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SANTOS, complainant,
ATTY. CIPRIANO A. TAN, respondent.



Complainant Atty. Jose S. Santos instituted on November 20, 1984 these disbarment proceedings against
respondent Atty. Cipriano A. Tan for alleged gross misconduct.

Specifically, the complainant who was then Acting Director of the Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance
under the Ministry (now Department) of Agrarian Reform, charged the respondent with having committed
acts of immorality, falsification, and bigamy.

In the said complaint, Atty. Santos stated that the respondent, while employed as Trial Attorney IV, with
the Judicial Cases Division under the aforesaid Department, maintained amorous relationship with a
married clerk, a certain Norma O. Pihid (nee Olea), who was then directly under him. Eventually, the
respondent got married to Norma O. Pihid on April 27, 1981 before the Municipal Mayor of Meycauayan,
Bulacan, purportedly in an attempt to cover up their illicit relations.1

The complainant, moreover, alleged that the respondent falsified his marriage contract with Norma O.
Pihid by deliberately misrepresenting himself as single, thus, deceiving the said mayor into solemnizing
the said marriage.2 In the information sheet, however, prepared and filed by the respondent prior to his
employment, he clearly stated therein that he was married to one Emilia Benito Tan and had begotten
eight (8) children with the latter.3

Consequently, the complainant likewise charged the respondent with bigamy since it appears from the
records of the Local Civil Registrar that he had previously contracted marriage with the said Emilia A.
Benito on January 6, 1941. The complainant asserted that the said marriage continued to be valid and
binding between the said contracting parties when the respondent entered into a subsequent manage
with Norma O. Pihid on April 27, 1981.4

Finally, the complainant averred that the respondent's second wife, Norma O. Pihid, gave birth to a child
by the respondent on November 21, 1981 at the Children's Medical Center in Quezon City, as evidenced
by the birth certificate of the said child indicating his name to be Noel Olea Tan.5

On January 9, 1985, the Court acting on the said complaint for disbarment required the respondent to
submit his Answer.

The respondent in an Answer dated February 28, 1985, denied having married Norma O. Pihid on April
27, 1981 and having fathered a child by the name of Noel Olea Tan, although he admitted being married
to Emilia A. Benito.6

As regards the charges of bigamy and falsification of official documents, the respondent argued that the
same were issues that were properly the subject of a criminal case filed by the complainant against him
which was pending before the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch VI, and therefore raised a
prejudicial question in the present controversy.7
Anent the charge of maintaining amorous relationship with Norma O. Pihid, the respondent contended
that the same charge had been previously resolved in an Order dated October 1, 1982 issued by the
Minister (now Secretary) of the Ministry (now Department) of Agrarian Reform. In the said order, the
allegation of immorality which was originally the content of an anonymous letter-complaint was dismissed
for being devoid of merit.

The respondent, in turn, suggested that the real and actual motive behind the said complaint was
traceable to the strong resentment harbored by the complainant against the former whose services as
Chief Trial Attorney of the said Ministry (now Department) was extended even beyond his retirement age
at the request of the then Minister (now Secretary) Conrado F. Estrella. The respondent contended that
he and the complainant did not see eye to eye with respect to the handling and prosecution of agrarian

By way of a counter-complaint, the respondent charged the complainant with acts unbecoming of a
lawyer and a member of the Philippine Bar such as obtaining and utilizing confidential documents without
the necessary authorization, introducing a falsified document as evidence in a court proceeding, and
executing an affidavit-complaint containing false statements. The respondent further assailed the
complainant for filing the said complaint based on inadmissible and unfounded charges.9

On March 25, 1985, the Court resolved to refer the said complaint to the Solicitor General for
investigation, report and recommendation.

The Report and Recommendation submitted by the Solicitor General on February 23, 1990, in part, states:

xxx xxx xxx

A thorough review of the record of the case duly heard before the Office of the Solicitor General in several
protracted hearings, reveals the existence of a ground for disbarment against respondent.

Aside from claiming that the documents presented by complainant were allegedly unauthenticated,
hearsay, self-serving, and his defense of alibi at the time of the marriage on April 27, 1981, respondent
has miserably failed in refuting the same and at the same time presenting strong evidence to convince
the Solicitor General of the falsity of the charges against him.

On April 27, 1981 respondent claims that he was attending a government case at the then CFI of Caloocan
City (Exh. 9-A, rec.) while his alleged second wife was at the Court of Appeals on official business (Exhs. 6
& 11 A, rec.).

There are serious doubts in entertaining the aforesaid defense.

A glance at the daily time records (Exhs. 9-A and 11-A, rec.) reveals that both entries of respondent and
Norma Olea were indicated on the line covering April 26, 1981; secondly, penmanship of the alleged
entries for April 27, 1981 are the same; thirdly, the indicated time in's of respondent and Norma Olea
were the same, i.e., 8:01 a.m.; fourthly, probability that they were together is high because they were
both out of the office.
Assuming, arguendo, respondent's alibi that they were married in Meycauayan, Bulacan, it was highly
probable and possible for both to proceed to Meycauayan, Bulacan on April 27, 1981 since the places
where they were allegedly then is [sic] not impossibly far from Meycauayan Bulacan.

Respondent even failed to specify the alleged government case he was attending at the CFI of Caloocan
either by mentioning the title of the case or by presenting other evidence aside from his self-serving

With respect to the Birth Certificate (Exh. A) of respondent's alleged son, the former has not made a
categorical denial that Noel Olea Tan is NOT his son. He only argues that the birth certificate is not
authentic. Evidence for complainant, however, shows that Exhibit A-5 was presented to show the
authenticity of the Birth Certificate contrary to respondent's claim (pls. see Certification dated July 24,
1985 found at the back of the Birth Certificate). Likewise, respondent has not made any categorical denial
of his amorous relationship with Norma Olea despite the existence of his first marriage with Emilia Benito

For immorality to be a ground for disbarment, it must be so gross, e.g., it is so corrupt and false as to
constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high degree (Reyes
v. Wong, 63 SCRA 667 [1975]).

The circumstances of the case definitely has put respondent's moral character in doubt despite non-
conviction of the criminal case for bigamy against respondent. The reputation of a lawyer must be such
that he be of good moral character during the continuance of his practice and the exercise of the privilege.

The findings are clear and convincing that respondent entered into a second marriage despite the
existence of his first marriage and that he begot a child with the second woman. Definitely, such factual
findings have put serious doubt on respondent's moral character. Respondent's main defense of alibi is
rather too weak a reason that he did not engage in an immoral act. As earlier said, respondent has neither
categorically denied that Norma Olea is his wife nor Noel Olea Tan is his son with Norma.

It appears, however, that respondent has retired from government service on March 27, 1983. He was
sixty-five (65) years old on September 16, 1982 (Exh. 13, rec.), and therefore, e. the time of the rendition
of this report, respondent is now seventy two (72) years old.

