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RECENT JURISPRUDENCE IN LEGAL ETHICS

January 2012 to October 2014


Judge Philip A. Aguinaldo
RTC Muntinlupa City
(Note : There are typographical and grammatical errors
but the correctness of the summary is not affected.)
The first thing we do : LETS KILL ALL THE LAWYERS.
Shakespeare, Henry VI.
RAFAEL VS. ATTY. ALIBUTDAN DIAZ
Promulgated: November 2, 2014
Everyone should keep in mind that the practice of law is
only a privilege. It is definitely not a right. In order to
enjoy this privilege, one must show that he possesses,
and continues to possess, the qualifications required
by law for the conferment of such privilege. Atty. Diaz'
delay in the liquidation of the finances of Philippine
Association of Court Employees (PACE) and her running
for reelection despite the fact that she is no longer
connected with the judiciary, among other actuations,
are manifestation of her lack of candor as a lawyer,
though not connected in her duties as a lawyer. The
affidavits executed by witnesses that she ran for
reelection are sufficient evidence against her despite
failure to present her certificate of candidacy.
SULTAN vs. ATTY. MACABANDING, October 8, 2014
Respondent notarized a falsified affidavit. Complainant
ran for the position of Mayor for the Municipality of
Buadipuso Buntong, Lanao del Sur in 2007. He filed his
Certificate of Candidacy and by virtue of a falsified
affidavit respondent made it appear that he executed an
Affidavit of Withdrawal of Certificate of Candidacy without
the complainants
knowledge or authorization.
Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for 1
year
with
revocation
of
his
commission
and
disqualification as notary public for 2 years with stern
warning.
CF SHARP VS. TORRES, SEPT. 23, 2014
Respondent is a medical doctor and a lawyer by
profession. It was hired as petitioners legal and claims
manager to oversee the claims instituted by seafarers
against complainants various principals.

The checks complainant issued as settlement were not


delivered to the claimants but were deposited in the
International Exchange Bank.
The court cannot concur with the IBPs recommendation
regarding the return of the settlement money respondent
received from the complainant, considering, among
others, that it was not specifically prayed for in the
latters administrative complaint and that the civil liability
of respondent therefore may already be the subject f
existing cases involving the same parties. Respondent
was disbarred.

VIRAY VS. ATTY. SANICAS, Sept 29, 2014


Except in respondents self-serving allegations, he was
not authorized to receive payments. There is further no
proof that complainant agreed to pay him additional 25%
attorneys fee and reimbursement of all expenses he
allegedly incurred. There was no retainers agreement or
breakdown of the amounts to be reimbursed.

Assuming that he was authorized to receive payments,


she should have promptly informed his client of the
amounts he received.
The relationship between counsel and client imposes on
a lawyer the duty to immediately account for the money
or property he received. A lawyers lien does for his
attorneys fee does not exempt a lawyer from this
obligation, He has not right to unilaterally appropriate
clients money for himself. Lawyer was suspended form
practice of law for 2 years.
NAKPIL VS. ATTY. UY, Sept. 17, 2014
This is an internal affair which has already been resolved
by the parties. Petitioners has withdrawn her complaint,
submitted motion to withdraw and filed in a compromise
Agreement.
The SC considers the failure of respondent to comply with
the demands of complaint Rebecca as an invocation of
her rights under the subject trust agreement
as well as respondents acts of mortgaging the subject
property without complaints consent, unethical.

Complainant in her motion to withdraw states that the


allegations she had previously made arose out of
a misapprehension of the real facts surrounding their
dispute and that respondent had fully explained to her
the real nature and extent of her inheritance x x x to
her entire satisfaction, leading her to state that
she is now fully convinced that [her] complaint has no
basis in fact and in law.
The SC Court finds that respondent committed some form
of misconduct by mortgaging the subject property
notwithstanding the apparent dispute over the same.
Respondent should have exhibited prudent restraint
becoming of a legal exemplar. He should not have
exposed himself even to the slightest risk of committing a
property violation nor any action which would endanger
the Bars reputation.
Tan vs. Atty. Diamante
(En Banc) August 5, 2014
For fabricating and using spurious court order and for
failing to keep client informed of the status of the case,
respondent was disbarred.
Nery vs. Atty. Sampana
(En Banc) September 9, 2014
For failing to file the petition for adoption
despite
receiving his legal fees and for making complainant
believe that it was already filed, respondent was
suspended from the practice of law for THREE (3) YEARS
and ordered to return the collected legal fee
(P100,000.00) with 12% interest per annum from the
time of his receipt of the full amount of money on 17
November 2008 until 30 June 2013, then 6% interest per
annum from 1 July 2013 until fully paid.
Presiding Judge, RTC, Br. 51, SORSOGON CITY vs. Atty
Dealca, (En Banc) September 9, 2014
Respondent engaged in the unethical practice of filing
frivolous administrative cases against judges and
personnel and for filing motions to inhibit the complainant
from hearing a pending case, the
Supreme Court
suspended him for one year. The SC also said : On a final
note, it cannot escape our attention that this is not the
first administrative complaint to be ever brought against
the lawyer.
VILLANUEVA vs. Atty. Saguyod
Clerk of Court, RTC Paniqui, Tarlac

September 8, 2014
The SC said Time and again, we have held that clerks of
court are not authorized to demand and/or receive
commissioners fees for reception of evidence ex parte.
To be entitled to reasonable compensation, a
commissioner must not be an employee of the court.
Gaddi vs. Atty. Velasco, September 13, 2014
Dizon vs. Atty. Cabucana, March 12, 2014
The 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice provides that a
notary public should not notarize a document unless the
signatory to the document is in the notarys presence
personally at the time of the notarization, and personally
known to the notary public or otherwise identified
through competent evidence of identity.
Penalty : Suspension for one year in the practice of law
revocation of commission and prohibition from being
commission for two years with warning.
Cristobal vs. Atty. Renta
September 17, 2014
Respondent received the full packaged price of
P160,000.00 but failed to file petition for recognition.
Although respondent refunded the money and the
complainant executed an Affidavit of Desistance and said
that respondent cried for forgiveness, respondent was
reprimanded with warning.
Almazan vs. Atty. Suerte Felipe
September 17, 2014
A notary public can only notarize a document within the
jurisdiction of his commission. Respondent was
suspended from practice of law for six months and is
disqualified from being commissioned for one year and
his existing commission is revoked plus warning.
EN BANC
RE: ALLEGATIONS MADE UNDER OATH AT
THE SENATE BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE
HEARING HELD ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
AGAINST ASSOCIATE JUSTICE GREGORY
S. ONG. SEPTEMBER 23, 2014
This administrative complaint was filed by the Court En
Banc
after investigation into certain allegations that surfaced
during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Hearing. The
SC established
prima facie violations of the Code of
Judicial Conduct by
Associate Justice of the
Sandiganbayan Ong. The investigation was conducted
motu proprio pursuant to the power of the SC of

administrative supervision over members of the Judiciary.


Justice Sandoval-Gutierrez stated that the eleven checks
are were given to respondent as consideration for the
favorable ruling in the Kevlar case. Such finding is
consistent with Luys testimony that Napoles spent a
staggering P100 million just to fix the said case. Under
the circumstances, it is difficult to believe that
respondent went to Napoles office the second time just to
have coffee. Respondents act of again visiting Napoles at
her office, after he had supposedly merely thanked her
during the first visit, tends to support Luys claim that
respondent had a financial deal with Napoles regarding
advance interest for AFPSLAI deposit. The question
inevitably arises as to why would Napoles extend such an
accommodation to respondent if not as consideration for
her acquittal in the Kevlar case?
Respondents controversial photograph alone had raised
adverse public opinion, with the media speculating on
pay-offs taking place in the courts. Regrettably, the
conduct of respondent gave cause for the public in
general to doubt the honesty and fairness of his
participation in the Kevlar case and the integrity of our
courts of justice. Before this Court, even prior to the
commencement
of
administrative
investigation,
respondent was less than candid. In his letter to the Chief
Justice where he vehemently denied having attended
parties or social events hosted by Napoles, he failed to
mention that he had in fact visited Napoles at her office.
Far from being a plain omission, we find that respondent
deliberately did not disclose his social calls to Napoles. It
was only when Luy and Sula testified before the Senate
and named him as the contact of Napoles in the
Sandiganbayan, that respondent mentioned of only one
instance he visited Napoles (This is the single occasion
that Sula was talking about in her supplemental affidavit
x x x).
Respondent was found guilty of dishonesty.
Agot vs. Atty. Rivera
(En Banc) August 5, 2014
Respondent was charged with misrepresentation, deceit,
and failure to account for and return complainants
money despite several demands. The SC ordered the
return of the amount respondent received from complaint
in the amount of P350,000.00. The SC said "while the
Court has previously held that disciplinary proceedings
should only revolve around the determination of the
respondent-lawyer's administrative and not his civil
liability, it must be clarified that this rule remains
applicable only to claimed liabilities which are purely civil

in nature - for instance, when the claim involves moneys


received by the lawyer from his client in a transaction
separate and distinct [from] and not intrinsically linked to
his professional engagement." Hence, since respondent
received the aforesaid amount as part of his legal fees,
the Court finds the return thereof to be in order.
Ong vs. Atty. De los Reyes,
March 4, 2014
A lawyer's issuance of a worthless check renders him in
breach of his oath to obey the laws. This is considered
gross misconduct though his act involved a private
dealing.
BRUNET, et al. vs. Atty. Guaren,
March 10, 2014
The acceptance by the lawyer of a partial payment of his
acceptance fee makes him liable for his failure to file the
case despite lapse of 5 years. This is a breach of duty to
serve client with competence and diligence, and a
neglect of a legal matter entrusted to him.
NEBREJA vs. Atty, Reonal
March 19, 2014
Respondents misrepresentation of the status of the case
and for his use of a fictitious address make him liable for
unethical conduct. He was suspended from practice of
law for a period of six months and was required to render
accounting of all the sums he received from his client.
The Court, however, deleted the recommendation of the
IPB to return the amount with 12% interest per annum he
got from the complainant. The remedy is to file an
independent civil or criminal action against the lawyer.
De Jesus vs. Atty. Sanchez-Malit
July 8, 2014
Respondent who was a consultant of the local
government of Dinalupihan, Bataan,
drafted and
notarized a Real Estate Mortgage of a public market stall
of a public market falsely stating that the complainant is
the absolute and registered owner. As a result, the
mortgagee sued complainant for perjury and for
collection of sum of money. As a consultant, the
respondent should be aware that the market stall was
government-owned.
Respondent is also liable for (1) notarizing two contracts
without the signature of the lessees; (2) drafting and
notarizing a sale agreement over a property covered by a
Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) and did not

