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Samala vs Atty.

A.C. NO. 5439 ; JANUARY 22, 2007


This is a complaint filed by Clarita J. Samala against Atty. Luciano D. Valencia for Disbarment on the
following grounds: (a) serving on two separate occasions as counsel for contending parties; (b) knowingly
misleading the court by submitting false documentary evidence; (c) initiating numerous cases in exchange for
nonpayment of rental fees; and (d) having a reputation of being immoral by siring illegitimate children.

WON respondent violated his C\
de of Professional Responsibility.

Commissioner Wilfredo E.J.E. Reyes found respondent guilty of violating Canons 15 and 21 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility and recommended the penalty of suspension for six months.

The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the report and recommendation of Commissioner Reyes
but increased the penalty of suspension from six months to one year.

The Court held:

a. On serving as counsel for contending parties – Canon 21

The fact that respondent filed a case entitled "Valdez and Alba v. Bustamante and her husband," is a
clear indication that respondent is protecting the interests of both Valdez and Alba in the said case. Respondent
cannot just claim that the lawyer-client relationship between him and Alba has long been severed without
observing Section 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court wherein the written consent of his client is required.
Respondent's representation of Valdez and Alba against Bustamante and her husband, in one case, and Valdez
against Alba, in another case, is a clear case of conflict of interests which merits a corresponding sanction from
this Court.

b. On knowingly misleading the court by submitting false documentary evidence – Canon 10

Respondent cannot feign ignorance of the fact that the title he submitted was already cancelled in lieu
of a new title issued in the name of Alba in 1995 yet, as proof of the latter's ownership. What is decisive in this
case is respondent's intent in trying to mislead the court by presenting TCT No. 273020 despite the fact that
said title was already cancelled and a new one, TCT No. 275500, was already issued in the name of Alba.

c. On initiating numerous cases in exchange for nonpayment of rental fees – Dismissed for lack of
sufficient basis

The act of respondent of filing the afforested cases to protect the interest of his client, on one hand,
and his own interest, on the other, cannot be made the basis of an administrative charge unless it can be clearly
shown that the same was being done to abuse judicial processes to commit injustice.

d. On having a reputation for being immoral by siring illegitimate children – Canon 1, Rule 1.01

The Court found respondent liable for being immoral by siring illegitimate children. During the
hearing, respondent admitted that he sired three children by Teresita Lagmay who are all over 20 years of
age, while his first wife was still alive. In this case, the admissions made by respondent are more than enough
to hold him liable on the charge of immorality.
In sum, the Court found respondent Atty. Luciano D. Valencia guilty of misconduct and violation of
Canons 21, 10 and 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and suspended him from the practice of law
for three years.

297 SCRA 679 / GR no. 127107
October 12, 1998


Virgilio Dimatulac (SPO3) was shot dead at his residence in Pampanga. A complaint for murder was
filed in the MTC and after preliminary investigation, Judge Designate David issued warrants of arrest against
the accused. Only David, Mandap, Magat, and Yambao were arrested and it was only Yambao who submitted
his counter-affidavit.

Judge David issued a resolution finding reasonable ground that the crime of murder has been
committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof. Though it was not clear whether Pampanga
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Sylvia Alfonso-Flores acted motu proprio, or upon motion of the private
respondents, she conducted a reinvestigation and resolved that the Yabuts and Danny were in conspiracy, along
with the other accused, and committed homicide. Before the information for homicide was filed, the Petitioner
appealed the resolution of Alfonso-Flores to the Secretary of Justice. However, Provincial Proseutor Maranag
ordered for the release of David, Mandap, Magat, and Naguit. An information for homicide was also filed
before the Regional Trial Court.

Judge Raura approved the cash bonds of the Yabuts and recalled the warrants of arrest against them.
Private Prosecutor Amado Valdez, then filed a Motion to issue hold departure order and Urgent Motion to defer
proceedings. Judge Roura, deferred the resolution of the first Motion and denied the second. He also set the
arraignment of the accused.
The petitioners filed a Motion to inhibit Judge Roura for hastily setting the date for arraignment pending the
appeal in the DOJ and for prejudging the matter. They also filed a Petition for prohibition with the Court of
Appeals. Public Prosecutor Datu, filed a Manifestation and Comment with the trial court and opposed the
inhibition of Roura. He also stated that he will no longer allow the private prosecutor to participate.

Judge Roura voluntarily inhibited himself and was replaced by Judge Villon. The Petitioners filed with
the RTC a Manifestation submitting documentary evidence to support their contention that the offense
committed was murder. Judge Villon ordered for the resetting of the arraignment. The Yabuts entered a plea of
not guilty. The petitioners then filed a Urgent Motion to set aside arraignment. Secretary Guingona of the DOJ
resolved the appeal in favor of the petitioners. He also ruled that treachery was present.

The Yabuts opposed the Manifestation because they have already been arraigned and they would be
put under double jeopardy. The Secretary of Justice then set aside his order and the appeal was held not and
academic due to the previous arraignment of the accused for homicide.

Judge Villon denied the Motion to set aside arraignment. The motion for reconsideration was also
denied. Hence, this petition for certiorari/prohibition and mandamus.


 Whether Hon. Villon acted with grave abuse of discretion in proceeding with the arraignment and
for denying the Motions to set aside the arraignment.

 Whether the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor committed grave abuse of discretion in
reinvestigating the case without having the respondents within the custody of the law and for
filing the information pending the appeal of the resolution with the DOJ.

 Whether the Secretary of Justice committed grave abuse of discretion in reconsidering his order.

Alfonso-Reyes was guilty of having acted with grave abuse of discretion for conducting a reinvestigation
despite the fact that the Yabuts were still at large.

Though Sec. 5, Rule 112 states that;

“the prosecutor is not bound by the findings of the judge who conducted the investigation, the resolution
should be based on the review of the record and evidence transmitted.”

Hence, she should have sustained the recommendation since all the accused, except Yambao, failed to file their
counter-affidavits. It is impossible for Alfonso-Reyes to not have known the appeal filed with the DOJ. The
filing of an appeal is provided in Sec. 4, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court. There is nothing in the law which
prohibits the filing of an appeal once an information is filed.

Judge Villon acted with grave abuse of discretion for deferring the resolution to the motion for a hold departure
order. Since the accused were out on bail, the Motion should have been granted since they could have easily
fled. Though he is not bound to the resolution of the DOJ, he should have perused the documents submitted.

The DOJ was also in grave abuse of its discretion for setting aside its order. In doing so, it has relinquished its
power of control and supervision of the Public Prosecutor. The state has been deprived of due process.

Therefore, the dismissal of the case is null and void and double jeopardy cannot be invoked by the accused.
JON DE YSASI III, petitioner,
DE YSASI,respondents.
G.R. No. 104599 March 11, 1994

F.B. Santiago, Nalus & Associates for petitioner.

Ismael A. Serfino for private respondent.



Petitioner was employed by his father, herein private respondent, as farm administrator of Hacienda Manucao
in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental. He suffered various ailments and was hospitalized on two separate occasions.
He underwent fistulectomy, was confined for acute gastroenteritis and, thereafter, for infectious hepatitis.

During the entire periods of petitioner's illnesses, private respondent took care of his medical expenses and
petitioner continued to receive compensation. However, without due notice, private respondent ceased to pay
the latter's salary. Petitioner made oral and written demands for an explanation for the sudden withholding of
his salary. Both demands, however, were not acted upon.