Considering that respondent has retired and is in the twilight of his life, disbarment would be too harsh a
penalty to impose on respondent. Suspension from the practice of law would be proper for humanitarian
reasons if respondent is still actively engaged in practice.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, it is respectfully recommended that respondent be

adjudged guilty of immoral conduct, unbecoming of a lawyer, and accordingly impose the penalty of one
(1) year suspension from the active practice of law.10

We agree with the said findings of the Solicitor General including his favorable and compassionate
consideration of the advanced age of the respondent. Specifically, Rule 1.01 of Canon I of the Code of
Professional Responsibility provides that "a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct."
Whatever the alleged motives of the complainant are, the respondent has failed to controvert and refute
the charges made by the former. Even granting arguendo that the complainant was not well-motivated in
instituting these disbarment proceedings, the same does not exculpate him from any liability resulting
from his grossly immoral conduct.

As regards the respondent's counter-complaint, the Solicitor General in compliance with the Court's
Resolution dated October 1, 1990, submitted his Supplemental Report and Recommendation on
November 22, 1990, and found that the charges against the complainant for acts unbecoming a member
of the Philippine Bar were all unsubstantiated. We agree with his findings and recommendation on this
regard which state:

No misconduct has been committed by Atty. Santos contrary to Atty. Tan's accusations which will warrant
disciplinary action.1âwphi1 If at all, Atty. Tan's charges were merely in defense of the charges against him
(immorality) which the Solicitor General has found to be supported by the evidence. (cf.: Report and
Recommendation dated February 23, 1990, pp. 46-52, Records-Adm. Cases)

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, it is respectfully recommended that Atty. Tan's counter-
complaint against Atty. Santos be DISMISSED for being unsubstantiated.11

WHEREFORE, finding respondent Atty. Cipriano A. Tan guilty of immoral conduct in disregard of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, he is hereby SUSPENDED from the active practice of law for a period of one
(1) year. The counter-complaint against complainant Atty. Jose S. Santos is hereby DISMISSED for lack of

Let this Decision be spread upon the personal records of the respondent and copies thereof furnished to
all courts.

Adm. Case No. 481 February 28, 1969


VIRGINIA C. ALMIREZ assisted by her father, AGAPITO ALMIREZ complainants,
ARTURO P. LOPEZ, respondent.


Respondent Arturo P. Lopez is sought to be disbarred upon the ground of immorality. Complainant
Virginia C. Almirez, assisted by her father Agapito Almirez, charges him with having succeeded in having
carnal knowledge of her, under promise of marriage, which he failed and refused to fulfill, despite a child
begotten in consequence thereof.

In his answer, respondent denied having ever had or solicited any sexual relation with the complainant,
but affirmed that they had agreed to be married as soon as he became financially stable; that he could
not carry out his part of the agreement having discovered, on April 4, 1961, that complainant was
pregnant by another man; and that she filed the present charges out of spite for him, in view of his refusal
to marry her.

Upon investigation conducted by the Solicitor General, to whom the matter was referred, the latter
submitted his report finding respondent guilty as charged, and then filed the corresponding complaint for
his disbarment.

In his answer thereto, respondent reiterated, in effect, the allegations and defenses made and set up in
his previous answer. He, moreover, averred that, while the matter was being investigated in the Office of
the Solicitor General, complainant had filed an affidavit stating that he (respondent) is not the father of
her child and a motion withdrawing her complaint.

Respondent having, moreover, expressed the wish to introduce additional evidence, the Court dated its
Legal Officer-Investigator for the reception thereof, after which the latter submitted his report concurring
in the findings of the Solicitor General, although recommending merely the suspension of respondent
herein. After furnishing him with a copy of this report, the case was set for hearing, at which a
representative of the Solicitor General and counsel for respondent appeared and were given a period to
file their respective memoranda in lieu of oral argument.

The record shows that respondent was admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1957 and has been engaged in
the practice of law in Manila. After meeting the complainant then about 23 years of age — in Mauban,
Quezon — of which their families are residents — sometime in December, 1958, respondent courted her
by correspondence. Presently, they became sweethearts. Complainant having come to Manila in
November, 1960 and operated therein a store, in partnership with others, respondent used to visit her.
Although he had told the complainant, as early as May 1960, of his intent to marry her, it was understood
that the wedding would take place upon consummation of a given deal in which he expected to make a
big amount of money. From November, 1960 to April, 1961, they had carnal knowledge of each other,
several times, in various hotels in Manila, particularly the Palo Alto Hotel, the Springfield Hotel, and the
Shanghai Hotel. On December 31, 1960, complainant informed respondent that her menstruation was
overdue, whereupon he caused her to be examined by a lady physician, who found that she was in the
family way. Thereupon, he gave her some pills, to be taken three (3) times a day, for the alleged purpose
of hastening the flow of her menstruation. Then, he called her up, day and night, to inquire about her
menses and, when the same did not eventually come, he urged her to see another lady doctor, who could
perform an abortion. Complainant was averse thereto, but, respondent was so insistent that she went to
the clinic of said physician. The operation was not performed, however, for neither the latter nor
complainant were agreeable thereto. On August 22, 1961, complainant gave birth to a baby boy, Francisco
Arnold, at the Maternity and Children's Hospital in Manila.

Prior thereto, or late in February, 1961, their respective applications for a marriage license were filed and
their marriage license was issued on March 13, but, the wedding, scheduled for March 18, 1961, did not
take place, owing to the absence of the Mayor who was to solemnize it. On April 6, 1961, complainant
learned, from her sister-in-law, that respondent had confided to the latter his unwillingness to marry her
(complainant). When, soon thereafter, complainant asked him for his reason therefor, respondent blamed
her for refusing to undergo an abortion. Thereupon, or on April 18, 1961, she filed the complaint herein.

It further appears that on September 25, 1962, while this case was pending in the Office of the Solicitor
General a motion signed by the complainant, withdrawing her complaint, was filed with said office. The
reason given was that the complaint was "a result of serious misunderstanding" and had been filed "in
the heat of anger" and that it would be unjustified to proceed further on account of complainant's belief
in his innocence. This motion was, however, withdrawn by her, on November 25, 1963, for the reason
that respondent had secured her signature thereto upon the assurance that he would thereupon marry
her and that he did not only fail to do so, but, also, married another woman. In fact, respondent and one
Evelyn Orense were married in January, 1963.