advise complainant that the property was still covered by


the period within which it could not be alienated; and (3)
notarizing three Special Powers of Attorney (SPAs) without
the signature of the principals and bore only the signature
of the named attorney-in-fact.
Respondents defense complainant needed the loan
proceeds and had read the documents before affixing
her signature, and that the
phrase absolute and
registered owner was inadvertently copied from the
computer files of respondent were set aside by the SC.
Respondents claim
that the complainant was an
experienced realty broker and, therefore, needed no
advice on the repercussions of her transactions only
complicated her defense because she is a lawyer who is
supposed to now the law more than the complainant.
Respondents further defense that the submission of
additional documentary
evidence in a supplemental
pleading during the course of the proceedings which she
maintained to be inadmissible, as they were obtained
illegally without observing the procedural requisites
under Section 4, Rule VI of Adm. No. 02-08-13 SC (2004
Rules on Notarial Practice) was not considered.
Her prayer that the additional evidence should be
expunged because complainant was not the proper party
to question those documents was set aside.
Respondents plea for a mitigation of her liability due to
the absence of prior disciplinary record, absence of
dishonest or selfish motive, her personal and emotional
problems;
her
timely good-faith effort to make
restitution or to rectify the consequences of her
misconduct; her full and free disclosure to the disciplinary
board or cooperative attitude toward the proceedings; her
character or reputation; her remorse; and the remoteness
of prior offenses were not considered.
Where the notary public admittedly has personal
knowledge of a false statement or information contained
in the instrument to be notarized, yet proceeds to affix
the notarial seal on it, the Court must not hesitate to
discipline the notary public accordingly as the
circumstances of the case may dictate.
In this case, respondent fully knew that complainant was
not the owner of the mortgaged market stall. That
complainant comprehended the provisions of the real

estate mortgage contract does not make respondent any


less guilty. If at all, it only heightens the latters liability
for tolerating a wrongful act.
She was suspended for one year and PERPETUAL
DISQUALIFICATION from being commissioned as a notary
public.
JIMENEZ and VIZCONDE vs. ATTY.
FELISBERTO L. VERANO, Jr.
ATTY. OLIVER0.LOZANO vs. ATTY.
FELISBERTO L. VERANO, JR.,
JULY 15, 2014
Respondent showed disrespect for the law and legal
processes in drafting an order and sending it to the
Secretary of Justice. His defense that that the drafted
release order was not signed by the Secretary and
therefore remained a mere scrap of paper with no effect
at all was not meritorious.
This act of feeding the draft order with the official DOJ
stationery to the DOJ Secretary was highly irregular, as it
tended to influence a public official.
Atty. Paguia vs. Atty. Molina,
June 2014
A lawyer who gives legal advice to a client is not liable in
the absence of bad faith or malice. A lawyer is not
expected to know all the law.
QUIACHON vs. ATTY. RAMOS
June 2004
The withdrawal of a disbarment case against a lawyer
does not terminate or abate the jurisdiction of the IBP and
of the SC to continue an administrative proceeding
against a lawyer-respondent as a member of the
Philippine Bar.
The failure of respondent to file an appeal from the CA
Decision without any justifiable reason deserves
sanction. A lawyers who disagrees with the pursuit of an
appeal should properly withdraw his appearance and
allow his client to retain another counsel, even if he is
"honestly and sincerely" that appeal is useless. He has no
right to waive the appeal without the clients knowledge
and consent.
CRISOSTOMO, et al. vs. ATTY. NAZARENO,
JUNE 10, 2014

Making false statement in the certificate of non-forum


shopping is malpractice
Separate from the proscription against forum shopping is
the violation of the certification requirement against
forum shopping.
There is a difference in the treatment between failure to
comply with the certification requirement and violation of
the prohibition against forum shopping not only in terms
of imposable sanctions but also in the manner of
enforcing them. The former constitutes sufficient cause
for the dismissal without prejudice to the filing of the
complaint or initiatory pleading up on motion and after
hearing, while the latter is a ground for summary
dismissal thereof and for direct contempt.
Under Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court, the
submission of false entries in a certification against forum
shopping constitutes indirect or direct contempt of court,
and subjects the erring counsel to the corresponding
administrative and criminal sanctions.
DIZON vs. Atty. De Taza
June 10, 2014
The demand and receipt of exorbitant sums from client to
expedite proceedings is unethical. A lawyer may also be
administratively charged for borrowing money, incurring
debts and issuing bouncing checks.
Baens vs. Atty. Sempio
June 9, 2014
The excuse proffered by the respondent that he did not
receive any orders or notices from the trial court is highly
intolerable. In the first place, securing a copy of such
notices, orders and case records is
within the
respondents control and is a task a lawyer undertakes.
Lawyers should also update themselves of the progress
of their clients case and should resort to available legal
remedies for the protection of their interest.
Dominguez vs. Atty. Agleron, March 10, 2014
Respondents defense that he was not able to file the
complaint due to the failure of complainant to remit the
full payment of the filing fee and pay his 30% attorney's
fee is not a valid excuse that would exonerate him from
liability.
Figueras, et al. vs. Atty. Jimenez, March 12, 14

The procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil


proceedings that only the real party-in-interest must
initiate the suit does not apply in disbarment cases. In
fact, the person who called the attention of the court to a
lawyers misconduct is in no sense a party, and
generally has no interest in the outcome.
In Heck v. Judge Santos, the Court held that [a]ny
interested person or the court motu proprio may initiate
disciplinary proceedings. The right to institute
disbarment proceedings is not confined to clients nor is it
necessary that the person complaining suffered injury
from the alleged wrongdoing. Disbarment proceedings
are matters of public interest and the only basis for the
judgment is the proof or failure of proof of the charges.
The SC imposed the penalty of suspension for one month.
Ang vs. Atty. Gupana, Feb 5, 14
The SC found that respondent did not act unethically
when he sold the property in dispute as the sellers
attorney-in-fact because there was no more notice of lis
pendens annotated on the particular lot sold. Likewise,
the Court finds no sufficient evidence to show that the
Deed of Absolute Sale was antedated. However, the
Court finds respondent administratively liable for violation
of his notarial duties when he failed to require the
personal presence of Candelaria Magpayo (who was
already dead in 1991) when he notarized the Affidavit of
Loss which Candelaria allegedly executed on April 29,
1994.
Relying on clerical staff to determine the completeness
of documents for notarization and simply inquiring about
the identities of the persons appearing before him, makes
a notary public liable for misconduct. Penalty is
revocation of his notarial commission, disqualification
from being commissioned as a notary public for a period
of two years and suspension from the practice of law for
one year.
ROSE BUNAGAN-BANSIG vs ATTY. ROGELIO JUAN A.
CELERA, Jan. 14, 2014.

The respondents act of contracting a second marriage


while his first marriage is subsisting constituted grossly
immoral conduct and are grounds for disbarment.

as a member of the Bar. The Courts only concern is the


determination of respondents administrative liability.
CAMPOS, et al., vs ATTY. CAMPOS. Jan. 22, 2014

Considering respondent's propensity to disregard not only


the laws of the land but also the lawful orders of the
Court, it only shows him to be wanting in moral character,
honesty, probity and good demeanor.
NATIVIDAD P. NAVARRO and HILDA S. PRESBITERO vs.
ATTY. IVAN M. SOLIDUM, JR., January 28, 2014
The SC disbarred respondent and changed the
recommendation of the IBP to suspension of two years.
Respondent agreed to pay a high interest rate on the loan
he obtained from his client but when he could no longer
pay his loan, he sought to nullify the same MOA he
drafted on the ground that the interest rate was
unconscionable.
Respondent mortgaged a 263-square-meter property for
P1,000,000 but he later sold the property for only
P150,000 thereby deceiving his client as to the real value
of the mortgaged property. Respondents allegation that
the sale was eventually rescinded did not distract from
the fact that he did not apprise the owner as to the real
value of the property.
Respondent made his clients believed that the checks he
issued were his. The checks are actually owned by his son
whose name is similar to his name.
His defense that the loan agreements were done in
respondents private capacity is not meritorious.
The SC cannot sustain the IBP Board of Governors
recommendation ordering respondent to return his unpaid
obligation to complainants, except for advances for the
expenses he received from his client. In disciplinary
proceedings against lawyers, the only issue is whether
the officer of the court is still fit to be allowed to continue

Respondents
engagement in the scuffle inside the
chamber of Judge Casals on September 14, 2009 is not
befitting a member of the bar.
Previously, the SC imposed upon respondent (a former
judge) a fine of Php20,000.00 for simple misconduct in
A.M. MTCJ-10-1761.
In Samson v. Caballero, the Court emphasized what
"automatic conversion of administrative cases against
justices and judges to disciplinary proceedings against
them as lawyers" means, that they must be based on
grounds which are likewise grounds for the disciplinary
action of members of the Bar for violation of the Lawyers
Oath, the Code of Professional Responsibility, and the
Canons of Professional Ethics, or for such other forms of
breaches of conduct that have been traditionally
recognized as grounds for the discipline of lawyers.
Judgment in both respects may be incorporated in one
decision or resolution.
xxxx
Under the same rule, a respondent "may forthwith be
required to comment on the complaint and show cause
why he should not also be suspended, disbarred or
otherwise disciplinary sanctioned as member of the Bar."
xxx In other words, an order to comment on the
complaint is an order to give an explanation on why he
should not be held administratively liable not only as a
member of the bench but also as a member of the bar.
This is the fair and reasonable meaning of "automatic
conversion" of administrative cases against justices and
judges to disciplinary proceedings against them as
lawyers. This will also serve the purpose of A.M. No. 02-9-

02-SC to avoid the duplication or unnecessary replication


of actions by treating an administrative complaint filed
against a member of the bench also as a disciplinary
proceeding against him as a lawyer by mere operation of
the rule. Thus, a disciplinary proceeding as a member of
the bar is impliedly instituted with the filing of an
administrative
case
against
a
justice
of
the
Sandiganbayan, Court of Appeals and Court of Tax
Appeals or a judge of a first- or second-level court.
Lastly, the SC Court views with disfavor respondents
statement during the hearing conducted by the CBD on
March 18, 2011 that he doubts Alistair to be his biological
son. As a lawyer, respondent is presumably aware that
ascribing illegitimacy to his son in a proceeding not
instituted for that specific purpose is nothing short of
defamation.

EDGARDO AREOLA vs. ATTY. MARIA VILMA MENDOZA, Jan.


15, 2014.
Atty. Mendoza, a PAO lawyer, admitted that she advised
her clients to approach the judge and plead for
compassion so that their motions would be granted. This
admission corresponds to one of Areolas charges against
Atty. Mendozathat she told her clients " Iyak-iyakan lang
ninyo si Judge Martin at palalayain na kayo. Malambot
ang puso noon." Atty. Mendoza made it appear that the
judge is easily moved if a party resorts to dramatic antics
such as begging and crying in order for their cases to be
dismissed.
This improper advice only lessens the confidence of the
public in our legal system. Judges must be free to judge,
without pressure or influence from external forces or
factors according to the merits of a case. It must be
remembered that a lawyers duty is not to his client but
to the administration of justice.

SPOUSES DAVID AND MARISA WILLIAMS, Complainants,


vs. ATTY. RUDY T. ENRIQUEZ, Respondent. November 17,
2013
In order for the Court to determine whether a lawyer is
guilty of dishonesty, the issue in a particular case must
first be settled. Complainant alleged that the owner of
the property sold a portion to them. On the other hand,
respondent alleged that the seller is not the real owner.
This was precisely the issue in Civil Case No. 390.
Unfortunately, the MCTC was not able to make a definite
ruling because the complainants failed to file their answer
within the prescribed period. The issue of ownership of
real property must be settled in a judicial, not
administrative, case.
The Court set aside the
IBP Board of Governors'
Resolutions and DISMISSES without prejudice the instant
administrative case.

