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DAVID,

NORIANNE D. 2015400027- PALE – 3A- DECISION FOR COMPLAINT


CASE NO.3

Republic of the Philippines


Supreme Court
Manila

BBB
Complainant A.C. No. 123456
Present:
SERENO, CJ., *
CARPIO,**
VELASCO, JR.,***
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
PERALTA,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO,
PERLAS-BERNABE,
LEONEN,
JARDELEZA,
CAGUIOA,
MAR TIRES,
TIJAM, *** REYES, JR., and
GESMUNDO, JJ . .

-versus-

ATTY. DDD PROMULGATED:


Respondent March 12, 2019

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


Before the Court is an administrative complaint filed by complainant BBB against
respondent Atty. DDD, charging him with disbarment case on the ground of violating
acts in deterrence of Sec. 7 of the Constitutional Law and Canon of Professional
Responsibility, as well as in violation and in contrary of Sec. 5(e) of R.A. 6713 of the
Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees for
suppressing the public access to public documents which shall be open to public for
freedom of access of the people of the Constitution as to the public records.
DAVID, NORIANNE D. 2015400027- PALE – 3A- DECISION FOR COMPLAINT
CASE NO.3
The Complaint

The Complaint In a verified complaint1 dated October 9, 2001 filed directly


with the Court, complainant narrated that in the year of 2010, a local election
transpired, the respondent herein won the position of Vice Mayor for
Occidental Mindoro. On May 26, 2011, respondent as the Presiding Officer of
Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of XXX issued an Office Order No. 6,
prohibiting absolutely access of the public records or documents including
Ordinance Resolutions, Committee Hearing Reports, and others kept and
originated from the Office of Sangguniang Bayan. Concurrently, when the SK
Chairman was replaced, the services of the plaintiff was also terminated by the
respondent, provided that his employment is co-terminus with the term of the
former SK Chairman.

The plaintiff exerted all earnest efforts to get re-employed but he failed to
regain his employment. Thereafter, the plaintiff herein filed an administrative
case against the respondent, to which the sole issue of the administrative case
is the issuance of Office Order No. 6, in which the respondent issued more
than twenty months before the administrative case was filed. In addition, the
plaintiff filed a disbarment case against the respondent before the May 2013
elections. However, the respondent still won as Vice- Mayor.

Radio broadcasters were bombarding the airwaves with data and


informations criticizing the Sangguiniang Bayan in the first quarter of 2011.
The respondent was then impelled to request his Legislative Unit to provide
him with copies of the Minutes of the 12th Regular Session and of the 15th
Regular Session. 9.

To the dismay of the Respondent he was informed that the original copies
of the minutes were missing. Thus results for the respondent to issue Office
Order No. 6 on May 26, 2011; terminated the services of the 4 Job Order
employees who were detailed with the Legislative Unit and suspected to have
a hand or knowledge in the loss of the 2 above- mentioned documents; issued
Office Order No. 7 assigning an employee to the Legislative Unit with the
specific duties to protect the records of the Sangguiniang Bayan.
DAVID, NORIANNE D. 2015400027- PALE – 3A- DECISION FOR COMPLAINT
CASE NO.3

Respondent’s Answer

Respondent admits the allegation of the petitioner however thhe denises the
rest for having no sufficient information or knowledge to form as belief as to
the truth thereof and subject to the qualifications stated in the Special and
Affirmative Defenses herein-below mentioned; furthermore he denies the
allegations of the Petitioner as to the truth thereof and subject to the
qualifications stated in the Special and Affirmative defenses herein.

Instead of requiring the respondent to submit his answer to the


administrative charge by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Occidental
Mindoro, Respondent was directed to submit his comments thereon,
photocopy of the directive is hereto attached and marked as Annex “E”.

Respondent had no intention but only to safeguard and secure the records of
the Sangguniang Bayan from loss. There was no instance that the Respondent
took over as Vice Mayor, when anyone who requested copies of the records or
documents as mentioned above.

