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[A.C. No. 4058.

March 12, 1998] Sheriff III Wilfredo Mendez, proceeded

to levy on the properties of the losing
ATTY. ERNESTO B. FLORES sale at public auction was set in front
of the Baguio City Hall, per Sheriffs
PANGANIBAN, J.: Notice of Sale, of the properties of
Abundio Awal and Nicasio Aliping, two
of the losing members of the Board of
The Facts Directors of BENECO in the
aforementioned case.
Respondent claims in his comment
On February 25, 1993, Labor Arbiter that Branch 7, motu proprio,
Irenarco Rimando of the National dismissed Civil Case for lack of
Labor Relations Commission, Regional jurisdiction which dismissal was
Arbitration Branch, Cordillera became final due to respondents
Administrative Region, Baguio City, failure to perfect an appeal there from
issued a Writ of Execution in NLRC which claim according to the
Case No. RAB-1-0313-84 to enforce complainant, constitute[s] deliberate
the decision rendered by the Supreme misrepresentation, if not falsehood,
Court on May 18, 1992 in G.R. No. because the respondent indeed
89070 (Benguet Electric Cooperative, interposed an appeal such the RTC 7
Inc. vs. NLRC, 209 SCRA 55). of Baguio City transmitted the entire
The Writ of Execution was issued on record of case to the Court of Appeals
per certified machine copy of the
motion of Benguet Electric
letter transmittal of same date.
Cooperative (BENECO for short) to
collect the amount of P344,000.00 While respondent never essentially
which it paid to Peter Cosalan during intended to assail the issuance by the
the pendency of the case before the NLRC of the Writ of Execution nor
Supreme Court, on the basis of its sought to undo it the complaint which
decision ordering the respondent he filed prays for the immediate
board members to reimburse issuance of a temporary restraining
petitioner BENECO any amount that it order and/or preliminary writ of
may be compelled to pay to injunction for defendants Clerk of
respondent Cosalan by virtue of the Court and Ex-Officio City Sheriff to
decision of Labor Arbiter Amado T. cease and desist from enforcing the
Adquilen. execution and levy of the writ of
After issuance of the writ of execution, execution issued by the NLRC-CAR,
pending resolution of the main action
the respondent, as new counsel for
in said court which complainant
the losing litigant-members of the
likewise claims as an unprocedural
BENECO Board of Directors, filed a
maneuver to frustrate the execution
Motion for Clarification with the Third
of the decision of the Supreme Court
Division of the Supreme Court in G.R.
in G.R. No. 89070 in complete
No. 89070, the minute resolution to
disregard of settled jurisprudence that
wit: to note without action the
regular courts have no jurisdiction to
aforesaid motion.
hear and decide questions which arise
Thereafter, the respondent instituted and are incidental to the enforcement
a suit with the Regional Trial Court, of decisions, orders and awards
Branch 7, Baguio City, seeking to rendered in labor cases citing the case
enjoin the defendants Clerk of Court, of Cangco vs. CA, 199 SCRA 677, a
et al. from levying on their properties display of gross ignorance of the law.
in satisfaction of the said writ of
execution. On May 26, 1993, respondent again
filed for Abundio Awal and Nicasio
That case, however, was dismissed by
Aliping with the Regional Trial Court,
the Presiding Judge Clarence Branch 9, La Trinidad, Benguet,
Villanueva. separate complaints for Judicial
Accordingly, the Office of the Clerk of Declaration of Family Home
Court, MTC, Baguio City, through Constituted, Ope Lege, and thus
Exempt from Levy and Execution the
subject properties with Damages, etc. Among the other penalties, the
docketed as Civil Cases Nos. 93-F- said circular further provides that the
0414 and 93-F-0415, which are lawyer may also be subjected to
essentially similar actions to enjoin disciplinary proceedings for non-
the enforcement of the judgment compliance thereof.
rendered in NLRC Case No. RAB-1-
0313-84. He also filed an urgent In sum, it is clear that the
Motion Ex-parte praying for temporary respondent violated the provisions of
restraining order in these two (2) Canon[s] 10 and 12 of the Code of
cases. Professional Responsibility under
which the lawyer owes candor,
The complainant further alleges that fairness and good faith to the court
respondents claim for damages and exert[s] every effort and
against the defendant Sheriff is consider[s] it his duty to assist in the
another improper and unprocedural speedy and efficient administration of
maneuver which is likewise a violation justice.
of respondents oath not to sue on
groundless suit since the said Sheriff
was merely enforcing a writ of ISSUE:
execution as part of his job.

Investigating Commissioner Plaridel Whether or not respondent guilty of

C. Jose recommended, and the IBP violating Canons 10 and 12 of the
Board of Governors concurred, that Code of Professional Responsibility
respondent be suspended from the
bar for six months for:
1. Falsehood, for stating in his comment
before this Court that the order of the
RTC dismissing the complaint in Civil We adopt and affirm the recommendation of
Case No. 2738-R was not appealed on the IBP suspending the respondent from the bar,
time but we increase the period from six (6) months to
one (1) year and six (6) months.
2. Failure to comply with Supreme Court
Circular No. 28-91 on forum shopping

