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De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Case Title 1. AVELINO O. ANGELES et. al vs. ATTY. AMADO O. IBAEZ 2. SPOUSES PADILLA vs. ISAURO A. VELASCO, et.al 3. DOMINGA RUIZ, et.al vs. CIRILA DELOS SANTOS 4. TANU REDDI vs. ATTY. DIOSDADO C. SEBRIO, JR., 5. OFELIA R. SOMOSOT vs. ATTY. GERARDO F. LARA 6. OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR vs. MARLON ROQUE 7. ANGALAN VS. DELANTE 8. PLUS BUILDERS, INC. vs. ATTY. ANASTACIO E. REVILLA, JR. 9. EDGARDO D. AREOLA vs. JUDGE BAYANI 10. EUGENIA MENDOZA vs. ATTY. VICTOR V. DECIEMBRE 11. CONRADO G. FERNANDEZ vs. ATTY. MARIA ANGELICA P. DE RAMOS-VILLALON 12. CHRISTOPHER D. MANAOG vs. ARNEL JOSE A. RUBIO 13. ARELLANO UNIVERSITY, INC. VS. ATTY. LEOVIGILDO H. MIJARES III 14. FRANCISCO A. LABAO vs. LOLITA N. FLORES et al., 15. ATTY. LEONOR M. ALCANTARA et.al. v ATTY. EDUARDO C. DE VERA 16. MANUEL YUHICO v ATTY. FRED L. GUTIERREZ 17. LORNA M. VILLAUEVA v JUDGE APOLIARIO M. BUAYA 18. SPOUSES VIRGIOLIO AND ANGELINA ARANDA v ATTY. EMMANUEL F. ELAYDA 19. ATTY. JONNA M. ESCABARTE v MS. LOIDA J. GERNABE 20. JOVITO S. OLAZO v DANTE O. TINGA 21. CARMEN EDAO vs. Judge FATIMA G. ASDALA 22. ATTY. NORLINDA R. AMANTE-DESCALLAR vs.HON. REINERIO (ABRAHAM) B. Duty Duty to Court Duty to Client Duty to Client Duty to Court/Client Duty to Client Duty to Court Duty to Client Duty to Court/Legal Profession Duty to Society Duty to Society/Legal Profession Duty to Court/Client/Society Duty to Court Duty to Society/Court/Client Duty to Client Duty to Client Duty to Society Duty to Society Duty to Client Duty to the Legal Profession Duty to Society Code of Judicial Conduct Code of Judicial Conduct 7-Dec-10 6-Dec-10 15-Dec-10 15-Dec-10 Date 15-Jan-09 19-Jan-09 27-Jan-09 30-Jan-09 30-Jan-09 4-Feb-09 6-Feb-09 11-Feb-09 18-Feb-09 23-Feb-09 27-Feb-09 13-Feb-09 20-Nov-09 15-Nov-10 23-Nov-10 23-Nov-10

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Court

AVELINO O. ANGELES et. al vs. ATTY. AMADO O. IBAEZ A.C. No. 7860, 576 SCRA 90, January 15, 2009 CARPIO, J.: This is a complaint for disbarment for notarizing the "Extrajudicial Partition with Absolute Sale" without a notarial commission and in the absence of the affiants. Facts: Atty. Amado Ibaez allegedly notarized an "Extrajudicial Partition with Absolute Sale" without having the authority to notarize such as he did not have a commission as notary public at that time. The petitioners further denied executing the said document or, that they ever appeared before respondent Atty. Ibaez for this purpose. He stated that his failure to require the presence of the parties to the "Extrajudicial Partition with Absolute Sale" is wholly justified because of the assurance of complainant Rosalina Angeles that the signatures appearing in the said document were indeed those of her co-heirs. The respondent also alleged that almost all the complainants submitted their residence certificates, the numbers of which were recorded in the acknowledgement portion of the document. Issue: Whether or not respondent violated his oath as a lawyer and the Code of Professional Responsibility when he notarized the "Extrajudicial Partition with Absolute Sale" in the absence of the affiants. Ruling: The Supreme Court held that respondent violated his oath as a lawyer and the Code of Professional Responsibility when he notarized the "Extrajudicial Partition with Absolute Sale" in the absence of the affiants. Respondent himself admits that he merely relied on the representation of Rosalina Angeles that the signatures appearing on the "Extrajudicial Partition with Absolute Sale" subject of the present complaint are those of her co-heirs. Respondent claims that he reposed confidence upon Rosalina Angeles because she is his confidential secretary. Unfortunately for respondent, he cannot exculpate himself from the consequences of his recklessness and his failure to comply with the requirements of the law by relying on his confidential secretary. Time and again, the Supreme Court have reminded lawyers commissioned as notaries public that the affiants must personally appear before them. The physical presence of the affiants enables the notary public to verify the genuineness of the signatures of the acknowledging parties and to ascertain that the document is the parties free act and deed. Under the facts and circumstances of the case, respondents notarial commission should not only be suspended but respondent must also be suspended from the practice of law. Adjudication: The Court finds respondent Atty. Amado O. Ibaez guilty and suspends him from the practice of law for one year, revokes his incumbent notarial commission, if any, and prohibits him from being commissioned as a notary public for one year.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B. SPOUSES PADILLA vs. ISAURO A. VELASCO, et.al G.R. No. 169956, 576 SCRA 219, January 19, 2009 NACHURA, J.:

Duty to Client

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals. Facts: Respondents are the heirs of Dr. Artemio A. Velasco who died single and without any issue on January 22, 1949. During his lifetime, Artemio acquired a parcel of land. In October 1987, the Padilla spouses entered the said property as trustees by virtue of a deed of sale executed by the Rural Bank of Pagsanjan in favor of spouses Bartolome Solomon, Jr. and Teresita Padilla. Respondents demanded that petitioners vacate the property, but the latter refused. Because the parties failed to reach an amicable settlement, actions were instituted and trial proceedings commenced accordingly. The Regional Trial Court rendered a decision in favor of the respondents ordering the petitioners to vacate the land and restore possession thereof to the respondents, to render an accounting of the proceeds from the crop harvested therefrom starting September 1987 up to the time the property is returned to the respondents, and to remove at their expense all the structures they constructed thereon. The Padilla Spouses appealed to the CA but to no avail. Hence, this petition claiming that their counsel, Atty. Asinas failed to present other witnesses, additional documents that may be essential to overturn the decision in their favor. Issue: Whether or not the serious illness of a counsel constitutes excusable negligence or incompetency to warrant a new trial. Ruling: The Supreme Court ruled that mistakes of counsel as to the competency of witnesses, the sufficiency and relevancy of evidence, the proper defense, or the burden of proof, as well as his failure to introduce certain evidence or to summon witnesses and to argue the case, are not proper grounds for a new trial, unless the incompetence of counsel be so great that his client is prejudiced and prevented from fairly presenting his case. In this case, the illness of petitioners counsel and his alleged failure to present additional evidence during the trial of the case do not constitute sufficient ground for a new trial. Adjudication: The instant petition is denied for lack of merit.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Client

