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G.R. No. 86421 May 31, 1994 Accordingly, the records were remanded to the MTC for execution.

ordingly, the records were remanded to the MTC for execution. When In compliance with said order of this Court, Mr. Andres C.
petitioners refused to remove their house on the premises in question, upon Lingan, Manager of the Metro Manila Project Department
motion of private respondent, an order of demolition was issued. Shortly of the National Housing Authority, submitted the following
SPS. THELMA R. MASINSIN and MIGUEL MASINSIN, SPS. GILBERTO
thereafter, the demolition began. Before the completion of the demolition, a report on the status of Lot 6-A, Block 1012, located at No.
and ADELINA, ROLDAN, petitioners,
restraining order was issued by the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 1890 Obesis Street, Pandacan, Manila, known as the
vs.
XIX) following a petition for certiorari, with preliminary injunction and Carlos Estate, an APD site. Pertinent portions of the
THE HON. ED VINCENT ALBANO, Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan
restraining order, filed by petitioners. On 23 February 1988, the trial court report read:
Trial Court of Manila, Branch X, DEPUTY SHERIFF JESS ARREOLA,
dismissed the petition.
VICENTE CAÑEDA and THE HON. LEONARDO CRUZ, in his capacity as
Presiding Judge Regional Trial of Manila, Branch XXV, respondents. Please be informed that Lot 6-A,
Unfazed by the series of dismissals of their complaints and petitions, Block 1012 located at No. 1890
petitioners assailed anew the MTC decision in a petition for certiorari, with Obesis St., Pandacan, Manila which
VITUG, J.:
preliminary injunction, and for declaratory relief (docketed Civil Case No. 88- is the subject matter of the case and
43944) before the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch XXV), which, again, located within the Carlos Estate
Spouses Miguel and Thelma Masinsin, et al., instituted this petition issued a restraining order. 2 declared as APD site pursuant to
for certiorari, prohibition, relief from judgment, as well as declaratory relief, with Presidential Proclamation No.
prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction, asking us to order the 1967, is not for acquisition by NHA.
Private respondent then filed a motion for an alias writ of execution with the
Metropolitan Trial Court ("MTC") of Manila, Branch X, to cease and desist from
MTC. An ex-parte motion of petitioners for the issuance of a second
further proceeding with Civil Case No. 107203-CV.
restraining order was this time denied by the RTC (Branch XXV). 3 On 23 The Carlos Estate is located outside
August 1990, 4 the trial court, ultimately, dismissed the petition with costs of the NHA projects under the Zonal
This case emerged from an ejectment suit (docketed Civil Case No. 107203- against petitioners. Improvement Project (ZIP) and
CV) filed by private respondent Vicente Cañeda ("Cañeda"), then as plaintiffs, Community Mortgage Program
against herein petitioners, as defendants, with the Metropolitan Trial Court of (CMP). The site, however, is under
In this petition, petitioners contend that the MTC of Manila (Branch X) has lost
Manila (Branch X). After trial, the MTC, on 01 July 1985, rendered judgment; the administration of the Presidential
jurisdiction to enforce its decision, dated 01 July 1985, in Civil Case No.
thus: Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP)
107203, when the property in question was proclaimed an area for priority
for acquisition and upgrading.
development by the National Housing Authority on 01 December 1987 by
(Emphasis Supplied.)
PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered authority of Presidential Decree 2016.
ordering the defendants and all persons claiming right
under them to vacate the premises and to remove their The above information answers the uncertainty
The petition is totally without merit.
house/apartment and surrender possession of the subject concerning the status of the alleged negotiation for the
land to the plaintiff; to pay to the plaintiff the sum of acquisition by the government of certain areas in Metro
P100.00 a month from January 1987 as the reasonable In resolving this issue, we only have to refer to our resolution of 01 February Manila. The NHA is definitely NOT acquiring the said lot
compensation for the use and occupation of the premises 1993 in G.R. No. 98446, entitled, "Spouses Thelma R. Masinsin, et al. vs. for its program.
until the land is actually vacated, and the costs of suit. 1 Court of Appeals, et al.," to which this case is intimately related, where we
ruled:
It appearing that the purpose of this Petition for Review is
No appeal having been taken therefrom, the judgment became final and to set aside the decision of the respondent Court of
executory. On 22 August 1985, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari before . . . The singular question common to both cases Appeals which affirmed the decision of the lower courts, in
the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch XXXII) seeking the annulment of submitted for resolution of this court is the implication of order to avoid eviction from the disputed premises and to
the aforesaid decision in the ejectment case and to set aside an order of its Presidential Decree No. 1517, otherwise known as the be allowed to acquire the same allegedly under the
execution. The petition was in due time dismissed. Again, no appeal was taken "Urban Land Reform Law," and its amendments or Community Mortgage Program of the National Housing
therefrom. ramifications embodied in Proclamation No. 1893, as Authority, we find the petition without merit and deny the
amended by Proclamation No. 1967 and Presidential same. Consequently, the petition is DISMISSED. 5
Decree No. 2016. All the above statutes are being
On 07 October 1985, a complaint for "Annulment of Judgment, Lease Contract
implemented by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory
and Damages" was filed by petitioners before the Regional Trial Court of What immediately catches one's attention to this case is the evident
Board, and the Housing and Urban Development
Manila (Branch XLI) asking, in main, for the nullification of the judgment in the predilection of petitioners, through different counsel, to file pleadings, one after
Coordinating Council, Office of the President.
ejectment case. The complaint was dismissed on the ground of res judicata. another, from which not even this Court has been spared. The utter lack of
This time, petitioners appealed the dismissal to the Court of Appeals. merit of the complaints and petitions simply evinces the deliberate intent of
Meanwhile, a writ of execution was issued by the MTC for the enforcement of There is a prejudicial issue the answer to which hangs the petitioners to prolong and delay the inevitable execution of a decision that has
its decision. The writ, however, was held in abeyance when petitioners resolution of this case. On May 20, 1992, this Court long become final and executory.
deposited with the Court of Appeals the sum of P3,000.00 in cash plus an required the National Housing Authority to submit a
amount of P100.00 to be paid every month beginning February 1987. On 11 Comment on the status of the program of acquisition by
Four times did the petitioners, with the assistance of counsel, try to nullify the
March 1987, the Court of Appeals affirmed the order of dismissal of the lower the Government of the land area which includes the
same MTC decision before different branches of the court, trifling with judicial
court. Petitioners' recourse to this Court was to be of no avail. The petition was disputed property, as part of the Areas for Priority
processes. Never, again, should this practice be countenanced. 6
denied, and an entry of judgment was made on 14 July 1987. Development (APD), under the aforementioned decrees
and proclamations.
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. PER CURIAM: property in favor of his wife Felicisima and sister-in-law Marcelina.
Perhaps, it is time we are here reminded of that pledge; thus - The forgery or falsification was made to enable them to sell Lot 1603
to Antel Holdings, Inc. Payment was received and misappropriated
In a Complaint-Affidavit1 filed on 22 October 1999 with this Court, complainant
by Felicisima and Marcelina.
LAWYER'S OATH Isidra Ting-Dumali charges respondent Atty. Rolando S. Torres with
presentation of false testimony; participation in, consent to, and failure to
advise against, the forgery of complainant’s signature in a purported Deed of 3. In LRC Rec. No. 5964 entitled In Re:Petition for Judicial
I, . . ., do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to
Extrajudicial Settlement; and gross misrepresentation in court for the purpose Reconstitution of the Original Copy and Owner’s Duplicate Copy of
the Republic of the Philippines; I will support and defend
of profiting from such forgery, thereby violating his oath as a lawyer and the TCT No. T-1869 Covering Lot No. 1605 of the Registry of Deeds for
its Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal
canons of legal and judicial ethics. the Province of Cavite, filed by complainant’s sisters Marcelina and
orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I will do
Felicisima on 24 October 1995, the respondent made gross
no falsehood nor consent to its commission; I will not
misrepresentation and offered false testimony to the effect that
wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false The complainant is one of the six children of the late spouses Julita Reynante
Marcelina and Felicisima are the only children and legal heirs of the
or unlawful suit nor give aid nor consent to the same; I will and Vicente Ting. Her siblings are Marcelina T. Rivera; Miriam T. Saria;
late spouses Vicente Ting and Julita Reynante for the purpose of
not delay any man's cause for money or malice and will Felicisima T. Torres, who is married to herein respondent; Vicente Ting, Jr.;
obtaining a new title in their names. With the reconstituted title, and
conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my and Eliseo Ting. Their parents died intestate and left several parcels of land, to
with the express conformity of the respondent, Felicisima and
knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to wit:
Marcelina were able to sell Lot 1605 to Antel Holdings, Inc., for
the courts as to my clients and I impose upon myself this
P2,213,100 and profited from the sale to the exclusion of their other
obligation voluntary, without any mental reservation or
a) One half of Lot 1586 of the San Francisco de Malabon Estate, siblings. Partial payment was even received pending the
purpose of evasion.
containing an area of 43,908 square meters more or less, and reconstitution proceedings.
covered at that time by TCT No. (T-6203) RT-19151 of the Registry
SO HELP ME GOD. (Emphasis supplied.) of Deeds of Cavite;
4. On 20 November 1996, the respondent made gross and false
misrepresentations for the purpose of profiting therefrom when he
We have since emphasized in no uncertain terms that any act on the part of a b) Lot 1603 of the San Francisco de Malabon Estate, containing an requested the buyer through a certain Mrs. Ong to release the full
lawyer, an officer of the court, which visibly tends to obstruct, pervert, impede area of 16,073 square meters, more or less, and covered at that payment for Lot 1605 under the pretense that the order of
and degrade the administration of justice is contumacious calling for both an time by TCT No. (T-6425) RT-7688 of the Registry of Deeds of reconstitution would be released within a month when he knew that
exercise of disciplinary action and warranting application of the contempt Cavite; it would be impossible because he presented evidence in the
power. 7 reconstitution case only on 12 August 1997. To facilitate the release
of the money, he even used the stationery of the Philippine National
c) Lot 1605 of the San Francisco de Malabon Estate, containing an Bank, of which he was an employee.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Petitioners' counsel of record is area of 22,131 square meters, more or less and covered at that time
hereby strongly CENSURED and WARNED that a similar infraction of the by TCT No. T- 1869 of the Registry of Deeds of Cavite.
lawyer's oath in the future will be dealt with most severely. Double costs In his Comment,2 the respondent denies the allegations of the complaint and
against petitioners. asserts that he did not take advantage of his profession to deprive any of the
According to the complainant, the respondent took advantage of his co-heirs of his wife of the estate left by his parents-in-law.
relationship with her and her brothers and used his profession to deprive them
This resolution is immediately executory. of what was lawfully due them even if it involved the commission of an illegal,
unlawful, or immoral act. She attributes to the respondent the following acts or Insofar as Lot 1586 is concerned, the respondent affirms that Felicisima and
omissions: Miriam were not motivated by any desire to solely profit from the sale. Neither
SO ORDERED. can he be faulted by the execution of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement
dated 17 March 1995 involving Lot 1603 because he had no part in the
1. The respondent participated in, consented to, and failed to advise
A.C. No. 5161             April 14, 2004 execution of the document. All the while he believed in good faith that the Ting
against, the perjury committed by his wife Felicisima and his sister- sisters had already agreed on how to dispose of the said lot. If ever
in-law Miriam when they executed a Deed of Extrajudicial complainant’s signature was affixed on that document, it was done in good
ISIDRA TING-DUMALI, complainant, Settlement of Estate dated 11 November 1986, wherein the two faith.
vs. made it appear that they were the sole heirs of the late spouses
ATTY. ROLANDO S. TORRES, respondent. Julita Reynante and Vicente Ting, knowing fully well that the same
was false. He presented that document to the Register of Deeds of The respondent admits that he was the counsel of Marcelina Ting Rivera, et.
Cavite for the transfer of the title over Lot No. 1586 in the names of al., in LRC Case No. 5964 for the reconstitution of TCT No. T-1869. The false
his wife and Miriam. The lot was later sold to Antel Holdings Inc. for testimony of Marcelina in that case that she and Felicisima were the only
P1,195,400. Payment was already made to, and received by, children of spouses Vicente Ting and Julita Reynante could not be faulted on
Felicisima and Miriam. him because such was a clear oversight. Moreover, the sale of Lot 1605 to
Antel Holdings, Inc., was the decision of Marcelina and his wife. His conformity
RESOLUTION through his signature was pro-forma because the property was a paraphernal
2. The respondent participated in, consented to, and failed to advise property of Marcelina and his wife. Anent his alleged gross and false
against, the forgery of complainant’s signature in a purported Deed misrepresentation that the order of reconstitution would be released by the end
of Extrajudicial Settlement dated 17 March 1995 involving Lot 1603 of November 1996, suffice it to say that the assurance was made by the Clerk
when he knew that she was in Italy at that time working as an of Court, Mr. Rosauro Morabe. Besides, petitions for reconstitution are usually
overseas contract worker. He even presented the falsified document uncontested and granted by courts.
to the Register of Deeds of Cavite to transfer the title over the
Finally, the respondent believes that complainant intended to harass him in This oath to which all lawyers have subscribed in solemn agreement to complainant stayed with them while she was in the Philippines. 8 Yet, the
bombarding him with numerous lawsuits, i.e., this administrative case; Civil dedicate themselves to the pursuit of justice is not a mere ceremony or respondent presented that document to the Register of Deeds of General
Case No. TM-855 for "Annulment of Documents, Titles, and Reconveyance formality for practicing law to be forgotten afterwards; nor is it mere words, drift Trias, Cavite, to effect the transfer of the title of the lot in question in the name
plus Damages"; and a criminal case for Estafa and Falsification of Public and hollow, but a sacred trust that lawyers must uphold and keep inviolable at of his wife and his sister-in-law Miriam.
Documents. all times. By swearing the lawyer’s oath, they become guardians of truth and
the rule of law, as well as instruments in the fair and impartial dispensation of
It also bears noting that the respondent was consulted 9 regarding the
justice.6 This oath is firmly echoed and reflected in the Code of Professional
In her reply, the complainant denies the presence of toka or verbal will falsification of complainant’s signature in the Extrajudicial Settlement 10 dated
Responsibility, which provides:
allegedly made by her mother and allegedly implemented by their eldest 17 March 1995 involving Lot 1603, which contains a purported waiver by the
brother Eliseo in view of the following circumstances: (1) her mother met a complainant of her right over the property. Marcelina admitted that she signed
sudden death in 1967; and partition of the properties in total disregard of their CANON 1 — A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of complainant’s name in that document.11 Such act of counterfeiting the
father was morally reprehensible, since the latter was still alive; (2) when their the land and promote respect for law and for legal processes. complainant’s signature to make it appear that the complainant had
mother died, four of the siblings were still minors including respondent’s wife participated in the execution of that document is tantamount to falsification of a
herself; (3) on 5 February 2000, Eliseo wrote his siblings, in response to the public document.12
Rule 1.01 — A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
previous letter of Felicisima, Marcelina, and Miriam, denying the existence of a
immoral or deceitful conduct.
toka. She further states that the respondent was not merely a passive onlooker
Instead of advising Marcelina to secure a written special power of attorney and
but, as he admitted, the administrator of the properties of the Ting spouses.
against committing falsification, he presented13 such document to the Registry
Rule 1.02 — A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at
of Deeds to secure a new title for the lot in favor of Marcelina and his wife. 14 He
defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.
On 14 June 2000, this Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the himself, therefore, may also be held liable for knowingly using a falsified
Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation or decision. 3 document to the damage of the complainant and her other co-heirs.15 Notably,
... he also admitted in an affidavit dated 22 May 1995 that he prepared the legal
documents for the transfer of Lot 1603.16
On 9 January 2003, after due hearing and consideration of the issues
presented by both parties, Investigating Commissioner Milagros V. San Juan CANON 7 — A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and
of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP found the actuations of the dignity of the legal profession, and support the activities of the Respondent did not advise his wife and his sisters-in-law from doing acts
respondent to be violative of Rules 1.01 and 1.02 of Canon 1 and Rule 10.01 Integrated Bar. which are contrary to law. He must have kept in mind the first and foremost
of Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Thus she duty of a lawyer, which is to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the
recommended that the respondent be disbarred from the practice of law.4 Philippines, uphold the Constitution, and obey the laws of the land. The Code
… of Professional Responsibility underscores the primacy of such duty by
providing as its canon that a lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the
In its Resolution No. XV-2003-3335 of 21 June 2003, the Board of Governors of
Rule 7.03 — A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely laws of the land, and promote respect for law and legal processes. 17 For a
the IBP approved and adopted Commissioner San Juan’s report, but reduced
reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in lawyer is the servant of the law and belongs to a profession to which society
the penalty to suspension from the practice of law for six years.
public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit has entrusted the administration of law and the dispensation of justice.18 As
of the legal profession. such, he should make himself more an exemplar for others to emulate.19 He
We fully agree with the Investigating Commissioner in her findings of facts and should not, therefore, engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or deceitful
conclusion of culpability. The respondent has sufficiently demonstrated that he conduct.20 He makes himself unfit to remain in the profession who commits any
... such unbecoming act or conduct.21
is morally and legally unfit to remain in the exclusive and honorable fraternity
of the legal profession. In his long years as a lawyer, he must have forgotten
his sworn pledge as a lawyer. It is time once again that the Court inculcate in CANON 10 — A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the Respondent’s argument that the non-declaration by his wife and his sister- in-
the hearts of all lawyers that pledge; thus: court. law Marcelina of the other siblings in LRC Rec. No. 5964 for the reconstitution
of title involving Lot 1605 was a mere oversight does not deserve credence in
LAWYER'S OATH Rule 10.01 — A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to view of the following circumstances: First, the petition clearly names only
the doing of any in court; nor shall he mislead or allow the court to Felicisima and Marcelina as the petitioners when there were six siblings who
be misled by any artifice. were heirs of the unpartitioned lot.22 Second, during the hearing of said case
I, ……………… , do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to when the respondent asked Marcelina whether she has brothers and sisters
the Republic of the Philippines; I will support its Constitution and other than Felicisima, the latter said none. The transcript of that hearing reads:
obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted All of these underscore the role of a lawyer as the vanguard of our legal
authorities therein; I will do no falsehood, nor consent to its system. When the respondent took the oath as a member of the legal
commission; I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any profession, he made a solemn promise to so stand by his pledge. In this ATTY. TORRES:
groundless, false or unlawful suit nor give aid nor consent to the covenant, respondent miserably failed.
same; I will delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct
Q Madame Witness, are you the only child or daughter of the
myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and
The records show that Felicisima and Miriam stated in the Extrajudicial deceased Sps. Vicente Ting, Jr. and Julita Reynante?
discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients;
and I impose upon myself this voluntary obligation without any Settlement of Estate dated 11 November 1986 that they are the children of
mental reservation or purpose of evasion. Julita Reynante and thus adjudicated only between them Lot No. 1586 to the WITNESS:
exclusion of their other siblings. 7 There was concealment of the fact that there
were other compulsory heirs to the estate of the deceased. Significantly, the
SO HELP ME GOD. respondent is the brother-in-law of complainant. Being married to A No, sir. We are two, Felicisima Torres and I.
complainant’s sister, he knew of his wife’s siblings. In fact, he declared that the
Q Do you have other brothers and sisters? so. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, Cheryl E. Vasco-Tamaray (Vasco-Tamaray) filed a ComplaintAffidavit before
either personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes the Integrated Bar of the Philippines on July 30, 2007, alleging that respondent
malpractice. Atty. Deborah Z. Daquis (Atty. Daquis) filed, on her behalf, a Petition for
A None, sir.23
Declaration of Nullity of Marriage without her consent and forged her signature
on the Petition.1 She also alleged that Atty. Daquis signed the Petition for
In the determination of the imposable disciplinary sanction against an erring
The respondent allowed Marcelina to commit a crime by giving false Declaration of Nullity of Marriage as "counsel for petitioner," referring to
lawyer, we take into account the primary purpose of disciplinary proceedings,
testimony24 in court, and he never corrected the same despite full knowledge of Vasco-Tamaray.2
which is to protect the administration of justice by requiring that those who
the true facts and circumstances of the case.25 Moreover, in knowingly offering
exercise this important function shall be competent, honorable, and reliable
in evidence such false testimony, he himself may be punished as guilty of false
men in whom courts and clients may repose confidence. 32 While the Vasco-Tamaray stated that Atty. Daquis was not her counsel but that of her
testimony.26
assessment of what sanction may be imposed is primarily addressed to our husband, Leomarte Regala Tamaray.3 To support her allegation, she attached
sound discretion, the sanction should neither be arbitrary or despotic, nor the Affidavit4 of Maritess Marquez-Guerrero. The Affidavit states:
Moreover, under Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, a motivated by personal animosity or prejudice. Rather, it should ever be
lawyer owes candor, fairness, and good faith to the court. He shall "not do any controlled by the imperative need to scrupulously guard the purity and
1. Sometime in October 2006, I accompanied Cheryl Tamaray in
falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; nor shall he mislead or independence of the bar.33
going to East Cafe at Rustan's Makati to meet with her husband
allow the court to be misled by any artifice."27 This Rule was clearly and openly
Leomarte Tamaray;
violated by the respondent when he permitted Marcelina to falsely testify that
Thus, the supreme penalty of disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of
she had no siblings aside from Felicisima and when he offered such testimony
misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an
in the petition for reconstitution of the title involving Lot 1605. 2. We arrived at the said place at around 7:00 pm and Leomarte
officer of the court and member of the bar. We will not hesitate to remove an
introduced to us (Cheryl and I) Atty. Deborah Z. Daquis as his
erring attorney from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers where the evidence
lawyer. He further told us that Atty. Daquis' husband also worked in
The respondent must have forgotten that as an attorney he is an officer of the calls for it.34 Verily, given the peculiar factual circumstances prevailing in this
Japan and that's how he got to know the latter and got her services;
court called upon to assist in the administration of justice. Like the court itself, case, we find that respondent’s gross misconduct calls for the severance of his
he is an instrument to advance its cause. For this reason, any act on his part privilege to practice law for life, and we therefore adopt the penalty
that obstructs and impedes the administration of justice constitutes misconduct recommended by the Investigating Commissioner. 3. Among other things, Leomarte told Cheryl that the reason for that
and justifies disciplinary action against him.28 meeting and the presence of Atty. Daquis was because he had
decided to file a case to annul his marriage with Cheryl;
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, we find respondent Atty. Rolando S.
It may not be amiss to mention that to further support the reconstitution, he Torres guilty of gross misconduct and violation of the lawyer’s oath, as well as
offered in evidence an Affidavit of Loss, which was executed by Marcelina and Canons 1 and 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, thereby rendering 4. Cheryl was shocked and just cried. After awhile [sic], Leomarte's
notarized by him. During the hearing of this administrative case, Marcelina him unworthy of continuing membership in the legal profession. He is thus brother arrived and shortly after, the group left;
admitted that her statement in that affidavit that the title was in her possession ordered DISBARRED from the practice of law, and his name is ordered
was false, as she was never in possession of the title29 and would not, stricken off the Roll of Attorneys, effective immediately.
5. The next instance that I saw Atty. Daquis was when we (Cheryl
therefore, know that the same was lost.
and I) went to McDonald's-Greenbelt where Atty. Daquis tried to
Let copies of this Resolution be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, convince her not to oppose Leomarte's decision to have their
Moreover, in a letter dated 20 November 1996 addressed to a certain Mrs. which shall forthwith record it in the personal files of the respondent; all the marriage annulled[.]5 (Emphasis supplied)
Ong, the respondent requested the release of 50% of the remaining balance courts of the Philippines; the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, which shall
for the sale of Lot 1605, relaying to Antel Holdings, Inc., through Mrs. Ong that disseminate copies thereof to all its Chapters; and all administrative and quasi-
Vasco-Tamaray narrated that in December 2006, Atty. Daquis informed her
he was assured by the Clerk of Court that the order directing the reconstitution judicial agencies of the Republic of the Philippines.
"that a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage was filed before the
of title for Lot 1605 would be released within the month.30 Respondent’s
Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City."6 In February 2007, Atty. Daquis
information was misleading because he presented evidence only on 12 August
SO ORDERED. asked her to appear before the City Prosecutor's Office of Muntinlupa City.7
1997, or almost a year after he sent the letter. 31 Such act, therefore, shows
lack of candor and honesty on the part of the respondent.
A.C. No. 10868 On March 5, 2007, Vasco-Tamaray appeared before the City Prosecutor's
[Formerly CBD Case No. 07-2041] Office and met Atty. Daquis. She asked Atty. Daquis to give her a copy of the
Respondent’s acts or omissions reveal his moral flaws and doubtless bring
Petition but Atty. Daquis refused. 8
intolerable dishonor to the legal profession. They constitute gross misconduct
for which he may be disbarred or suspended pursuant to Section 27, Rule 138 CHERYLE. VASCO-TAMARAY, Complainant,
of the Rules of Court, which provides: vs. Vasco-Tamaray stated that she obtained a copy of the Petition for Declaration
ATTY. DEBORAH Z. DAQUIS, Respondent. of Nullity of Marriage from Branch 207 of the Regional Trial Court of
Muntinlupa City. She was surprised to see that the Petition was allegedly
Sec. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court;
signed and filed by her.9
grounds therefor. -- A member of the bar may be disbarred or RESOLUTION
suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any
deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly Vasco-Tamaray alleged that she did not file the Petition, that her signature
PERCURIAM:
immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving was forged by Atty. Daquis, and that her purported community tax certificate
moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required appearing on the jurat was not hers because she never resided in Muntinlupa
to take before the admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience Pretending to be counsel for a party in a case and using a forged signature in City.10 She attached a Certification issued by the Sangguniang Barangay of
of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or willfully a pleading merit the penalty of disbarment. Putatan, Muntinlupa City stating that she was "never . . . a resident of #9
appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do Daang Hari Street, Umali Compound, Summitville Subdivision, Barangay
Putatan."11 She also attached a Certification issued by Barangay Talipapa The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines adopted and probability that respondent did not want Leomarte Tamaray to be the petitioner
stating that she has been a resident of "#484-J Saguittarius St., Solville Subd., approved the Report and Recommendation of the Commission on Bar because he would have to admit that he entered into a bigamous marriage, the
Barangay Talipapa, Novaliches, Quezon City... from 2000 till present."12 Discipline in the Resolution dated September 27, 2014. 26 admission of which may subject him to criminal liability.