SPOUSES WARRINER vs. ATYY. DUBLIN, November 18,


2013
Respondent deliberately mishandled Civil Case No.
23,396-95 to the prejudice of herein complainants for
deliberately failing to timely file a formal offer of exhibits
because he believes that the exhibits were fabricated and
was hoping that the same would be refused admission by
the RTC. This is improper. If respondent truly believes that
the exhibits to be presented in evidence by his clients
were fabricated, then he has the option to withdraw from
the case.

CABAUATAN vs. ATTY. VENIDA, November 20, 2013

Complainant who was already 78 years old appeared


during the IBP mandatory conference but respondent
failed to do so. As an officer of the court, respondent is
expected to know that a resolution of this Court is not a
mere request but an order which should be complied with
promptly and completely. This is also true of the orders of
the IBP as the investigating arm of the Court in
administrative cases against lawyers.

HON. MARIBETH RODRIGUEZ-MANAHAN, Presiding Judge,


Municipal Trial Court, San Mateo, Rizal, Complainant,
vs. ATTY. RODOLFO FLORES, Respondent. November 13,
2013
Judge Manahan issued an Order whereby she voluntarily
inhibited herself from hearing Civil Case No. 1863 which
reads in part, viz:
More than mere contempt do his (Atty. Flores) unethical
actuations, his traits of dishonesty and discourtesy not
only to his own brethren in the legal profession, but also
to the bench and judges, would amount to grave
misconduct, if not a malpractice of law, a serious ground
for disciplinary action of a member of the bar pursuant to
Rules 139 a & b.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, furnish a copy of this Order to the Bar
Discipline Committee, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, to
the Supreme Court en banc, for appropriate investigation
and sanction.
Upon receipt of the copy of the above Order, the Office of
the Bar Confidant (OBC) deemed the pronouncements of
Judge Manahan as a formal administrative Complaint
against Atty. Flores.
Record shows that during the Preliminary Conference x x
x, respondent Atty. Flores entered his appearance and
was given time to file a Pre-Trial Brief. x x x On May 24,
2010, respondent Atty. Flores filed his Pre-Trial Brief but
without proof of MCLE compliance hence it was expunged

from the records without prejudice to the filing of another


Pre-Trial Brief containing the required MCLE compliance. x
x x Atty. Flores asked for ten (10) days to submit proof.
Meanwhile, respondent Atty. Flores filed a Manifestation in
Court dated September 14, 2010 stating among others,
the following allegations:
xxxx
4. When you took your oath as member of the Bar, you
promised to serve truth, justice and fair play. Do you think
you are being truthful, just and fair by serving a cheater?
5. Ignorance of the law excuses no one for which reason
even Erap was convicted by the Sandiganbayan.1wphi1
But even worse is a lawyer who violates the law.
6. Last but not the least, God said Thou shall not lie.
Again the Philippine Constitution commands: Give every
Filipino his due. The act of refusal by the plaintiff is
violative of the foregoing divine and human laws.
xxxx
Respondent Atty. Flores later filed his Pre-Trial Brief
bearing
an
MCLE
number
which
was
merely
superimposed without indicating the date and place of
compliance. During the preliminary conference on
November 24, 2010, respondent Atty. Flores manifested
that he will submit proof of compliance of his MCLE on the
following day. On December 1, 2010, respondent Atty.
Flores again failed to appear and to submit the said
promised proof of MCLE compliance. In its stead,
respondent Atty. Flores filed a Letter of even date stating
as follows:
If only to give your Honor another chance to prove your
pro plaintiff sentiment, I am hereby filing the attached
Motion which you may once more assign to the waste
basket of nonchalance.

With the small respect that still remains, I have asked the
defendant to look for another lawyer to represent him for
I am no longer interested in this case because I feel I
cannot do anything right in your sala.

A lawyer who commits overt acts of sexual harassment


against a female client is guilty of reprehensible conduct
that is unbecoming of a member of the Bar and should be
suspended from the practice of law.

The Investigating Judge found Atty. Flores to have failed


to give due respect to the court and
employed
intemperate language in his pleadings.

The records show that Atty. Pedrea (a PAO lawyer)


rubbed the complainants right leg with his hand; tried to
insert his finger into her firmly closed hand; grabbed her
hand and forcibly placed it on his crotch area; and
pressed his finger against her private part. His
misconduct was aggravated by the fact that he was then
a Public Attorney mandated to provide free legal service
to indigent litigants, and by the fact that De Leon was
then such a client. He thereby took advantage of her
vulnerability as a client then in desperate need of his
legal assistance.

The SC held that since it appears that this is the first


infraction committed by respondent, it was not prepared
to impose on the respondent the penalty of one-year
suspension for humanitarian reasons. Respondent
manifested before this Court that he has been in the
practice of law for half a century. Thus, he is already in
his twilight years. He was fined P5,000.00 and is
reminded to be more circumspect.

ATTY.
EMBIDO,
REGIONAL
DIRECTOR,
NBI,
vs. ATTY. PE, JR., ASSISTANT PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR,
SAN JOSE, ANTIQUE, October 22, 2013
A lawyer who forges a court decision and represents it as
that of a court of law is guilty of the gravest misconduct
and deserves the supreme penalty of disbarment.
The respondents insisted that the falsification had been
the handiwork of Dy Quioyo.
Dy Quioyos categorical declaration on the respondents
personal responsibility for the falsified decision, which by
nature was positive evidence, was not overcome by the
respondents blanket denial, which by nature was
negative evidence

DE LEON vs. ATTY. PEDREA, October 222, 2013

In Advincula v. Macabata, the Court held that the errant


lawyers acts of turning his clients head towards him and
then kissing her on the lips were distasteful, but still ruled
that such acts, albeit offensive and undesirable, were not
grossly immoral. Hence, the respondent lawyer was
reprimanded but reminded to be more prudent and
cautious in his dealings with clients.
In Barrientos v. Daarol, the respondent lawyer was
disbarred, but the severest penalty was imposed not only
because of his engaging in illicit sexual relations, but also
because of his deceit. He had been already married and
was about 41 years old when he proposed marriage to a
20-year-old girl. He succeeded in his seduction of her, and
made her pregnant. He not only suggested that she abort
the pregnancy, but he also breached his promise to marry
her, and, in the end, even deserted her and their child.
In Delos Reyes v. Aznar, the Court adjudged the
respondent lawyer, a married man with children, highly
immoral for having taken advantage of his position as the
chairman of the College of Medicine of his school in
enticing the complainant, then a student in the college, to
have carnal knowledge with him under the threat that she

would flunk in all her subjects should she refuse. The


respondent was disbarred for grossly immoral conduct.
In Calub v. Suller, the SC disbarred the respondent
lawyer for raping his neighbors wife notwithstanding that
his guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt in his
criminal prosecution for the crime.

MATTUS vs. ATTY. VILLASECA, October 1, 2013


Motion to file demurrer to evidence was granted but
lawyer failed to do so which the SC considered
inexcusable negligence showing his lack of devotion and
zeal in preserving his clients cause.

TRIA-SAMONTE vs. OBIAS, October 8, 2013


Respondent publicly held herself out as lawyer and a real
estate broker. In this regard, the legal advice and/or legal
documentation that she offered and/or rendered
regarding the real estate transaction subject of this case
should not be deemed removed from the category of
legal services
Records disclose that instead of delivering the deed of
sale covering the subject property to her clients, she
willfully notarized a deed of sale over the same property
in favor of another person.

ZABALJAUREGUI PITCHER vs. ATTY. GAGATE, October 8,


2013
Respondent did not exercise the required diligence in
handling complainants ( a widow ) cause by failing to
represent her competently and diligently by acting and
proffering professional advice beyond the proper bounds
of law, He later abandoned his clients cause while the
grave coercion case against them was pending.
Lawyer advised client to change the lock of the office of
her deceased husband even if the right of her husband
has not been sufficiently established. He further advised
complainant to go into hiding in order to evade arrest in
the criminal case for coercion filed against her.

OROLA, ET. AL. vs. ATTY. RAMOS, Respondent. September


11, 2013
The sole issue in this case is whether or not respondent is
guilty of representing conflicting interests in violation of
Rule 15.03 of the Code.
A lawyer is prohibited from representing new clients
whose interests oppose those of a former client in any
manner, whether or not they are parties in the same
action or on totally unrelated cases. The prohibition is
founded on the principles of public policy and good taste.
It behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the client's
confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery
and double-dealing for only then can litigants be
encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers,
which is of paramount importance in the administration of
justice.
In Hornilla v. Salunat, the Court explained the concept of
conflict of interest, to wit:
There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents
inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties.
The test is" whether or not in behalf of one client, it is the
lawyer's duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his
duty to oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he argues
for one client, this argument will be opposed by him when
he argues for the other client." This rule covers not only
cases in which confidential communications have been
confided, but also those in which no confidence has been
bestowed or will be used. Also, there is conflict of
interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require
the attorney to perform an act which will injuriously affect

his first client in any matter in which he represents him


and also whether he will be called upon in his new
relation to use against his first client any knowledge
acquired through their connection. Another test of the
inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a
new relation will prevent an attorney from the full
discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to
his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double
dealing in the performance thereof.
It must, however, be noted that a lawyers immutable
duty to a former client does not cover transactions that
occurred beyond the lawyers employment with the
client. The intent of the law is to impose upon the lawyer
the duty to protect the clients interests only on matters
that he previously handled for the former client and not
for matters that arose after the lawyer-client relationship
has terminated.
Records reveal that respondent was the collaborating
counsel not only for the heirs of Antonio in Special
Proceeding No. V-3639. In the course, the heirs in
removing the administrator for having committed acts
prejudicial to their interests. Hence, when respondent
proceeded to represent Emilio for the purpose of seeking
his reinstatement as administrator in the same case, he
clearly worked against the very interest of the heirs.
Respondent's justification that no confidential information
was relayed to him (which was admitted by the heirs)
cannot fully exculpate him for the charges against him
since the rule on conflict of interests even if it was only a
friendly accommodation. He cannot also invoked good
faith and with no intention to represent conflicting
interests.
Neither can respondent's asseveration that his
engagement by the removed administrator was more of a
mediator than a litigator and for the purpose of forging a
settlement among the family members. To do so, he
should have
obtained the written consent of all
concerned before he may act as mediator, conciliator or

arbitrator in settling disputes. He was also remiss in his


duty to make a full disclosure of his impending
engagement as the administrators counsel and
to
secure
their
express
written
consent
before
consummating the same.
Lawyer suspended for three months.
PENILLA vs. ATTY. ALCID, JR., September 4, 2013
Complainant entered into an agreement with Spouses
Rey and Evelyn Garin (the spouses) for the repair of his
Volkswagen automobile. Despite full payment, the
spouses defaulted in their obligation. Thus, complainant
decided to file a case for breach of contract against the
spouses where he engaged the services of respondent as
counsel.
Respondent sent a demand letter and
advised
complainant to file a criminal case for estafa. Respondent
charged P30,000 as attorneys fees and P10,000 as filing
fees. Complainant alleges that when the case was
submitted for resolution, respondent told him that they
have to give a bottle of Carlos Primero I to Asst. City
Prosecutor Fortuno to expedite a favorable resolution of
the case.
Respondent failed to "serve his client with competence
and diligence" by filing a criminal case for estafa when
the facts of the case would have warranted the filing of a
civil case for breach of contract. After the complaint for
estafa was dismissed, respondent committed another
similar blunder by filing a civil case for specific
performance and damages before the RTC. The
complaint, having an alternative prayer for the payment
of damages, should have been filed with the Municipal
Trial Court which has jurisdiction over complainants claim
which amounts to only P36,000.
Respondent cannot use as an excuse why he failed to
update complainant of the status of the cases he filed
because their time did not always coincide. Respondent

owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be


mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him.
Atty. Quintin P. Alcid, Jr. was found GUILTY of gross
misconduct and was suspended from the practice of law
for a period of SIX (6) MONTHS.

