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GR No. L-22320, 29 July 1968 to be enjoined was order by another tribunal, Mrs.

Perez now
MERCEDES RUTH COBB-PEREZ and DAMASO P. PEREZ assisted by her husband prayed for another issuance of a another
(represented by their counsel, Atty. Crispin D. Baizas and injunction, this time in Branch 12 of the CFI of Manila (different
Associates) V. HON. GREGORIO LANTIN, Judge of the CFI of branch) in connection with civil case 7532 - that still pending in
Manila, RICARDO HERMOSO, City Sheriff of Manila CFI of Rizal.
As anticipated by the spouses and their counsel, Branch 12 denied the
ISSUE: Whether or not the lawyer's duty to the court and to the injunction sought on the ground that said branch has no jurisdiction or
legal processes must be highly observed rather than providing / power to interfere with e judgment or decree of a court of concurrent or
assisting clients legal needs. coordinate jurisdiction. In her motion, it was merely an offer to replace
the levied stocks with supposed cash dividends due to the Perez
This is a case for a motion for partial reconsideration of the SC spouses as stock holders in the Republic Bank. When the motion was
decision dated 22 May 1968, directed against the following observation set for hearing, the counsels for Damaso Perez promise to produce the
that the SC feel compelled to observe that during this protracted said cash dividends within 5 days, but the promise was never fulfilled.
litigation, the spouses petitioners resorted to a series of actions However, the husband prepared and filed a motion for reconsideration
and petitions, at some stages alternatingly, abetted by their on the same day for the civil case 39407, to the same branch (12)
counsel for the sole purpose of thwarting the execution of a which denied his wife's motion, which said Branch denied the same.
simple money claim judgment which has long become final and
executory. Some actions were filed, only to be abandoned or From the chronology of events, the facts becomes inescapable that the
withdrawn. The petitioners and their counsel, far from viewing Perez spouse, coached by their counsels, had sallied forth on a
courts as sanctuaries for those who seek justice, have tried to stratagem of remedies projected to foil the lawful execution of a simple
use them to subvert the very ends of justice. money judgment. Counsels obviously foreshadowed their own
reversals in the remedies they ventured to adopt, such that even
SC assessed treble cost against the petitioner spouses to be paid by before, one remedy had been exhausted, they interposed another until
their counsel. The movants, Attys. Baizas and Bolinas, seeks the case reached the SC for the second time.
reconsideration of the decision in so far as it reflects adversely upon
their professional conduct and condemns them to pay the treble According to the SC, the filed civil cases was not the proper remedy in
costs adjudged against their clients. so far as they sought the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction
from the CFI of Rizal and Manila where civil cases 7532 and 55292
The SC concluded that the protracted litigation was designed to cause were filed respectively, for the said court did not have jurisdiction to
delay and the active participation of the petitioners counsel is in this restrain the enforcement of the writ of execution issued by CFI of
adventure is clear. Manila Branch 7, under the settled doctrines that that Courts are
without power to restrain acts outside of their territorial jurisdiction or
In an 15 November 1962 judgment of the Court of Appeals in interfere with the judgment or decree of a court of concurrent or
sustaining Damaso Perezs position with respect to the extent of the coordinate jurisdiction. But the fact that Mrs. Perez abandoned civil
levy the subsequent proceeding interposed alternatingly by the case 7532 when she instituted the urgent motion to recall writ of
petitioner spouses as their maneuvers expected to be overthrown execution in the basic civil case 39407, anchored in the same
by the court but calculated to delay an execution long overdue. ground which she advanced in the former case, until the said civil
case was 7532 was dismissed upon her own motion.
Petitioner and their counsel chose to attack the execution in a
piecemeal fashion, causing the postponement of the projected Civil case 55292 was virtually deserted the same by the spouses when
execution sale six times (more than eight years after the finality of the they instituted the herein petition for certiorari with urgent writ of
judgment have passed, and the same has yet to be satisfied). preliminary injunction based on the same grounds proffered in the said
civil case - until the latter was dismissed with the consent of the parties
In their determined effort to prolong the litigation, the Perez spouses because of the pendency then of the aforesaid petition for certiorari.
and counsels,, sought the issuance of preliminary injunctions to
restrain the execution of the final judgment in civil case 39407 from According to the spouses, if there was delay, it was because their
courts which did not have jurisdiction and which would, as expected, counsel happened to be more assertive (a quality of a lawyer
initially or ultimately deny their prayer. which is not to be condemned). What the SC cannot countenance
is a lawyers's insistence despite the patent futility of his client's
In prolonging the litigation, they sought the issuance of preliminary position, as in the case at bar.
injunctions to restrain the execution of the final judgment in civil case
39407, from courts which did not have jurisdiction and which would, as It is the duty of a counsel to advise his client (a layman), on the
expected, initially or ultimately deny their prayer (for instance, after merit or lack of merit of his case. If he finds his client's cause is
Damaso bowed out temporarily from the scene following the defenseless, then it is his bounded duty to advise the latter to
rendition of the decision of the CA, his wife Mercedez intruded acquiesce and submit, rather than traverse the intro-convertible. A
into the controversy and asked for an ex parte writ of preliminary lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his client, and
injunction from the CFI of Rizal in connection with Civil Case 7532 temper his client's propensity to litigate. A lawyer's oath to
which she filed while knowingly fully well that the basic civil case uphold the cause of justice is superior to his duty to his client. Its
39407 was decided by the CFI of Manila which is court is the primacy is indisputable.
proper forum for any action to the execution).
The counsels finally state that the petitioners have several counsel in
It is clear that Mrs. Perez and her counsel know or ought to have this case but the participation of each counsel was rather limited
known beforehand that the CFI of Rizal did not have jurisdiction to implying that the decision of this court ordering the 'treble costs are
issue the writ which Mrs. Perez herself sought, and, anticipating the assessed against the petitioners, which shall be paid by their counsel'
recall of the writ issued before the said writ was actually lifted, filed in is not clear. The word counsel may be either singular or plural in
the basic civil case 39407 an urgent motion to lift the writ of execution construction. That is why SC meant the counsels on record of
issued on 15 August 1961, alleging as justification the conjugal nature the petitioners who were responsible for the inordinate delay in
of the levied shares of stock and the personal nature of Damaso the execution of the final judgment in the basic civil case 39407,
Perez's judgment debt, the very same reasons advanced in civil after the CA had tendered its decision - and it is on the records
case 7532 which was then still pending in the CFI of Rizal. that movants are the said counsels.

Mrs. Perez and her counsel failed to adduce any evidence in support Atty. Bolinas admitted that he entered his appearance in the case
to their motion and in fact failed to appear during the scheduled when the CFI of Manila dismissed the petitioners relief in case
hearing. Thus, Judge Lantin issued an order - waiving the rights of 3947 and even before the CA render its decision. On the other
Mrs. Perez to present any evidence in support of his motion to recall hand, Atty. Baizas claims that he became counsel only in October
and lift the writ of execution. 1963 when he filed with Atty. Bolinao the case 55292 before the
CFI of Manila Branch 12, althoufh it appears on records that the
Despite the recall of the aforementioned writ of injunction by Judge urgent motion to recall writ of execution filed by Mrs. Perez in the
Mencias on a disclaimer of jurisdiction and since the execution sought case 39407, was signed by one Ruby Zaida of the firm of Crispin

Baizas and Associates as counsel for Mrs. Perez. It is to be courts. From the decision of the courts, appeal
recalled that the said urgent motion is the same motion discussed will lie as in other criminal cases.
above, which, curiously enough, antedated by at least one month the
lifting of the writ of preliminary injunction issued in case 7532. Among the offenses punished under the Election Code are those
enumerated in Section 261 thereof, paragraph (i) of which was
DISPO: Motion for partial reconsideration is denied. Herein Attys. to allegedly committed by the accused school personnel. Under Section
pay jointly and severally the treble cost assessed against the 264 of the Code the penalty for an election offense, except that of
petitioners. failure to register or failure to vote, is imprisonment of not less than 1
CASE TITLE: COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, petitioner, vs. HON. year but not more than 6 years and the offender shall not be subject to
TOMAS B. NOYNAY, Acting Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, probation and shall suffer disqualification to hold public office and
Branch 23, Allen, Northern Samar, and DIOSDADA F. AMOR, ESBEL deprivation of the right of suffrage.
CHUA, and RUBEN MAGLUYOAN, respondents.
G.R. No. 132365. July 9, 1998 Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7691,
PONENTE: Chief Justice Davide provides as follows:
SEC. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts,
FACTS: In its Minute Resolution No. 96-3076 of October 29, 1996, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
COMELEC resolved to file an information for violation of Section 261(i) Courts in Criminal Cases. Except in cases falling
of the Omnibus Election Code against private respondents Diosdada within the exclusive original jurisdiction of
Amor, a public school principal, and Esbel Chua and Ruben Regional Trial Court and of the Sandiganbayan,
Magluyoan, both public school teachers, for having engaged in the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial
partisan political activities. The COMELEC authorized its Regional Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall
Director in Region VIII to handle the prosecution of the cases. exercise:
Forthwith, nine informations for violation of Section 261(i) of the
Omnibus Election Code were filed with Branch 23 of the RTC of Allen, (1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all violations
Northern Samar. of city or municipal ordinances committed within
their respective territorial jurisdiction; and
In an Order issued on August 25, 1997, respondent Judge Noynay, as
presiding judge of Branch 23, motu proprio ordered the records of the (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses
cases to be withdrawn and directed the COMELEC Law Department to punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six
file the cases with the appropriate MTC on the ground that pursuant to (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and
Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 (Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980) as regardless of other imposable accessory or other
amended by R.A. No. 7691, the RTC has no jurisdiction over the cases penalties, including the civil liability arising from
since the maximum imposable penalty in each of the cases does not such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective
exceed six years of imprisonment. All the accused school personnel of kind, nature, value or amount thereof:
are uniformly charged for Violation of Sec. 261(i) of the Omnibus Provided, however, That in offenses involving
Election Code, which under Sec. 264 of the same Code carries a damage to property through criminal negligence,
penalty of not less than one (1) year but not more than six (6) years of they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction
imprisonment and not subject to Probation plus disqualification to hold thereof.
public office or deprivation of the right of suffrage.
The Court have explicitly ruled in Morales v. Court of Appeals that by
Two motions for reconsideration were separately filed by the virtue of the exception provided for in the opening sentence of Section
COMELEC Regional Director of Region VIII and by the COMELEC 32, the exclusive original jurisdiction of MeTCs, MTCs, and MCTCs
itself through its Legal Department but both were denied by Judge does not cover those criminal cases which by specific provisions of law
Noynay. Thus, COMELEC filed the present special civil action. fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of RTCs and of the
Sandiganbayan, regardless of the penalty prescribed therefor.
COMELECs POSITION: It contends that Judge Noynay has Otherwise stated, even if those excepted cases are punishable by
erroneously misconstrued the provisions of Rep. Act No. 7691 in imprisonment of not exceeding six (6) years (i.e., prision correccional,
arguing that the MTC has exclusive original jurisdiction to try and arresto mayor, or arresto menor), jurisdiction thereon is retained by the
decide election offenses because pursuant to Section 268 of the RTCs or the Sandiganbayan, as the case may be.
Omnibus Election Code and the SCs ruling in Alberto vs. Judge Juan
Lavilles, Jr., RTCs have the exclusive original jurisdiction over election Undoubtedly, pursuant to Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code,
offenses. Thru the OSG, it claims that the challenged orders of Judge election offenses also fall within the exception.
Noynay are clearly not in accordance with existing laws and
jurisprudence. As stated in Morales, jurisdiction is conferred by the Constitution or by
Congress. Outside the cases enumerated in Section 5(2) of Article VIII
RESPONDENTS POSITION: They maintain that R.A. No. 7691 has of the Constitution, Congress has the plenary power to define,
divested the RTCs of jurisdiction over offenses where the imposable prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts. Congress
penalty is not more than 6 years of imprisonment; moreover, R.A. 7691 may thus provide by law that a certain class of cases should be
expressly provides that all laws, decrees, and orders inconsistent with exclusively heard and determined by one court. Such law would be a
its provisions are deemed repealed or modified accordingly. They then special law and must be construed as an exception to the general law
conclude that since the election offense in question is punishable with on jurisdiction of courts, namely, the Judiciary Act of 1948, as
imprisonment of not more than 6 years, it is cognizable by MTCs. amended, and the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. R.A. No. 7691
ISSUE: The pivotal issue in this special civil action for certiorari with can by no means be considered as a special law on jurisdiction; it is
mandamus is whether R.A. No. 7691 has divested RTCs of jurisdiction merely an amendatory law intended to amend specific sections of the
over election offenses, which are punishable with imprisonment of not Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. Hence, R.A. No. 7691 does not
exceeding 6 years. have the effect of repealing laws vesting upon RTCs or the
Sandiganbayan exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide the
SC RULING/RATIO: SC granted the petition. cases therein specified. That Congress never intended that R.A. No.
7691 should repeal such special provisions is indubitably evident from
Under Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code, RTCs have the fact that it did not touch at all the opening sentence of Section 32 of
exclusive original jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or B.P. Blg. 129 providing for the exception.
proceedings for violation of the Code except those relating to the
offense of failure to register or failure to vote. It reads as follows: It is obvious that Judge Noynay did not read at all the opening
SEC. 268. Jurisdiction of courts. - The regional sentence of Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended. It is thus an
trial court shall have the exclusive original opportune time, as any, to remind him, as well as other judges, of his
jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or duty to be studious of the principles of law, to administer his office with
proceedings for violation of this Code, except due regard to the integrity of the system of the law itself, to be faithful
those relating to the offense of failure to register to the law, and to maintain professional competence.
or failure to vote which shall be under the
jurisdiction of the metropolitan or municipal trial

Counsel for COMELEC, Atty. Jose P. Balbuena, Director IV of in the letter-request, the respondent misrepresented
COMELECs Law Department, must also be admonished for his utter
that there was already a pending case in the RTC of
carelessness in his reference to the case against Judge Juan Lavilles,
Jr. In the motion for Reconsideration he filed with the court below and Makati before November 9, 2005;
in the instant petition before the Supreme Court, Atty. Balbuena
deliberately made it appear that the quoted portions in Lavilles case 4. refused to receive the complainants Answer with
were the Courts findings or rulings, or, put a little differently, its own
Compulsory Counterclaim so that she could file on
words. The truth is, the quoted portion is just a part of the
memorandum of the Court Administrator quoted in the decision. behalf of her client an Amended Complaint without
leave of court and without presenting the Deed of
Rule 10.02 of Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility Absolute Sale;
mandates that a lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent
the text of a decision or authority.
5. induced her witness Agnes Heredia (Heredia) to sign a
Further, if Atty. Balbuena was diligent enough, he would have known false Affidavit by telling her that it would only be for
that the correct name of the complainant in the case referred to is purposes of compelling Fernandez to pay additional
neither Alberto Naldeza as indicated in the motion for reconsideration sums to her client; however, Atty. Villalon used it as
nor Alberto alone as stated in the petition, but ALBERTO NALDOZA. evidence to frame the complainant Fernandez for her
Moreover, the case was not reported in volume 245 of the Supreme
own personal gain;
Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) as falsely represented in the
paragraph 16 of the petition, but in volume 254 of the SCRA.
6. only submitted the Deed of Donation for signature
DISPOSITIVE PORTION: IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the examination and certification by the NBI and
instant petition is GRANTED. The challenged orders of public
intentionally failed to submit the Deed of Absolute Sale.
respondent Judge Tomas B. Noynay of 25 August 1997 and 17
October 1997 in Criminal Cases Nos. A-1439 and A-1442 to A-1449
are SET ASIDE. Respondent Judge is DIRECTED to try and decide IBP:
said cases with purposeful dispatch.
Commissioner Funa issued a recommendation to dismiss the case.
PENALTY IMPOSED: Judge Noynay is ADMONISHED to faithfully
There is no sufficient basis to hold Atty. Villalon accountable
comply with Canons 4 and 18 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics and
for failure to mention in the Complaint and in the Amended Complaint
Rule 3.01, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
the existence of the Absolute Sale. No such duty is imposed upon the
legal counsel under any law or the Rules of Court. It cannot be argued
Atty. Jose P. Balbuena is likewise ADMONISHED to be more careful in
that there was suppression of evidence on the part of the Atty. Villalon
the discharge of his duty to the court as a lawyer under the Code of
as she is not the only person who had access or possession of the
Professional Responsibility.
said Deed of Absolute Sale. It was a document readily available to the
FERNANDEZ v. ATTY. VILLALON general public through the Notarial Office. A person cannot possibly
suppress the existence of a document which everyone else, especially
the opposing party-litigant, knows about.

Fernandez was the respondent in a civil case which Palacios

Assuming Atty. Villalon had knowledge about the existence
sought to nullify a Deed of Donation he purportedly executed in favor
of the Deed of Absolute Sale before the civil complaint was filed, her
of Fernandez. On September 27, 2005 discovered that Fernandez had
role as the legal counsel is limited by the clients choice of cause of
Falsified a Deed of Donation that Palacios that Palacios purportedly
action. Moreover, its mere existence as a document is not an
executed in Fernandez favor. Palacios name was cancelled and a
affirmation of its validity or due execution. In other words, the client,
new TCT was issued in Fernandez name. Palacios employed the
possibly believing in the invalidity of the Deed of Absolute Sale, may
services of ATTY. VILLALON to file a complaint for the declaration of
have chosen to refute the validity of the document at a later time when
nullity of the Deed of Donation that became the basis for the issuance
and if its existence is raised. This is a choice within the discretion of
of a title in Fernandez name.
the party-litigant. The opposing party cannot impose it as a duty upon
the other party or his legal counsel.
In Fernandez answer, he claimed that his name in the TCT
is proper on account of an existing Deed of Absolute Sale between him
SC: No sufficient ground. Dismissed the case.
and Palacios. Palacios did the Deed of Donation in order to cheat the
Government by paying a donors tax which is lower that capital gains A lawyer, as an officer of the court, has a duty to be truthful
tax if the transaction is represented as sale. in all his dealing. However, this duty does not require that the lawyer
advance matters of defense on behalf of his or her clients opponent. A
Fernandez filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty.
lawyer is his or her clients advocate; while duty-bound to utter no
Villalon for violation of Rule 1.01, Rule 7.03, Rule 10.01, Rule 10.02
falsehood, an advocate is not obliged to build the case for his or her
and Rule 10.03. Alleging:
clients opponent.

1. suppressed and excluded in the Original and Amended

Palacios, approached her to file a complaint for
Complaint her knowledge about the existence of the
Deed of Absolute Sale dated January 12, 2005; the annulment of the Deed of Donation. This was the cause of

action chosen by her client. Assuming arguendo that the respondent

2. used the fake and spurious Deed of Donation to
knew of the presence of the Deed of Absolute Sale, its existence, is,
deceive the court into trying Civil Case No. 05-1071, the
action for the annulment of TCT No. 220869, despite indeed, a matter of defense for Fernandez. We cannot fault the
her knowledge of the existence of the Deed of Absolute respondent for choosing not to pursue the nullification of the Deed of
Absolute Sale. Under the circumstances, it was not unreasonable for a

lawyer to conclude, whether correctly or incorrectly, that the Deed of

3. committed misrepresentations as follows: to verify
whether the attached Deed of Absolute Sale was Absolute Sale was immaterial in achieving the ultimate goal the
properly notarized, the respondent Villalon personally recovery of Palacios property.
inquired before the notarial section of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Quezon City thru a letter-request,
whether a record of the deed existed in the said office;

Investigating Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez submitted his report
In disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests on the on August 21, 1997 finding respondent guilty as charged and
complainant. Considering the gravity of the penalty of disbarment or recommended his suspension from the practice of law for six (6)
suspension as a member of the Bar, a lawyer may only be disbarred or
Allegations under the Respondents Motion for Reconsideration
suspended if there is clear, convincing, and satisfactory proof that he

or she committed transgressions defined by the rules as grounds to 1. THAT THERE WAS NO DUE PROCESS OR HEARING WHICH
strip him or her of his professional license.


In this case, we find no clear evidence we can satisfactorily
accept showing that the respondent improperly induced Heredia to
sign the affidavit of December 11, 2005, as alleged in Heredias JUDGE IBAEZ COMMITTED MISREPRESENTATION OF FACTS.
affidavit of retraction.
The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard or, as
applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to seek a
The issue about affidavits executed by Heldia does not have reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. In fact

convincing and satisfactory proof therefore cannot stand as . . . a respondent in an administrative proceeding is not entitled to be
informed of the findings and recommendations of any investigating
meritorious basis for the case against Atty. Villalon.
committee created to inquire into charges filed against him. He is
entitled only to the administrative decision based on substantial
JOSE A. RIVERA, complainant, vs. ATTY. NAPOLEON CORRAL, evidence made of record, and a reasonable opportunity to meet
respondent. the charges and the evidence presented against him during the
hearings of the investigating committee.
Complaint and Ground/s:
Respondent cannot feign he was denied an opportunity to be heard in
Jose A. Rivera instituted a Complaint for Disbarment charging Atty. this case because as borne out by the records, hearings had to be re-
Napoleon Corral with Malpractice and Conduct Unbecoming a Member scheduled several times by the investigating commissioner to afford
of the Philippine Bar. him the chance to present his evidence. The records disclose that
when the case was referred to the IBP by Resolution of the Court
Facts: dated January 30, 1993, Investigating Commissioner Victor C.
Fernandez issued a Notice of Hearing dated July 12, 1993 ordering
The complaint alleges, inter alia - complainant and respondent to appear before the IBP Commission on
Bar Discipline on August 19, 1993.
(1) That on February 12, 1990, a Decision was penned by the
Honorable Presiding Judge Gorgonio Y. Ybaez on (sic) Civil Case No. In response, complainant, who is based in Sta. Fe, Bacolod City, sent
17473 for Ejectment. a letter dated August 10, 1993 informing the Commission that owing to
his limited finances as a Baptist Pastor he could not afford the
(2) That such decision was received by Annaliza Superio, Secretary of expenses involved in attending the hearings and in view thereof, he
Atty. Napoleon Corral, on February 23, 1990. requested that the hearings be held without his presence and that the
case be decided based on the evidence submitted. Nothing was heard
(3) That on March 13, 1990, a NOTICE OF APPEAL was filed in court
from respondent, although the records show that he was furnished a
by Atty. Napoleon Corral, a copy of which was served on plaintiffs
copy of the notice.
On the scheduled hearing of August 19, 1993, both complainant and
(4) That on March 14, 1990, [at] about 1:50 p.m. Atty. Napoleon Corral
respondent did not appear. The investigator, however, noted the letter
came to the Office of the Clerk of Court, Branch 7, Bacolod City and
of complainant dated August 10, 1993. The hearing was reset for four
changed the date February 23, 1990 to February 29, 1990. Realizing
(4) times, due to the failure of both parties to appear. The investigator
later that there is no 29th in February 1990, he filed a REPLY TO
issued an order re-scheduling the hearing for the last time to February
PLAINTIFFS MANIFESTATION claiming therein that he received the
24, 1994 giving respondent a last chance to present his evidence with
Decision not on the 29th in (sic) February 1990 but on the 28th of
the warning that respondents failure to do so will compel the
February 1990.
Commission to render a ruling based on the evidence submitted by the
complainant. The investigator, however, noted the complainants letter
(5) That Atty. Napoleon Corral violated the proper norms/ethics as a
of November 4, 1993 wherein the latter manifested that he was resting
lawyer by tampering with particularly by personally and manually
his case based on the evidence submitted by him together with the
changing entries in the courts record without the Courts prior
knowledge and permission, conduct unbecoming of a member of the
Philippine Bar much more so because in so doing he was found to
Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that:
have been motivated by the desire of suppressing the truth.
1.] the complaint filed is not verified;
(6) That on July 13, 1990 Atty. Napoleon Corral filed a MOTION TO
DISMISS, among other things he stated that the court is without 2.] in the hearings set by the Commission, complainant failed to
jurisdiction to try and decide the case at issue. appear;

Defense of the Respondent 3.] unless complainant appears personally, be sworn to and questioned
personally under oath, the complaint is defective;
Respondent claimed that the correction of the date was done on the
paper prepared by him. He also alleged that the correction was 4.] the complaint which could be filed by anybody is a form of
initiated and done in the presence and with the approval of the Clerk of harassment;
Court and the other court employees. According to respondent, the
correction was made because of typographical error he committed. He 5.] in view of the repeated failure of complainant to appear and be
denied that Annaliza Superio, who received the decision in his behalf, sworn to, the letter-complaint is merely hearsay.
is his secretary.
On March 3, 1994, the investigator denied the motion to dismiss for
IBP Investigation lack of merit and set for the last time the hearing on April 21, 1994 for
the reception of respondents evidence.

