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A.C. No. 4191 ANITA C. PENA, -versus- ATTY. CHRISTINA C.

PATERNO

FACTS: This is an administrative case filed against respondent Atty. Christina C. Paterno for acts
violative of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Notarial Law. Complainant , the
owner of a parcel of land known as Lot 7-C, Psd-74200, located in Bayanbayanan, Parang,
Marikina, Metro Manila, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. N-61244, Register of
Deeds of Marikina, with an eight-door apartment constructed thereon. The complainant
alleged that she gave respondent her owner's duplicate copy of TCT No. 61244 to enable
respondent to use the same as collateral in constructing a townhouse, and that the title was in
the safekeeping of respondent for seven years. Despite repeated demands by complainant,
respondent refused to return it. Yet, respondent assured complainant that she was still the
owner. Later, complainant discovered that a new building was erected on her property in
January 1994, eight years after she gave the title to respondent. Respondent argued that it was
unfathomable that after eight years, complainant never took any step to verify the status of her
loan application nor visited her property, if it is untrue that she sold the said property.
Complainant explained that respondent kept on assuring her that the bank required the
submission of her title in order to process her loan application. In the course of investigation of
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Commissioner Sordan stated that respondent enabled
Estrella B. Kraus to sell complainant's land to Krisbuilt Traders Company, Ltd.17 This was
evidenced by Entry No. 150322 in TCT No. 61244 with respect to the sale of the property
described therein to Krisbuilt Traders Company, Ltd. for P200,000.00. Respondent alleged that
complainant signed the Deed of Sale in her presence inside her office. However, respondent
would neither directly confirm nor deny if, indeed, she notarized the instrument in her direct
examination, but on cross-examination, she stated that she was not denying that she was the
one who notarized the Deed of Sale. Estrella Kraus' affidavit supported respondent's defense.
Commissioner Sordan declared that respondent failed to exercise the required diligence and
fealty to her office by attesting that the alleged party, Anita Pea, appeared before her and
signed the deed when in truth and in fact the said person did not participate in the execution
thereof. Moreover, respondent should be faulted for having failed to make the necessary
entries pertaining to the deed of sale in her notarial register. Recommended that respondent
be disbarred from the practice of law and her name stricken-off the Roll of Attorneys, effective
immediately, and recommended that the notarial commission of respondent, if still existing, be
revoked, and that respondent be perpetually disqualified from reappointment as a notary
public.

ISSUE: Whether or not there was clear and preponderant evidence showing that respondent
violated the Canons of Professional Responsibility by (a) deceiving complainant Anita C. Pea;
(b) conspiring with Estrella Kraus and Engr. Ernesto Lampa to enable the latter to register the
subject property in his name; and (c) knowingly notarizing a falsified contract of sale.

HELD: As a member of the bar, respondent failed to live up to the standards embodied in the
Code of Professional Responsibility, particularly the following: Canons: CANON 1 - A lawyer shall
uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and for legal
processes. Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct. Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or
at lessening confidence in the legal system. CANON 7 - A lawyer shall at all times uphold the
integrity and dignity of the legal profession, and support the activities of the Integrated Bar.
Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice

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law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the
discredit of the legal profession. Respondent Atty. Christina C. Paterno is DISBARRED from the
practice of law, pursuant to Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, as well as for violation of
the Code of Professional Responsibility; and the notarial commission of Atty. Christina C.
Paterno, if still existing, is perpetually REVOKED.

ATTY. CARMEN LEONOR ALCANTARA ET,AL VS. ATTY. EDUARDO C. DE VERA

Facts: Atty. Eduardo C. De Vera, the respondent is a member of the Bar and was the former
counsel of Rosario P. Mercado in a civil case filed in 1984 with the Regional Trial Court of Davao
City and an administrative case filed before the Securities and Exchange Commission, Davao
City Extension Office. Herein respondent, as her legal counsel, garnished the bank deposits of
the defendant, but did not turn over the proceeds to Rosario. Rosario demanded that the
respondent turn over the proceeds of the garnishment, but the latter refused claiming that he
had paid part of the money to the judge while the balance was his, as attorneys fees. Such
refusal prompted Rosario to file an administrative case for disbarment against the respondent.
On March 23, 1993, the IBP Board of Governors promulgated a Resolution holding the
respondent guilty of infidelity in the custody and handling of clients funds and recommending
to the Court his one-year suspension from the practice of law.
Following the release of the aforesaid IBP Resolution, the respondent filed a series of lawsuits
against the Mercado family except George Mercado. The respondent also instituted cases
against the family corporation, the corporations accountant and the judge who ruled against
the reopening of the case where respondent tried to collect the balance of his alleged fee from
Rosario. Later on, the respondent also filed cases against the chairman and members of the IBP
Board of Governors who voted to recommend his suspension
from the practice of law for one year. Complainants also alleged that the respondent
committed barratry, forum shopping, exploitation of family problems, and use of intemperate
language when he filed several frivolous and unwarranted lawsuits against the complainants
and their family members, their lawyers, and the family corporation.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Eduardo C. De Vera liable for professional malpractice and gross
misconduct.

RULING: The Supreme Court ruled in agreement with the findings and recommendation of the
IBP Board of Governors. The practice of law is not a right but 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. Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with
conditions. A lawyer has the privilege and right to practice law only during good behavior and
can only be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of the court
after opportunity to be heard has been afforded him. Without invading any constitutional
privilege or right, an attorneys right to practice law may be resolved by a proceeding to
suspend or disbar him, based on conduct rendering him unfit to hold a license or to exercise the
duties and responsibilities of an attorney. It must be understood that the purpose of
suspending or disbarring an attorney is to remove from the profession a person whose
misconduct has proved him unfit to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging
to an office of an attorney, and thus to protect the public and those charged with the
administration of justice, rather than to punish the attorney. Now, there is nothing ethically
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remiss in a lawyer who files numerous cases in different fora, as long as he does so in good
faith, in accordance with the Rules, and without any ill-motive or purpose other than to achieve
justice and fairness. The respondent Atty. Eduardo C. De Vera is hereby DISBARRED from the
practice of law effective immediately upon his receipt of this Resolution.

MANUEL C. YUHICO VS. ATTY. FRED GUTIERREZ

Facts: Yuhico alleged that he met Gutierrez at the Office of the City Prosecutor in Pasig City on
May 4, 2005. Yuhico was there to testify at the preliminary investigation of a Complaint for
Estafa against one Jose S. Chicharro, who was then being represented by Gutierrez. He claimed
that they eventually became acquainted as they frequently saw each other during the hearings
of the case. Yuhico averred that Gutierrez phoned him and asked for a cash loan of P90,000.00
for his mother who was seriously ill and for his wife who was hospitalized. Yuhico immediately
handed the money. In turn, Gutierrez promised to pay the loan very soon, since he was
expecting to collect his attorney's fees from a client. However, after the repeated demands of
Yuhico, Gutierrez failed to pay his loans. Yuhico filed the instant complaint against Gutierrez
before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD).

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Fred L. Gutierrez violated Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.

RULING: The court held that deliberate failure to pay just debts 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. They must, at all times, faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar, the courts
and to their clients, which include prompt payment of financial obligations. They must conduct
themselves in a manner that reflects the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied
in the Code of Professional Responsibility. Wherefore, resolution no. xviii-2008-649 dated
december 11, 2008, of the ibp, which found fred l. gutierrez guilty of gross misconduct, is
affirmed. he is ordered to pay the amount of ninety thousand pesos (p90,000.00) to the
complainant immediately from receipt of this decision with interest.

JOSEFINA CARANZA VDA. DE SALDIVAR VS. ATTY. RAMON SG CABANES, JR.

Facts: Complainant Josefina Caranza vda. de Saldivar was the defendant in an unlawful detainer
case, filed by the heirs of one Benjamin Don before the Municipal Trial Court of Pili, Camarines
Sur (MTC) and she was represented by respondent Atty. Ramon SG Cabanes, Jr. The respondent
failed to submit a pre-trial brief and attend the scheduled preliminary conference.
Consequently, the MTC moved to a decision against the complainant. On appeal, RTC reversed
the MTC Decision. CA reversed the RTCs ruling and reinstated the MTC Decision. On 2006,
respondent received a copy of the CAs ruling but failed to inform complainant about the said
ruling. Complainant sought for the services of another counsel but due to respondents failure
to timely turn-over of papers and documents in the case, remedies were obstructed. Based on
the foregoing, complainant filed the instant administrative complaint against the respondents
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acts amounted to gross negligence which resulted in her loss. On 2008, the Court resolved to
refer the administrative case to the IBP. IBPs investigating Commissioner ruled that respondent
failed to exercise ordinary diligence in handling his client's cause, warranting his suspension
from the practice of law for a period of six months. The Court resolves to adopt the IBP's
findings and recommendation.

Issue: Whether the respondent committs gross negligence in violation of Canon 17 and Rules
18.03 and 18.04 of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility?

Ruling: A relationship of trust and confidence must permeate the relationship between
attorney and his client. Lawyers are expected by their clients as to be aware of their cause and
to exercise the required degree of diligence in handling their affairs.Moreover, a lawyer must a
high standard of legal proficiency and to devote his full attention, skill, and competence to the
case, regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free.
Since the respondent failed to justify his absence during the scheduled preliminary conference
hearing which led the same to be immediately submitted for decision and even failed to
exercise ordinary diligence by inquiring from the court as to whether the said hearing would
push through. And the fact that he did not send a substitute counsel to appear on his behalf to
ensure that the aforesaid hearing would not have been left unattended in view that the
defendants failure to appear at the preliminary conference already entitles
the plaintiff to a judgment. Furthermore, respondent deliberate failure to assail the heirs
appeal before the CA and for neglecting his duty to inform her about the CA ruling which he
had duly received, preventing her from availing of any further remedies. Hence, Court resolves
to adopt the IBP's findings and recommendation and held that respondent was guilty of gross
negligence in violation of Canon 17, and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of Canon 18 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.

FERDINAND A. SAMSON VS. ATTY. EDGARDO O. ERA

Facts: Complainant Ferdinand A. Samson engaged respondent Atty. Edgardo O. Era to


represent and assist him and his relatives in the criminal prosecution of Emilia Sison and her
group for the pyramiding scam they perpetrated through their corporation ICS. Pursuant to the
engagement, respondent prepared the demand letter demanding the return or refund of the
money subject of their complaints and prepared the complaint-affidavit charging corporate
officials of ICS with several counts of estafa presented to the OCPQC. OCPQC formally charged
Sison and the others with several counts of estafa in the RTC in Quezon City. In November 2003,
the respondent told the complainant and his relatives that he had already accomplished his
professional responsibility towards them upon the amicable settlement of the cases between
them and ICS. In September 2004, due to the silence of respondent, complainant and his
relatives wrote to him and remind him about his guarantee and the promise to settle the issues
with Sison and her cohorts. During the hearings in the RTC, respondent did not anymore appear
for the complainant and his group. This forced them to engage another lawyer. However, they
found out that the respondent had already been appearing as the counsel for Sison in the other
branches of the RTC. In this regard, they submit several certified copies of the minutes of the
proceedings in the criminal cases involving Sison and her group issued by the RTC establishing
the respondents legal representation of Sison, followed by another certification indicating that
the respondent had visited Sison, an inmate in the Female Dormitory in Camp Karingal. In
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January 20, 2005, the complainant executed an affidavit and prayed for the respondents
disbarment on the ground of his violation of the trust, confidence and respect reposed in him
as their counsel. The Court referred the case to the IBP for investigation, report and
recommendation. The Investigating Commissioner found the respondent guilty of misconduct
for representing conflicting interests. In October 19, 2007, the IBP Board of Governors adopted
and approved the report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the IBP-
CBD, with the modification that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for two
years. The case then was forwarded to the Court. The respondent filed a Manifestation and
Motion (With Leave of Court). The Court merely noted the manifestation, and denied the
motion for its lack of merit.