Circular No. 28-91,[5] dated September

Commissioner Jose ratiocinated: 4, 1991 which took effect on January
1, 1992, requires a certificate of non-
forum shopping to be attached to
A cursory glance of the complaint petitions filed before this Court and
filed by the respondent in Case before the the Court of Appeals. This circular
RTC of Baguio City, which complaint was was revised on February 8, 1994. The
signed and verified under oath by the IBP found that the respondent had
respondent, reveals that it lacks the violated it, because the complaint he
certification required by Supreme Court filed before the RTC of Baguio City
Circular No. 28-91 which took effect on lack[ed] the certification required by
January 1, 1992 to the effect that to the Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91.[6]
best of his knowledge, no such action or
proceeding is pending in the Supreme
Court, Court of Appeals or different
We distinguish. Respondents failure
divisions thereof or any tribunal or to attach the said certificate cannot
agency. If there is any other action be deemed a violation of the
pending, he must state the status of the aforementioned circular, because the
same. If he should learn that a similar said requirement applied only to
action or proceeding has been filed or petitions filed with this Court and the
pending before the Supreme Court, Court Court of Appeals. Likewise
of Appeals or different divisions thereof or inapplicable is Administrative Circular
any tribunal or agency, he should notify No. 04-94 dated February 8, 1994
the court, tribunal or agency within five which extended the requirement of a
(5) days from such notice. certificate of non-forum shopping to
all initiatory pleadings filed in all auction sale of plaintiffs property to
courts and quasi-judicial agencies avoid rendering ineffectual and
other than this Court and the Court of functus [oficio] any judgment of the
Appeals. Circular No. 04-94 became court later in this [sic] cases, until
effective only on April 1, 1994, but the further determined by the court.
assailed complaint for injunction was
filed on March 18, 1993, and the Civil Case Nos. 93-F-0414 and 93-F-0415 are
petition for the constitution of a family groundless suits.
home was instituted on May 26, 1993. The suits for the constitution of a family
home were not only frivolous and
In a long line of cases, this Court has
unnecessary; they were clearly asking for reliefs
held that forum shopping exists when,
identical to the prayer previously dismissed by
as a result of an adverse opinion in
another branch of the RTC, i.e., to forestall the
one forum, a party seeks a favorable
execution of a final judgment of the labor
opinion (other than by appeal or
arbiter. That they were filed ostensibly for the
certiorari) in another, or when he
judicial declaration of a family home was a mere
institutes two or more actions or
smoke screen; in essence, their real objective was
proceedings grounded on the same
to restrain or delay the enforcement of the writ of
cause, on the gamble that one or the
execution. In his deliberate attempt to obtain the
other court would make a favorable
same relief in two different courts, Respondent
disposition. The most important factor
Flores was obviously shopping for a friendly
in determining the existence of forum
forum which would capitulate to his improvident
shopping is the vexation caused the
plea for an injunction and was thereby trifling
courts and parties-litigants by a party
with the judicial process.[25]
who asks different courts to rule on
the same or related causes or grant We remind the respondent that, under the
the same or substantially the same Code of Professional Responsibility,[26] he had a
reliefs. duty to assist in the speedy and efficient
administration of justice.[27] The Code also enjoins
On March 18, 1993, Respondent him from unduly delaying a case by impeding the
Flores, acting as counsel for BENECO execution of a judgment or by misusing court
Board Members Victor Laoyan, Nicasio processes.
Aliping, Lorenzo Pilando and Abundio
Awal, filed with the RTC an injunction
suit praying for the issuance of a
temporary restraining order (TRO) to Falsehood
preserve the status quo as now
obtaining between the parties, as
well as a writ of preliminary The investigating commissioner also held
preventive injunction ordering the respondent liable for committing a falsehood
clerk of court and the ex officio city because, in this administrative case, he stated in
sheriff of the MTC of Baguio to cease his comment that he had not perfected an
and desist from enforcing by appeal on the dismissal of his petition for
execution and levy the writ of injunction. In his said comment, the respondent
execution from the NLRC-CAR, stated:
pending resolution of the main action
raised in court.] The indelible fact, however, is that
respondent did file an appeal which was

When this injunction case was perfected later on. The original records of the
dismissed, Respondent Flores filed injunction suit had been transmitted to the
with another branch of the RTC two appellate court. Moreover, the Court of Appeals
identical but separate actions both issued a resolution dismissing the appeal. ]Thus,
entitled Judicial Declaration of Family in denying that he had appealed the decision of
Home Constituted, ope lege, Exempt the RTC, respondent was making a false
from Levy and Execution; with statement.
Damages, etc., docketed as Civil
Case Nos. 93-F-0414 and 93-F- Respondent argues that the withdrawal of his
0415.] The said complaints were appeal means that no appeal was made under
supplemented by an Urgent Motion Section 2 of Rule 50 of the Rules of Court.
Ex Parte which prayed for an order to Respondents explanation misses the
temporarily restrain Sheriff Wilfredo V. point. True, he withdrew his appeal. But it is
Mendez from proceeding with the likewise true that he had actually filed an appeal,
and that this was perfected. False then is his
statement that no appeal was perfected in the
injunction suit. Worse, he made the statement
before this Court in order to exculpate himself,
though in vain, from the charge of forum
A lawyer must be a disciple of truth. Under
the Code of Professional Responsibility, he owes
candor, fairness and good faith to the courts.
He shall neither do any falsehood, nor consent
to the doing of any. He also has a duty not to
mislead or allow the courts to be misled by any
WHEREFORE, for trifling with judicial
processes by resorting to forum shopping,
Respondent Ernesto B. Flores is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a
period of ONE (1) YEAR and, for violating his oath
and the Canon of Professional Responsibility to do
no falsehood, he is SUSPENDED for another
period of ONE (1) YEAR, resulting in a total period
of TWO (2) YEARS, effective upon finality of this
Decision. He is WARNED that a repetition of a
similar misconduct will be dealt with more