On April 4, 1994, respondent filed a Motion for Postponement praying lawyers oath; 6.] willful disobedience to any lawful order of a superior
that the hearing be reset on the last week of July 1994. Accompanying court; and 7.] willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without
said motion was an Answer To The Order Of The Commission Dated authority.
March 3, 1994.
While the prevailing facts of the case do not warrant so severe a
To accommodate respondent, the Investigating Commissioner reset penalty as disbarment, the inherent power of the Court to discipline an
the hearing on July 28, 1994 with the warning that said setting is in errant member of the Bar must, nonetheless, be exercised because it
transferable and that the Commission will proceed with its investigation cannot be denied that respondent has violated his solemn oath as a
on said date with or without respondents presence. For failure of lawyer not to engage in unlawful, dishonest or deceitful conduct.
respondent to appear on said date, the investigator issued an order
considering the case submitted for decision on the basis of the The relevant rules to the case at bar are Rules 1.01 and Rule 19.01 of
evidence presented. the Code of Professional Responsibility. Rule 1.01 states in no
uncertain terms that: A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
Respondent cannot now complain that he was denied due process. On immoral or deceitful conduct. More specifically, Rule 19.01 mandates
the contrary, the Commission was lenient to a fault in accommodating that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the
his numerous requests for continuance. Indeed, the chronology of lawful objectives of his client and shall not present, participate or
events shows that the prolonged silence of respondent and the belated threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain improper
filing of his motion to dismiss followed by the Answer to the advantage in any case or proceeding.
investigators March 3, 1994 Order, were deliberately resorted to hinder
the proceedings. The Court cannot overstress the duty of a lawyer to at all times uphold
the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. He can do this by
The quintessence of due process is simply that a party be afforded a faithfully performing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and
reasonable opportunity to be heard, or as applied to administrative to his clients. Along the same vein, in Ong v. Atty. Elpidio D. Unto, the
proceedings, an opportunity to explain ones side and to adduce any Court ruled that the ethics of the legal profession rightly enjoin lawyers
evidence he may have in support of his defense. Entrenched is the rule to act with the highest standards of truthfulness, fair play and nobility in
that due process does not necessarily mean or require a hearing but the course of his practice of law. A lawyer may be disciplined or
simply a reasonable opportunity or a right to be heard or, as applied to suspended for any misconduct, whether in his professional or private
administrative proceedings and opportunity to explain ones side. capacity. Public confidence in the law and lawyers may be eroded by
Where opportunity to be heard either through oral arguments or the irresponsible and improper conduct of a member of the Bar. Thus,
pleadings is accorded, there is no denial of due process. every lawyer should act and comport himself in such a manner that
would promote public confidence in the integrity of the legal profession.
By altering the material dates to make it appear that the Notice of
The Investigating Commissioner pointed out that the correction Appeal was timely filed, respondent committed an act of dishonesty.
introduced by respondent was made not to reflect the truth but to Under pertinent rules, dishonesty constitutes grave misconduct upon
mislead the trial court into believing that the notice of appeal was filed which the Court, in a recent case, imposed a one-year suspension on
within the reglementary period. The Decision rendered in Civil Case respondent therein for inserting in the records of the case a
No. 17473 was duly received by a certain Annaliza Superio, the certification of non-forum shopping and making it appear that the same
secretary of respondent, on February 22, 1990. Respondent filed the was already part of such records at the time the complaint was filed. A
Notice of Appeal on March 13, 1990 which was clearly out of time. To one-year suspension was similarly imposed on respondent in Reyes v.
extricate himself from such predicament, respondent altered the date Atty. Rolando Javier for deceiving his client into believing that he filed
when he allegedly received the Decision from February 23, 1990 to the petition on time when in fact it was filed on a much later date. It
February 29, 1990. Realizing that there was no February 29, 1990 in should be stressed that brazenly resorting to such a legal
the calendar, he sought to change the date again to February 28, 1990 subterfuge to mislead the court and to cover up for his failings
by means of a reply to Plaintiffs Manifestation. toward his client is not only a disgraceful indictment on
respondents moral fiber and personal fitness to his calling as a
The Investigating Commissioner further pointed out that respondents lawyer. It is also an embarrassment to his brethren in the Bar.
claim that the correction was made in the presence of the Clerk of Such misconduct warrants a similar penalty for the Court cannot
Court and other court employees was denied by Nilda P. Tronco, the tolerate any misconduct that tends to besmirch the fair name of an
Branch Clerk of the Municipal Trial Court of Bacolod City, who declared honorable profession.
that the alteration was surreptitiously made and would have been left
unnoticed were it not for the timely discovery thereof. DISPOSITIVE PORTION

ISSUE WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Atty. Napoleon

Corral is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE (1) YEAR and
Whether the act of Atty. Corral in altering the date that he allegedly STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar offense will
received the Decision in February 29, 1990, instead of February 23, be dealt with more severely.
1990 will be a ground for any disciplinary action by the Court
CONRADO QUE, Complainant, vs.


The Court finds the facts as summarized by the investigator fully
supported by the evidence. However, the recommended penalty is not
commensurate to the misdeed of respondent. Conrado Que (complainant) accused Atty. Anastacio
Revilla, Jr. (respondent) before the Integrated Bar of the
The primary objective of administrative cases against lawyers is not Philippines Committee on Bar Discipline (IBP
only to punish and discipline the erring individual lawyers but also to Committee on Bar Discipline or CBD) of committing the
safeguard the administration of justice by protecting the courts and the following violations of the provisions of the Code of
public from the misconduct of lawyers, and to remove from the legal
Professional Responsibility and Rule 138 of the Rules of
profession persons whose utter disregard of their lawyers oath have
proven them unfit to continue discharging the trust reposed in them as
members of the bar. A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for
misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity, which (1) The respondents abuse of court remedies and
shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good processes by filing a petition for certiorari before the
demeanor or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court. Court of Appeals (CA), two petitions for annulment of
title before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), a petition for
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that a annulment of judgment before the RTC and lastly, a
member of the Bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as
petition for declaratory relief before the RTC
attorney on the following grounds, to wit: 1.] deceit; 2.] malpractice or
(collectively, subject cases) to assail and overturn the
other gross misconduct in office; 3.] grossly immoral conduct; 4.]
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; 5.] violation of the final judgments of the Metropolitan Trial Court2 (MeTC)

and RTC3 in the unlawful detainer case rendered On the first charge on abuse of court processes,
against the respondents clients. The respondent in this Investigating Commissioner Cunanan noted the
regard, repeatedly raised the issue of lack of unnecessary use by the respondent of legal remedies
jurisdiction by the MeTC and RTC knowing fully-well to forestall the execution of the final decisions of the
that these courts have jurisdiction over the unlawful MTC and the RTC in the unlawful detainer case against
detainer case. The respondent also repeatedly his clients.
attacked the complainants and his siblings titles over
the property subject of the unlawful detainer case; On the second charge, the Investigating
Commissioner ruled that the act of the respondent in
(2) The respondents commission of forum-shopping filing two petitions for annulment of title, a petition for
by filing the subject cases in order to impede, obstruct, annulment of judgment and later on a petition for
and frustrate the efficient administration of justice for declaratory relief were all done to prevent the
his own personal gain and to defeat the right of the execution of the final judgment in the unlawful detainer
complainant and his siblings to execute the MeTC and case and constituted prohibited forum-shopping.
RTC judgments in the unlawful detainer case;
On the third and fourth charges, Investigating
(3) The respondents lack of candor and respect Commissioner Cunanan found ample evidence showing
towards his adversary and the courts by resorting to that the respondent was dishonest in dealing with the
falsehood and deception to misguide, obstruct and court as shown in his petition for annulment of
impede the due administration of justice. The judgment; he resorted to falsities and attributed acts to
respondent asserted falsehood in the motion for Atty. Catolico and to the presiding judge, all of which
reconsideration of the dismissal of the petition for were untrue.
annulment of judgment by fabricating an imaginary
order issued by the presiding judge in open court which On the fifth and sixth charges, the Investigating
allegedly denied the motion to dismiss filed by the Commissioner disregarded the respondents
respondents in the said case. The complainant alleged explanation that he had no intention to represent
that the respondent did this to cover up his lack of without authority 15 of the litigants (three of whom
preparation; the respondent also deceived his clients were already deceased) in the petition for annulment
(who were all squatters) in supporting the above of judgment. To the Investigating Commissioner, the
falsehood.4 respondent merely glossed over the representation
issue by claiming that the authority given by a majority
(4) The respondents willful and revolting falsehood of the litigants complied with the certification of non-
that unjustly maligned and defamed the good name forum shopping requirement. The Investigating
and reputation of the late Atty. Alfredo Catolico (Atty. Commissioner likewise brushed aside the respondents
Catolico), the previous counsel of the respondents argument regarding his misrepresentation in the
clients. second complaint for annulment of title since he knew
very well that only the Solicitor General can institute
(5) The respondents deliberate, fraudulent and an action for reversion on behalf of the Republic of the
unauthorized appearances in court in the petition for Philippines. Despite this knowledge, the respondent
annulment of judgment for 15 litigants, three of whom solely signed the amended complaint for and on behalf
are already deceased; of his clients and of the Republic.

(6) The respondents willful and fraudulent appearance The Board of Governors of the IBP Committee on Bar
in the second petition for annulment of title as counsel Discipline recommended that the respondent be
for the Republic of the Philippines without being suspended from the practice of law for two (2) years.
authorized to do so. On reconsideration, the Board of Governors reduced
the respondents suspension from the practice of law to
Additionally, the complaint accused the respondent of one (1) year.
representing fifty-two (52) litigants in Civil Case No. Q-
03-48762 when no such authority was ever given to The Issue
The case poses to us the core issues of whether
The Findings of the Investigating Commissioner the respondent can be held liable for the
imputed unethical infractions and professional
Except for the last charge of unauthorized appearance misconduct, and the penalty these
on behalf of 52 litigants in Civil Case No. Q-03-48762, transgressions should carry.
Investigating Commissioner Renato G. Cunanan8
(Investigating Commissioner Cunanan) found all the The Courts Ruling
charges against the respondent meritorious. In his
Report and Recommendation, he stated: Except for the penalty, we agree with the Report and
Recommendation of Investigating Commissioner
While an attorney admittedly has the solemn duty to Cunanan and the Board of Governors of the IBP
defend and protect the cause and rights of his client Committee on Bar Discipline.
with all the fervor and energy within his command, yet,
it is equally true that it is the primary duty of the Abuse of court procedures and processes
lawyer to defend the dignity, authority and majesty of
the law and the courts which enforce it. A lawyer is not The following undisputed facts fully support the
at liberty to maintain and defend the cause of his conclusion that the respondent is guilty of serious
clients thru means, inconsistent with truth and honor. misconduct for abusing court procedures and
He may not and must not encourage multiplicity of processes to shield his clients from the execution of the
suits or brazenly engage in forum-shopping. final judgments of the MeTC and RTC in the unlawful
detainer case against these clients:

First, the respondent filed a petition for certiorari with of multiple actions to attain the same objective. Both
prayer for the issuance of preliminary injunction and violations constitute abuse of court processes; they
temporary restraining order to question the final tend to degrade the administration of justice; wreak
judgments of the MeTC and RTC for lack of jurisdiction. havoc on orderly judicial procedure; and add to the
In dismissing the respondents petition, the CA held: congestion of the heavily burdened dockets of the
Even for the sake of argument considering that the
petition case be the proper remedy, still it must be While the filing of a petition for certiorari to question
rejected for failure of petitioners to satisfactorily the lower courts jurisdiction may be a procedurally
demonstrate lack of jurisdiction on the part of the legitimate (but substantively erroneous) move, the
Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City over the respondents subsequent petitions involving the same
ejectment case. property and the same parties not only demonstrate
his attempts to secure favorable ruling using different
Second, notwithstanding the CAs dismissal of the fora, but his obvious objective as well of preventing the
petition for certiorari, the respondent again questioned execution of the MeTC and RTC decisions in the
the MeTCs and the RTCs lack of jurisdiction over the unlawful detainer case against his clients. This intent is
unlawful detainer case in a petition for annulment of most obvious with respect to the petitions for
before the RTC with an ancillary prayer for the grant of annulment of judgment and declaratory relief, both
a temporary restraining order and preliminary geared towards preventing the execution of the
injunction. The RTC dismissed this petition on the basis unlawful detainer decision, long after this decision had
of the motion to dismiss filed. become final.

Third, the respondent successively filed two petitions The records also reveal that the respondent
for annulment of the complainants title to the property committed willful, intentional and deliberate
involved in the unlawful detainer case. The records falsehood in the pleadings he filed with the
show that these petitions were both dismissed "for lack lower courts.
of legal personality on the part of the plaintiffs" to file
the petition. First, in the petition for annulment of judgment filed
before the RTC, Branch 101, Quezon City, the
Fourth, after the dismissals of the petition for respondent cited extrinsic fraud as one of the grounds
annulment of judgment and the petitions for for the annulment sought. The extrinsic fraud was
annulment of title, the respondent this time filed a alleged in the last paragraph of the petition, as follows:
petition for declaratory relief with prayer for a writ of
preliminary injunction to enjoin the complainant and In here, counsel for the petitioners (defendants
his siblings from exercising their rights over the same therein), deliberately neglected to file the proper
property subject of the unlawful detainer case. The remedy then available after receipt of the denial of
respondent based the petition on the alleged nullity of their Motion for Reconsideration thus corruptly sold out
the complainants title because the property is a part the interest of the petitioners (defendants therein) by
of forest land. keeping them away to the Court and in complete
ignorance of the suit by a false pretense of
Fifth, the persistent applications by the respondent for compromise and fraudulent acts of alleging
injunctive relief in the four petitions he had filed in representing them when in truth and in fact, have
several courts the petition for certiorari, the petition connived with the attorney of the prevailing party at
for annulment of judgment, the second petition for his defeat to the prejudice of the petitioner (defendants
annulment of complainants title and the petition for therein)
declaratory relief reveal the respondents persistence
in preventing and avoiding the execution of the final Yet, in paragraph 35 of the same petition, the
decisions of the MeTC and RTC against his clients in the respondent alleged that no second motion for
unlawful detainer case. reconsideration or for new trial, or no other petition
with the CA had been filed, as he believed "that the
Under the circumstances, the respondents repeated decisions rendered both by the MeTC and the RTC are
attempts go beyond the legitimate means allowed by null and void." These conflicting claims, no doubt,
professional ethical rules in defending the interests of involve a fabrication made for the purpose of
his client. These are already uncalled for measures to supporting the petition for annulment. Worse, it
avoid the enforcement of final judgments of the MeTC involved a direct and unsubstantiated attack on the
and RTC. In these attempts, the respondent violated reputation of a law office colleague, another violation
Rule 10.03, Canon 10 of the Code of Professional we shall separately discuss below.
Responsibility which makes it obligatory for a lawyer to
"observe the rules of procedure and not [to] misuse Second, the respondent employed another obvious
them to defeat the ends of justice." By his actions, the subterfuge when he filed his second petition for
respondent used procedural rules to thwart and annulment of title, which was an unsuccessful attempt
obstruct the speedy and efficient administration of to circumvent the rule that only the Solicitor General
justice, resulting in prejudice to the winning parties in may commence reversion proceedings of public lands.
that case. on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines. This
second petition, filed by a private party and not by the
Filing of multiple actions and forum shopping Republic, showed that: (a) the respondent and his
clients requested that they be represented by the
The respondent likewise violated Rule 12.02 and Rule Solicitor General in the proceedings; (b) the Republic of
12.04, Canon 12 of the Code of Professional the Philippines was simply impleaded in the amended
Responsibility, as well as the rule against forum petition without its consent as a plaintiff; and (c) the
shopping, both of which are directed against the filing respondent signed the amended petition where he

alone stood as counsel for the "plaintiffs." In this In defending his clients interest, the respondent also
underhanded manner, the respondent sought to failed to observe Rule 19.01, Canon 19 of the Code of
compel the Republic to litigate and waste its resources Professional Responsibility, which reads:
on an unauthorized and unwanted suit.
Third, the respondent also committed falsehood in his CLIENT WITH ZEAL WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF LAW
motion for reconsideration of the order dismissing his
petition for annulment of judgment where he Rule 19.01 A lawyer shall employ only fair and
misrepresented to the court and his clients what honest means to attain the lawful objectives of
actually transpired in the hearing of June 28, 2002 in his clients x x x
this wise:
This Canon obligates a lawyer, in defending his client,
Likewise, the proceedings on said date of hearing to employ only such means as are consistent with truth
show, that after both counsel have argued on the and honor. He should not prosecute patently frivolous
aforesaid pending incident, the Honorable Presiding and meritless appeals or institute clearly groundless
Judge, in open court, and in the presence and within actions. The recital of what the respondent did to
the hearing distance of all the plaintiffs and their prevent the execution of the judgment against his
counsel as well as the counsel of the defendants clients shows that he actually committed what the
resolved: TO DENY THE MOTION TO DISMISS FILED AND above rule expressly prohibits.
TO THE COMPLAINT WITHIN THE REMAINING PERIOD. Maligning the name of his fellow lawyers

The records, however, disclose that the scheduled To support the charge of extrinsic fraud in his petition
hearing for June 28, 2002 was actually for the for annulment of judgment, the respondent attacked
respondents application for temporary restraining (as quoted above) the name and reputation of the late
order and was not a hearing on the adverse partys Atty. Catolico and accused him of deliberate neglect,
motion to dismiss. The records also show that RTC- corrupt motives and connivance with the counsel for
Branch 101 held in abeyance the respondents the adverse party.
application for injunctive relief pending the resolution
We find it significant that the respondent failed to
of the motion to dismiss filed by the adverse party. As
demonstrate how he came upon his accusation against
stated in the order of the Presiding Judge of RTC-Branch
Atty. Catolico. The respondent, by his own admission,
only participated in the cases previously assigned to
Browsing over the records of this case specifically the Atty. Catolico after the latter died. At the same time,
transcripts of stenographic notes as transcribed by the the respondents petition for annulment of judgment
Stenographer, the same will indicate that the also represented that no second motion for
allegations in the Motion for Reconsideration are not reconsideration or appeal was filed to contest the MeTC
true. and RTC decisions in the unlawful detainer case for the
reason that the respondent believed the said decisions
The records further disclose that despite knowledge of were null and void ab initio.
the falsity of his allegations, the respondent took
advantage of his position and the trust reposed in him Under these circumstances, we believe that the
by his clients (who are all squatters) to convince them respondent has been less than fair in his professional
to support. relationship with Atty. Catolico and is thus liable for
violating Canon 8 of the Code of Professional
For these acts, we find the respondent liable under Responsibility, which obligates a lawyer to
Rule 10.01 of Canon 10 the Code of Professional "conduct himself with courtesy, fairness, and
Responsibility for violating the lawyers duty to observe candor toward his professional colleagues." He
candor and fairness in his dealings with the court. This was unfair because he imputed wrongdoing to Atty.
provision states: Catolico without showing any factual basis therefor; he
effectively maligned Atty. Catolico, who is now dead
CANON 10 A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS and unable to defend himself.
Unauthorized appearances
Rule 10.01 A lawyer shall not do any falsehood,
nor consent to the doing of any in Court, nor We support Investigating Commissioner Cunanans
shall he mislead or allow the Court to be mislead finding that the respondent twice represented parties
by an artifice. without proper authorization: first, in the petition for
annulment of judgment; and second, in the second
Likewise, the respondent violated his duty as an petition for annulment of title.
attorney and his oath as a lawyer "never to mislead the
judge or any judicial officer by an artifice or false In the first instance, the records show that the
statement of fact or law." The respondent failed to respondent filed the petition for annulment of
remember that his duty as an officer of the court judgment on behalf of 49 individuals, 31 of whom gave
makes him an indispensable participant in the their consent while the other 15 individuals did not. We
administration of justice, and that he is expected to act cannot agree with the respondents off-hand
candidly, fairly and truthfully in his work. His duty as a explanation that he truly believed that a majority of the
lawyer obligates him not to conceal the truth from the litigants who signed the certification of non-forum
court, or to mislead the court in any manner, no matter shopping in the petition already gave him the
how demanding his duties to his clients may be. In necessary authority to sign for the others. We find it
case of conflict, his duties to his client yield to his duty highly improbable that this kind of lapse could have
to deal candidly with the court. been committed by a seasoned lawyer like the

respondent, who has been engaged in the practice of achieve his objective of avoiding the execution of the
law for more than 30 years and who received rigid and unlawful detainer judgment against his clients.
strict training as he so proudly declares, from the
University of the Philippines College of Law and in the On the respondents allegations regarding his
two law firms with which he was previously discretion to determine legal strategy, it is not amiss to
associated.39 As Investigating Commissioner Cunanan note that this was the same defense he raised in the
found, the respondents explanation of compliance with first disbarment case.
the rule on the certification of non-forum shopping
glossed over the real charge of appearing in court We cannot give credence to the respondents claim
without the proper authorization of the parties he that the disbarment case was filed because the counsel
allegedly represented. of the complainant, Atty. Uy, had an axe to grind
against him. We reject this argument, considering that
In the second instance, which occurred in the second it was not Atty. Uy who filed the present disbarment
complaint for annulment of title, the respondent knew case against him; Atty. Uy is only the counsel in this
that only the Solicitor General can legally represent the case. In fact, Atty. Uy has filed his own separate
Republic of the Philippines in actions for reversion of disbarment case against the respondent.
land. Nevertheless, he filed an amended petition where
he impleaded the Republic of the Philippines as plaintiff The sui generis nature of a disbarment case renders
without its authority and consent, as a surreptitious the underlying motives of the complainants
way of forcing the Republic to litigate. Notably, he unimportant and with very little relevance. The
signed the amended complaint on behalf of all the purpose of a disbarment proceeding is mainly to
plaintiffs his clients and the Republic. determine the fitness of a lawyer to continue acting as
an officer of the court and a participant in the
In both instances, the respondent violated Sections dispensation of justice an issue where the
21 and 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court when complainants personal motives have little relevance.
he undertook the unauthorized appearances. The
settled rule is that a lawyer may not represent a Disbarment proceedings may be initiated by the Court
litigant without authority from the latter or from motu proprio. Public interest is its primary objective,
the latters representative or, in the absence and the real question for determination is whether or
thereof, without leave of court not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the
privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of its
The Respondents Defenses disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a
member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an
We find no merit in the respondents defenses. officer of-the Court with the end in view of preserving
the purity of the legal profession and the proper and
"Good faith connotes an honest intention to abstain honest administration of justice by purging the
from taking unconscientious advantage of another. profession of members who by their misconduct have
Accordingly, in University of the East v. Jader we said proved themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted
that "[g]ood faith connotes an honest intention with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the
to abstain from taking undue advantage of office of an attorney. In such posture, there can thus be
another, even though the forms and no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor.
technicalities of law, together with the absence
of all information or belief of facts, would render Hence, we give little or no weight to the alleged
the transaction unconscientious." Bad faith, on personal motivation that drove the complainant Que
the other hand, is a state of mind affirmatively and his counsel to file the present disbarment case.
operating with furtive design or with some
motive of self-interest, ill will or for an ulterior Conclusion
purpose. As both concepts are states of mind, they
may be deduced from the attendant circumstances Based on the foregoing, we conclude that the
and, more particularly, from the acts and statements of respondent committed various acts of professional
the person whose state of mind is the subject of misconduct and thereby failed to live up to the
inquiry. exacting ethical standards imposed on members of the
In this case, we find that the respondent acted in
bad faith in defending the interests of his Additionally, disbarment is merited because this is not
clients. We draw this conclusion from the the respondents first ethical infraction of the same
misrepresentations and the dubious recourses he nature. We penalized him in Plus Builders, Inc. and
made, all obviously geared towards forestalling the Edgardo Garcia versus Atty. Anastacio E. Revilla for his
execution of the final judgments of the MeTC and RTC. willful and intentional falsehood before the court; for
That he took advantage of his legal knowledge and misuse of court procedures and processes to delay the
experience and misread the Rules immeasurably execution of a judgment; and for collaborating with
strengthen the presence of bad faith. non-lawyers in the illegal practice of law. We showed
leniency then by reducing his penalty to suspension for
We find neither sincerity nor honest belief on the part six (6) months. We cannot similarly treat the
of the respondent in pleading the soundness and merit respondent this time; it is clear that he did not learn
of the cases that he filed in court to prevent the any lesson from his past experience and since then has
execution of the MeTC and RTC decisions, considering exhibited traits of incorrigibility.
his own conduct of presenting conflicting theories in his
petitions. The succession of cases he filed shows a WHEREFORE, Atty. Anastacio Revilla, Jr. is found
desperation that negates the sincere and honest belief liable for professional misconduct for violations
he claims; these are simply scattershot means to of the Lawyers Oath; Canon 8; Rules 10.01 and
10.03, Canon 10; Rules 12.02 and 12.04, Canon

12; Rule 19.01, Canon 19 of the Code of He (Castelo) prepared the initial pleadings based on his
Professional Responsibility; and Sections 20(d), honest belief that spouses Hio and Chu were then still living.
He (Castelo) had no intention to commit either a falsehood
21 and 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.
or a falsification, for he in fact submitted the death
However, we modify the penalty the IBP certificates of spouses Hio and Chu in order to apprise the
imposed, and hold that the respondent should be trial court of that fact.
DISBARRED from the practice of law. The Office of the Prosecutor for Malabon City even
dismissed the criminal complaint for falsification brought
SO ORDERED. against him (Castelo). The same office denied De Leons
motion for reconsideration.

