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Legal Ethics

of motor vehicle. The degree of moral turpitude involved is


such as to justify his being purged from the profession.

In Re: Diosdado Gutierrez

WELLINGTON REYES, complainant,


vs.
ATTY. SALVADOR M. GAA, respondent.

5 SCR 661 Legal Ethics Conditional Pardon will not bar


disbarment
Attorney Diosdado Gutierrez was convicted for the murder of
one Filemon Samaco in 1956. He was sentenced to the
penalty of reclusionperpetua. In 1958, after serving a portion
of the penalty, he was granted a conditional pardon by the
President. He was released on the condition that he shall not
commit any crime. Subsequently, the widow of Samaco filed a
disbarment case against Gutierrez by reason of the latters
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. Murder, is
without a doubt, such a crime.
ISSUE: Whether or not Gutierrez may be
considering the fact that he was granted pardon.

disbarred

HELD: Yes. The pardon granted to Gutierrez is not absolute


but conditional. It merely remitted his sentence. It does not
reach the offense itself. Gutierrez must be judged upon the
fact of his conviction for murder without regard to the pardon
(which he invoked in defense). The crime was actually
qualified by treachery and aggravated by its having been
committed in hand, by taking advantage of his official position
(Gutierrez being municipal mayor at the time) and with the use

PER CURIAM:
This administrative complaint for disbarment charges
respondent, a former Assistant City Fiscal of manila, with
malpractice and willful violation of his oath as an attorney.
I
On March 30, 1971, at around 9:00 A.M. complainant reported
to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that he had been
the victim of extortion by respondent, an Assistant City Fiscal
of Manila, who was investigating a complaint for estafa filed by
complainant's business rival. According to complainant, he
had given respondent P500.00 on March 1, 1971 and a total of
P500.00 on three other occasions. He said that another
"payoff" was scheduled at 11:00 A.M. that day in respondent's
office at the City Hall.
An entrapment was set up by the NBI.

Legal Ethics

Complainant furnished the NBI agents several peso bills


totalling P150.00 for marking. The paper bills were sent to the
Forensic and Chemistry Division of the NBI and subsequently
returned to complainant for the use in the entrapment.
When complainant went to respondent's office, he was told
that the latter would not return until around 2:30 P.M. So
complainant and the NBI agents went back at around 2:30
P.M. As there were other persons doing business with
respondent, complainant had to wait for thirty minutes. When
finally complainant was able to see respondent, the latter
greeted him in Tagalog "Ano ba ang sa iyo?" Complainant
answered "Hindi tayo nagkita kaninang umaga." To which
respondent replied "Oo, kanina pa kita hinihintay."
Complainant then handed to respondent the marked money
which he placed inside his right pocket. The NBI agents then
apprehended respondent and brought him to the NBI Forensic
and Chemistry Division for examination. Respondent's hands
were found positive of the yellow florescent powder applied
earlier to the marked money. Respondent was thereafter taken
to the Office of the Anti-Organized Crime Division of the NBI
where he was photographed, fingerprinted and record
checked. Respondent declined to give a sworn statement to
explain his side of the case, invoking his right against selfincrimination.
On the same date, the NBI recommended the prosecution of
respondent for violation of Section 3(b) of R.A. No. 3019.

On April 13, 1971, the NBI recommended to the Secretary of


Justice the filing of administrative charges and the institution of
disbarment proceedings against him.
On April 21, 1971, President Marcos suspended respondent
from office pending investigation and disposition of his
administrative case (Case No. 74).
Aside from the criminal complaint and Administrative Case No.
74, two other cases were earlier filed against respondent:
namely, Administrative Case No. 10 for Grave Misconduct filed
by one Angel Alora on October 13, 1969, wherein respondent
was found guilty as charged and was recommended for
suspension; and Administrative Case No. 10-A. for partiality
filed by Fabiola Fajardo on April 26, 1970, which was pending
resolution.
In his answer to the complaint for disbarment, respondent
asserted that complainant surreptitiously planted the marked
money in his pocket without his knowledge and consent.
He further said that the criminal case (IS No. 71-6558) filed
against him by the NBI at the instance of complainant was still
pending preliminary investigation by the City Fiscal of Manila.
In connection with the incident of March 30, 1971, he said that
he had filed a criminal complaint for incriminatory machination,
perjury and attempted corruption of a public official against
complainant with the City Fiscal of Manila.
In reply to the answer, complainant denied that the several
cases against respondent were motivated by revenge, malice
or personal ill will. He said that the investigating fiscal had
2