Petitioner then filed an action with the NLRC for illegal dismissal with prayer for reinstatement without loss of
seniority rights and payment of full back wages, thirteenth month pay, consequential, moral and exemplary
damages, as well as attorney's fees. Said complaint for illegal dismissal was dismissed by the NLRC, holding
that petitioner abandoned his work. On appeal, said decision was affirmed in toto.

I. WON petitioner De Ysasi III abandoned his work.

II. WON respective counsel for both parties have faithfully observed their duty to encourage amicable
settlement and avoid litigation.

I. In order that a finding of abandonment may justly be made there must be a concurrence of two
elements, viz.: (1) the failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason, and (2) a
clear intention to sever the employer-employee relationship, with the second element as the more
determinative factor and being manifested by some overt acts. Such intent we find dismally wanting in
this case.

Private respondent himself admitted being unsure of his son's plans of returning to work. The absence
of petitioner from work was not without valid causes of which private respondent had full knowledge.
As to what convinced or led him to believe that petitioner was no longer returning to work, private
respondent neither explains nor substantiates by any reasonable basis how he arrived at such a

Moreover, private respondent's claim of abandonment cannot be given credence as even when private
respondent supposedly "became convinced" that petitioner would no longer work at the farm, the
latter continued to perform services directly required by his position as farm administrator.
Furthermore, petitioner's numerous requests for an explanation regarding the stoppage of his salaries
and benefits, as well as correspondence reporting his full recovery and readiness to go back to
work, and, specifically, his filing of the complaint for illegal dismissal are hardly the acts of one who
has abandoned his work.

II. The conduct of the respective counsel of the parties sorely disappoints the Court and invites reproof.
Both counsels may well be reminded that their ethical duty as lawyers to represent their clients with
zeal goes beyond merely presenting their clients' respective causes in court. It is just as much their
responsibility to exert all reasonable efforts to smooth over legal conflicts, preferably out of court and
especially in consideration of the direct and immediate consanguineous ties between their clients. The
useful function of a lawyer is not only to conduct litigation but to avoid it whenever possible by
advising settlement or withholding suit. He should be a mediator for concord and a conciliator for
compromise, rather than a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of litigation.

Rule 1.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly provides that "(a) lawyer shall
encourage his client to avoid, end or settle the controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement." On this
point, we find that both counsels herein fell short of what was expected of them, despite their avowed
duties as officers of the court.

Felicidad L. Oronce, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et. al.

298 SCRA 133

Facts: During a dispute over land, Flaminiano illegally took possession of the property in litigation
using abusive methods. She was aided by her husband, a lawyer. The illegal entry took place while
the case was pending in the CA & while a writ of preliminary injunction was in force.

Held: Atty. Flaminiano’s acts of entering the property without the consent of its occupants & in
contravention of the existing writ or preliminary injunction & making utterances showing disrespect
for the law & this Court, are unbecoming of a member of the Bar. Although he says that they
“peacefully” took over the property, such “peaceful” take-over cannot justify defiance of the writ of
preliminary injunction that he knew was still in force. Through his acts, he has flouted his duties as a
member of the legal profession. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, he is prohibited from
counseling or abetting “activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal
G.R. No. 80718, 29 January 1988

Nature: Special civil action for certiorari

Ponente: Cortes


The firewall of a burned-out building owned by petitioners Feliza De Roy et al.

Collapsed and destroyed the tailoring shop occupied by the family of private respondents
Luis Bernal et al., resulting in injuries to private respondents and the death of Marissa
Bernal, a daughter. Private respondents had been warned by petitioners to vacate their
shop in view of its proximity to the weakened wall but the former failed to do so.
Private respondents filed a case before the RTC, First Judicial Region, Branch
XXXVIII. The RTC ruled in favor of respondents, finding petitioners guilty of gross
negligence. The petitioners appealed to the CA, which affirmed the ruling of the RTC.
Petitioners then filed their a motion for extension of time to file a motion for
reconsideration on September 9, 1987, which was the last day of the 15 day period to
filed an appeal but was denied by the CA on September 30, 1987. They filed their
motion for reconsideration on September 24 but was denied in a resolution dated October
27, 1987. In denying the motion, the CA correctly applied the rule in the case of
Habaluyas Enterprises v Japzon where it was stated that the fifteenday period for
appealing or for filing a motion for reconsideration cannot be extended. Petitioners
contend that the rule enunciated in the Habaluyas case should not be made to apply to the
case at bar owing to the nonpublication of the Habaluyas decision in the Official Gazette
at of the time the subject decision of the Court of Appeals was promulgated.

Whether or not the rule in the Habaluyas case should be applied.


The non-publication of the Habaluyas case in the Official Gazette is not required
for it to take effect. The Supreme Court ruled that “It is the bounden duty of counsel as
lawyer in active law practice to keep abreast of decisions of the Supreme Court
particularly where issues have been clarified, consistently reiterated, and published in the
advance reports of Supreme Court decisions (G.R.s) and in such publications as the
Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) and law journals.”

[A.M. No. RTJ-01-1657. February 23, 2004]
BRANCH 19, CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY,[1] respondent.

May a retired judge charged with notarizing documents without the requisite notary commission more
than twenty years ago be disciplined therefor? This is the novel issue presented for resolution before this
The instant case arose when in a verified Letter-Complaint dated March 21, 2001 Heinz R. Heck prayed
for the disbarment of Judge Anthony E. Santos, Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, Cagayan de Oro City.
The complainant alleged that prior to the respondents appointment as RTC judge on April 11, 1989, he
violated the notarial law, thus:
Judge Santos, based on ANNEX A, was not duly commissioned as notary public until
January 9, 1984 but still subscribed and forwarded (on a non-regular basis) notarized documents
to the Clerk of Court VI starting January 1980 uncommissioned until the 9th of January 1984.
a) Judge Santos was commissioned further January 16th 1986 to December 31 st 1987 and January
6th 1988 to December 31st 1989 but the records fail to show any entry at the Clerk of Court after
December 31st 1985 until December 31st 1989.
b) Judge Santos failed to forward his Notarial Register after the expiration of his commission in
December 1989.[2]

WHEREFORE in light of the foregoing complainant pray[s] to order respondent:

1. To disbar Judge Anthony E. Santos and to prohibit him from all future public service.
2. To forfeit [the] retirement benefits of Judge Santos.
3. To prohibit Judge Santos from future practice of Law.
4. To file a criminal suit against Judge Santos.
5. To conduct a speedy investigation and not to grant/accept any delaying tactics from Judge Santos
or any agency and or public servants involved in this administrative case.
6. To pay all costs and related costs involved in this administrative case.

and prays for other relief in accordance with equity and fairness based on the premises. [3]

The complainant submitted a certification from Clerk of Court, Atty. Beverly Sabio-Beja, Regional Trial
Court, Misamis Oriental, which contained the following:

THIS CERTIFIES that upon verification from the records found and available in this office, the following data