JOVEN, et al. vs. ATTYS. CRUZ and MAGSALIN III,


Respondents. July 31, 2013
The burden of proof in disbarment and suspension
proceedings always rests on the shoulders of the
complainant. The Court exercises its disciplinary power
only if the complainant establishes the complaint by
clearly preponderant evidence that warrants the
imposition of the harsh penalty. As a rule, an attorney
enjoys the legal presumption that he is innocent of the
charges made against him until the contrary is proved. An
attorney is further presumed as an officer of the Court to
have performed his duties in accordance with his oath.

ATTY. NUIQUE vs. ATTY. SEDILLO, July 29, 2013

claim in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to


oppose that claim for the other client. Thus, if a lawyers
argument for one client has to be opposed by that same
lawyer in arguing for the other client, there is a violation
of the rule.
Another test of inconsistency of interests is whether the
acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full
discharge of the lawyers duty of undivided fidelity and
loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or
double-dealing in the performance of that duty. Still
another test is whether the lawyer would be called upon
in the new relation to use against a former client any
confidential
information
acquired
through
their
connection or previous employment.
Facts show that
respondent represented
Estrelieta
against her husband Kiyoshi, notwithstanding that he was
still the counsel of Kiyoshi and Estrelieta in another case
against Amasula. This creates a suspicion
of
unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of his
duty towards his clients. Under the circumstances, the
decent and ethical thing which the respondent should
have done was to advise Estrelieta to engage the services
of another lawyer.

The Complaint
for disbarment filed by Atty. Nuique
(complainant) against Atty. Eduardo Sedillo (respondent)
who is charged with: ( 1) violating the prohibition on
representing conflicting interests; (2) using abusive
language against and disrespecting the court; and (3)
spreading rumors against a colleague in the legal
profession is meritorious.
In Quiambao v. Atty. Bamba, the Court explained the
concept of conflict of interest. Thus:

Repondents defense that the civil case instituted by


Kiyoshi and Estrelieta against Amasula is totally unrelated
to the subsequent cases in which he represented
Estrelieta
against
Kiyoshi
is
immaterial.
The
representation of opposing clients in said cases, even if
unrelated, is tantamount to representing conflicting
interests or, at the very least, invites suspicion of doubledealing which the SC Court cannot allow.

In broad terms, lawyers are deemed to represent


conflicting interests when, in behalf of one client, it is
their duty to contend for that which duty to another client
requires them to oppose. Developments in jurisprudence
have particularized various tests to determine whether a
lawyers conduct lies within this proscription. One test is
whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or

Moreover, in Anion v. Sabitsana, Jr., the Court stated:


The proscription against representation of conflicting
interests applies to a situation where the opposing parties
are present clients in the same action or in an unrelated
action. The prohibition also applies even if the lawyer
would not be called upon to contend for one client that

which the lawyer has to oppose for the other client, or


that there would be no occasion to use the confidential
information acquired from one to the disadvantage of the
other as the two actions are wholly unrelated. To be held
accountable under this rule, it is enough that the
opposing parties in one case, one of whom would lose the
suit, are present clients and the nature or conditions of
the lawyers respective retainers with each of them would
affect the performance of the duty of undivided fidelity to
both clients.
Conflict of interest applies if the present client is merely
the agent of the former client.
SONIC STEEL INDUSTRIES, INC., vs. ATTY. CHUA, July 17,
2013
Lawyers are officers of the court, called upon to assist in
the administration of justice. 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.
In the present case, it appears that respondent claimed or
made to appear that STEELCORP was the licensee of the
technical information and the patentee 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.
It is worth underscoring that when
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. It logically appears
that respondent was trying to conceal facts 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.
SAMSON vs. ATTY. ERA, July 16, 2013.
Complainant Samson and his relatives were among the
investors who fell prey to the pyramiding scam. They
engaged Atty. Era to represent and assist them in the
criminal prosecution. In April 2003, Atty. Era called a
meeting with complainant to discuss the possibility of an
amicable settlement with the accused. Respondent
lawyer guaranteed the turnover to complainant a certain
property located in Antipolo City in exchange for their
desistance which they executed.
They acceded and
executed the affidavit of desistance he prepared, and in
turn they received a deed of assignment covering land
registered under Transfer Certificate of Title No. R-4475. It
turned out that the title was fake. Respondent later
appeared as counsel for the accused.
Respondents
contention that the lawyer-client
relationship ended when complainant and his group
entered into the compromise settlement is not correct as
it only settled the civil aspect, and not to the criminal
case.
In the absence of the express consent from complainant
after full disclosure to them of the conflict of interest, the
most ethical thing for respondent was either to outrightly
decline representing and entering his appearance as
counsel for the accused or to advice accused to engage
another lawyer. Unfortunately, he did neither, and should
now suffer the proper sanction. Atty. Era was suspended
from the practice of law for two years.
ROSARIO, JR. vs, DE GUZMAN, et al., July 10, 2013
Spouses Pedro and Rosita de Guzman (parents of herein
respondent) engaged the legal services of Atty. Francisco
L.
Rosario, Jr. (petitioner) as defense counsel in the
complaint filed against them involving a parcel of land.
The spouses won their case at all levels. While the case
was pending
before the SC, the spouses died in a vehicular accident.

Thereafter, they were substituted by their children (herein


respondents). Petitioner filed the Motion to Determine
Attorneys Fees before the RTC alleging that he had a
verbal agreement with the deceased spouses of
25% of the market value of the subject land. Respondents
refused his written demand for payment of the contracted
attorneys fees. Petitioner insisted that he was
entitled based on quantum meruit. The RTC denied the
claim
on the ground that it was filed out of time as it had
already lost jurisdiction over the case because a final
decision could not be amended or corrected except for
clerical errors or mistakes.
The petitioner opted to file his claim as an incident in the
main action, which is permitted by the rules. As to the
timeliness of the

(Miranda vs. Atty. Carpio, Sept. 26, 2011, Earlier case


involving attorneys lien and concept of quantum meruit)
Respondent's
submission that he is entitled to the
payment of additional professional fees on the basis of
the principle of quantum meruit has no merit. "Quantum
meruit, meaning `as much as he deserved' is used as a
basis for determining the lawyer's professional fees in the
absence of a contract but recoverable by him from his
client." The principle of quantum meruit applies if a
lawyer is employed without a price agreed upon for his
services. In such a case, he would be entitled to receive
what he merits for his services, as much as he has
earned.1 In the present case, the parties had already
entered into an agreement as to the attorney's fees of the
respondent, and thus, the principle of quantum meruit
does not fully find application because the respondent is
already compensated by such agreement.

filing, SC held that the questioned motion to determine


attorneys
fees was seasonably filed. The records show that the
August 8, 1994 RTC decision became final and executory
on October 31, 2007. There is no dispute that petitioner
filed his Motion to Determine Attorneys Fees on
September 8, 2009, which was
only about one (1) year and eleven (11) months from the
finality of the RTC decision. Because petitioner claims to
have had an oral contract of attorneys fees, Article 1145
of the Civil Code
allows him a period of six (6) years within which to file an
action to recover professional fees for services rendered.
Petitioners cause of action began to run only from the
time the respondents refused to pay him his attorneys
fees.
Quantum meruit literally meaning as much as he
deserves is used as basis for determining an attorneys
professional fees in the absence of an express
agreement. The
recovery of attorneys fees on the basis of quantum
meruit is a
device that prevents an unscrupulous client from running
away
with the fruits of the legal services of counsel without
paying for it and also avoids unjust enrichment on the
part of the attorney
himself. An attorney must show that he is entitled to
reasonable
compensation for the effort in pursuing the clients cause.

The SC noted that respondent did not inform complainant


that he will be the one to secure the owner's duplicate of
the OCT from the RD and failed to immediately inform
complainant that the title was already in his possession.
Complainant, on April 3, 2000, went to the RD of Las
Pias City to get the owner's duplicate of OCT No. 0-94,
only to be surprised that the said title had already been
claimed by, and released to, respondent on March 29,
2000. A lawyer must conduct himself, especially in his
dealings with his clients, with integrity in a manner that is
beyond reproach. His relationship with his clients should
be characterized by the highest degree of good faith and
fairness. By keeping secret with the client his acquisition
of the title, respondent was not fair in his dealing with his
client.
Respondent could have easily informed the
complainant immediately of his receipt of the owner's
duplicate of the OCT on March 29, 2000, in order to save
his client the time and effort in going to the RD to get the
title. Lawyer suspended for 6 months.
Respondent's inexcusable act of withholding the property
belonging to his client and imposing unwarranted fees in
exchange for the release of said title deserve the
imposition of disciplinary sanction. Hence, the ruling of
the IBP Board of Governors, adopting and approving with
modification the report and recommendation of the IBP-

CBD that respondent be suspended from the practice of


law for a period of six (6) months and that respondent be
ordered to return the complainant's owner's duplicate of
OCT No. 0-94 is hereby affirmed. However, the fifteenday period from notice given to respondent within which
to return the title should be modified and, instead,
respondent should return the same immediately upon
receipt of the Court's decision.

TABANG, et al. vs. ATTY. GACOTT, July 9, 2013


Complainants were advised to put the tiles of the parcels
they want to purchase under the names of fictitious
persons since the governments agrarian reform
programs prohibits the transfer of land to them.
Pretending to be the "authorized agent-representative" of
the fictitious owners of the seven parcels, Lilia Tabang
filed petitions for re-issuance of titles which was later
withdrawn since the public prosecutor noticed similarities
in the signatures of the supposed owners that were
affixed on the Special Powers of Attorney (SPA)
purportedly executed in favor of Lilia Tabang. The public
prosecutor, acting on his observation, asked the court to
have the supposed owners summoned.
Respondent picked up from this scenario. He executed
several documents and caused the publication of notices
where he represented himself as the owner of the parcels
and announced that these were for sale. Respondent
succeeded in selling the seven parcels.
While it may be true that complainant Lilia Tabang herself
engaged in illicit activities, the complainants own
complicity does not negate, or even mitigate, the
repugnancy of respondents offense. Quite the contrary,
his offense is made even graver. He is a lawyer who is
held to the highest standards of morality, honesty,
integrity, and fair dealing. Perverting what is expected of
him, he deliberately and cunningly took advantage of his
knowledge and skill of the law to prejudice and torment

other individuals. Not only did he countenance illicit


action, he instigated it. Not only did he acquiesce to
injustice, he orchestrated it. Thus, the SC imposes upon
respondent the supreme penalty of disbarment.
In Sabayle v. Tandayag, One of the respondents, Atty.
Carmelito B. Gabor, was disbarred for having
acknowledged a Deed of Sale in the absence of the
purported vendors and for taking advantage of his
position as Assistant Clerk of Court by purchasing onehalf (1/2) of the land covered by said Deed of Sale
knowing that the deed was fictitious.
In Daroy v. Legaspi, respondent was disbarred for having
converted to his personal use the funds that he received
for his clients.
VDA. DE SALDIVAR vs. ATTY. CABANES, JR., July 8, 2013
Respondent failed to justify his absence during the
scheduled preliminary conference. The fact that
respondent had an important commitment during that
day hardly exculpates him from his omission since the
prudent course of action would have been for him to send
a substitute counsel to appear on his behalf.
ABELLA vs. BARRIOS, JR., June 18, 2013
Respondent, a labor arbiter, was merely tasked to
recompute the monetary awards due to the complainant
who sought to execute the CA Decision which had already
been final and executory. Respondent slept on the same
for more than a year and it was only when complainant
paid respondent a personal visit that the latter speedily
issued a writ of execution which casts serious doubt on
the legitimacy of his denial that he did not extort money
from the complainant.
The Court took judicial notice of the fact that he had
already been disbarred in a previous administrative case
and imposed a fine in the amount of P40,000.00 in order
to penalize respondents transgressions to deter the
commission of the same or similar acts in the future.