Vasco-Tamaray also alleged that the Petition for Declaration of Nullity of The issue for resolution is whether respondent Atty. Deborah Z. Daquis should In addition, if it is true that complainant was respondent's client, then there
Marriage was Atty. Daquis' idea, consented to by Leomarte Tamaray.13 be held administratively liable for making it appear that she is counsel for appears to be no reason for respondent to advise her "not to oppose
complainant Cheryl Vasco-Tamaray and for the alleged use of a forged Leomarte's decision to have their marriage annulled."36
signature on the Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage.
She further alleged that she had never received any court process. The
Petition states that her postal address is "09 Daang Hari St., Umali Comp., The records of this case also support complainant's allegation that she never
Summitville Subd., Putatan, Muntinlupa City[,]"14 which is the address of her This court finds that respondent violated Canons 1, 7, 10, and 17 of the Code received any court process because her purported address in the Petition is
husband's family. The return slips of the notices sent by the trial court were of Professional Responsibility. The charge against respondent for violation of the address of Leomarte Tamaray. The Petition states that complainant is "of
received by Encarnacion T. Coletraba and Almencis Cumigad, relatives Canon 15 is dismissed. legal age, Filipino citizen, married with postal address at 09 Daang Hari St.,
ofLeomarte Tamaray.15 Umali Comp., Summitville Subd., Putatan, Muntinlupa City[.]" 37
I
Atty. Daquis filed an Answer countering that her client was Vasco-Tamaray, The Certificate of Marriage of complainant and Leomarte Tamaray states that
complainant herself, and not complainant's husband. She alleged that Vasco- Leomarte's residence is at "Summitvil[l]e Subv [sic], Muntinlupa," while
By pretending to be counsel for complainant, respondent violated Canon 1,
Tamaray knew of the Petition as early as October 2006, not December 2006.16 complainant's residence is at "Hermosa St. Gagalangin, Tondo,
Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and failed to uphold her
Manila."38 Assuming that complainant lived with her husband after they were
duty of doing no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any falsehood in court
married, complainant most likely did not receive court processes because she
With regard to the community tax certificate, Atty. Daquis explained that when as stated in the Lawyer's Oath.27
left their home before the filing of the Petition for Declaration of Nullity of
she notarized the Petition, the community tax certificate number was supplied
Marriage. As written in the Minutes of the meeting before the Office of the City
by Vasco-Tamaray.17 Atty. Daquis' allegation was supported by the Joint
Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides: Prosecutor:
Affidavit of her staff, Ma. Dolor E. Purawan (Purawan) and Ludy Lorena
(Lorena).18
CANON 1 - A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land P[etitioner] & R[espondent] met sometime in 1993 through his secretary. They
and promote respect for law and for legal processes. became sweethearts in 1993 and their relationship as steadies lasted until
Purawan and Lorena detailed in their Joint Affidavit that they knew Vasco-
1996;
Tamaray to be a client of Atty. Daquis and that they never saw Atty. Daquis
forge Vasco-Tamaray's signature. Purawan stated that she typed the Petition RULE 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and that the community tax certificate was deceitful conduct. During the 3 years of their union, petitioner knew respondent's family as she
provided by Vasco-Tamaray.19 even sleeps in their house; Theirs was also a long distance relationship as
respondent worked in Japan;
In this case, respondent merely denied complainant's allegation that she was
Atty. Daquis alleged that Vasco-Tamaray wanted her to call and demand Leomarte Tamaray's counsel 28 but was unable to rebut the other allegations
money from Leomarte Tamaray but she refused to do so.20 against her. Upon respondents [sic] return to the Philippines they got married in Feb, 1996.
They had no children, as respondent immediately left for Japan on March 11,
1996;
Atty. Daquis argued that Vasco-Tamaray had a copy of the Petition. When Respondent admitted that she met complainant in October 2006,29 but did not
Vasco-Tamaray requested another copy on March 5, 2007, Atty. Daquis was refute30 the statement in Maritess Marquez-Guerrero's Affidavit that Leomarte
unable to grant her client's request because she did not have a copy of the Tamaray introduced her as his lawyer.31 Likewise, respondent admitted that Respondent returned to the Philippines but unfortunately he brought another
Petition with her at that time.21 she met with complainant subsequently,32 but did not refute Maritess Marquez- woman. As a result, petitioner left their house. 39 (Emphasis supplied)
Guerrero's statement that in one of the meetings, she tried to convince
complainant not to oppose Leomarte Tamaray's decision to annul their
Atty. Daquis further alleged that Vasco-Tamaray conceived an illegitimate son Further, complainant cannot be faulted for her failure to inform the prosecutor
marriage.33
with a certain Reuel Pablo Aranda. The illegitimate son was named Charles that she did not file any petition for declaration of nullity of marriage because
Dino Vasco. Reuel Pablo Aranda signed the Affidavit of Acknowledgment/ during the meeting on March 5, 2007, complainant had no knowledge that the
Admission of Paternity portion of the birth certificate. 22 Respondent argued in her Answer that she was the counsel for Petition was filed in her name. 40 She obtained a copy of the Petition after the
complainant.34 Yet, there is no explanation how she was referred to March 5, 2007 meeting.41
complainant or how they were introduced. It appears, then, that respondent
The Commission on Bar Discipline required the parties to submit their position
was contacted by Leomarte Tamaray to file a Petition for Declaration of Nullity
papers,23 but based on the record, only Vasco-Tamaray complied.24 In Yupangco-Nakpil v. Uy,42 this court discussed Canon 1, Rule 1.01, as
of Marriage on the ground of bigamy. As stated in Maritess Marquez-
follows:
Guerrero's Affidavit, "Leomarte told Cheryl that the reason for that meeting and
The Commission on Bar Discipline recommended the dismissal of the the presence of Atty. Daquis was because he had decided to file a case to
Complaint because Vasco-Tamaray failed to prove her allegations. The annul his marriage with Cheryl[. ]"35 Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code, as it is applied to the members of the legal
Commission on Bar Discipline noted that Vasco-Tamaray should have professions, engraves an overriding prohibition against any form of
questioned the Petition or informed the prosecutor that she never filed any misconduct, viz:
Based on this, it seems Leomarte Tamaray intended to file the petition for
petition, but she failed to do so.25
declaration of nullity of marriage. However, respondent made it appear that
complainant, not her client Leomarte Tamaray, was the petitioner. There is a
CANON 1 - A LA WYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE CANON 7 - A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the others. It is by no means a coincidence, therefore, that the core values of
LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL legal profession, and support the activities of the integrated bar. honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness are emphatically reiterated by the Code
PROCESSES of Professional Responsibility. In this light, Rule 10.01, Canon 10 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility provides that "[a] lawyer shall not do any
RULE 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on
falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave
allow the Court to be misled by any artifice."63 (Emphasis supplied)
deceitful conduct. in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.

III
The gravity of the misconduct- determinative as it is of the errant lawyer's ....
penalty- depends on the factual circumstances of each case .
This court further finds that respondent violated Canon 17, which states:
CANON 10 - A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court.
....
CANON 17 - A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be
RULE 10.01 -A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of
mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him.
. . . Verily, members of the Bar are expected at all times to uphold the integrity any in Court; nor shall he mislead or allow the Court to be misled by any
and dignity of the legal profession and refrain from any act or omission which artifice.
might lessen the trust and confidence reposed by the public in the fidelity, Respondent failed to protect the interests of her client when she represented
honesty, and integrity of the legal profession. By no insignificant measure, 53 complainant, who is the opposing party of her client Leomarte Tamaray, in the
In Embido v. Pe, Jr.,  Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Salvador N. Pe, Jr. was
respondent blemished not only his integrity as a member of the Bar, but also same case.
found guilty of violating Canon 7, Rule 7.03 and was meted the penalty of
that of the legal profession. In other words, his conduct fell short of the
disbarment for falsifying a court decision "in a non-existent court
exacting standards expected of him as a guardian of law and justice.43
proceeding."54 This court discussed that: The responsibilities of a lawyer under Canon 17 were discussed
in Penilla v. Alcid, Jr.:64
When respondent filed the Petition as counsel for complainant when the truth
Gross immorality, conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or fraudulent
was otherwise, she committed a falsehood against the trial court and
transactions can justify a lawyer's disbarment or suspension from the practice The legal profession dictates that it is not a mere duty, but an obligation, of a
complainant.
of law. Specifically, the deliberate falsification of the court decision by the lawyer to accord the highest degree of fidelity, zeal and fervor in the protection
respondent was an act that reflected a high degree of moral turpitude on his of the client's interest. The most thorough groundwork and study must be
II part. Worse, the act made a mockery of the administration of justice in this undertaken in order to safeguard the interest of the client. The honor bestowed
country, given the purpose of the falsification, which was to mislead a foreign on his person to carry the title of a lawyer does not end upon taking the
tribunal on the personal status of a person. He thereby became unworthy of Lawyer's Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys. Rather, such honor attaches
Respondent violated Canon 7, Rule 7.03 and Canon 10, Rule 10.01 when she
continuing as a member of the Bar.55 to him for the entire duration of his practice of law and carries with it the
allowed the use of a forged signature on a petition she prepared and
consequent responsibility of not only satisfying the basic requirements but also
notarized.44
going the extra mile in the protection of the interests of the client and the
In a similar manner, respondent's act of allowing the use of a forged signature
pursuit of justice[. ]65
on a petition she prepared and notarized demonstrates a lack of moral fiber on
Complainant alleged that her signature on the Petition was
her part.
forged.45 Respondent merely denied complainant's allegation.46
Respondent is reminded of the duties and responsibilities of members of the
legal profession, as discussed in Tenoso v. Echanez:66
Other acts that this court has found violative of Canon 7, Rule 7.03 are:
The Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage was signed by a certain
engaging in a scuffle inside court chambers; 56 openly doubting paternity of his
"CVasco."47 The records of this case show that complainant has used two
own son;57 hurling invectives at a Clerk of Court;58 harassing occupants of a Time and again, this Court emphasizes that the practice of law is imbued with
signatures. In her identification cards issued by the University of the East, she
property;59 using intemperate language; 60 and engaging in an extramarital public interest and that "a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client,
used a signature that spelled out "CVasco."48 In her Complaint-Affidavit
affair.61 but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and
against respondent, complainant used a signature that spelled out
takes part in one of the most important functions of the State-the
"CTamaray."49
administration of justice-as an officer of the court." Accordingly, "[l]awyers are
Furthermore, allowing the use of a forged signature on a petition filed before a
bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency, but also of
court is tantamount to consenting to the commission of a falsehood before
A comparison of the signatures appearing on the Petition for Declaration of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing. "67 (Citations omitted)
courts, in violation of Canon 10.
Nullity of Marriage and on complainant's identification cards show a difference
in the stroke of the letters "c" and "o." Further, complainant's signatures in the
IV
documents50 attached to the records consistently appear to be of the same In Spouses Umaguing v. De Vera, 62 this court discussed the importance of
height. On the other hand, her alleged signature on the Petition for Declaration Canon 10, Rule 10.01, as follows:
of Nullity of Marriage has a big letter "c." 51 Hence, it seems that complainant's This court notes that respondent may have violated Canon 15, Rule 15.03
signature on the Petition for Declaration ofNullity of Marriage was forged. when she entered her appearance as counsel for complainant68 even though
The Lawyer's Oath enjoins every lawyer not only to obey the laws of the land
she was engaged as counsel by Leomarte Tamaray.69 Canon 15, Rule 15.03
but also to refrain from doing any falsehood in or out of court or from
of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides:
While there is no evidence to prove that respondent forged complainant's consenting to the doing of any in court, and to conduct himself according to the
signature, the fact remains that respondent allowed a forged signature to be best of his knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity to the courts as well
used on a petition she prepared and notarized.52 In doing so, respondent as to his clients. Every lawyer is a servant of the law, and has to observe and CANON 15 - A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his
violated Canon 7, Rule 7.03 and Canon 10, Rule 10.01. These canons state: maintain the rule of law as well as be an exemplar worthy of emulation by dealings and transactions with his client.
.... matter in which he represents him and also whether he will be called upon in Under the old rule, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the
his new relation to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through Philippines was given the power to "issue a decision"77 if the lawyer
their connection. Another test of the inconsistency of interests is whether the complained of was exonerated or meted a penalty of "less than suspension or
Rule 15.03 - A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written
acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge of disbarment."78 In addition, the case would be deemed terminated unless an
consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.
his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of interested party filed a petition before this court.79
unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof.73 (Emphasis
The rationale for Canon 15 was discussed in Samson v. Era:70 supplied, citations omitted)
The amendments to Rule 139-B is a reiteration that only this court has the
power to impose disciplinary action on members of the bar. The factual
The rule prohibiting conflict of interest was fashioned to prevent situations Respondent was engaged by Leomarte Tamaray to be his counsel.74 When findings and recommendations of the Commission on Bar Discipline and the
wherein a lawyer would be representing a client whose interest is directly the Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage was filed, respondent signed Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines are
adverse to any of his present or former clients. In the same way, a lawyer may the Petition as counsel for complainant. 75 If respondent was indeed engaged recommendatory, subject to review by this court.80
only be allowed to represent a client involving the same or a substantially as counsel by complainant, then there is conflict of interest, in violation of
related matter that is materially adverse to the former client only if the former Canon 15, Rule 15.03.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Deborah Z. Daquis is found GUILTY of
client consents to it after consultation. The rule is grounded in the fiduciary
violating Canon 1, Rule 1.01, Canon 7, Rule 7.03, Canon 10, Rule 10.01, and
obligation of loyalty. Throughout the course of a lawyer-client relationship, the
However, there is nothing on record to show that respondent was engaged as Canon 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
lawyer learns all the facts connected with the client's case, including the weak
counsel by complainant. Hence, this court finds that respondent did not
and strong points of the case. Knowledge and information gathered in the
commit conflict of interest.
course of the relationship must be treated as sacred and guarded with care. It The charge for violation of Canon 15, Rule 15.03 against respondent Atty.
behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the client's confidence, but also to Deborah Z. Daquis is DISMISSED.
avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing, for only then can V
litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is
The penalty of DISBARMENT is imposed upon respondent Atty. Deborah Z.
paramount in the administration of justice. The nature of that relationship is,
On a final note, Rule 139-B has been amended by Bar Matter No. 1645 dated Daquis. The Office of the Bar Confidant is directed to remove the name of
therefore, one of trust and confidence of the highest degree .
October 13, 2015. Section 12 of Rule 139-B now provides that: Deborah Z. Daquis from the Roll of Attorneys.