DOMINGA RUIZ, et.al vs. CIRILA DELOS SANTOS G.R. No. 166386, 576 SCRA 404, January 27, 2009 AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: This is a petition for review on certiorari and mandamus seeking that the Resolutions of the Court of Appeals be reversed and set aside; and that the CA be directed to give due course to the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus filed before it by herein petitioners. Facts: Petitioners in this case, Dominga, Apolonia, Florencio, Cornelia, Tomasa and Olimpio were the original owners of seven parcels of land in Cavite. Cirila delos Santos, herein respondent, is a duly licensed real estate broker. Sometime in 1995, Olimpio, one of the petitioners herein, gave respondent the plan of the subject property and verbally authorized her to sell the same. Thereafter, respondent referred in writing the subject property to Odessa Antiporda, a realtor and a fellow estate broker. Antiporda in turn referred the subject property to one Alfred Tantiansu. Olimpio then gave respondent a written authority to sell the same. Olimpio and Cirila was not able to agree with the amount of commission the latter is entitled to get for because it is through her effort as a real estate broker that she was able to bring about the consummation of the sale of the subject property. Due to the failure of the petitioners to pay the said commission, full-blown trial on the merits ensued. The Regional Trial Court is rendered a decision in favor of plaintiff [respondent] and against the defendants [petitioners]. Hence, the petitioners herein appealed but failed to pay the required appeal fee due to mistake and excusable negligence of their counsel. Atty. Ang, the petitioners counsel admitted that it was through his negligence that the appeal was belatedly filed. He claimed that because some of the petitioners were abroad, it was difficult to communicate with them. Issue: Whether or not the failure of petitioners counsel to perfect the appeal binds petitioners. Ruling: Yes. The failure of petitioners counsel to perfect the appeal binds petitioners. It is settled that clients are bound by the mistakes, negligence, and omission of their counsel. While, exceptionally, the client may be excused from the failure of counsel, the factual circumstances in the present case do not give us sufficient reason to suspend the rules of the most mandatory character. Petitioners themselves may not be said to be entirely faultless. Records show that at that time, while some of the petitioners were already abroad, Dominga and Tomasa were still living in Cavite. Cornelia who lives abroad was able to receive a copy of the decision and was able to make an overseas call to Atty. Ang to express her desire to appeal the decision. However, neither Dominga nor Tomasa who only live in Cavite, took steps to call Atty. Ang at the earliest possible time to protect their interest. No prudent party would leave the fate of his case completely to his lawyer. It is the duty of the client to be in touch with his counsel so as to be constantly posted about the case. Thus, the Supreme Court find that there was participatory

negligence on the part of petitioners, which would not relieve them of the consequence of the negligence of their counsel. Adjudication: The petition was denied.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Court/Client

TANU REDDI vs. ATTY. DIOSDADO C. SEBRIO, JR., A.C. No. 7027 January 30, 2009 PER CURIAM: Facts: Complainant Tanu Reddi, an American citizen of Indian descent and a practicing endodontist [dentist] in New York, seeks the disbarment of respondent Atty. Diosdado C. Sebrio, Jr. for allegedly deceiving her into giving him a total of US $ 3,000,000 for the purpose of, among other things, purchasing several real estate properties for resale. Inspired by the charitable works of her parents, complainant decided to build a hospital in the Philippines. However she needed more revenue to finance the said undertaking. Through the advice of her assistant Immaculada Luistro, complainant ventured into the real estate in the Philippines. It through this business hat he came to know and ask for legal advice from respondent. Respondent advised that complainant cannot own real estate in the Philippines since she is an alien, thus the remedy is to put up a corporation, and this corporation will be the one who will acquire the land. Three corporations then were created. Through the instance of respondent and financed by complainants, several lots were purchased. However, complainant was unaware that the transactions [sale of several lands] she had entered into were all bogus, since the sellers were not the real owners of the land. This fact was known to the respondent since he is the one who arranged the transactions. Issue: Whether or not respondent is guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Ruling: Yes, the commissioner who investigated the case of respondent [result of the investigation was adopted by the Supreme Court] found respondent to have committed fraudulent acts which constitute violations of the lawyers oath and numerous provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). He engaged in unlawful, dishonest and deceitful conduct when he offered properties for sale to complainant on the misrepresentation that complainant was dealing with the true owners thereof. Respondent violated CANON 1 which states: A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law and for legal processes. He likewise violated Rule 1.01 of the CPR which provides: A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Respondent violated Canon 16 and Rule 16.01 of the CPR, and Rule 15.06 of the CPR. The court found that respondents dishonest and deceitful conduct with respect to the intended transactions, real property acquisitions which turned out to be bogus, is sufficiently established. Explained the court, "to reiterate, by his own admission, respondent received a total of US$544,828 from complainant, which he could not properly account for. The orchestrated manner in which he carried out his fraudulent scheme, in connivance with other persons, and by taking advantage of complainants naivete in the workings of the real estate business in the Philippines, depict a man whose character falls way, way short of the exacting standards required of him as a member of the bar and an officer of the court. Thus, respondent is no longer fit to remain as

such. The court in admonition reiterates that if the practice of law, however, is to remain an honorable profession and attain its basic ideals, those enrolled in its ranks should not only master its tenets and principles but should also, in their lives, accord continuing fidelity to them. The requirement of good moral character is, in fact, of much greater import, as far as the general public is concerned, than the possession of legal learning." Adjudication: Respondent Diosdado C. Sebrio, Jr. is disbarred. He is ordered to return to complainant the amount of US$544,828.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Client

