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Deles v. Aragona, Jr.

AM No. 598; Mar. 28, 1969; J. Castro

Facts:

Aurora Soriano Deles, complainant , filed a verified letter-complaint against Atty. Vicente E.
Aragona, Jr. , respondent, for having made, under oath, false and unfounded allegations against
Deles in a motion filed in Court of Agrarian Relations, Iloilo, cases 1254 and 1255, which
allegedly caused her great mental torture and moral suffering.

The CAR Case -- an intestate court issued an order denying a proposed lease of 10 hectares of
the estate by Deles to one Carlos Fuentes and sustaining the possession of Enrique Soriano
(brother of Deles) as lessee of said land. In effect, the order likewise sustained the possession
by the brothers Federico and Carlos Aglinao of a portion of the said land being tenanted by
them upon authority of the lessee, Enrique.

IN DISREGARD OF THE ORDER, Deles attempted to take possession of the landholdings by


placing thereon her own tenants. The Aglinao brothers countered by filing against Deles two
petitions with the Court of Agrarian Relations, Iloilo. After a hearing, the men of Deles entered
the land in question and planted rice thereon, this unauthorized entry prompted Atty. Aragona to
file an "Urgent Motion for Issuance of Interlocutory Order" praying that Deles, her agent, or any
person acting for and in her behalf from interfering with the work of the Aglinaos in their
respective landholdings. Mrs. Soriano (wife of Enrique) went to see Atty. Aragano - she told him
that she was personally present when one Albert, a tenant of Deles, accompanied by armed
men, went to the land in question and harvested the palay thereon over the protests of the
Aglinaos; and that she was told that they were acting upon orders of the Deles. POSSESSED
OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION, Atty. Aragona promptly prepared and filed with the CAR an
"Urgent Motion to Declare [Deles] in Contempt of Court."

Issue/s:

Whether Atty. Aragona should be disciplined or disbarred for having prepared and filed under
oath the said motion.

Held:

No.
There is no evidence whatsoever tending to prove unfitness of the respondent to continue in the
practice of law and remain an officer of the court. Hence, the administrative complaint against
the respondent should be dismissed.

The charges levelled by the respondent against the complainant in the questioned pleading lack
sufficient factual basis.

The privilege of communication is not intended so much for the protection of those engaged in
the public service and in the enactment and administration of law; as for the promotion of the
public welfare, the purpose being that members of the legislature, judges of courts, jurors,
lawyers, and witnesses may speak their minds freely and exercise their respective functions
without incurring the risk of a criminal prosecution or an action for the recovery of damages.

The power to disbar attorneys ought always to be exercised with great caution, and only in clear
cases of misconduct which seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an
officer of the court and member of the bar.

There is no evidence whatsoever tending to prove unfitness of the respondent to continue in the
practice of law and remain an officer of the court. Hence, the administrative complaint against
the respondent should be dismissed.

Chavez vs. Sandiganbayan

Facts:

Civil case was filed against Enrile in the Sandiganbayan for alleged illegal activities made by
Enrile during the Marcos era. Enrirle filed a motion to dismiss and compulsory counter-claim.
In the counter-claim Enrile moved to implead Chavez and other PCGG officials on the basis that
the case field agaisnt him was a harassment suit. The motion to implead Chavez and others
was granted by the Sandiganbayan. Chavez and the PCGG officials raised the defense
that they are immune from suit by virtue of Sec. 4 of Executive Order NO. 1. It was found in the
records of the PCGG, declared by Jovito Salonga, the there are no proof linking Enrile with the
illegal activities performed by Marcos. It was further averred that the case filed against Enrile
was instigated by Sol. Gen. Chavez. Sol. Gen. Chavez defended himself by saying that he was
acting as a counsel and cannot by made a defendant in a counter-claim.

Issue: Whether or not Sol. Gen. Chavez can be made liable for damages in filing the suit
against Enrile.
Held: The court held that the grounds for allowing the compulsory counter-claim of Enrile was
based on the malice or bad faith of Chavez in filing the suit. It was further stated by the court
that immunity from suit is granted only because of the fact that the Commission has a multitude
of task. Immunity for suit on members of the PCGG and other public officers is available only if
such officers are acting in good faith and in the performance of their duty. If the acts done are
tainted with bad faith or in excess of authority they can be held liable personally for damages. In
the case at bar the Sol. Gen. exceeded his authority and his act is tainted with bad faith by filing
baseless suit against Enrile. His office does not give him the license to prosecute recklessly to
the injury of another. Thus he is made liable for his actions in the opinion of the court.

CARLOS SISON VS. GONZALOD. DAVID

Facts:

Gonzalo David made a petition for bond to stop the sale of a property covered in the will
of Margarita David. That the property to be sold is one of the properties inherited from
Margarita David which is not encumbered because all properties of the heiress Prisicilla
F. De Sison, wife of the plaintiff are mortgaged and the Prescilla Estate, Inc. is operating
on an overdraft which is the reason why these properties are to be sold. That the reason
there is an overdraft is that new buildings or improvements have been made as conjugal
properties of Carlos Sison and Priscila de la Fuente and now, the parapehernal
properties inherited from Margarita David is being sold to pay for the obligations of
these conjugal properties.

In the said petition, David made certain allegations which Sison claims damages
for since he averred that these allegations were made with malice and have caused him
mental anguish. David then put up the defense that such allegations in the petition for
bond are absolutely privileged communication since it is in contravention of the
provision to the Last Will of Testament of the late Margarita David. The Supreme Court
ruled in Davids favor.

ISSUE:

WON the allegations made in the petition for bond are considered an absolute
privileged communication.

HELD:
YES. The class of absolutely privileged communications is narrow and is practically limited to
legislative and judicial proceedings and other acts of state, including, it is said, communications
made in the discharge of a duty under express authority of law, by or to heads of executive
departments of the state, and matters involving military affairs. The privilege is not intended so
much for the protection of those engaged in the public service and in the enactment and
administration of law, as for the promotion of the public welfare, the purpose being that
members of the legislature, judges of courts, jurors, lawyers, and witnesses may speak their
minds freely and exercise their respective functions without incurring the risk of a criminal
prosecution or an action for the recovery of damages.

It is, thus, clear that utterances made in the course of judicial including all kinds of pleadings,
petitions and motions, belong to the class of communications that are absolutely privileged.

Hence, the "Petition for bond" of defendant herein is absolutely privileged, and no civil action for
libel or slander may arise there from, unless the contents of the petition are irrelevant to the
subject matter thereof.