Issue: Is the respondent guilty of violating Rule 15.03 of Canon 15, and Canon 17 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility?

Ruling: The respondent owed to the complainant and his group entire devotion to their
genuine interest, and warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of their rights. He was
expected to exert his best efforts and ability to preserve the clients cause, for the unwavering
loyalty displayed to his clients likewise served the ends of justice. The clients confidence once
given should not be stripped by the mere expiration of the professional employment. Nor
should the lawyer disclose or use any of the clients confidences acquired in the previous
relation. However, the respondent represented conflicting interests by accepting the
responsibility of representing Sison, considering that Sison was the very same person whom the
complainant and his group had accused with his legal assistance. The respondent had drafted
the demand letters and the complaint-affidavit that became the bases for the filing of the
estafa charges against Sison and the others in the RTC in Quezon City. Furthermore, His
contention that the lawyer-client relationship ended when the complainant and his group
entered into the compromise settlement with Sison was unwarranted. The lawyer-client
relationship did not terminate as of then, for the fact remained that he still needed to oversee
the implementation of the settlement as well as to proceed with the criminal cases until they
were dismissed or otherwise concluded by the trial court. Hence, the Court affirm the findings
of the IBP and held that the respondent is guilty of violating Rule 15.03 of Canon 15, and Canon
17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and suspends him from the practice of law for two
years.

JOSEFINA M. ANION, Complainant, vs. ATTY. CLEMENCIO SABITSANA, JR., Respondent.

FACTS:Josefina M. Anion (complainant) related that she previously engaged the legal services
of Atty. Sabitsana in the preparation and execution in her favor of a Deed of Sale over a parcel
of land owned by her late common-law husband, BrigidoCaneja, Jr. Atty. Sabitsana allegedly
violated her confidence when he subsequently filed a civil case against her for the annulment of
the Deed of Sale in behalf of Zenaida L. Caete, the legal wife of BrigidoCaneja, Jr. The
complainant accused Atty. Sabitsana of using the confidential information he obtained from her
in filing the civil case.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Sabitsana is guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting
interests.
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RULING: Atty. Sabitsana is guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests. As stated
under Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility Rule 15.03. A lawyer
shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a
full disclosure of the facts. The proscription against representation of conflicting interests
applies to a situation where the opposing parties are present clients in the same action or in an
unrelated action. The prohibition also applies even if the lawyer would not be called upon to
contend for one client that which the lawyer has to oppose for the other client, or that there
would be no occasion to use the confidential information acquired from one to the
disadvantage of the other as the two actions are wholly unrelated.To be held accountable
under this rule, it is enough that the opposing parties in one case, one of whom would lose the
suit, are present clients and the nature or conditions of the lawyers respective retainers with
each of them would affect the performance of the duty of undivided fidelity to both clients.
Based on the associated facts the courts find evidence to support Atty. Sabitsanas violation of
the above rule that his legal services were initially engaged by the complainant to protect her
interest over a certain property. The records show that upon the legal advice of Atty. Sabitsana,
the Deed of Sale over the property was prepared and executed in the complainants favor.
Furthermore, Atty. Sabitsana met with ZenaidaCaete to discuss the latters legal interest over
the property subject of the Deed of Sale. At that point, Atty. Sabitsana already had knowledge
that ZenaidaCaetes interest clashed with the complainants interests. And despite the
knowledge of the clashing interests between his two clients, Atty. Sabitsana accepted the
engagement from ZenaidaCaete. Lastly his actual knowledge of the conflicting interests
between his two clients was demonstrated by his own actions: first, he filed a case against the
complainant in behalf of ZenaidaCaete; second, he impleaded the complainant as the
defendant in the case; and third, the case he filed was for the annulment of the Deed of Sale
that he had previously prepared and executed for the complainant. WHEREFORE, premises
considered, the Court resolves to ADOPT the findings and recommendations of the Commission
on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Atty. Clemencio C. Sabitsana, Jr. is
found GUILTY of misconduct for representing conflicting interests in violation of Rule 15.03,
Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is hereby SUSPENDED for one (1) year
from the practice of law.

ATTY. ELMER SOLIDON VS. ATTY. RAMIL MACALALAD, A.C. NO. 8158, February 24, 2010

FACTS: In 2005, Atty. Elmer Solidon engaged the services of Atty. Ramil Macalalad for the latter to
handle the judicial titling of a parcel of land owned by the Solidons in Borongan, Samar. They agreed for
a fee of P80k. Solidon gave P50k as downpayment to Macalalad and the remaining P30k shall be paid
after Solidon shall receive the title over the said property. But for 6 months after the P50k was given,
Atty. Macalalad never gave an update to Solidon. It turns out that Macalalad never filed any petition to
register the land. Solidon then filed an administrative case against Macalalad. Solidon alleged that
Macalalad neglected his duties and even avoided talking to him despite efforts from Solidon to
communicate with Macalalad. In his defense, Macalalad averred that he did not file the petition because
Solidon failed to update him and that Solidon never gave the documents he was asking for. Eventually,
the Commission on Bar Discipline recommended Macalalad to be suspended for three months.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Macalalad should be suspended.


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HELD: Yes. Macalalad is guilty of negligence when he neglected his clients cause. This is a
violation of Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. A lawyer is
negligent if he failed to do anything to protect his clients interest after receiving his acceptance
fee. Further, there is also negligence when he failed to update his client about the status of the
case.
Even if assuming that Solidon was also negligent, Macalalad cannot shift the blame to
his client for failing to follow up on his case because it was the lawyers duty to inform his client
of the status of the case. Even if the client has been equally at fault for the lack of
communication, the main responsibility remains with the lawyer to inquire and know the best
means to acquire the required information. The act of receiving money as acceptance fee for
legal services in handling Solidons case, and subsequently failing, without valid excuse, to
render the services, is a clear violation of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
The Supreme Court also found that not only did Macalalad violated Canon 18, he also
violated Canon 16 when he failed to account for Solidons money. It appears he failed to return
Solidons downpayment of P50k. A lawyer, when he fails to render legal services, shall
immediately account for and promptly return the money he received from his client. Hence, on
top of the recommended 3 months suspension, Macalald was suspended for an additional 3
months or for a total of 6 months.

RURAL BANK OF CALAPE, INC. (RBCI) BOHOL vs.ATTY. JAMES BENEDICT FLORIDO A.C. No.
5736, June 18, 2010

FACTS: According to RBCI, respondent and his clients(Nazareno-Relampagos group), through


force and intimidation, with the use of armed men, forcibly took over the management and the
premises of RBCI. They also forcibly evicted Cirilo A. Garay (Garay), the bank manager,
destroyed the banks vault, and installed their own staff to run the bank.

In his comment, respondent denied RBCIs allegations. Respondent explained that he


acted in accordance with the authority granted upon him by the Nazareno-Relampagos group,
the lawfully and validly elected Board of Directors of RBCI. Moreover, respondent claimed that
RBCI failed to present any evidence to prove their allegations.

Respondent added that the affidavits attached to the complaint were never identified,
affirmed, or confirmed by the affiants and that none of the documentary exhibits were originals
or certified true copies. IBP, through its Commissioner, said that respondent had no legal basis
to implement the takeover of RBCI and that it was a naked power grab without any semblance
of legality whatsoever. Respondent appealed from the IBPs decision.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Florido violated Canon 19 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.

HELD: Canon 19 of the Code provides that a lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within
the bounds of the law. For this reason, Rule 15.07 of the Code requires a lawyer to impress
upon his client compliance with the law and principles of fairness. A lawyer must employ only
fair and honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his client. It is his duty to counsel his
clients to use peaceful and lawful methods in seeking justice and refrain from doing an
intentional wrong to their adversaries. A lawyers duty is not to his client but to the
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administration of justice. To that end, his clients success is wholly subordinate. His conduct
ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of the law and ethics. Any means, not
honorable, fair and honest which is resorted to by the lawyer, even in the pursuit of his
devotion to his clients cause, is condemnable and unethical.
WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty. James Benedict Florido GUILTY of violating Canon 19
and Rules 1.02 and15.07 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, we
SUSPEND respondent from the practice of law for one year effective upon finality of this
Decision.

SPOUSES VIRGILIO and ANGELINA ARANDA vs. ATTY. EMMANUEL F. ELAYDA, A.C. No. 7907,
December 15, 2010

FACTS: In the Complaint of the spouses Aranda, they alleged that Atty. Elaydas handling of
their civil case wassorely inadequate, as shown by his failure to follow elementary norms of
civil procedure and evidence. However, they were surprised that an adverse judgment was
rendered against them resulting to the loss of their Mitsubishi Pajero. Apparently, Atty. Elayda
failed to inform the spouses of the date of hearing as well as the order of judgment. No motion
for reconsideration or appeal was interposed by the lawyer as well. In his reply, Atty. Elayda
said that the spouses did not bother to keep in touch with him and they were the ones who
neglected their case in court.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Elayda should be sanctioned by the court.

HELD: From the foregoing, it is clear that Atty. Elayda is duty bound to uphold and safeguard
the interests of his clients. He should be conscientious, competent and
diligent in handling his clients cases. Atty. Elayda should give adequate attention, care, and
time to all the cases heis handling. As the spouses Aran das counsel, Atty. Elayda is expected to
monitor the progress of said spouses case and is obligated to exert all efforts to present every
remedy or defense authorized by law to protect the cause espoused by the spouses Aranda.
Regrettably, Atty. Elayda failed in all these. Atty. Elayda even admitted that the spouses Aranda
never knew of the scheduled hearings because said spouses never came to him and that he did
not know the spouses whereabouts. While it is true that communication is a shared
responsibility between a counsel and his clients, it is the counsels primary duty to inform his
clients of the status of their case and the orders which have been issued by the court. He
cannot simply wait for his clients to make an inquiry about the developments in their case.
Close coordination between counsel and client is necessary for them to adequately prepare for
the case, as well as to effectively monitor the progress of the case. Besides, 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. Again, address is simply unacceptable.