OFELIA R. SOMOSOT vs. ATTY. GERARDO F. LARA A.C. No. 7024, 577 SCRA 93, January 30, 2009 BRION, J.: This is a complaint for disbarment. Facts: The complainant alleged that she retained the services of the respondent as her counsel in case filed against her and her co-defendants for the collection of a sum of money amounting to P1.3 Million. Her defense was that it was the plaintiff who actually owed her P800, 000.00. She claimed that she had the evidence to prove this defense at the trial and that respondent agreed to handle the case and duly entered his appearance as counsel after securing his acceptance fee. However, after filing the Answer to the Complaint, the respondent failed to fully inform her of further developments in the case. She only heard about the case when there was already a decision against her and her co-defendants. She even belatedly learned that the respondent had sought his discharge as counsel without her knowledge and consent. After the court denied the respondent's motion to withdraw from the case, the complainant claimed that the respondent represented her interests in a half-hearted manner, resulting in the grant of the plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings. Allegedly, the respondent failed to properly oppose the motion and she was thereafter deprived of the chance to present her evidence. Execution of the court's decision followed, resulting in the sale of her house and lot at public auction despite her efforts to reverse the judgment with the help of another lawyer. Thereafter, a third party to whom her property had been mortgaged sued her. Issue: Whether or not the respondent violated Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Ruling: Yes. The Supreme Court held that respondent violated Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that "a lawyer shall serve his client with competen ce and diligence." First, the respondent failed to contact his client about the developments of the case. Second, assuming the non-payment of his legal services to be true, such failure should not be a reason not to inform the client of an important development, or worse, to withhold vital information from her. Third, the respondent failed to provide details on the developments that led to the adverse rulings on the interrogatories/admissions and the judgment on the pleadings. However, the Supreme Court cannot also disbar the respondent as the complainant demands in light of the complainant's own contributory faults. The complainant's failing in this regard is her failure to inform her counsel of her change of business address, a serious lapse but one that a resourceful counsel could have easily handled. Adjudication: Atty. Gerardo F. Lara is suspended from the practice of law for a period of three (3) months.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Court

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR vs. MARLON Roque A.M No. P-06-2200, 580 SCRA 321, February 4, 2009 En Banc CARPIO MORALES, J.: This is an administrative matter against Clerks of Court Marlon Roque and Anita Nunag. Facts: Respondents stand charged for negligence in their duty to monitor and supervise Cashier Aurelia Lugue in the management of court funds. Their failure to monitor the financial transactions of the Court had resulted in the shortage in the Fiduciary Fund (FF) account in the amount of P605,025.00. Roque, for his part, alleged that to the best of his knowledge and despite his limited background in accounting, he did his very best to closely supervise the financial transactions of the office. In the discharge of this duty, he never noted any discrepancy reflected in the Monthly Reports of Collections. Nunag, on the other hand, claimed that when she assumed as Clerk of Court, she was not thoroughly familiar with accounting procedures and had no exposure to bookkeeping and accounting work. She continued the accounting procedures and the practice of Roque and Aurelia. Issue: Whether or not respondents are guilty of Simple Negligence.

Ruling: Yes. The Supreme Court held that as accountable officers and custodians of the courts funds, respondents were duty-bound to use reasonable skill and diligence in the performance of their duties. It was their responsibility to ensure the correctness and legitimacy of every financial transaction within their responsibility. The trust they reposed to Cashier Lugue cannot be a valid defense. It was their duty to see to it that their subordinates performed their functions properly. Further. Respondents lack or limited knowledge of accounting procedures does not exonerate them. To credit such defense would set similarly situated employees to lightly discharge their duty of employing reasonable skill and diligence and thus evade administrative liability. Adjudication: Respondents Marlon Roque and Anita G. Nunag guilty of Simple Neglect of Duty and are each fined the amount of Five Thousand (P5,000) Pesos.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B. Angalan vs. Atty. Delante A.C. No. 7181, 578 SCRA 113, February 6, 2009 PER CURIAM:

Duty to Client

This is a complaint for gross violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Facts: The complainants are the heirs of Angalan Samal. They allege that they are illiterate and belong to the Samal Tribe. Angalan, Sanaan, and complainants owned a 9.102-hectare parcel of land. On 15 April 1971, Angalan and complainants borrowed P15, 000 from Spouses Eustaquio. To secure the loan, Angalan and complainants mortgaged their parcel of land. The Spouses Eustaquio prepared a document and asked Angalan and complainants to sign it. Angalan and complainants affixed their thumb marks on the document. When complainants tried to pay the loan and recover the land from the Spouses Eustaquio, the Spouses Eustaquio refused. Complainants learned that the document which the Spouses Eustaquio prepared, and which complainants signed, was a deed of absolute sale and not a real estate mortgage. They also learned that Navarro R. Eustaquio had transferred the title over the property to his name. Complainants engaged the services of Atty. Leonido C. Delante for the purpose of recovering their property. According to complainants, they engaged the services of respondent for the purpose of recovering their property from the Spouses Eustaquio. In violation of the trust and confidence they reposed in him, respondent transferred the title over the property to his name. According to respondent, complainants did not engage his services. His client from New York was the one who bought the property from the Spouses Eustaquio. Issue: Whether or not Atty. Leonido C. Delante is guilty of violating Canons 16 and 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Ruling: Yes. The Supreme Court held that respondent Atty. Delante is guilty of violating the canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Canon 17 states that lawyers shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in them. Respondent should have been mindful of the trust and confidence complainants reposed in him. Complainants allege that they are illiterate and that the Spouses Eustaquio took advantage of them. Complainants engaged the services of respondent in the hope that he would help them recover their property. Instead of protecting the interests of complainants, respondent took advantage of complainants and transferred the title of the property to his name. The Supreme Court further ruled that respondent violated Canons 16 and 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Canon 16 states that lawyers shall hold in trust all properties of their clients that may come into their possession. Respondent should have held in trust TCT No. T-9926 and returned the property to complainants upon demand.[24] Instead of holding in trust the property of complainants, respondent (1) transferred the title of the property to his name, (2)

refused to return the property to complainants, and (3) referred to complainants charges as malicious and untruthful. Adjudication: The Court finds Atty. Leonido C. Delante guilty of violating Canons 16 and 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is disbarred from the practice of law and his name stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Court/Legal Profession