Upon the other hand, respondent would have us believe that complainant had freely and voluntarily
signed her aforesaid motion to withdraw her complaint. In fact, he added, she made the affidavit, Exhibit
34, stating that he is not the father of her child. In rebuttal, complainant testified, however, that she
signed said motion and a blank sheet of paper, which is now the affidavit Exhibit 34, he having convinced
her that they would be married soon thereafter.lawphi1.nêt

He, likewise, tried to prove, through his testimony that it was complainant who asked him to take her
nightclubbing in Manila, which he did; that it was she who asked him, at the Bayside Nightclub, on
December 31, 1960, to marry her; that she reiterated this request in January, 1961, for fear that her father
may call her back to Mauban; that she having brought up the same subject in February, 1961, they signed
the necessary applications late in February, 1961, and got the corresponding marriage license sometime
later, although the wedding, scheduled for March 18, had to be postponed indefinitely because of the
absence of the officer, who was to solemnize it; that after a drinking spree in Manila, in the evening of
April 4, 1961, he felt it would be unwise for him to drive his car home to Quezon City, in view of which he
decided to spend the night at the Shanghai Hotel; that while there, he remembered having an
appointment with complainant, whom he, accordingly, called by telephone to apologize to her and
informed her of his condition and whereabouts; that soon later, complainant arrived unexpectedly at the
hotel and asked permission to sleep with him there, stating that she had quarreled with her sister-in-law;
that after switching off the light and undressing herself, complainant started massaging his head, for he
had a slight headache; that as complainant kissed him, he noticed that she was pregnant and told her so;
that after saying that she merely had a stomach ache, complainant eventually confessed that another
man had abused her; that angered by this revelation, respondent dressed up and prepared to step out,
but, before he left the hotel, she asked his forgiveness and promised to behave thereafter; that she went
to his office, the next day, but he refused to talk to her; that as she insisted upon talking with him privately,
they went to an ice cream parlor where she begged him to marry her and save her honor, suggesting that
their marriage would be in name only and that they need not live together, if he did not want to; that
complainant even said that her father 1 would give P5,000 if he married her, but he rejected the offer and
volunteered to prosecute the man responsible for her condition, if she would identify him; and that, when
respondent still refused to marry her, complainant threatened to bring disbarment proceedings against

Upon a review of the record, we agree with the solicitor, who first investigated this case, and the Legal
Officer-Investigator, before whom additional evidence were introduced, that respondent's version is
unworthy of credence. Indeed, despite the averments in his answers to the effect that he had never
solicited or had carnal relations with the complainant, his very testimony shows that they had met in a
hotel room under conditions attesting to a condition of intimacy clearly revealing past extra-marital
relations between them. Then, too, respondent's promise to marry complainant has been, not only
admitted by him, but, also, bolstered up by their applications for a marriage license and the marriage
license actually secured by them.

The breach of such promise on his part is thus patent. What is more, when her pregnancy was confirmed
by a physician, respondent firstly persuaded the complainant to take some pills for the avowed purpose
of hastening the flow of her "menstruation", and, eventually, urged her to have an abortion, to which she
did not agree. Worse still, when this case was pending in the office of the Solicitor General, respondent
prevailed upon her to sign a motion withdrawing her complaint, under the false allegation that he is
innocent of the charges preferred against him, as well as to sign a blank sheet of paper — which now
appears to be her aforementioned affidavit Exhibit 34 under — promise to thereupon marry her, without
the slightest intention to keep it, because, instead he married another woman soon later.

WHEREFORE, respondent Arturo P. Lopez is hereby found guilty of gross immoral conduct rendering him
unfit to continue a member of the Bar, 2 for which reason he is hereby barred from the practice of law,
and his name ordered stricken from the roll of attorneys. It is so ordered.

Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Fernando, Capistrano, Teehankee and Barredo,
JJ., concur.
SANTA PANGAN, Complainant, vs. ATTY. DIONISIO RAMOS, Respondent.


DE CASTRO, J.:chanrobles virtual law library

On November 29, 1971, Santa Pangan filed before this Court a verified complaint charging respondent
Atty. Dionisio Ramos with gross immorality, the latter having misrepresented himself as still "single" when
he started courting complainant, proposed marriage to her and finally succeeded in marrying her even
with full consciousness that his first marriage to his first wife was still valid and subsisting. 1 (A Criminal
Case for bigamy was also filed by the complainant against the respondent in the Court of First Instance of
Manila, Branch XXI, docketed as Criminal Case No. 15528).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
law library

In his answer to the complaint, respondent denied the material allegations thereof for being without legal
or factual basis. He prayed for the dismissal of the complaint for failure to state cause of action against
respondent. 2 chanrobles virtual law library

The case was referred to the Office of the Solicitor General for report, investigation and recommendation.
On June 1, 1976, the Solicitor General submitted his report finding respondent Ramos guilty as charged,
with a recommendation for suspension from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years, pursuant
to Section 7, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. 3 Subsequently, the corresponding complaint for his
suspension from the practice of law was filed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

On September 13, 1976, respondent filed his answer to the complaint and moved for the appointment of
a commissioner to hear and take additional evidence in his behalf, which, however, was denied by the
Court per its Resolution of October 6, 1976. At the hearing of February 25, 1977, respondent, acting as
counsel for his own behalf, moved for the presentation of additional evidence, which was, however,
opposed by complainant's counsel on the ground that respondent is resorting to dilatory tactics. At the
hearing of September 2, 1977, complainant and respondent appeared and the Court set the hearing of
the case for the purpose of reception of additional evidence before its Legal Officer-
Investigator.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Meanwhile, on September 7, 1979, the Court, speaking through Justice Felix Antonio, severely
REPRIMANDED respondent Dionisio Ramos, with warning that a repetition of the same overt act may
warrant his suspension or disbarment from the practice of law. 4 The reprimand was administered
because respondent used the name "Pedro Dionisio Ramos" in connection with Criminal Case No. 35906.
He averred that he had a right to do so because in his Birth Certificate his name is "Pedro Dionisio Ramos,"
and his parents are Pedro Ramos and Carmen Dayaw, and that the D.D. in "Pedro DD Ramos" is but an
abbreviation of "Dionisio Dayaw" his other given name and maternal surname. The Court opined that
respondent in effect resorted to deception. He demonstrated "lack of candor in dealing with the courts."
chanrobles virtual law library

At the hearing of October 23, 1979, Solicitor Celia Reyes appeared submitting the decision of the Court of
First Instance of Manila, Branch XXI, in Criminal Case No. 15528, acquitting respondent of the charges of
bigamy on grounds of insufficiency of evidence, for having contracted the second marriage with the
complainant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
On January 15, 1980, the Legal Officer-Investigator submitted his report concurring in the findings of the
Solicitor General, although he recommended a penalty of a minimum five-year suspension from the
practice of law, with prospect for the imposition of a total disbarment from the practice of law, as the
Court finds fit and appropriate. 5chanrobles virtual law library

On February 27, 1981, counsel for complainant filed its motion to expedite disposition of the case, further
alleging that respondent Ramos is still using the name of Pedro Dionisio Ramos and PDD Ramos in two
pleadings filed before the Court of First Instance of Manila, disregarding the Resolution of this Court dated
September 7, 1979. 6 Commenting, respondent admitted the allegations of complainant's counsel but
alleged that he signed the pleadings inadvertently because of poor eyesight.