JESSIE R. DE LEON, Complainant, vs. De Leon submitted a reply, whereby he asserted that Castelos
claim in his comment that he had represented the Lim family was a
ATTY. EDUARDO G. CASTELO, Respondent. deception, because the subject of the complaint against Castelo was
his filing of the answers in behalf of spouses Hio and Chu despite their
Facts: being already deceased at the time of the filing. De Leon regarded as
baseless the justifications of the Office of the City Prosecutor for
This administrative case, which Jessie De Leon (De Leon) Malabon City in dismissing the criminal complaint against Castelo and
initiated, concerns Castelos alleged dishonesty and falsification in denying his motion for reconsideration.
committed in the pleadings he filed in behalf of the defendants in the
civil action in which De Leon intervened. Issue:

The Government brought suit (Civil Case No. 4674MN) for Whether or not Castelo is guilty of dishonesty and falsification in Civil
the purpose of correcting the transfer certificates of title (TCTs) Case No. 4674MN.
covering two parcels of land located in Malabon City then registered in
the names of defendant spouses Lim Hio (Hio) and Dolores Chu (Chu) SC usually first refers administrative complaints against members of
due to their encroaching on a public callejon and on a portion of the the Philippine Bar to (IBP) for investigation and appropriate
Malabon-Navotas River shoreline. recommendations. For the present case, however, SC foregone the
prior referral of the complaint to the IBP, in view of the facts being
De Leon, having joined the case (Civil Case No. 4674MN), uncomplicated and based on the pleadings in Civil Case No. 4674MN.
as a voluntary intervenor two years later, now accuses Castelo
(counsel of defendant spouses Hio and Chu in Civil Case No. Ruling:
4674MN), the serious administrative offenses of dishonesty and
falsification warranting his disbarment or suspension as an attorney. No. SC found that Castelo did not commit any falsehood or
Castelos sin was allegedly committed by his filing for defendant falsification in his pleadings in Civil Case No. 4674MN.
spouses Hio and Chu of various pleadings (answer with counterclaim
and cross-claim in relation to the main complaint; and answer to the All attorneys in the Philippines, including Castelo, have
complaint in intervention with counterclaim and cross-claim) despite sworn to the vows embodied in the following Lawyers Oath,
said spouses being already deceased at the time of filing.
I, ___________________, do solemnly swear that I will maintain
De Leon: allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines; I will support its
Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly
Castelo made it to appear that spouses Hio and Chu have constituted authorities therein; I will do no falsehood, nor consent to
participated in an act or proceeding (making and filing of the the doing of any in court; I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue
Answers) when they did not in fact so participate. They could any groundless, false or unlawful suit, nor give aid nor consent to the
not have so participated because they were already dead as same. I will delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct myself
of that time, which is punishable under Article 172, in relation as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and discretion with
to Article 171, paragraph 2, of RPC. all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients; and I impose
Castelo committed the crime of Use of Falsified Documents,
upon myself this voluntary obligation without any mental reservation or
by submitting the said falsified Answers in Civil Case No.
purpose of evasion. So help me God.
Made a mockery of the aforesaid judicial proceedings by
The Code of Professional Responsibility echoes the Lawyers Oath,
representing dead persons therein who, he falsely made to
appear, as contesting the complaints, counter-suing and providing:
cross-suing the adverse parties.
That, as a consequence of the above criminal acts, Castelo CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION,
violated the Lawyers Oath and the Code of Professional OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR

Castelo: Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral
or deceitful conduct.
The persons who had engaged him as attorney to represent
the Lim family in Civil Case No. 4674MN were William and CANON 10 - A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD
Leonardo Lim, the children of spouses Hio and Chu. FAITH TO THE COURT.
Upon his initial queries, William Lim stated:
a. That the Lim family had acquired the properties from Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the
Georgina Flores. doing of any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be
b. That William and Leonardo Lim were already actively
misled by any artifice.
managing the family business, and now co-owned the
properties by virtue of the deed of absolute sale their
The foregoing ordain ethical norms that bind all attorneys, as
parents, spouses Hio and Chu, had executed in their favor.
c. That because of the execution of the deed of absolute officers of the Court, to act with the highest standards of honesty,
sale, William and Leonardo Lim had since honestly assumed integrity, and trustworthiness. All attorneys are thereby enjoined to
that their parents had already caused the transfer of the obey the laws of the land, to refrain from doing any falsehood in or out
TCTs to their names. of court or from consenting to the doing of any in court and to conduct
Considering that William and Leonardo Lim themselves themselves according to the best of their knowledge and discretion
were the ones who had engaged his services, he (Castelo) with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to their clients. The least
consequently truthfully stated in the motion seeking an they can do in that regard is to refrain from engaging in any form or
extension to file responsive pleading dated February 3, manner of unlawful conduct (which broadly includes any act or
2006 the fact that it was "the family of the defendants" that omission contrary to law).
had engaged him, and that he had then advised "the
children of the defendants" to seek the assistance as well of A lawyer must be a disciple of truth. He swore upon his
a licensed geodetic surveyor and engineer.
admission to the Bar that he will "do no falsehood nor consent to the
doing of any in court" and he shall "conduct himself as a lawyer

according to the best of his knowledge and discretion with all good motion for reconsideration, however, was ordered withdrawn by the
fidelity as well to the courts as to his clients." He should bear in mind trial court upon verbal motion of Atty. Almacen himself, who had
that as an officer of the court his high vocation is to correctly inform the already perfected the appeal.
court upon the law and the facts of the case and to aid it in doing
justice and arriving at correct conclusion. Because the plaintiff interposed no objection to the record on
appeal and appeal bond, the trial court elevated the case to the Court
Their being officers of the Court extends to attorneys not of Appeals. However, the court dismissed the appeal reasoning that
only the presumption of regularity in the discharge of their duties, but the first motion for reconsideration filed by Atty. Almacen does not
also the immunity from liability to others for as long as the performance contain a notice of time and place of hearing and is therefore, a
of their obligations to their clients does not depart from their character useless piece of paper (Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu
as servants of the Law and as officers of the Court. In particular, the Construction & Co.) which did not interrupt the running of the period to
statements they make in behalf of their clients that are relevant, appeal and consequently was perfected out of time.
pertinent, or material to the subject of inquiry are absolutely privileged
regardless of their defamatory tenor. Such cloak of privilege is Atty. Almacen moved to reconsider this resolution, urging
necessary and essential in ensuring the unhindered service to their that the cited jurisprudence is not decisive and filed a pleading entitled
clients causes and in protecting the clients confidences. With the "Latest decision of the Supreme Court in Support of Motion for
cloak of privilege, they can freely and courageously speak for their Reconsideration," citing Republic of the Philippines vs. Gregorio A.
clients, verbally or in writing, in the course of judicial and quasi-judicial Venturanza as the applicable case. CA denied the motion contending
proceedings, without running the risk of incurring criminal prosecution that there is no substantial distinction between this case and that of
or actions for damages Manila Surety & Fidelity Co.

Castelo did not violate the Lawyers Oath and the Code of Atty. Almacen then appealed to this Court by certiorari. We
Professional Responsibility. He did not misrepresent that spouses Hio refused to take the case, and by minute resolution denied the appeal.
and Chu were still living. On the contrary, he stated in the answer to Denied shortly thereafter was his motion for reconsideration as well as
the complaint in intervention with counterclaim and cross-claim, and in his petition for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration and for
the clarification and submission, that the spouses Hio and Chu were extension of time. It was at this juncture that Atty. Almacen expressed
already deceased. He was acting in the interest of the actual owners of his disappointment by filing his "Petition to Surrender Lawyer's
the properties when he filed the answer with counterclaim and cross- Certificate of Title," as he claimed that it is useless to continue
claim. As such, his pleadings were privileged and would not occasion practicing his profession when members of the high court are men who
any action against him as an attorney. Secondly, having made clear at are calloused to pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons their own
the start that the spouses Hio and Chu were no longer the actual applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution
owners of the affected properties due to the transfer of ownership even with impunity. He further alleged that due to the minute resolution, his
prior to the institution of the action, and that the actual owners (i.e., client was made to pay P120k without knowing the reasons why and
Leonardo and William Lim) needed to be substituted in lieu of said that he became one of the sacrificial victims before the altar of
spouses, whether the spouses Hio and Chu were still living or already hypocrisy.
deceased as of the filing of the pleadings became immaterial. And,
lastly, De Leon could not disclaim knowledge that the spouses Hio and His petition adverted to a pleading that is interspersed from
Chu were no longer living. De Leons joining in the action as a beginning to end with the insolent contemptuous, grossly disrespectful
voluntary intervenor charged him with notice of all the other persons and derogatory remarks hereinbefore reproduced, against this Court
interested in the litigation. He also had an actual awareness of such as well as its individual members, a behavior that is as unprecedented
other persons, as his own complaint in intervention, bear out in its as it is unprofessional. Nonetheless, the court withholds action on his
specific allegations against Leonardo Lim and William Lim, and their petition until he shall have actually surrendered his certificate.
respective spouses. Thus, he could not validly insist that the
respondent committed any dishonesty or falsification in relation to him The court then required Atty. Almacen to show cause as to
or to any other party. why no disciplinary action should be taken against him. He asked for
permission "to give reasons and cause why no disciplinary action
Good faith must always motivate any complaint against a should be taken against him in an open and public hearing and the
Member of the Bar. "xxx the fair fame of a lawyer, however innocent of court required him to state within 5days from notice his reasons for
wrong, is at the mercy of the tongue of ignorance or malice. A lawyers such request, otherwise, oral argument shall be deemed waived and
reputation is, indeed, a very fragile object. The Court must shield such incident submitted for decision.
fragility from mindless assault by the unscrupulous and the malicious.
It can do so, firstly, by quickly cutting down any patently frivolous To this resolution he manifested that since this Court is "the
complaint against a lawyer; and, secondly, by demanding good faith complainant, prosecutor and Judge," he preferred to be heard and to
from whoever brings any accusation of unethical conduct. answer questions "in person and in an open and public hearing" so
that this Court could observe his sincerity and candor. He also asked
De Leon initiated his complaint possibly for the sake of for leave to file a written explanation "in the event this Court has no
harassing Castelo, either to vex him for taking the cudgels for his time to hear him in person." His written answer, as undignified and
clients in connection with Civil Case No. 4674MN, or to get even for an cynical as it is unchastened, offers -no apology, with abundant sarcasm
imagined wrong in relation to the subject matter of the pending action, and innuendo, reaffirming his statements with the truth , compatible
or to accomplish some other dark purpose. with his lawyer's oath that he will do no falsehood, nor consent to the
doing of any in court. But he vigorously DENY under oath that the
SC dismissed the complaint for disbarment or suspension filed against underscored statements contained in the CHARGE are insolent,
Castelo for utter lack of merit. contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and derogatory to the individual
members of the Court; that they tend to bring the entire Court, without
IN RE: ALMACEN justification, into disrepute; and constitute conduct unbecoming of a
member of the noble profession of law.
G.R. No. L-27654; Feb. 18, 1970
Atty. Almacen (respondent) stands that his statement is
FACTS: borne by TRUTH and has been asserted with NO MALICE BEFORE
AND AFTER THOUGHT but mainly motivated with the highest interest
The genesis of this unfortunate incident was a civil case of justice that in the particular case of our client, the members have
entitled Virginia Y. Yaptinchay vs. Antonio H. Calero in which Atty. shown callousness to our various pleas for JUSTICE. He contended
Almacen was counsel for the defendant. The trial court, after due that what he attacks was the decision of the court and not the
hearing, rendered judgment against his client. 20 days after the receipt members itself because he was provoked and compelled by force and
of the copy of the decision, he filed a motion for reconsideration with necessity to act; that although he was angry, he waited for the finality
which, he served on the adverse counsel a copy but did not notify the of the decision and yet the court ruled against his client, thereby
latter of the time and place of hearing. To prove that he did serve on sensing that the court did not perform its duties with circumspection,
the adverse party a copy of his first motion for reconsideration, Atty. carefulness, confidence and wisdom. In the same breath, he alludes to
Almacen filed on August 17, 1966 a second motion for reconsideration the classic symbol of justice; he ridicules the members of this Court,
to which he attached the required registry return card. This second saying "that justice as administered by the present members of the
Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb."

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Almacen should be disciplined for his engender favoritism or prejudice for or against a particular cause or
acts of condemning and attacking the court and its members. party." Implicit in this at least is that the Chief Justice and Justice
Castro are insensible to delicadeza, which could make their actuation
HELD: suspect. He makes it plain in the motion that the Chief Justice and
Justice Castro not only were not free from the appearance of
Yes. The Supreme Court first clarified that minute resolutions are impropriety but did arouse suspicion that their relationship did affect
needed because the Supreme Court cannot accept every case or write their judgment. He points out that courts must be above suspicion at all
full opinion for every petition they reject otherwise the High Court times like Caesar's wife, warns that loss of confidence for the Tribunal
would be unable to effectively carry out its constitutional duties. The or a member thereof should not be allowed to happen in our country,
proper role of the Supreme Court is to decide only those cases which "although the process has already begun." It is true that Santiago
present questions whose resolutions will have immediate importance voluntarily deleted paragraph 6 which contained language that is as
beyond the particular facts and parties involved. It should be disrespectful. But we cannot erase the fact that it has been made. He
remembered that a petition to review the decision of the Court of explained that, he deleted this paragraph in his rough draft, which
Appeals is not a matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion; and so paragraph was included in the motion filed in this Court only because
there is no need to fully explain the courts denial. For one thing, the of mere inadvertence. This explanation does not make much of a
facts and the law are already mentioned in the Court of Appeals distinguishing difference; it erects no shield. Not only because it was
opinion. belatedly made but also because his signature appeared on the motion
to inhibit which included paragraph 6. And this paragraph 6 describes
On Almacens attack against the Supreme Court, the High with derision "many of our judicial authorities" who "believe that they
Court regarded said criticisms as uncalled for; that such is insolent, are the chosen messengers of God in all matters that come before
contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and derogatory. It is true that a them, and that no matter what the circumstances are, their judgment is
lawyer, both as an officer of the court and as a citizen, has the right to truly ordained by the Almighty unto eternity." It depicts them as
criticize in properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels seemingly "incapable of considering that any emanation from their
the acts of courts and judges. His right as a citizen to criticize the mind or pen could be the product of unjudicial prejudice or unjudicial
decisions of the courts in a fair and respectful manner, and the sympathy or favoritism for a party or an issue." After citing acts of two
independence of the bar, as well as of the judiciary, has always been judges of first instance, he paused to ask: "What is the explanation for
encouraged by the courts. But it is the cardinal condition of all such such mentality? Is it outright dishonesty? Lack of intelligence? Serious
criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of deficiency in moral comprehension? Or is it that many of our
decency and propriety. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross government officials are just amoral?"
violation of the duty of respect to courts.

Paragraph 7 also of the motion to inhibit repeated mention of

In the case at bar, Almacens criticism is misplaced. As a "unjudicial prejudice" against respondent MacArthur and spoke of
veteran lawyer, he should have known that a motion for "unjudicial favoritism" for petitioners, their appointing authority and a
reconsideration which failed to notify the opposing party of the time favored party directly benefited by the decision. Paragraph 8 is a
and place of trial is a mere scrap of paper and will not be entertained lecture on judicial ethics. Paragraph 9 is a warning to this Court about
by the court. He has only himself to blame and he is the reason why loss of confidence, and paragraph 10 makes a sweeping statement
his client lost. Almacen was SUSPENDED. that "any other justices who have received favors or benefits directly or
indirectly from any of the petitioners or members of any board-
SURIGAO MINERAL RESERVATION BOARD, ET AL. petitioner, or their agents or principals, including the President", should
also inhibit themselves.
In the case of Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto. We analyze the
HON. GAUDENCIO CLORIBEL ETC., ET AL statements pointed out to us by the Solicitor General hereinbefore
quoted. Sotto accuses petitioners of having made "false, ridiculous and
FACTS: wild statements in a desperate attempt to prejudice the courts against
MacArthur." He brands such efforts as "scattershot desperation". He
After the July 31, 1968 decision of this Court adverse to describes a proposition of petitioners as "corrupt on its face", laying
respondent MacArthur International Minerals Co., the Solicitor General bare "the immoral and arrogant attitude of the petitioners." He charges
brought to our attention statements of record purportedly made by petitioners with opportunistically changing their claims and stories not
Vicente L. Santiago, Erlito R. Uy, Graciano Regala, and Jose Beltran only from case to case but from pleading to pleading in the same case.
Sotto, members of the Bar, with the suggestion that disciplinary action Such language is not arguably protected; it is the surfacing of a feeling
be taken against them. On November 21, 1968, this Court issued a of contempt towards a litigant; it offends the court before which it is
show-cause order. made. It is no excuse to say that these statements were taken out of
context. We have analyzed the lines surrounding said statements.
In the case of Atty. Vicente L. Santiago. In his third motion for They do not in any manner justify the inclusion of offensive language in
reconsideration, we, indeed, find language that is not to be expected of the pleadings. It has been said that "[a] lawyer's language should be
an officer of the courts. He pictures petitioners as "vulturous dignified in keeping with the dignity of the legal profession."9 It is
executives". He speaks of this Court as a "civilized, democratic Sotto's duty as a member of the Bar "[t]o abstain from all offensive
tribunal", but by innuendo would suggest that it is not. personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or
reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the
In his motion to inhibit, his first paragraph categorizes our cause with which he is charged."
decision of July 31, 1968 as "false, erroneous and illegal" in a
presumptuous manner. He there charges that the ex parte preliminary Atty. Graciano C. Regala. In his explanation of December 2,
injunction we issued in this case prejudiced and predetermined the 1968, as further clarified by a supplemental motion of December 27,
case even before the joining of an issue. He accuses in a reckless 1968, he manifested that the use of or reference to his law firm in this
manner two justices of this Court for being interested in the decision of case was neither authorized nor consented to by him or any of his
this case: Associate Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, because his brother is associates; that on July 14, 1967, one Morton F. Meads, in MacArthur's
the vice president of the favored party who is the chief beneficiary of behalf, offered to retain his services, which was accepted; that Meads
the decision, and Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, whose son was inquired from him whether he could appear in this case; that he
appointed secretary of the newly-created Board of Investments, "a advised Meads that this case was outside his professional competence
significant appointment in the Philippine Government by the President, and referred Meads to another lawyer who later on likewise turned
a short time before the decision of July 31, 1968 was rendered." In this down the offer; that in view of the rejection, Meads and he agreed to
backdrop, he proceeds to state that "it would seem that the principles terminate their previous retainer agreement; that he had not
thus established [the moral and ethical guidelines for inhibition of any participated in any manner in the preparation or authorship of any
judicial authority by the Honorable Supreme Court should first apply to pleading or any other document in connection with this case.
itself." He puts forth the claim that lesser and further removed
conditions have been known to create favoritism, only to conclude that On February 4, 1969, Atty. Erlito R. Uy explained his side of
there is no reason for a belief that the conditions obtaining in the case the case. In brief, he denied participation in any of the court papers
of the Chief Justice and Justice Castro "would be less likely to

subject of our November 21, 1968 order; claimed that he was on six On August 15, 1969, Morton Meads answered. Meads'
months' leave of absence from July 1, 1968 to December 31, 1968 as version is as follows: On July 14, 1969, he went to Atty. Santiago's
one of the attorneys for MacArthur but that he gave his permission to office with the fourth motion for reconsideration which he himself
have his name included as counsel in all of MacArthur's pleadings in prepared. Santiago started to read the motion and in fact began to
this case (L-27072), even while he was on leave of absence. make some changes in Pencil in the first or second paragraph when
Meads told him that MacArthur wanted a new lawyer, not Santiago, to
A second contempt proceeding arose when, on July 14, file the same. Meads asked Santiago if he could recommend one.
1969, respondent MacArthur, through new counsel, Atty. Juanito M. They then went to Caling whose office was on the same floor. Santiago
Caling who entered a special appearance for the purpose, lodged a introduced Meads to Caling at the same time handing the fourth motion
fourth motion for reconsideration without express leave of court. Said to Caling. While Caling was reading the document, Santiago left. After
motion reiterated previous grounds raised, and contained the following reading the motion, Caling gave his go-signal. He signed the same
paragraphs: after his name was typed therein. The motion was then filed. According
to Meads, from the time he entered the office of Santiago to the time
4. The said decision is illegal because it was penned the motion was filed, the period that elapsed was approximately one
by the Honorable Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion when in fact he hour and a half. Santiago was with Caling for about three minutes and
was outside the borders of the Republic of the Philippines at the time Meads was with Caling for about fifteen minutes.
of the Oral Argument of the above-entitled case which condition is
prohibited by the New Rules of Court Section 1, Rule 51, and we In defending himself from the contempt charge, Meads
quote: "Justices; who may take part. ... . only those members asserts that the quotation from the Rules of Court set forth in the fourth
present when any matter is submitted for oral argument will take part motion for reconsideration has not been taken out of context because
in its consideration and adjudication ..." This requirement is especially said quotation is precisely accurate; that the "xs" indicate that it is not a
significant in the present instance because the member who penned complete quotation and that it is a common practice in court pleadings
the decision was the very member who was absent for approximately to submit partial quotations. Meads further contends that the
four months or more. This provision also applies to the Honorable announced plan to bring the case to the World Court is not a threat. In
Justices Claudio Teehankee and Antonio Barredo. fact, his answer also included a notice of appeal to the World Court.