1. The name Atty. Anthony E. Santos is listed as a duly commissioned notary public in the following
a. January 9, 1984 to December 31, 1985
b. January 16, 1986 to December 31, 1987
c. January 6, 1988 to December 31, 1989
2. Based on the records of transmittals of notarial reports, Atty. Anthony E. Santos submitted his
notarial reports in the ff. years:
a. January 1980 report - was submitted on Feb. 6, 1980
b. February to April 1980 report - was submitted on June 6, 1980
c. May to June 1980 report - was submitted on July 29, 1980
d. July to October 1980 report - submitted but no date of submission
e. November to December 1980-no entry
f. January to February 1981 - no entry
g. March to December 1981 - submitted but no date of submission
h. January to December 1982 - submitted but no date of submission
i. January to June 1983 - submitted on January 5, 1984
j. July to December 1983 - no entry
k. January to December 1984 - submitted on January 20, 1986
l. January to December 1985 - submitted on January 20, 1986
4. Records fail to show any entry of transmittal of notarial documents under the name Atty. Anthony
Santos after December 1985.
5. It is further certified that the last notarial commission issued to Atty. Anthony Santos was on
January 6, 1988 until December 31, 1989.[4]
In his Answer dated June 13, 2001, the respondent judge categorically denied the charges against him. He
also submitted a certification[5] from Clerk of Court, Atty. Sabio-Beja, to prove that there was no proper
recording of the commissioned lawyers in the City of Cagayan de Oro as well as the submitted notarized
documents/notarial register. The respondent further averred as follows:

That the complainant has never been privy to the documents notarized and submitted by the respondent before
the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental, nor his rights prejudiced on
account of the said notarized documents and therefore not the proper party to raise the said issues;

That the complainant was one of the defendants in Civil Case No. 94-334 entitled Vinas Kuranstalten Gesmbh
et al. versus Lugait Aqua Marine Industries, Inc., and Heinz Heck, for Specific Performance & Sum of Money,
filed before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, Cagayan de Oro City, wherein respondent is the Presiding
Judge. The undersigned resolved the case in favor of the plaintiffs.[6]

Pursuant to the report of the Office of the Court Administrator recommending the need to resort to a full-
blown investigation to determine the veracity of the parties assertions, the Court, in a Resolution dated
September 10, 2001, resolved to: (a) treat the matter as a regular administrative complaint; and (b) refer the
case to Associate Justice Edgardo P. Cruz of the Court of Appeals (CA) for investigation, report and
In his Letters dated December 10, 2001 and February 1, 2002, the complainant requested that the hearing
be held at Cagayan de Oro City. Justice Cruz initially denied the request but upon the complainants insistence,
the matter was forwarded to the Court, which favorably acted thereon in a Resolution dated July 8, 2002. [8] The
complainant presented his evidence in Cagayan de Oro City before retired Court of Appeals Justice Romulo S.
In a Sealed Report dated August 14, 2003, Investigating Justice Edgardo P. Cruz made the following

It is recommended that [i] respondent (who retired on May 22, 2002) be found guilty of violation of the
Notarial Law by (a) notarizing documents without commission; (b) tardiness in submission of notarial reports;
and (c) non-forwarding of his notarial register to the Clerk of Court upon expiration of his commission; and [ii]
that for these infractions, he be suspended from the practice of law and barred from being commissioned as
notary public, both for one year, and his present commission, if any, be revoked.[10]
According to the Investigating Justice, the respondent did not adduce evidence in his defense, while the
complainant presented documentary evidence to support the charges:

It is noteworthy that in his answer, respondent did not claim that he was commissioned as notary public for the
years 1980 to 1983 nor deny the accuracy of the first certification. He merely alleged that there was no proper
recording of the commissioned lawyers in the City of Cagayan de Oro nor of the submitted Notarized
Documents/Notarial Register. And, as already observed, he presented no evidence, particularly on his
appointment as notary public for 1980 to 1983 (assuming he was so commissioned) and submission of notarial
reports and notarial register.

On the other hand, the second certification shows that there were only two Record Books available in the
notarial section of the RTC of Misamis Oriental (Cagayan de Oro City); and that the (f)irst book titled Petitions
for Notarial Commission contains items on the Name, Date Commission was issued and Expiration of
Commission of the notary public. First entry appearing was made on December 1982.

If respondent was commissioned in 1980 to 1983, then the first book would disclose so (at least, for the years
1982 and 1983). However, he did not present said book. Neither did he present a certification from the Clerk of
Court, RTC of Misamis Oriental, or documents from his files showing that he was commissioned in 1980 to
1983. Similarly, he did not submit a certificate of appointment for all those years. Under Section 238 of the
Notarial Law, such certificate must be prepared and forwarded by the Clerk of Court, RTC, to the Office of the
Solicitor General, together with the oath of office of the notary public.[11]

Thus, the Investigating Justice concluded, based on the evidence presented by the complainant, that the
respondent notarized documents in 1980 and 1983 without being commissioned as a notary public therefor,
considering that his earliest commission of record was on January 9, 1984.[12]

The Procedural Issues

Before the Court passes upon the merits of the instant complaint, a brief backgrounder.

On the Applicability of
Resolution A.M. No. 02-

On September 17, 2002, we issued Resolution A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC, [13] to wit:

Some administrative cases against Justices of the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan; judges of regular
and special courts; and the court officials who are lawyers are based on grounds which are likewise grounds
for the disciplinary action of members of the Bar for violation of the Lawyers Oath, the Code of Professional
Responsibility, and the Canons of Professional Ethics, or for such other forms of breaches of conduct that have
been traditionally recognized as grounds for the discipline of lawyers.

In any of the foregoing instances, the administrative case shall also be considered a disciplinary action against
the respondent justice, judge or court official concerned as a member of the Bar. The respondent may forthwith
be required to comment on the complaint and show cause why he should not also be suspended, disbarred or
otherwise disciplinary sanctioned as a member of the Bar. Judgment in both respects may be incorporated in
one decision or resolution.

Before the Court approved this resolution, administrative and disbarment cases against members of the
bar who were likewise members of the court were treated separately. Thus, pursuant to the new rule,
administrative cases against erring justices of the CA and the Sandiganbayan, judges, and lawyers in the
government service may be automatically treated as disbarment cases. The Resolution, which took effect on
October 1, 2002, also provides that it shall supplement Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and shall apply to
administrative cases already filed where the respondents have not yet been required to comment on the
Clearly, the instant case is not covered by the foregoing resolution, since the respondent filed his
Answer/Comment on June 13, 2001.

The Procedure To Be Followed

In Disbarment Cases Involving
A Retired Judge For Acts
Committed While He Was Still
A Practicing Lawyer

The undisputed facts are as follows: (1) the respondent is a retired judge; (2) the complainant prays for his
disbarment; and (3) the acts constituting the ground for disbarment were committed when the respondent was
still a practicing lawyer, before his appointment to the judiciary. Thus, the respondent is being charged not for
acts committed as a judge; he is charged, as a member of the bar, with notarizing documents without the
requisite notarial commission therefor.
Section 1, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court on Disbarment and Discipline of Attorneys provides:

Section 1. Proceedings for the disbarment, suspension, or discipline of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme
Court motu proprio, or by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) upon verified complaint of any person.
The complaint shall state clearly, and concisely the facts complained of and shall be supported by affidavits of
persons having personal knowledge of the facts therein alleged and/or by such documents as may substantiate
said facts.

The IBP Board of Governors may, motu proprio or upon referral by the Supreme Court or by a Chapter Board
of Officers, or at the instance of any person, initiate and prosecute proper charges against erring attorneys
including those in the government service: Provided, however, That all charges against Justices of the Court of
Tax Appeals and lower courts, even if lawyers are jointly charged with them, shall be filed with the Supreme
Court: Provided, further, That charges filed against Justices and Judges before the IBP, including those filed
prior to their appointment to the Judiciary, shall be immediately forwarded to the Supreme Court for
disposition and adjudication.[14]

The investigation may thereafter commence either before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), in
accordance with Sections 2 to Sections 12 of Rule 139-B, or before the Supreme Court in accordance with
Sections 13 and 14, thus:

Section 13. Supreme Court Investigators. - In proceedings initiated motu proprio by the Supreme Court or in
other proceedings when the interest of justice so requires, the Supreme Court may refer the case for
investigation to the Solicitor General or to any officer of the Supreme Court or judge of a lower court, in which
case the investigation shall proceed in the same manner provided in Sections 6 to 11 hereof, save that the
review of the report shall be conducted directly by the Supreme Court.