The facts, as found by the Solicitor General who investigated the case, and the Legal Officer-Investigator
before whom the additional evidence was presented, are as follows: Respondent was admitted to the
Philippine Bar in 1964. He was legally married to and living with Editha Encarnado the marriage with her
having been celebrated on September 4, 1963. Both complainant and respondent were officemates in the
Office of Councilor Lito Puyat, City Hall, Manila since 1967. With the convenience thus offered,
respondent, representing himself to be "single," began courting complainant, proposed civil marriage to
her to be later followed with a church celebration after which they will live together as husband and wife.
From January 1968 to February 1971, they had carnal knowledge of each other in various hotels in Manila,
particularly the Golden Gate Motel and Salem Motel. Sometime in June 1970, complainant informed
respondent that she was pregnant. Whereupon, both agreed to get a quick marriage. Accordingly,
complainant and respondent filed their respective applications for a marriage license (Exhs. "H", "H-1"
and "H-2") and based thereon, they obtained a marriage license issued on June 16, 1970 (Exh. "D") and
celebrated their marriage before Minister Isidro Dizon on June 18, 1970 (Exh. "B"). After the marriage,
complainant and respondent agreed to have a church marriage before they live together as husband and
wife, although they continued to have sexual trysts. Respondent was invited by complainant to meet the
latter's mother to whom respondent expressed his desire to marry complainant, to which proposal
complainant's mother agreed, provided respondent bring his parents with him to ask for complainant's
hand. Several weeks had passed and respondent failed to bring his parents to complainant's home.
Complainant and her mother became suspicious. They made inquiries about the personal status of
respondent and they ultimately discovered that respondent was already married to one Editha Encarnado
(Exhs. "C" and "E"). After discovering that respondent was a married man, complainant resigned from her
job as receptionist from the office of Councilor Lito Puyat. She stopped having intimate relationship with
respondent and because of the humiliation and embarassment she suffered before her friends and
officemates, she filed the present disbarment case.

Upon the other-hand, respondent tried to prove, through his affidavit subscribed before Asst. City Fiscal
Primitivo Peñaranda of Manila, that he never misrepresented himself to be "single" and that complainant
knew at the outset of his married status; that it was purely complainant's wish to carry on a love affair
with him as described in his affidavit; that he was threatened and forced to sign blank marriage contract
forms and applications for marriage license by the brothers of the complainant who are allegedly
notorious police characters; that his signature in the marriage contract (Exh. "B") was forged and falsified;
that the marriage contract was only celebrated as a cover-up of the pregnancy of the complainant; and
that the disbarment proceedings were initiated by complainant because he refused to elope with
complainant and abandon his wife Editha Encarnado and he stopped giving her money and avoided seeing
her again.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Upon a review of the record, We are convinced that respondent Dionisio Ramos is guilty of grossly
immoral conduct which warrants proper action from this Court. His own declarations in his affidavit
corroborate this imputation of immorality. Thus, in his affidavit subscribed before Asst. Fiscal Primitive
Peñaranda of Manila on Feb. 22, 1967, respondent frankly admitted having carnal relations with
complainant for several times. What is more, respondent claimed that he was threatened and forced by
complainant's brothers to celebrate the marriage dated June 18, 1980, but in the same breath, he
admitted having carnal affairs with complainant after the celebration of the marriage. Worse still,
respondent misrepresented his civil status as "single", courted complainant, proposed marriage to her -
knowing his legal impediments to marry complainant, respondent's motives were clearly and grossly
immoral - won her confidence and married her while his first marriage to his present wife still validly
subsists.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

In Villasanta vs. Peralta, 7 where respondent was disbarred because he made love with complainant,
procured the preparation of a false marriage contract and arranged a false wedding with complainant
while his first wife was still alive and their marriage still valid and existing, this Court held: "the act of
respondent of contracting the second marriage (even his act in making love to another woman while his
first wife is still alive and their marriage still valid and existing) is contrary to honesty, justice, decency and
morality. Respondent made a mockery of marriage which is a sacred institution demanding respect and
dignity." chanrobles virtual law library

It is of importance that members of the ancient and learned profession of law must conform with the
highest standards of morality. As stated in paragraph 29 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics: "The lawyer
should aid in guarding the Bar against the admission to the profession of candidates unfit or unqualified
because deficient in either moral character or education. He should strive at all times to uphold the honor
and to maintain the dignity of the profession and to improve not only the law but also the administration
of justice." 8chanrobles virtual law library

Respondent, however, submits that having been acquitted by the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch
XXI, of the charge of bigamy, the immorality charges filed against him in this disbarment case should be
dismissed. The acquittal of respondent Ramos upon the criminal charge is not a bar to these proceedings.
The standards of legal profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely enables one to escape the
penalties of the criminal law. Moreover, this Court in disbarment proceedings is acting in an entirely
different capacity from that which courts assume in trying criminal cases. 9 chanrobles virtual law library

This Court has already severely reprimanded respondent from using a name other than authorized name
in the "Roll of Attorneys" and was warned that a repetition of the same overt act may warrant his
suspension of disbarment from office in the future. Notwithstanding such reprimand and warning,
however, respondent repeated the same overt act of using an unauthorized name in two pleadings filed
before the Court of First Instance of Manila. His explanation that he had done so inadvertently because
of poor eyesight appears unsatisfactory. He should have employed more caution and prudence in filing
pleadings before courts considering the fact that he had already been warned and reprimanded by this
Court. Respondent's conduct, thus, suggests lack of candor and respect in his dealing with this Court. He
has violated his oath of office of assuming the duty of good faith and honorable dealings with the court,
of being respectful to it and of being obedient to its rules and lawful orders.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
chanrobles virtual law library

In the light of the foregoing, the Court finds that respondent committed a grossly immoral act, as found
both by the Solicitor General and this Court's Legal Officer-Investigator, and as recommended by the
Solicitor General, respondent is hereby suspended from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years,
for gross immorality, and an additional one (1) year for his willful disregard of a lawful order against his
using an unauthorized name, in serious disrespect of this Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library


Barredo (Chairman), Aquino, Concepcion, Jr. and Guerrero, * JJ., concur.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

chanrobles virtual law library
A.M. No. 1334 November 28, 1989


ATTY. JOSE B. AZNAR, respondent.

Federico A. Blay for complainant.

Luciano Babiera for respondent.



This is a complaint for disbarment filed against respondent on the ground of gross immorality.

