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LEGAL ETHICS

In re: David 93 Phil 461


FACTS: Respondent was suspended for bad practices in
the exercise of his profession as a lawyer for a period of
five years from the November 9, 1949. The defendant
admits this suspension in `his written report filed on
March 17, 1951, yet he continued to exercise the
profession within the period of suspension, November 9,
1949 to November 8, 1954.
On Feb 28 1950 the respondent file a claim in the case of
Tan Tek vs Sy not as a lawyer but as an agent. (For and in
behalf of Tan Tek Sy) CFI decided in favor of Tan Tek,
subsequently Atty Felix David filed a motion for execution.
In another civil case of the CFI called Malayan Saw Mill,
Inc vs Tolentino, defendant filed a brief for an order to
demolish homes.
In order - says the appeal - to show That I did not Have
the intention to disregard the suspension of the Supreme
Court, I did not With The Knowledge of Tan Tek Identified
Sy Even myself as the attorney for the Appelles But In
Good Faith, I signed for and in Behalf of the appellee
Without Designating That I am Practicing as attorney-atlaw.
ISSUE: Whether the acts
tantamount to practice of law.

of

Atty

Felix

David

is

HELD: Yes. Neither can he allow his name to appear in


such pleading by itself or as part of firm name under the
signature of another qualified lawyer because the
signature of an agent amounts to signing of a nonqualified senator or congressman, the office of an

attorney being originally an agency, and because he will,


by such act, be appearing in court or quasi-judicial or
administrative body in violation of the constitutional
restriction. He cannot do indirectly what the Constitution
prohibits directly.

TAN VS. SABANDAL, 206 SCRA 473 (1992)


DOCTRINES:
The practice of law is not a matter of right.
No moral qualification for bar membership is more
important than truthfulness or candor.
FACTS:
Respondent Sabandal passed the 1978 Bar Examinations
but was denied to take his oath in view of the finding of
the Court that he was guilty of unauthorized practice of
law. Since then, he had filed numerous petitions for him
to be allowed to take his lawyer's oath.
Acting to his 1989 petition, the Court directed the
executive judge of the province where Sabandal is
domiciled to submit a comment on respondent's moral
fitness to be a member of the Bar. In compliance
therewith, the executive judge stated in his comment that
he is not aware of any acts committed by the respondent
as would disqualify him to from admission to the Bar.
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LEGAL ETHICS
However, he added that respondent has a pending civil
case
before
his
court
for
cancellation/reversion
proceedings, in which respondent, then working as Land
Investigator of the Bureau of Lands, is alleged to have
secured a free patent and later a certificate of title to a
parcel of land which, upon investigation, turned out to be
a swampland and not susceptible of acquisition under a
free patent, and which he later mortgaged to the bank.
The mortgage was later foreclosed and the land
subsequently sold at public auction and respondent has
not
redeemed
the
land
since
then.

HELD:
His

petition

must

be

denied.

Time and again, it has been held that practice of law is


not a matter of right. It is a privilege bestowed upon
individuals who are not only learned in the law but who
are also known to possess good moral character.

The case was however been settled through amicable


settlement. The said amicable settlement canceled the
OCT under Free Patent in the name of Sabandal and his
mortgage in the bank; provided for the surrender of the
certificate of title to the RD for proper annotation;
reverted to the mass of public domain the land covered by
the aforesaid certificate of title with respondent refraining
from exercising acts of possession or ownership over the
said land. Respondent also paid the bank a certain sum
for
the
loan
and
interest.

It should be recalled that respondent worked as Land


Investigator at the Bureau of Lands. Said employment
facilitated his procurement of the free patent title over the
property which he could not but have known was a public
land. This was manipulative on his part and does not
speak well of his moral character. It is a manifestation of
gross dishonesty while in the public service, which cannot
be erased by the termination of the case and where no
determination of guilt or innocence was made because the
suit has been compromised. This is a sad reflection of his
sense
of
honor
and
fair
dealings.

ISSUE: Whether the respondent may be admitted to the


practice of law considering that he already submitted
three (3) testimonials regarding his good moral character,
and his pending civil case has been terminated.

