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CASTILLO v. PADILLA, JR.

[127 SCRA 743 A.C. No. 2339. February 24, 1984]


PLANA, J.
FACTS:

Atty. Jose M. Castillo was the counsel for the defendants in Criminal Case for forcible entry before the MeTC of Caloocan.
Atty. Sabino Padilla, Jr. was counsel for the plaintiff. At the hearing of the case on November 19, 1981, while Castillo was formally
offering his evidence, he heard Padilla say "bobo." When Castillo turned toward Padilla, he saw the latter looking at him menacingly.
Embarrassed and humiliated in the presence of many people, Castillo was unable to proceed with his offer of evidence. The court
proceedings had to be suspended. Thereafter, Atty. Castillo, complainant, seeks the suspension of respondent from the practice of law
for the use of insulting language in the course of judicial proceedings.

While admitting the utterance, respondent denied having directed the same at the complainant, claiming that what he said was
"Ay, que bobo", referring to "the manner complainant was trying to inject wholly irrelevant and highly offensive matters into the
record" while in the process of making an offer of evidence.

ISSUE:

WON the Atty. Padilla, respondent, should be disciplined?

HELD:

Yes, respondent is hereby reprimanded for his misbehavior. He is directed to observe proper decorum and restraint and
warned that a repetition of the offense will be dealt with more severely. Among the duties of an attorney are: (1) to observe and
maintain the respect due to the courts of justice; and (2) to abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to
the honor or reputation of a party or witness unless required by the justice of the cause with which he is charged. The Canons of
Professional Ethics likewise exhort lawyers to avoid all personalities between counsel.

Use of intemperate language uncalled for in the case at bar, whether directed at the person of complainant or his manner of
offering evidence, the remark "bobo" or "Ay, que bobo" was offensive and uncalled for. Respondent had no right to interrupt
complainant which such cutting remark while the latter was addressing the court. In so doing, he exhibited lack of respect not only to a
fellow lawyer but also to the court. By the use of intemperate language, respondent failed to measure up to the norm of conduct
required of a member of the legal profession, which all the more deserves reproach because this is not the first time that respondent
has employed offensive language in the course of judicial proceedings. He has previously been admonished to refrain from engaging
in offensive personalities and warned to be more circumspect in the preparation of his pleadings.
In Re: ATTY. CLEMENTE M. SORIANO
[G.R. No. L-24114 June 30, 1970]
CASTRO, J.:
FACTS:
Clemente M. Soriano, a member of the Philippine Bar since January 19, 1954, entered his appearance in the present case as
"chief counsel of record" for the respondents Marcelino Tiburcio, et al. He alleged that sometime during the first week of October
1969, the respondent Marcelino Tiburcio, in his own behalf and as attorney-in-fact of the other respondents, went to him to engage
his professional services in two cases, to wit: this terminated case (L-24114), and the case entitled "Varsity Hills vs. Hon. Herminio C.
Mariano, etc., et al." (L-30546). At their conference, Marcelino Tiburcio supposedly informed Atty. Soriano of the precise status of
each of the two cases, thus: that the Varsity Hills case was set for hearing by this Court on October 27, 1969, while the present case
was still pending and the date of hearing thereof was yet undetermined. He also relied to Atty. Antonio J. Dalangpan — that indeed
these two cases were pending in this Court.
ISSUE:
WON Atty. Soriano be granted the plea of appearance
HElLD:
No. The entry of appearance of a counsel in a case which has long been sealed and terminated by a final judgment, besides being an
unmitigated absurdity in itself and an unwarranted annoyance to the court which pronounced the judgment, is a sore deviation from
normal judicial processes. We find Atty. Clemente M. Soriano guilty of gross negligence in the performance of his duties as a lawyer
and as an officer of this Court. This inexcusable negligence would merit no less than his suspension from the practice of the law
profession, were it not for his candor, at the hearing of this incident, in owning his mistake and the apology he made to this Court. It
is the sense of this Court, however, that he must be as he is hereby severely censured. Atty. Soriano is further likewise warned that
any future similar act will be met with heavier disciplinary sanction.
Atty. Soriano is hereby ordered, in the present case, to forthwith withdraw the appearance that he has entered as chief counsel of
record for the respondents Marcelino Tiburcio, et al.
US v. Ney
[8 Phil 146 G.R. No. 3593 March 23, 1907]
TRACEY, J.:

FACTS:

In 1902 this court decided that J. Garcia Bosque, was not entitled to admission to practice law in the Philippine Islands, on the
ground that after the change of sovereignty he had elected to remain Spanish, as such was not qualified for admission to the bar. In
1904 he made an arrangement with Ney, a practicing attorney, to carry on business together, sending out a circular signed "Ney &
Bosque". The paper was headed "Law Office — Ney & Bosque. Juan G. Bosque, jurisconsulto español — C.W. Ney, abogado
americano." Since then papers from the office were signed with the words "Ney & Bosque — C.W. Ney, abogado."

On two occasions, one on May 1, 1905, and the other on September 15, 1906, this court refused to consider petitions so singed
with the names of the defendants and the practice being repeated, on the 2nd day of October, 1906, ordered the papers sent to the
Attorney-General to take appropriate action thereon, and he thereupon instituted this proceeding.

The defendants disclaim any intentional contempt, and defend their acts as being within the law under Section 102 of the Code
of Civil procedure.

ISSUE:

WON either of these defendants be thus punished for contempt?

HELD:

Section 232 of the Code of Civil Procedure describes contempt as follows: 1. Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ,
process, order, judgment, or command of a court, or injunction granted by a court or judge; 2. Misbehavior of an officer of the court in
the performance of his official duties or in his official transactions.

In the case, no direct order or command of this court has been disobeyed or resisted by the defendant Ney. The only order that
the defendant Bosque can have disobeyed is the one denying him the right to practice law. Even had he been entitled under the statute
to practice law without any license from the court and without an application to it, yet its order made on his own petition. A mandate
of the court, while in force, must be obeyed. The irregular signature to papers, though affixed by his associate, had his authorization
and constitutes a substantial attempt to engage in practice. The fact stated on the circular that he was a Spanish lawyer did not amount
to a disclaimer of his professional character in the Islands. Independent of statutory provisions, a foreigner is not by reason of his
status disqualified from practicing law. Consequently, the conduct of the defendant Bosque amounts to disobedience of an order made
in a proceeding to which he was a party.
TAPAY v. BANCOLO
[A.C. No. 9604 March 20, 2013]
CARPIO, J.:

FACTS:

A Complaint was filed by Rodrigo E. Tapay (Tapay) and Anthony J. Rustia (Rustia), both employees of the Sugar Regulatory
Administration, against Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo (Atty. Bancolo) and Atty. Janus T. larder (Atty. Jarder) for violation of the Canons of
Ethics and Professionalism, Falsification of Public Document, Gross Dishonesty, and Harassment.

In October 2004, Tapay and Rustia received an Order dated 14 October 2004 from the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas requiring
them to file a counter-affidavit to a complaint for usurpation of authority, falsification of public document, and graft and corrupt
practices filed against them by Divinagracia, a co-employee in the Sugar Regulatory Administration. The Complaint1 dated 31 August
2004 was allegedly signed on behalf of Divinagracia by one Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo of the Jarder Bancolo Law Office based in
Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

When Atty. Bancolo and Rustia accidentally chanced upon each other, the latter informed Atty. Bancolo of the case filed against them
before the Office of the Ombudsman. Atty. Bancolo denied that he represented Divinagracia since he had yet to meet Divinagracia in
person. When Rustia showed him the Complaint, Atty. Bancolo declared that the signature appearing above his name as counsel for
Divinagracia was not his. Thus, Rustia convinced Atty. Bancolo to sign an affidavit to attest to such fact. On 9 December 2004, Atty.
Bancolo signed an affidavit denying his supposed signature appearing on the Complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman and
submitted six specimen signatures for comparison. Using Atty. Bancolo’s affidavit and other documentary evidence, Tapay and Rustia
filed a counter-affidavit accusing Divinagracia of falsifying the signature of his alleged counsel, Atty. Bancolo.

Office of the Ombudsman provisionally dismissed the Complaint. Thereafter, Divinagracia filed his Counter-Affidavit dated 1 August
2005 denying that he falsified the signature of his former lawyer, Atty. Bancolo. Divinagracia presented as evidence an affidavit dated
1 August 2005 by Richard A. Cordero, the legal assistant of Atty. Bancolo, that the Jarder Bancolo Law Office accepted
Divinagracia’s case and that the Complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman was signed by the office secretary per Atty.
Bancolo’s instructions. Divinagracia asked that the Office of the Ombudsman dismiss the cases for falsification of public document
and dishonesty filed against him by Rustia and Atty. Bancolo and to revive the original Complaint for various offenses that he filed
against Tapay and Rustia.

In a Resolution dated 19 September 2005, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the criminal case for falsification of public
document (OMB-V-C-05-0207-E) for insufficiency of evidence. The dispositive portion states:

WHEREFORE, the instant case is hereby DISMISSED for insufficiency of evidence, without prejudice to the re-filing by
Divinagracia, Jr. of a proper complaint for violation of RA 3019 and other offenses against Rustia and Tapay.

SO ORDERED.4

The administrative case for dishonesty (OMB-V-A-05-0219-E) was also dismissed for lack of substantial evidence in a Decision dated
19 September 2005.

On 29 November 2005, Tapay and Rustia filed with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) a complaint 5 to disbar Atty. Bancolo
and Atty. Jarder, Atty. Bancolo’s law partner. The complainants alleged that they were subjected to a harassment Complaint filed
before the Office of the Ombudsman with the forged signature of Atty. Bancolo. Complainants stated further that the signature of
Atty. Bancolo in the Complaint was not the only one that was forged. Complainants attached a Report6 dated 1 July 2005 by the
Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory 6 which examined three other letter-complaints signed by Atty. Bancolo for other clients,
allegedly close friends of Atty. Jarder. The report concluded that the questioned signatures in the letter-complaints and the submitted
standard signatures of Atty. Bancolo were not written by one and the same person. Thus, complainants maintained that not only were
respondents engaging in unprofessional and unethical practices, they were also involved in falsification of documents used to harass
and persecute innocent people.

On 9 January 2006, complainants filed a Supplement to the Disbarment Complaint Due to Additional Information. They alleged that a
certain Mary Jane Gentugao, the secretary of the Jarder Bancolo Law Office, forged the signature of Atty. Bancolo.

In their Answer dated 26 January 2006 to the disbarment complaint, respondents admitted that the criminal and administrative cases
filed by Divinagracia against complainants before the Office of the Ombudsman were accepted by the Jarder Bancolo Law Office. The
cases were assigned to Atty. Bancolo. Atty. Bancolo alleged that after being informed of the assignment of the cases, he ordered his
staff to prepare and draft all the necessary pleadings and documents. However, due to some minor lapses, Atty. Bancolo permitted that
the pleadings and communications be signed in his name by the secretary of the law office. Respondents added that complainants filed
the disbarment complaint to retaliate against them since the cases filed before the Office of the Ombudsman were meritorious and
strongly supported by testimonial and documentary evidence. Respondents also denied that Mary Jane Gentugao was employed as
secretary of their law office.

Tapay and Rustia filed a Reply to the Answer dated 2 March 2006. Thereafter, the parties were directed by the Commission on Bar
Discipline to attend a mandatory conference scheduled on 5 May 2006. The conference was reset to 10 August 2006. On the said date,
complainants were present but respondents failed to appear. The conference was reset to 25 September 2006 for the last time. Again,
respondents failed to appear despite receiving notice of the conference. Complainants manifested that they were submitting their
disbarment complaint based on the documents submitted to the IBP. Respondents were also deemed to have waived their right to
participate in the mandatory conference. Further, both parties were directed to submit their respective position papers. On 27 October
2006, the IBP received complainants’ position paper dated 18 October 2006 and respondents’ position paper dated 23 October 2006.

The IBP’s Report and Recommendation

On 11 April 2007, Atty. Lolita A. Quisumbing, the Investigating Commissioner of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP,
submitted her Report. Atty. Quisumbing found that Atty. Bancolo violated Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility while Atty. Jarder violated Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the same Code. The Investigating
Commissioner recommended that Atty. Bancolo be suspended for two years from the practice of law and Atty. Jarder be admonished
for his failure to exercise certain responsibilities in their law firm.

In her Report and Recommendation, the Investigating Commissioner opined:

x x x. In his answer, respondent Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo admitted that his signature appearing in the complaint filed against
complainants’ Rodrigo E. Tapay and Anthony J. Rustia with the Ombudsman were signed by the secretary. He did not refute the
findings that his signatures appearing in the various documents released from his office were found not to be his. Such pattern of
malpratice by respondent clearly breached his obligation under Rule 9.01 of Canon 9, for a lawyer who allows a non-member to
represent him is guilty of violating the aforementioned Canon. The fact that respondent was busy cannot serve as an excuse for him
from signing personally. After all respondent is a member of a law firm composed of not just one (1) lawyer. The Supreme Court has
ruled that this practice constitute negligence and undersigned finds the act a sign of indolence and ineptitude. Moreover, respondents
ignored the notices sent by undersigned. That showed patent lack of respect to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ Commission on
Bar Discipline and its proceedings. It betrays lack of courtesy and irresponsibility as lawyers.

On the other hand, Atty. Janus T. Jarder, a senior partner of the law firm Jarder Bancolo and Associates Law Office, failed to exercise
certain responsibilities over matters under the charge of his law firm. As a senior partner[,] he failed to abide to the principle of
"command responsibility". x x x.

xxxx

Respondent Atty. Janus Jarder after all is a seasoned practitioner, having passed the bar in 1995 and practicing law up to the present.
He holds himself out to the public as a law firm designated as Jarder Bancolo and Associates Law Office. It behooves Atty. Janus T.
Jarder to exert ordinary diligence to find out what is going on in his law firm, to ensure that all lawyers in his firm act in conformity to
the Code of Professional Responsibility. As a partner, it is his responsibility to provide efficacious control of court pleadings and other
documents that carry the name of the law firm. Had he done that, he could have known the unethical practice of his law partner Atty.
Charlie L. Bancolo. Respondent Atty. Janus T. Jarder failed to perform this task and is administratively liable under Canon 1, Rule
1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.7

On 19 September 2007, in Resolution No. XVIII-2007-97, the Board of Governors of the IBP approved with modification the Report
and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. The Resolution states:

RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, with modification, the Report and
Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A";
and, finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, and considering
Respondent Atty. Bancolo’s violation of Rule 9.01, Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) year.

However, with regard to the charge against Atty. Janus T. Jarder, the Board of Governors RESOLVED as it is hereby RESOLVED to
AMEND, as it is hereby AMENDED the Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner, and APPROVE the DISMISSAL of
the case for lack of merit.8

Tapay and Rustia filed a Motion for Reconsideration. Likewise, Atty. Bancolo filed his Motion for Reconsideration dated 22
December 2007. Thereafter, Atty. Jarder filed his separate Consolidated Comment/Reply to Complainants’ Motion for
Reconsideration and Comment Filed by Complainants dated 29 January 2008.

In Resolution No. XX-2012-175 dated 9 June 2012, the IBP Board of Governors denied both complainants’ and Atty. Bancolo’s
motions for reconsideration. The IBP Board found no cogent reason to reverse the findings of the Investigating Commissioner and
affirmed Resolution No. XVIII-2007-97 dated 19 September 2007.

HELD:

After a careful review of the records of the case, we agree with the findings and recommendation of the IBP Board and find reasonable
grounds to hold respondent Atty. Bancolo administratively liable.

Atty. Bancolo admitted that the Complaint he filed for a former client before the Office of the Ombudsman was signed in his name by
a secretary of his law office. Clearly, this is a violation of Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
provides:

CANON 9
A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ASSIST IN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.

Rule 9.01 - A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task which by law may only be performed
by a member of the Bar in good standing.

This rule was clearly explained in the case of Cambaliza v. Cristal-Tenorio,9 where we held:

The lawyer’s duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded on public interest and
policy. Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character.
The permissive right conferred on the lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper
standards of moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, the court, the client, and the bar from the
incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves
upon a lawyer to see that this purpose is attained. Thus, the canons and ethics of the profession enjoin him not to permit his
professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to make possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any agency, personal or
corporate. And, the law makes it a misbehavior on his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the unauthorized practice
of law.
In Republic v. Kenrick Development Corporation,10 we held that the preparation and signing of a pleading constitute legal work
involving the practice of law which is reserved exclusively for members of the legal profession. Atty. Bancolo’s authority and duty to
sign a pleading are personal to him. Although he may delegate the signing of a pleading to another lawyer, he may not delegate it to a
non-lawyer. Further, under the Rules of Court, counsel’s signature serves as a certification that (1) he has read the pleading; (2) to the
best of his knowledge, information and belief there is good ground to support it; and (3) it is not interposed for delay.11 Thus, by
affixing one’s signature to a pleading, it is counsel alone who has the responsibility to certify to these matters and give legal effect to
the document.1âwphi1

In his Motion for Reconsideration dated 22 December 2007, Atty. Bancolo wants us to believe that he was a victim of circumstances
or of manipulated events because of his unconditional trust and confidence in his former law partner, Atty. Jarder. However, Atty.
Bancolo did not take any steps to rectify the situation, save for the affidavit he gave to Rustia denying his signature to the Complaint
filed before the Office of the Ombudsman. Atty. Bancolo had an opportunity to maintain his innocence when he filed with the IBP his
Joint Answer (with Atty. Jarder) dated 26 January 2006. Atty. Bancolo, however, admitted that prior to the preparation of the Joint
Answer, Atty. Jarder threatened to file a disbarment case against him if he did not cooperate. Thus, he was constrained to allow Atty.
Jarder to prepare the Joint Answer. Atty. Bancolo simply signed the verification without seeing the contents of the Joint Answer.

In the Answer, Atty. Bancolo categorically stated that because of some minor lapses, the communications and pleadings filed against
Tapay and Rustia were signed by his secretary, albeit with his tolerance. Undoubtedly, Atty. Bancolo violated the Code of
Professional Responsibility by allowing a non-lawyer to affix his signature to a pleading. This violation Is an act of falsehood which
IS a ground for disciplinary action.

The complainants did not present any evidence that Atty. Jarder was directly involved, had knowledge of, or even participated in the
wrongful practice of Atty. Bancolo in allowing or tolerating his secretary to sign pleadings for him. Thus, we agree with the finding of
the IBP Board that Atty. Jarder is not administratively liable.

In sum, we find that the suspension of Atty. Bancolo from the practice of law for one year is warranted. We also find proper the
dismissal of the case against Atty. larder.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the complaint against Atty. Janus T. larder for lack of merit.

We find respondent Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo administratively liable for violating Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. He is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one year effective upon finality of this Decision. He is warned
that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.

Let a copy of this Decision be attached to respondent Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo's record in this Court as attorney. Further, let copies of
this Decision be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator, which is directed to
circulate them to all the courts in the country for their information and guidance.

SO ORDERED.
A.C. No. 11754

JOAQUIN G. BONIFACIO, Complainant


vs.
ATTY. EDGARDO O. ERA and ATTY. DIANE KAREN B. BRAGAS, Respondents

DECISION

TIJAM, J.:

This administrative case arose from a verified Affidavit-Complaint1 filed before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) by
complainant Joaquin G. Bonifacio (Bonifacio) against respondents Atty. Edgardo O. Era (Atty. Era) and Atty. Diane Karen B. Bragas
(Atty. Bragas) for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).

The Facts

Sometime in 2003, an illegal dismissal case was lodged against Bonifacio and his company, Solid Engine Rebuilders Corporation
entitled Gil Abucejo, Edgar Besmano, Efren Sager, Darlito Sosa, Gerardo G. Talosa, and Salvador Villanueva v. Solid Engine
Rebuilders Corporation and/or Joaquin G. Bonifacio, docketed as NLRC NCR Case No. 00-05- 05953-03. Complainants therein
(Abucejon Group) were represented by Era and Associates Law Office through Atty. Era.2

On June 15, 2004, the Labor Arbiter found Bonifacio and the corporation liable for illegal dismissal and, consequently, ordered them
to pay Abucejo Group their separation pay, full backwages and pro-rated 13th month pay. More specifically, Bonifacio and his
corporation were ordered to pay a partially computed amount of ₱674,128 for the separation pay and full backwages, and ₱16,050.65
for the 13th month pay.3 Bonifacio and the corporation brought their case up to the Supreme Court but they suffered the same fate as
their appeals and motions were decided against them.4

Thus, on January 26, 2006, a Writ of Execution5 was issued to implement the June 15, 2004 Decision. A Notice of Garnishment dated
February 6, 2006 was likewise issued.6 Two alias writs dated May 8, 20087 and April 16, 20138 were later on issued, directing the
sheriff to collect the sum of ₱4,012,166.43, representing the judgment award plus interest and attorney's fees.

Meanwhile, an administrative complaint was filed against Atty. Era for representing conflicting interests entitled Ferdinand A.
Samson v. Atty. Edgardo 0. Era, docketed as A.C. No. 6664.9 In a July 16, 2013 Decision, this Court found Atty. Era guilty of the
charge and imposed the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for two years, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the Court FINDS and PRONOUNCES Atty. EDGARDO O. ERA guilty of violating Rule 15.03 of Canon 15, and
Canon 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility; and SUSPENDS him from the practice of law for two years effective upon his
receipt of this decision, with a warning that his commission of a similar offense will be dealt with more severely.

Let copies of this decision be included in the personal record of Atty. EDGARDO O. ERA and entered m [sic] his file in the Office of
the Bar Confidant.

Let copies of this decision be disseminated to all lower courts by the Office of the Court Administrator, as well as to the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines for its guidance.

SO ORDERED.10

On November 28, 2013, the scheduled public auction over Bonifacio's and/or the corporation's properties in the business establishment
was conducted to implement the alias writ. Atty. Era actively participated therein. He attended the public auction and tendered a bid
for his clients who were declared the highest bidders. On the same day, a certificate of sale was issued, which Atty. Era presented to
the corporation's officers and employees who were there at that time. Armed with such documents, Atty. Era led the pulling out of the
subject properties but eventually stopped to negotiate with Bonifacio's children for the payment of the judgment award instead of
pulling out the auctioned properties. Atty. Era summoned Bonifacio's children to continue with the negotiation in his law office. On
behalf of his clients, their counter-offer for the satisfaction of the judgment award went from ₱6 Million to ₱9 Million.11

As the parties were not able to settle, on December 3, 2013, Attys. Era and Bragas went back to Bonifacio's business establishment
together with their clients and several men, and forced open the establishment to pull out the auctioned properties. This was evidenced
by the videos presented by Bonifacio in the instant administrative complaint.12

This prompted Bonifacio to file a criminal complaint for malicious mischief, robbery, and trespassing with the Office of the City
Prosecutor, Pasay City. In its Resolution13 dated March 31, 2014, the Office of the City Prosecutor found probable cause to indict
Attys. Era and Bragas for grave coercion.14

Meanwhile, Atty. Era's name remains to appear in pleadings filed before the NLRC and this Court sometime in February and April,
2014 with regard to the subject labor case.15

On August 8, 2014, Bonifacio filed the instant administrative complaint.16

In their Answer,17 Attys. Era and Bragas alleged that Bonifacio has no personal knowledge as to what transpired on November 28,
2013 and December 3, 2013 as the latter was not present therein at that time.18 Hence, his allegations of force, threat, and intimidation
in the execution of the judgment is without basis.19 In his defense, Atty. Era further argued that he did not violate the Court's order of
suspension from the practice of law as he merely acted as his clients' attorney-in-fact pursuant to a Special Power of Attomey20 (SPA)
dated May 3, 2006. It is Atty. Era's theory that with such SP A, he was not engaged in the practice of law in representing his clients in
the implementation of the alias writ. He added that he never signed any document or pleading on behalf of his clients during his
suspension. For Atty. Bragas, being an associate of Era and Associates Law Firm, she was merely representing the Abucejo Group as
said law firm's clients. Anent the Php 6 Million to 9 Million counter-offer that they made, Attys. Era and Bragas explained that the
parties were still on negotiation, hence, both parties are free to have their own computations, which they could respectively accept or
otherwise.21

In his Report and Recommendation22 dated March 17, 2015, Investigating Commissioner Jose Villanueva Cabrera recommended the
dismissal of the instant administrative complaint for insufficiency of evidence.

The Investigating Commissioner found nothing wrong with the indication of a suspended lawyer's name in a pleading considering that
the same was not signed by the latter. There was also no proof that a pleading was prepared by Atty. Era. On the other hand, there was
no impediment against Atty. Bragas to sign the pleadings. There was also no proof that in doing so, Atty. Bragas was assisting
suspended Atty. Era in filing a pleading. Neither the presence of Atty. Era during the public auction and the negotiations was an
implication or proof that Atty. Era was engaging in the practice of law during his suspension. According to the Investigating
Commissioner, anybody, not exclusively lawyers, can be present at an auction sale or negotiation.

As to whether Attys. Era and Bragas violated any rules/laws in the implementation of the judgment by using force, threat, and
intimidation, the Investigating Commissioner noted that complainant contradicted such imputations by filing the following pleadings,
to wit: (1) a Motion to Close and Terminate Case23 dated December 18, 2013, acknowledging the full satisfaction of the judgment
award and even prayed for Attys. Era and Bragas' clients to take possession of the remaining machines in his business establishment;
(2) a Manifestation24 dated March 12, 2014, wherein complainant stated that he has surrendered the vehicles listed in the certificate of
sale; (3) an Omnibus Motion with Entry of Appearance (Motion to Withdraw and Motion to Reiterate Motion to Close and Terminate
Case and release of TRO Bond25 dated February 4, 2014; (4) A Motion for Consignation with Motion to Lift Levy26 dated October
29, 2014; and (5) a Motion to Withdraw Complaint27 dated December 10, 2013 on the criminal case for Malicious Mischief, Robbery,
and Trespassing against Attys. Era and Bragas. In fine, the Investigating Commissioner ratiocinated that in acknowledging the
satisfaction of the judgment in the labor case and withdrawing the criminal case that he filed against Attys. Era and Bragas with regard
to the implementation of the said judgment, complainant contradicted and demolished his own allegation that the satisfaction of the
judgment was improperly and unlawfully implemented.28

Thus, the Investigating Commissioner recommended that the administrative charges against Attys. Era and Bragas be dismissed for
insufficiency of evidence.29

The IBP Board of Governors (Board), in its Resolution No. XXI- 2015-27030 dated April 18, 2015 reversed and set aside the
Investigating Commissioner's findings and conclusions:

RESOLUTION No. XXI-2015-270 CBD Case No. 14-4300 Joaquin G. Bonifacio vs. Atty. Edgardo O. Era and Atty. Diane Karen B.
Bragas

RESOLVED to REVERSE as it is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A", and considering Atty. Era's
continuedengagement in the practice of law during the period of his suspension by admittedly participating in the negotiation for the
payment of money judgment including pegging of interest he acted as his clients advocate instead as an agent in view of the presence
also of his client in the negotiation, for holding office and admittedly summoned the complainant's children to determine the money
judgment. Hence, Atty. Edgardo O. Era is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) years.

RESOLVED FURTHER, for her assistance in the unauthorized practice of law of Atty. Edgardo O. Era, Atty. Diane Karen B. Bragas
is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) month.

In its Extended Resolution31 dated October 17, 2016, the IBP Board of Governors found Atty. Era's argument that he merely acted
pursuant to an SP A given to him untenable. The Board explained that the invoked SP A gave Atty. Era the authority to appear and
represent the Abucejo Group only on the May 4, 2006 auction and did not include the November 28, 2013 auction. Also, while he was
authorized to receive payment on behalf of his clients, the SP A specifically stated that said payments should be made in the form of
checks and not machinery or property. Thus, Atty. Era had no authority under the SP A to represent his clients during the November
28, 2013 auction and to pull out and receive the corporation's machines as payment of the judgment award. At any rate, according to
the Board, Atty. Era's clients relied on his legal knowledge in having the judgment award satisfied. Clearly, Atty. Era violated Section
28,32 Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.33

Corollary to this, the Board also found Atty. Bragas liable for allowing and assisting Atty. Era to engage in an unauthorized practice of
law. The Board concluded that Atty. Bragas ought to know that Atty. Era's acts during the satisfaction of the alias writ could be
performed only by a member of the bar in good standing.34

Pursuant to Section 12(b),35 Rule 139-B of the Rules, the records of the instant case were transmitted to this Court.

No motion for reconsideration or petition for review was filed by either party as of June 29, 2017.

Necessarily, the Court will now proceed to give its final action on the instant administrative case, the issues being: (1) Did Atty. Era
engage in the practice of law during his suspension therefrom that would warrant another disciplinary action against him?; and (2) In
the affirmative, is Atty. Bragas guilty of directly or indirectly assisting Atty. Era in his illegal practice of law that would likewise
warrant this Court's exercise of its disciplining authority against her?

We sustain the findings and recommendations of the Board of Governors.

Atty. Era's acts constituted ''practice of law".

On this matter, Our pronouncement in the landmark case of Renato L. Cayetano v. Christian Monsod, et. al. 36 is on point. Thus, We
quote herein the relevant portions of the said Decision, viz.:

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 the law. An attorney engages in the practice of law by maintaining an office where he is held out to be an
attorney, using a letterhead describing himself as an attorney, counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel
about pending litigation, and fixing and collecting fees for services rendered by his associate." (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.)

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. (Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. Dworken, 129 Ohio St. 23,
193 N .E. 650) A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he:

"xxx for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to their rights under
the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner,
referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and there, in such
representative capacity performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients under the law.
Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the
law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice
of law." (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v. CS. Dudley and Co., 102 S.W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852).

This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association v. Agrava, (105 Phil. 173, 176-177) stated:

"The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other
papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges
and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law
incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of
a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment,
and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal
instruments, where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and
conditions." (5 Am. Jur. pp. 262, 263).

xxxx

The University of the Philippines Law Center in conducting orientation briefing for new lawyers (1974-1975) listed the dimensions of
the practice of law in even broader terms as advocacy, counselling and public service.

"One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of employment in the profession. If what he does exacts knowledge of the law
and is of a kind usual for attorneys engaging in the active practice of their profession, and he follows some one or more lines of
employment such as this he is a practicing attorney at law within the meaning of the statute." (Barr v. Cardell, 155 NW 312)

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and
experience.1âwphi1 "To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession. Generally, to
practice law is to give notice or render any kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge
or skill." (111 ALR 23)37 (Emphasis supplied)

In Atty. Edita Noe-Lacsamana v. Atty. Yolando F. Bustamante,38We succinctly ruled that the term practice of law implies customarily
or habitually holding oneself out to the public as a lawyer for compensation as a source of livelihood or in consideration of services.
Holding one's self out as a lawyer may be shown by acts indicative of that purpose, such as identifying oneself as an attorney,
appearing in court in representation of a client, or associating oneself as a partner of a law office for the general practice of law.39

In this case, it is undisputed that Atty. Era committed the following acts: (1) appeared on behalf of his winning clients in the public
auction of the condemned properties; (2) tendered bid in the auction for his clients; (3) secured the certificate of sale and presented the
said document to the corporation's officers and employees present in the premises at that time; (4) insisted that his clients are now the
new owners of the subject properties, hence, should be allowed entry in the premises; (5) initiated the pull out of the properties; and
(6) negotiated with Bonifacio's children in his law office as regards the payment of the judgment award with interest instead of pulling
out the properties.40

It is true that being present in an auction sale and negotiating matters relating to the same may not be exclusively for lawyers, as
opined by the Investigating Commissioner. However, in this case, as aptly put by the Board in its Resolution, Atty. Era's acts clearly
involved the determination by a trained legal mind of the legal effects and consequences of each course of action in the satisfaction of
the judgment award.41 Precisely, this is why his clients chose Atty. Era to represent them in the public auction and in any
negotiation/settlement with the corporation arising from the labor case as stated in the SPA being invoked by Atty. Era.42 Such
trained legal mind is what his clients were relying upon in seeking redress for their claims. This is evident from the fact that they
agreed not to enter into any amicable settlement without the prior written consent of Atty. Era, the latter being their lawyer.43 It could
readily be seen that the said SPA was executed by reason of Atty. Era being their legal counsel. Thus, We are one with the Board's
submission that the said SPA cannot be invoked to support Atty. Era's claim that he was not engaged in the practice of law in
performing the acts above-cited as such SP A cunningly undermines the suspension ordered by this Court against Atty. Era, which We
cannot countenance.

Atty. Era was engaged in an unauthorized practice of law during his suspension

As mentioned, Atty. Era was suspended from the practice of law for a period of two years in this Court's Decision dated July 16, 2013.
He performed the above-cited acts on the same year, specifically November to December 2013. Indubitably, Atty. Era was engaged in
an unauthorized law practice.

Atty. Era's acts constitute willful disobedience of the lawful order of this Court, which under Section 27,44 Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court is a sufficient cause for suspension or disbarment. Further, Atty. Era's intentional maneuver to circumvent the suspension order
not only reflects his insubordination to authority but also his disrespect to this Court's lawful order which warrants reproach. Members
of the bar, above anyone else, are called upon to obey court orders and processes.45 Graver responsibility is imposed upon a lawyer
than any other to uphold the integrity of the courts and to show respect to their processes.46
This case is not novel. We had previously disciplined erring lawyers who continue in their practice despite being suspended by the
Court. In Rodrigo A. Molina v. Atty. Ceferino R. Magat,47this Court suspended Atty. Magat from the practice of law for practicing his
profession despite this Court's previous order of suspension. Likewise in another case, We suspended a lawyer for continuing in her
practice despite the clear language of this Court's suspension order.48

In view of the foregoing, We agree with the Board of Governors' Resolution, finding Atty. Era guilty of willfully disobeying the
lawful order of this Court warranting the exercise of Our disciplining authority. We also adopt the Board's recommendation as to the
penalty to be imposed upon Atty. Era, i.e., three years suspension from the practice of law, taking into account that this is his second
infraction.

Atty. Bragas is guilty of assisting Atty. Era in his unauthorized practice of law and, thus, must likewise be reproved.

There is no question that Atty. Bragas has knowledge of Atty. Era's suspension from the practice of law and yet, she allowed herself to
participate in Atty. Era's unauthorized practice. Clearly, Atty. Bragas violated the CPR, specifically:

CANON 9 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law.

Indeed, it is a lawyer's duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law. Such duty is founded upon
public interest and policy, which requires that law practice be limited only to individuals found duly qualified in education and
character.49

As correctly observed by the Board, Atty. Bragas ought to know that Atty. Era's acts constitutive of law practice could be performed
only by a member of the Bar in good standing, which Atty. Era was not at that time. Hence, she should have not participated to such
transgression.

Being an associate in Atty. Era's law firm cannot be used to circumvent the suspension order. The factual circumstances of the case
clearly shows that Atty. Bragas did not act to replace Atty. Era as counsel for his and/or the law firm's clients during the latter's
suspension. Atty. Bragas merely assisted Atty. Era, who admittedly was the one actively performing all acts pertaining to the labor
case he was handling.

Considering the foregoing, We also adopt the Board's recommendation as regards Atty. Bragas' guilt in the violation of the CPR.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, Atty. Edgardo O. Era is found GUILTY of willfully disobeying this Court's lawful order and is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years, while Atty. Diane Karen B. Bragas is likewise found
GUILTY of violating CANON 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for
one (1) month, effective immediately from receipt of this Decision. Also, both Attys. Era and Bragas are WARNED that a repetition
of the same or similar offense, or a commission of another offense will warrant a more severe penalty.

Let a copy of this Decision be entered in the personal records of respondents as members of the Bar, and copies furnished the Office
of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the
country.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-46537 July 29, 1977
JOSE GUBALLA, petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. EDUARDO P. CAGUIOA, RICARDO G. CARLOS and DOMINGO FORTEZA, JR., respondents.

SANTOS, J:
In this petition for certiorari with Preliminary Injunction, petitioner seeks to set aside the Order of respondent Judge dated July 12,
1977, denying his Petition for Relief from Judgment and allowing a writ of execution to issue in Civil Case No. 680-V of the Court of
First Instance of Bulacan.
The factual antecedents may be recited as follows:
Petitioner is an operator of a public utility vehicle which was involved, on October 1, 1971, in an accident resulting to injuries
sustained by private respondent Domingo Forteza Jr. As a consequence thereof, a complaint for damages was filed by Forteza
against petitioner with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan (Branch VIII), docketed as Civil Case No. 680-V. An Answer thereto was
filed on behalf of petitioner by Irineo W. Vida Jr., of the law firm of Vida Enriquez, Mercado & Associates. 1
Because petitioner and counsel failed to appear at the pretrial conference on April 6, 1972, despite due notice, petitioner was
treated as in default and private respondent was allowed to present his evidence ex parte. A decision was thereafter rendered by
the trial court in favor of private respondent Forteza Jr. A Motion for Reconsideration was then filed by petitioner seeking the lifting
of the order of default, the reopening of the case for the presentation of his evidence and the setting aside of the decision. Said
Motion for Reconsideration was signed by Ponciano Mercado, another member of the law firm. The same was denied by the lower
Court and petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals assigning the following alleged errors, to wit:
a. That the Hon. Court erred in denying defendant Jose Guballa his day in Court by declaring him in default, it being contrary to
applicable law and jurisprudence on the matter;
b. That this Hon. Court has no jurisdiction to hear and decide the case;
c. Award of damages in favor of plaintiff, more particularly award of moral damages is contrary to law; and
d. Defendant has valid, legal and justiciable defenses.2
The appealed case was handled by Atty. Benjamin Bautista, an associate of the same law firm. The decision appealed from was
affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 52610R. A Motion for Reconsideration was filed by petitioner, through a
different counsel, Atty. Isabelo V.L. Santos II. However the same was denied and the decision became final on June 29, 1977 and was
then remanded to the lower Court, presided by respondent Judge for execution. 3
A Motion for Execution was thereafter filed by private respondent with the lower Court which was granted by respondent Judge. 4
On July 6, 1977, petitioner, through Atty. Isabelo V.L. Santos 11, filed a Petition for Relief from Judgment alleging his discovery that
Irineo W. Vida Jr., who prepared his Answer to the Complaint is not a member of the Philippine Bar and that consequently, his rights
had not been adequately protected and his properties are in danger of being confiscated and/or levied upon without due process of
law. 5
In an Order dated July 12, 1977, respondent Judge denied the Petition and directed the issuance of a writ of execution for the
reasons that said Petition is ". . a clear case of dilatory tactic on the part of counsel for defendant-appellant ..." herein petitioner,
and, that the grounds relied upon ". . . could have been ventilated in the appeal before the Court of Appeals ... " 6
On July 19, 1977, respondent Deputy Sheriff Ricardo G. Carlos, acting upon the writ of execution, issued by respondent Judge, levied
on three motor vehicles, of petitioner for the satisfaction of the judgment. 7
Hence the instant Petition.
Respondent Judge's forthright denial of the Petition for Relief to frustrate a dilatory maneuver is well-taken; and this Petition must
be denied for lack of merit. The alleged fact that the person who represented petitioner at the initial stage of the litigation, i.e., the
filing of an Answer and the pretrial proceedings, turned out to be not a member of the Bar 8 did not amount to a denial of
petitioner's day in court. It should be noted that in the subsequent stages of the proceedings, after the rendition of the judgment by
default, petitioner was duly represented by bona fide members of the Bar in seeking a reversal of the judgment for being contrary to
law and jurisprudence and the existence of valid, legal and justifiable defenses. In other words, petitioner's rights had been amply
protected in the proceedings before the trial and appellate courts as he was subsequently assisted by counsel. Moreover, petitioner
himself was at fault as the order of treatment as in default was predicated, not only on the alleged counsel's failure to attend the
pretrial conference on April 6, 1972, but likewise on his own failure to attend the same, without justifiable reason. To allow this
petition due course is to countenance further delay in a proceeding which has already taken well over six years to resolve,
WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the Petition for certiorari with Preliminary Injunction is hereby dismissed. The law firm "Vida,
Enriquez, Mercado & Associates" of 209 Sampaguita Bldg., Cubao, Quezon City, is hereby ordered to explain, within ten (10) days
from notice this Resolution, why Irineo W. Vida Jr. was permitted to sign the Answer in Civil Case No. 680-V of CFI, Bulacan, when he
is not a member of the Bar.
G.R. No. 111474 August 22, 1994
FIVE J TAXI and/or JUAN S. ARMAMENTO, petitioners,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, DOMINGO MALDIGAN and GILBERTO SABSALON, respondents.
Edgardo G. Fernandez for petitioners.
R E SO L U T I O N

REGALADO, J.:
Petitioners Five J Taxi and/or Juan S. Armamento filed this special civil action for certiorari to annul the decision 1 of respondent
National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) ordering petitioners to pay private respondents Domingo Maldigan and Gilberto
Sabsalon their accumulated deposits and car wash payments, plus interest thereon at the legal rate from the date of promulgation
of judgment to the date of actual payment, and 10% of the total amount as and for attorney's fees.
We have given due course to this petition for, while to the cynical the de minimis amounts involved should not impose upon the
valuable time of this Court, we find therein a need to clarify some issues the resolution of which are important to small wage earners
such as taxicab drivers. As we have heretofore repeatedly demonstrated, this Court does not exist only for the rich or the powerful,
with their reputed monumental cases of national impact. It is also the Court of the poor or the underprivileged, with the actual
quotidian problems that beset their individual lives.
Private respondents Domingo Maldigan and Gilberto Sabsalon were hired by the petitioners as taxi drivers 2 and, as such, they
worked for 4 days weekly on a 24-hour shifting schedule. Aside from the daily "boundary" of P700.00 for air-conditioned taxi or
P450.00 for non-air-conditioned taxi, they were also required to pay P20.00 for car washing, and to further make a P15.00 deposit to
answer for any deficiency in their "boundary," for every actual working day.
In less than 4 months after Maldigan was hired as an extra driver by the petitioners, he already failed to report for work for
unknown reasons. Later, petitioners learned that he was working for "Mine of Gold" Taxi Company. With respect to Sabsalon, while
driving a taxicab of petitioners on September 6, 1983, he was held up by his armed passenger who took all his money and thereafter
stabbed him. He was hospitalized and after his discharge, he went to his home province to recuperate.
In January, 1987, Sabsalon was re-admitted by petitioners as a taxi driver under the same terms and conditions as when he was first
employed, but his working schedule was made on an "alternative basis," that is, he drove only every other day. However, on several
occasions, he failed to report for work during his schedule.
On September 22, 1991, Sabsalon failed to remit his "boundary" of P700.00 for the previous day. Also, he abandoned his taxicab in
Makati without fuel refill worth P300.00. Despite repeated requests of petitioners for him to report for work, he adamantly refused.
Afterwards it was revealed that he was driving a taxi for "Bulaklak Company."
Sometime in 1989, Maldigan requested petitioners for the reimbursement of his daily cash deposits for 2 years, but herein
petitioners told him that not a single centavo was left of his deposits as these were not even enough to cover the amount spent for
the repairs of the taxi he was driving. This was allegedly the practice adopted by petitioners to recoup the expenses incurred in the
repair of their taxicab units. When Maldigan insisted on the refund of his deposit, petitioners terminated his services. Sabsalon, on
his part, claimed that his termination from employment was effected when he refused to pay for the washing of his taxi seat covers.
On November 27, 1991, private respondents filed a complaint with the Manila Arbitration Office of the National Labor Relations
Commission charging petitioners with illegal dismissal and illegal deductions. That complaint was dismissed, the labor arbiter holding
that it took private respondents two years to file the same and such unreasonable delay was not consistent with the natural reaction
of a person who claimed to be unjustly treated, hence the filing of the case could be interpreted as a mere afterthought.
Respondent NLRC concurred in said findings, with the observation that private respondents failed to controvert the evidence
showing that Maldigan was employed by "Mine of Gold" Taxi Company from February 10, 1987 to December 10, 1990; that Sabsalon
abandoned his taxicab on September 1, 1990; and that they voluntarily left their jobs for similar employment with other taxi
operators. It, accordingly, affirmed the ruling of the labor arbiter that private respondents' services were not illegally terminated. It,
however, modified the decision of the labor arbiter by ordering petitioners to pay private respondents the awards stated at the
beginning of this resolution.
Petitioners' motion for reconsideration having been denied by the NLRC, this petition is now before us imputing grave abuse of
discretion on the part of said public respondent.
This Court has repeatedly declared that the factual findings of quasi-judicial agencies like the NLRC, which have acquired expertise
because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters, are generally accorded not only respect but, at times, finality if such
findings are supported by substantial evidence. 3 Where, however, such conclusions are not supported by the evidence, they must
be struck down for being whimsical and capricious and, therefore, arrived at with grave abuse of discretion. 4
Respondent NLRC held that the P15.00 daily deposits made by respondents to defray any shortage in their "boundary" is covered by
the general prohibition in Article 114 of the Labor Code against requiring employees to make deposits, and that there is no showing
that the Secretary of Labor has recognized the same as a "practice" in the taxi industry. Consequently, the deposits made were
illegal and the respondents must be refunded therefor.
Article 114 of the Labor Code provides as follows:
Art. 114. Deposits for loss or damage. — No employer shall require his worker to make deposits from which deductions shall be
made for the reimbursement of loss of or damage to tools, materials, or equipment supplied by the employer, except when the
employer is engaged in such trades, occupations or business where the practice of making deposits is a recognized one, or is
necessary or desirable as determined by the Secretary of Labor in appropriate rules and regulations.
It can be deduced therefrom that the said article provides the rule on deposits for loss or damage to tools, materials or equipments
supplied by the employer. Clearly, the same does not apply to or permit deposits to defray any deficiency which the taxi driver may
incur in the remittance of his "boundary." Also, when private respondents stopped working for petitioners, the alleged purpose for
which petitioners required such unauthorized deposits no longer existed. In other case, any balance due to private respondents after
proper accounting must be returned to them with legal interest.
However, the unrebutted evidence with regard to the claim of Sabsalon is as follows:
YEAR DEPOSITS SHORTAGES VALES
1987 P 1,403.00 P 567.00 P 1,000.00
1988 720.00 760.00 200.00
1989 686.00 130.00 1,500.00
1990 605.00 570.00
1991 165.00 2,300.00
———— ———— ————
P 3,579.00 P 4,327.00 P 2,700.00
The foregoing accounting shows that from 1987-1991, Sabsalon was able to withdraw his deposits through vales or he incurred
shortages, such that he is even indebted to petitioners in the amount of P3,448.00. With respect to Maldigan's deposits, nothing was
mentioned questioning the same even in the present petition. We accordingly agree with the recommendation of the Solicitor
General that since the evidence shows that he had not withdrawn the same, he should be reimbursed the amount of his
accumulated cash deposits. 5
On the matter of the car wash payments, the labor arbiter had this to say in his decision: "Anent the issue of illegal deductions, there
is no dispute that as a matter of practice in the taxi industry, after a tour of duty, it is incumbent upon the driver to restore the unit
he has driven to the same clean condition when he took it out, and as claimed by the respondents (petitioners in the present case),
complainant(s) (private respondents herein) were made to shoulder the expenses for washing, the amount doled out was paid
directly to the person who washed the unit, thus we find nothing illegal in this practice, much more (sic) to consider the amount paid
by the driver as illegal deduction in the context of the law." 6 (Words in parentheses added.)
Consequently, private respondents are not entitled to the refund of the P20.00 car wash payments they made. It will be noted that
there was nothing to prevent private respondents from cleaning the taxi units themselves, if they wanted to save their P20.00. Also,
as the Solicitor General correctly noted, car washing after a tour of duty is a practice in the taxi industry, and is, in fact, dictated by
fair play.
On the last issue of attorney's fees or service fees for private respondents' authorized representative, Article 222 of the Labor Code,
as amended by Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1691, states that non-lawyers may appear before the NLRC or any labor arbiter
only (1) if they represent themselves, or (2) if they represent their organization or the members thereof. While it may be true that
Guillermo H. Pulia was the authorized representative of private respondents, he was a non-lawyer who did not fall in either of the
foregoing categories. Hence, by clear mandate of the law, he is not entitled to attorney's fees.
Furthermore, the statutory rule that an attorney shall be entitled to have and recover from his client a reasonable compensation for
his services 7 necessarily imports the existence of an attorney-client relationship as a condition for the recovery of attorney's fees,
and such relationship cannot exist unless the client's representative is a lawyer. 8
WHEREFORE, the questioned judgment of respondent National Labor Relations Commission is hereby MODIFIED by deleting the
awards for reimbursement of car wash expenses and attorney's fees and directing said public respondent to order and effect the
computation and payment by petitioners of the refund for private respondent Domingo Maldigan's deposits, plus legal interest
thereon from the date of finality of this resolution up to the date of actual payment thereof.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 86421 May 31, 1994
SPS. THELMA R. MASINSIN and MIGUEL MASINSIN, SPS. GILBERTO and ADELINA, ROLDAN, petitioners,
vs.
THE HON. ED VINCENT ALBANO, Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch X, DEPUTY SHERIFF JESS
ARREOLA, VICENTE CAÑEDA and THE HON. LEONARDO CRUZ, in his capacity as Presiding Judge Regional Trial of Manila, Branch
XXV, respondents.
Gregorio T. Fabros for petitioners.
Isidro F. Molina for private respondent.
RESOLUTION

VITUG, J.:
Spouses Miguel and Thelma Masinsin, et al., instituted this petition for certiorari, prohibition, relief from judgment, as well as
declaratory relief, with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction, asking us to order the Metropolitan Trial Court ("MTC") of
Manila, Branch X, to cease and desist from further proceeding with Civil Case No. 107203-CV.
This case emerged from an ejectment suit (docketed Civil Case No. 107203-CV) filed by private respondent Vicente Cañeda
("Cañeda"), then as plaintiffs, against herein petitioners, as defendants, with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila (Branch X). After
trial, the MTC, on 01 July 1985, rendered judgment; thus:
PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendants and all persons claiming right under them to vacate
the premises and to remove their house/apartment and surrender possession of the subject land to the plaintiff; to pay to the
plaintiff the sum of P100.00 a month from January 1987 as the reasonable compensation for the use and occupation of the premises
until the land is actually vacated, and the costs of suit. 1
No appeal having been taken therefrom, the judgment became final and executory. On 22 August 1985, petitioners filed a petition
for certiorari before the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch XXXII) seeking the annulment of the aforesaid decision in the
ejectment case and to set aside an order of its execution. The petition was in due time dismissed. Again, no appeal was taken
therefrom.
On 07 October 1985, a complaint for "Annulment of Judgment, Lease Contract and Damages" was filed by petitioners before the
Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch XLI) asking, in main, for the nullification of the judgment in the ejectment case. The complaint
was dismissed on the ground of res judicata. This time, petitioners appealed the dismissal to the Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, a writ
of execution was issued by the MTC for the enforcement of its decision. The writ, however, was held in abeyance when petitioners
deposited with the Court of Appeals the sum of P3,000.00 in cash plus an amount of P100.00 to be paid every month beginning
February 1987. On 11 March 1987, the Court of Appeals affirmed the order of dismissal of the lower court. Petitioners' recourse to
this Court was to be of no avail. The petition was denied, and an entry of judgment was made on 14 July 1987.
Accordingly, the records were remanded to the MTC for execution. When petitioners refused to remove their house on the premises
in question, upon motion of private respondent, an order of demolition was issued. Shortly thereafter, the demolition began. Before
the completion of the demolition, a restraining order was issued by the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch XIX) following a
petition for certiorari, with preliminary injunction and restraining order, filed by petitioners. On 23 February 1988, the trial court
dismissed the petition.
Unfazed by the series of dismissals of their complaints and petitions, petitioners assailed anew the MTC decision in a petition for
certiorari, with preliminary injunction, and for declaratory relief (docketed Civil Case No. 88-43944) before the Regional Trial Court
of Manila (Branch XXV), which, again, issued a restraining order. 2
Private respondent then filed a motion for an alias writ of execution with the MTC. An ex-parte motion of petitioners for the
issuance of a second restraining order was this time denied by the RTC (Branch XXV). 3 On 23 August 1990, 4 the trial court,
ultimately, dismissed the petition with costs against petitioners.
In this petition, petitioners contend that the MTC of Manila (Branch X) has lost jurisdiction to enforce its decision, dated 01 July
1985, in Civil Case No. 107203, when the property in question was proclaimed an area for priority development by the National
Housing Authority on 01 December 1987 by authority of Presidential Decree 2016.
The petition is totally without merit.
In resolving this issue, we only have to refer to our resolution of 01 February 1993 in G.R. No. 98446, entitled, "Spouses Thelma R.
Masinsin, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al.," to which this case is intimately related, where we ruled:
. . . The singular question common to both cases submitted for resolution of this court is the implication of Presidential Decree No.
1517, otherwise known as the "Urban Land Reform Law," and its amendments or ramifications embodied in Proclamation No. 1893,
as amended by Proclamation No. 1967 and Presidential Decree No. 2016. All the above statutes are being implemented by the
Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Office of the President.
There is a prejudicial issue the answer to which hangs the resolution of this case. On May 20, 1992, this Court required the National
Housing Authority to submit a Comment on the status of the program of acquisition by the Government of the land area which
includes the disputed property, as part of the Areas for Priority Development (APD), under the aforementioned decrees and
proclamations.
In compliance with said order of this Court, Mr. Andres C. Lingan, Manager of the Metro Manila Project Department of the National
Housing Authority, submitted the following report on the status of Lot 6-A, Block 1012, located at No. 1890 Obesis Street, Pandacan,
Manila, known as the Carlos Estate, an APD site. Pertinent portions of the report read:
Please be informed that Lot 6-A, Block 1012 located at No. 1890 Obesis St., Pandacan, Manila which is the subject matter of the case
and located within the Carlos Estate declared as APD site pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1967, is not for acquisition by
NHA.
The Carlos Estate is located outside of the NHA projects under the Zonal Improvement Project (ZIP) and Community Mortgage
Program (CMP). The site, however, is under the administration of the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) for acquisition
and upgrading. (Emphasis Supplied.)
The above information answers the uncertainty concerning the status of the alleged negotiation for the acquisition by the
government of certain areas in Metro Manila. The NHA is definitely NOT acquiring the said lot for its program.
It appearing that the purpose of this Petition for Review is to set aside the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals which
affirmed the decision of the lower courts, in order to avoid eviction from the disputed premises and to be allowed to acquire the
same allegedly under the Community Mortgage Program of the National Housing Authority, we find the petition without merit and
deny the same. Consequently, the petition is DISMISSED. 5
What immediately catches one's attention to this case is the evident predilection of petitioners, through different counsel, to file
pleadings, one after another, from which not even this Court has been spared. The utter lack of merit of the complaints and
petitions simply evinces the deliberate intent of petitioners to prolong and delay the inevitable execution of a decision that has long
become final and executory.
Four times did the petitioners, with the assistance of counsel, try to nullify the same MTC decision before different branches of the
court, trifling with judicial processes. Never, again, should this practice be countenanced. 6
The lawyer's oath to which we have all subscribed in solemn agreement in dedicating ourselves to the pursuit of justice, is not a
mere fictile of words, drift and hollow, but a sacred trust that we must uphold and keep inviolable. Perhaps, it is time we are here
reminded of that pledge; thus -
LAWYER'S OATH
I, . . ., do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines; I will support and defend its Constitution
and obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I will do no falsehood nor consent to its
commission; I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit nor give aid nor consent to the
same; I will not delay any man's cause for money or malice and will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my
knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients and I impose upon myself this obligation
voluntary, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.
SO HELP ME GOD. (Emphasis supplied.)
We have since emphasized in no uncertain terms that any act on the part of a lawyer, an officer of the court, which visibly tends to
obstruct, pervert, impede and degrade the administration of justice is contumacious calling for both an exercise of disciplinary action
and warranting application of the contempt power. 7
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Petitioners' counsel of record is hereby strongly CENSURED and WARNED that a similar
infraction of the lawyer's oath in the future will be dealt with most severely. Double costs against petitioners.
This resolution is immediately executory.
SO ORDERED.

A.C. No. 5624 January 20, 2004

NATASHA HUEYSUWAN-FLORIDO, Complainant,


vs.
ATTY. JAMES BENEDICT C. FLORIDO, Respondent.

DECISION

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

This is an administrative complaint for the disbarment of respondent Atty. James Benedict C. Florido and his eventual removal from
the Roll of Attorneys for allegedly violating his oath as a lawyer "by manufacturing, flaunting and using a spurious and bogus Court of
Appeals Resolution/Order."1

In her Complaint-Affidavit, Natasha V. Heysuwan-Florido averred that she is the legitimate spouse of respondent Atty. James
Benedict C. Florido, but that they are estranged and living separately from each other. They have two children – namely, Kamille
Nicole H. Florido, five years old, and James Benedict H. Florido, Jr., three years old – both of whom are in complainant’s custody.
Complainant filed a case for the annulment of her marriage with respondent, docketed as Civil Case No. 23122, before the Regional
Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 24. Meanwhile, there is another case related to the complaint for annulment of marriage which is
pending before the Court of Appeals and docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 54235 entitled, "James Benedict C. Florido v. Hon. Pampio
Abarientos, et al."

Sometime in the middle of December 2001, respondent went to complainant’s residence in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental and
demanded that the custody of their two minor children be surrendered to him. He showed complainant a photocopy of an alleged
Resolution issued by the Court of Appeals which supposedly granted his motion for temporary child custody.2 Complainant called up
her lawyer but the latter informed her that he had not received any motion for temporary child custody filed by respondent.

Complainant asked respondent for the original copy of the alleged resolution of the Court of Appeals, but respondent failed to give it
to her. Complainant then examined the resolution closely and noted that it bore two dates: November 12, 2001 and November 29,
2001. Sensing something amiss, she refused to give custody of their children to respondent.

In the mid-morning of January 15, 2002, while complainant was with her children in the ABC Learning Center in Tanjay City,
respondent, accompanied by armed men, suddenly arrived and demanded that she surrender to him the custody of their children. He
threatened to forcefully take them away with the help of his companions, whom he claimed to be agents of the National Bureau of
Investigation.

Alarmed, complainant immediately sought the assistance of the Tanjay City Police. The responding policemen subsequently escorted
her to the police station where the matter could be clarified and settled peacefully. At the police station, respondent caused to be
entered in the Police Blotter a statement that he, assisted by agents of the NBI, formally served on complainant the appellate court’s
resolution/order.3 In order to diffuse the tension, complainant agreed to allow the children to sleep with respondent for one night on
condition that he would not take them away from Tanjay City. This agreement was entered into in the presence of Tanjay City Chief
of Police Juanito Condes and NBI Investigator Roger Sususco, among others.

In the early morning of January 16, 2002, complainant received information that a van arrived at the hotel where respondent and the
children were staying to take them to Bacolod City. Complainant rushed to the hotel and took the children to another room, where they
stayed until later in the morning.

On the same day, respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City, Branch 31, a verified petition4 for the issuance
of a writ of habeas corpus asserting his right to custody of the children on the basis of the alleged Court of Appeals’ resolution. In the
meantime, complainant verified the authenticity of the Resolution and obtained a certification dated January 18, 20025 from the Court
of Appeals stating that no such resolution ordering complainant to surrender custody of their children to respondent had been issued.

At the hearing of the petition for habeas corpus on January 23, 2002, respondent did not appear. Consequently, the petition was
dismissed.

Hence, complainant filed the instant complaint alleging that respondent violated his attorney’s oath by manufacturing, flaunting and
using a spurious Court of Appeals’ Resolution in and outside a court of law. Furthermore, respondent abused and misused the
privileged granted to him by the Supreme Court to practice law in the country.

After respondent answered the complaint, the matter was referred to the IBP-Commission on Bar Discipline for investigation, report
and recommendation. The IBP-CBD recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three years
with a warning that another offense of this nature will result in his disbarment.6 On June 23, 2003, the IBP Board of Governors
adopted and approved the Report and recommendation of the Commission with the modification that the penalty of suspension be
increased to six years.

The issue to be resolved is whether or not the respondent can be held administratively liable for his reliance on and attempt to enforce
a spurious Resolution of the Court of Appeals.

In his answer to the complaint, respondent claims that he acted in good faith in invoking the Court of Appeals Resolution which he
honestly believed to be authentic. This, however, is belied by the fact that he used and presented the spurious resolution several times.
As pointed out by the Investigating Commissioner, the assailed Resolution was presented by respondent on at least two occasions:
first, in his Petition for Issuance of Writ of Habeas Corpus docketed as Special Proc. Case No. 3898,7 which he filed with the
Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City; and second, when he sought the assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Tanjay
City to recover custody of his minor children from complainant. Since it was respondent who used the spurious Resolution, he is
presumed to have participated in its fabrication.

Candor and fairness are demanded of every lawyer.1âwphi1 The burden cast on the judiciary would be intolerable if it could not take
at face value what is asserted by counsel. The time that will have to be devoted just to the task of verification of allegations submitted
could easily be imagined. Even with due recognition then that counsel is expected to display the utmost zeal in the defense of a
client’s cause, it must never be at the expense of the truth.8 Thus, the Code of professional Responsibility states:

CANON 10. A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT.

Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood; nor consent to the doing of any in court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to
be misled by any artifice.

Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of a paper, the language or the argument of an
opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or authority, or knowingly cite as a law a provision already rendered inoperative by repeal
or amendment, or assert as a fact that which has not been proved.

Moreover, the records show that respondent used offensive language in his pleadings in describing complainant and her relatives. A
lawyer’s language should be forceful but dignified, emphatic but respectful as befitting an advocate and in keeping with the dignity of
the legal profession.9 The lawyer’s arguments whether written or oral should be gracious to both court and opposing counsel and
should be of such words as may be properly addressed by one gentlemen to another.10 By calling complainant, a "sly manipulator of
truth" as well as a "vindictive congenital prevaricator", hardly measures to the sobriety of speech demanded of a lawyer.

Respondent’s actions erode the public perception of the legal profession. They constitute gross misconduct and the sanctions for such
malfeasance is prescribed by Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which states:

SEC. 27. Disbarment and suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefore.- A member of the bar may be disbarred or
suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice or other gross misconduct in such office,
grossly immoral conduct or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he
is required to take before the admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience appearing as attorney for a party without authority to
do so.

Considering the attendant circumstances, we agree with the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors that respondent should be
suspended from the practice of law. However, we find that the period of six years is too harsh a penalty. Instead, suspension for the
lesser period of two years, which we deem commensurate to the offense committed, is hereby imposed on respondent.

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, Atty. James Benedict C. Florido is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of
two (2) years.

Let copies of this resolution be entered in the personal record of respondent as a member of the Bar and furnished the Bar Confidant,
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts of the country.

SO ORDERED.
A.M. No. MTJ-93-781 November 16, 1993
EDUARDO R. SANTOS, petitioner,
vs.
JUDGE ORLANDO C. PAGUIO, MTC, Meycauayan, Bulacan, respondent.
Eduardo R. Santos for and in his own behalf.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:


The complainant herein is the lawyer for the defendants in Civil Case No. 90-1706, an action for unlawful detainer commenced on 5
May 1990 with the Municipal Trial Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan while the respondent is the presiding Judge of the said court. In his
verified complaint filed through the Office of the Court Administrator on 18 March 1993, the complainant charges the respondent
with gross ignorance of the law and gross incompetence. The complainant supports his charge with the allegation that after the
answer in the said case was filed and "without notice and hearing," the latter rendered a decision on 28 June 1991,1 the decretal
portion of which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, it is hereby respectfully prayed that judgment be rendered in accordance
with plaintiff's prayer in their Complaint in the above-entitled case.
SO ORDERED.
He further alleges that Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bulacan, in its Order of 19 January 1993 in Sp. Civil Action No.
03-M-932 — a petition for certiorari filed by the defendants in Civil Case No. 90-1706 — had already opined that the said decision is
void upon its face because it:
. . . would be impossible to be implemented for the simple or obvious reason that the same cannot be considered a decision at all.
Instead of deciding or ordering something to be done, it merely prays that judgment be rendered.
but despite this, the respondent still "changed and amended [his] final decision [of 28 June 1991] in order to nullify the order of a
superior Court, the RTC of Bulacan" via a new decision in Civil Case No. 90-17063 promulgated on 25 January 1993. The dispositive
portion of this new decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff by:
1. Ordering defendants and persons claiming any rights under them to vacate the premises occupied by them, more particularly the
portion on which are erected their respective dwelling structure/unit, at 117 Bayugo, Meycauayan, Bulacan (or lot of plaintiff
aforementioned) and to remove said dwelling structure/units from said subject premises of plaintiff;
2. Ordering defendants individually to pay the sum of P350.00 Philippine Currency, per month by way of monthly rental commencing
from May 16, 1990, and thereafter until they shall have vacated the premises of the plaintiff;
3. Ordering the defendants to pay jointly and severally the sum of P2,000.00, Philippine currency, on account of plaintiff's attorney's
fees (retainer) and P500.00, Philippine Currency, for every hearing/trial attended by said attorney before this Honorable Court; and
4. Ordering the defendants to pay costs.
SO ORDERED.
According to the complainant, the dispositive portion of the 28 June 1991 Decision exhibits the respondent's gross ignorance in
"decision preparation," and that respondent's "haste to amend the same to favor plaintiff was both appalling (sic) and downright
improper." The complainant then prays that the respondent "be removed from office if only to save the integrity of the judiciary."
In his Comment filed on 2 July 1993,4 the respondent denies the imputations and alleges, inter alia, that: (1) the complainant was
not the original counsel for the defendants but one Atty. Adriano Javier, Sr. who represented the latter until the time that the
parties were directed to file their respective position papers, specifically until 29 November 1991 when Atty. Javier filed a motion to
withdraw his appearance and the complainant filed his notice of appearance as counsel for the defendants; (2) the Decision of 28
June 1991 was rendered only after a preliminary conference was held where the parties with their respective counsels discussed the
possibility of an amicable settlement and after the defendants failed to comply with the 16 November 1990 Order for the parties to
submit in writing their "respective position statements setting forth the law and the facts relied upon by them and to submit the
affidavits of their witnesses and other evidences in support thereof within fifteen (15) days from receipt" thereof, prompting the
plaintiff to file on 5 April 1991 an ex-parte motion praying that judgment be rendered in this case; (3) the defendants did not appeal
from the 28 June 1991 Decision, hence the plaintiff filed a motion for execution on 2 September 1991, which the defendants did not
oppose; instead they filed a motion for reconsideration and to declare the decision null and void on the ground that the plaintiff did
not file her pre-trail brief and there was no valid pre-trial order; (4) on 4 December 1991, the plaintiff's motion for execution was
granted and a writ of execution was issued, a copy of which was sent to the Clerk of Court of the RTC of Malolos for service; (5) on 5
January 1991,5 he received an order from Branch 18 of the RTC of Bulacan directing him to desist from implementing the writ of
execution; (6) the presiding judge of said Branch 18, Judge Demetrio B. Macapagal, Sr., issued on 19 January 1993 its order disposing
of Sp. Civil Action No. 03-M-93; (7) thereafter, he (respondent) handed down a new decision in Civil Case No. 90-1706 on 25 January
1993 that contained "completely the missing sentences needed in the dispositive portion" of its earlier decision; (8) instead of
appealing therefrom, the defendants filed on 4 February 1993 a motion to set aside the decision, which the court set for its
consideration and to which the plaintiff filed its opposition on 8 February 1993 together with a motion for immediate execution; (9)
on 22 March 1993, the complainant filed a motion to inhibit the respondent by the former did not appear on the date it was set for
consideration. He finally contends that the issue regarding the dispositive portion of the 28 June 1991 Decision was rendered moot
and academic by the corrections made in the Decision of 25 January 1993; that the charge of gross ignorance is contemptuous and
unfounded; and the complainant's sweeping conclusions show his disrespectful attitude.
In his 17 June 1993 Rejoinder filed on 7 July 1993,6 the complainant reiterates his charge that the respondent is incompetent
because he lacks the "ability to prepare a sensible and credible decision," and maintains that the respondent's attempt to convince
this Court that the dispositive portion of the 28 June 1991 Decision is permissible and proper shows "gross ignorance." Further, that
the respondent believes that "he could correct the decision after its finality" and after the RTC of Bulacan had declared it to be null
and void upon its face clearly manifests his "patent ignorance of our laws and jurisprudence."
In his Sur-Rejoinder filed on 13 July 1993,7 the respondent argues that while the 28 June 1991 Decision "could hardly be enforced
for the reason that there is some sort of ambiguity or omission (sic) in its dispositive portion," he was not prohibited from having the
defect "timely corrected and clarified," which was what he had in fact done, and that the "clarified decision" did not prejudice "the
substantial rights of the parties" since they "were given their day in court and passed through the usual course of the proceedings."
Accordingly, he could not be guilty of gross ignorance of the law and of lack of competence.
Wanting to have the last word, the complainant filed a Reply to Sur-rejoinder and Manifestation on 28 July 1993.8 Not to be
outdone, the respondent filed a Manifestation to Reply on 9 August 1993.9
The Court referred this to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and recommendation.
On 31 August 1993, the Office of the Court Administrator submitted its Memorandum containing its evaluation, report and
recommendation. After summarizing the antecedent facts, the said office submitted that the instant complaint is meritorious, and
made the following findings:
It is quite unbelievable, nay, impossible for respondent to have overlooked the missing dispositive portion of his original decision
which is considered the executory portion thereof. The only ineluctable conclusion is that respondent never read said decision
before he signed the same. If only he devoted even only a little time to read the same, such a missing portion considered to be the
most important part of a decision could not have escaped his attention. The alleged dispositive portion was a prayer. It did not have
the effect of finally disposing the case. Presumably, this must have been simply copied from plaintiff's complaint.
True, it was legally permissible for respondent to amend his original defective decision since the RTC dismissed the petition for
certiorari although Judge Perfecto Macapagal found that what was rendered by Judge Paguio "can not be considered a decision at
all." It took respondent Judge 1-1/2 years to discover and correct his error; the error could have easily been discovered at the time
the Motion for Execution was filed on September 2, 1991. But the writ was nonetheless issued on December 4, 1991. Hence, the
belated correction would not mitigate his liability. There is no denying that the quality of a decision rendered by the judge such as
herein respondent, is a reflection on the integrity of the court in dispensing justice to whom it is due. Respondent was at the very
least careless in failing to read carefully the decision that he signed. In fact, both the original and amended decisions still contained
errors in grammar and syntax indicating that there was no adequate editing of the decision that was signed by him. If he had been
more careful, he would have avoided such fractured phrases as:
1. Plaintiff on being opposed to this motion, countered as follows: (Page 5, Decision, June 28, 1991);
2. For a more vivid explanation showing the incidental facts (Ibid);
3. And defendants seems that they are not really sincere (Ibid);
4. But nothing has been done by the latter to renew such contract of lease of which right becomes one of a detainer plain and simple
(page 6, Ibid);
5. That being the case to allow them will mean ownership over the property (Ibid).
It is possible that this is not the usual language of the Judge, for their fractured constructions have no place in a court decision.
Careful editing and rewriting should have been done.
and recommends that:
. . . a fine of P5,000.00 be imposed upon respondent with a warning that any repetition of the same or similar infraction shall be
meted with a more severe penalty of dismissal from the service. He is also admonished to exhibit greater care in the writing of his
decisions.
We find the above observations of the Office of the Court Administrator to be sufficiently supported by the pleadings submitted by
the parties in this case.
After a careful examination of the respondent's "Decision" of 28 June 1991, we do find its body to be flawed with grammatical and
syntactic errors. Its "dispositive portion" disposes of, resolves or decrees nothing. It cannot even be called a dispositive or decretal
portion at all. It is obviously a prayer lifted from a pleading of the plaintiff, such as the Memorandum or the ex-parte manifestation
and motion praying that judgment be rendered filed after the defendants failed to file their position paper, although not from the
complaint as suspected by the Court Administrator. How it gained entry into what should have been the fallo is an arcanum. Any
attempt to unravel the mystery may only complicate the matter against the respondent who is only charged herein with gross
ignorance or incompetence.
There can, however, be no dispute behind the errors of grammar and syntax and the fatally infirmed "dispositive portion" is the
inefficiency, neglect of duty or carelessness on the part of the respondent betraying the absence of due care, diligence,
conscientiousness and thoroughness — qualities which Judges must, among others, possess. Respondent could have easily avoided
the errors and defects had he taken a little more time and effort to at least read its original copy before he finally affixed his
signature thereon. While this Court cannot expect every Judge to be an expert on the English language or an authority in grammar,
he must, however, do everything he can, through constant study, extraordinary diligence, and passion for excellence, to produce a
decision which fosters respect for and encourages obedience to it and enhances the prestige of the court.
As we see it then, the respondent failed to comply with two standard of conduct prescribed by the Canons of Judicial Ethics, namely:
that "[h]e should exhibit an industry and application commensurate with the duties imposed upon him" 10 and that he should be
conscientious, studious and thorough. 11
Moreover, the respondent did not only issue a manifestly infirmed "decision," he even granted the motion for its execution and
issued the corresponding writ with full knowledge that there was nothing to execute. He could not have feigned ignorance of such
nothingness for it is embarrassingly self-evident. He nevertheless ordered its execution, exhibiting once more his inefficiency,
carelessness, negligence, or even his incompetence.
We must add, however, that it is not the respondent alone who must be blamed for such unmitigated faux pas. The counsel for the
parties in the case knew or ought to have known the fatal defect of the dispositive portion and the obvious inefficacy of any writ of
execution, yet, the plaintiff's counsel still filed a motion for execution, while the counsel for the defendants — the complainant
herein — merely filed a motion for reconsideration based solely on the ground that the plaintiff did not file her pre-trial brief and
that there was no valid pre-trial order. Obviously, the complainant initially believed in the completeness of the decision. As a matter
of fact, when he assailed the 25 January 1993 Decision, he alleged that what was amended was a " final decision," a position totally
inconsistent with his claim that the latter was void as declared by the RTC of Bulacan. As officers of the court who owe to it candor,
fairness and good faith, 12 both attorneys should have called the court's attention to the glaring defect of the "dispositive portion"
of the 28 June 1991 Decision.
We thus conclude that the respondent Judge is guilty of, in the very least, inefficiency, neglect of duty and the violation of Canons 5
and 31 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics. He could not, however, be liable for ignorance of law and jurisprudence or for incompetence
when he handed down a new decision on 25 January 1993. The 28 June 1991 Decision was "incomplete" since, for all legal intents
and purposes, it had no fallo and could not attain finality, hence the respondent had the power to amend it to make it conformable
to law and
justice. 13 It is not therefore correct to say, as the complainant suggested, that the order of the RTC of Bulacan in Sp. Civil Action No.
03-M-93 stating that the respondent's Decision of 28 June 1991 is "void upon its face" forever bars the respondent from rendering a
new or amended decision in the ejectment case.
We take this opportunity to stress once again that the administration of justice is a sacred task and all those involved in it must
faithfully adhere to, hold inviolate, and invigorate the principle solemnly enshrined in the Constitution that a public office is a public
trust and all public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility,
integrity, loyalty and efficiency, and act with patriotism and justice and lead modest lives. 14 Every Judge should never forget that he
is the visible representation of the law and, more importantly, of justice. 15 Therefore, he must constantly be the embodiment of
competence, diligence, conscientiousness, thoroughness, efficiency, and integrity so as to preserve, promote and enhance the
people's confidence in the Judiciary.
A few words must also be made of record regarding the complainant. We note that in his complaint in this case he alleged under
oath that after the defendants filed their answer, the respondent "without any hearing, or at least this counsel was never notified of
any such hearing," rendered the 28 June 1991 Decision. This is of course inaccurate, if not outright false. What the complainant
conveniently left out in his complaint was that, as disclosed in the Comment which he did not refute, after the defendants' answer
with counterclaim was admitted by the court, the case was set for preliminary conference and thereafter the parties were required
to submit their position papers and the affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence. We find that the case was properly placed
and considered under the Rule on Summary Procedure and, accordingly, the court could decide the case on the basis of the
submitted position papers, affidavits and other pieces of evidence. Complainant further suppressed the fact that he entered his
appearance as counsel for the defendants only after the court had conducted the preliminary conference and issued the order for
the submission of the foregoing pleadings and documents. He was not, therefore, entitled to any notice before then.
The failure to divulge the foregoing facts may have been intended by the complainant to give his complaint a strong prima facie case
against the respondent. While he was entitled to adopt certain strategies in his pleadings, he forgot that he owes to this Court
absolute candor, fairness and good faith. This Court can neither condone nor tolerate attempts to mislead it through suppression of
important facts which would have a bearing on its initial action. Complainant should, therefore, be admonished to faithfully adhere
to the Code of Professional Responsibility.
WHEREFORE, for inefficiency and neglect of duty amounting to a violation of Canons 5 and 31 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics,
respondent Judge ORLANDO C. PAGUIO is hereby sentenced to pay a FINE of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00). He is further warned
that a repetition of the same or similar infractions shall be dealt with more severely.
Complainant is hereby ADMONISHED to be more careful in the drafting of pleadings, always keeping in mind his duty under Canon
10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
SO ORDERED.
A.C. No. 2837 October 7, 1994
ESTEBAN M. LIBIT, complainant,
vs.
ATTYS. EDELSON G. OLIVA and FLORANDO A. UMALI, respondent.
RESOLUTION
PER CURIAM:
In civil Case No. 84-24144 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, entitled "Pedro Cutingting, plaintiff versus Alfredo Tan,
defendant", the Honorable Presiding Judge Domingo Panis issued the following order:
The Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is hereby ordered to conduct an investigation with the end in view of
determining the author of the Sheriff's Return which appears to have been falsified and to institute such criminal action as the
evidence will warrant. (p. 1, Final Report.)
After conducting the necessary investigation, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), through herein complainant, charged
respondents as follows:
That sometime in May 1984 in the City of Manila, at the Regional Trial Court, Branch XLI, Manila, Philippines, the above-named
Respondents, as Counsels for PEDRO CUTINGTING in Civil Case No. 84-24144, entitled PEDRO CUTINGTING, Plaintiff vs. ALFREDO
TAN, Defendant, did then and there, knowingly, willfully introduced/presented in evidence before the aforesaid Regional Trial Court,
a falsified Sheriff's Return of Summons during the hearing of the aforesaid Civil Case thereby impending and/or obstructing the
speedy administration and/or dispensation of Justice. (p. 2, Final Report, ff. p. 69, Record.)
Respondents in their respective answers denied having any hand in the falsification of the said sheriff's return.
Pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court and the resolution of the Court En Banc of April 12, 1988, the case was referred to the
Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation.
In view, however, of the report of the National Bureau of Investigation to the effect that the signature above the typewritten name
Florando Umali on the last page of the complaint in said civil case is not his signature, complainant, through counsel, agreed to the
dismissal of the case with respect to Atty. Umali.
With respect to Atty. Edelson G. Oliva, the IBP submitted the following report and recommendation:
There is ample evidence extant in the records to prove that
Atty. Oliva has something to do with the falsification of the Sheriff's Return on the Summons in said Civil Case No. 84-24144.
The oral and documentary evidence of the complainant strongly tend to show the following: (1) The Sheriff's Return of the Summon
in the said civil case was falsified as it was not signed by Deputy Sheriff Rodolfo Torella (Exh. "J" — Sworn Statement of Rodolfo
Torella dated February 1, 1985, and Exh. "S", which is the falsified Sheriff's Return); (2) The summons was received from the clerk of
the Court of the Manila
RTC-Branch LXI by Ronaldo Romero, a messenger in the law office of Attys. Umali and Oliva and said messenger brought the
summons to the law office of the respondents (Exh. "H" — Sinumpaang Salaysay ni Ronaldo Romero, and Exh. "G", Exh. "I" — Sworn
Statement dated February 28, 1985 of Mariano Villanueva, Chief Staff Asst. 2, RTC, Manila; (3) On the basis of the falsified Sheriff's
Return on the Summons, Atty. Oliva, counsel for the defendant [should be plaintiff] in said civil case, filed a typewritten Motion to
Declare Defendant in Default (Exh.) "R" — Motion to Declare Defendant In Default in said civil case signed and filed by Atty. Oliva);
(4) On March 29, 1984, Atty. Oliva, in his capacity as Operations Manager of Judge Pio R. Marcos Law Office, sent a final demand
letter on Alfredo Tan, the defendant in said Civil case, for payment of the sum of P70,174.00 (Exh. "T" — Demand Letter dated
March 28, 1984 of Atty. Oliva addressed to Alfredo Tan); (5) The demand letter of Atty. Oliva (Exh. "T"), the complaint in said civil
case (Exh. "Q", "Q-1", and "Q-2"), the falsified Sheriff's Return on the Summons (Exh. "S"), the Motion To Declare Defendant In
Default dated October 30, 1984 signed and filed by
Atty. Oliva (Exh. "R" and "R-1") were typed on one and the same typewriter, as shown in the Questioned Document Report No. 198-
585 dated 19 June 1985 (Exh. "Q", "Q-1" and "Q-2"; Exh. "V", "V-1" and
"V-2").
After the careful review of the record of the case and the report and recommendation of the IBP, the Court finds that respondent
Atty. Edelson G. Oliva committed acts of misconduct which warrant the exercise by the Court of its disciplinary powers. The facts, as
supported by the evidence, obtaining in this case indubitably reveal respondent's failure to live up to his duties as a lawyer in
consonance with the strictures of the lawyer's oath, the Code of Professional Responsibility, and the Canons of Professional Ethics. A
lawyer's responsibility to protect and advance the interests of his client does not warrant a course of action propelled by ill motives
and malicious intentions against the other party.
At this juncture, it is well to stress once again that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State on those
who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. One of
these requirements is the observance of honesty and candor. It can not be gainsaid that candidness, especially towards the courts, is
essential for the expeditious administration of justice. Courts are entitled to expect only complete candor and honesty from the
lawyers appearing and pleading before them. A lawyer, on the other hand, has the fundamental duty to satisfy the expectation. It is
essential that lawyers bear in mind at all times that their first duty is not to their clients but rather to the courts, that they are above
all court officers sworn to assist the courts in rendering justice to all and sundry, and only secondarily are they advocates of the
exclusive interests of their clients. For this reason, he is required to swear to do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in
court (Chavez vs. Viola, 196 SCRA 10 [1991].
In this case, respondent Atty. Edelson Oliva has manifestly violated that part of his oath as a lawyer that he shall not do any
falsehood. He has likewise violated Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides:
A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court nor shall he mislead or allow the court to be misled by
any artifice.
Accordingly, the Court resolved to impose upon Atty. Edelson Oliva the supreme penalty of DISBARMENT. His license to practice law
in the Philippines is CANCELLED and the Bar Confidant is ordered to strike out his name from the Roll of Attorneys.
The case is ordered dismissed as against Atty. Florando Umali.
SO ORDERED.