Complainant, a second year medical student of the Southwestern University (Cebu), alleged in her verified
complaint that respondent Atty. Jose B. Aznar, then chairman of said university, had carnal knowledge of
her for several times under threat that she would fail in her Pathology subject if she would not submit to
respondent's lustful desires. Complainant further alleged that when she became pregnant, respondent,
through a certain Dr. Gil Ramas, had her undergo forced abortion.

In compliance with the Resolution of the Court dated July 9, 1974, respondent filed his Answer denying
any personal knowledge of complainant as well as all the allegations contained in the complaint and by
way of special defense, averred that complainant is a woman of loose morality.

On September 2, 1974, the Court Resolved to refer the case to the Solicitor General for investigation,
report and recommendation.

The findings of the Solicitor General is summarized as follows:


Complainant Rosario delos Reyes testified that:

1) she was a second year medical student of the Southwestern University, the Chairman of the Board
of which was respondent Jose B. Aznar (pp. 11, 15, tsn, June 6, 1975);

2) she however failed in her Pathology subject which prompted her to approach respondent in the
latter's house who assured her that she would pass the said subject (pp. 15,16, 26, 33, tsn, June 6, 1975);

3) despite this assurance, however, she failed (p. 33, tsn, June 6, 1975);

4) sometime in February, 1973, respondent told her that she should go with him to Manila,
otherwise, she would flunk in all her subjects (pp. 42, 50, tsn, June 6, 1975); ... ... ... ;
5) on February 12, 1973, both respondent and complainant boarded the same plane (Exh. "A") for
Manila; from the Manila Domestic Airport, they proceeded to Room 905, 9th Floor of the Ambassador
Hotel where they stayed for three days (Exhs. "K", "K-1" to "K-6"; p. 55, tsn, June 6, 1 975);

6) after arriving at the Ambassador Hotel, they dined at a Spanish restaurant at San Marcelino,
Malate, Manila for around three hours (pp 56-57, tsn, June 6, 1975);

7) they returned to the hotel at around twelve o'clock midnight, where respondent had carnal
knowledge of her twice and then thrice the next morning (p. 59, tsn, June 6, 1975; pp. 154, 155 & 157,
tsn, July 18, 1975);

8) complainant consented to the sexual desires of respondent because for her, she would sacrifice
her personal honor rather than fail in her subjects (p.6l, tsn, June 6, 1975); ... ... ...;

9) sometime in March, 1973, complainant told respondent that she was suspecting pregnancy
because she missed her menstruation (p. 76, tsn, July 17, 1975); ... ... ...;

10) later, she was informed by Dr. Monsanto (an instructor in the college of medicine) that
respondent wanted that an abortion be performed upon her (p.82, tsn, July l7, 1975); ... ... ... ;

11) thereafter, Ruben Cruz, a confidant of respondent, and Dr. Monsato fetched her at her boarding
house on the pretext that she would be examined by Dr. Gil Ramas (pp. 87-88, tsn, July 17, 1975);

12) upon reaching the clinic of Dr. Ramas she was given an injection and an inhalation mask was placed
on her mouth and nose (pp. 88-90, tsn, July 17, 1 975);

13) as a result, she lost consciousness and when she woke up, an abortion had already been
performed upon her and she was weak, bleeding and felt pain all over her body (pp. 90-91, tsn, July 17,
1975); ... ... ... (Rollo, pp. 38-40)

Monica Gutierrez Tan testified that she met complainant and a man whom complainant introduced as
Atty. Aznar in front of the Ambassador Hotel (pp. 183-184, tsn, Sept. 10, 1975; Rollo, p. 41).

Dr. Rebecca Gucor and Dr. Artemio Ingco, witnesses for the complainant, testified that abdominal
examinations and x-ray examination of the lumbro-sacral region of complainant showed no signs of
abnormality (Rollo, p. 42).

The evidence for the respondent as reported by the Solicitor General is summarized as follows:

Edilberto Caban testified that:

1. In December, 1972, respondent Atty. Aznar stayed at Ambassador Hotel with his wife and
children; respondent never came to Manila except in December, 1972; (pp. 8-9,. tsn, Nov. 24, 1977);

2. He usually slept with respondent everytime the latter comes to Manila (p. 13, tsn, Nov. 24, 1977;
Rollo, pp. 42-43).

Oscar Salangsang, another witness for the respondent stated that:

1. In February, 1973, he went to Ambassador Hotel to meet respondent; the latter had male
companions at the hotel but he did not see any woman companion of respondent Aznar;

2. He usually slept with respondent at the Ambassador Hotel and ate with him outside the hotel
together with Caban (pp. 8-9, 13-15, tsn, Jan. 13, 1978; Rollo, p. 43).

The Court notes that throughout the period of the investigation conducted by the Solicitor General,
respondent Aznar was never presented to refute the allegations made against him.

In his Answer, respondent Aznar alleges that he does not have any knowledge of the allegations in the
complaint. As special defense, respondent further alleged that the charge levelled against him is in
furtherance of complainant's vow to wreck vengeance against respondent by reason of the latter's
approval of the recommendation of the Board of Trustees barring complainant from enrollment for the
school year 1973-1974 because she failed in most of her subjects. It is likewise contended that the defense
did not bother to present respondent in the investigation conducted by the Solicitor General because
nothing has been shown in the hearing to prove that respondent had carnal knowledge of the

Contrary to respondent's averments, the Solicitor General made a categorical finding to the effect that
respondent had carnal knowledge of complainant, to wit:

From the foregoing, it is clear that complainant was compelled to go to Manila with respondent upon the
threat of respondent that if she failed to do so, she would flunk in all her subjects and she would never
become a medical intern (pp. 42, 50, tsn, June 6, 1975). As respondent was Chairman of the College of
Medicine, complainant had every reason to believe him.

It has been established also that complainant was brought by respondent to Ambassador Hotel in Manila
for three days where he repeatedly had carnal knowledge of her upon the threat that if she would not
give in to his lustful desires, she would fail in her Pathology subject (Exhs. "A", "K", "K-1" to "K-6" pp. 51,
52, 55-59, tsn, June 6, 1975);

xxx xxx xxx

On the other hand, respondent did not bother to appear during the hearing. It is true that he presented
Edilberto Caban and Oscar Salangsang who testified that respondent usually slept with them every time
the latter came to Manila, but their testimony (sic) is not much of help. None of them mentioned during
the hearing that they stayed and slept with respondent on February 12 to February 14, 1973 at
Ambassador Hotel. ... ... ... Besides, Edilberto Caban testified that respondent stayed at Ambassador Hotel
with his wife and children in December, 1972. The dates in question, however, are February 12 to 14,
1973, inclusive. His (Caban's) testimony, therefore, is immaterial to the present case" (Rollo, pp. 43-44).