LEE vs. ATTY. SIMANDO, July 10, 2013


Atty. Simando was the retained counsel of complainant.
He offered to be the co-maker of Mejorado and assured
complainant that Mejorado is a good payer. Mejorado
failed to pay. Respondent claimed that complainant is a
money-lender exacting high interest rates from
borrowers. There is a conflict of interest.
Clearly, it is improper for respondent to appear as counsel
for one party (complainant as creditor) against the
adverse party (Mejorado as debtor) who is also his client,
since a lawyer is prohibited from representing conflicting
interests even after the relationship is terminated.
The Court held in Nombrado v. Hernandez that the
termination of the relation of attorney and client provides
no justification for a lawyer to represent an interest
adverse to or in conflict with that of the former client. The
reason for the rule is that the clients confidence once
reposed cannot be divested by the expiration of the
professional employment. Consequently, a lawyer should
not, even after the severance of the relation with his
client, do anything which will injuriously affect his former
client in any matter in which he previously represented
him nor should he disclose or use any of the client's
confidences acquired in the previous relation.
ANITA C. PENA, Complainant, vs. ATTY. CHRISTINA C.
PATERNO, Respondent. July 2013
Respondent betrayed the trust reposed upon her by
complainant by executing a bogus deed of sale while she
was entrusted with complainant's certificate of title, and
that respondent also notarized the spurious deed of sale.
The investigating IBP Commissioner stated that there was
no evidence showing that respondent actively conspired
with any party or actively participated in the forgery of
the signature of complainant but there is evidence to
supports the conclusion that complainants signature on
the said Deed of Sale was forged.

Although no copy of the said Deed of Sale could be


produced notwithstanding diligent search in the National
Archives and the Notarial Section of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Manila, the interlocking testimonies of the
complainant and her witness proved that the original
copy of the owner's duplicate certificate of title was
delivered to respondent.
The criminal case of estafa from which respondent was
acquitted, as her guilt was not proven beyond reasonable
doubt, is different from this administrative case, and each
must be disposed of according to the facts and the law
applicable to each case.
For the aforementioned deceitful conduct, respondent is
disbarred from the practice of law.
DAGOHOY vs. ATTY. SAN JUAN, June 3, 2013
The failure to file a brief resulting in the dismissal of an
appeal constitutes inexcusable negligence. The SC
cannot accept as an excuse the alleged lapse committed
by his client in failing to provide him a copy of the case
records.
In the first place, securing a copy of the case records was
within Atty. San Juans control and is a task that the
lawyer undertakes. Second, Atty. San Juan, unlike his
client, knows or should have known, that filing an
appellants brief within the reglementary period is critical
in the perfection of an appeal.
BERENGUER-LANDERS, et al.,
April 17, 2013

vs. ATTY. FLORIN, et al.,

Generally speaking, a lawyer who holds a government


office may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for
misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a
government official. However, if said misconduct as a
government official also constitutes a violation of his oath
as a lawyer, then he may be disciplined by this Court as a
member of the Bar.
Florins issuance of the writ of execution and writ of
possession in order to fully implement Regional Directors
Order even if it has not yet become final and executory
clearly constitutes ignorance of the law.
TENOSO vs. ATTY. ECHANEZ, April 11, 2013
Respondent was found guilty of engaging in notarial
practice without a notarial commission, and accordingly,
was suspended from the practice of law for two (2) years
and is disqualified from being commissioned as a notary
public for two (2) years. He is warned that a repetition of
the same or similar act in the future shall merit a more
severe sanction.

Respondent
Atty.
Quirino
P.
Revilla,
Jr.,
was
REPRIMANDED
and
DISQUALIFIED
from
being
commissioned as a notary public, or from performing any
notarial act if he is presently commissioned as a notary
public, for a period of three (3) months. Atty. Revilla, Jr. is
further DIRECTED to INFORM the Court, through an
affidavit, once the period of his disqualification has
lapsed.

TAPAY, et al. vs. ATTY. BANCOLO, et al. March 20, 2013


Atty. Bancolo admitted that the Complaint he filed for a
former client before the Office of the Ombudsman was
signed in his name by a secretary of his law office.
Clearly, this is a violation of Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility and it constitutes a
misbehavior
subject to disciplinary action to aid a
layman in the unauthorized practice of law.

PESTO vs. Atty. MILLO, March 13, 2013


JANDOQUILE vs. ATTY. REVILLA, JR., April 10, 2013
Respondent did not require the affiants to present valid
identification cards since he knows them personally.
Indeed, Atty. Revilla, Jr. violated the disqualification rule
for notarizing the complaint-affidavit signed by his
relatives within the fourth civil degree of affinity. He
cannot therefore claim that he signed it as counsel of the
three affiants.
On the second charge, we agree with Atty. Revilla, Jr. that
he cannot be held liable. If the notary public knows the
affiants personally, he need not require them to show
their valid identification cards. However, it must be stated
that he knows the three affiants personally.

An attorney who conceals his inefficiency and lack of


diligence by giving wrong information to his client
regarding the matter subject of their professional
relationship is guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer of
the Court.
As respondent was found guilty, he
moved for a
reconsideration, stating that he had honestly believed
that complainant had already caused the withdrawal of
the complaint prior to her own death; that he had already
caused the preparation of the documents necessary for
the transfer of the certificate of title, and had also
returned the P14,000.00 paid he received; that the
adoption case had been finally granted by the trial court;
that he had lost contact with complainant who resided in
Canada; and that the charge arose from a simple
misunderstanding.

Respondent was suspended for 6 months. The SC says


that respondent
ought
to refund the amount of
P15,643.75 representing the penalty for the late payment
of the capital gains tax, but it cannot order him to refund
that amount because it is not a collection agency.
RE: VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DISBARMENT OF AMA
LAND, INC. (REPRESENTED BY JOSEPH B. USITA) AGAINST
COURT OF APPEALS ASSOCIATE JUSTICES HON. DANTON
Q. BUESER, HON. SESINANDO E. VILLON AND HON.
RICARDO R. ROSARIO. EN BANC, MARCH 11, 2014
Unfounded administrative charges against sitting judges
truly degrade their judicial office, and interfere with the
due performance of their work for the Judiciary. The
complainant may be held liable for indirect contempt of
court as a means of vindicating the integrity and
reputation
of
the
judges
and
the
Judiciary.
AMA Land, Inc., brought this administrative complaint
charging the Justices with knowingly rendering an unjust
judgment, gross misconduct, and violation of their oaths
on account of their promulgation of the decision in C.A.
G.R. SP No. 118994 entitled Wack Wack Residents
Association, Inc. v. The Honorable Regional Trial Court of
Pasig City, Branch 264, Assigned in San Juan, and AMA
Land, Inc.

of Directors of AMA Land, Inc. who had authorized Usita


to bring the administrative complaint against respondent
Associate Justices to show cause in writing within 10 days
from notice why they should not be punished for indirect
contempt of court for degrading the judicial office of
respondent Associate Justices, and for interfering with the
due performance of their work for the Judiciary.

BALDADO vs. ATTY. MEJICA, March 11, 2013


Once a lawyer agrees to take up the cause of a client, the
lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and must always be
mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. The
Court notes that this is the first case respondent handled
after he passed the bar examinations. His prayer for
compassionate justice as he is the only breadwinner in
the family was considered.
Respondent was SUSPENDED from the practice of law for
a period of THREE (3) MONTHS, with a warning that a
repetition of the same or a similar act will be dealt with
more severely.
JINON vs. ATTY. JIZ, March 5, 2013

The SC
stressed that disciplinary proceedings and
criminal actions brought against any judge in relation to
the performance of his official functions are neither
complementary to nor suppletory of appropriate judicial
remedies, nor a substitute for such remedies. Any party
who may feel aggrieved should resort to these remedies,
and exhaust them, instead of resorting to disciplinary
proceedings and criminal actions.
It appears that AMALI is prone to bringing charges against
judicial officers who rule against it in its cases. That
impression is not at all devoid of basis. The complaint
herein is actually the second one that AMALI has brought
against respondent Justices in relation to the performance
of their judicial duty in the same case.
The SC ORDERED the Senior Assistant Vice President
Usita of AMA Land, Inc., and all the members of the Board

Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose, such


as for the processing of transfer of land title, but not used
for the purpose, should be immediately returned. "A
lawyers failure to return upon demand the funds held by
him on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption
that he has appropriated the same for his own use in
violation of the trust reposed to him by his client.
Furthermore, respondents infractions were aggravated
by his failure to comply with CBDs directives for him to
file his pleadings on time and to religiously attend
hearings, demonstrating not only his irresponsibility but
also his disrespect for the judiciary and his fellow lawyers.

The SC suspended Atty. Jiz from the practice of law for


two (2) years. With respect to the amount that he should
refund to Gloria, only the sum of P45,000.00 plus legal
interest should be returned to her, considering the finding
that the initial payment of P17,000.00 was reasonable
and sufficient remuneration for the actual legal services
he rendered.

complainant. He was meted the penalties of revocation of


his notarial commission, disqualification from being
commissioned as a notary public for a period of two
years, and suspension from the practice of law for one
year.