Per Rec. Nos. 3527, 3408 August 23, 1935

JUSTA MONTEREY, complainant,


vs.
EUSTAQUIO V. ARAYATA and TERESO MA. MONTOYA, respondents.

Eustaquio V. Arayata in his own behalf.


Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for the Government.

IMPERIAL, J.:

It is alleged in the charges filed against Attorney Eustaquio V. Arayata (1) that on August 27, 1931, while practicing his profession, he
prepared and drew up in his favor a deed of sale of the land described in transfer certificate of title No. 7591, for the sum of P4,000,
stating therein that the person who executed the document and sold the land to him was his father, Arcadio Arayata, when he knew
positively that this alleged vendor had already died on November 5, 1916; that knowing the document to be fictitious, he appeared
before notary public Tereso Ma. Montoya and made the latter legalize said document and state that Arcadio Arayata personally
appeared before him, although said fact was not true; and he later succeeded in having the register of deeds cancel the transfer
certificate of title issued to Arcadio Arayata and issue transfer certificate of title No. 8370 in his favor; and (2) that on June 5, 1933,
being legally married to Aurora L. Saguil, he filed an application to marry Engracia F. Ortega, stating therein under oath that he was
single when in fact he was married, said marriage not having been dissolved.

The charge filed against attorney and notary public Tereso Ma. Montoya consists in having ratified the deed of sale and having stated
that Arcadio Arayata personally appeared before him and confirmed the sale, knowing fully well that said person is already dead and
therefore could do neither the one nor the other.

The investigation was finally conducted by the Judge of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Cavite, who recommended that
a disciplinary action be taken against Arayata and that Montoya be exonerated, it having been clearly established that the latter, in
ratifying the document, acted in good faith and relied on Arayata's assurance that the old man then with him was really the vendor
Arcadio Arayata who ratified all the contents of the instrument. We concur in the appreciation of the facts and we are of the opinion
that said notary public and attorney should really be exonerated and held innocent.

The established facts show that the respondent Arayata is the son of Arcadio Arayata who died on November 5, 1916, leaving a
widow and five children; that Arcadio Arayata in life, purchased from the Bureau of Lands lot No. 3448 of the Hacienda de Santa
Cruz de Malabon, for which transfer certificate of title No. 7591 was issued to him; that on August 27, 1931, many years after Arcadio
Arayata's death, the respondent attorney prepared the deed, Exhibit A, stating therein that his father sold the land in question to him
for the sum of P4,000; that after affixing the names of the alleged vendor and the two witnesses, the respondent brought an old man
and the two witnesses before notary public Tereso Ma. Montoya and requested the latter to ratify said document, assuring him that the
old man was the grantor and vendor and the other two were the instrumental witnesses thereto; that the notary honestly believing said
information, legalized and registered the document after verifying from the old man that he ratified the contents thereof; that the
transfer was invalid and the document not genuine because another, not Arcadio Arayata, signed it; that the respondent later applied
for and obtained transfer certificate of title No. 8370 of said land from the registry of deeds of Cavite after the former title was
cancelled; that sometime later, or on April 11, 1933, the respondent sold a portion of said land having an area of two and one-half (2
½) hectares to Sinforosa Torres, married to Basilio Sorosoro, for the sum of P500.

With regard to the second charge, it likewise appears established that on June 5, 1933, the respondent, being legally married to Aurora
L. Saguil and said marriage not having been dissolved, signed under oath an application to marry Engracia F. Ortega stating therein
that he was single, he being in fact married; the application was registered and duly considered and on September 25, 1933, the
register of the Province of Cavite issued the corresponding license upon payment by the respondent of the sum of P2; for some
unknown reasons the marriage applied for was not solemnized; the respondent's wife, nevertheless, filed a complaint for bigamy
against the former, which is now pending in the justice of the peace court of Santa Rosa, Laguna, for which reason the investigator is
of the opinion, and so recommends, that no action should be taken on the second charge. The recommendation is well founded and has
our approval.

In his first answer, respondent Arayata admitted that the sale had been made by his father who was his true predecessor in interest, but
alleged that nobody, including the complainant, could complain of the transfer because none was prejudiced, he being the true and
only heir. In his second answer, however, and in the course of the investigation, he set up another defense alleging that the person who
had really sold him the land was his uncle Januario Arayata who, in the deed and relative to the land, assumed the name of Arcadio
Arayata. He further alleged that it was his said uncle who signed the deed of transfer and ratified it before notary Montoya. We find
this second new defense improbable and unestablished.

The acts committed by the respondent Arayata relative to the deed of sale Exhibit A, and his statements to notary Montoya with regard
to said document, constitute malpractice and unprofessional conduct under the provisions of section 21 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, meriting for him a disciplinary action mitigated in this case by the circumstance that he was apparently the heir entitled to
the ownership of the land and that the complainant has neither real nor direct interest in the transaction complained of by her.

For the foregoing reasons, we hold Attorney Eustaquio V. Arayata guilty of malpractice and suspend him from the practice of his
profession for one (1) month, hereby reprimanding him for having prepared and executed the deed of sale in question. So ordered.
G.R. No. L-25291 January 30, 1971

THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, FGU INSURANCE GROUP
WORKERS and EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, and INSULAR LIFE BUILDING EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-
NATU, petitioners,
vs.
THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., FGU INSURANCE GROUP, JOSE M. OLBES and COURT OF
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, respondents.

Lacsina, Lontok and Perez and Luis F. Aquino for petitioners.

Francisco de los Reyes for respondent Court of Industrial Relations.

Araneta, Mendoza and Papa for other respondents.

CASTRO, J.:

Appeal, by certiorari to review a decision and a resolution en banc of the Court of Industrial Relations dated August 17,
1965 and October 20, 1965, respectively, in Case 1698-ULP.

The Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd., Employees Association-NATU, FGU Insurance Group Workers & Employees
Association-NATU, and Insular Life Building Employees Association-NATU (hereinafter referred to as the Unions), while
still members of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), entered into separate collective bargaining agreements with the
Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd. and the FGU Insurance Group (hereinafter referred to as the Companies).

Two of the lawyers of the Unions then were Felipe Enaje and Ramon Garcia; the latter was formerly the secretary-
treasurer of the FFW and acting president of the Insular Life/FGU unions and the Insular Life Building Employees
Association. Garcia, as such acting president, in a circular issued in his name and signed by him, tried to dissuade the
members of the Unions from disaffiliating with the FFW and joining the National Association of Trade Unions (NATU), to
no avail.

Enaje and Garcia soon left the FFW and secured employment with the Anti-Dummy Board of the Department of Justice.
Thereafter, the Companies hired Garcia in the latter part of 1956 as assistant corporate secretary and legal assistant in
their Legal Department, and he was soon receiving P900 a month, or P600 more than he was receiving from the FFW.
Enaje was hired on or about February 19, 1957 as personnel manager of the Companies, and was likewise made
chairman of the negotiating panel for the Companies in the collective bargaining with the Unions.

In a letter dated September 16, 1957, the Unions jointly submitted proposals to the Companies for a modified renewal of
their respective collective bargaining contracts which were then due to expire on September 30, 1957. The parties
mutually agreed and to make whatever benefits could be agreed upon retroactively effective October 1, 1957.

Thereafter, in the months of September and October 1957 negotiations were conducted on the Union's proposals, but
these were snagged by a deadlock on the issue of union shop, as a result of which the Unions filed on January 27, 1958 a
notice of strike for "deadlock on collective bargaining." Several conciliation conferences were held under the auspices of
the Department of Labor wherein the conciliators urged the Companies to make reply to the Unions' proposals en toto so
that the said Unions might consider the feasibility of dropping their demand for union security in exchange for other
benefits. However, the Companies did not make any counter-proposals but, instead, insisted that the Unions first drop
their demand for union security, promising money benefits if this was done. Thereupon, and prior to April 15, 1958, the
petitioner Insular Life Building Employees Association-NATU dropped this particular demand, and requested the
Companies to answer its demands, point by point, en toto. But the respondent Insular Life Assurance Co. still refused to
make any counter-proposals. In a letter addressed to the two other Unions by the joint management of the Companies,
the former were also asked to drop their union security demand, otherwise the Companies "would no longer consider
themselves bound by the commitment to make money benefits retroactive to October 1, 1957." By a letter dated April 17,
1958, the remaining two petitioner unions likewise dropped their demand for union shop. April 25, 1958 then was set by
the parties to meet and discuss the remaining demands.

From April 25 to May 6, 1958, the parties negotiated on the labor demands but with no satisfactory result due to a
stalemate on the matter of salary increases. On May 13, 1958 the Unions demanded from the Companies final counter-
proposals on their economic demands, particularly on salary increases. Instead of giving counter-proposals, the
Companies on May 15, 1958 presented facts and figures and requested the Unions to submit a workable formula which
would justify their own proposals, taking into account the financial position of the former. Forthwith the Unions voted to
declare a strike in protest against what they considered the Companies' unfair labor practices.

Meanwhile, eighty-seven (87) unionists were reclassified as supervisors without increase in salary nor in responsibility
while negotiations were going on in the Department of Labor after the notice to strike was served on the Companies.
These employees resigned from the Unions.

On May 20, 1958 the Unions went on strike and picketed the offices of the Insular Life Building at Plaza Moraga.

On May 21, 1958 the Companies through their acting manager and president, the respondent Jose M. Olbes (hereinafter
referred to as the respondent Olbes), sent to each of the strikers a letter (exhibit A) quoted verbatim as follows:

We recognize it is your privilege both to strike and to conduct picketing.

However, if any of you would like to come back to work voluntarily, you may:
1. Advise the nearest police officer or security guard of your intention to do so.

2. Take your meals within the office.

3. Make a choice whether to go home at the end of the day or to sleep nights at the office where comfortable
cots have been prepared.

4. Enjoy free coffee and occasional movies.

5. Be paid overtime for work performed in excess of eight hours.

6. Be sure arrangements will be made for your families.

The decision to make is yours — whether you still believe in the motives of the strike or in the fairness of the
Management.

The Unions, however, continued on strike, with the exception of a few unionists who were convinced to desist by the
aforesaid letter of May 21, 1958.

From the date the strike was called on May 21, 1958, until it was called off on May 31, 1958, some management men
tried to break thru the Unions' picket lines. Thus, on May 21, 1958 Garcia, assistant corporate secretary, and Vicente
Abella, chief of the personnel records section, respectively of the Companies, tried to penetrate the picket lines in front of
the Insular Life Building. Garcia, upon approaching the picket line, tossed aside the placard of a picketer, one Paulino
Bugay; a fight ensued between them, in which both suffered injuries. The Companies organized three bus-loads of
employees, including a photographer, who with the said respondent Olbes, succeeded in penetrating the picket lines in
front of the Insular Life Building, thus causing injuries to the picketers and also to the strike-breakers due to the resistance
offered by some picketers.

Alleging that some non-strikers were injured and with the use of photographs as evidence, the Companies then filed
criminal charges against the strikers with the City Fiscal's Office of Manila. During the pendency of the said cases in the
fiscal's office, the Companies likewise filed a petition for injunction with damages with the Court of First Instance of Manila
which, on the basis of the pendency of the various criminal cases against striking members of the Unions, issued on May
31, 1958 an order restraining the strikers, until further orders of the said court, from stopping, impeding, obstructing, etc.
the free and peaceful use of the Companies' gates, entrance and driveway and the free movement of persons and
vehicles to and from, out and in, of the Companies' building.

On the same date, the Companies, again through the respondent Olbes, sent individually to the strikers a letter (exhibit
B), quoted hereunder in its entirety:

The first day of the strike was last 21 May 1958.

Our position remains unchanged and the strike has made us even more convinced of our decision.

We do not know how long you intend to stay out, but we cannot hold your positions open for long. We have
continued to operate and will continue to do so with or without you.

If you are still interested in continuing in the employ of the Group Companies, and if there are no criminal
charges pending against you, we are giving you until 2 June 1958 to report for work at the home office. If by
this date you have not yet reported, we may be forced to obtain your replacement.

Before, the decisions was yours to make.

So it is now.

Incidentally, all of the more than 120 criminal charges filed against the members of the Unions, except three (3), were
dismissed by the fiscal's office and by the courts. These three cases involved "slight physical injuries" against one striker
and "light coercion" against two others.

At any rate, because of the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction against them as well as the ultimatum of the
Companies giving them until June 2, 1958 to return to their jobs or else be replaced, the striking employees decided to
call off their strike and to report back to work on June 2, 1958.

However, before readmitting the strikers, the Companies required them not only to secure clearances from the City
Fiscal's Office of Manila but also to be screened by a management committee among the members of which were Enage
and Garcia. The screening committee initially rejected 83 strikers with pending criminal charges. However, all non-strikers
with pending criminal charges which arose from the breakthrough incident were readmitted immediately by the
Companies without being required to secure clearances from the fiscal's office. Subsequently, when practically all the
strikers had secured clearances from the fiscal's office, the Companies readmitted only some but adamantly refused
readmission to 34 officials and members of the Unions who were most active in the strike, on the ground that they
committed "acts inimical to the interest of the respondents," without however stating the specific acts allegedly committed.
Among those who were refused readmission are Emiliano Tabasondra, vice president of the Insular Life Building
Employees' Association-NATU; Florencio Ibarra, president of the FGU Insurance Group Workers & Employees
Association-NATU; and Isagani Du Timbol, acting president of the Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd. Employees
Association-NATU. Some 24 of the above number were ultimately notified months later that they were being dismissed
retroactively as of June 2, 1958 and given separation pay checks computed under Rep. Act 1787, while others (ten in
number) up to now have not been readmitted although there have been no formal dismissal notices given to them.
On July 29, 1958 the CIR prosecutor filed a complaint for unfair labor practice against the Companies under Republic Act
875. The complaint specifically charged the Companies with (1) interfering with the members of the Unions in the exercise
of their right to concerted action, by sending out individual letters to them urging them to abandon their strike and return to
work, with a promise of comfortable cots, free coffee and movies, and paid overtime, and, subsequently, by warning them
that if they did not return to work on or before June 2, 1958, they might be replaced; and (2) discriminating against the
members of the Unions as regards readmission to work after the strike on the basis of their union membership and degree
of participation in the strike.

On August 4, 1958 the Companies filed their answer denying all the material allegations of the complaint, stating special
defenses therein, and asking for the dismissal of the complaint.

After trial on the merits, the Court of Industrial Relations, through Presiding Judge Arsenio Martinez, rendered on August
17, 1965 a decision dismissing the Unions' complaint for lack of merit. On August 31, 1965 the Unions seasonably filed
their motion for reconsideration of the said decision, and their supporting memorandum on September 10, 1965. This was
denied by the Court of Industrial Relations en banc in a resolution promulgated on October 20, 1965.

Hence, this petition for review, the Unions contending that the lower court erred:

1. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor practice in sending out individually to the strikers the
letters marked Exhibits A and B;

2. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor practice for discriminating against the striking members
of the Unions in the matter of readmission of employees after the strike;

3. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor practice for dismissing officials and members of the
Unions without giving them the benefit of investigation and the opportunity to present their side in regard to
activities undertaken by them in the legitimate exercise of their right to strike; and

4. In not ordering the reinstatement of officials and members of the Unions, with full back wages, from June
2, 1958 to the date of their actual reinstatement to their usual employment.

I. The respondents contend that the sending of the letters, exhibits A and B, constituted a legitimate exercise of their
freedom of speech. We do not agree. The said letters were directed to the striking employees individually — by registered
special delivery mail at that — without being coursed through the Unions which were representing the employees in the
collective bargaining.

The act of an employer in notifying absent employees individually during a strike following unproductive
efforts at collective bargaining that the plant would be operated the next day and that their jobs were open
for them should they want to come in has been held to be an unfair labor practice, as an active interference
with the right of collective bargaining through dealing with the employees individually instead of through their
collective bargaining representatives. (31 Am. Jur. 563, citing NLRB v. Montgomery Ward & Co. [CA 9th]
133 F2d 676, 146 ALR 1045)

Indeed, it is an unfair labor practice for an employer operating under a collective bargaining agreement to negotiate or to
attempt to negotiate with his employees individually in connection with changes in the agreement. And the basis of the
prohibition regarding individual bargaining with the strikers is that although the union is on strike, the employer is still
under obligation to bargain with the union as the employees' bargaining representative (Melo Photo Supply Corporation
vs. National Labor Relations Board, 321 U.S. 332).

Indeed, some such similar actions are illegal as constituting unwarranted acts of interference. Thus, the act of a company
president in writing letters to the strikers, urging their return to work on terms inconsistent with their union membership,
was adjudged as constituting interference with the exercise of his employees' right to collective bargaining (Lighter
Publishing, CCA 7th, 133 F2d 621). It is likewise an act of interference for the employer to send a letter to all employees
notifying them to return to work at a time specified therein, otherwise new employees would be engaged to perform their
jobs. Individual solicitation of the employees or visiting their homes, with the employer or his representative urging the
employees to cease union activity or cease striking, constitutes unfair labor practice. All the above-detailed activities are
unfair labor practices because they tend to undermine the concerted activity of the employees, an activity to which they
are entitled free from the employer's molestation.1

Moreover, since exhibit A is a letter containing promises of benefits to the employees in order to entice them to return to
work, it is not protected by the free speech provisions of the Constitution (NLRB v. Clearfield Cheese Co., Inc., 213 F2d
70). The same is true with exhibit B since it contained threats to obtain replacements for the striking employees in the
event they did not report for work on June 2, 1958. The free speech protection under the Constitution is inapplicable
where the expression of opinion by the employer or his agent contains a promise of benefit, or threats, or reprisal (31 Am.
Jur. 544; NLRB vs. Clearfield Cheese Co., Inc., 213 F2d 70; NLRB vs. Goigy Co., 211 F2d 533, 35 ALR 2d 422).

Indeed, when the respondents offered reinstatement and attempted to "bribe" the strikers with "comfortable cots," "free
coffee and occasional movies," "overtime" pay for "work performed in excess of eight hours," and "arrangements" for their
families, so they would abandon the strike and return to work, they were guilty of strike-breaking and/or union-busting and,
consequently, of unfair labor practice. It is equivalent to an attempt to break a strike for an employer to offer reinstatement
to striking employees individually, when they are represented by a union, since the employees thus offered reinstatement
are unable to determine what the consequences of returning to work would be.

Likewise violative of the right to organize, form and join labor organizations are the following acts: the offer of a Christmas
bonus to all "loyal" employees of a company shortly after the making of a request by the union to bargain; wage increases
given for the purpose of mollifying employees after the employer has refused to bargain with the union, or for the purpose
of inducing striking employees to return to work; the employer's promises of benefits in return for the strikers'
abandonment of their strike in support of their union; and the employer's statement, made about 6 weeks after the strike
started, to a group of strikers in a restaurant to the effect that if the strikers returned to work, they would receive new
benefits in the form of hospitalization, accident insurance, profit-sharing, and a new building to work in.2

Citing paragraph 5 of the complaint filed by the acting prosecutor of the lower court which states that "the officers and
members of the complainant unions decided to call off the strike and return to work on June 2, 1958 by reason of the
injunction issued by the Manila Court of First Instance," the respondents contend that this was the main cause why the
strikers returned to work and not the letters, exhibits A and B. This assertion is without merit. The circumstance that the
strikers later decided to return to work ostensibly on account of the injunctive writ issued by the Court of First Instance of
Manila cannot alter the intrinsic quality of the letters, which were calculated, or which tended, to interfere with the
employees' right to engage in lawful concerted activity in the form of a strike. Interference constituting unfair labor practice
will not cease to be such simply because it was susceptible of being thwarted or resisted, or that it did not proximately
cause the result intended. For success of purpose is not, and should not, be the criterion in determining whether or not a
prohibited act constitutes unfair labor practice.

The test of whether an employer has interfered with and coerced employees within the meaning of
subsection (a) (1) is whether the employer has engaged in conduct which it may reasonably be said tends to
interfere with the free exercise of employees' rights under section 3 of the Act, and it is not necessary that
there be direct evidence that any employee was in fact intimidated or coerced by statements of threats of the
employer if there is a reasonable inference that anti-union conduct of the employer does have an adverse
effect on self-organization and collective bargaining. (Francisco, Labor Laws 1956, Vol. II, p. 323, citing
NLRB v. Ford, C.A., 1948, 170 F2d 735).

Besides, the letters, exhibits A and B, should not be considered by themselves alone but should be read in the light of the
preceding and subsequent circumstances surrounding them. The letters should be interpreted according to the "totality of
conduct doctrine,"

... whereby the culpability of an employer's remarks were to be evaluated not only on the basis of their
implicit implications, but were to be appraised against the background of and in conjunction with collateral
circumstances. Under this "doctrine" expressions of opinion by an employer which, though innocent in
themselves, frequently were held to be culpable because of the circumstances under which they were
uttered, the history of the particular employer's labor relations or anti-union bias or because of their
connection with an established collateral plan of coercion or interference. (Rothenberg on Relations, p. 374,
and cases cited therein.)

It must be recalled that previous to the petitioners' submission of proposals for an amended renewal of their respective
collective bargaining agreements to the respondents, the latter hired Felipe Enage and Ramon Garcia, former legal
counsels of the petitioners, as personnel manager and assistant corporate secretary, respectively, with attractive
compensations. After the notice to strike was served on the Companies and negotiations were in progress in the
Department of Labor, the respondents reclassified 87 employees as supervisors without increase in salary or in
responsibility, in effect compelling these employees to resign from their unions. And during the negotiations in the
Department of Labor, despite the fact that the petitioners granted the respondents' demand that the former drop their
demand for union shop and in spite of urgings by the conciliators of the Department of Labor, the respondents adamantly
refused to answer the Unions' demands en toto. Incidentally, Enage was the chairman of the negotiating panel for the
Companies in the collective bargaining between the former and the Unions. After the petitioners went to strike, the strikers
were individually sent copies of exhibit A, enticing them to abandon their strike by inducing them to return to work upon
promise of special privileges. Two days later, the respondents, thru their president and manager, respondent Jose M.
Olbes, brought three truckloads of non-strikers and others, escorted by armed men, who, despite the presence of eight
entrances to the three buildings occupied by the Companies, entered thru only one gate less than two meters wide and in
the process, crashed thru the picket line posted in front of the premises of the Insular Life Building. This resulted in injuries
on the part of the picketers and the strike-breakers.lâwphî1.ñèt Then the respondents brought against the picketers
criminal charges, only three of which were not dismissed, and these three only for slight misdemeanors. As a result of
these criminal actions, the respondents were able to obtain an injunction from the court of first instance restraining the
strikers from stopping, impeding, obstructing, etc. the free and peaceful use of the Companies' gates, entrance and
driveway and the free movement of persons and vehicles to and from, out and in, of the Companies' buildings. On the
same day that the injunction was issued, the letter, Exhibit B, was sent — again individually and by registered special
delivery mail — to the strikers, threatening them with dismissal if they did not report for work on or before June 2, 1958.
But when most of the petitioners reported for work, the respondents thru a screening committee — of which Ramon
Garcia was a member — refused to admit 63 members of the Unions on the ground of "pending criminal charges."
However, when almost all were cleared of criminal charges by the fiscal's office, the respondents adamantly refused
admission to 34 officials and union members. It is not, however, disputed that all-non-strikers with pending criminal
charges which arose from the breakthrough incident of May 23, 1958 were readmitted immediately by the respondents.
Among the non-strikers with pending criminal charges who were readmitted were Generoso Abella, Enrique Guidote,
Emilio Carreon, Antonio Castillo, Federico Barretto, Manuel Chuidian and Nestor Cipriano. And despite the fact that the
fiscal's office found no probable cause against the petitioning strikers, the Companies adamantly refused admission to
them on the pretext that they committed "acts inimical to the interest of the respondents," without stating specifically the
inimical acts allegedly committed. They were soon to admit, however, that these alleged inimical acts were the same
criminal charges which were dismissed by the fiscal and by the courts..

Verily, the above actuations of the respondents before and after the issuance of the letters, exhibit A and B, yield the clear
inference that the said letters formed of the respondents scheme to preclude if not destroy unionism within them.

To justify the respondents' threat to dismiss the strikers and secure replacements for them in order to protect and continue
their business, the CIR held the petitioners' strike to be an economic strike on the basis of exhibit 4 (Notice of Strike)
which states that there was a "deadlock in collective bargaining" and on the strength of the supposed testimonies of some
union men who did not actually know the very reason for the strike. It should be noted that exhibit 4, which was filed on
January 27, 1958, states, inter alia:
TO: BUREAU OF LABOR RELATIONS
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MANILA

Thirty (30) days from receipt of this notice by the Office, this [sic] unions intends to go on strike against

THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD.


Plaza Moraga, Manila

THE FGU INSURANCE GROUP


Plaza Moraga, Manila

INSULAR LIFE BUILDING ADMINISTRATION


Plaza Moraga, Manila .

for the following reason: DEADLOCK IN COLLECTIVE BARGAINING...

However, the employees did not stage the strike after the thirty-day period, reckoned from January 27, 1958. This simply
proves that the reason for the strike was not the deadlock on collective bargaining nor any lack of economic concessions.
By letter dated April 15, 1958, the respondents categorically stated what they thought was the cause of the "Notice of
Strike," which so far as material, reads:

3. Because you did not see fit to agree with our position on the union shop, you filed a notice of strike with
the Bureau of Labor Relations on 27 January 1958, citing `deadlock in collective bargaining' which could
have been for no other issue than the union shop." (exhibit 8, letter dated April 15, 1958.)

The strike took place nearly four months from the date the said notice of strike was filed. And the actual and main reason
for the strike was, "When it became crystal clear the management double crossed or will not negotiate in good faith, it is
tantamount to refusal collectively and considering the unfair labor practice in the meantime being committed by the
management such as the sudden resignation of some unionists and [who] became supervisors without increase in salary
or change in responsibility, such as the coercion of employees, decided to declare the strike." (tsn., Oct. 14, 1958, p. 14.)
The truth of this assertion is amply proved by the following circumstances: (1) it took the respondents six (6) months to
consider the petitioners' proposals, their only excuse being that they could not go on with the negotiations if the petitioners
did not drop the demand for union shop (exh. 7, respondents' letter dated April 7, 1958); (2) when the petitioners dropped
the demand for union shop, the respondents did not have a counter-offer to the petitioners' demands. Sec. 14 of Rep. Act
875 required the respondents to make a reply to the petitioners' demands within ten days from receipt thereof, but instead
they asked the petitioners to give a "well reasoned, workable formula which takes into account the financial position of the
group companies." (tsn., Sept. 8, 1958, p. 62; tsn., Feb. 26, 1969, p. 49.)

II. Exhibit H imposed three conditions for readmission of the strikers, namely: (1) the employee must be interested in
continuing his work with the group companies; (2) there must be no criminal charges against him; and (3) he must report
for work on June 2, 1958, otherwise he would be replaced. Since the evidence shows that all the employees reported
back to work at the respondents' head office on June 2, 1953, they must be considered as having complied with the first
and third conditions.

Our point of inquiry should therefore be directed at whether they also complied with the second condition. It is not denied
that when the strikers reported for work on June 2, 1958, 63 members of the Unions were refused readmission because
they had pending criminal charges. However, despite the fact that they were able to secure their respective clearances 34
officials and union members were still refused readmission on the alleged ground that they committed acts inimical to the
Companies. It is beyond dispute, however, that non-strikers who also had criminal charges pending against them in the
fiscal's office, arising from the same incidents whence the criminal charges against the strikers evolved, were readily
readmitted and were not required to secure clearances. This is a clear act of discrimination practiced by the Companies in
the process of rehiring and is therefore a violation of sec. 4(a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act.

The respondents did not merely discriminate against all the strikers in general. They separated the active from the less
active unionists on the basis of their militancy, or lack of it, on the picket lines. Unionists belonging to the first category
were refused readmission even after they were able to secure clearances from the competent authorities with respect to
the criminal charges filed against them. It is significant to note in this connection that except for one union official who
deserted his union on the second day of the strike and who later participated in crashing through the picket lines, not a
single union officer was taken back to work. Discrimination undoubtedly exists where the record shows that the union
activity of the rehired strikers has been less prominent than that of the strikers who were denied reinstatement.

So is there an unfair labor practice where the employer, although authorized by the Court of Industrial
Relations to dismiss the employees who participated in an illegal strike, dismissed only the leaders of the
strikers, such dismissal being evidence of discrimination against those dismissed and constituting a waiver
of the employer's right to dismiss the striking employees and a condonation of the fault committed by them."
(Carlos and Fernando, Labor and Social Legislation, p. 62, citing Phil. Air Lines, Inc. v. Phil. Air Lines
Emloyees Association, L-8197, Oct. 31, 1958.)

It is noteworthy that — perhaps in an anticipatory effort to exculpate themselves from charges of discrimination in the
readmission of strikers returning to work — the respondents delegated the power to readmit to a committee. But the
respondent Olbes had chosen Vicente Abella, chief of the personnel records section, and Ramon Garcia, assistant
corporate secretary, to screen the unionists reporting back to work. It is not difficult to imagine that these two employees
— having been involved in unpleasant incidents with the picketers during the strike — were hostile to the strikers.
Needless to say, the mere act of placing in the hands of employees hostile to the strikers the power of reinstatement, is a
form of discrimination in rehiring.
Delayed reinstatement is a form of discrimination in rehiring, as is having the machinery of reinstatement in
the hands of employees hostile to the strikers, and reinstating a union official who formerly worked in a
unionized plant, to a job in another mill, which was imperfectly organized. (Morabe, The Law on Strikes, p.
473, citing Sunshine Mining Co., 7 NLRB 1252; Cleveland Worsted Mills, 43 NLRB 545; emphasis supplied.)

Equally significant is the fact that while the management and the members of the screening committee admitted the
discrimination committed against the strikers, they tossed back and around to each other the responsibility for the
discrimination. Thus, Garcia admitted that in exercising for the management the authority to screen the returning
employees, the committee admitted the non-strikers but refused readmission to the strikers (tsn., Feb. 6, 1962, pp. 15-19,
23-29). Vicente Abella, chairman of the management's screening committee, while admitting the discrimination, placed the
blame therefor squarely on the management (tsn., Sept. 20, 1960, pp. 7-8, 14-18). But the management, speaking
through the respondent Olbes, head of the Companies, disclaimed responsibility for the discrimination. He testified that
"The decision whether to accept or not an employee was left in the hands of that committee that had been empowered to
look into all cases of the strikers." (tsn., Sept. 6, 1962, p. 19.)

Of course, the respondents — through Ramon Garcia — tried to explain the basis for such discrimination by testifying that
strikers whose participation in any alleged misconduct during the picketing was not serious in nature were readmissible,
while those whose participation was serious were not. (tsn., Aug. 4, 1961, pp. 48-49, 56). But even this distinction
between acts of slight misconduct and acts of serious misconduct which the respondents contend was the basis for either
reinstatement or discharge, is completely shattered upon a cursory examination of the evidence on record. For with the
exception of Pascual Esquillo whose dismissal sent to the other strikers cited the alleged commission by them of simple
"acts of misconduct."

III. Anent the third assignment of error, the record shows that not a single dismissed striker was given the opportunity to
defend himself against the supposed charges against him. As earlier mentioned, when the striking employees reported
back for work on June 2, 1958, the respondents refused to readmit them unless they first secured the necessary
clearances; but when all, except three, were able to secure and subsequently present the required clearances, the
respondents still refused to take them back. Instead, several of them later received letters from the respondents in the
following stereotyped tenor:

This will confirm the termination of your employment with the Insular Life-FGU Insurance Group as of 2 June
1958.

The termination of your employment was due to the fact that you committed acts of misconduct while
picketing during the last strike. Because this may not constitute sufficient cause under the law to terminate
your employment without pay, we are giving you the amount of P1,930.32 corresponding to one-half month
pay for every year of your service in the Group Company.

Kindly acknowledge receipt of the check we are sending herewith.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) JOSE M. OLBES


President, Insurance Life
Acting President, FGU.

The respondents, however, admitted that the alleged "acts of misconduct" attributed to the dismissed strikers were the
same acts with which the said strikers were charged before the fiscal's office and the courts. But all these charges except
three were dropped or dismissed.

Indeed, the individual cases of dismissed officers and members of the striking unions do not indicate sufficient basis for
dismissal.

Emiliano Tabasondra, vice-president of the petitioner FGU Insurance Group Workers & Employees Association-NATU,
was refused reinstatement allegedly because he did not report for duty on June 2, 1958 and, hence, had abandoned his
office. But the overwhelming evidence adduced at the trial and which the respondents failed to rebut, negates the
respondents' charge that he had abandoned his job. In his testimony, corroborated by many others, Tabasondra
particularly identified the management men to whom he and his group presented themselves on June 2, 1958. He
mentioned the respondent Olbes' secretary, De Asis, as the one who received them and later directed them — when
Olbes refused them an audience — to Felipe Enage, the Companies' personnel manager. He likewise categorically stated
that he and his group went to see Enage as directed by Olbes' secretary. If Tabasondra were not telling the truth, it would
have been an easy matter for the respondents to produce De Asis and Enage — who testified anyway as witnesses for
the respondents on several occasions — to rebut his testimony. The respondents did nothing of the kind. Moreover,
Tabasondra called on June 21, 1958 the respondents' attention to his non-admission and asked them to inform him of the
reasons therefor, but instead of doing so, the respondents dismissed him by their letter dated July 10, 1958. Elementary
fairness required that before being dismissed for cause, Tabasondra be given "his day in court."

At any rate, it has been held that mere failure to report for work after notice to return, does not constitute abandonment
nor bar reinstatement. In one case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the taking back of six of eleven men constituted
discrimination although the five strikers who were not reinstated, all of whom were prominent in the union and in the strike,
reported for work at various times during the next three days, but were told that there were no openings. Said the Court:

... The Board found, and we cannot say that its finding is unsupported, that, in taking back six union men,
the respondent's officials discriminated against the latter on account of their union activities and that the
excuse given that they did not apply until after the quota was full was an afterthought and not the true
reason for the discrimination against them. (NLRB v. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co., 304 U.S. 333, 58 Sup.
Ct. 904, 82 L. Ed. 1381) (Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law, p. 725, 728)
The respondents' allegation that Tabasondra should have returned after being refused readmission on June 2, 1958, is
not persuasive. When the employer puts off reinstatement when an employee reports for work at the time agreed, we
consider the employee relieved from the duty of returning further.

Sixto Tongos was dismissed allegedly because he revealed that despite the fact that the Companies spent more than
P80,000 for the vacation trips of officials, they refused to grant union demands; hence, he betrayed his trust as an auditor
of the Companies. We do not find this allegation convincing. First, this accusation was emphatically denied by Tongos on
the witness stand. Gonzales, president of one of the respondent Companies and one of the officials referred to, took a trip
abroad in 1958. Exchange controls were then in force, and an outgoing traveller on a combined business and vacation trip
was allowed by the Central Bank, per its Circular 52 (Notification to Authorized Agent Banks) dated May 9, 1952, an
allocation of $1,000 or only P2,000, at the official rate of two pesos to the dollar, as pocket money; hence, this was the
only amount that would appear on the books of the Companies. It was only on January 21, 1962, per its Circular 133
(Notification to Authorized Agent Banks), that the Central Bank lifted the exchange controls. Tongos could not therefore
have revealed an amount bigger than the above sum. And his competence in figures could not be doubted considering
that he had passed the board examinations for certified public accountants. But assuming arguendo that Tongos indeed
revealed the true expenses of Gonzales' trip — which the respondents never denied or tried to
disprove — his statements clearly fall within the sphere of a unionist's right to discuss and advertise the facts involved in a
labor dispute, in accordance with section 9(a)(5) of Republic Act 875 which guarantees the untramelled exercise by
striking employees of the right to give "publicity to the existence of, or the fact involved in any labor dispute, whether by
advertising, speaking, patrolling or by any method not involving fraud or violence." Indeed, it is not only the right, it is as
well the duty, of every unionist to advertise the facts of a dispute for the purpose of informing all those affected thereby. In
labor disputes, the combatants are expected to expose the truth before the public to justify their respective demands.
Being a union man and one of the strikers, Tongos was expected to reveal the whole truth on whether or not the
respondent Companies were justified in refusing to accede to union demands. After all, not being one of the supervisors,
he was not a part of management. And his statement, if indeed made, is but an expression of free speech protected by
the Constitution.

Free speech on both sides and for every faction on any side of the labor relation is to me a constitutional
and useful right. Labor is free ... to turn its publicity on any labor oppression, substandard wages, employer
unfairness, or objectionable working conditions. The employer, too, should be free to answer and to turn
publicity on the records of the leaders of the unions which seek the confidence of his men ... (Concurring
opinion of Justice Jackson in Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516, 547, 65 Sup. Ct. 315, 89 L. Ed. 430.)
(Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law, p. 591.)

The respondents also allege that in revealing certain confidential information, Tongos committed not only a betrayal of
trust but also a violation of the moral principles and ethics of accountancy. But nowhere in the Code of Ethics for Certified
Public Accountants under the Revised Rules and Regulations of the Board of Accountancy formulated in 1954, is this
stated. Moreover, the relationship of the Companies with Tongos was that of an employer and not a client. And with
regard to the testimonies of Juan Raymundo and Antolin Carillo, both vice-presidents of the Trust Insurance Agencies,
Inc. about the alleged utterances made by Tongos, the lower court should not have given them much weight. The firm of
these witnesses was newly established at that time and was still a "general agency" of the Companies. It is not therefore
amiss to conclude that they were more inclined to favor the respondents rather than Tongos.

Pacifico Ner, Paulino Bugay, Jose Garcia, Narciso Daño, Vicente Alsol and Hermenigildo Ramirez, opined the lower
court, were constructively dismissed by non-readmission allegedly because they not only prevented Ramon Garcia,
assistant corporate secretary, and Vicente Abella, chief of the personnel records section of the Companies, from entering
the Companies' premises on May 21, 1958, but they also caused bruises and abrasions on Garcia's chest and forehead
— acts considered inimical to the interest of the respondents. The Unions, upon the other hand, insist that there is
complete lack of evidence that Ner took part in pushing Garcia; that it was Garcia who elbowed his way through the picket
lines and therefore Ner shouted "Close up," which the picketers did; and that Garcia tossed Paulino Bugay's placard and a
fight ensued between them in which both suffered injuries. But despite these conflicting versions of what actually
happened on May 21, 1958, there are grounds to believe that the picketers are not responsible for what
happened.lâwphî1.ñèt The picketing on May 21, 1958, as reported in the police blotter, was peaceful (see Police blotter
report, exh. 3 in CA-G.R. No. 25991-R of the Court of Appeals, where Ner was acquitted). Moreover, although the
Companies during the strike were holding offices at the Botica Boie building at Escolta, Manila; Tuason Building at San
Vicente Street, Manila; and Ayala, Inc. offices at Makati, Rizal, Garcia, the assistant corporate secretary, and Abella, the
chief of the personnel records section, reported for work at the Insular Life Building. There is therefore a reasonable
suggestion that they were sent to work at the latter building to create such an incident and have a basis for filing criminal
charges against the petitioners in the fiscal's office and applying for injunction from the court of first instance. Besides,
under the circumstances the picketers were not legally bound to yield their grounds and withdraw from the picket lines.
Being where the law expects them to be in the legitimate exercise of their rights, they had every reason to defend
themselves and their rights from any assault or unlawful transgression. Yet the police blotter, about adverted to, attests
that they did not resort to violence.

The heated altercations and occasional blows exchanged on the picket line do not affect or diminish the right to strike.
Persuasive on this point is the following commentary: .

We think it must be conceded that some disorder is unfortunately quite usual in any extensive or long drawn
out strike. A strike is essentially a battle waged with economic weapons. Engaged in it are human beings
whose feelings are stirred to the depths. Rising passions call forth hot words. Hot words lead to blows on the
picket line. The transformation from economic to physical combat by those engaged in the contest is difficult
to prevent even when cool heads direct the fight. Violence of this nature, however much it is to be regretted,
must have been in the contemplation of the Congress when it provided in Sec. 13 of Act 29 USCA Sec. 163,
that nothing therein should be construed so as to interfere with or impede or diminish in any way the right to
strike. If this were not so, the rights afforded to employees by the Act would indeed be illusory. We
accordingly recently held that it was not intended by the Act that minor disorders of this nature would deprive
a striker of the possibility of reinstatement. (Republic Steel Corp. v. N. L. R. B., 107 F2d 472, cited in
Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law, p. 378)
Hence the incident that occurred between Ner, et al. and Ramon Garcia was but a necessary incident of the strike and
should not be considered as a bar to reinstatement. Thus it has been held that:

Fist-fighting between union and non-union employees in the midst of a strike is no bar to reinstatement. (Teller, Labor
Disputes and Collective Bargaining, Vol. II, p. 855 citing Stackpole Carbon, Co. 6 NLRB 171, enforced 105 F2d 167.)

Furthermore, assuming that the acts committed by the strikers were transgressions of law, they amount only to mere
ordinary misdemeanors and are not a bar to reinstatement.

In cases involving misdemeanors the board has generally held that unlawful acts are not bar to reinstatement. (Teller,
Labor Disputes and Collective Bargaining, Id., p. 854, citing Ford Motor Company, 23 NLRB No. 28.)

Finally, it is not disputed that despite the pendency of criminal charges against non-striking employees before the fiscal's
office, they were readily admitted, but those strikers who had pending charges in the same office were refused
readmission. The reinstatement of the strikers is thus in order.

[W]here the misconduct, whether in reinstating persons equally guilty with those whose reinstatement is
opposed, or in other ways, gives rise to the inference that union activities rather than misconduct is the basis
of his [employer] objection, the Board has usually required reinstatement." (Teller, supra, p. 853, citing the
Third Annual Report of NLRB [1938], p. 211.)

Lastly, the lower Court justified the constructive dismissal of Florencio Ibarra allegedly because he committed acts inimical
to the interest of the respondents when, as president of the FGU Workers and Employees Association-NATU, he advised
the strikers that they could use force and violence to have a successful picket and that picketing was precisely intended to
prevent the non-strikers and company clients and customers from entering the Companies' buildings. Even if this were
true, the record discloses that the picket line had been generally peaceful, and that incidents happened only when
management men made incursions into and tried to break the picket line. At any rate, with or without the advice of Ibarra,
picketing is inherently explosive. For, as pointed out by one author, "The picket line is an explosive front, charged with the
emotions and fierce loyalties of the union-management dispute. It may be marked by colorful name-calling, intimidating
threats or sporadic fights between the pickets and those who pass the line." (Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law, p.
752). The picket line being the natural result of the respondents' unfair labor practice, Ibarra's misconduct is at most a
misdemeanor which is not a bar to reinstatement. Besides, the only evidence presented by the Companies regarding
Ibarra's participation in the strike was the testimony of one Rodolfo Encarnacion, a former member of the board of
directors of the petitioner FGU Insurance Group Workers and Employees Union-NATU, who became a "turncoat" and who
likewise testified as to the union activities of Atty. Lacsina, Ricardo Villaruel and others (annex C, Decision, p. 27) —
another matter which emphasizes the respondents' unfair labor practice. For under the circumstances, there is good
ground to believe that Encarnacion was made to spy on the actvities of the union members. This act of the respondents is
considered unjustifiable interference in the union activities of the petitioners and is unfair labor practice.

It has been held in a great number of decisions at espionage by an employer of union activities, or
surveillance thereof, are such instances of interference, restraint or coercion of employees in connection
with their right to organize, form and join unions as to constitute unfair labor practice.

... "Nothing is more calculated to interfere with, restrain and coerce employees in the exercise of their right to
self-organization than such activity even where no discharges result. The information obtained by means of
espionage is in valuable to the employer and can be used in a variety of cases to break a union." The unfair
labor practice is committed whether the espionage is carried on by a professional labor spy or detective, by
officials or supervisory employees of the employer, or by fellow employees acting at the request or direction
of the employer, or an ex-employee..." (Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective Bargaining, Vol. II, pp. 765-
766, and cases cited.) .

IV. The lower court should have ordered the reinstatement of the officials and members of the Unions, with full back
wages from June 2, 1958 to the date of their actual reinstatement to their usual employment. Because all too clear from
the factual and environmental milieu of this case, coupled with settled decisional law, is that the Unions went on strike
because of the unfair labor practices committed by the respondents, and that when the strikers reported back for work —
upon the invitation of the respondents — they were discriminatorily dismissed. The members and officials of the Unions
therefore are entitled to reinstatement with back pay.

[W]here the strike was induced and provoked by improper conduct on the part of an employer amounting to
an 'unfair labor practice,' the strikers are entitled to reinstatement with back pay. (Rothenberg on Labor
Relations, p. 418.)

[A]n employee who has been dismissed in violation of the provisions of the Act is entitled to reinstatement
with back pay upon an adjudication that the discharge was illegal." (Id., citing Waterman S. S. Corp. v. N. L.
R. B., 119 F2d 760; N. L. R. B. v. Richter's Bakery, 140 F2d 870; N. L. R. B. v. Southern Wood Preserving
Co., 135 F. 2d 606; C. G. Conn, Ltd. v. N. L. R. B., 108 F2d 390; N. L. R. B. v. American Mfg. Co., 106 F2d
61; N. L. R. B. v. Kentucky Fire Brick Co., 99 F2d 99.)

And it is not a defense to reinstatement for the respondents to allege that the positions of these union members have
already been filled by replacements.

[W]here the employers' "unfair labor practice" caused or contributed to the strike or where the 'lock-out' by
the employer constitutes an "unfair labor practice," the employer cannot successfully urge as a defense that
the striking or lock-out employees position has been filled by replacement. Under such circumstances, if no
job sufficiently and satisfactorily comparable to that previously held by the aggrieved employee can be
found, the employer must discharge the replacement employee, if necessary, to restore the striking or
locked-out worker to his old or comparable position ... If the employer's improper conduct was an initial
cause of the strike, all the strikers are entitled to reinstatement and the dismissal of replacement employees
wherever necessary; ... . (Id., p. 422 and cases cited.)

A corollary issue to which we now address ourselves is, from what date should the backpay payable to the unionists be
computed? It is now a settled doctrine that strikers who are entitled to reinstatement are not entitled to back pay during
the period of the strike, even though it is caused by an unfair labor practice. However, if they offer to return to work under
the same conditions just before the strike, the refusal to re-employ or the imposition of conditions amounting to unfair
labor practice is a violation of section 4(a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act and the employer is liable for backpay from the
date of the offer (Cromwell Commercial Employees and Laborers Union vs. Court of Industrial Relations, L-19778,
Decision, Sept. 30, 1964, 12 SCRA 124; Id., Resolution on motion for reconsideration, 13 SCRA 258; see also Mathews,
Labor Relations and the Law, p. 730 and the cited cases). We have likewise ruled that discriminatorily dismissed
employees must receive backpay from the date of the act of discrimination, that is, from the date of their discharge
(Cromwell Commercial Employees and Laborers Union vs. Court of Industrial Relations, supra).

The respondents notified the petitioner strikers to report back for work on June 2, 1958, which the latter did. A great
number of them, however, were refused readmission because they had criminal charges against them pending before the
fiscal's office, although non-strikers who were also facing criminal indictments were readily readmitted. These strikers who
were refused readmission on June 2, 1958 can thus be categorized as discriminatorily dismissed employees and are
entitled to backpay from said date. This is true even with respect to the petitioners Jose Pilapil, Paulino Bugay, Jr. and
Jose Garcia, Jr. who were found guilty only of misdemeanors which are not considered sufficient to bar reinstatement
(Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective Bargaining, p. 854), especially so because their unlawful acts arose during
incidents which were provoked by the respondents' men. However, since the employees who were denied readmission
have been out of the service of the Companies (for more than ten years) during which they may have found other
employment or other means of livelihood, it is only just and equitable that whatever they may have earned during that
period should be deducted from their back wages to mitigate somewhat the liability of the company, pursuant to the
equitable principle that no one is allowed to enrich himself at the expense of another (Macleod & Co. of the Philippines v.
Progressive Federation of Labor, 97 Phil. 205 [1955]).

The lower court gave inordinate significance to the payment to and acceptance by the dismissed employees of separation
pay. This Court has ruled that while employers may be authorized under Republic Act 1052 to terminate employment of
employees by serving the required notice, or, in the absence thereof, by paying the required compensation, the said Act
may not be invoked to justify a dismissal prohibited by law, e.g., dismissal for union activities.

... While Republic Act No. 1052 authorizes a commercial establishment to terminate the employment of its
employee by serving notice on him one month in advance, or, in the absence thereof, by paying him one
month compensation from the date of the termination of his employment, such Act does not give to the
employer a blanket authority to terminate the employment regardless of the cause or purpose behind such
termination. Certainly, it cannot be made use of as a cloak to circumvent a final order of the court or a
scheme to trample upon the right of an employee who has been the victim of an unfair labor practice. (Yu Ki
Lam, et al. v. Nena Micaller, et al., 99 Phil. 904 [1956].)

Finally, we do not share the respondents' view that the findings of fact of the Court of Industrial Relations are supported by
substantial and credible proof. This Court is not therefore precluded from digging deeper into the factual milieu of the case
(Union of Philippine Education Employees v. Philippine Education Company, 91 Phil. 93; Lu Do & Lu Ym Corporation v.
Philippine-Land-Air-Sea Labor Union, 11 SCRA 134 [1964]).

V. The petitioners (15 of them) ask this Court to cite for contempt the respondent Presiding Judge Arsenio Martinez of the
Court of Industrial Relations and the counsels for the private respondents, on the ground that the former wrote the
following in his decision subject of the instant petition for certiorari, while the latter quoted the same on pages 90-91 of the
respondents' brief: .

... Says the Supreme Court in the following decisions:

In a proceeding for unfair labor practice, involving a determination as to whether or not the acts
of the employees concerned justified the adoption of the employer of disciplinary measures
against them, the mere fact that the employees may be able to put up a valid defense in a
criminal prosecution for the same acts, does not erase or neutralize the employer's right to
impose discipline on said employees. For it is settled that not even the acquittal of an
employee of the criminal charge against him is a bar to the employer's right to impose
discipline on its employees, should the act upon which the criminal charged was based
constitute nevertheless an activity inimical to the employer's interest... The act of the
employees now under consideration may be considered as a misconduct which is a just cause
for dismissal. (Lopez, Sr., et al. vs. Chronicle Publication Employees Ass'n. et al., G.R. No. L-
20179-81, December 28, 1964.) (emphasis supplied)

The two pertinent paragraphs in the above-cited decision * which contained the underscored portions of the above citation
read however as follows:

Differently as regard the dismissal of Orlando Aquino and Carmelito Vicente, we are inclined to uphold the
action taken by the employer as proper disciplinary measure. A reading of the article which allegedly caused
their dismissal reveals that it really contains an insinuation albeit subtly of the supposed exertion of political
pressure by the Manila Chronicle management upon the City Fiscal's Office, resulting in the non-filing of the
case against the employer. In rejecting the employer's theory that the dismissal of Vicente and Aquino was
justified, the lower court considered the article as "a report of some acts and omissions of an Assistant
Fiscal in the exercise of his official functions" and, therefore, does away with the presumption of malice. This
being a proceeding for unfair labor practice, the matter should not have been viewed or gauged in the light
of the doctrine on a publisher's culpability under the Penal Code. We are not here to determine whether the
employees' act could stand criminal prosecution, but only to find out whether the aforesaid act justifies the
adoption by the employer of disciplinary measure against them. This is not sustaining the ruling that the
publication in question is qualified privileged, but even on the assumption that this is so, the exempting
character thereof under the Penal Code does not necessarily erase or neutralize its effect on the employer's
interest which may warrant employment of disciplinary measure. For it must be remembered that not even
the acquittal of an employee, of the criminal charges against him, is a bar to the employer's right to impose
discipline on its employees, should the act upon which the criminal charges was based constitute
nevertheless an activity inimical to the employer's interest.

In the herein case, it appears to us that for an employee to publish his "suspicion," which actually amounts
to a public accusation, that his employer is exerting political pressure on a public official to thwart some
legitimate activities on the employees, which charge, in the least, would sully the employer's reputation, can
be nothing but an act inimical to the said employer's interest. And the fact that the same was made in the
union newspaper does not alter its deleterious character nor shield or protect a reprehensible act on the
ground that it is a union activity, because such end can be achieved without resort to improper conduct or
behavior. The act of the employees now under consideration may be considered as a misconduct which is a
just cause for dismissal.** (Emphasis ours)

It is plain to the naked eye that the 60 un-underscored words of the paragraph quoted by the respondent Judge do not
appear in the pertinent paragraph of this Court's decision in L-20179-81. Moreover, the first underscored sentence in the
quoted paragraph starts with "For it is settled ..." whereas it reads, "For it must be remembered ...," in this Court's
decision. Finally, the second and last underlined sentence in the quoted paragraph of the respondent Judge's decision,
appears not in the same paragraph of this Court's decision where the other sentence is, but in the immediately
succeeding paragraph.

This apparent error, however, does not seem to warrant an indictment for contempt against the respondent Judge and the
respondents' counsels. We are inclined to believe that the misquotation is more a result of clerical ineptitude than a
deliberate attempt on the part of the respondent Judge to mislead. We fully realize how saddled with many pending cases
are the courts of the land, and it is not difficult to imagine that because of the pressure of their varied and multifarious
work, clerical errors may escape their notice. Upon the other hand, the respondents' counsels have the prima facie right to
rely on the quotation as it appears in the respondent Judge's decision, to copy it verbatim, and to incorporate it in their
brief. Anyway, the import of the underscored sentences of the quotation in the respondent Judge's decision is
substantially the same as, and faithfully reflects, the particular ruling in this Court's decision, i.e., that "[N]ot even the
acquittal of an employee, of the criminal charges against him, is a bar to the employer's right to impose discipline on its
employees, should the act upon which the criminal charges were based constitute nevertheless an activity inimical to the
employer's interest."

Be that as it may, we must articulate our firm view that in citing this Court's decisions and rulings, it is the bounden duty of
courts, judges and lawyers to reproduce or copy the same word-for-word and punctuation mark-for-punctuation mark.
Indeed, there is a salient and salutary reason why they should do this. Only from this Tribunal's decisions and rulings do
all other courts, as well as lawyers and litigants, take their bearings. This is because the decisions referred to in article 8
of the Civil Code which reads, "Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of
the legal system of the Philippines," are only those enunciated by this Court of last resort. We said in no uncertain terms in
Miranda, et al. vs. Imperial, et al. (77 Phil. 1066) that "[O]nly the decisions of this Honorable Court establish jurisprudence
or doctrines in this jurisdiction." Thus, ever present is the danger that if not faithfully and exactly quoted, the decisions and
rulings of this Court may lose their proper and correct meaning, to the detriment of other courts, lawyers and the public
who may thereby be misled. But if inferior courts and members of the bar meticulously discharge their duty to check and
recheck their citations of authorities culled not only from this Court's decisions but from other sources and make certain
that they are verbatim reproductions down to the last word and punctuation mark, appellate courts will be precluded from
acting on misinformation, as well as be saved precious time in finding out whether the citations are correct.

Happily for the respondent Judge and the respondents' counsels, there was no substantial change in the thrust of this
Court's particular ruling which they cited. It is our view, nonetheless, that for their mistake, they should be, as they are
hereby, admonished to be more careful when citing jurisprudence in the future. ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the Court
of Industrial Relations dated August 17, 1965 is reversed and set aside, and another is entered, ordering the respondents
to reinstate the dismissed members of the petitioning Unions to their former or comparatively similar positions, with
backwages from June 2, 1958 up to the dates of their actual reinstatements. Costs against the respondents.

A.C. No. 6501 August 31, 2006

(CBD Case Nos. 03-1076, 03-1108, 03-1109, 03-1125)

ATTY. LEON L. ASA and ATTY. JOSE A. OLIVEROS, Complainants,


vs.
ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO and ATTY. GINGER ANNE CASTILLO, Respondents.

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO, Complainant,


vs.
ATTY. JOSE A. OLIVEROS, Respondent.

x-----------------------x

ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO, Complainant,


vs.
ATTY. LEON L. ASA, Respondent.

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
ATTY. LEON L. ASA, Complainant,
vs.
ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO, Respondent.

DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

Subject of the present Decision are four administrative cases, docketed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) as Commission
on Bar Discipline (CBD) Case Nos. 03-1076,03-1108,03-1109, and 03-1125.

I. CBD Case No. 03-1076

In 1996, Atty. Pablito M. Castillo (Castillo), then an associate of the Laurel Law Offices of which Attorneys Leon L. Asa (Asa) and
Jose A. Oliveros (Oliveros) are partners, endorsed to the law firm a guardianship case, Special Proceeding No. 5222, "In re:
Guardianship of the Minors Honeylyn, Alexandra and Jerill Nonan," which was pending before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Angeles City, Branch 59. Castillo appeared as counsel of record for the therein petitioner, Dr. Salvador H. Laurel, guardian ad litem of
the minors Nonan who appear to have inherited a sizeable amount of US dollars.

A misunderstanding later occurred between Asa and Castillo as regards their sharing in the attorney’s fees in the guardianship case.

On page 6 of a pleading entitled "Reply to Petitioner-Guardian’s Comment/Opposition,1 ETC." dated July 19, 2002 filed before
Branch 59 of the Angeles RTC and signed by Castillo’s daughter Ginger Anne Castillo (Ginger Anne) as "counsel" for Castillo who
filed a Notice Ad Cautelam, it was alleged that, inter alia, "Asa wants to be paid an additional $75,000.00 for his services in providing
coffee and opening doors whenever there is a conference at the Laurel Law Offices."2

Finding the above statement of Castillo and Ginger Anne to be a brazen falsehood concocted to besmirch Asa’s reputation, Asa and
Oliveros filed before IBP an administrative complaint3 against Castillo and Ginger Anne, for gross violation of the lawyer’s oath and
the Code of Professional Responsibility. The case was docketed as CBD Case No. 03-1076.

In their complaint, Asa and Oliveros also charged Castillo with machinations and deceit arising from the following alleged incidents:

In a conference held at the Laurel Law Offices prior to January 20, 2000 attended by Dr. Laurel, the Nonan minors’ counsel abroad
Atty. Benjamin Cassiday III (Cassiday), Asa and Castillo, it was agreed that the amount to be received by Dr. Laurel in trust for the
Nonan heirs would be deposited at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), St. Francis Square Branch, Pasig City under
Dollar Savings Account No. 8-250-00043-0. Castillo, however, proposed that the funds be deposited instead at the United Coconut
Planters Bank (UCPB), he explaining that he knew an employee there who could facilitate "the transaction." Dr. Laurel rejected this
proposition and instead instructed Castillo to file the appropriate motion to have the funds deposited at the RCBC.4

Without showing to Dr. Laurel the motion he was instructed to prepare, Castillo filed the same with the Angeles trial court. Dr. Laurel
subsequently received a copy of a March 2, 2000 RTC Order5 signed by the then trial Judge Eliezer R. De los Santos granting his
motion and accordingly directing that the funds to be held in trust for the Nonan children be deposited at the Trust Department of the
UCPB Head Office. Dr. Laurel, Cassiday and Asa thus filed with the Angeles City trial court an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration6
of the March 2, 2000 Angeles RTC Order in order to have the funds deposited at the RCBC transferred to the RTC, as previously
agreed upon. This motion was granted.

Still in the same complaint, Asa and Oliveros alleged that in a "Reply to Answer"7 dated June 25, 2001 filed by Castillo with the RTC
of Makati City, Branch 145 in Civil Case No. 01-506, "Atty. P.M. Castillo v. United Coconut Planters Bank, Lorenzo V. Tan and
Angelica S. Hernandez," Castillo again committed a clear falsehood when he therein stated that:

On the other hand, retired Justice Felipe Kalalo of the Court of Appeals who personally knew the plaintiff [Castillo] was also profuse
in extolling his academic credentials and accomplishments as a Trial lawyer as follows:

Q: Do you know the claimant Atty. P.M. Castillo?

A: Yes sir, because we were both active Senior Trial lawyers of the Laurel Law Offices,8 (Underscoring supplied),

he knowing that retired Justice Kalalo had never been at any time a lawyer at the Laurel Law Offices. In support of this allegation,
they appended to the complaint a certified true copy of the Service Record9 of Justice Kalalo which does not show that he was ever
connected with the Laurel Law Office.

In their Answer10 to the complaint, Castillo and Ginger Anne declared:

There is nothing wrong or objectionable to the statement that Asa’s services in the guardianship case consisted in providing coffee and
opening doors whenever there was a conference at the Laurel Law Offices, as this was in fact the truth, the comportment being
"strictly in accordance with long cherished Filipino hospitality," and "he [Castillo] would have done the same with his own visitors."11
In any event, they claim that the assailed factual narration was material and relevant to Castillo’s question why Asa was given the
lion’s share of attorney’s fees when he had not rendered any known material service which redounded to the benefit of the Nonan
children.

Moreover, the Castillos declared that the deposit of the Nonan funds at the UCPB was not attended with malice or bad faith, nor was it
intended to benefit them as the funds could only be withdrawn by Dr. Laurel who had exclusive access to all the information
pertaining to the interest and benefits accruing thereto.

As regards the assailed June 25, 2001 "Reply to Answer" filed with the Makati RTC in Civil Case No. 01-506, the Castillos asserted
that Castillo had no control nor influence over the voluntary and spontaneous testimony of retired Justice Kalalo in his favor during
the proceedings adverted to.12
II. CBD Case No. 03-1108

Castillo subsequently filed a complaint13 against Oliveros before the IBP, docketed as CBD Case No. 03-1108, for gross violation of
lawyer’s oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Castillo alleged that: (1) Oliveros assisted Cassiday in embezzling US $950,000 representing the share adjudicated to the Nonan heirs;
(2) in conspiracy with Dr. Laurel and a certain Atty. Douglas Cushnie, Oliveros resorted to forum shopping to undermine and defeat
the jurisdiction of the Philippine court in the guardianship proceedings; (3) Oliveros, along with Asa, Dr. Laurel and Cassiday,
perpetuated other acts of fraud in the guardianship proceedings; and (4) Oliveros, together with Asa, deliberately and maliciously filed
a groundless administrative complaint against him and Ginger Anne.

In his Answer14 to the Complaint in CBD Case No. 03-1108, Oliveros, decrying the allegations against him as patently false, baseless
and malicious, claimed that the complaint was Castillo’s way of retaliating against him for having joined Asa in filing the
administrative complaint against him and Ginger Anne (CBD Case No. 03-1076).

III. CBD Case No. 03-1109

Castillo also filed an administrative complaint15 against Asa before the IBP, charging him with embezzlement, dishonesty, betrayal of
trust, grave abuse of confidence and violation of the lawyer’s oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. The case was docketed
as CBD Case No. 03-1109.

Castillo alleged that (1) Asa, Cassiday and Dr. Laurel scandalously mismanaged the estate of the Nonan heirs, the bulk of which they
indiscriminately pocketed; (2) Asa and Oliveros filed a groundless administrative complaint against him and Ginger Anne to compel
him to withdraw his claim for attorney’s fees against Dr. Laurel and his bid to replace the latter as guardian of the Nonan heirs; (3)
despite an Agreement16 dated February 16, 2000 between him and Asa that the latter would receive only 25% of whatever he
(Castillo) would receive as attorney’s fees, Asa secretly pocketed the amounts of $24,500 and $160,500 from the guardianship case on
April 18, 2000; (4) Asa refused to account for and turn over the amount of $130,000 in attorney’s fees which belonged to him
(Castillo); and (5) Asa embarked on a scheme to force him into resigning as counsel for Dr. Laurel to enable them to exercise absolute
control over the guardianship case and appropriate for themselves the attorney’s fees allocated for him.