Moreover, his failure to reveal to the Court the pendency


of the civil case for Reversion filed against him during the
period that he was submitting several petitions and
motions for reconsiderations reveal his lack of candor and
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LEGAL ETHICS
truthfulness.

Although, the term "good moral character" admits of


broad dimensions, it has been defined as "including at
least common dishonesty." It has also been held that no
moral qualification for membership is more important than
truthfulness or candor.

Canlas vs. CA 164 SCRA 160


PATERNO
R.
CANLAS,
petitioner,vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and FRANCISCO
HERRERA,respondents.
G.R.
August

SARMIENTO,J

No.
8,

L-77691
1988

.:

Facts:
The private respondent own several parcels of land
located in Quezon City for which he is the registered
owner. He secured loans from L and R corporations and
executed deeds of mortgage over the parcels of land for

the security of the same. Upon the maturity of said loans,


the firm initiated an extrajudicial foreclosure of the
properties in question after private respondent failed to
pay until maturity. The private respondent filed a
complaint for injunction over the said foreclosure and for
redemption of the parcels of land. Two years after the
filing of the petition, private respondent and L and R
corporation entered into a compromise agreement that
renders the former to be insured another year for the said
properties. Included in the stipulations were the attorneys
fees amounting to Php 100,000.00. The private
respondent however, remained to be in turmoil when it
came to finances and was apparently unable to pay and
secure the attorneys fees, more so the redemption
liability. Relief was discussed by petitioner and private
respondent executed a document to redeem the parcels of
land and to register the same to his name.
Allegations were made by the private respondent claiming
the parcels of land to his name but without prior notice,
the properties were already registered under the
petitioners name. The private respondent calls for a
review and for the court to act on the said adverse claim
by petitioner on said certificates for the properties
consolidated by the redemption price he paid for said
properties. The private respondent filed a suit for the
annulment of judgment in the Court of appeals which
ruled
over
the
same.
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LEGAL ETHICS

Issue: whether the petitioner is on solid ground on the


reacquisition
over
the
said
properties.
Ruling:
By Atty. Canlas' own account, "due to lack of paying
capacity of respondent Herrera, no financing entity was
willing to extend him any loan with which to pay the
redemption price of his mortgaged properties and
petitioner's P100,000.00 attorney's fees awarded in the
Compromise Judgment," a development that should have
tempered his demand for his fees. For obvious reasons,
he placed his interests over and above those of his client,
in opposition to his oath to "conduct himself as a
lawyer ... with all good fidelity ... to [his] clients." The
Court finds the occasion fit to stress that lawyering is not
a moneymaking venture and lawyers are not merchants, a
fundamental standard that has, as a matter of judicial
notice, eluded not a few law advocates. The petitioner's
efforts partaking of a shakedown" of his own client are not
becoming of a lawyer and certainly, do not speak well of
his fealty to his oath to "delay no man for money."
We are not, however, condoning the private respondent's
own
shortcomings.
In
condemning
Atty. Canlas
monetarily, we cannot overlook the fact that the private
respondent has not settled his liability for payment of the
properties. To hold Atty. Canlas alone liable for damages is
to enrich said respondent at the expense of his lawyer.

The parties must then set off their obligations against the
other.

METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY VS. CA


(181 SCRA 367 01/23/1990)
FACTS: A certain Celedonio Javier bought seven (7)
parcels of land owned by Eustaquio Alejandro, et al., with
a
total
area
of
about
ten
(10)
hectares.
These properties were thereafter mortgaged by Javier
with the petitioner to secure a loan obligation of one Felix
Angelo Bautista and/or InternationalHOTEL Corporation.
During the pendency of these suits that these parcels of
land were sold by petitioner to its sister corporation,
Service
LeasingCorporation and
on
the same day,
the properties were resold by the latter to Herby
Commercial and Construction Corporation. Three months
later, mortgaged the same properties with Banco de
Oro wherein
the
lower
court
found
that private respondent, did not have knowledge of these
transfers and transactions.
Petitioner filed an
urgent motion for substitution of party as a consequence
of the transfer of said parcels of land to Service
Leasing Corporation. Private respondent, on its part, filed
a verified motion to enter in the records of the aforesaid
civil cases its charging lien, pursuant to Section 37, Rule
138 of the Rules of Court, equivalent to twenty-five
percent (25%) of the actual and current market values of
the litigatedproperties as its attorney's fees. Despite due
notice, petitioner failed to appear and oppose said motion,
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LEGAL ETHICS
as a result of which the lower court granted the same and
ordered the, Register of Deeds of Rizal to annotate the
attorney's liens on the certificates of title of the parcels of
land.
Private respondent filed a motion to fix its attorney's fees,
based on quantum meruit, which motion precipitated an
exchange of arguments between the parties. On May 30,
1984,
petitioner
manifested
that
it
had
fully
paid private respondent; the latter, in turn, countered that
the amount of P50,000.00 given by petitioner could not be
considered as full payment but merely a cash advance,
including the amount of P14,000.00 paid to it on
December
15,
1980.
It
further
appears
that private respondent attempted
to
arrange
a
compromise with petitioner in order to avoid suit, offering
a compromise amount of P600,000.00 but the
negotiations were unsuccessful.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not private respondent is entitled to the
enforcement of its charging lien for payment of its
attorney's fee.
2. Whether or not a separate civil suit is necessary for the
enforcement of such lien.
3. Whether or not private respondent is entitled to
twenty-five (25%) of the actual and current market values
of the litigated properties on a quantum meruit basis.

1. NO. On the matter of attorney's liens Section 37, Rule


138 provides: He shall also have a lien to the same extent
upon all judgments for the payment of money, and
executions issued in pursuance of such judgments, which
he has secured in a litigation of his client, from and after
the time when he shall have caused a statement of his
claim of such lien to be entered uponthe records of the
court rendering such judgment, or issuing such execution,
and shall have caused written notice thereof to be
delivered to his client and to the adverse party; and he
shall have the same right and power over such judgments
and executions as his client would have to enforce his lien
and secure the payment of his just fees and
disbursements. Consequent to such provision, a charging
lien, to be enforceable as security for the payment of
attorney's fees, requires as a condition sine qua non a
judgment for money and execution in pursuance of such
judgment secured in the main action by the attorney in
favor of his client. A lawyer may enforce his right to fees
by filing the necessary petition as an incident in the main
action in which his services were rendered when
something is due his client in the action from which the
fee is to be paid. The civil cases below were dismissed
upon the initiative of the plaintiffs "in view of the frill
satisfaction of their claims."
2. NOT NECESSARY. At this juncture an enforceable
charging lien, duly recorded, is within the jurisdiction of
the court trying the main case and this jurisdiction
subsists until the lien is settled. Court trying main case
will determine attorneys fees.

HELD:
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LEGAL ETHICS
3. The Court
elements to
compensation
the
basis

refused to resolve issue but gave the


be considered in fixing a reasonable
for the services rendered by a lawyer on
of
quantum
meruit.
These
are:

(1) the importance of the subject matter in controvers


(2) the extent of the services rendered, and
(3) the professional standing of the lawyer order of
the trial court is hereby
REVERSED and SET.
ACCORDINGLY, the instant petition for review is hereby
GRANTED and the decision of respondent Court of
Appeals of February 11, 1988 affirming theorder of
the trial court is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE,
without prejudice to such appropriate proceedings as may
be brought by privaterespondent to establish its right to
attorney's fees and the amount thereof.

favorable judgment. Consequently, Atty. Dacanay was


disbarred from the practice of law.
He claimed that the inserted words were written by his
client, the President of Adez Realty, Inc., in the draft of
the petition to be filed before the Supreme Court and
unwittingly adopted by movant's secretary when the latter
formalized the petition. He manifested that he would not
risk committing the act for which he was found guilty
considering that he was a nominee of the Judicial and
Bar Council tothe President for appointment as regional
trial judge.
Dacanay filed a Motion to Lift (Disbarment) stating that he
was already 62 years old, has learned his lesson from his
mistake, was terribly sorry for what he had done, and in