PLUS BUILDERS, INC. vs. ATTY. ANASTACIO E. REVILLA, JR. A.C. No. 7056, 578 SCRA 431, February 11, 2009 En Banc NACHURA, J. This is a motion for reconsideration of the Decision of the Supreme Court. Facts: On November 15, 1999, a decision was rendered by the Provincial Adjudicator of Cavite (PARAD) in favor of herein complainant, Plus Builders, Inc. and against the tenants/farmers Leopoldo de Guzman, Heirs of Bienvenido de Guzman, Apolonio Ilas and Gloria Martirez Siongco, Heirs of Faustino Siongco, Serafin Santarin, Benigno Alvarez and Maria Esguerra, who were the clients of respondent, Atty. Anastacio E. Revilla, Jr. The PARAD found that respondents clients were mere tenants and not rightful possessors/owners of the subject land. The case was elevated all the way up to the Supreme Court, with this Court sustaining complainants rights over the land. Continuing to pursue his clients lost cause, respondent was found to have committed intentional falsehood; and misused court processes with the intention to delay the execution of the decision through the filing of several motions, petitions for temporary restraining orders, and the last, an action to quiet title despite the finality of the decision. Furthermore, he allowed non-lawyers to engage in the unauthorized practice of law, holding themselves out as his partners/associates in the law firm. The Court then imposed a two-year suspension against respondent lawyer. Respondent sought consideration and compassion for the issuance of the clearance considering present economic financial difficulties and reiterating the fact that he was the sole breadwinner in the family. Issue: a) Whether or not respondent lawyer is guilty of violating the Canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility. b) Whether or not respondent lawyers suspension of 2-years be modified. Ruling: a) Yes. Under the circumstances, the respondents repeated attempts go beyond the legitimate means allowed by professional ethical rules in defending the interests of his client. These are already uncalled for measures to avoid the enforcement of final judgments of the MeTC and RTC. In these attempts, the respondent violated Rule 10.03, Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which makes it obligatory for a lawyer to observe the rules of procedure and. . . not [to] misuse them to defeat the ends of justice. By his actions, the respondent used procedural rules to thwart and obstruct the speedy and efficient administration of justice, resulting in prejudice to the winning parties in that case 2. The Court held that it must show compassion and will not hesitate to refrain from imposing the appropriate penalties in the presence of mitigating factors, such as the respondents length of service, acknowledgment of his or her infractions and feeling of remorse, family circumstances, humanitarian and equitable considerations, and respondents advanced age, among other things, which have varying significance in the Courts determination of the imposable

penalty. Thus, after a careful consideration of herein respondents motion for reconsideration and humble acknowledgment of his misfeasance, the Court is persuaded to extend a degree of leniency towards him, suspension of six (6) months from the practice of law is thus imposed. Adjudication: Respondents Motion for Reconsideration is partially granted. The Decision is hereby modified in that respondent is suspended from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Society

EDGARDO D. AREOLA (a.k.a. MOHAMMAD KAHDAFFY vs. JUDGE BAYANI A.M. No. RTJ-09-2163, 579 SCRA 549, February 18, 2009 NACHURA, J.: This is an administrative complaint filed by Edgardo D. Areola (a.k.a. Mohammad Kahdaffy) against Judge Bayani Y. Ilano. Facts: Edgardo D. Areola, Police Officer Manuel Bayaga and Antonio Bayaga were charged with Murder. The case was raffled and re-raflled due to the retirement of the previous judge and inhibition of another until the case was transferred to Branch 73, presided over by Judge Francisco Querubin. On March 16, 2004, Judge Querubin issued an order granting the Motion for Bail of PO3 Manuel Bayaga and Antonio Bayaga only and fixed the bail at P100, 000.00 each. On May 6, 2004, complainant filed a Manifestation stating therein that he should likewise be granted bail. Upon motion of the complainant, Judge Querubin recused himself so the case was assigned to Branch 71, presided over by Judge Bayani Y. Ilano, herein respondent. Thereafter, Judge Ilano also expressed that he was inhibiting from the case but pursuant to a Memorandum from the Office of the Court Administrator, he was compelled to handle the case because the pairing judge of the heinous crimes court (Branch 74) had earlier inhibited from the case. On April 11, 2006, complainant filed an Urgent Motion to Resolve Motion for Reconsideration which denied the Urgent Motion for Admission to Bail. The complainant filed a Second Urgent Motion to Resolve and to Grant Motion for Admission to Bail, and another Manifestation and Motion reiterating his prayer to be admitted to bail. Meanwhile, Judge Ilano issued an Order directing the transfer of the complainant from the Rizal Provincial Jail to the Antipolo City Jail upon an urgent ex-parte motion filed by the Provincial Warden on even date. On September 15, 2006, Judge Ilano issued an Order denying Complainants Motion for Reconsideration. Issues: a) Whether or not Judge Ilano violated Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). b) Whether or not respondent judge violated Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Ruling: a) The Supreme Court found complainants charges against respondent Judge without basis. The orders which were adverse to the complainant pertained to the adjudicative function of respondent Judge. As a matter of policy, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not subject to disciplinary action, no matter how erroneous, as long as he acts in good faith. In the instant case, the administrative complaint was obviously resorted to when complainant failed to obtain the favorable action he wanted from the court. It must be stressed that the filing of an administrative complaint is not an appropriate remedy where judicial recourse is

still available, such as a motion for reconsideration, an appeal, or a petition for certiorari, unless issued or rendered with ill motive. b) However, the Court cannot gloss over the fact that respondent Judge was remiss in his duty for his failure to resolve the pending motion for reconsideration with dispatch. Under the Constitution, trial judges are given only ninety (90) days from the filing of the last pleading within which to resolve the matter at hand. Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, likewise, enunciates that judges should administer justice without delay and dispose of the courts business promptly within the period prescribed by law. When respondent Judge took over the case, the motion for reconsideration had already been long pending and several motions were filed for its urgent resolution. Respondent Judge acted on said motion only after five (5) months from the time the case was assigned to him. Unfortunately, respondent Judges explanation on this matter is wanting as he failed to file any comment on the charges hurled against him. Adjudication: Judge Bayani Y. Ilano is fined of P20, 000.00 chargeable to his retirement benefits.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Society/Legal Profession

EUGENIA MENDOZA vs. ATTY. VICTOR V. DECIEMBRE A.C. No. 5338, 580 SCRA 26 February 23, 2009 Per Curiam: This is a petition for disbarment. Facts: Complainant, a mail sorter at the Central Post Office Manila, averred that: On October 13, 1998, she borrowed from Rodela Loans, Inc., through respondent, the amount ofP20, 000.00 payable in six months at 20% interest, secured by 12 blank checks. Respondent warned complainant that he would deposit Postal Check No. 47253 filled up by him in the amount of P16, 000.00 because the amount remitted were not enough to cover the penalties. Afraid that respondent might sue her in court, complainant made good said check and respondent was able to encash the same on March 30, 1999. Thereafter, complainant made subsequent payments to the Metrobank account of respondent paying respondent the total sum of P35, 690.00. Complainant further claimed that, later, respondent filled up two of the postal checks she issued in blank, with the amount of P50,000.00 each which respondent claims was in exchange for the P100,000.00 cash that complainant received on November 15, 1999. Complainant insisted however that she never borrowed P100, 000.00 from and also claimed that respondent victimized other employees of the Postal Office by filling up, without authorization, blank checks issued to him as condition for loans. Respondent averred that his dealings with complainant were done in his private capacity and not as a lawyer, and that when he filed a complaint for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. (B.P. Blg.) 22 against complainant, he was only vindicating his rights as a private citizen. It was complainant who deliberately deceived him by not honoring her commitment to their November 15, 1999 transaction involving P100, 000.00 and covered by two checks which bounced for the reason account closed. The IBP imposed indefinite suspension upon the respondent after an investigation. Issue: a) Whether or not the respondent be disbarred even if there is no attorney-client relationship. b) Whether or not the penalty of indefinite suspension is correct. Ruling: a) The Supreme Court ruled that the fact that there is no attorney-client relationship in this case and the transactions entered into by respondent were done in his private capacity cannot shield respondent, as a lawyer, from liability. A lawyer may be disciplined for acts committed even in his private capacity for acts which tend to bring reproach on the legal profession or to injure it in the favorable opinion of the public. b) The Court agrees with the findings of the IBP, but finds that disbarment and not just indefinite suspension is in order. The Supreme Court held that the practice of law is not a right but merely a privilege bestowed by the State upon those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. A high sense of morality, honesty and fair dealing is expected and required of members of the bar.[26] They must conduct themselves with great propriety, and their behavior must be beyond reproach anywhere and at all times.

