retirement benefits were forfeited.
In the present case, the spouses Saburnido allege that respondent has been harassing them by filing numerous complaints against them, namely:
1. Adm. Case No. 90-0755,
5
for serious irregularity, filed by respondent against Venustiano Saburnido. Respondent claimed that Venustiano lent his
service firearm to an acquaintance who thereafter extorted money from public jeepney drivers while posing as a member of the then Constabulary
Highway Patrol Group.
2. Adm. Case No. 90-0758,
6
for falsification, filed by respondent against Venustiano Saburnido and two others. Respondent averred that Venustiano,
with the help of his co-respondents in the case, inserted an entry in the police blotter regarding the loss of Venustiano's firearm.
3. Crim. Case No. 93-67,
7
for evasion through negligence under Article 224 of the Revised Penal Code, filed by respondent against Venustiano
Saburnido. Respondent alleged that Venustiano Saburnido, without permission from his superior, took into custody a prisoner by final Judgment who
thereafter escaped.
69


4. Adm. Case No. 95 33,
8
filed by respondent against Rosalia Saburnido for violation of the Omnibus Election Code. Respondent alleged that Rosalia
Saburnido served as chairperson of the Board of Election Inspectors during the 1995 elections despite being related to a candidate for barangay
councilor.
At the time the present complaint was filed, the three actions filed against Venustiano Saburnido had been dismissed while the case against Rosalia
Saburnido was still pending.
Complainants allege that respondent filed those cases against them in retaliation, since they had earlier filed administrative cases against him that
resulted in his dismissal from the judiciary. Complainants assert that due to the complaints filed against them, they suffered much moral, mental,
physical, and financial damage. They claim that their children had to stop going to school since the family funds were used up in attending to their cases.
For his part, respondent contends that the grounds mentioned in the administrative cases in which he was dismissed and his benefits forfeited did not
constitute moral turpitude. Hence, he could not be disbarred therefor. He then argues that none of the complaints he filed against complainants was
manufactured. He adds that he "was so unlucky that Saburnido was not convicted."
9
He claims that the complaint for serious irregularity against
Venustiano Saburnido was dismissed only because the latter was able to antedate an entry in the police blotter stating that his service firearm was lost.
He also points out that Venustiano was suspended when a prisoner escaped during his watch. As for his complaint against Rosalia Saburnido,
respondent contends that by mentioning this case in the present complaint, Rosalia wants to deprive him of his right to call the attention of the proper
authorities to a violation of the Election Code.
In their reply, complainants reiterate their charge that the cases against them were meant only to harass them. In addition, Rosalia Saburnido stressed
that she served in the BEI in 1995 only because the supposed chairperson was indisposed. She stated that she told the other BEI members and the
pollwatchers that she was related to one candidate and that she would desist from serving if anyone objected. Since nobody objected, she proceeded to
dispense her duties as BEI chairperson. She added that her relative lost in that election while respondent's son won.
In a resolution dated May 22, 1996,
10
we referred this matter to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation.
In its report submitted to this Court on October 16, 2000, the IBP noted that respondent and his counsel failed to appear and present evidence in the
hearing of the case set for January 26, 2000, despite notice. Thus, respondent was considered to have waived his right to present evidence in his behalf
during said hearing. Neither did respondent submit his memorandum as directed by the IBP.
After evaluating the evidence before it, the IBP concluded that complainants submitted convincing proof that respondent indeed committed acts
constituting gross misconduct that warrant the imposition of administrative sanction. The IBP recommends that respondent be suspended from the
practice of law for one year.
We have examined the records of this case and find no reason to disagree with the findings and recommendation of the IBP.
A lawyer may be disciplined for any conduct, in his professional or private capacity, that renders him unfit to continue to be an officer of the court.
11

Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility commands all lawyers to at all times uphold the dignity and integrity of the legal profession.
Specifically, in Rule 7.03, the Code provides:
RULE 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall be whether in public or private
life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
Clearly, respondent's act of filing multiple complaints against herein complainants reflects on his fitness to be a member of the legal profession. His act
evinces vindictiveness, a decidedly undesirable trait whether in a lawyer or another individual, as complainants were instrumental in respondent's
dismissal from the judiciary. We see in respondent's tenacity in pursuing several cases against complainants not the persistence of one who has been
grievously wronged but the obstinacy of one who is trying to exact revenge.
Respondent's action erodes rather than enhances public perception of the legal profession. It constitutes gross misconduct for which he may be
suspended, following Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, which provides:
SECTION 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefor. A member of the bar may be disbarred or
suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly
immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take
before admission to practice, or for a wilful disobedience appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority so to do.x x x
Complainants ask that respondent be disbarred. However, we find that suspension from the practice of law is sufficient to discipline respondent.
The supreme penalty of disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an
officer of the court.
12
While we will not hesitate to remove an erring attorney from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers, where the evidence calls for it,
we will also not disbar him where a lesser penalty will suffice to accomplish the desired end.
13
In this case, we find suspension to be a sufficient sanction
against respondent. Suspension, we may add, is not primarily intended as a punishment, but as a means to protect the public and the legal profession.
14

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Florante E. Madroo is found GUILTY of gross misconduct and is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one year
with a WARNING that a repetition the same or similar act will be dealt with more severely. Respondent's suspension is effective upon his receipt of
notice of this decision. Let notice of this decision be spread in respondent's record as an attorney in this Court, and notice of the same served on the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and on the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all the courts concerned.






















70

















































G.R. No. L-28546 July 30, 1975
VENANCIO CASTANEDA and NICETAS HENSON, petitioners,
vs.
PASTOR D. AGO, LOURDES YU AGO and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Quijano and Arroyo for petitioners.
Jose M. Luison for respondents.