In his Answer to the Complaint17 in CBD Case No. 03-1109, Asa alleged as follows: It was in fact Castillo who reneged on their
February 16, 2000 Agreement as the latter had earlier bluntly told him that he changed his mind and that he would not give him (Asa)
any share in the attorney’s fees he would receive from the guardianship case, Castillo reasoning that he was the therein counsel of
record and had endorsed the case to the Laurel Law Offices. He thus reported the matter to Dr. Laurel and informed him that he
"would likewise not give Castillo’s share in the attorney’s fees he [Asa] might receive because [Castillo] has no word of honor."18

As regards the $24,500 that he allegedly secretly pocketed, Asa explained that several days prior to April 18, 2000, Dr. Laurel and
Atty. Cassiday fixed the attorney’s fees of both Castillo and Asa at $100,000 each, based on the amount to be paid by the four heirs or
$25,000 per heir. When the first heir Merceditas Feliciano (Merceditas) paid $1,150,000 on April 18, 2000, he deposited $24,500 of
this amount in his and his wife’s joint Dollar Account No. 247-702-9275 at the Philippine National Bank (PNB), Ortigas Branch as his
share in the attorney’s fees, while he opened a new account in the name of Dr. Laurel to which he deposited the amount of $160,500.

Asa went on to declare that Castillo received his own $25,000 plus interest amounting to $25,023.13 representing full payment of his
attorney’s fees from Merceditas, as evidenced by a Receipt19 dated May 2, 2000 signed by Castillo.

Continuing, Asa declared that of the $160,500 belonging to Dr. Laurel, $100,000 represented partial payment for his consenting to be
the guardian ad litem of the Nonan heirs and $60,000 represented reimbursement for expenses incurred over several years by Dr.
Laurel, the total of which was placed temporarily on April 18, 2000 in his (Asa’s) Dollar Account No. 8-250-00047-3 in RCBC. Dr.
Laurel, however, withdrew $160,000.00 the following day from RCBC and placed it in his own Dollar Time Deposit Account for
which $500.00 was spent for the purpose. A Certification20 to this effect, issued by RCBC Ortigas Business Center Manager Dolores
L. Del Valle, was appended to Asa’s Answer.

Finally, Asa declared that Castillo’s claim for $130,000 in attorney’s fees is baseless and unconscionable, and that Castillo filed the
complaint merely to harass him in retaliation for the complaint he and Oliveros priorly filed against him and Ginger Anne.

IV. CBD Case No. 03-1125

On August 25, 2003, Asa filed yet another administrative complaint,21 against Castillo before the IBP, for disbarment/suspension,
docketed as CBD Case No. 03-1125, charging him with deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct in office, immoral conduct, violation of
the lawyer’s oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility in light of his baseless, malicious and derogatory allegations in CBD
Case No. 03-1109 which were founded on deceit and deliberate falsehood, and of promoting a groundless, false and unlawful suit.

IBP REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION:

By Report and Recommendation22 of February 27, 2004, the IBP CBD, through Commissioner Rebecca Villanueva-Maala,
recommended the dismissal of the consolidated cases in this wise.

From the facts and evidence presented, what have been shown by the counsels are mutual bickerings, unjustified recriminations and
offensive personalities between brother lawyers which detract from the dignity of the legal profession and do not deserve the attention
of the Commission. The voluminous case record contains but personal peculiarities and idiosyncrasies hurled by the counsels against
each other which constitute highly unprofessional conduct. A great part of man’s comfort, as well as of his success at the bar, depends
upon his relations with his professional brethren. With them he is in daily necessary intercourse, and he must have their respect and
confidence, if he wishes to sail along in smooth waters. Hence, the parties are advised to conduct themselves honorably, fairly and
candidly toward each other and try to maintain the dignity of the legal profession.23 (Underscoring supplied)

By Resolution24 of April 16, 2004, the Board of Governors of the IBP adopted and approved the February 27, 2004 Report and
Recommendation and dismissed the consolidated cases for lack of merit.
The records of the cases were then forwarded for final action to this Court.

Asa filed with this Court an August 2, 2004 a Motion for Reconsideration25 in CBD Case No. 03-1125. He too, together with Oliveros,
filed on August 3, 2004 a Motion for Reconsideration26 in CBD Case No. 03-1076.

Castillo likewise filed with this Court a Consolidated Omnibus Motion for Partial Reconsideration27 dated August 9, 2004 in CBD
Case No. 03-1108 and CBD Case No. 03-1109.

On January 12, 2005, Asa filed his Comment28 on Castillo’s Consolidated Omnibus Motion for Partial Reconsideration in CBD Case
No. 03-1109 while also Oliveros filed his Comment on the same motion on February 28, 2005.

On March 16, 2005, Castillo filed his Consolidated Reply to the Comments of Asa and Oliveros, with Omnibus Motion to Appoint a
Commissioner.29

THIS COURT’S RULING

In his questioned "Reply to Petitioner-Guardian’s Comment/Opposition," Castillo’s statement reads:

x x x Atty. Leon Asa wants to be paid an additional $75,000.00 for his services in providing coffee and opening the doors whenever
there is a conference at the Laurel Law Offices. He also conveniently provides himself with the Nonan expediente to give assistance to
the parties during their so-called conferences. Worse, his express reluctance to appear before this Honorable Court was repeatedly
announced by Atty. Jose Oliveros because of his so-called failing health x x x30

Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that a lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor
toward his professional colleagues and shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel. Rule 8.01 of the same Canon mandates
that a lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.

That a member of the bar is enjoined to observe honorable, candid and courteous dealing with other lawyers31 and employ respectful
and restrained language is in keeping with the dignity of the legal profession.32 It is through a scrupulous preference for respectful
language that a lawyer best demonstrates his observance or respect due to the courts and judicial officers.33

In the case at bar, Castillo and Ginger Anne’s choice of words manifestly falls short of this criterion. Their disparaging statements in
the pleading referred to above belie their proffered good intention and exceed the bounds of civility and propriety.

Castillo’s claim that the statement about Asa’s services is relevant and pertinent to the claim for attorney’s fees and was, for all legal
intents and purposes, a "privileged communication"34 deserves short shrift. Indulging in offensive personalities in the course of
judicial proceedings constitutes unprofessional conduct subject to disciplinary action, even if the publication thereof is privileged.35

x x x this Court will not be inhibited from exercising its supervisory authority over lawyers who misbehave or fail to live up to that
standard expected of them as members of the Bar. Indeed, the rule of absolute privileged communication absolves beforehand the
lawyer from civil and criminal liability based on the statements made in the pleadings. But like the member of the legislature who
enjoys immunity from civil and criminal liability arising from any speech or debate delivered in the Batasan or in any committee
thereof, but nevertheless remains subject to the disciplinary authority of the legislature for said speech or debate, a lawyer equally
remains subject to this Court’s supervisory and disciplinary powers for lapses in the observance of his duty as a member of the legal
profession.36 (Underscoring supplied)

Castillo and Ginger Anne are thus admonished to exercise greater care and circumspection in the preparation of their pleadings and
refrain from using offensive or otherwise improper language.

In support of Asa and Oliveros’ allegation that Castillo employed deceit and falsehood in attempting to change the depositary bank for
the funds to be held in trust by Dr. Laurel for the Nonan heirs, they presented the March 2, 2000 RTC Order directing Dr. Laurel and
his principal counsel Castillo to deposit the balance of the proceeds of the settlement with any and all of the adjudicated heirs with
UCPB and the March 14, 2000 RTC Order directing the deposit of the settlement proceeds with the RCBC.

A perusal of the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration dated March 8, 2000 signed by Dr. Laurel, however, fails to establish any
wrongdoing on the part of Castillo in having filed the Motion to deposit the funds at UCPB. It simply stated that:

Considering the present raging controversy arising from the P50 Billion coconut levy funds, the stability of the United Coconut
Planters Bank (UCPB), Head Office at Makati, may be seriously affected x x x

The Petitioner-Guardian can best protect the deposits of the Nonan children if the proceeds of the settlement will be deposited with a
solvent and more conservative bank like the RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION (RCBC) x x x 37

In administrative cases against lawyers, the quantum of proof required is clearly preponderant evidence and the burden of proof rests
upon the complainant. Moreover, an administrative case against a lawyer must show the dubious character of the act done as well as
the motivation thereof.38 In the case at bar, Asa and Oliveros failed to present clear and preponderant evidence to show that Castillo
willfully and deliberately resorted to deceit and falsehood in filing the Motion to have the funds deposited at UCPB.

Respecting Castillo’s June 25, 2001 Reply to Answer in the Makati RTC Civil Case No. 01-506, he therein alleged:

On the other hand, retired Justice Felipe Kalalo of the Court of Appeals who personally knew the plaintiff, was also profuse in
extolling his academic credentials and accomplishments as a Trial lawyer, as follows:

Q: Do you know the claimant Atty. P.M. Castillo?

A: Yes sir, because we were both active Senior Trial lawyers at the Laurel Law Offices.
Q: How could you characterize and rate the trial competency, performance and expertise of Atty. P.M. Castillo?

A: He is highly competent, low key, aggressive and very brilliant in the conduct of trial, as well as, in the formulation of courtroom
strategies. His pleadings are also very well written, direct to the point, convincing, scholarly and exhaustive. To be sure, he is one of
the popular trial lawyers of our firm (The Laurel Law Offices), not only because he came from an exclusive school, but also because
of his scholastic records at Ateneo de Manila was also impressive. That is why he was taken in by former VP Salvador H. Laurel even
before the release of the 1964 bar where he was also No. 2 among the Ateneo bar candidates for the year. He was No. 15 among the
bar topnotchers. This is not to mention his impressive and highly (sic) batting average of winning about 80% to 90% of his load cases
and work. He was also one of the busy lawyers of our office, until he went on private practice and excelled as one of the more
successful and respected trial practitioners.39 (Underscoring supplied)

To Asa, by the foregoing allegation, Castillo committed clear falsehood for Justice Kalalo had never been a lawyer at any time at the
Laurel Law Offices.

Castillo explained, however, that he "can only say that he has no control, nor influence on the voluntary and spontaneous declaration
and testimony of Retired Justice Felipe Kalalo of the Court of Appeals in his favor during the highly adversarial proceedings."40

Castillo’s explanation does not impress, however. The records show that the above-quoted statements attributed by Castillo to Justice
Kalalo were lifted from an unsigned and unsubscribed affidavit entitled "Question and Answer Format in Lieu of Direct Testimony of
Justice Felipe Kalalo"41 dated January 21, 1993. This affidavit was earlier filed by Castillo with the Pasig RTC, Branch 154 in
connection with his claim for attorney’s fees in Civil Cases Nos. 43049 and 56637 which affidavit was subsequently withdrawn,42
however, as it was unsigned and unsubscribed.

Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the courts. Rule
10.01 of said Canon specifically commands that a member of the bar shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in
court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the court to be misled by any artifice. Rule 10.02 of the same Canon provides that a member of
the bar shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of a paper or assert as a fact that which has not been proved.

And Section 20(d), Rule 138 of the Rules of Court directs that a lawyer must employ such means only as are consistent with truth and
honor, and never seek to mislead the judge or any judicial officer by any artifice or false statement of fact or law.43

Complete candor or honesty is thus expected from lawyers, particularly when they appear and plead before the courts.44 They have an
obligation to the court as well as to the opposing party to make only truthful statements in their pleadings.45 The burden cast on the
judiciary would be intolerable if it could not take at face value what is asserted by counsel. The time that will have to be devoted just
to the task of verification of allegations submitted could easily be imagined.46

In light of the above findings reflecting Castillo’s administrative culpability, his charge against Asa and Oliveros of filing groundless
disbarment cases against him and Ginger Anne necessarily fails.

As regards Castillo’s claim that Asa secretly pocketed $24,500 and $160,500, the undated certification issued by RCBC Branch
Operation Head Dolores del Valle reading:

This is to certify that on April 18, 2000, Mr. Leon L. Asa opened a Dollar Savings Account at our Business Center. A credit was made
to his assigned Dollar Savings Account Number 8-250-00047-3 in the amount of US Dollars: One Hundred Sixty Thousand Five
Hundred (USD: 160,500.00) as initial transaction. We further certify that on April 19, 2000, there was a debit made for said account in
the amount of US Dollars: One Hundred Sixty Thousand (USD: 160,000.00) and that same amount was placed in the Dollar Time
Deposit Account of Salvador H. Laurel. Mr. Leon Asa left the amount of USD: Five Hundred in his account to serve as the
maintaining balance requirement. Subject Dollar Savings Account had closed already,47

and Dr. Laurel Partial Inventory, Account and Report of Guardian48 dated February 13, 2002 filed with the Angeles City RTC, Branch
59 in Sp. Proc. No. 5222 stating that:

3. On April 18, 2000, Guardian Ad Litem Salvador H. Laurel and his Principal Foreign Legal Counsel, Atty. Benjamin Cassiday III
received by way of settlement from one of the duly adjudicated heirs of Larry Lee Hillblom, Mercedita Feliciano, by and through her
Guardian Ad Litem, Milagros Feliciano, the amount of ONE MILLION ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND US DOLLARS
(US$1,150,000.00) which was deposited with the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), St. Francis Square Branch,
Ortigas Center, Pasig City under Dollar Savings Account No. 8-250-000430-ABA. Routing No. RCBC PH MM in the name of
"Salvador H. Laurel, in trust for Honeylyn, Alexandra and Jeril Nonan", in compliance with the Order of this Honorable Court dated
April 26, 2000;

4. Pursuant to the above-stated Orders of this Honorable Court, the Guardian Ad Litem and Atty. Benjamin Cassiday III disbursed the
following amounts for the purposes indicated:

A. ATTORNEY’S FEES & OTHER NECESSARY LEGAL EXPENSES:

xxxx

(7) Partial payment of the fee of Salvador H. Laurel for consenting to be the guardian ad litem of the Nonan children and accepting all
responsibilities attached to said position ……….US$100,000.00

(8) Reimbursement to Salvador H. Laurel for expenses incurred during the last six (6) years for airfare, car rentals, overseas calls, and
representation and other incidental expenses while in the various states in the United States in order to pursue the claim of the Nonan
children against the Hillblom estate ……….US$60,000.00

x x x x49 (Underscoring supplied),


validate Asa’s explanation that the amount of $160,500 belonged to Dr. Laurel but was merely temporarily placed in his (Asa’s)
account.

The Partial Inventory, Account and Report of Guardian shows that $12,500 was received by Asa as attorney’s fees for assisting Dr.
Laurel and Castillo from 1996 to 2000.50 Confirming such disbursement is a Receipt51 dated April 18, 2000 signed by Asa. The
remaining $12,500 of the $25,000 attorney’s fees of Asa per heir (as priorly agreed upon by Dr. Laurel and Cassiday) were remitted
by Asa to the Laurel Law Offices as Official Receipt No. 176652 issued by the treasurer/cashier of the Laurel Law Offices dated April
19, 2000 shows:

RECEIVED from Atty. Leon L. Asa the sum of Twelve thousand five hundred US Dollars US$12,500.00 as fifty percent (50%) share
of LLO [Laurel Law Offices] in attorney’s fees of US$25,000 of Atty. Asa in SP Proc. 5222 of RTC Angeles City, Br. 59.

Cash……….US$12,500-

By: Sgd.

Treasurer/Cashier

On Asa’s alleged unjust refusal to turn over Castillo’s attorney’s fees: It appears that Asa and Castillo each received $25,000 as
attorney’s fees but pursuant to their February 2000 Agreement, the aggregate amount of $50,000 would be divided between them, and
Castillo would receive 75% thereof or $37,500, while Asa would receive 25% or $12,500. The records show that Asa kept only
$12,500 for himself, he having remitted, as reflected above, the remaining $12,500 to the Laurel Law Offices.

Dr. Laurel eventually gave Castillo $10,000 out of the $12,500 which Asa remitted to the Laurel Law Offices, as reflected in the
Partial Inventory, Account and Report of Guardian.53

Respecting Castillo’s claim that, in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Asa and Oliveros "embarked on another
sinister strategy to spite, insult and provoke him to ostracize him and make him feel unwanted to continue as [Dr. Laurel’s] lawyer in
furtherance of their conspiracy to force him into resignation for them to replace him and have absolute control over the guardianship
case, the funds of the estate and the attorney’s fees," the same is unsubstantiated, hence, deserves no further consideration.

As to Castillo’s charge against Asa and Oliveros of embezzlement due to alleged scandalous mismanagement of the estate of the
Nonan heirs, premised on the October 13, 2003 RTC Order54 in SP No. 5222, this Court finds the evidence presented insufficient to
warrant the imposition of sanctions against them.

Finally, on Castillo’s Omnibus Motion to Appoint a Commissioner, the matters raised therein55 being entirely inappropriate, to say the
least, for consideration in these administrative proceedings, the same is denied.

A final word. The spectacle of members of the bar being engaged in bickering and recrimination is far from edifying. Mutual
bickerings and unjustified recriminations between brother attorneys detract from the dignity of the legal profession and will not
receive any sympathy from this Court.56 Personal colloquies between counsels which promote unseemly wrangling should thus be
carefully avoided.57

It appears that Castillo had previously been suspended for Six (6) Months by this Court in CBD Case No. 176, Bongalonta v.
Castillo,58 for committing falsehood in violation of his lawyer’s oath and of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He was then
warned that commission of the same or similar offense in the future would call for the imposition of a more severe penalty. This Court
thus imposes upon him a penalty of suspension from the practice of law for a period of One (1) year.

WHEREFORE, the administrative cases filed against Atty. Leon L. Asa and Atty. Jose A. Oliveros are DISMISSED.

Atty. Ginger Anne Castillo is found GUILTY of breach of Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and is hereby
admonished to refrain from using offensive and improper language in her pleadings.

Atty. Pablito M. Castillo is likewise found GUILTY of breach of Canons 8, as well as Canon 10 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, and is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of One (1) Year, effective upon receipt of this Decision.

Let copies of this Decision be entered in the respective personal records of Atty. Ginger Anne Castillo and of Atty. Pablito M. Castillo
in the Office of the Bar Confidant. Let copies too be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-35469 October 9, 1987

ENCARNACION BANOGON, ZOSIMA MUNOZ, and DAVIDINA MUNOZ, petitioners,


vs.
MELCHOR ZERNA, CONSEJO ZERNA DE CORNELIO, FRANCISCO ZERNA, and the HON. CIPRIANO VAMENTA,
JR., Judge of the Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental (Branch III).

CRUZ, J.:

It's unbelievable. The original decision in this case was rendered by the cadastral court way back on February 9, 1926,
sixty one years ago. A motion to amend that decision was filed on March 6, 1957, thirty one years later. This was followed
by an amended petition for review of the judgment on March 18, 1957, and an opposition thereto on March 26, 1957. On
October 11, 1971, or after fourteen years, a motion to dismiss the petition was filed. The petition was dismissed on
December 8, 1971, and the motion for reconsideration was denied on February 14, 1972. 1 The petitioners then came to
us on certiorari to question the orders of the respondent judge.2

These dates are not typographical errors. What is involved here are errors of law and lawyers.

The respondent court dismissed the petition for review of the decision rendered in 1926 on the ground that it had been
filed out of time, indeed thirty one years too late. Laches, it was held, had operated against the petitioners. 3

The petitioners contend that the said judgment had not yet become final and executory because the land in dispute had
not yet been registered in favor of the private respondents. The said judgment would become so only after one year from
the issuance of the decree of registration. If any one was guilty of laches, it was the private respondents who had failed to
enforce the judgment by having the land registered in their the pursuant thereto.4

For their part, the private respondents argue that the decision of February 9, 1926, became final and executory after 30
days, same not having been appealed by the petitioners during that period. They slept on their rights for thirty one years
before it occurred to them to question the judgment of the cadastral court. In fact, their alleged predecessor-in-interest,
Filomeno Banogon, lived for nineteen more years after the 1926 decision and did not see fit to challenge it until his death
in 1945. The herein petitioners themselves waited another twelve years, or until 195 7, to file their petition for review. 5

While arguing that they were not guilty of laches because the 1926 decision had not yet become final and executory
because the land subject thereof had not yet been registered, the petitioners rationalize: "If an aggrieved party is allowed
the remedy of re-opening the case within one year after the issuance of the decree, why should the same party be denied
this remedy before the decree is issued? 6

Why not indeed? Why then did they not file their petition earlier? Why do they now pretend that they have all the time in
the world because the land has not yet been registered and the one-year reglementary period has not yet expired?

Thinking to support their position, the petitioners cite Rivera v. Moran 7 where it was held:

... It is conceded that no decree of registration has been entered and section 38 of the Land Registration Act
provides that a petition for review of such a decree on the grounds of fraud must be filed "within one year
after entry of the decree." Giving this provision a literal interpretation, it may first blush seem that the petition
for review cannot be presented until the final decree has been entered. But on further reflection, it is obvious
that such could not have been the intention of the Legislature and that what it meant would have been better
expressed by stating that such petitioners must be presented before the expiration of one year from the
entry of the decree. Statutes must be given a reasonable construction and there can be no possible reason
for requiring the complaining party to wait until the final decree is entered before urging his claim of fraud.
We therefore hold that a petition for review under section 38, supra, may be filed at any time the rendition of
the court's decision and before the expiration of one year from the entry of the final decree of registration.
(Emphasissupplied).

A reading thereof will show that it is against their contentions and that under this doctrine they should not have delayed in
asserting their claim of fraud. Their delay was not only for thirty one days but for thirty one years. Laches bars their
petition now. Their position is clearly contrary to law and logic and to even ordinary common sense.

This Court has repeatedly reminded litigants and lawyers alike:

"Litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is assent essential to an effective and
efficient administration of justice that, once a judgment has become final, the winning party be not, through a
mere subterfuge, deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Courts must therefore guard against any scheme
calculated to bring about that result. Constituted as they are to put an end to controversies, courts should
frown upon any attempt to prolong them."8

There should be a greater awareness on the part of litigants that the time of the judiciary, much more so of
this Court, is too valuable to be wasted or frittered away by efforts, far from commendable, to evade the
operation of a decision final and executory, especially so, where, as shown in this case, the clear and
manifest absence of any right calling for vindication, is quite obvious and indisputable. 9

This appeal moreover, should fail, predicated as it is on an insubstantial objection bereft of any persuasive
force. Defendants had to display ingenuity to conjure a technicality. From Alonso v. Villamor, a 1910
decision, we have left no doubt as to our disapproval of such a practice. The aim of a lawsuit is to render
justice to the parties according to law. Procedural rules are precisely designed to accomplish such a worthy
objective. Necessarily, therefore, any attempt to pervert the ends for which they are intended deserves
condemnation. We have done so before. We do so again. 10

Regarding the argument that the private respondents took fourteen years to move for the dismissal of the petition for
review, it suffices to point out that an opposition thereto had been made as early as March 26, 1957, or nine days after the
filing of the petition. 11 Moreover, it was for the petitioners to move for the hearing of the petition instead of waiting for the
private respondents to ask for its dismissal. After all, they were the parties asking for relief, and it was the private
respondents who were in possession of the land in dispute.

One reason why there is a degree of public distrust for lawyers is the way some of them misinterpret the law to the point
of distortion in a cunning effort to achieve their purposes. By doing so, they frustrate the ends of justice and at the same
time lessen popular faith in the legal profession as the sworn upholders of the law. While this is not to say that every
wrong interpretation of the law is to be condemned, as indeed most of them are only honest errors, this Court must
express its disapproval of the adroit and intentional misreading designed precisely to circumvent or violate it.
As officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to assist in the proper administration of justice. They do not
discharge this duty by filing pointless petitions that only add to the workload of the judiciary, especially this Court, which is
burdened enough as it is. A judicious study of the facts and the law should advise them when a case, such as this, should
not be permitted to be filed to merely clutter the already congested judicial dockets. They do not advance the cause of law
or their clients by commencing litigations that for sheer lack of merit do not deserve the attention of the courts.

This petition is DISMISSED, with costs against the petitioners. This decision is immediately executory. It is so ordered.

G.R. No. L-22320 July 29, 1968

MERCEDES RUTH COBB-PEREZ and DAMASO P. PEREZ, petitioners,


vs.
HON. GREGORIO LANTIN, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila,
RICARDO P. HERMOSO and the CITY SHERIFF OF MANILA, respondents.

Crispin D. Baizas and Associates for petitioners.


Isidro T. Almeda for respondents.

CASTRO, J.:

This is a motion for partial reconsideration of this Court's decision of May 22, 1968, specifically directed against the following
observation therein made:

We feel compelled to observe that during the protracted litigation below, the petitioners resorted to a series of actions and
petitions, at some stages alternatingly, abetted by their counsel, for the sole purpose of thwarting the execution of a simple
money judgment which has long become final and executory. Some of the actions were filed, only to be abandoned or
withdrawn. The petitioners and their counsel, far from viewing courts as sanctuaries for those who seek justice, have tried to
use them to subvert the very ends of justice.

Corollarily, this Court assessed treble costs against the petitioners, to "be paid by their counsel.".

The herein movants, Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A. N. Bolinas, counsels for the petitioners, while submitting to the judgment on the
merits, seek reconsideration of the decision in so far as it reflects adversely upon their "professional conduct" and condemns them to
pay the treble costs adjudged against their clients.

At first blush, the motion for reconsideration presents a semblance of merit. After mature deliberation and patient reprobing into the
records of the case, however, we are of the firmer conviction that the protracted litigation, alluded to in the above-quoted portion of
our decision, was designed to cause delay, and the active participation of the petitioners' counsels in this adventure is patent.

After November 15, 1962 when the Court of Appeals rendered judgment sustaining Damaso Perez' position with respect to the extent
of the levy, the subsequent proceedings interposed alternatingly by the petitioner spouses were obviously quixotic maneuvers expected
to be overthrown by the courts but calculated to delay an execution long overdue.

Had the petitioners and their counsels seriously believed that the levied shares of stock were conjugal property, why did they not adopt
this position from the very start, or, at the latest, in CA-G.R. 29962-R, wherein Damaso Perez challenged the legality of the levy's
coverage, in order to end the litigation with reasonable dispatch? They chose, however, to attack the execution in a piecemeal fashion,
causing the postponement of the projected execution sale six times. More than eight years after the finality of the judgment have
passed, and the same has yet to be satisfied.

In a determined effort to prolong the litigation, the Perez spouses, as represented by their counsels, sought the issuance of preliminary
injunctions to restrain the execution of the final judgment in civil case 39407 from courts which did not have jurisdiction and which
would, as expected, initially or ultimately deny their prayer. For instance, after Damaso Perez bowed out temporarily from the scene
following the rendition of the aforementioned Court of Appeals decision, his wife, Mercedez, Ruth Cobb-Perez, intruded into the
controversy and asked for an ex parte writ of preliminary injunction from the Court of First Instance of Rizal in connection with civil
case 7532 which she filed with the said court, knowing fully well that the basic civil case 39407 was decided by the Court of First
Instance of Manila (Branch VII presided by the respondent Judge Lantin), which latter court was the proper forum for any action
relative to the execution. Judge Eulogio Mencias of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, looking to Acosta vs. Alvendia (L-14598,
October 31, 1960), which held that courts of first instance have no power to restrain acts outside their territorial jurisdictions, lifted on
October 4, 1963 the ex parte writ which he previously issued enjoining the respondent sheriff from carrying out the execution sale. It
is clear, however, that Mrs. Perez and her counsels, the movants, knew or ought to have known beforehand that the Court of First
Instance of Rizal did not have jurisdiction to issue the writ which Mrs. Perez herself sought, and, anticipating the recall of the writ
improvidently issued, on September 3, 1963, a month before the said writ was actually lifted, filed in the basic civil case 39407 an
urgent motion to lift the writ of execution issued on August 15, 1961, alleging as justification the conjugal nature of the levied shares
of stock and the personal nature of Damaso Perez' judgment debt, the very same reasons advanced in civil case 7532 which was then
still pending in the Court of First Instance of Rizal. Incidentally, Mrs. Perez failed to adduce any evidence in support of her aforesaid
urgent motion, as in fact neither she nor her counsels appeared during the scheduled hearing, prompting the respondent judge to issue
the following order:

When the urgent motion to recall or lift writ of execution was called this morning for hearing, counsel for the movant did not
appear despite the fact that he had been duly notified of the motion for hearing. In view thereof the court assumes that he is
waiving his right to present evidence in support of his urgent motion to recall or lift writ of execution. Said urgent motion is
therefore deemed submitted for resolution.

Despite the recall of the aforementioned writ of injunction by Judge Mencias on a disclaimer of jurisdiction (since the execution
sought to be enjoined was ordered by another tribunal), Mrs. Perez, now assisted by her husband who had staged a comeback, prayed
for the issuance of another injunction, this time from Branch XXII of the Court of First Instance of Manila (not the same Branch
which issued the controverted writ of execution), in connection with civil case 7532, then still pending in the Court of First Instance of
Rizal. As most probably anticipated anew by the Perez spouses and their counsels, Judge Alikpala, presiding judge of Branch XXII,
on November 8, 1963 denied the preliminary injunction sought, on the ground, among others, that he had no power to interfere by
injunction with the judgment or decree of a court of concurrent or coordinate jurisdiction. On the very day the injunction was denied,
Damaso Perez, as if expecting the reversal from Judge Alikpala, was already prepared with another "remedy," as in fact on that day,
November 8, 1963, he filed in the basic civil case 39407 an "Urgent Motion for Reconsideration" of the order of October 19, 1963,
which denied his wife's above-mentioned motion to recall the controverted writ of execution.

The foregoing motion, far from seriously seeking the reconsideration of the order of October 19, 1963, which in the first place
Damaso Perez could not legally do for he was not even a party to the denied "Urgent Motion to Recall Writ of Execution" (filed by his
wife alone), was merely an offer to replace the levied stocks with supposed cash dividends due to the Perez spouses as stockholders in
the Republic Bank.1 As a matter of fact, when the motion was set for hearing on December 21, 1963, the counsels for Damaso Perez
promised to produce the said cash dividends within five days, but the promise was never fulfilled.2 Consequently, the respondent
Judge on January 4, 1964, denied the said motion for reconsideration.

The above exposition of the circumstances relative to the protracted litigation clearly negates the avowal of the movants that "in none
of the various incidents in the case at bar has any particular counsel of petitioners acted with deliberate aforethought to delay the
enforcement of the judgment in Civil Case No. 39407." From the chronology of antecedent events, the fact becomes inescapable that
the Perez spouses, coached by their counsels, had sallied forth on a strategem of "remedies" projected to foil the lawful execution of a
simple money judgment. It is equally obvious that they foreshadowed their own reversals in the "remedies" they ventured to adopt,
such that even before, one remedy had been exhausted, they interposed another until the case reached this Court for the second time. 3
Meanwhile, justice was delayed, and more than one member of this Court are persuaded that justice was practically waylaid.

The movants also contend that even this Court sanctions the aforesaid civil cases 7532 and 55292 as the "proper remedy" when we
said that.

In reality, what they attacked is not the writ of execution, the validity and regularity of which are unchallenged, but the levy
made by the respondent Sheriff. In this regard, the remedy is not the recall of the writ, but an independent action to enjoin the
Sheriff from proceeding with the projected sale, in which action the conjugal nature of the levied stocks should be established
as a basis for the subsequent issuance of a permanent injunction, in the event of a successful claim. Incidentally, in the course
of the protracted litigation, the petitioners had already availed of this remedy in civil cases 7532 and 55292, only to abandon it
as they incessantly sought other, and often simultaneous, devices of thwarting satisfaction of the judgment debt. (Emphasis
supplied) .

And because of this statement, they now counter that the said cases could not be branded as having been instituted for delay.

The reference we made to civil cases 7532 and 55292 in the above-quoted statement must not be considered out of context. We said
that the petitioners incidentally had already availed of the suggested remedy only in the sense that said civil cases 7532 and 55292
were apparently instituted to prove the conjugal nature of the levied shares of stocks in question. We used the word incidentally
advisedly to show that in their incessant search for devices to thwart the controverted execution, they accidentally stumbled on the
suggested remedy. But the said civil cases were definitely not the "proper remedy" in so far as they sought the issuance of writs of
preliminary injunction from the Court of First Instance of Rizal and the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch XXII) where civil
cases 7532 and 55292 were filed respectively, for the said courts did not have jurisdiction to restrain the enforcement of the writ of
execution issued by the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch VII) under the settled doctrines that Courts are without power to
restrain acts outside of their territorial jurisdiction 4 or interfere with the judgment or decree of a court of concurrent or coordinate
jurisdiction. 5 However, the recall and the denial of the writs of preliminary injunction in civil cases 7532 and 55292 did not amount
to the termination or dismissal of the principal action in each case. Had the Perez spouses desired in earnest to continue with the said
cases they could have done so. But the fact is that Mrs. Perez practically abandoned civil case 7532 when she instituted the above
mentioned urgent motion to recall writ of execution in the basic civil case 39407, anchored on the same grounds which she advanced
in the former case, until the said civil case 7532 was dismissed on November 9, 1963, upon her own motion. Anent civil case 55292,
the Perez spouses virtually deserted the same when they instituted the herein petition for certiorari with urgent writ of preliminary
injunction based on the same grounds proffered in the said civil case — until the latter was also dismissed on March 20, 1964, with the
consent of the parties because of the pendency then of the aforesaid petition for certiorari.

The movants further contend that "If there was delay, it was because petitioners' counsel happened to be more assertive ... a quality of
the lawyers (which) is not to be condemned."

A counsel's assertiveness in espousing with candour and honesty his client's cause must be encouraged and is to be commended; what
we do not and cannot countenance is a lawyer's insistence despite the patent futility of his client's position, as in the case at bar.

It is the duty of a counsel to advise his client, ordinarily a layman to the intricacies and vagaries of the law, on the merit or lack of
merit of his case. If he finds that his client's cause is defenseless, then it is his bounden duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and
submit, rather than traverse the incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his client, and temper his client's
propensity to litigate. A lawyer's oath to uphold the cause of justice is superior to his duty to his client; its primacy is indisputable.

The movants finally state that the "Petitioners have several counsel in this case but the participation of each counsel was rather limited
implying that the decision of this Court ordering that "treble costs are assessed against the petitioners, which shall be paid by their
counsel" is not clear. The word "counsel" may be either singular or plural in construction, so that when we said "counsel" we meant
the counsels on record of the petitioners who were responsible for the inordinate delay in the execution of the final judgment in the
basic civil case 39407, after the Court of Appeals had rendered its aforementioned decision of November 15, 1962. And it is on record
that the movants are such counsels. Atty. Bolinas, upon his own admission, "entered his appearance in the case at bar about the time
the Court of First Instance of Manila dismissed the petitioners' Petition for Relief in Civil Case No. 39407," or about August 3, 1961
and even prior to the Court of Appeals decision above-mentioned. Atty. Baizas claims that he "became petitioners' counsel only in
October, 1963 when he filed, with Atty. A.N. Bolinao, Jr. Civil Case No. 55292 before the Court of First Instance of Manila presided
by the Hon. Judge Alikpala although it appears on record that the urgent motion to recall writ of execution filed by Mrs. Perez in the
basic civil case 39407 on September 3, 1963, was over the signature of one Ruby Zaida of the law firm of "Crispin Baizas &
Associates" as counsel for Mrs. Perez. It is to be recalled that the said urgent motion is the same motion discussed above, which,
curiously enough, antedated by at least one month the lifting of the writ of preliminary injunction issued in civil case 7532.
ACCORDINGLY, the motion for partial reconsideration is denied. Our decision of May 22, 1968 is hereby modified in the sense that
Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A.N. Bolinao, Jr. shall pay jointly and severally the treble costs assessed against the petitioners.

G.R. No. L-77691 August 8,1988

PATERNO R. CANLAS, petitioner,


vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and FRANCISCO HERRERA, respondents.

Paterno R. Canlas Law Offices for petitioner.

Abalos, Gatdula & Bermejo for private respondent.

SARMIENTO, J.:

The case dramatizes the unpleasant spectacle of a lawyer tangling with his own client, more often than not, in the matter
of fees. The lawyer, the petitioner himself, would have his petition decided on pure questions of procedure, yet, the Court
cannot let pass unnoticed the murkier face of the controversy, wherein the law is corrupted to promote a lawyer's
selfseeking ends, and the law profession, debased into a simple business dealing. Accordingly, we resolve it on the basis
not only of the questions raised by the petitioner pertaining to procedure, but considering its serious ethical implications,
on its merits as well.

We turn to the facts.

The private respondent was the registered owner of eight (six, according to the petitioner) parcels of land located in
Quezon City. 1 Between 1977 and 1978, 2 he obtained various loans from the L & R Corporation, a financing institution, in
various sums totalling P420,000.00 As security therefor, he executed deeds of mortgage in favor of the corporation over
the parcels aforesaid. On August 28,1979, and upon the maturing of said loans, the firm caused an extrajudicial
foreclosure of mortgage following his failure to pay, as a consequence of which, the said eight (six, according to the
petitioner) parcels of land were disposed of at public auction, and in which L & R Corporation was itself the highest bidder.

Pending redemption, the private respondent filed a complaint for injunction against L & R Corporation, to enjoin
consolidation of title in its name, in which he succeeded in obtaining preliminary injunctive relief. He was represented by
the petitioner. Two years later, and with no imminent end to the litigation in sight, the parties entered into a compromise
agreement whereby L & R Corporation accorded the private respondent another year to redeem the foreclosed properties
subject to payment of P600,000.00, with interest thereon at one per cent per month. They likewise stipulated that the
petitioner shall be entitled to attorney's fees of P100,000.00. On November 19, 1982, the court 3 approved the
compromise.

The private respondent, however, remained in dire financial straits — a fact the petitioner himself concede 4 — for which
reason he failed to acquire the finding to repay the loans in question, let alone the sum of P100,000.00 in attorney's fees
demanded by the petitioner. That notwithstanding, the petitioner moved for execution insofar as his fees were concemed.
The court granted execution, although it does not appear that the sum was actually collected. 5

Sometime thereafter, the petitioner and the private respondent met to discuss relief for the latter with respect to his liability
to L & R Corporation on the one hand, and his obligation to the petitioner on the other. The petitioner contends that the
private respondent "earnestly implored" 6 him to redeem the said properties; the private respondent maintains that it was
the petitioner himself who 'offered to advance the money," 7 provided that he, the private respondent, executed a "transfer
of mortgage" 8 over the properties in his favor. Who implored whom is a bone of contention, but as we shall see shortly,
we are inclined to agree with the private respondent's version, considering primarily the petitioner's moral ascendancy
over his client and the private respondent's increasing desperation.

The records further show that the parties, pursuant to their agreement, executed a "Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of
Redemption and/or to Redeem," a document that enabled the petitioner, first, to redeem the parcels in question, and
secondly, to register the same in his name. The private respondent alleges that he subsequently filed loan applications
with the Family Savings Bank to finance a wet market project upon the subject premises to find, according to him, and to
his dismay, the properties already registered in the name of the petitioner. He likewise contends that the "Deed of Sale
and Transfer of Rights of Redemption and/or to Redeem" on file with the Register of Deeds (for Quezon City) had been
falsified as follows:

WHEREFORE, for and in full settlement of the attorney's fees of TRANSFEREE in the amount of ONE
HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (Pl00,000.00) I, FRANCISCO HERRERA, hereby transfer, assign and
convey unto TRANSFEREE, Atty. Paterno R. Canlas, any and all my rights of the real properties and/or to
redeem from the Mortgagee, L & R Corporation my mortgaged properties foreclosed and sold at public
auction by the Sheriff of Quezon City and subject matter of the above Compromise Agreement in Civil Case
No. Q30679 ... 9

whereas it originally reads:

WHEREFORE, for and in full settlement of the attorney's fees of TRANSFEREE in the amount of ONE
HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P100,000.00), I, FRANCISCO HERRERA, hereby transfer, assign and
convey unto TRANSFEREE, Atty. Paterno R. Canlas, any and all my rights of equity of redemption and/or to
redeem from the Mortgagee, L & R Corporation my mortgaged properties foreclosed and sold at public
auction by the Sheriff of Quezon City and subject matter of the above Compromise Agreement in Civil Case
No. Q30679. . .10
As a consequence, the private respondent caused the annotation of an adverse claim upon the respective certificates of
title embracing the properties. Upon learning of the same, the petitioner moved for the cancellation of the adverse claim
and for the issuance of a writ of possession. The court granted both motions. The private respondent countered with a
motion for a temporary restraining order and later, a motion to recall the writ of possession. He likewise alleges that he
commenced disbarment proceedings before this Court against the petitioner 11 as well as various criminal complaints for
estafa, falsification, and "betrayal of trust" 12 with the Department of Justice. On December 1, 1983, finally, he instituted
an action for reconveyance and reformation of document, 13 praying that the certificates of title issued in the name of the
petitioner be cancelled and that "the Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of Equity of Redemption and/or to Redeem
dated May 3, 1983 ... be reformed to reflect the true agreement of Francisco Herrera and Paterno R. Canlas, of a
mortgage." 14 He vehemently maintains that the petitioner's "agreement with [him] was that the latter would lend the
money to the former for a year, so that [petitioner] would have time to look for a loan for the wet market which [the
petitioner] intended to put up on said property." 15 Predictably, the petitioner moved for dismissal.

The trial court, however, denied the private respondent's petition. It held that the alteration complained of did not change
the meaning of the contract since it was "well within [the petitioner's] rights" 16 "to protect and insure his interest of
P654,000.00 which is the redemption price he has paid;" 17 secondly, that the petitioner himself had acquired an interest
in the properties subject of reconveyance based on the compromise agreement approved by Judge Castro in the
injunction case, pursuant to Section 29(b), of Rule 39, of the Rules of Court, that had, consequently, made him a
judgment creditor in his own right; thirdly, that the private respondent had lost all rights over the same arising from his
failure to redeem them from L & R Corporation within the extended period; and finally, that the petitioner cannot be said to
have violated the ban against sales of properties in custodia legis to lawyers by their clients pendente lite, since the sale
in question took place after judgment in the injunction case abovesaid had attained finality. The complaint was
consequently dismissed, a dismissal that eventually attained a character of finality.

Undaunted, the private respondent, on December 6, 1985, filed a suit for "Annulment Of Judgment 18 in the respondent
Court of Appeals, 19 praying that the orders of Judge Castro: (1). granting execution over the portion of the compromise
agreement obliging the private respondent to pay the petitioner P100,000.00 as attorney's fees; (2) denying the private
respondent's prayer for a restraining order directed against the execution: and (3) denying the motion to recall writ of
possession, all be set aside.

The petitioner filed a comment on the petition, but followed it up with a motion to dismiss. On December 8, 1986, the
respondent Court of Appeals promulgated the first of its challenged resolutions, denying the motion to dismiss. On March
3, 1987, the Appellate Court denied reconsideration. 20

Hence the instant petition.

As we stated, the petitioner assails these twin resolutions on grounds of improper procedure. Specifically, he assigns the
following errors:

I.

THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSE [sic] ITS DISCRETION IN NOT DISMISSING AC G.R. NO. 07860 ON
THE GROUND THAT IT IS IN REALITY A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI FILED OUT OF TIME AND SHOULD NOT BE
GIVEN DUE COURSE.

II.

THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSE [sic] ITS DISCRETION IN NOT DISMISSING AC G.R. NO. 07860 ON
THE GROUND OF RES JUDICATA

III.

THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSE [sic] ITS DISCRETION IN NOT CONSIDERING AC G. R. 07860 AS
MOOT AND ACADEMIC SINCE PETITIONER HAD DISPOSED OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTIES LONG BEFORE THE
FILING OF THIS SUIT.

IV

THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO
DISMISS SOLELY ON THE GROUND THAT THE ARGUMENT RAISED THEREIN ARE BUT REHASH OF THE
ARGUMENTS IN HIS COMMENT TO THE PETITION. 21

The petitioner argues that the petition pending with the respondent court "is actually a petition for certiorari," 22 disguised
as a pleading for annulment of judgment and that in such a case, it faces alleged legal impediments (1) It had been filed
out of time, allegedly two years from the issuance of the assailed orders, and (2) It was not preceded by a motion for
reconsideration. He adds that assuming annulment of judgment were proper, no judgment allegedly exists for annulment,
the aforesaid two orders being in the nature of interlocutory issuances.

On purely technical grounds, the petitioner's arguments are impressive. Annulment of judgment, we have had occasion to
rule, rests on a single ground: extrinsic fraud. What "extrinsic fraud" means is explained in Macabingkil v. People's
Homesite and Housing Corporation : 23

xxx xxx xxx

It is only extrinsic or collateral fraud, as distinguished from intrinsic fraud, however, that can serve as a basis
for the annulment of judgment. Fraud has been regarded as extrinsic or collateral, within the meaning of the
rule, "where it is one the effect of which prevents a party from having a trial, or real contest, or from
presenting all of his case to the court, or where it operates upon matters pertaining, not to the judgment
itself, but of the manner in which it was procured so that there is not a fair submission of the controversy." In
other words, extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party in the litigation which is
committed outside of the trial of the case, whereby the defeated party has been prevented from exhibiting
fully his side of the case, by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent. 24

A perusal of the petition of therein private respondent Herrera pending before the respondent Court reveals no cause of
action for annulment of judgment. In the first place, and as herein petitioner Canlas correctly points out, the judgment itself
is not assailed, but rather, the orders merely implementing it. Secondly, there is no showing that extrinsic fraud, as
Makabingkil defines it, indeed vitiated the proceedings presided over by Judge Castro. On the contrary, Herrera's petition
in the respondent court will show that he was privy to the incidents he complains of, and in fact, had entered timely
oppositions and motions to defeat Atty. Canlas' claims under the compromise agreement.

What he objects to is his suspected collusion between Atty. Canlas and His Honor to expedite the former's collection of
his fees. He alleges that his counsel had deliberately, and with malevolent designs, postponed execution to force him
(Herrera) to agree to sell the properties in controversy to him (Atty. Canlas) subject to redemption. ("...[I]t was
understandable that respondent Atty. Paterno R. Canlas did not implement the writ of execution, instead he contacted
petitioner in order that petitioner would sign the questioned documents. This was the clincher of the plan of respondent
Atty, Paterno R. Canlas to divest petitioner of his properties. For this purpose, it is obvious that respondent Atty. Paterno
R. Canlas had to conspire with the respondent court judge to achieve his plan." 25) Aside from being plain speculation, it
is no argument to justify annulment. Clearly, it does not amount to extrinsic fraud as the term is defined in law.

Neither is it proper for the extraordinary remedy of certiorari. Certiorari presupposes the absence of an appeal 26 and
while there is no appeal from execution of judgment, appeal lies in case of irregular implementation of the writ. 27 In the
case at bar, there is no irregular execution to speak of As a rule, "irregular execution" means the failure of the writ to
conform to the decree of the decision executed. 28 In the instant case, respondent Herrera's charges, to wit, that Judge
Castro had erred in denying his motions for temporary restraining order and to recall writ of possession, or that His Honor
had acted hastily (". . . that respondent court/judge took only one [1) day to resolve petitioner's motion for issuance of [a]
[restraining] order. . ." 29) in denying his twofold motions, do not make out a case for irregular execution. The orders
impugned are conformable to the letter of the judgment approving the parties'compromise agreement.

The lengths the private respondent, Francisco Herrera, would go to in a last-ditch bid to hold on to his lands and
constraints of economic privation have not been lost on us. It is obvious that he is uneasy about the judgment on
compromise itself, as well as the subsequent contract between him and his lawyer. In such a case, Article 2038 of the
Civil Code applies:

Art. 2038. A compromise in which there is mistake, fraud, violence intimidation, undue influence, or falsity of
documents, is subject to the provisions of article 1330 of this Code ...

in relation to Article 1330 thereof:

Art. 1330. A contract where consent is given through mistake, violence, intimidation, undue influence, or
fraud is voidable.

in relation to its provisions on avoidance of'contracts. 30 The court notes that he had, for this purpose, gone to the
Regional Trial Court, a vain effort as we stated, and in which the decision had become final.

We, however, sustain Atty. Canlas' position-on matters of procedure — for the enlightenment solely of the bench and the
bar. It does not mean that we find merit in his petition. As we have intimated, we cannot overlook the unseemlier side of
the proceeding, in which a member of the bar would exploit his mastery of procedural law to score a "technical knockout"
over his own client, of all people. Procedural rules, after all, have for their object assistance unto parties "in obtaining just,
speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding." 31 If procedure were to be an impediment to
such an objective, "it deserts its proper office as an aid to justice and becomes its great hindrance and chief enemy." 32 It
was almost eight decades ago that the Court held:

... A litigation is not a game of technicalities in which one, more deeply schooled and skilled in the subtle art
of movement and position, entraps and destroys the other. It is, rather, a contest in which each contending
party fully and fairly lays before the court the facts in issue and then, brushing aside as wholly trivial and
indecisive all imperfections of form and technicalities of procedure, asks that justice be done upon the
merits. Lawsuits, unlike duels, are not to be won by the a rapier's thrust ... 33

It is a ruling that almost eight decades after it was rendered, holds true as ever.

By Atty. Canlas' own account, "due to lack of paying capacity of respondent Herrera, no financing entity was willing to
extend him any loan with which to pay the redemption price of his mortgaged properties and petitioner's P100,000.00
attorney's fees awarded in the Compromise Judgment," 34 a development that should have tempered his demand for his
fees. For obvious reasons, he placed his interests over and above those of his client, in opposition to his oath to "conduct
himself as a lawyer ... with all good fidelity ... to [his] clients." 35 The Court finds the occasion fit to stress that lawyering is
not a moneymaking venture and lawyers are not merchants, a fundamental standard that has, as a matter of judicial
notice, eluded not a few law advocates. The petitioner's efforts partaking of a shakedown" of his own client are not
becoming of a lawyer and certainly, do not speak well of his fealty to his oath to "delay no man for money." 36

It is true that lawyers are entitled to make a living, in spite of the fact that the practice of law is not a commercial
enterprise; but that does not furnish an excuse for plain lust for material wealth, more so at the expense of another. Law
advocacy, we reiterate, is not capital that yields profits. The returns it births are simple rewards for a job done or service
rendered. It is a calling that, unlike mercantile pursuits which enjoy a greater deal of freedom from government
interference, is impressed with a public interest, for which it is subject to State regulation. 37 Anent attomey's fees, section
24, of Rule 138, of the Rules, provides in part as follows:
SEC. 24. Compensation of attorneys, agreement as to fees. — An attorney shall be entitled to have and
recover from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for his services, with a view to the
importance of the subject matter of the controversy, the extent of the services rendered, and the
professional standing of the attorney... A written contract for services shall control the amount to be paid
therefor unless found by the court to be unconscionable or unreasonable.

So also it is decreed by Article 2208 of the Civil Code, reproduced in part, as follows:

Art. 2208 ...

In all cases, the attorney's fees and expenses of litigation must be reasonable.

We do not find the petitioner's claim of attorney's fees in the sum of P100,000.00 reasonable. We do not believe that it
satisfies the standards set forth by the Rules. The extent of the services he had rendered in Civil Case No. 30679, and as
far as the records will yield, is not impressive to justify payment of such a gargantuan amount. The case itself moreover
did not involve complex questions of fact or law that would have required substantial effort as to research or leg work for
the petitioner to warrant his demands. The fact that the properties subject thereof commanded quite handsome prices in
the market should not be a measure of the importance or non-importance of the case. We are not likewise persuaded that
the petitioner's stature warrants the sum claimed.

All things considered, we reduce the petitioner's fees, on a quantum meruit basis, to P20,000.00.

It is futile to invoke the rule granting attorneys a lien upon the things won in litigation similar to that vested upon
redemptioners. 38 To begin with, the rule refers to realty sold as a result of execution in satisfaction of judgment. In this
case, however, redemption was decreed by agreement (on compromise) between the mortgagor and mortgagee. It did
not give the petitioner any right to the properties themselves, much less the right of redemption, although provisions for
his compensation were purportedly provided. It did not make him a redemptioner for the plain reason that he was not
named one in the amicable settlement. To this extent, we reverse Judge Pedro Santiago's ruling in Civil Case No. 40066,
recognizing Atty. Canlas' "legal right, independent of the questioned deed of sale and transfer which was executed
subsequently on May 3, 1983, to redeem the subject realty from the L & R Corporation pursuant to Sec. 29 (b), Rule 39 of
the Rules of Court." 39 Whatever right he had, it was, arguably with respect alone to his renumeration. It did not extend to
the lands.

Secondly, and assuming that such a right exists, it must be in proportion to the "just fees and disbursements" 40 due him.
It is still subject to the tempering hand of this Court.

The Court notes a hidden agenda in the petitioner's haste to execute the compromise agreement and subsequently, to
force the transfer of the properties to himself. As we have observed, in spite of the issuance of the writ of execution, it
does not appear that the petitioner took pains to implement it. We find this perplexing given his passionate and persistent
pleas that he was entitled to the proceeds. There can indeed be no plausible explanation other than to enable him to keep
an "ace" against the private respondent that led finally, to the conveyance of the properties in his favor. To be sure, he
would have us beheve that by redeeming the same from the mortgagee and by in fact parting with his own money he had
actually done the private respondent a favor, but this is to assume that he did not get anything out of the transaction.
Indeed, he himself admits that "[t]itles to the properties have been issued to the new owners long before the filing of
private respondents [sic] petition for annulment." 41 To say that he did not profit therefrom is to take either this Court or
the petitioner for naive, a proposition this Court is not prepared to accept under the circumstances.

We are likewise convinced that it was the petitioner who succeeded in having the private respondent sign the "Deed of
Sale and Transfer of Rights of Equity of Redemption and/or to Redeem," a pre-prepared document apparently, that
allowed him (the petitioner) to exercise the right of redemption over the properties and to all intents and purposes, acquire
ownership thereof. As we have earlier averred, the private respondent, by reason of bankruptcy, had become an easy
quarry to his counsel's moral influence and ascendancy. We are hard put to believe that it was the private respondent who
"earnestly implored" 42 him to undertake the redemption amid the former's obstinate attempts to keep his lands that have
indeed led to the multiple suits the petitioner now complains of, apart from the fact that the latter himself had something to
gain from the transaction, as alluded to above. We are of the opinion that in ceding his right of redemption, the private
respondent had intended merely to forestall the total loss of the parcels to the mortgagee upon the understanding that his
counsel shall acquire the same and keep them therefore within reach, subject to redemption by his client under easier
terms and conditions. Surely, the petitioner himself would maintain that he agreed to make the redemption"in order that
[he] may already be paid the P100,000.00 attorney's fees awarded him in the Compromise Agreement," 43 and if his sole
concern was his fees, there was no point in keeping the properties in their entirety.

The Court simply cannot fag for the petitioner's pretensions that he acquired the properties as a gesture of magnanimity
and altruism He denies, of course, having made money from it, but what he cannot dispute is the fact that he did resell the
properties. 44

But if he did not entertain intents of making any profit, why was it necessary to reword the conveyance document
executed by the private respondent? It shall be recalled that the deed, as originally drafted, provided for conveyance of
the private respondent's "rights of equity of redemption and/or redeem" 45 the properties in his favor, whereas the
instrument registered with the Register of Deeds purported to transfer "any and all my rights of the real properties and/or
to redeem," 46 in his favor. He admits having entered the intercalations in question but argues that he did so "to facilitate
the registration of the questioned deed with the Register of Deeds" 47 and that it did not change the meaning of the
paper, for which Judge Santiago acquitted him of any falsification charges. 48 To start with, the Court is at a loss how
such an alteration could "facilitate" registration. Moreover, if it did not change the tenor of the deed, why was it necessary
then? And why did he not inform his client? At any rate, the agreement is clearly a contract of adhesion. Its provisions
should be read against the party who prepared it.

But while we cannot hold the petitioner liable for falsification — this is not the proper occasion for it — we condemn him
nonetheless for infidelity to his oath "to do no falsehood" 49
This brings us to the final question: Whether or not the conveyance in favor of the petitioner is subject to the ban on
acquisition by attorneys of things in litigation. The pertinent provisions of the Civil Code state as follows:

Art. 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase, even at a public or judicial action, either in
person or through the mediation of another:

(1) The guardian, the property of the person or persons who may be under his guardianship;

(2) Agents, the property whose administration or sale may have been intrusted to them, unless the consent
of the principal have been given;

(3) Executors and administrators, the property of the estate under administration;

(4) Public officers and employees, the property of the State or of any subdivision thereof, or of any
government owned or controlled corporation, or institution, the administration of which has been instrusted
to them; this provision shall apply to judges and government experts who, in any manner whatsoever, take
part in the sale;

(5) Justice judges prosecuting attorneys clerks of superior and inferior courts, and other officers and
employees connected with the administration of justice, the property and rights in litigation or levied upon an
execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or territory they exercise their respective functions; this
prohibition includes the act of acquiring by assignment and shall apply to lawyers, with respect to the
property and rights which may be the object of any litigation in which they may take part by virtue of their
profession.

(6) Any others specially disqualified by law.**

In Rubias v. Batiller, 50 we declared such contracts to be void by force of Article 1409, paragraph (7), of the Civil Code,
defining inexistent contracts. In Director of Lands v. Ababa 51 however, we said that the prohibition does not apply to
contingent contracts, in which the conveyance takes place after judgment, so that the property can no longer be said to be
"subject of litigation."

In the instant case, the Court observes that the "Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of Equity of Redemption and/or to
Redeem" was executed following the finality of the decision approving the compromise agreement. It is actually a new
contract — not one in pursuance of what had been agreed upon on compromise — in which, as we said, the petitioner
purportedly assumed redemption rights over the disputed properties (but in reality, acquired absolute ownership thereof).
By virtue of such a subsequent agreement, the lands had ceased to be properties which are "the object of any litigation."
Parenthetically, the Court states that a writ of possession is improper to eject another from possession unless sought in
connection with: (1) a land registration proceeding; (2) an extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage of real property; (3) in a
judicial foreclosure of property provided that the mortgagor has possession and no third party has intervened; and (4) in
execution sales. 52 It is noteworthy that in this case, the petitioner moved for the issuance of the writ pursuant to the deed
of sale between him and the private respondent and not the judgment on compromise. (He was, as we said, issued a writ
of execution on the compromise agreement but as we likewise observed, he did not have the same enforced. The sale
agreement between the parties, it should be noted, superseded the compromise.) The writ does not lie in such a case. His
remedy is specific performance.

At any rate, the transfer, so we hold, is not subject to the injunction of Article 1491 of the Civil Code. But like all voidable
contracts, it is open to annulment on the ground of mistake, fraud, or undue influence, 53 which is in turn subject to the
right of innocent purchasers for value. 54

For this reason, we invalidate the transfer in question specifically for undue influence as earlier detailed. While the
respondent Herrera has not specifically prayed for invalidation, this is the clear tenor of his petition for annulment in the
Appellate Court. It appearing, however, that the properties have been conveyed to third persons whom we presume to be
innocent purchasers for value, the petitioner, Atty. Paterno Canlas, must be held liable, by way of actual damages, for
such a loss of properties.

We are not, however, condoning the private respondent's own shortcomings. In condemning Atty. Canlas monetarily, we
cannot overlook the fact that the private respondent has not settled his hability for payment of the properties. To hold Atty.
Canlas alone liable for damages is to enrich said respondent at the expense of his lawyer. The parties must then set off
their obligations against the other. To obviate debate as the actual amounts owing by one to the other, we hold Francisco
Herrera, the private respondent, liable to Atty. Paterno Canlas, the petitioner, in the sum of P654,000.00 representing the
redemption price of the properties, 55 in addition to the sum of P20,000. 00 as and for attomey's fees. We order Atty.
Canlas, in turn, to pay the respondent Herrera the amount of P1,000,000.00, the sum he earned from the resale thereof,
56 such that he shall, after proper adjustments, be indebted to his client in the sum of P326,000.00 as and for damages.

Needless to say, we sustain the action of the respondent Court of Appeals in taking cognizance of the petition below. But
as we have stated, we are compelled, as the final arbiter of justiciable cases and in the highest interests ofjustice, to write
finis to the controversy that has taxed considerably the dockets of the inferior courts.

Let the Court further say that while its business is to settle actual controversies and as a matter of general policy, to leave
alone moot ones, its mission is, first and foremost, to dispense justice. At the outset, we have made clear that from a
technical vantage point, certiorari, arguably lies, but as we have likewise stated, the resolution of the case rests not only
on the mandate of technical rules, but if the decision is to have any real meaning, on the merits too. This is not the first
time we would have done so; in many cases we have eschewed the rigidity of the Rules of Court if it would establish a
barrier upon the administration ofjustice. It is especially so in the case at bar, in which no end to suit and counter-suit
appears imminent and for which it is high time that we have the final say. We likewise cannot, as the overseer of good
conduct in both the bench and the bar, let go unpunished what convinces us as serious indiscretions on the part of a
lawyer.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered.

1. ORDERING the petitioner, Atty. Patemo Canlas, to pay to the private respondent, Francisco Herrera, the sum of
P326,000.00, as and for damages;

2. ORDERING the petitioner to SHOW CAUSE why no disciplinary action may be imposed on him for violation of his oath,
as a lawyer, within ten (10) days from notice, after which the same will be consolidated with AC No. 2625;

3. DISMISSING this petition and REMANDING the case to the respondent Court of Appeals for execution; and

4. ORDERING the petitioner to pay costs.

SO ORDERED

G.R. No. 112869 January 29, 1996

KELLY R. WICKER and ATTY. ORLANDO A. RAYOS, petitioners,


vs.
HON. PAUL T. ARCANGEL, as Presiding Judge of the RTC, Makati, Branch 134, respondent.

DECISION

MENDOZA, J.:

This is a petition for certiorari, assailing the orders dated December 3, 1993 and December 17, 1993 of respondent Judge Paul T.
Arcangel of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 134 of Makati, finding petitioners guilty of direct contempt and sentencing each of them
to suffer imprisonment for five (5) days and to pay a fine of P100.00.

The antecedent facts are as follows:

Kelly Wicker, with his wife Wynee Dieppe and the Tectonics Asia Architects and Engineering Co., brought suit in the Regional Trial
Court of Makati against the LFS Enterprises, Inc. and others, for the annulment of certain deeds by which a house and lot at Forbes
Park, which the plaintiffs claimed they had purchased, was allegedly fraudulently titled in the name of the defendant LFS Enterprises
and later sold by the latter to codefendant Jose Poe. The case, docketed as Civil Case No. 14048, was assigned to Branch 134 formerly
presided over by Judge Ignacio Capulong who later was replaced by respondent Judge Paul T. Arcangel.

It appears that on November 18, 1993, Wicker's counsel, Atty. Orlando A. Rayos, filed a motion seeking the inhibition of respondent
judge from the consideration of the case.1 The motion alleged in pertinent part:

1. That before the Acting Presiding Judge took over, defendant LFS Enterprises, Inc. was able to maneuver the three (3)
successive postponements for the presentation for cross-examination of Mrs. Remedios Porcuna on her 10 August 1992
Affidavit, but eventually, she was not presented;

2. Meantime, Judge [Ignacio] Capulong who had full grasp of this case was eased out of his station. In one hearing, the Acting
Presiding Judge had not yet reported to his station and in that set hearing, counsel for defendant LFS Enterprises, Inc. who
must have known that His Honor was not reporting did not likewise appear while other counsels were present;

3. Plaintiffs have information that the Acting Presiding Judge was personally recruited from the south by Atty. Benjamin
Santos and/or his wife, Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, one time member of the Judicial and Bar Council, against whom plaintiff
Kelly R. Wicker filed Administrative Case No. 3796, and although said case was dismissed, nevertheless, plaintiffs feel that it
was the reason for Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos' relief;

4. Plaintiffs have reason to doubt the partiality and integrity of His Honor and to give a fighting chance for plaintiffs to prove
their case, since this will be the last case to recover the partnership property, plaintiffs feel that His Honor inhibit himself and
set this case for re-raffle;

5. This move finds support in the Rules of Court and jurisprudence that in the first instance that a litigant doubts the partiality
and integrity of the Presiding Judge, he should immediately move for his inhibition.

The motion was verified by Kelly Wicker.

Considering the allegations to be "malicious, derogatory and contemptuous," respondent judge ordered both counsel and client to
appear before him on November 26, 1993 and to show cause why they should not be cited for contempt of court.2

In a pleading entitled "Opposition to and/or Comment to Motion to Cite for Direct Contempt Directed Against Plaintiff Kelly R.
Wicker and his Counsel," Atty. Rayos claimed that the allegations in the motion did not necessarily express his views because he
merely signed the motion "in a representative capacity, in other words, just lawyering," for Kelly Wicker, who said in a note to him
that a "young man possibly employed by the Court" had advised him to have the case reraffled, when the opposing counsel Atty.
Benjamin Santos and the new judge both failed to come for a hearing, because their absence was an indication that Atty. Santos knew
who "the judge may be and when he would appear." Wicker's sense of disquiet increased when at the next two hearings, the new judge
as well as Atty. Santos and the latter's witness, Mrs. Remedios Porcuna, were all absent, while the other counsels were present. 3

Finding petitioners' explanation unsatisfactory, respondent judge, in an order dated December 3, 1993, held them guilty of direct
contempt and sentenced each to suffer imprisonment for five (5) days and to pay a fine of P100.00.
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, which respondent judge denied for lack of merit in his order of December 17, 1993. In
the same order respondent judge directed petitioners to appear before him on January 7, 1994 at 8:30 a.m. for the execution of their
sentence.

In their petition 4 before this Court, Kelly Wicker and Atty. Orlando A. Rayos contend that respondent judge committed a grave abuse
of his discretion in citing them for contempt. They argue that "when a person, impelled by justifiable apprehension and acting in a
respectful manner, asks a judge to inhibit himself from hearing his case, he does not thereby become guilty of contempt."

In his comment,5 respondent judge alleges that he took over as Acting Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch
134 by virtue of Administrative Order No. 154-93 dated September 2, 1993 of this Court and not because, as petitioners alleged, he
was "personally recruited from the South" by Atty. Santos and/or his wife, Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos; that he assumed his new
office on October 11, 1993 and started holding sessions on October 18, 1993; that when all male personnel of his court were presented
to petitioner Kelly Wicker he failed to pick out the young man who was the alleged source of the remarks prompting the filing of the
motion for inhibition; that he was not vindictive and that he in fact refrained from implementing the execution of his order dated
December 3, 1993 to enable petitioners to "avail themselves of all possible remedies;" that after holding petitioners in contempt, he
issued an order dated December 8, 1993 inhibiting himself from trying Civil Case No. 14048; that Atty. Rayos' claim that he was just
"lawyering" and acting as "the vehicle or mouthpiece of his client" is untenable because his (Atty. Rayos') duties to the court are more
important than those which he owes to his client; and that by tendering their "profuse apologies" in their motion for reconsideration of
the December 3, 1993 order, petitioners acknowledged the falsity of their accusations against him; and that the petitioners have taken
inconsistent positions as to who should try Civil Case No. 14048 because in their Motion for Inhibition dated November 18, 1993 they
asked that the case be reraffled to another sala of the RTC of Makati, while in their petition dated November 29, 1993, which they
filed with the Office of Court Administrator, petitioners asked that Judge Capulong be allowed to continue hearing the case on the
ground that he had a "full grasp of the case."

In reply to the last allegation of respondent judge, petitioners claim that although they wanted a reraffle of the case, it was upon the
suggestion of respondent judge himself that they filed the petition with the Court Administrator for the retention of Judge Capulong in
the case.

What is involved in this case is an instance of direct contempt, since it involves a pleading allegedly containing derogatory, offensive
or malicious statements submitted to the court or judge in which the proceedings are pending, as distinguished from a pleading filed in
another case. The former has been held to be equivalent to "misbehavior committed in the presence of or so near a court or judge as to
interrupt the proceedings before the same" within the meaning of Rule 71, §1 of the Rules of Court and, therefore, direct contempt.6

It is important to point out this distinction because in case of indirect or constructive contempt, the contemnor may be punished only
"[a]fter charge in writing has been filed, and an opportunity given to the accused to be heard by himself or counsel," whereas in case
of direct contempt, the respondent may be summarily adjudged in contempt. Moreover, the judgment in cases of indirect contempt is
appealable, whereas in cases of direct contempt only judgments of contempt by MTCs, MCTCs and MeTCs are appealable.7

Consequently, it was unnecessary in this case for respondent judge to hold a hearing. Hence even if petitioners are right about the
nature of the case against them by contending that it involves indirect contempt, they have no ground for complaint since they were
afforded a hearing before they were held guilty of contempt. What is important to determine now is whether respondent judge
committed grave abuse of discretion in holding petitioners liable for direct contempt.

We begin with the words of Justice Malcolm that the power to punish for contempt is to be exercised on the preservative and not on
the vindictive principle. Only occasionally should it be invoked to preserve that respect without which the administration of justice
will fail.8 The contempt power ought not to be utilized for the purpose of merely satisfying an inclination to strike back at a party for
showing less than full respect for the dignity of the court.9

Consistent with the foregoing principles and based on the abovementioned facts, the Court sustains Judge Arcangel's finding that
petitioners are guilty of contempt. A reading of the allegations in petitioners' motion for inhibition, particularly the following
paragraphs thereof:

2. Meantime, Judge Capulong who had full grasp of this case was eased out of his station. In one hearing, the Acting Presiding
Judge had not yet reported to his station and in that set hearing, counsel for defendant LFS Enterprises, Inc. who must have
known that His Honor was not reporting did not likewise appear while other counsels were present;

3. Plaintiffs have information that the Acting Presiding Judge was personally recruited from the south by Atty. Benjamin
Santos and/or his wife, Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, one time member of the Judicial and Bar Council, against whom plaintiff
Kelly R. Wicker filed Administrative Case No. 3796, and although said case was dismissed, nevertheless, plaintiffs feel that it
was the reason for Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos' relief;

leads to no other conclusion than that respondent judge was beholden to the opposing counsel in the case, Atty. Benjamin Santos, to
whom or to whose wife, the judge owed his transfer to the RTC of Makati, which necessitated "easing out" the former judge to make
room for such transfer.

These allegations are derogatory to the integrity and honor of respondent judge and constitute an unwarranted criticism of the
administration of justice in this country. They suggest that lawyers, if they are well connected, can manipulate the assignment of
judges to their advantage. The truth is that the assignments of Judges Arcangel and Capulong were made by this Court, by virtue of
Administrative Order No. 154-93, precisely "in the interest of an efficient administration of justice and pursuant to Sec. 5 (3), Art.
VIII of the Constitution."10 This is a matter of record which could have easily been verified by Atty. Rayos. After all, as he claims, he
"deliberated" for two months whether or not to file the offending motion for inhibition as his client allegedly asked him to do.

In extenuation of his own liability, Atty. Rayos claims he merely did what he had been bidden to do by his client of whom he was
merely a "mouthpiece." He was just "lawyering" and "he cannot be gagged," even if the allegations in the motion for the inhibition
which he prepared and filed were false since it was his client who verified the same.

To be sure, what Wicker said in his note to Atty. Rayos was that he had been told by an unidentified young man, whom he thought to
be employed in the court, that it seemed the opposing counsel, Atty. Santos, knew who the replacement judge was, because Atty.
Santos did not show up in court on the same days the new judge failed to come. It would, therefore, appear that the other allegations in
the motion that respondent judge had been "personally recruited" by the opposing counsel to replace Judge Capulong who had been
"eased out" were Atty. Rayos' and not Wicker's. Atty. Rayos is thus understating his part in the preparation of the motion for
inhibition.

Atty. Rayos, however, cannot evade responsibility for the allegations in question. As a lawyer, he is not just an instrument of his
client. His client came to him for professional assistance in the representation of a cause, and while he owed him whole souled
devotion, there were bounds set by his responsibility as a lawyer which he could not overstep. 11 Even a hired gun cannot be excused
for what Atty. Rayos stated in the motion. Based on Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Atty. Rayos bears as much
responsibility for the contemptuous allegations in the motion for inhibition as his client.

Atty. Rayos' duty to the courts is not secondary to that of his client. The Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins him to "observe
and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and [to] insist on similar conduct by others" 12 and "not [to]
attribute to a Judge motives not supported by the record or have materiality to the case." 13

After the respondent judge had favorably responded to petitioners' "profuse apologies" and indicated that he would let them off with a
fine, without any jail sentence, petitioners served on respondent judge a copy of their instant petition which prayed in part that
"Respondent Judge Paul T. Arcangel be REVERTED to his former station. He simply cannot do in the RTC of Makati where more
complex cases are heared (sic) unlike in Davao City." If nothing else, this personal attack on the judge only serves to confirm the
"contumacious attitude, a flouting or arrogant belligerence" first evident in petitioners' motion for inhibition belying their protestations
of good faith.

Petitioners cite the following statement in Austria v. Masaquel: 14

Numerous cages there have been where judges, and even members of the Supreme Court, were asked to inhibit themselves from
trying, or from participating in the consideration of a case, but scarcely were the movants punished for contempt, even if the grounds
upon which they based their motions for disqualification are not among those provided in the rules. It is only when there was direct
imputation of bias or prejudice, or a stubborn insistence to disqualify the judge, done in a malicious, arrogant, belligerent and
disrespectful manner, that movants were held in contempt of court.

It is the second sentence rather than the first that applies to this case.