Adjudication: Atty. Victor V. Deciembre is found guilty of gross and violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is DISBARRED from the practice of law and his name is ordered stricken off the Roll of Attorneys effective immediately

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Court/Client/Society

CONRADO G. FERNANDEZ vs. ATTY. MARIA ANGELICA P. DE RAMOSVILLALON A.C. No. 7084, 580 SCRA 310, February 27, 2009 BRION, J.: This is an administrative case filed by complainant Conrado G. Fernandez against Atty. Maria Angelica P. De Ramos-Villalon. Facts: It was discovered by Palacios that Fernandez had falsified a Deed of Donation that he (Palacios) purportedly executed in Fernandez favor in order acquire the lot that Palacios inherited the lot from his mother. Palacios then employed the services of respondent Atty. Villalon to file a Complaint for the declaration of nullity of the Deed of Donation that became the basis for the issuance of a title in Conrado G. Fernandez name. Fernandez claimed that the transfer of title in his name was proper on account of an existing Deed of Absolute Sale between him and Palacios. He also alleged that it was Palacios who falsified a Deed of Donation by forging their signatures and having it notarized; Palacios did this in order to cheat the government by paying only the donors tax, which was lower than the capital gains tax he would have paid had the transaction been represented as a sale. He additionally alleged that Palacios intended to falsify the Deed of Donation in order to have a ground for the annulment of the new TCT issued in favor of Fernandez and, ultimately, to recover the property. He also filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty. Villalon for violation of Rule 1.01, Rule 7.03, Rule 10.01, Rule 10.02, and Rule 10.03 of the Canons of Professional Responsibility. Issue: Whether or not Atty. Villalon be disbarred for suppression of evidence.

Ruling: The Supreme Court held that the charges against the respondent do not constitute sufficient grounds for disbarment. A lawyer, as an officer of the court, has a duty to be truthful in all his dealings. However, this duty does not require that the lawyer advance matters of defense on behalf of his or her clients opponent. A lawyer is his or her clients advocate; while duty -bound to utter no falsehood, an advocate is not obliged to build the case for his or her clients opponent. The respondents former client, Palacios, approached her to file a complaint for the annulment of the Deed of Donation. This was the cause of action chosen by her client. Assuming arguendo that the respondent knew of the presence of the Deed of Absolute Sale, its existence, is, indeed, a matter of defense for Fernandez. The respondent cannot be faulted for choosing not to pursue the nullification of the Deed of Absolute Sale. The respondent alleged that her former client, Palacios, informed her that the Deed of Absolute Sale was void for lack of consideration. Furthermore, unlike the Deed of Donation, the Deed of Absolute Sale was not registered in the Registry of Deeds and was not the basis for the transfer of title of Palacios property to Fernandez . Under the circumstances, it was not unreasonable for a lawyer to conclude, whether correctly or incorrectly,

that the Deed of Absolute Sale was immaterial in achieving the ultimate goal the recovery of Palacios property. Adjudication: The complaint for Disbarment is dismissed.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Court

CHRISTOPHER D. MANAOG vs. ARNEL JOSE A. RUBIO A.M. No. P-08-2521, 579 SCRA 10, February 13, 2009 NACHURA, J.: This is a complaint for misconduct, unethical behavior, verbal abuse, manhandling, grave threat, grave/serious oral defamation, harassment, abuse and usurpation of judicial power. Facts: On October 21, 2005, Christopher D. Manaoag went to the Office of the Clerk of Court to secure information on ownership of certain parcels of land, which had been transferred to others allegedly through fraud. He was inquiring at the information counter in the lobby of the Hall of Justice, when respondent Rubio approached him and said, "Digdi" (Its here) after the former saw the documents he had brought with him. The complainant claims the respondent told him that the person whose signature appeared on the said documents was already dead, and whatever records the complainant was looking for were already gone. A discussion followed, culminating in a verbal tussle between them. On October 26, 2005, he returned to the Hall of Justice with his brother to verify the identity of the other employee (respondent Surtida) who had joined respondent Rubio in verbally abusing him. The respondents called them Beasts and Nutcase. Issue: Whether or not respondents are liable for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. Ruling: Yes. Time and again, the Court has emphasized the heavy burden of responsibility which court officials and employees are mandated to perform. They are constantly reminded that any impression of impropriety, misdeed or negligence in the performance of official functions must be avoided. This is so because the image of the court of justice is necessarily mirrored in the conduct, official or otherwise, of the men and women who work there. Thus, court employees have been requested to adhere to the exacting standards of morality and decency in order to preserve the judiciarys good name and standing as a true temple of justice. Respondents Rubio and Surtida should be held liable for conduct unbecoming court employees. Their acts of provoking the complainant constitute behavior wholly unexpected from those in the judicial service. They should be reminded that government service is people-oriented. Patience is an essential part of dispensing justice, civility is never a sign of weakness, and courtesy is a mark of culture and good breeding. Impatience and rudeness have no place in government service in which personnel are enjoined to act with self-restraint and civility at all times. Adjudication: Sheriff Jose Arnel Rubio is guilty of simple misconduct for which he is suspended from the service for one (1) month and one (1) day without pay. He is also guilty of conduct unbecoming a court employee for which he is reprimanded.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Society/Court/Client