6. That if the respondent MacArthur International

Minerals Company abandons its quest for justice in the Judiciary of the
Philippine Government, it will inevitably either raise the graft and On August 27, 1969, this Court heard Attys. Vicente L.
corruption of Philippine Government officials in the bidding of May 12, Santiago and Juanito Caling and Morton Meads in oral argument with
1965, required by the Nickel Law to determine the operator of the respect to the second contempt incident. We shall now discuss the first
Surigao nickel deposits, to the World Court on grounds of deprivation and second contempt incidents seriatim.
of justice and confiscation of property and /or to the United States
Government, either its executive or judicial branches or both, on the Issue:
grounds of confiscation of respondent's proprietary vested rights by the
Philippine Government without either compensation or due process of 1 Whether or not Atty. Santiago and Atty. Sotto is guilty of
law and invoking the Hickenlooper Amendment requiring the cutting contempt
off of all aid and benefits to the Philippine Government, including the
sugar price premium, amounting to more than fifty million dollars 2 Whether or not Atty. Regala and Atty. Uy should be
annually, until restitution or compensation is made. exempted for contempt

This elicited another resolution from this Court on July 18, 3 Whether or not the fourth motion for reconsideration an act
1969, requiring Atty. Juanito M. Caling "to show cause within five (5) of contumacy
days from receipt of notice hereof why he should not be dealt with for
contempt of court." Ruling: Atty. Vicente L. Santiago

On July 30, 1969, Atty. Juanita M. Caling filed his return. He Atty. Santiago's accusations have no basis in fact and in law.
there alleged that the said fourth motion for reconsideration was The slur made is not limited to the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice
already finalized when Atty. Vicente L. Santiago came to his office and Castro. It sweepingly casts aspersion on the whole court. For, inhibition
requested him to accommodate MacArthur by signing the motion; that is also asked of, we repeat, "any other justices who have received
he turned down said request twice on the ground that he did not know favors or benefits directly or indirectly from any of the petitioners or any
anything about the case, much less the truth of the allegations stated members of any board-petitioner or their agents or principals, including
in the motion; that "the allegations in said motion were subsequently the president." The absurdity of this posture is at once apparent. For
explained to the undersigned counsel together with the background of one thing, the justices of this Court are appointed by the President and
the case involved by Atty. Vicente L. Santiago and by one Morton F. in that sense may be considered to have each received a favor from
Meads"; that upon assurance that there was nothing wrong with the the President. Should these justices inhibit themselves every time a
motion he was persuaded in good faith to sign the same; that he was case involving the Administration crops up? Such a thought may not
misled in so signing and the true facts of the allegations were not certainly be entertained. The consequence thereof would be to
revealed to him especially the oral argument allegedly made in the paralyze the machinery of this Court. We would in fact, be wreaking
case. havoc on the tripartite system of government operating in this country.
Counsel is presumed to know this. But why the unfounded charge?
Because of the foregoing explanation by Atty. Caling, this There is the not-too-well concealed effort on the part of a losing
Court, on August 4, 1969, resolved "to require Atty. Vicente L. Santiago litigant's attorney to downgrade this Court.
and Morton Meads to file in writing their answer to the said return [of
Atty. Caling] and at the same time to show cause why they, Atty. The mischief that stems from all of the foregoing gross
Vicente L. Santiago and Morton Meads, should not be dealt with for disrespect is easy to discern. Such disrespect detracts much from the
contempt of court, on or before August 16, 1969; and ... to direct that dignity of a court of justice. Decidedly not an expression of faith,
the three, Atty. Juanita M. Caling, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, and Morton counsel's words are intended to create an atmosphere of distrust, of
Meads, personally appear Before this Court on Thursday, August 27, disbelief. We are thus called upon to repeat what we have said in
1969, at 9:30 a.m., on which date the contempt proceedings against all Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer (1967), 20 SCRA 441, 444, as
of them will be heard by this Court." follows: "By now, a lawyer's duties to the Court have become common
place. Really, there could hardly be any valid excuse for lapses in the
On August 13, 1969, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago gave his observance thereof. Section 20(b), Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, in
explanation. He disavowed the truth of Atty. Caling's statement that he categorical terms, spells out one such duty: 'To observe and maintain
(Santiago) convinced Caling to sign the motion. The truth, according to the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers.' As explicit
Santiago, is that one day Morton Meads went to his office and asked is the first canon of legal ethics which pronounces that '[i]t is the duty of
him if he knew of a lawyer nearby who could help him file another the lawyer to maintain towards the Courts a respectful attitude, not for
motion for reconsideration, and he (Santiago) mentioned Atty. Caling; the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the
he there upon accompanied Meads to Caling, told Caling of Meads' maintenance of its supreme importance.' That same canon, as a
desire and left Meads with Caling. Santiago insists that he never corollary, makes it peculiarly incumbent upon lawyers to support the
prepared the motion and that he never even read it. courts against 'unjust criticism and clamor.' And more. The attorney's

oath solemnly binds him to a conduct that should be 'with all good without the latter's knowledge and consent. Correctly did Regala insist
fidelity ... to the courts.' Worth remembering is that the duty of an and this is confirmed by the other lawyers of respondents that he
attorney to the courts can only be maintained by rendering no service had not participated in any way in the pleadings of the above-entitled
involving any disrespect to the judicial office which he is bound to case. Regala did not even know that his name was included as co-
uphold.' " counsel in this case. He is exonerated. With respect to the first
contempt incident is the case of Atty. Erlito R. Uy. Borne out by the
A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, "like the court itself, record is the fact that Atty. Uy was not also involved in the preparation
an instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice."1 His duty is to of any of the pleadings subject of the contempt citation. He should be
uphold the dignity and authority of the courts to which he owes fidelity, held exempt from contempt.
"not to promote distrust in the administration of justice."2 Faith in the
courts a lawyer should seek to preserve. For, to undermine the judicial 3. First. It was filed without express leave of court. No
edifice "is disastrous to the continuity of government and to the explanation has been made why this has been done.
attainment of the liberties of the people."3 Thus has it been said of a
lawyer that "[a]s an officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to Second. It lifted Section 1. Rule 51, Rules of Court, out of
help build and not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and regard context. Said Section 1 was quoted as follows: "Justices; who may
towards the courts so essential to the proper administration of take part. ... only those members present when any matter is
justice."4 submitted for oral argument will take part in its consideration and
adjudication ..." However, the provision in its entire thought should be
It ill behooves Santiago to justify his language with the read thus
statement that it was necessary for the defense of his client. A client's
cause does not permit an attorney to cross the line between liberty and SECTION 1. Justices; who may take part. All
license. Lawyers must always keep in perspective the thought that matters submitted to the court for its consideration and adjudication will
"[s]ince lawyers are administrators of justice, oath-bound servants of be deemed to be submitted for consideration and adjudication by any
society, their first duty is not to their clients, as many suppose, but to and all of the Justices who are members of the division of the court at
the administration of justice; to this, their clients' success is wholly the time when such matters are taken up for consideration and
subordinate; and their conduct ought to and must be scrupulously adjudication, whether such Justices were or were not present at the
observant of law and ethics."5 As rightly observed by Mr. Justice date of submission; however, only those members present when any
Malcolm in his well-known treatise, a judge from the very nature of his matter is submitted for oral argument will take part in its consideration
position, lacks the power to defend himself and it is the attorney, and and adjudication, if the parties or either of them, express a desire to
no other, who can better or more appropriately support the judiciary that effect in writing filed with the clerk at the date of
and the incumbent of the judicial position.6 From this, Mr. Justice
Malcolm continued to say: "It will of course be a trying ordeal for submission. 12
attorneys under certain conditions to maintain respectful obedience to
the court. It may happen that counsel possesses greater knowledge of Atty. Caling, who was admitted to the Bar in 1966, did not
the law than the justice of the peace or judge who presides over the attempt to explain this point.
court. It may also happen that since no court claims infallibility, judges
may grossly err in their decisions. Nevertheless, discipline and self- Meads, however, for his part tried to reason out why such a
restraint on the part of the bar even under adverse conditions are distorted quotation came about the portion left out was anyway
necessary for the orderly administration of justice."7 marked by "XS" which is a common practice among lawyers. Canon 22
of the Canons of Legal Ethics reminds the lawyer to characterize his
The precepts, the teachings, the injunctions just recited are conduct with candor and fairness, and specifically states that "it is not
not unfamiliar to lawyers. And yet, this Court finds in the language of candid nor fair for the lawyer knowingly to misquote." While Morton
Atty. Santiago a style that undermines and degrades the administration Meads is admittedly not a lawyer, it does not take a lawyer to see the
of justice. The stricture in Section 3 (d) of Rule 71 of the Rules deliberate deception that is being foisted upon this Court. There was a
against improper conduct tending to degrade the administration of qualification to the rule quoted and that qualification was intentionally
justice8 is thus transgressed. Atty. Santiago is guilty of contempt of omitted.
Third. The motion contained an express threat to take the
Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto case to the World Court and/or the United States government. It must
be remembered that respondent MacArthur at that time was still trying
In the case of Atty. Sotto is People vs. Young, 83 Phil. 702, to overturn the decision of this Court of July 31, 1968. In doing so,
708, where counsel for the accused convicted of murder made use of unnecessary statements were injected. More specifically, the motion
the following raw language in his brief : "The accused since birth was a announced that MacArthur "will inevitably ... raise the graft and
poor man and a son of a poor farmer, that since his boyhood he has corruption of [the] Philippine government officials in the bidding of May
never owned a thousand pesos in his own name. Now, here comes a 12, 1965 ... to the World Court" and would invoke "the Hickenlooper
chance for him. A cold fifty thousand bucks in exchange of a man's life. Amendment requiring the cutting off of all aid and benefits to the
A simple job. Perhaps a question of seconds' work and that would Philippine Government, including the sugar price premium, amounting
transform him into a new man. Once in a small nipa shack, now in a to more than fifty million dollars annually ... ."
palatial mansion! This poor ignorant man blinded by the promise of
wealth, protection and stability was given to do the forbidden deed." This is a clear attempt to influence or bend the mind of this
We there held that "[s]uch a plea is a disgrace to the bar and an affront Court to decide the case in its favor. A notice of appeal to the World
to the court." Court has even been embodied in Meads' return. There is a gross
inconsistency between the appeal and the move to reconsider the
It will not avail Sotto any to say that the Solicitor General or decision. An appeal from a decision presupposes that a party has
his assistants may not be considered offended parties in this case. already abandoned any move to reconsider that decision. And yet, it
This Court may motu proprio start proceedings of this nature. There would appear that the appeal to the World Court is being dangled as a
should be no doubt about the power of this Court to punish him for threat to effect a change of the decision of this Court. Such act has no
contempt under the circumstances. For, inherent in courts is the power aboveboard explanation.
"[t]o control, in furtherance of justice, the conduct of its ministerial
officers, and of all other persons in any manner connected with a case Atty. Caling has not shown to the satisfaction of this Court
before it, in every manner appertaining thereto." 11 that he should be exempted from the contempt charge against him. He
knows that he is an officer of this Court. He admits that he has read the
We, accordingly, hold that Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto has fourth motion for reconsideration before he signed it. While he has
misbehaved, under Section 3 (a), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, as an been dragged in only at the last minute, still it was plainly his duty to
officer of the court in the performance of his official duties; and that he have taken care that his name should not be attached to pleadings
too has committed, under Section 3 (d) of the same rule, improper contemptuous in character.
conduct tending to degrade the administration of justice. He is,
therefore, guilty of contempt. As for Morton F. Meads, he had admitted having prepared
the fourth motion for reconsideration. He cannot beg off from the
2. In the case of Atty. Graciano C. Regala. It was improper contempt charge against him even though he is not a lawyer. He is
for Atty. Santiago to have included the name of the firm of Atty. Regala guilty of contempt.

Atty. Vicente L. Santiago insistence that he had nothing to do the Commissioners concerned is what is lacking, not the evidence.
with the fourth motion for reconsideration and that he had not even Unfair labor practice stares them in the face.
read the same is too transparent to survive fair appraisal. It goes
If labor arbiter Santos was cross-eyed in his findings of fact, the
against the grain of circumstances. Caling represents before us that it
Honorable Commissioners of the First Division are doubly so and
was Santiago who convinced him to sign the motion, who with Meads with malice thrown in. If the workers indeed committed an illegal strike,
explained to him the allegations thereof and the background of the how come their only "penalty" is removing their tent? It is obvious that
case. Caling says that if not for his friendship with Santiago, he would the Labor Arbiter and the Honorable Commissioners know deep in their
not have signed the motion. On the other hand, Meads states that small hearts that there was no strike. This is the only reason for the
Santiago began to read the fourth motion for reconsideration and even finding of "illegal strike". Without this finding, they have no basis to
started to make changes thereon in pencil. We must not forget, too, remove the tent; they have to invent that basis.
that according to Meads himself, he spent, on July 14, 1969, quite
x x x The union in its "Union Reply To The Position Paper Of
some time with Santiago before they proceeded to Caling. It is highly Management" and its Annexes has shown very clearly that the so
improbable that Santiago did not read the fourth motion for called strike is a myth. But Commissioner Dinopol opted to believe the
reconsideration during all that time. myth instead of the facts. He fixed his sights on the tent in front of the
wall and closed his eyes to the open wide passage way and gate
Furthermore, Santiago is a lawyer of record for respondent beside it. His eyes, not the ingress and egress of the premises, are
MacArthur in this case. He has not resigned from his position as such blocked by something so thick he cannot see through it. His impaired
vision cannot be trusted, no doubt about it.
lawyer. He has control of the proceedings. Whatever steps his client
takes should be within his knowledge and responsibility. Indeed, Commissioner Dinopol has enshrined a novel rule on money claims.
Canon 16 of the Canons of Legal Ethics should have reminded him Whereas, before, the established rule was, in cases of money claims
that "[a] lawyer should use his best efforts to restrain and to prevent his the employer had the burden of proof of payment. Now it is the other
clients from doing those things which the lawyer himself ought not to way around. x x x For lack of a better name we should call this new
do, particularly with reference to their conduct towards courts, judicial rule the "Special Dinopol Rule". But only retirable commissioners are
officers, jurors, witnesses and suitors. If a client persists in such authorized to apply this rule and only when the money claims involved
are substantial. When they are meager the ordinary rules apply.
wrongdoing the lawyer should terminate their relation."
x x x how Commissioner Dinopol is able to say that the pay slips
The dignity of the Court, experience teaches, can never be proved that the sixteen (16) claimants were already paid their service
protected where infraction of ethics meets with complacency rather incentive leave pay. This finding is copied verbatim from the cross-
than punishment. The people should not be given cause to break faith eyed decision of Labor Arbiter Santos x x x .
with the belief that a judge is the epitome of honor amongst men. To
preserve its dignity, a court of justice should not yield to the assaults of The evidence already on record proving that the alleged blocking of the
ingress and egress is a myth seem invisible to the impaired sight of
disrespect. Punctilio of honor, we prefer to think, is a standard of
Commissioner Dinopol. He needs more of it. x x x
behavior so desirable in a lawyer pleading a cause before a court of
justice. Commissioner Dinopol by his decision under consideration (as
ponente [of] the decision that he signed and caused his co-
Adm. Case No. 7252 November 22, 2006 commissioners in the First Division to sign) has shown great and
JOHNNY NG, Complainant, irreparable impartiality, grave abuse of discretion and ignorance of the
vs. law. He is a shame to the NLRC and should not be allowed to have
ATTY. BENJAMIN C. ALAR, Respondent anything to do with the instant case anymore. Commissioner Go and
Chairman Seeres, by negligence, are just as guilty as Dinopol but,
FACTS: since the NLRC rules prohibit the inhibition of the entire division,
Chairman Seeres should remain in the instant case and appoint two
A verified complaint1 dated February 15, 2005 was filed by Johnny Ng (2) other commissioners from another division to sit with him and pass
(complainant) against Atty. Benjamin C. Alar (respondent) before the final judgment in the instant case.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Commission on Bar Discipline
(CBD), for Disbarment. In his Answer with Counter-Complaint dated April 6, 2005, respondent
Alar contends that the instant complaint only intends to harass him and
Complainant alleges that he is one of the respondents in a labor case to influence the result of the cases between complainant and the
with the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) docketed as workers in the different fora where they are pending; that the Rules of
NLRC NCR CA No. 040273-04, while respondent is the counsel for Court/Code of Professional Responsibility applies only suppletorily at
complainants. The Labor Arbiter (LA) dismissed the complaint. On the NLRC when the NLRC Rules of Procedure has no provision on
appeal, the NLRC rendered a Decision2 affirming the decision of the disciplinary matters for litigants and lawyers appearing before it; that
LA. Respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to Rule X of the NLRC Rules of Procedure provides for adequate
Inhibit (MRMI),3 pertinent portions of which read: sanctions against misbehaving lawyers and litigants appearing in
cases before it; that the Rules of Court/Code of Professional
x x x We cannot help suspecting that the decision under consideration Responsibility does not apply to lawyers practicing at the NLRC, the
was merely copied from the pleadings of respondents-appellees with latter not being a court; that LAs and NLRC Commissioners are not
very slight modifications. But we cannot accept the suggestion, made judges nor justices and the Code of Judicial Conduct similarly do not
by some knowledgeable individuals, that the actual writer of the said apply to them, not being part of the judiciary; and that the labor lawyers
decision is not at all connected with the NLRC First Division. who are honestly and conscientiously practicing before the NLRC and
get paid on a contingent basis are entitled to some latitude of righteous
x x x Why did the NLRC, First Division, uphold the Labor Arbiter in anger when they get cheated in their cases by reason of corruption
maintaining that the separation pay should be only one half month per and collusion by the cheats from the other sectors who make their lives
year of service? Is jurisprudence on this not clear enough, or is there and the lives of their constituents miserable, with impunity, unlike
another reason known only to them? lawyers for the employers who get paid, win or lose, and therefore
have no reason to feel aggrieved.
x x x If this is not grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC,
First Division, it is ignominious ignorance of the law on the part of the Attached to respondents counter-complaint is an affidavit made by the
commissioners concerned. union president Batan alleging that the Attys. Paras and Cruz are the
ones who violated the Code of Professional Responsibility when they
The NLRC wants proof from the complainants that the fire actually filed multiple suits arising from the same cause of action and when
resulted in prosperity and not losses. xxx Respondents failed to prove they deliberately lessened the number of complainants in the labor
their claim of losses. And the Honorable Commissioners of the First case.
Division lost their ability to see these glaring facts.
The findings of the Commission on Bar discipline led the IBP to
x x x How much is the separation pay they should pay? One month per conclude that respondent is guilty of violating Canons 8 and 11, while
year of service and all of it to the affected workers not to some the lawyers of the complainant did not violate any canons of the Code.
people in the NLRC in part. It recommended that respondent be reprimanded with a stern warning
that severe penalties will be imposed in case a similar conduct will be
x x x They should have taken judicial notice of this prevalent practices committed again.
of employers xxx. If the Honorable Commissioners, of the First Division
do not know this, they are indeed irrelevant to real life. ISSUE:

x x x we invite the Honorable Commissioners of the First Division to Whether or not the misbehaviour of Atty. Alar before the NLRC
see for themselves the evidence before them and not merely rely on susceptible of the provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct?
their reviewers and on the word of their ponente. If they do this
honestly they cannot help seeing the truth. Yes, honesty on the part of RULING:

of the Canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Thus, he
Yes. The misbehaviour of Atty. Alar before the NLRC is susceptible of deserves a stiffer penalty of fine in the amount of P5,000.00.
the provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct.
Anent the Counter-Complaint filed against Attys. Paras and Cruz, the
The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates: Court finds no reason to disturb the following findings and
recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner, as approved by
CANON 8 A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and the IBP Board of Governors, to wit:
candor toward his professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing
tactics against opposing counsel. The Counter-complainant Batan failed to submit any position paper to
substantiate its claims despite sufficient opportunity to do so.
Rule 8.01 A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use
language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper. ACCORDINGLY, we find respondent Atty. Benjamin C. Alar
GUILTY of violation of Canons 8 and 11 of the Code of
CANON 11 A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to Professional Responsibility. He is imposed a fine of P5,000.00
the courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct with STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act
by others. in the future will be dealt with more severely.

Rule 11.03 A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or The Counter-Complaint against Atty. Jose Raulito E. Paras and
menacing language or behavior before the Courts. Atty. Elvin Michael Cruz is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
Rule 11.04 A lawyer shall not attribute to a Judge motives not INC., respondent.
supported by the record or have no materiality to the case.

The MRMI contains insults and diatribes against the NLRC, attacking FACTS: On 9 November 2007, the Court received from De La Serna a
both its moral and intellectual integrity, replete with implied accusations request for the inhibition of Associate Justice Dante O. Tinga, claiming
of partiality, impropriety and lack of diligence. Respondent used that Justice Tinga received P10 Million from Mr. Johnny Chan in
improper and offensive language in his pleadings that does not admit
exchange for a favorable decision in the instant case. Justice Dante O.
any justification.
Tinga is the ponente of the Decision subject to this Motion for
In Lacurom v. Jacoba, the Court ratiocinated as follows: Reconsideration.

Well-recognized is the right of a lawyer, both as an officer of the court

Atty. De La Serna relates that sometime in 2006, he was prevailed
and as a citizen, to criticize in properly respectful terms and through
legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges. Though a lawyer's upon by former BIR Commissioner Tomas Toledo to meet with Mr.
language may be forceful and emphatic, it should always be dignified Chan. In the meeting, Mr. Chan informed him that he had already
and respectful, befitting the dignity of the legal profession. The use of bought the interest of Cattleya Land, Inc. over a property adjacent to
unnecessary language is proscribed if we are to promote high esteem the property subject of the case and that he was interested in putting
in the courts and trust in judicial administration. up a resort/hotel in the property. He wanted to purchase Carmelita
Fudots interest in the property as well to put an end to the litigation.
In Uy v. Depasucat, the Court held that a lawyer shall abstain from
They did not reach an agreement on the purchase price.
scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behavior before the
Another meeting was set, this time, through the intercession of Atty.
It must be remembered that the language vehicle does not run short of Dionisio De La Serna, former Secretary of the Housing and Land Use
expressions which are emphatic but respectful, convincing but not
Regulatory Board, and upon the request of Mr. Chans lawyer, Atty.
derogatory, illuminating but not offensive. A lawyer's language should
be forceful but dignified, emphatic but respectful as befitting an Paulino Petralba. In this meeting, Atty. Petralba offered P4 Million.
advocate and in keeping with the dignity of the legal profession. Again, no agreement was reached on the purchase price, De La Serna
Submitting pleadings containing countless insults and diatribes against narrates.
the NLRC and attacking both its moral and intellectual integrity, hardly
measures to the sobriety of speech demanded of a lawyer.
Sometime in August 2007, Atty. Petralba sought out Atty. De La
Respondent's assertion that the NLRC not being a court, its Sernas son, Atty. Victor De La Serna, Jr., and informed him that the
commissioners, not being judges or justices and therefore not part of Supreme Courts decision in the instant case was forthcoming. This
the judiciary; and that consequently, the Code of Judicial Conduct does advance knowledge of the decision only confirms the bribery bragged
not apply to them, is unavailing. In Lubiano v. Gordolla, the Court held about by Mr. Chan, De La Serna claims.
that respondent became unmindful of the fact that in addressing the
NLRC, he nonetheless remained a member of the Bar, an oath-bound
servant of the law, whose first duty is not to his client but to the In another meeting on 26 September 2007, Mr. Chan told Atty. De La
administration of justice and whose conduct ought to be and must be Serna that there would no more negotiations for the purchase of
scrupulously observant of law and ethics. Fudots rights and he had already given P10 Million to Justice Tinga.
By way of consuelo de bobo, Mr. Chan offered De La Serna a legal
Respondents argument that labor practitioners are entitled to some retainer of P200,000.00 down and a monthly fee of P15,000.00 to act
latitude of righteous anger is unavailing. It does not deter the Court
from exercising its supervisory authority over lawyers who misbehave as his lawyer in Bohol. A day later, or on 27 September 2007, as De La
or fail to live up to that standard expected of them as members of the Serna notes, the decision in this case was mailed at the Central Post
Bar. Office, a copy of which was received by him on 10 October 2007. Atty.
De La Serna adds:
To be proscribed then is the use of unnecessary language which
jeopardizes high esteem in courts, creates or promotes distrust in
judicial administration, or which could have the effect of "harboring and ALL WE NEED TO HAVE IS A LITTLE COMMON SENSE TO
encouraging discontent which, in many cases, is the source of CONCLUDE THAT INDEED, THE FAVORABLE DECISION OF THIS
disorder, thus undermining the foundation upon which rests that HONORABLE COURT WAS OBTAINED THRU BRIBERY. This is
bulwark called judicial power to which those who are aggrieved turn for what JOHNNY CHAN was bragging and this is what happened.
protection and relief." Stability of judicial institutions suggests that the
Bar stand firm on this precept.
The language here in question, respondents aver, "was the result of BRIBERY. HE HAS REPUDIATED ALL THE DOCTRINES HE HAS
overenthusiasm." It is but to repeat an old idea when we say that SUMMARIZED AND ENUNCIATED IN LIM v. JORGE, A DECISION
enthusiasm, or even excess of it, is not really bad. In fact, the one or HE PENNED ONLY IN 2005.
the other is no less a virtue, if channeled in the right direction.
However, it must be circumscribed within the bounds of propriety and
with due regard for the proper place of courts in our system of Only two years ago, in Lim v. Jorge, (G.R. No. 161861, March 11,
government.16 2005) Justice Dante Tinga made a learned treatise when he
summarized and further expounded on all the long-established
Respondent has clearly violated Canons 8 and 11 of the Code of doctrines on the law and jurisprudence governing the Torrens System
Professional Responsibility. His actions erode the publics perception of
of land titles in the Philippines. It was indeed a brilliant anthology
the legal profession.
worthy of publication into a book. In this instant Decision however,
However, the penalty of reprimand with stern warning imposed by the Justice Tinga has swallowed all the noble doctrines he has enunciated
IBP Board of Governors is not proportionate to respondents violation so brilliantly, and instead repudiated and contradicted everything he
has said just to accommodate JOHNNY CHAN and all his cohorts