Section 14. Report of the Solicitor General or other Court designated Investigator. Based upon the evidence
adduced at the investigation, the Solicitor General or other Investigator designated by the Supreme Court shall
submit to the Supreme Court a report containing his findings of fact and recommendations together with the
record and all the evidence presented in the investigation for the final action of the Supreme Court.

It is clear from the Rules then that a complaint for disbarment is cognizable by the Court itself, and its
indorsement to the IBP is not mandatory. The Court may refer the complaint for investigation, report and
recommendation to the Solicitor General, any officer of the court or a judge of a lower court, on which the
Court will thereafter base its final action.[15]
Although the respondent has already retired from the judiciary, he is still considered as a member of the
bar and as such, is not immune to the disciplining arm of the Supreme Court, pursuant to Article VIII, Section
6[16]of the 1987 Constitution. Furthermore, at the time of the filing of the complaint, the respondent was still
the presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, Cagayan de Oro City. As such, the complaint was
cognizable by the Court itself, as the Rule mandates that in case the respondent is a justice of the Court of Tax
Appeals or the lower court, the complaint shall be filed with the Supreme Court. [17]

The Substantive Issues

The Retirement Or Resignation

Of A Judge Will Not Preclude
The Filing Thereafter Of An
Administrative Charge Against
Him For Which He Shall Still
Be Held Answerable If Found
Liable Therefor

The fact that a judge has retired or has otherwise been separated from the service does not necessarily
divest the Court of its jurisdiction to determine the veracity of the allegations of the complaint, pursuant to its
disciplinary authority over members of the bench. As we held in Gallos v. Cordero:[18]

The jurisdiction that was ours at the time of the filing of the administrative complaint was not lost by the mere
fact that the respondent, had ceased in office during the pendency of his case. The Court retains jurisdiction
either to pronounce the respondent public official innocent of the charges or declare him guilty thereof. A
contrary rule would be fraught with injustice and pregnant with dreadful and dangerous implications... If
innocent, respondent public official merits vindication of his name and integrity as he leaves the government
which he has served well and faithfully; if guilty, he deserves to receive the corresponding censure and a
penalty proper and imposable under the situation.[19]

However, recognizing the proliferation of unfounded or malicious administrative or criminal cases against
members of the judiciary for purposes of harassment, we issued A.M. No. 03-10-01-SC [20] which took effect on
November 3, 2003. It reads in part:

1. If upon an informal preliminary inquiry by the Office of the Court Administrator, an administrative
complaint against any Justice of the Court of Appeals or Sandiganbayan or any Judge of the lower courts filed
in connection with a case in court is shown to be clearly unfounded and baseless and intended to harass the
respondent, such a finding should be included in the report and recommendation of the Office of the Court
Administrator. If the recommendation is approved or affirmed by the Court, the complainant may be required
to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court. If the complainant is a lawyer, he may further
be required to show cause why he or she should not be administratively sanctioned as a member of the Bar and
as an officer of the court.

2. If the complaint is (a) filed within six months before the compulsory retirement of a Justice or Judge; (b) for
an alleged cause of action that occurred at least a year before such filing and (c) shown prima facie that it is
intended to harass the respondent, it must forthwith be recommended for dismissal. If such is not the case, the
Office of the Court Administrator must require the respondent to file a comment within ten (10) days from
receipt of the complaint, and submit to the Court a report and recommendation not later than 30 days from
receipt of the comment. The Court shall act on the recommendation before the date of compulsory retirement
of the respondent, or if it is not possible to do so, within six (6) months from such date without prejudice to the
release of the retirement benefits less such amount as the Court may order to be withheld, taking into account
the gravity of the cause of action alleged in the complaint.

Thus, in order for an administrative complaint against a retiring or retired judge or justice to be dismissed
outright, the following requisites must concur: (1) the complaint must have been filed within six months from
the compulsory retirement of the judge or justice; (2) the cause of action must have occurred at least a year
before such filing; and, (3) it is shown that the complaint was intended to harass the respondent.
In this case, the Administrative Complaint dated March 21, 2001 was received by the Office of the Court
Administrator on March 26, 2001.[21] The respondent retired compulsorily from the service more than a year
later, or on May 22, 2002. Likewise, the ground for disbarment or disciplinary action alleged to have been
committed by the respondent did not occur a year before the respondents separation from the
service. Furthermore, and most importantly, the instant complaint was not prima facie shown to be without
merit and intended merely to harass the respondent. Clearly, therefore, the instant case does not fall within the
ambit of the foregoing resolution.

A Judge May Be Disciplined

For Acts Committed Before His
Appointment To The Judiciary

It is settled that a judge may be disciplined for acts committed prior to his appointment to the judiciary.
In fact, even the new Rule itself recognizes this, as it provides for the immediate forwarding to the Supreme
Court for disposition and adjudication of charges against justices and judges before the IBP, including those
filed prior to their appointment to the judiciary.[23] It need not be shown that the respondent continued the
doing of the act or acts complained of; it is sufficient that the evidence on record supports the charge on the
respondent, considering the gravity of the offense.
Indeed, there is jurisprudence to the effect that the act complained of must be continuing in order for the
respondent judge to be disciplined therefor. In Sevilla v. Salubre,[24] the respondent judge was charged with
violating Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, for acts committed while he was still a
practicing lawyer. The respondent therein refused to turn over the funds of his client despite demands, and
persisted in his refusal even after he was appointed as a judge. However, the Court also stated in this case that
the respondents subsequent appointment as a judge will not exculpate him from taking responsibility for the
consequences of his acts as an officer of the court.[25]
In the case of Alfonso v. Juanson,[26] we held that proof of prior immoral conduct cannot be used as basis
for administrative discipline against a judge if he is not charged with immorality prior to his appointment. We
ratiocinated, thus:

...[I]t would be unreasonable and unfair to presume that since he had wandered from the path of moral
righteousness, he could never retrace his steps and walk proud and tall again in that path. No man is beyond
information and redemption. A lawyer who aspires for the exalted position of a magistrate knows, or ought to
know, that he must pay a high price for that honor - his private and official conduct must at all times be free
from the appearance of impropriety. ...[27]

The Court ruled in that case that the complainant failed to prove the charges by substantial evidence.
The complainant therein presented evidence pertaining to the respondents previous indiscretion while still a
practicing lawyer; no evidence was, however, adduced to prove that the latter continued to engage in illicit acts
after being appointed to the bench. Thus, the respondent was exonerated in this case because the complainant
failed to present evidence that the indiscretion continued even after the respondent was appointed to the
The practice of law is so ultimately affected with public interest that it is both the right and duty of the
State to control and regulate it in order to promote the public welfare. The Constitution vests this power of
control and regulation in this Court. [29] The Supreme Court, as guardian of the legal profession, has ultimate
disciplinary power over attorneys, which authority is not only a right but a bounden duty as well. This is why
respect and fidelity to the Court is demanded of its members.[30]
Notarizing Documents Without
The Requisite Commission
Therefore Constitutes
Malpractice, If Not The Crime
Of Falsification Of Public
It must be remembered that notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. On the contrary, it is
invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as
notaries public.[31] Notarization by a notary public converts a private document into a public one, making it
admissible in evidence without the necessity of preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution. [32]
The requirements for the issuance of a commission as notary public must not be treated as a mere casual
formality.[33] The Court has characterized a lawyers act of notarizing documents without the requisite
commission therefore as reprehensible, constituting as it does not only malpractice, but also the crime of
falsification of public documents.[34] For such reprehensible conduct, the Court has sanctioned erring lawyers
by suspension from the practice of law, revocation of the notarial commission and disqualification from acting
as such, and even disbarment.[35]
In the case of Nunga v. Viray,[36] the Court had the occasion to state -