Evidently, Atty. Elayda was remiss in his duties and responsibilities as a member of the
legal profession. His conduct shows that he not only failed to exercise due diligence in handling
his clients case but in fact abandoned his clients cause. He proved himself unworthy of the
trust reposed on him by his helpless clients. Moreover, Atty. Elayda owes fealty, not only to his
clients, but also to the Court of which he is an officer. On a final note, it must be stressed that
whenever a lawyer accepts a case, it deserves his full attention, diligence, skill and competence,
regardless of its importance and whether or not it is for a fee or free. The IBP Board of
Governors recommended a 6 month suspension. This was adopted by the court.
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ATTY. CONRADO GANDEZA, JR. VS JUDGE MARIA CLARITA TABIN, A.M. No. MTJ-09-1736
July 25, 2011

FACTS:
November 2007, the cars of Atty. Conrado Gandeza, Jr. and Paul Casuga collided with
each other. Later at the scene of the collision, Judge Maria Clarita Tabin arrived. She was the
aunt of Casuga. Atty. Gandeza observed that the judge kept on reminding the investigating
officer that the driver of Gandeza was drunk.
Later at the hospital, blood alcohol test was conducted on the driver of Gandeza. The
initial result returned negative. But Judge Tabin insisted that the doctor do a second test. This
time, the result was positive.
About a week later, a criminal case was filed against the driver of Gandeza. The wife of
Atty. Gandeza, also a lawyer, later observed that a court employee was bringing the records of
the case outside the premises of the court where the case was filed. The court employee said
that the records were requested by Judge Tabin. The case also went to mediation where
Gandeza also learned that Judge Tabin went to the mediation center and inquired about the
case.
All these acts of the judge led to Gandezas filing of an administrative case against Judge
Tabin for Gross Misconduct and Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge.
In her defense, Judge Tabin said that she never publicly made known that she was a
judge when she was at the collision scene. But she did admit that the investigating officer as
well as the doctor knew her to be such. She also said that she merely borrowed the records of
the case because she learned that her nephew still did not have a lawyer. She also said that
when she was at the mediation center, she merely went there to assist her sister (Casugas
mom) as the latter did not know where the mediation center was located.

ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Tabin is guilty of Gross Misconduct or Conduct Unbecoming of a
Judge.

HELD: No. But she is guilty of impropriety in violation of Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct. Her being concern of her nephew is just but natural but as member of the judiciary,
she should know that she should not interfere in the conduct of an investigation. She should
always appear impartial this did not happen when she interfered with the investigation and
when she borrowed the records as well as when she was at the mediation center inquiring
about the records of the case. She may have the best intention devoid of any malicious motive
but sadly her actions, however, spawned the impression that she was using her office to unduly
influence or pressure the concerned people to conduct the medical examination as well as the
investigation in their favor.
Indeed, while Judge Tabins concern over the safety of her nephew and the outcome of
his criminal case is understandable, she should not have disregarded the rules on proper
decorum at the expense of the integrity of the court. Although concern for family members is
deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture, she, being a judge, should bear in mind that she is also
called upon to serve the higher interest of preserving the integrity of the entire Judiciary.
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VALENTIN C. MIRANDA v. ATTY. MACARIO D. CARPIO, A.C. 6281, September 16, 2011

FACTS:

Complainant Valentin C. Miranda is one of the owners of a parcel of land located at


Barangay Lupang Uno, Las Pias, Metro Manila. Complainant initiated Land Registration
Commission (LRC) Case for the registration of the property. During the course of the
proceedings, complainant engaged the services of respondent Atty. Carpio as counsel in the
said case when his original counsel, Atty. Samuel Marquez, figured in a vehicular accident.

In complainant's Affidavit, complainant and respondent agreed that complainant was to


pay P20,000.00 as acceptance fee and P2,000.00 as appearance fee. Complainant paid
respondent the amounts due him, as evidenced by receipts duly signed by the latter. During the
last hearing of the case, respondent demanded the additional P10,000.00 for the preparation of
a memorandum, which he said would further strengthen complainant's position in the case,
plus 20% of the total area of the subject property as additional fees for his services.

Complainant did not accede to respondent's demand for it was contrary to their
agreement. Moreover, complainant co-owned the subject property with his siblings, and he
could not have agreed to the amount being demanded by respondent without the knowledge
and approval of his co-heirs. As a result of complainant's refusal to satisfy respondent's
demands, the latter became furious and their relationship became sore.

A Decision was rendered, granting the petition for registration, which Decision was
declared final and executory. The Land Registration Authority (LRA) sent complainant a copy of
the letter addressed to the Register of Deeds (RD) of Las Pias City, which transmitted the
decree of registration and the original and owner's duplicate of the title of the property.

Complainant went to the RD to get the owner's duplicate of the Original Certificate of
Title (OCT).He was surprised to discover that the same had already been claimed by and
released to respondent on. Complainant talked to respondent on the phone and asked him to
turn over the owner's duplicate of the OCT, which he had claimed without complainant's
knowledge, consent and authority. Respondent insisted that complainant first pay him the
PhP10,000.00 and the 20% share in the property in exchange for which, respondent would
deliver the owner's duplicate of the OCT. Once again, complainant refused the demand, for not
having been agreed upon.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Carpio violated Canon 20

HELD: Yes. Respondent's claim for his unpaid professional fees that would legally give him the
right to retain the property of his client until he receives what is allegedly due him has been
paid has no basis and, thus, is invalid.
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In collecting from complainant exorbitant fees, respondent violated Canon 20 of the


Code of Professional Responsibility, which mandates that a lawyer shall charge only fair and
reasonable fees. It is highly improper for a lawyer to impose additional professional fees upon
his client which were never mentioned nor agreed upon at the time of the engagement of his
services. At the outset, respondent should have informed the complainant of all the fees or
possible fees that he would charge before handling the case and not towards the near
conclusion of the case. This is essential in order for the complainant to determine if he has the
financial capacity to pay respondent before engaging his services.

Respondent's further submission that he is entitled to the payment of additional


professional fees on the basis of the principle of quantum meruit has no merit. "Quantum
meruit, meaning `as much as he deserved' is used as a basis for determining the lawyer's
professional fees in the absence of a contract but recoverable by him from his client." The
principle of quantum meruit applies if a lawyer is employed without a price agreed upon for his
services. In such a case, he would be entitled to receive what he merits for his services, as much
as he has earned.[13] In the present case, the parties had already entered into an agreement as
to the attorney's fees of the respondent, and thus, the principle of quantum meruit does not
fully find application because the respondent is already compensated by such agreement.

Respondent's inexcusable act of withholding the property belonging to his client and
imposing unwarranted fees in exchange for the release of said title deserve the imposition of
disciplinary sanction.

Atty. Macario D. Carpio is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of six (6)
months, effective upon receipt of this Decision. He is ordered to RETURN to the complainant
the owner's duplicate of OCT No. 0-94 immediately upon receipt of this decision. He is WARNED
that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

DALISAY CAPILI VS ATTY. ALFREDO BENTULAN, A.C. NO. 5862, OCTOBER 12, 2011

FACTS: Capili engaged the legal services of Atty. Alfredo Bentulan as her counsel in a civil case.
Capili lost in the trial court. She wanted to appeal but despite her payment for the preparation
and filing of an appeal brief, Atty. Bentulan failed to file the said pleading. This resulted to the
dismissal of her appeal. Ten years after said dismissal, Capili filed a disbarment case against
Bentulan.
In his defense, Bentulan said that Capilis action is already barred by laches; that in the first
place, Capili knew that the appeal was unmeritorious; that she never actually paid Bentulan for
the preparation and filing of said appeal.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Alfredo Bentulan should be disciplined.

HELD: Yes. The lapse of ten years from the alleged misconduct does not bar the filing of this
case. Ordinary statutes of limitation had no application to disbarment or suspension
proceedings against members of the Bar. These proceedings are sui generis. They are not akin
to the trials of actions or suits in which interests and rights are enforced by the plaintiffs against
the defendants, but are rather investigations into the conduct of the members of the Bar made
by the Supreme Court within the context of its plenary powers expressly granted by the
Constitution to regulate the practice of law.
In preparing and filing the appeal brief, the question of whether or not Bentulan was
paid his legal services is of no moment. As a lawyer, he owes fidelity to both cause and client,
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even if he is not paid any fee for the attorney-client relationship. Further, if he believed that
Capilis case was unmeritorious, he should have advised Capili accordingly.
The failure to file a brief resulting in the dismissal of an appeal constitutes inexcusable
negligence. This violates Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
provides:
Canon 18 A lawyer shall service his client with competence and diligence.
Rule 18.03: A lawyer shall not neglect a matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable.

URBAN BANK, INC. VS ATTY. MAGDALENO PEA, G.R. NO. 145817, OCTOBER 19, 2011

FACTS:
In 1994, Isabel Sugar Company, Inc. (ISCI) sold a parcel of land to Urban Bank, Inc. (UBI).
The land was sold for P240 million. As the land was occupied by unauthorized sub-tenants,
ISCIs lawyer, Atty. Magdaleno Pea had to negotiate with them for them to relocate. But the
said occupants, knowing that the land was already transferred to UBI, refused to recognize
Pea. ISCI then communicated with UBI so that the latter may authorize Pea to negotiate with
the tenants. Pea had to barricade himself inside the property to keep the tenants out who
were forcing their way in especially so that the local cops are now sympathetic to them. Pea
then had a phone conversation with Teodoro Borlongan, president of UBI, where Pea
explained to him the situation. In said conversation, Pea asked authorization from Borlongan
to negotiate with the tenants. Pea also asked that he be paid 10% of the purchase price or
(P24 million) for his efforts. Borlongan agreed over the phone on the condition that Pea
should be able to settle with the tenants otherwise he forfeits said 10% fee. Pea also asked
that said authorization be put into writing.
The authorization was put into writing but no mention was made as regards the 10%
fee, (in short, that part was not written in the written authorization released by UBI). Pea was
able to settle and relocate the tenants. After everything was settled and the property is now
formally under the possession of UBI, Pea began sending demands to UBI for the latter to pay
him the P24 million fee agreed upon, plus his expenses for the relocation of the tenants and the
hiring of security guards or an additional P3 million. But UBI refused to make payment hence
Pea filed a complaint for recovery against UBI.
The trial court ruled in favor of Pea as it found there indeed was a contract of agency created
between and UBI and that Pea is entitled to the 10% fee plus the expenses he incurred
including litigation expenses. In sum, the trial court awarded him P28 million.
The Court of Appeals however reversed the order of the trial court. It ruled that no
agency was formed but for his legal services, Pea is entitled to payment but applying the
principle of unjust enrichment and quantum meruit, Pea should only be paid P3 million.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Magdaleno Pea is entitled to receive the P28 million.

HELD:
No. The Supreme Court ruled that said amount is unconscionable. Pea is entitled to
payment for compensation for services rendered as agent of Urban Bank, but on the basis of
the principles of unjust enrichment and quantum meruit. In the first place, other than the self-
serving testimony of Pea, there was no other evidence presented to support his claim that
Borlongan agreed to pay him that 10% over the phone. The written authorization later issued
merely confirms the power granted him to negotiate with the tenants. The written
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authorization proved the existence of agency but not the existence of any agreement as to how
much Pea should be paid.
Absent any such agreement, the principle of quantum meruit should be applied. In this
case, Pea is entitled to receive what he merit for his services, or as much as he has earned. In
dealing with the tenants, Pea didnt have to perform any extraordinary acts or legal
maneuvering. Hence, he is entitled to receive P1.5 million for his legal services. He is also
entitled to reimbursement for his expenses in securing the property, to wit, P1.5 million for the
security guards he had to hire and another P1.5 million for settling and relocating the 23
tenants. Total of P4.5 million.