Adez Realty Inc. vs. CA


Post under case digests, Legal Ethics at Thursday, March
08, 2012 Posted by Schizophrenic Mind
Facts: On 30 October 1992 the Court found movant, Atty.
Benjamin M. Dacanay, guilty of intercalating a material
fact in a decision of the Court of Appeals, which he
appealed to this Court on certiorari, thereby altering the
factual findings of the Court of Appeals with the apparent
purpose of misleading this Court in order to obtain a

all candor promised that if given another chance he would


live up to the exacting demands ofthe legal profession. He
appended to his motion certifications of good moral
character from: Fr. Celso Fernando, Parochial Vicar, Parish
of St. Michael Archangel, Marilao, Bulacan; Fr. Lauro V.
Larlar, OAR, Rector, San Sebastian College-Recoletos; Sis.
Aniceta B. Abion, EMM, Chairperson, Center for Housing
and Ecology Development Foundation, Inc.; Dean Rufus B.
Rodriquez,

College

of

Law,

San

Sebastian

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LEGAL ETHICS
Recoletos; Judge Pedro T. Santiago, Executive Judge, RTC,

good standing of the bar and for enjoying the privilege to

Quezon City; Judge Teodoro P. Regino, RTC-Br. 84, Quezon

practice law. The Supreme Court, as guardian of the

City; Judge Antonio P. Solano, RTC-Br. 86, Quezon City;

legalprofession, has ultimate disciplinary power over

and Judge Gregorio D. Dayrit, MTC-Br. 35, Quezon City

attorneys. This authority to discipline its members is not


only a right, but a bounden duty as well . . . That is why

Issue: Should the disbarment be lifted?

respect and fidelity to the Court is demanded of its


members . . .

Held: The disbarment of movant Benjamin M. Dacanay


for three (3) years has, quite apparently, given him

WHEREFORE, the disbarment of BENJAMIN M. DACANAY

sufficient time and occasion to soul-search and reflect on

from the practice of law is LIFTED and he is therefore

his professional conduct, redeem himself and prove once

allowed to resume the practice of law upon payment of

more that he is worthy to practice law and be capable of

the required legal fees. This resolution is effective

upholding

immediately.

the

dignity

of the

legal profession.

Hisadmission of guilt and repeated pleas for compassion


and reinstatement show that he is ready once more to
meet the exacting standards the legal profession demands
from its practitioners. Accordingly, the Court lifts the
disbarment of Benjamin M. Dacanay. However he should
be sternly warned that
[T]he practice of law is a privilege burdened with
conditions. Adherence to the rigid standards of mental
fitness, maintenance of the highest degree of morality and
faithful compliance with the rules of the legal profession
are the conditions required for remaining a member of

People vs Tuanda 181 SCRA 692


FACTS: 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. In 1983, Atty. Fe Tuanda received
from one Herminia A. Marquez several pieces of jewelry
with a total value of P36,000 for sale on commission
basis. In 1984, instead of returning the unsold pieces of
jewelry worth P26,250, she issued 3 checks. These checks
were dishonored by the drawee bank, Traders Royal Bank,
for insufficiency of funds. Notwithstanding receipt of the
notice of dishonor, Tuanda made no effort to settle her
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LEGAL ETHICS
obligation. Criminal cases were filed, wherein she was
acquitted of estafa but was found guilty of violation of BP
22 (The Anti-Bouncing Check Law). The appellate court
affirmed the decision of the trial court and imposed
further suspension against Tuanda in the practice of law,
on the ground that the offense involves moral turpitude.
Tuanda is nowappealing to the Supreme Court for her
suspension to be lifted arguing that her suspension was a
penalty so harsh on top of the fines imposed to her in
violation of the aforementioned law. Arguing further that
she intends no damage to the plaintiff-appellee (Herminia
A. Marquez)and she is not guilty of the offense charged.

before admission to

practice,

or

for

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

ISSUE: Whether or not the suspension of Atty. Tuanda be


lifted.

