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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

A.M. No. 1769 June 8, 1992
CESAR L. LANTORIA, complainant,
vs.
ATTY. IRINEO L. BUNYI, responent.

PER CURIAM:
!his is an aministrative complaint file b" Cesar #. #antoria, see$in% isciplinar" action a%ainst responent Irineo #.
&un"i, member of the Philippine &ar, on the %roun that responent &un"i alle%el" committe acts of '%raft an
corruption, ishonest" an conuct unbecomin% of a member of the Inte%rate &ar of the Philippines, an corruption of
the (u%e an briber"', in connection )ith responent*s hanlin% of Civil Case Nos. +,, +- an ++ then penin% before the
Municipal Court of E.peran/a, 0%usan el Sur, presie over b" Municipal 1u%e Vicente 2alicia
1
in )hich responent
&un"i )as the counsel of one of the parties, namel", Mrs. Constancia Mascarinas.
Responent &un"i alle%e that Mrs. Constancia M. Mascarinas of Manila )as the o)ner of farm locate in Esperan/a,
0%usan el Sur, an that herein complainant #antoria )as the mana%er an supervisor of sai farm, receivin% as such a
monthl" allo)ance.
2
It appears that the complaint in Civil Case Nos. +,, +- an ++ sou%ht to e(ect the s3uatters from the
aforementione farm.
3
!hese cases )ere assi%ne to the Municipal Court of Esperan/a, 0%usan el &ur, the actin%
municipal (u%e of )hich )as the 4onorable Vicente 2alicia 5)ho )as at the same time the re%ular (u%e of the municipal
court of &a"u%an, 0%usan el Sur6.

!he efenants in the mentione civil cases )ere, in ue course, eclare in efault.
In relation to the same three 5-6 civil cases, the recors of the present case sho) that complainant #antoria )rote a letter
to responent &un"i, ate 7- 0pril ,89:, )hich reas as follo)s;
0tt". Ireneo &un"e
87+ Ri/al 0venue
Santa Cru/, Manila
Dear 0tt". &un"e;
... ... ...
<pon informin% him of "our )illin%ness to prepare the corresponin% (u%ements 5sic6 on the - efaulte
cases he sai he has no ob(ection in fact he is happ" an recommene that "ou mail the sai ecisions
in ue time thru me to be elivere to him.
... ... ...
I )ill communicate )ith "ou from time to time for an" future evelopment.
M" best re%ars to "ou an famil" an to Mrs. Constancia Mascarinas an all.
Ver" trul" "ours,
5S2D.6 CES0R # #0N!ORI0
Ma(or Inf PC 5ret6
E.ecutive Director
!
On =, 1une ,89:, responent &un"i )rote to the complainant re%arin% the sai three 5-6 cases, in this )ise;
:
Dear Ma(or #antoria,
0t last, I ma" sa" that I have trie m" best to respon to the call in "our several letters receive, )hich is
about the preparation of the three 5-6 Decisions a)aite b" 1u%e 2alicia. !he ela" is that I have been
too much occupie )ith m" cases an other professional commitments here in Manila an nearb"
provinces. Not onl" to Mrs. Mascarinas I )oul sa" that I am so sorr" but also to "ou. Mrs. Mascarinas
has been reminin% me but I al)a"s fin m"self at a loss to prepare these Decisions at an earl" ate sa
5sic6 possible. So also )ith m" calenar as to the ates for the ne.t hearin% of the remainin% cases over
there.
4ere)ith no), "ou )ill fin enclose the three 5-6 Decisions a%ainst the 5-6 efaulte efenants. I am not
sure if the" )ill suit to satisf" 1u%e 2alicia to si%n them at once. 4o)ever, it is m" re3uest to 1u%e
2alicia, thru "our $in meiation, that if the preparation of these Decisions o not suit his consieration,
then I am rea" an )illin% to accept his su%%estions or correction to char%e or moif" them for the better.
0n to this effect, $inl" rela" at once )hat he is %oin% to sa" or thin$s if he si%ns them reail" an please
re3uest for each cop" for our hol.
... ... ...
Please e.cuse this ela", an than$s for "our $in assistance in attenin% to our cases there. Re%ars to
"ou an famil" an pra"er for "our more vi%or an success.