The Supreme Court emphasized that lawyering is not a business; it is a profession in


which duty to public service, not money, is the primary consideration.

ELPIDIO TIONG VS ATTY. GEORGE FLORENDO, A.C. NO. 4428, DECEMBER 12, 2011

FACTS:
Atty. George Florendo has been serving as the lawyer of spouses Elpidio and Ma. Elena
Tiong. Elpidio, a US citizen is often times away. For two years, he suspected that his wife and
Atty. Florendo were having an affair. Finally in 1995, he was able to listen to a telephone
conversation where he heard Atty. Florendo mention amorous words to Ma. Elena. Atty.
Florendo confronted the two and both eventually admitted to their illicit relationship. Atty.
Florendo and Ma. Elena then executed and signed an affidavit, which was later notarized,
stating that they admit of their illicit relationship; that they are seeking the forgiveness of their
respective spouse. Elpidio forgave Florendo and Ma. Elena. But nevertheless, Elpidio filed a
disbarment case against Florendo.
Florendo said he can no longer be sanctioned because he was already pardoned.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Florendo is correct.

HELD:
No. A petition for suspension or disbarment of a lawyer is a sui generis case. This class of
cases is meant to protect the public and the courts of undesirable members of the legal
profession. As such, pardon by the offended party of the act complained of does not operate to
offset the ground for disbarment or suspension. Florendos act of having an affair with his
clients wife manifested his disrespect for the laws on the sanctity of marriage and his own
marital vow of fidelity. It showed his utmost moral depravity and low regard for the ethics of his
profession. He violated the trust reposed upon him by his client (Canon 17, Code of Professional
Responsibility). His illicit relationship with Ma. Elena amounts to a disgraceful and grossly
immoral conduct warranting disciplinary action. Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
provides that an attorney may be disbarred or suspended from his office for any deceit,
malpractice, or other gross misconduct in office, grossly immoral conduct, among others. It
cannot be also said, as he claims, that their relationship is merely a moment of indiscretion
considering that their affair went on for more than two years. Florendo was suspended for 6
months.

CORAZON NEVADA VS ATTY. RODOLFO CASUGA, A.C. NO. 7591, MARCH 20, 2012
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FACTS: In 2007, Corazon Nevada, filed a disbarment case against Atty. Rodolfo Casuga. Nevada
alleged the following:

1. That Atty. Casuga acquired several pieces of jewelry from her; the jewelries include diamond
earrings and diamond rings amounting P300,000.00. and a Rolex gold watch worth $12,000.00;
that Casuga assured her that he will sell them; but despite repeated demands, Casuga never
remitted any money nor did he return said jewelries.

2. That in 2006, Casuga, taking advantage of his close relationship with Nevada (they belong to
the same religious sect), Casuga represented himself as the hotel administrator of the hotel
(Mt. Crest) that Nevada own; that as such, Casuga was able to enter into a contract of lease
with one Jung Chul; that he negotiated an office space with Chul in said Hotel for P90,000.00;
that Casuga notarized said agreement; that he forged the signature of Edwin Nevada (husband);
that he never remitted the P90k to Nevada.
In his defense, Casuga said:

3. That Nevada actually pawned said jewelries in a pawnshop; that she later advised Casugas
wife to redeem said jewelries using Mrs. Casugas wife; that Casuga can sell said jewelries and
reimburse herself from the proceeds; that he still has possession of said jewelries.

4. That he never received the P90,000.00; that it was received by a certain Pastor Oh; that he
was authorized as an agent by Edwin Nevada to enter into said contract of lease.

ISSUE: Whether or not there is merit in Atty. Casugas defense.

HELD: No. Atty. Casuga is in violation of the following:

1. Gross Misconduct: Casuga misrepresented himself as a duly authorized representative of


Nevada when in fact he was not. He never adduced evidence showing that he was duly
authorized either by Edwin or Corazon. He also dialed to adduce evidence proving that he never
received the P90k from Chul. On the contrary, a notarized letter showed that Casuga did
receive the money. His misrepresentations constitute gross misconduct and his mere denial
does not overcome the evidence presented against him.

2. Violated Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: It is his duty as a lawyer to


account for all moneys and property of his client that may come to his possession. This is still
applicable even though said property/money did not come to his possession by virtue of a
lawyer-client relationship. He failed to adduce evidence to prove his claim that Nevada pawned
said jewelries. He never presented receipts. Further, even assuming that Nevada did pawn said
items, Casuga was still duty bound to return said jewelries upon demand by Nevada.

3. Violation of Notarial Rules: He signed a document (contract of lease) in behalf of another


person without authorization. His forgery made him an actual party to the contract. In effect he
was notarizing a document in which he is party in violation of the notarial rules (Secs. 1 and 3,
Rule IV).
4. Malpractice of Law: As a summation of all the above violations, Casuga is guilty of
Malpractice and Misconduct. Such act is punishable under Sec. 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court. However, the Supreme Court deemed that disbarment is too severe a punishment
against Casuga. He was suspended for 4 years from the practice of law. His notarial commission
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was likewise revoked and he is disqualified to be a notary public while serving his suspension.
The Supreme Court emphasized: the penalty of disbarment shall be meted out only when the
lawyers misconduct borders on the criminal and/or is committed under scandalous
circumstance.

SUZETTE DEL MUNDO vs. ATTY. ARNEL C. CAPISTRANO, April 16, 2012

FACTS:
On January 8, 2005, Suzette and her friend Ricky S. Tuparan (Tuparan) engaged the legal
services of Atty. Capistrano to handle the judicial declaration of nullity of their respective
marriages allegedly for a fee of PhP140,000.00 each. On the same date, a Special Retainer
Agreement was entered into by and between Suzette and Atty. Capistrano which required an
acceptance fee of PhP30,000.00, appearance fee of PhP2,500.00 per hearing and another
PhP2,500.00 per pleading. Moreover for every payment that Suzette made, she would inquire
from Atty. Capistrano on the status of her case. In response, the latter made her believe that
the two cases were already filed before the Regional Trial Court of Malabon City and waiting
notice of hearing. Sometime in July 2005, when she could hardly reach Atty. Capistrano, she
verified her case from the Clerk of Court of Malabon and discovered that while the case of
Tuparan had been filed on January 27, 2005, no petition has yet been filed for her.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Arnel C. Capistrano violated the Code of Professional Responsibility

RULING:
This court finds that Atty. Capistrano committed acts in violation of his sworn duty as a
member of the bar. In his Manifestation and Petition for Review, he himself admitted liability
for his failure to act on Suzettes case as well as to account and return the funds she entrusted
to him. He only pleaded for the mitigation of his penalty citing the lack of intention to breach
his lawyers oath; that this is his first offense; and that his profession is the only means of his
and his familys livelihood. He also prayed that the adjudged amount of PhP140,000.00 be
reduced to PhP73,500.00 representing the amount of PhP78,500.00 he received less his
payment of the sum of PhP5,000.00. Consequently, Commissioner Quisumbing and the IBP-CBD
Board of Governors correctly recommended the appropriate penalty of one year suspension
from the practice of law for violating the pertinent provisions of the Canons of Professional
Responsibility. As stated under Canon Law, CANON 16 A lawyer shall not hold in trust all
moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession. RULE 16.01 A lawyer
shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. RULE 16.02
A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and those of
others kept by him. Canon 18- A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence.
RULE 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable. RULE 18.04 A lawyer shall keep the client
informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the clients
request for information. Furthermore, a lawyer is obliged to hold in trust money of his client
that may come to his possession. As trustee of such funds, he is bound to keep them separate
and apart from his own. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose such as for the
filing and processing of a case if not utilized, must be returned immediately upon demand.
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Failure to return gives rise to a presumption that he has misappropriated it in violation of the
trust reposed on him. And the conversion of funds entrusted to him constitutes gross violation
of professional ethics and betrayal of public confidence in the legal profession WHEREFORE,
respondent Atty. Arnel C. Capistrano, having clearly violated Canons 16 and 18 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one year with a stern
warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely. He is
ORDERED to return to Suzette Del Mundo the full amount of PhP73,500.00 within 30 days from
notice hereof and DIRECTED to submit to the Court proof of such payment.

IN RE: RODOLFO PACTOLIN, A.C. NO. 7940, APRIL 24, 2012

FACTS:
In May 2008, the Supreme Court, in G.R. No. 161455 (Pactolin vs Sandiganbayan),
affirmed the conviction of Atty. Rodolfo Pactolin for violation of Article 172 of the Revised Penal
Code (Falsification by a Private Individual). It was duly proved that Pactolin falsified a letter, and
presented said letter as evidence in a court of law, in order to make it appear that his fellow
councilor acting as OIC-Mayor illegally caused the disbursement of public funds. In said
decisions, the Supreme Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for
appropriate administrative actions against Pactolin.

ISSUE:
What administrative sanctions can be imposed upon Atty. Pactolin considering his
conviction?

HELD:
Rodolfo Pactolin should be, and is henceforth disbarred. The crime of falsification of
public document is contrary to justice, honesty, and good morals and, therefore, involves moral
turpitude. Moral turpitude includes everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty,
modesty, or good morals. It involves an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private
duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and
customary rule of right and duty between man and woman, or conduct contrary to justice,
honesty, modesty, or good morals.
As a rule, the Supreme Court exercises the power to disbar with great caution. Being the
most severe form of disciplinary sanction, it is imposed only for the most imperative reasons
and in clear cases of misconduct affecting the standing and moral character of the lawyer as an
officer of the court and a member of the bar. But it has always been held that it is appropriate
to disbar a lawyer if he is convicted by final judgment for a crime involving moral turpitude.
Further, Pactolins situation is aggravated by the fact that although his conviction has been
affirmed, he has not served his sentence yet.

EMILIA O. DHALIWAL vs. ATTY. ABELARDO B. DUMAGUING, A.C. No. 9390 August 1, 2012

FACTS:
Emilia O. Dhaliwal (complainant) she engaged the services of Atty. Aberlardo B. Dumaguing
(respondent) connection with the purchase of a parcel of land from Fil-Estate Development,
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Inc. (Fil-Estate). Atty. Dumaguing was then given P342,000.00 for him to consign with the
Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). On September 22, 2000, respondent, on
behalf of complainant, filed with the HLURB a complaint for delivery of title and damages
against Fil-Estate. A week after, or on September 29, 2000, Atty. Dumaguing withdrew from the
HLURB the checks previously consigned. On March 3, 2003, complainant informed the HLURB
that respondent is no longer representing her. On March 11, 2003, the HLURB promulgated its
Decision, finding the case for delivery of title and damages premature as there was no evidence
of full payment. Complainant then demanded Atty. Dumaguing to return her the amount he
earlier withdrew but responded did not comply. Dhaliwal filed an administrative complaint
against Atty. Dumaguing. Responded admitted all the allegations in the complaint. In his
defense, he claims that the amount of P311,819.94 was consigned to the HLURB to cover the
full payment of the balance of the purchase price of the lot. Respondent allegedly filed a
motion for reconsideration but HLURB has not yet acted upon it. He attached a copy of the said
motion in his answer.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Dumaguing should be disbarred.