In effect, the Solicitor General found that the charge of immorality against respondent Aznar has been
substantiated by sufficient evidence both testimonial and documentary; while finding insufficient and
uncorroborated the accusation of intentional abortion. The Solicitor General then recommends the
suspension of respondent from the practice of law for a period of not less than three (3) years.
On March 16, 1989, the Court Resolved to require the parties to Move in the premises to determine
whether any intervening event occurred which would render the case moot and academic (Rollo, p. 69).

On April 12, 1989, the Solicitor General filed a manifestation and motion praying that the case at bar be
considered submitted for decision on the bases of the report and recommendation previously submitted
together with the record of the case and the evidence adduced (Rollo, p. 75).

After a thorough review of the records, the Court agrees with the finding of the Solicitor General that
respondent Aznar, under the facts as stated in the Report of the investigation conducted in the case, is
guilty of "grossly immoral conduct" and may therefore be removed or suspended by the Supreme Court
for conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar (Sec. 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court).

Respondent failed to adduce evidence sufficient to engender doubt as to his culpability of the offense
imputed upon him. With the exception of the self-serving testimonies of two witnesses presented on
respondent's behalf, the records are bereft of evidence to exonerate respondent of the act complained
of, much less contradict, on material points, the testimonies of complainant herself.

While respondent denied having taken complainant to the Ambassador Hotel and there had sexual
intercourse with the latter, he did not present any evidence to show where he was at that date. While
this is not a criminal proceeding, respondent would have done more than keep his silence if he really felt
unjustly traduced.

It is the duty of a lawyer, whenever his moral character is put in issue, to satisfy this Court that he is a fit
and proper person to enjoy continued membership in the Bar. He cannot dispense with nor downgrade
the high and exacting moral standards of the law profession (Go v. Candoy, 21 SCRA 439 [1967]). As once
pronounced by the Court:

When his integrity is challenged by evidence, it is not enough that he denies the charges against him; he
must meet the issue and overcome the evidence for the relator (Legal and Judicial Ethics, by Malcolm, p.
93) and show proofs that he still maintains the highest degree of morality and integrity, which at all times
is expected of him. ... In the case of United States v. Tria, 17 Phil. 303, Justice Moreland, speaking for the
Court, said:

An accused person sometimes owes a duty to himself if not to the State. If he does not perform that duty,
he may not always expect the State to perform it for him. If he fails to meet the obligation which he owes
to himself, when to meet it is the easiest of easy things, he is hardy indeed if he demand and expect that
same full and wide consideration which the State voluntarily gives to those who by reasonable effort seek
to help themselves. This is particularly so when he not only declines to help himself but actively conceals
from the State the very means by which it may assist him (Quingwa SCRA 439 [1967]).

The Solicitor General recommends that since the complainant is partly to blame for having gone with
respondent to Manila knowing fully well that respondent is a married man ,with children, respondent
should merely be suspended from the practice of law for not less than three (3) years (Rollo, p. 47).

On the other hand, respondent in his manifestation and motion dated April 18, 1989 alleges that since a
period of about ten (10) years had already elapsed from the time the Solicitor General made his
recommendation for a three (3) years suspension and respondent is not practicing his profession as a
lawyer, the court may now consider the respondent as having been suspended during the said period and
the case dismissed for being moot and academic.

We disagree.

Complainant filed the instant case for disbarment not because respondent reneged on a promise to marry
(Quingwa v. Puno, supra). More importantly. complainant's knowledge of of respondent's marital status
is not at issue in the case at bar. Complainant submitted to respondent's solicitation for sexual intercourse
not because of a desire for sexual gratification but because of respondent's moral ascendancy over her
and fear that if she would not accede, she would flunk in her subjects. As chairman of the college of
medicine where complainant was enrolled, the latter had every reason to believe that respondent could
make good his threats. Moreover, as counsel for respondent would deem it "worthwhile to inform the
the Court that the respondent is a scion of a rich family and a very rich man in his own right and in fact is
not practicing his profession before the court" (Rollo, p. 70), mere suspension for a limited period, per se,
would therefore serve no redeeming purpose. The fact that he is a rich man and does not practice his
profession as a lawyer, does not render respondent a person of good moral character. Evidence of good
moral character precedes admission to bar (Sec.2, Rule 138, Rules of Court) and such requirement is not
dispensed with upon admission thereto. Good moral character is a continuing qualification necessary to
entitle one to continue in the practice of law. The ancient and learned profession of law exacts from its
members the highest standard of morality (Quingwa v. Puno, supra).

Under Section 27, Rule 138, "(a) member of the bar may be removed 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 admission to practice, ... " In Arciga v. Maniwang
(106 SCRA 591, [1981]), this Court had occasion to define the concept of immoral conduct, as follows:

A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving
moral turpitude. A member of the bar should have moral integrity in addition to professional probity.

It is difficult to state with precision and to fix an inflexible standard as to what is grossly immoral conduct
or to specify the moral delinquency and obliquity which render a lawyer unworthy of continuing as a
member of the bar. The rule implies that what appears to be unconventional behavior to the straight-
laced may not be the immoral conduct that warrants disbarment.

Immoral conduct has been defined as 'that which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a
moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community' (7 C.J.S. 959).

Where an unmarried female dwarf possessing the intellect of a child became pregnant by reason of
intimacy with a married lawyer who was the father of six children, disbarment of the attorney on the
ground of immoral conduct was justified (In re Hicks 20 Pac. 2nd 896).
In the present case, it was highly immoral of respondent, a married man with children, to have taken
advantage of his position as chairman of the college of medicine in asking complainant, a student in said
college, to go with him to Manila where he had carnal knowledge of her under the threat that she would
flunk in all her subjects in case she refused.

WHEREFORE, respondent Jose B. Aznar is hereby DISBARRED and his name is ordered stricken off from
the Roll of Attorneys.
A.M. No. 1608 August 14, 1981

MAGDALENA T. ARCIGA complainant,



Magdalena T. Arciga in her complaint of February 24, 1976 asked for the disbarment of lawyer Segundino
D. Maniwang (admitted to the Bar in 1975 ) on the ground of grossly immoral conduct because he refused
to fulfill his promise of marriage to her. Their illicit relationship resulted in the birth on September 4, 1973
of their child, Michael Dino Maniwang.

Magdalena and Segundino got acquainted sometime in October, 1970 at Cebu City. Magdalena was then
a medical technology student in the Cebu Institute of Medicine while Segundino was a law student in the
San Jose Recoletos College. They became sweethearts but when Magdalena refused to have a tryst with
Segundino in a motel in January, 1971, Segundino stopped visiting her.

Their paths crossed again during a Valentine's Day party in the following month. They renewed their
relationship. After they had dinner one night in March, 1971 and finding themselves alone (like Adam and
Eve) in her boarding house since the other boarders had gone on vacation, they had sexual congress.
When Segundino asked Magdalena why she had refused his earlier proposal to have sexual intercourse
with him, she jokingly said that she was in love with another man and that she had a child with still another
man. Segundino remarked that even if that be the case, he did not mind because he loved her very much.