Arellano University, Inc. v. Atty. Leovigildo H. Mijares III A.C. No. 8380, 605 SCRA 93, November 20, 2009 This disbarment case is about the need for a lawyer to account for funds entrusted to him by his client. Facts: Sometime in January 2004, complainant Arellano University, Inc. (the University) engaged the services of respondent Leovigildo H. Mijares III, a member of the Bar, for securing a certificate of title covering a dried up portion of the Estero de San Miguel that the University had been occupying. The property was the subject of a Deed of Exchange dated October 1, 1958 between the City of Manila and the University. The University requested Mijares for copies of the MMDA approval but he unjustifiably failed to comply despite his clients repeated demands. Then he made himself scarce, prompting the University to withdraw all the cases it had entrusted to him and demand the return of the P500, 000.00 it gave him. On November 23, 2005 the University wrote Mijares by registered letter, formally terminating his services in the titling matter and demanding the return of the P500,000.00. The IBP designated Atty. Dennis B. Funa as Commissioner to conduct a formal investigation of the complaint. Issue: Whether or not respondent Mijares violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Ruling: Yes. The Court found Atty. Mijares guilty of violation of Rules 1.01 and 1.02, Canon 15, Rule 15.05, Canon 16, Rules 16.01 and 16.03, and Canon 18, Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Every lawyer has the responsibility to protect and advance the interests of his client such that he must promptly account for whatever money or property his client may have entrusted to him. As a mere trustee of said money or property, he must hold them separate from that of his own and make sure that they are used for their intended purpose. If not used, he must return the money or property immediately to his client upon demand, otherwise the lawyer shall be presumed to have misappropriated the same in violation of the trust reposed on him. A lawyers conversion of funds entrusted to him is a gross violation of professional ethics. Even more unfortunate for Mijares, he admitted under oath having bribed a government official to act favorably on his clients application to acquire title to a dried -up creek. That is quite dishonest. The Court is not, therefore, inclined to let him off with the penalty of indefinite suspension which is another way of saying he can resume his practice after a time if he returns the money and makes a promise to shape up. Adjudication: Respondent Leovigildo H. Mijares III is imposed the penalty of disbarment. He is, in addition, directed to return to complainant Arellano University, Inc. all the documents in his possession covering the titling matter that it referred to him.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B. FRANCISCO A. LABAO vs. LOLITA N. FLORES et al., G.R. No. 187894. November 15, 2010 BRION, J.: This is a petition for review on certiorari. Facts:

Duty to Client

Petitioner is the proprietor and general manager of a licensed security-service contractor. Respondents were security guards assigned to the National Power Corporation (NPCMindanao). Petitioner issued a memorandum requiring all security guards to submit their updated personal data files, security guard professional license, and other pertinent documents. When respondents failed to comply with the petitioners directive, despite several notices to do so, the petitioner relieved them. Respondents filed individual complaints with Labor Arbiter (LA) for illegal dismissal and money claims, claiming they were constructively dismissed when they were not given new assignments for a period of over 6 months, despite their repeated requests. Petitioner countered that the respondents relief from duty was a valid exercise of its management prerogative. Furthermore, petitioner issued a notice directing the respondents to report to SMPSAs main office for new assignments, but the latter failed or refused to comply witho ut any valid reasons. The LA ruled in favor of the petitioner. On appeal, the NLRC affirmed the LA decision. Counsel for the respondents appealed with the Court of Appeals (CA) outside the reglementary period, yet the ruling was in favor of respondents. The petitioner and SMPSA moved for reconsideration, arguing that the CA should have dismissed the petition outright for late filing, and that there was no compelling reason for the reversal of the LA and the NLRCs factual findings. CA considered the respondents petition as timely filed and also opined that disregarding any procedural lapses best served substantial justice. Issue: Whether or not the negiligence of counsel binds the respondents.

Ruling: Yes. The general rule is that a client is bound by the acts, even mistakes, of his counsel in the realm of procedural technique. The exception to this rule is when the negligence of counsel is so gross, reckless and inexcusable that the client is deprived of his day in court.The failure of a partys counsel to notify him on time of the adverse judgment, to enable him to appeal therefrom, is negligence that is not excusable. The Court have repeatedly held that notice sent to counsel of record is binding upon the client, and the neglect or failure of counsel to inform him of an adverse judgment resulting in the loss of his right to appeal is not a ground for setting aside a judgment valid and regular on its face. The Court cannot sustain the respondents argument that they cannot be bound by Atty. Plandos negligence since this would set a dangerous precedent. It would enable every party-litigant to render inoperative any adverse order or decision of the courts or tribunals, through the simple expedient of alleging his/her counsels gross negligence.

Adjudication: The present petition is granted.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Client

ATTY. LEONOR M. ALCANTARA et.al. v ATTY. EDUARDO C. DE VERA A.C. No. 5859, 634 S 674, November 23, 2010 EN BANC, PER CURIAM This is a petition for review of the Resolution of the Board of Governors of the IBP finding the respondent liable for professional malpractice and gross misconduct. Facts: A writ of execution pending appeal was issued in favor of Rosario Mercado in relation to her civil case handled by respondent. Respondent garnished the bank deposits of Mercado but did not give him his share as part of the proceeds were already used to pay the judge and what was left constituted his attorneys fees. An administrative complaint for disbarment was filed by Mercado and the IBP Board of Governors found him guilty of infidelity in the custody and handling of the clients funds and recommended a one-year suspension. Following this resolution, a series of lawsuits were filed by respondent against the Mercados and all those responsible for his suspension including members of the judiciary. His disbarment is also sought for because of barratry, forum shopping, exploitation of family problems, and use of intemperate language. Issue: Whether or not respondent is guilty as charged.

Ruling: Yes. It is worth stressing that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege and is vested only to those who act in good behavior. In the present case, the respondent committed professional malpractice and gross misconduct particularly in his acts against his former clients and virtually all those connected to his suspension. The barrage of cases filed by respondent appears to be an act of revenge and hate driven by frustration and anger. The respondent not only filed frivolous and unfounded lawsuits that violated his duties as an officer of the court in the proper administration of justice but he did so against a former client to whom he owes loyalty and fidelity. This is in clear violation of Canon 21 and Rule 21.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which states that a lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even if their attorney-client relationship is terminated. Adjudication: Respondent is disbarred.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B. De Guzman

Duty to Society

MANUEL YUHICO v ATTY. FRED L. GUTIERREZ A.C. No. 8391, 635 S 684, November 23, 2010 EN BANC, PER CURIAM This is an administrative complaint for disbarment. Facts: Petitioner and respondent became good friends. Later on, respondents asked financial assistance from Yuhico for the hospitalization of his mother in the amount of P30, 000.00. He promised to pay it as soon as possible but again after several months, respondent borrowed from petitioner an amount of P60,000.00 now for the hospitalization of his sick wife. Respondent assured that he will pay it shortly because he was expecting an amount of four million pesos from a Japanese client as attorneys fees. After demand, Yuhico was not paid which prompted him to file the complaint against respondent before the IBP-Commission on Bar Discipline. It would appear however that the respondent had been earlier disbarred for gross misconduct in view of his failure to pay his debts and issuance of worthless checks. The IBP-CBD found the respondent guilty of misconduct and ordered him to return the amount due him to the complainant. It also recommended that the respondent be disbarred again even if he was actually already disbarred. Issue: Whether or not respondent is guilty of violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Ruling: Yes. Failure to pay debt constitutes gross misconduct for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for the administration of justice and vanguards of our legal system. They are expected to maintain not only legal proficiency, but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing so that the peoples faith and confidence in the judicial system is ensured. In the case, respondents guilt is in no question. The Court also cannot overlook the fact of his employment of deceit and misrepresentation for the purpose of obtaining debts without the intention of paying them. Adjudication: Respondent is guilty of gross misconduct and he is ordered to pay the amount of P90,000.00 to the complainant with interest.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Society