....
Rule 139-B. Disbarment and Discipline of Attorneys Let a copy of this Resolution be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant to
be appended to respondent's personal record as attorney, to the Integrated
. . . The spirit behind this rule is that the client's confidence once given should Bar of the Philippines, and to the Office of the Court Administrator for
....
not be stripped by the mere expiration of the professional dissemination to all courts throughout the country for their information and
employment.1âwphi1 Even after the severance of the relation, a lawyer should guidance.
not do anything that will injuriously affect his former client in any matter in Section 12. Review and recommendation by the Board of Governors.
which the lawyer previously represented the client. Nor should the lawyer
This Resolution takes effect immediately.
disclose or use any of the client's confidences acquired in the previous
(a) Every case heard by an investigator shall be reviewed by the IBP
relation. In this regard, Canon 17 of the Code of Professional
Board of Governors upon the record and evidence transmitted to it
Responsibility expressly declares that: "A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of SO ORDERED.
by the Investigator with his report.
his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him."
A.C. No. 5379            May 9, 2003
(b) After its review, the Board, by the vote of a majority of its total
The lawyer's highest and most unquestioned duty is to protect the client at all
membership, shall recommend to the Supreme Court the dismissal
hazards and costs even to himself. The protection given to the client is
of the complaint or the imposition of disciplinary action against the WALTER T. YOUNG, complainant,
perpetual and does not cease with the termination of the litigation, nor is it
respondent. The Board shall issue a resolution setting forth its vs.
affected by the client's ceasing to employ the attorney and retaining another,
findings and recommendations, clearly and distinctly stating the CEASAR G. BATUEGAS, MIGUELITO NAZARENO V. LLANTINO and
or by any other change of relation between them. It even survives the death of
facts and the reasons on which it is based. The resolution shall be FRANKLIN Q. SUSA, respondents.
the client.71
issued within a period not exceeding thirty (30) days from the next
meeting of the Board following the submission of the Investigator's
RESOLUTION
The test to determine whether conflict of interest exists was discussed report.
in Hornilla v. Salunat: 72
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
(c) The Board's resolution, together with the entire records and all
There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of evidence presented and submitted, shall be transmitted to the
two or more opposing parties. The test is "whether or not in behalf of one Supreme Court for final action within ten (10) days from issuance of On December 29, 2000, Atty. Walter T. Young filed a Verified Affidavit-
client, it is the lawyer's duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to the resolution. Complaint for disbarment against Attys. Ceasar G. Batuegas, Miguelito
oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this argument Nazareno V. Llantino and Franklin Q. Susa for allegedly committing deliberate
will be opposed by him when he argues for the other client." This rule covers falsehood in court and violating the lawyer's oath. 1
(d) Notice of the resolution shall be given to all parties through their
not only cases in which confidential communications have been confided, but
counsel, if any.76
also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be used. Also,
there is conflict of interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require Complainant is the private prosecutor in Criminal Case No. 00-187627 for
the attorney to perform an act which will injuriously affect his first client in any Murder, entitled "People of the Philippines versus Crisanto Arana, Jr.",
pending before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 27. On December Susa, upon the other hand, is hereby recommended dismissed for In Comia vs. Antona, we held:
13, 2000, respondents Batuegas and Llantino, as counsel for accused, filed a lack of merit.5
Manifestation with Motion for Bail, alleging that the "accused has voluntarily
It is of no moment that the accused eventually surrendered to the
surrendered to a person in authority. As such, he is now under
The foregoing Report and Recommendation was adopted and approved by the police authorities on the same date "tentatively" scheduled for the
detention."2 Upon personal verification with the National Bureau of
IBP-Commission on Bar Discipline in Resolution No. XV-2002-400, to wit: hearing of the application for bail. To our mind, such supervening
Investigation (NBI) where accused Arana allegedly surrendered, complainant
event is of no bearing and immaterial; it does not absolve
learned that he surrendered only on December 14, 2000, as shown by the
respondent judge from administrative liability considering that he
Certificate of Detention executed by Atty. Rogelio M. Mamauag, Chief of the RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED
should not have accorded recognition to the application for bail filed
Security Management Division of the NBI. and APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the
on behalf of persons who, at that point, were devoid of personality to
Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case, herein made
ask such specific affirmative relief from the court.13
part of this Resolution/Decision as Annex "A"; and, finding the
Respondent Susa, the Branch Clerk of Court of RTC of Manila, Branch 27,
recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the
calendared the motion on December 15, 2000 despite the foregoing
applicable laws and rules, and in view of respondents' commission In this jurisdiction, whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, reasonable
irregularity and other formal defects, namely, the lack of notice of hearing to
of deliberate falsehood, Atty. Batuegas and Atty. Llantino are hereby notice of hearing is required to be given to the prosecutor or fiscal, or at least,
the private complainant, violation of the three-day notice rule, and the failure to
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months. The he must be asked for his recommendation. 14
attach the Certificate of Detention which was referred to in the Motion as
complaint against Atty. Susa is hereby DISMISSED for lack of
Annex "1".
merit.6
In the case at bar, the prosecution was served with notice of hearing of the
motion for bail two days prior to the scheduled date. Although a motion may be
Respondents filed their respective comments, declaring that on December 13,
We agree with the findings and recommendations of the Investigating heard on short notice, respondents failed to show any good cause to justify the
2000, upon learning that a warrant of arrest was issued against their client,
Commissioner. Respondents Batuegas and Llantino are guilty of deliberate non-observance of the three-day notice rule. Verily, as lawyers, they are
they filed the Manifestation with Motion for Bail with the trial court. Then they
falsehood. obliged to observe the rules of procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the
immediately fetched the accused in Cavite and brought him to the NBI to
ends of justice.15
voluntarily surrender. However, due to heavy traffic, they arrived at the NBI at
2:00 a.m. the next day; hence, the certificate of detention indicated that the A lawyer must be a disciple of truth.7 He swore upon his admission to the Bar
accused surrendered on December 14, 2000. They argued that there was that he will "do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in court" and he Finally, we are in accord with the Investigating Commissioner that respondent
neither unethical conduct nor falsehood in the subject pleading as their client shall "conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and clerk of court should not be made administratively liable for including the
has voluntarily surrendered and was detained at the NBI. As regards the lack discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to his clients." 8 He Motion in the calendar of the trial court, considering that it was authorized by
of notice of hearing, they contend that complainant, as private prosecutor, was should bear in mind that as an officer of the court his high vocation is to the presiding judge. However, he is reminded that his administrative functions,
not entitled to any notice. Nevertheless, they furnished the State and City correctly inform the court upon the law and the facts of the case and to aid it in although not involving the discretion or judgment of a judge, are vital to the
prosecutors copies of the motion with notice of hearing thereof. Moreover, the doing justice and arriving at correct conclusion. 9 The courts, on the other hand, prompt and sound administration of justice.16 Thus, he should not hesitate to
hearing of a motion on shorter notice is allowed under Rule 15, Sec. 4(2) of are entitled to expect only complete honesty from lawyers appearing and inform the judge if he should find any act or conduct on the part of lawyers
the Rules of Court.3 pleading before them.10 While a lawyer has the solemn duty to defend his which are contrary to the established rules of procedure.
client's rights and is expected to display the utmost zeal in defense of his
client's cause, his conduct must never be at the expense of truth. 11
For his part, respondent Susa argues in his comment that he was no longer in WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Attys. Ceasar G.
court when his co-respondents filed the Manifestation with Motion for Bail. Ms. Batuegas, Miguelito Nazareno V. Llantino are found guilty of committing
Teofila A. Peña, Clerk III, received the said Motion and noticed that it was set The Court may disbar or suspend a lawyer for misconduct, whether in his deliberate falsehood. Accordingly, they are SUSPENDED from the practice of
for hearing on December 15, 2000 and the Certificate of Detention was not professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral law for a period of six (6) months with a warning that a repetition of the same
attached. However, the presiding judge instructed her to receive the Motion character, in honesty, probity, and good demeanor, thus proving unworthy to or similar act will be dealt with more severely.
subject to the presentation of the Certificate of Detention before the hearing. continue as an officer of the court.12
Thus, the inclusion of the Motion in the court's calendar on December 15,
Let a copy of this Resolution be attached to the personal records of Attys.
2000 was authorized by the presiding judge and, thus, was done by
Evidently, respondent lawyers fell short of the duties and responsibilities Ceasar G. Batuegas and Miguelito Nazareno V. Llantino in the Office of the
respondent Susa in faithful performance of his ministerial duty.
expected from them as members of the bar. Anticipating that their Motion for Bar Confidant and copies thereof be furnished the Integrated Bar of the
Bail will be denied by the court if it found that it had no jurisdiction over the Philippines.
In a Resolution dated August 13, 2001, 4 the instant case was referred to the person of the accused, they craftily concealed the truth by alleging that
Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation, report and recommendation accused had voluntarily surrendered to a person in authority and was under
SO ORDERED.
or decision. detention. Obviously, such artifice was a deliberate ruse to mislead the court
and thereby contribute to injustice. To knowingly allege an untrue statement of
fact in the pleading is a contemptuous conduct that we strongly condemn. G.R. No. L-25291 January 30, 1971
On December 7, 2001, the Investigating Commissioner, Rebecca Villanueva-
They violated their oath when they resorted to deception.
Maala, submitted her report and recommendation as follows:
THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., EMPLOYEES
Respondents contend that their allegation of the accused's detention was ASSOCIATION-NATU, FGU INSURANCE GROUP WORKERS and
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, it is respectfully
merely a statement of an ultimate fact which still had to be proved by evidence EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, and INSULAR LIFE BUILDING
recommended that Atty. Ceasar G. Batuegas and Atty. Miguelito
at the hearing of the Motion. That they were able to show that their client was EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, petitioners,
Nazareno V. Llantino be suspended from the practice of their
already under the custody of the NBI at the hearing held on December 15, vs.
profession as a lawyer/member of the Bar for a period of six (6)
2000 does not exonerate them. The fact remains that the allegation that the THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., FGU INSURANCE GROUP,
months from receipt hereof. The complaint against Atty. Franklin Q.
accused was in the custody of the NBI on December 13, 2000 was false. JOSE M. OLBES and COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, respondents.
Lacsina, Lontok and Perez and Luis F. Aquino for petitioners. insisted that the Unions first drop their demand for union security, promising 5. Be paid overtime for work performed in excess of eight
money benefits if this was done. Thereupon, and prior to April 15, 1958, the hours.
petitioner Insular Life Building Employees Association-NATU dropped this
Francisco de los Reyes for respondent Court of Industrial Relations.
particular demand, and requested the Companies to answer its demands,
6. Be sure arrangements will be made for your families.
point by point, en toto. But the respondent Insular Life Assurance Co. still
Araneta, Mendoza and Papa for other respondents. 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 The decision to make is yours — whether you still believe
asked to drop their union security demand, otherwise the Companies "would in the motives of the strike or in the fairness of the
no longer consider themselves bound by the commitment to make money Management.
benefits retroactive to October 1, 1957." By a letter dated April 17, 1958, the
CASTRO, J.: remaining two petitioner unions likewise dropped their demand for union shop.
The Unions, however, continued on strike, with the exception of a few
April 25, 1958 then was set by the parties to meet and discuss the remaining
unionists who were convinced to desist by the aforesaid letter of May 21,
demands.
Appeal, by certiorari to review a decision and a resolution en banc of the Court 1958.
of Industrial Relations dated August 17, 1965 and October 20, 1965,
respectively, in Case 1698-ULP. From April 25 to May 6, 1958, the parties negotiated on the labor demands but
From the date the strike was called on May 21, 1958, until it was called off on
with no satisfactory result due to a stalemate on the matter of salary increases.
May 31, 1958, some management men tried to break thru the Unions' picket
On May 13, 1958 the Unions demanded from the Companies final counter-
The Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd., Employees Association-NATU, FGU lines. Thus, on May 21, 1958 Garcia, assistant corporate secretary, and
proposals on their economic demands, particularly on salary increases.
Insurance Group Workers & Employees Association-NATU, and Insular Life Vicente Abella, chief of the personnel records section, respectively of the
Instead of giving counter-proposals, the Companies on May 15, 1958
Building Employees Association-NATU (hereinafter referred to as the Unions), Companies, tried to penetrate the picket lines in front of the Insular Life
presented facts and figures and requested the Unions to submit a workable
while still members of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), entered into Building. Garcia, upon approaching the picket line, tossed aside the placard of
formula which would justify their own proposals, taking into account the
separate collective bargaining agreements with the Insular Life Assurance Co., a picketer, one Paulino Bugay; a fight ensued between them, in which both
financial position of the former. Forthwith the Unions voted to declare a strike
Ltd. and the FGU Insurance Group (hereinafter referred to as the Companies). suffered injuries. The Companies organized three bus-loads of employees,
in protest against what they considered the Companies' unfair labor practices.
including a photographer, who with the said respondent Olbes, succeeded in
penetrating the picket lines in front of the Insular Life Building, thus causing
Two of the lawyers of the Unions then were Felipe Enaje and Ramon Garcia; Meanwhile, eighty-seven (87) unionists were reclassified as supervisors injuries to the picketers and also to the strike-breakers due to the resistance
the latter was formerly the secretary-treasurer of the FFW and acting president without increase in salary nor in responsibility while negotiations were going on offered by some picketers.
of the Insular Life/FGU unions and the Insular Life Building Employees in the Department of Labor after the notice to strike was served on the
Association. Garcia, as such acting president, in a circular issued in his name Companies. These employees resigned from the Unions.
and signed by him, tried to dissuade the members of the Unions from Alleging that some non-strikers were injured and with the use of photographs
disaffiliating with the FFW and joining the National Association of Trade as evidence, the Companies then filed criminal charges against the strikers
Unions (NATU), to no avail. On May 20, 1958 the Unions went on strike and picketed the offices of the with the City Fiscal's Office of Manila. During the pendency of the said cases
Insular Life Building at Plaza Moraga. 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
Enaje and Garcia soon left the FFW and secured employment with the Anti- pendency of the various criminal cases against striking members of the
Dummy Board of the Department of Justice. Thereafter, the Companies hired On May 21, 1958 the Companies through their acting manager and president,
Unions, issued on May 31, 1958 an order restraining the strikers, until further
Garcia in the latter part of 1956 as assistant corporate secretary and legal the respondent Jose M. Olbes (hereinafter referred to as the respondent
orders of the said court, from stopping, impeding, obstructing, etc. the free and
assistant in their Legal Department, and he was soon receiving P900 a month, Olbes), sent to each of the strikers a letter (exhibit A) quoted verbatim as
peaceful use of the Companies' gates, entrance and driveway and the free
or P600 more than he was receiving from the FFW. Enaje was hired on or follows:
movement of persons and vehicles to and from, out and in, of the Companies'
about February 19, 1957 as personnel manager of the Companies, and was building.
likewise made chairman of the negotiating panel for the Companies in the We recognize it is your privilege both to strike and to
collective bargaining with the Unions. conduct picketing.
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:
In a letter dated September 16, 1957, the Unions jointly submitted proposals to However, if any of you would like to come back to work
the Companies for a modified renewal of their respective collective bargaining voluntarily, you may:
contracts which were then due to expire on September 30, 1957. The parties The first day of the strike was last 21 May 1958.
mutually agreed and to make whatever benefits could be agreed upon
retroactively effective October 1, 1957. 1. Advise the nearest police officer or security guard of
Our position remains unchanged and the strike has made
your intention to do so.
us even more convinced of our decision.
Thereafter, in the months of September and October 1957 negotiations were
conducted on the Union's proposals, but these were snagged by a deadlock 2. Take your meals within the office.
We do not know how long you intend to stay out, but we
on the issue of union shop, as a result of which the Unions filed on January 27,
cannot hold your positions open for long. We have
1958 a notice of strike for "deadlock on collective bargaining." Several
3. Make a choice whether to go home at the end of the continued to operate and will continue to do so with or
conciliation conferences were held under the auspices of the Department of
day or to sleep nights at the office where comfortable cots without you.
Labor wherein the conciliators urged the Companies to make reply to the
have been prepared.
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. If you are still interested in continuing in the employ of the
However, the Companies did not make any counter-proposals but, instead, 4. Enjoy free coffee and occasional movies. Group Companies, and if there are no criminal charges
pending against you, we are giving you until 2 June 1958 On August 4, 1958 the Companies filed their answer denying all the material Indeed, it is an unfair labor practice for an employer operating under a
to report for work at the home office. If by this date you allegations of the complaint, stating special defenses therein, and asking for collective bargaining agreement to negotiate or to attempt to negotiate with his
have not yet reported, we may be forced to obtain your the dismissal of the complaint. employees individually in connection with changes in the agreement. And the
replacement. 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
After trial on the merits, the Court of Industrial Relations, through Presiding
with the union as the employees' bargaining representative (Melo Photo
Before, the decisions was yours to make. Judge Arsenio Martinez, rendered on August 17, 1965 a decision dismissing
Supply Corporation vs. National Labor Relations Board, 321 U.S. 332).
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
So it is now.
supporting memorandum on September 10, 1965. This was denied by the Indeed, some such similar actions are illegal as constituting unwarranted acts
Court of Industrial Relations en banc in a resolution promulgated on October of interference. Thus, the act of a company president in writing letters to the
Incidentally, all of the more than 120 criminal charges filed against the 20, 1965. strikers, urging their return to work on terms inconsistent with their union
members of the Unions, except three (3), were dismissed by the fiscal's office membership, was adjudged as constituting interference with the exercise of his
and by the courts. These three cases involved "slight physical injuries" against employees' right to collective bargaining (Lighter Publishing, CCA 7th, 133 F2d
Hence, this petition for review, the Unions contending that the lower court
one striker and "light coercion" against two others. 621). It is likewise an act of interference for the employer to send a letter to all
erred:
employees notifying them to return to work at a time specified therein,
otherwise new employees would be engaged to perform their jobs. Individual
At any rate, because of the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction
1. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor solicitation of the employees or visiting their homes, with the employer or his
against them as well as the ultimatum of the Companies giving them until June
practice in sending out individually to the strikers the representative urging the employees to cease union activity or cease striking,
2, 1958 to return to their jobs or else be replaced, the striking employees
letters marked Exhibits A and B; constitutes unfair labor practice. All the above-detailed activities are unfair
decided to call off their strike and to report back to work on June 2, 1958. 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
2. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor
However, before readmitting the strikers, the Companies required them not molestation.1
practice for discriminating against the striking members of
only to secure clearances from the City Fiscal's Office of Manila but also to be
the Unions in the matter of readmission of employees
screened by a management committee among the members of which were
after the strike; Moreover, since exhibit A is a letter containing promises of benefits to the
Enage and Garcia. The screening committee initially rejected 83 strikers with employees in order to entice them to return to work, it is not protected by the
pending criminal charges. However, all non-strikers with pending criminal free speech provisions of the Constitution (NLRB v. Clearfield Cheese Co.,
charges which arose from the breakthrough incident were readmitted 3. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor Inc., 213 F2d 70). The same is true with exhibit B since it contained threats to
immediately by the Companies without being required to secure clearances practice for dismissing officials and members of the obtain replacements for the striking employees in the event they did not report
from the fiscal's office. Subsequently, when practically all the strikers had Unions without giving them the benefit of investigation and for work on June 2, 1958. The free speech protection under the Constitution is
secured clearances from the fiscal's office, the Companies readmitted only the opportunity to present their side in regard to activities inapplicable where the expression of opinion by the employer or his agent
some but adamantly refused readmission to 34 officials and members of the undertaken by them in the legitimate exercise of their right contains a promise of benefit, or threats, or reprisal (31 Am. Jur. 544; NLRB
Unions who were most active in the strike, on the ground that they committed to strike; and vs. Clearfield Cheese Co., Inc., 213 F2d 70; NLRB vs. Goigy Co., 211 F2d
"acts inimical to the interest of the respondents," without however stating the 533, 35 ALR 2d 422).
specific acts allegedly committed. Among those who were refused readmission
4. In not ordering the reinstatement of officials and
are Emiliano Tabasondra, vice president of the Insular Life Building
members of the Unions, with full back wages, from June
Employees' Association-NATU; Florencio Ibarra, president of the FGU Indeed, when the respondents offered reinstatement and attempted to "bribe"
2, 1958 to the date of their actual reinstatement to their
Insurance Group Workers & Employees Association-NATU; and Isagani Du the strikers with "comfortable cots," "free coffee and occasional movies,"
usual employment.
Timbol, acting president of the Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd. Employees "overtime" pay for "work performed in excess of eight hours," and
Association-NATU. Some 24 of the above number were ultimately notified "arrangements" for their families, so they would abandon the strike and return
months later that they were being dismissed retroactively as of June 2, 1958 I. The respondents contend that the sending of the letters, exhibits A and B, to work, they were guilty of strike-breaking and/or union-busting and,
and given separation pay checks computed under Rep. Act 1787, while others constituted a legitimate exercise of their freedom of speech. We do not agree. consequently, of unfair labor practice. It is equivalent to an attempt to break a
(ten in number) up to now have not been readmitted although there have been The said letters were directed to the striking employees individually — by strike for an employer to offer reinstatement to striking employees individually,
no formal dismissal notices given to them. registered special delivery mail at that — without being coursed through the when they are represented by a union, since the employees thus offered
Unions which were representing the employees in the collective bargaining. reinstatement are unable to determine what the consequences of returning to
work would be.
On July 29, 1958 the CIR prosecutor filed a complaint for unfair labor practice
against the Companies under Republic Act 875. The complaint specifically The act of an employer in notifying absent employees
charged the Companies with (1) interfering with the members of the Unions in individually during a strike following unproductive efforts at Likewise violative of the right to organize, form and join labor organizations are
the exercise of their right to concerted action, by sending out individual letters collective bargaining that the plant would be operated the the following acts: the offer of a Christmas bonus to all "loyal" employees of a
to them urging them to abandon their strike and return to work, with a promise next day and that their jobs were open for them should company shortly after the making of a request by the union to bargain; wage
of comfortable cots, free coffee and movies, and paid overtime, and, they want to come in has been held to be an unfair labor increases given for the purpose of mollifying employees after the employer has
subsequently, by warning them that if they did not return to work on or before practice, as an active interference with the right of refused to bargain with the union, or for the purpose of inducing striking
June 2, 1958, they might be replaced; and (2) discriminating against the collective bargaining through dealing with the employees employees to return to work; the employer's promises of benefits in return for
members of the Unions as regards readmission to work after the strike on the individually instead of through their collective bargaining the strikers' abandonment of their strike in support of their union; and the
basis of their union membership and degree of participation in the strike. representatives. (31 Am. Jur. 563, citing NLRB v. employer's statement, made about 6 weeks after the strike started, to a group
Montgomery Ward & Co. [CA 9th] 133 F2d 676, 146 ALR of strikers in a restaurant to the effect that if the strikers returned to work, they
1045) 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 supervisors without increase in salary or in responsibility, in effect compelling TO: BUREAU OF LABOR
court which states that "the officers and members of the complainant unions these employees to resign from their unions. And during the negotiations in the RELATIONS
decided to call off the strike and return to work on June 2, 1958 by reason of Department of Labor, despite the fact that the petitioners granted the DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
the injunction issued by the Manila Court of First Instance," the respondents respondents' demand that the former drop their demand for union shop and in MANILA
contend that this was the main cause why the strikers returned to work and not spite of urgings by the conciliators of the Department of Labor, the
the letters, exhibits A and B. This assertion is without merit. The circumstance respondents adamantly refused to answer the Unions' demands en toto.
Thirty (30) days from receipt of this notice by the Office,
that the strikers later decided to return to work ostensibly on account of the Incidentally, Enage was the chairman of the negotiating panel for the
this [sic] unions intends to go on strike against
injunctive writ issued by the Court of First Instance of Manila cannot alter the Companies in the collective bargaining between the former and the Unions.
intrinsic quality of the letters, which were calculated, or which tended, to After the petitioners went to strike, the strikers were individually sent copies of
interfere with the employees' right to engage in lawful concerted activity in the exhibit A, enticing them to abandon their strike by inducing them to return to THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE
form of a strike. Interference constituting unfair labor practice will not cease to work upon promise of special privileges. Two days later, the respondents, thru CO., LTD.
be such simply because it was susceptible of being thwarted or resisted, or their president and manager, respondent Jose M. Olbes, brought three Plaza Moraga, Manila
that it did not proximately cause the result intended. For success of purpose is truckloads of non-strikers and others, escorted by armed men, who, despite
not, and should not, be the criterion in determining whether or not a prohibited the presence of eight entrances to the three buildings occupied by the
THE FGU INSURANCE GROUP
act constitutes unfair labor practice. Companies, entered thru only one gate less than two meters wide and in the
Plaza Moraga, Manila
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 test of whether an employer has interfered with and
the strike-breakers.lâwphî1.ñèt Then the respondents brought against the INSULAR LIFE BUILDING
coerced employees within the meaning of subsection (a)
picketers criminal charges, only three of which were not dismissed, and these ADMINISTRATION
(1) is whether the employer has engaged in conduct which
three only for slight misdemeanors. As a result of these criminal actions, the Plaza Moraga, Manila .
it may reasonably be said tends to interfere with the free
respondents were able to obtain an injunction from the court of first instance
exercise of employees' rights under section 3 of the Act,
restraining the strikers from stopping, impeding, obstructing, etc. the free and
and it is not necessary that there be direct evidence that for the following reason: DEADLOCK IN COLLECTIVE
peaceful use of the Companies' gates, entrance and driveway and the free
any employee was in fact intimidated or coerced by BARGAINING...
movement of persons and vehicles to and from, out and in, of the Companies'
statements of threats of the employer if there is a
buildings. On the same day that the injunction was issued, the letter, Exhibit B,
reasonable inference that anti-union conduct of the
was sent — again individually and by registered special delivery mail — to the However, the employees did not stage the strike after the thirty-day period,
employer does have an adverse effect on self-
strikers, threatening them with dismissal if they did not report for work on or reckoned from January 27, 1958. This simply proves that the reason for the
organization and collective bargaining. (Francisco, Labor
before June 2, 1958. But when most of the petitioners reported for work, the strike was not the deadlock on collective bargaining nor any lack of economic
Laws 1956, Vol. II, p. 323, citing NLRB v. Ford, C.A.,
respondents thru a screening committee — of which Ramon Garcia was a concessions. By letter dated April 15, 1958, the respondents categorically
1948, 170 F2d 735).
member — refused to admit 63 members of the Unions on the ground of stated what they thought was the cause of the "Notice of Strike," which so far
"pending criminal charges." However, when almost all were cleared of criminal as material, reads:
Besides, the letters, exhibits A and B, should not be considered by themselves charges by the fiscal's office, the respondents adamantly refused admission to
alone but should be read in the light of the preceding and subsequent 34 officials and union members. It is not, however, disputed that all-non-
circumstances surrounding them. The letters should be interpreted according strikers with pending criminal charges which arose from the breakthrough 3. Because you did not see fit to agree with our position
to the "totality of conduct doctrine," incident of May 23, 1958 were readmitted immediately by the respondents. on the union shop, you filed a notice of strike with the
Among the non-strikers with pending criminal charges who were readmitted Bureau of Labor Relations on 27 January 1958, citing
were Generoso Abella, Enrique Guidote, Emilio Carreon, Antonio Castillo, `deadlock in collective bargaining' which could have been
... whereby the culpability of an employer's remarks were for no other issue than the union shop." (exhibit 8, letter
Federico Barretto, Manuel Chuidian and Nestor Cipriano. And despite the fact
to be evaluated not only on the basis of their implicit dated April 15, 1958.)
that the fiscal's office found no probable cause against the petitioning strikers,
implications, but were to be appraised against the the Companies adamantly refused admission to them on the pretext that they
background of and in conjunction with collateral committed "acts inimical to the interest of the respondents," without stating The strike took place nearly four months from the date the said notice of strike
circumstances. Under this "doctrine" expressions of specifically the inimical acts allegedly committed. They were soon to admit, was filed. And the actual and main reason for the strike was, "When it became
opinion by an employer which, though innocent in however, that these alleged inimical acts were the same criminal charges crystal clear the management double crossed or will not negotiate in good
themselves, frequently were held to be culpable because which were dismissed by the fiscal and by the courts.. faith, it is tantamount to refusal collectively and considering the unfair labor
of the circumstances under which they were uttered, the
history of the particular employer's labor relations or anti- practice in the meantime being committed by the management such as the
union bias or because of their connection with an Verily, the above actuations of the respondents before and after the issuance sudden resignation of some unionists and [who] became supervisors without
established collateral plan of coercion or interference. of the letters, exhibit A and B, yield the clear inference that the said letters increase in salary or change in responsibility, such as the coercion of
(Rothenberg on Relations, p. 374, and cases cited formed of the respondents scheme to preclude if not destroy unionism within employees, decided to declare the strike." (tsn., Oct. 14, 1958, p. 14.) The
therein.) them. 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
It must be recalled that previous to the petitioners' submission of proposals for To justify the respondents' threat to dismiss the strikers and secure petitioners did not drop the demand for union shop (exh. 7, respondents' letter
an amended renewal of their respective collective bargaining agreements to replacements for them in order to protect and continue their business, the CIR dated April 7, 1958); (2) when the petitioners dropped the demand for union
the respondents, the latter hired Felipe Enage and Ramon Garcia, former legal held the petitioners' strike to be an economic strike on the basis of exhibit 4 shop, the respondents did not have a counter-offer to the petitioners'
counsels of the petitioners, as personnel manager and assistant corporate (Notice of Strike) which states that there was a "deadlock in collective demands. Sec. 14 of Rep. Act 875 required the respondents to make a reply to
secretary, respectively, with attractive compensations. After the notice to strike bargaining" and on the strength of the supposed testimonies of some union the petitioners' demands within ten days from receipt thereof, but instead they
was served on the Companies and negotiations were in progress in the men who did not actually know the very reason for the strike. It should be asked the petitioners to give a "well reasoned, workable formula which takes
Department of Labor, the respondents reclassified 87 employees as noted that exhibit 4, which was filed on January 27, 1958, states, inter alia:
into account the financial position of the group companies." (tsn., Sept. 8, picketers during the strike — were hostile to the strikers. Needless to say, the sufficient cause under the law to terminate your
1958, p. 62; tsn., Feb. 26, 1969, p. 49.) mere act of placing in the hands of employees hostile to the strikers the power employment without pay, we are giving you the amount of
of reinstatement, is a form of discrimination in rehiring. P1,930.32 corresponding to one-half month pay for every
year of your service in the Group Company.
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 Delayed reinstatement is a form of discrimination in
companies; (2) there must be no criminal charges against him; and (3) he rehiring, as is having the machinery of reinstatement in Kindly acknowledge receipt of the check we are sending
must report for work on June 2, 1958, otherwise he would be replaced. Since the hands of employees hostile to the strikers, and herewith.
the evidence shows that all the employees reported back to work at the reinstating a union official who formerly worked in a
respondents' head office on June 2, 1953, they must be considered as having unionized plant, to a job in another mill, which was
Very truly y
complied with the first and third conditions. imperfectly organized. (Morabe, The Law on Strikes, p.
473, citing Sunshine Mining Co., 7 NLRB 1252; Cleveland
Worsted Mills, 43 NLRB 545; emphasis supplied.) (Sgd.) JOS
Our point of inquiry should therefore be directed at whether they also complied
OLBES
with the second condition. It is not denied that when the strikers reported for
President,
work on June 2, 1958, 63 members of the Unions were refused readmission Equally significant is the fact that while the management and the members of
Life
because they had pending criminal charges. However, despite the fact that the screening committee admitted the discrimination committed against the
Acting Pres
they were able to secure their respective clearances 34 officials and union strikers, they tossed back and around to each other the responsibility for the
members were still refused readmission on the alleged ground that they discrimination. Thus, Garcia admitted that in exercising for the management
committed acts inimical to the Companies. It is beyond dispute, however, that the authority to screen the returning employees, the committee admitted the The respondents, however, admitted that the alleged "acts of misconduct"
non-strikers who also had criminal charges pending against them in the fiscal's non-strikers but refused readmission to the strikers (tsn., Feb. 6, 1962, pp. 15- attributed to the dismissed strikers were the same acts with which the said
office, arising from the same incidents whence the criminal charges against 19, 23-29). Vicente Abella, chairman of the management's screening strikers were charged before the fiscal's office and the courts. But all these
the strikers evolved, were readily readmitted and were not required to secure committee, while admitting the discrimination, placed the blame therefor charges except three were dropped or dismissed.
clearances. This is a clear act of discrimination practiced by the Companies in squarely on the management (tsn., Sept. 20, 1960, pp. 7-8, 14-18). But the
the process of rehiring and is therefore a violation of sec. 4(a) (4) of the management, speaking through the respondent Olbes, head of the
Indeed, the individual cases of dismissed officers and members of the striking
Industrial Peace Act. Companies, disclaimed responsibility for the discrimination. He testified that
unions do not indicate sufficient basis for dismissal.
"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."
The respondents did not merely discriminate against all the strikers in general.
(tsn., Sept. 6, 1962, p. 19.) Emiliano Tabasondra, vice-president of the petitioner FGU Insurance Group
They separated the active from the less active unionists on the basis of their
Workers & Employees Association-NATU, was refused reinstatement allegedly
militancy, or lack of it, on the picket lines. Unionists belonging to the first
because he did not report for duty on June 2, 1958 and, hence, had
category were refused readmission even after they were able to secure Of course, the respondents — through Ramon Garcia — tried to explain the
abandoned his office. But the overwhelming evidence adduced at the trial and
clearances from the competent authorities with respect to the criminal charges basis for such discrimination by testifying that strikers whose participation in
which the respondents failed to rebut, negates the respondents' charge that he
filed against them. It is significant to note in this connection that except for one any alleged misconduct during the picketing was not serious in nature were
had abandoned his job. In his testimony, corroborated by many others,
union official who deserted his union on the second day of the strike and who readmissible, while those whose participation was serious were not. (tsn., Aug.
Tabasondra particularly identified the management men to whom he and his
later participated in crashing through the picket lines, not a single union officer 4, 1961, pp. 48-49, 56). But even this distinction between acts of slight
group presented themselves on June 2, 1958. He mentioned the respondent
was taken back to work. Discrimination undoubtedly exists where the record misconduct and acts of serious misconduct which the respondents contend
Olbes' secretary, De Asis, as the one who received them and later directed
shows that the union activity of the rehired strikers has been less prominent was the basis for either reinstatement or discharge, is completely shattered
them — when Olbes refused them an audience — to Felipe Enage, the
than that of the strikers who were denied reinstatement. upon a cursory examination of the evidence on record. For with the exception
Companies' personnel manager. He likewise categorically stated that he and
of Pascual Esquillo whose dismissal sent to the other strikers cited the alleged
his group went to see Enage as directed by Olbes' secretary. If Tabasondra
commission by them of simple "acts of misconduct."
So is there an unfair labor practice where the employer, were not telling the truth, it would have been an easy matter for the
although authorized by the Court of Industrial Relations to respondents to produce De Asis and Enage — who testified anyway as
dismiss the employees who participated in an illegal III. Anent the third assignment of error, the record shows that not a single witnesses for the respondents on several occasions — to rebut his testimony.
strike, dismissed only the leaders of the strikers, such dismissed striker was given the opportunity to defend himself against the The respondents did nothing of the kind. Moreover, Tabasondra called on
dismissal being evidence of discrimination against those supposed charges against him. As earlier mentioned, when the striking June 21, 1958 the respondents' attention to his non-admission and asked
dismissed and constituting a waiver of the employer's right employees reported back for work on June 2, 1958, the respondents refused them to inform him of the reasons therefor, but instead of doing so, the
to dismiss the striking employees and a condonation of to readmit them unless they first secured the necessary clearances; but when respondents dismissed him by their letter dated July 10, 1958. Elementary
the fault committed by them." (Carlos and Fernando, all, except three, were able to secure and subsequently present the required fairness required that before being dismissed for cause, Tabasondra be given
Labor and Social Legislation, p. 62, citing Phil. Air Lines, clearances, the respondents still refused to take them back. Instead, several of "his day in court."
Inc. v. Phil. Air Lines Emloyees Association, L-8197, Oct. them later received letters from the respondents in the following stereotyped
31, 1958.) tenor:
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,
It is noteworthy that — perhaps in an anticipatory effort to exculpate This will confirm the termination of your employment with the U.S. Supreme Court held that the taking back of six of eleven men
themselves from charges of discrimination in the readmission of strikers the Insular Life-FGU Insurance Group as of 2 June 1958. constituted discrimination although the five strikers who were not reinstated, all
returning to work — the respondents delegated the power to readmit to a of whom were prominent in the union and in the strike, reported for work at
committee. But the respondent Olbes had chosen Vicente Abella, chief of the various times during the next three days, but were told that there were no
The termination of your employment was due to the fact
personnel records section, and Ramon Garcia, assistant corporate secretary, openings. Said the Court:
that you committed acts of misconduct while picketing
to screen the unionists reporting back to work. It is not difficult to imagine that
during the last strike. Because this may not constitute
these two employees — having been involved in unpleasant incidents with the
... The Board found, and we cannot say that its finding is seek the confidence of his men ... (Concurring opinion of out strike. A strike is essentially a battle waged with
unsupported, that, in taking back six union men, the Justice Jackson in Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516, 547, economic weapons. Engaged in it are human beings
respondent's officials discriminated against the latter on 65 Sup. Ct. 315, 89 L. Ed. 430.) (Mathews, Labor whose feelings are stirred to the depths. Rising passions
account of their union activities and that the excuse given Relations and the Law, p. 591.) call forth hot words. Hot words lead to blows on the picket
that they did not apply until after the quota was full was an line. The transformation from economic to physical
afterthought and not the true reason for the discrimination combat by those engaged in the contest is difficult to
The respondents also allege that in revealing certain confidential information,
against them. (NLRB v. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co., prevent even when cool heads direct the fight. Violence of
Tongos committed not only a betrayal of trust but also a violation of the moral
304 U.S. 333, 58 Sup. Ct. 904, 82 L. Ed. 1381) (Mathews, this nature, however much it is to be regretted, must have
principles and ethics of accountancy. But nowhere in the Code of Ethics for
Labor Relations and the Law, p. 725, 728) been in the contemplation of the Congress when it
Certified Public Accountants under the Revised Rules and Regulations of the
provided in Sec. 13 of Act 29 USCA Sec. 163, that nothing
Board of Accountancy formulated in 1954, is this stated. Moreover, the
therein should be construed so as to interfere with or
The respondents' allegation that Tabasondra should have returned after being relationship of the Companies with Tongos was that of an employer and not a
impede or diminish in any way the right to strike. If this
refused readmission on June 2, 1958, is not persuasive. When the employer client. And with regard to the testimonies of Juan Raymundo and Antolin
were not so, the rights afforded to employees by the Act
puts off reinstatement when an employee reports for work at the time agreed, Carillo, both vice-presidents of the Trust Insurance Agencies, Inc. about the
would indeed be illusory. We accordingly recently held
we consider the employee relieved from the duty of returning further. alleged utterances made by Tongos, the lower court should not have given
that it was not intended by the Act that minor disorders of
them much weight. The firm of these witnesses was newly established at that
this nature would deprive a striker of the possibility of
time and was still a "general agency" of the Companies. It is not therefore
Sixto Tongos was dismissed allegedly because he revealed that despite the reinstatement. (Republic Steel Corp. v. N. L. R. B., 107
amiss to conclude that they were more inclined to favor the respondents rather
fact that the Companies spent more than P80,000 for the vacation trips of F2d 472, cited in Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law,
than Tongos.
officials, they refused to grant union demands; hence, he betrayed his trust as p. 378)
an auditor of the Companies. We do not find this allegation convincing. First,
this accusation was emphatically denied by Tongos on the witness stand. Pacifico Ner, Paulino Bugay, Jose Garcia, Narciso Daño, Vicente Alsol and
Hence the incident that occurred between Ner, et al. and Ramon Garcia was
Gonzales, president of one of the respondent Companies and one of the Hermenigildo Ramirez, opined the lower court, were constructively dismissed
but a necessary incident of the strike and should not be considered as a bar to
officials referred to, took a trip abroad in 1958. Exchange controls were then in by non-readmission allegedly because they not only prevented Ramon Garcia,
reinstatement. Thus it has been held that:
force, and an outgoing traveller on a combined business and vacation trip was assistant corporate secretary, and Vicente Abella, chief of the personnel
allowed by the Central Bank, per its Circular 52 (Notification to Authorized records section of the Companies, from entering the Companies' premises on
Agent Banks) dated May 9, 1952, an allocation of $1,000 or only P2,000, at May 21, 1958, but they also caused bruises and abrasions on Garcia's chest Fist-fighting between union and non-union employees in the midst of a strike is
the official rate of two pesos to the dollar, as pocket money; hence, this was and forehead — acts considered inimical to the interest of the respondents. no bar to reinstatement. (Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective Bargaining, Vol.
the only amount that would appear on the books of the Companies. It was only The Unions, upon the other hand, insist that there is complete lack of evidence II, p. 855 citing Stackpole Carbon, Co. 6 NLRB 171, enforced 105 F2d 167.)
on January 21, 1962, per its Circular 133 (Notification to Authorized Agent that Ner took part in pushing Garcia; that it was Garcia who elbowed his way
Banks), that the Central Bank lifted the exchange controls. Tongos could not through the picket lines and therefore Ner shouted "Close up," which the
Furthermore, assuming that the acts committed by the strikers were
therefore have revealed an amount bigger than the above sum. And his picketers did; and that Garcia tossed Paulino Bugay's placard and a fight
transgressions of law, they amount only to mere ordinary misdemeanors and
competence in figures could not be doubted considering that he had passed ensued between them in which both suffered injuries. But despite these
are not a bar to reinstatement.
the board examinations for certified public accountants. But conflicting versions of what actually happened on May 21, 1958, there are
assuming arguendo that Tongos indeed revealed the true expenses of grounds to believe that the picketers are not responsible for what
Gonzales' trip — which the respondents never denied or tried to happened.lâwphî1.ñèt The picketing on May 21, 1958, as reported in the In cases involving misdemeanors the board has generally held that unlawful
disprove — his statements clearly fall within the sphere of a unionist's right to police blotter, was peaceful (see Police blotter report, exh. 3 in CA-G.R. No. acts are not bar to reinstatement. (Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective
discuss and advertise the facts involved in a labor dispute, in accordance with 25991-R of the Court of Appeals, where Ner was acquitted). Moreover, Bargaining, Id., p. 854, citing Ford Motor Company, 23 NLRB No. 28.)
section 9(a)(5) of Republic Act 875 which guarantees the untramelled exercise although the Companies during the strike were holding offices at the Botica
by striking employees of the right to give "publicity to the existence of, or the Boie building at Escolta, Manila; Tuason Building at San Vicente Street,
Finally, it is not disputed that despite the pendency of criminal charges against
fact involved in any labor dispute, whether by advertising, speaking, patrolling Manila; and Ayala, Inc. offices at Makati, Rizal, Garcia, the assistant corporate
non-striking employees before the fiscal's office, they were readily admitted,
or by any method not involving fraud or violence." Indeed, it is not only the secretary, and Abella, the chief of the personnel records section, reported for
but those strikers who had pending charges in the same office were refused
right, it is as well the duty, of every unionist to advertise the facts of a dispute work at the Insular Life Building. There is therefore a reasonable suggestion
readmission. The reinstatement of the strikers is thus in order.
for the purpose of informing all those affected thereby. In labor disputes, the that they were sent to work at the latter building to create such an incident and
combatants are expected to expose the truth before the public to justify their have a basis for filing criminal charges against the petitioners in the fiscal's
respective demands. Being a union man and one of the strikers, Tongos was office and applying for injunction from the court of first instance. Besides, [W]here the misconduct, whether in reinstating persons
expected to reveal the whole truth on whether or not the respondent under the circumstances the picketers were not legally bound to yield their equally guilty with those whose reinstatement is opposed,
Companies were justified in refusing to accede to union demands. After all, not grounds and withdraw from the picket lines. Being where the law expects them or in other ways, gives rise to the inference that union
being one of the supervisors, he was not a part of management. And his to be in the legitimate exercise of their rights, they had every reason to defend activities rather than misconduct is the basis of his
statement, if indeed made, is but an expression of free speech protected by themselves and their rights from any assault or unlawful transgression. Yet the [employer] objection, the Board has usually required
the Constitution. police blotter, about adverted to, attests that they did not resort to violence. reinstatement." (Teller, supra, p. 853, citing the Third
Annual Report of NLRB [1938], p. 211.)
Free speech on both sides and for every faction on any The heated altercations and occasional blows exchanged on the picket line do
side of the labor relation is to me a constitutional and not affect or diminish the right to strike. Persuasive on this point is the Lastly, the lower Court justified the constructive dismissal of Florencio Ibarra
useful right. Labor is free ... to turn its publicity on any following commentary: . allegedly because he committed acts inimical to the interest of the
labor oppression, substandard wages, employer respondents when, as president of the FGU Workers and Employees
unfairness, or objectionable working conditions. The Association-NATU, he advised the strikers that they could use force and
We think it must be conceded that some disorder is
employer, too, should be free to answer and to turn violence to have a successful picket and that picketing was precisely intended
unfortunately quite usual in any extensive or long drawn
publicity on the records of the leaders of the unions which 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 reinstatement with back pay. (Rothenberg on Labor even with respect to the petitioners Jose Pilapil, Paulino Bugay, Jr. and Jose
picket line had been generally peaceful, and that incidents happened only Relations, p. 418.) Garcia, Jr. who were found guilty only of misdemeanors which are not
when management men made incursions into and tried to break the picket considered sufficient to bar reinstatement (Teller, Labor Disputes and
line. At any rate, with or without the advice of Ibarra, picketing is inherently Collective Bargaining, p. 854), especially so because their unlawful acts arose
[A]n employee who has been dismissed in violation of the
explosive. For, as pointed out by one author, "The picket line is an explosive during incidents which were provoked by the respondents' men. However,
provisions of the Act is entitled to reinstatement with back
front, charged with the emotions and fierce loyalties of the union-management since the employees who were denied readmission have been out of the
pay upon an adjudication that the discharge was illegal."
dispute. It may be marked by colorful name-calling, intimidating threats or service of the Companies (for more than ten years) during which they may
(Id., citing Waterman S. S. Corp. v. N. L. R. B., 119 F2d
sporadic fights between the pickets and those who pass the line." (Mathews, have found other employment or other means of livelihood, it is only just and
760; N. L. R. B. v. Richter's Bakery, 140 F2d 870; N. L. R.
Labor Relations and the Law, p. 752). The picket line being the natural result equitable that whatever they may have earned during that period should be
B. v. Southern Wood Preserving Co., 135 F. 2d 606; C. G.
of the respondents' unfair labor practice, Ibarra's misconduct is at most a deducted from their back wages to mitigate somewhat the liability of the
Conn, Ltd. v. N. L. R. B., 108 F2d 390; N. L. R. B. v.
misdemeanor which is not a bar to reinstatement. Besides, the only evidence company, pursuant to the equitable principle that no one is allowed to enrich
American Mfg. Co., 106 F2d 61; N. L. R. B. v. Kentucky
presented by the Companies regarding Ibarra's participation in the strike was himself at the expense of another (Macleod & Co. of the Philippines v.
Fire Brick Co., 99 F2d 99.)
the testimony of one Rodolfo Encarnacion, a former member of the board of Progressive Federation of Labor, 97 Phil. 205 [1955]).
directors of the petitioner FGU Insurance Group Workers and Employees
Union-NATU, who became a "turncoat" and who likewise testified as to the And it is not a defense to reinstatement for the respondents to allege that the
The lower court gave inordinate significance to the payment to and acceptance
union activities of Atty. Lacsina, Ricardo Villaruel and others (annex C, positions of these union members have already been filled by replacements.
by the dismissed employees of separation pay. This Court has ruled that while
Decision, p. 27) — another matter which emphasizes the respondents' unfair
employers may be authorized under Republic Act 1052 to terminate
labor practice. For under the circumstances, there is good ground to believe
[W]here the employers' "unfair labor practice" caused or employment of employees by serving the required notice, or, in the absence
that Encarnacion was made to spy on the actvities of the union members. This
contributed to the strike or where the 'lock-out' by the thereof, by paying the required compensation, the said Act may not be invoked
act of the respondents is considered unjustifiable interference in the union
employer constitutes an "unfair labor practice," the to justify a dismissal prohibited by law, e.g., dismissal for union activities.
activities of the petitioners and is unfair labor practice.
employer cannot successfully urge as a defense that the
striking or lock-out employees position has been filled by
... While Republic Act No. 1052 authorizes a commercial
It has been held in a great number of decisions at replacement. Under such circumstances, if no job
establishment to terminate the employment of its
espionage by an employer of union activities, or sufficiently and satisfactorily comparable to that previously
employee by serving notice on him one month in advance,
surveillance thereof, are such instances of interference, held by the aggrieved employee can be found, the
or, in the absence thereof, by paying him one month
restraint or coercion of employees in connection with their employer must discharge the replacement employee, if
compensation from the date of the termination of his
right to organize, form and join unions as to constitute necessary, to restore the striking or locked-out worker to
employment, such Act does not give to the employer a
unfair labor practice. his old or comparable position ... If the employer's
blanket authority to terminate the employment regardless
improper conduct was an initial cause of the strike, all the
of the cause or purpose behind such termination.
strikers are entitled to reinstatement and the dismissal of
... "Nothing is more calculated to interfere with, restrain Certainly, it cannot be made use of as a cloak to
replacement employees wherever necessary; ... . (Id., p.
and coerce employees in the exercise of their right to self- circumvent a final order of the court or a scheme to
422 and cases cited.)
organization than such activity even where no discharges trample upon the right of an employee who has been the
result. The information obtained by means of espionage is victim of an unfair labor practice. (Yu Ki Lam, et al. v.
in valuable to the employer and can be used in a variety of A corollary issue to which we now address ourselves is, from what date should Nena Micaller, et al., 99 Phil. 904 [1956].)
cases to break a union." The unfair labor practice is the backpay payable to the unionists be computed? It is now a settled doctrine
committed whether the espionage is carried on by a that strikers who are entitled to reinstatement are not entitled to back pay
Finally, we do not share the respondents' view that the findings of fact of the
professional labor spy or detective, by officials or during the period of the strike, even though it is caused by an unfair labor
Court of Industrial Relations are supported by substantial and credible proof.
supervisory employees of the employer, or by fellow practice. However, if they offer to return to work under the same conditions just
This Court is not therefore precluded from digging deeper into the factual
employees acting at the request or direction of the before the strike, the refusal to re-employ or the imposition of conditions
milieu of the case (Union of Philippine Education Employees v. Philippine
employer, or an ex-employee..." (Teller, Labor Disputes amounting to unfair labor practice is a violation of section 4(a) (4) of the
Education Company, 91 Phil. 93; Lu Do & Lu Ym Corporation v. Philippine-
and Collective Bargaining, Vol. II, pp. 765-766, and cases Industrial Peace Act and the employer is liable for backpay from the date of
Land-Air-Sea Labor Union, 11 SCRA 134 [1964]).
cited.) . 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, V. The petitioners (15 of them) ask this Court to cite for contempt the
IV. The lower court should have ordered the reinstatement of the officials and
Labor Relations and the Law, p. 730 and the cited cases). We have likewise respondent Presiding Judge Arsenio Martinez of the Court of Industrial
members of the Unions, with full back wages from June 2, 1958 to the date of
ruled that discriminatorily dismissed employees must receive backpay from the Relations and the counsels for the private respondents, on the ground that the
their actual reinstatement to their usual employment. Because all too clear
date of the act of discrimination, that is, from the date of their discharge former wrote the following in his decision subject of the instant petition
from the factual and environmental milieu of this case, coupled with settled
(Cromwell Commercial Employees and Laborers Union vs. Court of Industrial for certiorari, while the latter quoted the same on pages 90-91 of the
decisional law, is that the Unions went on strike because of the unfair labor
Relations, supra). respondents' brief: .
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 The respondents notified the petitioner strikers to report back for work on June ... Says the Supreme Court in the following decisions:
are entitled to reinstatement with back pay. 2, 1958, which the latter did. A great number of them, however, were refused
readmission because they had criminal charges against them pending before
In a proceeding for unfair labor
the fiscal's office, although non-strikers who were also facing criminal
[W]here the strike was induced and provoked by improper practice, involving a determination as
indictments were readily readmitted. These strikers who were refused
conduct on the part of an employer amounting to an to whether or not the acts of the
readmission on June 2, 1958 can thus be categorized as discriminatorily
'unfair labor practice,' the strikers are entitled to employees concerned justified the
dismissed employees and are entitled to backpay from said date. This is true
adoption of the employer of discipline on its employees, should the act upon which the al. (77 Phil. 1066) that "[O]nly the decisions of this Honorable Court establish
disciplinary measures against them, criminal charges was based constitute nevertheless an jurisprudence or doctrines in this jurisdiction." Thus, ever present is the danger
the mere fact that the employees may activity inimical to the employer's interest. that if not faithfully and exactly quoted, the decisions and rulings of this Court
be able to put up a valid defense in a may lose their proper and correct meaning, to the detriment of other courts,
criminal prosecution for the same lawyers and the public who may thereby be misled. But if inferior courts and
In the herein case, it appears to us that for an employee to
acts, does not erase or neutralize the members of the bar meticulously discharge their duty to check and recheck
publish his "suspicion," which actually amounts to a public
employer's right to impose discipline their citations of authorities culled not only from this Court's decisions but from
accusation, that his employer is exerting political pressure
on said employees. For it is settled other sources and make certain that they are verbatim reproductions down to
on a public official to thwart some legitimate activities on
that not even the acquittal of an the last word and punctuation mark, appellate courts will be precluded from
the employees, which charge, in the least, would sully the
employee of the criminal charge acting on misinformation, as well as be saved precious time in finding out
employer's reputation, can be nothing but an act inimical
against him is a bar to the employer's whether the citations are correct.
to the said employer's interest. And the fact that the same
right to impose discipline on its
was made in the union newspaper does not alter its
employees, should the act upon
deleterious character nor shield or protect a reprehensible Happily for the respondent Judge and the respondents' counsels, there was no
which the criminal charged was
act on the ground that it is a union activity, because such substantial change in the thrust of this Court's particular ruling which they
based constitute nevertheless an
end can be achieved without resort to improper conduct or cited. It is our view, nonetheless, that for their mistake, they should be, as they
activity inimical to the employer's
behavior. The act of the employees now under are hereby, admonished to be more careful when citing jurisprudence in the
interest... The act of the employees
consideration may be considered as a misconduct which future. ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the Court of Industrial Relations dated
now under consideration may be
is a just cause for dismissal.** (Emphasis ours) August 17, 1965 is reversed and set aside, and another is entered, ordering
considered as a misconduct which is
the respondents to reinstate the dismissed members of the petitioning Unions
a just cause for dismissal. (Lopez,
to their former or comparatively similar positions, with backwages from June 2,
Sr., et al. vs. Chronicle Publication It is plain to the naked eye that the 60 un-underscored words of the paragraph
1958 up to the dates of their actual reinstatements. Costs against the
Employees Ass'n. et al., G.R. No. L- quoted by the respondent Judge do not appear in the pertinent paragraph of
respondents.
20179-81, December 28, 1964.) this Court's decision in L-20179-81. Moreover, the first underscored sentence
(emphasis supplied) 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 G.R. Nos. 174813-15               March 17, 2009
underlined sentence in the quoted paragraph of the respondent Judge's
The two pertinent paragraphs in the above-cited decision * which contained
decision, appears not in the same paragraph of this Court's decision where the
the underscored portions of the above citation read however as follows: NILO HIPOS, SR. REPRESENTING DARRYL HIPOS, BENJAMIN CORSIÑO
other sentence is, but in the immediately succeeding paragraph.
REPRESENTING JAYCEE CORSIÑO, and ERLINDA VILLARUEL
REPRESENTING ARTHUR VILLARUEL, Petitioners,
Differently as regard the dismissal of Orlando Aquino and
This apparent error, however, does not seem to warrant an indictment for vs.
Carmelito Vicente, we are inclined to uphold the action
contempt against the respondent Judge and the respondents' counsels. We HONORABLE RTC JUDGE TEODORO A. BAY, Presiding Judge, RTC, Hall
taken by the employer as proper disciplinary measure. A
are inclined to believe that the misquotation is more a result of clerical of Justice, Quezon City, Branch 86, Respondent.
reading of the article which allegedly caused their
ineptitude than a deliberate attempt on the part of the respondent Judge to
dismissal reveals that it really contains an insinuation
mislead. We fully realize how saddled with many pending cases are the courts
albeit subtly of the supposed exertion of political pressure DECISION
of the land, and it is not difficult to imagine that because of the pressure of
by the Manila Chronicle management upon the City
their varied and multifarious work, clerical errors may escape their notice.
Fiscal's Office, resulting in the non-filing of the case
Upon the other hand, the respondents' counsels have the prima facie right to CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
against the employer. In rejecting the employer's theory
rely on the quotation as it appears in the respondent Judge's decision, to copy
that the dismissal of Vicente and Aquino was justified, the
it verbatim, and to incorporate it in their brief. Anyway, the import of the
lower court considered the article as "a report of some This is a Petition for Mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking a
underscored sentences of the quotation in the respondent Judge's decision is
acts and omissions of an Assistant Fiscal in the exercise reversal of the Order dated 2 October 2006 of respondent Judge Teodoro A.
substantially the same as, and faithfully reflects, the particular ruling in this
of his official functions" and, therefore, does away with the Bay of Branch 86 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, which
Court's decision, i.e., that "[N]ot even the acquittal of an employee, of the
presumption of malice. This being a proceeding for unfair denied the Motion to Withdraw Informations of the Office of the City Prosecutor
criminal charges against him, is a bar to the employer's right to impose
labor practice, the matter should not have been viewed or of Quezon City.
discipline on its employees, should the act upon which the criminal charges
gauged in the light of the doctrine on a publisher's
were based constitute nevertheless an activity inimical to the employer's
culpability under the Penal Code. We are not here to
interest." The facts of the case are as follows.
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 Be that as it may, we must articulate our firm view that in citing this Court's On 15 December 2003, two Informations for the crime of rape and one
disciplinary measure against them. This is not sustaining decisions and rulings, it is the bounden duty of courts, judges and lawyers to Information for the crime of acts of lasciviousness were filed against petitioners
the ruling that the publication in question is qualified reproduce or copy the same word-for-word and punctuation mark-for- Darryl Hipos, Jaycee Corsiño, Arthur Villaruel and two others before Branch 86
privileged, but even on the assumption that this is so, the punctuation mark. Indeed, there is a salient and salutary reason why they of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, acting as a Family Court, presided
exempting character thereof under the Penal Code does should do this. Only from this Tribunal's decisions and rulings do all other by respondent Judge Bay. The cases were docketed as Criminal Cases No.
not necessarily erase or neutralize its effect on the courts, as well as lawyers and litigants, take their bearings. This is because Q-03-123284, No. Q-03-123285 and No. Q-03-123286. The Informations were
employer's interest which may warrant employment of the decisions referred to in article 8 of the Civil Code which reads, "Judicial signed by Assistant City Prosecutor Ronald C. Torralba.
disciplinary measure. For it must be remembered that not decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part
even the acquittal of an employee, of the criminal charges of the legal system of the Philippines," are only those enunciated by this Court
against him, is a bar to the employer's right to impose of last resort. We said in no uncertain terms in Miranda, et al. vs. Imperial, et On 23 February 2004, private complainants AAA1 and BBB filed a Motion for
Reinvestigation asking Judge Bay to order the City Prosecutor of Quezon City
to study if the proper Informations had been filed against petitioners and their There is indeed an exception to the rule that matters involving judgment and Orda, Jr.,9 we reiterated the doctrine we established in the leading case of
co-accused. Judge Bay granted the Motion and ordered a reinvestigation of discretion are beyond the reach of a writ of mandamus, for such writ may be Crespo v. Mogul,10 that once a criminal complaint or an information is filed in
the cases. issued to compel action in those matters, when refused.5 However, mandamus court, any disposition or dismissal of the case or acquittal or conviction of the
is never available to direct the exercise of judgment or discretion in a particular accused rests within the jurisdiction, competence, and discretion of the trial
way or the retraction or reversal of an action already taken in the exercise of court. Thus, we held:
On 19 May 2004, petitioners filed their Joint Memorandum to Dismiss the
either.6 In other words, while a judge refusing to act on a Motion to Withdraw
Case[s] before the City Prosecutor. They claimed that there was no probable
Informations can be compelled by mandamus to act on the same,
cause to hold them liable for the crimes charged. In Crespo v. Mogul, the Court held that once a criminal complaint or
he cannot be compelled to act in a certain way, i.e., to grant or deny such
information is filed in court, any disposition of the case or dismissal or acquittal
Motion. In the case at bar, Judge Bay did not refuse to act on the Motion to
or conviction of the accused rests within the exclusive jurisdiction,
On 10 August 2004, the Office of the City Prosecutor issued a Resolution on Withdraw Informations; he had already acted on it by denying the same.
competence, and discretion of the trial court. The trial court is the best and
the reinvestigation affirming the Informations filed against petitioners and their Accordingly, mandamus is not available anymore. If petitioners believed that
sole judge on what to do with the case before it. A motion to dismiss the case
co-accused in Criminal Cases No. Q-03-123284-86. The Resolution was Judge Bay committed grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of such Order
filed by the public prosecutor should be addressed to the court who has the
signed by Assistant City Prosecutor Raniel S. Cruz and approved by City denying the Motion to Withdraw Informations, the proper remedy of petitioners
option to grant or deny the same. Contrary to the contention of the petitioner,
Prosecutor Claro A. Arellano. should have been to file a Petition for Certiorari against the assailed Order of
the rule applies to a motion to withdraw the Information or to dismiss the case
Judge Bay.
even before or after arraignment of the accused. The only qualification is that
On 3 March 2006, 2nd Assistant City Prosecutor Lamberto C. de Vera, treating the action of the court must not impair the substantial rights of the accused or
the Joint Memorandum to Dismiss the Case as an appeal of the 10 August Petitioners counter that the above conclusion, which has been argued by the the right of the People or the private complainant to due process of law. When
2004 Resolution, reversed the Resolution dated 10 August 2004, holding that Solicitor General, is contrary to a ruling of this Court, which allegedly states the trial court grants a motion of the public prosecutor to dismiss the case, or
there was lack of probable cause. On the same date, the City Prosecutor filed that the proper remedy in such cases is a Petition for Mandamus and not to quash the Information, or to withdraw the Information in compliance with the
a Motion to Withdraw Informations before Judge Bay. Certiorari. Petitioners cite the following excerpt from our ruling in Sanchez v. directive of the Secretary of Justice, or to deny the said motion, it does so not
Demetriou7: out of subservience to or defiance of the directive of the Secretary of Justice
but in sound exercise of its judicial prerogative.
On 2 October 2006, Judge Bay denied the Motion to Withdraw Informations in
an Order of even date. The appreciation of the evidence involves the use of discretion on the part of
the prosecutor, and we do not find in the case at bar a clear showing by the Petitioners also claim that since Judge Bay granted a Motion for
petitioner of a grave abuse of such discretion. Reinvestigation, he should have "deferred to the Resolution of Asst. City
Without moving for a reconsideration of the above assailed Order, petitioners Prosecutor De Vera withdrawing the case."11 Petitioners cite the following
filed the present Petition for Mandamus, bringing forth this lone issue for our portion of our Decision in People v. Montesa, Jr.12:
consideration: The decision of the prosecutor may be reversed or modified by the Secretary
of Justice or in special cases by the President of the Philippines. But even this
Court cannot order the prosecution of a person against whom the prosecutor In the instant case, the respondent Judge granted the motion for
CAN THE HON. SUPREME COURT COMPEL RESPONDENT JUDGE BAY does not find sufficient evidence to support at least a prima facie case. The reinvestigation and directed the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Bulacan
TO DISMISS THE CASE THROUGH A WRIT OF MANDAMUS BY VIRTUE courts try and absolve or convict the accused but as a rule have no part in the to conduct the reinvestigation. The former was, therefore, deemed to have
OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE OFFICE OF THE CITY PROSECUTOR OF initial decision to prosecute him. deferred to the authority of the prosecution arm of the Government to consider
QUEZON CITY FINDING NO PROBABLE CAUSE AGAINST THE ACCUSED the so-called new relevant and material evidence and determine whether the
AND SUBSEQUENTLY FILING A MOTION TO WITHDRAW INFORMATION? information it had filed should stand.13
2
The possible exception is where there is an unmistakable showing of grave
abuse of discretion that will justify a judicial intrusion into the precincts of the
executive. But in such a case the proper remedy to call for such exception is a Like what was done to our ruling in Sanchez, petitioners took specific
Mandamus is an extraordinary writ commanding a tribunal, corporation, board, petition for mandamus, not certiorari or prohibition. 8 (Emphases supplied.) statements from our Decision, carefully cutting off the portions which would
officer or person, immediately or at some other specified time, to do the act expose the real import of our pronouncements. The Petition for Certiorari in
required to be done, when the respondent unlawfully neglects the performance Montesa, Jr. was directed against a judge who, after granting the Petition for
of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, Petitioners have taken the above passage way out of its context. In the case of
Reinvestigation filed by the accused, proceeded nonetheless to arraign the
trust, or station; or when the respondent excludes another from the use and Sanchez, Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez brought a Petition for Certiorari
accused; and, shortly thereafter, the judge decided to dismiss the case on the
enjoyment of a right or office to which the latter is entitled, and there is no before this Court, challenging the order of the respondent Judge therein
basis of a Resolution of the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor recommending the
other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.3 denying his motion to quash the Information filed against him and six other
dismissal of the case. The dismissal of the case in Montesa, Jr. was done
persons for alleged rape and homicide. One of the arguments of Mayor
despite the disapproval of the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor’s Resolution by
Sanchez was that there was discrimination against him because of the non-
As an extraordinary writ, the remedy of mandamus lies only to compel an the Provincial Prosecutor (annotated in the same Resolution), and despite the
inclusion of two other persons in the Information. We held that even this Court
officer to perform a ministerial duty, not a discretionary one; mandamus will not fact that the reinvestigation the latter ordered was still ongoing, since the
cannot order the prosecution of a person against whom the prosecutor does
issue to control the exercise of discretion by a public officer where the law Resolution of the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor had not yet attained finality.
not find sufficient evidence to support at least a prima facie case. However, if
imposes upon him the duty to exercise his judgment in reference to any We held that the judge should have waited for the conclusion of the Petition for
there was an unmistakable showing of grave abuse of discretion on the part of
manner in which he is required to act, because it is his judgment that is to be Reinvestigation he ordered, before acting on whether or not the case should
the prosecutors in that case, Mayor Sanchez should have filed a Petition for
exercised and not that of the court.4 be dismissed for lack of probable cause, and before proceeding with the
Mandamus to compel the filing of charges against said two other persons.
arraignment. Thus, the continuation of the above paragraph of our Decision in
Montesa, Jr. reads:
In the case at bar, the act which petitioners pray that we compel the trial court In the case at bar, the Petition for Mandamus is directed not against the
to do is to grant the Office of the City Prosecutor’s Motion for Withdrawal of prosecution, but against the trial court, seeking to compel the trial court to
Informations against petitioners. In effect, petitioners seek to curb Judge Bay’s Having done so, it behooved the respondent Judge to wait for a final resolution
grant the Motion to Withdraw Informations by the City Prosecutor’s Office. The
exercise of judicial discretion. of the incident. In Marcelo vs. Court of Appeals, this Court ruled:
prosecution has already filed a case against petitioners. Recently, in Santos v.
Accordingly, we rule that the trial court in a criminal case which takes 6.11. It is therefore respectfully submitted that the Hon. Supreme Court bounden duty of the trial court is to make an independent assessment of the
cognizance of an accused's motion for review of the resolution of the disregard the argument of the OSG because of its falsity.16 merits of such motion. Having acquired jurisdiction over the case, the trial
investigating prosecutor or for reinvestigation and defers the arraignment until court is not bound by such resolution but is required to evaluate it before
resolution of the said motion must act on the resolution reversing the proceeding further with the trial. While the secretary's ruling is persuasive, it is
This statement of petitioners’ counsel is utterly misleading. There is no such
investigating prosecutor's finding or on a motion to dismiss based thereon only not binding on courts. A trial court, however, commits reversible error or even
statement in our Decision in Ledesma.17 The excerpt from Ledesma, which
upon proof that such resolution is already final in that no appeal was taken grave abuse of discretion if it refuses/neglects to evaluate such
appears to have a resemblance to the statement allegedly quoted from said
thereon to the Department of Justice. recommendation and simply insists on proceeding with the trial on the mere
case, provides:
pretext of having already acquired jurisdiction over the criminal
action.19 (Emphases supplied.)1avvphi1.zw+
The resolution of Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Rutor recommending the
No Grave Abuse of Discretion in the Resolution of the Secretary of Justice
dismissal of the case never became final, for it was not approved by the
Provincial Prosecutor. On the contrary, the latter disapproved it. As a Petitioners also try to capitalize on the fact that the dispositive portion of the
consequence, the final resolution with respect to the reinvestigation is that of In the light of recent holdings in Marcelo and Martinez; and considering that assailed Order apparently states that there was no probable cause against
the Provincial Prosecutor, for under Section 4, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, the issue of the correctness of the justice secretary's resolution has been petitioners:
no complaint or information may be filed or dismissed by an investigating fiscal amply threshed out in petitioner's letter, the information, the resolution of the
without the prior written authority or approval of the provincial or city fiscal or secretary of justice, the motion to dismiss, and even the exhaustive discussion
WHEREFORE, finding no probable cause against the herein accused for the
chief state prosecutor. Also, under Section l(d) of R.A. No. 5180, as amended in the motion for reconsideration - all of which were submitted to the court - the
crimes of rapes and acts of lasciviousness, the motion to withdraw
by P.D. No. 77 and P.D. No. 911. 14 trial judge committed grave abuse of discretion when it denied the motion to
informations is DENIED.
withdraw the information, based solely on his bare and ambiguous reliance on
Crespo. The trial court's order is inconsistent with our repetitive calls for an
As can be clearly seen, the statement quoted by petitioners from Montesa, Jr.
independent and competent assessment of the issue(s) presented in the Let the case be set for arraignment and pre-trial on October 24, 2006 at 8:30
is not meant to establish a doctrine that the judge should just follow the
motion to dismiss. The trial judge was tasked to evaluate the secretary's o’clock in the morning.20 (Underscoring ours.)
determination by the prosecutor of whether or not there is probable cause. On
recommendation finding the absence of probable cause to hold petitioner
the contrary, Montesa, Jr. states:
criminally liable for libel. He failed to do so. He merely ruled to proceed with
Thus, petitioners claim that since even the respondent judge himself found no
the trial without stating his reasons for disregarding the secretary's
probable cause against them, the Motion to Withdraw Informations by the
The rule is settled that once a criminal complaint or information is filed in court, recommendation.18 (Emphasis supplied.)
Office of the City Prosecutor should be granted.21
any disposition thereof, such as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of
the accused, rests in the sound discretion of the court. While the prosecutor
It very much appears that the counsel of petitioners is purposely misleading
retains the discretion and control of the prosecution of the case, he cannot Even a cursory reading of the assailed Order, however, clearly shows that the
this Court, in violation of Rule 10.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
impose his opinion on the court. The court is the best and sole judge on what insertion of the word "no" in the above dispositive portion was a mere clerical
which provides:
to do with the case. Accordingly, a motion to dismiss the case filed by the error. The assailed Order states in full:
prosecutor before or after the arraignment, or after a reinvestigation, or upon
instructions of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the records upon Rule 10.02 – A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the
After a careful study of the sworn statements of the complainants and the
reinvestigation, should be addressed to the discretion of the court. The action contents of a paper, the language or the argument of opposing counsel, or the
resolution dated March 3, 2006 of 2nd Assistant City Prosecutor Lamberto C.
of the court must not, however, impair the substantial rights of the accused or text of a decision or authority, or knowingly cite as law a provision already
de Vera, the Court finds that there was probable cause against the herein
the right of the People to due process of law.15 rendered inoperative by repel or amendment, or assert as a fact that which
accused. The actuations of the complainants after the alleged rapes and acts
has not been proved.
of lasciviousness cannot be the basis of dismissal or withdrawal of the herein
In a seemingly desperate attempt on the part of petitioners’ counsel, he tries to cases. Failure to shout or offer tenatious resistance did not make voluntary the
convince us that a judge is allowed to deny a Motion to Withdraw Informations Counsel’s use of block quotation and quotation marks signifies that he intends complainants’ submission to the criminal acts of the accused (People v.
from the prosecution only when there is grave abuse of discretion on the part to make it appear that the passages are the exact words of the Court. Velasquez, 377 SCRA 214, 2002). The complainants’ affidavits indicate that
of the prosecutors moving for such withdrawal; and that, where there is no Furthermore, putting the words "Underscoring ours" after the text implies that, the accused helped one another in committing the acts complained of.
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the prosecutors, the denial of the except for the underscoring, the text is a faithful reproduction of the original. Considering that the attackers were not strangers but their trusted classmates
Motion to Withdraw Informations is void. Petitioners’ counsel states in the Accordingly, we are ordering Atty. Procopio S. Beltran, Jr. to show cause why who enticed them to go to the house where they were molested, the
Memorandum: he should not be disciplined as a member of the Bar. complainants cannot be expected to react forcefully or violently in protecting
themselves from the unexpected turn of events. Considering also that both
complainants were fifteen (15) years of age and considered children under our
6.10. Furthermore, the ORDER dated October 2, 2006 of the Respondent To clarify, we never stated in Ledesma that a judge is allowed to deny a
laws, the ruling of the Supreme Court in People v. Malones, G.R. Nos.
Judge BAY consisting of 9 pages which was attached to the URGENT Motion to Withdraw Information from the prosecution only when there is grave
124388-90, March 11, 2004 becomes very relevant. The Supreme Court ruled
PETITION did not point out any iota of grave abuse of discretion committed by abuse of discretion on the part of the prosecutors moving for such withdrawal.
as follows:
Asst. City Prosecutor De Vera in issuing his Resolution in favor of the sons of Neither did we rule therein that where there is no grave abuse of discretion on
the Petitioners. Hence, the ORDER issued by RJBAY is NULL and VOID in the part of the prosecutors, the denial of the Motion to Withdraw Information is
view of the recent ruling of the Hon. Supreme Court in Ledesma vs. Court of void. What we held therein is that a trial judge commits grave abuse of Rape victims, especially child victims, should not be expected to act the way
Appeals, G.R. No. 113216, September 5, 1997, 86 SCAD 695, 278 SCRA 657 discretion if he denies a Motion to Withdraw Information without an mature individuals would when placed in such a situation. It is not proper to
which states that: independent and complete assessment of the issues presented in such judge the actions of children who have undergone traumatic experience by the
Motion. Thus, the opening paragraph of Ledesma states: norms of behavior expected from adults under similar circumstances. The
range of emotions shown by rape victim is yet to be captured even by calculus.
"In the absence of a finding of grave abuse of discretion, the court’s bare
It is, thus, unrealistic to expect uniform reactions from rape victims (People v.
denial of a motion to withdraw information pursuant to the Secretary’s When confronted with a motion to withdraw an information on the ground of
Malones, G.R. Nos. 124388-90, March 11, 2004).
resolution is void." (Underscoring ours). lack of probable cause based on a resolution of the secretary of justice, the
The Court finds no need to discuss in detail the alleged actuations of the In Re: Letter of the UP Law Faculty “was not to malign the Court but rather to defend its integrity and credibility
complainants after the alleged rapes and acts of lasciviousness. The alleged and to ensure continued confidence in the legal system” by the words used
actuations are evidentiary in nature and should be evaluated after full blown therein as “focusing on constructive action.”  Also, it was alleged that the
trial on the merits. This is necessary to avoid a suspicion of prejudgment AM No. 10-10-4-SC respondents are correct in seeking responsibility from Justice del Castillo for
against the accused.22 he, indeed, committed plagiarism thus, rectifying their issuance of the article.
Leonardo-De Castro, J.: Furthermore, the respondents argued that the article in question is a valid
exercise of the freedom of expression as citizens of a democracy, and an
As can be seen, the body of the assailed Order not only plainly stated that the
exercise of academic freedom.
court found probable cause against the petitioners, but likewise provided an FACTS:
adequate discussion of the reasons for such finding. Indeed, the general rule
is that where there is a conflict between the dispositive portion or the fallo and
the body of the decision, the fallo controls. However, where the inevitable On 28 April 2010, the decision of the case Vinuya v Executive Secretary was
conclusion from the body of the decision is so clear as to show that there was promulgated with Justice Mariano del Castillo as its ponente.  Motion for
a mistake in the dispositive portion, the body of the decision will prevail. 23 reconsideration was filed by the petitioner’s counsel on various grounds but ISSUES:
most notably on the ground that not only did the ponente of the case
plagiarised at least 3 books and articles in discussing the principles of jus                 W/N the UP Law Faculty’s actions constitute violation of various
In sum, petitioners’ resort to a Petition for Mandamus to compel the trial judge
cogens and erga omnes, but have also twisted such quotations making it Canons and Rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
to grant their Motion to Withdraw Informations is improper. While mandamus is
appear contrary to the intent of the original works.  The authors and their
available to compel action on matters involving judgment and discretion when
purportedly plagiarized articles are: 1) Evan J Criddle and Evan Fox-
refused, it is never available to direct the exercise of judgment or discretion in
Decent’s A Fiduciary Theory of Jus Cogens published in 2009 in the Yale
a particular way or the retraction or reversal of an action already taken in the
Journal of International Law; 2) Christian J. Tams’ Enforcing Erga Omnes
exercise of either.24 The trial court, when confronted with a Motion to Withdraw
Obligations in Internation Law published by the Cambridge University Press in
an Information on the ground of lack of probable cause, is not bound by the HELD:
2005; and 3) Mark Ellis’ Breaking the Silence: On Rape as an International
resolution of the prosecuting arm of the government, but is required to make
Crime published in the Case Western Reserve Journal of Internation Law in
an independent assessment of the merits of such motion, a requirement
2006.  Thereafter, news regarding the plagiarism by the Supreme Court Yes.  The Court ruled that the Common Compliance given by the respondent-
satisfied by the respondent judge in the case at bar.25
spread over the media and the original authors wrote letters to the Chief signatories in the questioned article is not sufficient in reasoning why they
Justice expressing discontent by the questioned act of Justice del Castillo. should not be disciplined as members of the Bar.
Finally, if only to appease petitioners who came to this Court seeking a review
of the finding of probable cause by the trial court, we nevertheless carefully
reviewed the records of the case. After going through the same, we find that On 27 July 2010, the UP College of Law faculty members gave their opinion “…the adversarial nature of our legal system has tempted members of the bar
we are in agreement with the trial court that there is indeed probable cause on the matter of plagiarism by issuing an article titled “Restoring Integrity: A to use strong language in pursuit of their duty to advance the interests of their
against the petitioners sufficient to hold them for trial. We decided to omit a statement by the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law on clients.
detailed discussion of the merits of the case, as we are not unmindful of the the Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the Supreme Court”
undue influence that might result should this Court do so, even if such signed overall 37 faculty members.   In said article, the faculty expressly gave
their dismay saying that the court had the hopes of relief from those “comfort “However, while a lawyer is entitled to present his case with vigor and
discussion is only intended to focus on the finding of probable cause.
women” during the war “crushed by a singularly reprehensible act of courage, such enthusiasm does not justify the use of offensive and abusive
dishonesty and misrepresentation by the Highest Court of the Land.”  language. Language abounds with countless possibilities for one to be
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for Mandamus is DISMISSED. Let the emphatic but respectful, convincing but not derogatory, illuminating but not
records of this case be remanded to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City offensive.
for the resumption of the proceedings therein. The Regional Trial Court is In the article, it was stated that plagiarism, as appropriation and
directed to act on the case with dispatch. misrepresentation of another person’s work as one’s own, is considered as
“dishonesty, pure and simple.”  Hence, it was argued that since the decision in “On many occasions, the Court has reminded members of the Bar to abstain
the Vinuya case form part of the Philippine judicial system, the Court, in fine, is from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or
Atty. Procopio S. Beltran, Jr. is ORDERED to SHOW CAUSE why he should allowing dishonesty to be promulgated.  Furthermore, the plagiarism and reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause
not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for his disquieting conduct as herein misrepresentation in the Vinuya case undermines the judicial system of our with which he is charged. In keeping with the dignity of the legal profession, a
discussed. country and is a dirt on the honor and dignity of the Supreme Court, the article lawyer’s language even in his pleadings must be dignified.
sought for the resignation of Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.
SO ORDERED. “Verily, the accusatory and vilifying nature of certain portions of the Statement
In response to the said article, the Court issued a resolution stating that the exceeded the limits of fair comment and cannot be deemed as protected free
remarks and choice of words used were such a great insult to the members of speech.”
the Court and a threat to the independence of the judiciary, a clear violation of
Canons 1, 11 and 13 and the Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of
Letter of the UP Law Faculty entitled “Restoring Integrity: A Statement by “In a democracy, members of the legal community are hardly expected to have
Professional Responsibility.  Thereafter, the Court ordered the signatories to
the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law on the monolithic views on any subject, be it a legal, political or social issue. Even as
show cause on why they should not be disciplined as members of the Bar for
Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the Supreme Court.” lawyers passionately and vigorously propound their points of view they are
such alleged violations.
bound by certain rules of conduct for the legal profession. This Court is
certainly not claiming that it should be shielded from criticism. All the Court
In fulfillment of the directive by the Court, the signatories passed a Common demands is the same respect and courtesy that one lawyer owes to another
Compliance stating therein that their intention in issuing the article in question under established ethical standards. All lawyers, whether they are judges,
court employees, professors or private practitioners, are officers of the Court mentioned above, stated that their works were used inappropriately by Justice disadvantageous in cases, like this, where there are reasonable and logical
and have voluntarily taken an oath, as an indispensable qualification for Del Castillo and that the assailed decision is different from what their works explanations.
admission to the Bar, to conduct themselves with good fidelity towards the advocated.
courts. There is no exemption from this sworn duty for law professors,
regardless of their status in the academic community or the law school to
which they belong.”
On the foreign authors’ claim that their works were used inappropriately
ISSUE: Whether or not there is plagiarism in the case at bar.
The Court further reminded the respondent law professors “of their lawyerly
duty, under Canons 1, 11 and 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, to
give due respect to the Court and to refrain from intemperate and offensive
language tending to influence the Court on pending matters or to denigrate the
According to the Supreme Court, the passages lifted from their works were
Court and the administration of justice and warned that the same or similar act
HELD: No. There is no plagiarism. Even if there is (as emphasized by the merely used as background facts in establishing the state on international law
in the future shall be dealt with more severely.”
Supreme Court in its ruling on the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Vinuya at various stages of its development. The Supreme Court went on to state that
et al in 2011), the rule on plagiarism cannot be applied to judicial bodies. the foreign authors’ works can support conflicting theories. The Supreme Court
Carpio, J.: also stated that since the attributions to said authors were accidentally deleted,
it is impossible to conclude that Justice del Castillo twisted the advocacies that
the works espouse.
The Show Cause Resolution by the respondents is sufficient and there is no
need to admonish or warn them of the use of disrespectful language.  The No Plagiarism
Court adheres to the clear and present danger test and it appears that the evil
consequences of the statements are absent and it does not exhibit that
irrational obsession to demean, ridicule, degrade and even destroy the courts No Misconduct
and their members.  There is only contempt when the article is taken apart,
contrary to the practice of the Court which is to read with contextual care At its most basic, plagiarism means the theft of another persons language,
making sure that disparaging statements are not taken out of context. thoughts, or ideas. To plagiarize, as it is commonly understood according to
Webster, is to take (ideas, writings, etc.) from (another) and pass them off as
In the matter of the charges of plagiarism, etc., against Associate Justice ones own.The passing off of the work of another as ones own is thus an Justice del Castillo is not guilty of misconduct. The error here is in good faith.
Mariano C. Del Castillo. [A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC] indispensable element of plagiarism. There was no malice, fraud or corruption.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary: Plagiarism is the “deliberate and knowing No Inexcusable Negligence (explanation of Justice Del Castillo)
presentation of another person’s original ideas or creative expressions as
one’s own.”
FACTS:

The error of Justice del Castillo’s researcher is not reflective of his gross
negligence. The researcher is a highly competent one. The researcher earned
This cannot be the case here because as proved by evidence, in the original scholarly degrees here and abroad from reputable educational institutions. The
On April 28, 2010, the Supreme Court issued a decision which dismissed a drafts of the assailed decision, there was attribution to the three authors but researcher finished third in her class and 4th in the bar examinations. Her error
petition filed by the Malaya Lolas Organization in the case of Vinuya vs due to errors made by Justice del Castillo’s researcher, the attributions were was merely due to the fact that the software she used, Microsoft Word, lacked
Romulo. Atty. Herminio Harry Roque Jr., counsel for Vinuya et al, questioned inadvertently deleted. There is therefore no intent by Justice del Castillo to features to apprise her that certain important portions of her drafts are being
the said decision. He raised, among others, that the ponente in said case, take these foreign works as his own. deleted inadvertently. Such error on her part cannot be said to be constitutive
Justice Mariano del Castillo, plagiarized three books when the honorable of gross negligence nor can it be said that Justice del Castillo was grossly
Justice “twisted the true intents” of these books to support the assailed negligent when he assigned the case to her. Further, assigning cases to
decision. These books were: a. A Fiduciary Theory of Jus Cogens by Evan J. researchers has been a long standing practice to assist justices in drafting
Criddle and Evan Fox-Descent, Yale Journal of International Law (2009); b. decisions. It must be emphasized though that prior to assignment, the justice
Breaking the Silence: Rape as an International Crime by Mark Ellis, Case But in plagiarism, intent is immaterial. has already spelled out his position to the researcher and in every sense, the
Western Reserve Journal of International Law (2006); and c. Enforcing Erga justice is in control in the writing of the draft.
Omnes Obligations by Christian J. Tams, Cambridge University Press (2005).