Legal Ethics

recommended the dismissal


respondent against him.

of

the

charges

filed

by

In a resolution dated December 23, 1971, this Court resolved


to refer the disbarment case to the Solicitor General for
investigation, report and recommendation. However, upon the
adoption of Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of Court., the
case was transferred to the IBP Board of Governors for
investigation and disposition.
On March 15, 1993, Commissioner Vicente Q. Roxas of the
Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) recommended that respondent be disbarred.
Said recommendation was approved by the IBP Board of
Governors in its resolution dated March 26, 1994.
II
We agree with the recommendation of the IBP Board of
Governors.
In the case at bench, respondent was caught in flagrante
delicto in the act of receiving the marked money from
complainant during the entrapment conducted by the NBI
agents, which resulted in his arrest and the subsequent filing
of administrative and criminal cases against him. In his
defense, respondent merely denied the charge of extortion
and retorted that the marked money was planted by
complainant.
It is settled that affirmative testimony is given greater weight
than negative testimony (Delos Reyes v. Aznar, 179 SCRA

653 [1989]). When the integrity of a member of the bar is


challenged, it is not enough that he denies the charges against
him; he must meet the issue and overcome the evidence
against him (Malcolm, Legal and Judicial Ethics 93 [1949]). He
must show proof that he still maintains that degree of morality
and integrity which at all times is expected of him (Bayasen v.
Court of Appeals, 103 SCRA 197 [1981]; Vda. de Ramos v.
Court of Appeals, 81 SCRA 393 [1978]).
Where the misconduct of a lawyer as a government official is
of such a character as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or
to show moral delinquency, then he may be disciplined as a
member of the bar on such grounds (Gonzales-Austria v.
Abaya, 176 SCRA 634 [1989]).
The extortion committed by respondent constitutes misconduct
as a public official, which also constitutes a violation of his
oath as a lawyer. The lawyer's oath (Revised Rules of Court,
Rule 138, Section 18; People v. De Luna, 102 Phil. 968
[1958]), imposes upon every lawyer the duty to delay no man
for money or malice. The lawyer's oath is a source of his
obligations and its violation is a ground for his suspension,
disbarment or other disciplinary action (Agpalo, Legal Ethics
66-67 [1983]).
WHEREFORE, respondent is DISBARRED and his name is
ordered STRICKEN OFF from the Roll of Attorneys. Let a copy
of this resolution be furnished the Bar Confidant and the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and spread on the personal
records of respondent.
SO ORDERED.
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Legal Ethics

Alberto Fernandez vs Atty. Benjamin Grecia

In 1990, Linda Aves was admitted to St. Lukes Hospital.


Among the doctors who treated her was Dr. Alberto
Fernandez. She was treated well hence she was sent home
but then the next day she died together with her unborn child.
Damaso Aves, husband, then filed a damage suit against the
hospital and he impleaded the attending doctors which
included Fernandez. Aves hired Atty. Benjamin Grecia to
represent him.
Grecia requested St. Luke to surrender before the court
the medical records of Linda Aves. St. Luke complied and
the medical records were delivered to the Clerk of Court. In
the morning of July 16, 1991, Grecia went to the office of the
clerk of court to borrow the said medical records. While Grecia
was examining the said medical records, he tore in front of the
Clerk and one office staff two pages from the medical
records and then handed it back to the Clerk. The Clerk was
stunned as she watched Grecia walk away. She then reported
the incident to the judge. The judge immediately took action
and the torn pages were eventually recovered as it turned out
that Grecia handed the torn pages to someone else.
Grecia was then administratively charged by Dr. Fernandez.
Apparently, Grecia has been disbarred before. However, he