Thereafter, they had repeated acts of cohabitation. Segundino started telling his acquaintances that he
and Magdalena were secretly married.

In 1972 Segundino transferred his residence to Padada, Davao del Sur. He continued his law studies in
Davao City. .Magdalena remained in Cebu. He sent to her letters and telegrams professing his love for her
(Exh. K to Z).

When Magdalena discovered in January, 1973 that she was pregnant, she and Segundino went to her
hometown, Ivisan, Capiz, to apprise Magdalena's parents that they were married although they were not
really so. Segundino convinced Magdalena's father to have the church wedding deferred until after he
had passed the bar examinations. He secured his birth certificate preparatory to applying for a marriage

Segundino continued sending letters to Magdalena wherein he expressed his love and concern for the
baby in Magdalena's womb. He reassured her time and again that he would marry her once he passed the
bar examinations. He was not present when Magdalena gave birth to their child on September 4, 1973 in
the Cebu Community Hospital. He went to Cebu in December, 1973 for the baptism of his child.

Segundino passed the bar examinations. The results were released on April 25, 1975. Several days after
his oath-taking, which Magdalena also attended, he stopped corresponding with Magdalena. Fearing that
there was something amiss, Magdalena went to Davao in July, 1975 to contact her lover. Segundino told
her that they could not get married for lack of money. She went back to Ivisan.
In December, 1975 she made another trip to Davao but failed to see Segundino who was then in
Malaybalay, Bukidnon. She followed him there only to be told that their marriage could not take place
because he had married Erlinda Ang on November 25, 1975. She was broken-hearted when she returned
to Davao.

Segundino followed her there and inflicted physical injuries upon her because she had a confrontation
with his wife, Erlinda Ang. She reported the assault to the commander of the Padada police station and
secured medical treatment in a hospital (Exh. I and J).

Segundino admits in his answer that he and Magdalena were lovers and that he is the father of the child
Michael. He also admits that he repeatedly promised to marry Magdalena and that he breached that
promise because of Magdalena's shady past. She had allegedly been accused in court of oral defamation
and had already an illegitimate child before Michael was born.

The Solicitor General recommends the dismissal of the case. In his opinion, respondent's cohabitation
with the complainant and his reneging on his promise of marriage do not warrant his disbarment.

An applicant for admission to the bar should have good moral character. He is required to produce before
this Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character and that no charges against him, involving moral
turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court.

If good moral character is a sine qua non for admission to the bar, then the continued possession of good
moral character is also a requisite for retaining membership in the legal profession. Membership in the
bar may be terminated when a lawyer ceases to have good moral character (Royong vs. Oblena, 117 Phil.

A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving
moral turpitude". A member of the bar should have moral integrity in addition to professional probity.

It is difficult to state with precision and to fix an inflexible standard as to what is "grossly immoral conduct"
or to specify the moral delinquency and obliquity which render a lawyer unworthy of continuing as a
member of the bar. The rule implies that what appears to be unconventional behavior to the straight-
laced may not be the immoral conduct that warrants disbarment.

Immoral conduct has been defined as "that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which
shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community" (7
C.J.S. 959).

Where an unmarried female dwarf possessing the intellect of a child became pregnant by reason of
intimacy with a married lawyer who was the father of six children, disbarment of the attorney on the
ground of immoral conduct was justified (In re Hicks 20 Pac. 2nd 896).

There is an area where a lawyer's conduct may not be inconsonance with the canons of the moral code
but he is not subject to disciplinary action because his misbehavior or deviation from the path of rectitude
is not glaringly scandalous. It is in connection with a lawyer's behavior to the opposite sex where the
question of immorality usually arises. Whether a lawyer's sexual congress with a woman not his wife or
without the benefit of marriage should be characterized as "grossly immoral conduct," will depend on the
surrounding circumstances.

This Court in a decision rendered in 1925, when old-fashioned morality still prevailed, observed that "the
legislator well knows the frailty of the flesh and the ease with which a man, whose sense of dignity, honor
and morality is not well cultivated, falls into temptation when alone with one of the fair sex toward whom
he feels himself attracted. An occasion is so inducive to sin or crime that the saying "A fair booty makes
many a thief" or "An open door may tempt a saint" has become general." (People vs. De la Cruz, 48 Phil.
533, 535).

Disbarment of a lawyer for grossly immoral conduct is illustrated in the following cases:

(1) Where lawyer Arturo P. Lopez succeeded in having carnal knowledge of Virginia C. Almirez, under
promise of marriage, which he refused to fulfill, although they had already a marriage license and despite
the birth of a child in consequence of their sexual intercourse; he married another woman and during
Virginia's pregnancy, Lopez urged her to take pills to hasten the flow of her menstruation and he tried to
convince her to have an abortion to which she did not agree. (Almirez vs. Lopez, Administrative Case No.
481, February 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 169. See Sarmiento vs. Cui, 100 Phil. 1102).

(2) Where lawyer Francisco Agustin made Anita Cabrera believe that they were married before
Leoncio V. Aglubat in the City Hall of Manila, and, after such fake marriage, they cohabited and she later
give birth to their child (Cabrera vs. Agustin, 106 Phil. 256).

(3) Where lawyer Jesus B. Toledo abandoned his lawful wife and cohabited with another women who
had borne him a child (Toledo vs. Toledo, 117 Phil. 768. As to disbarment for contracting a bigamous
marriage, see Villasanta vs. Peralta, 101 Phil. 313).

(4) The conduct of Abelardo Simbol in making a dupe of Concepcion Bolivar by living on her bounty
and allowing her to spend for his schooling and other personal necessities, while dangling before her the
mirage of a marriage, marrying another girl as soon as he had finished his studies, keeping his marriage a
secret while continuing to demand money from the complainant, and trying to sponge on her and
persuade her to resume their broken relationship after the latter's discovery of his perfidy are indicative
of a character not worthy of a member of the bar (Bolivar vs. Simbol, 123 Phil. 450).

(5) Where Flora Quingwa, a public school teacher, who was engaged to lawyer Armando Puno, was
prevailed upon by him to have sexual congress with him inside a hotel by telling her that it was alright to
have sexual intercourse because, anyway, they were going to get married. She used to give Puno money
upon his request. After she became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy, Puno refused to marry her.
(Quingwa vs. Puno, Administrative Case No. 389, February 28, 1967, 19 SCRA 439).

