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IN RE: PETITION TO TAKE THE LAWYER'S OATH BY ARTHUR M. CUEVAS, JR.

B.M. No. 810 January 27, 1998

FACTS:
Arthur M. Cuevas, Jr., passed the 1996 Bar Examinations. His oath-taking was held in abeyance in view of
the Court's resolution which permitted him to take the Bar Examinations "subject to the condition that
should (he) pass the same, (he) shall not be allowed to take the lawyer's oath pending approval of the
Court . . ." due to his previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting In Homicide. The conviction
stemmed from petitioner's participation in the initiation rites of the LEX TALIONIS FRATERNITAS, a
fraternity in the SAN BEDA COLLEGE OF LAW, sometime in September 1991, where Raul I. Camaligan, a
neophyte, died as a result of the personal violence inflicted upon him. Thereafter, petitioner applied for
and was granted probation. On May 10, 1995, he was discharged from probation and his case considered
closed and terminated.

ISSUE:
Whether or not petitioner Cuevas has the moral fitness required to take the lawyers oath?

HELD:
Petitioner is allowed to take the LAWYERS OATH and sign the ROLL OF ATTORNEYS. The Court shares
the sentiment of Atty. Camaligan, father of hazing victim Raul Camaligan, and condoles with the untimely
death of a son who is expected to become a lawyer and succeed his father. In his comment submitted to
the Court, Atty. Camaligan submits petitioners plea to be admitted to the membershop to the Philippine
Bar, to the sound and judicious discretion of the Court. The deliberate participation of Cuevas in the
senseless beating of a helpless neophyte which resulted to his death indicates that petitioner does not
possess the moral fitness required for admission to the Bar. However, petitioner was discharged from
probation without any infraction thereafter of the conditions of the probation and the various
certifications attesting to his righteous, peaceful and civic-oriented character prove that he has taken
decisive steps to purge himself of his deficiency in moral character and atone for the unfortunate death of
Camaligan. The Court then decides to give petitioner a chance in the same manner that it allowed AL
ARGOSINO, petitioners co-accused to take the lawyers oath.
Bautista vs Gonzales A.M No. 1625
[Per Curiam]
FACTS:
In a verified complaint filed by Angel L. Bautista, respondent Ramon A. Gonzales was charged with
malpractice, deceit, gross misconduct and violation of lawyers oath. Required by this Court to answer the
charges against him, respondent filed 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 the Court
granted respondents motion and required complainant to file an amended complaint. 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.
xxx
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 attorneys
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;
xxx
Pertinent to No. 4 above, the contract, in No. 1 above, reads:
We the [Fortunados] agree on the 50% contingent fee, provided, you [respondent Ramon Gonzales]
defray all expenses, for the suit, including court fees.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent committed serious misconduct involving a champertous contract.
HELD:
YES. Respondent was suspended from practice of law for six (6) months.
RATIO:
The Court finds that the agreement between the respondent and the Fortunados 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 clients rights is champertous [citation omitted].
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 [citation omitted]. The execution of these contracts violates the fiduciary relationship between the
lawyer and his client, for which the former must incur administrative sanctions.

Trenas vs People
Gr No. 195002

Facts :

Sometime in December 1999, Margarita Alocilja (Margarita) wanted to


buy a house-and-lot in Iloilo City covered by TCT No. 109266. It was then
mortgaged with Maybank. The bank manager Joselito Palma recommended the
appellant Hector Treas (Hector) to private complainant Elizabeth, who was an
employee and niece of Margarita, for advice regarding the transfer of the title in
the latters name. Hector informed Elizabeth that for the titling of the property in
the name of her aunt Margarita, the following expenses would be incurred:
P20,000.00P90,000.00P24,000.00P10,000.00-

Attorneys fees,
Capital Gains Tax,
Documentary Stamp,
Miscellaneous Expenses.

Thereafter, Elizabeth gave P150,000.00 to Hector who issued a


corresponding receipt dated December 22, 1999 and prepared [a] Deed of Sale
with Assumption of Mortgage. Subsequently, Hector gave Elizabeth Revenue
Official Receipt Nos. 00084370 for P96,000.00 and 00084369 for P24,000.00.
However, when she consulted with the BIR, she was informed that the receipts
were fake. When confronted, Hector admitted to her that the receipts were fake
and that he used the P120,000.00 for his other transactions. Elizabeth demanded
the return of the money.
To settle his accounts, appellant Hector issued in favor of Elizabeth a
Bank of Commerce check No. 0042856 dated November 10, 2000 in the amount
of P120,000.00, deducting from P150,000.00 the P30,000.00 as attorneys fees.
When the check was deposited with the PCIBank, Makati Branch, the same was
dishonored for the reason that the account was closed. Notwithstanding repeated
formal and verbal demands, appellant failed to pay. Thus, the instant case of
Estafa was filed against him
ISSUE : 1.

Whether or not the petitioner is criminally liable of estafa?

Ruling : When a lawyer collects or receives money from his client for a particular purpose, he should

promptly account to the client how the money was spent. If he does not use the money for its
intended purpose, he must immediately return it to the client. His failure either to render an
accounting or to return the money (if the intended purpose of the money does not materialize)

constitutes a blatant disregard of Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Moreover, a
lawyer has the duty to deliver his clients funds or properties as they fall due or upon demand. His
failure to return the clients money upon demand gives rise to the presumption that he has
misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice of and in violation of the trust reposed in him by
the client. The 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 him, shows
lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render him unworthy of public confidence,
and constitutes a ground for disciplinary action.

Petition Granted. Criminal case of estafa is Dismissed. The case is referred to the IBP Board of
governors for investigation.