CASTRO, J .:
The parties in this case, except Lourdes Yu Ago, have been commuting to this Court for more than a decade.
In 1955 the petitioners Venancio Castaeda and Nicetas Henson filed a replevin suit against Pastor Ago in the Court of First Instance of Manila to
recover certain machineries (civil case 27251). In 1957 judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, ordering Ago to return the machineries or pay
definite sums of money. Ago appealed, and on June 30, 1961 this Court, in Ago vs. Castaeda, L-14066, affirmed the judgment. After remand, the trial
court issued on August 25, 1961 a writ of execution for the sum of P172,923.87. Ago moved for a stay of execution but his motion was denied, and levy
was made on Ago's house and lots located in Quezon City. The sheriff then advertised them for auction sale on October 25, 1961. Ago moved to stop
the auction sale, failing in which he filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. The appellate court dismissed the petition and Ago appealed.
On January 31,1966 this Court, in Ago vs. Court of Appeals, et al., L-19718, affirmed the dismissal. Ago thrice attempted to obtain a writ of preliminary
injunction to restrain the sheriff from enforcing the writ of execution "to save his family house and lot;" his motions were denied, and the sheriff sold the
house and lots on March 9, 1963 to the highest bidders, the petitioners Castaeda and Henson. Ago failed to redeem, and on April 17, 1964 the sheriff
executed the final deed of sale in favor of the vendees Castaeda and Henson. Upon their petition, the Court of First Instance of Manila issued a writ of
possession to the properties.
However, on May 2, 1964 Pastor Ago, now joined by his wife, Lourdes Yu Ago, as his co-plaintiff, filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance of
Quezon City (civil case Q-7986) to annul the sheriff's sale on the ground that the obligation of Pastor Ago upon which judgment was rendered against
him in the replevin suit was his personal obligation, and that Lourdes Yu Ago's one-half share in their conjugal residential house and lots which were
levied upon and sold by the sheriff could not legally be reached for the satisfaction of the judgment. They alleged in their complaint that wife Lourdes
was not a party in the replevin suit, that the judgment was rendered and the writ of execution was issued only against husband Pastor, and that wife
71


Lourdes was not a party to her husband's venture in the logging business which failed and resulted in the replevin suit and which did not benefit the
conjugal partnership.
The Court of First Instance of Quezon City issued an ex parte writ of preliminary injunction restraining the petitioners, the Register of Deeds and the
sheriff of Quezon City, from registering the latter's final deed of sale, from cancelling the respondents' certificates of title and issuing new ones to the
petitioners and from carrying out any writ of possession. A situation thus arose where what the Manila court had ordered to be done, the Quezon City
court countermanded. On November 1, 1965, however, the latter court lifted the preliminary injunction it had previously issued, and the Register of
deeds of Quezon City cancelled the respondents' certificates of title and issued new ones in favor of the petitioners. But enforcement of the writ of
possession was again thwarted as the Quezon City court again issued a temporary restraining order which it later lifted but then re-restored. On May 3,
1967 the court finally, and for the third time, lifted the restraining order.
While the battle on the matter of the lifting and restoring of the restraining order was being fought in the Quezon City court, the Agos filed a petition for
certiorari and prohibition with this Court under date of May 26, 1966, docketed as L-26116, praying for a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin the sheriff
from enforcing the writ of possession. This Court found no merit in the petition and dismissed it in a minute resolution on June 3, 1966; reconsideration
was denied on July 18, 1966. The respondents then filed on August 2, 1966 a similar petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Court of Appeals (CA-
G.R. 37830-R), praying for the same preliminary injunction. The Court of Appeals also dismissed the petition. The respondents then appealed to this
Court (L-27140).1wph1.t We dismissed the petition in a minute resolution on February 8, 1967.
The Ago spouses repaired once more to the Court of Appeals where they filed another petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction
(CA-G.R. 39438-R). The said court gave due course to the petition and granted preliminary injunction. After hearing, it rendered decision, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, writ of preliminary injunction from enforcement of the writ of possession on and ejectment from the one-half share in
the properties involved belonging to Lourdes Yu Ago dated June 15, 1967 is made permanent pending decision on the merits in
Civil Case No. Q-7986 and ordering respondent Court to proceed with the trial of Civil Case No. Q-7986 on the merits without
unnecessary delay. No pronouncement as to costs.
Failing to obtain reconsideration, the petitioners Castaeda and Henson filed the present petition for review of the aforesaid decision.
1. We do not see how the doctrine that a court may not interfere with the orders of a co-equal court can apply in the case at bar. The Court of First
Instance of Manila, which issued the writ of possession, ultimately was not interfered with by its co-equal court, the Court of First Instance of Quezon
City as the latter lifted the restraining order it had previously issued against the enforcement of the Manila court's writ of possession; it is the Court of
Appeals that enjoined, in part, the enforcement of the writ.
2. Invoking Comilang vs. Buendia, et al.,
1
where the wife was a party in one case and the husband was a party in another case and a levy on their
conjugal properties was upheld, the petitioners would have Lourdes Yu Ago similarly bound by the replevin judgment against her husband for which their
conjugal properties would be answerable. The case invoked is not at par with the present case. In Comilang the actions were admittedly instituted for the
protection of the common interest of the spouses; in the present case, the Agos deny that their conjugal partnership benefited from the husband's
business venture.
3. Relying upon Omnas vs. Rivera, 67 Phil. 419, the Court of Appeals held that a writ of possession may not issue until the claim of a third person to
half-interest in the property is adversely determined, the said appellate court assuming that Lourdes Yu Ago was a "stranger" or a "third-party" to her
husband. The assumption is of course obviously wrong, for, besides living with her husband Pastor, she does not claim ignorance of his business that
failed, of the relevant cases in which he got embroiled, and of the auction sale made by the sheriff of their conjugal properties. Even then, the ruling in
Omnas is not that a writ of possession may not issue until the claim of a third person is adversely determined, but that the writ of possession being a
complement of the writ of execution, a judge with jurisdiction to issue the latter also has jurisdiction to issue the former, unless in the interval between the
judicial sale and the issuance of the writ of possession, the rights of third parties to the property sold have supervened. The ruling in Omnas is clearly
inapplicable in the present case, for, here, there has been no change in the ownership of the properties or of any interest therein from the time the writ of
execution was issued up to the time writ of possession was issued, and even up to the present.
4. We agree with the trial court (then presided by Judge Lourdes P. San Diego) that it is much too late in the day for the respondents Agos to raise the
question that part of the property is unleviable because it belongs to Lourdes Yu Ago, considering that (1) a wife is normally privy to her husband's
activities; (2) the levy was made and the properties advertised for auction sale in 1961; (3) she lives in the very properties in question; (4) her husband
had moved to stop the auction sale; (5) the properties were sold at auction in 1963; (6) her husband had thrice attempted to obtain a preliminary
injunction to restrain the sheriff from enforcing the writ of execution; (7) the sheriff executed the deed of final sale on April 17, 1964 when Pastor failed to
redeem; (8) Pastor had impliedly admitted that the conjugal properties could be levied upon by his pleas "to save his family house and lot" in his efforts
to prevent execution; and (9) it was only on May 2, 1964 when he and his wife filed the complaint for annulment of the sheriff's sale upon the issue that
the wife's share in the properties cannot be levied upon on the ground that she was not a party to the logging business and not a party to the replevin
suit. The spouses Ago had every opportunity to raise the issue in the various proceedings hereinbefore discussed but did not; laches now effectively
bars them from raising it.
Laches, in a general sense, is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising
due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time,
warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it.
2