HELD:
Yes. It was established that Atty. Dimaguing submitted a false and fabricated piece of evidence
because it did not contain proof that the same was filed with the HLURB nor was there proof
that the other party was notified. He violated Canon 16 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which states that: Canon 16-A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and
properties of his client that may come into his possession. Rule 16.01-A lawyer shall account for
all money or property collected or received for or from the client. Rule 16.02-A lawyer shall
keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by him.
Rule 16.03-A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon
demand. A lawyer's failure to return upon demand the funds held by him on behalf of his client
gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated the same for his own use in violation of
the trust reposed in him by his client. Such act is a gross violation of general morality as well as
of professional ethics. It impairs public confidence in the legal profession and deserves
punishment. He is suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months and ordered to return
to complainant said amount of P311,819.94 with legal interest.

ENGR. GILBERT TUMBOKON vs. ATTY. MARIANO R. PEFIANCO, A.C. No. 6116 August 1, 2012

FACTS:
Atty. Mariano Pefianco (respondent) undertook to give Engr. Gilbert Tumbokon (complainant)
20% commission which the respondent would receive in representing Spouses Amable and
Rosalinda Yap, whom the complainant referred. They had a written agreement dated August
11, 1995. However, respondent failed to pay complainant the agreed commission. Instead
respondent was informed that Sps. Yap assumed to pay the same after he agreed to reduce his
attorneys fee from 25% to 17%. Complainant demanded the payment of his commission but
the respondent ignored. Complainant also alleged that Atty. Pefianco has not lived up to the
high moral standards required of his profession. And he also accused respondent of engaging in
a money-lending business without required authorization. In respondents defense, he claimed
that the written agreement dated August 11, 1995 was forged and that Sps. Yap assumed to
pay complainants commission. Respondent filed Motion to Dismiss. The case was referred tp
Intergrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation.
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Respondent was recommended for one (1) year suspension from the practice of law for
violation of Lawyers Oath Rule 1.01, Canon1; Rule 7.01, Canon 7 and Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Respondent filed Motion for Reconsideration which was
denied.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Mariano Pefianco be suspended from the practice of law.

RULING:
The practice of law is considered a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that
they possess and continue to possess the legal qualifications for the profession. As such,
lawyers are expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, morality,
honesty, integrity and fair dealing, and must perform their four-fold duty to society, the legal
profession, the courts and their clients, in accordance with the values and norms embodied in
the Code.11 Lawyers may, thus, be disciplined for any conduct that is wanting of the above
standards whether in their professional or in their private capacity. In the present case,
respondent's defense that forgery had attended the execution of the August 11, 1995 letter
was belied by his July 16, 1997 letter admitting to have undertaken the payment of
complainant's commission but passing on the responsibility to Sps. Yap. Clearly, respondent has
violated Rule 9.02,12 Canon 9 of the Code which prohibits a lawyer from dividing or stipulating
to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to practice law, except in certain
cases which do not obtain in the case at bar. Respondent did not deny abandoning his legal
family to cohabit with his mistress whom he begot four (4) children. The settled rule is that
betrayal of the marital vow of fidelity or sexual relations outside marriage is considered
disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the
marital vows protected by the Constitution and affirmed by our laws.13Consequently, We find
no reason to disturb the IBP's finding that respondent violated the Lawyer's Oath14 and Rule
1.01, Canon 1 of the Code which proscribes a lawyer from engaging in "unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct." However, the court finds the charge of engaging in illegal money
lending not to have been sufficiently established. Respondent Atty. Mariano R. Pefianco is
found guilty of violation of the Lawyers Oath, Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the same Code and suspended from the active practice
of law one (1) year

GERLIE M. UY VS. JUDGE ERWIN B. JAVELLANA, A.M. No. MTJ-07-1666, September 5, 2012

FACTS:

This administrative case arose from a verified complaint for "gross ignorance of
the law and procedures, gross incompetence, neglect of duty, conduct improper and
unbecoming of a judge, grave misconduct and others," filed by Public Attorneys Uy and Bascug
of PAO against Presiding Judge Javellana of the Municipal Trial Court, La Castellana, Negros
Occidental.

COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS JAVELLANAS DEFENSE


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In People vs. Cornelio (Malicious Mischief)


- Judge Javellana issued warrant of - The necessity of holding the accused in
arrest after the filing of a certain detention became evident when it was
criminal case despite Sec. 16 of the revealed during trial that the same accused
Revised Rules on Summary Procedure. were wanted for Attempted Homicide in
another case.
In People vs. Lopez ( Malicious Mischief)
- Judge Javellana did not apply the
Revised Rules on Summary Procedure
and instead conducted a preliminary
examination and investigation in - Judge Javellana reiterated that a motion to
accordance with the Revised Rules of dismiss is a prohibited pleading under the
Criminal Procedure, then set the case Revised Rules on Summary Procedure and he
for arraignment and free trial, despite added that he could not dismiss the case
confirming that complainant and her outright since the prosecution has not yet fully
witnesses had no personal knowledge presented its evidence.
of the material facts alleged in their
affidavits, which should had been a
ground for dismissal of said case.
-
In Trespass to Dwelling
- Judge Javellana did not grant the
motion to dismiss for non- compliance
with the Lupon requirement under Sec. - The Lupong Tagapamayapa was not a
18 and 19(a) of the Revised Rules on jurisdictional requirement and the Motion to
Summary Procedure. Dismiss on said ground was a prohibited
pleading under the Revised Rule on Summary
Procedure.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Judge Javellana was grossly ignorant of the Revised Rule on Summary
Procedure.

HELD:
YES. Without any showing that the accused in People v. Cornelio and People v. Lopez, et
al. were charged with the special cases of malicious mischief particularly described in Article
328 of the Revised Penal Code the appropriate penalty for the accused would be arresto mayor
in its medium and maximum periods which under Article 329(a) of the Revised Penal Code,
would be imprisonment for two (2) months and one (1) day to six (6) months. Clearly, these two
cases should be governed by the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure.

ANASTACIO N. TEODORO III vs. ATTY. ROMEO S. GONZALES A.C. No. 6760, January 30, 2013
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FACTS:
In his complaint, Anastacio N. Teodoro Ill related that Atty. Gonzales acted as counsel of Araceli
Teodoro-Marcial in two civil cases that the latter filed against him. The first ccise, Special
Proceeding No. 99-95587, involved the settlement of the intestate estate of Manuela Teodoro.
While the settlement proceeding was pending, Atty. Gonzales assisted Teodord-Marcial in filing
Civil Case No. 00-99207, for Annulment of Document, Reconveyance and Damages, without
indicating the special proceeding earlier tiled. The tiling of the civil cases, according to
Anastacio, was a deliberate act of forum shopping that warrants the disbarment of Atty.
Gonzales. Atty. Gonzales admitted that he assisted Teodoro-Marcial in tiling the two cases. He
asserted, however,, that he did not violate the forum shopping rule as the cases were not
identical in terms of parties, subject matter and remedies. Atty. Gonzales also opined that the
complainant only filed the disbarment case to harass him. The Investigating Commissioners
Findings In our Resolution dated March 13, 2006, we referred the disbarment complaint to the
Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation,
report and recommendation. In his Report and Recommendation dated July 5, 2010,
Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay found Atty. Gonzales administratively liable for forum shopping.
According to Commissioner Dulay, both Special Proceeding No. 99-95587 and Civil Case No. 00-
99207 hinged on the same substantial issue, i.e., on whether Manuela held the Malate property
in trust for Carmen Teodoro-Reyes, Donato T. Teodoro, Jorge I. Teodoro and Teodoro-Marcial.
In Special Proceeding No. 99-95587, Carmen, Donato, Jorge I. Teodoro, Jorge T. Teodoro and
Teodoro-Marcial claimed that they are the heirs of Manuela. During her lifetime, Manuela was
the registered owner of a parcel of land located in Malate, Manila. According to the heirs,
Manuela held the lot in trust for them, but she sold it to Anastacio and Rogelio Ng. Thus, the
heirs prayed for the issuance of letters of administration so that Manuelas properties could be
inventoried and settled in accordance with law. In Civil Case No. 00-99207, the heirs of Manuela
claimed to be the beneficiaries of a trust held by Manuela over the same parcel of land
contested in Special Proceeding No. 99-95587. They alleged that during her lifetime, Manuela
sold a portion of this land to Anastacio. They asked the trial court to annul the Deed of Absolute
Sale executed by Manuela; to cancel the resulting Transfer Certificate of Title in the name of
Anastacio; and to issue a new one in their names. The commissioner found that a ruling in
either case would result in res judicata over the other. Thus, Atty. Gonzales committed forum
shopping when he instituted Civil Case No. 00-99207 without indicating that Special Proceeding
No. 99-95587 was still pending. In committing forum shopping, Atty. Gonzales disregarded the
Supreme Court Circular prohibiting forum shopping and thus violated Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Commissioner Dulay recommended that Atty. Gonzales be
suspended for one month from the practice of law, with a warning that a repetition of a similar
offense would merit a more severe penalty. The Board of Governors of the IBP reversed the
commissioners recommendation. In a resolution dated December 10, 2011, the Board of
Governors dismissed the case against Atty. Gonzales for lack of merit.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Gonzales committed forum shopping and thereby violated the
Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD: YES, Forum shopping exists when, as a result of an adverse decision in one forum, or in
anticipation thereof, a party seeks a favorable opinion in another forum through means other
than appeal or certiorari. There is forum shopping when the elements of litis pendencia are
present or where a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in another. They are
as follows: (a) identity of parties, or at least such parties that represent the same interests in
both actions, (b) identity of rights or causes of action, and (c) identity of relief sought. Under
this test, we find that Atty. Gonzales committed forum shopping when he filed Civil Case No.
00-99207 while Special Proceeding No. 99-95587 was pending. Respondent was fully aware,
since he was the counsel for both cases, that he raised the issue of trust with respect to the
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Malate property in the 1999 Letters of Administration case and that he was raising the same
similar issue of trust in the 2000 annulment case xxx To advise his client therefore to execute
the affidavit of non-forum shopping for the second case (annulment case) and state that there
is no pending case involving the same or similar issue would constitute misconduct which
should be subject to disciplinary action. It was his duty to advise his client properly, and his
failure to do so, in fact his deliberate assertion that there was no falsity in the affidavit is
indicative of a predisposition to take lightly his duty as a lawyer to promote respect and
obedience to the law. The Court has repeatedly warned lawyers against resorting to forum
shopping since the practice clogs the Court dockets and can lead to conflicting rulings. Willful
and deliberate forum shopping has been made punishable either as direct or indirect contempt
of court in SC Administrative Circular No. 04-94 dated April 1, 1994. In engaging in forum
shopping, Atty. Gonzales violated Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
directs lawyers to obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal
processes. He also disregarded his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of
justice, and the prohibition against unduly delaying a case by misusing court processes. To our
mind, however, the supreme penalty of disbarment would be very harsh in light of all the
circumstances of this case Lawyers are also censured for minor infractions against the lawyers
duty to the Court or the client. As earlier stated, Atty. Gonzales act of forum shopping
disregarded his duty to obey and promote respect for the law and legal processes, as well as
the prohibition against unduly delaying a case by misusing court processes. It also violated his
duty as an officer of the court to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
WHEREFORE, we find the basis for the complaint meritorious and accordingly CENSURE Atty.
Romeo S. Gonzales for resorting to forum shopping. He is WARNED that any future violation of
his duties as a lawyer will be dealt with more severely. A copy of this reprimand should be
attached to Atty. Romeo S. Gonzales personal file in the Office of the Bar Confidant.