was able to get to the good side of the Supreme Court hence
he was reinstated to the profession.
ISSUE: Whether or not Grecia should be disbarred again.
HELD: Yes. Grecia violated the Code of Professional
Responsibility. As a lawyer, he should not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct. A lawyer shall at all
times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession
and support the activities of the Integrated Bar. A lawyer is an
officer of the courts; he is like the court itself, an instrument or
agency to advance the ends of justice. Considering that this is
his second offense, an incorrigible practitioner of dirty tricks,
like Grecia would be ill-suited to discharge the role of an
instrument to advance the ends of justice. By descending to
the level of a common thief, respondent Grecia has demeaned
and disgraced the legal profession. He has demonstrated his
moral unfitness to continue as a member of the honorable
fraternity of lawyers. He has forfeited his membership in the

SOCORRO T. CO, complainant, vs. ATTY. GODOFREDO N.


BERNARDINO, respondent.
DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J.:
4

Legal Ethics

This is an administrative complaint for disbarment filed by


complainant Socorro T. Co, a businesswoman, against Atty.
Godofredo N. Bernardino charging him with unprofessional
and unethical conduct indicating moral deficiency and
unfitness to stay in the profession of law.
Socorro T. Co alleged that in October 1989, as she was
following up the documents for her shipment at the Bureau of
Customs, she was approached by respondent, Atty.
Godofredo N. Bernardino, introducing himself as someone
holding various positions in the Bureau of Customs such as
Executive Assistant at the NAIA, Hearing Officer at the Law
Division,
and OIC of the Security Warehouse. Respondent
offered to help complainant and promised to give her some
business at the Bureau. In no time, they became friends and a
month after, or in November of the same year, respondent
succeeded in borrowing from complainant P120,000.00 with
the promise to pay the amount in full the following month,
broadly hinting that he could use his influence at the Bureau of
Customs to assist her. To ensure payment of his obligation,
respondent issued to complainant several postdated Boston
Bank checks: No. 092601 dated 1 December 1989
for P21,950.00, No. 092602 dated 4 December 1989
for P6,750.00, No. 092615 dated 15 January 1990
for P65,000.00 and No. 092622 dated 15 January 1990
for P10,000.00
(Exhs.
"A-3," "B,"
"C,"
"D,"
respectively). Respondent also issued a postdated Urban
Development Bank check No. 051946 dated 9 January 1990
for P5,500.00 (Exh. "E"). However, the checks covering the
total amount of P109,200.00 were dishonored for insufficiency
of funds and closure of account.

Pressed to make good his obligation, respondent told


complainant that he would be able to pay her if she would lend
him an additional amount of P75,000.00 to be paid a month
after to be secured by a chattel mortgage on his Datsun car.
[1]
As complainant agreed respondent handed her three (3)
copies of a deed of chattel mortgage which he himself drafted
and six (6) copies of the deed of sale of his car with the
assurance that he would turn over its registration certificate
and official receipt. The agreement was not consummated as
respondent later sold the same car to another.
Despite several chances given him to settle his obligation
respondent chose to evade complainant altogether so that she
was
constrained
to write him a final demand letterdated 22 September
1992[2] preceding the filing of several criminal complaints
against him for violation of BP Blg. 22. [3] Complainant also filed
a letter-complaint dated 5 October 1992 with the Office of the
Ombudsman.[4]
It may be worth mentioning that a certain Emelinda Ortiz
also filed several criminal and civil cases against respondent
similarly involving money transactions.[5] Ms. Ortiz claimed that
respondent had volunteered to sell to her a 20-footer container
van filled with imported cotton fabric shirting raw materials
from the Bureau of Customs warehouse for P600,000.00 in
time for the holidays. However, despite her successive
payments to respondent totalling P410,000.00, the latter failed
to deliver the goods as promised.Worse, respondent's
personal check for P410,000.00 representing reimbursement
5

Legal Ethics

of the amount he received from Ms. Ortiz was returned


dishonored for insufficiency of funds.