5. The decision of the appellate court under review suffers from two fatal infirmities.
(a) It enjoined the enforcement of the writ of possession to and ejectment from the one-half share in the properties involved belonging to Lourdes Yu
Ago. This half-share is not in esse, but is merely an inchoate interest, a mere expectancy, constituting neither legal nor equitable estate, and will ripen
into title when only upon liquidation and settlement there appears to be assets of the community.
3
The decision sets at naught the well-settled rule that
injunction does not issue to protect a right not in esse and which may never arise.
4

(b) The decision did not foresee the absurdity, or even the impossibility, of its enforcement. The Ago spouses admittedly live together in the same house

5
which is conjugal property. By the Manila court's writ of possession Pastor could be ousted from the house, but the decision under review would
prevent the ejectment of Lourdes. Now, which part of the house would be vacated by Pastor and which part would Lourdes continue to stay in? The
absurdity does not stop here; the decision would actually separate husband and wife, prevent them from living together, and in effect divide their
conjugal properties during coverture and before the dissolution of the conjugal union.
6. Despite the pendency in the trial court of the complaint for the annulment of the sheriff's sale (civil case Q-7986), elementary justice demands that the
petitioners, long denied the fruits of their victory in the replevin suit, must now enjoy them, for, the respondents Agos, abetted by their lawyer Jose M.
Luison, have misused legal remedies and prostituted the judicial process to thwart the satisfaction of the judgment, to the extended prejudice of the
petitioners. The respondents, with the assistance of counsel, maneuvered for fourteen (14) years to doggedly resist execution of the judgment thru
manifold tactics in and from one court to another (5 times in the Supreme Court).
We condemn the attitude of the respondents and their counsel who,
far from viewing courts as sanctuaries for those who seek justice, have tried to use them to subvert the very ends of justice.
6

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Forgetting his sacred mission as a sworn public servant and his exalted position as an officer of the court, Atty. Luison has allowed himself to become an
instigator of controversy and a predator of conflict instead of a mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise, a virtuoso of technicality in the
conduct of litigation instead of a true exponent of the primacy of truth and moral justice.
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 clients
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.
7