On this note, the Supreme Court stated that in its past decisions, (i.e. U.P
Board of Regents vs CA, 313 SCRA 404), the Supreme Court never indicated With the advent of computers, however, as Justice Del Castillos researcher
As such, Justice del Castillo is guilty of plagiarism, misconduct, and at least that intent is not material in plagiarism. To adopt a strict rule in applying also explained, most legal references, including the collection of decisions of
inexcusable negligence. Interestingly, even the three foreign authors plagiarism in all cases leaves no room for errors. This would be very the Court, are found in electronic diskettes or in internet websites that offer
virtual libraries of books and articles. Here, as the researcher found items that suspended, he has repeatedly expressed his willingness to admit his error, to No. The question whether the government should espouse claims of its
were relevant to her assignment, she downloaded or copied them into her observe the rules and standards in the practice of law, and to serve the ends nationals against a foreign government is a foreign relations matter, the
main manuscript, a smorgasbord plate of materials that she thought she might of justice if he should be reinstated. And in these two years, this Court has not authority for which is demonstrably committed by our Constitution not to the
need. been informed of any act that would indicate that Atty. Lozano had acted in courts but to the political branches. In this case, the Executive Department has
any unscrupulous practices unsuitable to a member of the bar. determined that taking up petitioners’ cause would be inimical to our country’s
foreign policy interests, and could disrupt our relations with Japan, thereby
She electronically cut relevant materials from books and journals in the
creating serious implications for stability in this region. For the Court to overturn
Westlaw website and pasted these to a main manuscript in her computer that While this Court will not hesitate to discipline its erring officers, it will not
the Executive Departments determination would mean an assessment of the foreign
contained the issues for discussion in her proposed report to the Justice. She prolong a penalty after it has been shown that the purpose for imposing it had
policy judgments by a coordinate political branch to which authority to make that
used the Microsoft Word program. Later, after she decided on the general already been served. From Atty. Lozano’s letters-petitions, we discern that his
judgment has been constitutionally committed. In the international sphere,
shape that her report would take, she began pruning from that manuscript suspension had already impressed upon him the need for care and caution in
traditionally, the only means available for individuals to bring a claim within the
those materials that did not fit, changing the positions in the general scheme of his representations as an officer of this Court.
international legal system has been when the individual is able to persuade a
those that remained, and adding and deleting paragraphs, sentences, and
government to bring a claim on the individuals behalf. Even then, it is not the
words as her continuing discussions with Justice Del Castillo, her chief editor,
Under these circumstances, this Court decides to grant Atty. Lozano’s letters- individuals rights that are being asserted, but rather, the states own rights. The
demanded. Parenthetically, this is the standard scheme that computer-literate
petitions with the expectation that he shall now avoid going to the extreme of State, therefore, is the sole judge to decide whether its protection will be
court researchers use everyday in their work.
employing contortions of and misusing legal provisions and principles to justify granted, to what extent it is granted, and when will it cease.
his positions, and instead focus his energies and talents towards a lawyer’s
primary aim of promoting the speedy and efficient administration of                         The Court fully agree that rape, sexual slavery, torture, and sexual
justice.1âwphi1 violence are morally reprehensible as well as legally prohibited under contemporary
international law. However, it does not automatically imply that the Philippines is
A.M. No. 10-1-13-SC               March 20, 2012 under a non-derogable obligation to prosecute international crimes. Absent the
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby LIFT the indefinite consent of the states, an applicable treaty regime, or a directive by the
suspension from the practice of law of Atty. Oliver Lozano and REINSTATE
Re: Subpoena Duces Tecum dated January 11, 2010 of Acting Director Security Council, there is no non-derogable duty to institute proceedings
him to the status of a member in good standing in so far as the suspension
ALEU A. AMANTE, PIAB-C, Office of the Ombudsman. against Japan. Even the invocation of jus cogens norms and erga omnes obligations
imposed him by this Court is concerned. will not alter this analysis. Even if we sidestep the question of whether jus cogens norms
existed in 1951, petitioners have not deigned to show that the crimes committed by the
x-----------------------x Japanese army violated jus cogens prohibitions at the time the Treaty of Peace was
VINUYA VS. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
signed, or that the duty to prosecute perpetrators of international crimes is an erga
A.M. No. 10-9-9-SC G.R. No. 162230, 28 April 2010 omnes obligation or has attained the status of jus cogens.