Where the notarization of a document is done by a member of the Philippine Bar at a time when he has no
authorization or commission to do so, the offender may be subjected to disciplinary action. For one,
performing a notarial [act] without such commission is a violation of the lawyers oath to obey the laws, more
specifically, the Notarial Law. Then, too, by making it appear that he is duly commissioned when he is not, he
is, for all legal intents and purposes, indulging in deliberate falsehood, which the lawyers oath similarly
proscribes. These violations fall squarely within the prohibition of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, which provides: A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct.[37]

The importance of the function of a notary public cannot, therefore, be over-emphasized. No less than the
public faith in the integrity of public documents is at stake in every aspect of that function. [38]
The Charge Against The
Respondent Is Supported By
The Evidence On Record
The respondent did not object to the complainants formal offer of evidence, prompting the Investigating
Justice to decide the case on the basis of the pleadings filed. [39] Neither did he claim that he was commissioned
as notary public for the years 1980 to 1983, nor deny the accuracy of the first certification. The respondent
merely alleged in his answer that there was no proper recording of the commissioned lawyers in the City of
Cagayan de Oro nor of the submitted Notarized Documents/Notarial Register. Furthermore, as found by the
Investigating Justice, the respondent presented no evidence of his commission as notary public for the years
1980 to 1983, as well as proof of submission of notarial reports and the notarial register. [40]
The respondent in this case was given an opportunity to answer the charges and to controvert the evidence
against him in a formal investigation. When the integrity of a member of the bar is challenged, it is not enough
that he deny the charges; he must meet the issue and overcome the evidence against him. [41]
The respondents allegation that the complainant was not a party in any of the documents so notarized, and
as such was not prejudiced thereby, is unavailing. An attorney may be disbarred or suspended for any violation
of his oath or of his duties as an attorney and counselor which include the statutory grounds under Section 27,
Rule 138[42] of the Revised Rules of Court. Any interested person or the court motu proprio may initiate
disciplinary proceedings. There can be no doubt as to the right of a citizen to bring to the attention of the
proper authority acts and doings of public officers which citizens feel are incompatible with the duties of the
office and from which conduct the citizen or the public might or does suffer undesirable consequences. [43]
An Administrative Complaint
Against A Member Of The Bar
Does Not Prescribe
The qualification of good moral character is a requirement which is not dispensed with upon admission to
membership of the bar. This qualification is not only a condition precedent to admission to the legal profession,
but its continued possession is essential to maintain ones good standing in the profession. It is a continuing
requirement to the practice of law and therefore does not preclude a subsequent judicial inquiry, upon proper
complaint, into any question concerning ones mental or moral fitness before he became a lawyer. This is
because his admission to practice merely creates a rebuttable presumption that he has all the qualifications to
become a lawyer.[44] The rule is settled that a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct, even
if it pertains to his private activities, as long as it shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity
or good demeanor. Possession of good moral character is not only a prerequisite to admission to the bar but
also a continuing requirement to the practice of law.[45]
Furthermore, administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own, distinct from and may
proceed independently of civil and criminal cases.[46] As we held in the leading case of In re Almacen:[47]

[D]isciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, they do 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 inflict punishment, [they are] in no sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly,
there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. [They] may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. Public
interest is [their] primary objective, and the real question for determination is whether or 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 upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the
end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice
by purging the profession of members who by their misconduct have prove[n] themselves no longer worthy to
be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. .... [48]

In a case involving a mere court employee [49] the Court disregarded the Court Administrators
recommendation that the charge for immorality against the respondent be dismissed on the ground that the
complainants failed to adduce evidence that the respondents immoral conduct was still ongoing. Aside from
being found guilty of illicit conduct, the respondent was also found guilty of dishonesty for falsifying her
childrens certificates of live birth to show that her paramour was the father. The complaint in this case was
filed on August 5, 1999, almost twenty years after the illicit affair ended. [50] The Court held that administrative
offenses do not prescribe.[51]
Pursuant to the foregoing, there can be no other conclusion than that an administrative complaint against
an erring lawyer who was thereafter appointed as a judge, albeit filed only after twenty-four years after the
offending act was committed, is not barred by prescription. If the rule were otherwise, members of the bar
would be emboldened to disregard the very oath they took as lawyers, prescinding from the fact that as long as
no private complainant would immediately come forward, they stand a chance of being completely exonerated
from whatever administrative liability they ought to answer for. It is the duty of this Court to protect the
integrity of the practice of law as well as the administration of justice. No matter how much time has elapsed
from the time of the commission of the act complained of and the time of the institution of the complaint,
erring members of the bench and bar cannot escape the disciplining arm of the Court. This categorical
pronouncement is aimed at unscrupulous members of the bench and bar, to deter them from committing acts
which violate the Code of Professional Responsibility, the Code of Judicial Conduct, or the Lawyers Oath.
This should particularly apply in this case, considering the seriousness of the matter involved - the respondents
dishonesty and the sanctity of notarial documents.
Thus, even the lapse of considerable time, from the commission of the offending act to the institution of
the administrative complaint, will not erase the administrative culpability of a lawyer who notarizes documents
without the requisite authority therefor.
At Most, The Delay In The
Institution Of The
Administrative Case Would
Merely Mitigate The
Respondents Liability
Time and again, we have stressed the settled principle that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege
bestowed by the State on those who show that they possess the qualifications required by law for the
conferment of such privilege. Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. A high sense of
morality, honesty, and fair dealing is expected and required of a member of the bar. [52] By his actuations, the
respondent failed to live up to such standards; [53] he undermined the confidence of the public on notarial
documents and thereby breached Canon I of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires lawyers to
uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal processes. The
respondent also violated Rule 1.01 thereof which proscribes lawyers from engaging in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct.[54] In representing that he was possessed of the requisite notarial commission
when he was, in fact, not so authorized, the respondent also violated Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and his oath as a lawyer that he shall do no falsehood.
The supreme penalty of disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect the
standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the court. While we will not hesitate to remove an erring
attorney from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers where the evidence calls for it, we will likewise not disbar
him where a lesser penalty will suffice to accomplish the desired end. [55] Furthermore, a tempering of justice is
mandated in this case, considering that the complaint against the respondent was filed twenty-four years after
the commission of the act complained of;[56] that there was no private offended party who came forward and
claimed to have been adversely affected by the documents so notarized by the respondent; and, the fact that the
respondent is a retired judge who deserves to enjoy the full measure of his well-earned retirement benefits.
The Court finds that a fine of P5,000.00 is justified in this case.
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Anthony E. Santos is found GUILTY of notarizing documents without
the requisite notarial commission therefor. He is hereby ORDERED to pay a fine in the amount of Five
Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00).
Puno, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez,
Corona, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, and Tinga, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., join Mr. Justice J. C. Vitug in his separate opinion.
Vitug, J., see separate opinion.
Jimmy Anudon and Juanita Anudon, Complainants v. Atty. Arturo B. Cefra, Respondent
A.C. No. 5482, 10 February 2015


Complainants Jimmy Anudon and Juanita Anudon are brother- and sister-in-law. Complainants ,
along with Jimmy’s brothers and sister, co-own a 4,446 square meter parcel of land located in Sison,
Pangasinan. Atty. Cefra notarized a Deed of Absolute Sale over a land owned by the complainants. The
names of petitioners appeared as vendors, while the name of Celino Paran, Jr. appeared as the vendee.
The complainants claimed that the Deed of Absolute Sale was falsified. They alleged that they did not
sign it before Atty. Cefra. The National Bureau of Investigation’s Questioned Documents Division
certified that Jimmy and Juanita’s signatures were forged. This was contrary to Atty. Cefra’s
acknowledgment over the document. Moreover, it was physically impossible for Jimmy’s brothers and
sister to have signed the document because they were somewhere else at that time. Due to the forgery of
the Deed of Absolute Sale, the Assistant Prosecutor, with Jimmy and Juanita as witness, filed a case of
falsification of public document against Atty. Cefra and Paran.