A.C. No. 7350 February 18, 2013 PATROCINIO V. AGBULOS vs. ATTY. ROSELLER A. VIRAY

FACTS :
The case stemmed from a Complaint filed before the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) by
complainant Mrs. Patrocinio V. Agbulos against respondent Atty. Roseller A. Viray of Asingan,
Pangasinan, for allegedly notarizing a document denominated as Affidavit of Non-Tenancy in
violation of the Notarial Law. The said affidavit was supposedly executed by complainant, but
the latter denies said execution and claims that the signature and the community tax certificate
(CTC) she allegedly presented are not hers. She further claims that the CTC belongs to a certain
Christian Anton. Complainant added that she did not personally appear before respondent for
the notarization of the document. She, likewise, states that respondent's client, Rolando
Dollente (Dollente), benefited from the said falsified affidavit as it contributed to the illegal
transfer of a property registered in her name to that of Dollente.

ISSUE: Is the respondent guilty of his indiscretion in admitted having prepared and notarized
the document in question at the request of his client?

RULING: The Court is aware of the practice of not a few lawyers commissioned as notary public
to authenticate documents without requiring the physical presence of affiants. However, the
adverse consequences of this practice far outweigh whatever convenience is afforded to the
absent affiants. Doing away with the essential requirement of physical presence of the affiant
does not take into account the likelihood that the documents may be spurious or that the
affiants may not be who they purport to be. A notary public should not notarize a document
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unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and
personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein.
The purpose of this requirement is to enable the notary public to verify the genuineness of the
signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the partys free act
and deed. The Court has repeatedly emphasized in a number of cases the important role a
notary public performs, to wit: x x x [N]otarization is not an empty, meaningless routinary act
but one invested with substantive public interest. The notarization by a notary public converts a
private document into a public document, making it admissible in evidence without further
proof of its authenticity. A notarized document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon
its face. It is for this reason that a notary public must observe with utmost care the basic
requirements in the performance of his duties; otherwise, the publics confidence in the
integrity of a notarized document would be undermined. Respondents failure to perform his
duty as a notary public resulted not only damage to those directly affected by the notarized
document but also in undermining the integrity of a notary public and in degrading the function
of notarization. He should, thus, be held liable for such negligence not only as a notary public
but also as a lawyer.23 The responsibility to faithfully observe and respect the legal solemnity
of the oath in an acknowledgment or jurat is more pronounced when the notary public is a
lawyer because of his solemn oath under the Code of Professional Responsibility to obey the
laws and to do no falsehood or consent to the doing of any. Lawyers commissioned as notaries
public are mandated to discharge with fidelity the duties of their offices, such duties being
dictated by public policy and impressed with public interest. As to the proper penalty, the Court
finds the need to increase that recommended by the IBP which is one month suspension as a
lawyer and six months suspension as notary public, considering that respondent himself
prepared the document, and he performed the notarial act without the personal appearance of
the affiant and without identifying her with competent evidence of her identity. With his
indiscretion, he allowed the use of a CTC by someone who did not own it. Worse, he allowed
himself to be an instrument of fraud. Based on existing jurisprudence, when a lawyer
commissioned as a notary public fails to discharge his duties as such, he is meted the penalties
of revocation of his notarial commission, disqualification from being commissioned as a notary
public for a period of two years, and suspension from the practice of law for one year.26
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Atty. Roseller A. Viray GUILTY of breach of the 2004
Rules on Notarial Practice and the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, the Court
SUSPENDS him from the practice of law for one (1) year; REVOKES his incumbent commission, if
any; and PROHIBITS him from being commissioned as a notary public for two (2) years, effective
immediately. He is WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be
dealt with more severely.

.C. No. 9310 February 27, 2013 VERLEEN TRINIDAD, FLORENTINA LANDER, WALLY CASUBUAN,
MINERVA MENDOZA, CELEDONIO ALOJADO, ROSENDO VILLAMIN and AUREA TOLENTINO, vs.
ATTY. ANGELITO VILLARIN

FACTS :
The instant case stemmed from a Complaint for specific performance filed with the Housing
and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) by the buyers of the lots in Don Jose Zavalla
Subdivision against the subdivision's owner and developer- Purence Realty Corporation and
Roberto Bassig.The HLURB ordered the owner and the developer to deliver the Deeds of Sale
and the Transfer Certificates of Title to the winning litigants. The Decision did not evince any
directive for the buyers to vacate the property. Purence Realty and Roberto Bassig did not
appeal the Decision, thus making it final and executory. Thereafter, the HLURB issued a Writ of
Execution. It was at this point that respondent Villarin entered his special appearance to
represent Purence Realty. Specifically, he filed an Omnibus Motion to set aside the Decision and
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to quash the Writ of Execution for being null and void on the ground of lack of jurisdiction due
to the improper service of summons on his client. This motion was not acted upon by the
HLURB. Respondent sent demand letters to herein complainants. In all of these letters, he
demanded that they immediately vacate the property and surrender it to Purence Realty within
five days from receipt. Otherwise, he would file the necessary action against them. True
enough, Purence Realty, as represented by respondent, filed a Complaint for forcible entry
before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) against Trinidad, Lander, Casubuan and Mendoza.
Aggrieved, the four complainants filed an administrative case against respondent. A month
after, Alojado, Villamin and Tolentino filed a disbarment case against respondent. As found by
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and affirmed by its Board of Governors, complainants
asserted in their respective verified Complaints that the demand letters sent by Villarin had
been issued with malice and intent to harass them. They insisted that the letters also
contravened the HLURB Decision ordering his client to permit the buyers to pay the balance of
the purchase price of the subdivision lots.

Issue : Whether or not the respondent should be administratively sanctioned for sending the
demand letters?

Ruling: The respondent Atty. Angelito Villarin is clearly proscribed by Rule 19.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Which requires that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest
means to attain lawful objectives. Lawyers must not present and offer in evidence any
document that they know is false.

A.C. No. 9615 March 5, 2013 GLORIA P. JINON vs. ATTY. LEONARDO E. JIZ

FACTS:
Gloria P. Jinon (Gloria) engaged the services of Atty.Leonardo E. Jiz (Atty. Jiz) on April 29, 2003
to recover a land title which was a subject of dispute with her sister in law Viola J. Jinon (Viola),
for which she immediately paid an acceptance fee of P17,000.00. In their subsequent meeting,
Atty. Jiz assured the transfer of the title in Gloria's name. Gloria, upon Atty. Jiz's instructions,
remitted the amount of P45,000.00 to answer for the expenses of the transfer. However, when
she later inquired about the status of her case, she was surprised to learn from Atty. Jiz that a
certain Atty. Caras was handling the same. Moreover, when she visited the property, which has
been leased out to one Rose Morado (Rose), she discovered that Atty. Jiz has been collecting
the rentals for the period June 2003 up to October 2004, which amounted to P12,000.00. When
she demanded for the rentals, Atty. Jiz gave her only P7,000.00, explaining that the balance of
P5,000.00 would be added to the expenses needed for the transfer of the title of the property
to her name. The foregoing incidents prompted Gloria to terminate the legal services of Atty. Jiz
and demand the return of the amounts of P45,000.00 and P5,000.00 through a letter dated
September 22, 2004, which has remained unheeded. Atty. Jiz has not complied with his
undertaking to recover the land title from Viola and effect its transfer in Glorias name, and has
failed to return her money despite due demands. Hence, the administrative complaint praying
that Atty. Jiz: (1) be ordered to reimburse the total amount of P67,000.00 (P17,000.00
acceptance fee, P45,000.00 for the transfer of title, and P5,000.00 as unremitted rentals for the
property); and (2) be meted disciplinary action that the Court may deem fit under the
circumstances. In his Answer, Atty. Jiz asseverated that he was not remiss in his legal duties to
Gloria. Denying liability to reimburse Gloria for any amount, much less for P45,000.00,he
claimed that he had rendered the corresponding legal services to her with fidelity and candor.
Hence, he prayed that the complaint against him be dismissed. After the investigation,
Commissioner Cecilio A.C. Villanueva (Commissioner Villanueva) of the Committee on Bar
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Discipline (CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) found Atty. Jiz to have been remiss
in his duty in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The Board of Governors of the
IBP passed a resolution stating that Atty. Jiz be suspended from the practice of law for two (2)
years and Ordered to Restitute complainant the amount of P45,000.00 and 12% interest from
the time he received the amount until fully paid within sixty (60) days from notice.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Jiz should be held administratively liable for having been remiss in
his duties as a lawyer with respect to the legal services he had undertaken to perform for his
client, Gloria.

HELD: YES. Atty. Jiz was remiss in his duties as a lawyer in neglecting his clients case and
misappropriating her funds. He is found having clearly violated Rules 16.01 and 16.03, Canon 16
and Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides: CANON 16
A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT COME
INTO HIS POSSESSION. RULE 16.01 A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected
or received for or from the client. xxx xxx xxx RULE 16.03 A lawyer shall deliver the funds and
property of his client when due or upon demand. xxx xxx xxx CANON 18. A LAWYER SHALL
SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. xxx xxx xxx RULE 18.03 A lawyer shall
not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall
render him liable. xxx xxx xxx Atty. Jiz is suspended from the practice of law for two (2) years,
with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more
severely and is ordered to return to complainant Gloria P. Jinon the full amount of P45,000.00
with legal interest of 6% per annum from date of demand on September 22, 2004 up to the
finality of the decision and 12% per annum from its finality until paid.