LORNA M. VILLAUEVA v JUDGE APOLIARIO M. BUAYA A.M. No. RTJ-08-2131, 635 S 472 (2010) THIRD DIVISION, BRION,J. This is an administrative complaint filed against respondent for gross ignorance of the law and abuse of authority. Facts: Respondent was designated Acting Presiding Judge of the RTC Branch 17 of Palompon, Leyte which was hearing the qualified seduction case against Vice-Mayor Constantino S. Tupa. Tupa went into hiding but later surrendered to the authorities. Respondent granted his ex-parte motion to grant bail without notice and hearing. The complainant in the case against Tupa, Villanueva, asked for the reconsideration of the grant of the ex-parte motion as there was no notice and hearing which was required in all motion to grant bail. In his defense, respondent said that Tupas offense was bailable and he has the right to bail. The Court Administrator found the act of respondent to be unjust as even if the offense was bailable, basic considerations of fair play should have compelled respondent at the minimum, to consult with the prosecution. The OCA recommended that respondent be filed with an administrative case for lack of prudence and be reprimanded. Issue: Whether or not respondent is guilty of gross ignorance of the law.

Ruling: Yes. In the case of Basco v Rapatalo, the Court laid down the rules outlining the duties of a judge in case an application for bail is filed which includes notification of the prosecution of the hearing and conduct of the hearing. Judges owe it to the public and the legal profession to know the very law they are supposed to apply in a given controversy. One who accepts the exalted position of a judge owes the public and the court the duty to maintain professional competence at all times. When a judge displays utter lack of familiarity with the rules, he erodes the confidence of the public and the courts. A judge owes the public and the Court the duty to be proficient in the law and is expected keep abreast of laws and prevailing jurisprudence. Adjudication: Respondent is fined of P20,000.00 with a warning that repetition of the same similar acts in the future shall merit a more serious penalty.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to Client

SPOUSES VIRGIOLIO AND ANGELINA ARANDA v ATTY. EMMANUEL F. ELAYDA A.C. No. 7907, 638 S 336, December 15, 2010 FIRST DIVISION, LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,J. This is an administrative case filed against respondent for gross negligence or gross misconduct. Facts: Spouses Aranda filed the complaint for the sorely inadequate manner of respondents handling of their case. Atty. Elayda did not act upon the order submitting the spouses case for decision. Thus, a judgment was rendered against them. A notice of said judgment was received by respondent who did not file any notice of appeal or motion for reconsideration, thus, the judgment became final and executory. He did not also inform the respondents of the outcome of the case. They only knew of the judgment when a writ of execution was issued and subsequently implemented by the sheriff. In his defense, respondent said that he was not at fault as the spouses cannot be reached and they did not exert effort to inquire into the status of the case. The investigating commissioner found respondent guilty of gross negligence and recommended his suspension from the practice of law for six months which was adopted by the IBP Board of Governors. Issue: Whether or not respondent was at fault in his failure to communicate with his clients amounting to gross negligence Ruling: Yes. Atty. Elayda is duty bound to uphold and safeguard the interests of his clients. He should give adequate attention, care and time to all cases he is handling. He is expected to monitor the progress of the case and is obligated to exert all efforts to present every remedy or defense authorized by law to protect the cause of his client. Atty. Elayda failed in all of these and to pass the blame to his clients for their apparent lack of effort to communicate with him is untenable. It is elementary procedure for a lawyer and his clients to exchange contact details at the initial stages in order to have constant communication with each other. His conduct showed that he not only failed to exercise due diligence in handling his clients cause but in fact abandoned his clients cause. Adjudication: Respondent is suspended from the practice of law for six months.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Duty to the Legal Profession

ATTY. JONNA M. ESCABARTE v MS. LOIDA J. GERNABE A.M. No. p-09-2602, 636 S 287 (2010) THIRD DIVISION, BRION,J. These are consolidated administrative complaints involving the presiding judge and staff of RTC Branch 275 of Las Pinas City. Facts: Respondent was suspended for thirty days as a result of a complaint filed by complainants. She allegedly worked despite her suspension. The suspension was ordered because of Gernabes failure to finish her task before going to Baguio City to attend a legal researchers convention. She allegedly caused the disruption of one of the meetings of the staff after she was reprimanded by the judge. As a counterclaim, Gernabe alleged that there were several irregularities in court like the bundy cards of several employees being punched in and out by one person only. She also alleged that Judge Maceda was treating her abusively as to compel her to resign from the Court. Issue: What are the respective sanctions for the parties?

Ruling: Genabe ought to be disciplined as several employees of the Court will prove her being shorttempered, hurling invectives to her superior and co-employees. Every official and employee of an agency involved in the administration of justice from the Presiding Justice to the most junior clerk are circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility of observing propriety and decorum. The allegations against complainants in relation to falsification and dishonesty are dismissed for being bare and unsubstantiated allegations. Adjudication: Genabe is found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service and fined an amount equivalent to her one month salary.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B. JOVITO S. OLAZO v DANTE O. TINGA A.M. No. 10-5-7-SC, 637 S 1, December 7, 2010 EN BANC, BRION,J.

Duty to Society

This is a disbarment case against respondent charged of violation of various rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Facts: The first charge against respondent is violation of Rule 6.02 whereby the respondent, in his capacity as a Congressman and as a member of the Committee on Awards formed for the implementation of Proclamation No. 172, unduly interfered with the complainant s sales application covering a parcel of land because of his personal interest over the subject land. The second charge is violation of Rule 6.03 when respondent manipulated the Olazo brothers in the transfer of rights of a parcel of land to one Rolando Olazo, a barangay captain in Taguig. The third charge was a violation of Rule 1.01 whereby he engaged in unlawful conduct when he chose a certain Joseph Rodriguez knowing fully well that he was not a qualified beneficiary of memorandum No. 119. A violation of Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713 was also raised when he allegedly appeared as a lawyer for Ramon Lee and Jeffrey Rodriguez before the Committee on Awards. Issue: Whether or not respondents actions constituted a breach of the standard ethical conduct while he was a public official and when he was a private lawyer Ruling: Canon 6 of the Code of Professional Responsibility highlights the continuing standard of ethical conduct to be observed by government lawyers in the discharge of their official tasks. A government lawyer is also obliged to observe the standard of conduct under the Code of Professional Responsibility. A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public position to promote or advance his private interfere nor allow the latter to interfere with his public duties. In the case at bar, there is absence of concrete proof that the respondent abused his position. As to the allegation of practice of law with the prohibited period, the available pieces of evidence are insufficient to show that the legal representation was made before the Committee on Awards, or that the Assurance was intended to present before it. Adjudication: The case is dismissed for lack of merit.