&rotherl" "ours,
5S2D.6 IRINEO #. &<N>I
6
Counsel
It also appears that responent &un"i )rote an earlier letter to complainant #antoria, ate =: March ,89:, the contents
of )hich rea as follo)s;
87+ Ri/al 0ve., Sta. Cru/, Manila
March :, ,89:
Dear Ma(or #antoria,
!his is an aitional re3uest, strictl" personal an confiential. Insie the envelope aresse to 1u%e
Vicente C. 2alicia, are the Decisions an Orers, )hich he tol me to prepare an he is %oin% to si%n
them. If "ou please, eliver the envelope to him as if "ou have no $no)le%e an information an that "ou
have not opene it. <nless, of course, if the information comes from him. &ut, "ou can in3uire from him if
there is a nee to )ait from his )ors about them, or copies to be furnishe me, after he si%ns them, it
coul be mae thru "ou personall", to e.peite receivin% those copies for our hol. 0ccorin% to him, this
envelope coul be elivere to him at his resience at No. -:? M. Calo St., &utuan Cit", urin% )ee$ en.
or, at &a"u%an if "ou happen to %o there, if he is not in &utuan Cit".
!han$in% >ou for "our $in attention an favor.
!rul" "ours,
5S2D.6 #. &<N>I
7
!hree "ears after, that is, on ,, 0pril ,899, complainant file )ith this Court the present aministrative case a%ainst
responent &un"i, preicate mainl" on the above@3uote three 5-6 letters ate =: March, 7- 0pril an =, 1une, ,89:.
Complainant contens that responent )on the sai three 5-6 cases because to 5responent6 )as the one )ho unethicall"
prepare the ecisions renere therein, an that the preparation b" responent of sai ecisions )arrante isciplinar"
action a%ainst him.
&" )a" of ans)er to the complaint, responent, in a motion to ismiss 8 the aministrative complaint, amitte the
e.istence of the letter of =, 1une ,89:, but e.plaine the contents thereof as follo)s;
... ... ...
b6 In the secon place, the sai letter of 1une ,, ,89:, is self@e.planator" an spea$s for itself, that if ever
the same )as )ritten b" the Responent, it )as ue to the insistence of the Complainant thru his several
letters receive, that the ecisions in 3uestion be rafte or prepare for 1u%e 2alicia, )ho consiere
such preparation as a bi% help to him, because he )as at that time holin% t)o 576 salas A one as bein%
the re%ular Municipal 1u%e of &a"u%an an the other, as the actin% 1u%e of Esperan/a, both of 0%usan
el Sur, )ith man" penin% cases an it )as to the benefit of the Complainant that the earl" isposition of
the cases involve )oul not suffer inconsierable ela". &ut, the intention to raft or prepare the
ecisions in 3uestion )as never spa)ne b" the Responent. Instea, it came from the uner@stanin%
bet)een the 1u%e an the complainant )ho, from his several letters, ha emonstrate so much interest
to e(ect at once the s3uatters from the farm he )as entruste to mana%e. Burthermore, the Complainant*s
conclusion that the sai ecisions )ere lutong macao is purel" non@sense as it is )ithout an" factual or
le%al basis. 4e himself $ne) that 1u%e 2alicia as$e for help in the raftin% of sai ecisions as at an"
rate the" )ere (u%ments b" efault, the efenants lost their stanin% in court )hen the" )ere eclare
in efault for failure to file their ans)ers an to appear at the place an time set for hearin% thereof 5See
first para%raph, letter of 1une ,, ,89:6
c6 !hirl", in the same letter, the ecisions as prepare )ere in the form of rafts, as in fact, the letter
mentione sub(ect to su%%estion or correction to chan%e or moif" for the better b" 1u%e 2alicia
5Secon para%raph, Ibid6C
6 Bourthl", in the some letter, Responin% 5sic6 even apolo%i/e for the ela" in senin% the same to the
Complainant an e.presse his %ratitue for his assistance in attenin% to the cases involve 5#ast
para%raph, Ibid.6
In its resolution ate 7+ November ,899, this Court referre the case to the Solicitor 2eneral for investi%ation, report an
recommenation.