Whether or not the respondent guilty of violating the Notarial Law and Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility (CPR).

The Supreme Court agreed and adopted the findings of fact of the IBP-Investigating Commissioner.
The respondent violated Rule II, Section 1, and Rule IV, Section 2(6) of the Notarial Practice 2004, and
Canon 1 of the CPR.

The Supreme Court suspended the respondent from the Practice of Law for two years, revoked his
incumbent Notarial Commission, and perpetually disqualified him from being commissioned as a Notary
A.C. No. 10576, January 14, 2015, VILLARAMA, JR., J.:


This case started in 2004, Guarin was hired by Mr. Celso G. de los Angeles as Chief Operating Officer
and thereafter as President of OneCard Company, Inc., a member of the Legacy Group of Companies. He
resigned from his post effective August 11, 2008 and transferred to St. Luke’s Medical Center as the Vice
President for Finance.

On November 27, 2008, Atty. Limpin, the Corporate Secretary of Legacy Card, Inc. (LCI), another
corporation under the Legacy Group, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a
General Information Sheet (GIS) for LCI for “updating purposes”. The GIS identified Guarin as
Chairman of the Board of Directors (BOD) and President.

On July 22, 2009, Guarin filed this complaint with the IBP CBD claiming that Atty. Limpin violated
Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the CPR by knowingly listing him as a stockholder, Chairman of the Board and
President of LCI when she knew that he had already resigned and had never held any share nor was he
elected as chairperson of the BOD or been President of LCI. He also never received any notice of
meeting or agenda where his appointment as Chairman would be taken up. He has never accepted any
appointment as Chairman and President of LCI.
Atty. Limpin admits that she filed the GIS with the SEC listing Guarin as a stockholder, the
Chairman of the BOD and President of LCI. She averred that the GIS was made and submitted in good
faith and that her certification served to attest to the information from the last BOD meeting held on
March 3, 2008. She asserted that Guarin knew that he was a stockholder. Atty. Limpin said that on
October 13, 2008, she sent Guarin a text message and asked him to meet with her so he may sign a Deed
of Assignment concerning shareholdings. Guarin responded in the affirmative and said that he would
meet with her however, Guarin neglected to show up at the arranged time and place for reasons unknown
to Atty. Limpin. On the strength of Guarin’s positive reply, Atty. Limpin filed the GIS on November 27,
Moreover, Atty. Limpin stated that there were pending criminal complaints against LCI, where
she and Guarin are co-respondents, thus, “when the criminal prosecution based on the same act charged is
still pending in court, any administrative disciplinary proceedings for the same act must await the
outcome of the criminal case to avoid contradictory findings.”

Ruling of the IBP CBD: in favor of petitioner Guarin and that Atty. Limpin violated Canon 1, Rules 1.01
and 1.02 of the CPRi and thus recommended that she be suspended from the practice of law for three
months. Based on the evidence presented, it was noted that only Mr. Celso de los Angeles had the
authority to appoint or designate directors or officers of Legacy. Atty. Limpin was aware that this
procedure was not legally permissible. Despite knowing this to be irregular, she allowed herself to be
dictated upon and falsely certified that Guarin was a stockholder, chairman and president of the company.

ISSUE: Whether or not the disbarment case may prosper.

RULING: YES. Atty. Limpin is hereby suspended for 6 months. The SC ruled in favor of petitioner

Members of the bar are reminded that their first duty is to comply with the rules of procedure,
rather than seek exceptions as loopholes. A lawyer who assists a client in a dishonest scheme or who
connives in violating the law commits an act which justifies disciplinary action against the lawyer.
Disbarment proceedings are sui generis and can proceed independently of civil and criminal cases. As
Justice Malcolm stated “[t]he serious consequences of disbarment or suspension should follow only
where there is a clear preponderance of evidence against the respondent. The presumption is that the
attorney is innocent of the charges pr[o]ferred and has performed his duty as an officer of the court in
accordance with his oath.”rary
Grounds for such administrative action against a lawyer may be found in Section 27 Rule 138 of
the Rules of Court. Among these are (1) the use of any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in
such office and (2) any violation of the oath which he is required to take before the admission to practice.
There is no indication that Guarin held any share to the corporation and that he is therefore
ineligible to hold a seat in the BOD and be the president of the company. It is undisputed that Atty.
Limpin filed and certified that Guarin was a stockholder of LCI in the GIS. While she posits that she had
made the same in good faith, her certification also contained a stipulation that she made a due verification
of the statements contained therein. That Atty. Limpin believed that Guarin would sign a Deed of
Assignment is inconsequential: he never signed the instrument. We also note that there was no
submission which would support the allegation that Guarin was in fact a stockholder. We thus find that in
filing a GIS that contained false information, Atty. Limpin committed an infraction which did not
conform to her oath as a lawyer in accord with Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the CPR.
We also agree with the IBP that in allowing herself to be swayed by the business practice of
having Mr. de los Angeles appoint the members of the BOD and officers of the corporation despite the
rules enunciated in the Corporation Code with respect to the election of such officers, Atty. Limpin has
transgressed Rule 1.02 of the CPR.
However, considering the seriousness of Atty. Limpin’s action in submitting a false document we
see it fit to increase the recommended penalty to six months suspension from the practice of law.
[A.C. No. 2519. August 29, 2000]


complainants, vs. ATTY. SERGIO ANGELES, respondent.

On March 25, 1983, complainants filed a Complaint for Disbarment against Atty. Sergio Angeles
on the grounds of Deceit and Malpractice. The Affidavit-Complaint[1] reads as follows:

1.....The undersigned are plaintiffs in Civil Cases Nos. Q-12841 and Q-13128 of the Court of
First Instance of Rizal, Branch V at Quezon City;

2.....Atty. Sergio Angeles is their counsel of record in the said cases and his office is located at
Suite 335, URC Building, 2123 Espaa, Manila;

3.....That after receiving favorable decision from the CFI on May 21, 1973 and sustained by the
Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court an alias writ of execution was issued in said cases;

4.....That in the first week of January 1983 we obtained from the CFI a sheriffs return, dated
November 10, 1982, stating that no leviable property can be found in the premises of the defendants;

5.....That on or before January 13, 1983, we learned that Mr. Rodolfo M. Silva, one of the
defendants in said cases had already given Atty. Angeles a partial settlement of the judgment in the
amount of P42,999.00 (as evidenced by xerox copies of Partial Settlement of Judgment dated September
21, 1982 and Receipt of Payment dated September 22, 1982, hereto attached as Annexes A and B,
respectively), without our knowledge.