YLAYA vs. ATTY. GACOTT, January 30, 2012


TRINIDAD, et al vs. ATTY. VILLARIN, February 27, 2013
The HLURB ordered the respondent Realty owner and
developer to accept the payments of the complainant
buyers under the old purchase price and to deliver the
Deeds of Sale and the Transfer Certificates of Title to the
complainant winning litigants. The Decision did not
evince any directive for the buyers to vacate the
property. Thereafter, the HLURB issued a Writ of
Execution. It was at this point that respondent Villarin
entered his special appearance to represent the Realty.
He sent demand letters to herein complainants as illegal
occupants. In all of these letters, he demanded that they
immediately vacate the property and surrender it to the
Realty within five days from receipt. Otherwise, he would
file the necessary action against them.
Lawyers should only make such defense only when they
believe it to be honestly debatable under the law.
Lawyers must not present and offer in evidence any
document that they know is false

AGBULOS vs. ATTY. VIRAY, February 18, 2013


Respondent prepared and notarized and affidavit but he
without the affiants personal appearance. He explained
that he did so merely upon the assurance of his client
Dollente that the document was executed by

Respondent allegedly deceived the complainant and her


late husband into signing a "preparatory" Deed of Sale
that the respondent converted into a Deed of Absolute
Sale in favor of his relatives
Complainants Ex Parte Motion to Withdraw the Verified
Complaint and To Dismiss the Case and her Affidavit
affirming and confirming the existence, genuineness and
due execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale, are
immaterial to the resolution of the instant complainat.
The complainant explains that this disbarment complaint
was
filed
because
of
a
"misunderstanding,
miscommunication and improper appreciation of facts";
she erroneously accused the respondent of ill motives
and bad intentions, but after being enlightened, she is
convinced that he has no personal or pecuniary interests
over the properties in Civil Case No. 2902; that such
misunderstanding was due to her unfamiliarity with the
transactions of her late husband during his lifetime.
The SC noted that complainant
would receive
P5,000,000.00, or half of the just compensation under the
Compromise Agreement, and thus agreed to withdraw all
charges against the respondent. From this perspective,
the SC considered the complainants desistance to be
suspect; it is not grounded on the fact that the
respondent did not commit any actual misconduct;
rather, because of the consideration, the complainant is
now amenable to the position of the respondent and/or
Reynold.

TEODORO III vs. vs. ATTY. GONZALES, January 30, 2013


In Special Proceeding No. 99-95587, the heirs of Manuela
prayed for the issuance of letters of administration, the
liquidation of Manuelas estate, and its distribution among
her legal heirs.
Meanwhile, in Civil Case No. 00-99207, the heirs of
Manuela asked for the annulment of the deed of absolute
sale Manuela executed in favor of Anastacio. They
likewise asked the court to cancel the resulting Transfer
Certificate of Title issued in favor of the latter, and to
issue a new one in their names.

SPOUSES BAUTISTA, et al. vs. ATTY. CEFRA, January 28,


2013
Respondent failed to submit a formal offer of
documentary evidence within the period given by the RTC
which denied his motion for reconsideration for lack of
merit. He did not exert any effort to protect the right of
his clients. He was suspended for one year.

MACARUBBO vs. ATTY. MACARUBBO, January 23, 2013


While the reliefs prayed for in the initiatory pleadings of
the two cases are different in form, a ruling in one case
would have resolved the other, and vice versa since the
facts upon which it is based, and the parties are
substantially similar in the two cases. As the elements of
litis pendentia and res judicata are present, Atty.
Gonzales committed forum shopping when he filed Civil
Case No. 00-99207 without indicating that Special
Proceeding No. 99-95587 was still pending.
Respondent was fully aware, since he was the counsel for
both cases, that he raised the issue of trust with respect
to the Malate property in the 1999 Letters of
Administration case and that he was raising the same
similar issue of trust in the 2000 annulment case. To
advise his client therefore to execute the affidavit of nonforum shopping for the second case (annulment case)
and state that there is no pending case involving the
same or similar issue would constitute misconduct which
should be subject to disciplinary action. It was his duty to
advise his client properly, and his failure to do so, in fact
his deliberate assertion that there was no falsity in the
affidavit is indicative of a predisposition to take lightly his
duty as a lawyer to promote respect and obedience to the
law.
The Court found basis for the complaint meritorious and
accordingly CENSURED respondent.

RE: PETITION (FOR EXTRAORDINARY


EDMUNDO L. MACARUBBO.

MERCY)

OF

Records show that in the Decision 1 dated February 27,


2004, the Court disbarred respondent from the practice of
law for having contracted a bigamous marriage with
complainant Florence Teves and a third marriage with one
Josephine Constantino while his first marriage to Helen
Esparza was still subsisting, which acts constituted gross
immoral conduct.
The Court notes the eight (8) long years that had elapsed
from the time respondent was disbarred and recognizes
his remorse and achievement.

BUENO vs. ATTY. RAESES, December 11, 2012


Complainant alleges that she hired respondent who on
several hearings would either be absent or late. The
lawyer asked P10,000.00 allegedly be divided between
him and the judge hearing the case so that they would
not lose. Respondent told complainant not to tell anyone
about the matter. She immediately sold a pig and a
refrigerator to raise the demanded amount, and gave it to

him. He again asked for another P5,000.00 because the


amount she had previously given was inadequate. Bueno
then sold her sala set and colored television to raise the
demanded amount, which she again delivered to
respondent.
Complainant lost her case.
Lawyers act is fraudulent because the professed purpose
of the exaction was the crime of bribery. Beyond these,
he maligned the judge and the Judiciary by giving the
impression that court cases are won, not on the merits,
but through deceitful means a decidedly black mark
against the Judiciary.
Respondent was disbarred.
VENTURA vs. ATTY. SAMSON, December 2012
Complainant executed a Sworn Statement dated 19 April
2002 and a Supplemental-Complaint stating therein that
respondent raped her when she was merely thirteen (13)
years old. Respondent then thirty eight (38) years old,
married and resident of Barangay 5, San Francisco,
Agusan Del Sur. Respondent admitted that sexual
intercourse butit was consensual.
From the undisputed facts gathered from the evidence
and the admissions of respondent himself, the Court
found that respondents act of engaging in sex with a
young lass, the daughter of his former employee,
constitutes gross immoral conduct that warrants sanction.
Respondent not only admitted he had sexual intercourse
with complainant but also showed no remorse
whatsoever when he asserted that he did nothing wrong
because she allegedly agreed and he even gave her
money. Indeed, his act of having carnal knowledge of a
woman other than his wife manifests his disrespect for
the laws on the sanctity of marriage and his own marital
vow of fidelity. Moreover, the fact that he procured the
act by enticing a very young woman with money showed
his utmost moral depravity and low regard for the dignity
of the human person and the ethics of his profession.

Respondent was DISBARRED for Gross Immoral Conduct.


SEARES JR. vs. ATTY. GONZALES-ALZATE, November 14,
2012
Atty. Saniata Liwliwa V. Gonzales-Alzate is charged with
incompetence and professional negligence, and a
violation of the prohibition against representing
conflicting interests. Complainant was her former client.
The SC found the complaint against
unfounded and devoid of substance.

respondent

For administrative liability under Canon 18 to attach, the


negligent act of the attorney should be gross and
inexcusable as to lead to a result that was highly
prejudicial to the clients interest. Accordingly, the Court
has imposed administrative sanctions on a grossly
negligent attorney for unreasonable failure to file a
required pleading, or for unreasonable failure to file an
appeal, especially when the failure occurred after the
attorney moved for several extensions to file the pleading
and offered several excuses for his nonfeasance. The
Court has found the attendance of inexcusable
negligence when an attorney resorts to a wrong remedy,
or belatedly files an appeal, or inordinately delays the
filing of a complaint, or fails to attend scheduled court
hearings. Gross misconduct on the part of an attorney is
determined from the circumstances of the case, the
nature of the act done and the motive that induced the
attorney to commit the act.
The SC wondered why complainant would denounce
respondent only after nearly five years have passed. The
motivation for the charge becomes suspect, and the
charge is thereby weakened all the more.
As it turned out, the charge of representing conflicting
interests leveled against respondent was imaginary. The
charge
was
immediately
unworthy
of
serious
consideration because it was clear from the start that

respondent did not take advantage of her previous


engagement by complainant in her legal representation
of her present client in the latters administrative charge
against complainant. There was no indication whatsoever
of her having gained any confidential information during
her previous engagement by complainant that could be
used against him. Her engagement by complainant
related only to the election protest in 2007, but her
present clients
complaint involved complainants
supposedly unlawful interference in ousting her present
client as the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay of
Dolores, Abra in 2010. There is no question that both
charges were entirely foreign to one another.
Moreover, the prohibition against representing conflicting
interests further necessitated identity of the parties or
interests involved in the previous and present
engagements. But such identity was not true here.
The SC
emphasized that an attorney enjoys the
presumption of innocence, and whoever initiates
administrative proceedings against the attorney bears the
burden of proof to establish the allegation of professional
misconduct. When the complainant fails to discharge the
burden of proof, the Court has no alternative but to
dismiss the charge and absolve the attorney.
The SC underscored the need to shield attorneys as
officers of the Court from the mindless assaults intended
to vex or harass them in their performance of duty,
stating:
According to Justice Cardozo, "xxx the fair fame of a
lawyer, however innocent of wrong, is at the mercy of the
tongue of ignorance or malice. Reputation in such a
calling is a plant of tender growth, and its bloom, once
lost, is not easily restored."
In Lim v. Antonio, the SC censured the complainant
because revenge and bad faith had motivated him into
filing a baseless complaint against an attorney, stressing:

Considering the circumstances attendant, the SC sternly


warned him that he shall be dealt with more severely
should he commit a similar act against a member of the
Bar.
The Court DISMISSED the administrative
against respondent for utter lack of merit.

VOLUNTAD-RAMIREZ vs.
2012

ATTY. BAUTISTA,

complaint

October 10,

Complainant alleged that respondent failed to


a
complaint against her siblings for encroachment of her
right of way despite payment of acceptance fee.
In this case, respondent attributes his delay in filing the
appropriate criminal case to the absence of conciliation
proceedings between complainant and her siblings before
the barangay as required under Article 222 of the Civil
Code and the Local Government Code. However, this
excuse is belied by the Certification to File Action by the
Office of the Lupong Tagapamayapa, Office of the
Barangay Council, Barangay Daanghari, Navotas.
The Court found ADMONISHED to exercise greater care
and diligence in the performance of his duty to his clients.
Atty. Bautista is ordered to RESTITUTE to complainant P
14,000 out of the P 15,000 acceptance fee.

VIRTUSIO vs. ATTY. VIRTUSIO, September 5, 2012


Complainant alleged that that respondent (her husbands
relative) convinced her to buy a house and lot. They
agreed that respondent would use her personal checks in
paying the seller with complainant
reimbursing her.
Complainant deposited the amounts corresponding to the
checks issued by respondent.

Respondent admitted that she misused the money. To


cover up her misdeeds, respondent executed a deed of
sale covering her car in favor of complainant return the
money she defalcated. But, again acting with guile, she
withheld possession of the car and transferred its
registration in the name of her children.
Respondent is guilty of gross misconduct that warrants
her suspension for one year from the practice of law.
The Court cannot also discovered that respondents
notarial commission had expired and was not a subject
matter of the complaint. Her defense is that she thought
that she had renewed her commission. Respondent
indulged in deliberate falsehood that the lawyers oath
forbids. She was suspended for one year.

remorse and sincere apologies to the RTC for wrongly


employing the name of the Lazaro Law Office.
Considering that Atty. Espejo is newly admitted to the Bar
(2010), the SC deems it proper to warm him to be more
circumspect and prudent in his actuations.
The Complaint for disbarment against respondents Atty.
Manuel "Lolong" M. Lazaro, Atty. Edwin M. Espejo, Atty.
Abel M. Almario, Atty. Michelle B. Lazaro and Atty. Joseph
C. Tan is DISMISSED. Atty. Edwin M. Espejo is WARNED to
be more circumspect and prudent in his actuations.
Note : A later motion for reconsideration filed by
complainant was denied by the Supreme Court.