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Code of Judicial Ethics

CARMEN EDAO vs. Judge FATIMA G. ASDALA A.M. No. RTJ-06-2007, 636 SCRA 466, December 6, 2010 BRION, J.: This is an administrative complaint for violation of the Code of Judicial Ethics, misconduct, rendering an erroneous decision, and rendering a decision beyond the 90-day reglementary period. Facts: The complainant alleged that she was the plaintiff in a civil case for Support with prayer for Support Pendente Lite entitled "Carlo Edao and Jay-ar Edao, represented by Carmen Edano v. George F. Butler," pending before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 87, Quezon City, presided over by the respondent judge. The complainant claimed that the respondent judge made it appear that Civil Case No. Q-97-30576 was decided on March 22, 2005, although the records show that she (respondent judge) still ruled on several motions relating to this case even after that date. The complainant further alleged that the respondent judge erred in denying her notice of appeal.The respondent judge maintained that she had rendered the decision on March 22, 2005, although it was mailed on a later date. Respondent also claimed that the delay was not deliberate. She added that the complainant was not prejudiced by the delay as she continuously received support pendente lite from the defendant. The respondent judge likewise explained that the orders she issued after March 22, 2005 did not touch on the merits of the case; they were orders directing the release of money deposited by the defendant as support pendente lite. According to her, she denied the complainants notice of appeal because Section 1, Rule 41 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that no appeal may be taken from an order dismissing an action without prejudice. Finally, she explained that her dismissal of the subject civil case and the denial of the notice of appeal are not the proper subjects of an administrative case as they are acts pertaining to her judicial functions. In her reply, complainant maintained that the respondent judge violated the 90-day reglementary period for rendering decisions. She also revealed that the respondent judge made her sign a complaint against a Public Attorneys Office lawyer, to force the said lawyer to stay in her (respondent judges) sala. The OCA, in its Report dated April 18, 2006, recommended that the respondent judge be fined in the amount ofP10, 000.00 for undue delay in rendering a decision, with a stern warning that a commission of similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely. Issue: Whether or not the respondent judge is guilty of undue delay in rendering a decision.

Ruling: Yes. Section 15, Article VIII of the Constitution requires judges to decide all cases within three (3) months from the date of submission. This Constitutional policy is reiterated in Rule 1.02, Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which states that a judge should administer justice impartially and without delay; and Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the same Code provides that a judge shall dispose of the courts business promptly and decide cases within the required periods. In the present case,

Civil Case No. Q-97-30576 had been submitted for decision on December 9, 2004; the decision was, therefore, due on March 9, 2005. The records do not show that the respondent judge asked for an extension to decide this case. Thus, when she decided the case on March 22, 2005, the 90day reglementary period had already lapsed. The respondent judges explanation that the complainant was not prejudiced by the delay is immaterial, as it is her constitutional duty to decide the case within three months from the date of submission. Adjudication: Judge Fatima G. Asdala is found guilty of undue delay in rendering a decision. She is fined Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00).

De Guzman, Mageryl Shay B.

Code of Judicial Conduct

ATTY. NORLINDA R. AMANTE-DESCALLAR vs.HON. REINERIO (ABRAHAM) B. RAMAS A.M. No. RTJ-06-2015, 638 SCRA 358, December 15, 2010 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: This is an administrative complaint against Judge Reinerio Ramas. Facts: Atty. Cerilles claimed to know Judge Ramas very well since the latter is his godfather and wedding sponsor. Atty. Cerilles admitted that he had many pending cases before Judge Ramas sala, including Criminal Case No. 04-7003, entitled People v. Dizon, for Slight Illegal Detention, which involved his grandnephews. On May 12, 2005, Atty. Cerilles went to the RTC-Branch 18 to find out if his grandnephews Urgent Motion for Reinvestigation could be heard. However, upon inquiry, he was told that Judge Ramas was not around because his estranged wife arrived. When Atty. Cerilles returned to the RTC-Branch 18 the following day, May 13, 2005, he was informed that Judge Ramas was still absent. Atty. Descallar testified that Judge Ramas failed to indicate his absences on May 12, 13, 24, and 27 to 30, 2005, and June 1 to 21, 2005 in his Certificates of Service for the months of May and June 2005. The absence of Judge Ramas can be gleaned from the court calendar of hearings and his failure to attend the raffle of cases done every Thursday of the week. Also, the Omnibus Order dated May 23, 2005 issued by Judge Ramas manifested his momentary desistance from performing judicial functions from May 24, 2005 onwards. Issue: Whether or not respondent judge is guilty of making untruthful statements.

Ruling: Yes. Judge Ramas is presumed to be aware of his duties and responsibilities under the Code of Judicial Conduct. Canon 3 generally mandates that a judge should perform official duties honestly, and with impartiality and diligence. Rule 3.01 requires that a judge be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence, while Rule 3.09 commands a judge to observe high standards of public service and fidelity at all times. Judge Ramas irrefragably failed to observe these standards by making untruthful statements in his Certificates of Service to cover up his absences. The Court has previously held that a judges submission of false certificates of service seriously undermines and reflects on the honesty and integrity expected of an officer of the court. This is so because a certificate of service is not merely a means to one's paycheck but is an instrument by which the Court can fulfill the constitutional mandate of the people ' s right to a speedy disposition of cases.Under A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC, amending Rule 140 on the Discipline of Justices and Judges, making untruthful statements in the certificate of service is categorized as a less serious offense and punishable by suspension without salary and other benefits for not less than one month nor more than three months or a fine of more thanP10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00. Considering that this is Judge Ramas second offense in his almost 12 years in the Judiciary, the Court adopts Justice Lopezs recommendation of imposing on the erring judge a fine in the amount of Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00).

Adjudication: Judge Reinerio (Abraham) B. Ramas is found GUILTY of making untruthful statements in his Certificates of Service for the months of May and June 2005 and is hereby FINED in the amount of Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00), with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar infraction shall be dealt with more severely.