BP Blg. 22 is committed where complainant was told by the


drawer that he does not have sufficient funds in the bank; and

By way of defense, respondent averred that he gave the


checks to complainant Co by way of rediscounting and that
these were fully paid when he delivered five cellular phones to
her. He brushed aside the allegations of complainant and Ms.
Ortiz as ill-motivated, vague, confusing, misleading and full of
biases and prejudices. Although he is married he insinuated a
special relationship with the two (2) women which caused him
to be careless in his dealings with them.

3. Respondent subsequently paid the complainant as shown


by a receipt dated 26 August 1995 x x x and the release of real
estate mortgage x x x x If it is true that he had already paid his
obligation with five (5) cellular phones, why pay again?

On 3 March 1993 the Court referred this administrative


case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation,
report and recommendation.
On 17 May 1997 the IBP issued a resolution
recommending the suspension of respondent from the practice
of law for six (6) months based on the following findings 1. No receipt has been produced by respondent showing that
the face value of the subject checks has been paid or that the
alleged five (5) units of cellular phones have been delivered to
the complainant;
2. The Decision in the criminal cases that were filed vis-avis the subject bouncing checks and wherein he was acquitted
clearly shows that his acquittal was not due to payment of the
obligation but rather that 'private complainant knew at the time
the accused issued the checks that the latter did not have
sufficient funds in the bank to cover the same.No violation of

The general rule is that a lawyer may not be suspended or


disbarred, and the court may not ordinarily assume jurisdiction
to discipline him for misconduct in his non-professional or
private capacity (In Re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 5569 [1923]). Where,
however, the misconduct outside of the lawyer's professional
dealings is so gross a character as to show him morally unfit
for the office and unworthy of the privilege which his licenses
and the law confer on him, the court may be justified in
suspending or removing him from the office of attorney (In Re
Sotto, 38 Phil. 569 [1923]).
The evidence on record clearly shows respondent's propensity
to issue bad checks. This gross misconduct on his part,
though not related to his professional duties as a member of
the bar, puts his moral character in serious doubt. The
Commission, however, does not find him a hopeless case in
the light of the fact that he eventually paid his obligation to the
complainant, albeit very much delayed.[6]
While it is true that there was no attorney-client
relationship between complainant and respondent as the
transaction between them did not require the professional
legal services of respondent, nevertheless respondent's abject
conduct merits condemnation from this Court. Thus we held in
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Legal Ethics

Lizaso v. Amante[7] where Atty. Amante enticed complainant to


invest in the casino business with the proposition that her
investment would yield her an interest of 10% profit daily, and
Atty. Amante not only failed to deliverthe promised return on
the investment but also the principal thereof (P5,000.00)
despite complainant's repeated demands As early as 1923, however, the Court laid down in In Re
Vicente Pelaez [44 Phil.567 (1923)] the principle that it can
exercise its power to discipline lawyers for causes which do
not involve the relationship of an attorney and client x x x x In
disciplining the respondent, Mr. Justice Malcolm said: x x x x
As a general rule, a court will not assume jurisdiction to
discipline one of its officers for misconduct alleged to have
been committed in his private capacity. But this is a general
rule with many exceptions x x x x The nature of the office, the
trust relation which exists between attorney and client, as well
as between court and attorney, and the statutory rules
prescribing the qualifications of attorneys, uniformly require
that an attorney shall be a person of good moral character. If
that qualification is a condition precedent to a license or
privilege to enter upon the practice of the law, it would seem to
be equally essential during the continuance of the practice and
the exercise of the privilege. So it is held that an attorney will
be removed not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his
profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with
his professional duties, which shows him to be unfit for the
office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the
law confer upon him x x x x[8]