9
On 7, 1ul" ,8+=, the Solicitor 2eneral submitte his report to the Court, )ith the follo)in% averments,
to )it; ,6 that the case )as set for hearin% on 0pril ,7, September 78, an December ,+, ,89+, but in all sai scheule
hearin%s onl" responent &un"i appeareC 76 that in the hearin% of ,D 1anuar" ,898, both responent an complainant
appeareC -6 that at the same hearin%, the Solicitor 2eneral reporte the follo)in% evelopment A
0tt". Mercao submitte a letter of complainant ate 1anuar" ,D, ,898 s)orn to before the investi%atin%
Solicitor, pra"in% that the complaint be considered withdrawn, dropped or dismissed on the %roun that
complainant 'coul harl" substantiate' his char%es an that he is 'no lon%er intereste to prosecute' the
same. Bor his part, responent manifeste that he has no ob(ection to the )ithra)al of the complaint
a%ainst him. 0t the same time, he presente complainant #antoria as a )itness are elicite testimon" to
the effect that complainant no lon%er has in his possession the ori%inal of the letters attache to his basic
complaint, an hence, he )as not prepare to prove his char%es.
1"
5emphasis supplie6
In his aforesai report, the Solicitor 2eneral foun as follo)s; a6 that the letters of responent &un"i 5ate :, March an
, 1une ,89:6, aresse to complainant, sho)e that responent ha inee prepare the raft of the ecisions in Civil
Case Nos. +,, +- an ++ of the Municipal Court of Esperan/a, 0%usan el Sur, )hich he submitte to 1u%e Vicente
2alicia thru the complainantC b6 that those letters inicate that responent ha previous communications )ith 1u%e
2alicia re%arin% the preparation of the ecisionsC c6 that the testimon" of complainant to the effect that he ha lost the
ori%inal of sai letters, an complainant*s )ithra)al of the complaint in the case at bar are of no moment, as responent
&un"i, an his motion to ismiss file )ith the Supreme Court, amitte that he prepare the raft of the ecisions in the
sai civil cases, an be affirme the e.istence of the letters.
4ence, in his report, the Solicitor 2eneral foun that responent is %uilt" of hi%hl" unethical an unprofessional conuct
for failure to perform his ut", as an officer of the court, to help promote the inepenence of the (uiciar" an to refrain
from en%a%in% in acts )hich )oul influence (uicial etermination of a liti%ation in )hich he is counsel.
11
!he Solicitor
2eneral recommene that responent be suspene from the practice of la) for a perio of one 5,6 "ear. 4e file )ith
the Court the corresponin% complaint a%ainst responent.
In his ans)er
12
to the complaint file b" the Solicitor 2eneral, responent manifeste that in the future he )oul be more
careful in observin% his uties as a la)"er, an in upholin% the provisions of the canons of professional ethics.
On ,= December ,8+=, the ate set b" this Court for the hearin% of this case, the hearin% )as postpone until further
notice. On 8 March ,8+,, responent file a manifestation
13
alle%in% that no hearin% )as as "et set in the case since the
last settin% on ,= December ,8+=, an he re3ueste that the ne.t hearin% be not set until after si. 5D6 months )hen be
e.pecte to return from the <nite States of 0merica )here he )oul visit his chilren an at the same time have a
meical chec$@up.
On 7+ October ,8+,, the ate set b" this Court for bearin% in this case, responent &un"i an the Solicitor 2eneral
appeare, an responent )as irecte to submit his memoranum. Responent &un"i file his memoranum on ,D
November ,8+,. In sai memoranum,
1
responent submitte that althou%h he prepare the raft of the ecisions in the
civil cases, he i not offer 1u%e 2alicia an" %ift or consieration to influence the 1u%e in allo)in% him to prepare the
raft ecisions.
1!
4e also offere his apolo%" to the Court for all the improprieties )hich ma" have resulte from his
preparation of the raft ecisions.
Ee a%ree )ith the observation of the Solicitor 2eneral that the etermination of the merits of the instant case shoul
procee not)ithstanin% complainant*s )ithra)al of his complaint in the case, the responent himself havin% amitte
that the letters in 3uestion trul" e.ist, an that he even as$e for an apolo%" from the Court, for )hatever effects such
letters ma" have ha on his ut" as a la)"er.