7. In view of the private respondents' propensity to use the courts for purposes other than to seek justice, and in order to obviate further delay in the
disposition of the case below which might again come up to the appellate courts but only to fail in the end, we have motu proprio examined the record of
civil case Q-7986 (the mother case of the present case). We find that
(a) the complaint was filed on May 2, 1964 (more than 11 years ago) but trial on the merits has not even started;
(b) after the defendants Castaedas had filed their answer with a counterclaim, the plaintiffs Agos filed a supplemental complaint where they impleaded
new parties-defendants;
(c) after the admission of the supplemental complaint, the Agos filed a motion to admit an amended supplemental complaint, which impleads an
additional new party-defendant (no action has yet been taken on this motion);
(d) the defendants have not filed an answer to the admitted supplemental complaint; and
(e) the last order of the Court of First Instance, dated April 20, 1974, grants an extension to the suspension of time to file answer. (Expediente, p. 815)
We also find that the alleged causes of action in the complaint, supplemental complaint and amended supplemental complaint are all untenable, for the
reasons hereunder stated. The Complaint
Upon the first cause of action, it is alleged that the sheriff levied upon conjugal properties of the spouses Ago despite the fact that the judgment to be
satisfied was personal only to Pastor Ago, and the business venture that he entered into, which resulted in the replevin suit, did not redound to the
benefit of the conjugal partnership. The issue here, which is whether or not the wife's inchoate share in the conjugal property is leviable, is the same
issue that we have already resolved, as barred by laches, in striking down the decision of the Court of Appeals granting preliminary injunction, the
dispositive portion of which was herein-before quoted. This ruling applies as well to the first cause of action of the complaint.
Upon the second cause of action, the Agos allege that on January 5, 1959 the Castaedas and the sheriff, pursuant to an alias writ of seizure, seized
and took possession of certain machineries, depriving the Agos of the use thereof, to their damage in the sum of P256,000 up to May 5, 1964. This
second cause of action fails to state a valid cause of action for it fails to allege that the order of seizure is invalid or illegal.
It is averred as a third cause of action that the sheriff's sale of the conjugal properties was irregular, illegal and unlawful because the sheriff did not
require the Castaeda spouses to pay or liquidate the sum of P141,750 (the amount for which they bought the properties at the auction sale) despite the
fact that there was annotated at the back of the certificates of title a mortgage of P75,000 in favor of the Philippine National Bank; moreover, the sheriff
sold the properties for P141,750 despite the pendency of L-19718 where Pastor Ago contested the amount of P99,877.08 out of the judgment value of
P172,923.37 in civil case 27251; and because of said acts, the Agos suffered P174,877.08 in damages.
Anent this third cause of action, the sheriff was under no obligation to require payment of the purchase price in the auction sale because "when the
purchaser is the judgment creditor, and no third-party claim has been filed, he need not pay the amount of the bid if it does not exceed the amount of his
judgment." (Sec. 23, Rule 39, Rules of Court)
The annotated mortgage in favor of the PNB is the concern of the vendees Castaedas but did not affect the sheriff's sale; the cancellation of the
annotation is of no moment to the Agoo.
Case L-19718 where Pastor Ago contested the sum of P99,877.08 out of the amount of the judgment was dismissed by this Court on January 31, 1966.
This third cause of action, therefore, actually states no valid cause of action and is moreover barred by prior judgment.
The fourth cause of action pertains to moral damages allegedly suffered by the Agos on account of the acts complained of in the preceding causes of
action. As the fourth cause of action derives its life from the preceding causes of action, which, as shown, are baseless, the said fourth cause of action
must necessarily fail.
The Counterclaim
As a counterclaim against the Agos, the Castaedas aver that the action was unfounded and as a consequence of its filing they were compelled to retain
the services of counsel for not less than P7,500; that because the Agos obtained a preliminary injunction enjoining the transfer of titles and possession
of the properties to the Castaedas, they were unlawfully deprived of the use of the properties from April 17, 1964, the value of such deprived use being
20% annually of their actual value; and that the filing of the unfounded action besmirched their feelings, the pecuniary worth of which is for the court to
assess.
The Supplemental Complaint
Upon the first cause of action, it is alleged that after the filing of the complaint, the defendants, taking advantage of the dissolution of the preliminary
injunction, in conspiracy and with gross bad faith and evident intent to cause damage to the plaintiffs, caused the registration of the sheriff's final deed of
sale; that, to cause more damage, the defendants sold to their lawyer and his wife two of the parcels of land in question; that the purchasers acquired
the properties in bad faith; that the defendants mortgaged the two other parcels to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation while the defendants'
lawyer and his wife also mortgaged the parcels bought by them to the Rizal Commercial Bank; and that the bank also acted in bad faith.
The second cause of action consists of an allegation of additional damages caused by the defendants' bad faith in entering into the aforesaid
agreements and transactions.
The Amended Supplemental Complaint
The amendment made pertains to the first cause of action of the supplemental complaint, which is, the inclusion of a paragraph averring that, still to
cause damage and prejudice to the plaintiffs, Atty. & Mrs. Juan Quijano, in bad faith sold the two parcels of land they had previously bought to Eloy
Ocampo who acquired them also in bad faith, while Venancio Castaeda and Nicetas Henson in bad faith sold the two other parcels to Juan Quijano
(60%) and Eloy Ocampo (40%) who acquired them in bad faith and with knowledge that the properties are the subject of a pending litigation.
Discussion on The Causes of Action
of The Supplemental Complaint And
The Amended Supplemental Complaint
Assuming hypothetically as true the allegations in the first cause of action of the supplemental complaint and the amended supplemental complaint, the
validity of the cause of action would depend upon the validity of the first cause of action of the original complaint, for, the Agos would suffer no
transgression upon their rights of ownership and possession of the properties by reason of the agreements subsequently entered into by the Castaedas
and their lawyer if the sheriff's levy and sale are valid. The reverse is also true: if the sheriff's levy and sale are invalid on the ground that the conjugal
properties could not be levied upon, then the transactions would perhaps prejudice the Agos, but, we have already indicated that the issue in the first
73


cause of action of the original complaint is barred by laches, and it must therefore follow that the first cause of action of the supplemental complaint and
the amended supplemental complaint is also barred.
For the same reason, the same holding applies to the remaining cause of action in the supplemental complaint and the amended supplemental
complaint.
ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the Court of Appeals under review is set aside. Civil case Q-7986 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal is ordered
dismissed, without prejudice to the re-filing of the petitioners' counterclaim in a new and independent action. Treble costs are assessed against the
spouses Pastor Ago and Lourdes Yu Ago, which shall be paid by their lawyer, Atty. Jose M. Luison. Let a copy of this decision be made a part of the
personal file of Atty. Luison in the custody of the Clerk of Court.










































G.R. No. L-23815 June 28, 1974
ADELINO H. LEDESMA, petitioner,
vs.
HON. RAFAEL C. CLIMACO, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch I, Silay City, respondent.
Adelino H. Ledesma in his own behalf.
Hon. Rafael C. Climaco in his own behalf.

