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FLORES v CHUA

Facts:
- Ban Hua Flores seeks the disbarment of Atty. Enrique Chua on the following gro
unds:
o Chua notarized a deed of sale which contains the forged signature of Chua Beng
(CB). The wife of CB
says that CB could not have signed the deed because she was with CB the whole ti
me before his death.
Flores points out that Chua notarized the deed even if CB did not appear persona
lly.
o Chua falsified a petition filed with the SEC in order to molest and harass Flo
res. Apparently, Chua altered
the petition to apply for a notice of lis pendens over the property of Flores. B
ut, his plan failed because
the register of deeds denied his application.
o Chua caused the publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the Visay
as of a portion of a SEC
decision which ordered complainant and others to pay 68 million. In these public
ations, Chua was
always in the forefront claiming to e the lawyer of the winning parties. However
, this publication is false
because the order had not yet become final, it was still pending appeal. In his
defense, Chua submitted
evidence to show that a complaint for libel filed by Flores against him was dism
issed by the prosecutor s
office.
o Chua had already and has the propensity to bribe judges to gain a favorable ju
dgment. Flores further
alleges that there is a pattern of conduct on the part of Chua that tends toward
s the frustration of justice.
Chua apparently uses dilatory tactics and has been reprimanded before.
o Chua is also charged with forum shopping.
Issue:
- W/n Chua is guilty of these acts and should be disbarred.
Held:
- SC says YES. Chua is disbarred
- On the first ground, SC finds Chua guilty of notarizing the deed of sale which
contains a forged signature. Chua
failed to exercise the required diligence and fealty to his office by attesting
to the fact that CB appeared before
him and signed the deed when in truth and in fact said person did not do so. Thi
s is clearly a violation of the
duties of a notary public to certify that the person signing the instrument is k
nown to him and that he is the same
person who executed it.
- There was no basis for the second ground but the Court said that his filing of
the application for notice of lispendens even if he was not counsel for the pet
itioners in the SEC case meant that he knew of such case. Thus,
he shouldn t have filed the civil case involving the same issues. His act of filin
g the civil case amounted to forum
shopping.
- The SC also found sufficient evidence to support the third ground. The other g
rounds were dismissed for lack of
merit.
- The Court reiterated that a lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and
dignity of the legal profession. A
lawyer brings honor tothe legal profession by faithfully performing his duties t
o society, to the bar, to the courts
and to his clients.