A.C. No. 9604 March 20, 2013 RODRIGO E. TAPAY and ANTHONY J. RUSTIA vs. ATTY. CHARLIE
L. BANCOLO and ATTY. JANUS T. JARDER

FACTS:
Sometime in October 2004, Rodrigo E. Tapay (Tapay) and Anthony J. Rustia (Rustia), both
employees of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, received an Order from the Office of the
Ombudsman-Visayas requiring them to file a counter-affidavit to a complaint for usurpation of
authority, falsification of public document, and graft and corrupt practices filed against them by
Nehimias Divinagracia, Jr. (Divinagracia), a co-employee in the Sugar Regulatory Administration.
The Complaint was allegedly signed on behalf of Divinagracia by one Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo of
the Jarder Bancolo Law Office based in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. When Atty. Bancolo
and Rustia accidentally chanced upon each other, the latter informed Atty. Bancolo of the case
filed against them before the Office of the Ombudsman. Atty. Bancolo denied that he
represented Divinagracia since he had yet to meet Divinagracia in person. When Rustia showed
him the Complaint, Atty. Bancolo declared that the signature appearing above his name as
counsel for Divinagracia was not his. Thus, Rustia convinced Atty. Bancolo to sign an affidavit to
attest to such fact. Using the affidavit from Atty. Bancolo, Tapay and Rustia filed a counter-
affidavit accusing Divinagracia of falsifying the signature of his alleged counsel, Atty. Bancolo.
Divinagracia, denying the same, presented as evidence an affidavit by Richard A. Cordero, the
legal assistant of Atty. Bancolo, that the Jarder Bancolo Law Office accepted Divinagracia's case
and that the Complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman was signed by the office
secretary per Atty. Bancolo's instructions. Tapay and Rustia later on filed with the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines (IBP) a complaint to disbar Atty. Bancolo and Atty. Jarder, Atty. Bancolo's
law partner. The complainants alleged that they were subjected to a harassment Complaint
filed before the Office of the Ombudsman with the forged signature of Atty. Bancolo. The
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complainants also maintained that not only were respondents engaging in unprofessional and
unethical practices, they were also involved in falsification of documents used to harass and
persecute innocent people. In their answer, respondents admitted that the criminal and
administrative cases filed by Divinagracia against complainants before the Office of the
Ombudsman were accepted by the Jarder Bancolo Law Office. The cases were assigned to Atty.
Bancolo. Atty. Bancolo alleged that after being informed of the assignment of the cases, he
ordered his staff to prepare and draft all the necessary pleadings and documents. However, due
to some minor lapses, Atty. Bancolo permitted that the pleadings and communications be
signed in his name by the secretary of the law office. After investigation, Atty. Lolita A.
Quisumbing, the Investigating Commissioner of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP,
submitted her Report. Atty. Quisumbing found that Atty. Bancolo violated Rule 9.01 of Canon 9
of the Code of Professional Responsibility while Atty. Jarder violated Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the
same Code and recommended that Atty. Bancolo be suspended for two years from the practice
of law and Atty. Jarder be admonished for his failure to exercise certain responsibilities in their
law firm.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Bancolo is guilty of violating Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.

HELD:
YES. Atty. Bancolo admitted that the Complaint he filed for a former client before the Office of
the Ombudsman was signed in his name by a secretary of his law office. He likewise
categorically stated that because of some minor lapses, the communications and pleadings filed
against Tapay and Rustia were signed by his secretary, notwithstanding his tolerance. Clearly,
this is a violation of Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
provides: CANON 9 A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ASSIST IN THE
UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW. Rule 9.01 - A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified
person the performance of any task which by law may only be performed by a member of the
Bar in good standing. Atty. Bancolo is suspended from the practice of law for one year effective
upon finality of this Decision. He is warned that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the
future shall be dealt with more severely. The complaint against Atty. Jarder is dismissed for lack
of merit.

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR VS. JUDGE ANATALIO S. NECESSARIO, ET AL A.M NO.
MTJ-07-1691, APRIL 2, 2013

FACTS:
The judicial audit team created by the Office of the Court Administrator (or OCA) reported
alleged irregularities in the solemnization of marriages in several branches of the MTCC and RTC
in Cebu City. Also, certain package fees were offered to interested parties by "fixers" or
"facilitators" for instant marriages. A female and a male lawyer of the audit team went
undercover as a couple looking to get married. The female lawyer went inside the branch to
inquire about the marriage application process. A woman named, Helen, approached and
assisted the female lawyer. When the female lawyer asked if the marriage process could be
rushed, Helen assured the lawyer that the marriage could be solemnized the next day, but the
marriage certificate would only be dated the day the marriage license becomes available. Helen
also guaranteed the regularity of the process for a fee of three thousand pesos only. Judge
Necessario, Judge Acosta, Judge Tormis and Judge Rosales were asked by the OCA to submit
their comments against the formal administrative complaint by the judicial audit team. OCA
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also suspended the judges pending resolution for the cases against them. In its memorandum
and supplemental report, 643 marriage certificates were examined by the judicial audit team
and that 280 out of 643 were reported to have been solemnized under Article 34 of the Family
Code. There is also an unusual number of marriage licenses obtained from the local civil
registrars of the towns of. Barili and Liloan, Cebu. Also, There were even marriages solemnized
at 9AM with marriage licenses obtained on the same day. OCA recommended the dismissal of
the respondent judges and some court employees , and the suspension or adominition of
others for being guilty of gross inefficiency or neglect of duty for solemnizing marriages with
questionable documents; for failure to make sure that the solemnization fee has been paid; for
gross ignorance of law for solemnizing marriages under Article 34 of the Family Code wherein
one or both parties were minors during cohabitation and; for solemnizing a marriage without
the requisite marriage license.

ISSUE: Whether or not the judges and personnel of the MTCC and RTC in Cebu City are guilty of
gross ignorance of the law, gross neglect of duty or gross inefficiency and gross misconduct, and
in turn, warrant the most severe penalty of dismissal from service.

RULING:
The Court held that the judges were guilty of gross inefficiency or neglect of duty and gross
ignorance of the law and be dismissed from the service. The Court listed the following liabilities
of the judges: First, Judges Necessario, Tormis and Rosales solemnized marriages even if the
requirements submitted by the couples were incomplete and of questionable character. The
actions of the respondent judges constitute gross inefficiency. In Vega v. Asdala, the Court held
that inefficiency implies negligence, incompetence, ignorance, and carelessness. Second, The
judges were also found guilty of neglect of duty regarding the payment of solemnization fees.
The Court, in Rodrigo-Ebron v. Adolfo, defined neglect of duty as the failure to give ones
attention to a task expected of him and it is gross when, from the gravity of the offense or the
frequency of instances, the offense is so serious in its character as to endanger or threaten
public welfare. The marriage documents examined by the audit team show that corresponding
official receipts for the solemnization fee were missing or payment by batches was made for
marriages performed on different dates. Third, Judges Necessario, Tormis, and Rosales also
solemnized marriages where a contracting party is a foreigner who did not submit a certificate
of legal capacity to marry from his or her embassy. The irregularity in the certificates of legal
capacity that are required under Article 21 of the Family Code displayed the gross neglect of
duty of the judges. They should have been diligent in scrutinizing the documents required for
the marriage license issuance. Any irregularities would have been prevented in the
qualifications of parties to contract marriage. Lastly, Judges Necessario, Acosta, and Tormis are
likewise guilty of gross ignorance of the law under Article 34 of the Family Code with respect to
the marriages they solemnized where legal impediments existed during cohabitation such as
the minority status of one party. Moreover, the Court held that the respondent judges violated
Canons 2138 and 6139 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics which exact competence, integrity and
probity in the performance of their duties. The Court previously said that Ignorance of the law
is a mark of incompetence, and where the law involved is elementary, ignorance thereof is
considered as an indication of lack of integrity. In connection with this, the administration of
justice is considered a sacred task and upon assumption to office, a judge ceases to be an
ordinary mortal. He or she becomes the visible representation of the law and more importantly
of justice. The Court further said that the actuations of these judges are not only condemnable,
it is outright shameful.
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SONIA C. DECENA AND REY C. DECENA VS. JUDGE NILO A. MALANYAON


A.M NO. RTJ-10-2217, APRIL 8, 2013

FACTS:
Sonia and Rey Decena have lodged an administrative complaint for conduct unbecoming a
judge against Hon. Nilo A. Malanyaon, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
32, in Pili, Camarines Sur. The complainants had brought an administrative case in Legaspi City,
Albay against Judge Malanyanon's wife, Dr. Amelita C. Malanyaon. The complainants averred
that the actuations of Judge Malanyaon during the hearing of his wifes administrative case in
the Civil Service Commission constituted violations of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the
Philippines Judiciary. During the hearing of the administrative case, Judge Malanyaon sat beside
his daughter, Atty. Kristina Malanyaon, the counsel of Dr. Amelita in the administrative case
filed against her. Judge Malanyaon coached her daughter in making manifestations/motions
before the hearing officer, by scribbling on some piece of paper and giving the same to the
former, thus prompting her daughter to rise from her seat and/or ask permission from the
officer to speak, and then make some manifestations while reading or glancing on the paper
given by Judge Malanyaon. When the principal counsel of the complainants, Atty. Zamora,
arrived, she inquired regarding the personality of Judge Malanyaon, being seated at the
lawyers bench beside Atty. Malanyaon, Judge Malanyaon then proudly introduced himself and
manifested that he was the counsel of the respondents counsel. Atty. Zamora proceeded to
raise the propriety of Judge Malanyaons sitting with and assisting his daughter in that hearing,
being a member of the judiciary, to which Judge Malanyaon loudly retorted that he be shown
any particular rule that prohibits him from sitting with his daughter at the lawyers bench. He
insisted that he was merely assisting her daughter, who just passed the bar, defend the
respondent, and was likewise helping the latter defend herself. The Court administrator
reiterated a recommendation by recommending that: (a) the administrative case be re-
docketed as a regular administrative matter; and (b) Judge Malanyaon be found guilty of gross
misconduct and fined P 50,000.00.

ISSUES: Whether or not the actuations of Judge Malanyaon complained of constituted conduct
unbecoming of a judge