Ten years later, in Piatt v. Abordo[9] where the erring lawyer


was suspended for one year from the practice of law for
attempting to engage in an opium deal, Justice Malcolm
reiterated that an attorney may be removed not only for
malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but also for
gross misconduct not related to his professional duties which
show him to be an unfit and unworthy lawyer. "The courts are
not curators of the morals of the bar. At the same time the
profession is not compelled to harbor all persons whatever
their character, who are fortunate enough to keep out of
prison. As good character is an essential qualification for
admission of an attorney to practice, when the attorney's
character is bad in such respects as to show that he is unsafe
and unfit to be entrusted with the powers of an attorney, the
courts retain the power to discipline him x x x x Of all classes
and professions, the lawyer is most sacredly bound to uphold
the law x x x and to that doctrine we give our unqualified
support."[10]
Finally, reference is made to Rule 1.01, Chapter 1, entitled
The Lawyer and Society of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which requires that "a lawyer shall not engage
in
unlawful,
dishonest,
immoral
or
deceitful
conduct." "Conduct," as used in this Rule, is not limited to
conduct exhibited in connection with the performance of
professional duties.
In the case at bar, it is glaringly clear that the procurement
of personal loans through insinuations of his power as an
influence peddler in the Bureau of Customs, the issuance of a
series of bad checks and the taking undue advantage of his
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Legal Ethics

position in the aforesaid government office constitute conduct


in gross violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
The recommended suspension of respondent for six (6)
months is less than what he justly deserves. His propinquity
for
employing
deceit
and
misrepresentations
as
well ashis cavalier attitude towards incurring debts without the
least intention of repaying them is reprehensible. This
disturbing behavior cannot be tolerated most especially in a
lawyer who is an officer of the court.
WHEREFORE, respondent ATTY. GODOFREDO N.
BERNARDINO is SUSPENDED FOR ONE (1) YEAR from the
practice of law with warning that repetition of the same or
similar acts will merit a more severe penalty. Let copies of this
Decision be furnished all courts in the land, the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines, the Office of the Bar Confidant and spread
in respondent's personal records.

Solicitor General asked for Basas disbarment based on his


commission of a crime involving moral turpitude.
ISSUE: Whether or not the crime abduction with consent
involves moral turpitude.
HELD: Yes. Crimes of this character do involve moral
turpitude. The inherent nature of the act is such that it is
against good morals and the accepted rule of right conduct.
Moral turpitude includes everything which is done contrary to
justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals. Basa
was declared to be suspended for one year immediately after
he finished serving his sentence

SO ORDERED.

IN RE; BASA

Alfonso v Juanson Case Digest (Legal Ethics)

41 Phil 275 Legal Ethics Moral Turpitude

FACTS:

Carlos Basa is a young lawyer convicted of the crime of


abduction with consent. He was sentenced to two years,
eleven months, and eleven days of imprisonment. The

The case involves a complaint filed by a doctor of medicine,


Dr. Norbert L. Alfonso, charging Judge Juanson with
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Legal Ethics

immorality and violation of the Code of Judicial ethics, alleging


that Juanson and his wife Sol were having an affair. The
complainant has in his possession love letters written by Sol to
prove his claim, provided by Judge Juanson's wife. Sol,
however, denied this claim several times. Other evidence for
the prosecution includes files of a private investigator hired by
Dr. Alfonso's father showing that Sol had met with Judge
Juanson on 17 July 1992 in a condominium unit in
Mandaluyong and that they stayed there for approximately
three hours. Dr. Alfonso confronted Sol about the evidence
that was gathered by his father. At first she denied the affair
but later in the evening she admitted having an illicit affair with
Judge Juanson. Sol also admitted to the Complainant that
when she went to Hongkong on December 26, 1989 up to
December 29, 1989 she was with Respondent Judge, and
records of the Commission on Immigration for said dates show
that both Sol Alfonso and Respondent Judge Modesto
Juanson departed for Hongkong via Cathay Pacific plane on
December 26, 1989 and returned to Manila on December 29,
1989 The Alfonso spouses decided to live in separate house.