FERNANDO, J .:p
What is assailed in this certiorari proceeding is an order of respondent Judge denying a motion filed by petitioner to be allowed to withdraw as counsel
de oficio.
1
One of the grounds for such a motion was his allegation that with his appointment as Election Registrar by the Commission on Elections, he
was not in a position to devote full time to the defense of the two accused. The denial by respondent Judge of such a plea, notwithstanding the
conformity of the defendants, was due "its principal effect [being] to delay this case."
2
It was likewise noted that the prosecution had already rested and
that petitioner was previously counsel de parte, his designation in the former category being precisely to protect him in his new position without
prejudicing the accused. It cannot be plausibly asserted that such failure to allow withdrawal of de oficio counsel could ordinarily be characterized as a
grave abuse of discretion correctible by certiorari. There is, however, the overriding concern for the right to counsel of the accused that must be taken
seriously into consideration. In appropriate cases, it should tilt the balance. This is not one of them. What is easily discernible was the obvious reluctance
of petitioner to comply with the responsibilities incumbent on the counsel de oficio. Then, too, even on the assumption that he continues in his position,
his volume of work is likely to be very much less at present. There is not now the slightest pretext for him to shirk an obligation a member of the bar, who
expects to remain in good standing, should fulfill. The petition is clearly without merit.
According to the undisputed facts, petitioner, on October 13, 1964, was appointed Election Registrar for the Municipality of Cadiz, Province of Negros
Occidental. Then and there, he commenced to discharge its duties. As he was counsel de parte for one of the accused in a case pending in the sala of
respondent Judge, he filed a motion to withdraw as such. Not only did respondent Judge deny such motion, but he also appointed him counsel de oficio
for the two defendants. Subsequently, on November 3, 1964, petitioner filed an urgent motion to be allowed to withdraw as counsel de oficio, premised
74


on the policy of the Commission on Elections to require full time service as well as on the volume or pressure of work of petitioner, which could prevent
him from handling adequately the defense. Respondent Judge, in the challenged order of November 6, 1964, denied said motion. A motion for
reconsideration having proved futile, he instituted this certiorari proceeding.
3

As noted at the outset, the petition must fail.
1. The assailed order of November 6, 1964 denying the urgent motion of petitioner to withdraw as counsel de oficio speaks for itself. It began with a
reminder that a crime was allegedly committed on February 17, 1962, with the proceedings having started in the municipal court of Cadiz on July 11,
1962. Then respondent Judge spoke of his order of October 16, 1964 which reads thus: "In view of the objection of the prosecution to the motion for
postponement of October 15, 1964 (alleging that counsel for the accused cannot continue appearing in this case without the express authority of the
Commission on Elections); and since according to the prosecution there are two witnesses who are ready to take the stand, after which the government
would rest, the motion for postponement is denied. When counsel for the accused assumed office as Election Registrar on October 13, 1964, he knew
since October 2, 1964 that the trial would be resumed today. Nevertheless, in order not to prejudice the civil service status of counsel for the accused,
he is hereby designated counsel de oficio for the accused. The defense obtained postponements on May 17, 1963, June 13, 1963, June 14, 1963,
October 28, 1963, November 27, 1963, February 11, 1964, March 9, 1964, June 8, 1964 July 26, 1964, and September 7, 1964."
4
Reference was then
made to another order of February 11, 1964: "Upon petition of Atty. Adelino H. Ledesma, alleging indisposition, the continuation of the trial of this case is
hereby transferred to March 9, 1964 at 8:30 in the morning. The defense is reminded that at its instance, this case has been postponed at least eight (8)
times, and that the government witnesses have to come all the way from Manapala."
5
After which, it was noted in such order that there was no
incompatibility between the duty of petitioner to the accused and to the court and the performance of his task as an election registrar of the Commission
on Elections and that the ends of justice "would be served by allowing and requiring Mr. Ledesma to continue as counsel de oficio, since the prosecution
has already rested its case."
6

2. What is readily apparent therefore, is that petitioner was less than duly mindful of his obligation as counsel de oficio. He ought to have known that
membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. It could be that for some lawyers, especially the neophytes in the profession, being
appointed counsel de oficio is an irksome chore. For those holding such belief, it may come as a surprise that counsel of repute and of eminence
welcome such an opportunity. It makes even more manifest that law is indeed a profession dedicated to the ideal of service and not a mere trade. It is
understandable then why a high degree of fidelity to duty is required of one so designated. A recent statement of the doctrine is found in People v.
Daban:
7
"There is need anew in this disciplinary proceeding to lay stress on the fundamental postulate that membership in the bar carries with it a
responsibility to live up to its exacting standard. The law is a profession, not a trade or a craft. Those enrolled in its ranks are called upon to aid in the
performance of one of the basic purposes of the State, the administration of justice. To avoid any frustration thereof, especially in the case of an indigent
defendant, a lawyer may be required to act as counsel de oficio. The fact that his services are rendered without remuneration should not occasion a
diminution in his zeal. Rather the contrary. This is not, of course, to ignore that other pressing matters do compete for his attention. After all, he has his
practice to attend to. That circumstance possesses a high degree of relevance since a lawyer has to live; certainly he cannot afford either to neglect his
paying cases. Nonetheless, what is incumbent upon him as counsel de oficio must be fulfilled."
8

So it has been from the 1905 decision of In re Robles Lahesa,
9
where respondent was de oficio counsel, the opinion penned by Justice Carson making
clear: "This Court should exact from its officers and subordinates the most scrupulous performance of their official duties, especially when negligence in
the performance of those duties necessarily results in delays in the prosecution of criminal cases ...."
10
Justice Sanchez in People v. Estebia
11
reiterated
such a view in these words: "It is true that he is a court-appointed counsel. But we do say that as such counsel de oficio, he has as high a duty to the
accused as one employed and paid by defendant himself. Because, as in the case of the latter, he must exercise his best efforts and professional ability
in behalf of the person assigned to his care. He is to render effective assistance. The accused-defendant expects of him due diligence, not mere
perfunctory representation. For, indeed a lawyer who is a vanguard in the bastion of justice is expected to have a bigger dose of social conscience and a
little less of self-interest."
12