and his money. If this is not a CLEAR CASE OF BRIBERY, then we willful disregard or disobedience of the courts orders but such conduct
dont know what is. The Decision of Justice Tinga in this case is simply that tends to bring the authority of the court and the administration of
a ROGUE DECISION. It is illegal. It is immoral. And like a "mad dog, law into disrepute or in some manner to impede the due administration
it should be slain at sight." of justice. Indirect contempt is one committed out of or not in the
presence of the court that tends to belittle, degrade, obstruct or
Atty. De La Serna also finds it surprising that the instant case was embarrass the court and justice. Any improper conduct tending,
decided less than two (2) years after it was submitted for resolution. He directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration
compares the instant case to a criminal case which has been pending of justice has also been considered to constitute indirect contempt.
for ten (10) years before the Court. Atty. De La Serna also adds:
An accusation of bribery is easy to concoct and difficult to disprove, the
There is a difference of some 20,000 intervening cases complainant must present panoply of evidence in support of such an
between Oppus and Fudot. WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN THE accusation. It will take more than the uncorroborated and independent
REASON WHY THIS INSTANT CASE WAS SELECTED AND statements of Atty. De La Serna to cast an aura of credibility to his
answer is in Your hands, but it seems quite obvious. We reviewed the records of the case and find that the decision was
made in accordance with law and established jurisprudence. The
On 6 February 2008, the Court issued a Resolution requiring Atty. De principles enunciated in Lim v. Jorge, now being invoked by Atty. De La
La Serna to explain in writing why he should not be punished for Serna, simply do not find application in this case. His insistence is not
indirect contempt of court. On 27 March 2008, De La Serna submitted only groundless; it is also downright contemptuous.
his explanation, stating that he believes in utmost good faith that all the
statements he made in recent pleadings he submitted in this case do In the first place, Mr. Chan, the person most involved had categorically
not constitute improper conduct and that his statements were not denied making the statement to the effect that he gave P10 Million to
intended to impede, obstruct or degrade the administration of justice, Justice Tinga, or to any other justice in the division.
as they were made, on the contrary, to prevent the commission of a
grave injustice. Atty. De La Serna claims that Mr. Chan and Atty. Petralba had advance
knowledge of the Courts decision, based on the fact that Atty. Petralba
In a resolution dated 14 April 2008, the Court set the hearing on the and Mr. Chan were already intimating a favorable decision even before
charge of indirect contempt on 18 June 2008. In the hearing, Atty. De the decision was released. He points out that the decision was
La Serna, together with his son Atty. Victor De La Serna, Jr., Mr. Chan, released only on 27 September 2007, when it was mailed at the
Atty. Petralba and Atty. Alex Monteclar (Atty. Monteclar) of Cattleya Central Post Office, implying that if not for the fact that Mr. Chan paid
appeared. for the decision, he would not have known of the outcome of the case
even before the decision was released on 27 September 2007.
Mr. Chan related that during the 25 September 2007 meeting, he
offered Atty. De La Serna P4 Million and an additional incentiveas The decision was promulgated on 13 September 2007. Decisions of
retainer of their company. Moreover, Atty. Petralba clarified that the the Court are posted in its website a few days after their promulgation.
third meeting he had with Atty. De La Serna was on 4 September 2007, In this case, the decision was published in the web on 19 September
and not in August as what De La Serna claimed, presenting his 2007, or before the decision was posted in the Manila Central Post
detailed diary for the purpose. Office on 27 September 2007. However, Mr. Chan stated that he
learned of the decision only sometime in October of 2007, after Atty.
Atty. Monteclar confirmed that Mr. Chan bought a land adjacent to the Petralba had told him about it. On the other hand, Atty. Monteclar
property subject of the petition, and that Mr. Chan, interested in buying admitted that he was the one who called up Atty. Petralba to inform him
the property of Fudot, told them that he would try to expedite the about the outcome of the case after he received a copy of the decision.
matter and talk to De La Serna. He mentioned that he and his client,
Cattleya, refused to negotiate with De La Serna because they had a Moreover, Atty. De La Sernas attribution of advance knowledge to Mr.
sad experience with him when he accused one of Cattleyas lawyers of Chan, apart from being incongruent with the declarations of the other
making Cattleya a milking cow. Said lawyer even filed an personalities, does not dovetail with logic and common sense. For one,
administrative case against De La Serna for making baseless Mr. Chan was earnest in asking for, and pushing through with, the
accusations and using intemperate language against opposing lawyers meeting on 25 September 2007 with De La Serna. Had he known
in his pleadings in this very case when it was still before the trial about the decision earlier, and more importantly, had he really
court. Atty. Monteclar admitted that he was the one who informed Atty. paid P10 Million for a favorable decision, he would not have reiterated
Petralba of the Supreme Courts decision. He denied any knowledge his offer or suggest any further meeting with De La Serna for the
about the attempt to bribe any of the Justices of the Court. purchase of the subject property. The exercise would be downright
Mr. Chan and Atty. Petralba both admitted that they had never met
Justice Tinga before and it was only during the hearing on 18 June From a related perspective, it would be plainly foolhardy for Mr. Chan
2008 that they saw Justice Tinga in person. On the other hand, Atty. to go through all the trouble and risk of bribing a Supreme Court
Monteclar stated that he had not known Justice Tinga personally, Justice in the amount of P10 Million when he could have directly
although he met Justice Tinga way back in 2003. acquired the property by paying off De La Serna with the same amount
which the latter had demanded in the first place. This aspect was
The parties were then required to submit their respective memoranda. clearly demonstrated during the hearing.

Atty. De La Serna submitted a two-page Memorandum of Points. He Atty. De La Sernas other basis for believing that the decision was
pointed out that it was Mr. Chan who sought him out using different prompted by bribery was the time it took for this case to be decided,
intermediaries and who acted as if he had advance knowledge of the which he intimated was uncommonly short. He bewails that the case
decision; moreover, it was Mr. Chan who said that he had given P10 was pinpointed, then plucked out from underneath 20,000 other cases,
Million to Justice Tinga. Thus, if there was anyone guilty of and thereafter resolved in less than two (2) years. He also compared
contemptible conduct, it was Mr. Chan, and not him. De La Serna the case with Oppus v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 150186; a case
added that anyone in his situation would have acted similarly. which he previously handled, claiming that accused Oppus continues
to languish in jail because the Supreme Court had not resolved his
appeal even after the lapse of more than ten (10) years. De La Sernas
ISSUE: W/N Atty. De La Serna is guilty of indirect contempt. plaint is baseless and non sequitur.

RULING: Atty. De La Serna seems to be unaware that the Supreme Court is

mandated by the Constitution to decide cases within two (2) years from
Yes. Contempt is defined as a disobedience to the Court by setting up the date of submission.
an opposition to its authority, justice and dignity. It signifies not only a

As for the Oppus case, it appears from the records that De La Serna JUDGE RENE B. BACULI, Complainant, vs.
used to be Oppuss lawyer, but he was replaced upon Oppuss motion.
Moreover, the case was already deemed closed and terminated as of
15 October 2007, when the Court granted Oppuss Motion to Withdraw ATTY. MELCHOR A. BATTUNG, Respondent.
Petition/Appeal filed on 19 September 2007. Contrary to De La Sernas
claim, the case is no longer pending as it was already being disposed Facts:
of. Moreover, the Oppus case was assigned to another ponente, not
Justice Tinga. The period during which the Oppus case was pending
cannot serve as sound basis for comparison with this case. Judge Baculi filed a complaint for disbarment with the Commission on
Discipline of the IBP against Battung, alleging that the latter violated
Canons 11 and 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
A lawyer is, first and foremost, an officer of the court. Corollary to his
duty to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial
officers is to support the courts against unjust criticism and clamor. His Violation of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
duty is to uphold the dignity and the authority of the courts to which he
owes fidelity, not to promote distrust in the administration of justice, as
it is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy Judge Baculi claimed that on July 24, 2008, during the hearing on the
unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards the courts so motion for reconsideration of Civil Case No. 2502, Battung was
essential to the proper administration of justice. shouting while arguing his motion. Judge Baculi advised him to tone
down his voice but instead, Battung shouted at the top of his voice.
When warned that he would be cited for direct contempt, Battung
As part of the machinery for the administration of justice, a lawyer is
shouted, "Then cite me!" Judge Baculi cited him for direct contempt
expected to bring to the fore irregular and questionable practices of
and imposed a fine of P100.00. The Battung then left. While other
those sitting in court which tend to corrode the judicial machinery.
cases were being heard, Battung re-entered the courtroom and
Thus, if he acquired reliable information that anomalies are perpetrated
shouted, "Judge, I will file gross ignorance against you! I am not afraid
by judicial officers, it is incumbent upon him to report the matter to the
of you!" Judge Baculi ordered the sheriff to escort the Battung out of
Court so that it may be properly acted upon. An omission or even a
the courtroom and cited him for direct contempt of court for the second
delay in reporting may tend to erode the dignity of, and the publics
time. After his hearings, Judge Baculi went out and saw Battung at the
trust in, the judicial system. The Court is perplexed by the actuations of
hall of the courthouse, apparently waiting for him. Battung again
Atty. De La Serna. Claiming that he had been informed that a member
shouted in a threatening tone, "Judge, I will file gross ignorance
of the Court was involved in bribery, yet he chose to remain silent in
against you! I am not afraid of you!" He kept on shouting, "I am not
the meantime and to divulge the information long after he had come to
afraid of you!" and challenged the judge to a fight. Staff and lawyers
know that he lost the case.
escorted him out of the building. Judge Baculi also learned that after
the he left the courtroom, he continued shouting and punched a table
That De La Serna did not report the matter immediately to the Court at the Office of the Clerk of Court.
suffuses unshakeable dubiety to his claim that Mr. Chan had uttered
the statements attributed to him. That De La Serna brought up the
issue of bribery after an unfavorable decision was issued makes the Violation of Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
allegation all the more a contrived afterthought, a hastily concocted
story brought to cast doubts on the integrity not only of Justice Tinga, According to Judge Baculi, the Battung filed dilatory pleadings in Civil
but also of the entire Supreme Court. Case No. 2640, an ejectment case. Judge Baculi rendered on October
4, 2007 its decision, which he modified on December 14, 2007 then it
This is not to say, however, that as an officer of the court, Atty. De La became final and executory, the branch clerk of court issued a
Serna cannot criticize the court. We have long recognized and certificate of finality. Battung filed a motion to quash the previously
respected the right of a lawyer, or any person, for that matter, to be issued writ of execution, raising as a ground the motion to dismiss filed
critical of courts and magistrates as long as they are made in properly by the defendant for lack of jurisdiction. Judge Baculi asserted that
respectful terms and through legitimate channels. Battung knew as a lawyer that ejectment cases are within the
jurisdiction of First Level Courts and the latter was merely delaying the
speedy and efficient administration of justice.
But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be
bona fide and shall not spill over the walls of decency and
propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one Battung filed his Answer, essentially saying that it was Judge Baculi
hand, and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the who disrespected him. He claims that he was provoked by the
other. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of presiding judge that is why he shouted back at him. But after hearing
respect to courts. It is such a misconduct that subjects a lawyer to the tape Commissioner De la Rama is convinced that it was Atty.
disciplinary action. Battung who shouted first at the complainant.

Everything considered on the basis of the proofs on record, reason and Presumably, there were other lawyers and litigants present waiting for
normal discernment, Atty. De La Sernas statements bear the badges their cases to be called who must have observed the incident. In fact,
of falsehood while the common version of the witnesses who disputed in the joint-affidavit submitted by Elenita Pacquing et al., they stood as
his statements is imbued with the hallmarks of truth. There is more. De one in saying that it was really Atty. Battung who shouted at the judge
La Sernas declarations were maliciously and irresponsibly made. They that is why the latter cautioned him "not to shout."
exceeded the boundaries of decency and propriety. The libelous attack
on the integrity and credibility of Justice Tinga tend to degrade the
dignity of the Court and erode public confidence that should be Commissioner De la Rama found that Battung failed to observe Canon
accorded to it. 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility that requires a lawyer to
observe and maintain respect due the courts and judicial officers.
Battung also violated Rule 11.03 of Canon 11 that provides that a
Atty. De La Serna has transcended the permissible bounds of fair
lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language
comment and criticism. His irresponsible and baseless statements, his
or behavior before the courts. Battungs argument that Judge Baculi
unrepentant stance and smug insistence of his malicious and
provoked him to shout should not be given due consideration since
unfounded accusation against Justice Tinga have sullied the dignity
Battung should not have shouted at the presiding judge; by doing so,
and authority of this Court. Beyond question, therefore, De La Sernas
he created the impression that disrespect of a judge could be tolerated.
culpability for indirect contempt warrants the penalty of a fine not
What Battung should have done was to file an action before the Office
exceeding P30,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months
of the Court Administrator if he believed that Judge Baculi did not act
or both under the Rules.
according to the norms of judicial conduct.

WHEREFORE, Atty. Victor De La Serna is found GUILTY of indirect

contempt of court. He is hereby FINED in the amount With respect to the charge of violation of Canon 12 of the Code of
of P30,000.00 to be paid within ten (10) days from receipt of this Professional Responsibility, Commissioner De la Rama found that the
Resolution and WARNED that a repetition of a similar act will
warrant a more severe penalty.

evidence submitted is insufficient to support a ruling that Battung had Decision. He is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of a similar
misused the judicial processes to frustrate the ends of justice. offense shall be dealt with more severely.

Commissioner De la Rama recommended that the Battung be FELICITAS BERBANO, complainant, vs. ATTY. WENCESLAO
suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months. BARCELONA, respondent.
A.C. No. 6084. September 3, 2003
PONENTE: Per Curiam
On October 9, 2010, the IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution
adopting and approving the Report and Recommendation of the
FACTS: In a sworn Affidavit-Complaint dated March 11, 1999 filed
Investigating Commissioner, with the modification that Battung be
before the IBP, Berbano seeks the disbarment of Atty. Barcelona for
Malpractice and Gross Misconduct Unbecoming a Lawyer, Dereliction
of Duty and Unjust Enrichment. Berbano is one of the heirs of Rufino
Issue: WON Atty. Battung violated Canon 11 for shouting at Judge Hilapo who in a settlement of land proceedings had appointed as
Baculi while his case was being heard in court. attorney-in-fact a certain Mr. Daen. However, this Mr. Daen was
arrested by a Muntinlupa police by virtue of a standing warrant of
arrest and was detained. Since Mr. Daen needed the assistance of a
WON Atty. Battung violated Canon 12 for filing the ejectment case lawyer for his release from incarceration, Berbano hired the services of
before the MTC when the CFI actually has the jurisdiction over the Atty. Barcelona (whose wife is a relative of Berbanos friend).
Sometime in January 1999, Atty. Barcelona arrived at the Muntinlupa
Ruling: City Jail and conferred with Mr. Daen. After their conversation, Atty.
Barcelona told us Berbano to produce P50,000.00 for the release of
Mr. Daen from prison the next day. Since it was late in the evening,
We agree with the IBPs finding that the Battung violated Rule 11.03, said money can no longer be produced but Atty. Barcelona insisted.
Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Battung Berbano found a way and was able to raise P15,700.00 which she
disrespected Judge Baculi by shouting at him inside the courtroom gave to Atty. Barcelona who accepted the same. He reiterated his
during court proceedings in the presence of litigants and their promise to secure the release of Mr. Daen the following day. Before he
counsels, and court personnel. The Battung even came back to harass left, he asked us to meet him at Max Restaurant at around 12:00 noon
Judge Baculi. This behavior, in front of many witnesses, cannot be at EDSA Crossing. He thereafter left because according to him, he
allowed. We note that the Battung continued to threaten Judge Baculi would go and see somebody, (a justice) from the Supreme Court who
and acted in a manner that clearly showed disrespect for his position could help the release of Mr. Daen. On the next day, he told Berbano
even after the latter had cited him for contempt. In fact, after initially that he just came from the Supreme Court where he fixed the case of
leaving the court, the Battung returned to the courtroom and disrupted Mr. Daen. To Berbabos surprise though, he did not have with him any
the ongoing proceedings. These actions were not only against the single document at the time. Then, Berbano handed him a pay-to-cash
person, the position and the stature of Judge Baculi, but against the check for P24,000.00. Although, he said that the Justices of the
court as well whose proceedings were openly and flagrantly disrupted, Supreme Court do not accept check he nonetheless accepted it saying
and brought to disrepute by the Battung. that he will have the same rediscounted. The following morning, Atty.
Barcelona called Berbano to say that since he was unable to have the
check rediscounted, she has to produce the amount of P5,000.00 and
Litigants and counsels, particularly the latter because of their position
give the amount to him at around 12:00 noon. Berbano went to Atty.
and avowed duty to the courts, cannot be allowed to publicly ridicule,
Barcelonas house where she was met by his daughter who called her
demean and disrespect a judge, and the court that he represents. The
mother to whom she gave not only P5,000.00, but P10,000.00. In the
Code of Professional Responsibility provides:
afternoon of that same day, they went to see Atty. Barcelona at
Putatan, Muntinlupa. She informed him that she left the P10,000.00
Canon 11 - A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due the with his wife at their house. Since Atty. Barcelona informed her that he
courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by could not secure the release of Mr. Daen because the check had not
others. been encashed, Mr. Gil Daen, a nephew of Porfirio Daen, gave him
another 15,000.00 in cash. Berbano also gave him an additional
P1,000.00 for his gasoline expenses.
Rule 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or
menacing language or behavior before the Courts.
The next time Berbano saw Atty. Barcelona was a week after Mr. Daen
was jailed. He said that he just came from the city jail where he had a
We ruled in Roxas v. De Zuzuarregui, Jr. that it is the duty of a lawyer, conversation with Mr. Daen. He told us that he is going to release Mr.
as an officer of the court, to uphold the dignity and authority of the Daen from prison the next day, February 4, 1999. However, in the
courts. Respect for the courts guarantees the stability of the judicial morning of February 4, Berbano learned from the wife of Atty.
institution; without this guarantee, the institution would be resting on Barcelona that her husband had left for Mindanao early that morning
very shaky foundations. on board a private plane owned by Chiongbian allegedly to attend a
peace talk with the Muslims.

A lawyer who insults a judge inside a courtroom completely disregards After more than a week, Berbano went to Putatan, Muntinlupa,
the latters role, stature and position in our justice system. When the because she was informed by the son of Mr. Daen that he saw Atty.
Battung publicly berated and brazenly threatened Judge Baculi that he Barcelona there. Berbano confronted him about his undertaking to
would file a case for gross ignorance of the law against the latter, the release Mr. Daen from prison, but he only advised her not to worry and
Battung effectively acted in a manner tending to erode the public promised again that he will return the entire amount of P64,000.00
confidence in Judge Baculis competence and in his ability to decide more or less, on Thursday, February 18, 1999. But Berbano never saw
cases. Incompetence is a matter that, even if true, must be handled him again since then and have repeatedly called him but to no avail.
with sensitivity in the manner provided under the Rules of Court; an Hence, the present disbarment complaint.
objecting or complaining lawyer cannot act in a manner that puts the
courts in a bad light and bring the justice system into disrepute. The INVESTIGATING COMMISSIONER: The Investigating Commissioner
IBP Board of Governors recommended that Atty. Battung be J. Virgilio A. Bautista of the IBP-CBD issued an Order which required
reprimanded, while the Investigating Commissioner recommended a Atty. Barcelona to submit his answer to the complaint, with a warning
penalty of six (6) months suspension. The Court believes that these that he will be considered in default and the case will be heard ex
recommended penalties are too light for the offense. parte, if he fails to do so. Despite due notice, Atty. Barcelona failed to
file his answer. Thus, complainant filed a motion to declare respondent
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Atty. Melchor A. Battung is in default, a resolution of which was held in abeyance by the
found GUILTY of violating Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Commissioner Bautista who required the parties to appear for hearing
Professional Responsibility, for which he is SUSPENDED from the before the Commission on August 13, 1999. On said date, Atty.
practice of law for one (1) year effective upon the finality of this Barcelona again failed to appear despite due receipt of notice.