In defense, Judge Juanson claims that he first knew Sol in


1987 when she engaged his professional services in
connection with the criminal cases filed by her office. In June
1992 (while the Alfonso spouses were in the US) he received
an overseas call from Sol asking him for advice concerning
her problem with her employer. They met up after the return of
Sol in the Philippines to discuss her problem. He added that it
was impossible for him to have sexual intercourse with Sol
because he has been suffering from two debilitating diseases

diabetes mellitus and prostatitis (which have seriously


affected his sexual potency).

ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Juanson's alleged sexual


impropriety is a ground for him to be dismissed from the
Judiciary

HELD: No.
RATIO DECIDENDI: There is no doubt in our minds that a
very special relationship existed between the respondent and
the complainant's wife as evidenced by cards or notes (love
letters). It is clear that their affair began before Sol and Dr.
Alfonso were married on 10 December 1988 and might have
blossomed from the attorney-client relationship between
respondent and Sol. However, the evidence presented was
insufficient to prove that he and Sol continued their
extramarital affair after Judge Juanson was appointed to the
judiciary. Sol's admission to her husband that she had carnal
knowledge with the judge made no reference to specific dates
and the side of Dr. Alfonso exerted no further effort to obtain
clarifications as to the dates. It cannot be safely presumed that
Juanson committed any sexual indiscretion after he became a
judge. He is not charged for immorality committed before his
appointment. Accordingly, proof of prior immoral conduct
cannot be a basis for his administrative discipline in this case.
Judge Juanson may have undergone moral reformation after
his appointment, or his appointment could have completely
transformed him upon the solemn realization that a public
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Legal Ethics

office is a public trust and public officers and employees must


at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with
utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with
patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. However,
considering their prior special relationship, the respondent and
Sol's meetings could reasonably incite suspicion of either its
continuance or revival and the concomitant intimacies
expressive of such relationship. Such indiscretions indubitably
cast upon his conduct an appearance of impropriety. He thus
violated:
Canon 3 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics which mandates
that a judge's official conduct should be free from the
appearance of impropriety, and his personal behavior, not only
upon the bench and in the performance of judicial duties, but
also in his everyday life, should be beyond reproach," and
Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which provides that
"a judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of
impropriety in all activities."
It is to be noted that 17 July 1992 fell on a Friday. On that
date, the respondent left his office at the City Hall of Manila at
about 11:00 o'clock in the morning and arrived at Unit 412-A
Citihomes thirty minutes later. It is, therefore, clear that on 17
July 1992 the respondent had left his office during office hours
and, considering the distance between Mandaluyong and his
office at the City Hall of Manila and the usual traffic condition,
it was impossible for him to have reached his office if at all
he did proceed to it in time for the commencement of the
official session hours in the afternoon, i.e., 2:00 p.m. Thus, for
purely personal sessions, he violated the rule regarding the
official sentence. Such violation amounted to neglect of duty.

It has been said that a magistrate of the law must comport


himself at all times in such manner that his conduct, official or
otherwise, can bear the most searching scrutiny of the public
that looks up to him as the epitome of integrity and justice. The
ethical principles and sense of propriety of a judge are
essential to the preservation of the faith of the people in the
judiciary. It is settled that immorality has not been confined to
sexual matters, but includes conduct inconsistent with
rectitude or indicative of corruption, indecency, depravity, and
dissoluteness; or is willful, flagrant, or shameless conduct
showing moral indifference to opinions of respectable
members of the community, and as an inconsiderate attitude
toward good order and public welfare.
WHEREFORE, for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct,
the Canons of Judicial Ethics, and the rule on official time,
respondent JUDGE MODESTO C. JUANSON is hereby
sentenced to pay a FINE of TWO THOUSAND PESOS
(P2,000.00) and, further, sternly warned that a repetition of the
same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.
ROYONG VS. OBLENA
AC No. 376 April 30, 1963
En Banc, Barrera
FACTS:
Complainant Josefina Royong charge the respondent Ariston
Oblena, a member of the bar and bench, with rape. The
Solicitor General immediately conducted an investigation and
found out that there was no rape, the carnal knowledge
between complainant and respondent seems to be consensual
sex.
In view of his own findings as a result of his investigation,
that even if respondent did not commit the alleged rape,
nevertheless, he was guilty of other misconduct. The Solicitor
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General made another complaint charging the respondent of