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

HELD: NO. The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that "the


offense [of] which she is found guilty involved 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

further action of the Supreme Court in the premises.


Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude relates to
and affects the good moral character of a person
convicted of such offense. Herein, BP 22 violation is a
serious criminal offense which deleteriously affects public
interest and public order. The effects of the issuance of a
worthless check transcends the private interest of parties
directly involved in the transaction and touches the
interest of the community at large. Putting valueless
commercial papers in circulation, multiplied a thousand
fold, 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. The crimes
of which respondent was convicted also import deceit and
violation
of
herattorney's oath
and
the
Code
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LEGAL ETHICS
of Professional Responsibility under both of which she was
bound to "obey the laws of the land."
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.
MELENDREZ vs. DECENA 176 SCRA 14
FACTS:
ISSUE:
RULING:

IN RE: PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE


LAWYERS OATH
Petitioner Al Caparros Argosino passed the bar
examinations held in 1993. The Court however deferred
his oath-taking due to his previous conviction for Reckless
Imprudence Resulting In Homicide.
The criminal case which resulted in petitioner's conviction,
arose from the death of a neophyte during fraternity
initiation rites sometime in September 1991.

On 14 April 1994, petitioner filed before this Court a


petition to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath based on
the order of his discharge from probation.
On 13 July 1995, the Court through then Senior Associate
Justice Florentino P. Feliciano issued a resolution requiring
petitioner Al C. Argosino to submit to the Court evidence
that he may now be regarded as complying with the
requirement of good moral character imposed upon those
seeking admission to the bar.
In compliance with the above resolution, petitioner
submitted no less than fifteen (15) certifications/letters
executed by among others two (2) senators, five (5) trial
court judges, and six (6) members of religious orders.
Petitioner likewise submitted evidence that a scholarship
foundation had been established in honor of Raul
Camaligan, the hazing victim, through joint efforts of the
latter's family and the eight (8) accused in the criminal
case.
On 26 September 1995, the Court required Atty. Gilbert
Camaligan, father of Raul, to comment on petitioner's
prayer to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath.
Atty. Camaligan's statement before the Court- manifesting
his having forgiven the accused, the latter admits that he
is still not in a position to state if petitioner is now morally
fit to be a lawyer.
ISSUE:

LEGAL ETHICS
RULING:
we resolve to allow petitioner Al Caparros
Argosino to take the lawyer's oath, sign the Roll of
Attorneys and practice the legal profession with the
following admonition:
The practice of law is a privilege granted only to those
who possess the strict intellectual and moral qualifications
required of lawyers who are instruments in the effective
and efficient administration of justice. It is the sworn duty
of this Court not only to "weed out" lawyers who have
become a disgrace to the noble profession of the law but,
also of equal importance, to prevent "misfits" from taking
the lawyer's oath, thereby further tarnishing the public
image of lawyers which in recent years has undoubtedly
become less than irreproachable
In allowing Mr. Argosino to take the lawyer's oath, the
Court recognizes that Mr. Argosino is not inherently of bad
moral fiber. On the contrary, the various certifications
show that he is a devout Catholic with a genuine concern
for civic duties and public service.

prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, taking


judicial notice of the general tendency of youth to be rash,
temerarious and uncalculating.
We stress to Mr. Argosino that the lawyer's oath is NOT a
mere ceremony or formality for practicing law. Every
lawyer should at ALL TIMES weigh his actions according to
the sworn promises he makes when taking the lawyer's
oath. If all lawyers conducted themselves strictly
according to the lawyer's oath and the Code of
Professional Responsibility, the administration of justice
will undoubtedly be faster, fairer and easier for everyone
concerned.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, petitioner Al Caparros Argosino


is hereby ALLOWED to take the lawyer's oath on a date to
be set by the Court, to sign the Roll of Attorneys and,
thereafter, to practice the legal profession.
SO ORDERED.

The Court is persuaded that Mr. Argosino has exerted all


efforts to atone for the death of Raul Camaligan. We are

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