(6) Where lawyer Anacleto Aspiras, a married man, misrepresenting that he was single and making a
promise of marriage, succeeded in having sexual intercourse with. Josefina Mortel. Aspiras faked a
marriage between Josefina and his own son Cesar. Aspiras wrote to Josefina: "You are alone in my life till
the end of my years in this world. I will bring you along with me before the altar of matrimony." "Through
thick and thin, for better or for worse, in life or in death, my Josephine you will always be the first, middle
and the last in my life." (Mortel vs. Aspiras, 100 Phil. 586).
(7) Where lawyer Ariston Oblena, who had been having adulterous relations for fifteen years with
Briccia Angeles, a married woman separated from her husband, seduced her eighteen-year-old niece who
became pregnant and begot a child. (Royong vs. Oblena, 117 Phil. 865).

The instant case can easily be differentiated from the foregoing cases. This case is similar to the case of
Soberano vs. Villanueva, 116 Phil. 1206, where lawyer Eugenio V. Villanueva had sexual relations with
Mercedes H. Soberano before his admission to the bar in 1954. They indulged in frequent sexual
intercourse. She wrote to him in 1950 and 1951 several letters making reference to their trysts in hotels.

On letter in 1951 contain expressions of such a highly sensual, tantalizing and vulgar nature as to render
them unquotable and to impart the firm conviction that, because of the close intimacy between the
complainant and the respondent, she felt no restraint whatsoever in writing to him with impudicity.

According to the complainant, two children were born as a consequence of her long intimacy with the
respondent. In 1955, she filed a complaint for disbarment against Villanueva.

This Court found that respondent's refusal to marry the complainant was not so corrupt nor unprincipled
as to warrant disbarment. (See Montana vs. Ruado, Administrative Case No. 507, February 24, 1975, 62
SCRA 382; Reyes vs. Wong, Administrative Case No. 547, January 29, 1975, 63 SCRA 667, Viojan vs. Duran,
114 Phil. 322; Abaigar vs. Paz, Administrative Case No. 997, September 10, 1979,93 SCRA 91).

Considering the facts of this case and the aforecited precedents, the complaint for disbarment against the
respondent is hereby dismissed.

A.M. No. 1856 October 28, 1983


JUSTINIANO P. NAZ, respondent.

R. G. Tansinsin for complainant.

Justiniano P. Naz in his own behalf.


This is a revival of the immorality charge against respondent Justiniano P. Naz. Salvacion E. Marcayda in a
handwritten letter filed in this Court on April 19, 1977 asked that Naz's oath-taking as a member of the
bar (after having flunked twice) be withheld pending negotiations for the support of his alleged child
begotten with Salvacion.

Naz in his answer of April 27, 1977 denied the paternity of the child. He alleged that the complaint was
pure harassment and blackmail. He said that Salvacion could have filed an administrative complaint with
the Department of Education and Culture since he was employed in the Legaspi branch of that Office but
she never filed any such complaint.

Accompanying his answer was an affidavit wherein Naz requested that, because clearance could not be
given him to take the oath on April 29, 1977 due to Salvacion's complaint, he be allowed to take the oath
but his signing of the Roll of attorneys be deferred pending resolution of Salvacion's complaint.

On the following day, April 28, 1977, Naz and Salvacion, both 47, natives of Camalig Albay, executed in
Manila a notarized agreement before lawyer Braulio R. G. Tansinsin wherein Naz admitted that he had an
affair with Salvacion in 1964 as a result of which a boy named Rey E. Marcayda was born on January 8,
1965, (should be March 8, 1965, as shown in Exhibit 2). Naz was a married man. Salvacion was married to
Primo Marcayda who died of tuberculosis on July 5, 1965 (Exh. 1).

Naz in that agreement bound himself to pay Salvacion for Rey's support (1) back support of P2,000 on or
before December 25, 1977 and another P2,000 on or before December 25, 1978 and (2) P100 or its dollar
equivalent in advance within the first five days of every month, starting May, 1977 until Rey reached the
age of twenty-one.

Because of that public instrument admitting paternity and the promise to support the adulterous child,
Salvacion on that same date, April 28, 1977, withdrew her complaint filed in this Court to withhold the
oath-taking of Naz on the ground of immorality.

The withdrawal document was also executed before Notary Tansinsin. It is document No. 628 of his
notarial book while the document of acknowledgment and support is No. 629.

The result of these last minute maneuvers was this Court's resolution of April 28, 1977 allowing Naz to
take his oath by reason of Salvacion's withdrawal of her complaint (SBC-582). He took his oath on April
29, 1977 But Naz did not live up to his promise to give support.
In a verified complaint dated December 23, 1977 Salvacion asked for the reopening of the administrative
case. She alleged that she withdrew the complaint so that Naz would have a higher salary and would be
in a better position to support Rey. He is now an incumbent legal officer of Region V of the Ministry of
Education and Culture in Legaspi City, with an annual salary of P17,724.

She testified that after Rey's birth Naz gave her forty pesos a month for six months. After she withdrew
her complaint, Naz gave her one hundred pesos for May, 1977. As already stated, he did not comply with
his commitment in the notarial agreement of support which was the basis of the withdrawal of the
immorality complaint against him.

Naz in his comment on the complaint and in his testimony in the Solicitor General's office declared that
Rey was not his son. Rey's 1965 birth certificate shows that he was born in wedlock to Salvacion and her
husband, Primo (Exh. 21). He alleged that he was "coerced" to sign the agreement of support. The
complaint was like "an Armalite trained on the head of the respondent".

We hold that, as noted by the Solicitor General, Naz is not guilty of gross immorality. He should not be
disbarred because he had admitted the paternity of Rey in a public document and agreed to support him.
This circumstance rendered his immorality not so gross and scandalous. (Arciga vs. Maniwang, Adm. Case
No. 1608, August 14,1981, 106 SCRA 591).

The agreement of support was the basis of the withdrawal of the 1917 complaint against him. The
eleventh-hour withdrawal paved the way for his oath-taking. He cannot be allowed to repudiate that
public document of the ground of supposed coercion.

Respondent Naz's stand of not giving any value to that public document shows a certain unscrupulousness
unbecoming a member of a noble profession. It is tantamount to self stultification. His attitude is highly
censurable. He wants to make a mockery of the proceedings in this Court by making it appear that he lied
brazenly about the filiation of Rey Marcayda just to facilitate his admission to the bar. In his oath, he swore
to do no falsehood.

The remedy of complainant Marcayda is a civil action for support on the basis of the agreement of support
which is irrevocably binding on Naz. She could also file an administrative complaint against him with the
Ministry of Education and Culture which could require him to give support to the child, Rey (See Sec. 36,
Civil Service Decree, P.D. No. 807).
WHEREFORE, respondent Naz is severely reprimanded for his attempt to nullify the notarial agreement to
support a child whose filiation he had admitted. A copy of this resolution should be attached to his record
in the Bar Confidant's office.


Separate Opinions
MAKASIAR, J., dissenting:
He should be disbarred for immorality and his brazen repudiation of a notarial deed wherein he
committed adultery with a married woman even while he himself then as now is married.