Be that as it may, the Court believes that consistent with the rule that the power to cite for contempt must be exercised for preservative
rather than vindictive principle we think that the jail sentence on petitioners may be dispensed with while vindicating the dignity of the
court. In the case of petitioner Kelly Wicker there is greater reason for doing so considering that the particularly offending allegations
in the motion for inhibition do not appear to have come from him but were additions made by Atty. Rayos. In addition, Wicker is
advanced in years (80) and in failing health (suffering from angina), a fact Judge Arcangel does not dispute. Wicker may have indeed
been the recipient of such a remark although he could not point a court employee who was the source of the same. At least he had the
grace to admit his mistake both as to the source and truth of said information. It is noteworthy Judge Arcangel was also willing to
waive the imposition of the jail sentence on petitioners until he came upon petitioners' description of him in the instant petition as a
judge who cannot make the grade in the RTC of Makati, where complex cases are being filed. In response to this, he cited the fact that
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines chose him as one of the most outstanding City Judges and Regional Trial Court Judges in 1979
and 1988 respectively and that he is a 1963 graduate of the U.P. College of Law.

In Ceniza v. Sebastian, 15 which likewise involved a motion for inhibition which described the judge "corrupt," the Court, while
finding counsel guilty of direct contempt, removed the jail sentence of 10 days imposed by the trial court for the reason that

Here, while the words were contumacious, it is hard to resist the conclusion, considering the background of this occurrence
that respondent Judge in imposing the ten-day sentence was not duly mindful of the exacting standard [of] preservation of the
dignity of his office not indulging his sense of grievance sets the limits of the authority he is entitled to exercise. It is the view
of the Court that under the circumstances the fine imposed should be increased to P500.00.

The same justification also holds true in this case.

WHEREFORE, the order of December 3, 1993 is MODIFIED by DELETING the sentence of imprisonment for five (5) days and
INCREASING the fine from P100.00 to P200.00 for each of the petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-42032 January 9, 1976

IN THE MATTER OF THE PRODUCTION OF THE BODY OF MANUEL DE GRACIA ON A WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS. MANUEL DE GRACIA, petitioner,
vs.
THE WARDEN, MUNICIPAL JAIL, Makati, Rizal; THE PROVINCIAL WARDEN, PROVINCIAL JAIL, Pasig, Rizal;
HON. REYNALDO P. HONRADO, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXV, Pasig, Rizal; and
MARCIANO P. STA. ANA, Assistant Provincial Fiscal, Pasig, Rizal, respondents.

FERNANDO, J.:

It is settled law-that habeas corpus is the appropriate remedy for release from confinement of a person who has served
his sentence. 1 It i s on such a doctrine that reliance is placed by petitioner Manuel de Gracia in this application for the
issuance of such a writ. It is undisputed that while the information against petitioner charged him with the commission of
frustrated homicide to which he pleaded not guilty, it was later amended to one of serious physical injuries. It is to such
lesser offense that on September 10, 1971, he entered a plea of guilty. On the very same day, respondent Judge
Reynaldo P. Honrado imposed upon him the penalty of four months and one day of arrests mayor without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency. That period of confinement he had duly served by November 10, 1975, considering
that he had been under detention since July 18, 1975. 2 This notwithstanding, the petition alleged that he was not set free,
the reason being that on November 19, 1975, the last day of the prison term imposed upon him, "respondent Assistant
Provincial Fiscal Marciano P. Sta. Ana filed with the respondent Judge, in the very same case where your petitioner was
convicted and for which he served sentence, Criminal Case No. 15289, a 'Motion to Order the Warden to Hold the
Release of Manuel de Gracia (your petitioner)' alleging as a ground that the 'father of the victim, Gilberts Valenzuela,
informed the movant (respondent Asst. Fiscal, not the People of the Philippines), that the victim in the above-entitled case
died and for this reason the undersigned will file an amended information. 3 Then came this paragraph in the petition:
"That on the following day, November 20, 1975, the respondent Judge, despite the clear and incontrovertible fact that he
had no jurisdiction to act on said motion because the case had long been terminated and his decision therein had already
been executed, and, further, even assuming that the respondent Judge could still act in the case, he could not and should
not act on the Fiscal's motion because the same was not set for hearing and no copy thereof was furnished to your
petitioner whose very liberty was being sought to be deprived, still [he] persisted in acting upon the Fiscal's motion and
granted the same 'in the interest of justice,' not at all minding that your petitioner, while maybe a convict in the eyes of the
respondent Judge, is still entitled to due process of law and to some justice; ...." 4 There was a motion for reconsideration,
but it was fruitless. 5 Hence this petition.

On December 8, 1975, this Court issued the following resolution: "The Court [issued] the writ of habeas corpus returnable
to this Court on Friday, December 12, 1975 and required the respondents to make a [return] of the writ not later than the
aforesaid date. The Court further Resolved: (a) to set this case for hearing on Monday, December 15, 1975 at 10:30 a.m.;
and (b) to [grant] the motion of petitioner to litigate as pauper in this case." 6 On the date set for hearing, respondent
Judge Reynaldo P. Honrado filed his return, worded as follows: "1. That the petitioner Manuel de Gracia has already been
ordered released by this court per order dated December 11, 1975, in view of the fact that Trial Fiscal Marciano P. Sta.
Ana, Jr. has not as of this time filed the amended information for Homicide after the death of Florante Valenzuela, the
offended party in this case, notwithstanding his motion entitled 'Motion to Order the Warden to hold the Release of Manuel
de Gracia dated November 19, 1975, ...; 2. That in view of the release from custody of Manuel de Gracia, the present
petition for habeas corpus has become moot and academic. ..." 7 Fiscal of Rizal, did likewise. The return stated: "1. That
the Respondent Marciano P. Sta. Ana, Jr., the Assistant Provincial petitioner is not in his custody or power although, as
alleged in the petition, it was upon his motion that the respondent Judge issued the Order ... ordering the warden to hold
the release of the accused (herein petitioner). 2. That the reason for his said motion ... is, as stated therein, that he was
informed of the death of the victim and he was going to file an amended information. 3. That because of the necessity for
immediate action so as to avoid the accused being released so that he could be held to answer for a crime of homicide,
and in the honest belief at that time that the proper remedy was the filing of an amended information for homicide, the
undersigned filed the motion on said ground. The information concerning the death of the victim was given to the
undersigned by the victim's father only on November 19, 1975, the last day of confinement of the accused. However, after
being able to study the applicable rule and jurisprudence, the undersigned concluded that the proper remedy is not
amendment of the information because judgment had already been rendered on the first information, but the filing of a
new information for homicide upon the authority of this Honorable Court's ruling in People v. Manolong, and It is similar
cases. 8

As no return of the writ had been filed on the date set for hearing by respondent wardens, a resolution of the following
tenor was adopted by this Court: "When this case was called for hearing this morning, Atty. Salvador N. Beltran appeared
for the petitioner while Assistant Provincial 'Fiscal Marciano P. Sta. Ana, Jr. and Major o Maristela appeared for the
respondents. Thereafter, the Court Resolved (a) to require Assistant Provincial Fiscal Marciano P. Sta. Ana, Jr. to file a
[return] of the writ for the respondent wardens not later than 10:30 a.m. of Wednesday, December 17, 1975; and (b) to
[reset] the hearing of this case on the aforesaid date and time. 9 It should be stated likewise that Major Edgardo Maristela
assured the Court that petitioner had been release What was declared orally by him was thereafter set forth in writing in
accordance with his return dated December 16, 1975: II That on Sept. 18, 1975, the Office of the Provincial Warden
received a commitment order issued by Judge Reynaldo Honrado, dated 16 September 1975, ...; IV. That by virtue 6f that
commitment order which the petitioner was sentenced to suffer the penalty of from four (4) months and one (1) day, he
was transferred to Makati Municipal Jail, on Sept. 18, 1975, to service his prison term thereat pursuant to Presidential
Decree No. 29 as said prisoner is classified as Municipal prisoner; V That the petitioner was brought back and confined
again to the Rizal Provincial Jail on Dec. 3, 1975, by virtue of Remittance order issued by Judge Pedro Revilla, Executive
Judge CFI Rizal dated Dec. 3, 1975, ...; VI. That on December 12, 1975, the Office of the Provincial Warden of Rizal
received an Order from the Court of First Instance of Rizal presided by Honorable Judge Reynaldo Honrado, directing him
to release Manuel de Gracia, the petitioner in this case; VII. That by virtue of odd order ... and the Order of Release, ... the
undersigned respondent released on said date the petitioner as evidenced by certificate of discharge from prison and that
is the reason why he cannot produce the body of said person before this Honorable Court; VIII That he was not able to
make the return of the writ immediately on the ground that he was at that time confined in the hospital, and he was d only
on December 13, 1975." 10 There was likewise a return of the writ on such a date on behalf of respondent Cresencio T.
Pimentel, Municipal Warden of Makati, Rizal. It was therein declared: "1. That the petitioner was not in his custody when
he received copy of the petition as the petitioner was transferred to 'the Rizal Provincial Jail on December 3, 1975, as he
was going to be charged with the crime of homicide and 'therefore, his confinement has to be in the Rizal Provincial Jail
and that by virtue of said transfer, respondent Municipal Warden could not produce the body of the 'petitioner before this-
Honorable Court."11

On the morning Deeember 17, 1975, respondent Assistant Provincial Fiscal Marciano P. Sta. Ana, Jr. and the two
aforesaid wardens appeared. Neither petitioner nor his counsel, Salvador N. Beltran, was present. There was this
manifestation though: '[Petitioner thru counsel, respectfully manifests that he has already been released from
confinement, for which reason the present petition has been rendered moot and academic .... 12 It would appear,
therefore, that with the release of petitioner, the matter had indeed become moot and academic. That disposes of this
petition, except for one final note. There was a lapse in judicial propriety by counsel Salvador N. Beltran who did not even
take the trouble of appearing in Court on the very day his own petition was reset for hearing, a lapse explicable, it may be
assumed, by his comparative inexperience and paucity of practice before this Tribunal. it suffices to call his attention to
such failing by way of guidance for his future actuations as a member of the bar.

WHEREFORE, the petition for habeas corpus is dismissed for being moot and academic.
G.R. No. 134154 February 28, 2006

SPOUSES PEDRO M. REGALADO and ZANITA F. REGALADO, Petitioners,


vs.
ABRAHAM M. REGALADO, CIRILO M. REGALADO, ISIDRO M. REGALADO, CIRIACO M. REGALADO, JORGE M.
REGALADO, JULIANA R. ABELLO, LUCIO M. REGALADO, and APOLONIO M. REGALADO, JR., Respondents.

DECISION

GARCIA, J.:

Herein petitioners, the spouses Pedro Regalado and Zanita Regalado, have come to this Court via this appeal1 by certiorari under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court to nullify and set aside the following issuances of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Kalibo, Aklan, Branch
8, in its Spl. Civil Action No. 4518, to wit:

1. Order dated July 26, 1995,2 granting the petition for appointment of a receiver embodied in the main complaint filed by
respondents, and directing such receiver to put up a bond;

2. Decision dated November 28, 1997,3 declaring the parcel of fishpond land subject of the case as the common property of all
the parties; ordering the partition of the same into nine (9) equal parts; requiring petitioners to render an accounting of the
produce of said fishpond starting 1980 until actual partition is effected; ordering petitioners to pay jointly and severally
attorney’s fees and litigation expenses and other costs; and ordering the appointment of a receiver agreeable to all parties upon
the filing of the bond for receivership;

3. Order dated January 14, 1998,4 dismissing the appeal filed by petitioners for failure to file their record on appeal and to pay
the appellate court docket and other lawful fees; and

4. Order dated May 19, 1998,5 denying petitioners’ petition for relief from judgment.

The facts:

Petitioner Pedro M. Regalado, married to co-petitioner Zanita F. Regalado, and respondents Abraham, Cirilo, Isidro, Ciriaco, Jorge,
Lucio, and Apolonio, all surnamed Regalado, and Juliana R. Abello (hereinafter collectively referred to as respondents), are the
children of the deceased spouses Apolonio Regalado and Sofia Regalado.

It appears that as early as 1929, the parties’ parents had been in possession of a 40-hectare fishpond which the parents developed and
even leased to third persons for a time. At one time, their father leased part of the fishpond property to one Benjamin Roxas for a
period of nine (9) years commencing January 6, 1972 to January 6, 1981. However, in 1980, before the termination of the lease
contract with Roxas, petitioner Pedro Regalado with one of the respondents, Ciriaco Regalado, forcibly took possession of the
fishpond from its lessee.

Upon the death of their father, respondents demanded from petitioner-spouses who are in the possession of the entire fishpond, the
partition thereof. Respondents alleged that petitioners refused and merely requested for another three (3) years to be in possession of
the subject property.

Again, in 1989, respondents reiterated their demand for partition but petitioners again refused and once more requested that they be
allowed to remain in possession and usufruct of the property for five (5) more years after all the litigations concerning the same shall
have been terminated, reasoning out that they have not yet recovered all their expenses in developing and recovering possession of the
fishpond from third persons.

In 1992, respondents again demanded for partition but as before, petitioners again refused. Hence, on August 20, 1992, in the RTC of
Kalibo, Aklan, respondents filed against petitioners a complaint for Partition of Real Estate, Accounting, Damages and Appointment
of a Receiver,6 thereat docketed as Spl. Civil Action No. 4518 which was raffled to Branch 8 of the court.

In their Answer, petitioner-spouses, as defendants a quo, claimed that the fishpond in question was not part of the hereditary estate of
their parents as it is a public land covered by a Fishpond Lease Agreement. They argued that even if it were to be considered as part of
the hereditary estate of the parents, respondents as plaintiffs below are not entitled to share equally in the fishpond property as it was
allegedly only petitioner Pedro Regalado who recovered the actual physical possession of the same from third persons. Petitioners also
claimed that respondents did not keep their part in the agreement to let the spouses recover all the expenses they incurred in the
development and re-possession of the subject fishpond and to enjoy sole usufruct thereof for five (5) years.

On May 31, 1993, respondents filed in Spl. Civil Case No. 4518, a verified Petition for Receivership,7 thereunder alleging that there
was a compelling need for the appointment of a receiver to safeguard the property and its produce from being wasted or materially
injured on account of petitioners’ failure to pay the real estate taxes and fishpond rentals due thereon. Respondents further averred that
the property and the income derived therefrom are in danger of being lost or misappropriated by petitioners who were allegedly
constructing their own house thereat out of the income of the fishpond, throwing lavish parties frequently and getting heavily indebted
to several persons.

Petitioners opposed the petition for receivership, claiming that mere co-ownership does not justify the appointment of a receiver, since
it was actually petitioner Pedro Regalado who risked his own life, spent his own money and time in recovering the fishpond without
the other parties contributing a single centavo. Petitioners also argued in their opposition that the subject fishpond was public property
which belongs to the Government, hence it would be folly and a waste of money to pay the real property taxes thereon in addition to
the fishpond rentals to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

In the herein first assailed Order dated July 26, 1995,8 the trial court granted respondents’ petition for receivership, explaining that
respondents had rights and interests on the subject property, which property is in danger of being foreclosed by petitioners’ creditors
or forfeited by the Government for non-payment of taxes.
Aggrieved by the aforementioned Order, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, contending that said Order was premature as
they (petitioners) were not yet finished with their presentation of evidence in opposition to respondents’ petition for the appointment
of a receiver.

Acting thereon, the trial court issued an Order9 on August 14, 1995 holding in abeyance the resolution of the receivership issue and
setting the main case for trial on the merits.

Eventually, in the herein assailed Decision10 dated November 28, 1997, the trial court rendered judgment for the respondents, as
follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered:

a) Declaring the parcel of fishpond land located at Barangay Camanci, Batan, Aklan described under paragraph 4 of the
complaint and herein referred to as the land in question, the common property of all the parties herein;

b) Ordering the partition of the fishpond in question into nine (9) equal parts, each part shall represent the share of Abraham
M. Regalado, Cirilo M. Regalado, Isidro M. Regalado, Ciriaco M. Regalado, Jorge M. Regalado, Juliana R. Abello, Lucio M.
Regalado, Apolonio M. Regalado, Jr. and Pedro M. Regalado in the following manner: Within thirty (30) days from receipt by
the parties of this decision, they may make partition among themselves, if they are able to agree, by proper instruments of
conveyance to be conformed by the court, otherwise, partition would be effected in accordance with Sections 3 or 5, Rule 69 of
the Revised Rules of Court, as amended;

c) Ordering the defendants [now petitioners] to render an accounting of the produce of the fishpond in question starting 1980
when they first actually took possession of the same until actual partition of the property is effected among the parties;

d) Ordering the defendants [now petitioners], to pay jointly and severally, the plaintiffs [now respondents] the sum of
P10,000.00 attorney’s fees, and litigation expenses and to pay the costs;

e) Ordering, upon filing of the petitioners’ [plaintiffs’] bond for receivership in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND
PESOS (P100,000.00), the appointment of a receiver agreeable to all the parties, who is likewise directed to put-up a bond
before assuming his duties as such in the amount which will be fixed later by this Court. [Words in brackets supplied]

SO ORDERED.

Against said decision, petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal11 on December 17, 1997, therein making known their intention to take an
appellate recourse to the Court of Appeals.

In the herein other assailed Order12 dated January 14, 1998, the lower court denied due course to petitioners’ notice of appeal, saying
that while the notice was timely filed, yet petitioners did not pay the appellate court docket and other lawful fees nor a record on
appeal filed by them.

With the November 28, 1997 Decision having become final and executory, respondents filed a Motion for Execution which was
granted by the trial court. In time, an Entry of Judgment13 was made on February 27, 1998.

Then, on March 10, 1998, petitioners, this time thru one Atty. Pedro Icamina who was without any proof of entry of appearance in the
case either as new or collaborating counsel for the petitioners, filed a Petition for Relief from Order,14 thereto attaching an affidavit of
Atty. Tirol, petitioners’ counsel on record about whom there is no indication of any withdrawal of appearance. In that affidavit, Atty.
Tirol alleged that while his office received on January 19, 1998 a copy of the January 14, 1998 Order (denying due course to
petitioners’ appeal), his law clerk did not personally inform him about it and just placed said order on his table among the piles of
legal and court papers, adding that he (Atty. Tirol) had several court hearings, not to mention the fact that he was a member of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan which required his attendance, all of which caused him to overlook the filing of the Record on
Appeal. In the same pleading, Atty. Icamina attached petitioners’ Record on Appeal and a check for ₱400.00 as appellate court docket
fee.1avvphil.net

In the herein last assailed Order15 dated May 19, 1998, the trial court denied petitioners’ petition for relief on the ground that the
instances therein cited by counsel "are not those excusable negligence which warrant the granting of relief under Rule 38 of the Rules
of Court."

Hence, this recourse by the petitioners.

We DENY.

At the outset, it must be stressed that in seeking the reversal and setting aside of the assailed Orders and Decision of the trial court in
its Spl. Civil Action No. 4518, petitioners came to us on a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

Under Section 1(b), Rule 41 of the Rules, the denial of a petition for relief from judgment or an order disallowing or dismissing an
appeal may only be challenged through the special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65:

Section 1. Subject of appeal. – An appeal may be taken from a judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case, or of a
particular matter therein when declared by these Rules to be appealable.

No appeal may be taken from:

xxx xxx xxx

(b) An order denying a petition for relief or any similar motion seeking relief from judgment;
xxx xxx xxx

(d) An order disallowing or dismissing an appeal;

xxx xxx xxx

In all the above instances where the judgment or final order is not appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special civil
action under Rule 65. (Emphasis supplied)

Hence, in seeking the reversal of the trial court’s Order dated May 19, 1998 which denied their petition for relief from judgment,
petitioners, in coming to us via the vehicle of appeal by certiorari under Rule 45, have thus clearly availed of the wrong remedy.

In any event, even if petitioners came to us by certiorari under Rule 65, still the recourse must fail. For, from a perusal of the petition
itself, it is quite apparent that no allegation of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court was ever presented by them, and
even assuming there was, the same would still have to be dismissed.

A petition for relief from denial of an appeal is governed by Rule 38, Section 2 of the Rules of Court which provides:

"Section 2. Petition for relief from denial of appeal. – When a judgment or final order is rendered by any court in a case, and a party
thereto, by fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, has been prevented from taking an appeal, he may file a petition in such
court and in the same case praying that the appeal be given due course."

In Tuason v. Court of Appeals,16 we ruled:

"A petition for relief from judgment is an equitable remedy; it is allowed only in exceptional cases where there is no other available or
adequate remedy. When a party has another remedy available to him, which may be either a motion for new trial or appeal from an
adverse decision of the trial court, and he was not prevented by fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence from filing such
motion or taking such appeal, he cannot avail himself of this petition. Indeed, relief will not be granted to a party who seeks avoidance
from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence; otherwise the petition for relief
can be used to revive the right to appeal which had been lost thru inexcusable negligence." (Citations omitted)

Here, there was no fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence that prevented petitioners from filing their Record on Appeal on
time and paying the necessary appellate court docket and filing fees therefor. In the precise words of the trial court:

"The petition for relief stresses the reasons that the clerk of Atty. Tirol, a certain Ms. Nina Temporaza, in charged (sic) of receiving
and filing of office papers failed to bring to the attention of Atty. Tirol the order of denial dated January 14, 1998 and secondly, Atty.
Tirol due to pressure of work and court appearances and being an incumbent Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan, thinking all the
time that his notice of appeal filed by him was in order (sic).

On the first excuse, the Supreme Court in an analogous case had the occasion to rule, viz;

"The excuse offered by respondent Santos as reason for his failure to perfect in due time his appeal from the judgment of the
Municipal Court, that counsel’s clerk forgot to hand him the court notice, is the most hackneyed and habitual subterfuge employed by
litigants who fail to observe the procedural requirements prescribed by the Rules of Court. x x x in the face of the Supreme Court
repeated rulings (that) they are neither credible nor constitutive of excusable negligence" (Phil. Airlines Inc. vs. Arca, et al., Vol. 19
SCRA 350).

As to the second excuse, the Supreme Court has this to say,

"Volume and pressure of work is not an excusable negligence. Moreover, the said petition was not based on a valid ground as We
have consistently ruled that volume and pressure of work does not constitute mistake or excusable negligence as to warrant relief from
judgment which is available only in exceptional cases" (Biscarra vs. Republic, 95 SCRA 248).

Furthermore, the appellate court docket fee and other lawful fees are now required to be paid within the period for taking an appeal to
the clerk of court which rendered the judgment or order appealed from. Failure to pay said fees on time is also a ground for dismissal
of the appeal (Sec. 1 (c) of Rule 50)."

To stress, even in the matter of questioning the trial court’s Order dated January 14, 1998 denying due course to petitioners’ appeal,
the glaring fact reveals that again, petitioners availed of the wrong remedy.

It must be remembered that a party aggrieved by an order disallowing or dismissing an appeal may file an appropriate special civil
action under Rule 65. Sadly, however, petitioners erroneously filed an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45.

Assuming, arguendo, that petitioners are allowed to take an appeal from said Order, we find no excusable negligence to merit the grant
of the petition for relief.

In this case, it is undisputed that petitioners merely filed a Notice of Appeal. The Record on Appeal was belatedly filed, as in fact it
was merely attached to their March 10, 1998 Petition for Relief from Order. What is more, no appellate docket and legal fees were
paid with the filing of the Notice of Appeal. Petitioners merely harp on their counsel’s alleged excusable negligence resulting in their
failure to seasonably file their Record on Appeal and pay the required appellate docket and other legal fees.

Unfortunately for petitioners, negligence, to be "excusable," must be one which ordinary diligence and prudence could not have
guarded against.17 Again, petitioners’ failure to file a Record on Appeal and pay the appellate docket fees cannot be considered as
excusable negligence due to counsel’s pressure of work and inadvertence of his office clerk.
On a final note, we emphasize that petitioners are bound by the acts of their counsel in the conduct of the instant case. They have to
bear the consequences thereof. Petitioners cannot thereafter be heard to complain that the result might have been different had their
counsel proceeded differently. So it is that in Rivera v. Court of Appeals,18 we ruled:

"xxx It has been held time and again that blunders and mistakes made in the conduct of the proceedings in the trial court as a result of
the ignorance, inexperience or incompetence of counsel do not qualify as a ground for new trial. If such were to be admitted as valid
reasons for reopening cases, there would never be an end to litigation so long as a new counsel could be employed to allege and show
that the prior counsel had not been sufficiently diligent, experienced or learned. This will put a premium on the willful and intentional
commission of errors by counsel, with a view to securing new trials in the event of conviction."

There must, therefore, be an end to this litigation.

We take this occasion to require Atty. Pedro Icamina to explain within ten (10) days from receipt hereof why he should not be
proceeded administratively for filing the very petition in this case and the Petition for Relief from Order in the lower court without
first entering his appearance as petitioners’ counsel.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit.

Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

A.C. No. 7399 August 25, 2009

ANTERO J. POBRE, Complainant,


vs.
Sen. MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO, Respondent.

DECISION

VELASCO, JR., J.:

In his sworn letter/complaint dated December 22, 2006, with enclosures, Antero J. Pobre invites the Court’s attention to the following
excerpts of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s speech delivered on the Senate floor:

x x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated, debased, degraded. And I
am not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face of
Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no longer interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I
was to be surrounded by idiots. I would rather be in another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x.

To Pobre, the foregoing statements reflected a total disrespect on the part of the speaker towards then Chief Justice Artemio
Panganiban and the other members of the Court and constituted direct contempt of court. Accordingly, Pobre asks that disbarment
proceedings or other disciplinary actions be taken against the lady senator.

In her comment on the complaint dated April 25, 2007, Senator Santiago, through counsel, does not deny making the aforequoted
statements. She, however, explained that those statements were covered by the constitutional provision on parliamentary immunity,
being part of a speech she delivered in the discharge of her duty as member of Congress or its committee. The purpose of her speech,
according to her, was to bring out in the open controversial anomalies in governance with a view to future remedial legislation. She
averred that she wanted to expose what she believed "to be an unjust act of the Judicial Bar Council [JBC]," which, after sending out
public invitations for nomination to the soon to-be vacated position of Chief Justice, would eventually inform applicants that only
incumbent justices of the Supreme Court would qualify for nomination. She felt that the JBC should have at least given an advanced
advisory that non-sitting members of the Court, like her, would not be considered for the position of Chief Justice.

The immunity Senator Santiago claims is rooted primarily on the provision of Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution, which
provides: "A Senator or Member of the House of Representative shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years
imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any
other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof." Explaining the import of the underscored
portion of the provision, the Court, in Osmeña, Jr. v. Pendatun, said:

Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity which is a fundamental privilege cherished in every legislative assembly of the
democratic world. As old as the English Parliament, its purpose "is to enable and encourage a representative of the public to discharge
his public trust with firmness and success" for "it is indispensably necessary that he should enjoy the fullest liberty of speech and that
he should be protected from resentment of every one, however, powerful, to whom the exercise of that liberty may occasion offense."1

As American jurisprudence puts it, this legislative privilege is founded upon long experience and arises as a means of perpetuating
inviolate the functioning process of the legislative department. Without parliamentary immunity, parliament, or its equivalent, would
degenerate into a polite and ineffective debating forum. Legislators are immune from deterrents to the uninhibited discharge of their
legislative duties, not for their private indulgence, but for the public good. The privilege would be of little value if they could be
subjected to the cost and inconvenience and distractions of a trial upon a conclusion of the pleader, or to the hazard of a judgment
against them based upon a judge’s speculation as to the motives.2

This Court is aware of the need and has in fact been in the forefront in upholding the institution of parliamentary immunity and
promotion of free speech. Neither has the Court lost sight of the importance of the legislative and oversight functions of the Congress
that enable this representative body to look diligently into every affair of government, investigate and denounce anomalies, and talk
about how the country and its citizens are being served. Courts do not interfere with the legislature or its members in the manner they
perform their functions in the legislative floor or in committee rooms. Any claim of an unworthy purpose or of the falsity and mala
fides of the statement uttered by the member of the Congress does not destroy the privilege.3 The disciplinary authority of the
assembly4 and the voters, not the courts, can properly discourage or correct such abuses committed in the name of parliamentary
immunity.5

For the above reasons, the plea of Senator Santiago for the dismissal of the complaint for disbarment or disciplinary action is well
taken. Indeed, her privilege speech is not actionable criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court. It is felt,
however, that this could not be the last word on the matter.

The Court wishes to express its deep concern about the language Senator Santiago, a member of the Bar, used in her speech and its
effect on the administration of justice. To the Court, the lady senator has undoubtedly crossed the limits of decency and good
professional conduct. It is at once apparent that her statements in question were intemperate and highly improper in substance. To
reiterate, she was quoted as stating that she wanted "to spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the
Supreme Court," and calling the Court a "Supreme Court of idiots."

The lady senator alluded to In Re: Vicente Sotto.6 We draw her attention to the ensuing passage in Sotto that she should have taken to
heart in the first place:

x x x [I]f the people lose their confidence in the honesty and integrity of this Court and believe that they cannot expect justice
therefrom, they might be driven to take the law into their own hands, and disorder and perhaps chaos would be the result.1avvphi1

No lawyer who has taken an oath to maintain the respect due to the courts should be allowed to erode the people’s faith in the
judiciary. In this case, the lady senator clearly violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
which respectively provide:

Canon 8, Rule 8.01.––A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.

Canon 11.––A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to the judicial officers and should insist on similar
conduct by others.

Senator/Atty. Santiago is a cut higher than most lawyers. Her achievements speak for themselves. She was a former Regional Trial
Court judge, a law professor, an oft-cited authority on constitutional and international law, an author of numerous law textbooks, and
an elected senator of the land. Needless to stress, Senator Santiago, as a member of the Bar and officer of the court, like any other, is
duty-bound to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court and to maintain the respect due its members. Lawyers in public service
are keepers of public faith and are burdened with the higher degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher than their brethren in
private practice.7 Senator Santiago should have known, as any perceptive individual, the impact her statements would make on the
people’s faith in the integrity of the courts.

As Senator Santiago alleged, she delivered her privilege speech as a prelude to crafting remedial legislation on the JBC. This
allegation strikes the Court as an afterthought in light of the insulting tenor of what she said. We quote the passage once more:

x x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated, debased, degraded. And I
am not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face of
Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no longer interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I
was to be surrounded by idiots. I would rather be in another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x. (Emphasis
ours.)

A careful re-reading of her utterances would readily show that her statements were expressions of personal anger and frustration at not
being considered for the post of Chief Justice. In a sense, therefore, her remarks were outside the pale of her official parliamentary
functions. Even parliamentary immunity must not be allowed to be used as a vehicle to ridicule, demean, and destroy the reputation of
the Court and its magistrates, nor as armor for personal wrath and disgust. Authorities are agreed that parliamentary immunity is not
an individual privilege accorded the individual members of the Parliament or Congress for their personal benefit, but rather a privilege
for the benefit of the people and the institution that represents them.

To be sure, Senator Santiago could have given vent to her anger without indulging in insulting rhetoric and offensive personalities.

Lest it be overlooked, Senator Santiago’s outburst was directly traceable to what she considered as an "unjust act" the JBC had taken
in connection with her application for the position of Chief Justice. But while the JBC functions under the Court’s supervision, its
individual members, save perhaps for the Chief Justice who sits as the JBC’s ex-officio chairperson,8 have no official duty to nominate
candidates for appointment to the position of Chief Justice. The Court is, thus, at a loss to understand Senator Santiago’s wholesale
and indiscriminate assault on the members of the Court and her choice of critical and defamatory words against all of them.

At any event, equally important as the speech and debate clause of Art. VI, Sec. 11 of the Constitution is Sec. 5(5) of Art. VIII of the
Constitution that provides:

Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

xxxx

(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts,
the admission to the practice of the law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. (Emphasis ours.)

The Court, besides being authorized to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, exercises specific
authority to promulgate rules governing the Integrated Bar with the end in view that the integration of the Bar will, among other
things:

(4) Shield the judiciary, which traditionally cannot defend itself except within its own forum, from the assaults that politics and self
interest may level at it, and assist it to maintain its integrity, impartiality and independence;
xxxx

(11) Enforce rigid ethical standards x x x.9

In Re: Letter Dated 21 February 2005 of Atty. Noel S. Sorreda,10 we reiterated our pronouncement in Rheem of the Philippines v.
Ferrer11 that the duty of attorneys to the courts can only be maintained by rendering no service involving any disrespect to the judicial
office which they are bound to uphold. The Court wrote in Rheem of the Philippines:

x x x As explicit is the first canon of legal ethics which pronounces that "[i]t is the duty of a lawyer to maintain towards the Courts a
respectful attitude, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme
importance." That same canon, as a corollary, makes it peculiarly incumbent upon lawyers to support the courts against "unjust
criticism and clamor." And more. The attorney’s oath solemnly binds him to a conduct that should be "with all good fidelity x x x to
the courts."

Also, in Sorreda, the Court revisited its holding in Surigao Mineral Reservation Board v. Cloribel12 that:

A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, "like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice." His duty is to
uphold the dignity and authority of the courts to which he owes fidelity, "not to promote distrust in the administration of justice." Faith
in the courts, a lawyer should seek to preserve. For, to undermine the judicial edifice "is disastrous to the continuity of government
and to the attainment of the liberties of the people." Thus has it been said of a lawyer that "[a]s an officer of the court, it is his sworn
and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards the courts so essential to the proper
administration of justice."13

The lady senator belongs to the legal profession bound by the exacting injunction of a strict Code. Society has entrusted that
profession with the administration of the law and dispensation of justice. Generally speaking, a lawyer holding a government office
may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct committed while in the discharge of official duties, unless said
misconduct also constitutes a violation of his/her oath as a lawyer.14

Lawyers may be disciplined even for any conduct committed in their private capacity, as long as their misconduct reflects their want
of probity or good demeanor,15 a good character being an essential qualification for the admission to the practice of law and for
continuance of such privilege. When the Code of Professional Responsibility or the Rules of Court speaks of "conduct" or
"misconduct," the reference is not confined to one’s behavior exhibited in connection with the performance of lawyers’ professional
duties, but also covers any misconduct, which––albeit unrelated to the actual practice of their profession––would show them to be
unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which their license and the law invest in them.16

This Court, in its unceasing quest to promote the people’s faith in courts and trust in the rule of law, has consistently exercised its
disciplinary authority on lawyers who, for malevolent purpose or personal malice, attempt to obstruct the orderly administration of
justice, trifle with the integrity of courts, and embarrass or, worse, malign the men and women who compose them. We have done it in
the case of former Senator Vicente Sotto in Sotto, in the case of Atty. Noel Sorreda in Sorreda, and in the case of Atty. Francisco B.
Cruz in Tacordan v. Ang17 who repeatedly insulted and threatened the Court in a most insolent manner.

The Court is not hesitant to impose some form of disciplinary sanctions on Senator/Atty. Santiago for what otherwise would have
constituted an act of utter disrespect on her part towards the Court and its members. The factual and legal circumstances of this case,
however, deter the Court from doing so, even without any sign of remorse from her. Basic constitutional consideration dictates this
kind of disposition.

We, however, would be remiss in our duty if we let the Senator’s offensive and disrespectful language that definitely tended to
denigrate the institution pass by. It is imperative on our part to re-instill in Senator/Atty. Santiago her duty to respect courts of justice,
especially this Tribunal, and remind her anew that the parliamentary non-accountability thus granted to members of Congress is not to
protect them against prosecutions for their own benefit, but to enable them, as the people’s representatives, to perform the functions
of their office without fear of being made responsible before the courts or other forums outside the congressional hall.18 It is intended
to protect members of Congress against government pressure and intimidation aimed at influencing the decision-making prerogatives
of Congress and its members.

The Rules of the Senate itself contains a provision on Unparliamentary Acts and Language that enjoins a Senator from using, under
any circumstance, "offensive or improper language against another Senator or against any public institution."19 But as to Senator
Santiago’s unparliamentary remarks, the Senate President had not apparently called her to order, let alone referred the matter to the
Senate Ethics Committee for appropriate disciplinary action, as the Rules dictates under such circumstance.20 The lady senator clearly
violated the rules of her own chamber. It is unfortunate that her peers bent backwards and avoided imposing their own rules on her.

Finally, the lady senator questions Pobre’s motives in filing his complaint, stating that disciplinary proceedings must be undertaken
solely for the public welfare. We cannot agree with her more. We cannot overstress that the senator’s use of intemperate language to
demean and denigrate the highest court of the land is a clear violation of the duty of respect lawyers owe to the courts.21

Finally, the Senator asserts that complainant Pobre has failed to prove that she in fact made the statements in question. Suffice it to say
in this regard that, although she has not categorically denied making such statements, she has unequivocally said making them as part
of her privilege speech. Her implied admission is good enough for the Court.

WHEREFORE, the letter-complaint of Antero J. Pobre against Senator/Atty. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is, conformably to Art. VI,
Sec. 11 of the Constitution, DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 71169 August 30, 1989

JOSE D. SANGALANG and LUTGARDA D. SANGALANG, petitioners, FELIX C. GASTON and DOLORES R. GASTON,
JOSE V. BRIONES and ALICIA R. BRIONES, and BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC., intervenors-petitioners,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and AYALA CORPORATION, respondents.

G.R. No. 74376 August 30, 1989

BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner,


vs.
THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ROSARIO DE JESUS TENORIO, and CECILIA GONZALEZ, respondents.

G.R. No. 76394 August 30, 1989

BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner,


vs.
THE COURT OF APPEAL and EDUARDO and BUENA ROMUALDEZ respondents.

G.R. No. 78182 August 30, 1989

BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, DOLORES FILLEY and J. ROMERO & ASSOCIATES, respondents.

G.R. No. 82281 August 30, 1989

BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, VIOLETA MONCAL, and MAJAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondents.

RESOLUTION

SARMIENTO, J.:

The incident before the Court refers to charges for contempt against Atty. J. Cezar Sangco, counsel for the petitioners Spouses Jose
and Lutgarda Sangalang. (G.R. No. 71169.)

On February 2, 1989, the Court issued a Resolution, requiring, among other things, Atty. Sangco to show cause why he should not be
punished for contempt "for using intemperate and accusatory language." 1 On March 2, 1989, Atty. Sangco filed an explanation.

The Court finds Atty. Sangco's remarks in his motion for reconsideration, reproduced as follows:

...

This Decision of this Court in the above-entitled case reads more like a Brief for Ayala ... 2

... [t]he Court not only put to serious question its own integrity and competence but also jeopardized its own
campaign against graft and corruption undeniably pervading the judiciary ... 3

...

The blatant disregard of controlling, documented and admitted facts not put in issue, such as those
summarily ignored in this case; the extraordinary efforts exerted to justify such arbitrariness and the very
strained and unwarranted conclusions drawn therefrom, are unparalleled in the history of this Court ... 4

...

... [T]o ignore the fact that Jupiter Street was originally constructed for the exclusive benefit of the residents
of Bel- Air Village, or rule that respondent Court's admission of said fact is "inaccurate," as Ayala's Counsel
himself would like to do but did not even contend, is a manifestation of this Court's unusual partiality to Ayala
and puts to serious question its integrity on that account. 5

...

[i]t is submitted that this ruling is the most serious reflection on the Court's competence and integrity and
exemplifies its manifest partiality towards Ayala. It is a blatant disregard of documented and incontrovertible
and uncontroverted factual findings of the trial court fully supported by the records and the true significance
of those facts which both the respondent court and this Court did not bother to read and consequently did
not consider and discuss, least of all in the manner it did with respect to those in which it arrived at
conclusions favorable to Ayala. 6

To totally disregard Ayala's written letter of application for special membership in BAVA which clearly state
that such membership is necessary because it is a new development in their relationship with respect to its
intention to give its commercial lot buyers an equal right to the use of Jupiter Street without giving any
reason therefor, smacks of judicial arrogance ... 7

...
... [A]re all these unusual exercise of such arbitrariness above suspicion? Will the current campaign of this
Court against graft and corruption in the judiciary be enhanced by such broad discretionary power of courts?
8

disparaging, intemperate, and uncalled for. His suggestions that the Court might have been guilty of graft and corruption
in acting on these cases are not only unbecoming, but comes, as well, as an open assault upon the Court's honor and
integrity. In rendering its judgment, the Court yielded to the records before it, and to the records alone, and not to outside
influences, much less, the influence of any of the parties. Atty. Sangco, as a former judge of an inferior court, should know
better that in any litigation, one party prevails, but his success will not justify indictments of bribery by the other party. He
should be aware that because of his accusations, he has done an enormous disservice to the integrity of the highest
tribunal and to the stability of the administration of justice in general.

As a former judge, Atty. Sangco also has to be aware that we are not bound by the findings of the trial court (in which his
clients prevailed).lâwphî1.ñèt But if we did not agree with the findings of the court a quo, it does not follow that we had
acted arbitrarily because, precisely, it is the office of an appeal to review the findings of the inferior court.

To be sure, Atty. Sangco is entitled to his opinion, but not to a license to insult the Court with derogatory statements and
recourses to argumenta ad hominem. In that event, it is the Court's duty "to act to preserve the honor and dignity ... and to
safeguard the morals and ethics of the legal profession." 9

We are not satisfied with his explanation that he was merely defending the interests of his clients. As we held in Laureta, a
lawyer's "first duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice; to that end, his client's success is wholly
subordinate; and his conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics." 10 And while a
lawyer must advocate his client's cause in utmost earnest and with the maximum skill he can marshal, he is not at liberty
to resort to arrogance, intimidation, and innuendo.

That "[t]he questions propounded were not meant or intended to accuse but to ... challenge the thinking in the Decision,
11 comes as an eleventh-hour effort to cleanse what is in fact and plainly, an unfounded accusation. Certainly, it is the
prerogative of an unsuccessful party to ask for reconsideration, but as we held in Laureta, litigants should not "'think that
they will win a hearing by the sheer multiplication of words' ". 12 As we indicated (see Decision denying the motions for
reconsideration in G.R. Nos. 71169, 74376, 76394, 78182, and 82281, and deciding G.R. No. 60727, dated August 25,
1989), the movants have raised no new arguments to warrant reconsideration and they can not veil that fact with
inflammatory language.

Atty. Sangco himself admits that "[a]s a judge I have learned to live with and accept with grace criticisms of my decisions".
13 Apparently, he does not practice what he preaches. Of course, the Court is not unreceptive to comment and critique of
its decisions, but provided they are fair and dignified. Atty. Sangco has transcended the limits of fair comment for which he
deserves this Court's rebuke.

In our "show-cause" Resolution, we sought to hold Atty. Sangco in contempt, specifically, for resort to insulting language
amounting to disrespect toward the Court within the meaning of Section 1, of Rule 71, of the Rules of Court. Clearly,
however, his act also constitutes malpractice as the term is defined by Canon 11 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, as follows:

CANON 11-A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN THE RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS AND TO JUDICIAL
OFFICERS AND SHOULD INSIST ON SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS.

Rule 11.01...

Rule 11.02...

Rule 11.03-A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behavior before the
Courts.

Rule 11.04-A lawyer should not attribute to a Judge motives not supported by the record or have no
materiality to the case.

Rule 11.05...

Thus, aside from contempt, Atty. Sangco faces punishment for professional misconduct or malpractice.

WHEREFORE Atty. J. Cezar Sangco is (1) SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) months effective from
receipt hereof, and (2) ORDERED to pay a fine of P 500.00 payable from receipt hereof. Let a copy of this Resolution be
entered in his record.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

A.C. No. 8920 September 28, 2011

JUDGE RENE B. BACULI, Complainant,


vs.
ATTY. MELCHOR A. BATTUNG, Respondent.

DECISION

BRION, J.:
Before us is the resolution1 of the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) finding Atty. Melchor Battung
liable for violating Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and recommending that he be reprimanded. The
complainant is Judge Rene B. Baculi, Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 2, Tuguegarao City. The
respondent, Atty. Battung, is a member of the Bar with postal address on Aguinaldo St., Tuguegarao City.

Background

Judge Baculi filed a complaint for disbarment2 with the Commission on Discipline of the IBP against the respondent, alleging that the
latter violated Canons 113 and 124 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Violation of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility

Judge Baculi claimed that on July 24, 2008, during the hearing on the motion for reconsideration of Civil Case No. 2502, the
respondent was shouting while arguing his motion. Judge Baculi advised him to tone down his voice but instead, the respondent
shouted at the top of his voice. When warned that he would be cited for direct contempt, the respondent shouted, "Then cite me!"5
Judge Baculi cited him for direct contempt and imposed a fine of P100.00. The respondent then left.

While other cases were being heard, the respondent re-entered the courtroom and shouted, "Judge, I will file gross ignorance against
you! I am not afraid of you!"6 Judge Baculi ordered the sheriff to escort the respondent out of the courtroom and cited him for direct
contempt of court for the second time.

After his hearings, Judge Baculi went out and saw the respondent at the hall of the courthouse, apparently waiting for him. The
respondent again shouted in a threatening tone, "Judge, I will file gross ignorance against you! I am not afraid of you!" He kept on
shouting, "I am not afraid of you!" and challenged the judge to a fight. Staff and lawyers escorted him out of the building.7

Judge Baculi also learned that after the respondent left the courtroom, he continued shouting and punched a table at the Office of the
Clerk of Court.8

Violation of Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility

According to Judge Baculi, the respondent filed dilatory pleadings in Civil Case No. 2640, an ejectment case.

Judge Baculi rendered on October 4, 2007 a decision in Civil Case No. 2640, which he modified on December 14, 2007. After the
modified decision became final and executory, the branch clerk of court issued a certificate of finality. The respondent filed a motion
to quash the previously issued writ of execution, raising as a ground the motion to dismiss filed by the defendant for lack of
jurisdiction. Judge Baculi asserted that the respondent knew as a lawyer that ejectment cases are within the jurisdiction of First Level
Courts and the latter was merely delaying the speedy and efficient administration of justice.

The respondent filed his Answer,9 essentially saying that it was Judge Baculi who disrespected him.10 We quote from his Answer:

23. I only told Judge Rene Baculi I will file Gross ignorance of the Law against him once inside the court room when he was
lambasting me[.]

24. It was JUDGE BACULI WHO DISRESPECTED ME. He did not like that I just submit the Motion for Reconsideration
without oral argument because he wanted to have an occasion to just HUMILIATE ME and to make appear to the public that I
am A NEGLIGENT LAWYER, when he said "YOU JUSTIFY YOUR NEGLIGENCE BEFORE THIS COURT" making it an
impression to the litigants and the public that as if I am a NEGLIGENT, INCOMPETENT, MUMBLING, and
IRRESPONSIBLE LAWYER.

25. These words of Judge Rene Baculi made me react[.]

xxxx

28. Since I manifested that I was not going to orally argue the Motion, Judge Rene Baculi could have just made an order that
the Motion for Reconsideration is submitted for resolution, but what he did was that he forced me to argue so that he will have
the room to humiliate me as he used to do not only to me but almost of the lawyers here (sic).

Atty. Battung asked that the case against him be dismissed.

The IBP conducted its investigation of the matter through Commissioner Jose de la Rama, Jr. In his Commissioner’s Report,11
Commissioner De la Rama stated that during the mandatory conference on January 16, 2009, both parties merely reiterated what they
alleged in their submitted pleadings. Both parties agreed that the original copy of the July 24, 2008 tape of the incident at the
courtroom would be submitted for the Commissioner’s review. Judge Baculi submitted the tape and the transcript of stenographic
notes on January 23, 2009.

Commissioner De la Rama narrated his findings, as follows:12

At the first part of the hearing as reflected in the TSN, it was observed that the respondent was calm. He politely argued his case but
the voice of the complainant appears to be in high pitch. During the mandatory conference, it was also observed that indeed, the
complainant maintains a high pitch whenever he speaks. In fact, in the TSN, where there was already an argument, the complainant
stated the following:

Court: Do not shout.

Atty. Battung: Because the court is shouting.


Court: This court has been constantly under this kind of voice Atty. Battung, we are very sorry if you do not want to appear before my
court, then you better attend to your cases and do not appear before my court if you do not want to be corrected! (TSN, July 24, 2008,
page 3)

(NOTE: The underlined words – "we are very sorry" [– were] actually uttered by Atty. Battung while the judge was saying the quoted
portion of the TSN)

That it was during the time when the complainant asked the following questions when the undersigned noticed that Atty. Battung
shouted at the presiding judge.

Court: Did you proceed under the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure?

Atty. Battung: It is not our fault Your Honor to proceed because we were asked to present our evidence ex parte. Your Honor, so, if
should we were ordered (sic) by the court to follow the rules on summary procedure. (TSN page 3, July 24, 2008)

It was observed that the judge uttered the following:

Court: Do not shout.

Atty. Battung: Because the court is shouting.

(Page 3, TSN July 24, 2008)

Note: * it was at this point when the respondent shouted at the complainant.

Thereafter, it was observed that both were already shouting at each other.

Respondent claims that he was provoked by the presiding judge that is why he shouted back at him. But after hearing the tape, the
undersigned in convinced that it was Atty. Battung who shouted first at the complainant.

Presumably, there were other lawyers and litigants present waiting for their cases to be called. They must have observed the incident.
In fact, in the joint-affidavit submitted by Elenita Pacquing et al., they stood as one in saying that it was really Atty. Battung who
shouted at the judge that is why the latter cautioned him "not to shout."

The last part of the incident as contained in page 4 of the TSN reads as follows:

Court: You are now ordered to pay a fine of ₱100.00.

Atty. Battung: We will file the necessary action against this court for gross ignorance of the law.

Court: Yes, proceed.

(NOTE: Atty. Battung went out the courtroom)

Court: Next case.

Interpreter: Civil Case No. 2746.

(Note: Atty. Battung entered again the courtroom)

Atty. Battung: But what we do not like … (not finished)

Court: The next time…

Atty. Battung: We would like to clear …

Court: Sheriff, throw out the counsel, put that everything in record. If you want to see me, see me after the court.

Next case.

Civil Case No. 2746 for Partition and Damages, Roberto Cabalza vs. Teresita Narag, et al.

(nothing follows)

Commissioner De la Rama found that the respondent failed to observe Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility that
requires a lawyer to observe and maintain respect due the courts and judicial officers. The respondent also violated Rule 11.03 of
Canon 11 that provides that a lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behavior before the courts. The
respondent’s argument that Judge Baculi provoked him to shout should not be given due consideration since the respondent should not
have shouted at the presiding judge; by doing so, he created the impression that disrespect of a judge could be tolerated. What the
respondent should have done was to file an action before the Office of the Court Administrator if he believed that Judge Baculi did not
act according to the norms of judicial conduct.

With respect to the charge of violation of Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Commissioner De la Rama found that
the evidence submitted is insufficient to support a ruling that the respondent had misused the judicial processes to frustrate the ends of
justice.
Commissioner De la Rama recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months.

On October 9, 2010, the IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution adopting and approving the Report and Recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner, with the modification that the respondent be reprimanded.

The Court’s Ruling

We agree with the IBP’s finding that the respondent violated Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty.
Battung disrespected Judge Baculi by shouting at him inside the courtroom during court proceedings in the presence of litigants and
their counsels, and court personnel. The respondent even came back to harass Judge Baculi. This behavior, in front of many witnesses,
cannot be allowed. We note that the respondent continued to threaten Judge Baculi and acted in a manner that clearly showed
disrespect for his position even after the latter had cited him for contempt. In fact, after initially leaving the court, the respondent
returned to the courtroom and disrupted the ongoing proceedings. These actions were not only against the person, the position and the
stature of Judge Baculi, but against the court as well whose proceedings were openly and flagrantly disrupted, and brought to disrepute
by the respondent.

Litigants and counsels, particularly the latter because of their position and avowed duty to the courts, cannot be allowed to publicly
ridicule, demean and disrespect a judge, and the court that he represents. The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:

Canon 11 - A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due the courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct
by others.

Rule 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behavior before the Courts.

We ruled in Roxas v. De Zuzuarregui, Jr.13 that it is the duty of a lawyer, as an officer of the court, to uphold the dignity and authority
of the courts. Respect for the courts guarantees the stability of the judicial institution; without this guarantee, the institution would be
resting on very shaky foundations.

A lawyer who insults a judge inside a courtroom completely disregards the latter’s role, stature and position in our justice system.
When the respondent publicly berated and brazenly threatened Judge Baculi that he would file a case for gross ignorance of the law
against the latter, the respondent effectively acted in a manner tending to erode the public confidence in Judge Baculi’s competence
and in his ability to decide cases. Incompetence is a matter that, even if true, must be handled with sensitivity in the manner provided
under the Rules of Court; an objecting or complaining lawyer cannot act in a manner that puts the courts in a bad light and bring the
justice system into disrepute.

The IBP Board of Governors recommended that Atty. Battung be reprimanded, while the Investigating Commissioner recommended a
penalty of six (6) months suspension.

We believe that these recommended penalties are too light for the offense.

In Re: Suspension of Atty. Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo, Former Senior State Prosecutor,14 we suspended Atty. Bagabuyo for one year for
violating Rule 11.05, Canon 11, and Rule 13.02, Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and for violating the Lawyer’s
Oath for airing his grievances against a judge in newspapers and radio programs. In this case, Atty. Battung’s violations are no less
serious as they were committed in the courtroom in the course of judicial proceedings where the respondent was acting as an officer of
the court, and before the litigating public. His actions were plainly disrespectful to Judge Baculi and to the court, to the point of being
scandalous and offensive to the integrity of the judicial system itself.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Atty. Melchor A. Battung is found GUILTY of violating Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, for which he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) year effective upon the finality of
this Decision. He is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of a similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.

Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, to be appended to the respondent’s personal record as an
attorney; the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; the Department of Justice; and all courts in the country, for their information and
guidance.

SO ORDERED.

A.M. Nos. RTJ-89-331, 355, 361, 362, 438, 439 September 28, 1990

PRUDENCIO S. PENTICOSTES, complainant,


vs.
JUDGE RAFAEL HIDALGO, respondent.

RESOLUTION

PER CURIAM:

Complainant Prudencio S. Penticostes has filed a series of administrative charges against Judge Rafael B. Hidalgo of
Regional Trial Court Branch 68 of Tarlac, Tarlac. In the resolution dated June 20, 1989 dismissing RTJ-89-294, the Court
admonished the complainant "to exercise more care and decorum in filing unfounded and unsubstantiated charges
against officers of the court in order to maintain and uphold the dignity of the same of which he is a part" (also dismissed
was RTJ-88213 in a Resolution dated July 18, 1989.) Complainant did not heed this admonition.

In his Comment in RTJ-89-361, and his Compliance by way of comment in RTJ-89-355, the respondent judge asked that
the other administrative cases by the same complainant be consolidated. Complainant, in his Reply in RTJ-89-355, made
a similar request.
The Court directed the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to gather all charges filed by the complainant against the
respondent judge and thereafter consolidated six (6) administrative complaints: RTJ-89-331 (which recites ten [10] causes
of action), RTJ-89-355, RTJ-89-361, RTJ-89-362, RTJ-89-439, and RTJ-89-438.

Subsequent to the June 20, 1989 admonition, complainant continued to file charges against respondent. He also
threatened to bang more cases, as evidenced by the following: (1) a Manifestation dated March 1, 1990 (submitted to
respondent judge in relation to two civil cases), which reads:

Counsel will make it appear on record that if the motion and joint motion will not be acted (upon) on March
21, 1990 as scheduled he will be forced much to his regret to file the following administrative and criminal
complaints, against the presiding judge, namely:

1. violation of his oath;

2. falsification under Art. 171 of the Revised Penal Code;

3. knowingly rendering an unlawful order;

4. maliciously delaying the administration of justice;

5. grave misconduct. . . .

(2) his Reply to RTJ-89-361 dated May 18, 1990:

It is respectfully submitted, that the respondent has made Branch 68 as his personal court thus making it as
a court for his friends, the rich, powerful and influential and against his foes, the poor and powerless. This
claim will be discussed lengthily in the next administrative charge which complainant will file against the
respondent [Emphasis supplied].

(3) his letter to the Court dated August 8, 1990, opposing respondent's application for disability benefits because of
the "pendency of administrative cases against him filed by me and some more will follow as soon as I consolidate
my evidences" [Emphasis supplied].

In a memorandum dated July 13, 1990, the OCA, after enumerating some of the charges, noted that complainant's
persistent filing of administrative cases against respondent "signif(ies) a desire to unjustifiably bring respondent to public
disdain and ridicule." Also brought to the attention of the Court was complainant's letter dated June 7, 1990, which
contains accusations that respondent has a "conspirator" in the Office of the Clerk of Court. The conspirator allegedly
inserted inconsistent words in a final Court resolution, and supplied lies in respondent's comment. From the foregoing, the
OCA recommended that complainant be strongly reprimanded, if not suspended from the practice of law for three (3)
months.

A careful study of the charges in these complaints, the Comment in RTJ-89-361, the Compliance filed by respondent in
RTJ-89-355, the records of the consolidated cases, and the memorandum of the OCA dated July 13, 1990, clearly reveals
that all but three cases ** can be dismissed outright because: (1) the complainant failed to establish prima facie cases: (2)
the complainant filed administrative cases as substitute for the appropriate remedy in rulings adverse to him; and (3) the
complaints involve the appropriate exercise of respondent's discretionary authority.

First, no prima facie cases have been established in: (1) the Seventh Cause of Action in RTJ-89-331, since the same
grounds have already been found to be without merit by the Court in Prudencio Penticostes, Sr. v. DBP, et al. [G.R. No.
89620, July 13, 1990]; (2) RTJ-89-361, which charges respondent with falsification of three separate orders in three
different cases, since no indication of such falsification can be gleaned from the record; and (3) RTJ-89-438, which takes
issue with the order to archive Civil Case No. 280, "pending resolution of the matters raised by complainant in the
Supreme Court," there being nothing irregular in such order.

Second, in the First, Second and Fifth Causes of Action in RTJ-89-331 (which arose from respondent's dismissal of Civil
Case Nos. 198, 234, and 205, respectively), the complainant resorted to the filing of administrative complaints against
respondent judge instead of availing of the appropriate legal remedies from the adverse rulings, i.e., by motion for
reconsideration, appeal or petition for review or for certiorari.

Third, the complainant challenges the due exercise by respondent judge of his discretion in the following instances: (1)
RTJ-89-331, the Third Cause of Action, the order denying a motion to declare defendants in contempt, and the order
deferring action on a motion for an accounting of harvests; the Fourth Cause of Action, the denial of a motion to dismiss;
the Sixth Cause of Action, the denial of a motion for inhibition and two motions for reconsideration; the Eighth Cause of
Action, the order setting aside an order of dismissal; the Ninth Cause of Action, the order granting a motion for
reconsideration; the Tenth Cause of Action, the denial of a motion for inhibition; (2) RTJ-89-362, separate orders setting
aside the amended complaints in Civil Case Nos. 228, 253, 255, which complaints were amended to implead respondent
as co-defendant for his alleged use of his judicial powers to prejudice complainant during the proceedings of the
aforestated cases; (3) RTJ-89-355, direct contempt orders, and (4) RTJ-89-439, the failure of respondent judge to strike
out the answer in two civil cases.

Considering the nature, frequency and indiscriminate filing of groundless charges and despite the admonition previously
given by resolution of the Court dated June 20, 1989, which the complainant willfully ignored and disobeyed by
manifesting the intent to file more of the same, the complainant imposed upon the time, resources and forbearance of the
Court and diverted the energies of the respondent judge who has been called upon to comment and defend his every
action. This is not to say that a judge may not be answerable for violation of the law and the Code of Judicial Conduct, but
not every order or ruling adverse to a party can be made the basis for an administrative charge.
As a member of the bar, the complainant has responsibilities to the judiciary. The Code of Professional Responsibility and
the rules thereunder impose obligations on the lawyer in relation to the court: Canon 10 states that a lawyer owes candor,
fairness and good faith to the court. Canon 11 provides that a lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the
court and to judicial officers, while Canon 12 mandates that a lawyer shall exert very effort and consider it his duty to
assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. Through his imprudent filing of administrative cases against
respondent judge, complainant has transgressed the provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility and miserably
failed to observe conduct expected of a member of the bar under the Code and in accordance with his lawyer's oath.

WHEREFORE, having found the charges above-mentioned to be absolutely without basis, the Court Resolved to:

(1) DISMISS outright the following complaints: RTJ-89-331; RTJ-89-362; RTJ-89-438; and RTJ-89-355. RTJ-89-361 and
RTJ 89-439 are likewise dismissed, except as to charges for which comment has been required; and

(2) IMPOSE upon complainant a FINE of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) payable within ten (10) days from receipt of
this Resolution, or IMPRISONMENT of ten (10) days in the local jail in case of failure to pay the fine within the time
appointed; and

(3) SUSPEND complainant from the practice of law for one (1) year for his willful disregard and disobedience of the
admonition made by the Court in RTJ-89-294, and his violation of Canons 10, 11 and 12 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same will be dealt with more severely. The suspension shall
take effect from the date of receipt of this Resolution. Let copies of this Resolution be circulated to all courts of this
country for their information and guidance, and spread in the personal record of Atty. Penticostes.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 102781. April 22, 1993.

BONIFACIO SANZ MACEDA, Presiding Judge, Branch 12, Regional Trial Court, Antique, petitioner,
vs.
HON. OMBUDSMAN CONRADO M. VASQUEZ AND ATTY. NAPOLEON A. ABIERA, respondents.

Bonifacio Sanz Maceda for and in his own behalf.

Public Attorney's Office for private respondent.

SYLLABUS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; JURISDICTION; OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN HAS JURISDICTION TO INVESTIGATE OFFENSE
COMMITTED BY JUDGE WHETHER OR NOT OFFENSE RELATES TO OFFICIAL DUTIES; REASON. — Petitioner also
contends that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over said cases despite this Court's ruling in Orap vs. Sandiganbayan, since the
offense charged arose from the judge's performance of his official duties, which is under the control and supervision of the Supreme
Court . . . The Court disagrees with the first part of petitioner's basic argument. There is nothing in the decision in Orap that would
restrict it only to offenses committed by a judge unrelated to his official duties. A judge who falsifies his certificate of service is
administratively liable to the Supreme Court for serious misconduct and inefficiency under Section 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court,
and criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; JURISDICTION TO INVESTIGATE OFFENSE RELATED TO OFFICIAL DUTIES SUBJECT TO PRIOR
ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN AGAINST JUDGE BY SUPREME COURT; REASON. — However, We agree with
petitioner that in the absence of any administrative action taken against him by this Court with regard to his certificates of service, the
investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman encroaches into the Court's power of administrative supervision over all courts and
its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PROCEDURE TO BE OBSERVED BY OMBUDSMAN REGARDING COMPLAINT AGAINST JUDGE OR
OTHER COURT EMPLOYEE; PURPOSE. — Thus, the Ombudsman should first refer the matter of petitioner's certificates of
service to this Court for determination of whether said certificates reflected the true status of his pending case load, as the Court has
the necessary records to make such a determination . . . In fine, where a criminal complaint against a judge or other court employee
arises from their administrative duties, the Ombudsman must defer action on said complaint and refer the same to this Court for
determination whether said judge or court employee had acted within the scope of their administrative duties.

4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; OMBUDSMAN CANNOT SUBPOENA SUPREME COURT AND ITS PERSONNEL; REASON. — The
Ombudsman cannot compel this Court, as one of the three branches of government, to submit its records, or to allow its personnel to
testify on this matter, as suggested by public respondent Abiera in his affidavit-complaint. The rationale for the foregoing
pronouncement is evident in this case. Administratively, the question before Us is this: should a judge, having been granted by this
Court an extension of time to decide cases before him, report these cases in his certificate of service? As this question had not yet been
raised with, much less resolved by, this Court, how could the Ombudsman resolve the present criminal complaint that requires the
resolution of said question?

DECISION

NOCON, J p:

The issue in this petition for certiorari with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction and/or restraining order is whether the Office
of the Ombudsman could entertain a criminal complaint for the alleged falsification of a judge's certification submitted to the Supreme
Court, and assuming that it can, whether a referral should be made first to the Supreme Court.

Petitioner Bonifacio Sanz Maceda, Presiding Judge of Branch 12 of the Regional Trial Court of Antique, seeks the review of the
following orders of the Office of the Ombudsman: (1) the Order dated September 18, 1991 denying the ex-parte motion to refer to the
Supreme Court filed by petitioner; and (2) the Order dated November 22, 1951 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration and
directing petitioner to file his counter-affidavit and other controverting evidences.

In his affidavit-complaint dated April 18, 1991 filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, respondent Napoleon A. Abiera of the
Public Attorney's Office alleged that petitioner had falsified his Certificate of Service 1 dated February 6, 1989, by certifying "that all
civil and criminal cases which have been submitted for decision or determination for a period of 90 days have been determined and
decided on or before January 31, 1998," when in truth and in fact, petitioner knew that no decision had been rendered in five (5) civil
and ten (10) criminal cases that have been submitted for decision. Respondent Abiera further alleged that petitioner similarly falsified
his certificates of service for the months of February, April, May, June, July and August, all in 1989; and the months beginning
January up to September 1990, or for a total of seventeen (17) months.

On the other hand, petitioner contends that he had been granted by this Court an extension of ninety (90) days to decide the
aforementioned cases.

Petitioner also contends that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over said case despite this Court's ruling in Orap vs. Sandiganbayan,
2 since the offense charged arose from the judge's performance of his official duties, which is under the control and supervision of the
Supreme Court. Furthermore, the investigation of the Ombudsman constitutes an encroachment into the Supreme Court's
constitutional duty of supervision over all inferior courts.

The Court disagrees with the first Part of petitioner's basic argument. There is nothing in the decision in Orap that would restrict it
only to offenses committed by a judge unrelated to his official duties. A judge who falsifies his certificate of service is
administratively liable to the Supreme Court for serious misconduct and inefficiency under Section 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court,
and criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act.

However, We agree with petitioner that in the absence of any administrative action taken against him by this Court with regard to his
certificates of service, the investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman encroaches into the Court's power of administrative
supervision over all courts and its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.

Article VIII, section 6 of the 1987 Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court administrative supervision over all courts and
court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this
power, it is only the Supreme Court that can oversee the judges' and court personnel's compliance with all laws, and take the proper
administrative action against them if they commit any violation thereof. No other branch of government may intrude into this power,
without running afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers.

The Ombudsman cannot justify its investigation of petitioner on the powers granted to it by the Constitution, 3 for such a justification
not only runs counter to the specific mandate of the Constitution granting supervisory powers to the Supreme Court over all courts and
their personnel, but likewise undermines the independence of the judiciary.

Thus, the Ombudsman should first refer the matter of petitioner's certificates of service to this Court for determination of whether said
certificates reflected the true status of his pending case load, as the Court has the necessary records to make such a determination. The
Ombudsman cannot compel this Court, as one of the three branches of government, to submit its records, or to allow its personnel to
testify on this matter, as suggested by public respondent Abiera in his affidavit-complaint. 4

The rationale for the foregoing pronouncement is evident in this case. Administratively. the question before Us is this: should a judge,
having been granted by this Court an extension of time to decide cases before him, report these cases in his certificate of service? As
this question had not yet been raised with, much less resolved by, this Court. how could the Ombudsman resolve the present criminal
complaint that requires the resolution of said question?

In fine, where a criminal complaint against a Judge or other court employee arises from their administrative duties, the Ombudsman
must defer action on said complaint and refer the same to this Court for determination whether said Judge or court employee had acted
within the scope of their administrative duties.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Ombudsman is hereby directed to dismiss the complaint filed by public
respondent Atty. Napoleon A. Abiera and to refer the same to this Court for appropriate action.

SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. 188 November 29, 1976

RICARDA GABRIEL DE BUMANGLAG, complainant,


vs.
ESTEBAN T. BUMANGLAG, respondent.

RESOLUTION

TEEHANKEE, J.:

In the Court's decision of September 24, 1973, the Court found respondent guilty of gross immoral conduct and ordered
his suspension from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years. Respondent filed several motions for reconsideration,
all of which were denied per the Court's Resolutions of November 20, 1973, December 19, 1973, January 9, 1974 and
October 30, 1974.

On March 31, 1975, the Clerk of Court received a 1st Indorsement dated February 21, 1975 from then Assistant Executive
Secretary Ronaldo B. Zamora "requesting comment and/or appropriate action" on the therewith enclosed petition of
respondent to the President of the Philippines that he "promulgate(s) a decree that the order of suspension by the
Supreme Court be set aside and that your humble self be allowed to become an active member of the New Society".

The Court per its Resolution of June 16, 1975 directed the Clerk of Court "to furnish the Office of the President through
Assistant Executive Secretary Zamora with copies of the Court's decision of September 24, 1973 wherein the Court in a
spirit of liberality by majority vote imposed a lesser penalty of two-year suspension instead of disbarment (as voted by a
minority composed of Justices Castro and Makasiar) and of the Court's resolutions of November 20, 1973 and December
19, 1973 denying for lack of merit respondent's two motions for reconsideration dated October 18, 1973 and December
12, 1973"; and further resolved "to require respondent to show cause within ten (10) days from notice why he should not
be subjected to further disciplinary action for making false statements and misrepresentations in his petition to the
President that he has been allegedly deprived of due process of law contrary to the facts of record as stated in the Court's
decision, and for gross ignorance of the law and of the Constitution in asking the President to set aside by decree this
Court's decision imposing upon him two-year suspension from the practice of law".

In a 2nd Indorserment of June 18, 1975 and received by the Clerk of Court on the same day, then Assistant Executive
Secretary Zamora forwarded respondent's letter of the same date to the President stating that "(T)he undersigned by now
(has) come to realize that I made a big mistake by making said letter to you, Your Excellency, because the Honorable
Supreme Court may believe that I may be challenging the decision which is already final and executory and as such do
not observe the doctrine of protocol of separation of power(s)", and withdrawing and asking the President to disregard his
first letter.

Respondent in his Explanation of July 23, 1975 cited the fact that he had "immediately" withdrawn his letter asking for the
President's intervention and that "lately, however, he has fully realized that the Chief Executive is bereft (of) any authority
to set aside or modify the decision of this Honorable Supreme Court" and "with folded hands begs and asks an apology
from the members of this Honorable Court, with the full assurance that nothing of this sort will be repeated by him in the
future."

Respondent served his two-year suspension, as duly noted in the Court's Resolution of November 7, 1975. Since
respondent has apologized for his "big mistake" and now appreciates that under the fundamental principle of separation of
powers enshrined in both the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, a decision of this Court may not be set aside by the President,
the Court is disposed to view his misconduct and/or ignorance with liberality and will administer a reprimand with warning
of severe action on any future transgressions, considering respondent's unenviable record.

A final word is called for on respondent's statement in his Explanation inferring that he was led to file his petition with the
President by the fact that his motions for reconsideration "were only denied by the Clerk of Court without any comment
whatsoever". As the Court has had occasion to state in People vs. Catolico * and earlier cases, this remark of respondent
exposes his lack of appreciation or disregard of the time-honored usage of the Court that minute resolutions, summons
and processes of the Court, upon being duly adopted and recorded are transmitted to the interested parties by and upon
the signature of the Clerk of Court who is duly authorized to do so. With the thousands of resolutions approved monthly by
the Court, it would unduly tax the time and attention of the Chief Justice and members of the Court to the prejudice of the
administration of justice if all such papers, other than decisions, could be released only upon their own signatures.

ACCORDINGLY, respondent is hereby administered a reprimand for gross ignorance of the law and of the Constitution in
having asked the President to set aside by decree the Court's decision which suspended him for two years from the
practice of law, with warning that the commission of any transgression in the future of his oath and duties as a member of
the bar will be severely dealt with.

SO ORDERED.

ADM. CASE No. 7006 October 9, 2007

RE : SUSPENSION OF ATTY. ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO, FORMER SENIOR STATE PROSECUTOR.

DECISION

AZCUNA, J.:

This administrative case stemmed from the events of the proceedings in Crim. Case No. 5144, entitled People v. Luis Bucalon Plaza,
heard before the sala of Presiding Judge Jose Manuel P. Tan, Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Surigao City, Branch 29.

Crim. Case No. 5144 was originally raffled to the sala of Judge Floripinas C. Buyser, RTC of Surigao City, Branch 30. In an Order
dated March 14, 2002, Judge Buyser denied the Demurrer to the Evidence of the accused, declaring that the evidence thus presented
by the prosecution was sufficient to prove the crime of homicide and not the charge of murder. Consequently, the counsel for the
defense filed a Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail Bond. Respondent Atty. Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo, then Senior State Prosecutor and the
deputized prosecutor of the case, objected thereto mainly on the ground that the original charge of murder, punishable with reclusion
perpetua, was not subject to bail under Sec. 4, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court.1

In an Order dated August 30, 2002,2 Judge Buyser inhibited himself from further trying the case because of the "harsh insinuation" of
Senior Prosecutor Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo that he "lacks the cold neutrality of an impartial magistrate," by allegedly suggesting the filing
of the motion to fix the amount of bail bond by counsel for the accused.

The case was transferred to Branch 29 of the RTC of Surigao City, presided by Judge Jose Manuel P. Tan. In an Order dated
November 12, 2002, Judge Tan favorably resolved the Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail Bond, and fixed the amount of the bond at
P40,000.

Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order dated November 12, 2002, which motion was denied for lack of merit in an
Order dated February 10, 2003. In October, 2003, respondent appealed from the Orders dated November 12, 2002 and February 10,
2003, to the Court of Appeals (CA).
Instead of availing himself only of judicial remedies, respondent caused the publication of an article regarding the Order granting bail
to the accused in the August 18, 2003 issue of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily. The article, entitled "Senior prosecutor lambasts
Surigao judge for allowing murder suspect to bail out," reads:

SENIOR state prosecutor has lashed at a judge in Surigao City for allowing a murder suspect to go out on bail.