The weakness of the petition is thus quite evident.
3. If respondent Judge were required to answer the petition, it was only due to the apprehension that considering the frame of mind of a counsel loath
and reluctant to fulfill his obligation, the welfare of the accused could be prejudiced. His right to counsel could in effect be rendered nugatory. Its
importance was rightfully stressed by Chief Justice Moran in People v. Holgado in these words: "In criminal cases there can be no fair hearing unless the
accused be given an opportunity to be heard by counsel. The right to be heard would be of little avail if it does not include the right to be heard by
counsel. Even the most intelligent or educated man may have no skill in the science of law, particularly in the rules of procedure, and; without counsel,
he may be convicted not because he is guilty but because he does not know how to establish his innocence. And this can happen more easily to
persons who are ignorant or uneducated. It is for this reason that the right to be assisted by counsel is deemed so important that it has become a
constitutional right and it is so implemented that under rules of procedure it is not enough for the Court to apprise an accused of his right to have an
attorney, it is not enough to ask him whether he desires the aid of an attorney, but it is essential that the court should assign one de oficio for him if he so
desires and he is poor or grant him a reasonable time to procure an attorney of his
own."
13
So it was under the previous Organic Acts.
14
The present Constitution is even more emphatic. For, in addition to reiterating that the accused
"shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel,"
15
there is this new provision: "Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense
shall have the right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which
vitiates the free will shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible in evidence."
16

Thus is made manifest the indispensable role of a member of the Bar in the defense of an accused. Such a consideration could have sufficed for
petitioner not being allowed to withdraw as counsel de oficio. For he did betray by his moves his lack of enthusiasm for the task entrusted to him, to put
matters mildly. He did point though to his responsibility as an election registrar. Assuming his good faith, no such excuse could be availed now. There is
not likely at present, and in the immediate future, an exorbitant demand on his time. It may likewise be assumed, considering what has been set forth
above, that petitioner would exert himself sufficiently to perform his task as defense counsel with competence, if not with zeal, if only to erase doubts as
to his fitness to remain a member of the profession in good standing. The admonition is ever timely for those enrolled in the ranks of legal practitioners
that there are times, and this is one of them, when duty to court and to client takes precedence over the promptings of self-interest.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is dismissed. Costs against petitioner.











75




















































March 23, 1929
In re LUIS B. TAGORDA,
Duran & Lim for respondent.
Attorney-General Jaranilla and Provincial Fiscal Jose for the Government.
MALCOLM, J .:
The respondent, Luis B. Tagorda, a practising attorney and a member of the provincial board of Isabela, admits that previous to the last general
elections he made use of a card written in Spanish and Ilocano, which, in translation, reads as follows:
LUIS B. TAGORDA
Attorney
Notary Public
CANDIDATE FOR THIRD MEMBER
Province of Isabela
(NOTE. As notary public, he can execute for you a deed of sale for the purchase of land as required by the cadastral office; can renew lost
documents of your animals; can make your application and final requisites for your homestead; and can execute any kind of affidavit. As a
lawyer, he can help you collect your loans although long overdue, as well as any complaint for or against you. Come or write to him in his
town, Echague, Isabela. He offers free consultation, and is willing to help and serve the poor.)
The respondent further admits that he is the author of a letter addressed to a lieutenant of barrio in his home municipality written in Ilocano, which letter,
in translation, reads as follows:
ECHAGUE, ISABELA, September 18, 1928
MY DEAR LIEUTENANT: I would like to inform you of the approaching date for our induction into office as member of the Provincial Board,
that is on the 16th of next month. Before my induction into office I should be very glad to hear your suggestions or recommendations for the
good of the province in general and for your barrio in particular. You can come to my house at any time here in Echague, to submit to me any
kind of suggestion or recommendation as you may desire.
76