FACTS
Re: Order of the Office of the Ombudsman Referring the complaint of
Attys. OLIVER O. LOZANO and EVANGELINE J. LOZANO-ENDRIANO In re VICENTE SOTTO, for contempt of court.
Petitioners narrate that during the Second World War, the Japanese army
Against Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno [ret.]. attacked villages and systematically raped the women as part of the
destruction of the village. As a result of the actions of their Japanese Vicente Sotto in his own behalf.
RESOLUTION tormentors, the petitioners have spent their lives in misery, having endured
physical injuries, pain and disability, and mental emotional suffering.
FERIA, J.:
Petitioners claim that since 1998, they have approached the Executive
PER CURIAM: Department through the DOJ, DFA and OSG, requesting assistance in filing a
claim against the Japanese officials and military officers who ordered the This is a proceeding for contempt of our court against the respondent Atty.
We resolve the separate successive letter-petitions 1 of Atty. Oliver O. Lozano, establishment of the “comfort women stations in the Philippines. However, said Vicente Sotto, who was required by their Court on December 7, 1948, to show
addressed to the Supreme Court en banc, for the lifting of the indefinite officials declined to assist the petitioners, and took the position that the cause why he should not be punished for contempt to court for having issued a
suspension from the practice of law imposed by the Court in its Resolution of individual claims for compensation have already been fully satisfied by Japan’s written statement in connection with the decision of this Court in In re Angel
June 15, 2010. compliance with the Peace Treaty between the Philippines and Japan. Parazo for contempt of court, which statement, as published in the Manila
Petitioners also argued that the comfort women system constituted a crime Times and other daily newspapers of the locality, reads as follows:
against humanity, sexual slavery, and torture. They alleged that the prohibition
In our Resolution of June 15, 2010, we found Atty. Lozano and Atty. against these international crimes is jus cogens norms from which no
Evangeline Lozano-Endriano guilty of grave professional misconduct when As author of the Press Freedom Law (Republic Act No. 53.)
derogation is possible, as such, the Philippine government is in breach of its
they misquoted or misused constitutional provisions in their pleadings 2 in order interpreted by the Supreme Court in the case of Angel Parazo,
legal obligation not to afford impunity for crimes against humanity.
to impute unjust acts to members of this Court. Subsequently, we have reporter of a local daily, who now has to suffer 30 days
reinstated Atty. Lozano-Endriano in our August 23, 2011 Resolution, because imprisonment, for his refusal to divulge the source of a news
ISSUE
of circumstances indicating lesser culpability on her part. published in his paper, I regret to say that our High Tribunal has not
only erroneously interpreted said law, but that it is once more putting
Whether the Executive Department committed grave abuse of discretion in not
in evidence the incompetency of narrow mindedness o the majority
Professional misconduct involving the misuse of constitutional provisions for espousing petitioner’s claims for official apology and other forms of reparations
of its members, In the wake of so many mindedness of the majority
the purpose of insulting Members of this Court is a serious breach of the rigid against Japan.
deliberately committed during these last years, I believe that the only
standards that a member of good standing of the legal profession must remedy to put an end to so much evil, is to change the members of
faithfully comply with. Thus, the penalty of indefinite suspension was imposed. RULING 
the Supreme Court. To his effect, I announce that one of the first
However, in the past two years during which Atty. Lozano has been measures, which as its objects the complete reorganization of the
Supreme Court. As it is now constituted, a constant peril to liberty any special express grant of statute. In many instances the right of the members of this Court which decided the Parazo case, who according to
and democracy. It need be said loudly, very loudly, so that even the certain courts of tribunals to punish for contempt is expressly his statement, are incompetent and narrow minded, in order to influence the
deaf may hear: the Supreme Court very of today is a far cry from the bestowed by statue, but such statutory authorization is unnecessary, final decision of said case by this Court, and thus embarrass or obstruct the
impregnable bulwark of Justice of those memorable times of so far as the courts of general jurisdiction are concerned, and in administration of justice. But the respondent also attacks the honesty and
Cayetano Arellano, Victorino Mapa, Manuel Araullo and other general adds nothing statutory authority may be necessary as integrity of this Court for the apparent purpose of bringing the Justices of this
learned jurists who were the honor and glory of the Philippine concerns the inferior courts statutory authority may be necessary to Court into disrepute and degrading the administration of justice, for in his
Judiciary. empower them to act. (Contempt, 12 Jur., pp. 418, 419.) above-quoted statement he says:

Upon his request, the respondent was granted ten days more besides the five In conformity with the principle enunciated in the above quotation from In the wake of so many blunders and injustices deliberately
originally given him to file his answer, and although his answer was filed after American Jurisprudence, this Court, in In re Kelly, held the following: committed during these last years, I believe that the only remedy to
the expiration of the period of time given him the said answer was admitted. put an end to so much evil, is to change the members of the
This Court could have rendered a judgment for contempt after considering his Supreme Court. To this effect, I announce that one of the first
The publication of a criticism of a party or of the court to a pending
answer, because he does not deny the authenticity of the statement as it has measures, which I will introduce in the coming congressional
cause, respecting the same, has always been considered as
been published. But, in order to give the respondent ample opportunity to sessions, will have as its object the complete reorganization of the
misbehavior, tending to obstruct the administration of justice, and
defend himself or justify the publication of such libelous statement, the case Supreme Court. As it is now the Supreme Court of today constitutes
subjects such persons to contempt proceedings. Parties have a
was set for hearing or oral argument on January 4, the hearing being later a constant peril to liberty and democracy.
constitutional right to have their fairly in court, by an impartial
postponed to January 10, 1949. As the respondent did not appear at the date
tribunal, uninfluenced by publications or public clamor. Every citizen
set for hearing, the case was submitted for decision.
has a profound personal interest in the enforcement of the To hurl the false charge that this Court has been for the last years committing
fundamental right to have justice administered by the courts, under deliberately "so many blunders and injustices," that is to say, that it has been
In his answer, the respondent does not deny having published the above the protection and forms of law, free from outside coercion or deciding in favor of one party knowing that the law and justice is on the part of
quoted threat, and intimidation as well as false and calumnious charges interference. Any publication, pending a suit, reflecting upon the the adverse party and not on the one in whose favor the decision was
against this Supreme Court. But he therein contends that under section 13, upon court, the parties, the officers of the court, the counsel, etc., rendered, in many cases decided during the last years, would tend necessarily
Article VIII of the Constitution, which confers upon this Supreme Court the with reference to the suit, or tending to influence the decision of the to undermine the confidence of the people in the honesty and integrity of the
power to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure, "this controversy, is contempt of court and is punishable. The power to members of this Court, and consequently to lower or degrade the
Court has no power to impose correctional penalties upon the citizens, and punish for contempt is inherent in all court. The summary power to administration of justice by this Court. The Supreme Court of the Philippines is,
that the Supreme Court can only impose fines and imprisonment by virtue of a commit and punish for contempt tending to obstructed or degrade under the Constitution, the last bulwark to which the Filipino people may repair
law, and has to be promulgated by Congress with the approval of the Chief the administration of justice, as inherent in courts as essential to the to obtain relief for their grievances or protection of their rights when these are
Executive." And he also alleges in his answer that "in the exercise of the execution of their powers and to the maintenance of their authority is trampled upon, and if the people lose their confidence in the honesty and
freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution, the respondent made his a part of the law of the land. (In re Kelly, 35 Phil., 944, 945.) integrity of the members of this Court and believe that they cannot expect
statement in the press with the utmost good faith and with no intention of justice therefrom, they might be driven to take the law into their own hands,
offending any of the majority of the honorable members of this high Tribunal, and disorder and perhaps chaos might be the result. As a member of the bar
Mere criticism or comment on the correctness or wrongness, soundness or
who, in his opinion, erroneously decided the Parazo case; but he has not and an officer of the courts Atty. Vicente Sotto, like any other, is in duty bound
unsoundness of the decision of the court in a pending case made in good faith
attacked, or intended to attack the honesty or integrity of any one.' The other to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court, to which he owes fidelity
may be tolerated; because if well founded it may enlighten the court and
arguments set forth by the respondent in his defenses observe no according to the oath he has taken as such attorney, and not to promote
contribute to the correction of an error if committed; but if it is not well taken
consideration. distrust in the administration of justice. Respect to the courts guarantees the
and obviously erroneous, it should, in no way, influence the court in reversing
stability of other institutions, which without such guaranty would be resting on
or modifying its decision. Had the respondent in the present case limited
a very shaky foundation.
Rules 64 of the rules promulgated by this court does not punish as for himself to as statement that our decision is wrong or that our construction of
contempt of court an act which was not punishable as such under the law and the intention of the law is not correct, because it is different from what he, as
the inherent powers of the court to punish for contempt. The provisions of proponent of the original bill which became a law had intended, his criticism Respondent's assertion in his answer that "he made his statement in the press
section 1 and 3 of said Rule 64 are a mere reproduction of section 231 and might in that case be tolerated, for it could not in any way influence the final with the utmost good faith and without intention of offending any of the majority
232 of the old Code of Civil Procedure, Act No. 190, amended, in connection disposition of the Parazo case by the court; inasmuch as it is of judicial notice of the honorable members of this high Tribunal," if true may mitigate but not
with the doctrine laid down by this Court on the inherent power if the superior that the bill presented by the respondent was amended by both Houses of exempt him from liability for contempt of court; but it is belied by his acts and
courts to punish for contempt is several cases, among them In re Kelly, 35 Congress, and the clause "unless the court finds that such revelation is statements during the pendency of this proceeding. The respondent in his
Phil., 944. That the power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts of demanded by the interest of the State" was added or inserted; and that, as the petition of December 11, alleges that Justice Gregorio Perfecto is the principal
superior statue, is a doctrine or principle uniformly accepted and applied by the Act was passed by Congress and not by any particular member thereof, the promoter of this proceeding for contempt, conveying thereby the idea that this
courts of last resort in the United States, which is applicable in this jurisdiction intention of Congress and not that of the respondent must be the one to be Court acted in the case through the instigation of Mr. Justice Perfecto.
since our Constitution and courts of justice are patterned as expounded in determined by this Court in applying said act.
American Jurisprudence is as follows:
It is true that the constitutional guaranty of freedom of speech and the press
But in the above-quoted written statement which he caused to be published in must be protected to its fullest extent, but license or abuse of liberty of the
The power of inflicting punishment upon persons guilty of contempt the press, the respondent does not merely criticize or comment on the press and of the citizen should not be confused with liberty in its true sense.
of court may be regarded as an essential element of judicial decision of the Parazo case, which was then and still is pending As important as the maintenance of an unmuzzled press and the free exercise
authority, IT is possessed as a part of the judicial authority granted reconsideration by this Court upon petition of Angel Parazo. He not only of the right of the citizen, is the maintenance of the independence of the
to courts created by the Constitution of the United States or by the intends to intimidate the members of this Court with the presentation of a bill in judiciary. As Judge Holmes very appropriately said U. S vs Sullens (1929), 36
Constitutions of the several states. It is a power said to be inherent the next Congress, of which he is one of the members, reorganizing the Fed. (2nd), 230, 238, 239: "The administration of justice and the freedom of
in all courts general jurisdiction, whether they are State or Federal; Supreme Court and reducing the members, reorganizing the Supreme Court the press, though separate and distinct, are equally sacred, and neither should
such power exists in courts of general jurisdiction independently of and reducing the members of Justices from eleven to seven, so as to change be violated by the other. The press and the courts have correlative rights and
duties and should cooperate to uphold the principles of the Constitution and ANTONIO T. GUERRERO and GEORGE D. CARLOS, petitioners, 15. That the aforecited manifestly malicious actuations,
laws, from which the former receives its prerogatives and the latter its vs. defendant judge should also visit upon him ... for, reducing
jurisdiction. The right of legitimate publicity must be scrupulously recognized HON. JUDGE ADRIANO R. VILLAMOR, respondent. plaintiff his agonizing victim of his disdain and contempt
and care taken at all times to avoid impinging upon it. In a clear case where it for the former who not only torn asunder and spurned but
is necessary, in order to dispose of judicial business unhampered by also humiliated and spitefully scorned. 1
Antonio T. Guerrero for Himself and his co-petitioner.
publications which reasonably tend to impair the impartiality of verdicts, or
otherwise obstruct the administration of justice, this court will not hesitate to
To stop the coercive force of the Order of Contempt issued by respondent
exercise its undoubted power to punish for contempt. This Court must be
judge, petitioners filed the instant petition for certiorari with preliminary
permitted to proceed with the disposition if its business in an orderly manner
injunction or restraining order. On March 22, 1988, the Court issued a
free from outside interference obstructive of its constitutional functions. This
temporary restraining order enjoining and restraining respondent Judge
right will be insisted upon as vital to an impartial court, and, as a last resort, as
Adriano R. Villamor from enforcing his order of Direct Contempt of Court dated
a individual exercises the right of self-defense, it will act to preserve its FERNAN, C.J.:
December 11, 1987 in Criminal Cases Nos. N-0989 to N0993. 2
existence as an unprejudiced tribunal. . . ."
Consequent to the dismissal on February 18,1987 of Criminal Cases Nos. N-
Petitioner submits two issues for resolution in this petition: first, whether or not
It is also well settled that an attorney as an officer of the court is under special 0989, N-0990, N-0991, N-0992, and N-0993 for Qualified Theft against one
respondent judge can issue an Order of Contempt against petitioner in
obligation to be respectful in his conduct and communication to the courts, he Gloria Naval by respondent Judge Adriano R. Villamor of the Regional Trial
Criminal Cases Nos. N-09890993 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 16 of
may be removed from office or stricken from the roll of attorneys as being Court, Branch 16 of Naval, Sub-province of Biliran, Leyte, the offended party,
Naval, Biliran, Leyte by reason of the alleged contemptuous language in the
guilty of flagrant misconduct (17 L. R. A. [N.S.], 586, 594). herein petitioner George D. Carlos, thru his lawyer and herein co-petitioner
complaint in Civil Case No. CEB-6478 for damages against respondent filed in
Antonio T. Guerrero filed before the Regional Trial Court, Branch XXI of Cebu
Cebu; and secondly, whether or not the language employed in the complaint in
City an action for damages, docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-6478, against
In view of all the foregoing, we find the respondent Atty. Vicente Sotto guilty of Civil Case No. 6478 against respondent judge in another court before another
respondent judge for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment in the aforesaid
contempt of this Court by virtue of the above-quoted publication, and he is judge is contemptuous and whether the same is absolutely privileged being
consolidated criminal cases.
hereby sentenced to pay, within the period of fifteen days from the made in a judicial proceeding. 3
promulgation of this judgment, a fine of P1,000, with subsidiary imprisonment
in case of insolvency. The complaint and summons in Civil Case No. CEB-6478 were served on
Petitioners assert that no direct contempt could have been committed against
respondent judge on December 10, 1987. On the following day, he issued in
respondent judge in the complaint for damages in Civil Case No. 6478
Criminal Cases Nos. N-0989-0993 an Order of Direct Contempt of Court
The respondent is also hereby required to appear, within the same period, and because whatever was mentioned therein was not made "before" respondent
against herein petitioners, finding them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
show cause to this Court why he should not be disbarred form practicing as an judge while in session or in recess from judicial proceedings or in any matter
direct contempt and sentencing them both to imprisonment of five (5) days and
attorney-at-law in any of the courts of this Republic, for said publication and involving the exercise of judicial function of the Court while it is at work on a
a fine of P500.00 for degrading the respect and dignity of the court through the
the following statements made by him during the pendency of the case against case before it. Furthermore, petitioners contend that the words used in the
use of derogatory and contemptuous language before the court.
Angel Parazo for contempt of Court. subject complaint were merely words descriptive of plaintiff's cause of action
based on his reaction and remorse and the wilfull infliction of the injury on him
The derogatory and contemptuous language adverted to by respondent judge and that the same are all privileged communications made in the course of
In his statement to the press as published in the Manila Times in its issue of
are the allegations in the complaint in Civil Case No. CEB-6478 reading: judicial proceedings because they are relevant to the issue and therefore
December 9, 1948, the respondent said "The Supreme Court can send me to
cannot be contemptuous.
jail, but it cannot close my mouth; " and in his other statement published on
December 10, 1948, in the same paper, he stated among others: "It is not the 12. That the dismissal of criminal cases Nos. 0989, 0990,
imprisonment that is degrading, but the cause of the imprisonment." In his 0991, 0992 and 0993 for qualified theft was arrived at In his Comment dated April 14, 1988, respondent Judge maintains that
Rizal day speech at the Abellana High School in Cebu, published on January certainly without circumspection—without any moral or petitioners harp too much on the fact that the five criminal cases are closed
3, 1949, in the Manila Daily Bulletin, the respondent said that "there was more legal basis—a case of knowingly rendering unjust cases and therefore the language or words employed to describe, opine,
freedom of speech when American Justices sat in the Tribunal than now when judgment since the dismissal was tantamount to acquittal criticize or condemn the dismissal of said criminal cases in no way obstruct or
it is composed of our countrymen;" reiterated that "even if it succeeds in of the accused Gloria P. Naval who is now beyond the hamper, ruin or disturb the dignity and authority of the court presided over by
placing him behind bars, the court can not close his mouth," and added: "I reach of criminal and civil liability because the defendant respondent judge, as said court was no longer functioning as such in the
would consider imprisonment a precious heritage to leave for those who would Hon. Adriano R. Villamor was bent backwards with his dispensation of justice. This, according to respondent judge, is a very
follow me because the cause is noble and lofty." And the Manila Chronicle of eyes and mind wilfully closed under these circumstances dangerous perception for then the court becomes vulnerable to all forms of
January 5 published the statement of the respondent in Cebu to the effect that which demanded the scrutiny of the judicial mind and verbal assaults, which would shake the foundation of judicial authority and
this Court "acted with malice" in citing him to appear before this Court on discretion free from bias...; even of democratic stability, so that the absence of such proceedings should
January 4 when "the members of this Court know that I came here on not be made a shield to sully the court's prestige.
vacation." In all said statements the respondent misrepresents to the public
xxx xxx xxx
the cause of the charge against him for contempt of court. He says that the
Determinative of the first issue is the distinction we made in the case
cause is for criticizing the decision of this Court in said Parazo case in defense
of Delima vs. Gallardo: 4 Contempt of court may be either direct or
of the freedom of the press, when in truth and in fact he is charged with 14. By the standard of a public official and a private
constructive. It is direct when committed in the presence of or so near a court
intending to interfere and influence the final disposition of said case through person the conduct of defendant Honorable Judge—not
or judge as to obstruct or interrupt proceedings before the same 5 and
intimidation and false accusations against this Supreme Court. So ordered. only shocking, but appalling—giving the plaintiff before his
constructive or indirect contempt is one committed out or not in the presence
court the run-around is at the very least distasteful,
of the courts. 6 It is an act done in a distance which tends to be little, degrade,
distressing and mortifying and moral damages therefore
Moran, C.J., Paras, Pablo, Perfecto, Bengzon, Briones, Tuason, Montemayor obstruct, interrupt or embarass the court and justice. 7
would warrant on this kind of reprehensible behavior ...
and Reyes, JJ., concur.
As the terms connote, the word direct" would relate to an act stemming authority over lawyers who misbehave or fail to live up to PER CURIAM:
immediately from a source, cause or reason and thus, the rule under the law that standard expected of them as members of the Bar.
that it be done in the presence of or so near a court or judge while "indirect" Indeed, the rule of absolute privileged communication
Before the Court is the Complaint for Disbarment1 against Atty. Ramon
would signify an act done not straight to the point and thus, legally speaking absolves beforehand the lawyer from civil and criminal
Rañeses filed on March 3, 1993 by Amparo Bueno with the Integrated Bar of
would pertain to acts done out or not in the presence of the court. liability based on the statements made in the pleadings.
the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD). Commissioner
But like the member of the legislature who enjoys
Agustinus V. Gonzaga, and subsequently Commissioner Victoria Gonzalez- de
immunity from civil and criminal liability arising from any
Based on the foregoing distinctions and the facts prevailing in the case at bar, los Reyes, conducted the fact-finding investigation on the complaint.
speech or debate delivered ill the Batasan or in any
this Court sustains petitioners' contention that the alleged derogatory language
committee thereof, but nevertheless remains subject to
employed in the complaint in Civil Case No. CEB-6478 did not constitute direct
the disciplinary authority of the legislature for said speech Commissioner Rico A. Limpingco submitted a Report and
contempt but may only, if at all, constitute indirect contempt subject to
or debate, a lawyer equally subject to this Court's Recommendation2 dated September 29, 2008 to the IBP Board of Governors
defenses that may be raised by said, petitioners in the proper proceedings.
supervisory and disciplinary powers for lapses in the which approved it in a resolution dated December 11, 2008.
Stress must be placed on the fact that the subject pleading was not submitted
observance of his duty as a member of the legal
to respondent judge nor in the criminal cases from which the contempt order
profession.
was issued but was filed in another court presided by another judge and In a letter3 dated August 12, 2009, IBP Director for Bar Discipline Alicia A.
involving a separate action, the civil case for damages against respondent Risos-Vidal transmitted to the Office of Chief Justice Reynato Puno (retired) a
judge, Although the allegations in the complaint for damages criticized the While technically, to rule on whether or not the statements under consideration Notice of Resolution4 and the records of the case.
wisdom of respondent judge's act of dismissing Criminal Cases Nos. N-0989 are contemptuous would be premature in the absence of any contempt
to 0993, such criticism was directed to him when he was no longer in the proceedings against petitioners, we deem it wise to do so to avoid circuity of
Factual Antecedents
process of performing judicial functions in connection with the subject criminal action in view of our finding that the statements complained of are not
cases so as to constitute such criticisms as direct contempt of court. As contemptuous. We agree with petitioners that the same are merely descriptive
categorically stated Ang vs. Castro: 8 "(T)he use of disrespectful or therein plaintiff's cause of action based on his reaction what he perceived as a In her complaint,5 Bueno related that she hired Atty. Rañeses to
contemptuous language against a particular judge in pleadings presented in willful infliction of injury on him by therein defendant judge. Strong words were
another court or proceeding is indirect, not direct, contempt as it is not used to lay stress on the gravity and degree of moral anguish suffered by
tantamount to a misbehavior in the presence of or so near a court or judge as petitioner Carlos as a result of the dismissal of the subject criminal cases to represent her in Civil Case No. 777. In consideration for his services, Bueno
to interrupt the administration of justice." (Emphasis supplied) Petitioners' justify the award of damages being sought.
alleged disrespectful language falling, if at all, under the classification of paid Atty. Rañeses a retainer fee of P3,000.00. She also agreed to pay him
indirect contempt, petitioners may be adjudged guilty thereof and punished
We have consistently held that the power to punish for contempt should be
therefor only after charge and hearing as provided under Section 3, Rule 71 of
used sparingly, so much so that judges should always bear in mind that the P300.00 for every hearing he attended. No receipt was issued for the retainer
the Rules of Court, thus:
power of the court to punish for contempt should be exercised for purposes
that are impersonal the power being intended as a safeguard not for the
Section 3. Indirect contempts to be punished after charge judges as persons but for the functions that they exercise. 10 Any abuse of the fee paid.
and hearing. — After charge in writing has been filed and contempt citation powers will therefore be curtailed and corrected.
an opportunity given to the accused to be heard by Atty. Rañeses prepared and filed an answer in her behalf. He also attended
himself or counsel, a person guilty of any of the following hearings. On several occasions, Atty. Rañeses would either be absent or late.
Be that as it may, lawyers, on the other hand, should bear in mind their basic
acts may be punished for contempt:
duty "to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and
judicial officers and ...(to) insist on similar conduct by others." 11 This respectful Bueno alleged that on November 14, 1988, Atty. Rañeses asked for
xxx xxx xxx attitude towards the court is to be observed, "not for the sake of the temporary P10,000.00. This amount would allegedly be divided between him and Judge
incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme Nidea, the judge hearing Civil Case No. 777, so that they would not lose the
importance." 12 And it is "through a scrupulous preference for respectful case. Atty. Rañeses told Bueno not to tell anyone about the matter. She
Not only was the Order of District Contempt dated December 11, 1987 issued
language that a lawyer best demonstrates his observance of the respect due immediately sold a pig and a refrigerator to raise the demanded amount, and
without charge and hearing, it was likewise irregularly issued as an incident in
to the courts and judicial officers ... 13 gave it to Atty. Rañeses.
Criminal Cases Nos. N-0989 to N-0993, which had long been terminated. Said
Order must therefore be, as it is hereby set aside for being null and void.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is GRANTED. The assailed According to Bueno, Atty. Rañeses asked for another P5,000.00 sometime in
Order of Direct Contempt of Court dated December 11, 1987 is declared NULL December 1988, because the amount she had previously given was
The second issue raised by petitioners has been resolved in Lubiano vs.
and VOID. The Temporary Restraining Order issued on March 22, 1988 is inadequate. Bueno then sold her sala set and colored television to raise the
Gordolla, 9 in this wise:
hereby made permanent. No costs. demanded amount, which she again delivered to Atty. Rañeses.

Respondent would argue that the statements in question,


SO ORDERED. Bueno later discovered that the trial court had required Atty. Rañeses to
being relevant and pertinent to the subject of inquiry in
said case, are covered by the mantle of absolute comment on the adverse party’s offer of evidence and to submit their
privileged communication; and that, as such, they cannot AMPARO BUENO, Complainant, memorandum on the case, but Atty. Rañeses failed to comply with the court’s
be used as basis for any action, however false and vs. directive. According to Bueno, Atty. Rañeses concealed this development from
malicious the statements may be. We find no necessity to ATTY. RAMON A. RAÑESES, Respondents. her. In fact, she was shocked when a court sheriff arrived sometime in May
dwell at length on the issue as to whether or not the 1991 to execute the decision against them.
statements in question are relevant, for in either case this
DECISION
Court will not be inhibited from exercising its supervisory
Bueno went to Atty. Rañeses’ office to ask him about what happened to the Bueno to submit her formal offer of evidence and her documentary evidence, shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
case. Atty. Rañeses told her that he had not received any decision. Bueno together with her memorandum. connection [therewith] shall render him liable."
later discovered from court records that Atty. Rañeses actually received a copy
of the decision on December 3, 1990. When she confronted Atty. Rañeses
The IBP-CBD received Bueno’s Memorandum17 on May 27, 2003, but she did "Once lawyers agree to take up the cause of a client, they owe fidelity to the
about her discovery and showed him a court-issued certification, Atty.
not file any formal offer, nor did she submit any of the documentary evidence cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in
Rañeses simply denied any knowledge of the decision.
indicated as attachments to her complaint. them."20 A client is entitled to the benefit of all remedies and defenses
authorized by law, and is expected to rely on his lawyer to avail of these
In a separate affidavit,6 Bueno related another instance where Atty. Rañeses remedies or defenses.21
The Investigating Commissioner’s Findings
asked his client for money to win a case. Sometime in June 1991, Atty.
Rañeses allegedly asked her to deliver a telegram from Justice Buena of the
In several cases, the Court has consistently held that a counsel’s failure to file
Court of Appeals to her aunt, Socorro Bello. He told her to tell Bello to prepare In his report18 to the IBP Board of Governors, Commissioner Limpingco
an appellant’s brief amounts to inexcusable negligence.22 In Garcia v.
P5,000.00, an amount that Justice Buena purportedly asked for in relation to recommended that Atty. Rañeses be absolved of the charge of negligence, but
Bala,23 the Court even found the respondent lawyer guilty of negligence after
Criminal Case No. T-1909 that was then on appeal with the Court of Appeals. found him guilty of soliciting money to bribe a judge.
availing of an erroneous mode of appeal. To appeal a decision of the
Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), the respondent
According to Bueno, Atty. Rañeses went to Bello’s residence two weeks later. Commissioner Limpingco noted that Bueno failed to provide the court records therein filed a notice of appeal with the DARAB, instead of filing a verified
In her (Bueno’s) presence, Bello paid Atty. Rañeses P5,000.00. Bello and certifications that she indicated as attachments to her complaint. These petition for review with the Court of Appeals. Because of his error, the
demanded a receipt but Atty. Rañeses refused to issue one, telling her that would have proven that Atty. Rañeses had indeed been negligent in pursuing prescribed period for filing the petition lapsed, prejudicing his clients.
none of his clients ever dared to demand a receipt for sums received from her case. Without these documents, which are not difficult to procure from the
them. courts, Commissioner Limpingco concluded that he would only be left with
In this case, Atty. Rañeses’ alleged failure to file a comment on the adverse
Bueno’s bare allegations which could not support a finding of negligence.
party’s offer of evidence and to submit the required memorandum would have
Atty. Rañeses never filed an answer against Bueno’s complaint. He repeatedly amounted to negligence. However, as noted by Commissioner Limpingco,
failed to attend the hearings scheduled by Commissioner Gonzaga on March Commissioner Limpingco, however, found Bueno’s allegation that Atty. Bueno did not support her allegations with court documents that she could
20, 2000,[7] on May 11, 20008 and on October 2, 2000.9  During the hearing on Rañeses solicited money to bribe judges to be credible. According to have easily procured. This omission leaves only Bueno’s bare allegations
October 2, 2000, Commissioner Gonzaga issued an Order10  declaring Atty. Commissioner Limpingco, the act of soliciting money to bribe a judge is, by its which are insufficient to prove Atty. Rañeses’ negligence. We support the
Rañeses in default. Bueno presented her evidence and was directed to file a nature, done in secret. He observed that Bueno had consistently affirmed her Board of Governors’ ruling on this point.
formal offer. statements in her affidavit, while Atty. Rañeses did nothing to refute them.
The charge of soliciting money
On October 10, 2000, the IBP-CBD received a "Time Motion and Request for Commissioner Limpingco also noted that Atty. Rañeses even made a false
Copies of the Complaint and Supporting Papers"11 (dated September 30, 2000) claim before the investigating commissioners, as he alleged in his "Time
In Bildner v. Ilusorio,24 the respondent lawyer therein attempted to bribe a
filed by Atty. Rañeses. Atty. Rañeses asked in his motion that the hearing on Motion and Request for Copies of the Complaint and Supporting Papers" that
judge to get a favorable decision for his client. He visited the judge’s office
October 2, 2000 be reset to sometime in December 2000, as he had prior he did not receive the complaint against him, a fact belied by the registry
several times and persistently called his residence to convince him to inhibit
commitments on the scheduled day. He also asked for copies of the complaint receipt card evidencing his receipt.
from his client’s case. The Court found that the respondent lawyer therein
and of the supporting papers, claiming that he had not been furnished with
violated Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility – the rule that
these. In the interest of substantial justice, Commissioner Gonzaga scheduled
Thus, Commissioner Limpingco recommended that Atty. Rañeses be instructs lawyers to refrain from any impropriety tending to influence, or from
a clarificatory hearing on November 16, 200012
disbarred for failure to maintain his personal integrity and for failure to maintain any act giving the appearance of influencing, the court. The respondent lawyer
public trust. therein was suspended from the practice of law for one year.
Atty. Rañeses failed to attend the hearing on November 16, 2000. In the same
hearing, Commissioner Gonzaga noted that the registry return card refuted
The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the Investigating In this case, Atty. Rañeses committed an even graver offense. As explained
Atty. Rañeses’ claim that he did not receive a copy of the complaint.
Commissioner’s Report and Recommendation, but reduced the penalty to below, he committed a fraudulent exaction, and at the same time maligned
Commissioner Gonzaga scheduled another clarificatory hearing on January
indefinite suspension from the practice of law.19 both the judge and the Judiciary. These are exacerbated by his cavalier
17, 2001. He stated that if Atty. Rañeses failed to appear, the case would be
attitude towards the IBP during the investigation of his case; he practically
deemed submitted for resolution after the complainant submits her
disregarded its processes and even lied to one of the Investigating
memorandum.13 The Court’s Ruling Commissioners regarding the notices given him about the case.

