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A.C. No.

6408, August 31, 2004


FACTS:
In September 2000, the lawyer issued several Equitable PCIBank Checks in favor of Barrientos and Mercado for the
payment of a pre-existing debt. The checks bounced due to insufficient funds, thus, charges for violation of B.P. 22
were filed. The lawyer asked for deferment of the criminal charges and promised to pay her debt several times, but
failed to pay the full amount, even after a complaint for disbarment was filed against her
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is guilty of gross misconduct
HELD:
The Supreme Court ruled in the affirmative. The failure to pay just debts and the issuance of worthless checks
constitute gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law. Lawyers
are the instruments for the administration of justice and the vanguards of our legal system. They are expected to
maintain not only legal proficiency but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealings so that the
peoples faith and confidence in the judicial system is ensured. They must at all times faithfully perform their duties to
society, to the bar, the courts and to their clients, which include prompt payment of financial obligations. They must
conduct themselves in a manner that reflect the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
The issuance of checks which were later dishonored for having been drawn against a closed account indicates a
lawyers unfitness for the trust and confidence reposed on her. It shows a lack of personal honesty and good moral
character as to render her unworthy of public confidence. The issuance of a series of worthless checks also shows the
remorseless attitude of respondent, unmindful to the deleterious effects of such act to the public interest and public
order. It also manifests a lawyers low regard to her commitment to the oath she has taken when she joined her peers,
seriously and irreparably tarnishing the image of the profession she should hold in high esteem.
Mere issuance of worthless checks by a lawyer, regardless of whether or not the same were issued in his professional
capacity to a client, calls for appropriate disciplinary measures.
A.c.no. 5151, october 19, 2004
Tolentino vs. Atty. Norberto m. Mendoza
Facts:
Tolentino filed a complaint against atty. Mendoza for grossly immoral conduct and gross misconduct. the respondent
was a former mtc judge who abandoned his wife in favor of his paramour who was also a married one. The two was
openly and publicly cohabitating with each other and has two children. The paramour declared at the birth certificate
of their children that they got married with the respondent sometime in 1986 to make it appear that their children are
legitimate one.in addition to that, respondent also stated in his certificate of candidacy his legal wife but declared it as
separated. Respondent filed a comments stressing that said complaints was politically motivated and the evidence
submitted were hearsay and violate of rule 24 of administrative order no. 1 series of 1993 therefore cannot be
admitted as evidence.
Issue:
Is the act of the respondent an immoral one?
Ruling:
Yes, the court finds the act of the respondent as against the code of professional responsibility that a lawyer shall not
engage in an unlawful, deceitful and immoral act. The respondent has violated the said rule. The respondent's open
and public cohabitation with his paramour is a mockery of the fundamental institution of marriage. Therefore, the
respondent is guilty of immorality and be suspended indefinitely from practicing his profession until he submits
satisfactory proof that he has abandoned his immoral course of conduct.