I also inform you that despite my membership in the Board I will have my residence here in Echague. I will attend the session of the Board of
Ilagan, but will come back home on the following day here in Echague to live and serve with you as a lawyer and notary public. Despite my
election as member of the Provincial Board, I will exercise my legal profession as a lawyer and notary public. In case you cannot see me at
home on any week day, I assure you that you can always find me there on every Sunday. I also inform you that I will receive any work
regarding preparations of documents of contract of sales and affidavits to be sworn to before me as notary public even on Sundays.
I would like you all to be informed of this matter for the reason that some people are in the belief that my residence as member of the Board
will be in Ilagan and that I would then be disqualified to exercise my profession as lawyer and as notary public. Such is not the case and I
would make it clear that I am free to exercise my profession as formerly and that I will have my residence here in Echague.
I would request you kind favor to transmit this information to your barrio people in any of your meetings or social gatherings so that they may
be informed of my desire to live and to serve with you in my capacity as lawyer and notary public. If the people in your locality have not as yet
contracted the services of other lawyers in connection with the registration of their land titles, I would be willing to handle the work in court and
would charge only three pesos for every registration.
Yours respectfully,
(Sgd.) LUIS TAGORDA
Attorney
Notary Public.
The facts being conceded, it is next in order to write down the applicable legal provisions. Section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure as originally
conceived related to disbarments of members of the bar. In 1919 at the instigation of the Philippine Bar Association, said codal section was amended by
Act No. 2828 by adding at the end thereof the following: "The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid
agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice."
The statute as amended conforms in principle to the Canons of Professionals Ethics adopted by the American Bar Association in 1908 and by the
Philippine Bar Association in 1917. Canons 27 and 28 of the Code of Ethics provide:
27. ADVERTISING, DIRECT OR INDIRECT. The most worthy and effective advertisement possible, even for a young lawyer, and
especially with his brother lawyers, is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust. This cannot
be forced, but must be the outcome of character and conduct. The publication or circulation of ordinary simple business cards, being a matter
of personal taste or local custom, and sometimes of convenience, is not per se improper. But solicitation of business by circulars or
advertisements, or by personal communications or interview not warranted by personal relations, is unprofessional. It is equally unprofessional
to procure business by indirection through touters of any kind, whether allied real estate firms or trust companies advertising to secure the
drawing of deeds or wills or offering retainers in exchange for executorships or trusteeships to be influenced by the lawyer. Indirect
advertisement for business by furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the
interest involved, the importance of the lawyer's position, and all other like self-laudation, defy the traditions and lower the tone of our high
calling, and are intolerable.
28. STIRRING UP LITIGATION, DIRECTLY OR THROUGH AGENTS. It is unprofessional for a lawyer to volunteer advice to bring a
lawsuit, except in rare cases where ties of blood, relationship or trust make it his duty to do so. Stirring up strife and litigation is not only
unprofessional, but it is indictable at common law. It is disreputable to hunt up defects in titles or other causes of action and inform thereof in
order to the employed to bring suit, or to breed litigation by seeking out those with claims for personal injuries or those having any other
grounds of action in order to secure them as clients, or to employ agents or runners for like purposes, or to pay or reward directly or indirectly,
those who bring or influence the bringing of such cases to his office, or to remunerate policemen, court or prison officials, physicians, hospital
attaches or others who may succeed, under the guise of giving disinterested friendly advice, in influencing the criminal, the sick and the
injured, the ignorant or others, to seek his professional services. A duty to the public and to the profession devolves upon every member of the
bar having knowledge of such practices upon the part of any practitioner immediately to inform thereof to the end that the offender may be
disbarred.
Common barratry consisting of frequently stirring up suits and quarrels between individuals was a crime at the common law, and one of the penalties for
this offense when committed by an attorney was disbarment. Statutes intended to reach the same evil have been provided in a number of jurisdictions
usually at the instance of the bar itself, and have been upheld as constitutional. The reason behind statutes of this type is not difficult to discover. The
law is a profession and not a business. The lawyer may not seek or obtain employment by himself or through others for to do so would be
unprofessional. (State vs. Rossman [1909], 53 Wash., 1; 17 Ann. Cas., 625; People vs. Mac Cabe [1893], 19 L. R. A., 231; 2 R. C. L., 1097.)
It becomes our duty to condemn in no uncertain terms the ugly practice of solicitation of cases by lawyers. It is destructive of the honor of a great
profession. It lowers the standards of that profession. It works against the confidence of the community in the integrity of the members of the bar. It
results in needless litigation and in incenting to strife otherwise peacefully inclined citizens.
The solicitation of employment by an attorney is a ground for disbarment or suspension. That should be distinctly understood.
Giving application of the law and the Canons of Ethics to the admitted facts, the respondent stands convicted of having solicited cases in defiance of the
law and those canons. Accordingly, the only remaining duty of the court is to fix upon the action which should here be taken. The provincial fiscal of
Isabela, with whom joined the representative of the Attorney-General in the oral presentation of the case, suggests that the respondent be only
reprimanded. We think that our action should go further than this if only to reflect our attitude toward cases of this character of which unfortunately the
respondent's is only one. The commission of offenses of this nature would amply justify permanent elimination from the bar. But as mitigating,
circumstances working in favor of the respondent there are, first, his intimation that he was unaware of the impropriety of his acts, second, his youth and
inexperience at the bar, and, third, his promise not to commit a similar mistake in the future. A modest period of suspension would seem to fit the case of
the erring attorney. But it should be distinctly understood that this result is reached in view of the considerations which have influenced the court to the
relatively lenient in this particular instance and should, therefore, not be taken as indicating that future convictions of practice of this kind will not be dealt
with by disbarment.
In view of all the circumstances of this case, the judgment of the court is that the respondent Luis B. Tagorda be and is hereby suspended from the
practice as an attorney-at-law for the period of one month from April 1, 1929,