Senior state prosecutor Rogelio Bagabuyo lambasted Judge Manuel Tan of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 29 based in
Surigao City for ruling on a motion that sought a bailbond for Luis Plaza who stands charged with murdering a policeman . . . .

Plaza reportedly posted a P40-thousand bail bond.

Bagabuyo argued that the crime of murder is a non-bailable offense. But Bagabuyo admitted that a judge could still opt to
allow a murder suspect to bail out in cases when the evidence of the prosecution is weak.

But in this murder case, Bagabuyo said the judge who previously handled it, Judge F[lori]pinas B[uy]ser, described the
evidence to be strong. B[uy]ser inhibited from the case for an unclear reason.

xxx

Bagabuyo said he would contest Tan's decision before the Court of Appeals and would file criminal and administrative charges
of certiorari against the judge.

Bagabuyuo said he was not afraid of being cited in contempt by Judge Tan.

"This is the only way that the public would know that there are judges there who are displaying judicial arrogance." he said.3

In an Order dated August 21, 2003, the RTC of Surigao City, Branch 29, directed respondent and the writer of the article, Mark
Francisco of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, to appear in court on September 20, 2003 to explain why they should not be cited for
indirect contempt of court for the publication of the article which degraded the court and its presiding judge with its lies and
misrepresentation.

The said Order stated that contrary to the statements in the article, Judge Buyser described the evidence for the prosecution as not
strong, but sufficient to prove the guilt of the accused only for homicide. Moreover, it was not true that Judge Buyser inhibited himself
from the case for an unclear reason. Judge Buyser, in an Order dated August 30, 2002, declared in open court in the presence of
respondent that he was inhibiting himself from the case due to the harsh insinuation of respondent that he lacked the cold neutrality of
an impartial judge.

On the scheduled hearing of the contempt charge, Mark Francisco admitted that the Mindanao Gold Star Daily caused the publication
of the article. He disclosed that respondent, in a press conference, stated that the crime of murder is non-bailable. When asked by the
trial court why he printed such lies, Mr. Francisco answered that his only source was respondent.4 Mr. Francisco clarified that in the
statement alleging that Judge Buyser inhibited himself from the case for an unclear reason, the phrase "for an unclear reason," was
added by the newspaper's Executive Editor Herby S. Gomez.5

Respondent admitted that he caused the holding of the press conference, but refused to answer whether he made the statements in the
article until after he shall have filed a motion to dismiss. For his refusal to answer, the trial court declared him in contempt of court
pursuant to Sec. 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court.6 The Court's Order dated September 30, 2003 reads:

ORDER

Mr. Mark Francisco for publishing this article which is a lie clothed in half truth to give it a semblance of truth is hereby
ordered to pay a fine of P10,000. Prosecutor Bagabuyo, for obstinately refusing to explain why he should not be cited for
contempt and admitting that the article published in the Mindanao Gold Star Daily on August 18, 2003 and quoted in the Order
of this Court dated August 21, 2003 which is contemptuous was caused by him to be published, is hereby adjudged to have
committed indirect contempt of Court pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court and he is hereby ordered to suffer
the penalty of 30 days in jail. The BJMP is hereby ordered to arrest Prosecutor Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo if he does not put up a
bond of P100,000.00.

SO ORDERD.7

Respondent posted the required bond and was released from the custody of the law. He appealed the indirect contempt order to the
CA.

Despite the citation of indirect contempt, respondent presented himself to the media for interviews in Radio Station DXKS, and again
attacked the integrity of Judge Tan and the trial court's disposition in the proceedings of Crim. Case No. 5144.

In an Order dated October 20, 2003, the RTC of Surigao City, Branch 29, required respondent to explain and to show cause within
five days from receipt thereof why he should not be held in contempt for his media interviews that degraded the court and the
presiding judge, and why he should not be suspended from the practice of law for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility,
specifically Rule 11.05 of Canon 118 and Rule 13.02 of Canon 13.9

In the Order, the trial court stated that respondent was interviewed by Jun Clergio, and that the interview was repeatedly aired on
September 30, 2003 and in his news program between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m. on October 1, 2003. He was also interviewed by Tony
Consing on October 1 and 2, 2003, between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. in his radio program. In those radio interviews, respondent allegedly
called Judge Tan a judge who does not know the law, a liar, and a dictator who does not accord due process to the people.

The hearing for the second contempt charge was set on December 4, 2003.
On November, 20, 2003, respondent filed an Urgent Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer to Contempt alleging that he was
saddled with work of equal importance and needed ample time to answer the same. He also prayed for a bill of particulars in order to
properly prepare for his defense.

In an Order dated November 20, 2003, the trial court denied the motion. It stated that a bill of particulars is not applicable in contempt
proceedings, and that respondent's actions and statements are detailed in the Order of October 20, 2003.

On the scheduled hearing of December 4, 2003 respondent neither appeared in court nor informed the court of his absence. The trial
court issued an Order dated December 4, 2003 cancelling the hearing "to give Prosecutor Bagabuyo all the chances he asks for," and
ordered him to appear on January 12, 2004 to explain in writing or orally why he should not be cited in contempt of court pursuant to
the facts stated in the Order dated October 20, 2003. However, respondent did not appear in the scheduled hearing of January 12,
2004.

On January 15, 2004, the trial court received respondent's Answer dated January 8, 2004. Respondent denied the charge that he sought
to be interviewed by radio station DXKS. He, however, stated that right after the hearing of September 30, 2003, he was approached
by someone who asked him to comment on the Order issued in open court, and that his comment does not fall within the concept of
indirect contempt of court. He also admitted that he was interviewed by his friend, Tony Consing, at the latter's instance. He justified
his response during the interview as a simple exercise of his constitutional right of freedom of speech and that it was not meant to
offend or malign, and was without malice.

On February 8, 2004, the trial court issued an Order, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, finding preponderant evidence that Prosecutor Bagabuyo has grossly violated the Canons of the legal
profession and [is] guilty of grave professional misconduct, rendering him unfit to continue to be entrusted with the duties and
responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney, he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law.

Likewise, he is also found guilty of indirect contempt of court, for which he is hereby ordered to suffer the penalty of
IMPRISONMENT for ninety (90) days to be served at the Surigao City Jail and to pay the maximum fine of THIRTY
THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00). Future acts of contempt will be dealt with more severely.

Let copies of the relevant records be immediately forwarded to the Supreme Court for automatic review and for further
determination of grounds for [the] disbarment of Prosecutor Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo.10

The trial court found respondent's denials to be lame as the tape of his interview on October 2, 2003, duly transcribed, showed
disrespect of the court and its officers, thus:

TONY CONSING: Fiscal, nanglabay ang mga oras, nanglabay ang gamay'ng panahon ang samad sa imong kasingkasing
nagpabilin pa ba ni. O ingnon nato duna na bay pagbag-o sa imong huna-huna karon?

(Fiscal, after the lapse of time, are you still hurt? Or have you not changed your mind yet?)

BAGABUYO : Ang akong huna-huna kon aduna man ugaling pagbag-o ang pagsiguro, ang mga Huwes nga dili mahibalo sa
balaod tangtangon pagka abogado, mao kana.

(If my mind has changed at all, it is that I ensure that all judges who are ignorant of the law should be disbarred. That's it.)

xxx

BAGABUYO : Mao kana ang tinuod, Ton, ug kining akong guibatonan karon nga hunahuna mahitungod nianang mga Huwes
nga dili kahibalo sa balaod, magkadugay magkalami. Kada adlao nagatoon ako. Nagabasa ako sa mga bag-ong jurisprudence
ug sa atong balaod aron sa pagsiguro gayod nga inigsang-at unya nako sa kaso nga disbarment niining di mahibalo nga
Huwes, sigurado gayod ako nga katangtangan siya sa lisensiya . . . . Ang kini nga Huwes nga dili mahibalo sa balaod,
pagatangtangon na, dili lamang sa pagka-Huwes kon dili sa pagka-abogado. Tan-awa ra gyod kining iyang gibuhat nga
Order, Ton, ang iyang pagkabakakon . . . .

(That's true, Ton, and this conviction I have now about judges who are ignorant of the law is made firmer by time. I study
everyday. I read new jurisprudence and the law to insure that when I file the disbarment case against this Judge who does not
know his law, I am certain that he loses his license. . . . This judge who is ignorant of the law should not only be removed as a
judge but should also be disbarred. Just take a look at his Order, Ton, and see what a liar he is . . . .)

xxx

BAGABUYO : Yes, nag-ingon ang iyang Order. . . . Ngano nga nakaingon ako nga bakakon kini, nag-ingon nga kini konong
order given in open court, ang kalooy sa dios, ang iyang order sa Korte wala siya mag-ingon ug kantidad nga P100,000.00
nga bail bond. . . .

(Yes, his Order said that . . . . Why did I say that he is a liar? It states that this Order was "given in open court," and in God's
mercy, he did not state the amount of P100,000.00 as bail bond. . . .)

BAGABUYO : Kay dili man lagi mahibalo sa balaod, ako

siyang gui-ingnan, Your Honor, I have the right to appeal. Mibalik dayon, ug miingon siya, BJMP arrest Bagabuyo.

(Because he does not know the law, I said, "Your Honor, I have the right to appeal." Then he came back and said, "BJMP,
arrest Bagabuyo.")

xxx
BAGABUYO : . . . P100,000.00 ang iyang guipapiyansa.

Naunsa na? Dinhi makita nimo ang iyang pagka gross ignorance of the law. . . .

(He imposed a bail of P100,000.00. How come? This is where you will see his gross ignorance of the law. . . . )

xxx

TONY CONSING : So karon, unsay plano nimo karon?

(So what is your plan now?)

BAGABUYO : Sumala sa akong gui-ingon moundang lang ako kon matangtang na siya sa pagka abogado. . . .

(As I have said, I will only stop if he is already disbarred. . . .)

xxx

BAGABUYO : Nasuko siya niini kay hambugero kuno, pero angayan niyang hibaw-an nga ang trabajo sa Huwes dili ang
pagtan-aw kon ang tawo hambugero . . . . Ug ang akong gisulti mao lamang ang balaod nga siya in fact at that time I said he
is not conversant of the law, with regards to the case of murder. . . .

(He got angry because I was allegedly bragging but he should know that it is not for a judge to determine if a person is a
braggart. . . .And what I said was based on the law. In fact, at that time, I said he is not conversant of the law, with regards to
the case of murder . . . .)

xxx

BAGABUYO : Ah, mi sit down sab ako, contempt ra ba kadto . . . . Mao kana, pero unsa may iyang katuyoan – ang iyang
katuyoan nga ipa-adto ako didto kay didto, iya akong pakauwawan kay iya kong sikopon, iya kong ipa-priso, pero kay di man
lagi mahibalo sa balaod, ang iyang gui orderan BJMP, intawon por dios por Santo, Mr. Tan, pagbasa intawon ug balaod,
naunsa ka ba Mr. Tan? Unsa may imong hunahuna nga kon ikaw Huwes, ikaw na ang diktador, no way, no sir, ours is a
democratic country where all and everyone is entitled to due process of law – you did not accord me due process of law . . . .

(I sat down. . . . That's it. But what was his purpose? He made me come in order to humiliate me because he wanted me
arrested, he wanted me imprisoned, but because he is ignorant of the law, he ordered the BMJP. For God's sake, Mr. Tan,
what's wrong with you, Mr. Tan? Please read the law. What is your thinking? That when you are a judge, you are also a
dictator? No way, no sir, ours is a democratic country where all and everyone is entitled to due process of law – you did not
accord me due process of law. . . .)

TONY CONSING: So mopasaka kang disbarment, malaumon kita nga maaksiyonan kini, with all this problem sa Korte
Suprema.

(So you are filing a disbarment case? We hope that this be given action with all the problems in the Supreme Court.)

BAGABUYO : Dili ako mabalaka niana kay usa ka truck ang akong jurisprudence, nga ang mga Huwes nga di mahibalo sa
balaod pagatangtangon gayod sa ilang pagka Huwes. . . . Apan unsa man intawon ang balaod ang iyang gibasa niini
nadunggan ko nga kini kuno siya madjongero, mao bitaw na, madjong ang iyang guitunan?

(I am not worried because I have a truckload of jurisprudence that judges who are ignorant of the law must be removed from
the Bench. But what law has he been reading? I heard that he is a mahjong aficionado (mahjongero) and that is why he is
studying mahjong.11

The trial court concluded that respondent, as a member of the bar and an officer of the court, is duty bound to uphold the dignity and
authority of the court, and should not promote distrust in the administration of justice.

The trial court stated that it is empowered to suspend respondent from the practice of law under Sec. 28, Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court12 for any of the causes mentioned in Sec. 2713 of the same Rule. Respondent was given the opportunity to be heard, but he opted
to be silent. Thus, it held that the requirement of due process has been duly satisfied.

In accordance with the provisions of Sec. 29,14 Rule 138 and Sec. 9,15 Rule 139 of the Rules of Court, the RTC of Surigao City,
Branch 29, transmitted to the Office of the Bar Confidant the Statement of Facts of respondent's suspension from the practice of law,
dated July 14, 2005, together with the order of suspension and other relevant documents.

In its Report dated January 4, 2006, the Office of the Bar Confidant found that the article in the August 18, 2003 issue of the
Mindanao Gold Star Daily, which maligned the integrity and independence of the court and its officers, and respondent's criticism of
the trial court's Order dated November 12, 2002, which was aired in radio station DXKS, both in connection with Crim. Case No.
5144, constitute grave violation of oath of office by respondent. It stated that the requirement of due process was complied with when
respondent was given an opportunity to be heard, but respondent chose to remain silent.

The Office of the Bar Confidant recommended the implementation of the trial court's order of suspension dated February 8, 2004, and
that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year, with a stern warning that the repetition of a similar offense will be
dealt with more severely.

The Court approves the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant. It has been reiterated in Gonzaga v. Villanueva, Jr.16 that:
A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any violation of his oath, a patent disregard of his duties, or an odious deportment
unbecoming an attorney. Among the grounds enumerated in Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court are deceit; malpractice;
gross misconduct in office; grossly immoral conduct; conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; any violation of the oath
which he is required to take before admission to the practice of law; willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior
court; corrupt or willful appearance as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so. The grounds are not
preclusive in nature even as they are broad enough as to cover practically any kind of impropriety that a lawyer does or
commits in his professional career or in his private life. A lawyer must at no time be wanting in probity and moral fiber which
are not only conditions precedent to his entrance to the Bar, but are likewise essential demands for his continued membership
therein.

Lawyers are licensed officers of the courts who are empowered to appear, prosecute and defend; and upon whom peculiar duties,
responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by law as a consequence.17 Membership in the bar imposes upon them certain
obligations.18 Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates a lawyer to "observe and maintain the respect due to the
courts and to judicial officers and [he] should insist on similar conduct by others." Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 states that a lawyer "shall
submit grievances against a judge to the proper authorities only."

Respondent violated Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 when he admittedly caused the holding of a press conference where he made statements
against the Order dated November 12, 2002 allowing the accused in Crim. Case No. 5144 to be released on bail.

Respondent also violated Canon 11 when he indirectly stated that Judge Tan was displaying judicial arrogance in the article entitled,
Senior prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge for allowing murder suspect to bail out, which appeared in the August 18, 2003 issue of the
Mindanao Gold Star Daily. Respondent's statements in the article, which were made while Crim. Case No. 5144 was still pending in
court, also violated Rule 13.02 of Canon 13, which states that "a lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a
pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party."

In regard to the radio interview given to Tony Consing, respondent violated Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility for not resorting to the proper authorities only for redress of his grievances against Judge Tan. Respondent also violated
Canon 11 for his disrespect of the court and its officer when he stated that Judge Tan was ignorant of the law, that as a mahjong
aficionado, he was studying mahjong instead of studying the law, and that he was a liar.

Respondent also violated the Lawyer's Oath, as he has sworn to "conduct [himself] as a lawyer according to the best of [his]
knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to [his] clients."

As a senior state prosecutor and officer of the court, respondent should have set the example of observing and maintaining the respect
due to the courts and to judicial officers. Montecillo v. Gica19 held:

It is the duty of the lawyer to maintain towards the courts a respectful attitude. As an officer of the court, it is his duty to
uphold the dignity and authority of the court to which he owes fidelity, according to the oath he has taken. Respect for the
courts guarantees the stability of our democratic institutions which, without such respect, would be resting on a very shaky
foundation.

The Court is not against lawyers raising grievances against erring judges but the rules clearly provide for the proper venue and
procedure for doing so, precisely because respect for the institution must always be maintained.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Atty. Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo is found guilty of violating Rule 11.05, Canon 11 and Rule
13.02, Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and of violating the Lawyer's Oath, for which he is SUSPENDED from
the practice of law for one (1) year effective upon finality of this Decision, with a STERN WARNING that the repetition of a similar
offense shall be dealt with more severely.

Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant to be appended to respondent's personal record as an attorney,
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Department of Justice, and all courts in the country for their information and guidance.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-34369 September 30, 1974

ANTONIO VILLASIS, MATERNIDAD V. VILLASIS and SANTIAGO ORENDAIN, petitioners,


vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ELEUTERIO VILLASIS and LAURA S. VILLASIS, respondents.

Augusto A. Kimpo for petitioners.

Silvestre Untaran, Jr. for respondents.

TEEHANKEE, J.:p

The Court in dismissing the petition and affirming the appellate court's dismissal of petitioners-appellants' appeal for
failure to file appellants' brief finds that petitioners have shown no valid and justifiable reason for their inexplicable failure
to file their brief and have only themselves to blame for their counsel's utter inaction and gross indifference and neglect in
not having filed their brief for a year since receipt of due notice to file the same.

The case originated in the Antique court of first instance where after due trial judgment was rendered in favor of
respondents-plaintiffs upholding their action for quieting of title with recovery of possession and damages.
Petitioners-defendants appealed the adverse judgment to the Court of Appeals. On June 25, 1970, petitioners as
appellants received notice through their counsel Benjamin M. Valente to submit the appellants' brief within the
reglementary forty-five day period to expire on August 9, 1970.

On August 10, 1970 (the last day of the reglementary period, August 9 being a Sunday), petitioners' counsel, Atty.
Valente, filed a motion to withdraw as counsel due to his having been employed as technical assistant in the Supreme
Court, with a prayer that appellants' newly engaged counsel be given sufficient time to file their brief. Said new counsel,
Atty. Esdras F. Tayco, filed on August 18, 1970 his appearance with the appellate court.

On August 27, 1970, the appellate court received respondents-appellees' motion to dismiss the appeal dated August 5,
1970 for appellants' failure to file their brief within the reglementary period.

On September 12, 1970, the appellate court required both counsels of appellants, Atty. Valente (whose withdrawal it held
in abeyance until he filed a proper motion in verified form with the signed conformity of the clients as per its resolution of
August 18, 1970) and Atty. Tayco to comment on the dismissal motion.

Withdrawing counsel Valente filed his manifestation dated September 28, 1970 alleging inter alia that he had not received
a copy of the dismissal motion and could not therefore comment thereon and submitting therewith the signed conformity
of his clients to his withdrawal and reiterating his prayer for the court to grant his withdrawal and to grant appellants
sufficient time to file their brief. New counsel Tayco filed no comment whatsoever.

The appellate court granted withdrawing counsel's motion to withdraw per its resolution of October 9, 1970 but meanwhile
issued no resolution on the appellees' motion to dismiss the appeal.

On June 25, 1971 or after the lapse of more than eleven (11 months or to be more exact, 319 days) without appellants
having filed their brief at all, the appellate court's special sixth division1 issued its resolution granting the dismissal motion
and dismissing the appeal on the ground stated by appellees in their motion that appellants had failed to file their brief
within the reglementary 45-day period.

It was only then that new counsel Tayco apparently stirred from almost a year of inaction and filed a motion dated July 13,
1971 for reconsideration of the dismissal of the appeal on the ground that he as new counsel had not received the notice
to file brief. The appellate court per its resolution of August 17, 1971 denied the motion for reconsideration, pointing out
that "Attorney Tayco's appearance was entered [on August 18, 1970] after the period for filing brief had already expired
[on August 10, 1970]."2

New counsel Tayco filed a second motion for reconsideration on September 10, 1971 still without having filed appellants,
brief, which the appellate court3 denied per its resolution of October 6, 1971.

Hence, the present appeal by certiorari wherein petitioners are represented by their third counsel, Atty. Augusto A. Kimpo
vice Atty. Tayco.

The appeal is patently without merit.

New counsel Tayco's claim in his motion for reconsideration that he had not received the notice to file brief borders on the
frivolous. Such notice to file brief had been received by his predecessor-counsel Atty. Valente and is binding on him as
the successor. A new counsel who accepts a case in midstream is presumed and obliged to acquaint himself with all the
antecedent processes and proceedings that have transpired in the record prior to his takeover. It is noteworthy that Atty.
Tayco makes no claim that he was unaware that notice to file brief had been duly served on Atty. Valente and that the
period would expire on August 10, 1970 and that Atty. Valente had asked in his two withdrawal motions that he (Tayco) as
new counsel be granted "sufficient time" to file the brief.

Here the notice to file the brief had been received on June 25, 1970 to expire on August 10, 1970. The appellate court did
not dismiss the appeal at appellees' instance for failure of appellants to file brief until one year later as per its resolution of
June 25, 1971 or until almost eleven months after the expiration of the reglementary period on August 10, 1970.

The appellate court gave appellants all the time and opportunity to duly prosecute their appeal by filing their brief in the
interval to no avail. It asked both counsels per its resolution of September 12, 1970 (which in effect granted appellants the
sufficient time asked by Atty. Valente in his withdrawal motion to file their brief) to comment on the dismissal motion but
withdrawing counsel Valente claimed he could not file any comment as he had not received the motion while new counsel
Tayco ignored the court's resolution and filed no comment and filed no brief!

Even going by new counsel Tayco's mistaken notion that he was entitled to a new notice to file brief, the appellate court's
resolution of September 12, 1970 requiring his comment on the motion to dismiss appeal for failure to file appellant's brief
was tantamount to such notice and he should then have prepared and filed the brief within forty-five days thereafter. But
as already pointed out, he never filed the appellants' brief during the interval of almost 11 months that the appellate court
took before it finally dismissed the appeal per its resolution of June 25, 1971. During all this period and even during the
three months that followed when he filed two motions for reconsideration, he presented no earnest of prosecuting the
appeal by at least filing the brief even at that late date but contented himself with a perfunctory prayer in his motion that
"appellants be allowed to file their brief."!

The appellate court committed no error therefore in dismissing the appeal. Petitioners-appellants have shown no valid and
justifiable reason for their inexplicable failure to file their brief and have only themselves to blame for their counsel's utter
inaction and grow indifference and neglect in not having filed their brief for a year since receipt of due notice to file the
same. They could not even claim ignorance of the appellate court's notice to file brief since it had required withdrawing
counsel Valente to secure their written conformity before granting his withdrawal as counsel, and certainly they must have
ascertained from him as well as new counsel the status of their appeal — which accounts for Atty. Valente's repeated
prayers in his two motions for withdrawal for the granting of sufficient time for new counsel to file the brief. They had
almost a year thereafter to make sure that their new counsel did attend to their appeal and did file the brief.
The case of Alonso vs. Rosario4 cited by petitioners is clearly inapplicable. There, appellants had filed an opposition to
the motion to dismiss their appeal (filed by appellee just five days after the notice to file brief was served) asking that they
be allowed to file the brief after notice of denial of the motion, and when the appellate court denied both the dismissal and
the extension, they moved for reconsideration and for at least 15 days to file their brief, but the court therein both denied
reconsideration and dismissed the appeal as well for failure to file brief within the reglementary period. Within five (5) days
of such dismissal, appellants nevertheless filed their brief. This Court in reinstating the appeal held that "the period
consumed during the pendency of the motion to dismiss should be excluded from the period given to petitioners to submit
their brief, and if this is done, the brief submitted by them on April 17, 1957 may be deemed presented in due time."

It is manifest that there are two basic differences in this case: here, the motion to dismiss the appeal was filed precisely on
the ground of failure to file the brief after the expiration of the 45-day reglementary period and no question of suspension
of the period arises, whereas there, the appellee questioned appellants' right to appeal when only 5 days of their 45-day
period had elapsed such that the rule5 that a motion to dismiss "interrupts the time to plea" was applied by this Court by
analogy; and here, petitioners-appellants never filed their brief while there appellants immediately filed their brief within 5
days of notice of dismissal of their appeal.

It may parenthetically be noted that aside from petitioners' bare assertion of merit in their appeal, the Court has not been
shown that to reinstate the appeal would serve any purpose and not just be a futile waste of time, since petitioners have
never submitted their brief nor their proposed assignment of errors against the trial court's verdict. To cap it all, petitioners
in praying for a reversal of the appellate court's dismissal of their appeal, pray that they be given an extension of fifteen
(15) days from notice of the decision within which to file the appellants' brief (at last!). Such laches and lassitude on their
part serve but to confirm the correctness of the appellate court's dismissal of their appeal.

ACCORDINGLY, the petition at bar is dismissed with costs against petitioners.

G.R. Nos. 112438-39 December 12, 1995

CHEMPHIL EXPORT & IMPORT CORPORATION (CEIC), petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS JAIME Y. GONZALES, as Assignee of the Bank of the Philippine Islands
(BPI), RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION (RCBC), LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES (LBP),
PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL & INTERNATIONAL BANK (PCIB) and THE PHILIPPINE INVESTMENT SYSTEM
ORGANIZATION (PISO), respondents.

G.R. No. 113394 December 12, 1995

PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INDUSTRIAL BANK (AND ITS ASSIGNEE JAIME Y. GONZALES) petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OR APPEALS and CHEMPHIL EXPORT AND IMPORT CORPORATION (CEIC), respondents.

KAPUNAN, J.:

Before us is a legal tug-of-war between the Chemphil Export and Import Corporation (hereinafter referred to as CEIC), on
one side, and the PISO and Jaime Gonzales as assignee of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Rizal Commercial
Banking Corporation (RCBC), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCIB),
on the other (hereinafter referred to as the consortium), over 1,717,678 shares of stock (hereinafter referred to as the
"disputed shares") in the Chemical Industries of the Philippines (Chemphil/CIP).

Our task is to determine who is the rightful owner of the disputed shares.

Pursuant to our resolution dated 30 May 1994, the instant case is a consolidation of two petitions for review filed before us
as follows:

In G.R. Nos. 112438-39, CEIC seeks the reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals (former Twelfth Division)
promulgated on 30 June 1993 and its resolution of 29 October 1993, denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration in the
consolidated cases entitled "Dynetics, Inc., et al. v. PISO, et al." (CA-G.R. No. 20467) and "Dynetics, Inc., et al. v. PISO,
et al.; CEIC, Intervenor-Appellee" (CA-G.R. CV No. 26511).

The dispositive portion of the assailed decision reads, thus:

WHEREFORE, this Court resolves in these consolidated cases as follows:

1. The Orders of the Regional Trial Court, dated March 25, 1988, and May 20, 1988, subject of CA-G.R. CV
No. 10467, are SET ASIDE and judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the consortium and against
appellee Dynetics, Inc., the amount of the judgment, to be determined by Regional Trial Court, taking into
account the value of assets that the consortium may have already recovered and shall have recovered in
accordance with the other portions of this decision.

2. The Orders of the Regional Trial Court dated December 19, 1989 and March 5, 1990 are hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE and judgment is hereby rendered confirming the ownership of the consortium
over the Chemphil shares of stock, subject of CA-G.R. CV No. 26511, and the Order dated September 4,
1989, is reinstated.

No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. 1

In G.R. No. 113394, PCIB and its assignee, Jaime Gonzales, ask for the annulment of the Court of Appeals' decision
(former Special Ninth Division) promulgated on 26 March 1993 in "PCIB v. Hon. Job B. Madayag & CEIC" (CA-G.R. SP
NO. 20474) dismissing the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus filed by PCIB and of said court's resolution
dated 11 January 1994 denying their motion for reconsideration of its decision.2

The antecedent facts leading to the aforementioned controversies are as follows:

On September 25, 1984, Dynetics, Inc. and Antonio M. Garcia filed a complaint for declaratory relief and/or injunction
against the PISO, BPI, LBP, PCIB and RCBC or the consortium with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 45 (Civil
Case No. 8527), seeking judicial declaration, construction and interpretation of the validity of the surety agreement that
Dynetics and Garcia had entered into with the consortium and to perpetually enjoin the latter from claiming, collecting and
enforcing any purported obligations which Dynetics and Garcia might have undertaken in said agreement.3

The consortium filed their respective answers with counterclaims alleging that the surety agreement in question was valid
and binding and that Dynetics and Garcia were liable under the terms of the said agreement. It likewise applied for the
issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment against Dynetics and Garcia.4

Seven months later, or on 23 April 1985, Dynetics, Antonio Garcia and Matrix Management & Trading Corporation filed a
complaint for declaratory relief and/or injunction against the Security Bank & Trust Co. (SBTC case) before the Regional
Trial Court of Makati, Branch 135 docketed as Civil Case No. 10398.5

On 2 July 1985, the trial court granted SBTC's prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment and on 9 July
1985, a notice of garnishment covering Garcia's shares in CIP/Chemphil (including the disputed shares) was served on
Chemphil through its then President. The notice of garnishment was duly annotated in the stock and transfer books of
Chemphil on the same date.6

On 6 September 1985, the writ of attachment in favor of SBTC was lifted. However, the same was reinstated on 30
October 1985.7

In the meantime, on 12 July 1985, the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. 8527 (the consortium case) denied the
application of Dynetics and Garcia for preliminary injunction and instead granted the consortium's prayer for a
consolidated writ of preliminary attachment. Hence, on 19 July 1985, after the consortium had filed the required bond, a
writ of attachment was issued and various real and personal properties of Dynetics and Garcia were garnished, including
the disputed shares.8 This garnishment, however, was not annotated in Chemphil's stock and transfer book.

On 8 September 1987, PCIB filed a motion to dismiss the complaint of Dynetics and Garcia for lack of interest to
prosecute and to submit its counterclaims for decision, adopting the evidence it had adduced at the hearing of its
application for preliminary attachment.9

On 25 March 1988, the Regional Trial Court dismissed the complaint of Dynetics and Garcia in Civil Case No. 8527, as
well as the counterclaims of the consortium, thus:

Resolving defendant's, Philippine Commercial International Bank, MOTION TO DISMISS WITH MOTION
TO SUBMIT DEFENDANT PCIBANK's COUNTERCLAIM FOR DECISION, dated September 7, 1987:

(1) The motion to dismiss is granted; and the instant case is hereby ordered dismissed pursuant to Sec. 3,
Rule 17 of the Revised Rules of Court, plaintiff having failed to comply with the order dated July 16, 1987,
and having not taken further steps to prosecute the case; and

(2) The motion to submit said defendant's counterclaim for decision is denied; there is no need; said
counterclaim is likewise dismissed under the authority of Dalman vs. City Court of Dipolog City, L-63194,
January 21, 1985, wherein the Supreme Court stated that if the civil case is dismissed, so also is the
counterclaim filed therein. "A person cannot eat his cake and have it at the same time" (p. 645, record, Vol.
I).10

The motions for reconsideration filed by the consortium were, likewise, denied by the trial court in its order dated 20 May
1988:

The Court could have stood pat on its order dated 25 March 1988, in regard to which the defendants-banks
concerned filed motions for reconsideration. However, inasmuch as plaintiffs commented on said motions
that: "3). In any event, so as not to unduly foreclose on the rights of the respective parties to refile and
prosecute their respective causes of action, plaintiffs manifest their conformity to the modification of this
Honorable Court's order to indicate that the dismissal of the complaint and the counterclaims is without
prejudice." (p. 2, plaintiffs' COMMENT etc. dated May 20, 1988). The Court is inclined to so modify the said
order.

WHEREFORE , the order issued on March 25, 1988, is hereby modified in the sense that the dismissal of
the complaint as well as of the counterclaims of defendants RCBC, LBP, PCIB and BPI shall be considered
as without prejudice (p. 675, record, Vol. I).11

Unsatisfied with the aforementioned order, the consortium appealed to the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. CV
No. 20467.

On 17 January 1989 during the pendency of consortium's appeal in CA-G.R. CV No. 20467, Antonio Garcia and the
consortium entered into a Compromise Agreement which the Court of Appeals approved on 22 May 1989 and became the
basis of its judgment by compromise. Antonio Garcia was dropped as a party to the appeal leaving the consortium to
proceed solely against Dynetics, Inc.12 On 27 June 1989, entry of judgment was made by the Clerk of Court.13

Hereunder quoted are the salient portions of said compromise agreement:

xxx xxx xxx

3. Defendants, in consideration of avoiding an extended litigation, having agreed to limit their claim against
plaintiff Antonio M. Garcia to a principal sum of P145 Million immediately demandable and to waive all other
claims to interest, penalties, attorney's fees and other charges. The aforesaid compromise amount of
indebtedness of P145 Million shall earn interest of eighteen percent (18%) from the date of this
Compromise.

4. Plaintiff Antonio M. Garcia and herein defendants have no further claims against each other.

5. This Compromise shall be without prejudice to such claims as the parties herein may have against plaintiff
Dynetics, Inc.

6. Plaintiff Antonio M. Garcia shall have two (2) months from date of this Compromise within which to work
for the entry and participation of his other creditor, Security Bank and Trust Co., into this Compromise. Upon
the expiration of this period, without Security Bank and Trust Co. having joined, this Compromise shall be
submitted to the Court for its information and approval (pp. 27, 28-31, rollo, CA-G.R. CV No. 10467).14

It appears that on 15 July 1988, Antonio Garcia under a Deed of Sale transferred to Ferro Chemicals, Inc. (FCI) the
disputed shares and other properties for P79,207,331.28. It was agreed upon that part of the purchase price shall be paid
by FCI directly to SBTC for whatever judgment credits that may be adjudged in the latter's favor and against Antonio
Garcia in the aforementioned SBTC case.15

On 6 March 1989, FCI, through its President Antonio M. Garcia, issued a Bank of America Check No. 860114 in favor of
SBTC in the amount of P35,462,869.62. 16 SBTC refused to accept the check claiming that the amount was not sufficient
to discharge the debt. The check was thus consigned by Antonio Garcia and Dynetics with the Regional Trial Court as
payment of their judgment debt in the SBTC case.17

On 26 June 1989, FCI assigned its 4,119,614 shares in Chemphil, which included the disputed shares, to petitioner CEIC.
The shares were registered and recorded in the corporate books of Chemphil in CEIC's name and the corresponding
stock certificates were issued to it.18

Meanwhile, Antonio Garcia, in the consortium case, failed to comply with the terms of the compromise agreement he
entered into with the consortium on 17 January 1989. As a result, on 18 July 1989, the consortium filed a motion for
execution which was granted by the trial court on 11 August 1989. Among Garcia's properties that were levied upon on
execution were his 1,717,678 shares in Chemphil (the disputed shares) previously garnished on 19 July 1985.19

On 22 August 1989, the consortium acquired the disputed shares of stock at the public auction sale conducted by the
sheriff for P85,000,000.00. 20 On same day, a Certificate of Sale covering the disputed shares was issued to it.

On 30 August 1989,21 the consortium filed a motion (dated 29 August 1989) to order the corporate secretary of Chemphil
to enter in its stock and transfer books the sheriff's certificate of sale dated 22 August 1989, and to issue new certificates
of stock in the name of the banks concerned. The trial court granted said motion in its order dated 4 September 1989,
thus:

For being legally proper, defendant's MOTION TO ORDER THE CORPORATE SECRETARY OF
CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES OF THE PHILS., INC. (CHEMPIL) TO ENTER IN THE STOCK AND TRANSFER
BOOKS OF CHEMPHIL THE SHERIFF'S CERTIFICATE OF SALE DATED AUGUST 22, 1989 AND TO
ISSUE NEW CERTIFICATES OF STOCK IN THE NAME OF THE DEFENDANT BANKS, dated August 29,
1989, is hereby granted.

WHEREFORE, the corporate secretary of the aforesaid corporation, or whoever is acting for and in his
behalf, is hereby ordered to (1) record and/or register the Certificate of Sale dated August 22, 1989 issued
by Deputy Sheriff Cristobal S. Jabson of this Court; (2) to cancel the certificates of stock of plaintiff Antonio
M. Garcia and all those which may have subsequently been issued in replacement and/or in substitution
thereof; and (3) to issue in lieu of the said shares new shares of stock in the name of the defendant Banks,
namely, PCIB, BPI, RCBC, LBP and PISO bank in such proportion as their respective claims would appear
in this suit (p. 82, record, Vol. II).22

On 26 September 1989, CEIC filed a motion to intervene (dated 25 September 1989) in the consortium case seeking the
recall of the abovementioned order on grounds that it is the rightful owner of the disputed shares.23 It further alleged that
the disputed shares were previously owned by Antonio M. Garcia but subsequently sold by him on 15 July 1988 to Ferro
Chemicals, Inc. (FCI) which in turn assigned the same to CEIC in an agreement dated 26 June 1989.

On 27 September 1989, the trial court granted CEIC's motion allowing it to intervene, but limited only to the incidents
covered by the order dated 4 September 1989. In the same order, the trial court directed Chemphil's corporate secretary
to temporarily refrain from implementing the 4 September 1989
order.24

On 2 October 1989, the consortium filed their opposition to CEIC's motion for intervention alleging that their attachment
lien over the disputed shares of stocks must prevail over the private sale in favor of the CEIC considering that said shares
of stock were garnished in the consortium's favor as early as 19 July 1985.25
On 4 October 1989, the consortium filed their opposition to CEIC's motion to set aside the 4 September 1989 order and
moved to lift the 27 September 1989 order.26

On 12 October 1989, the consortium filed a manifestation and motion to lift the 27 September 1989 order, to reinstate the
4 September 1989 order and to direct CEIC to surrender the disputed stock certificates of Chemphil in its possession
within twenty-four (24) hours, failing in which the President, Corporate Secretary and stock and transfer agent of Chemphil
be directed to register the names of the banks making up the consortium as owners of said shares, sign the new
certificates of stocks evidencing their ownership over said shares and to immediately deliver the stock certificates to
them.27

Resolving the foregoing motions, the trial court rendered an order dated 19 December 1989, the dispositive portion of
which reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Urgent Motion dated September 25, 1989 filed by CEIC is hereby
GRANTED. Accordingly, the Order of September 4, 1989, is hereby SET ASIDE, and any and all acts of the
Corporate Secretary of CHEMPHIL and/or whoever is acting for and in his behalf, as may have already been
done, carried out or implemented pursuant to the Order of September 4, 1989, are hereby nullified.

PERFORCE, the CONSORTIUM'S Motions dated October 3, 1989 and October 11, 1989, are both hereby
denied for lack of merit.

The Cease and Desist Order dated September 27, 1989, is hereby AFFIRMED and made PERMANENT.

SO ORDERED.28

In so ruling, the trial court ratiocinated in this wise:

xxx xxx xxx

After careful and assiduous consideration of the facts and applicable law and jurisprudence, the Court holds
that CEIC's Urgent Motion to Set Aside the Order of September 4, 1989 is impressed with merit. The
CONSORTIUM has admitted that the writ of attachment/garnishment issued on July 19, 1985 on the shares
of stock belonging to plaintiff Antonio M. Garcia was not annotated and registered in the stock and transfer
books of CHEMPHIL. On the other hand, the prior attachment issued in favor of SBTC on July 2, 1985 by
Branch 135 of this Court in Civil Case No. 10398, against the same CHEMPHIL shares of Antonio M.
Garcia, was duly registered and annotated in the stock and transfer books of CHEMPHIL. The matter of
non-recording of the Consortium's attachment in Chemphil's stock and transfer book on the shares of
Antonio M. Garcia assumes significance considering CEIC's position that FCI and later CEIC acquired the
CHEMPHIL shares of Antonio M. Garcia without knowledge of the attachment of the CONSORTIUM. This is
also important as CEIC claims that it has been subrogated to the rights of SBTC since CEIC's predecessor-
in-interest, the FCI, had paid SBTC the amount of P35,462,869.12 pursuant to the Deed of Sale and
Purchase of Shares of Stock executed by Antonio M. Garcia on July 15, 1988. By reason of such payment,
sale with the knowledge and consent of Antonio M. Garcia, FCI and CEIC, as party-in-interest to FCI, are
subrogated by operation of law to the rights of SBTC. The Court is not unaware of the citation in CEIC's
reply that "as between two (2) attaching creditors, the one whose claims was first registered on the books of
the corporation enjoy priority." (Samahang Magsasaka, Inc. vs. Chua Gan, 96 Phil. 974.)

The Court holds that a levy on the shares of corporate stock to be valid and binding on third persons, the
notice of attachment or garnishment must be registered and annotated in the stock and transfer books of the
corporation, more so when the shares of the corporation are listed and traded in the stock exchange, as in
this case. As a matter of fact, in the CONSORTIUM's motion of August 30, 1989, they specifically move to
"order the Corporate Secretary of CHEMPHIL to enter in the stock and transfer books of CHEMPHIL the
Sheriff's Certificate of Sale dated August 22, 1989." This goes to show that, contrary to the arguments of the
CONSORTIUM, in order that attachment, garnishment and/or encumbrances affecting rights and ownership
on shares of a corporation to be valid and binding, the same has to be recorded in the stock and transfer
books.

Since neither CEIC nor FCI had notice of the CONSORTIUM's attachment of July 19, 1985, CEIC's shares
of stock in CHEMPHIL, legally acquired from Antonio M. Garcia, cannot be levied upon in execution to
satisfy his judgment debts. At the time of the Sheriff's levy on execution, Antonio M. Garcia has no more in
CHEMPHIL which could be levied upon.29

xxx xxx xxx

On 23 January 1990, the consortium and PCIB filed separate motions for reconsideration of the aforestated order which
were opposed by petitioner
CEIC.30

On 5 March 1990, the trial court denied the motions for


reconsideration.31

On 16 March 1990, the consortium appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. No. 26511). In its Resolution dated 9
August 1990, the Court of Appeals consolidated CA-G.R. No. 26511 with CA-G.R. No. 20467.32

The issues raised in the two cases, as formulated by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:

I
WHETHER OR NOT, UNDER THE PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE, THE TRIAL COURT
ERRED IN DISMISSING THE COUNTERCLAIMS OF THE CONSORTIUM IN CIVIL CASE NO. 8527;

II

WHETHER OR NOT THE DISMISSAL OF CIVIL CASE NO. 8527 RESULTED IN THE DISCHARGE OF
THE WRIT OF ATTACHMENT ISSUED THEREIN EVEN AS THE CONSORTIUM APPEALED THE
ORDER DISMISSING CIVIL CASE NO. 8527;

III

WHETHER OR NOT THE JUDGMENT BASED ON COMPROMISE RENDERED BY THIS COURT ON


MAY 22, 1989 HAD THE EFFECT OF DISCHARGING THE ATTACHMENTS ISSUED IN CIVIL CASE NO.
8527;

IV

WHETHER OR NOT THE ATTACHMENT OF SHARES OF STOCK, IN ORDER TO BIND THIRD


PERSONS, MUST BE RECORDED IN THE STOCK AND TRANSFER BOOK OF THE CORPORATION;
AND

WHETHER OR NOT FERRO CHEMICALS, INC. (FCI), AND ITS SUCCESSOR-IN-INTEREST, CEIC,
WERE SUBROGATED TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY BANK & TRUST COMPANY (SBTC) IN A
SEPARATE CIVIL ACTION. (This issue appears to be material as SBTC is alleged to have obtained an
earlier attachment over the same Chemphil shares that the consortium seeks to recover in the case at
bar).33

On 6 April 1990, the PCIB separately filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus
with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction (CA-G.R. No. SP-20474), likewise, assailing the very same
orders dated 19 December 1989 and 5 March 1990, subject of CA-G.R. No. 26511.34

On 30 June 1993, the Court of Appeals (Twelfth Division) in CA-G.R. No. 26511 and CA-G.R. No. 20467 rendered a
decision reversing the orders of the trial court and confirming the ownership of the consortium over the disputed shares.
CEIC's motion for reconsideration was denied on 29 October 1993.35

In ruling for the consortium, the Court of Appeals made the following ratiocination:36

On the first issue, it ruled that the evidence offered by the consortium in support of its counterclaims,
coupled with the failure of Dynetics and Garcia to prosecute their case, was sufficient basis for the RTC to
pass upon and determine the consortium's counterclaims.

The Court of Appeals found no application for the ruling in Dalman v. City Court of Dipolog, 134 SCRA 243
(1985) that "a person cannot eat his cake and have it at the same time. If the civil case is dismissed, so also
is the counterclaim filed therein" because the factual background of the present action is different. In the
instant case, both Dynetics and Garcia and the consortium presented testimonial and documentary evidence
which clearly should have supported a judgment on the merits in favor of the consortium. As the consortium
correctly argued, the net atrocious effect of the Regional Trial Court's ruling is that it allows a situation where
a party litigant is forced to plead and prove compulsory counterclaims only to be denied those counterclaims
on account of the adverse party's failure to prosecute his case. Verily, the consortium had no alternative but
to present its counterclaims in Civil Case No. 8527 since its counterclaims are compulsory in nature.

On the second issue, the Court of Appeals opined that unless a writ of attachment is lifted by a special order
specifically providing for the discharge thereof, or unless a case has been finally dismissed against the party
in whose favor the attachment has been issued, the attachment lien subsists. When the consortium,
therefore, took an appeal from the Regional Trial Court's orders of March 25, 1988 and May 20, 1988, such
appeal had the effect of preserving the consortium's attachment liens secured at the inception of Civil Case
No. 8527, invoking the rule in Olib v. Pastoral, 188 SCRA 692 (1988) that where the main action is
appealed, the attachment issued in the said main case is also considered appealed.

Anent the third issue, the compromise agreement between the consortium and Garcia dated 17 January
1989 did not result in the abandonment of its attachment lien over his properties. Said agreement was
approved by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated 22 May 1989. The judgment based on the
compromise agreement had the effect of preserving the said attachment lien as security for the satisfaction
of said judgment (citing BF Homes, Inc. v. CA, 190 SCRA 262, [1990]).

As to the fourth issue, the Court of Appeals agreed with the consortium's position that the attachment of
shares of stock in a corporation need not be recorded in the corporation's stock and transfer book in order to
bind third persons.

Section 7(d), Rule 57 of the Rules of Court was complied with by the consortium (through the Sheriff of the
trial court) when the notice of garnishment over the Chemphil shares of Garcia was served on the president
of Chemphil on July 19, 1985. Indeed, to bind third persons, no law requires that an attachment of shares of
stock be recorded in the stock and transfer book of a corporation. The statement attributed by the Regional
Trial Court to the Supreme Court in Samahang Magsasaka, Inc. vs. Gonzalo Chua Guan, G.R. No. L-7252,
February 25, 1955 (unreported), to the effect that "as between two attaching creditors, the one whose claim
was registered first on the books of the corporation enjoys priority," is an obiter dictum that does not modify
the procedure laid down in Section 7(d), Rule 57 of the Rules of Court.

Therefore, ruled the Court of Appeals, the attachment made over the Chemphil shares in the name of Garcia
on July 19, 1985 was made in accordance with law and the lien created thereby remained valid and
subsisting at the time Garcia sold those shares to FCI (predecessor-in-interest of appellee CEIC) in 1988.

Anent the last issue, the Court of Appeals rejected CEIC's subrogation theory based on Art. 1302 (2) of the
New Civil Code stating that the obligation to SBTC was paid by Garcia himself and not by a third party (FCI).

The Court of Appeals further opined that while the check used to pay SBTC was a FCI corporate check, it
was funds of Garcia in FCI that was used to pay off SBTC. That the funds used to pay off SBTC were funds
of Garcia has not been refuted by FCI or CEIC. It is clear, therefore, that there was an attempt on the part of
Garcia to use FCI and CEIC as convenient vehicles to deny the consortium its right to make itself whole
through an execution sale of the Chemphil shares attached by the consortium at the inception of Civil Case
No. 8527. The consortium, therefore, is entitled to the issuance of the Chemphil shares of stock in its favor.
The Regional Trial Court's order of September 4, 1989, should, therefore, be reinstated in toto.

Accordingly, the question of whether or not the attachment lien in favor of SBTC in the SBTC case is
superior to the attachment lien in favor of the consortium in Civil Case No. 8527 becomes immaterial with
respect to the right of intervenor-appellee CEIC. The said issue would have been relevant had CEIC
established its subrogation to the rights of SBTC.

On 26 March 1993, the Court of Appeals (Special Ninth Division) in CA-G.R. No. SP 20474 rendered a decision denying
due course to and dismissing PCIB's petition for certiorari on grounds that PCIB violated the rule against forum-shopping
and that no grave abuse of discretion was committed by respondent Regional Trial Court in issuing its assailed orders
dated 19 December 1989 and 5 March 1990. PCIB's motion for reconsideration was denied on 11 January 1994.37

On 7 July 1993, the consortium, with the exception of PISO, assigned without recourse all its rights and interests in the
disputed shares to Jaime Gonzales.38

On 3 January 1994, CEIC filed the instant petition for review docketed as G.R. Nos. 112438-39 and assigned the
following errors:

I.

THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN SETTING ASIDE AND REVERSING
THE ORDERS OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT DATED DECEMBER 5, 1989 AND MARCH 5, 1990
AND IN NOT CONFIRMING PETITIONER'S OWNERSHIP OVER THE DISPUTED CHEMPHIL SHARES
AGAINST THE FRIVOLOUS AND UNFOUNDED CLAIMS OF THE CONSORTIUM.

II.

THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED:

(1) In not holding that the Consortium's attachment over the disputed Chemphil shares did not
vest any priority right in its favor and cannot bind third parties since admittedly its attachment
on 19 July 1985 was not recorded in the stock and transfer books of Chemphil, and
subordinate to the attachment of SBTC which SBTC registered and annotated in the stock and
transfer books of Chemphil on 2 July 1985, and that the Consortium's attachment failed to
comply with Sec. 7(d), Rule 57 of the Rules as evidenced by the notice of garnishment of the
deputy sheriff of the trial court dated 19 July 1985 (annex "D") which the sheriff served on a
certain Thelly Ruiz who was neither President nor managing agent of Chemphil;

(2) In not applying the case law enunciated by this Honorable Supreme Court in Samahang
Magsasaka, Inc. vs. Gonzalo Chua Guan, 96 Phil. 974 that as between two attaching creditors,
the one whose claim was registered first in the books of the corporation enjoys priority, and
which respondent Court erroneously characterized as mere obiter dictum;

(3) In not holding that the dismissal of the appeal of the Consortium from the order of the trial
court dismissing its counterclaim against Antonio M. Garcia and the finality of the compromise
agreement which ended the litigation between the Consortium and Antonio M. Garcia in the
Dynetics case had ipso jure discharged the Consortium's purported attachment over the
disputed shares.

III.

THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT CEIC HAD BEEN
SUBROGATED TO THE RIGHTS OF SBTC SINCE CEIC'S PREDECESSOR IN INTEREST HAD PAID
SBTC PURSUANT TO THE DEED OF SALE AND PURCHASE OF STOCK EXECUTED BY ANTONIO M.
GARCIA ON JULY 15, 1988, AND THAT BY REASON OF SUCH PAYMENT, WITH THE CONSENT AND
KNOWLEDGE OF ANTONIO M. GARCIA, FCI AND CEIC, AS PARTY IN INTEREST TO FCI, WERE
SUBROGATED BY OPERATION OF LAW TO THE RIGHTS OF SBTC.

IV.

THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED AND MADE UNWARRANTED


INFERENCES AND CONCLUSIONS, WITHOUT ANY SUPPORTING EVIDENCE, THAT THERE WAS AN
ATTEMPT ON THE PART OF ANTONIO M. GARCIA TO USE FCI AND CEIC AS CONVENIENT
VEHICLES TO DENY THE CONSORTIUM ITS RIGHTS TO MAKE ITSELF WHOLE THROUGH AN
EXECUTION OF THE CHEMPHIL SHARES PURPORTEDLY ATTACHED BY THE CONSORTIUM ON 19
JULY 1985. 39

On 2 March 1994, PCIB filed its own petition for review docketed as G.R. No. 113394 wherein it raised the following
issues:

I. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN RENDERING THE


DECISION AND RESOLUTION IN QUESTION (ANNEXES A AND B) IN DEFIANCE OF LAW AND
JURISPRUDENCE BY FINDING RESPONDENT CEIC AS HAVING BEEN SUBROGATED TO THE
RIGHTS OF SBTC BY THE PAYMENT BY FCI OF GARCIA'S DEBTS TO THE LATTER DESPITE THE
FACT THAT —

A. FCI PAID THE SBTC DEBT BY VIRTUE OF A CONTRACT BETWEEN FCI AND GARCIA,
THUS, LEGAL SUBROGATION DOES NOT ARISE;

B. THE SBTC DEBT WAS PAID BY GARCIA HIMSELF AND NOT BY FCI, HENCE,
SUBROGATION BY PAYMENT COULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED;

C. FCI DID NOT ACQUIRE ANY RIGHT OVER THE DISPUTED SHARES AS SBTC HAD
NOT YET LEVIED UPON NOR BOUGHT THOSE SHARES ON EXECUTION.
ACCORDINGLY, WHAT FCI ACQUIRED FROM SBTC WAS SIMPLY A JUDGMENT CREDIT
AND AN ATTACHMENT LIEN TO SECURE ITS SATISFACTION.

II. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN SUSTAINING THE ORDERS
OF THE TRIAL COURT DATED DECEMBER 19, 1989 AND MARCH 5, 1990 WHICH DENIED
PETITIONER'S OWNERSHIP OVER THE DISPUTED SHARES NOTWITHSTANDING PROVISIONS OF
LAW AND EXTANT JURISPRUDENCE ON THE MATTER THAT PETITIONER AND THE CONSORTIUM
HAVE PREFERRED SENIOR RIGHTS THEREOVER.

III. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEAL COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN CONCLUDING THAT THE
DISMISSAL OF THE COMPLAINT AND THE COUNTERCLAIM IN CIVIL CASE NO. 8527 ALSO
RESULTED IN THE DISCHARGE OF THE WRIT OF ATTACHMENT DESPITE THE RULINGS OF THIS
HONORABLE COURT IN BF HOMES VS. COURT OF APPEALS, G.R. NOS. 76879 AND 77143,
OCTOBER 3, 1990, 190 SCRA 262, AND IN OLIB VS. PASTORAL, G.R. NO. 81120, AUGUST 20, 1990,
188 SCRA 692 TO THE CONTRARY.

IV. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS EXCEEDED ITS JURISDICTION IN RULING ON THE MERITS
OF THE MAIN CASE NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THOSE MATTERS WERE NOT ON APPEAL BEFORE
IT.

V. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN HOLDING THAT


PETITIONER IS GUILTY OF FORUM SHOPPING DESPITE THE FACT THAT SC CIRCULAR NO. 28-91
WAS NOT YET IN FORCE AND EFFECT AT THE TIME THE PETITION WAS FILED BEFORE
RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT, AND THAT ITS COUNSEL AT THAT TIME HAD ADEQUATE BASIS
TO BELIEVE THAT CERTIORARI AND NOT AN APPEAL OF THE TRIAL COURT'S ORDERS WAS THE
APPROPRIATE RELIEF.40

As previously stated, the issue boils down to who is legally entitled to the disputed shares of Chemphil. We shall resolve
this controversy by examining the validity of the claims of each party and, thus, determine whose claim has priority.

CEIC's claim

CEIC traces its claim over the disputed shares to the attachment lien obtained by SBTC on 2 July 1985 against Antonio
Garcia in Civil Case No. 10398. It avers that when FCI, CEIC's predecessor-in-interest, paid SBTC the due obligations of
Garcia to the said bank pursuant to the Deed of Absolute Sale and Purchase of Shares of Stock,41 FCI, and later CEIC,
was subrogated to the rights of SBTC, particularly to the latter's aforementioned attachment lien over the disputed shares.

CEIC argues that SBTC's attachment lien is superior as it was obtained on 2 July 1985, ahead of the consortium's
purported attachment on 19 July 1985. More importantly, said CEIC lien was duly recorded in the stock and transfer
books of Chemphil.

CEIC's subrogation theory is unavailing.

By definition, subrogation is "the transfer of all the rights of the creditor to a third person, who substitutes him in all his
rights. It may either be legal or conventional. Legal subrogation is that which takes place without agreement but by
operation of law because of certain acts; this is the subrogation referred to in article 1302. Conventional subrogation is
that which takes place by agreement of the parties . . ."42

CEIC's theory is premised on Art. 1302 (2) of the Civil Code which states:

Art. 1302. It is presumed that there is legal subrogation:

(1) When a creditor pays another creditor who is preferred, even without the debtor's knowledge;
(2) When a third person, not interested in the obligation, pays with the express or tacit approval of the
debtor;

(3) When, even without the knowledge of the debtor, a person interested in the fulfillment of the obligation
pays, without prejudice to the effects of confusion as to the latter's share. (Emphasis ours.)

Despite, however, its multitudinous arguments, CEIC presents an erroneous interpretation of the concept of subrogation.
An analysis of the situations involved would reveal the clear inapplicability of Art. 1302 (2).

Antonio Garcia sold the disputed shares to FCI for a consideration of P79,207,331.28. FCI, however, did not pay the
entire amount to Garcia as it was obligated to deliver part of the purchase price directly to SBTC pursuant to the following
stipulation in the Deed of Sale:

Manner of Payment

Payment of the Purchase Price shall be made in accordance with the following order of preference provided
that in no instance shall the total amount paid by the Buyer exceed the Purchase Price:

a. Buyer shall pay directly to the Security Bank and Trust Co. the amount determined by the Supreme Court
as due and owing in favor of the said bank by the Seller.

The foregoing amount shall be paid within fifteen (15) days from the date the decision of the Supreme Court
in the case entitled "Antonio M. Garcia, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al." G.R. Nos. 82282-83 becomes final
and executory. 43 (Emphasis ours.)

Hence, when FCI issued the BA check to SBTC in the amount of P35,462,869.62 to pay Garcia's indebtedness to the said
bank, it was in effect paying with Garcia's money, no longer with its own, because said amount was part of the purchase
price which FCI owed Garcia in payment for the sale of the disputed shares by the latter to the former. The money "paid"
by FCI to SBTC, thus properly belonged to Garcia. It is as if Garcia himself paid his own debt to SBTC but through a third
party — FCI.

It is, therefore, of no consequence that what was used to pay SBTC was a corporate check of FCI. As we have earlier
stated, said check no longer represented FCI funds but Garcia's money, being as it was part of FCI's payment for the
acquisition of the disputed shares. The FCI check should not be taken at face value, the attendant circumstances must
also be considered.

The aforequoted contractual stipulation in the Deed of Sale dated 15 July 1988 between Antonio Garcia and FCI is
nothing more but an arrangement for the sake of convenience. Payment was to be effected in the aforesaid manner so as
to prevent money from changing hands needlessly. Besides, the very purpose of Garcia in selling the disputed shares and
his other properties was to "settle certain civil suits filed against him."44

Since the money used to discharge Garcia's debt rightfully belonged to him, FCI cannot be considered a third party payor
under Art. 1302 (2). It was but a conduit, or as aptly categorized by respondents, merely an agent as defined in Art. 1868
of the Civil Code:

Art. 1868. By the contract of agency a person binds himself to render some service or to do something in
representation or on behalf of another, with the consent or authority of the latter.

FCI was merely fulfilling its obligation under the aforementioned Deed of Sale.

Additionally, FCI is not a disinterested party as required by Art. 1302 (2) since the benefits of the extinguishment of the
obligation would redound to none other but itself.45 Payment of the judgment debt to SBTC resulted in the discharge of
the attachment lien on the disputed shares purchased by FCI. The latter would then have a free and "clean" title to said
shares.

In sum, CEIC, for its failure to fulfill the requirements of Art. 1302 (2), was not subrogated to the rights of SBTC against
Antonio Garcia and did not acquire SBTC's attachment lien over the disputed shares which, in turn, had already been
lifted or discharged upon satisfaction by Garcia, through FCI, of his debt to the said bank.46

The rule laid down in the case of Samahang Magsasaka, Inc. v. Chua Guan,47 that as between two attaching creditors
the one whose claim was registered ahead on the books of the corporation enjoys priority, clearly has no application in the
case at bench. As we have amply discussed, since CEIC was not subrogated to SBTC's right as attaching creditor, which
right in turn, had already terminated after Garcia paid his debt to SBTC, it cannot, therefore, be categorized as an
attaching creditor in the present controversy. CEIC cannot resurrect and claim a right which no longer exists. The issue in
the instant case, then, is priority between an attaching creditor (the consortium) and a purchaser (FCI/CEIC) of the
disputed shares of stock and not between two attaching creditors — the subject matter of the aforestated Samahang
Magsasaka case.

CEIC, likewise, argues that the consortium's attachment lien over the disputed Chemphil shares is null and void and not
binding on third parties due to the latter's failure to register said lien in the stock and transfer books of Chemphil as
mandated by the rule laid down by the Samahang Magsasaka v. Chua Guan.48

The attachment lien acquired by the consortium is valid and effective. Both the Revised Rules of Court and the
Corporation Code do not require annotation in the corporation's stock and transfer books for the attachment of shares of
stock to be valid and binding on the corporation and third party.
Section 74 of the Corporation Code which enumerates the instances where registration in the stock and transfer books of
a corporation provides:

Sec. 74. Books to be kept; stock transfer agent. —

xxx xxx xxx

Stock corporations must also keep a book to be known as the stock and transfer book, in which must be
kept a record of all stocks in the names of the stockholders alphabetically arranged; the installments paid
and unpaid on all stock for which subscription has been made, and the date of payment of any settlement; a
statement of every alienation, sale or transfer of stock made, the date thereof, and by and to whom made;
and such other entries as the by-laws may prescribe. The stock and transfer book shall be kept in the
principal office of the corporation or in the office of its stock transfer agent and shall be open for inspection
by any director or stockholder of the corporation at reasonable hours on business days. (Emphasis ours.)

xxx xxx xxx

Section 63 of the same Code states:

Sec. 63. Certificate of stock and transfer of shares. — The capital stock of stock corporations shall be
divided into shares for which certificates signed by the president or vice-president, countersigned by the
secretary or assistant secretary, and sealed with the seal of the corporation shall be issued in accordance
with the by-laws. Shares of stock so issued are personal property and may be transferred by delivery of the
certificate or certificates indorsed by the owner or his attorney-in-fact or other person legally authorized to
make the transfer. No transfer, however, shall be valid, except as between the parties, until the transfer is
recorded in the books of the corporation so as to show the names of the parties to the transaction, the date
of the transfer, the number of the certificate or certificates and the number of shares transferred.

No shares of stock against which the corporation holds any unpaid claim shall be transferable in the books
of the corporation. (Emphasis ours.)

Are attachments of shares of stock included in the term "transfer" as provided in Sec. 63 of the Corporation Code? We
rule in the negative. As succinctly declared in the case of Monserrat v. Ceron,49 "chattel mortgage over shares of stock
need not be registered in the corporation's stock and transfer book inasmuch as chattel mortgage over shares of stock
does not involve a "transfer of shares," and that only absolute transfers of shares of stock are required to be recorded in
the corporation's stock and transfer book in order to have "force and effect as against third persons."

xxx xxx xxx

The word "transferencia" (transfer) is defined by the "Diccionario de la Academia de la Lengua Castellana"
as "accion y efecto de transfeir" (the act and effect of transferring); and the verb "transferir", as "ceder or
renunciar en otro el derecho o dominio que se tiene sobre una cosa, haciendole dueno de ella" (to assign or
waive the right in, or absolute ownership of, a thing in favor of another, making him the owner thereof).

In the Law Dictionary of "Words and Phrases", third series, volume 7, p. 5867, the word "transfer" is defined
as follows:

"Transfer" means any act by which property of one person is vested in another, and "transfer
of shares", as used in Uniform Stock Transfer Act (Comp. St. Supp. 690), implies any means
whereby one may be divested of and another acquire ownership of stock. (Wallach vs. Stein
[N.J.], 136 A., 209, 210.)

xxx xxx xxx

In the case of Noble vs. Ft. Smith Wholesale Grocery Co. (127 Pac., 14, 17; 34 Okl., 662; 46 L.R.A. [N.S.],
455), cited in Words and Phrases, second series, vol. 4, p. 978, the following appears:

A "transfer" is the act by which the owner of a thing delivers it to another with the intent of
passing the rights which he has in it to the latter, and a chattel mortgage is not within the
meaning of such term.

xxx xxx xxx.50

Although the Monserrat case refers to a chattel mortgage over shares of stock, the same may be applied to the
attachment of the disputed shares of stock in the present controversy since an attachment does not constitute an absolute
conveyance of property but is primarily used as a means "to seize the debtor's property in order to secure the debt or
claim of the creditor in the event that a judgment is rendered."51

Known commentators on the Corporation Code expound, thus:

xxx xxx xxx

Shares of stock being personal property, may be the subject matter of pledge and chattel mortgage. Such
collateral transfers are however not covered by the registration requirement of Section 63, since our
Supreme Court has held that such provision applies only to absolute transfers thus, the registration in the
corporate books of pledges and chattel mortgages of shares cannot have any legal effect. 52 (Emphasis
ours.)
xxx xxx xxx

The requirement that the transfer shall be recorded in the books of the corporation to be valid as against
third persons has reference only to absolute transfers or absolute conveyance of the ownership or title to a
share.

Consequently, the entry or notation on the books of the corporation of pledges and chattel mortgages on
shares is not necessary to their validity (although it is advisable to do so) since they do not involve absolute
alienation of ownership of stock (Monserrat vs. Ceron, 58 Phil. 469 [1933]; Chua Guan vs. Samahang
Magsasaka, Inc., 62 Phil. 472 [1935].) To affect third persons, it is enough that the date and description of
the shares pledged appear in a public instrument. (Art. 2096, Civil Code.) With respect to a chattel mortgage
constituted on shares of stock, what is necessary is its registration in the Chattel Mortgage Registry. (Act
No. 1508 and Art. 2140, Civil Code.)53

CEIC's reliance on the Samahang Magsasaka case is misplaced. Nowhere in the said decision was it categorically stated
that annotation of the attachment in the corporate books is mandatory for its validity and for the purpose of giving notice to
third persons.

The only basis, then, for petitioner CEIC's claim is the Deed of Sale under which it purchased the disputed shares. It is,
however, a settled rule that a purchaser of attached property acquires it subject to an attachment legally and validly levied
thereon.54

Our corollary inquiry is whether or not the consortium has indeed a prior valid and existing attachment lien over the
disputed shares.

Jaime Gonzales' /Consortium's Claim

Is the consortium's attachment lien over the disputed shares valid?

CEIC vigorously argues that the consortium's writ of attachment over the disputed shares of Chemphil is null and void,
insisting as it does, that the notice of garnishment was not validly served on the designated officers on 19 July 1985.

To support its contention, CEIC presented the sheriff's notice of garnishment55 dated 19 July 1985 which showed on its
face that said notice was received by one Thelly Ruiz who was neither the president nor managing agent of Chemphil. It
makes no difference, CEIC further avers, that Thelly Ruiz was the secretary of the President of Chemphil, for under the
above-quoted provision she is not among the officers so authorized or designated to be served with the notice of
garnishment.

We cannot subscribe to such a narrow view of the rule on proper service of writs of attachment.

A secretary's major function is to assist his or her superior. He/she is in effect an extension of the latter. Obviously, as
such, one of her duties is to receive letters and notices for and in behalf of her superior, as in the case at bench. The
notice of garnishment was addressed to and was actually received by Chemphil's president through his secretary who
formally received it for him. Thus, in one case,56 we ruled that the secretary of the president may be considered an
"agent" of the corporation and held that service of summons on him is binding on the corporation.

Moreover, the service and receipt of the notice of garnishment on 19 July 1985 was duly acknowledged and confirmed by
the corporate secretary of Chemphil, Rolando Navarro and his successor Avelino Cruz through their respective
certifications dated 15 August 198957 and 21 August 1989.58

We rule, therefore, that there was substantial compliance with Sec. 7(d), Rule 57 of the Rules of Court.

Did the compromise agreement between Antonio Garcia and the consortium discharge the latter's attachment lien over
the disputed shares?

CEIC argues that a writ of attachment is a mere auxiliary remedy which, upon the dismissal of the case, dies a natural
death. Thus, when the consortium entered into a compromise agreement, 59 which resulted in the termination of their
case, the disputed shares were released from garnishment.

We disagree. To subscribe to CEIC's contentions would be to totally disregard the concept and purpose of a preliminary
attachment.

A writ of preliminary attachment is a provisional remedy issued upon order of the court where an action is
pending to be levied upon the property or properties of the defendant therein, the same to be held thereafter
by the Sheriff as security for the satisfaction of whatever judgment might be secured in said action by the
attaching creditor against the defendant.60 (Emphasis ours.)

Attachment is a juridical institution which has for its purpose to secure the outcome of the trial, that is, the
satisfaction of the pecuniary obligation really contracted by a person or believed to have been contracted by
him, either by virtue of a civil obligation emanating from contract or from law, or by virtue of some crime or
misdemeanor that he might have committed, and the writ issued, granted it, is executed by attaching and
safely keeping all the movable property of the defendant, or so much thereof may be sufficient to satisfy the
plaintiff's demands . . .61 (Emphasis ours.)

The chief purpose of the remedy of attachment is to secure a contingent lien on defendant's property until
plaintiff can, by appropriate proceedings, obtain a judgment and have such property applied to its
satisfaction, or to make some provision for unsecured debts in cases where the means of satisfaction
thereof are liable to be removed beyond the jurisdiction, or improperly disposed of or concealed, or
otherwise placed beyond the reach of creditors.62 (Emphasis ours.)

We reiterate the rule laid down in BF Homes, Inc. v. CA 63 that an attachment lien continues until the debt is paid, or sale
is had under execution issued on the judgment or until judgment is satisfied, or the attachment discharged or vacated in
the same manner provided by law. We expounded in said case that:

The appointment of a rehabilitation receiver who took control and custody of BF has not necessarily secured
the claims of Roa and Mendoza. In the event that the receivership is terminated with such claims not having
been satisfied, the creditors may also find themselves without security therefor in the civil action because of
the dissolution of the attachment. This should not be permitted. Having previously obtained the issuance of
the writ in good faith, they should not be deprived of its protection if the rehabilitation plan does not succeed
and the civil action is resumed.

xxx xxx xxx

As we ruled in Government of the Philippine Islands v. Mercado:

Attachment is in the nature of a proceeding in rem. It is against the particular property. The
attaching creditor thereby acquires specific lien upon the attached property which ripens into a
judgment against the res when the order of sale is made. Such a proceeding is in effect a
finding that the property attached is an indebted thing and a virtual condemnation of it to pay
the owner's debt. The law does not provide the length of time an attachment lien shall continue
after the rendition of judgment, and it must therefore necessarily continue until the debt is paid,
or sale is had under execution issued on the judgment or until judgment is satisfied, or the
attachment discharged or vacated in some manner provided by law.

It has been held that the lien obtained by attachment stands upon as high equitable grounds
as a mortgage lien:

The lien or security obtained by an attachment even before judgment, is a fixed and positive
security, a specific lien, and, although whether it will ever be made available to the creditor
depends on contingencies, its existence is in no way contingent, conditioned or inchoate. It is a
vested interest, an actual and substantial security, affording specific security for satisfaction of
the debt put in suit, which constitutes a cloud on the legal title, and is as specific as if created
by virtue of a voluntary act of the debtor and stands upon as high equitable grounds as a
mortgage. (Corpus Juris Secundum, 433, and authorities therein cited.)

xxx xxx xxx

The case at bench admits of a peculiar character in the sense that it involves a compromise agreement. Nonetheless, the
rule established in the aforequoted cases still applies, even more so since the terms of the agreement have to be
complied with in full by the parties thereto. The parties to the compromise agreement should not be deprived of the
protection provided by an attachment lien especially in an instance where one reneges on his obligations under the
agreement, as in the case at bench, where Antonio Garcia failed to hold up his own end of the deal, so to speak.

Moreover, a violation of the terms and conditions of a compromise agreement entitles the aggrieved party to a writ of
execution.

In Abenojar & Tana v. CA, et al., 64 we held:

The non-fulfillment of the terms and conditions of a compromise agreement approved by the Court justifies
execution thereof and the issuance of the writ for said purpose is the Court's ministerial duty enforceable by
mandamus.

Likewise we ruled in Canonizado v. Benitez:65

A judicial compromise may be enforced by a writ of execution. If a party fails or refuses to abide by the
compromise, the other party may enforce the compromise or regard it as rescinded and insist upon his
original demand.

If we were to rule otherwise, we would in effect create a back door by which a debtor can easily escape his creditors.
Consequently, we would be faced with an anomalous situation where a debtor, in order to buy time to dispose of his
properties, would enter into a compromise agreement he has no intention of honoring in the first place. The purpose of the
provisional remedy of attachment would thus be lost. It would become, in analogy, a declawed and toothless tiger.