Commissioner Bautista was thus constrained to consider respondent in
default and complainant was allowed to present her evidence ex parte. CANON 7 A lawyer shall at all times upholds the integrity and dignity of
the legal profession, and support the activities of the integrated bar.
Commissioner Bautista submitted his Final Report and
Recommendation on December 23, 2002 finding respondent guilty of CANON 11 A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the
malpractice and serious breach of the Code of Professional courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by
Responsibility and recommending that respondent be disbarred and others.
ordered to return to complainant the amount of P64,000.00.
CANON 16 A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his
IBP BOARD OF GOVERNORS: Adopted Commissioner Bautistas client that may come into his possession.
findings but reduced the penalty to suspension from the practice of law
for six years. Rule 16.01 A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or
received for or from the client.
SC RULING/RATIO: The Court disagrees with the IBP Board of
Governors in reducing the penalty and upholds the findings and The Code exacts from lawyers not only a firm respect for law, legal
recommendation of Commissioner Bautista. Under the facts processes and the courts but also mandates the utmost degree of
established by complainant, respondent should not only be suspended, fidelity and good faith in dealing with clients and the moneys entrusted
but disbarred from practice. to them pursuant to their fiduciary relationship. Instead of promoting
respect for law and the legal processes, respondent callously
The object of a disbarment proceeding is not so much to punish the demeaned the legal profession by taking money from a client under the
individual attorney himself, as to safeguard the administration of justice pretext of having connections with a Member of this Court.
by protecting the court and the public from the misconduct of officers of
the court, and to remove from the profession of law persons whose (Baka ask ni Maam how nag come up yung court sa penalty) The
disregard for their oath of office have proved them unfit to continue Court has taken into consideration the penalties imposed in other
discharging the trust reposed in them as members of the bar. administrative cases involving similar offenses, e. g.:

Quoting several decided cases, the SC said: In Judge Angeles vs. Atty. Uy, Jr., the respondent
was suspended from the practice of law for one
In In re Almacen, the Court expounded on the month for failing to promptly report and remit the
nature of disbarment proceedings, viz.: amount of P16,500.00 he received on behalf of his
. . . Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui
generis . Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, In Gonato vs. Atty. Adaza, the respondent was
they do not involve a trial of an action or a suit, but suspended from the practice of law for six months
rather investigations by the Court into the conduct of for charging his clients the amount of P15,980.00 as
one of its officers. Not being intended to inflict filing fees when in fact no such fees were due.
punishment, [they are] in no sense a criminal
prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff In Dumadag vs. Lumaya, the Court ordered the
nor a prosecutor therein. [They] may be initiated by indefinite suspension of a lawyer for not remitting to
the Court motu propio. Public interest is [their] his client the amount of P4,344.00 that he had
primary objective, and the real question for received pursuant to an execution.
determination is whether or not the attorney is still a
fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. In Gatchalian Promotions Talents Pool, Inc., vs. Atty.
Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Naldoza, the respondent was disbarred for obtaining
Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to from his client the amount of US$2,555.00 allegedly
account for his actuations as an officer of the Court as cash bond in an appealed case before this Court,
with the end in view of preserving the purity of the when in fact no such amount has been paid or that
legal profession and the proper and honest the Court required such payment.
administration of justice by purging the profession of
members who by their misconduct have prove[n] In the present case, Atty. Barcelona collected money from the Berbano
themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with and the nephew of the detained person in the total amount of
the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the P64,000.00 for the immediate release of the detainee through his
office of an attorney. . . . alleged connection with a Justice of the Supreme Court. He deserves
to be disbarred from the practice of law.
As in the Ricafort case, herein respondent chose to
forget that by swearing the lawyers oath, he This is not the first time that respondent has been charged with and
became a guardian of truth and the rule of law, and found guilty of conduct unbecoming a lawyer. In Gil T. Aquino vs. Atty.
an indispensable instrument in the fair and impartial Wenceslao C. Barcelona, he misrepresented to the complainant that
administration of justice a vital function of he could secure the restructuring of the complainants loan with the
democracy a failure of which is disastrous to PNB through his connection with a certain Gonzalo Mericullo, legal
society. In disbarment proceedings, the burden of assistant in the PNB. Based on such misrepresentation, respondent
proof rests upon the complainant, and for the court asked and received the amount of P60,000.00 from the complainant
to exercise its disciplinary powers, the case against allegedly to be paid to the PNB. It turned out that there was no such
the respondent must be established by clear, employee in the PNB by the name Gonzalo Mericullo and the
convincing and satisfactory proof. Considering the complainants property was eventually foreclosed. As in the present
serious consequence of the disbarment or case, respondent did not appear before the IBP Commission on Bar
suspension of a member of the Bar, this Court has Discipline despite receipt of the notices sent and duly received by him.
consistently held that clear preponderant evidence After due proceedings, the IBP Board of Governors found respondent
is necessary to justify the imposition of the guilty of professional misconduct, and recommended that he be
administrative penalty. suspended from the practice of law for six months and ordered to
render the accounting and restitute whatever remained of the
The act of Atty. Barcelona in not filing his answer and ignoring the P60,000.00 to the complainant. The Court adopted such finding and
hearings set by the Investigating Commission, despite due notice, recommendation and respondent was ordered suspended from the
emphasized his contempt for legal proceedings. Thus, the Court finds practice of law for six months, effective immediately.
no compelling reason to overturn the Investigating Commissioners
judgment. Respondent is guilty of culpable violations of several Atty. Barcelona has demonstrated a penchant for misrepresenting to
Canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility, to wit: clients that he has the proper connections to secure the relief they
seek, and thereafter, ask for money, which will allegedly be given to
CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the such connections. In this case, he misrepresented to Berbano that he
land and promote respect for law and for legal processes. could get the release of Mr. Porfirio Daen through his connection with a

Supreme Court Justice. Not only that, respondent even had the Atty. Bajar to file Rejoinder within 10 days from receipt, instead she
audacity to tell Berbano that the Justices of the Supreme Court do not filed a manifestation after 3 months.
accept checks.
The court issued a Resolution ordering the arrest and
In so doing, respondent placed the Court in dishonor and public detention for 5 days of Atty. Bajar. NBI arrested her and was detained
contempt. In Surigao Mineral Reservation Board vs. Cloribel, the Court for 5 days. The Court referred the case to IBP. CommissioPR that
expounded on a lawyers duty to the courts, viz.: rendered her unfit to continue the practice of law:

A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, like the court itself, and 1. Respondent appealed a case for purposes of delay which
instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice. [People ex rel. amounted to an obstruction of justice.
Karlin vs. Culkin, 60 A.L.R. 851, 855]. His duty is to uphold the dignity 2. Respondent abused her right of recourse to the courts.
The duplication or multiplication of suits should be
and authority of the courts to which he owes fidelity, not to promote
avoided, and respondents acts were tantamount to forum-
distrust in the administration of justice. [In re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595, 602].
shopping which is a reprehensible manipulation of court
Faith in the courts a lawyer should seek to preserve. For, to undermine
processes and proceedings.
the judicial edifice is a disastrous to the continuity of the government 3. Respondent uttered disrespectful language and shouted
and to the attainment of the liberties of the people. [Malcolm Legal and at everybody during the hearing on 25 May 1995. The want
Judicial Ethics, 1949 ed., p. 160]. Thus has it been said a lawyer that of intention is not an excuse for the disrespectful language
[a]s an officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to help build used.
and not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards
the courts so essential to the proper administration of justice. The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved
Investigating Commissioner Joses recommendation that respondent
The Judiciary has been besieged enough with accusations of be "suspended indefinitely from the practice of law for Unethical
corruption and malpractice. For a member of the legal profession to Practices and attitude showing her propensity and incorrigible
further stoke the embers of mistrust on the judicial system with such character to violate the basic tenets and requirements of the Code of
irresponsible representations is reprehensible and cannot be tolerated. Professional Responsibility rendering her unfit to continue in the
Atty. Barcelona made a mockery of the Judiciary and further eroded practice of law." Governor Angel R. Gonzales recommended her
public confidence in courts and lawyers when he ignored the "outright disbarment. The court directed Office of the Court
proceedings in the Aquino case and in the present case. More so, Administrator (OCA) to circularize the resolution of IBP.
when he misrepresented to Berbano that he has connections with a
Member of the Court to accommodate his client and that Justices of Atty. Bajar filed a Motion to Consider the Case Closed and
the Court accept money. Indubitably, he does not deserve to remain a Terminated. Court referred the case to IBP. In the hearing, respondent
member of the Bar any minute longer. admitted that she continued to practice law as a Prosecutor in
Mandaluyong City despite her suspension because she believed that a
The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. Adherence notation by the Court in the 20 January 1997 Resolution did not mean
to the rigid standards of mental fitness, maintenance of the highest an implementation of the IBPs Resolution on her indefinite suspension
degree of morality and faithful compliance with the rules of the legal and she reiterated that complainant is not the real party-in-interest
profession are the conditions required for remaining a member of good since the property that was litigated was owned by complainants wife.
standing of the bar and for enjoying the privilege to practice law. The
Supreme Court, as guardian of the legal profession, has ultimate
disciplinary power over attorneys. This authority to discipline its
The IBP adopted Investigating Commissioner Ravals Report
members is not only a right but a bounden duty as well . . . That is why
and Recommendation that respondent be disbarred for her "manifest
respect and fidelity to the Court is demanded of its members.
flagrant misconduct in disobeying the SC Order of her Indefinite
respondent Wenceslao C. Barcelona is DISBARRED from the practice
SC: Suspended Atty. Bajar for the practice of law for 3 years with stern
of law. His name is ordered STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys. He
is further directed to return to complainant Felicitas Berbano the
amount of Sixty Four Thousand Pesos (P64,000.00) within thirty (30)
Administrative proceedings against lawyers are sui
days from notice of this Decision.
generis and they belong to a class of their own. They are neither civil
nor criminal actions but rather investigations by the Court into the
This Decision shall take effect immediately.
conduct of its officer. They involve no private interest and afford no
redress for private grievance.
SEBASTIAN v. ATTY. BAJAR A disciplinary action against a lawyer is intended to protect
the administration of justice from the misconduct of its officers. This
FACTS: Court requires that its officers shall be competent, honorable, and
reliable men in whom the public may repose confidence. "Lawyers
Atty Bajar is a lawyer of the Bureau of Agrarian Legal must at all times faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar, to
Assistance (BALA) of the DAR who represents Tanlioco in numerous the courts, and to their clients. Their conduct must always reflect the
cases which raises same issues. values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of
Professional Responsibility. On these considerations, the Court may
Tanlioco is an agricultural lessee of a land owned by disbar or suspend lawyers for any professional or private misconduct
Sebastians spouse and sister-in-law in which the land owners filed an showing them to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity, and
ejectment case against Tanlioco on the basis of a conversion order of good demeanor or to be unworthy to continue as officers of the
the land use from agri to residential. RTC rendered an order of Court."
ejectment and was affirmed by the CA.
Clear preponderant evidence is necessary to justify the
Atty. Bajar as Tanliocos counsel, filed another case for imposition of the penalty in disbarment or suspension proceedings.
Specific Performance to produce the conversion order which RTC Atty. Bajar failed to file Rejoinder within 10 days, she filed Rejoinder
dismissed the complaint due to res judicata and lack of cause of after about 8 months after being detained by the NBI. She was
action. Atty. Bajar filed another case fo Maintenance of Possession required to comment on complainants manifestation on Feb. 3, 1993,
with the DAR Adjudication Board which raises the same issue. but she instead submitted 4 months thereafter.
Sebastian raises that Atty. Bajar violated Rule 10.03 of CPR since she
misused the rules of procedure through forum-shopping. These acts constitute willful disobedience of the lawful
orders of this Court, which under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of
Atty. Bajar submitted her Comment saying that Sebastian is Court is in itself a sufficient cause for suspension or disbarment.
not the real party in interest and not authorized to prosecute the Respondents cavalier attitude in repeatedly ignoring the orders of the
disbarment and that she only availed all legal remedies to obtain Supreme Court constitutes utter disrespect to the judicial institution.
benefits secured for Tanlioco by law. Sebastian filed his reply saying Respondents conduct indicates a high degree of irresponsibility. A
that he did not confront the issue for disbarment. The Court required Courts Resolution is "not to be construed as a mere request, nor

should it be complied with partially, inadequately, or means of force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth; destroyed the
selectively." Respondents obstinate refusal to comply with the Courts barbed wire enclosing the leased premises of complainant, then built a
orders "not only betrays a recalcitrant flaw in her character; it also shop on the said premises without complainants consent. He averred
underscores her disrespect of the Courts lawful orders which is only that despite his demands upon therein defendants to vacate the
too deserving of reproof." premises and demolish the structure built thereon, the latter failed and
refused to comply.
Lawyers are called upon to obey court orders and processes
and respondents deference is underscored by the fact that willful When therein defendants failed to file their Answer, complainant filed a
disregard thereof will subject the lawyer not only to punishment for motion that judgment be rendered in default.
contempt but to disciplinary sanctions as well. In fact, graver
responsibility is imposed upon a lawyer than any other to uphold the On December 21, 2001, the MTCC rendered a Decision in favor of
integrity of the courts and to show respect to their processes. complainant, ordering therein defendants to vacate the leased
premises and to pay complainant compensatory damages for illegal
Respondents failure to comply with the Courts directive to occupation and use of the subject property, as well as attorneys fees
file a Rejoinder and to file a Comment also constitutes gross and costs of suit.
misconduct. The Court defined gross misconduct as "any inexcusable,
shameful, flagrant, or unlawful conduct on the part of the person On February 8, 2002, the MTCC granted the Motion for Execution of
concerned in the administration of justice which is prejudicial to the Judgment filed by complainant, and issued a Writ of Execution on
rights of the parties or to the right determination of a cause." It is a February 18, 2002.
"conduct that is generally motivated by a premeditated, obstinate, or
intentional purpose." On February 21, 2002, Sheriff Edilberto Suarin of the MTCC, Branch 8
of Cebu City levied on certain personal properties of therein
Atty. Bajars contention that Sebastian is not a real party in defendants.
interest fails. The person who called the attention of the court to a
lawyers misconduct "is in no sense a party, and generally has no On March 1, 2002, therein defendants requested the complainant to
interest in the outcome. A compromise or withdrawal of charges does move for the dismissal of the complaint against them so as to prevent
not terminate an administrative complaint against a lawyer. Disbarment the issuance of the writ of execution thereon. While therein defendants
proceedings are matters of public interest and the only basis for the wanted to amicably settle the case, however, they failed to mention the
judgment is the proof or failure of proof of the charges. proposed settlement amount stated in the decision dated December
21, 2001.
Furthermore, Atty. Bajar avers that she merely availed of all
the legal remedies for her client, her act of filing cases with identical Subsequently, respondent Atty. Goering G.C. Paderanga filed an
issues in other venues despite the final ruling which was affirmed by Affidavit of Third-Party Claim dated March 5, 2002 before Sheriff
the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court is beyond the bounds of Suarin, the sheriff executing the judgment in the said civil case. In the
the law. Atty. Bajar abused her right of recourse to the courts. She filed said affidavit, respondent claimed that he was the owner of Lot No.
cases for Specific Performance and Maintenance of Possession 3653-D-1 and a FUSO (Canter series) vehicle, which he bought from
despite the finality of the decision in the Ejectment case which involves therein defendants on November 27, 2001, and December 12, 2001,
the same issues. respectively, both of which could be erroneously levied by a writ of
execution issued in the civil case.
Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
mandates lawyers to represent their clients with zeal but within the On April 3, 2002, Sheriff Suarin tried to levy therein defendants parcel
bounds of the law. It is evident from the records that respondent filed of land and motor vehicle, but failed to do so because of the third-
other cases to thwart the execution of the final judgment in the party claim filed by respondent. Subsequently, on April 24, 2002,
Ejectment case. Clearly, respondent violated the proscription in Canon respondent filed a Complaint for Annulment of Judgment with prayer
19. for the issuance of an injunction and temporary restraining order (TRO)
with damages against complainant before the Regional Trial Court
In this case, respondent has shown her great propensity to (RTC), Branch 13 of Cebu City, docketed as Case No. CEB-27614,
disregard court orders. Respondents acts of wantonly disobeying her entitled Mr. Eliseo Panaguinip, Mrs. Ma. Teresa Panaguinip and
duties as an officer of the court show an utter disrespect for the Court Goering G.C. Paderanga v. John Hegna, Mila Hegna, Judge Edgemelo
and the legal profession. However, the Court will not disbar a lawyer if C. Rosales and Edilberto R. Suarin.
it finds that a lesser penalty will suffice to accomplish the desired end.
In an Order dated May 13, 2002, the RTC issued a writ of preliminary
JOHN CHRISTEN S. HEGNA, Complainant, - versus injunction enjoining the MTCC to desist from further proceeding with
the civil case, and the Sheriff to desist from conducting a public auction
ATTY. GOERING G.C. PADERANGA, Respondent. of the levied properties of therein defendants. The RTC subsequently
dismissed respondents complaint for annulment of judgment in its
Complaint and Ground/s Decision dated June 29, 2006.

Before this Court is a letter-complaint filed by complainant John Complainant filed a criminal complaint for falsification of public
Christen S. Hegna with the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) against documents against respondent; false testimony and perjury against
respondent Atty. Goering G.C. Paderanga for deliberately falsifying therein defendants; and falsification under paragraph 6, Article 171 of
documents, which caused delay in the execution of the decision the Revised Penal Code against Atty. Elena Marie Madarang, notary
rendered by the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities (MTCC), Branch 8, public, before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Cebu City.
Cebu City, in Civil Case No. R-45146, entitled John Hegna v. Mr. &
Mrs. Eliseo Panaguinip. The Office of the City Prosecutor of Cebu City dismissed the criminal
complaint for falsification of public documents against respondent for
Facts lack of prima facie evidence of guilt, as the allegations therein were
similar to the instant administrative complaint.
Herein complainant was the lessee of a portion of Lot No. 5529,
situated at Barangay Quiot Pardo, Cebu City, which was owned by the Respondents Comment
heirs of Sabina Baclayon. The heirs of Baclayon, through their
representative Gema Sabandija, entered into a contract of lease with Respondent argued that he did not falsify any document and
complainant for a period of ten (10) years, commencing from June 26, maintained that he had already satisfactorily explained the irregularities
1994, with a rental of P3,000.00 per year, or P250.00 per month. before the Office of the City Prosecutor. He added that the
genuineness and due execution of the deeds of sale had not been
On September 26, 2001, complainant filed a complaint for forcible affected by the fact that he failed to register the same. Also, he alleged
entry against therein defendants docketed as Civil Case No. R-45146, that the MTCC Decision dated December 21, 2001 was unjust and
entitled John Hegna v. Mr. & Mrs. Eliseo Panaguinip, with the Municipal void due to lack of jurisdiction, and for being based on spurious claims.
Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 8 of Cebu City. In said complaint,
he alleged that in about the second week of March 1996, therein IBP (Investigating Officer)
defendants entered the vacant portion of the leased premises by

III. FINDINGS: the two (2) matters subject for execution in the forcible entry case in
violation of [the] Canon of Legal Ethics. A thing is said to be in litigation
According to the Respondent, it was perfectly normal for him to obtain not only if there is some contest or litigation over it in court, but also the
properties without registering the same under his own name. In his moment that becomes subject to the judicial action of the judge. x x x
Position Paper, he even cited several other transactions where he
merely possessed Deeds of Sale but not Certification of Registration or In all likelihood, although Complainant failed to get a favorable
Transfer Certificates of Title. He alleged that for ESTATE PLANNING resolution from the City Prosecutors office in Cebu City, the Affidavit of
purposes, he intentionally left these properties in the name of the Third Party Claim was simulated to defeat the rights of Complainant
previous owner. The alleged discrepancies in the notarization were herein. It is immaterial that the decision of the lower court granting a
fully explained as well. The notary public explained that the erasures in judgment award was subsequently reversed or nullified. It is immaterial
her Notarial Register were made to correct mistakes so that entries will that the City Prosecutor did not find a prima facie case of falsification.
speak the truth. These corrections include the entries under entry The fact remains that there was a MULTITUDE of irregularities
number 177 to indicate the correct entry which was the Deed of Sale surrounding the execution of the Affidavit and, coupled with the letter
executed [by] the spouses Panaguinip. The original entry, Affidavit of sent by the Panaguinip spouses left unrebutted by Respondent
Two Disinterested Persons, was actually notarized but was later Paderanga, there is substantial evidence that the Affidavit of Third
cancelled at the request of the same affiants. The full explanation of Party Claim was purposely filed to thwart the enforcement of the
these affiants, very doubtful and highly suspect, was nevertheless decision in the forcible entry case.
taken into consideration by the Prosecutor for reasons known only to
him. The Respondents also managed to convince the Cebu Prosecutor It is worthy to note that the proceedings before the prosecutors office
that the discrepancy in the Residence Certificates was due to human did not take into consideration the handwritten letter from the
error. Panaguinip spouses. For whatever reason, Complainant did not
present such letter, which if he did, the prosecutor may come up with a
Not necessarily disagreeing with the findings of the City Prosecutor of different resolution.
Cebu City, the Resolution dismissing the case for falsification is not
entirely convincing. There were certainly evidentiary matters which IV. RECOMMENDATION
could have been better addressed by a judge, namely, the affidavit of
the secretary of the notary public, the explanation in the incorrect While Complainant cannot fully prove the existence of falsity in the
entries in notarial register, the affidavit of the two (2) witnesses who execution of the Affidavit of Third Party Claim, this Commissioner is
sought the cancellation of their original affidavit, and the explanation of convinced that there was indeed an anomaly which constitutes a
Paderanga himself regarding the difference in the dates. violation of the Canons of Professional Responsibility.

Complainant is a layman who filed his own Position Paper unaided by A lawyer ought to have known that he cannot acquire the property of
counsel while Respondent is a lawyer. Nevertheless, Complainant his client which is in litigation. x x x Respondent necessitates a heavy
managed to present one (1) piece of evidence not squarely addressed penalty since the circumstances surrounding the transfer of ownership
by Respondent Paderanga: the letter handwritten by Respondents of properties tend to indicate an anomalous transfer aimed to subvert
clients, written in Cebuano, asking the Complainant for mercy and the proper administration of justice. The numerous discrepancies in the
forgiveness in relation to the forcible entry case. Such letter was no transfer document, some dismissed as clerical errors and other
longer necessary if indeed there was a GENUINE transfer of explained by incredulous stories by way of affidavits, compounded by
ownership of properties owned by the Panaguinip spouses to their the letter left uncontested by Respondent Paderanga, inevitably lead a
lawyer, Respondent Paderanga. This letter, attached to the Complaint, rational person to conclude that Paderanga may not have acquired the
was never refuted in any way by Respondent Paderanga who may properties prior to the judicial action of execution. Even if the City
have skirted the issue by inadvertence or by design. The letter dated Prosecutor found no prima facie case of falsification, this
March 1, 2002 indicates that the Panaguinip spouses still believe and Commissioner finds substantial evidence to support a conclusion that
assert ownership over these properties despite the existence of a Respondent Paderanga committed an ethical violation and should be
Deed of Sale allegedly dated March 5, 2002. Complainant also went meted the penalty of suspension of five (5) years from the practice of
further by attaching an Affidavit by a Third Person who stated that the law.
Panaguinip spouses still assert ownership over the parcel of land and
vehicle. IBP Board of Governors

Moreover, Complainant alleged that Respondent invited him The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved, with modification,
consecutive times after the issuance of the writ of execution in the the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner,
lower court; the first was at the Majestic Restaurant, the second was at viz:
Club Cebu at Waterfront Hotel. There was an offer to settle the
judgment award of P100,000. During the first meeting, the offer was x x x finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on
P3,000, on the second meeting, this time with the Panaguinip spouses, record and the applicable laws and rules, and considering that a lawyer
the offer was P10,000. When Complainant refused to settle with ought to know that he cannot acquire the property of his client which is
Respondent, he received a copy of the Affidavit of Third-Party Claim a in litigation, Atty. Goering Paderanga is hereby SUSPENDED from the
few days later. practice of law for one (1) year.