Atty. Rañeses did not attend the January 17, 2001 hearing. On the same day, The Court approves the IBP’s findings but resolves to disbar Atty. Rañeses While the only evidence to support Bueno’s allegations is her own word, the
Commissioner Gonzaga declared the case deemed submitted for resolution from the practice of law in accordance with Commissioner Limpingco’s Investigating Commissioner found her testimony to be credible. The Court
after the complainant’s submission of her memorandum. 14 recommendation and based on our own observations and findings in the case. supports the Investigating Commissioner in his conclusion. As Commissioner
Limpingco succinctly observed:
At some point, the case was reassigned to Commissioner De los Reyes who The charge of negligence
scheduled another hearing on March 14, 2003. 15 During the hearing, only
By its very nature, the act [of] soliciting money for bribery purposes would
Bueno and her counsel were present. The Commissioner noted that the IBP-
According to Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, lawyers necessarily take place in secrecy with only respondent Atty. Rañeses and
CBD received a telegram from Atty. Rañeses asking for the hearing’s resetting
should serve their clients with competence and diligence. Specifically, Rule complainant Bueno privy to it. Complainant Amparo Bueno has executed
because he had prior commitments. The records, however, showed that Atty.
18.02 provides that "[a] lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without sworn statements and had readily affirmed her allegations in this regard in
Rañeses never filed an answer and the case had already been submitted for
adequate preparation." Rule 18.03, on the other hand, states that "[a] lawyer hearings held before the IBP Investigating Commissioners. Respondent Atty.
resolution. Thus, Commissioner De los Reyes issued an Order 16 directing
Rañeses, for his part, has not even seen it fit to file any answer to the In a Decision dated 19 October 2011, the Court found respondent Atty. Roy In an undated letter written in the vernacular, complainants wrote the Court
complaint against him, much less appear in any hearings scheduled in this Prule Ediza (Atty. Ediza) administratively liable for violating Rule 1.01 of that Atty. Ediza had yet to comply with the Court's Decision and asked the
investigation.25 Canon 1, Canon 15, and Rule 18.03 of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Court's assistance in implementing the same. Later, in a Verified Compliance
Responsibility. The Court upheld the findings of the Integrated Bar of the with Manifestation executed with the assistance of the Public Attorney's Office,
Philippines (IBP) and suspended Atty. Ediza from the practice of law for six complainants informed the Court that as of 17 October 2012, Atty. Ediza had
Further, the false claim made by Atty. Rañeses to the investigating
months. not paid any single centavo and neither had he returned the required
commissioners reveals his propensity for lying. It confirms, to some extent, the
documents.
kind of lawyer that Bueno’s affidavits depict him to be.
Atty. Ediza's liability stemmed from a Complaint/Affidavit 1 dated 8 September
2000 filed by the spouses Nemesio and Caridad Floran (complainants). The In a Resolution7 dated 25 February 2013, the Court noted the manifestations
Rather than merely suspend Atty. Rañeses as had been done in Bildner, the
subject of the complaint was a 3.5525 hectare parcel of unregistered land and further ordered Atty. Ediza to show cause why he should not be
Court believes that Atty. Rañeses merits the ultimate administrative penalty of
located in San Martin, Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, which was covered by a disciplinarily dealt with or be held in contempt and to comply with the Decision.
disbarment because of the multi-layered impact and implications of what he
tax declaration in the name of Sartiga Epal, a relative, who gave the property
did; by his acts he proved himself to be what a lawyer should not be, in a
to complainants.
lawyer’s relations to the client, to the court and to the Integrated Bar. In a Manifestation Showing Cause8 dated 22 April 2013, Atty. Ediza claimed
that he had no intention to defy the Court's authority or challenge its orders
From the records, the Court found that Atty. Ediza deceived complainants and that he had served his suspension, but asked the Court to consider that
First, he extracted money from his client for a purpose that is both false and
when he asked them to unknowingly sign a deed of sale transferring a portion the two sets of documents were merely fictional. He also claimed that he was
fraudulent.1âwphi1 It is false because no bribery apparently took place as Atty.
of their land to him. When the sale of complainants' land pushed through, Atty. at a loss as to which 'documents' the Decision was referring to because the
Rañeses in fact lost the case. It is fraudulent because the professed purpose
Ediza received half of the amount of the proceeds given by the buyer and same were supposedly not alleged with particularity and he had been barred
of the exaction was the crime of bribery. Beyond these, he maligned the judge
falsely misled complainants into thinking that he would register, using the by the Rules of Procedure of the IBP Committee on Bar Discipline from
and the Judiciary by giving the impression that court cases are won, not on the
same proceeds, the remaining portion of their land. These actions, which requesting a bill of particulars. Atty. Ediza alleged that due to the ambiguity
merits, but through deceitful means – a decidedly black mark against the
deprived complainants of their property, showed Atty. Ediza's behavior as about the 'documents,' the judgment was incomplete and unenforceable.
Judiciary. Last but not the least, Atty. Rañeses grossly disrespected the IBP by
unbecoming a member of the legal profession. Moreover, Atty. Ediza claimed that the alleged lack of due process in the
his cavalier attitude towards its disciplinary proceedings.
administrative case rendered the entire proceedings void; and consequently,
even the order to pay the sum should be stricken off.
The Court, in its Decision dated 19 October 2011, (1) suspended Atty. Ediza
From these perspectives, Atty. Rañeses wronged his client, the judge
from the practice of law for six months, effective upon receipt of the Decision;
allegedly on the "take," the Judiciary as an institution, and the IBP of which he
(2) directed him to return to complainants the two sets of documents that he The Court, in its 15 July 2013 Resolution, 9 found this last explanation
is a member. The Court cannot and should not allow offenses such as these to
misled them and Sartiga Epal into signing; and (3) ordered Atty. Ediza to pay unsatisfactory and further required Atty. Ediza to comply with the 19 October
pass unredressed. Let this be a signal to one and all – to all lawyers, their
complainants the amount of P125,463.38, representing the amount he 2011 Decision within ten days from notice, warning him of a more severe
clients and the general public – that the Court will not hesitate to act decisively
deceived them into paying him, with legal interest from 8 September 2000 until penalty in the event of his continued failure to do so.
and with no quarters given to defend the interest of the public, of our judicial
fully paid. The Court further warned Atty. Ediza that a repetition of the same or
system and the institutions composing it, and to ensure that these are not
similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
compromised by unscrupulous or misguided members of the Bar. On 22 November 2013, the Office of the Chief Justice received a handwritten
letter, in the vernacular, from complainants requesting information on the
Thereafter, Atty. Ediza filed a Motion for Reconsideration 2 dated 18 November status of the administrative case. Again, complainants wrote the Court two
WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent Atty. Ramon A. Rañeses is
2011 which was denied by the Court in a Resolution 3 dated 8 February 2012 letters in February 2014, one dated 5 February and another an undated letter
hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law, effective upon his receipt of this
for lack of substantial merit. received by the Court on 18 February, requesting for the immediate resolution
Decision. The Office of the Bar Confidant is DIRECTED to delete his name
and information on the status of the administrative case.
from the Roll of Attorneys. Costs against the respondent.
Atty. Ediza then filed a Manifestation of Compliance (On the Order of
Suspension)4 dated 29 May 2012 through the Office of the Bar Confidant. He The Court, in its 4 June 2014 Resolution,10 noted this last letter from
Let all courts, through the Office of the Court Administrator, as well as the
also attached a sworn statement5 attesting that he desisted from the practice complainants and required Atty. Ediza to show cause why he should not be
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, be notified of this Decision.
of law for six months from receipt of the decision on 18 November 2011 until disciplinarily dealt with or be held in contempt for failure to comply with the 19
29 May 2012. October 2011 Decision, and again ordered him to conform to the same.
SO ORDERED.
In a Resolution6 dated 3 September 2012, the Court deferred action on the Meanwhile, on 13 July 2014, complainants again wrote the Office of the Chief
Manifestation of Compliance and adopted the recommendations of the Office Justice reiterating Atty. Ediza's failure to comply with the Court's directives,
of the Bar Confidant that Atty. Ediza be required to (1) submit certifications and noted that it had been 17 years since the dispute with Atty. Ediza began.
from the IBP Local Chapter where he is a member and the Office of the
NEMESIO FLORAN and CARIDAD FLORAN, Complainants, Executive Judge where he practices his profession, both stating that he had
vs. Atty. Ediza then filed a Compliance with a Motion to Reopen/Reinvestigate the
desisted from the practice of law from 18 November 2011 to 29 May 2012; and
ATTY. ROY PRULE EDIZA, Respondent. Case dated 2 August 2014, claiming that he had discovered new evidence
(2) show proof of payment to complainants of P125,463.38 plus legal interest,
which would prove that complainants had been engaging in fraudulent
and the return of the two sets of documents that Atty. Ediza misled
schemes that resulted in him being victimized. Briefly, Atty. Ediza claimed that
DECISION complainants and Sartiga Epal to sign. The Court also required complainants
complainants never had ownership over the subject property, and that when
to manifest whether Atty. Ediza had already paid the said amount and returned
they initially sought his services in preparing the document that would effect
the said documents.
PER CURIAM: the sale and conveyance of the land in their favor, they employed the aid of a
poseur to misrepresent the real Sartiga Epal, the supposed transferor of
the prqperty. Atty. Ediza attached the affidavits of allegedly the surviving A LAWYER SHALL EXERT EVERY EFFORT AND CONSIDER IT HIS DUTY the legal profession.18 Clearly, Atty. Ediza's conduct has made him unfit to
spouse and sons of Sartiga Epal to substantiate said averments. TO ASSIST IN THE SPEEDY AND EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION OF remain in the legal profession.
JUSTICE.
In its 12 November 2014 Resolution, the Court denied the motion to WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Roy Prule Ediza, having violated the Code of
reopen/reinvestigate the case for lack of merit and again required Atty. Ediza xxxx Professional Responsibility by committing grave misconduct and willful
to comply with the 19 October 2011 Decision within five days from notice. insubordination, is DISBARRED and his name ordered STRICKEN OFF the
Roll of Attorneys effective immediately.
Rule 12. 04 - A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case, impede the execution of
On 5 January 2015, the Office of the Chief Justice received another letter from a judgment or misuse Court processes.
complainants, requesting the issuance of a writ of execution. In the meantime, Let a copy of this Decision be entered in the records of respondent. Further, let
Atty. Ediza filed on 7 February 2015 a Manifestation and Motion, asking the other copies be served on the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and on the
In the present case, Atty. Ediza had previously been found guilty of violating
Court to stay the execution of the 19 October 2011 Decision insofar as it Office of the Court Administrator, which is directed to circulate them to all the
the Code of Professional Responsibility and was suspended from the practice
required the return of money and documents to complainants, and to note his courts in the country for their information and guidance.
of law for six months. Despite the suspension, Atty. Ediza is once again
service of the suspension and lift the same.
demonstrating to this Court that not only is he unfit to stay in the legal
profession for failing to protect the interests of his clients but is also remiss in This Decision is immediately executory.
More than four years since the· Court promulgated its Decision dated 19 following the dictates of the Court, which has administrative supervision over
October 2011, Atty. Ediza has yet to comply with the Court's directives to (1) him. In Martinez v. Zoleta,12 we held that the Court should not and will not
A.C. No. 11139, April 19, 2016 - PHILCOMSAT* HOLDINGS
submit certifications from the IBP Local Chapter where he is a member and tolerate future indifference to administrative complaints and to resolutions
CORPORATION, DULY REPRESENTED BY ERLINDA I. BILDNER,
the Office of the Executive Judge where he practices his profession both requiring comment on such administrative complaints. It bears stressing that a
Complainant, v. ATTY. LUIS K. LOKIN, JR. AND ATTY. SIKINI C.
stating that he has desisted from the practice of law from 18 November 2011 disregard of Court directives constitutes grave or serious misconduct 13 and
LABASTILLA, Respondents.
to 29 May 2012; (2) pay complainants the amount of Pl25,463.38 plus legal gross or willful insubordination14 which warrant disciplinary sanction by this
interest; and (3) return the two sets of documents that Atty. Ediza misled Court.15
complainants and Sartiga Epal to sign.
Section 5(5), Article VIII of the Constitution recognizes the disciplinary A.C. No. 11139, April 19, 2016
The Court issued numerous Resolutions dated 3 September 2012, 25 authority of the Court over members of the Bar.1awp++i1 Reinforcing the
February 2013, 15 July 2013, 4 June 2014, and 12 November 2014, requiring execution of this constitutional authority is Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of
PHILCOMSAT* HOLDINGS CORPORATION, DULY REPRESENTED BY
Atty. Ediza to comply with the 19 October 2011 Decision and show cause why Court which gives this Court the power to remove or suspend a lawyer from
ERLINDA I. BILDNER, Complainant, v. ATTY. LUIS K. LOKIN, JR. AND
he should not be disciplinarily dealt with or be held in contempt for his failure to the practice of law. The provision states:
ATTY. SIKINI C. LABASTILLA, Respondents.
abide by the Court's orders. However, Atty. Ediza repeatedly and blatantly
disregarded and obstinately defied these orders from the Court. Instead, Atty.
Section 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court;
Ediza responded by (1) claiming ignorance over the documents stated in the PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
grounds therefor. - A member of the bar -may·be disbarred or suspended from
Decision, and worse, adjudged that the documents were fictional; (2) alleging
his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or
newly discovered evidence; (3) demanding to stay the execution of the
other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason For the Court's resolution is a Complaint1 dated August 20, 2009 filed by
Decision; and (4) reporting that he has complied with the order of suspension
of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the complainant PHILCOMSAT Holdings Corporation, represented by Erlinda I.
without submitting any required certifications from the IBP and the Office of the
oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, or for a willful Bildner2 (complainant), against respondents Atty. Luis K. Lokin, Jr. (Atty. Lokin,
Executive Judge.
disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or Jr.) and Atty. Sikini C. Labastilla (Atty. Labastilla; collectively, respondents)
willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority so to before the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the
The intentional delay and utter refusal to abide with the Court's orders is a do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either Philippines (IBP), praying for the disbarment of respondents for insinuating
great disrespect to the Court which cannot be tolerated.1âwphi1 Atty. Ediza personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice. that the Sandiganbayan received the amount of P2,000,000.00 in exchange
willfully left unheeded all the warnings imposed upon him, despite the earlier (Emphasis supplied) for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO).
six-month suspension that was meted out to him for his administrative liability.
In Tugot v. Judge Coliflores,11 the Court held that its resolutions should not be The Facts
In imposing the penalty of disbarment upon Atty. Ediza, we are aware that the
construed as mere requests from the Court. They should be complied with
power to disbar is one to be exercised with great caution and only in clear
promptly and completely. The failure of Atty. Ediza to comply betrays not only The Complaint alleged that sometime in June 2007, the Senate, through its
cases of misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character of the
a recalcitrant streak in his character, but also disrespect for the Court's lawful Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, conducted an
lawyer as a legal professional and as an officer of the Court.16 However, Atty.
orders and directives. investigation concerning the anomalies that plagued the PHILCOMSAT group
Ediza's stubborn attitude and unwillingness to comply with the Court's
directives, which we deem to be an affront to the Court's authority over of companies, which includes complainant, particularly in its huge
As a member of the legal profession, Atty. Ediza has the duty to obey the members of the Bar, warrant an utmost disciplinary sanction from this Court. disbursements of monies and/or assets. In the course of the said investigation,
orders and processes of this Court without delay and resistance.1âwphi1 Rule the Senate examined various financial records and documents of the
12.04 of Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states: company, which at that time, were under the control and management of Atty.
The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege clothed with Lokin, Jr. and his co-directors. Among the records examined by the Senate
public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, was an entry in complainant's checkbook stub which reads "Cash for
CANON 12 but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and Sandiganbayan, tro, potc-philcomsat case - P2,000,000"3 (subject checkbook
takes part in one of the most important functions of the State - the entry). It was then discovered that the check was issued in connection with
administration of justice - as an officer of the court.17 To enjoy the privileges of complainant's injunction case against Philippine Overseas
practicing law, lawyers must adhere to the rigid standards of mental fitness, Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) before the Sandiganbayan, which
maintain the highest degree of morality, and faithfully comply with the rules of
was filed by Atty. Lokin, Jr.'s group, as its representatives, with Atty. Labastilla when the objectives of the two proceedings are vastly disparate. Disciplinary
as its external counsel (POTC case). As the investigation was publicized by On the other hand, the IBP Investigating Commissioner found no evidence proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for private
the media, the Sandiganbayan learned about the subject checkbook entry and, showing that Atty. Labastilla had any participation in the making of the subject grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public
accordingly, motu proprio initiated indirect contempt proceedings against checkbook entry, and as such, could not be reasonably implicated therein. In welfare and for preserving courts of justice from the official ministration
respondents, along several others, which was docketed as Case No. SB-07- absolving Atty. Labastilla, the IBP Investigating Commissioner stressed that of persons unfit to practice law. The attorney is called to answer to the court
SCA-0054 (indirect contempt case).5 the instant administrative case's concern was only with the actual making of for his conduct as an officer of the court.26 (Emphases and underscoring
the subject checkbook entry, and not as to whether Atty. Labastilla actually supplied)
After due proceedings, the Sandiganbayan promulgated a Resolution6 dated participated in the disbursement of the proceeds of the check and/or in the To note, while it is undisputed that Atty. Labastilla indeed filed a petition before
May 7, 2009, finding respondents guilty beyond reasonable doubt of indirect attempt to bribe any officials and employees of the Sandiganbayan to obtain a the Court questioning the Sandiganbayan ruling, i.e., G.R.. No. 187699,
contempt and, accordingly, sentenced each of them to pay a fine in the TRO.17 records are bereft of any showing that Atty. Lokin, Jr. joined Atty. Labastilla in
amount of P30,000.00 and to suffer imprisonment for a period of six (6) said petition or that he separately filed an appeal on his own. Thus, the
months.7 In finding respondents guilty, the Sandiganbayan opined that: (a) any In a Resolution18 dated March 21, 2013, the IBP Board of Governors adopted Sandiganbayan ruling had long become deemed final and executory as to him.
person reading the subject checkbook entry would come to the conclusion that and approved the aforesaid report and recommendation. Atty. Lokin, Jr. Moreover, Atty. Labastilla's appeal before the Court was already resolved
a check in the amount of P2,000,000.00 was issued to the Sandiganbayan in moved for reconsideration,19 but the same was denied in a Resolution20 dated through a Minute Resolution27 dated August 3, 2009 denying the same for
exchange for the latter's issuance of a TRO, thereby degrading its integrity and June 6, 2015 with modification increasing the recommended period of failure to sufficiently show that the Sandiganbayan committed any reversible
honor; (b) Atty. Lokin, Jr. caused the creation of the said entry in complainant's suspension from the practice of law to three (3) years. error in issuing the challenged ruling. Atty. Labastilla twice moved for
checkbook which as testified upon by complainant's bookkeeper, Desideria D. reconsideration, but were denied with finality in Resolutions dated February 1,
Casas, was the proximate cause thereof;8 and (c) circumstantial evidence The Issue Before the Court 201028 and August 11, 2010.29 In light of the foregoing, the Sandiganbayan's
showed that Atty. Labastilla conspired with Atty. Lokin, Jr. in causing such ruling that respondents committed contumacious acts which tend to undermine
contemptuous entry, considering, inter alia, that the former was the counsel The essential issue in this case is whether or not respondents should be held and/or denigrate the integrity of such court has become final and executory
who applied for a TRO and that he admitted receipt of the proceeds of the administratively liable. and, thus, conclusive as to them, at least in the indirect contempt case.30
check, although allegedly for legal fees9 and that Sheriffs Manuel Gregorio
Mendoza Torio and Romulo C. Barrozo of the Sandiganbayan similarly In this administrative case, the Court, after a thorough assessment of the
testified that such TRO was only effected/served upon payment of the The Court's Ruling merits of the case, finds itself in agreement with the IBP's finding that the
corresponding fees.10 subject checkbook entry contained a contumacious imputation against the
As will be explained hereunder, the Court: (a) concurs with the IBP's findings Sandiganbayan, i.e., that a check in the amount of P2,000,000.00 was issued
Following the promulgation of the Sandiganbayan's May 7, 2009 Resolution, as to Atty. Lokin, Jr.'s administrative liability; and (b) disagrees with the IBP's and given to the Sandiganbayan in order to secure a favorable TRO in the
the complainant instituted the instant complaint. recommendation to absolve Atty. Labastilla from administrative liability. POTC case. As the records show, Atty. Lokin, Jr. was the one who caused the
making of the subject checkbook entry, considering that: (a) during the time
In his defense, Atty. Lokin, Jr. maintained that he did not perform acts violative At the outset, the Court notes that the indirect contempt case originally filed the said entry was made, complainant's financial records and documents were
of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR), insisting that the before the Sandiganbayan is in the nature of a criminal contempt.21 "[C]riminal under his and his co-directors' control and management; (b) the complainant's
Sandiganbayan's findings in the indirect contempt case were erroneous and contempt is conduct that is directed against the dignity and authority of the bookkeeper, Desideria D. Casas, categorically testified that it was Atty. Lokin,
contrary to the pertinent evidence and records. He likewise pointed out that the court or a judge acting judicially; it is an act obstructing the administration of Jr. who requested for the issuance and disbursement of the check in the
Sandiganbayan ruling was appealed - albeit not by him but by Atty. Labastilla - justice which tends to bring the court into disrespute or amount of P2,000,000.00, and that he was also the one who instructed her to
to the Court, i.e., G.R. No. 187699,11 which appeal remains unresolved. disrespect."22 "[C]riminal contempt, being directed against the dignity and write the subject checkbook entry in the complainant's checkbook;31 (c) Atty.
Therefore, it cannot be the basis for his administrative liability.12 authority of the court, is an offense against organized society and, in addition, Lokin, Jr. never denied participation and knowledge of the issuance of the
is also held to be an offense against public justice which raises an issue check and the consequent creation of the subject checkbook entry;32 and (c)
For his part, Atty. Labastilla harped on the fact that an appeal questioning the between the public and the accused, and the proceedings to punish it are when asked to explain during the Senate investigation, Atty. Lokin, Jr. failed to
Sandiganbayan ruling is still pending before the Court; thus, it was premature punitive."23 give a credible justification for the making of such entry, and instead, resorted
to file an administrative complaint against him. He further maintained that he to avoidance and confession posturing.33 Thus, the IBP correctly concluded
had no participation in the creation of the subject checkbook entry and, even if Since the indirect contempt case is criminal in nature, respondents cannot that Atty. Lokin, Jr. caused the making of the subject checkbook entry in
he had any such participation, there was nothing contemptuous about it.13 insist that the filing of an administrative case against them on the basis of the complainant's financial records.
Sandiganbayan's ruling in the aforesaid case is premature on the premise that
their conviction has not attained finality. It is well-settled that a disbarment However, the Court does not agree with the IBP's finding that Atty. Labastilla
The IBP's Report and Recommendation proceeding is separate and distinct from a criminal action filed against a lawyer could not reasonably be implicated in the making of the subject checkbook
despite being involved in the same set of facts. Case law instructs that a entry. The Court is more inclined to concur with the Sandiganbayan's findings
In a Report and Recommendation14 dated January 23, 2013, the IBP finding of guilt in the criminal case will not necessarily result in a finding of
Investigating Commissioner found Atty. Lokin, Jr. administratively liable and, in the indirect contempt case that Atty. Labastilla also had a hand, direct or
liability in the administrative case. Conversely, the lawyer's acquittal does not indirect, in the creation of the subject checkbook entry in light of the following
accordingly, recommended that he be meted the penalty of suspension from necessarily exculpate them administratively.24 In Spouses Saunders v.
the practice of law for a period of one (1) year. However, Atty. Labastilla was circumstances: (a) he was complainant's external counsel who applied for the
Pagano-Calde:25 TRO in the POTC case; (b) he admitted receipt of the proceeds of the check in
absolved from any administrative liability.15 [A]dministrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own. the amount of P2,000,000.00, although allegedly for legal fees but with no
They are distinct from and they may proceed independently of criminal supporting evidence therefor;34 (c) the TRO was only effected/served upon
Similar to the Sandiganbayan, the IBP Investigating Commissioner found Atty. cases. A criminal prosecution will not constitute a prejudicial question
Lokin, Jr. responsible for the creation of the subject checkbook entry. In this payment of the corresponding fees per the testimonies of Sheriffs Manuel
even if the same facts and circumstances are attendant in the Gregorio Mendoza Torio and Romulo C. Barrozo of the Sandiganbayan; 35 and
relation, it was pointed out that while Atty. Lokin, Jr. offered an explanation administrative proceedings. Besides, it is not sound judicial policy to await
regarding the said entry, such explanation was more in the nature of an (d) the TRO and the aforesaid check were both dated September 23, 2005,
the final resolution of a criminal case before a complaint against a lawyer may thereby establishing an unmistakeable connection between the TRO and the
avoidance and confession posturing, and therefore, was not helpful to his be acted upon; otherwise, this Court will be rendered helpless to apply the
cause as it only served to further implicate him in the making of the aforesaid check.36 Moreover, and as correctly pointed out by complainant, while Atty.
rules on admission to, and continuing membership in, the legal profession Labastilla claims that he received the amount of P2,000,000.00 as payment for
entry.16 during the whole period that the criminal case is pending final disposition,
his legal fees, he failed to properly account the aforesaid amount.37 In addition, stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with
complainant's summary of legal fees paid to Atty. Labastilla did not reflect the more severely.
P2,000,000.00 check which he purportedly received as legal fees.38 Therefore,
Atty. Labastilla should also be held administratively liable for his complicity in Let copies of this Decision be attached to respondents' personal record as
the making of the subject checkbook entry. members of the Bar. Likewise, let copies of the same be served on the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and on the Office of the Court Administrator
As members of the Bar, respondents should not perform acts that would tend for circulation to all courts in the country for their information and guidance.
to undermine and/or denigrate the integrity of the courts, such as the subject
checkbook entry which contumaciously imputed corruption against the SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary
Sandiganbayan. It is their sworn duty as lawyers and officers 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.39 This is the very thrust
of Canon 11 of the CPR, which provides that "[a] lawyer shall observe and
maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and should insist
on similar conduct by others." Hence, lawyers who are remiss in performing
such sworn duty violate the aforesaid Canon 11, and as such, should be held
administratively liable and penalized accordingly, as in this case.

Furthermore, Canon 7 of the CPR commands every lawyer to "at all times
uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession" for the strength of the
legal profession lies in the dignity and integrity of its members. It is every
lawyer's duty to maintain the high regard to the profession by staying true to
his oath and keeping his actions beyond reproach.40 It must be reiterated that
as an officer of the court, it is a lawyer's 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; as acts and/or omissions
emanating from lawyers which tend to undermine the judicial edifice is
disastrous to the continuity of the government and to the attainment of the
liberties of the people. Thus, all lawyers should be bound not only to safeguard
the good name of the legal profession, but also to keep inviolable the honor,
prestige, and reputation of the judiciary.41 In this case, respondents
compromised the integrity of the judiciary by maliciously imputing corrupt
motives against the Sandiganbayan through the subject checkbook entry.
Clearly, respondents also violated Canon 7 of the CPR and, thus, should be
held administratively liable therefor.

Anent the proper penalty to be meted to respondents, jurisprudence provides


that in similar cases where lawyers perform acts which tend to erode the public
confidence in the courts, put the courts in a bad light, and bring the justice
system into disrepute, the Court imposed upon them the penalty of suspension
from the practice of law. In Baculi v. Battung,42 the Court meted the aforesaid
penalty to a lawyer for his disrespect to the courts, to the point of being
scandalous and offensive to the integrity of the judicial system itself. Under the
foregoing circumstances, the Court imposes upon Atty. Labastilla the penalty
of suspension from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year for his
complicity in the making of the subject checkbook entry. On the other hand,
since Atty. Lokin, Jr. was the one directly responsible for the making of the
subject checkbook entry, the Court deems it appropriate to impose upon him
the graver penalty of suspension from the practice of law for a period of three
(3) years, as recommended by the IBP.chanrobleslaw

WHEREFORE, respondents Atty. Luis K. Lokin, Jr. and Atty. Sikini C.


Labastilla are found GUILTY of violating Canons 7 and 11 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, Atty. Luis K. Lokin, Jr. is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years,
while Atty. Sikini C. Labastilla is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law
for a period of one (1) year, effective upon the receipt of this Decision, with a