From the foregoing, it is clear that the consortium and/or its assignee Jaime Gonzales have the better right over the
disputed shares. When CEIC purchased the disputed shares from Antonio Garcia on 15 July 1988, it took the shares
subject to the prior, valid and existing attachment lien in favor of and obtained by the consortium.

Forum Shopping in G.R. No. 113394

We uphold the decision of the Court of Appeals finding PCIB guilty of forum-shopping.66

The Court of Appeals opined:


True it is, that petitioner PCIB was not a party to the appeal made by the four other banks belonging to the
consortium, but equally true is the rule that where the rights and liabilities of the parties appealing are so
interwoven and dependent on each other as to be inseparable, a reversal of the appealed decision as to
those who appealed, operates as a reversal to all and will inure to the benefit of those who did not join the
appeal (Tropical Homes vs. Fortun, 169 SCRA 80, p. 90, citing Alling vs. Wenzel, 133 111. 264-278; 4 C.J.
1206). Such principal, premised upon communality of interest of the parties, is recognized in this jurisdiction
(Director of Lands vs. Reyes, 69 SCRA 415). The four other banks which were part of the consortium, filed
their notice of appeal under date of March 16, 1990, furnishing a copy thereof upon the lawyers of petitioner.
The petition for certiorari in the present case was filed on April 10, 1990, long after the other members of the
consortium had appealed from the assailed order of December 19, 1989.

We view with skepticism PCIB's contention that it did not join the consortium because it "honestly believed that certiorari
was the more efficacious and speedy relief available under the circumstances."67 Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court
is not difficult to understand. Certiorari is available only if there is no appeal or other plain, speedy and adequate remedy
in the ordinary course of law. Hence, in instituting a separate petition for certiorari, PCIB has deliberately resorted to
forum-shopping.

PCIB cannot hide behind the subterfuge that Supreme Court Circular 28-91 was not yet in force when it filed the certiorari
proceedings in the Court of Appeals. The rule against forum-shopping has long been established.68 Supreme Court
Circular 28-91 merely formalized the prohibition and provided the appropriate penalties against transgressors.

It alarms us to realize that we have to constantly repeat our warning against forum-shopping. We cannot over-emphasize
its ill-effects, one of which is aptly demonstrated in the case at bench where we are confronted with two divisions of the
Court of Appeals issuing contradictory decisions69 one in favor of CEIC and the other in favor of the consortium/Jaime
Gonzales.

Forum-shopping or the act of a party against whom an adverse judgment has been rendered in one forum, of seeking
another (and possibly favorable) opinion in another forum (other than by appeal or the special civil action of certiorari), or
the institution of two (2) or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or the
other court would make a favorable disposition,70 has been characterized as an act of malpractice that is prohibited and
condemned as trifling with the Courts and abusing their processes. It constitutes improper conduct which tends to
degrade the administration of justice. It has also been aptly described as deplorable because it adds to the congestion of
the already heavily burdened dockets of the
courts.71

WHEREFORE, premises considered the appealed decision in G.R. Nos. 112438-39 is hereby AFFIRMED and the
appealed decision in G.R. No. 113394, insofar as it adjudged the CEIC the rightful owner of the disputed shares, is hereby
REVERSED. Moreover, for wantonly resorting to forum-shopping, PCIB is hereby REPRIMANDED and WARNED that a
repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.

SO ORDERED.

A.C. No. 4058 March 12, 1998

BENGUET ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. complainant,


vs.
ATTY. ERNESTO B. FLORES, respondent.

PANGANIBAN, J.:

The profession of law exacts the highest standards from its members and brooks no violation of its code of conduct.
Accordingly, a lawyer who trifles with judicial processes, engages in forum shopping and blatantly lies in his pleadings
must be sanctioned.

The Case

This is an administrative complaint against Atty. Ernesto Flores filed by Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BENECO)
before this Court on July 5, 1993, seeking his removal or suspension from the bar for forum shopping, which amounted to
"grave misconduct, . . . unduly delaying the administration of justice, and violating with impunity his oath of office and
applicable laws and jurisprudence."1

After the respondent submitted his Comment, dated August 21, 1993, we referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) on September 27, 1993 for investigation, report and recommendation. On August 15, 1997, we received
a resolution from the IBP Board of Governors, finding respondent guilty of violating Canons 10 and 12 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and recommending his suspension from the practice of law for a period of six months, viz:

RESOLUTION NO. XII-97-149

Adm. Case NO. 4058

Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. vs.

Atty. Ernesto B. Flores


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, hereinmande [sic] part of this
Resolution/Decision as Annex "A"; and finding the recommendation therein to be fully supported by the evidence
on record and the applicable laws and rules, Respondent Atty. Ernesto Flores is hereby SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for six (6) months for violating the provision of Canon[s] 10 and 12 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.2

The Facts

Because the parties3 agreed to dispense with the presentation of testimonial evidence, the case was submitted for
resolution on the basis of their documentary evidence. As found by Investigating Commissioner Plaridel C. Jose,
the facts are as follows:

. . . On February 25, 1993, Labor Arbiter Irenarco Rimando of the National Labor Relations Commission,
Regional Arbitration Branch, Cordillera Administrative Region, Baguio City, issued a Writ of Execution (. . .)
in NLRC Case No. RAB-1-0313-84 to enforce the decision rendered by the Supreme Court on May 18, 1992
in G.R. No. 89070 (Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. vs. NLRC, 209 SCRA 55). The Writ of Execution was
issued on motion of Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO for short) to collect the amount of P344,000.00
which it paid to Peter Cosalan during the pendency of the case before the Supreme Court, on the basis of
its decision ordering the respondent board members "to reimburse petitioner BENECO any amount that it
may be compelled to pay to respondent Cosalan by virtue of the decision of Labor Arbiter Amado T.
Adquilen."

After issuance of the writ of execution, the respondent, as new counsel for the losing litigant-members of
the BENECO Board of Directors, filed a Motion for Clarification with the Third Division of the Supreme
Court in G.R. No. 89070, the minute resolution to wit: "to note without action the aforesaid motion".

Thereafter, the respondent instituted a suit docketed as Civil Case NO. 2738-R (. . .) with the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 7, Baguio City, seeking to enjoin the defendants Clerk of Court, et al. from levying on their
properties in satisfaction of the said writ of execution. That case, however, was dismissed by the Presiding
Judge Clarence Villanueva in his Order dated March 18, 1993 (. . .).

Accordingly, the Office of the Clerk of Court, MTC, Baguio City, through Sheriff III Wilfredo Mendez,
proceeded to levy on the properties of the losing board members of BENECO. Thus, a sale at public
auction was set on June 1, 1993, at 10:00 o'clock in the morning in front of the Baguio City Hall, per
Sheriff's Notice of Sale dated May 4, 1993 (. . .), of the properties of Abundio Awal and Nicasio Aliping[,]
two of the losing members of the Board of Directors of BENECO in the aforementioned case.

Respondent claims in his comment (. . .) that Branch 7, motu proprio, dismissed Civil Case No. 2738-R for
lack of jurisdiction on March 18, 1993, which dismissal was [sic] became final due to respondent's failure
to perfect an appeal therefrom which claim according to the complainant, constitute[s] deliberate
misrepresentation, if not falsehood, because the respondent indeed interposed an appeal such that on May
11, 1993, the RTC 7 of Baguio City transmitted the entire record of Civil Case No. 2738-8 to the Court of
Appeals per certified machine copy of the letter transmittal of same date (. . .).

While respondent "never essentially intended to assail the issuance by the NLRC of the Writ of Execution .
. . nor sought to undo it" (. . .) the complaint in Civil Case No. 2738-R which he filed prays for the immediate
issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary writ of injunction for defendants Clerk of
Court and Ex-Officio City Sheriff to cease and desist from enforcing the execution and levy of the writ of
execution issued by the NLRC-CAR, pending resolution of the main action in said court (. . .) which
complainant likewise claims as an unprocedural maneuver to frustrate the execution of the decision of the
Supreme Court in G.R. No. 89070 in complete disregard of settled jurisprudence that regular courts have
no jurisdiction to hear and decide questions which arise and are incidental to the enforcement of
decisions, orders and awards rendered in labor cases citing the case of Cangco vs. CA, 199 SCRA 677, a
display of gross ignorance of the law.

On May 26, 1993, respondent again filed for Abundio Awal and Nicasio Aliping with the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 9, La Trinidad, Benguet, separate complaints for Judicial Declaration of Family Home
Constituted, Ope Lege, and thus Exempt from Levy and Execution the subject properties with Damages,
etc. docketed as Civil Cases Nos. 93-F-0414 (. . .) and 93-F-0415 (. . .), which are essentially similar actions
to enjoin the enforcement of the judgment rendered in NLRC Case No. RAB-1-0313-84. He also filed an
urgent Motion Ex-parte (. . .) praying for temporary restraining order in these two (2) cases.

The complainant further alleges that respondent's claim for damages against the defendant Sheriff is
another improper and unprocedural maneuver which is likewise a violation of respondent's oath not to sue
on groundless suit since the said Sheriff was merely enforcing a writ of execution as part of his job.

Recommendation of the IBP

As noted earlier, Investigating Commissioner Plaridel C. Jose recommended, and the IBP Board of Governors
concurred, that 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 Case No. 2738-R was not appealed on time

2. Failure to comply with Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91 on forum shopping

Commissioner Jose ratiocinated:


A cursory glance of (sic) . . . the complaint filed by the respondent in Civil Case No. 2738-R before the RTC
of Baguio City, which complaint was signed and verified under oath by the respondent, reveals that it lacks
the certification required by Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91 which took effect on January 1, 1992 to the
effect that "to the best of his knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court,
Court of Appeals or different divisions thereof or any tribunal or agency. If there is any other action
pending, he must state the status of the same. If he should learn that a similar action or proceeding has
been filed or pending before the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals or different divisions thereof or any
tribunal or agency[,] he should notify the court, tribunal or agency within five (5) days from such notice."

Among the other penalties, the said circular further provides that the lawyer may also be subjected to
disciplinary proceedings for non-compliance thereof.

In sum, it is clear that the respondent violated the provisions of Canon[s] 10 and 12 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility under which the lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court and
exert[s] every effort and consider[s] it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of
justice.4

This Court's Ruling

We adopt and affirm the recommendation of the IBP suspending the respondent from the bar, but we increase
the period from six (6) months to one (1) year and six (6) months.

Forum Shopping

Circular No. 28-91, 5 dated September 4, 1991 which took effect on January 1, 1992, requires a certificate of non-
forum shopping to be attached to petitions filed before this Court and the Court of Appeals. This circular was
revised on February 8, 1994. The IBP found that the respondent had violated it, because the complaint he filed
before the RTC of Baguio City "lack[ed] the certification required by Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91."6

We distinguish. Respondent's failure to attach the said certificate cannot be deemed a violation of the
aforementioned circular, because the said requirement applied only to petitions filed with this Court and the
Court of Appeals.7 Likewise inapplicable is Administrative Circular No. 04-94 dated February 8, 1994 which
extended the requirement of a certificate of non-forum shopping to all initiatory pleadings filed in all courts and
quasi-judicial agencies other than this Court and the Court of Appeals. Circular No. 04-94 became effective only
on April 1, 1994, but the assailed complaint for injunction was filed on March 18, 1993, and the petition for the
constitution of a family home was instituted on May 26, 1993.

Be that as it may, respondent is still guilty of forum shopping. In Chemphil Export and Import Corporation vs.
Court of Appeals,8 this Court declared that "(t)he rule against forum shopping has long been established and
subsequent circulars9 of this Court merely formalized the prohibition and provided the appropriate penalties
against transgressors." The prohibition is found in Section 1(e) of Rule 16 and Section 4 of Rule 2 of the 1964
Rules of Court, which provide:

Sec. 1. Grounds. — Within the time for pleading, a motion to dismiss the action may be made on any of the
following grounds:

xxx xxx xxx

(e) That there is another action pending between the same parties for the same cause;

xxx xxx xxx10

Sec. 4. Effect of splitting a single cause of action. — If two or more complaints are brought for different
parts of a single cause of action, the filing of the first may be pleaded in abatement of the other or others,
in accordance with section 1(e) of Rule 16, and a judgment upon the merits in any one is available as a bar
in the others. 11

The prohibition is also contained in Circular No. 28-91. This circular did not only require that a certification of
non-forum shopping be attached to the petitions filed before this Court or the Court of Appeals; it also decreed
that forum shopping constituted direct contempt of court and could subject the offending lawyer to disciplinary
action. The third paragraph thereof reads:

3. Penalties.

(a) Any violation of this Circular shall be a cause for the summary dismissal of the multiple petition or
complaint.

(b) Any willful and deliberate forum shopping by any party and his lawyer wit the filing of multiple petitions
and complaints to ensure favorable action shall constitute direct contempt of court.

(c) The submission of false certification under Par. 2 of the Circular shall likewise constitute contempt of
Court, without prejudice to the filing of criminal action against the guilty party. The lawyer may also be
subjected to disciplinary proceedings. (Emphasis supplied.)

The foregoing were substantially reproduced in Revised Circular No. 28-9112 and Administrative Circular No. 04-
94.13
In a long line of cases, this Court has held that forum shopping exists when, as a result of an adverse opinion in
one forum, a party seeks a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another,14 or when he
institutes two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause, on the gamble that one or the other
court would make a favorable disposition.15 The most important factor in determining the existence of forum
shopping is the "vexation caused the courts and parties-litigants by a party who asks different courts to rule on
the same or related causes or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs."16

After this Court rendered its Decision17 in Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. vs. National Labor Relations
Commission, et al.18 and upon motion of BENECO, Labor Arbiter Irenarco R. Rimando issued a writ of execution
19 ordering the clerk of court and ex officio city sheriff of the Municipal Trial Court of Baguio City to levy on and
sell at public auction personal and real property of the members of the Board of Directors of BENECO.

On March 18, 1993, Respondent Flores, acting as counsel for BENECO Board Members Victor Laoyan, Nicasio
Aliping, Lorenzo Pilando and Abundio Awal, filed with the RTC an injunction suit praying for the issuance of a
temporary restraining order (TRO) "to preserve the status quo as now obtaining between the parties," as well as
a writ of preliminary preventive injunction ordering the clerk of court and the ex officio city sheriff of the MTC of
Baguio to "cease and desist from enforcing by execution and levy the writ of execution from the NLRC-CAR,
pending resolution of the main action raised in court."20

When this injunction case was dismissed, Respondent Flores filed with another branch of the RTC two identical
but separate actions both entitled "Judicial Declaration of Family Home Constituted, ope lege, Exempt from Levy
and Execution; with Damages, etc.," docketed as Civil Case Nos. 93-F-0414 and 93-F-0415.21 The said complaints
were supplemented by an "Urgent Motion Ex Parte"22 which prayed for an order to temporarily restrain Sheriff
Wilfredo V. Mendez from proceeding with the auction sale of plaintiffs' property "to avoid rendering ineffectual
and functus [oficio] any judgment of the court later in this [sic] cases, until further determined by the court."

Civil Case Nos. 93-F-0414 and 93-F-0415 are groundless suits. Modequillo vs. Breva,23 reiterated in Manacop vs.
Court of Appeals,24 shows the frivolity of these proceedings:

Under the Family Code, a family home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it is
occupied as a family residence. There is no need to constitute the same judicially or extrajudicially as
required in the Civil Code. If the family actually resides in the premises, it is, therefore, a family home as
contemplated by law. Thus, the creditors should take the necessary precautions to protect their interest
before extending credit to the spouses or head of the family who owns the home.

xxx xxx xxx

The exemption provided as aforestated is effective from the time of the constitution of the family home as
such, and lasts so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein.

Adhering to the Court's declaration in said cases, the subject properties are deemed constituted as family homes
by operation of law under Article 153 of the Family Code.

The suits for the constitution of a family home were not only frivolous and unnecessary; they were clearly asking
for reliefs identical to the prayer previously dismissed by another branch of the RTC, i.e, to forestall the
execution of a final judgment of the labor arbiter. That they were filed ostensibly for the judicial declaration of a
family home was a mere smoke screen; in essence, their real objective was to restrain or delay the enforcement
of the writ of execution. In his deliberate attempt to obtain the same relief in two different courts, Respondent
Flores was obviously shopping for a "friendly" forum which would capitulate to his improvident plea for an
injunction and was thereby trifling with the judicial process.25

We remind the respondent that, under the Code of Professional Responsibility,26 he had a duty to assist in the
speedy and efficient administration of justice.27 The Code also enjoins him from unduly delaying a case by
impeding the execution of a judgment or by misusing court processes.28

In consonance with Millare vs. Montero29 and Garcia vs. Francisco,30 respondent should be suspended from the
practice of law for one year. In Millare, the respondent filed with different courts a total of six appeals, complaints
and petitions which frustrated and delayed the execution of a final judgment. Holding that "respondent 'made a
mockery of the judicial processes' and disregarded canons of professional ethics in intentionally frustrating the
rights of a litigant in whose favor a judgment in the case was rendered [and], thus, 'abused procedural rules to
defeat the ends of substantial justice,'"31 this Court suspended the respondent from the practice of law for one
year.

In Garcia, the respondent was also suspended for one year from the practice of law, for violating the proscription
against forum shopping. This Court held that "he deserve[d] to be sanctioned, not only as a punishment for his
misconduct but also as a warning to other lawyers who may be influenced by his example."32

Falsehood

The investigating commissioner also held respondent liable for committing a falsehood because, in this
administrative case, he stated in his comment that he had not "perfected an appeal on the dismissal" of his
petition for injunction. In his said comment, the respondent stated:

Branch 7 (of the RTC) motu proprio, dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction on March 18, 1993. Not
having perfected an appeal on the dismissal, the order of dismissal became final under the Rules 15 days
after its receipt by respondent on record, or before April 6, 1993. So that today this case is no longer
pending.
xxx xxx xxx

It should be noted that when Civil Case Nos. 93-F-0414 and 93-F-0415 for family homes and damages were
filed in the court below on May 26, 1993, Civil Case NO. 2378-R which seems to give basis to the present
Complaint was deemed terminated, there being no appeal formally taken and perfected in accordance with
the Rules.

xxx xxx xxx

And that precisely was the primal reason why respondent decided not to appeal any further anymore [sic]
the order of dismissal for lack of jurisdiction of the court below in Civil Case No. 2738, and let it be deemed
final by the Rules and jurisprudence.33 (Emphasis supplied.)

The indelible fact, however, is that respondent did file an appeal which was perfected later on. The original
records of the injunction suit had been transmitted to the appellate court.34 Moreover, the Court of Appeals
issued a resolution dismissing the appeal.35 Thus, in denying that he had appealed the decision of the RTC,
respondent was making a false statement.

Respondent argues that the withdrawal of his appeal means that no appeal was made under Section 2 of Rule 50
of the Rules of Court. The pertinent provisions of Rule 5036 read:

Sec. 2. Effect of dismissal. — Fifteen (15) days after the dismissal of an appeal, the clerk shall return to the
court below the record on appeal with a certificate under the seal of the court showing that the appeal has
been dismissed. Upon the receipt of such certificate in the lower court the case shall stand there as though
no appeal had ever been taken, and the judgment of the said court may be enforced with the additional
costs allowed by the appellate court upon dismissing the appeal.

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 4. Withdrawal of appeal. — An appeal may be withdrawn as of right at any time before the filing of
appellee's brief. . . . The withdrawal of an appeal shall have the same effect as that of a dismissal in
accordance with section 2 of this rule.

Respondent's explanation misses the point. True, he withdrew his appeal. But it is 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 shopping.

A lawyer must be a disciple of truth. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, he owes candor, fairness
and good faith to the courts.37 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 artifice.38

For this offense, we suspend the respondent from the practice of law for another year. True, in Ordonio vs.
Eduarte,39 Porac Trucking, Inc., vs. Court of Appeals40 and Erectors, Inc. vs. NLRC,41 we imposed a suspension
of only six months for a similar malfeasance. But in Flores' case, his falsehood is aggravated by its brazenness,
for it was committed in an attempt, vain as it was, to cover up his forum shopping.

Before we close, we note that this simple case was referred to the IBP on September 27, 1993. It was deemed
submitted for resolution per the investigating commissioner's order dated May 10, 1995. However, the
investigating commissioner submitted his report only on May 5, 1997. Moreover, the IBP transmitted its
recommendation to the Court only through a letter dated July 31, 1997, which was received by the Office of the
Bar Confidant on August 15, 1997. Why it took the IBP almost four years to finish its investigation of the case and
over two years from the date the parties filed their last pleadings to resolve it escapes us. After all, the case did
not require any trial-type investigation, and the parties submitted only documentary evidence to prove or rebut
their respective cases. Thus, we find it opportune to urge the IBP to hasten the disposition of administrative
cases and to remind it that this Court gives it only ninety days to finish its investigation, report and
recommendation. Should it require more time, it should file with the Court a request for extension, giving the
reason for such request.

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 severely.

Let a copy of this Decision be included in his files which are with the Office of the Bar Confidant, and circularized
to all courts and to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 130068 October 1, 1998

FAR EASTERN SHIPPING COMPANY, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY, respondents.

G.R. No. 130150 October, 1998


MANILA PILOTS ASSOCIATION, petitioner,
vs.
PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY and FAR EASTERN SHIPPING COMPANY, respondents.

REGALADO, J.:

These consolidated petitions for review on certiorari seek in unison to annul and set aside the decision1 of respondent
Court of Appeals of November 15, 1996 and its resolution 2 dated July 31, 1997 in CA-G.R. CV No. 24072, entitled
"Philippine Ports Authority, Plaintiff-Appellee vs. Far Eastern Shipping Company, Senen C. Gavino and Manila
Pilots' Association, Defendants-Appellants," which affirmed with modification the judgment of the trial court
holding the defendants-appellants therein solidarily liable for damages in favor of herein private respondent.

There is no dispute about the facts as found by the appellate court,


thus —

. . . On June 20, 1980, the M/V PAVLODAR, flying under the flagship of the USSR, owned and
operated by the Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESC for brevity's sake), arrived at the Port of
Manila from Vancouver, British Columbia at about 7:00 o'clock in the morning. The vessel was
assigned Berth 4 of the Manila International Port, as its berthing space. Captain Roberto Abellana
was tasked by the Philippine Port Authority to supervise the berthing of the vessel. Appellant Senen
Gavino was assigned by the Appellant Manila Pilots' Association (MPA for brevity's sake) to conduct
docking maneuvers for the safe berthing of the vessel to Berth No. 4.

Gavino boarded the vessel at the quarantine anchorage and stationed himself in the bridge, with the
master of the vessel, Victor Kavankov, beside him. After a briefing of Gavino by Kavankov of the
particulars of the vessel and its cargo, the vessel lifted anchor from the quarantine anchorage and
proceeded to the Manila International Port. The sea was calm and the wind was ideal for docking
maneuvers.

When the vessel reached the landmark (the big church by the Tondo North Harbor) one-half mile
from the pier, Gavino ordered the engine stopped. When the vessel was already about 2,000 feet
from the pier, Gavino ordered the anchor dropped. Kavankov relayed the orders to the crew of the
vessel on the bow. The left anchor, with two (2) shackles, were dropped. However, the anchor did
not take hold as expected. The speed of the vessel did not slacken. A commotion ensued between
the crew members. A brief conference ensued between Kavankov and the crew members. When
Gavino inquired what was all the commotion about, Kavankov assured Gavino that there was
nothing to it.

After Gavino noticed that the anchor did not take hold, he ordered the engines half-astern. Abellana,
who was then on the pier apron, noticed that the vessel was approaching the pier fast. Kavankov
likewise noticed that the anchor did not take hold. Gavino thereafter gave the "full-astern" code.
Before the right anchor and additional shackles could be dropped, the bow of the vessel rammed
into the apron of the pier causing considerable damage to the pier. The vessel sustained damage
too, (Exhibit "7-Far Eastern Shipping). Kavankov filed his sea protest (Exhibit "1-Vessel"). Gavino
submitted his report to the Chief Pilot (Exhibit "1-Pilot") who referred the report to the Philippine
Ports Authority (Exhibit 2-Pilot"). Abellana likewise submitted his report of the incident (Exhibit "B").

Per contract and supplemental contract of the Philippine Ports Authority and the contractor for the
rehabilitation of the damaged pier, the same cost the Philippine Ports Authority the amount of
P1,126,132.25 (Exhibits "D" and "E").3

On January 10, 1983, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA, for brevity), through the Solicitor General, filed before
the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 39, a complaint for a sum of money against Far Eastern Shipping Co.,
Capt. Senen C. Gavino and the Manila Pilots' Association, docketed as Civil Case No. 83-14958,4 praying that the
defendants therein be held jointly and severally liable to pay the plaintiff actual and exemplary damages plus
costs of suit. In a decision dated August 1, 1985, the trial court ordered the defendants therein jointly and
severally to pay the PPA the amount of P1,053,300.00 representing actual damages and the costs of suit.5

The defendants appealed to the Court of Appeals and raised the following issues: (1) Is the pilot of a commercial
vessel, under compulsory pilotage, solely liable for the damage caused by the vessel to the pier, at the port of
destination, for his negligence? and (2) Would the owner of the vessel be liable likewise if the damage is caused
by the concurrent negligence of the master of the vessel and the pilot under a compulsory pilotage?

As stated at the outset, respondent appellate court affirmed the findings of the court a quo except that if found
no employer-employee relationship existing between herein private respondents Manila Pilots' Association (MPA,
for short) and Capt. Gavino.6 This being so, it ruled instead that the liability of MPA is anchored, not on Article
2180 of the Civil Code, but on the provisions of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65, 7 and accordingly
modified said decision of the trial court by holding MPA, along with its co-defendants therein, still solidarily liable
to PPA but entitled MPA to reimbursement from Capt. Gavino for such amount of the adjudged pecuniary liability
in excess of the amount equivalent to seventy-five percent (75%) of its prescribed reserve
fund. 8

Neither Far Eastern Shipping Co. (briefly, FESC) nor MPA was happy with the decision of the Court of Appeals
and both of them elevated their respective plaints to us via separate petitions for review on certiorari.
In G. R. No. 130068, which was assigned to the Second Division of this Court, FESC imputed that the Court of
Appeals seriously erred:

1. in not holding Senen C. Gavino and the Manila Pilots' Association as the parties solely
responsible for the resulting damages sustained by the pier deliberately ignoring the established
jurisprudence on the matter;

2. in holding that the master had not exercised the required diligence demanded from him by the
circumstances at the time the incident happened;

3. in affirming the amount of damages sustained by the respondent Philippine Ports Authority
despite a strong and convincing evidence that the amount is clearly exorbitant and unreasonable;

4. in not awarding any amount of counterclaim prayed for by the petitioner in its answer; and

5. in not granting herein petitioner's claim against pilot Senen C. Gavino and Manila Pilots'
Association in the event that it be held
liable. 9

Petitioner asserts that since the MV PAVLODAR was under compulsory pilotage at the time of the incident, it was
the compulsory pilot, Capt. Gavino, who was in command and had complete control in the navigation and
docking of the vessel. It is the pilot who supersedes the master for the time being in the command and
navigation of a ship and his orders must be obeyed in all respects connected with her navigation. Consequently,
he was solely responsible for the damage caused upon the pier apron, and not the owners of the vessel. It claims
that the master of the boat did not commit any act of negligence when he failed to countermand or overrule the
orders of the pilot because he did not see any justifiable reason to do so. In other words, the master cannot be
faulted for relying absolutely on the competence of the compulsory pilot. If the master does not observe that a
compulsory pilot is incompetent or physically incapacitated, the master is justified in relying on the pilot. 10

Respondent PPA, in its comment, predictably in full agreement with the ruling of respondent court on the
solidary liability of FESC, MPA and Capt. Gavino, stresses the concurrent negligence of Capt. Gavino, the harbor
pilot, and Capt. Viktor Kabankov, * shipmaster of MV Pavlodar, as the basis of their solidary liability for damages
sustained by PPA. It posits that the vessel was being piloted by Capt. Gavino with Capt. Kabankov beside him all
the while on the bridge of the vessel, as the former took over the helm of MV Pavlodar when it rammed and
damaged the apron of the pier of Berth No. 4 of the Manila International Port. Their concurrent negligence was
the immediate and proximate cause of the collision between the vessel and the pier — Capt. Gavino, for his
negligence in the conduct of docking maneuvers for the safe berthing of the vessel; and Capt. Kabankov, for
failing to countermand the orders of the harbor pilot and to take over and steer the vessel himself in the face of
imminent danger, as well as for merely relying on Capt. Gavino during the berthing procedure. 11

On the other hand, in G.R. No. 130150, originally assigned to the Court's First Division and later transferred to the
Third Division. MPA, now as petitioner in this case, avers that respondent court's errors consisted in
disregarding and misinterpreting Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 which limits the liability of MPA. Said
pilots' association asseverates that it should not be held solidarily liable with Capt. Gavino who, as held by
respondent court is only a member, not an employee, thereof. There being no employer-employee relationship,
neither can MPA be held liable for any vicarious liability for the respective exercise of profession by its members
nor be considered a joint tortfeasor as to be held jointly and severally liable. 12 It further argues that there was
erroneous reliance on Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 and the constitution and by-laws of MPA, instead
of the provisions of the Civil Code on damages which, being a substantive law, is higher in category than the
aforesaid constitution and by-laws of a professional organization or an administrative order which bears no
provision classifying the nature of the liability of MPA for the negligence its member pilots. 13

As for Capt. Gavino, counsel for MPA states that the former had retired from active pilotage services since July
28, 1994 and has ceased to be a member of petitioner pilots' association. He is not joined as a petitioner in this
case since his whereabouts are unknown. 14

FESC's comment thereto relied on the competence of the Court of Appeals in construing provisions of law or
administrative orders as bases for ascertaining the liability of MPA, and expressed full accord with the appellate
court's holding of solidary liability among itself, MPA and Capt. Gavino. It further avers that the disputed
provisions of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 clearly established MPA's solidary liability. 15

On the other hand, public respondent PPA, likewise through representations by the Solicitor General, assumes
the same supportive stance it took in G.R. No. 130068 in declaring its total accord with the ruling of the Court of
Appeals that MPA is solidarily liable with Capt. Gavino and FESC for damages, and in its application to the fullest
extent of the provisions of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 in relation to MPA's constitution and by-laws
which spell out the conditions of and govern their respective liabilities. These provisions are clear and
unambiguous as regards MPA's liability without need for interpretation or construction. Although Customs
Administrative Order No. 15-65 is a mere regulation issued by an administrative agency pursuant to delegated
legislative authority to fix details to implement the law, it is legally binding and has the same statutory force as
any valid statute. 16

Upon motion 17 by FESC dated April 24, 1998 in G.R. No. 130150, said case was consolidated with G.R. No.
130068. 18

Prefatorily, on matters of compliance with procedural requirements, it must be mentioned that the conduct of the
respective counsel for FESC and PPA leaves much to be desired, to the displeasure and disappointment of this
Court.
Sec. 2, Rule 42 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure 19 incorporates the former Circular No. 28-91 which provided
for what has come to be known as the certification against forum shopping as an additional requisite for
petitions filed with the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, aside from the other requirements contained in
pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court therefor, with the end in view of preventing the filing of multiple
complaints involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals or different divisions thereof or
any other tribunal or agency.

More particularly, the second paragraph of Section 2, Rule 42 provides:

xxx xxx xxx

The petitioner shall also submit together with the petition a certification under oath that he has not
theretofore commenced any other action involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court
of Appeals or different divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency; if there is such other action
or proceeding, he must state the status of the same; and if he should thereafter learn that a similar
action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or
different divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency, he undertakes to promptly inform the
aforesaid courts and other tribunal or agency thereof within five (5) days therefrom. (Emphasis
ours.)

For petitions for review filed before the Supreme Court, Section 4(e), Rule 45 specifically requires that such
petition shall contain a sworn certification against forum shopping as provided in the last paragraph of
Section 2, Rule 42.

The records show that the law firm of Del Rosario and Del Rosario through its associate, Atty. Herbert A. Tria, is
the counsel of record for FESC in both G.R. No. 130068 and G.R. No. 130150.

G.R. No. 130068, which is assigned to the Court's Second Division, commenced with the filing by FESC through
counsel on August 22, 1997 of a verified motion for extension of time to file its petition for thirty (30) days from
August 28, 1997 or until September 27, 1997. 20 Said motion contained the following certification against forum
shopping 21 signed by Atty. Herbert A. Tria as affiant:

CERTIFICATION

AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING

I/we hereby certify that I/we have not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same
issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency; that to the best
of my own knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of
Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency; that if I/we should thereafter learn that a similar action or
proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any
other tribunal or agency, I/we undertake to report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to this
Honorable Court.

This motion having been granted, FESC subsequently filed its petition on September 26, 1997, this time
bearing a "verification and certification against forum-shopping" executed by one Teodoro P. Lopez on
September 24, 1997, 22 to wit:

VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION

AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING

in compliance with Section 4(e), Rule 45 in relation

to Section 2, Rule 42 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure

I, Teodoro P. Lopez, of legal age, after being duly sworn, depose and state:

1. That I am the Manager, Claims Department of Filsov Shipping Company, the local agent of
petitioner in this case.

2. That I have caused the preparation of this Petition for Review on Certiorari.

3. That I have read the same and the allegations therein contained are true and correct based on the
records of this case.

4. That I certify that petitioner has not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the
same issues in the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, that to the
best of my own knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court, the
Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, that if I should thereafter learn that a similar action
or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any
other tribunal or agency, I undertake to report the fact within five (5) days therefrom to this
Honorable Court. (Italics supplied for emphasis.)

Reviewing the records, we find that the petition filed by MPA in G.R. No. 130150 then pending with the Third
Division was duly filed on August 29, 1997 with a copy thereof furnished on the same date by registered mail to
counsel for FESC. 23 Counsel of record for MPA. Atty. Jesus P. Amparo, in his verification accompanying said
petition dutifully revealed to the Court that —

xxx xxx xxx

3. Petitioner has not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in this
Honorable Court, the Court of Appeals or different Divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency,
but to the best of his knowledge, there is an action or proceeding pending in this Honorable Court,
entitled Far Eastern Shipping Co., Petitioner, vs. Philippine Ports Authority and Court of Appeals
with a Motion for Extension of time to file Petition For Review by Certiorari filed sometime on August
18, 1987. If undersigned counsel will come to know of any other pending action or claim filed or
pending he undertakes to report such fact within five (5) days to this Honorable Court.24 (Emphasis
supplied.)

Inasmuch as MPA's petition in G.R. No. 130150 was posted by registered mail on August 29, 1997 and taking
judicial notice of the average period of time it takes local mail to reach its destination, by reasonable estimation it
would be fair to conclude that when FESC filed its petition in G.R. No. 130068 on September 26, 1997, it would
already have received a copy of the former and would then have knowledge of the pendency of the other petition
initially filed with the First Division. It was therefore incumbent upon FESC to inform the Court of that fact
through its certification against forum shopping. For failure to make such disclosure, it would appear that the
aforequoted certification accompanying the petition in G.R. No. 130068 is defective and could have been a
ground for dismissal thereof.

Even assuming that FESC had not yet received its copy of MPA's petition at the time it filed its own petition and
executed said certification, its signatory did state "that if I should thereafter learn that a similar action or
proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or
agency, I undertake to report the fact within five (5) days therefrom to this Honorable Court." 25 Scouring the
records page by page in this case, we find that no manifestation concordant with such undertaking was then or
at any other time thereafter ever filed by FESC nor was there any attempt to bring such matter to the attention of
the Court. Moreover, it cannot feign non-knowledge of the existence of such other petition because FESC itself
filed the motion for consolidation in G.R. No. 130150 of these two cases on April 24, 1998.

It is disturbing to note that counsel for FESC, the law firm of Del Rosario and Del Rosario, displays an
unprofessional tendency of taking the Rules for granted, in this instance exemplified by its pro forma compliance
therewith but apparently without full comprehension of and with less than faithful commitment to its
undertakings to this Court in the interest of just, speedy and orderly administration of court proceedings.

As between the lawyer and the courts, a lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court. 26 He is an
officer of the court exercising a privilege which is indispensable in the administration of justice. 27 Candidness,
especially towards the courts, is essential for the expeditious administration of justice. Courts are entitled to
expect only complete honesty from lawyers appearing and pleading before them. 28 Candor in all dealings is the
very essence of honorable membership in the legal profession. 29 More specifically, a lawyer is obliged to
observe the rules of procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice. 30 It behooves a lawyer,
therefore, to exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of
justice. 31 Being an officer of the court, a lawyer has a responsibility in the proper administration of justice. Like
the court itself, he is an instrument to advance its ends — the speedy, efficient, impartial, correct and
inexpensive adjudication of cases and the prompt satisfaction of final judgments. A lawyer should not only help
attain these objectives but should likewise avoid any unethical or improper practices that impede, obstruct or
prevent their realization, charged as he is with the primary task of assisting in the speedy and efficient
administration of justice.32

Sad to say, the members of said law firm sorely failed to observe their duties as responsible members of the Bar.
Their actuations are indicative of their predisposition to take lightly the avowed duties of officers of the Court to
promote respect for law and for legal processes. 33 We cannot allow this state of things to pass judicial muster.

In view of the fact that at around the time these petitions were commenced, the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure had
just taken effect, the Court treated infractions of the new Rules then with relative liberality in evaluating full
compliance therewith. Nevertheless, it would do well to remind all concerned that the penal provisions of Circular
No. 28-91 which remain operative provides, inter alia:

3. Penalties. —

xxx xxx xxx

(c) The submission of a false certification under Par. 2 of the Circular shall likewise constitute
contempt of court, without prejudice to the filing of criminal action against the guilty party. The
lawyer may also be subjected to disciplinary proceedings.

It must be stressed that the certification against forum shopping ordained under the Rules is to be executed by
the petitioner, and not by counsel. Obviously it is the petitioner, and not always the counsel whose professional
services have been retained for a particular case, who is in the best position to know whether he or it actually
filed or caused the filing of a petition in that case. Hence, a certification against forum shopping by counsel is a
defective certification. It is clearly equivalent to non-compliance with the requirement under Section 2, Rule 42 in
relation to Section 4, Rule 45, and constitutes a valid cause for dismissal of the petition.

Hence, the initial certification appended to the motion for extension of time to file petition in G.R. No. 130068
executed in behalf of FESC by Atty. Tria is procedurally deficient. But considering that it was a superfluity at that
stage of the proceeding, it being unnecessary to file such a certification with a mere motion for extension, we
shall disregard such error. Besides, the certification subsequently executed by Teodoro P. Lopez in behalf of
FESC cures that defect to a certain extent, despite the inaccuracies earlier pointed out. In the same vein, we shall
consider the verification signed in behalf of MPA by its counsel, Atty. Amparo, in G.R. No. 130150 as substantial
compliance inasmuch as it served the purpose of the Rules of informing the Court of the pendency of another
action or proceeding involving the same issues.

It bears stressing that procedural rules are instruments in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. They
should be used to achieve such end and not to derail it. 34

Counsel for PPA did not make matters any better. Despite the fact that, save for the Solicitor General at the time,
the same legal team of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG, for short) composed of Assistant Solicitor
General Roman G. Del Rosario and Solicitor Luis F. Simon, with the addition of Assistant Solicitor General Pio C.
Guerrero very much later in the proceedings, represented PPA throughout the appellate proceedings in both G.R.
No. 130068 and G.R. No. 130150 and was presumably fully acquainted with the facts and issues of the case, it
took the OSG an inordinately and almost unreasonably long period of time to file its comment, thus unduly
delaying the resolution of these cases. It took several changes of leadership in the OSG — from Silvestre H. Bello
III to Romeo C. dela Cruz and, finally, Ricardo P. Galvez — before the comment in behalf of PPA was finally filed.

In G.R. No. 130068, it took eight (8) motions for extension of time totaling 210 days, a warning that no further
extensions shall be granted, and personal service on the Solicitor General himself of the resolution requiring the
filing of such comment before the OSG indulged the Court with the long required comment on July 10, 1998. 35
This, despite the fact that said office was required to file its comment way back on November 12, 1997. 36 A
closer scrutiny of the records likewise indicates that petitoner FESC was not even furnished a copy of said
comment as required by Section 5, Rule 42. Instead, a copy thereof was inadvertently furnished to MPA which,
from the point of view of G.R. No. 130068, was a non-party. 37 The OSG fared slightly better in G.R. No. 130150 in
that it took only six (6) extensions, or a total of 180 days, before the comment was finally filed. 38 And while it
properly furnished petitioner MPA with a copy of its comment, it would have been more desirable and expedient
in this case to have furnished its therein co-respondent FESC with a copy thereof, if only as a matter of
professional courtesy. 39

This undeniably dilatory disinclination of the OSG to seasonably file required pleadings constitutes deplorable
disservice to the tax-paying public and can only be categorized as censurable inefficiency on the part of the
government law office. This is most certainly professionally unbecoming of the OSG.

Another thing that baffles the Court is why the OSG did not take the inititive of filing a motion for consolidation in
either G.R. No. 130068 or G.R. No. 130150, considering its familiarity with the background of the case and if only
to make its job easier by having to prepare and file only one comment. It could not have been unaware of the
pendency of one or the other petition because, being counsel for respondent in both cases, petitioner is required
to furnish it with a copy of the petition under pain of dismissal of the petition for failure otherwise. 40

Besides, in G.R. 130068, it prefaces its discussions thus —

Incidentally, the Manila Pilots' Association (MPA), one of the defendants-appellants in the case
before the respondent Court of Appeals, has taken a separate appeal from the said decision to this
Honorable Court, which was docketed as G.R. No. 130150 and entitled "Manila Pilots' Association,
Petitioner, versus Philippine Ports Authority and Far Eastern Shipping Co., Respondents." 41

Similarly, in G.R. No. 130150, it states —

Incidentally, respondent Far Eastern Shipping Co. (FESC) had also taken an appeal from the said
decision to this Honorable Court, docketed as G.R. No. 130068, entitled "Far Eastern Shipping Co.
vs. Court of Appeals and Philippine Ports Authority." 42

We find here a lackadaisical attitude and complacency on the part of the OSG in the handling of its cases and an
almost reflexive propensity to move for countless extensions, as if to test the patience of the Court, before
favoring it with the timely submission of required pleadings.

It must be emphasized that the Court can resolve cases only as fast as the respective parties in a case file the
necessary pleadings. The OSG, by needlessly extending the pendency of these cases through its numerous
motions for extension, came very close to exhausting this Court's forbearance and has regrettably fallen short of
its duties as the People's Tribune.

The OSG is reminded that just like other members of the Bar, the canons under the Code of Professional
Responsibility apply with equal force on lawyers in government service in the discharge of their official tasks. 43
These ethical duties are rendered even more exacting as to them because, as government counsel, they have the
added duty to abide by the policy of the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service. 44
Furthermore, it is incumbent upon the OSG, as part of the government bureaucracy, to perform and discharge its
duties with the highest degree of professionalism, intelligence and skill 45 and to extend prompt, courteous and
adequate service to the public. 46

Now, on the merits of the case. After a judicious examination of the records of this case, the pleadings filed, and
the evidence presented by the parties in the two petitions, we find no cogent reason to reverse and set aside the
questioned decision. While not entirely a case of first impression, we shall discuss the issues seriatim and,
correlatively by way of a judicial once-over, inasmuch as the matters raised in both petitions beg for validation
and updating of well-worn maritime jurisprudence. Thereby, we shall write finis to the endless finger-pointing in
this shipping mishap which has been stretched beyond the limits of judicial tolerance.
The Port of Manila is within the Manila Pilotage District which is under compulsory pilotage pursuant to Section
8, Article III of Philippine Ports Authority Administrative Order No. 03-85, 47 which provides that:

Sec. 8. Compulsor Pilotage Service. — For entering a harbor and anchoring thereat, or passing
through rivers or straits within a pilotage district, as well as docking and undocking at any
pier/wharf, or shifting from one berth or another, every vessel engaged in coastwise and foreign
trade shall be under compulsory pilotage. . . .

In case of compulsory pilotage, the respective duties and responsibilities of the compulsory pilot and the master
have been specified by the same regulation in this wise:

Sec. 11. Control of vessels and liability for damage. — On compulsory pilotage grounds, the Harbor
Pilot providing the service to a vessel shall be responsible for the damage caused to a vessel or to
life and property at ports due to his negligence or fault. He can only be absolved from liability if the
accident is caused by force majeure or natural calamities provided he has exercised prudence and
extra diligence to prevent or minimize damage.

The Master shall retain overall command of the vessel even on pilotage grounds whereby he can
countermand or overrule the order or command of the Harbor Pilot on beard. In such event, any
damage caused to a vessel or to life and property at ports by reason of the fault or negligence of the
Master shall be the responsibility and liability of the registered owner of the vessel concerned
without prejudice to recourse against said Master.

Such liability of the owner or Master of the vessel or its pilots shall be determined by competent
authority in appropriate proceedings in the light of the facts and circumstances of each particular
case.

Sec. 32. Duties and responsibilities of the Pilot or Pilots' Association. — The duties and
responsibilities of the Harbor Pilot shall be as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

f) a pilot shall be held responsible for the direction of a vessel from the time he assumes his work as
a pilot thereof until he leaves it anchored or berthed safely; Provided, however, that his
responsibility shall cease at the moment the Master neglects or refuses to carry out hisorder.

Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 issued twenty years earlier likewise provided in Chapter I thereof for the
responsibilities of pilots:

Par. XXXIX. — A Pilot shall be held responsible for the direction of a vessel from the time he
assumes control thereof until he leaves it anchored free from shoal: Provided, That his
responsibility shall cease at the moment the master neglects or refuses to carry out his instructions.

xxx xxx xxx

Par. XLIV. — Pilots shall properly and safely secure or anchor vessels under their control when
requested to do so by the master of such vessels.

I. G.R. No. 130068

Petitioner FESC faults the respondent court with serious error in not holding MPA and Capt. Gavino solely
responsible for the damages cause to the pier. It avers that since the vessel was under compulsory pilotage at
the time with Capt. Gavino in command and having exclusive control of the vessel during the docking
maneuvers, then the latter should be responsible for damages caused to the pier. 48 It likewise holds the
appellate court in error for holding that the master of the ship, Capt. Kabankov, did not exercise the required
diligence demanded by the circumstances. 49

We start our discussion of the successive issues bearing in mind the evidentiary rule in American jurisprudence
that there is a presumption of fault against a moving vessel that strikes a stationary object such as a dock or
navigational aid. In admiralty, this presumption does more than merely require the ship to go forward and
produce some evidence on the presumptive matter. The moving vessel must show that it was without fault or
that the collision was occasioned by the fault of the stationary object or was the result of inevitable accident. It
has been held that such vessel must exhaust every reasonable possibility which the circumstances admit and
show that in each, they did all that reasonable care required. 50 In the absence of sufficient proof in rebuttal, the
presumption of fault attaches to a moving vessel which collides with a fixed object and makes a prima facie case
of fault against the vessel. 51 Logic and experience support this presumption:

The common sense behind the rule makes the burden a heavy one. Such accidents simply do not
occur in the ordinary course of things unless the vessel has been mismanaged in some way. It is nor
sufficient for the respondent to produce witnesses who testify that as soon as the danger became
apparent everything possible was done to avoid an accident. The question remains, How then did
the collision occur? The answer must be either that, in spite of the testimony of the witnesses, what
was done was too little or too late or, if not, then the vessel was at fault for being in a position in
which an unavoidable collision would occur. 52

The task, therefore, in these cases is to pinpoint who was negligent — the master of the ship, the harbor
pilot or both.
A pilot, in maritime law, is a person duly qualified, and licensed, to conduct a vessel into or out of ports, or in
certain waters. In a broad sense, the term "pilot" includes both (1) those whose duty it is to guide vessels into or
out of ports, or in particular waters and (2) those entrusted with the navigation of vessels on the high seas. 53
However, the term "pilot" is more generally understood as a person taken on board at a particular place for the
purpose of conducting a ship through a river, road or channel, or from a port. 54

Under English and American authorities, generally speaking, the pilot supersedes the master for the time being
in the command and navigation of the ship, and his orders must be obeyed in all matters connected with her
navigation. He becomes the master pro hac vice and should give all directions as to speed, course, stopping and
reversing anchoring, towing and the like. And when a licensed pilot is employed in a place where pilotage is
compulsory, it is his duty to insist on having effective control of the vessel, or to decline to act as pilot. Under
certain systems of foreign law, the pilot does not take entire charge of the vessel, but is deemed merely the
adviser of the master, who retains command and control of the navigation even in localities where pilotage is
compulsory. 55

It is quite common for states and localities to provide for compulsory pilotage, and safety laws have been
enacted requiring vessels approaching their ports, with certain exceptions, to take on board pilots duly licensed
under local law. The purpose of these laws is to create a body of seamen thoroughly acquainted with the harbor,
to pilot vessels seeking to enter or depart, and thus protect life and property from the dangers of navigation. 56

In line with such established doctrines, Chapter II of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 prescribes the
rules for compulsory pilotage in the covered pilotage districts, among which is the Manila Pilotage District,
viz. —

PARAGRAPH I. — Pilotage for entering a harbor and anchoring thereat, as well as docking and
undocking in any pier or shifting from one berth to another shall be compulsory, except Government
vessels and vessels of foreign governments entitled to courtesy, and other vessels engaged solely
in river or harbor work, or in a daily ferry service between ports which shall be exempt from
compulsory pilotage provisions of these regulations: provided, however, that compulsory pilotage
shall not apply in pilotage districts whose optional pilotage is allowed under these regulations.

Pursuant thereto, Capt. Gavino was assigned to pilot MV Pavlodar into Berth 4 of the Manila International Port.
Upon assuming such office as compulsory pilot, Capt. Gavino is held to the universally accepted high standards
of care and diligence required of a pilot, whereby he assumes to have skill and knowledge in respect to
navigation in the particular waters over which his license extends superior to and more to be trusted than that of
the master. 57 A pilot 57 should have a thorough knowledge of general and local regulations and physical
conditions affecting the vessel in his charge and the waters for which he is licensed, such as a particular harbor
or river.

He is not held to the highest possible degree of skill and care, but must have and exercise the ordinary skill and
care demanded by the circumstances, and usually shown by an expert in his profession. Under extraordinary
circumstancesm, a pilot must exercise extraordinary care. 58

In Atlee vs. The Northwesrern Union Packet Company. 59 Mr. Justice Miller spelled out in great detail the duties
of a pilot:

. . . (T)he pilot of a river steamer, like the harbor pilot, is selected for his personal knowledge of the
topography through which he steers his vessel. In the long course of a thousand miles in one of
these rivers, he must be familiar with the appearance of the shore on each side of the river as he
goes along. Its banks, towns, its landings, its houses and trees, are all landmarks by which he steers
his vessel. The compass is of little use to him. He must know where the navigable channel is, in its
relation to all these external objects, especially in the night. He must also be familiar with all dangers
that are permanently located in the course of the river, as sand-bars, snags, sunken rocks or trees or
abandoned vessels orbarges. All this he must know and remember and avoid. To do this, he must be
constantly informed of the changes in the current of the river, of the sand-bars newly made,of logs
or snags, or other objects newly presented, against which his vessel might be injured.

xxx xxx xxx

It may be said that this is exacting a very high order of ability in a pilot. But when we consider the
value of the lives and property committed to their control, for in this they are absolute masters, the
high compensation they receive, the care which Congress has taken to secure by rigid and frequent
examinations and renewal of licenses, this very class of skill, we do not think we fix the standard too
high.

Tested thereby, we affirm respondent court's finding that Capt. Gavino failed to measure up to such strict
standard of care and diligence required of pilots in the performance of their duties. Witness this testimony of
Capt. Gavino:

Court: You have testified before that the reason why the vessel bumped the pier was
because the anchor was not released immediately or as soon as you have given the
order. Do you remember having srated that?

A Yes, your Honor.

Q And you gave this order to the captain of the vessel?

A Yes, your Honor.


Q By that testimony, you are leading the Court to understand that if that anchor was
released immediately at the time you gave the order, the incident would not have
happened. Is that correct?

A Yes, sir, but actually it was only a presumption on my part because there was a
commotion between the officers who are in charge of the dropping of the anchor and
the captain. I could not understand their language, it was in Russian, so I presumed the
anchor was not dropped on time.

Q So, you are not sure whether it was really dropped on time or not?

A I am not sure, your Honor.

xxx xxx xxx

Q You are not even sure what could have caused the incident. What factor could have
caused the incident?

A Well, in this case now, because either the anchor was not dropped on time or the
anchor did not hold, that was the cause of the incident, your Honor. 60

It is disconcertingly riddled with too much incertitude and manifests a seeming indifference for the possibly
injurious consequences his commands as pilot may have. Prudence required that he, as pilot, should have made
sure that his directions were promptly and strictly followed. As correctly noted by the trial court —

Moreover, assuming that he did indeed give the command to drop the anchor on time, as pilot he
should have seen to it that the order was carried out, and he could have done this in a number of
ways, one of which was to inspect the bow of the vessel where the anchor mechanism was installed.
Of course, Captain Gavino makes reference to a commotion among the crew members which
supposedly caused the delay in the execution of the command. This account was reflected in the
pilot's report prepared four hours later, but Capt. Kavankov, while not admitting whether or not such
a commotion occurred, maintained that the command to drop anchor was followed "immediately and
precisely." Hence, the Court cannot give much weight or consideration to this portion of Gavino's
testimony." 61

An act may be negligent if it is done without the competence that a reasonable person in the position of the actor
would recognize as necessary to prevent it from creating an unreasonable risk of harm to another. 62 Those who
undertake any work calling for special skills are required not only to exercise reasonable care in what they do but
also possess a standard minimum of special knowledge and ability. 63

Every man who offers his services to another, and is employed, assumes to exercise in the employment such
skills he possesses, with a reasonable degree of diligence. In all these employments where peculiar skill is
requisite, if one offers his services he is understood as holding himself out to the public as possessing the
degree of skill commonly possessed by others in the same employment, and if his pretensions are unfounded he
commits a species of fraud on every man who employs him in reliance on his public profession. 64

Furthermore, there is an obligation on all persons to take the care which, under ordinary circumstances of the
case, a reasonable and prudent man would take, and the omission of that care constitutes negligence. 65
Generally, the degree of care required is graduated according to the danger a person or property attendant upon
the activity which the actor pursues or the instrumentality which he uses. The greater the danger the greater the
degree of care required. What is ordinary under extraordinary of conditions is dictated by those conditions;
extraordinary risk demands extraordinary care. Similarly, the more imminent the danger, the higher the degree of
care. 66

We give our imprimatur to the bases for the conclusion of the Court of Appeals that Capt. Gavino was indeed
negligent in the performance of his duties:

xxx xxx xxx

. . . As can be gleaned from the logbook, Gavino ordered the left anchor and two (2) shackles
dropped at 8:30 o'clock in the morning. He ordered the engines of the vessel stopped at 8:31 o'clock.
By then,Gavino must have realized that the anchor did not hit a hard object and was not clawed so
as to reduce the momentum of the vessel. In point of fact, the vessel continued travelling towards
the pier at the same speed. Gavino failed to react, At 8:32 o'clock, the two (2) tugboats began to
push the stern part of the vessel from the port side bur the momentum of the vessel was not
contained. Still, Gavino did not react. He did not even order the other anchor and two (2) more
shackles dropped to arrest the momentum of the vessel. Neither did he order full-astern. It was only
at 8:34 o'clock, or four (4) minutes, after the anchor was dropped that Gavino reacted. But his
reaction was even (haphazard) because instead of arresting fully the momentum of the vessel with
the help of the tugboats, Gavino ordered merely "half-astern". It took Gavino another minute to order
a "full-astern". By then, it was too late. The vessel's momentum could no longer be arrested and,
barely a minute thereafter, the bow of the vessel hit the apron of the pier. Patently, Gavino
miscalculated. He failed to react and undertake adequate measures to arrest fully the momentum of
the vessel after the anchor failed to claw to the seabed. When he reacted, the same was even
(haphazard). Gavino failed to reckon the bulk of the vessel, its size and its cargo. He erroneously
believed that only one (1) anchor would suffice and even when the anchor failed to claw into the
seabed or against a hard object in the seabed, Gavino failed to order the other anchor dropped
immediately. His claim that the anchor was dropped when the vessel was only 1,000 feet from the
pier is but a belated attempt to extricate himself from the quagmire of his own insouciance and
negligence. In sum, then, Appellants' claim that the incident was caused by "force majeure" is
barren of factual basis.

xxx xxx xxx

The harbor pilots are especially trained for this job. In the Philippines, one may not be a harbor pilot
unless he passed the required examination and training conducted then by the Bureau of Custom,
under Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65, now under the Philippine Ports Authority under PPA
Administrative Order 63-85, Paragraph XXXIX of the Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65
provides that "the pilot shall be held responsible for the direction of the vessel from the time he
assumes control thereof, until he leaves it anchored free from shoal: Provided, that his
responsibility shall cease at the.moment the master neglects or refuse(s) to carry out his
instructions." The overall direction regarding the procedure for docking and undocking the vessel
emanates from the harbor pilot. In the present recourse, Gavino failed to live up to his
responsibilities and exercise reasonable care or that degree of care required by the exigencies of the
occasion. Failure on his part to exercise the degree of care demanded by the circumstances is
negligence (Reese versus Philadelphia & RR Co. 239 US 363, 60 L ed. 384, 57 Am Jur, 2d page 418).
67

This affirms the findings of the trial court regarding Capt. Gavino's negligence:

This discussion should not however, divert the court from the fact that negligence in manuevering
the vessel must be attributed to Capt. Senen Gavino. He was an experienced pilot and by this time
should have long familiarized himself with the depth of the port and the distance he could keep
between the vessel and port in order to berth safely. 68

The negligence on the part of Capt. Gavino is evident; but Capt. Kabancov is no less responsible for the allision.
His unconcerned lethargy as master of the ship in the face of troublous exigence constitutes negligence.

While it is indubitable that in exercising his functions a pilot is in sole command of the ship 69 and supersedes
the master for the time being in the command and navigation of a ship and that he becomes master pro hac vice
of a vessel piloted by him, 70 there is overwhelming authority to the effect that the master does not surrender his
vessel to the pilot and the pilot is not the master. The master is still in command of the vessel notwithstanding
the presence of a pilot. There are occasions when the master may and should interfere and even displace the
pilot, as when the pilot is obviously incompetent or intoxicated and the circumstances may require the master to
displace a compulsory pilot because of incompetency or physical incapacity. If, however, the master does nor
observe that a compulsory pilot is incompetent or physically incapacitated, the master is justified in relying on
the pilot, but not blindly. 71

The master is not wholly absolved from his duties while a pilot is on board his vessel, and may advise with or
offer suggestions to him. He is still in command of the vessel, except so far as her navigation is concerned, and
must cause the ordinary work of the vessel to be properly carried on and the usual precaution taken. Thus, in
particular, he is bound to see that there is sufficient watch on deck, and that the men are attentive to their duties,
also that engines are stopped, towlines cast off, and the anchors clear and ready to go at the pilot's order. 72

A perusal of Capt. Kabankov's testimony makes it apparent that he was remiss in the discharge of his duties as
master of the ship, leaving the entire docking procedure up to the pilot, instead of maintaining watchful vigilance
over this risky maneuver:

Q Will you please tell us whether you have the right to intervene in docking of your ship
in the harbor?

A No sir, I have no right to intervene in time of docking, only in case there is imminent
danger to the vessel and to the pier.

Q Did you ever intervene during the time that your ship was being docked by Capt.
Gavino?

A No sir, I did not intervene at the time when the pilot was docking my ship.

Q Up to the time it was actually docked at the pier, is that correct?

A No sir, I did not intervene up to the very moment when the vessel was docked.

xxx xxx xxx

Atty. Del Rosario (to the witness)

Q Mr. Witness, what happened, if any, or was there anything unusual that happened
during the docking?

A Yes sir, our ship touched ihe pier and the pier was damaged.

Court (to the witness)


Q When you said touched the pier, are you leading the court to understand that your
ship bumped the pier?

A I believe that my vessel only touched the pier but the impact was very weak.

Q Do you know whether the pier was damaged as a result of that slight or weak impact?

A Yes sir, after the pier was damaged.

xxx xxx xxx

Q Being most concerned with the safety of your vessel, in the maneuvering of your
vessel to the port, did you observe anything irregular in the maneuvering by Capt.
Gavino at the time he was trying to cause the vessel to be docked at the pier?

A You mean the action of Capt. Gavino or his condition?

Court:

Q Not the actuation that conform to the safety maneuver of the ship to the harbor?

A No sir, it was a usual docking.

Q By that statement of yours, you are leading the court to understand that there was
nothing irregular in the docking of the ship?

A Yes sir, during the initial period of the docking, there was nothing unusual that
happened.

Q What about in the last portion of the docking of the ship, was there anything unusual
or abnormal that happened?

A None Your Honor, I believe that Capt. Gavino thought that the anchor could keep or
hold the vessel.

Q You want us to understand, Mr. Witness, that the dropping of the anchor of the vessel
was nor timely?

A I don't know the depth of this port but I think, if the anchor was dropped earlier and
with more shackles, there could not have been an incident.

Q So you could not precisely tell the court that the dropping of the anchor was timery
because you are not well aware of the seabed, is that correct?

A Yes sir, that is right.

xxx xxx xxx

Q Alright, Capt. Kavankov, did you come to know later whether the anchor held its
ground so much so that the vessel could not travel?

A It is difficult for me to say definitely. I believe that the anchor did not hold the ship.

Q You mean you don't know whether the anchor blades stuck to the ground to stop the
ship from further moving?

A Yes sir, it is possible.

Q What is possible?

A I think, the 2 shackles were not enough to hold the vessel.

Q Did you know that the 2 shackles were dropped?

A Yes sir, I knew that.

Q If you knew that the shackles were not enough to hold the ship, did you not make any
protest to the pilot?

A No sir, after the incident, that was my assumption.

Q Did you come to know later whether that presumption is correct?

A I still don't know the ground in the harbor or the depths.

Q So from the beginning, you were not competent whether the 2 shackles were also
dropped to hold the ship?
A No sir, at the beginning, I did not doubt it because I believe Capt. Gavino to be an
experienced pilot and he should be more aware as to the depths of the harbor and the
ground and I was confident in his actions.

xxx xxx xxx

Solicitor Abad (to the witness)

Q Now, you were standing with the pilot on the bridge of the vessel before the inicident
happened, were you not?

A Yes sir, all the time, I was standing with the pilot.

Q And so whatever the pilot saw, you could also see from that point of view?

A That is right.

Q Whatever the piler can read from the panel of the bridge, you also could read, is that
correct?

A What is the meaning of panel?

Q All indications necessary for men on the bridge to be informed of the movements of
the ship?

A That is right.

Q And whatever sound the captain . . . Capt. Gavino would hear from the bridge, you
could also hear?

A That is right.

Q Now, you said that when the command to lower the anchor was given, it was obeyed,
is that right?

A This command was executed by the third mate and boatswain.

Court (to the witness)

Q Mr. Witness, earlier in today's hearing, you said that you did not intervene with the
duties of the pilot and that, in your opinion, you can only intervene if the ship is placed
in imminent danger, is that correct?

A That is right, I did say that.

Q In your observation before the incident actually happened, did you observe whether
or not the ship, before the actual incident, the ship was placed in imminent danger?

A No sir, I did not observe.

Q By that answer, are you leading the court to understand that because you did not
intervene and because you believed that it was your duty to intervene when the vessel
is placed in imminent danger to which you did not observe any imminent danger
thereof, you have not intervened in any manner to the command of the pilot?

A That is right, sir.

xxx xxx xxx

Q Assuminp that you disagreed with the pilot regarding the step being taken by the pilot
in maneuvering the vessel, whose command will prevail, in case of imminent danger to
the vessel?

A I did nor consider the situation as having an imminent danger. I believed that the
vessel will dock alongside the pier.

Q You want us to understand that you did not see an imminent danger to your ship, is
that what you mean?

A Yes sir, up to the very last moment, I believed that there was no imminent danger.

Q Because of that, did you ever intervene in the command of the pilot?

A Yes sir, I did not intervene because I believed that the command of the pilot to be
correct.

Solicitor Abad (to the witness)


Q As a captain of M/V Pavlodar, you consider docking maneuvers a serious matter, is it
not?

A Yes sir, that is right.

Q Since it affects not only the safety of the port or pier, but also the safety of the vessel
and the cargo, is it not?

A That is right.

Q So that, I assume that you were watching Capt. Gavino very closely at the time he was
making his commands?

A I was close to him, I was hearing his command and being executed.

Q And that you were also alert for any possible mistakes he might commit in the
maneuvering of the vessel?

A Yes sir, that is right.

Q But at no time during the maneuver did you issue order contrary to the orders Capt.
Gavino made?

A No sir.

Q So that you were in full accord with all of Capt. Gavino's orders?

A Yes sir.

Q Because, otherwise, you would have issued order that would supersede his own
order?

A In that case, I should t,ke him away from his command or remove the command from
him.

Court (to the witness)

Q You were in full accord with the steps being taken by Capt. Gavino because you relied
on his knowledge, on his familiarity of the seabed and shoals and other surroundings or
conditions under the sea, is that correct?

A Yes sir, that is right.

xxx xxx xxx

Solicitor Abad (to the witness)

Q And so after the anchors were ordered dropped and they did not take hold of the
seabed, you were alerted that there was danger already on hand?

A No sir, there was no imminent danger to the vessel.

Q Do you mean to tell us that even if the anchor was supposed to take hold of the
bottom and it did not, there was no danger to the ship?

A Yes sir, because the anchor dragged on the ground later.

Q And after a few moments when the anchor should have taken hold the seabed bur not
done (sic), as you expected, you already were alerted that there was danger to the ship,
is that correct?

A Yes sir, I was alerted but there was no danger.

Q And you were alerted that somebody was wrong?

A Yes sir, I was alerted.

Q And this alert vou assumed was the ordinary alertness that you have for normal
docking?

A Yes sir, I mean that it was usual condition of any man in time of docking to be alert.

Q And that is the same alertness when the anchor did not hold onto the ground, is that
correct?

A Yes sir, me and Capt. Gavino (thought) that the anchor will hold the ground.
Q Since, as you said that you agreed all the while with the orders of Capt. Gavino, you
also therefore agreed with him in his failure to take necessary precaution against the
eventuality that the anchor will not hold as expected?

Atty. Del Rosario:

May I ask that the question . . .

Solicitor Abad:

Never mind, I will reform the question.

xxx xxx xxx

Solicitor Abad (to the witness)

Q Is it not a fact that the vessel bumped the pier?

A That is right, it bumped the pier.

Q For the main reason that the anchor of the vessel did not hold the ground as
expected?

A Yes sir, that is my opinion. 73

Further, on redirect examination, Capt. Kabankov fortified his apathetic assessment of the situation:

Q Now, after the anchor was dropped, was there any point in time that you felt that the
vessel was in imminent danger.

A No, at that time, the vessel was not in imminent, danger, sir. 74

This cavalier appraisal of the event by Capt. Kabankov is disturbingly antipodal to Capt. Gavino's anxious
assessment of the situation:

Q When a pilot is on board a vessel, it is the piler's command which should be followed
at that moment until the vessel is, or goes to port or reaches port?

A Yes, your Honor, but it does not take away from the Captain his prerogative to
countermand the pilot.

Q In what way?

A In any case, which he thinks the pilot is not maneuvering correctly, the Captain
always has the prerogative to countermand the pilot's order.

Q But insofar as competence, efficiency and functional knowledee of the seabed which
are vital or decisive in the safety (sic) bringing of a vessel to the port, he is not
competent?

A Yes, your Honor. That is why they hire a pilot in an advisory capacity, but still, the
safety of the vessel rest(s) upon the Captain, the Master of the vessel.

Q In this case, there was not a disagreement between you and the Captain of the vessel
in the bringing of the vessel to port?

A No, your Honor.

Court:

May proceed.

Atty. Catris:

In fact, the Master of the vessel testified here that he was all along in conformity with
the orders you, gave to him, and, as matter of fact, as he said, he obeyed all your
orders. Can you tell, if in the course of giving such normal orders for the saf(e) docking
of the MV Pavlodar, do you remember of any instance that the Master of the vessel did
not obey your command for the safety docking of the MV Pavlodar?

Atty. del Rosario:

Already answered, he already said yes sir.

Court:
Yes, he has just answered yes sir to the Court that there was no disagreement insofar
as the bringing of the vessel safely to the port.

Atty. Catris:

But in this instance of docking of the MV Pavlodar, do you remember of a time during
the course of the docking that the MV Pavlodar was in imminent danger of bumping the
pier?

A When we were about more than one thousand meters from the pier, I think, the anchor
was not holding, so I immediately ordered to push the bow at a fourth quarter, at the
back of the vessel in order to swing the bow away from the pier and at the same time, I
ordered for a full astern of the engine. 75

These conflicting reactions can only imply, at the very least, unmindful disregard or, worse, neglectful
relinquishment of duty by the shipmaster, tantamount to negligence.

The findings of the trial court on this aspect is noteworthy:

For, while the pilot Gavino may indeed have been charged with the task of docking the vessel in the
berthing space, it is undisputed that the master of the vessel had the corresponding duty to
countermand any of the orders made by the pilot, and even maneuver the vessel himself, in case of
imminent danger to the vessel and the port.

In fact, in his testimony, Capt. Kavankov admitted that all throughour the man(eu)vering procedures
he did not notice anything was going wrong, and even observed that the order given to drop the
anchor was done at the proper time. He even ventured the opinion that the accident occurred
because the anchor failed to take hold but that this did not alarm him because.there was still time to
drop a second anchor.

Under normal circumstances, the abovementioned facts would have caused the master of a vessel
to take charge of the situation and see to the man(eu)vering of the vessel himself. Instead, Capt.
Kavankov chose to rely blindly upon his pilot, who by this time was proven ill-equipped to cope with
the situation.

xxx xxx xxx

It is apparent that Gavino was negligent but Far Eastern's employee Capt. Kavankov was no lesss
responsible for as master of the vessel he stood by the pilot during the man(eu)vering procedures
and was privy to every move the latter made, as well as the vessel's response to each of the
commands. His choice to rely blindly upon the pilot's skills, to the point that despite being appraised
of a notice of alert he continued to relinquish control of the vessel to Gavino, shows indubitably that
he was not performing his duties with the diligence required of him and therefore may be charged
with negligence along with defend;int Gavino. 76

As correctly affirmed by the Court of Appeals —

We are in full accord with the findings and disquisitions of the Court a quo.

In the present recourse, Captain Viktor Kavankov had been a mariner for thirty-two years before the
incident. When Gavino was (in) the command of the vessel, Kavankov was beside Gavino, relaying
the commands or orders of Gavino to the crewmembers-officers of the vessel concerned. He was
thus fully aware of the docking maneuvers and procedure Gavino undertook to dock the vessel.
Irrefragably, Kavankov was fully aware of the bulk and size of the vessel and its cargo as well as the
weight of the vessel. Kavankov categorically admitted that, when the anchor and two (2) shackles
were dropped to the sea floor, the claws of the anchor did not hitch on to any hard object in the
seabed. The momentum of the vessel was not arrested. The use of the two (2) tugboats was
insufficient. The momentum of the vessel, although a little bit arrested, continued (sic) the vessel
going straightforward with its bow towards the port (Exhibit "A-1 ). There was thus a need for the
vessel to move "full-astern" and to drop the other anchor with another shackle or two (2), for the
vessel to avoid hitting the pier. Kavankov refused to act even as Gavino failed to act. Even as Gavino
gave mere "half-astern" order, Kavankov supinely stood by. The vessel was already about twenty
(20) meters away from the pier when Gavino gave the "full-astern" order. Even then, Kavankov did
nothing to prevent the vessel from hitting the pier simply because he relied on the competence and
plan of Gavino. While the "full-astern'' maneuver momentarily arrested the momentum of the vessel,
it was, by then, too late. All along, Kavankov stood supinely beside Gavino, doing nothing but relay
the commands of Gavino. Inscrutably, then, Kavankov was negligent.

xxx xxx xxx

The stark incompetence of Kavankov is competent evidence to prove the unseaworthiness of the
vessel. It has been held that the incompetence of the navigator, the master of the vessel or its crew
makes the vessel unseaworthy (Tug Ocean Prince versus United States of America, 584 F. 2nd, page
1151). Hence, the Appellant FESC is likewise liable for the damage sustained by the Appellee. 77

We find strong and well-reasoned support in time-tested American maritime jurisprudence, on which much of our
laws and jurisprudence on the matter are based, for the conclusions of the Court of Appeals adjudging both
Capt. Gavino and Capt. Kabankov negligent.
As early as 1869, the U.S. Supreme Court declared, through Mr. Justice Swayne, in The Steamship China vs.
Walsh, 78 that it is the duty of the master to interfere in cases of the pilot's intoxication or manifest incapacity, in
cases of danger which he does not foresee, and in all cases of great necessity. The master has the same power
to displace the pilot that he has to remove any subordinate officer of the vessel, at his discretion.