Article 1491 of the Civil Code. It specifically states that: Issue

Art. 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase, even at Whether Atty. Paderanga engaged in unlawful and deceitful conduct
public or judicial auction, either in person or through the mediation of that will result in disciplinary action by the Court
Under Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a member of
(5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of superior and the Bar may be disbarred or suspended on any of the following
inferior courts, and other officers and employees connected with the grounds: (1) deceit; (2) malpractice or other gross misconduct in office;
administration of justice, the property and rights in litigations or levied (3) grossly immoral conduct; (4) conviction of a crime involving moral
upon execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or territory turpitude; (5) violation of the lawyers oath; (6) willful disobedience of
they exercise their respective functions; this prohibition includes the act any lawful order of a superior court; and (7) willfully appearing as an
of acquiring by assignment and shall apply to lawyers, with respect to attorney for a party without authority. In the present case, the Court
the property and rights which may be the object of any litigation in finds respondent administratively liable for engaging in dishonest and
which they may take part by virtue of their profession. deceitful conduct.

xxx Although respondent denied having acted as counsel for therein

defendants, the Spouses Panaguinip, in the forcible entry case filed by
This is a classic case where a lawyer acquired the interests of his complainant, his involvement in the said case was still highly suspect.
client in certain properties subject for execution. Regardless of the After the writ of execution had been issued on February 18, 2002, he
courts apparent lack of jurisdiction, Respondent Paderanga acquired went with defendants-spouses to amicably settle with complainant on

two separate occasions, ostensibly to protect his own interests. In cases wherein lawyers have similarly engaged in deceitful and
Complainant claimed that during those two meetings, respondent did dishonest conduct, the Court has imposed the penalty of suspension
not disclose his ownership over the properties in question, leading the from the practice of law ranging from six (6) months to one (1) year.
former to believe that respondent was, in fact, the counsel for
defendants-spouses. He averred that respondent and defendant In the present case, the Investigating Commissioner and the IBP Board
spouses initially offered a settlement of P3,000.00, which he refused of Governors recommended a penalty of suspension to be imposed
as he had already spent P10,000.00 on court expenses. On their upon respondent for five (5) years and one (1) year, respectively. The
second meeting, the offer had been raised to P25,000.00, which again Court, however, believes that a penalty of one (1) year is more
complainant declined, as the latter had, at that time, spent P25,000.00. commensurate to respondents deceitful and dishonest conduct.
Complainant maintained that it was only after said meetings had
transpired that he received the affidavit of a third-party claim executed Dispositive Portion
by respondent, stating that the latter was the owner of the property and
motor vehicle. On the other hand, respondent claimed that the WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Goering G.C. Paderanga is found
meetings took place in April 2002, after he had filed a third-party claim. guilty of engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct, and is
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) year, with a stern
Had respondent been the rightful owner of a parcel of land and motor warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense in the future
vehicle that were still registered in the name of defendants-spouses, would result in the imposition of a more severe penalty.
he should have immediately disclosed such fact immediately and filed
a third- party claim, as time was of the essence. Moreover, in their ATTY. GODOFREDO C. MANIPUD, Complainant,
letter dated March 1, 2002, defendants-spouses did not mention any
transfer of ownership of the said properties to respondent, as the vs.
former still believed that they owned the same. The continued
possession and ownership by defendants-spouses was also attested ATTY. FELICIANO M. BAUTISTA, Respondent.
to by a certain Brigida Lines, who executed an Affidavit in favor of
complainant. Atty. Godofredo C. Manipud filed a complaint for disbarment against
Atty. Feliciano M. Bautista for alleged commission of forum
Based on the foregoing, the Court is more inclined to believe that when shopping in violation of his attorneys oath and in violation of Canon
complainant and defendants-spouses failed to reach an agreement, 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and for
respondent came forward as a third-party claimant to prevent the levy improper conduct.
and execution of said properties. He, therefore, violated Rule 1.01 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that a lawyer Complainant narrated that he was a mortgagee of the property
shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. allegedly owned by Jovita de Macasieb. When the mortgagor failed to
Under this rule, conduct has been construed not to pertain exclusively pay despite demands, he filed an application for extra-judicial
to the performance of a lawyers professional duties. In previous cases, foreclosure of the said property with the Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio
the Court has held that a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for Sheriff of the Regional Trial Court in Dagupan City. Thereafter, a Notice
misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity, which of Extrajudicial Sale was issued and the public auction was scheduled
shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good on April 1, 2005.
demeanor; or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.
However, on March 22, 2005, Atty. Bautista, as counsel for the
Notably, in the falsification case earlier filed, complainant was able to mortgagor, filed with the Regional Trial Court a verified complaint for
cite several irregularities in the documents evidencing the deeds of "Annulment of Real Estate Mortgage and Notice of Extrajudicial Sale
sale in question: the non-registration by respondent of the sale with Prayer for Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary
transactions; a Community Tax Certificate number appearing on said Restraining Order with Damages".
deeds which was different from that issued to defendant Ma. Teresa
Panaguinip; and the erasures of the entries pertaining to said deeds Thus, upon application of complainant-mortgagee, the sheriff caused
from the Notarial Register. another Notice of Extrajudicial Sale. The public auction was scheduled
on July 29, 2005. However, on July 20, 2005, Atty. Bautista filed
Of these irregularities, only one can directly be attributable to another case for annulment of real estate mortgage .
respondent his non-registration of the sale transaction. He argues that
the sales were valid despite non-registration, and maintained that it According to complainant, the two complaints for annulment of real
was perfectly normal and regular for a lawyer like him to choose not to estate mortgage filed by respondent contained the same allegations,
register and cause the transfer of title of the land and the FUSO involved the same parties, the same subject matter, the same facts,
jeepney after the execution of the Deeds of Sale, so the transactions the same issues and sought the same relief. Complainant argued that
would not appear in the records of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the the act of respondent of filing the two complaints constitutes a clear
City Assessor or the Register of Deeds, on the Land Registration case of forum shopping, an improper conduct which tends to degrade
Office. He added that he had also bought four lots, which had not yet the administration of justice, and a violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of
been transferred to his name, for estate planning or speculation the Code of Professional Responsibility which commands all lawyers to
purposes. He claimed that he found it legally wise not to immediately uphold at all times the dignity and integrity of the legal profession.
register after buying so that he would not pay for the expenses of the
sale and transfer twice, once he decided to sell; or place them in his In his Comment, Atty. Bautista alleged that the filing of the second
childrens name, and avoid paying estate and inheritance taxes upon complaint for annulment of the extrajudicial sale was a desperate
his death. attempt on his part to restrain the sale of his clients property; that he is
not guilty of forum shopping because he did not act willfully, maliciously
Respondent violated the Lawyers Oath, which mandates that he and with ill-intent; that he disclosed in the Certificate of Non-Forum
should support the Constitution, obey the laws as well as the legal Shopping of the second complaint the pendency of the first complaint,
orders of the duly constituted authorities therein, and do no falsehood as well as in paragraphs 18, 20 and 22 of the said second complaint;
or not consent to the doing of any in court. Further, he has also failed that he filed the second complaint out of pity for his client who was
to live up to the standard set by law that he should refrain from about to lose her family home due to the unconscionably high monthly
counseling or abetting activities aimed at defiance of the law or at interest being charged by complainant; and that his prompt filing of a
lessening confidence in the legal system. Respondents act of non- motion to withdraw the second complaint was indicative of his good
registration of the deeds of sale to avoid paying tax may not be illegal faith.
per se; but, as a servant of the law, a lawyer should make himself an
exemplar for others to emulate. The responsibilities of a lawyer are On January 29, 2007, the case was referred to the Integrated Bar of
greater than those of a private citizen. He is looked up to in the the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation.
community. Respondent must have forgotten that a lawyer must refrain
from committing acts which give even a semblance of impropriety to In his Position Paper, complainant alleged that herein respondent,
the profession. Atty. Bautista, is a nephew of Jovita de Macasieb. Although the
loans which were obtained in 2003 appeared to have been received by
Jovita de Macasieb, complainant learned, particularly on October 3,
2006, that Macasieb has been dead since October 16, 1968.

Complainant alleged that respondent collaborated with an impostor in Responsibility and for improper conduct. He argued that the IBP
filing the two complaints for annulment of extra-judicial sale. Although should have also discussed and resolved respondents act of allegedly
the plaintiff in said complaints was referred to as JOVITA DE resurrecting Jovita de Macasieb from the dead and for allowing
MACASIEB, the complaints however were signed by one JOVITA an impostor to impersonate the dead.
MACASIEB. Complainant argued that respondent intentionally resorted
to this ploy in order to mislead the former. Since respondent was the Even assuming to be true complainants allegation that he only learned
one who notarized both complaints hence, he should know that on October 3, 2006, that the mortgagor, Jovita de Macasieb, has been
JOVITA DE MACASIEB who was his aunt, and JOVITA MACASIEB dead since 1968, still he failed to raise this issue at the Mandatory
who signed both complaints, are two different persons. Complainant Conference before the IBP where the issues were defined. The
averred that respondents act of resurrecting a dead person not transcript of stenographic notes taken during the mandatory
once but twice for the purpose of unjustly enriching themselves conference on September 13, 2007, long after complainant allegedly
demonstrates a character not befitting a member of the legal knew of the death of Jovita de Macasieb, shows that respondents act
profession. of allegedly resurrecting Jovita de Macasieb from the dead and for
allowing an impostor to impersonate the dead was never raised as an
In his Reply to complainants Position Paper, respondent alleged that issue.
the only issue for resolution before the IBP is whether he violated the
rule on forum shopping; that assuming the IBP could validly take Thus, since respondents act of allegedly resurrecting Jovita de
cognizance of other issues, still it was complainants fault that he Macasieb from the dead and for allowing an impostor to impersonate
transacted with an impostor; and that he did not know the person of the dead was never raised as an issue before this Court or the IBP,
Jovita Macasieb until the latter hired his services as lawyer. then complainant could not raise the same in this late stage of the
In the Report and Recommendation of Investigating Commissioner
Atty. Lolita A. Quisumbing, she found that respondent is not ACCORDINGLY, Resolution of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
administratively liable for lack of showing that the filing of the DISMISSING the complaint for alleged commission of forum
second complaint was done deliberately and willfully to commit shopping in violation of his attorneys oath and in violation of Canon 1,
forum shopping. Thus: Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and for improper
conduct filed by Atty. Godofredo C. Manipud against Atty. Feliciano M.
To merit disciplinary action, forum shopping must be willful and Baustista, is AFFIRMED.
deliberate. Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court requires that,
should there be any pending action or claim before any court, tribunal SO ORDERED.
or quasi-judicial agency, a complete statement of its status should be
given. NESTLE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner,

The respondent should not be blamed for the institution of the second vs.
complaint. He was misled by the very act of the complainant.
Complainant had filed the application for foreclosure on December 20, HON. AUGUSTO S. SANCHEZ, MINISTER OF LABOR AND
2004. All that he had to do was request the sheriff with whom he had EMPLOYMENT and THE UNION OF FILIPRO EMPLOYEES,
filed the application to proceed with the foreclosure. There is absolutely respondents.
no need for complainant to make a second application. In making the
second application, it was impressed upon the mind of the respondent KIMBERLY INDEPENDENT LABOR UNION FOR SOLIDARITY,
that it was another foreclosure. ACTIVISM AND NATIONALISM-OLALIA, petitioner,

In sum, respondent acted in good faith in filing the second vs.

complaint since it was established that it was his immediate
reaction upon finding out that a second application for NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, MANUEL
extrajudicial foreclosure was filed. If, indeed, there was intent to AGUILAR, MA. ESTRELLA ALDAS, CAPT. REY L. LANADA, COL.
commit forum-shopping, he would not have alleged in the second VIVENCIO MANAIG and KIMBERLY-CLARK PHILIPPINES, INC.,
complaint the fact of filing of the first complaint and attached a copy of respondents.
the same.
The objective of the rule against forum-shopping was cited in
Municipality of Taguig, et al vs. Court of Appeals. Said the During the period July 8-10. 1987, Union of Filipro
Supreme Court Employees (Filipro), and Kimberly Independent Labor Union (Kimberly)
intensified the pickets (group of people standing or marching near a
What is truly important to consider in determining whether forum place to protest something) they had been conducting since June 17,
shopping exists or not is the vexation caused the courts and 1987 in front of the Padre Faura gate of the Supreme Court (SC)
parties-litigants by a party who asks different courts and/or building. They set up pickets' quarters on the pavement in front of the
administrative agencies to rule on the same or related causes SC building, at times obstructing access to and egress from SCs
and/or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs, in the premises and offices of justices, officials and employees. They
process creating the possibility of conflicting decisions being constructed provisional shelters along the sidewalks, set up a kitchen
rendered by the different fora upon the same issues. and littered the place with food containers and trash in utter disregard
of proper hygiene and sanitation. They waved their red streamers and
In this case, no undue vexation was caused to the Court and petitioner placards with slogans, and took turns haranguing the court all day long
as the fact of filing of the first case was alleged in the second complaint with the use of loud speakers.
and secondly, soon thereafter, inasmuch as both cases were raffled to
the same branch, the first case was dismissed by the said Court. These acts were done even after their leaders had been
Hence, there was no danger of different courts ruling on the same received by Justices Pedro Yap and Marcelo Fernan as Chairmen of
issues. the Divisions where their cases are pending, and Atty. Jose Espinas
(Espinas), counsel of Filipro , had been called in order that the pickets
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, it is respectfully recommended that might be informed that the demonstration must cease immediately for
the Complaint against respondent ATTY. FELICIANO C. BAUTISTA the same constitutes direct contempt of court. The pickets were also
be dismissed for lack of merit. told that SC would not entertain their petitions for as long as the
pickets were continued. Thus, SC En Banc issued a resolution giving
The Board of Governors of the IBP adopted and approved the the said unions the opportunity to withdraw graciously. It required
findings and recommendation of the Investigating . Messrs. Tony Avelino. Lito Payabyab, Eugene San Pedro, Dante
Escasura, Emil Sayao and Nelson Centeno (union leaders of Filipro) in
Complainant filed before this Court a Comment on the Resolution of the Nestle case and their counsel of record, Espinas; and Messrs.
the IBP Board of Governors with Motion for Reinvestigation. He Ernesto Facundo, Fausto Gapuz, Jr. and Antonio Gonzales (union
claimed that forum shopping was not the sole issue raised for leaders of Kimberly) in the Kimberly case to appear before the Court.
resolution but also respondents alleged violation of the Oath of to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court.
Attorney in relation to the Canons of the Code of Professional

Espinas was further required to show cause why he should not be host of a television and radio program for (1) grossly immoral conduct;
administratively dealt with. (2) violation of lawyers oath and (3) disrespect to the courts and to
investigating prosecutors.
Espinas, for himself and in behalf of the union leaders
concerned, apologized to the SC for the above-described acts, On June 22, 2004, a certain Alberto Cordero bought from a
together with an assurance that they will not be repeated. He also grocery canned goods including a can of CDO Liver spread, and as he
manifested to the SC that the cited persons understand why their and his relatives were eating bread with the CDO Liver spread, they
actions were wrong and are willing to suffer the required penalty. He found the spread to be sour and soon discovered a colony of worms
further prayed for SCs leniency as the picket was actually inside the can. His wife filed a complaint with the Bureau of Food and
spearheaded by "Pagkakaisa ng Mangagawa sa Timog Katagalogan" Drug Administration (BFAD) and a laboratory examination confirmed
(PAMANTIK), and not by Filipro or Kimberly. To confirm for the record the presence of parasites in the Liver spread.
that the persons cited for contempt fully understood the reason for the
citation and that they will abide by their promise that said incident will The BFAD conducted a conciliation hearing during which the
not be repeated, SC required Filipro and Kimberly to submit a written spouses Cordero demanded P150,000 as damages from Foodsphere.
manifestation to this effect, which respondents complied with. The latter refused to heed the demand, for being in contravention of
company policy and, in any event, "outrageous." Complainant instead
Issue: offered to return actual medical and incidental expenses incurred by
the Corderos as long as they were supported by receipts, but the offer
Whether or not Espinas, as their counsel, is liable for the acts of was turned down and the Corderos threatened to bring the matter to
Filipro, that resulted to the latter being cited for contempt. the attention of the media.

Ruling: Mauricio (respondent) sent Foodsphere via fax a copy of the

front page of the tabloid containing articles maligning, discrediting and
No. SC accepted apologies offered by Filipro and Kimberly imputing vices and defects to it and its products. Respondent
and waived the imposition of the sanction warranted by their threatened to publish the articles unless complainant gave in to the
contemptuous acts. However, the SC will not hesitate in future similar P150,000 demand of the Corderos. Complainant reiterated its counter-
situations to apply the full force of the law and punish for contempt offer earlier conveyed to the Corderos, but respondent turned it down.
those who attempt to pressure the Court into acting one way or the
other in any case pending before it. Respondent later proposed to settle the matter for P50,000,
P15,000 of which would go to the Corderos and P35,000 to his Batas
Grievances, if any, must be ventilated through the proper Foundation directed complainant to place paid advertisements in the
channels, i.e., through appropriate petitions, motions or other tabloids and television program. The Corderos eventually forged a
pleadings in keeping with the respect due to the Courts as impartial KASUNDUAN seeking the withdrawal of their complaint before the
administrators of justice entitled to "proceed to the disposition of its BFAD, however, it was dismissed, and respondent affixed his signature
business in an orderly manner, free from outside interference as a witness then later wrote in one of his articles/columns in a tabloid
obstructive of its functions and tending to embarrass the administration that he prepared the document.
of justice."
Respondent sent complainant an Advertising Contract
The right of petition is conceded to be an inherent right of the asking complainant to advertise in the tabloid for its next 24 weekly
citizen under all free governments. However, such right, natural and issues at P15,000 per issue or a total amount of P360,000, and a
inherent though it may be, has never been invoked to shatter the Program Profile of the television program KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS
standards of propriety entertained for the conduct of courts. "It is a also asking complainant to place spot advertisements with the
traditional conviction of civilized society everywhere that courts and following rate cards: (a) spot buy 15-second TVC at P4,000; (b) spot
juries, in the decision of issues of fact and law should be immune from buy 30-second TVC at P7,700; and (c) season buy [13 episodes, 26
every extraneous influence; that facts should be decided upon spots] of 30-second TVC for P130,000. As a sign of goodwill,
evidence produced in court; and that the determination of such facts complainant offered to buy three full-page advertisements in the tabloid
should be uninfluenced by bias, prejudice or sympathies." amounting to P45,000 at P15,000 per advertisement, and three spots
of 30-second TVC in the television program at P7,700 each or a total
The individuals herein cited who are non-lawyers are not of P23,100. Acting on complainants offer, respondent relayed to it that
knowledgeable in her intricacies of substantive and adjective laws. he and his Executive Producer were disappointed with the offer and
They are not aware that even as the rights of free speech and of threatened to proceed with the publication of the articles/columns.
assembly are protected by the Constitution, any attempt to pressure or
influence courts of justice through the exercise of either right amounts In his radio program, respondent announced the holding of a
to an abuse thereof, is no longer within the ambit of constitutional supposed contest sponsored by said program, which transcribed as
protection,. They also did not realize that any such efforts to influence "OK, at meron akong pa-contest, total magpapasko na o ha, meron pa-
the course of justice constitutes contempt of court. The duty and contest si Batas Mauricio ang Batas ng Bayan. Ito yung ating pa-
responsibility of advising them, therefore, rest primarily and contest, hulaan ninyo, tatawag kayo sa telepono, 433-7549 at 433-
heavily upon the shoulders of their counsel of record, Espinas, 7553. Ang mga premyo babanggitin po natin sa susunod pero ito muna
when his attention was called by SC, did his best to demonstrate to the ang contest, o, aling liver spread ang may uod at anong companya
pickets the untenability of their acts. Let this incident therefore serve ang gumagawa niyan? respondent further wrote an article captioned
as a reminder to all members of the legal profession that it is their KADIRI ANG CDO LIVER SPREAD and other articles and episodes
duty as officers of the court to properly apprise their clients on aired which put Foodsphere in bad light.
matters of decorum and proper attitude toward courts of justice,
and to labor leaders of the importance of a continuing educational Complainant thus filed criminal complaints against
program for their members. respondent and several others for Libel and Threatening to Publish
Libel under Articles 353 and 356 of the Revised Penal Code before the
The contempt charges against Filipro and Kimberly are Office of the City Prosecutor. The complaints were pending at the time
dismissed. No demonstrations or pickets intended to pressure or of the filing of the present administrative complaint. Further,
influence courts of justice into acting one way or the other on pending complainant also filed civil case against respondent. The pending
cases shall be allowed in the vicinity and/or within the premises of any cases against him and the issuance of a status quo order
and all courts. notwithstanding, respondent continued to publish articles against
complainant and to malign complainant through his television shows.
IBP granted the issuance of TRO and that all the defendants,
FACTS: their agents, representatives or any person acting for and in behalf are
hereby restrained/enjoined from further publishing, televising and/or
Foodsphere Inc. (complainant) is a corporation engaged in broadcasting any matter subject of the Complaint in the instant case
the business of meat processing manufacture and distribution of more specifically the imputation of vices and/or defects on plaintiff and
canned goods and grocery products under the brand name "CDO," its products.
filed a complaint against Atty. Melanio Mauricio Jr. (respondent)
popularly known as "Batas Mauricio", writer/columnist of tabloids and a

ISSUE: Whether or not the acts of Atty. Mauricio violated the Code of Plaza reportedly posted a P40-thousand bail bond.
Professional Responsibility and thus should be sanctioned.
Bagabuyo argued that the crime of murder is a non-bailable offense.
HELD: The court suspended Atty. Mauricio from the practice of law But Bagabuyo admitted that a judge could still opt to allow a murder
suspect to bail out in cases when the evidence of the prosecution is
for a period of 3 years.

Said respondent violated Rule 13.03 of the Canon of Professional But in this murder case, Bagabuyo said the judge who previously
Responsibility which reads: A lawyer shall not make public statements handled it, Judge Floripinas Buyser, described the evidence to be
in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion strong. Buyser inhibited from the case for an unclear reason.
for or against a party. The language employed by respondent
undoubtedly casts aspersions on the integrity of the Office of the City Bagabuyo said he would contest Tan's decision before the Court of
Appeals and would file criminal and administrative charges of certiorari
Prosecutor and all the Prosecutors connected with said Office.
against the judge.
Respondent clearly assailed the impartiality and fairness of the said
Office in handling cases filed before it and did not even design to Bagabuyuo said he was not afraid of being cited in contempt by Judge
submit any evidence to substantiate said wild allegations. Tan.

The use by respondent of the above-quoted language in his "This is the only way that the public would know that there are judges
pleadings is manifestly violative of Canon 11 and the fundamental there who are displaying judicial arrogance." he said.
Canon 1 also of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
In an Order dated August 21, 2003, the RTC of Surigao City, Branch
mandates lawyers to uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the 29, directed respondent and the writer of the article, Mark Francisco of
land and promote respect for law and legal processes. Respondent the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, to appear in court on September 20,
defied said status quo order, despite his (respondents) oath as a 2003 to explain why they should not be cited for indirect contempt of
member of the legal profession to obey the laws as well as the legal court for the publication of the article which degraded the court and its
orders of the duly constituted authorities. presiding judge with its lies and misrepresentation.

On the scheduled hearing of the contempt charge, Mark Francisco

Further, respondent violated Canon 8 and Rule 8.01 of the
admitted that the Mindanao Gold Star Daily caused the publication of
Code of Professional Responsibility which mandate, and by failing to the article. He disclosed that respondent, in a press conference, stated
live up to his oath and to comply with the exacting standards of the that the crime of murder is non-bailable. When asked by the trial court
legal profession, respondent also violated Canon 7 of the Code of why he printed such lies, Mr. Francisco answered that his only source
Professional Responsibility, which directs a lawyer to at all times was respondent. Mr. Francisco clarified that in the statement alleging
uphold the integrity and the dignity of the legal profession. that Judge Buyser inhibited himself from the case for an unclear
reason, the phrase "for an unclear reason," was added by the
newspaper's Executive Editor Herby S. Gomez.
ADM. CASE No. 7006 October 9, 2007
RE : SUSPENSION OF ATTY. ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO, FORMER Respondent admitted that he caused the holding of the press
SENIOR STATE PROSECUTOR conference, but refused to answer whether he made the statements in
the article until after he shall have filed a motion to dismiss. For his
refusal to answer, the trial court declared him in contempt of court
FACTS: pursuant to Sec. 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court and ordered to suffer
the penalty of 30 days in jail. The BJMP is ordered to arrest Prosecutor
This administrative case stemmed from the events of the proceedings Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo if he does not put up a bond of P100,000.00.
in Crim. Case No. 5144, entitled People v. Luis Bucalon Plaza, heard
before the sala of Presiding Judge Jose Manuel P. Tan, Regional Trial Despite the citation of indirect contempt, respondent presented himself
Court (RTC) of Surigao City, Branch 29. to the media for interviews in Radio Station DXKS, and again attacked
the integrity of Judge Tan and the trial court's disposition in the
Crim. Case No. 5144 was originally raffled to the sala of Judge proceedings of Crim. Case No. 5144.
Floripinas C. Buyser, RTC of Surigao City, Branch 30. In an Order
dated March 14, 2002, Judge Buyser denied the Demurrer to the In an Order dated October 20, 2003, the RTC of Surigao City, Branch
Evidence of the accused, declaring that the evidence thus presented 29, required respondent to explain and to show cause within five days
by the prosecution was sufficient to prove the crime of homicide and from receipt thereof why he should not be held in contempt for his
not the charge of murder. Consequently, the counsel for the defense media interviews that degraded the court and the presiding judge, and
filed a Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail Bond. Respondent Atty. Rogelio why he should not be suspended from the practice of law for violating
Z. Bagabuyo, then Senior State Prosecutor and the deputized the Code of Professional Responsibility, specifically Rule 11.05 of
prosecutor of the case, objected thereto mainly on the ground that the Canon 118 and Rule 13.02 of Canon 13.9
original charge of murder, punishable with reclusion perpetua, was not
subject to bail under Sec. 4, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. In the Order, the trial court stated that respondent was interviewed by
Jun Clergio, and that the interview was repeatedly aired on September
In an Order dated August 30, 2002,2 Judge Buyser inhibited himself 30, 2003 and in his news program between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m. on
from further trying the case because of the "harsh insinuation" of October 1, 2003. He was also interviewed by Tony Consing on October
Senior Prosecutor Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo that he "lacks the cold 1 and 2, 2003, between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. in his radio program. In
neutrality of an impartial magistrate," by allegedly suggesting the filing those radio interviews, respondent allegedly called Judge Tan a judge
of the motion to fix the amount of bail bond by counsel for the accused. who does not know the law, a liar, and a dictator who does not accord
due process to the people.
The case was transferred to Branch 29 of the RTC of Surigao City,
presided by Judge Jose Manuel P. Tan. In an Order dated November The hearing for the second contempt charge was set on December 4,
12, 2002, Judge Tan favorably resolved the Motion to Fix the Amount 2003. Respondent neither appeared in court nor informed the court of
of Bail Bond, and fixed the amount of the bond at P40,000. his absence. The trial court issued an Order dated December 4, 2003
cancelling the hearing "to give Prosecutor Bagabuyo all the chances
Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order dated he asks for," and ordered him to appear on January 12, 2004 to explain
November 12, 2002, which motion was denied for lack of merit in an in writing or orally why he should not be cited in contempt of court
Order dated February 10, 2003. In October, 2003, respondent pursuant to the facts stated in the Order dated October 20, 2003.
appealed from the Orders dated November 12, 2002 and February 10, However, respondent did not appear in the scheduled hearing of
2003, to the Court of Appeals (CA). January 12, 2004.
Instead of availing himself only of judicial remedies, respondent On January 15, 2004, the trial court received respondent's Answer
caused the publication of an article regarding the Order granting bail to dated January 8, 2004. Respondent denied the charge that he sought
the accused in the August 18, 2003 issue of the Mindanao Gold Star to be interviewed by radio station DXKS. He justified his response
Daily. The article, entitled "Senior prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge during the interview as a simple exercise of his constitutional right of
for allowing murder suspect to bail out," reads: freedom of speech and that it was not meant to offend or malign, and
was without malice.
SENIOR state prosecutor has lashed at a judge in Surigao City for
allowing a murder suspect to go out on bail. On February 8, 2004, the trial court issued an Order, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
Senior state prosecutor Rogelio Bagabuyo lambasted Judge Manuel
Tan of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 29 based in Surigao City WHEREFORE, finding preponderant evidence that Prosecutor
for ruling on a motion that sought a bailbond for Luis Plaza who stands Bagabuyo has grossly violated the Canons of the legal profession and
charged with murdering a policeman . . . . [is] guilty of grave professional misconduct, rendering him unfit to
continue to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging

to the office of an attorney, he is hereby SUSPENDED from the
practice of law. A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any violation of his oath, a
patent disregard of his duties, or an odious deportment unbecoming an
Likewise, he is also found guilty of indirect contempt of court, for which attorney. Among the grounds enumerated in Section 27, Rule 138 of
he is hereby ordered to suffer the penalty of IMPRISONMENT for the Rules of Court are deceit; malpractice; gross misconduct in office;
ninety (90) days to be served at the Surigao City Jail and to pay the grossly immoral conduct; conviction of a crime involving moral
maximum fine of THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00). Future turpitude; any violation of the oath which he is required to take before
acts of contempt will be dealt with more severely. admission to the practice of law; willful disobedience of any lawful
order of a superior court; corrupt or willful appearance as an attorney
The trial court found respondent's denials to be lame as the tape of his for a party to a case without authority to do so. The grounds are not
interview on October 2, 2003, duly transcribed, showed disrespect of preclusive in nature even as they are broad enough as to cover
the court and its officers, thus: practically any kind of impropriety that a lawyer does or commits in his
professional career or in his private life. A lawyer must at no time be
TONY CONSING: Fiscal, after the lapse of time, are you still hurt? Or wanting in probity and moral fiber which are not only conditions
have you not changed your mind yet? precedent to his entrance to the Bar, but are likewise essential
demands for his continued membership therein.
BAGABUYO: If my mind has changed at all, it is that I ensure that all
judges who are ignorant of the law should be disbarred. That's it. Lawyers are licensed officers of the courts who are empowered to
appear, prosecute and defend; and upon whom peculiar duties,
That's true, Ton, and this conviction I have now about judges who are responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by law as a consequence.
ignorant of the law is made firmer by time. I study everyday. I read new Membership in the bar imposes upon them certain obligations.Canon
jurisprudence and the law to insure that when I file the disbarment 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates a lawyer to
case against this Judge who does not know his law, I am certain that "observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial
he loses his license. . . . This judge who is ignorant of the law should officers and [he] should insist on similar conduct by others." Rule 11.05
not only be removed as a judge but should also be disbarred. Just take of Canon 11 states that a lawyer "shall submit grievances against a
a look at his Order, Ton, and see what a liar he is . . . . judge to the proper authorities only."

