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DAVID P. FORNILDA, JUAN P. FORNILDA, EMILIA P.

FORNILDA xxx xxx xxx


OLILI, LEOCADIA P. FORNILDA LABAYEN and ANGELA P. FORNILDA
GUTIERREZ, petitioners,
(5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, ... the
vs.
property and rights in litigation or levied upon on
THE BRANCH 164, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT IVTH JUDICIAL
execution before the court within whose junction or
REGION, PASIG, JOAQUIN C. ANTONIO Deputy Sheriff, RTC, 4JR
territory they exercise their respective functions; this
Tanay, Rizal and ATTY. SERGIO I. AMONOY respondents.
prohibition includes the act of acquitting by assignment
and shall apply to lawyers with respect to the property
G.R. No. 72306 October 6, 1988 and rights which may be the object of any litigation in
which they may take part by virtue of their profession.
FACTS: (Emphasis supplied)
• The Controverted Parcels were part of the estate of the late Julio
M. Catolos subject of intestate estate proceedings, wherein • Under the aforequoted provision, a lawyer is prohibited from
Respondent Amonoy acted as counsel for some of the heirs from
acquiring either by purchase or assignment the property or
1959 until 1968 by his own admission.
rights involved which are the object of the litigation in
• These properties were adjudicated to Alfonso Fornilda and which they intervene by virtue of their profession. The
Asuncion M. Pasamba in the Project of Partition approved by the prohibition on purchase is all embracing to include not only sales
Court on 12 January 1965 to private individuals but also public or judicial sales
• On 20 January 1965, or only eight (8) days thereafter, and while • At the time the mortgage was executed, therefore, the
he was still intervening in the case as counsel, these properties relationship of lawyer and client still existed, the very relation of
were mortgaged by petitioners' predecessor-in-interest to trust and confidence sought to be protected by the prohibition,
Respondent Amonoy to secure payment of the latter's attorney's when a lawyer occupies a vantage position to press upon or
fees in the amount of P27,600.00 dictate terms to a harassed client. From the time of the execution
of the mortgage in his favor, Respondent Amonoy had already
• Since the mortgage indebtedness was not paid, Respondent
asserted a title adverse to his clients' interests at a time when the
Amonoy instituted an action for judicial foreclosure of mortgage relationship of lawyer and client had not yet been severed.
on 21 January 1970
• The mortgage was subsequently ordered foreclosed and auction • Considering that the mortgage contract, entered into in
sale followed where Respondent Amonoy was the sole bidder for contravention of Article 1491 of the Civil Code is expressly
P23,600.00 prohibited by law, the same must be held inexistent and void ab
• Being short of the mortgage indebtedness, he applied for and initio.
further obtained a deficiency judgment.

ISSUE: Whether or not the mortgage constituted on the Controverted


Parcels in favor of Respondent Amonoy comes within the scope of the
prohibition in Article 1491 of the Civil Code.

HELD: YES
• The pertinent portions of the said Articles read:

Art. 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by


purchase even at a public or judicial or auction, either in
person or through the mediation of another:

Zenaida Resuma Razon


Disqualifications
Sales and Lease