In 1895, the U.S. Supreme Court, this time through Mr. Justice Brown, emphatically ruled that:

Nor are rye satisfied with the conduct of the master in leaving the pilot in sole charge of the vessel.
While the pilot doubtless supersedes the master for the time being in the command and navigation
of the ship, and his orders must be obeyed in all matters connected with her navigation, the master
is not wholly absolved from his duties while the pilot is on board, and may advise with him, and even
displace him in case he is intoxicated or manifestly incompetent. He is still in command of the
vessel, except so far as her navigation is concerned, and bound to see that there is a sufficient
watch on deck, and that the men are attentive to their duties.

. . . (N)orwithstanding the pilot has charge, it is the duty of the master to prevent accident, and not to
abandon the vessel entirely to the pilot; but that there are certain duties he has to discharge
(notwithstanding there is a pilot on board) for the benefit of the owners. . . . that in well conducted
ships the master does not regard the presence of a duly licensed pilot in compulsory pilot waters as
freeing him from every, obligation to attend to the safety of the vessel; but that, while the master
sees that his officers and crew duly attend to the pilot's orders, he himself is bound to keep a
vigilant eye on the navigation of the vessel, and, when exceptional circumstances exist, not only to
urge upon the pilot to use every precaution, but to insist upon such being taken. 79 (Italics for
emphasis.)

In Jure vs. United Fruit Co., 80 which, like the present petitions, involved compulsory pilotage, with a similar
scenario where at and prior to the time of injury, the vessel was in the charge of a pilot with the master on the
bridge of the vessel beside said pilot, the court therein ruled:

The authority of the master of a vessel is not in complete abeyance while a pilot, who is required by
law to be accepted, is in discharge of his functions. . . . It is the duty of the master to interfere in
cases of the pilot's intoxication or manifest incapacity, in cases of danger which he does not
foresee, and in all cases of great necessity. The master has the same power to displace the pilot that
he has to remove any subordinate officer of the vessel. He may exercise it, or not, according to his
discretion. There was evidence to support findings that piaintiff's injury was due to the negligent
operation of the Atenas, and that the master of that vessel was negligent in failing to take action to
avoid endangering a vessel situated as the City of Canton was and persons or property thereon.

A phase of the evidence furnished support for the inferences . . . that he negligently failed to suggest
to the pilot the danger which was disclosed, and means of avoiding such danger; and that the
master's negligence in failing to give timelt admonition to the pilot proximately contributed to the
injury complained of. We are of opinion that the evidence mentioned tended to prove conduct of the
pilot, known to the master, giving rise to a case of danger or great necessity, calling for the
intervention of the master. A master of a vessel is not without fault in acquiescing in canduct of a
pilot which involves apparent and avoidable danger, whether such danger is to the vessel upon
which the pilot is, or to another vessel, or persons or property thereon or on shore. (Emphasis ours.)

Still in another case involving a nearly identical setting, the captain of a vessel alongside the compulsory pilot
was deemed to be negligent, since, in the words of the court, "he was in a position to exercise his superior
authority if he had deemed the speed excessive on the occasion in question. I think it was clearly negligent of
him not to have recognized the danger to any craft moored at Gravell Dock and that he should have directed the
pilot to reduce his speed as required by the local governmental regulations. His failure amounted to negligence
and renders the respondent liable." 81 (Emphasis supplied.) Though a compulsory pilot might be regarded as an
independent contractor, he is at all times subject to the ultimate control of the ship's master. 82

In sum, where a compulsory pilot is in charge of a ship, the master being required to permit him to navigate it, if
the master observes that the pilot is incompetent or physically incapable, then it is the dury of the master to
refuse to permit the pilot to act. But if no such reasons are present, then the master is justified in relying upon
the pilot, but not blindly. Under the circumstances of this case, if a situation arose where the master, exercising
that reasonable vigilance which the master of a ship should exercise, observed, or should have observed, that
the pilot was so navigating the vessel that she was going, or was likely to go, into danger, and there was in the
exercise of reasonable care and vigilance an opportunity for the master to intervene so as to save the ship from
danger, the master should have acted accordingly. 83 The master of a vessel must exercise a degree of vigilance
commensurate with the circumstances. 84

Inasmuch as the matter of negligence is a question of fact, 85 we defer to the findings of the trial court, especially
as this is affirmed by the Court of Appeals. 86 But even beyond that, our own evaluation is that Capt. Kabankov's
shared liability is due mainly to the fact that he failed to act when the perilous situation should have spurred him
into quick and decisive action as master of the ship. In the face of imminent or actual danger, he did not have to
wait for the happenstance to occur before countermanding or overruling the pilot. By his own admission, Capt.
Kabankov concurred with Capt. Gavino's decisions, and this is precisely the reason why he decided not to
countermand any of the latter's orders. Inasmuch as both lower courts found Capt. Gavino negligent, by
expressing full agreement therewith Capt. Kabankov was just as negligent as Capt. Gavino.

In general, a pilot is personally liable for damages caused by his own negligence or default to the owners of the
vessel, and to third parties for damages sustained in a collision. Such negligence of the pilot in the performance
of duty constitutes a maritime tort. 87 At common law, a shipowner is not liable for injuries inflicted exclusively by
the negligence of a pilot accepted by a vessel compulsorily. 88 The exemption from liability for such negligence
shall apply if the pilot is actually in charge and solely in fault. Since, a pilot is responsible only for his own
personal negligence, he cannot be held accountable for damages proximately caused by the default of others, 89

or, if there be anything which concurred with the fault of the pilot in producing the accident, the vessel master
and owners are liable.

Since the colliding vessel is prima facie responsible, the burden of proof is upon the party claiming benefit of the
exemption from liability. It must be shown affirmatively that the pilot was at fault, and that there was no fault on
the part of the officers or crew, which might have been conducive to the damage. The fact that the law compelled
the master to take the pilot does not exonerate the vessel from liability. The parties who suffer are entitled to
have their remedy against the vessel that occasioned the damage, and are not under necessity to look to the pilot
from whom redress is not always had for compensation. The owners of the vessel are responsible to the injured
party for the acts of the pilot, and they must be left to recover the amount as well as they can against him. It
cannot be maintained that the circumstance of having a pilot on board, and acting in conformity to his directions
operate as a discharge of responsibility of the owners. 90 Except insofar as their liability is limited or exempted by
statute, the vessel or her owner are liable for all damages caused by the negligence or other wrongs of the
owners or those in charge of the vessel. Where the pilot of a vessel is not a compulsory one in the sense that the
owner or master of the vessel are bound to accept him, but is employed voluntarily, the owners of the vessel are,
all the more, liable for his negligent act. 91

In the United States, the owners of a vessel are not personally liable for the negligent acts of a compulsory pilot,
but by admiralty law, the fault or negligence of a compulsory pilot is imputable to the vessel and it may be held
liable therefor in rem. Where, however, by the provisions of the statute the pilot is compulsory only in the sense
that his fee must be paid, and is not in compulsory charge of the vessel, there is no exemption from liability.
Even though the pilot is compulsory, if his negligence was not the sole cause of the injury, but the negligence of
the master or crew contributed thereto, the owners are liable. 92 But the liability of the ship in rem does not
release the pilot from the consequences of his own negligence. 93 The rationale for this rule is that the master is
not entirely absolved of responsibility with respect to navigation when a compulsory pilot is in charge. 94

By way of validation and in light of the aforecited guidepost rulings in American maritime cases, we declare that
our rulings during the early years of this century in City of Manila vs. Gambe, 95 China Navigation Co., Ltd. vs.
Vidal, 96 and Yap Tica & Co. vs. Anderson, et al. 97 have withstood the proverbial test of time and remain good and
relevant case law to this day.

City of Manila stands for the doctrine that the pilot who was in command and complete control of a vessel, and
not the owners, must be held responsible for an accident which was solely the result of the mistake of the pilot in
not giving proper orders, and which did not result from the failure of the owners to equip the vessel with the
most modern and improved machinery. In China Navigation Co., the pilot deviated from the ordinary and safe
course, without heeding the warnings of the ship captain. It was this careless deviation that caused the vessel to
collide with a pinnacle rock which, though uncharted, was known to pilots and local navigators. Obviously, the
captain was blameless. It was the negligence of the pilot alone which was the proximate cause of the collision.
The Court could not but then rule that —

The pilot in the case at bar having deviated from the usual and ordinary course followed by
navigators in passing through the strait in question, without a substantial reason, was guilty of
negligence, and that negligence having been the proximate cause of the damages, he is liable for
such damages as usually and naturally flow therefrom. . . .

. . . (T)he defendant should have known of the existence and location of the rock upon which the
vessel struck while under his control and management. . . . .

Consistent with the pronouncements in these two earlier cases, but on a slightly different tack, the Court in Yap
Tico & Co. exonerated the pilot from liability for the accident where the orders of the pilot in the handling of the
ship were disregarded by the officers and crew of the ship. According to the Court, a pilot is ". . . responsible for
a full knowledge of the channel and the navigation only so far as he can accomplish it through the officers and
crew of the ship, and I don't see chat he can be held responsible for damage when the evidence shows, as it does
in this case, that the officers and crew of the ship failed to obey his orders." Nonetheless, it is possible for a
compulsory pilot and the master of the vessel to be concurrently negligent and thus share the blame for the
resulting damage as joint tortfeasors, 98 but only under the circumstances obtaining in and demonstrated by the
instant petitions.

It may be said, as a general rule, that negligence in order to render a person liable need not be the sole cause of
an injury. It is sufficient that his negligence, concurring with one or more efficient causes other than piaintiff's, is
the proximate cause of the injury. Accordingly, where several causes combine to produce injuries, a person is
not relieved from liability because he is responsible for only one of them, it being sufficient that the negligence of
the person charged with injury is an efficient cause without which the injury would not have resulted to as great
an extent, and that such cause is not attributable to the person injured. It is no defense to one of the concurrent
tortfeasors that the injury would not have resulted from his negligence alone, without the negligence or wrongful
acts of the other concurrent rortfeasor. 99 Where several causes producing an injury are concurrent and each is
an efficient cause without which the injury would not have happened, the injury may be attributed to all or any of
the causes and recovery may be had against any or all of the responsible persons although under the
circumstances of the case, it may appear that one of them was more culpable, and that the duty owed by them to
the injured person was not the same. No actor's negligence ceases to be a proximate cause merely because it
does not exceed the negligence of other actors. Each wrongdoer is responsible for the entire result and is liable
as though his acts were the sole cause of the injury. 100

There is no contribution between joint tortfeasors whose liability is solidary since both of them are liable for the
total damage. Where the concurrent or successive negligent acts or omissions of two or more persons, although
acting independently, are in combination the direct and proximate cause of a single injury to a third person, it is
impossible to determine in what proportion each contributed to the injury and either of them is responsible for
the whole injury. Where their concurring negligence resulted in injury or damage to a third party, they become
joint tortfeasors and are solidarily liable for the resulting damage under Article 2194 101 of the Civil Code. 102

As for the amount of damages awarded by the trial court, we find the same to be reasonable. The testimony of
Mr. Pascual Barral, witness for PPA, on cross and redirect examination, appears to be grounded on practical
considerations:

Q So that the cost of the two additional piles as well as the (two) square meters is
already included in this P1,300,999.77.

A Yes sir, everything. It is (the) final cost already.

Q For the eight piles.

A Including the reduced areas and other reductions.

Q (A)nd the two square meters.

A Yes sir.

Q In other words, this P1,300,999.77 does not represent only for the six piles that was
damaged as well as the corresponding two piles.

A The area was corresponding, was increased by almost two in the actual payment.
That was why the contract was decreased, the real amount was P1,124,627.40 and the
final one is P1,300,999.77.

Q Yes, but that P1,300,999.77 included the additional two new posts.

A It was increased.

Q Why was it increased?

A The original was 48 and the actual was 46.

Q Now, the damage was somewhere in 1980. It took place in 1980 and you started the
repair and reconstruction in 1982, that took almost two years?

A Yes sir.

Q May it not happen that by natural factors, the existing damage in 1980 was aggravated
for the 2 year period that the damage portion was not repaired?

A I don't think so because that area was at once marked and no vehicles can park, it
was closed.

Q Even if or even natural elements cannot affect the damage?

A Cannot, sir.

xxx xxx xxx

Q You said in the cross-examination that there were six piles damaged by the accident,
but that in the reconstruction of the pier, PPA drove and constructed 8 piles. Will you
explain to us why there was change in the number of piles from the original number?

A In piers where the piles are withdrawn or pulled out, you cannot re-drive or drive piles
at the same point. You have to redesign the driving of the piles. We cannot drive the
piles at the same point where the piles are broken or damaged or pulled out. We have to
redesign, and you will note that in the reconstruction, we redesigned such that it
necessitated 8 plies.

Q Why not, why could you not drive the same number of piles and on the same spot?

A The original location was already disturbed. We cannot get required bearing capacity.
The area is already disturbed.

Q Nonetheless, if you drove the original number of piles, six, on different places, would
not that have sustained the same load?

A It will not suffice, sir. 103

We quote the findings of the lower court with approval.

With regards to the amount of damages that is to be awarded to plaintiff, the Court finds that the
amount of P1,053,300.00 is justified. Firstly, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur best expounded upon in
the landmark case of Republic vs. Luzon Stevedoring Corp. (21 SCRA 279) establishes the
presumption that in the ordinary course of events the ramming of the dock would not have occurred
if proper care was used.

Secondly, the various estimates and plans justify the cost of the port construction price. The new
structure constructed not only replaced the damaged one but was built of stronger materials to
forestall the possibility of any similar accidents in the future.

The Court inevitably finds that the plaintiff is entitled to an award of P1,053,300.00 which represents
actual damages caused by the damage to Berth 4 of the Manila International Port. Co-defendants Far
Eastern Shipping, Capt. Senen Gavino and Manila Pilots Association are solidariiy liable to pay this
amount to plaintiff. 104

The Solicitor General rightly commented that the adjudicated amount of damages represents the
proportional cost of repair and rehabilitation of the damaged section of the pier. 105

Except insofar as their liability is limited or exempted by statute, the vessel or her owners are liable for all
damages caused by the negligence or other wrongs of the owners or those in charge of the vessel. As a general
rule, the owners or those in possession and control of a vessel and the vessel are liable for all natural and
proximate damages caused to persons or property by reason of her negligent management or navigation. 106

FESC's imputation of PPA's failure to provide a safe and reliable berthing place is obtuse, not only because it
appears to be a mere afterthought, being tardily raised only in this petition, but also because there is no
allegation or evidence on record about Berth No. 4 being unsafe and unreliable, although perhaps it is a modest
pier by international standards. There was, therefore, no error on the part of the Court of Appeals in dismissing
FESC's counterclaim.

II. G.R. No. 130150

This consolidated case treats on whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding MPA jointly and solidarily liable
with its member pilot. Capt. Gavino, in the absence of employer-employee relationship and in applying Customs
Administrative Order No. 15-65, as basis for the adjudged solidary liability of MPA and Capt. Gavino.

The pertinent provisions in Chapter I of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 are:

PAR. XXVII. — In all pilotage districts where pilotage is compulsory, there shall be created and
maintained by the pilots or pilots' association, in the manner hereinafter prescribed, a reserve fund
equal to P1,000.00 for each pilot thereof for the purpose of paying claims for damages to vessels or
property caused through acts or omissions of its members while rendered in compulsory pilotage
service. In Manila, the reserve fund shall be P2,000.00 for each pilot.

PAR. XXVIII. — A pilots' association shall not be liable under these regulations for damage to any
vessel, or other property, resulting from acts of a member of an association in the actual
performance of his duty for a greater amount than seventy-five per centum (75%) of its prescribed
reserve fund; it being understood that if the association is held liable for an amount greater than the
amount above-stated, the excess shall be paid by the personal funds of the member concerned.

PAR. XXXI. — If a payment is made from the reserve fund of an association on account of damages
caused by a member thereof, and he shall have been found at fault, such member shall reimburse
the association in the amount so paid as soon as practicable; and for this purpose, not less than
twenty-five per centum of his dividends shall be retained each month until the full amount has been
returned to the reserve fund.

PAR. XXXIV. — Nothing in these regulations shall relieve any pilots' association or members thereof,
individually or collectively, from civil responsibility for damages to life or property resulting from the
acts of members in the performance of their duties.

Correlatively, the relevant provisions of PPA Administrative Order No. 03-85, which timery amended this
applicable maritime regulation, state:

Art. IV

Sec. 17. Pilots' Association — The Pilots in a Pilotage District shall organize themselves into a Pilots'
Association or firm, the members of which shall promulgate their own By-Laws not in conflict with
the rules and regulations promulgated by the Authority. These By-Laws shall be submitted not later
than one (1) month after the organization of the Pilots' Association for approval by the General
Manager of the Authority. Subsequent amendments thereto shall likewise be submitted for approval.

Sec. 25. Indemnity Insurance and Reserve Fund —

a) Each Pilots' Association shall collectively insure its membership at the


rate of P50,000.00 each member to cover in whole or in part any liability
arising from any accident resulting in damage to vessel(s), port facilities
and other properties and/or injury to persons or death which any member
may have caused in the course of his performance of pilotage duties. . . . .

b) The Pilotage Association shall likewise set up and maintain a reserve


fund which shall answer for any part of the liability referred to in the
immediately preceding paragraph which is left unsatisfied by the insurance
proceeds, in the following manner:

1) Each pilot in the Association shall contribute from his own


account an amount of P4,000.00 (P6,000.00 in the Manila
Pilotage District) to the reserve fund. This fund shall not be
considered part of the capital of the Association nor charged
as an expense thereof.

2) Seventy-five percent (75 %) of the reserve fund shall be set


aside for use in the payment of damages referred to above
incurred in the actual performance of pilots' duties and the
excess shall be paid from the personal funds of the member
concerned.

xxx xxx xxx

5) If payment is made from the reserve fund of an Association


on account of damage caused by a member thereof who is
found at fault, he shall reimburse the Association in the
amount so paid as soon as practicable; and for this purpose,
not less than twenty-five percentum (25 %) of his dividend
shall be retained each month until the full amount has been
returned to the reserve fund. Thereafter, the pilot involved
shall be entitled to his full dividend.

6) When the reimbursement has been completed as prescribed


in the preceding paragraph, the ten percentum (10%) and the
interest withheld from the shares of the other pilots in
accordance with paragraph (4) hereof shall be returned to
them.

c) Liability of Pilots' Association — Nothing in these regulations shall


relieve any Pilots' Association or members thereof, individually or
collectively, from any civil, administrative and/or criminal responsibility for
damages to life or property resulting from the individual acts of its
members as well as those of the Association's employees and crew in the
performance of their duties.

The Court of Appeals, while affirming the trial court's finding of solidary liability on the part of FESC, MPA and
Capt. Gavino, correctly based MPA' s liability not on the concept of employer-employee relationship between
Capt. Gavino and itself, but on the provisions of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65:

The Appellant MPA avers that, contrary to the findings and disquisitions of the Court a quo, the
Appellant Gavino was not and has never been an employee of the MPA but was only a member
thereof. The Court a quo, it is noteworthy, did not state the factual basis on which it anchored its
finding that Gavino was the employee of MPA. We are in accord with MPA's pose. Case law teaches
Us that, for an employer-employee relationship to exist, the confluence of the following elements
must be established: (1) selection and engagement of employees; (2) the payment of wages; (3) the
power of dismissal; (4) the employer's power to control the employees with respect to the means
and method by which the work is to be performed (Ruga versus NLRC, 181 SCRA 266).

xxx xxx xxx

The liability of MPA for damages is not anchored on Article 2180 of the New Civil Code as
erroneously found and declared by the Court a quo but under the provisions of Customs
Administrative Order No. 15-65, supra, in tandem with the by-laws of the MPA. 107

There being no employer-employee relationship, clearly Article 2180 108 of the Civil Code is inapplicable since
there is no vicarious liability of an employer to speak of. It is so stated in American law, as follows:

The well established rule is that pilot associations are immune to vicarious liability for the tort of
their members. They are not the employer of their members and exercise no control over them once
they take the helm of the vessel. They are also not partnerships because the members do not
function as agents for the association or for each other. Pilots' associations are also not liable for
negligently assuring the competence of their members because as professional associations they
made no guarantee of the professional conduct of their members to the general public. 109

Where under local statutes and regulations, pilot associations lack the necessary legal incidents of
responsibility, they have been held not liable for damages caused by the default of a member pilot. 110 Whether or
not the members of a pilots' association are in legal effect a copartnership depends wholly on the powers and
duties of the members in relation to one another under the provisions of the governing statutes and regulations.
The relation of a pilot to his association is not that of a servant to the master, but of an associate assisting and
participating in a common purpose. Ultimately, the rights and liabilities between a pilots' association and an
individual member depend largely upon the constitution, articles or by-laws of the association, subject to
appropriate government regulations. 111
No reliance can be placed by MPA on the cited American rulings as to immunity from liability of a pilots'
association in ljght of existing positive regulation under Philippine law. The Court of Appeals properly applied
the clear and unequivocal provisions of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65. In doing so, it was just being
consistent with its finding of the non-existence of employer-employee relationship between MPA and Capt.
Gavino which precludes the application of Article 2180 of the Civil Code.

True. Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 does not categorically characterize or label MPA's liability as
solidary in nature. Nevertheless, a careful reading and proper analysis of the correlated provisions lead to the
conclusion that MPA is solidarily liable for the negligence of its member pilots, without prejudice to subsequent
reimbursement from the pilot at fault.

Art. 1207 of the Civil Code provides that there is solidary liability only when the obligation expressly so states, or
when the law or the nature of the obligation requires solidarity. Plainly, Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65,
which as an implementing rule has the force and effect of law, can validly provide for solidary liability.We note
the Solicitor General's comment hereon, to wit:

. . . Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 may be a mere rule and regulation issued by an
administrative agency pursuant to a delegated authority to fix "the details" in the execution or
enforcement of a policy set out in the law itself. Nonetheless, said administrative order, which adds
to the procedural or enforcing provisions of substantive law, is legally binding and receives the
same statutory force upon going into effect. In that sense, it has equal, not lower, statutory force and
effect as a regular statute passed by the legislature. 112

MPA's prayer for modification of the appellate court's decision under review by exculpating petitioner MPA "from
liability beyond seventy-five percent (75 %) of Reserve Fund" is unnecessary because the liability of MPA under
Par. XXVIII of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 is in fact limited to seventy-five percent (75 %) of its
prescribed reserve fund, any amount of liability beyond that being for the personal account of the erring pilot and
subject to reimbursement in case of a finding of fault by the member concerned. This is clarified by the Solicitor
General:

Moreover, contrary to petitioner's pretensions, the provisions of Customs Administrative Order No.
15-65 do not limit the liability of petitioner as a pilots' association to an absurdly small amount of
seventy-five per centum (75 %) of the member pilots' contribution of P2,000.00 to the reserve fund.
The law speaks of the entire reserve fund required to be maintained by the pilots' association to
answer (for) whatever liability arising from the tortious act of its members. And even if the
association is held liable for an amount greater than the reserve fund, the association may not resist
the liability by claiming to be liable only up to seventy-five per centum (75 %) of the reserve fund
because in such instance it has the right to be reimbursed by the offending member pilot for the
excess. 113

WHEREFORE, in view of all of the foregoing, the consolidated petitions for review are DENIED and the assailed
decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto.

Counsel for FESC, the law firm of Del Rosario and Del Rosario, specifically its associate, Atty. Herbert A. Tria, is
REPRIMANDED and WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts of heedless disregard of its
undertakings under the Rules shall be dealt with more severely.

The original members of the legal team of the Office of the Solicitor General assigned to this case, namely,
Assistant Solicitor General Roman G. Del Rosario and Solicitor Luis F. Simon, are ADMONISHED and WARNED
that a repetition of the same or similar acts of unduly delaying proceedings due to delayed filing of required
pleadings shall also be dealt with more stringently.

The Solicitor Genral is DIRECTED to look into the circumstances of this case and to adopt provident measures to
avoid a repetition of this incident and which would ensure prompt compliance with orders of this Court regarding
the timely filing of requisite pleadings, in the interest of just, speedy and orderly administration of justice.

Let copies of this decision be spread upon the personal records of the lawyers named herein in the Office of the
Bar Confidant.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 85939 April 19, 1991

NEW PANGASINAN REVIEW, INC., petitioner,


vs.
THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, LABOR ARBITER RICARDO N. OLAIREZ, Provincial & City
Sheriff Ex-Officio ALICIA BRAVO-FABIA, Deputy Sheriff ROMEO M. QUERIMIT and CONSTANCIA C. ADAJAR,
SALUD G. MAGSANO, BIENVENIDO MENESES, AMADO P. BOLSICO, REGINO P. VELASCO, CANITO E. ABALOS,
MYRNA S. MARAMBA, EPIFANIA M. MAGSANO, JUAN D. ALCALDE, ANTONIO T. MARAMBA, TERESITA A.
ADAJAR, ROBERTO F. GARCIA, RODOLFO S. CALLANTA, PEDRO C. CALIMLIM, ALEXANDER G. URBANO,
VICTORIO B. NATIVIDAD, CRESENCIO F. RAVANCHO, ISAGANI FERNANDEZ AND JOSE N. FERMIL respondents.

G.R. No. 86968 April 19, 1991

LABOR ARBITER RICARDO N. OLAIREZ, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, SHERIFFS ALICIA
BRAVO-FABIA & ROMEO QUERIMIT, CONSTANCIA ADAJAR, SALUD MAGSANO, BIENVENIDO MENESES,
AMADO BOLSICO, REGINO VELASCO, CANUTO ABALOS, MYRNA MIRANDA, EPIFANIA MAGSANO, JUAN
ALCALDE, ANTONIO MARAMBA, TERESITA ADAJAR ROBERTO GARCIA, RODOLFO CALLANTA, PEDRO
CALIMLIM, ALEXANDER URBANO, VICTORIO NATIVIDAD, CRESENCIO RAVANCHO, ISAGANI FERNANDEZ
AND JOSE N. FERMIL, petitioners,
vs.
JUDGE TEODORO J. SISON, NEW PANGASINAN REVIEW, INC., represented by RENATO ZABALA and
PANGASINAN REVIEW INC. represented by JOSEFINA V. FERNANDEZ, respondents.

Felipe P. de Vera for New Pangasinan Review, Inc.


Nellie M. Olairez for the Labor Arbiter.

MEDIALDEA, J.:

Before Us are consolidated petitions for prohibition and certiorari with prayer for restraining order and/or writ of preliminary
injunction.

In G.R. No. 85939

Petitioner New Pangasinan Review Inc. (hereafter "NPRI") seeks to annul the proceedings in NLRC Case No. SUB-RAB-1071-86,
entitled "Constancia Adajar, et al. v. Pangasinan Review, Inc., dated May 30, 1988 (Annex "Q") which affirmed the decision dated
June 10, 1987 (Annex "P") of Labor Arbiter Irenarco R. Rimando, which disposed as follows:

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING OBSERVATIONS, it appearing that the respondent ceased its operations by virtue of
the expiration of its corporate charter, and the closure is not due to serious business losses or financial reverses, the
complainants are therefore entitled to a separation pay, in accordance with the provisions of Art. 284 (now Art. 283) of the
Labor Code. The corporation through the Board of Liquidators are directed to pay the separation pay of the following
employees:

Name of Employees Separation Pay


1. Constancia Adajar 18,900.00
2. Salud G. Magsano 13,770.00
3. Bienvenido Meneses 12,187.50
4. Amado P. Bolsico 16,884.00
5. Regino P. Velasco 13,507.20
6. Canuto E. Abalos 12,542.40
7. Myrna S. Maramba 10,992.70
8. Epifania M. Magsano 9,498.00
9. Juan D. Alcaide 11,095.20
10. Antonio T. Maramba 9,165.60
11. Teresita A. Adajar 5,223.90
12. Roberto F. Garcia 7,718.40
13. Rodolfo S. Callanta 5,223.90
14. Pedro C. Calimlim 2,894.40
15. Alexander G. Urbano 7,123.50
16. Victorio B. Natividad 1,507.50
17. Cresencio Ravancho 2,040.00
18. Isagani Fernandez 3,220.00
19. Jose Fermil 17,340.00
TOTAL 180,764.00

(pp. 64-65, Rollo)

The following facts, as culled from the Solicitor General's Comments, are undisputed:

1. Private respondents were employees of the Pangasinan Review, Inc. (hereafter "PRI") a corporation engaged in the business
of printing, bookbinding and publishing newspapers whose corporate life legally expired on October 27, 1982 after fifty years
of corporate existence.

2. Notwithstanding the expiry of its corporate life, PRI, however, actually continued its business operations until it was advised
by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a letter dated January 10, 1985 (Annex "D", Petition) that its corporate
term had already expired.

3. On January 21, 1985, the Board of Directors of PRI, complying with the SEC advice, passed a resolution authorizing the
current Board of Directors to undertake the liquidation of the company by reason of the expiry of its corporate term.
4. Earlier, on January 20, 1985, a splinter group led by Director Anastacio T. Zamuco, together with several others, filed with
the SEC a petition for authority to allow PRI to renew its corporate existence and to continue its usual business operations. The
SEC, however, in an Order dated May 3, 1985, denied Zamuco's petition and instead ordered them to liquidate the assets of the
company (Annex "E", Petition).

5. On April 29, 1985, the Board of Directors minus Zamuco and Mrs. Corazon C. Fernandez who were then absent, acting as a
Board of Liquidators of the company passed, inter alia, Resolution No. 1985-2 (pp. 403-404, NLRC Record) conveying
corporate properties of the defunct PRI, to the NPRI which had been newly incorporated, thus:

That the Pangasinan Review, Inc. had only a period of three years from its dissolution on September 23, 1982, within
which to wind up its affairs.

WHEREFORE, resolved, as it is hereby resolved, as the most speedy and feasible means of winding up its affairs, to
convey the corporate properties, including the right to publish the Courier, for the benefit of stockholders and creditors,
to the New Pangasinan Review, Inc., which was just granted a certificate of registration on March 27, 1985 by the
SEC, in which case, claims against the defunct Pangasinan Review, Inc., may be presented as long as the New
Pangasinan Review, Inc., exists subject, however, to the statute of limitations; Resolved further that as consideration of
the transfer, conveyance and assignment mentioned, the New Pangasinan Review, Inc., will undertake to issue and
deliver unto the stockholders of the defunct Pangasinan Review, Inc., such number of fully paid shares of the capital
stock of the former of the par value of P100.00 each, equivalent to the net book value of the assets of the defunct
Pangasinan Review, Inc., without prejudice to the rights of third parties; and Resolved finally to constitute and
authorize the President Dr. Josefina V. Fernandez to represent the defunct Pangasinan Review, Inc., in the execution of
the aforementioned transfer or assignment of corporate properties with full power to do and perform all and every act
and thing whatsoever necessary to be done in and about the premises. (Emphasis ours) (pp. 116-117, Rollo).

6. Pursuant to the said Resolution No. 1985-2, a Deed of assignment was executed on the same day, April 29, 1985 by and
between PRI thru its President, Josefina F. de Venecia-Fernandez, and NPRI thru its treasurer, Salvacion M. Hernando (pp.
405- 407, NLRC Record) stipulating, among others, as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

WHEREAS, the FIRST PARTY by action of its Board of Directors in its meeting held on the 29th day of April, 1985,
approved a proposal to transfer and convey to the SECOND PARTY, all the properties of the FIRST PARTY, which
are described in Annex "A" hereof, in exchange for fully paid up shares of the SECOND PARTY, each of the par value
of P100.00, equal in number of shares based on the net book value (assets minus liabilities) of the Total Assets of the
FIRST PARTY, with the understanding that the SECOND PARTY would assume and pay all the liabilities and
obligations of the FIRST PARTY of every kind as may appear outstanding and subsisting in its books as of 19 January
1985; and

WHEREAS, the liquidation of the FIRST PARTY will not prejudice the rights of third parties.

xxx xxx xxx

For the consideration mentioned in the second "WHEREAS" hereof, the FIRST PARTY hereby transfers, conveys and
assigns unto the SECOND PARTY, absolutely and forever, effective upon the execution of this Deed, all its (the
"Company's") properties, more particularly described in the list attached hereto and made an integral part hereof as
Annex "A", with the understanding that the SECOND PARTY shall assume and pay all its liabilities and obligations of
every kind as may appear outstanding and subsisting in its book as of 19 January 1985.

xxx xxx xxx

The SECOND PARTY hereby assumes, and hereby undertakes to pay, satisfy, discharge, perform and fulfill, all the
debts, liabilities, contracts; engagements and obligations of the FIRST PARTY of every kind, as may appear
outstanding and subsisting in its books as of 19 January 1985, whether these are or thereafter to become due, and to
indemnify the FIRST PARTY, its Board of Directors and Officers, against, and keep them free and harmless from, all
actions, proceedings, claims and demands in respect thereof.

xxx xxx xxx

The parties hereto hereby mutually agree to sign, execute, acknowledge and deliver, jointly or each of them separately,
such further deeds, documents, agreements, papers and other writings as may be necessary to carry into full effect their
intents and purposes as contemplated herein. (pp. 118-119, Rollo)

On June 17, 1985, the nineteen private respondents, together with Jun Velasco, Maximo Cerezo, Victor Quimbay and
Generoso Sandaydiego III, filed with the Chairman of the Board of Liquidators thru the SEC a written claim for payment of
their separation pay and ECOLA, copy furnished to Atty. Anastacio Zamuco, Chairman of the Board of Liquidators, and to the
Ministry of Labor and Employment at Dagupan City (p. 30, NLRC Record) where, apparently, said claim was docketed as
NLRC Case No. SUB-RAB-I-540-85 (vide, pp. 1, 4, 5, NLRC Record). (pp. 120 and 226, Rollo)

Atty. Zamuco directed the said claimants to submit supporting papers to the Chairman or Secretary of the Board of Liquidators
so that their claims could be processed (p. 30, NLRC Record) prompting the counsel of said claimants to move for the
provisional dismissal of the NLRC case (vide, pp. 1, 16, NLRC Record).

On October 9, 1986, however, the private respondents revived their claims with the MOLE Dagupan Office when nothing
positive was arrived at. They filed a formal complaint against PRI for payment of their separation pay, 13th month pay,
ECOLA and damages, docketed as NLRC Case No. SUB-RAB-I-1071-86 (pp. 12-15, NLRC Record; Annex "O", Petition).
PRI contended that they were not entitled to any separation pay, 13th month pay and ECOLA because the company had ceased
to exist by reason of the expiry of its term and the private respondents were neither removed from office nor their services
terminated.

On June 10, 1987, Labor Arbiter Irenarco Rimando rendered the disputed decision.

PRI appealed. On May 30, 1988, NLRC affirmed the appealed Decision of the Labor Arbiter.

Upon receipt by the Dagupan Arbitration Branch of the record for execution of the judgment, Labor Arbiter Dominador
Saludares, who replaced Labor Arbiter Irenarco Rimando, called the parties to a conference including Dr. Josefina V.
Fernandez, President of the Pangasinan Review, Inc., and Mr. Renato Zabala, Board Chairman of NPRI (pp. 389-393, NLRC
Record; Annex "R", Petition). However, only the private respondents appeared. Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Zabala, filed a joint
manifestation (p. 394, NLRC Record; Annex' "S", petition) that they could not participate in the conference alleging that they
have no authority to speak for their corporation.

On October 21, 1988, the next scheduled date of the conference, Dr. Fernandez again filed a manifestation reiterating her
refusal to participate (p. 395, NLRC Record). The complainants (herein private respondent) submitted copies of Resolution
No. 1985-2 of the Board of Pangasinan Review, Inc. (quoted under paragraph 5, above), and Deed of Assignment dated April
29, 1985 showing assumption of the liabilities of PRI by NPRI.

On November 3, 1988, Labor Arbiter Ricardo N. Olairez, who replaced Labor Arbiter Saludares issued a Special Order which
reads as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, in the name of the Republic of the Philippines, you are hereby commanded to collect from the
Pangasinan Review, Inc. and/or the New Pangasinan Review, Inc. the amount of P180,764.00 by garnishing the
monetary deposits of the Pangasinan Review, Inc. and/or the New Pangasinan Review, Inc. at any of the banks in
Dagupan City or in Pangasinan Province, and if you fail to collect the said amount including your legal and sheriffs
fees, you are to proceed to the premises of the Pangasinan Review, Inc. and sieze (sic) the Chattels and goods of the
Pangasinan Review, Inc. and/or the New Pangasinan Review, Inc. except such as are by law exempt and make sale
thereof according to the Rules of Court and deposit the amount collected by you to the Special Disbursing Officer of
this Office for proper disposition, except the amount of your legal and sheriff s fees.

In case sufficient personal property of the Pangasinan Review, Inc. and/or New Pangasinan Review, Inc. cannot be
found to satisfy the amount of P180,764.00 and your legal and sheriff's fees thereon, you are ordered to levy upon the
real estate of the Pangasinan Review, Inc. and/or New Pangasinan Review, Inc. and sell the same according to the
Rules of Court for the satisfaction of the balance of the amount and your legal and sheriffs fees and that you make a
return of your proceedings upon this Writ of Execution within 60 days from today." (pp. 19-20, Rollo) (Emphasis
supplied)

The Deputy Sheriff served the Writ of Execution and a Notice of Levy (Annex "W" Petition) upon NPRI thru its Board
Chairman, Mr. Renato Zabala, as well as Dr. Josefina V. Fernandez. A notice of garnishment was also served upon the
manager/cashier of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (Bank of P.I.) Dagupan City Branch on November 7, 1988 (Annex "V",
Petition).

On November 10, 1988, NPRI filed a third party claim on the levied/garnished properties (pp. 416-418, NLRC Record; Annex
"X", Petition, p. 125, Rollo, G.R. 85939, p. 10, Rollo, G.R. 86968).

On November 11, 1988, respondent Labor Arbiter Olairez issued a Release Order (p. 420, NLRC Record; Annex "Y", Petition)
on the garnished P111,910.25 deposit with the Bank of P.I., pursuant to which the bank released the said amount to the
respondent Deputy Sheriff (Annex "Z" Petition) who then turned over the same to the private respondents thru their counsel (p.
439, NLRC record).

Another order of release dated November 7, 1988 for the amount of P7,154.00 was not satisfied because of the third party
claim, copy of which was received by the deputy sheriff (p. 10, Rollo, G.R. 86968).

On November 14, 1988, respondent Labor Arbiter issued a Resolution (pp. 422-431, NLRC Record) denying the third party
claim and directing the Sheriff to enforce the writ of execution already issued (pp. 115-125, Rollo).

NPRI filed this petition on December 8, 1988 in G.R. 85939, on the following issues:

WHETHER OR NOT THE PROCEEDINGS IN NLRC CASE NO. SUB-RAB-I-071-86 WERE NULL AND VOID
ON THE GROUND THAT THE ACTION WAS DIRECTED AGAINST THE DEFUNCT PANGASINAN REVIEW,
INC. AND WAS FILED BEYOND THE THREE YEAR PERIOD FOR LIQUIDATION AND WINDING UP OF
CORPORATE AFFAIRS WHICH EXPIRED ON OCTOBER 27, 1985;

II

WHETHER OR NOT THE HEREIN PRIVATE RESPONDENTS WERE ENTITLED TO SEPARATION PAY,
CONSIDERING THAT THE EMPLOYER, THE PANGASINAN REVIEW, INC., CEASED OPERATION BY
REASON OF THE EXPIRY OF ITS CORPORATE TERM;

III
WHETHER OR NOT THE JUDGMENT IN THE SAID LABOR CASE AGAINST THE DEFUNCT PANGASINAN
REVIEW, INC., CAN BE ENFORCED AGAINST THE PETITIONER NPRI WHICH IS A DISTINCT AND
DIFFERENT CORPORATION AND IS NOT A PARTY THERETO. (p. 228, Rollo)

In G.R. No. 86968

Also on November 14, 1988, shortly before the third party claim was denied by petitioner Olairez, NPRI filed with the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 40 at Dagupan City, a complaint against the labor arbiter and the private respondents for injunction and damages with
prayer for restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction (Civil Case No. D-9187) questioning the execution of the decision in
NLRC Case No. SUB-RAB-I-071-86). Summons was served upon Olairez. Respondent Deputy Sheriff Querimit submitted his Partial
Report to the effect that the garnished amount of P111,910.24 had already been withdrawn from the Bank of Philippine Islands and
proportionately distributed to the complainants.

Judge Teodoro J. Sison of the Regional Trial Court issued a temporary restraining order and set for hearing NPRI's application for
preliminary injunction on November 25, 1988.

Olairez filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. The motion was denied in open court. His motion
for reconsideration was likewise denied.

Aside from Civil Case D-9187, Dr. Josefina V. Fernandez had filed a letter-complaint with the Ombudsman against petitioner Olairez,
questioning the judgment award in the labor case. Olairez received a copy of the complaint (1st indorsement) on January 5, 1988)
requiring his comment thereon (p. 11, Rollo, G.R. 86968).

Hence, this petition in G.R. 86968 attributing grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent-judge in assuming jurisdiction over
Civil Case D-9187 and issuing a temporary restraining order against the Writ of Execution issued by the NLRC.

On January 9, 1989, We issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) in G.R. 85939 enjoining the execution of the NLRC decision
dated June 10, 1987.

In Our Resolution dated March 6, 1989. We directed the consolidation of G.R. No. 86968 with G.R. No. 85939 as they both stemmed
from the monetary benefits decreed by Labor Arbiter Ricardo Olairez in favor oil private respondents.

At the outset, We declare petitioner guilty of forum shopping when it filed, despite the pendency of G.R. 85939, Civil Case D9187
before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 40, Dagupan City. We agree with the Solicitor General that the petition (G.R. 85939) and the
action before the Regional Trial Court involve "the same transactions, the same essential facts and circumstances":

In the action before the Regional Trial Court, as in the action before this Honorable Court, the validity and legality of the
proceedings in NLRC Case No. SUB-RAB-I-071-86 and the propriety of implementing the decision therein against the
petitioner were the basic issues. So, too, the relief was basically the same: the prevention of such implementation or execution.
(p.130, Rollo, G.R. 85939)

In the case of Villanueva v. Adre (G.R. No. 80863, April 27, 1989, 172 SCRA 876), We stated:

There is forum-shopping whenever, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks a favorable opinion (other
than by appeal or certiorari) in another. The principle applies not only with respect to suits filed in the courts but also in
connection with litigations commenced in the courts while an administrative proceeding is pending, as in this case, in order to
defeat administrative processes and in anticipation of an unfavorable administrative ruling and a favorable court ruling. This is
specially so, as in this case, where the court in which the second suit was brought, has no jurisdiction. (at p. 882)

Corollarily, there is no question that in G.R. 86968, respondent judge acted without jurisdiction and committed grave abuse of
discretion in denying Olairez' motion to dismiss Civil Case D-9187. It is basic that the RTC is not superior to but equal in rank with
the NLRC and has no jurisdiction to issue the restraining order against the execution of the NLRC decision dated June 10, 1987
(Imperial Vegetable Worker's Union, et al. v. Benjamin A. Vega, et al., G.R. Nos. 57005-07, November 23, 1988, 167 SCRA 601).
Courts cannot enjoin execution of judgment rendered by the National Labor Relations Commission (Villanueva v. Adre, supra).

Likewise explicit in Art. 254 of the Labor Code is the prohibition against courts or other entities on the issuance of injunction or
restraining order in cases involving or growing out of labor disputes. In the cases of "Filipino Pipe Workers Union (NLU) v. Demetrio
M. Batario, Jr., and Filipino Pipe and Foundry Corp. v. NLRC, et al., (G.R. No. 75951, July 29, 1988; G.R. No. 79417, July 29, 1988,
respectively, 163 SCRA 789). Chief Justice Fernan cautioned judges of lower court in entertaining actions involving decisions,
demands or orders of the Labor Arbiters as well as the NLRC, particularly where the caption of the complaint is "Prohibition with
Preliminary Injunction" which is sufficient to put a judge on guard (supra, p. 796).

Civil Case D-9187 of RTC, Dagupan City, Branch 40 should thus be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

On the issue of whether or not complainants' monetary claim had already prescribed and that they are already barred from asserting
the same, we shall not disturb the findings of fact by the NLRC; i.e. that "complainant had sent a letter, dated June 17, 1985 to the
Chairman of the Board of Liquidators, asserting that "they wanted to avail of the benefits under BP 130, or the payment of separation
pay of 15 days for every year of service computed at the rate of their last salary received" (p. 72, Rollo). We thus uphold their ruling
that while the Pangasinan Review, Inc.'s corporate charter expired on October 27, 1982, complainants' letter operates as an extra-
judicial demand within the three-year period and this interrupts the running of the pre- descriptive period.

The proceedings in NLRC Case No. SUB-RAB-I-071-86 were therefore valid and legal.

As to private respondents' right to separation pay, Art. 283 (formerly Art. 284) as amended by Sec. 15 of BP 130 is explicit:

Art. 283. Closure of establishment and reduction of personnel. — The employer may also terminate the employment of any
employee due to . . . the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the
purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by serving a written notice on the workers and the Ministry of Labor and
Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof . . . In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases
of closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or financial reverses,
the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service,
whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year." (Emphasis supplied)

Private respondents are, therefore, entitled to their claim for separation pay at the rate of one-half (1/2) month's, pay for every year of
their service, with a fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one whole year.

Moreover, pursuant to Art. 110 of the Labor Code as amended by RA 6715, whenever there is liquidation proceedings, workers enjoy
first preference as regards wages due them for services rendered during the period including other monetary claims (DBP v. NLRC, et
al. G.R. Nos. 82763-62, March 19, 1990, 183 SCRA 328), to be paid in full before claims of the government and other creditors may
be paid:

Worker preference in case of bankruptcy.* — In the event of bankruptcy, or liquidation of an employer's business, his workers
shall enjoy first preference as regards their wages and other monetary claims, any provisions of law to the contrary
notwithstanding. Such unpaid wages and monetary claims shall be paid in full before claims of the government and other
creditors may be paid.

On the question of whether the NLRC decision can legally be enforced against NPRI, it is clear that NPRI is liable. Aside from being
an assignee/transferee of the defunct PRI (pursuant to its Resolution No. 1985-2 and the Deed of Assignment dated April 29, 1985), it
categorically assumed and undertook to "pay all the liabilities and obligations of the defunct Pangasinan Review, Inc. (PRI) of every
kind." The Resolution also stated that "claims against the defunct Pangasinan Review, Inc. may be presented as long as the New
Pangasinan Review, Inc. exists."

We likewise agree with the Solicitor General that petitioner NPRI was not denied due process:

It is (sic) likewise cannot be disputed that petitioner took over the ownership, management operations of the Pangasinan
Review, Inc. As such, petitioner has for all legal intents and purposes thus become the successor-employer of the private
respondents.

Moreover, the records show that prior to the issuance of the Special Order dated November 3, 1988 (pp. 409-412, NLRC
Record; Annex 'T' Petition), which ordered that "satisfaction of the judgment shall be enforced against the remaining
undisposed assets of the defunct Pangasinan Review, Inc. and/or the New Pangasinan Review, Inc. as the successor-employer,"
petitioner and counsels were notified of the conference-hearing set for October 5, 1988, but that they refused to participate
therein (pp. 394-395, NLRC Record; Annex "S", Petition). (pp. 138-139, Rollo) (Emphasis supplied).

ACCORDINGLY, in G.R. No. 85939, the NLRC decision is AFFIRMED and the petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. The
temporary restraining order issued in said case is hereby SET ASIDE.

In G.R. No. 86968, the writ of certiorari is GRANTED. Civil Case No. D-9187 in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 40, Dagupan City
is ordered DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction of the said court.

Mr. Renato C. Zabala and Atty. Felipe P. de Vera, Sr., are required to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for having
filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City and the Ombudsman on the same issue raised in this petition
seeking the same prayer and relief. Atty. Felipe P. de Vera, Sr. is likewise directed to show cause why he should not be suspended
from the practice of law by reason of his having committed an act of forum shopping, both within ten (10) days from receipt of this
decision.

Double costs against private respondent New Pangasinan Review, Inc.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-35867 June 28, 1973

FRANCISCO A. ACHACOSO, in his own behalf and in behalf of Capital Insurance & Surety Co., Inc.,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, COTRAM, S.A., CAPITAL LIFE ASSURANCE CORP., JOAQUIN G. GARRIDO,
respondents.

Rodrigo M. Nera for petitioner.

Norberto J. Quisumbing & R.P. Mosqueda for private respondent.

RESOLUTION

TEEHANKEE, J.:

The Court censures the practice of counsels who secure repeated extensions of time to file their pleadings and thereafter
simply let the period lapse without submitting the pleading or even an explanation or manifestation of their failure to do so.
The Court herein reprimands petitioner's counsel for such misconduct with the warning that a repetition thereof will be
dealt with more severely.

Upon the filing on December 15, 1972 of the petition at bar for review of the Court of Appeals' decision dismissing
petitioner's petition for mandamus filed with said court to compel the Manila court of first instance to allow petitioner's
proposed appeal from its adverse judgment dismissing plaintiff's complaint, the Court per its resolution of December 22,
1972 required respondents to comment thereon.

Respondents filed on February 8, 1973 an extensive eighteen page comment and petitioner's counsel, Rodrigo M. Nera,
filed on February 12, 1973 a motion for leave to file reply within 15 days from notice alleging that there was need for such
reply "in order that this Honorable Court may be fully and completely informed of the nature of the controversy which gave
rise to the instant petition." The Court granted such leave per its resolution of February 23, 1973 and notice of such leave
was served on counsel on February 27, 1973.

On the last day for filing of the reply, viz, March 14, 1973 counsel asked for an additional 15 days averring that "due to the
pressure of urgent professional work and daily trial engagements of the undersigned counsel during the original period
granted, he has not had sufficient material time to complete the preparation of petitioner's reply." The Court granted the
requested extension per its resolution of March 20, 1973.

On the last day of the extended period for filing of the reply, viz, March 29, 1973 counsel again asked for still another 15-
day extension stating that "due to the pressure of urgent professional work and daily trial engagements of the undersigned
counsel, he has not had sufficient material time to complete the preparation of petitioners reply. The undersigned counsel
humbly apologizes that in view of his crowded schedule, he has been constrained to ask for this extension, but
respectfully assures the Honorable Court that this will be the last one requested.' As per its resolution of April 6, 1973, the
Court granted counsel's motion for such third and last extension.

The period for the filing of petitioner's reply lapsed on April 13, 1973 without counsel having filed any reply manifestation
explaining his failure to do so.

Accordingly, the Court in its resolution of May 24, 1973 denying the petition for review for lack of merit, further required
petitioner's counsel to show cause why discipline action should not be taken against him for failure to file the reply after
having obtained such leave and three extensions time within which to do so.

Counsel filed in due course his verified Explanation dated June 7, 1973 stating that he was retained in the ease "on a
piece-work basis on the verbal understanding that all expenses for the preparation of pleadings and the cost of services of
stenographer-typist shall be furnished in advance by petition upon being notified thereof," that when he asked for a third
extension on March 29, 1973, he so informed petitioner and requested him to remit the expenses for the preparation of
reply as per agreement" and that he tried to contact petitioner before the expiration of the extended period but failed to do
as petitioner "was then most of the time out of his office."

Counsel relates that it was only on May 30, 1973 when he received notice of the Court's resolution of May 24, 1973
denying the petition and requiring his explanation — long after the expiration on April 13, 1973 of the extended period for
the filing of the reply — that he wrote petitioner and in turn asked the petitioner to explain the latter's failure to comply with
his request for a remittance of P500.00 to cover the necessary expenses, and that petitioner had replied that counsel's
letter had been misplaced by a clerk and hence, petitioner had "failure to act on the same."

Counsel pleads that "this counsel has not the least intention of delaying the administration of justice and much less trifle
with the resolutions and orders of this Honorable Court. The inability of this counsel to submit the reply within the
extension granted by this Honorable Court was due to supervening circumstances which could not be attributed to this
counsel and that "if this poor and humble practitioner has been impelled to inaction it surely was not intentional on his
part, the truth of the matter being that this counsel was just helpless in the face of petitioner's failure to comply with his
commitments aforesaid;" and that "this counsel deeply regrets this incident and hereby apologizes to this Honorable Court
for all his shortcomings relative to this case, which after all were due to causes and circumstances not of his own making
and far beyond his control."

Counsel's explanation is far from satisfactory. If indeed he was not in a financial position to advance the necessary
expenses for preparing and submitting the reply, then he could have filed timely the necessary manifestation that he was
foregoing the filing of such reply on petitioner's behalf. His inaction unduly delayed the Court's prompt disposition of the
case after the filing by respondents on February 8, 1973 of their comments on the petition showing its lack of merit.

The Court would have then so disposed of the petition had it not been for petitioner's plea to be given time and
opportunity to file a reply to the comments in order to fully apprise the Court of the nature of the controversy, which plea
the Court granted in reliance on his good faith. Yet after having obtained three extensions of time for the filing of the reply,
counsel simply failed to file any reply nor to give the Court the courtesy of any explanation or manifestation for his failure
to do so.

Counsel readily perceived in his explanation that his conduct comes close to delaying the administration of justice and
trifling with the Court's processes. It does not reflect well on counsel's conduct as an officer of the Court that after assuring
the Court that the third extension requested by him "in view of his crowded schedule" and "of urgent professional work
and daily trial engagements" would be the last within which period he would at last file the awaited reply, for him thereafter
to let the period simply lapse without any explanation whatsoever, and worse, to wait to be found out, and have the Court
require him to explain.

Considering, however, that counsel's record shows no previous infractions on his part since his admission to the
Philippine Bar in 1953, the Court is disposed to be lenient in this instance.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court hereby administers a reprimand on Atty. Rodrigo M. Nera, with the warning that a repetition of
the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely. Let a copy of this resolution be filed in his personal record.

G.R. No. 138660 February 5, 2004


HEIRS OF TRINIDAD DE LEON VDA. DE ROXAS, petitioners
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and MAGUESUN MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondents.

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

This is a petition to cite for indirect contempt the officers of Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation ("Meycauayan") for defying the
final and executory Decision and Resolution of this Court in G.R. No. 118436 entitled "Heirs of Manuel A. Roxas and Trinidad de
Leon Vda. De Roxas v. Court of Appeals and Maguesun Management & Development Corporation" ("G.R. No. 118436").1

The Antecedents

This petition stems from a case filed by Trinidad de Leon Vda. De Roxas to set aside the decree of registration over two unregistered
parcels of land in Tagaytay City granted to Maguesun Management and Development Corporation ("Maguesun") before the Regional
Trial Court on the ground of actual fraud. The trial court dismissed the petition to set aside the decree of registration. On appeal, the
Court of Appeals denied the petition for review and affirmed the findings of the trial court. On 21 March 1997, this Court reversed the
appellate court's decision in G.R. No. 118436. The dispositive portion reads:

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. CV No. 38328
("Trinidad de Leon Vda. de Roxas v. Maguesun Management & Development Corporation, et al.") promulgated on December 8, 1994
is hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. Accordingly, registration of title over the subject parcels of land, described in Plan AS-04-
000108, Lot Nos. 7231 and 7239, with an area of 3,461 and 10,674 square meters, respectively, as shown and supported by the
corresponding technical descriptions now forming part of the Records of LRC No. TG-373, is awarded to herein petitioner Trinidad de
Leon vda. de Roxas and her heirs, herein substituted as petitioners. Upon finality of this Decision, the Land Registration Authority is
hereby directed to ISSUE with reasonable dispatch the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title pursuant to Section
39 of Presidential Decree No. 1529.2

On 22 May 1997, Meycauayan filed a Petition for Intervention in G.R. No. 118436. Meycauayan alleged that on 14 May 1992, it
purchased three parcels of land from Maguesun which form part of the property awarded to the heirs of Trinidad de Leon Vda. De
Roxas ("Roxas heirs"). Meycauayan contended that since it is a purchaser in good faith and for value, the Court should afford it the
opportunity to be heard. Meycauayan contends that the adverse decision in G.R. No. 118436 cannot impair its rights as a purchaser in
good faith and for value.

On 25 June 1997, this Court denied the Petition for Intervention. This Court also denied the Motion for Reconsideration filed by
Maguesun. Thus, on 21 August 1997, the Decision dated 21 March 1997 in G.R. No. 118436 became final and executory.

On 13 April 1998, the Land Registration Authority ("LRA") submitted a Report to the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City, Branch
18 ("land registration court"), in LR Case No. TG-373, praying that the land registration court:

a) Order the LRA to cancel Decree No. N-197092 in the name of Maguesun to enable it to issue another decree in favor of the
heirs of Manuel A. Roxas and Trinidad de Leon Vda. de Roxas;

b) Order the Register of Deeds to cancel OCT No. 0-515 and all its derivative titles; and

c) Order the issuance of the Decree with respect to the decision of the Supreme Court dated 21 March 1997.

Meycauayan filed with the land registration court a "Motion For Leave To Intervene And For Period Of Time To File Opposition To
The Report Dated March 25, 1998 Filed By The LRA And To File Complaint-in-Intervention."

On 4 June 1998, the Roxas heirs filed a Motion for Clarification with this Court raising the following issues:

a) Whether it is necessary for the trial court to first order the LRA "to cancel Decree No. N-197092 in the name of Maguesun
Management and Development Corporation to enable (the LRA) to issue another decree in favor of the Heirs of Manuel A.
Roxas and Trinidad de Leon Vda. de Roxas"? Or is that order necessarily included in the dispositive portion of the Supreme
Court decision directing the LRA "to issue with reasonable dispatch the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of
title" in favor of the Roxas heirs? Please note that this necessary implication is a consequence of the Supreme Court finding
that the decree in favor of Maguesun was wrongfully issued because it was "not entitled to the registration decree" as it had no
registrable title, since "Zenaida Melliza (from whom Maguesun supposedly bought the lots) conveyed no title over the subject
parcels of land to Maguesun Corporation as she was not the owner thereof."

b) Whether an order from the trial court is necessary for "the Register of Deeds concerned to cancel OCT No. 0-515 and all its
derivative titles"? Or is that order necessarily included in the dispositive portion of the Supreme Court decision directing the
LRA to issue the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title in favor of the Roxas heirs, considering that the
original certificate of title issued to Maguesun was based on an illegal decree of registration as found by this Honorable Court.
Further, the unconditional order of the Supreme Court to LRA to issue the corresponding certificate of title to the Roxas heirs
necessarily implies that the OCT issued to Maguesun and its derivative titles shall be canceled, for it cannot [be] assumed that
the Supreme Court intended that the same parcel of land shall be covered by more than one certificate of title.

c) Whether an order from the trial court is necessary before the LRA can comply with the Supreme Court decision directing
the LRA "to issue with reasonable dispatch the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title" in favor of the
Roxas heirs?

On 23 June 1998, the Roxas heirs filed a Supplement to Motion for Clarification, the pertinent portions of which are:
1. In petitioners' Motion for Clarification, one of the items sought to be clarified is whether the derivative titles (i.e., the titles
derived from Maguesun Management and Development Corporation's ["Maguesun"] Original Certificate of Title No. 0-515
and issued to Meycauayan Central Realty Corp.) should be canceled, together with Maguesun's certificates of title, so that new
decree of registration and certificate of title can be issued to petitioners, as ordered in the decision of this Honorable Court
dated 21 March 1997, which has become final and executory?

2. From the Petition for Intervention filed by Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation ("Meycauayan") with this Honorable
Court on 22 May 1997, the following statements, among others, are alleged:

a. "That on May 14, 1992, the intervenor purchased for value several parcels of real property from private respondent
Maguesun Management and Development Corp. covered by TCT Nos. 24294, 24295 and 24296 containing an area of
2,019 square meters each, more or less."

b. "That prior to paying the agreed purchase price in full to respondent Maguesun, an investigation with the Tagaytay
City Office of the Register of Deeds was made to determine and ascertain the authenticity, status and condition of the
titles of Maguesun over the aforesaid properties."

c. "That investigation made by the intervenor with the Office of Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City showed that in all
the certified true copies of the titles to the properties above-mentioned which were registered in the name of Maguesun,
the last entry which appeared was the following, to wit: x x x".

d. "Appearing that the properties to be purchased by the herein intervenor from respondent Maguesun have no existing
liens and/or encumbrances and considering that the properties do not appear to be the subject of a pending case which
would affect the titles of those who may subsequently purchase the same, the herein intervenor proceeded to pay, in
full, the total amount of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (₱1,500,000.00) to Maguesun.
Immediately thereafter, Maguesun, through its duly authorized officer, executed the corresponding Deeds of Absolute
Sale."

e. "That after the corresponding taxes and/or fees were paid by herein intervenor, the aforementioned TCT Nos. T-
24294, 24295 and 24296, were canceled and in lieu thereof, new titles in the name of intervenor were issued by the
Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City."

f. "That on March 25, 1997, an officer of the intervenor corporation was informed of a newspaper report stating, in big
bold letters, the following sub-headline, to wit:

SC RULES ON ROXAS FAMILY

LAND ROW IN TAGAYTAY".

g. "The President of herein intervenor right after secured from the Tagaytay City Office of the Register of Deeds
certified true copies of torrens titles over its Tagaytay City properties."

h. "That only then, after it secured certified true copies of the titles mentioned in the preceding paragraph from the
Office of the Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City, did intervenor come to know of the existence of a case involving the
properties sold to it by respondent Maguesun on May 14, 1992."

3. Meycauayan's Petition for Intervention was denied by this Honorable Court in its Resolution dated 25 June 1997, a denial
that has since become final and executory. However, as stated in petitioners' Motion for Clarification, Meycauayan committed
the proscribed act of forum-shopping by filing with the trial court a motion for leave to intervene raising again the issue of its
alleged ownership of portions of the land.

4. In order to settle once and for all Meycauayan's allegation that it was a buyer in good faith, and to show that its derivative
titles should be declared void and canceled by this Honorable Court, petitioners will show herein that the sale to Meycauayan
was spurious or, at the very least, it was a buyer in bad faith.

In a Resolution dated 29 July 1998, this Court acted favorably on the Roxas heirs' Motion for Clarification and its Supplement. The
pertinent portions of the Resolution read:

Upon careful consideration of the points made by petitioners in their motions, this Court finds the same meritorious and, hence, a
clarification is in order. We, therefore, declare that our directive on the LRA to issue with reasonable dispatch the corresponding
decree of registration and certificate of title also includes, as part thereof, the cancellation, without need of an order of the land
registration court, of Decree No. N-197092, as well as OCT No. 0-515, and all its derivative titles. This is a necessary consequence of
the Court's earlier finding that the foregoing documents were illegally issued in the name of respondent. But in light of Section 39 of
Presidential Decree No. 1529 (the "Property Registration Decree"), Decree No. N-197092 which originated from the LRA must be
cancelled by the LRA itself. On account of this cancellation, it is now incumbent upon the LRA to issue in lieu of the cancelled decree
a new one in the name of petitioners as well as the corresponding original certificate of title. Cancellation of OCT No. 0-515, on the
other hand, properly devolves upon the Register of Deeds who, under Section 40 of P.D. No. 1529, has earlier entered a copy thereof
in his record book. OCT No. 0-515 having been nullified, all titles derived therefrom must also be considered void it appearing that
there had been no intervening rights of an innocent purchaser for value involving the lots in dispute.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court hereby resolves to GRANT petitioners' Motion for Clarification together with the Supplement thereto.
For this reason, the dispositive portion of our decision dated March 21, 1997 is clarified, thus:

First, the Register of Deeds shall CANCEL OCT No. 0-515 and all its derivative titles, namely, TCT Nos. T-25625, T-25626, T-
25627, T-25628, T-25688, T-25689, and T-25690, the latter three being already in the name of Meycauayan Realty and Development
Corporation (also designated as "Meycauayan Central Realty, Inc." and "Meycauayan Realty Corporation").

Thereafter, the Land Registration Authority shall:


(a) CANCEL Decree No. N-197092 originally issued in the name of Maguesun Management and Development Corporation
without need of an order from the land registration court; and

(b) ISSUE with reasonable dispatch a new decree of registration and a new original certificate of title (OCT) in favor of
petitioners pursuant to Section 39 of Presidential Decree No. 1529. (Emphasis added)

On 11 December 1998, the land registration court issued an order denying the LRA Report dated 25 March 1998 and the Motion for
Leave to Intervene filed by Meycauayan since the Supreme Court Resolution of 29 July 1998 had rendered them moot.

The Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City then canceled TCT Nos. T-25626, T-25627, T-25628, T-25688, T-25689, T-25690 and T-
27390.3 TCT Nos. T-25688, T-25689, T-25690 and T-27390 were derivative titles already in the name of Meycauayan.

On 5 April 1999, the Roxas heirs filed a Motion for Issuance of Writ of Possession with the land registration court.

On 20 April 1999, Meycauayan filed a Complaint for reconveyance, damages and quieting of title with the trial court entitled
"Meycauayan Central Realty Corp. v. Heirs of Manuel A. Roxas and Trinidad de Leon Vda. de Roxas, Maguesun Management and
Development Corp., Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City, City Assessor of Tagaytay City and Land Registration Authority."4 The
Complaint is almost an exact reproduction of the Petition for Intervention filed by Meycauayan before this Court. The Complaint
prayed for judgment:

1. Ordering the defendants Land Registration Authority and the Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City to cancel the titles and
decree of registration they issued in lieu of TCT Nos. 25688, 25689, 25690 and 27390 registered in the name of plaintiff
Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation and reconvey said properties to the plaintiff corporation by reinstating the said
cancelled titles or if the same not be possible, cause the issuance of new decrees and titles thereto;

2. Ordering the defendant City Assessor of Tagaytay City to reinstate the Assessments for real estate taxes it previously
cancelled covering the properties of plaintiff;

3. Ordering the defendants Roxas and Maguesun to jointly and solidarily pay the plaintiff actual and/or compensatory damages
in the total amount of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (₱500,000.00);

4. Ordering the defendants Roxas and Maguesun to jointly and solidarily pay the plaintiff the amount of TWO HUNDRED
THOUSAND PESOS (₱200,000.00) as and by way of nominal damages;

5. Ordering the defendants Roxas and Maguesun to jointly and solidarily pay the plaintiff exemplary damages in the amount of
TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (₱200,000.00);

6. Ordering the defendants Roxas and Maguesun to jointly and solidarily pay the plaintiff Attorney's fees in the amount of
ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (₱100,000.00); and

7. Ordering the defendants Roxas and Maguesun to jointly and solidarily pay the plaintiff the costs of suit.5

On 6 May 1999, Meycauayan filed a "Special Appearance Questioning Court Jurisdiction and Opposition to the Motion for Issuance
of Writ of Possession Against Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation" with the land registration court.

On 2 September 1999, the land registration court issued an order, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, let a Writ of Possession be issued against Maguesun Management and Development
Corporation in these cases. However, insofar as Meycauayan Central Realty is concerned, let a resolution of the motion filed by the
movants herein be deferred until the Supreme Court had resolved with finality the petition for contempt of herein movant in G.R. No.
138660.

On 7 March 2000, the trial court dismissed for lack of merit Meycauayan's complaint for reconveyance, damages and quieting of title.
The trial court held that (1) the nullity of OCT No. 0-515, which is the source of Meycauayan's titles, is now res judicata; (2) the
complaint's prayer for the trial court to annul the decision of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 118436 is beyond the trial court's
jurisdiction; and (3) Meycauayan is guilty of forum shopping.6 The trial court likewise denied Meycauayan's Motion for
Reconsideration in an Order dated 20 June 2000.7 On 24 August 2000, Meycauayan filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court with the Court of Appeals assailing the trial court's dismissal of the complaint.

Meanwhile, the Roxas heirs filed on 2 June 1999 this petition to cite for indirect contempt the officers of Meycauayan.

The Issues

The parties raised the following issues:

1. Whether this Court's Decision and Resolution in G.R. No. 118436 bind Meycauayan;

2. Whether Meycauayan's act of filing with the trial court a complaint for reconveyance, damages and quieting of title
involving parcels of land, which were the subject of this Court's Decision and Resolution in G.R. No. 118436, constitutes
indirect contempt under Section 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Civil Procedure; and

3. Whether Meycauayan is guilty of forum shopping.

The Court's Ruling


The petition is meritorious. We find Meycauayan's Executive Vice-President Juan M. Lamson, Jr. guilty of indirect contempt. We also
find that Meycauayan committed forum shopping, and thus Meycauayan and its Executive Vice President Juan M. Lamson, Jr. are
guilty of direct contempt.

The Roxas heirs allege that the following acts of Meycauayan constitute indirect contempt under Section 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of
Civil Procedure: (1)Meycauayan's defiance of the final and executory Decision and Resolution of this Court in G.R. No. 118436; (2)
its act of filing pleadings before the land registration court to prevent execution of the Decision and Resolution; (3) its act of filing a
Complaint raising the same issues in its Petition for Intervention which this Court had already denied and urging the trial court to
ignore and countermand the orders of this Court.

On the other hand, Meycauayan alleges that the Decision in G.R. No. 118436 does not bind Meycauayan because it was not a party in
the case. According to Meycauayan, the Decision in G.R. No. 118436 may be enforced against Maguesun but not against Meycauayan
which is a stranger to the case. Meycauayan insists that as a purchaser in good faith and for value its rights cannot be prejudiced by the
alleged fraudulent acquisition by Maguesun of the subject properties. Meycauayan, therefore, is not liable for contempt of court for
filing an action for reconveyance, quieting of title and damages.

The issue of whether the Decision in G.R. No. 118436 binds Meycauayan was already addressed by this Court when it denied
Meycauayan's Petition for Intervention. Furthermore, this Court's Resolution dated 29 July 1998 clarified the Decision dated 21 March
1997 by ordering the Register of Deeds to CANCEL OCT No. 0-515 and all its derivative titles, namely, TCT Nos. T-25625, T-
25626, T-25627, T-25628, T-25688, T-25689, and T-25690, the latter three already in the name of Meycauayan Realty and
Development Corporation (also designated as "Meycauayan Central Realty, Inc." and "Meycauayan Realty Corporation"). This Court
also found that there had been no intervening rights of an innocent purchaser for value involving the lots in dispute.

Indirect Contempt

Meycauayan's obstinate refusal to abide by the Court's Decision in G.R. No. 118436 has no basis in view of this Court's clear
pronouncement to the contrary. The fact that this Court specifically ordered the cancelation of Meycauayan's titles to the disputed
parcels of land in the Resolution dated 29 July 1998 should have laid to rest the issue of whether the Decision and Resolution in G.R.
No. 118436 is binding on Meycauayan. Clearly, Meycauayan's defiance of this Court's Decision and Resolution by filing an action for
reconveyance, quieting of title and damages involving the same parcels of land which this Court already decided with finality
constitutes indirect contempt under Section 3(d), Rule 71 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. Section 3(d) of Rule 71 reads:

SEC. 3. Indirect contempt to be punished after charge and hearing. - After a charge in writing has been filed, and an opportunity given
to the respondent to comment thereon within such period as may be fixed by the court and to be heard by himself or counsel, a person
guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt:

xxx

(d) Any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice;

In Halili, et al. v. CIR, et al.,8 this Court explained the concept of contempt of court:

Contempt of court is a defiance of the authority, justice or dignity of the court; such conduct as tends to bring the authority and
administration of the law into disrespect or to interfere with or prejudice parties litigant or their witnesses during litigation (12 Am.
Jur. 389, cited in 14 SCRA 813).

Contempt of court is defined as a disobedience to the Court by acting in opposition to its authority, justice and dignity. It signifies not
only a willful disregard or disobedience of the court's orders, but such conduct as tends to bring the authority of the court and the
administration of law into disrepute or in some manner to impede the due administration of justice (17 C.J.S. 4).

This Court has thus repeatedly declared that the power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts and is essential to the
preservation of order in judicial proceedings and to the enforcement of judgments, orders, and mandates of the court, and
consequently, to the due administration of justice (Slade Perkins vs. Director of Prisons, 58 Phil. 271; In re Kelly, 35 Phil. 944;
Commissioner of Immigration vs. Cloribel, 20 SCRA 1241; Montalban vs. Canonoy, 38 SCRA 1).