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[A.C. No. 5299. August 19, 2003]
ATTY. ISMAEL G. KHAN, JR., Assistant Court Administrator and Chief, Public Information Office, complainant, vs. ATTY. RIZALINO T.
SIMBILLO, respondent.
[G.R. No. 157053. August 19, 2003]
ATTY. RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO, petitioner, vs. IBP COMMISSION ON BAR DISCIPLINE and ATTY. ISMAEL G. KHAN, JR., in his capacity as
Assistant Court Administrator and Chief, Public Information Office, respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This administrative complaint arose from a paid advertisement that appeared in the July 5, 2000 issue of the newspaper, Philippine Daily Inquirer, which
reads: ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE Specialist 532-4333/521-2667.xii[1]
Ms. Ma. Theresa B. Espeleta, a staff member of the Public Information Office of the Supreme Court, called up the published telephone number and
pretended to be an interested party. She spoke to Mrs. Simbillo, who claimed that her husband, Atty. Rizalino Simbillo, was an expert in handling
annulment cases and can guarantee a court decree within four to six months, provided the case will not involve separation of property or custody of
children. Mrs. Simbillo also said that her husband charges a fee of P48,000.00, half of which is payable at the time of filing of the case and the other half
after a decision thereon has been rendered.
Further research by the Office of the Court Administrator and the Public Information Office revealed that similar advertisements were published in the
August 2 and 6, 2000 issues of the Manila Bulletin and August 5, 2000 issue of The Philippine Star.xii[2]
On September 1, 2000, Atty. Ismael G. Khan, Jr., in his capacity as Assistant Court Administrator and Chief of the Public Information Office, filed an
administrative complaint against Atty. Rizalino T. Simbillo for improper advertising and solicitation of his legal services, in violation of Rule 2.03 and Rule
3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court.xii[3]
In his answer, respondent admitted the acts imputed to him, but argued that advertising and solicitation per se are not prohibited acts; that the time has
come to change our views about the prohibition on advertising and solicitation; that the interest of the public is not served by the absolute prohibition on
lawyer advertising; that the Court can lift the ban on lawyer advertising; and that the rationale behind the decades-old prohibition should be abandoned.
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Thus, he prayed that he be exonerated from all the charges against him and that the Court promulgate a ruling that advertisement of legal services
offered by a lawyer is not contrary to law, public policy and public order as long as it is dignified.xii[4]
The case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation, report and recommendation.xii[5] On June 29, 2002, the IBP
Commission on Bar Discipline passed Resolution No. XV-2002-306,xii[6] finding respondent guilty of violation of Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court, and suspended him from the practice of law for one (1) year with the warning
that a repetition of similar acts would be dealt with more severely. The IBP Resolution was noted by this Court on November 11, 2002.xii[7]
In the meantime, respondent filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration,xii[8] which was denied by the IBP in Resolution No. XV-2002-606 dated
October 19, 2002xii[9]
Hence, the instant petition for certiorari, which was docketed as G.R. No. 157053 entitled, Atty. Rizalino T. Simbillo, Petitioner versus IBP Commission
on Bar Discipline, Atty. Ismael G. Khan, Jr., Asst. Court Administrator and Chief, Public Information Office, Respondents. This petition was
consolidated with A.C. No. 5299 per the Courts Resolution dated March 4, 2003.
In a Resolution dated March 26, 2003, the parties were required to manifest whether or not they were willing to submit the case for resolution on the
basis of the pleadings.xii[10] Complainant filed his Manifestation on April 25, 2003, stating that he is not submitting any additional pleading or evidence
and is submitting the case for its early resolution on the basis of pleadings and records thereof. xii[11] Respondent, on the other hand, filed a
Supplemental Memorandum on June 20, 2003.
We agree with the IBPs Resolutions Nos. XV-2002-306 and XV-2002-606.
Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility read:
Rule 2.03. A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit legal business.
Rule 3.01. A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or
claim regarding his qualifications or legal services.
Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court states:
SEC. 27. Disbarment and suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefor. A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his
office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct or by reason of his
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before the admission to practice, or for a willful
disobedience appearing as attorney for a party without authority to do so.
It has been repeatedly stressed that the practice of law is not a business.xii[12] It is a profession in which duty to public service, not money, is the
primary consideration. Lawyering is not primarily meant to be a money-making venture, and law advocacy is not a capital that necessarily yields
profits.xii[13] The gaining of a livelihood should be a secondary consideration.xii[14] The duty to public service and to the administration of justice should
be the primary consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their personal interests or what they owe to themselves.xii[15] The following elements
distinguish the legal profession from a business:
1. A duty of public service, of which the emolument is a by-product, and in which one may attain the highest eminence without making
much money;
2. A relation as an officer of the court to the administration of justice involving thorough sincerity, integrity and reliability;
3. A relation to clients in the highest degree of fiduciary;
4. A relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by candor, fairness, and unwillingness to resort to current business methods of
advertising and encroachment on their practice, or dealing directly with their clients.xii[16]
There is no question that respondent committed the acts complained of. He himself admits that he caused the publication of the advertisements. While
he professes repentance and begs for the Courts indulgence, his contrition rings hollow considering the fact that he advertised his legal services again
after he pleaded for compassion and after claiming that he had no intention to violate the rules. Eight months after filing his answer, he again advertised
his legal services in the August 14, 2001 issue of the Buy & Sell Free Ads Newspaper.xii[17] Ten months later, he caused the same advertisement to be
published in the October 5, 2001 issue of Buy & Sell.xii[18] Such acts of respondent are a deliberate and contemptuous affront on the Courts authority.
What adds to the gravity of respondents acts is that in advertising himself as a self-styled Annulment of Marriage Specialist, he wittingly or unwittingly
erodes and undermines not only the stability but also the sanctity of an institution still considered sacrosanct despite the contemporary climate of
permissiveness in our society. Indeed, in assuring prospective clients that an annulment may be obtained in four to six months from the time of the filing
of the case,xii[19] he in fact encourages people, who might have otherwise been disinclined and would have refrained from dissolving their marriage
bonds, to do so.
Nonetheless, the solicitation of legal business is not altogether proscribed. However, for solicitation to be proper, it must be compatible with the dignity
of the legal profession. If it is made in a modest and decorous manner, it would bring no injury to the lawyer and to the bar.xii[20] Thus, the use of
simple signs stating the name or names of the lawyers, the office and residence address and fields of practice, as well as advertisement in legal
periodicals bearing the same brief data, are permissible. Even the use of calling cards is now acceptable.xii[21] Publication in reputable law lists, in a
manner consistent with the standards of conduct imposed by the canon, of brief biographical and informative data is likewise allowable. As explicitly
stated in Ulep v. Legal Clinic, Inc.:xii[22]
Such data must not be misleading and may include only a statement of the lawyers name and the names of his professional associates; addresses,
telephone numbers, cable addresses; branches of law practiced; date and place of birth and admission to the bar; schools attended with dates of
graduation, degrees and other educational distinctions; public or quasi-public offices; posts of honor; legal authorships; legal teaching positions;
membership and offices in bar associations and committees thereof, in legal and scientific societies and legal fraternities; the fact of listings in other
reputable law lists; the names and addresses of references; and, with their written consent, the names of clients regularly represented.
The law list must be a reputable law list published primarily for that purpose; it cannot be a mere supplemental feature of a paper, magazine, trade
journal or periodical which is published principally for other purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may not properly publish his brief biographical and
informative data in a daily paper, magazine, trade journal or society program. Nor may a lawyer permit his name to be published in a law list the
conduct, management, or contents of which are calculated or likely to deceive or injure the public or the bar, or to lower dignity or standing of the
profession.
The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also permitted. The card may contain only a statement of his name, the name of the law firm which he
is connected with, address, telephone number and special branch of law practiced. The publication of a simple announcement of the opening of a law
firm or of changes in the partnership, associates, firm name or office address, being for the convenience of the profession, is not objectionable. He may
likewise have his name listed in a telephone directory but not under a designation of special branch of law. (emphasis and italics supplied)
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO is found GUILTY of violation of Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court. He is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE (1) YEAR effective
upon receipt of this Resolution. He is likewise STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely.
Let copies of this Resolution be entered in his record as attorney and be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and all courts in the country for
their information and guidance.


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