RODICA vs. vs. ATTY. MANUEL "LOLONG" M. LAZARO, et


al. August 23, 2012

SANTOS VENTURA HOCORMA FOUNDATION, INC., vs.


ATTY. FUNK, Respondent. August 15, 2012

An associate cannot use the law name of the firm without


its consent. Jr. Associate Atty. Espejos claimed that he
drafted and signed a pleading just to extend assistance to
Rodica deserves scant consideration. It is true that under
Rules 2.01 and 2.02, Canon 2 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, a lawyer shall not reject, except for valid
reasons, the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed,
and in such cases, even if he does not accept a case,
shall not refuse to render legal advise to the person
concerned if only to the extent necessary to safeguard
the latters right. However, in this case, Rodica cannot be
considered as defenseless or oppressed considering that
she is properly represented by counsel in the RTC case.
Needless to state, her rights are amply safeguarded. It
would have been different had Rodica not been
represented by any lawyer, which, however, is not the
case.

Complainant alleged that respondent used to work as its


corporate secretary, counsel, chief executive officer, and
trustee from 1983 to 1985.1 He also served as its counsel
in several criminal and civil cases.

The SC notes that on August 5, 2011, or even before the


filing of the disbarment complaint, Atty. Espejo already
caused the filing of his Motion to Withdraw Appearance
before the RTC. Therein, Atty. Espejo already expressed

On November 25, 2006 respondent filed an action for


quieting of title and damages against complainant
on
behalf of Mabalacat Institute, Inc. (Mabalacat Institute).
Complainant alleges that respondent used information
that he acquired while serving as its counsel in violation
of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and in
breach of attorney-client relationship.
In his answer, Atty. Funk averred that Don Teodoro V.
Santos (Santos) organized Mabalacat Institute in 1950
and Hocorma Foundation in 1979. Santos hired him in
January 1982 to assist Santos and the organizations he
established, including the Mabalacat Institute, in its legal
problems. In 1983 the Mabalacat Institute made Atty.
Funk serve as a director and legal counsel.

A lawyer cannot represent conflicting interests except by


written consent of all concerned given after a full
disclosure of the facts. Here, it is undeniable that
respondent
was formerly the legal counsel of
complainant. Years after terminating his relationship with
complainant, he filed a complaint against it on behalf of
another client, the Mabalacat Institute, without
complainants written consent.
An attorney owes his client undivided allegiance. The
reason for this is that a lawyer acquires knowledge of his
former client's doings, whether documented or not, that
he would ordinarily not have acquired were it not for the
trust and confidence that his client placed on him in the
light of their relationship.
The Court SUSPENDED Atty. Richard Funk from the
practice of law for one year.

TUMBOKON vs. ATTY. PEFIANCO, August 1, 2012


It is unethical for respondent lawyer to undertake to give
complainant, a non lawyer, commission of 20%, later
reduced to 10%, of the attorney's fees the lawyer would
receive from the client referred by the complainant.
Respondent has not lived up to the high moral standards
required of his profession for having abandoned his legal
wife with whom he has two children, and cohabited with
another woman with whom he has four children.
Respondent has violated Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the Code
which prohibits a lawyer from dividing or stipulating to
divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to
practice law, except in certain cases which do not obtain
in the case at bar.

Furthermore, respondent did not deny the accusation that


he abandoned his legal family to cohabit with his mistress
with whom he begot four children.
Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for a
period of one (1) year.

DHALIWAL vs. ATTY. DUMAGUING, August 1, 2013


Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose, such
as payment for the balance of the purchase price of a
parcel of land as in the present case, but not used for the
purpose, should be immediately returned. "A lawyer's
failure to return upon demand the funds held by him on
behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that he
has appropriated the same for his own use in violation of
the trust reposed in him by his client. Such act is a gross
violation of general morality as well as of professional
ethics. It impairs public confidence in the legal profession
and deserves punishment."
ATTY. CATALAN, JR. vs. ATTY. SILVOSA, July 24, 2012
This is a complaint filed by Atty. Policarpio I. Catalan, Jr.
(Atty. Catalan) against Atty. Joselito M. Silvosa (Atty.
Silvosa). Atty. Catalan has three causes of action against
Atty. Silvosa; (1) Atty. Silvosa appeared as counsel for the
accused in the same case for which he previously
appeared as prosecutor; (2) Atty. Silvosa bribed his then
colleague Prosecutor Phoebe Toribio (Pros.Toribio) for
P30,000; and (3) the Sandiganbayan convicted Atty.
Silvosa in Criminal Case No. 27776 for direct bribery.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Commissioner for
Bar Discipline Dennis A.B. Funa (Comm. Funa) held Atty.
Silvosa liable only for the first cause of action and
recommended the penalty of reprimand. The Board of
Governors of the IBP twice modified Comm. Funas
recommendation: first, to a suspension of six months,
then to a suspension of two years.

Respondent was an Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of


Bukidnon and a Prosecutor in Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 10, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon who appeared as
public prosecutor in Criminal Case No. 10256-00, "People
of the Philippines v. SPO2 Elmor Esperon y Murillo, et al."
(Esperon case), for the complex crime of double
frustrated murder, in which case complainant was one of
the private complainants. Complainant took issue with
respondents manner of prosecuting the case, and
requested the Provincial Prosecutor to relieve him.
The SC disbarred respondent in appearing the accused
who are his relatives in a case where he previously
appeared as public prosecutor. Respondent displayed
manifest bias in the accuseds favor when he caused
numerous delays in the trial by arguing against the
position of the private prosecutor. The RTC rendered
judgment convicting the accused. Respondent counsel
for the accused filed a motion to reinstate bail pending
finality of judgment.
Respondent also presented the affidavit of Pros. Toribio
who was offered by respondent P30,000 to reconsider her
findings and uphold the charge of frustrated murder
against complainants relative.
Complainant presented the Sandiganbayans decision in
Criminal Case No. 27776 convicting respondent of direct
bribery.
The SC Court disagrees with IBP Comm. Funas ruling
that the findings in a criminal proceeding are not binding
in a disbarment proceeding.
First, disbarment proceedings may be initiated by any
interested person. There can be no doubt of the right of a
citizen to bring to the attention of the proper authority
acts and doings of public officers which a citizen feels are
incompatible with the duties of the office and from which
conduct the public might or does suffer undesirable
consequences.

Second, conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude is


a ground for disbarment.
Third, the crime of direct bribery is a crime involving
moral turpitude.

IN RE: PETITION RE-ACQUIRE THE PRIVILEGE TO PRACTICE


LAW IN THE PHILIPPINES, EPIFANIO B. MUNESES,
Petitioner. July 2012.
On June 8, 2009, a petition was filed by petitioner with
the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) praying that he be
granted the privilege to practice law in the Philippines. He
alleged that he lost his privilege to practice law when he
became a citizen of the United States of America but reacquired his Philippine citizenship pursuant to Republic
Act (R.A.) No. 9225. The petitioner submitted the
following:
1. Petition for Re-Acquisition of Philippine Citizenship; 2.
Order (for Re-Acquisition of Philippine citizenship); 3. Oath
of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines; 4.
Certificate of Re-Acquisition/Retention of Philippine
Citizenship issued by the Bureau of Immigration, in lieu of
the IC; 5. Certification dated May 19, 2010 of the IBPSurigao City Chapter attesting to his good moral
character as well as his updated payment of annual
membership dues; 6. Professional Tax Receipt (PTR) for
the year 2010; 7. Certificate of Compliance with the MCLE
for the 2nd compliance period; and 8. Certification dated
December 5, 2008 of Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos,
Coordinator, UC-MCLE Program, University of Cebu,
College of Law attesting to his compliance with the MCLE.
The OBC recommended that the petitioner be allowed to
resume his practice of law, which the Court granted.
BASILIO, et al. vs. ATTY. CASTRO, July 11, 2012

Complainants claim that respondent failed to prosecute


their cases despite receipt of acceptance fee and filing
fee resulting in their dismissal.
Respondent claims that the petitioners themselves
ordered him to abandon the appeal he filed on their
behalf on the ground that they were unable to file the
supersedeas bond and ordered him to concentrate on
another case.
If it were true in this case that petitioners directed
respondent to abandon their appeal, the prudent action
should have been for him to file a motion to withdraw
appeal In this regard, his failure to file the appellants'
brief" could indeed be construed as negligence on his
part.
VILLATUYA vs. ATTY. TABALINGCOS, July 10, 2012
Respondent was disbarred for gross immorality for
marrying two other women while his first marriage was
subsisting.
He was also admonished for unlawful
solicitation of cases.
Respondent set up two financial consultancy firms and
used them as fronts to advertise his legal services and
solicit cases.
The SC set aside respondents
objection
to the
introduction of the certifications issued by the NSO
claiming
that
they
were
submitted
after
the
administrative case had been submitted for resolution,
thus giving him no opportunity to controvert them.

not apply in the determination of a lawyer's qualifications


and fitness for membership in the Bar. We have so ruled
in the past and we see no reason to depart from this
ruling. First, admission to the practice of law is a
component of the administration of justice and is a
matter of public interest because it involves service to
the public. The admission qualifications are also
qualifications for the continued enjoyment of the privilege
to practice law. Second, lack of qualifications or the
violation of the standards for the practice of law, like
criminal cases, is a matter of public concern that the
State may inquire into through this Court.
HERNANDEZ vs. ATTY. PADILLA, June 20, 2012
Respondent failed to file appellants brief in an ejectment
case filed against complainant. Respondent insists that
he had never met complainant prior to the mandatory
conference set for the disbarment complaint she filed
against him. However, a perusal of the Memorandum of
Appeal filed in the appellate court revealed that he had
signed as counsel for the defendant-appellants therein,
including complainant and her husband.
It is further claimed by respondent that the relation
created between him and complainants husband cannot
be treated as a "client-lawyer" relationship.
Once a lawyer agrees to handle a case, it is that lawyers
duty to serve the client with competence and diligence.
Respondent has failed to fulfill this duty.

The SC has consistently held that a disbarment case is sui


generis. Its focus is on the qualification and fitness of a
lawyer to continue membership in the bar and not the
procedural technicalities in filing the case. Thus, the SC
explained in Garrido v. Garrido:

According to respondent, he merely drafted the pleading


that complainants husband asked from him. Respondent
also claims that he filed a Memorandum of Appeal,
because he "honestly believed" that this was the pleading
required, based on what complainants husband said.