Meycauayan's continuing resistance to this Court's judgment is an affront to the Court and to the sovereign dignity with which it is
clothed.9 Meycauayan's persistent attempts to raise issues long since laid to rest by a final and executory judgment of no less than the
highest tribunal of the land constitute contumacious defiance of the authority of this Court and impede the speedy administration of
justice.10

Well-settled is the rule that when a court of competent jurisdiction has tried and decided a right or fact, so long as the decision remains
unreversed, it is conclusive on the parties and those in privity with them.11 More so where the Supreme Court has already decided the
issue since the Court is the final arbiter of all justiciable controversies properly brought before it.12 As held in Buaya v. Stronghold
Insurance Co., Inc.:13

x x x An existing final judgment or decree - rendered upon the merits, without fraud or collusion, by a court of competent jurisdiction
acting upon a matter within its authority - is conclusive of the rights of the parties and their privies. This ruling holds in all other
actions or suits, in the same or any other judicial tribunal of concurrent jurisdiction, touching on the points or matters in issue in the
first suit.

xxx

Courts will simply refuse to reopen what has been decided. They will not allow the same parties or their privies to litigate anew a
question, once it has been considered and decided with finality. Litigations must end and terminate sometime and somewhere. The
effective and efficient administration of justice requires that once a judgment has become final, the prevailing party should not be
deprived of the fruits of the verdict by subsequent suits on the same issues filed by the same parties.
This is in accordance with the doctrine of res judicata which has the following elements: (1) the former judgment must be final; (2) the
court which rendered it had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (3) the judgment must be on the merits; and (4) there
must be between the first and the second actions, identity of parties, subject matter and causes of action.14 The application of the
doctrine of res judicata does not require absolute identity of parties but merely substantial identity of parties.15 There is substantial
identity of parties when there is community of interest or privity of interest between a party in the first and a party in the second case
even if the first case did not implead the latter.16

The Court ruled in G.R. No. 118436 that Meycauayan's predecessor-in-interest, Maguesun, committed actual fraud in obtaining the
decree of registration of the subject properties. The Decision in G.R. No. 118436 binds Meycauayan under the principle of "privity of
interest" since it was a successor-in-interest of Maguesun. Meycauayan, however, insists that it was a purchaser in good faith because
it had no knowledge of any pending case involving the lots. Meycauayan claims that the trial court had already canceled the notice of
lis pendens on the titles when it purchased the lots from Maguesun. In its Memorandum, Meycauayan stresses that to ensure the
authenticity of the titles and the annotations appearing on the titles, particularly the cancelation of the notice of lis pendens,
Meycauayan checked with the Register of Deeds and the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City.17 Since Meycauayan checked with
the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City, Meycauayan then had actual knowledge, before it purchased the lots, of the pending case
involving the lots despite the cancelation of the notice of lis pendens on the titles.

Furthermore, as found by this Court in G.R. No. 118436, the Roxas family has been in possession of the property uninterruptedly
through their caretaker, Jose Ramirez, who resided on the property.18 Where the land sold is in the possession of a person other than
the vendor, the purchaser must go beyond the certificates of title and make inquiries concerning the rights of the actual possessor.19
Meycauayan therefore cannot invoke the right of a purchaser in good faith and could not have acquired a better right than its
predecessor-in-interest. This Court has already rejected Meycauayan's claim that it was a purchaser in good faith when it ruled in G.R.
No. 118436 that there had been no intervening rights of an innocent purchaser for value involving the lots in dispute. As held in Heirs
of Pael v. Court of Appeals:20

In the case of Santiago Land Development Corporation vs. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 106194, 276 SCRA 674 [1997]), petitioner
maintained that as a purchaser pendente lite of the land in litigation, it had a right to intervene under Rule 12, Section 2. We rejected
this position and said that "since petitioner is not a stranger to the action between Quisumbing and the PNB, petitioner in fact having
stepped into the shoes of PNB in a manner of speaking, it follows that it cannot claim any further right to intervene in the action." As
in the instant Petition, it was argued that the denial of the Motion to Intervene would be a denial likewise of due process. But this, too,
was struck down in Santiago Land where we held that "petitioner is not really denied protection. It is represented in the action by its
predecessor in interest." Indeed, since petitioner is a transferee pendente lite with notice of the pending litigation between Reyes and
private respondent Carreon, petitioner stands exactly in the shoes of Reyes and is bound by any judgment or decree which may be
rendered for or against the latter.

Indeed, one who buys property with full knowledge of the flaws and defects of the title of his vendor and of a pending litigation over
the property gambles on the result of the litigation and is bound by the outcome of his indifference.21 A purchaser cannot close his
eyes to facts which should put a reasonable man on guard and then claim that he acted in good faith believing that there was no defect
in the title of the vendor.22

For the penalty for indirect contempt, Section 7 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court provides:

SEC. 7. Punishment for indirect contempt. - If the respondent is adjudged guilty of indirect contempt committed against a Regional
Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, he may be punished by a fine not exceeding thirty thousand pesos or imprisonment
not exceeding six (6) months or both. x x x

In this case, Meycauayan Executive Vice President Juan M. Lamson, Jr. caused the preparation and the filing of the Petition for
Intervention in G.R. No. 118436 and the Complaint for Reconveyance, Damages and Quieting of Title with the trial court.23 Juan M.
Lamson, Jr. signed the verification and certification of non-forum shopping for the Petition for Intervention and the Complaint for
Reconveyance, Damages and Quieting of Title. "Even though a judgment, decree, or order is addressed to the corporation only, the
officers, as well as the corporation itself, may be punished for contempt for disobedience to its terms, at least if they knowingly
disobey the court's mandate, since a lawful judicial command to a corporation is in effect a command to the officers."24 Thus, for
improper conduct tending to impede the orderly administration of justice, Meycauayan Executive Vice President Juan M. Lamson, Jr.
should be fined ten thousand pesos (₱10,000).25

Direct Contempt

Meycauayan's act of filing a Complaint for Reconveyance, Quieting of Title and Damages raising the same issues in its Petition for
Intervention, which this Court had already denied, also constitutes forum shopping. Forum shopping is the act of a party against whom
an adverse judgment has been rendered in one forum, seeking another and possibly favorable opinion in another forum other than by
appeal or special civil action of certiorari. There is also forum shopping when a party institutes two or more actions based on the same
cause on the expectation that one or the other court might look with favor on the party.26

In this case, the Court had already rejected Meycauayan's claim on the subject lots when the Court denied Meycauayan's Petition for
Intervention in G.R. No. 118436. The Court ruled that there had been no intervening rights of an innocent purchaser for value
involving the lots in dispute. The Decision of this Court in G.R. No. 118436 is already final and executory. The filing by Meycauayan
of an action to re-litigate the title to the same property, which this Court had already adjudicated with finality, is an abuse of the court's
processes and constitutes direct contempt.

Section 5 of Rule 7 of the Rules of Court provides that "if the acts of the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate
forum shopping, the same shall be a ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt, as well as a
cause for administrative sanctions." The fact that Meycauayan did mention in its certification of non-forum shopping its attempt to
intervene in G.R. No. 118436, which this Court denied,27 does not negate the existence of forum shopping. This disclosure does not
exculpate Meycauayan for deliberately seeking a friendlier forum for its case and re-litigating an issue which this Court had already
decided with finality.28
The general rule is that a corporation and its officers and agents may be held liable for contempt. A corporation and those who are
officially responsible for the conduct of its affairs may be punished for contempt in disobeying judgments, decrees, or orders of a
court made in a case within its jurisdiction.29

Under Section 1 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, direct contempt is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos (₱2,000)
or imprisonment not exceeding ten (10) days, or both, if committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher
rank. Hence, Meycauayan30 and its Executive Vice President Juan M. Lamson, Jr. are each fined ₱2,000 for direct contempt of court
for forum shopping.

WHEREFORE, we find Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation's Executive Vice President Juan M. Lamson, Jr. GUILTY of
INDIRECT CONTEMPT and FINE him TEN THOUSAND PESOS (₱10,000). Furthermore, we find Meycauayan Central Realty
Corporation and its Executive Vice President Juan M. Lamson, Jr. GUILTY of DIRECT CONTEMPT for forum shopping and FINE
them TWO THOUSAND PESOS (₱2,000) each. The Court warns them that a repetition of the same or similar offense shall merit a
more severe penalty.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-22536 August 31, 1967

DOMINGO V. AUSTRIA, petitioner,


vs.
HON. ANTONIO C. MASAQUEL, in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of Branch II of the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan, respondent.

Primicias, Del Castillo and Macaraeg for petitioner.


Antonio C. Masaquel for respondent.

ZALDIVAR, J.:

This is a petition for a writ of certiorari to annul or set aside the order of respondent Judge Antonio Masaquel, dated February 10,
1964, in Civil Case No. 13258 of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, declaring petitioner Domingo V. Austria guilty of
contempt of court and imposing upon him a fine of P50.00.

The facts that gave rise to the incident in question are not disputed. Petitioner was one of the plaintiffs in the above-mentioned Civil
Case No. 132581 against Pedro Bravo for the recovery of three parcels of land — one parcel being located at Bayambang and two
parcels in San Carlos, in the province of Pangasinan. On April 19, 1963, after trial, respondent Judge rendered a decision declaring the
plaintiffs the owners of the three parcels of land in question and ordering the defendant to vacate the lands and pay the plaintiffs
damages only with respect to the land located at Bayambang. The plaintiffs filed a motion for the immediate execution of the
judgment — which motion was granted by respondent Judge on May 31, 1963 — and, upon the plaintiffs' having posted a surety bond
in the sum of P2,000.00, the sheriff placed them in possession of the lands located at San Carlos.

On May 23, 1963, Atty. Mariano C. Sicat, a former assistant or associate of respondent Judge when the latter was still in the practice
of law before his appointment to the bench, entered his appearance as the new counsel for defendant Pedro Bravo, vice Attorney
Antonio Resngit. On June 14, 1963, the defendant, through Atty. Sicat, filed a supersedeas bond to stay the execution of the judgment,
and on June 20, 1963 respondent Judge granted the stay of execution, over the objection of plaintiffs, and ordered the sheriff to restore
the possession of the lands in San Carlos to the defendant. The petitioner likewise had asked for the appointment of a receiver over the
parcel of land located at Bayambang, which prayer was granted by respondent Judge on July 8, 1963; but upon the filing of a bond by
the defendant for the non-appointment of a receiver, the order receivership was set aside. On August 24, 1963, pending the approval of
the defendant's amended record on appeal, Atty. Sicat filed a motion for new trial and to set aside the judgment and, over the vigorous
objection of plaintiffs, the respondent Judge granted the said motion on November 7, 1963. The hearing on the retrial was finally set
for February 10, 1964.

Before the opening of the court's session in the morning of February 10, 1964, Atty. Daniel Macaraeg, counsel for petitioner and his
co-plaintiffs, saw respondent Judge in his chamber and verbally transmitted to him the request of petitioner that he (the Judge) inhibit
himself from further hearing the case upon the ground that the new counsel for the defendant, Atty. Mariano C. Sikat, was his former
associate. The respondent Judge, however, rejected the request because, according to him, the reason for the request of his inhibition is
not one of the grounds for disqualification of a judge provided for in the Rules of Court. Thereafter, when the case was called for
hearing in open court, the following transpired, as shown by the transcript of the stenographic notes taken during said hearing:2

APPEARANCE:

ATTY. DANIEL C. MACARAEG:

appeared in behalf of plaintiffs. (After the case was called)

COURT:

Your client is here?

ATTY. MACARAEG:

Yes, Your Honor.

COURT:

Where is he?
ATTY. MACARAEG:

He is here, Your Honor.

COURT:

What is your name?

PLAINTIFF:

Domingo Austria, sir.

COURT:

You are one of the plaintiffs in this case?

DOMINGO AUSTRIA:

Yes, sir.

COURT:

Atty. Macaraeg approached me in chambers requesting me to disqualify myself in hearing this case. Did you authorize Atty.
Macaraeg to approach me verbally to disqualify myself from hearing this case because the lawyer of the other party was my
former assistant?

DOMINGO AUSTRIA:

Yes, sir.

COURT:

Is that your reason why you requested Atty. Macaraeg to approach me, requesting me to disqualify myself simply because the
lawyer of the other party was my assistant?

DOMINGO AUSTRIA:

Yes, sir.

COURT:

All right. Do you doubt the integrity of the presiding Judge to decide this case fairly and impartially because the lawyer of the
other party was my former assistant? Do you doubt? Just answer the question?

DOMINGO AUSTRIA:

Yes, sir.

COURT:

The Court hereby finds you guilty of contempt of Court and you are hereby ordered to pay a fine of P50.00.

ATTY. MACARAEG:

With due indulgence of this Honorable Court — I have learned, after I have conferred with you in chambers, another ground of
the plaintiffs for their requesting me to ask for the disqualification of Your Honor in this case, and this ground consists of the
rampant rumor coming from the defendant Pedro Bravo himself that he is boasting in San Carlos that because he has a new
lawyer, that surely he is going to win this case.

COURT:

Why did you not wait until the case is finally decided and find out if that is true or not?

ATTY. MACARAEG:

And maybe, that is why the plaintiffs requested me to approach Your Honor because of that rampant rumor that Pedro Bravo is
spreading.

COURT:

You mean to say because of that rumor, you are going to doubt my integrity?

ATTY. MACARAEG:

As for me, I entertain no doubt, Your Honor.

COURT:
Your client expressed openly in Court his doubts on the integrity of the Court simply based on rumors and that is a ground for
contempt of court, if only to maintain the faith of the people in the courts.

ATTY. MACARAEG:

Taking into consideration that these plaintiffs are laymen and we cannot expect from them the thinking of a lawyer, I am most
respectfully praying that the Order of this Court be reconsidered.

COURT:

Denied. Your client should pay a fine of P50.00. We will hear this case this afternoon.

ATTY. MACARAEG:

Yes, Your Honor.

The respondent Judge forthwith dictated the following order:3

Before this Court opened its sessions this morning, Atty. Daniel C. Macaraeg, counsel for the plaintiffs, approached the
presiding Judge of this Court in his chambers and manifested the desire of his clients for the Judge to disqualify himself from
trying the above-entitled case for the reason that counsel for the defendant, Atty. Marciano C. Sicat was formerly an associate
of the Judge of this Court while he was still engaged in the practice of law. To this manifestation of Atty. Macaraeg, the
Presiding Judge informed the latter that such fact alone does not in itself constitute a legal ground to disqualify the Presiding
Judge of this Court, from trying this case.

When the above-entitled case was called for hearing, the Presiding Judge called on one of the plaintiffs who was present,
namely, Domingo Austria, and inquired from the latter if it was true that he asked his lawyer Atty. Macaraeg to approach the
Judge in chambers and to ask him to disqualify himself from trying this case because defendant's lawyer, Atty. Sicat was
formerly associated with the said Judge. To this query Domingo Austria answered in the affirmative. When he was also asked
as to whether the said Domingo Austria has lost faith in the sense of fairness and justice of the Presiding Judge of this Court
simply because of his former association with the defendant's lawyer, said Domingo Austria likewise answered in the
affirmative.

The Court considers the actuation of the plaintiff Domingo Austria, in the premises, as offensive, insulting and a reflection on
the integrity and honesty of the Presiding Judge of this Court and shows his lack of respect to the Court. The said Domingo
Austria is not justified and has no reason to entertain doubts in the fairness and integrity of the Presiding Judge of this Court,
simply because of the latter's former association with defendant's counsel. For this reason and in order to maintain the people's
faith and respect in their courts — the last bulwark in our democratic institutions — the Presiding Judge declared said plaintiff
Domingo Austria in direct contempt of court and he was ordered to pay a fine of P50.00.

The Court found from the manifestation of plaintiffs' counsel Atty. Macaraeg that the basis of the statement, of Domingo
Austria that he has lost his faith in the Presiding Judge of this Court is the rumors being circulated by the defendant Pedro
Bravo that he will surely win in the present case because of his new lawyer, Atty. Marciano C. Sicat. The Court believes that
rumors of the sort do not serve as a sufficient basis or justification for the plaintiff Domingo Austria to insinuate bias and
partiality, on the part of the Court and to express openly his loss of faith and confidence in the integrity, fairness and capability
of the Presiding Judge of this Court to perform his sworn duty of upholding and administering justice, without fear or favor,
and by reason of which this Court denied the verbal motion to reconsider filed by counsel for the plaintiff Domingo Austria,
finding him guilty of contempt of court and ordering him to pay a fine of P50.00.

SO ORDERED.

Given in open Court this 10th day of February, 1964, at Lingayen, Pangasinan.

Petitioner Domingo Austria, accordingly, paid the fine of P50.00 under protest. Having been punished summarily for direct contempt
of court, and the remedy of appeal not being available to him, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari before this Court.

It is the position of the petitioner that under the facts and circumstances attendant to the hearing of the Civil Case No. 13250 on
February 10, 1063, he had not committed an act of contempt against the court and the respondent Judge had acted in excess of his
jurisdiction with grave abuse of discretion when he declared petitioner in direct contempt of court and imposed on him the fine of
P50.00 as a penalty.

After a careful study of the record, We find merit in this petition.

The respondent Judge declared the petitioner in direct contempt of court. Our task, therefore, is to determine whether or not the
petitioner was guilty of misbehavior in the presence of or so near a court or judge, as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings before
the same, or had committed an act of disrespect toward the court or judge.4

The respondent Judge considered the actuation of the petitioner, in the premises, as offensive, insulting, and a reflection on his
integrity and honesty and a showing of lack of respect to the court. The respondent Judge considered that the petitioner was not
justified and had no reason to entertain doubts in his fairness and integrity simply because the defendant's counsel was his former
associate.1äwphï1.ñët

We do not agree with the respondent Judge. It is our considered view that when the petitioner requested respondent Judge to inhibit
himself from further trying the case upon the ground that the counsel for the opposite party was the former associate of the respondent
Judge, petitioner did so because he was impelled by a justifiable apprehension which can occur in the mind of a litigant who sees what
seems to be an advantage on the part of his adversary; and that the petitioner made his request in a manner that was not disrespectful,
much less insulting or offensive to the respondent Judge or to the court.
We are in accord with the statement of respondent Judge in his memorandum that the circumstance invoked by petitioner in asking
him to inhibit himself from further trying the case — that Atty. Sicat was his former associate in his practice of law — is not one of
the grounds enumerated in the first paragraph of Section 1, Rule 137 of the new Rules of Court for disqualifying a judge. While it is
true that respondent Judge may not be compelled to disqualify himself, the fact that Atty. Sicat, admittedly his former associate, was
counsel for a party in the case being tried by him, may constitute a just or valid reason for him to voluntarily inhibit himself from
hearing the case on a retrial, if he so decides, pursuant to the provision of the second paragraph of Section 1 of the said Rule 137.5

The apprehension of petitioner regarding the probable bias of respondent Judge does not appear to be groundless or entirely devoid of
reason. The respondent Judge had decided the case in favor of petitioner and his co-plaintiffs, and that upon plaintiffs' timely motion
and filing of bond they were already placed in possession of the lands in question pending appeal. It was when Atty. Sicat took over as
new counsel for defendant that the latter was given back the properties, upon a motion to stay the execution of the judgment which
was filed by said counsel and was granted by respondent Judge over the opposition of petitioner's counsel. Again, when the same
counsel for defendant filed a motion for a new trial, said motion was granted by respondent Judge in spite of the vigorous objection of
counsel for the petitioner and his co-plaintiffs. And then the petitioner became aware of the fact that his adversary, the defendant
Pedro Bravo, had been boasting in San Carlos that he was sure to win his case because of his new lawyer.

We believe that the petitioner — the layman that he is — did not take a belligerent or arrogant attitude toward respondent Judge. What
he did was to request his lawyer, Atty. Macaraeg, to approach respondent Judge in his chamber and suggest to him to refrain from
hearing the case on the new trial, precisely in order that respondent Judge might not be embarrassed or exposed to public odium. There
is nothing in the record which shows that when respondent Judge refused to disqualify himself, the petitioner insisted in asking for his
disqualification. If the request of petitioner for respondent Judge to disqualify himself came to the knowledge of the public it was
because respondent Judge himself brought up the matter in open court.

While We consider it improper for a litigant or counsel to see a judge in chambers and talk to him about a matter related to the case
pending in the court of said judge, in the case now before Us We do not consider it as an act of contempt of court when petitioner
asked his counsel to see respondent Judge in his chamber and request him to disqualify himself upon a ground which respondent
Judge might consider just or valid. It is one thing to act not in accordance with the rules, and another thing to act in a manner which
would amount to a disrespect or an affront to the dignity of the court or judge. We believe that the circumstances that led respondent
Judge to declare petitioner in direct contempt of court do not indicate any deliberate design on the part of petitioner to disrespect
respondent Judge or to cast aspersion against his integrity as a judge. On the contrary, it may be said that petitioner wanted to avoid
cause for any one to doubt the integrity of respondent Judge. This is so because when a party litigant desires or suggests the voluntary
disqualification of a judge, it is understood, without saying it in so many words, that said litigant — having knowledge of the past or
present relationship of the judge with the other party or counsel — feels that no matter how upright the judge is there is peril of his
being unconsciously swayed by his former connection and he may unwittingly render a biased or unfair decision. Hence, while it may
be conceded that in requesting the disqualification of a judge by reason of his relation with a party or counsel there is some
implication of the probability of his being partial to one side, the request can not constitute contempt of court if done honestly and in a
respectful manner, as was done by petitioner in the present case. Perhaps the fault of petitioner, if at all, is his having asked his counsel
to make the request to respondent Judge inside the latter's chamber.

The following observation of this Court, speaking through Mr. Justice Dizon, is relevant to the question before Us:

Petitioner invoking the provisions of section 1, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, argues that the case of respondent judge does
not fall under any one of the grounds for the disqualification of judicial officers stated therein. Assuming arguendo that a
literal interpretation of the legal provision relied upon justifies petitioner's contention to a certain degree, it should not be
forgotten that, in construing and applying said legal provision, we cannot disregard its true intention nor the real ground for the
disqualification of a judge or judicial officer, which is the impossibility of rendering an impartial judgment upon the matter
before him. It has been said, in fact, that due process of law requires a hearing before an impartial and disinterested tribunal,
and that every litigant is entitled to nothing less than the cold neutrality of an impartial judge (30 Am. Jur. p. 767). Moreover,
second only to the duty of rendering a just decision, is the duty of doing it in a manner that will not arouse any suspicion as to
its fairness and the integrity of the Judge. Consequently, we take it to be the true intention of the law — stated in general terms
— that no judge shall preside in a case in which he is not wholly free, disinterested, impartial and independent (30 Am. Jur.
supra) . . . . 6 (Emphasis supplied).

It is in line with the above-quoted observation that this Court, in amending the Rules of Court, added the second
paragraph under Section 1 of Rule 137, which provides that a judge in the exercise of his sound discretion may disqualify
himself from sitting in a case for just or valid grounds other than those specifically mentioned in the first paragraph of said
section.7 "The courts should administer justice free from suspicion or bias and prejudice; otherwise, parties litigants might
lose confidence in the judiciary and destroy its nobleness and decorum." 8

Respondent Judge declared petitioner in contempt of court after the latter answered "Yes, sir" to this question of the
judge: "Do you doubt the integrity of the presiding Judge to decide this case fairly and impartially because the lawyer of
the other party was my former assistant? Do you doubt? Just answer the question?" We believe that petitioner had not
committed an act amounting to contempt of court when he made that answer. The petitioner had not misbehaved in court,
or in the presence of respondent Judge, as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings. Neither did the petitioner act in a
manner that was disrespectful to respondent Judge. When petitioner answered "Yes, sir" to the question asked by
respondent Judge, petitioner simply expressed his sincere feeling under the circumstances. In order that a person may be
summarily punished for direct contempt of court, it must appear that his behavior or his utterance tends to obstruct the
proceedings in court, or constitutes an affront to the dignity of the court. As stated by this Court, "Contempt of court
presupposes a contumacious attitude, a flouting or arrogant belligerence, a defiance of the court . . . ." 9

We commend the zeal shown by respondent Judge in his effort to protect his own integrity and the dignity of the court. We
are constrained to say, however, that he had gone a little farther than what was necessary under the circumstances. We
are inclined to believe that respondent Judge felt offended when petitioner answered "Yes, sir" to the question adverted to
in the preceding paragraph. But the petitioner was simply truthful and candid to the court when he gave that answer. It
would have been unfair to respondent Judge had petitioner answered "No, sir," because then he would not be sincere
with the court, and he would be inconsistent with the request that he made through his counsel for respondent Judge to
inhibit himself from further hearing the case. When respondent Judge asked that question, he necessarily expected a
truthful answer from petitioner, and indeed petitioner gave him the truthful answer. We are not persuaded that in so
answering petitioner meant to be disrespectful, offensive or insulting to respondent Judge. Nor do We consider that in so
answering petitioner meant to cast reflection on the integrity and honesty of respondent Judge. We believe that in so
answering the petitioner was simply manifesting the misgiving of an ordinary layman about the outcome of his case that is
going to be tried by a judge who has been closely associated with the counsel for his adversary. The petitioner would
never have expressed that misgiving of his had respondent Judge not asked him in open court a question that evoked that
answer. A judge can not prevent any person — even a litigant or counsel in a case before him — to entertain in his mind
an opinion about him as a judge. Certainly, any person is entitled to his opinion about a judge, whether that opinion is
flattering to the judge, or not. It would be different if a person would deliberately and maliciously express an adverse
opinion about a judge, without reason, but simply to malign and discredit the judge. In the case now before Us We believe
that petitioner did not mean to malign or discredit respondent Judge in answering as he did. It can be said that petitioner
was simply moved by a desire to protect his interests in the case pending before the court, presided by respondent Judge.
A citizen of this Republic is entitled to expect that our courts of justice are presided by judges who are free from bias and
prejudice — and it should not be made a count against the citizen if he so expresses himself truthfully, sincerely, and
respectfully. A judge, as a public servant, should not be so thin-skinned or sensitive as to feel hurt or offended if a citizen
expresses an honest opinion about him which may not altogether be flattering to him. 10 After all, what matters is that a
judge performs his duties in accordance with the dictates of his conscience and the light that God has given him. A judge
should never allow himself to be moved by pride, prejudice, passion, or pettiness in the performance of his duties. And a
judge should always bear in mind that the power of the court to punish for contempt should be exercised for purposes that
are impersonal, because that power is intended as a safeguard not for the judges as persons but for the functions that
they exercise.

It is worth mentioning here that numerous cases there have been where judges, and even members of this Court, were
asked to inhibit themselves from trying, or from participating in the consideration of, a case, but scarcely were the
movants punished for contempt even if the grounds upon which they based their motions for disqualification are not
among those provided in the rules. It is only when there was direct imputation of bias or prejudice, or a stubborn
insistence to disqualify the judge, done in a malicious, arrogant, belligerent and disrespectful manner, that movants were
held in contempt of court. 11 And this liberal attitude of the courts is in keeping with the doctrine that "The power to punish
for contempt of court should be exercised on the preservative and not on the vindictive principle. Only occasionally should
the court invoke its inherent power in order to retain that respect without which the administration of justice must falter or
fail." 12 The power to punish for contempt, being drastic and extraordinary in its nature, should not be resorted to unless
necessary in the interest of justice. 13

Wherefore, the order of respondent Judge dated February 10, 1964, in Civil Case No. 13259 of the Court of First Instance
of Pangasinan, declaring petitioner in direct contempt of court and ordering him to pay a fine of P50.00, is hereby annulled
and set aside; and it is ordered that the sum of P50.00, paid under protest by petitioner as a fine, be refunded to him. No
costs. It is so ordered.

A.M. No. MTJ-95-1035 June 21, 1995

EMETERIO GALLO through Counsel Atty. Francisco C. Aurillo, complainant,


vs.
JUDGE JOSE CORDERO, MTC, Babatñgon, Leyte, respondent.

MENDOZA, J.:

This is a sworn complaint dated September 8, 1994 of Emeterio Gallo, charging Judge Jose Cordero of the Municipal Trial
Court of Babatñgon, Leyte with non-feasance, manifest bias, gross ignorance of the law, and graft and rank favoritism.

The complaint is made in connection with Criminal Case No. 2194 entitled "People v. Cristuto Barreta, Alberto Macabata,
Danilo Morillo, and Rodolfo Villanueva," which complainant filed in respondent judge's court on August 23, 1994 for
violation of P.D.No. 772, otherwise known as the Anti-Squatting Law. The criminal complaint alleged:

That several years ago, at Barangay Bagong Silang, municipality of Babatñgon, Province of
Leyte, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, all taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the land owners, did then and
there, succeeded in occupying and possessing certain portions of the property of the latter
against their will for residential and small farming purposes, and have refused to vacate the
property despite demands for them to do so.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

On August 26, 1994, respondent issued a subpoena1 to complainant requiring him to appear and to testify regarding his
affidavit and to bring with him documents attesting to his ownership of the land. Complainant appeared as directed on
August 30, 1994 in respondent's office. According to complainant's affidavit dated September 7, 1994,2 the following
transpired:

That on August 30, 1994 I saw Honorable Judge Jose Cordero in his office, having been summoned to
appear before him on that day;

That he then asked me if I have papers of ownership of land, such as tax declaration, and I said yes but did
not bring them as this was no trial; and besides, he already had the records submitted by the chief of police;

That since he insisted on seeing our tax declaration, with his permission I went to the office of the municipal
assessor, secured a certified copy of the tax declaration of land in Bagong Silang, and gave it to him; and
noting the area to be 21 hectares the Judge commented that ours is quite a big tract of land;
That when I asked the Judge if the accused have already been arrested, he said No; so I said, what about
this case of ours? And he asked what I really wanted. When I said I want them ejected from our land the
Judge said: "No, you cannot eject tenants now under the law." I countered that the four accused are not
tenants, but the Judge said, "Even then, nobody can eject them.

That disappointed at his answers which clearly were biased for the accused, I asked permission to leave,
which was granted. But he added that I should see him again on Sept. 14, the day before trial which he set
for Sept. 15; . . . .

The following day, according to complainant, his son Roger Gallo went to respondent's office to deliver his letter in which
he inquired from the judge whether he had already issued a warrant of arrest against the accused; that upon entering the
office, Roger saw respondent conversing with the accused in the criminal case;3 that an aide of respondent received the
letter and opened it; that respondent did not however say anything nor reply to complainant's letter; that when Roger left
the office, respondent judge and the four accused continued their conversation.4

Complainant charges that (a) in violation of art. 207 (malicious delay in the administration of justice) and art. 208
(negligence and tolerance in the prosecution of crimes) of the Revised Penal Code respondent judge refused to order the
arrest of the accused in Criminal Case No. 2194; (b) that respondent privately conferred with the accused in his office on
August 31, 1994 which "logically and naturally arouses suspicion of graft and rank favoritism;" and (c) that he acted with
bias and ignorance of the law in telling complainant, "You cannot eject tenants now under the law," and that even if the
accused were not tenants, "nobody can eject them." Complainant Gallo prays that (1) respondent be preventively
suspended or ordered to inhibit himself from hearing the case and that another judge be assigned to handle the case and
(2) after due hearing, respondent be dismissed from the service.

In his comment, respondent alleges that he did not order the arrest of the accused for the following reasons: (1) the
complaint charges no offense under P.D. No. 772 because of "the absence [of] recital in the body of [the] complaint that
the property occupied possessed is within the urban communities" per the ruling in People v. Echavez,5 that the crime of
squatting applies only to urban communities,6 (2) the complaint is defective because of its failure to state the name of the
offended party and the date and time of the commission of
the offense; (3) respondent acted in compliance with Administrative Circular No. 8-92 which "reiterates to all trial court
judges the need for a careful consideration of the proper application of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (RA
6657) to avoid conflict of jurisdiction with the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Boards," and (4) he thought that
complainant Gallo was merely pressuring the accused to vacate the property through the filing of a criminal case against
them.

Respondent also contends that he cannot be liable under art. 208 of the Revised Penal Code, because this provision
applies to the failure of public prosecutors to prosecute for law violations.

Respondent denied uttering the statements attributed to him allegedly showing that he had prejudged the case, the truth
being that he merely
asked complainant certain questions to ascertain compliance with Rule 110 §§ 6 and 11 7 of the Revised Rules on
Criminal Procedure.

As for his alleged "private conference" with the accused, respondent claims that he merely tried to advise them of their
right to a counsel de oficio in case they could not afford to hire a lawyer.

With regard to complainant's demand for his inhibition, respondent alleges that there was no basis for complainant to say
that he could not expect justice from him (respondent judge) because the case had just been set for the arraignment of
the accused.

To be sure, Criminal Case No. 2194 was filed invoking the original and exclusive jurisdiction of respondent judge's court,
considering that under P.D. No. 772 the offense charged is punishable by imprisonment ranging from 6 months to 1 year
or a fine of not less than P1,000.00 nor more than P5,000.00.8 Hence, in accordance with Rule 112, §9(b), in relation to
§3(a) thereof, respondent's job was to determine at the outset if there was sufficient ground to hold the accused for trial,
on the basis of the complaint and affidavits submitted. If there was no sufficient ground to hold the accused for trial, the
judge should dismiss the complaint or information, otherwise, he should issue a warrant of arrest after personally
examining the complainant and his witnesses in writing and under oath in the form of searching questions and answers.

Apparently, respondent judge found sufficient ground to hold the accused in the criminal case for trial. That is why
subpoenas were issued to the complainant and the accused. In the case of the complainant, the subpoena required him
to testify and bring with him the papers showing his title to the land. But respondent judge did not examine him with a view
to the issuance of a warrant of arrest. Instead, as he now says in his comment, he subpoenaed complainant only to
determine the sufficiency of the complaint. Yet, respondent likewise required the accused to present their evidence the
next day, August 31, 1994.

It would thus appear that respondent was confused about what to do. He says in his comment that he found the criminal
complaint to be insufficient because it does not state the time of commission of the offense and the name of the offended
party. He also contends that it does not charge an offense because in accordance with the ruling in People v. Echavez,9
the offense punished under P.D. No. 772 is committed only in urban communities, although in Jumawan v. Eviota 10 we
overruled People v. Echavez and held that what is punished by the law is squatting on land which is used for residential,
commercial or other purposes. Be that as it may, however, what respondent should have done was to dismiss the criminal
case. The fact, however, is that he did not dismiss the complaint; neither did he, on the other hand, order the arrest of the
accused in that case.

Respondent judge also opened himself to charges of partiality and bias by meeting privately with the four accused. He
says that he merely wanted to apprise them of their constitutional right. Whatever his purpose was, it was improper for
respondent judge to meet them without the presence of complainant. As already stated, the subpoena required the
accused to appear in court on August 31, 1994 to give their testimony. But no hearing was set on that date. In fact
complainant's son, Roger, merely chanced on the accused in the office of the judge on August 31, 1994 because he had
been sent by his father to deliver the latter's letter inquiring whether the judge had yet issued a warrant for the arrest of the
accused.

Thus, respondent judge not only has shown gross ignorance of law and procedure but has also failed to live up to the
norm that "judges should not only be impartial but should also appear impartial." 11 He thus violated Canon 2 of the Code
of Judicial Conduct which provides that "a judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all
activities." In the words of Rule 2.01 of that Canon, "A judge should so behave at all times as to promote public
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

Respondent judge was compulsorily retired on March 11, 1995, after reaching the age of 70. This fact, however, does not
render this case moot and academic. As held in Zarate v. Judge Romanillos: 12

[T]he jurisdiction that was ours at the time of the filing of the administrative complaint was not
lost by the mere fact that the respondent public official had ceased in office during the
pendency of his case. The Court retains its jurisdiction either to pronounce the respondent
official innocent of the charges or declare him guilty thereof. A contrary rule would be fraught
with injustices and pregnant with dreadful and dangerous implications. . . . If innocent,
respondent 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.

ACCORDINGLY, a FINE of P10,000.00 is imposed on respondent Judge Jose Cordero, the same to be deducted from
whatever retirement benefits he may be entitled to receive from the government.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 75209 September 30, 1987

NESTLE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner,


vs.
HON. AUGUSTO S. SANCHEZ, MINISTER OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT and THE UNION OF FILIPRO
EMPLOYEES, respondents.

No. 78791 September 30, 1987

KIMBERLY INDEPENDENT LABOR UNION FOR SOLIDARITY, ACTIVISM AND NATIONALISM-OLALIA, petitioner,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, MANUEL AGUILAR, MA. ESTRELLA ALDAS, CAPT. REY L.
LANADA, COL. VIVENCIO MANAIG and KIMBERLY-CLARK PHILIPPINES, INC., respondents.

RESOLUTION

PER CURIAM:

During the period July 8-10. 1987, respondent in G.R. No. 75029, Union of Filipro Employees, and petitioner in G.R. No.
78791, Kimberly Independent Labor Union for Solidarity, Activism and Nationalism-Olalia intensified the intermittent
pickets they had been conducting since June 17, 1987 in front of the Padre Faura gate of the Supreme Court building.
They set up pickets' quarters on the pavement in front of the Supreme Court building, at times obstructing access to and
egress from the Court's premises and offices of justices, officials and employees. They constructed provisional shelters
along the sidewalks, set up a kitchen and littered the place with food containers and trash in utter disregard of proper
hygiene and sanitation. They waved their red streamers and placards with slogans, and took turns haranguing the court
all day long with the use of loud speakers.

These acts were done even after their leaders had been received by Justices Pedro L. Yap and Marcelo B. Fernan as
Chairmen of the Divisions where their cases are pending, and Atty. Jose C. Espinas, counsel of the Union of Filipro
Employees, had been called in order that the pickets might be informed that the demonstration must cease immediately
for the same constitutes direct contempt of court and that the Court would not entertain their petitions for as long as the
pickets were maintained. Thus, on July 10, 1987, the Court en banc issued a resolution giving the said unions the
opportunity to withdraw graciously and requiring Messrs. Tony Avelino. Lito Payabyab, Eugene San Pedro, Dante
Escasura, Emil Sayao and Nelson Centeno, union leaders of respondent Union of Filipro Employees in the Nestle case
and their counsel of record, Atty. Jose C. Espinas; and Messrs. Ernesto Facundo, Fausto Gapuz, Jr. and Antonio
Gonzales, union leaders of petitioner Kimberly Independent Labor Union for Solidarity, Activism and Nationalism-Olalia in
the Kimberly case to appear before the Court on July 14, 1987 at 10:30 A.M. and then and there to SHOW CAUSE why
they should not be held in contempt of court. Atty. Jose C. Espinas was further required to SHOW CAUSE why he should
not be administratively dealt with.

On the appointed date and time, the above-named individuals appeared before the Court, represented by Atty. Jose C.
Espinas, in the absence of Atty. Potenciano Flores, counsel of record of petitioner in G.R. No. 78791, who was still
recuperating from an operation.

Atty. Espinas, for himself and in behalf of the union leaders concerned, apologized to the Court for the above-described
acts, together with an assurance that they will not be repeated. He likewise manifested to the Court that he had
experienced to the picketers why their actions were wrong and that the cited persons were willing to suffer such penalty
as may be warranted under the circumstances. 1 He, however, prayed for the Court's leniency considering that the picket
was actually spearheaded by the leaders of the "Pagkakaisa ng Mangagawa sa Timog Katagalogan" (PAMANTIK), an
unregistered loose alliance of about seventy-five (75) unions in the Southern Tagalog area, and not by either the Union of
Filipro Employees or the Kimberly Independent Labor Union. 2

Atty. Espinas further stated that he had explained to the picketers that any delay in the resolution of their cases is usually
for causes beyond the control of the Court and that the Supreme Court has always remained steadfast in its role as the
guardian of the Constitution.

To confirm for the record that the person cited for contempt fully understood the reason for the citation and that they wig
abide by their promise that said incident will not be repeated, the Court required the respondents to submit a written
manifestation to this effect, which respondents complied with on July 17, 1987.

We accept the apologies offered by the respondents and at this time, forego the imposition of the sanction warranted by
the contemptuous acts described earlier. The liberal stance taken by this Court in these cases as well as in the earlier
case of AHS/PHILIPPINES EMPLOYEES UNION vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, et al., G.R. No.
73721, March 30, 1987, should not, however, be considered in any other light than an acknowledgment of the euphoria
apparently resulting from the rediscovery of a long-repressed freedom. The Court will not hesitate in future similar
situations to apply the full force of the law and punish for contempt those who attempt to pressure the Court into acting
one way or the other in any case pending before it. Grievances, if any, must be ventilated through the proper channels,
i.e., through appropriate petitions, motions or other pleadings in keeping with the respect due to the Courts as impartial
administrators of justice entitled to "proceed to the disposition of its business in an orderly manner, free from outside
interference obstructive of its functions and tending to embarrass the administration of justice." 3

The right of petition is conceded to be an inherent right of the citizen under all free governments. However, such right,
natural and inherent though it may be, has never been invoked to shatter the standards of propriety entertained for the
conduct of courts. For "it is a traditional conviction of civilized society everywhere that courts and juries, in the decision of
issues of fact and law should be immune from every extraneous influence; that facts should be decided upon evidence
produced in court; and that the determination of such facts should be uninfluenced by bias, prejudice or sympathies."4

Moreover, "parties have a constitutional right to have their causes tried fairly in court by an impartial tribunal, uninfluenced
by publication or public clamor. Every citizen has a profound personal interest in the enforcement of the fundamental right
to have justice administered by the courts, under the protection and forms of law free from outside coercion or
interference." 5 The aforecited acts of the respondents are therefore not only an affront to the dignity of this Court, but
equality a violation of the above-stated right of the adverse parties and the citizenry at large.

We realize that the individuals herein cited who are non-lawyers are not knowledgeable in her intricacies of substantive
and adjective laws. They are not aware that even as the rights of free speech and of assembly are protected by the
Constitution, any attempt to pressure or influence courts of justice through the exercise of either right amounts to an
abuse thereof, is no longer within the ambit of constitutional protection, nor did they realize that any such efforts to
influence the course of justice constitutes contempt of court. 6 The duty and responsibility of advising them, therefore, rest
primarily and heavily upon the shoulders of their counsel of record. Atty. Jose C. Espinas, when his attention was called
by this Court, did his best to demonstrate to the pickets the untenability of their acts and posture. Let this incident
therefore serve as a reminder to all members of the legal profession that it is their duty as officers of the court to properly
apprise their clients on matters of decorum and proper attitude toward courts of justice, and to labor leaders of the
importance of a continuing educational program for their members.

WHEREFORE, the contempt charges against herein respondents are DISMISSED. Henceforth, no demonstrations or
pickets intended to pressure or influence courts of justice into acting one way or the other on pending cases shall be
allowed in the vicinity and/or within the premises of any and all courts.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-30894 March 25, 1970

EDUARDO L. MARTELINO, CIRILO OROPESA, TEODORO FACELO, RUPERTO AMISOTO, ALBERTO SOTECO,
SOLFERINO TITONG, ET AL., petitioners,
vs.
JOSE ALEJANDRO, RUBEN S. MONTOYA, SIXTO R. ALHAMBRA, AVELINO C. MENEZ, EFRAIN S. MACLANG, ET
AL., respondents.

Amelito R. Mutuc for petitioners.

Colonel Manuel V. Reyes (Judge Advocate General, GSC), Major Samuel M. Soriano (JAGS), Major Higinio E. Dacanay,
Jr. (JAGS, PC) and Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar, Assistant Solicitor General Crispin V. Bautista, Solicitor Jaime M.
Lantin and Guillermo Nakar, Jr. for respondents.

CASTRO, J.:

This case presents another aspect of the court-martial proceedings against the petitioner, Major Eduardo Martelino, alias
Abdul Latif Martelino, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the officers and men under him, for violation of the 94th
and 97th Articles of War, as a result of the alleged shooting on March 18, 1968 of some Muslim recruits then undergoing
commando training on the island of Corregidor. Once before the question was raised before this Court whether the
general court-martial, convened on April 6, 1968 to try the case against the petitioners, acquired jurisdiction over the case
despite the fact that earlier, on March 23, a complaint for frustrated murder had been filed in the fiscal's office of Cavite
City by Jibin Arula (who claimed to have been wounded in the incident) against some of the herein petitioners. The
proceedings had to be suspended until the jurisdiction issue could be decided. On June 23, 1969 this Court ruled in favor
of the jurisdiction of the military court.1
The jurisdiction question thus settled, attention once again shifted to the general court-martial, but no sooner had the
proceedings resumed than another hitch developed. This came about as the petitioners, the accused in the court-martial
proceedings, in turn came to this Court, seeking relief against certain orders of the general court-martial.

It appears that at the hearing on August 12, 1969 the petitioner Martelino sought the disqualification of the President of
the general court-martial, following the latter's admission that he read newspaper stories of the Corregidor incident. The
petitioner contended that the case had received such an amount of publicity in the press and other news media and in fact
was being exploited for political purposes in connection with the presidential election on November 11, 1969 as to imperil
his right to a fair trial. After deliberating, the military court denied the challenge.

Thereafter the petitioners raised peremptory challenges against Col. Alejandro, as president of the court-martial, and Col.
Olfindo, Lt. Col. Camagay, Lt. Col. Valones, Lt. Col. Blanco and Col. Malig, as members. With regard to peremptory
challenges it was the petitioners' position that for each specification each accused was entitled to one such challenge.
They later changed their stand and adopted that of the trial judge advocate that "for each specification jointly tried, all of
the accused are entitled to only 1 peremptory challenge; and that with respect to the specifications tried commonly, each
one of the accused is entitled to one peremptory challenge." They there contended that they were entitled to a total of
eleven peremptory challenges. On the other hand the court-martial ruled that the accused were entitled to only one
peremptory challenge as the specifications were being jointly tried.

The petitioners therefore filed this petition for certiorari and prohibition, to nullify the orders of the court-martial denying
their challenges, both peremptory and for cause. They allege that the adverse publicity given in the mass media to the
Corregidor incident, coupled with the fact that it became an issue against the administration in the 1969 elections, was
such as to unduly influence the members of the court-martial. With respect to peremptory challenges, they contend that
they are entitled to eleven such challenges, one for each specification.

On August 29, 1969 this Court gave due course to the petition, required the respondents as members of the general
court-martial to answer and, in the meantime, restrained them from proceeding with the case.

In their answer the respondents assert that despite the publicity which the case had received, no proof has been
presented showing that the court-martial's president's fairness and impartiality have been impaired. On the contrary, they
claim, the petitioner's own counsel expressed confidence in the "integrity, experience and background" of the members of
the court. As a preliminary consideration, the respondents urge this Court to throw out the petition on the ground that it
has no power to review the proceedings of the court-martial, "except for the purpose of ascertaining whether the military
court had jurisdiction of the person and subject matter, and whether, though having such jurisdiction, it had exceeded its
powers in the sentence pronounced," and that at any rate the petitioners failed to exhaust remedies available to them
within the military justice system.

It is true that civil courts as a rule exercise no supervision or correcting power over the proceedings of courts-martial, and
that mere errors in their proceedings are not open to consideration. "The single inquiry, the test, is jurisdiction." 2 But it is
equally true that in the exercise of their undoubted discretion, courts-martial may commit such an abuse of discretion —
what in the language of Rule 65 is referred to as "grave abuse of discretion" — as to give rise to a defect in their
jurisdiction.3 This is precisely the point at issue in this action suggested by its nature as one for certiorari and prohibition,
namely, whether in overruling the petitioners' challenges, the general court-martial committed such an abuse of discretion
as to call for the exercise of the corrective powers of this Court. It is thus obvious that no other way is open to this Court
by which it may avoid passing upon the constitutional issue thrust upon it. Nor will the fact that there may be available
remedies within the system of military justice bar review considering that the questions raised are questions of law. 4

And so the threshold question is whether the publicity given to the case against the petitioners was such as to prejudice
their right to a fair trial. As already stated, the petitioner Martelino challenged the court-martial president on the ground
that newspaper accounts of what had come to be referred to as the "Corregidor massacre" might unduly influence the trial
of their case. The petitioner's counsel referred to a news item appearing in the July 29, 1969 issue of the Daily Mirror and
cited other news reports to the effect that "coffins are being prepared for the President (of the Philippines) in Jolo," that
according to Senator Aquino "massacre victims were given sea burial," and that Senator Magsaysay, opposition Vice
President candidate, had gone to Corregidor and "found bullet shells." In addition the petitioners cite in this Court a Manila
Times editorial of August 26, 1969 which states that "The Jabidah [code name of the training operations] issue was bound
to come up in the course of the election campaign. The opposition could not possibly ignore an issue that is heavily
loaded against the administration." The petitioners argue that under the circumstances they could not expect a just and
fair trial and that, in overruling their challenge for cause based on this ground, the general court-martial committed a grave
abuse of discretion. In support of their contention they invoke the rulings of the United States Supreme Court in Irvin v.
Dowd,5 Rideau vs. Louisiana,6 Estes v. Texas,7 and Shepard v. Maxwell.8

An examination of the cases cited, however, will show that they are widely disparate from this case in a fundamental
sense. In Irvin, for instance, the Supreme Court found that shortly after the petitioner's arrest in connection with six
murders committed in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, the prosecutor and police officials issued press releases stating that
the petitioner had confessed to the six murders and that "a barrage of newspaper headlines articles, cartoons and pictures
was unleashed against him during the six or seven months preceding his trial." In reversing his conviction, the Court said:

Here the "pattern of deep and bitter prejudice' shown to be present throughout the community, ... was clearly
reflected in the sum total of the voir dire examination of a majority of the jurors finally placed in the jury box.
Eight out of the 12 thought petitioner was guilty. With such an opinion permeating their minds, it would be
difficult to say that each could exclude this preconception of guilt from his deliberations. The influence that
lurks in an opinion once formed is so persistent that it unconsciously fights detachment from the processes
of the average man. ... Where one's life is at stake — and accounting for the frailties of human nature — we
can only say that in the light of the circumstances here the finding of impartiality does not meet the
constitutional standard.9
Irvin marks the first time a state conviction was struck down solely on the ground of prejudicial publicity. 10 In the earlier
case of Shepherd v. Florida, 11 which involved elements of publicity, the reversal of the conviction was based solely on
racial discrimination in the selection of the jury, although to concurring Justice Jackson, who was joined by Justice
Frankfurter, "It is hard to imagine a more prejudicial influence than a press release by the officer of the court charged with
defendants' custody stating that they had confessed, and here just such a statement unsworn to, unseen, uncross-
examined and uncontradicted, was conveyed by the press to the jury. 12

In Rideau, the petitioner, suspect in the robbery of a bank in Lake Charles, Louisiana and in the kidnapping of three of its
employees, and in the killing of one of them, was similarly given "trial by publicity." Thus, the day after his arrest, a moving
picture film was taken of him in an "interview" with the sheriff. The "interview," which lasted approximately 20 minutes,
consisted of interrogation by the sheriff and admission by Rideau that he had perpetrated the bank robbery, kidnapping
and murder. The interview was seen and heard on television by 24,000 people. Two weeks later he was arraigned. His
lawyers promptly moved for a change of venue but their motion was denied and Rideau was convicted and sentenced to
death. Rideau's counsel had requested that jurors be excused for cause, having exhausted all of their peremptory
challenges, but these challenges for cause had been denied by the trial judge. In reversing his conviction, the Court said:

[W]e hold that it was a denial of due process of law to refuse the request for a change of venue, after the
people of Calcasieu Parish had been exposed repeatedly and in depth to the spectacle of Rideau personally
confessing in detail to the crimes with which he was later to be charged. For anyone who has ever watched
television the conclusion cannot be avoided that this spectacle, to the tens of thousands of people who saw
and heard it, in a very real sense was Rideau's trial — at which he pleaded guilty to murder. Any subsequent
court proceedings in a community so pervasively exposed to such a spectacle could be but a hollow
formality. 13

In the third case, Estes, the Court voided a televised criminal trial for being inherently a denial of due process.

The state ... says that the use of television in the instant case was "without injustice to the person
immediately concerned," basing its position on the fact that the petitioner has established no isolate
prejudice and that this must be shown in order to invalidate a conviction in these circumstances. The State
paints too broadly in this contention, for this Court itself has found instances in which a showing of actual
prejudice is not a prerequisite to reversal. This is such a case. It is true that in most cases involving claims of
due process deprivations we require a showing of identifiable prejudice to the accused. Nevertheless, at
times a procedure employed by the State involves such a probability that prejudice will result that it is
inherently lacking in due process. 14

In Sheppard, the celebrated murder case of Sam Sheppard, who was accused of the murder of his wife Marilyn, the
Supreme Court observed a "carnival atmosphere" in which "bedlam reigned at the courthouse ... and newsmen took over
practically the entire courtroom, hounding most of the participants in the trial, especially Sheppard." It observed that
"despite the extent and nature of the publicity to which the jury was exposed during the trial, the judge refused defense
counsel's other requests that the jury be asked whether they had read or heard specific prejudicial comment about the
case. ... In these circumstances, we assume that some of this material reached members of the jury." The Court held:

From the cases coming here we note that unfair and prejudicial news comment on pending trials has
become increasingly prevalent. Due process requires that the accused receive a trial by an impartial jury
free from outside influences. Given the pervasiveness of modern communications and the difficulty of
effacing prejudicial publicity from the minds of the jurors, the trial courts must take strong measures to
ensure that the balance is never weighed against the accused. And appellate tribunals have the duty to
make an independent evaluation of the circumstances. Of course, there is nothing that proscribes the press
from reporting events that transpire in the courtroom. But where there is a reasonable likelihood that
prejudicial news prior to trial will prevent a fair trial, the judge should continue the case until the threat
abates, or transfer it to another county not so permeated with publicity. In addition sequestration of the jury
was something the judge should have sua sponte with counsel. If publicity during the proceeding threatens
the fairness of the trial, a new trial should be ordered. But we must remember that reversals are but
palliatives; the cure lies in those remedial measures that will prevent the prejudice at its inception. The
courts must take such steps by rule and regulation that will protect their processes from prejudicial outside
interference. Neither prosecutors, counsel for defense, the accused, witnesses, court staff nor enforcement
officers coming under the jurisdiction of the court should be permitted to frustrate its function. Collaboration
between counsel and the press as to information affecting the fairness of a criminal trial is not only subject to
regulation, but is highly censurable and worthy of disciplinary measure. 15

In contrast the spate of publicity in this case before us did not focus on the guilt of the petitioners but rather on the
responsibility of the Government for what was claimed to be a "massacre" of Muslim trainees. If there was a "trial by
newspaper" at all, it was not of the petitioners but of the Government. Absent here is a showing of failure of the court-
martial to protect the accused from massive publicity encouraged by those connected with the conduct of the trial 16
either by a failure to control the release of information or to remove the trial to another venue or to postpone it until the
deluge of prejudicial publicity shall have subsided. Indeed we cannot say that the trial of the petitioners was being held
under circumstances which did not permit the observance of those imperative decencies of procedure which have come
to be identified with due process.

At all events, even granting the existence of "massive" and "prejudicial" publicity, since the petitioners here do not contend
that the respondents have been unduly influenced but simply that they might be by the "barrage" of publicity, we think that
the suspension of the court-martial proceedings has accomplished the purpose sought by the petitioners' challenge for
cause, by postponing the trial of the petitioner until calmer times have returned. The atmosphere has since been cleared
and the publicity surrounding the Corregidor incident has so far abated that we believe the trial may now be resumed in
tranquility.

II
Article of War 18 provides that "Each side shall be entitled to one peremptory challenge, but the law member of the court
shall not be challenged except for cause." The general court-martial originally interpreted this provision to mean that the
entire defense was entitled to only one peremptory challenge. Subsequently, on August 27, 1969, it changed its ruling and
held that the defense was entitled to eight peremptory challenges, but the petitioners declined to exercise their right to
challenge on the ground that this Court had earlier restrained further proceedings in the court-martial.

It is the submission of the petitioners that "for every charge, each side may exercise one peremptory challenge," and
therefore because there are eleven charges they are entitled to eleven separate peremptory challenges. The
respondents, upon the other hand, argue that "for each specification jointly tried, all of the accused are entitled to only one
peremptory challenge and that with respect to specifications tried commonly each of the accused is entitled to one
peremptory challenge." Although there are actually a total of eleven specifications against the petitioners, three of these
should be considered as merged with two other specifications, "since in fact they allege the same offenses committed in
conspiracy, thus leaving a balance of eight specifications." The general court-martial thereof takes the position that all the
23 petitioners are entitled to a total of only eight peremptory challenges.

We thus inescapably confront, and therefore now address, the issue here posed.

We are of the view that both the petitioners and the general court-martial misapprehend the true meaning, intent and
scope of Article of War 18. As will hereinafter be demonstrated, each of the petitioners is entitled as a matter of right to
one peremptory challenge. The number of specifications and/or charges, and whether the accused are being jointly tried
or undergoing a common trial, are of no moment.

In the early formative years of the infant Philippine Army, after the passage in 1935 of Commonwealth Act No. 1
(otherwise known as the National Defense Act), except for a handful of Philippine Scout officers and graduates of the
United States military and naval academies who were on duty with the Philippine Army, there was a complete dearth of
officers learned in military law, this aside from the fact that the officer corps of the developing army was numerically
inadequate for the demands of the strictly military aspects of the national defense program. Because of these
considerations it was then felt that peremptory challenges should not in the meanwhile be permitted and that only
challenges for cause, in any number, would be allowed. Thus Article 18 of the Articles of War (Commonwealth Act No.
408), as worded on September 14, 1938, the date of the approval of the Act, made no mention or reference to any
peremptory challenge by either the trial judge advocate of a court-martial or by the accused. After December 17, 1958,
when the Manual for Courts-Martial 17 of the Philippine Army became effective, the Judge Advocate General's Service of
the Philippine Army conducted a continuing and intensive program of training and education in military law, encompassing
the length and breadth of the Philippines. This program was pursued until the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific on
December 7, 1941. After the formal surrender of Japan to the allies in 1945, the officer corps of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines had expanded to a very large number, and a great many of the officers had been indoctrinated in military law.
It was in these environmental circumstances that Article of War 18 was amended on June 12, 1948 to entitle "each side"
to one peremptory challenge, with the sole proviso that "the law member of court shall not be challenged except for
cause."

By its very inherent nature a peremptory challenge does not require any reason or ground therefor to exist or to be stated.
It may be used before, during, or after challenges for cause, or against a member of the court-martial unsuccessfully
challenged for cause, or against a new member if not previously utilized in the trial. A member challenged peremptorily is
forthwith excused from duty with the court-martial.

The right of challenge comes from the common law with the trial by jury itself, and has always been held essential to the
fairness of trial by jury. 18

As was said by Blackstone, and repeated by Mr. Justice Story: 'In criminal cases, or at least in capital ones,
there is in favorem vitae, allowed to the prisoner an arbitrary and capricious species of challenge to a certain
number of jurors, without showing any cause at all, which is called a peremptory challenge; a provision full of
that tenderness and humanity to prisoners, for which our English laws are justly famous. This is grounded on
two reasons: 1) As every one must be sensible, what sudden impression and unaccountable prejudices we
are apt to conceive upon the bare looks and gestures of another; and how necessary it is that a prisoner
(when put to defend his life) should have a good opinion of his jury, the want of which might totally
disconcert him; the law has conceived a prejudice even without being able to assign a reason for his dislike.
2) Because, upon challenges for cause shown, if the reason assigned prove insufficient to set aside the
juror, perhaps the bare questioning his indifference may sometimes provoke a resentment, to prevent all ill
consequences from which, the prisoner is still at liberty, if he pleases, peremptorily to set him aside.' 19

The right to challenge is in quintessence the right to reject, not to select. If from the officers who remain an impartial
military court is obtained, the constitutional right of the accused to a fair trial is maintained. ... 20

As we have hereinbefore stated, each of the 23 petitioners (accused before the general court-martial) is entitled to one
peremptory challenge, 21 irrespective of the number of specifications and/or charges and regardless of whether they are
tried jointly or in common. Three overriding reasons compel us to this conclusion.

First, a peremptory challenge is afforded to an accused who, whether rightly or wrongly, honestly feels that the member of
the court peremptorily challenged by him cannot sit in judgment over him, impartially. Every accused person is entitled to
a fair trial. It is not enough that objectively the members of the court may be fair and impartial. It is likewise necessary that
subjectively the accused must feel that he is being tried by a fair and impartial body of officers. Because the petitioners
may entertain grave doubts as to the fairness or impartiality of distinct, separate and different individual members of the
court-martial, it follows necessarily that each of the accused is entitled to one peremptory challenge.

Second, Article of War 18 does not distinguish between common trials and joint trials, nor does it make the nature or
number of specifications and/or charges a determinant. Reference is made by the respondents here to US military law, in
support of their argument that for each specification jointly tried all of the accused are entitled to only one peremptory
challenge and with respect to all specifications tried in common each of the accused is entitled to one peremptory
challenge. We have carefully scrutinized U.S. military law, and it is unmistakable from our reading thereof that each
accused person, whether in a joint or common trial, unquestionably enjoys the right to one peremptory challenge. 22

Third, a perceptive analysis of the companion articles 23 to Article 18 convinces us that the word, "each side," as used in
the said article in reference to the defense, should be construed to mean each accused person. Thus, Articles of War 17
(Trial Judge Advocate to Prosecute; Counsel to Defend), 19 (Oath), 21 (Refusal or Failure to Plead), 28 (Court to
Announce Action), 29 (Closed Sessions), 30 (Method of Voting), and 36 (Irregularities — Effect of), unequivocally speak
of and refer to the "accused" in the singular.

ACCORDINGLY, subject to our pronouncement that each of the 23 petitioners is entitled to one separate peremptory
challenge, the present petition is denied. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on August 29, 1969 is
hereby lifted. No pronouncement as to costs. .

G.R. No. L-12871 July 25, 1959

TIMOTEO V. CRUZ, petitioner,


vs.
FRANCISCO G. H. SALVA, respondent.

Baizas and Balderrama for petitioner.


City Attorney Francisco G. H. Salva in his own behalf.

MONTEMAYOR, J.:

This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction filed by Timoteo V. Cruz against Francisco G. H. Salva, in
his capacity as City Fiscal of Pasay City, to restrain him from continuing with the preliminary investigation he was conducting in
September, 1957 in connection with the killing of Manuel Monroy which took place on June 15, 1953 in Pasay City. To better
understand the present case and its implications, the following facts gathered from the pleadings and the memoranda filed by the
parties, may be stated.

Following the killing of Manuel Monroy in 1953 a number of persons were accused as involved and implicated in said crime. After a
long trial, the Court of First Instance of Pasay City found Oscar Castelo, Jose de Jesus, Hipolito Bonifacio, Bienvenido Mendoza,
Francis Berdugo and others guilty of the crime of murder and sentenced them to death. They all appealed the sentence although
without said appeal, in view of the imposition of the extreme penalty, the case would have to be reviewed automatically by this Court.
Oscar Castelo sought a new trial which was granted and upon retrial, he was again found guilty and his former conviction of sentence
was affirmed and reiterated by the same trial court.

It seems that pending appeal, the late President Magsaysay ordered a reinvestigation of the case. The purpose of said reinvestigation
does not appear in the record. Anyway, intelligence agents of the Philippine Constabulary and investigators of Malacañang conducted
the investigation for the Chief Executive, questioned a number of people and obtained what would appear to be confession, pointing to
persons, other than those convicted and sentenced by the trial court, as the real killers of Manuel Monroy.

Counsel for Oscar Castelo and his co-defendants wrote to respondent Fiscal Salva to conduct a reinvestigation of the case presumably
on the basis of the affidavits and confessions obtained by those who had investigated the case at the instance of Malacañang. Fiscal
Salva conferred with the Solicitor General as to what steps he should take. A conference was held with the Secretary of Justice who
decided to have the results of the investigation by the Philippine Constabulary and Malacañang investigators made available to
counsel for the appellants.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, counsel for the appellants filed a motion for new trial with this Tribunal supporting the same
with the so-called affidavits and confessions of some of those persons investigated, such as the confessions of Sergio Eduardo y de
Guzman, Oscar Caymo, Pablo Canlas, and written statements of several others. By resolution of this Tribunal, action on said motion
for new trial was deferred until the case was studied and determined on the merits. In the meantime, the Chief, Philippine
Constabulary, head sent to the Office of Fiscal Salva copies of the same affidavits and confessions and written statements, of which
the motion for new trial was based, and respondent Salva proceeded to conduct a reinvestigation designating for said purposes a
committee of three composed of himself as chairman and Assistant City Attorneys Herminio A. Avendañio and Ernesto A. Bernabe.

In connection with said preliminary investigation being conducted by the committee, petitioner Timoteo Cruz was subpoenaed by
respondent to appear at his office on September 21, 1957, to testify "upon oath before me in a certain criminal investigation to be
conducted at the time and place by this office against you and Sergio Eduardo, et al., for murder." On September 19, 1957, petitioner
Timoteo Cruz wrote to respondent Salva asking for the transfer of the preliminary investigation from September 21, due to the fact
that this counsel, Atty. Crispin Baizas, would attend a hearing on that same day in Naga City. Acting upon said request for
postponement, Fiscal Salva set the preliminary investigation on September 24. On that day, Atty. Baizas appeared for petitioner Cruz,
questioned the jurisdiction of the committee, particularly respondent Salva, to conduct the preliminary investigation in view of the fact
that the same case involving the killing of Manuel Monroy was pending appeal in this Court, and on the same day filed the present
petition for certiorari and prohibition. This Tribunal gave due course to the petition for certiorari and prohibition and upon the filing of
a cash bond of P200.00 issued a writ of preliminary injunction thereby stopping the preliminary investigation being conducted by
respondent Salva.

The connection, if any, that petitioner Cruz had with the preliminary investigation being conducted by respondent Salva and his
committee was that affidavits and confessions sent to Salva by the Chief, Philippine Constabulary, and which were being investigated,
implicated petitioner Cruz, even picturing him as the instigator and mastermind in the killing of Manuel Monroy.

The position taken by petitioner Cruz in this case is that inasmuch as the principal case of People vs. Oscar Castelo, et al., G.R. No. L-
10794, is pending appeal and consideration before us, no court, much less a prosecuting attorney like respondent Salva, had any right
or authority to conduct a preliminary investigation or reinvestigation of the case for that would be obstructing the administration of
justice and interferring with the consideration on appeal of the main case wherein appellants had been found guilty and convicted and
sentenced; neither had respondent authority to cite him to appear and testify at said investigation.
Respondent Salva, however, contends that if he subpoenaed petitioner Cruz at all, it was because of the latter's oral and personal
request to allow him to appear at the investigation with his witnesses for his own protection, possibly, to controvert and rebut any
evidence therein presented against him. Salva claims that were it not for this request and if, on the contrary, Timoteo Cruz had
expressed any objection to being cited to appear in the investigation he (Salva) would never have subpoenaed him.

Although petitioner Cruz now stoutly denies having made such request that he be allowed to appear at the investigation, we are
inclined to agree with Fiscal Salva that such a request had been made. Inasmuch as he, Timoteo Cruz, was deeply implicated in the
killing of Manuel Monroy by the affidavits and confessions of several persons who were being investigated by Salva and his
committee, it was but natural that petitioner should have been interested, even desirous of being present at that investigation so that he
could face and cross examine said witnesses and affiants when they testified in connection with their affidavits or confessions, either
repudiating, modifying or ratifying the same. Moreover, in the communication, addressed to respondent Salva asking that the
investigation, scheduled for September 21, 1957, be postponed because his attorney would be unable to attend, Timoteo Cruz
expressed no opposition to the subpoena, not even a hint that he was objecting to his being cited to appear at the investigation.

As to the right of respondent Salva to conduct the preliminary investigation which he and his committee began ordinarily, when a
criminal case in which a fiscal intervened though nominally, for according to respondent, two government attorneys had been
designed by the Secretary of Justice to handle the prosecution in the trial of the case in the court below, is tried and decided and it is
appealed to a higher court such as this Tribunal, the functions and actuations of said fiscal have terminated; usually, the appeal is
handled for the government by the Office of the Solicitor General. Consequently, there would be no reason or occasion for said fiscal
to conduct a reinvestigation to determine criminal responsibility for the crime involved in the appeal.

However, in the present case, respondent has, in our opinion, established a justification for his reinvestigation because according to
him, in the original criminal case against Castelo, et al., one of the defendants named Salvador Realista y de Guzman was not included
for the reason that he was arrested and was placed within the jurisdiction of the trial court only after the trial against the other accused
had commenced, even after the prosecution had rested its case and the defense had begun to present its evidence. Naturally, Realista
remained to stand trial. The trial court, according to respondent, at the instance of Realista, had scheduled the hearing at an early date,
that is in August, 1957. Respondent claims that before he would go to trial in the prosecution of Realista he had to chart his course and
plan of action, whether to present the same evidence, oral and documentary, presented in the original case and trial, or, in view of the
new evidence consisting of the affidavits and confessions sent to him by the Philippine Constabulary, he should first assess and
determine the value of said evidence by conducting an investigation and that should he be convinced that the persons criminally
responsible for the killing of Manuel Monroy were other than those already tried and convicted, like Oscar Castelo and his co-accused
and co-appellants, including Salvador Realista, then he might act accordingly and even recommend the dismissal of the case against
Realista.

In this, we are inclined to agree with respondent Salva. For, as contended by him and as suggested by authorities, the duty and role of
prosecuting attorney is not only to prosecute and secure the conviction of the guilty but also to protect the innocent.

We cannot overemphasize the necessity of close scrutiny and investigation of the prosecuting officers of all cases handled by
them, but whilst this court is averse to any form of vacillation by such officers in the prosecution of public offenses, it is
unquestionable that they may, in appropriate cases, in order to do justice and avoid injustice, reinvestigate cases in which they
have already filed the corresponding informations. In the language of Justice Sutherland of the Supreme Court of the United
States, the prosecuting officer "is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose
obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal
prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the
servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape nor innocent suffer. He may prosecute with
earnestness and vigor — indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike had blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It
is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every
legitimate means to bring about a just one. (69 United States law Review, June, 1935, No. 6, p. 309, cited in the case of Suarez
vs. Platon, 69 Phil., 556)

With respect to the right of respondent Salva to cite petitioner to appear and testify before him at the scheduled preliminary
investigation, under the law, petitioner had a right to be present at that investigation since as was already stated, he was more or less
deeply involved and implicated in the killing of Monroy according to the affiants whose confessions, affidavits and testimonies
respondent Salva was considering or was to consider at said preliminary investigation. But he need not be present at said investigation
because his presence there implies, and was more of a right rather than a duty or legal obligation. Consequently, even if, as claimed by
respondent Salva, petitioner expressed the desire to be given an opportunity to be present at the said investigation, if he latter changed
his mind and renounced his right, and even strenuously objected to being made to appear at said investigation, he could not be
compelled to do so.

Now we come to the manner in which said investigation was conducted by the respondent. If, as contended by him, the purpose of
said investigation was only to acquaint himself with and evaluate the evidence involved in the affidavits and confessions of Sergio
Eduardo, Cosme Camo and others by questioning them, then he, respondent, could well have conducted the investigation in his office,
quietly, unobtrusively and without much fanfare, much less publicity.

However, according to the petitioner and not denied by the respondent, the investigation was conducted not in respondent's office but
in the session hall of the Municipal Court of Pasay City evidently, to accommodate the big crowd that wanted to witness the
proceeding, including members of the press. A number of microphones were installed. Reporters were everywhere and photographers
were busy taking pictures. In other words, apparently with the permission of, if not the encouragement by the respondent, news
photographers and newsmen had a filed day. Not only this, but in the course of the investigation, as shown by the transcript of the
stenographic notes taken during said investigation, on two occasions, the first, after Oscar Caymo had concluded his testimony
respondent Salva, addressing the newspapermen said, "Gentlemen of the press, if you want to ask questions I am willing to let you do
so and the question asked will be reproduced as my own"; and the second, after Jose Maratella y de Guzman had finished testifying
and respondent Salva, addressing the newsmen, again said, "Gentlemen of the press is free to ask questions as ours." Why respondent
was willing to abdicate and renounce his right and prerogative to make and address the questions to the witnesses under investigation,
in favor of the members of the press, is difficult for us to understand, unless he, respondent, wanted to curry favor with the press and
publicize his investigation as much as possible. Fortunately, the gentlemen of the press to whom he accorded such unusual privilege
and favor appeared to have wisely and prudently declined the offer and did not ask questions, this according to the transcript now
before us.
But, the newspapers certainly played up and gave wide publicity to what took place during the investigation, and this involved
headlines and extensive recitals, narrations of and comments on the testimonies given by the witnesses as well as vivid descriptions of
the incidents that took place during the investigation. It seemed as though the criminal responsibility for the killing of Manuel Monroy
which had already been tried and finally determined by the lower court and which was under appeal and advisement by this Tribunal,
was being retried and redetermined in the press, and all with the apparent place and complaisance of respondent.

Frankly, the members of this Court were greatly disturbed and annoyed by such publicity and sensationalism, all of which may
properly be laid at the door of respondent Salva. In this, he committed what was regard a grievous error and poor judgment for which
we fail to find any excuse or satisfactory explanation. His actuations in this regard went well beyond the bounds of prudence,
discretion and good taste. It is bad enough to have such undue publicity when a criminal case is being investigated by the authorities,
even when it being tried in court; but when said publicity and sensationalism is allowed, even encouraged, when the case is on appeal
and is pending consideration by this Tribunal, the whole thing becomes inexcusable, even abhorrent, and this Court, in the interest of
justice, is constrained and called upon to put an end to it and a deterrent against its repetition by meting an appropriate disciplinary
measure, even a penalty to the one liable.

Some of the members of the Court who appeared to feel more strongly than the others favored the imposition of a more or less severe
penal sanction. After mature deliberation, we have finally agreed that a public censure would, for the present, be sufficient.

In conclusion, we find and hold that respondent Salva was warranted in holding the preliminary investigation involved in this case,
insofar as Salvador Realista is concerned, for which reason the writ of preliminary injunction issued stopping said preliminary
investigation, is dissolved; that in view of petitioner's objection to appear and testify at the said investigation, respondent may not
compel him to attend said investigation, for which reason, the subpoena issued by respondent against petitioner is hereby set aside.

In view of the foregoing, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is granted in part and denied in part. Considering the conclusion
arrived at by us, respondent Francisco G. H. Salva is hereby publicly reprehended and censured for the uncalled for and wide publicity
and sensationalism that he had given to and allowed in connection with his investigation, which we consider and find to be contempt
of court; and, furthermore, he is warned that a repetition of the same would meet with a more severe disciplinary action and penalty.
No costs.