6.....That Atty. Sergio Angeles never informed the undersigned of the amount of P42,999.00 he
received from Mr. Silva nor remitted to them even a part of that amount;

7.....That a demand letter was sent to Atty. Sergio Angeles which was received by him on
February 17, 1983, but as of this date the undersigned have not yet received any reply. (See Exhibit C and
D attached).

In his Comment filed on June 21, 1983, respondent denied the accusations and stated that he has
the right to retain the said amount of P42,999.00 and to apply the same to professional fees due him under
the subsequent agreement first with complainant Teodoro Rivera and later with Mrs. Dely Dimson Rivera
as embodied in the Deed of Assignment (Annex 8)[2] or under the previous agreement of P20% of

Complainants, in their Reply,[3] vehemently denied the assignment of their rights to respondent.
Thereafter, this case was referred to the Solicitor General for investigation, report and
recommendation in our Resolution dated November 21, 1983. The Office of the Solicitor General
considered this case submitted for resolution on April 30, 1985 by declaring respondents right to present
evidence as considered waived due to the latters failure to appear on the scheduled hearings. However, the
records from said Office do not show any resolution.

In October 1998, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines issued an Order requiring the parties to
manifest whether or not they are still interested in prosecuting this case, or whether supervening events
have transpired which render this case moot and academic or otherwise. The copy of said Order sent to
the complainants was received by their counsel on October 30, 1998 while the copy to the respondent was
returned unclaimed.

Investigating Commissioner Julio C. Elamparo submitted his report on April 29, 1999 finding
respondent Atty. Sergio Angeles guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility specifically
Rule 1.01, Canon 16 and Rule 16.01 thereof and recommends his indefinite suspension from the practice
of law.

The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines on June 19, 1999, issued a
resolution, the decretal portion of which reads:


Adm. Case No. 2519
Teodoro R. Rivera, et al. vs.
Atty. Sergio Angeles
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report
and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein made part of
this Resolution/Decision as Annex A; and, finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence
on record and the applicable laws and rules, with an amendment that Atty. Sergio Angeles is
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE (1) YEAR for his having been found guilty of practicing
deceit in dealing with his client.

The Court finds merit in the recommendation of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Respondents act of deceit and malpractice indubitably demonstrated his failure to live up to his sworn
duties as a lawyer. The Supreme Court repeatedly stressed the importance of integrity and good moral
character as part of a lawyers equipment in the practice of his profession.[4] For it cannot be denied that
the respect of litigants for the profession is inexorably diminished whenever a member of the Bar betrays
their trust and confidence.[5]

The Court is not oblivious of the right of a lawyer to be paid for the legal services he has
extended to his client but such right should not be exercised whimsically by appropriating to himself the
money intended for his clients. There should never be an instance where the victor in litigation loses
everything he won to the fees of his own lawyer.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Sergio Angeles, is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for
ONE (1) YEAR for having been found guilty of practicing deceit in dealing with his client.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately and copies thereof furnished the Office of the Bar
Confidant, Integrated Bar of the Philippines and appended to respondents personal record.


Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Pardo, JJ., concur.
Delos Reyes v Aznar, 179 SCRA 653


Complainant is a second year medical student of the Southwestern University in which

respondent Atty. Aznar is the then Chairman of the College of Medicine. Complainant was
compelled to go to Manila with respondent for three days where he repeatedly had carnal
knowledge of her upon the threat of respondent that if she would not give in to his lustful desires,
she would flunk in all her subjects and she would never become a medical intern. After due
investigation, the Solicitor General found the respondent guilty of gross immoral conduct and
recommends that since the complainant is partly to blame for having gone with respondent to
Manila knowing fully well that respondent is a married man ,with children, a rich man and is not
practicing his profession before the court, he should merely be suspended from the practice of
law for not less than three (3) years.


Whether or not the imposition of the penalty is proper.


The fact that he is a rich man and does not practice his profession as a lawyer, does not
render respondent a person of good moral character. Evidence of good moral character precedes
admission to bar (Sec.2, Rule 138, Rules of Court) and such requirement is not dispensed with
upon admission thereto. Good moral character is a continuing qualification necessary to entitle
one to continue in the practice of law.

Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court enumerates the grounds for disbarment
or suspension from his office as attorney, among others, by grossly immoral conduct. Immoral
conduct has been defined as that which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a
moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community.

In the present case, it was highly immoral of respondent to have taken advantage of his
position in asking complainant to go with him under the threat that she would flunk in all her
subjects in case she refused.

Respondent Jose B. Aznar is DISBARRED

A.C No. 4947 June 7, 2007

FACTS: Petitioner-movant filed a verified Petition praying for the disbarment of her estranged husband
respondent Atty. Justo J. Paras alleging acts of deceit, malpractice, grave misconduct, grossly immoral conduct
and violation of oath as a lawyer committed by the latter. The Court issued a Resolution finding Atty. Paras
guilty of committing a falsehood in violation of his lawyers oath and of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Thus, the Court resolved to suspend Atty. Paras from the practice of law for a period of one (1)
year, with a warning that commission of the same or similar offense in the future will result in the imposition
of a more severe penalty.

Thereafter, Atty. Paras filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied for lack of merit but during its
pendency, complainant-movant filed with the Court the instant Motion for Contempt and/or
Disbarment, alleging thereunder, inter alia, that Atty. Paras violated the suspension order earlier issued by the
Court with his continued practice of law.

After more than a year, Atty. Paras filed with the Court a Manifestation, stating that he had completely and
faithfully served his one (1) year suspension from the practice of law from August 25, 2005, the day after he
received the denial resolution on his motion for reconsideration, to August 24, 2006.

The Court issued another Resolution dated November 27, 2006 requiring Atty. Paras to show cause why he
should not be held in contempt of court for such failure and to comply with the said resolution within ten (10)
days from receipt.

Consequently, a Comment on Motion for Contempt and Explanation on Failure to Timely File Required
Comment was filed by Atty. Paras denying all the allegations in petitioner-movants Motion for Contempt
and/or Disbarment. He likewise claimed that he had never done nor made any conduct tending, directly or
indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice, nor undermine or put to naught or
violate any of the pertinent causes enumerated in Section 3, Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court.

ISSUE: WON the disbarment case should prosper.

RULING: No. We find no sufficient basis to support petitioner-movants allegation that Atty. Paras violated the
Courts suspension order, what with the fact that Atty. Paras himself took the initiative to inform the lower
courts of his one- year suspension from law practice.

It is clear, however, that all lawyers are expected to recognize the authority of the Supreme Court and obey its
lawful processes and orders. Despite errors which one may impute on the orders of the Court, these must be
respected, especially by the bar or the lawyers who are themselves officers of the courts. It is well to
emphasize again that a resolution of the Supreme Court is not be construed as a mere request, nor should it be
complied with partially, inadequately or selectively. Court orders are to be respected not because the justices or
judges who issue them should be respected, but because of the respect and consideration that should be
extended to the judicial branch of the government. This is absolutely essential if our government is to be a
government of laws and not of men.
The Court takes this opportunity to remind the parties in the instant case, as well petitioner-movants counsels,
to avoid further squabbles and unnecessary filing of administrative cases against each other. An examination of
the records reveals a pervasive atmosphere of animosity between Atty. Paras and petitioners counsels as
evidenced by the number of administrative cases between them. It is well to stress that mutual bickerings and
unjustified recriminations between attorneys detract from the dignity of the legal profession and will not
receive sympathy from this Court. Lawyers should treat each other with courtesy, fairness, candor and civility.