The Proceedings before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline

The parties appeared before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline for a
few hearings and the marking of their respective evidence. Complainant
marked the following documents, among others, such as the annexes attached
herein.

On motion of complainant, the IBP issued an order directing respondent,


complainant, to undergo investigation and interrogations for the issue in the
facts of the case. Upon motion from respondent, however, the IBP annulled its
prior order in the interest of the speedy disposition of the case.

On February 14, 2019, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline issued its
Report and Recommendation, finding that respondent is guilty of the
misconduct. In the Resolution No. XXIII-2019-15 the IBP Board of
Governors approved the above recommendation and increased the
recommended period of suspension to three (3) years.
DAVID, NORIANNE D. 2015400027- PALE – 3A- DECISION FOR COMPLAINT
CASE NO.3

The Ruling of the Court

The Court agrees with the conclusion ofthe IBP that the actuations of respondent in
this case showed his failure to live up to the good moral conduct required ofthe
members ofthe legal profession.

Under the 1987 Constitution,

Sec. 7 provides that: “Section 7: The right of the people to information on matter of
public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and
papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to the research
data used as a basis for policy development shall be aforesaid the citizen, subject to
such limitations as may be provided by law.”

Moreover, the decision of this case was supported and cited by the case of Flordeliza
A. Madria vs. Atty. Carlos P. Rivera (A.C. No. 11256) which enunciated the
following:

The respondent directly contravened the letter and spirit of Rules 1. 01 and 1.02,
Canon 1, and Rule 15.07, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, to
wit:

CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE


LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW OF AND LEGAL
PROCESSES.

Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.

Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law
or at lessening confidence in the legal system.

xxxx

CANON 15 - A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND LOY


AL TY IN ALL HIS DEALINGS AND TRANSACTIONS WITH HIS CLIENTS.

Rule 15.07. - A lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with the laws and the
DAVID, NORIANNE D. 2015400027- PALE – 3A- DECISION FOR COMPLAINT
CASE NO.3

principles of fairness.

In this case, the plaintiff has not mentioned any instance where the respondent
has no allowed the right of the people to access information on matters of public
concern. The respondent in his answer has cited that the Office Order No. 6 and 7
were to remedy his dismay in discovering that the Minutes of the Meetings he
requested were missing. Such documents are public documents that should not have
gone missing in the first place.

Additionally, pursuant to Canon 1 of the Canons of Professional Responsibility


which states that “A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the law of the land
and promote respect for law and legal process.” The plaintiff argues in correlation
with the violation of the respondent of Sec. 7 of the Constitution, he has committed
acts which are in contravention of the Canons of Professional Responsibility.
However, the argument of the respondent is, that if there was no violation of the
Constitution, the subsequent argument of the plaintiff should likewise be considered
dismissed for lack of factual basis to support his claim.

In furtherance and broad appreciation of the law and jurisprudence in cases for
disbarment and unethical conduct of a legal practitioner, the respondent herein
through his counsel believes that the plaintiff has no cause of action in filing the suit
based on his supporting evidence and factual without sufficient relevance and strong
basis of his claim.

After a thorough review of the records of the case, the Court upholds the
findings of the IBP as there is indeed substantial evidence that respondent committed
gross immorality by maintaining violating the Constitution.

WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent ATTY. DDD GUILTY OF GROSS


MISCONDUCT and is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of
three (3) years effective upon notice thereof with a STERN WARNING that a
repetition of the same or similar offense shall be punished with a more severe penalty.

Let copies of this Decision be entered in the personal record of respondent as a


member ofthe Philippine Bar and furnished the Office ofthe Bar Confidant, the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Court Administrator for circulation to all
courts in the country.
DAVID, NORIANNE D. 2015400027- PALE – 3A- DECISION FOR COMPLAINT
CASE NO.3

SO ORDERED

WE CONCUR:

ZZZ. XXX

Associate Justice

BBB.XXXX

Associate Justice

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