falsely and deliberately alleging in his application for
admission to the bar that he is a person of good moral
character, of living adulterously with Briccia Angeles at the
same time maintaining illicit relations with the 18 year old
Josefina Royong. Thus rendering him unfit to practice law,
praying that this Court render judgment ordering the
permanent removal of the respondent as lawyer and judge.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the illicit relation of the respondent with
Josefina Royong and the adulterous cohabitation of
respondent with Briccia Angeles warrants disbarment.
HELD:
Ariston

Oblena

was

disbarred.

RATIO:
The continued possession of a fair private and professional
character or a good moral character is a requisite condition for
the rightful continuance in the practice of law for one who has
been admitted, and its loss requires suspension or disbarment
even though the statutes do not specify that as ground for
disbarment.
Respondent's conduct though unrelated to his office and in no
way directly bearing on his profession, has nevertheless
rendered him unfit and unworthy of the privileges of a lawyer.
Fornication, if committed under such scandalous or revolting
circumstances as have proven in this case, as to shock
common sense of decency, certainly may justify positive action
by the Court in protecting the prestige of the noble profession
of
the
law.
As former Chief Justice Moran observed: An applicant for
license to practice law is required to show good moral
character, or what he really is, as distinguished from good
reputation, or from the opinion generally entertained of him,

the estimate in which he is held by the public in the place


where
he
is
known.
Respondent, therefore, did not possess a good moral
character at the time he applied for admission to the bar. He
lived an adulterous life with Briccia Angeles, and the fact that
people who knew him sqemed to have acuuiesced to his
utatus, did noq render him a person of good moral character. It
is of no moment that his immoral state was discovered then or
now as he is clearly not fit to remain a member of the bar

Aspiras vs Mortel
100 Phil 586 Legal Ethics Lawyer may be disbarred even if
transgression is not one enumerated by law
In 1952, Atty. Anacleto Aspiras introduced himself as a single
man to Mortel. The latter believed it and he let Anacleto court
her. Anacleto, with flowery words, promised to marry Mortel.
With this promise, Mortel agreed to have carnal knowledge
with him. Later, Anacleto persuaded Mortel to go to Manila so
that they could marry there. Mortel complied. However,
Anacleto did not secure the marriage license with Mortel,
instead he let Cesar Aspiras, whom he introduced to Mortel as
his nephew, secure it with Mortel. Further, in the marriage
ceremony, Anacleto made Mortel believe that Cesar will be his
proxy in the wedding. So it happened that Mortel married
Cesar who turned out to be Anacletos son, worse, Cesar
was a minor. Worst still, after Cesars and Mortels marriage,
Anacleto continued to cohabit and have carnal knowledge with
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Legal Ethics

Mortel until the latter got pregnant, and until the latter found
out that Anacleto is married and he has a son, Cesar.

Manager of Zamboanga del Norte Electric Cooperative, and


41 years old at the time of the said relationship.

ISSUE: Whether or not Anacleto should be disbarred.


HELD: Yes. Though it may be said that Anacletos moral
transgression did not amount to crime nor is it one of those
enumerated by statute still his moral delinquency as proved by
the facts as aggravated by his mockery of marriage which is
an inviolable social institution and his corruption of his minor
son to marry Mortel just so he could redeem his promise of
marriage to Mortel all these concur to Anacleto being unfit to
continue being a member of the legal profession. The
Supreme Court ordered his disbarment.