Eith the amission b" responent of the e.istence of the letters upon )hich the present aministrative complaint is
base, the remainin% issue to be resolve is the effect of the acts complaine of on responent*s ut" both as a la)"er
an an officer of the Court.
Ee fin merit in the recommenation of the Solicitor 2eneral that responent, b" )a" of isciplinar" action, eserves
suspension from the practice of la).
!he sub(ect letters inee inicate that responent ha previous communication )ith 1u%e 2alicia re%arin% the
preparation of the raft ecisions in Civil Case Nos. +,, +-, an ++, an )hich he in fact prepare. 0lthou%h nothin% in the
recors )oul sho) that responent %ot the trial court (u%e*s consent to the sai preparation for a favor or consieration,
the acts of responent nevertheless amount to conuct unbecomin% of a la)"er an an officer of the Court.
Clearl", responent violate Canon No. - of the Canons of Professional Ethics 5)hich )ere enforce at the time
responent committe the acts amitte b" him6, )hich provies as follo)s;
-. 0ttempts to e.ert personal influence on the court
Mar$e attention an unusual hospitalit" on the part of a la)"er to a (u%e, uncalle for b" the personal
relations of the parties, sub(ect both the (u%e an the la)"er to misconstructions of motive an shoul be
avoie. 0 la)"er shoul not communicate or ar%ue privatel" )ith the (u%e as to the merits of a penin%
cause an eserves rebu$e an enunciation for an" evice or attempt to %ain from a (u%e special
personal consieration or favor. 0 self@respectin% inepenence in the ischar%e of professional ut",
)ithout enial or iminution of the courtes" an respect ue the (u%e*s station, is the onl" proper
founation for corial personal an official relations bet)een bench an bar.
In the ne) Coe of Professional Responsibilit"
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a la)"er*s attempt to influence the court is rebu$e, as sho)n in Canon
No. ,- an Rule ,-.=,, )hich rea;
C0NON ,- A 0 la)"er shall rel" upon the merits of his cause an refrain from an" impropriet" )hich
tens to influence, or %ives the appearance of influencin% the court.
Rule ,-.=, A 0 la)"er shall not e.ten e.traorinar" attention or hospitalit" to, nor see$ opportunit" for,
cultivatin% familiarit" )ith (u%es.
!herefore, this Court fins responent %uilt" of unethical practice in attemptin% to influence the court )here he ha
penin% civil case.
17
E4EREBORE, responent 0tt". Irineo #. &un"i is hereb" S<SPENDED from the practice of la) for a perio of one 5,6
"ear from the ate of notice hereof. #et this ecision be entere in the bar recors of the responent an the Court
0ministrator is irecte to inform the ifferent courts of this suspension.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa C.J., Paras, Padilla, Regalado and Nocon, JJ., concur.
#oo$no$e%
, Rollo, p. 7+.
7 Rollo, p. 89.
- Ibid.
: Ibid.
? Rollo, p. ?.
D Id., p. D.
9 Ibid., p. 9.
+ Rollo, p. -D.
8 Ibid., p. :9.
,= Id., p. ?+.
,, Rollo, p. D-.
,7 Ibid., pp. +? an +D.
,- Id., p. +8.
,: Rollo, pp. 88 an ,==.
,? Responent alle%e that at the time complainant file his complaint in the case at bar, 1u%e 2alicia
)as alrea" ea, an )as follo)e b" the eath of Mrs. Mascarinas. 5Rollo, p. 8+6.
,D Promul%ate b" the Supreme Court on 7- 1une ,8++.
,9 In the case of 0rtia%a, 1r. vs. Villanueva 5,D- SCR0 D-+, 1ul" 78, ,8++6, 0tt". Enri3ue C. Villanueva
)as foun %uilt" of three 5-6 unethical practices, namel"; 5,6 causin% his client to per(ure himselfC 576 lac$
of canor an respect to)ar his aversar" an the courtsC an 5-6 abuse of the ri%ht of recourse to the
courts. 4e )as suspene inefinitel" from the practice of la)