Yes, his Order said that . . . . Why did I say that he is a liar? It states Respondent violated Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 when he admittedly
that this Order was "given in open court," and in God's mercy, he did caused the holding of a press conference where he made statements
not state the amount of P100,000.00 as bail bond. . . against the Order dated November 12, 2002 allowing the accused in
Crim. Case No. 5144 to be released on bail.
Because he does not know the law, I said, "Your Honor, I have the right
to appeal." Then he came back and said, "BJMP, arrest Bagabuyo." Respondent also violated Canon 11 when he indirectly stated that
Judge Tan was displaying judicial arrogance in the article entitled,
He imposed a bail of P100,000.00. How come? This is where you will Senior prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge for allowing murder suspect
see his gross ignorance of the law. . . to bail out, which appeared in the August 18, 2003 issue of the
Mindanao Gold Star Daily. Respondent's statements in the article,
TONY CONSING: So what is your plan now? which were made while Crim. Case No. 5144 was still pending in court,
also violated Rule 13.02 of Canon 13, which states that "a lawyer shall
BAGABUYO: As I have said, I will only stop if he is already not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case
disbarred. . . tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party."

He got angry because I was allegedly bragging but he should know In regard to the radio interview given to Tony Consing, respondent
that it is not for a judge to determine if a person is a braggart. . . And violated Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional
what I said was based on the law. In fact, at that time, I said he is not Responsibility for not resorting to the proper authorities only for redress
conversant of the law, with regards to the case of murder... of his grievances against Judge Tan. Respondent also violated Canon
11 for his disrespect of the court and its officer when he stated that
I sat down. . . . That's it. But what was his purpose? He made me come Judge Tan was ignorant of the law, that as a mahjong aficionado, he
in order to humiliate me because he wanted me arrested, he wanted was studying mahjong instead of studying the law, and that he was a
me imprisoned, but because he is ignorant of the law, he ordered the liar.
BMJP. For God's sake, Mr. Tan, what's wrong with you, Mr. Tan?
Please read the law. What is your thinking? That when you are a Respondent also violated the Lawyer's Oath, as he has sworn to
judge, you are also a dictator? No way, no sir, ours is a democratic "conduct [himself] as a lawyer according to the best of [his] knowledge
country where all and everyone is entitled to due process of law you and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to [his]
did not accord me due process of law. . . clients."

TONY CONSING: So you are filing a disbarment case? We hope that As a senior state prosecutor and officer of the court, respondent should
this be given action with all the problems in the Supreme Court. have set the example of observing and maintaining the respect due to
the courts and to judicial officers. Montecillo v. Gica held:
BAGABUYO: I am not worried because I have a truckload of
jurisprudence that judges who are ignorant of the law must be removed It is the duty of the lawyer to maintain towards the courts a respectful
from the Bench. But what law has he been reading? I heard that he is attitude. As an officer of the court, it is his duty to uphold the dignity
a mahjong aficionado (mahjongero) and that is why he is studying and authority of the court to which he owes fidelity, according to the
mahjong. oath he has taken. Respect for the courts guarantees the stability of
our democratic institutions which, without such respect, would be
The trial court concluded that respondent, as a member of the bar and resting on a very shaky foundation.
an officer of the court, is duty bound to uphold the dignity and authority
of the court, and should not promote distrust in the administration of The Court is not against lawyers raising grievances against erring
justice. judges but the rules clearly provide for the proper venue and procedure
for doing so, precisely because respect for the institution must always
The trial court stated that it is empowered to suspend respondent from be maintained.
the practice of law under Sec. 28, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court for
any of the causes mentioned in Sec. 27 of the same Rule. Respondent WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Atty. Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo
was given the opportunity to be heard, but he opted to be silent. Thus, is found guilty of violating Rule 11.05, Canon 11 and Rule 13.02,
it held that the requirement of due process has been duly satisfied. Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and of
violating the Lawyer's Oath, for which he is SUSPENDED from the
In its Report dated January 4, 2006, the Office of the Bar Confidant practice of law for one (1) year effective upon finality of this
found that the article in the August 18, 2003 issue of the Mindanao Decision, with a STERN WARNING that the repetition of a similar
Gold Star Daily, which maligned the integrity and independence of the offense shall be dealt with more severely.
court and its officers, and respondent's criticism of the trial court's
Order dated November 12, 2002, which was aired in radio station AMADO T. DIZON, Complainant,
DXKS, both in connection with Crim. Case No. 5144, constitute grave vs.
violation of oath of office by respondent. ATTY. NORLITA DE TAZA, Respondent
The Office of the Bar Confidant recommended the implementation of This concerns an administrative complaint1 for disbarment against
the trial court's order of suspension dated February 8, 2004, and that Atty. Norlita De Taza (Atty. De Taza) for the latter's demand for and
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year, with a receipt of exorbitant sums of money from her client purportedly to
stern warning that the repetition of a similar offense will be dealt with expedite the proceedings of their case which was pending before the
more severely. Court.
The Court approves the recommendation of the Office of the Bar FACTS:
Confidant. It has been reiterated in Gonzaga v. Villanueva, Jr. that:

Amado Dizon (complainant) alleged that sometime in February 2005, Whether or not Atty. De taza should be held administratively liable for
he, along with his siblings engaged the services of Romero De Taza issuing bouncing checks, demanding and/or receiving money from her
Cruz and Associates to represent them in the case of Eliza T. clients under the guise of having the proceedings before the court
Castaneda, et al. v. Heirs of Spouses Martin and Lucia Dizon with G.R. expedited.
No. 174552.2 The complainant claimed that sometime in February
2007, Atty. De Taza demanded the sum of Seventy-Five Thousand RULING:
Pesos (P75,000.00) from him to expedite the proceedings before the
Court. This amount was over and above the parties stipulated retainer The Court acknowledges the fact that Atty. De Taza was not able to
fee as evidenced by a contract. refute the accusations against her. Numerous attempts were made to
afford her an opportunity to defend herself from the complainants
According to the complainant, unknown to him at that time was that, a allegations, but all these efforts were only met with silence. Whether
month earlier or in January 2007, Atty. De Taza had already demanded her transfer of residence was an unscrupulous move on her part to
and received a total of Eight Hundred Thousand Pesos (P800,000.00) evade her creditors, only she would certainly know. But as far as the
from his sibling Aurora Dizon, for the same reason that Atty. De Taza Court is concerned, all means were exhausted to give Atty. De Taza an
proffered to him, which was to expedite the proceedings of their case avenue to oppose the complainants charges. Her failure and/or refusal
before the Court. Handwritten receipts4 signed by one Atty. Norlita De to file a comment will not be a hindrance for the Court to mete out an
Taza were submitted by the complainant, which state: appropriate sanction.

15 Jan. 2007 The Court has time and again ruled that disciplinary proceedings are
Receipt investigations by the Court to ascertain whether a lawyer is fit to be
one. There is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. As this Court
That the amount received P300,000 shall be used to expedite the case held in Gatchalian Promotions Talents Pool, Inc. v. Atty. Naldoza, citing
which, in turn shall result in the following: In the Matter of the Proceedings for Disciplinary Action Against Atty.
Almacen, et al. v. Yaptinchay: "Disciplinary proceedings against
1. Decision favorable to plaintiff w/in 2 mos. from receipt of said lawyers are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, they do
amount; not involve a trial of an action or a suit, but are rather investigations by
the Court into the conduct of one of its officers. Not being intended to
2. Back rentals up to present should be returned, if the same should inflict punishment, [they are] in no sense a criminal prosecution.
not be included in the Decision, the 300,000.00 shall be returned. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. [They]
may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. Public interest is their
Signed primary objective, and the real question for determination is whether or
Atty. Norlita De Taza not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such.
Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls
18 Jan. 2007 upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of
Receipt the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal
profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by
The amount of P500,000 has been advanced as part of expense [sic] purging the profession of members who by their misconduct have
to expedite the process before the courts. The said amount has been proven themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties
advanced by Ms. Aurora Dizon and the same should be reimbursed to and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney.
her by her siblings upon winning the case with finality.
"In administrative proceedings, only substantial evidence, i.e., that
Signed amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as
Atty. Norlita De Taza adequate to support a conclusion, is required."29 Based on the
documentary evidence submitted by the complainant, it appears that
On October 24, 2007, the complainant went to this Court in Padre Atty. De Taza manifested a propensity for borrowing money, issuing
Faura, Manila and learned that the Court had already denied the bouncing checks and incurring debts which she left unpaid without any
petition on November 20, 2006, contrary to Atty. De Tazas reason. The complainant even submitted a document evidencing Atty.
representations that the case was still pending. He tried to De Tazas involvement in an estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa
communicate with Atty. De Taza, but she could no longer be found. (B.P.) No. 22 case filed before the Office of the City Prosecutor in
Angeles City (I.S. 07-J-2815-36) for drawing checks against a closed
Thereafter, on November 6, 2007, the complainant instituted a account, among other complaint-affidavits executed by her other
complaint for disbarment8 against Atty. De Taza. He also attached creditors. Such conduct, while already off-putting when attributed to an
several affidavits and documents from other individuals who attested ordinary person, is much more abhorrent when the same is exhibited
that Atty. De Taza issued bouncing checks and/or failed to pay off her by a member of the Bar. As a lawyer, Atty. De Taza must remember
debts to them. A certain Ana Lynda Pineda executed an affidavit which that she is not only a symbol but also an instrument of justice, equity
was attached to the complaint, alleging that Atty. De Taza issued 11 and fairness.
checks in her favor amounting to P481,400.00, which were all
dishonored by the bank. Demand letters sent to her went unheeded. "We have held that the issuance of checks which were later
dishonored for having been drawn against a closed account indicates a
Likewise, Darwin Tiamzon, a creditor of Atty. De Taza, whose Affidavit lawyers unfitness for the trust and confidence reposed on her. It shows
was attached to the complaint, averred that Atty. De Taza issued a a lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render her
check for P50,000.00 as payment for her loan. Said check was unworthy of public confidence. The issuance of a series of worthless
dishonored by the bank for being drawn against a closed account. checks also shows the remorseless attitude of respondent, unmindful
to the deleterious effects of such act to the public interest and public
Furthermore, a certain Eleanor Sarmiento submitted an affidavit, order. It also manifests a lawyers low regard to her commitment to the
stating that Atty. De Taza owes her P29,560.39 and failed to pay the oath she has taken when she joined her peers, seriously and
said amount despite repeated demands. irreparably tarnishing the image of the profession she should hold in
high esteem."
On November 14, 2007, the complainant through a letter15 informed
the Court that Atty. De Taza is planning to leave the country as she was Atty. De Tazas actuations towards the complainant and his siblings
joining her husband in the United States of America (U.S.A.). were even worse as she had the gall to make it appear to the
complainant that the proceedings before the Court can be expedited
Like the previous occasions, the copy of the Resolution dated and ruled in their favor in exchange for an exorbitant amount of money.
December 10, 2007 with the complaint was returned; this time, with the Said scheme was employed by Atty. De Taza just to milk more money
postal carriers notation "RTS-Unclaimed". The Court in its Resolution from her clients. Without a doubt, Atty. De Tazas actions are
dated September 9, 2009, held that the said copy of the Resolution reprehensible and her greed more than apparent when she even used
was deemed served and resolved to consider Atty. De Taza as having the name of the Court to defraud her client.
waived the filing of her comment. The case was referred to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and When a lawyer receives money from the client for a particular purpose,
recommendation. the lawyer is bound to render an accounting to the client showing that
the money was spent for that particular purpose. And if he does not
In its Report and Recommendation dated January 4, 2011, the IBP use the money for the intended purpose, the lawyer must immediately
Commission on Bar Discipline recommended that Atty. De Taza be return the money to his client.31 In this case, the purpose for which
suspended for a period of two years from the practice of law. Atty. De Taza demanded money is baseless and non-existent. Thus,
her demand should not have even been made in the first place.
The IBP Board of Governors modified the Commission on Bar Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court provides for the
Disciplines recommendation in a Resolution dated January 3, 2013, disbarment or suspension of a lawyer for any of the following: (1)
viz: Atty. Norlita De Taza is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of deceit; (2) malpractice; (3) gross misconduct in office; (4) grossly
law for one (1) year.25 (Emphasis supplied) immoral conduct; (5) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; (6)
violation of the lawyers oath; (7) willful disobedience of any lawful
ISSUE: order of a superior court; and (8) willfully appearing as an attorney for a
party without authority to do so.

respondent filed a barrage of cases/pleadings such as an appeal to CA
"Law is a noble profession, and the privilege to practice it is bestowed which affirmed the RTC ruling, a petition for review with SC which was
only upon individuals who are competent intellectually, academically denied for having been filed out of time; a petition for annulment of the
and, equally important, morally. Because they are vanguards of the law
RTC judgment which was dismissed by the CA; another petition for
and the legal system, lawyers must at all times conduct themselves,
especially in their dealings with their clients and the public at large, review before this Court which was again denied; a petition for
with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach."37 "The certiorari which was dismissed by the CA; another civil case before the
Judiciary has been besieged enough with accusations of corruption RTC of Mauban, Quezon which was dismissed for improper venue, res
and malpractice. For a member of the legal profession to further stoke judicata, and violation of the anti-forum shopping law and that it
the embers of mistrust on the judicial system with such irresponsible involved the same issues as the one filed in Pasig RTC. Moreover, he
representations is reprehensible and cannot be tolerated." filed several inhibitions, motions and an administrative complaint
against the presiding judge.
All told, the Court holds that there is no reason to deviate from the
report and recommendation of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline
which is to suspend Atty. De Taza from the practice of law for two He thus recommended that respondent be meted out the penalty of
years. suspension for four months. In its Resolution No. XX-2013-251 dated
20 March 2013, the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Norlita De Taza is hereby
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for TWO YEARS with a findings and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. Atty.
STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar Villaruel filed a Motion for Reconsideration on July 20, 2013, stating
infraction would be dealt with more severely. that he had only exhausted all possible remedies available under the
PATROCINIA H. SALABAO, Complainant, v. ATTY. ANDRES C. premises. With all candor and honesty, he believes that he was only
VILLARUEL, JR., Respondent. doing his legal duty as a lawyer to exhaust all legal remedies taking
steps within its framework. He has not done any wrongdoing while
taking such routes. He has never been dishonest. Atty. Villaruel
believes that he deserves an acquittal given the fact that it was not
shown that he acted in bad faith in taking such legal remedies. He
This is a complaint for disbarment filed by Patrocinia H. Salabao cannot also be charged with abuse of judicial process because
against Atty. Andres C. Villaruel, Jr. for abuse of court processes in Salabao has other recourse available to execute the said decision in
violation of Canons 10 and 12 of the Code of Professional her favor while there were petitions filed, complainant also did not
Responsibility. allege that respondent has abused the judicial process. The courts to
which the said petitions were filed also did not cite the respondent in
Salabao narrates that in 1995, she filed a case against Elmer Lumberio contempt of court nor was a warning given. Moreover, he is now
for his deceitful or fraudulent conduct of taking her precious real suffering from renal failure which requires him to undergo dialysis three
property situated in Taguig City. After hearing, RTC issued its (3) times in a week. To suspend him for four months would mean that
resolution in her favor in 2002. Atty. Villaruel then entered the picture he would stop his dialysis for four moths which may cause his
as counsel for Lumberio. From then on, Salabao complained that Atty. immediate death. This Honorable Commission would not be too happy
Villaruel had made her suffer because of his abuse of processes and to see one of its members begging for alms from PCSO and
disregard for her rights as a litigant. She narrates as follows: government officials to shoulder his dialysis of about P100,000.00 per

In 2002, Branch 162 of RTC, Pasig City, which tried Civil Case No.
65147 issued its resolution in her favor. In order to delay the case, Atty. In a subsequent Resolution No. XXI-2014-182 dated March 23, 2014,
Villaruel brought the case on appeal to CA under CA-GR CV No. the IBP Board of Governors affirmed its earlier Resolution and denied
76360. CA decided in her favor on January 13, 2004 but Atty. Villaruel respondent's Motion for Reconsideration, saying that there was no
again filed an appeal before SC under GR No. 167413. Lumberio lost cogent reason to reverse the findings of the Commission on Bar
and the case became final and executory. Undeterred, Atty. Villaruel Discipline.
tried to defer the execution of the decision of the RTC, by bringing to
CA a Petition for Annulment of Judgment under CA-GR SP No. 97564. ISSUE: W/N Atty. Villaruel is guilty of violating Rules 10.03 and 12.04
When rebuffed, he again appealed to SC under GR No. 181243 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
without a clear or new arguments other than what he had presented
before CA. Still, Respondent filed a Petition for Certiorari seeking to
annul the 29 November 2007 Order of the RTC before CA under CA-
GR SP No. 101992 which was however dismissed. From thereon,
there was not stopping the Atty. Villaruel. Once again he filed a new While it is true that lawyers owe "entire devotion" to the cause of their
complaint before the RTC of Mauban, Quezon, Branch 64 under Civil clients, it cannot be emphasized enough that their first and primary
Case No. 08-0666-M. Apart from this, Respondent filed several Motion, duty is not to the client but to the administration of justice. Canon 12 of
Inhibition and Contempt that were meant to delay the resolution of the the Code of Professional Responsibility states that "A lawyer shall
case. He likewise filed an administrative case against Judge Briccio exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and
Ygaa of RTC Branch 153, Taguig City. Salabao then complained that efficient administration of justice." Thus, in the use of Court processes,
Atty. Villaruel had done more than enough to suppress her rights as a the lawyer's zeal to win must be tempered by the paramount
winning litigant and filed this case for abuse of processes pursuant to consideration that justice be done to all parties involved, and the
Rule 10.03 and Rule 10.02 of Canon 10 and Rule 12.04 of Canon 12 lawyer for the losing party should not stand in the way of the execution
of the CPR. Atty. Villaruel, for his part, denied the accusation and of a valid judgment. This is a fundamental principle in legal ethics and
clarified that the several pleadings he had filed had centered on the professional responsibility.
legality of the court's decision ordering the cancellation of the title of
Lumberio in such ordinary proceeding for cancellation of the title. To Rule 138, Section 20, Rules of Court:
his mind, the said ordinary proceeding for cancellation of title before
the RTC Branch 153, Taguig City was void because the law vests upon
Duties of attorneys. - It is the duty of an attorney: To counsel or
the government through the Solicitor General the power to initiate a
maintain such actions or proceedings only as appear to him to be just,
reversion case if there is such a ground to cancel the title issued by the
and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable under
Land Management Bureau in favor of Lumberio. With respect to the
the law; Not to encourage either the commencement or the
civil case before the RTC of Mauban, Branch 64, he explained that the
continuance of an action or proceeding, or delay any man's cause,
said case does not show that herein counsel committed any act of
from any corrupt motive or interest;
dishonesty which may subject him to any prosecution as he is just
exercising his profession to the best of his ability.
Code of Professional Responsibility:

The Investigating Commissioner found that respondent relentlessly

filed petitions and appeals in order to exhaust all possible remedies to Rule 1.03 - A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest,
obtain relief for his client which he considered as tantamount to encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any man's cause.
abusive and a spiteful effort to delay the execution of Judgment. He
noted that after the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City, Branch Rule 10.03 - A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall
162 issued a Resolution in Civil Case No. 65147 adverse to his client, not misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.

Rule 12.02 - A lawyer shall not file multiple actions arising from the assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice, and violated
same cause. the Lawyer's Oath, Rules 10.03 and 12.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, and Rule 138, Sec. 20 of the Rules of Court. In so
Rule 12.04 - A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case, impede the doing, he is administratively liable for his actions. Rule 138, Sec. 27 of
execution of a judgment or misuse Court processes. the Rules of Court provides the penalties of disbarment and
suspension as follows: Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by
Supreme Court. - A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended
Because a lawyer is an officer of the court called upon to assist in the from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit,
administration of justice, any act of a lawyer that obstructs, perverts, or malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral
impedes the administration of justice constitutes misconduct and conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral
justifies disciplinary action against him. In this case, the judgment in turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take
favor of complainant had become final and executory by July 27, 2005. before admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience of any lawful
Respondent however proceeded to file no less than twelve (12) order of a superior court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an
motions and cases in various courts subsequent to the Entry of attorney for a party to a case without authority so to do. In light of the
Judgment. following aggravating circumstances - multiplicity of motions and cases
filed by respondent, the malice evinced by his filing of various motions
From the nature and sheer number of motions and cases filed, it is to prevent the judges and sheriff from fulfilling their legal duties,
clear that respondent's intention was to delay the execution of the final feigned ignorance of his duties as an officer of the court, and his lack
judgment. His other actions belie his claim of good faith. of remorse for his actions - the Court finds that a penalty of suspension
for 18 months would be commensurate to the damage and prejudice
It is quite clear that respondent has made a mockery of the judicial that respondent has inflicted on complainant Salabao for his actions.
process by abusing Court processes, employing dilatory tactics to
frustrate the execution of a final judgment, and feigning ignorance of
his duties as an officer of the court. He has breached his sworn duty to