Victoria Barrientos v. Transfiguracion Daarol


Adm. Case 1512
29 January 1993

FACTS:
Complainant, Victoria Barrientos, is single, a college student,
and was about 20 years and 7 months old during the time
(July-October 1975) of her relationship with respondent, while
respondent Transfiguracion Daarol is married, General

Respondent is married to Romualda A. Sumaylo with whom be


has a son; that the marriage ceremony was solemnized on
September 24, 1955 at Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte by a
Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Anacleto Pellamo, and that said
respondent had been separated from his wife for about 16
years at the time of his relationship with complainant.

Respondent had been known by the Barrientos family for quite


sometime, having been a former student of complainant's
father in 1952 and, a former classmate of complainant's
mother at the Andres Bonifacio College in Dipolog City; that he
became acquainted with complainant's sister, Norma in 1963
and eventually with her other sisters, Baby and Delia and, her
brother, Boy, as he used to visit Norma at her residence; that
he also befriended complainant and who became a close
friend when he invited her, with her parents' consent, to be
one of the usherettes during the Masonic Convention in
Sicayab, Dipolog City from June 28 to 30, 1973, and he used
to fetch her at her residence in the morning and took her home
from the convention site after each day's activities.

Respondent courted complainant, and after a week of


courtship, complainant accepted respondent's love on July 7,
1973; that in the evening of August 20, 1973, complainant with
her parents' permission was respondent's partner during the
Chamber of Commerce affair at the Lopez Skyroom in the
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Legal Ethics

Dipolog City, and at about 10:00 o'clock that evening, they left
the place but before going home, they went to the airport at
Sicayab, Dipolog City and parked the jeep at the beach, where
there were no houses around; that after the usual
preliminaries, they consummated the sexual act and at about
midnight they went home; that after the first sexual act,
respondent used to have joy ride with complainant which
usually ended at the airport where they used to make love
twice or three times a week; that as a result of her intimate
relations, complainant became pregnant.

In view of the foregoing, the undersigned respectfully


recommend that after hearing, respondent Transfiguracion
Daarol be disbarred as a lawyer.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent Daarol is grossly immoral.

HELD:
That after a conference among respondent, complainant and
complainant's parents, it was agreed that complainant would
deliver her child in Manila, where she went with her mother on
October 22, 1973 by boat, arriving in Manila on the 25th and,
stayed with her brother-in-law Ernesto Serrano in Singalong,
Manila; that respondent visited her there on the 26th, 27th and
28th of October 1973, and again in February and March 1974;
that later on complainant decided to deliver the child in Cebu
City in order to be nearer to Dipolog City, and she went there
in April 1974 and her sister took her to the Good Shepherd
Convent at Banawa Hill, Cebu City; that on June 14, 1974, she
delivered a baby girl at the Perpetual Succor Hospital in Cebu
City and, named her "Dureza Barrientos"; that about the last
week of June 1974 she went home to Dipolog City; that during
her stay here in Manila and later in Cebu City, the respondent
defrayed some of her expenses; that she filed an
administrative case against respondent with the National
Electrification Administration; which complaint, however, was
dismissed; and then she instituted the present disbarment
proceedings against respondent.

Here, respondent, already a married man and about 41 years


old, proposed love and marriage to complainant, then still a
20-year-old minor, knowing that he did not have the required
legal capacity. Respondent then succeeded in having carnal
relations with complainant by deception, made her pregnant,
suggested abortion, breached his promise to marry her, and
then deserted her and the child. Respondent is therefore guilty
of deceit and grossly immoral conduct.

By his acts of deceit and immoral tendencies to appease his


sexual desires, respondent Daarol has amply demonstrated
his moral delinquency. Hence, his removal for conduct
unbecoming a member of the Bar on the grounds of deceit
and grossly immoral conduct is in order. Good moral conduct
is a condition which precedes admission to the Bar and is not
dispensed with upon admission there. It is a continuing
qualification to which all lawyers must possess. Otherwise, a
lawyer may be suspended or disbarred.

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