Laws dealing with double jeopardy or with procedure


such as the verification of pleadings and prejudicial
questions, or in this case, prescription of offenses or the
filing of affidavits of desistance by the complainant do

In his MR, respondent begged for the consideration of the


IBP, claiming that the reason for his failure to file the
proper pleading was that he "did not have enough time to

acquaint himself thoroughly with the factual milieu of the


case." The IBP reconsidered and thereafter significantly
reduced the penalty originally imposed.
Respondents plea for leniency was not granted.
The supposed lack of time given to respondent to
acquaint himself with the facts of the case does not
excuse his negligence. He was SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for SIX (6) MONTHS and STERNLY
WARNED.
BENGCO, et al. vs. ATTY. BERNARDO, June 13, 2012
Respondent was suspended for one year for conniving
with a certain Magat for committing fraudulent act with
intent to defraud herein complainants Fidela G. Bengco
and Teresita N. Bengco by using false pretenses, deceitful
words to the effect that he would expedite the titling of
the land belonging to the Miranda family of Tagaytay City
who are the acquaintance of complainants herein and
they convinced herein complainant[s] that if they will
finance and deliver to him the amount of [P]495,000.00
as advance money he would expedite the titling of the
subject land and further by means of other similar deceit
like misrepresenting himself as lawyer of William
Gatchalian, the prospective buyer of the subject land.
Complainants filed a Manifestation stating that the RTC
rendered a decision in the criminal case for Estafa finding
the accused, Atty. Bernardo and Magat "guilty of
conspiracy in the commission of Estafa.
Complainant Fidela sought the resolution of the present
action as she was already 86 years of age and prayed for
the restitution of the amount of P200,000.00 so she can
use the money to buy her medicine and other needs.
It is first worth mentioning that the respondents defense
of prescription is untenable. The SC has held that
administrative cases against lawyers do not prescribe.

It is likewise settled that a disbarment proceeding is


separate and distinct from a criminal action filed against
a lawyer despite having involved the same set of facts.
Jurisprudence has it "that a finding of guilt in the criminal
case will not necessarily result in a finding of liability in
the administrative case. Conversely, the respondents
acquittal
does
not
necessarily
exculpate
him
administratively."
MOLINA vs. vs. ATTY. MAGAT, June 13, 2012
In a charge and counter charge cases, respondent lawyer
was the private prosecutor and defense counsel. He
moved to quash the case against his client on the ground
of double jeopardy which was maliciously done to mislead
the court. Respondent likewise appeared in court while he
was suspended to practice law.
Respondent alleged that he was moved by altruistic
intentions when he appeared before the trial court
despite having been suspended. He could have informed
the Presiding Judge of his plight and explained why the
party he was representing could not attend. On the
contrary, he kept his silence and proceeded to represent
his client as counsel.
Respondent Atty. Ceferino R. Magat was
ordered
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months
with a WARNING that the commission of the same or
similar offense in the future would be dealt with more
severely.

RE: SC DECISION DATED MAY 20, 2008 IN G.R. NO.


161455 UNDER RULE 139-B OF THE RULES OF COURT,
vs. ATTY. RODOLFO D. PACTOLIN, Respondent. June 2012
On November 12, 2003 the Sandiganbayan found Atty.
Pactolin guilty of falsification under Article 172 and
sentenced him to the indeterminate penalty of
imprisonment of 2 years and 4 months of prision
correccional as minimum to 4 years, 9 months and 10
days of prision correccional as maximum, to suffer all the

accessory penalties of prision correccional, and to pay a


fine of P5,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency.

divide his personality as an attorney at one time and a


mere citizen at another.

The only issue presented in this case is whether or not


Atty. Pactolin should be disbarred after conviction by final
judgment of the crime of falsification.
The SC ruled that the crime of falsification of public
document is contrary to justice, honesty, and good
morals and, therefore, involves moral turpitude.

IN RE: SUPREME COURT RESOLUTION DATED 28 APRIL


2003 IN G.R. NOS. 145817 AND 145822. April 17, 2012

As a rule, the SC exercises the power to disbar with great


caution yet it has consistently pronounced that
disbarment is the appropriate penalty for conviction by
final judgment for a crime involving moral turpitude.
Note : Administrative case is not an opportunity to review
the decision.
BRENNISEN vs. ATTY. CONTAWI, April 24, 2012
Complainant is the registered owner of a parcel of land
located in San Dionisio, Paraaque City covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 21176 2 of the
Register of Deeds for the Province of Rizal. Being a
resident of the United States of America (USA), he
entrusted the administration of the subject property to
respondent, together with the corresponding owner's
duplicate title.
Respondent who the administrator of complainant (a
resident of USA) executed a spurious Special Power of
Attorney (SPA) mortgaged and subsequently sold the
subject property owned by complainant to one Roberto
Ho ("Ho"), as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale. As a
result, TCT No. 21176 was cancelled and replaced by TCT
No. 150814 issued in favor of Ho.

This administrative case originated when respondent Atty.


Magdaleno M. Pea filed an Urgent Motion to Inhibit and
to Resolve Respondents Urgent Omnibus Motion. This
motion is directed against the then ponente of the
consolidated petitions, Justice Antonio T. Carpio, and
reads in part: As parting words, the Court herein
highlights the disorder caused by respondent Peas
actions in the administration of justice. In order to
foreclose resort to such abhorrent practice or strategy in
the future, the Court finds the need to educate the public
and the Bar.
Lawyers shall conduct themselves with courtesy, fairness
and candor towards their professional colleagues. They
shall not, in their professional dealings, use language that
is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper. Lawyers shall
use dignified language in their pleadings despite the
adversarial nature of our legal system. The use of
intemperate language and unkind ascriptions has no
place in the dignity of a judicial forum.

Respondent was disbarred.

The Court cannot countenance the ease with which


lawyers, in the hopes of strengthening their cause in a
motion for inhibition, make grave and unfounded
accusations of unethical conduct or even wrongdoing
against other members of the legal profession. It is the
duty of members of the Bar to abstain from all offensive
personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the
honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required
by the justness of the cause with which they are charged.

His argument that there was no formal lawyer-client


relationship between him and complainant will not serve
to mitigate his liability. There is no distinction as to
whether the transgression is committed in a lawyer's
private or professional capacity, for a lawyer may not

It has not escaped the Courts attention that respondent


Pea has manifested a troubling history of praying for the
inhibition of several members of this Court or for the reraffle of the case to another Division, on the basis of
groundless and unfounded accusations of partiality.

As held in Mateo, Jr. v. Hon. Villaluz, the invitation for


judges to disqualify themselves need not always be
heeded. It is not always desirable that they should do so.
It might amount in certain cases to their being recreant
about their duties. It could also be an instrument whereby
a party could inhibit a judge in the hope of getting
another more amenable to his persuasion.
The SC DISBARRED respondent Atty. Magdaleno M. Pea
from the practice of law, effective upon his receipt of this
Decision, and his name is ORDERED STRICKEN from the
Roll of Attorneys.

ANION vs. ATTY. SABITSANA, JR., April 11, 2012


In her complaint, Josefina M. Anion (complainant) related
that she previously engaged the legal services of Atty.
Sabitsana in the preparation and execution in her favor of
a Deed of Sale over a parcel of land owned by her late
common-law husband, Brigido Caneja, Jr. Atty. Sabitsana
allegedly violated her confidence when he subsequently
filed a civil case against her for the annulment of the
Deed of Sale in behalf of Zenaida L. Caete, the legal wife
of Brigido Caneja, Jr. The complainant accused Atty.
Sabitsana of using the confidential information he
obtained from her in filing the civil case.

DEL MUNDO vs. ATTY. CAPISTRANO, April 16, 2012


When a lawyer takes a clients cause, he covenants that
he will exercise due diligence in protecting the latters
rights. Moreover, a lawyer is obliged to hold in trust
money of his client that may come to his possession.
Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose such
as for the filing and processing of a case if not utilized,
must be returned immediately upon demand. Failure to
return gives rise to a presumption that he has
misappropriated it in violation of the trust reposed on
him.
The Court, taking into account Atty. Capistranos
admission of his fault and negligence, imposed the
penalty of one year suspension from the practice of law.
The Court ordered the return to Suzette the amount of
P73,500.00 from the P140,000.00.
MARIA vs. ATTY. WILFREDO R. CORTEZ, April 11, 2012
The respondents excuse that the SPA was never used or
has been replaced during the registration of the subject
lands is of no moment. The fact remains that the SPA was
notarized without complying with the requirements of the
law for the parties to appear before the notary public.

On the basis of the attendant facts of the case, the Court


found substantial evidence to support Atty. Sabitsanas
violation of his oath of office as a lawyer.
The SC imposed the penalty of suspension for one (1)
year from the practice of law. The SC notes that Atty.
Sabitsana takes exception to the IBP recommendation on
the ground that the charge in the complaint was only for
his alleged disclosure of confidential information, not for
representation of conflicting interests which is a violation
of his due process rights since he only answered the
designated charge.
The SC found
no violation of Atty. Sabitsanas due
process rights. Although there was indeed a specific
charge in the complaint, the Court is not unmindful that
the complaint itself contained allegations of acts
sufficient to constitute a violation of the rule on the
prohibition against representing conflicting interests.
As disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui
generis, respondent was found GUILTY of misconduct for
representing conflicting interests and was SUSPENDED
for one (1) year from the practice of law

NEVADA vs. ATTY. CASUGA, Respondent. March 20, 2012


There is a clear breach of lawyer-client relations when a
lawyer receives money or other property from a client for
a particular purpose and fails to render an accounting
showing that the money was spent for a particular
purpose. And if he does not use the money for the
intended purpose, the lawyer must immediately return
the money to his client.
Even if it were true that no attorney-client relationship
existed between them, case law has it that an attorney
may be removed, or otherwise disciplined, not only for
malpractice and dishonesty in the profession, but also for
gross misconduct not connected with his professional
duties, making him unfit for the office and unworthy of
the privileges which his license and the law confer upon
him.
Moreover, the defense of respondent that he is an agent
cannot be given due course. Agency cannot be presumed.
It is entered into between the parties for a purpose.
The Court found Atty. Rodolfo D. Casuga GUILTY of gross
misconduct. He is was SUSPENDED for a period of four
(4) years from the practice of law. The notarial
commission of Atty. Casuga, if still existing, is hereby
REVOKED and he is DISQUALIFIED from being
commissioned as Notary Public also for four (4) years.
Additionally, he is ordered to return the amount of PhP
90,000, the pieces of jewelry subject of this case or their
equivalent of PhP 300,000, and the Rolex watch valued at
USD 12,000 or its equivalent in Philippine Peso to Corazon
T. Nevada within thirty (30) days from finality of this
Decision; otherwise, he shall be cited for contempt.
Lastly, Atty. Casuga is warned that a repetition of the
same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.
CERDAN vs. ATTY. GOMEZ, March 19, 2012

A lawyer represents a client and should not exceed his


authority by entering into a compromise agreement when
it is not within his power to do so. Furthermore, he has to
account for the money he received in behalf of his client
and deliver the same without any deduction.
The SC said that it does not tolerate such acts. Atty.
Gomez has no right to unilaterally retain his lawyers lien.
Having obtained the funds in the course of his
professional employment, Atty. Gomez had the obligation
to account and deliver such funds to his client when they
became due, or upon demand. Moreover, there was no
agreement between him and complainant that he could
deduct therefrom his claimed attorneys fees.
LAHM III, et al. vs. LABOR ARBITER MAYOR, JR., February
15, 2012
Respondent failed to live up to his duties as a lawyer in
consonance with the strictures of the lawyers oath and
the Code of Professional Responsibility, thereby
occasioning sanction from the SC.
In stubbornly insisting that he has the authority to issue
writs of preliminary injunction and/or temporary
restraining order contrary to the clear import of the 2005
Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, the respondent violated
Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
mandates lawyers to "obey the laws of the land and
promote respect for law and legal processes".
The SC SUSPENDED respondent from the practice of law
for a period of six (6) months with a WARNING.