ACCORDINGLY, the Motion for Contempt and/or Disbarment is DENIED. However, Atty. Justo Paras is
hereby REPRIMANDED for his failure to observe the respect due the Court in not promptly complying with
this Courts resolution, with WARNING that a more drastic punishment will be imposed upon him for a
repetition of the same act.

Camacho vs. Pangulayan

1. PANGULAYAN INDICTED FOR VIOLATION OF CANON 9: Lawyer should not communicate upon subject of
controversy with a party represented by counsel, much less should he undertake to negotiate or
compromise the matter with him, but should only deal with his counsel. Lawyer must avoid everything
that may tend to mislead party not represented by counsel and should not advise him as to law.
1. HIRED LAWYER OF DEFENDANTS who had compromised agreements with CAMACHO’S
2. Required them to waive all kinds of claims they might have had against AMACC (principal
defendant) and to terminate all civil, criminal and administrative proceedings filed against it.
i. Denied that they had negotiations, discussion, formulation or execution.
ii. No longer connected with Pagulayan and Associates Law Offices.
iii. Re-Admission Agreements nothing to do with DISMISSAL OF CIVIL CASE involving 9
students of AMACC.
1. Civil case involved publishing of features or articles in Editorial Board of DATALINE.
2. Found guilty by Student Disciplinary Tribunal of using indecent language and unauthorized use of student
publication funds.
3. Expulsion
a. Students appeal and was denied by the AMACC President which gave rise to civil case.
b. During civil case, apology letters and Re-Admission Agreements were separately executed by some expelled

Does the Re-Admission Agreements have nothing to do with DISMISSAL OF CIVIL CASE involving 9 students of

1. Individual letters and Re-Admission Agreements were formalized in which PANGULAYAN was already
counsel of AMACC.
1. Had full knowledge; did not discuss it with the student’s parents or their counsel.
i. Re-Admission Agreements affected the dismissal of the civil case because
signatories agreed to terminate all civil, criminal and administrative proceedings against AMACC.
Ulep vs. Legal Clinic, Inc., 223 SCRA 378


Mauricio C. Ulep, petitioner, prays this Court "to order the respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., to cease and desist
from issuing advertisements similar to or of the same tenor as that of Annexes `A' and `B' (of said petition) and
to perpetually prohibit persons or entities from making advertisements pertaining to the exercise of the law
profession other than those allowed by law.” The advertisements complained of by herein petitioner are as
Annex A
P560.00 for a valid marriage.
Please call: 521-0767,
LEGAL5217232, 5222041
CLINIC, INC.8:30 am-6:00 pm
7-Flr. Victoria Bldg. UN Ave., Mla.
Annex B
an Attorney in Guam, is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning Monday to
Friday during office hours.
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Problems, Visa Ext.
Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special Retiree's Visa. Declaration of Absence.
Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign
Visa for Filipina Spouse/Children. Call Marivic.
THE 7 F Victoria Bldg. 429 UN Ave.
LEGALErmita, Manila nr. US Embassy
CLINIC, INC. Tel. 521-7232521-7251522-2041; 521-0767

It is the submission of petitioner that the advertisements above reproduced are champertous, unethical,
demeaning of the law profession, and destructive of the confidence of the community in the integrity of the
members of the bar and that, as a member of the legal profession, he is ashamed and offended by the said
advertisements, hence the reliefs sought in his petition as herein before quoted.

In its answer to the petition, respondent admits the fact of publication of said advertisements at its instance,
but claims that it is not engaged in the practice of law but in the rendering of "legal support services" through
paralegals with the use of modern computers and electronic machines. Respondent further argues that
assuming that the services advertised are legal services, the act of advertising these services should be allowed
supposedly in the light of the case of John R. Bates and Van O'Steen vs. State Bar of Arizona, reportedly decided
by the United States Supreme Court on June 7, 1977

Whether or not the services offered by respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., as advertised by it constitutes practice
of law and, in either case, whether the same can properly be the subject of the advertisements herein
complained of.


Yes. The Supreme Court held that the services offered by the respondent constitute practice of law. The
definition of “practice of law” is laid down in the case of Cayetano vs. Monsod, as defined:Black defines
"practice of law" as:"The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles
and technique to serve the interest of another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or
advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of pleadings, and other papers
incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of legal instruments of all kinds, and
the giving of all legal advice to clients. It embraces all advice to clients and all actions taken for them in matters
connected with thelaw." The contention of respondent that it merely offers legal support services can neither
be seriously considered nor sustained. Said proposition is belied by respondent's own description of the
services it has been offering. While some of the services being offered by respondent corporation merely
involve mechanical and technical know-how, such as the installation of computer systems and programs for the
efficient management of law offices, or the computerization of research aids and materials, these will not
suffice to justify an exception to the general rule. What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation gives
out legal information to laymen and lawyers. Its contention that such function is non-advisory and non-
diagnostic is more apparent than real. In providing information, for example, about foreign laws on marriage,
divorce and adoption, it strains the credulity of this Court that all that respondent corporation will simply do is
look for the law, furnish a copy thereof to the client, and stop there as if it were merely a bookstore. With its
attorneys and so called paralegals, it will necessarily have to explain to the client the intricacies of the law and
advise him or her on the proper course of action to be taken as may be provided for by said law. That is what its
advertisements represent and for which services it will consequently charge and be paid. That activity falls
squarely within the jurisprudential definition of "practice of law." Such a conclusion will not be altered by the
fact that respondent corporation does not represent clients in court since law practice, as the weight of
authority holds, is not limited merely to court appearances but extends to legal research, giving legal advice,
contract drafting, and so forth. That fact that the corporation employs paralegals to carry out its services is not
controlling. What is important is that it is engaged in the practice of law by virtueof the nature of the services it
renders which thereby brings it within the ambit of the statutory prohibitions against the advertisements which
it has caused to be published and are now assailed in this proceeding. The standards of the legal profession
condemn the lawyer's advertisement of his talents. (SEE CANON 2) A lawyer cannot, without violating the
ethics of his profession, advertise his talents or skills as in a manner similar to a merchant advertising his goods.
The proscription against advertising of legal services or solicitation of legal business rests on the fundamental
postulate that the practice of law is a profession. The canons of the profession tell us that the best advertising
possible for a lawyer is a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust, which must be
earned as the outcome of character and conduct. Good and efficient service to a client as well as to the
community has a way of publicizing itself and catching public attention. That publicity is a normal by-product of
effective service which is rightand proper. A good and reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to generate
it and to magnify his success. He easily sees the difference between a normal by-product of able service and the
unwholesome result of propaganda.
A.C. NO. 1261. December 29, 1983

This case was instituted by Tan Tek Beng against David for allegedly not living up to their agreement that
lawyer David will give one-half of his professional fees to an intermediary or commission agent but he he also
bound himself not to deal directly with the clients.

The business relation between David and Tan Tek Beng did not last. David clarified that the partnership was
composed of himself as manager, Tan Tek Beng as assistant manager and lawyer Pedro Jacinto as president and
financier. When Jacinto became ill and the cost of office maintenance mounted, David suggested that Tan Tek
Beng should also invest some money or shoulder a part of the business expenses but Tan Tek Beng refused.

WON the agreement was valid?

The SC hold that the said agreement is void because it was tantamount to malpractice which is "the practice of
soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers" Sec. 27, Rule
138, Rules of Court. Malpractice ordinarily refers to any ,malfeasance or dereliction of duty committed by a
lawyer. Section 27 gives a special and technical meaning to the term "malpractice". That meaning is in
consonance with the elementary notion that the practice of law is a profession, not a business.