RULING: The Court finds and pronounces JUDGE NILO A. MALANYAON, Presiding Judge of
Branch 32 of the Regional Trial Court in Pili, Camarines Sur, administratively liable for conduct
unbecoming of a Judge, and penalizes him with a fine ofP40,000.00 The Court held, that the
actuations of Judge Malanyaon constituted conduct unbecoming of a judge upon the following
reasons set below: First was Judge Malanyaons occupying a seat beside his daughter that was
reserved for the lawyers during the hearing. Such act displayed his presumptuousness, and
probably even his clear intention to thereby exert his influence as a judge of the Regional Trial
Court on the hearing officer in order for the latter to favor his wifes cause. That impression was
definitely adverse against the Judiciary, whose every judicial officer was presumed to be a
subject of strict scrutiny by the public. Being an incumbent RTC Judge, he always represented
the Judiciary, and should have acted with greater circumspection and selfrestraint, simply
because the administrative hearing was unavoidably one in which he could not but be partisan.
Simple prudence should have counselled him to avoid any form of suspicion of his motives, or
to suppress any impression of impropriety on his part as an RTC judge by not going to the
hearing himself. Second was Judge Malanyaons admission that his presence in that hearing
was to advise his daughter on what to do and say during the hearing, to the point of coaching
his daughter. In the process, he unabashedly introduced himself as the counsel of the
respondents counsel upon his presence being challenged by the adverse counsel, stating that
his daughter was still inexperienced for having just passed her Bar Examinations. Such excuse,
seemingly grounded on a filial duty towards his wife and his daughter, did not furnish enough
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reason for him to forsake the ethical conduct expected of him as a sitting judge. He ought to
have restrained himself from sitting at that hearing, being all too aware that his sitting would
have him cross the line beyond which was the private practice of law. Section 35 of Rule 138 of
the Rules of Court expressly prohibits sitting judges like Judge Malanyaon from engaging in the
private practice of law or giving professional advice to clients. Section 11, Canon 4 (Propriety),
of the New Code of Judicial Conduct and Rule 5.0730 of the Code of Judicial Conduct reiterate
the prohibition from engaging in the private practice of law or giving professional advice to
clients. The prohibition is based on sound reasons of public policy, considering that the rights,
duties, privileges and functions of the office of an attorney are inherently incompatible with the
high official functions, duties, powers, discretion and privileges of a sitting judge. It also aims to
ensure that judges give their full time and attention to their judicial duties, prevent them from
extending favors to their own private interests, and assure the public of their impartiality in the
performance of their functions. These objectives are dictated by a sense of moral decency and
desire to promote the public interest. Thus, an attorney who accepts an appointment to the
Bench must accept that his right to practice law as a member of the Philippine Bar is thereby
suspended, and it shall continue to be so suspended for the entire period of his incumbency as
a judge. To the Court, then, Judge Malanyaon engaged in the private practice of law by assisting
his daughter at his wifes administrative case, coaching his daughter in making manifestations
or posing motions to the hearing officer, and preparing the questions that he prompted to his
daughter in order to demand that Atty. Eduardo Loria, collaborating counsel of the
complainants principal counsel, should produce his privilege tax receipt. Judge Malanyaon did
so voluntarily and knowingly, in light of his unhesitating announcement during the hearing that
he was the counsel for Atty. Katrina Malanyaon, the counsel of the respondent, as his response
to the query by the opposing counsel why he was seated next to Atty. Malanyaon thereat. Third
was Judge Malanyaons admission that he had already engaged in the private practice of law
even before the incident now the subject of this case by his statement in his comment that it is
strange for complainants to take offense at my presence and accuse me of practicing law during
my stint as a judge when before the bad blood between my wife and her sibling and nephew
erupted, I helped them out with their legal problems gratis et amore and they did not complain
of my practicing law on their behalf. He thereby manifested his tendencies to disregard the
prohibition against the private practice of law during his incumbency on the Bench. Any
propensity on the part of a magistrate to ignore the ethical injunction to conduct himself in a
manner that would give no ground for reproach is always worthy of condemnation. We should
abhor any impropriety on the part of judges, whether committed in or out of their courthouses,
for they are not judges only occasionally. Fourth was Judge Malanyaons display of arrogance
during the hearing, as reflected by his reaction to the opposing counsels query on his
personality to sit at the counsel table at the hearing, to wit: I am the counsel of the
complainant, ah, of the respondents counsel, I am Judge Malanyaon. I am assisting her. And so
what?!! Judge Malanyaons uttering And so what? towards the opposing counsel evinced his
instant resentment towards the adverse parties counsel for rightly challenging his right to be
sitting on a place reserved for counsel of the parties. The utterance, for being made in an
arrogant tone just after he had introduced himself as a judge, was unbecoming of the judge
that he was, and tainted the good image of the Judiciary that he should uphold at all times. It is
true that the challenge of the opposing counsel might have slighted him, but that was not
enough to cause him to forget that he was still a judge expected to act with utmost sobriety
and to speak with self-restraint. He thereby ignored the presence of the hearing officer,
appearing to project that he could forsake the decorum that the time and the occasion rightly
called for from him and the others just because he was a judge and the other side was not. He
should not forget that a judge like himself should be the last person to be perceived by others
as a petty and sharp-tongued tyrant. Judge Malanyaon has insisted that his actuations were
excused by his filial obligation to assist his daughter, then only a neophyte in the Legal
Profession. We would easily understand his insistence in the light of our culture to be always
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solicitous of the wellbeing of our family members and other close kin, even risking our own
safety and lives in their defense. But the situation of Judge Malanyaon was different, for he was
a judicial officer who came under the stricture that uniformly applied to all judges of all levels of
the judicial hierarchy, forbidding him from engaging in the private practice of law during his
incumbency, regardless of whether the beneficiary was his wife or daughter or other members
of his own family.

REX POLINAR DAGOHOY vs. ATTY. ARTEMIO V. SAN JUAN, A.C. No. 7944, June 03, 2013

FACTS:
Atty. San Juan was administratively charged for gross negligence, in connection with the
dismissal of his client's appeal filed before the Court of Appeals (CA). Tomas Dagohoy (Tomas),
his client and the father of complainant Rex Polinar Dagohoy, was charged with and convicted
of theft by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 34, of Panabo City, Davao del Norte. According to
the complainant, the CA dismissed the appeal for Atty. San Juans failure to file the appellants
brief.5 He further alleged that Atty. San Juan did not file a motion for reconsideration against
the CAs order of dismissal.6 The complainant also accused Atty. San Juan of being untruthful in
dealing with him and Tomas. The complainant, in this regard, alleged that Atty. San Juan failed
to inform him and Tomas of the real status of Tomas appeal and did not disclose to them the
real reason for its dismissal.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is liable for committing gross negligence, in connection
with the dismissal of his client's appeal filed before the Court of Appeals (CA)

HELD: Atty. San Juans negligence undoubtedly violates the Lawyers Oath that requires him to
conduct [himself] as a lawyer according to the best of (his) knowledge and discretion, with all
good fidelity as well to the courts as to (his) clients[.] He also violated Rule 18.03 and Rule
18.04, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, We deny Atty. San Juan's motion to
lift the order of suspension. Atty. San Juan's self-imposed compliance with the IBP's
recommended penalty of three (3) months suspension was premature. The wordings of the
Resolution dated April 16, 2012 show that the Court merely noted: (1) the IBP's findings and the
recommended penalty against Atty. San Juan; and (2) the IBP referral of the case back to the
Court for its proper disposition. The IBP findings and the stated penalty thereon are merely
recommendatory; only the Supreme Court has the power to discipline erring lawyers and to
impose against them penalties for unethical conduct. 23 Until finally acted upon by the
Supreme Court, the IBP findings and the recommended penalty imposed cannot attain finality
until adopted by the Court as its own. Thus, the IBP findings, by themselves, cannot be a proper
subject of implementation or compliance.24 WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court
resolves to: 1. NOTE the Report and Recommendation dated January 14, 2013 of the Office of
the Bar Confidant; 2. SUSPEND from the practice of law for a period of one ( 1) year Atty.
Artemio V. San Juan for violating his Lawyer's Oath and Rules 18.03 and Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, with a WARNING that the commission of the same or
similar act or acts shall be dealt with more severely; and 3. DENY the motion filed by Atty.
Artemio V. San Juan in the letter dated August 28, 2012 that he be allowed to return to the
practice of law.
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VS. ATTY. PATERNO, A.C. No. 4191, June 10, 2013

FACTS:

This is an administrative case filed against respondent Atty. Christina C. Paterno for acts
violative of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Notarial Law. Complainant , the
owner of a parcel of land known as Lot 7-C, Psd-74200, located in Bayanbayanan, Parang,
Marikina, Metro Manila, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. N-61244, Register of
Deeds of Marikina, with an eight-door apartment constructed thereon.

The complainant alleged that she gave respondent her owner's duplicate copy of TCT
No. 61244 to enable respondent to use the same as collateral in constructing a townhouse, and
that the title was in the safekeeping of respondent for seven years. Despite repeated demands
by complainant, respondent refused to return it. Yet, respondent assured complainant that she
was still the owner.
Later, complainant discovered that a new building was erected on her property in
January 1994, eight years after she gave the title to respondent. Respondent argued that it was
unfathomable that after eight years, complainant never took any step to verify the status of her
loan application nor visited her property, if it is untrue that she sold the said
property. Complainant explained that respondent kept on assuring her that the bank required
the submission of her title in order to process her loan application.

In the course of investigation of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Commissioner


Sordan stated that respondent enabled Estrella B. Krausto sell complainant's land to Kris built
Traders Company, Ltd.17 This was evidenced by Entry No. 150322 in TCT No. 61244 with
respect to the sale of the property described therein to Kris built Traders Company, Ltd. for
P200,000.00. Respondent alleged that complainant signed the Deed of Sale in her presence
inside her office. However, respondent would neither directly confirm nor deny if, indeed, she
notarized the instrument in her direct examination, but on cross-examination, she stated that
she was not denying that she was the one who notarized the Deed of Sale. Estrella Kraus'
affidavit supported respondent's defense.

Commissioner Sordan declared that respondent failed to exercise the required diligence
and fealty to her office by attesting that the alleged party, Anita Pea, appeared before her and
signed the deed when in truth and in fact the said person did not participate in the execution
thereof. Moreover, respondent should be faulted for having failed to make the necessary
entries pertaining to the deed of sale in her notarial register. Recommended that respondent
be disbarred from the practice of law and her name stricken-off the Roll of Attorneys, effective
immediately, and recommended that the notarial commission of respondent, if still existing,
be revoked, and that respondent be perpetually disqualified from reappointment as a notary
public.

ISSUE:

Whether or not there was clear and preponderant evidence showing that respondent
violated the Canons of Professional Responsibility by(a) deceiving complainant Anita C. Pea;
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(b) conspiring with Estrella Kraus and Engr. Ernesto Lampa to enable the latter to register the
subject property in his name; and (c) knowingly notarizing a falsified contract of sale.

HELD:

As a member of the bar, respondent failed to live up to the standards embodied in the
Code of Professional Responsibility, particularly the following Canons:

CANON 1 - A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote
respect for law and for legal processes.

Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.
Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or
at lessening confidence in the legal system.

CANON 7 - A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession,
and support the activities of the Integrated Bar.

Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to
practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to
the discredit of the legal profession.

Respondent Atty. Christina C. Paterno is DISBARRED from the practice of law, pursuant
to Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, as well as for violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility; and the notarial commission of Atty. Christina C. Paterno, if still existing, is
perpetually REVOKED.

JULIAN PENILLA, Complainant, v. ATTY. QUINTIN P. ALCID, JR.,


A.C. No. 9149, September 04, 2013

FACTS:
The respondent was complainants counsel for the case of breach of contract with the Garin
spouses. He filed a criminal case, overcharged him with attorneys fees and filing fee, and
imposed that the Asst. City Prosecutor Jose C. Fortuno would be more in favor of the
complainants case if they would give liquor to the said judge. The case was rendered
unsuccessful. After the hearing, the respondent asked for more fees, and reasoned him with
more filing of litigations. He suggested that they should file a civil case and to have the
complainant follow up about it in his office. Complainant asserts having made numerous and
unsuccessful attempts to follow-up the status of the case and meet with respondent at his
office. The complainant went to the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Caloocan City
Metropolitan Trial Court and Regional Trial Court (RTC) and learned that the respondent has
been lying to him about the legal fees. The complainant filed before the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) the instant administrative case praying that
respondent be found guilty of gross misconduct for violating the Lawyers Oath and the Code of
Professional Responsibility, and for appropriate administrative sanctions to be imposed. IBP-
CBD recommended the suspension of respondent from the practice of law for six months for
negligence within the meaning of Canon 18 and transgression of Rule 18.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, The IBP-CBD decided that the respondents violation of Canon 18
and Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for his negligence, Atty. Quintin P.
Alcid, Jr. is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months. On April 24, 2009,
respondent sought reconsideration and asked that the penalty of suspension be reduced to
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warning or reprimand. After three days, or on April 27, 2009, respondent filed a Motion to
Admit Amended Motion for Reconsideration Upon Leave of Office. The IBP Board of
Governors denied respondents Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit. Respondent filed
a second Motion for Reconsideration which was no longer acted upon. .According to the IBP,
the respondent committed professional negligence under Canon 18 and Rule 18.04 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, with a modification that we also find respondent guilty of
violating Canon 17 and Rule 18.03 of the Code and the Lawyers Oath.
ISSUE: Is Atty Quintin P. Alcid Jr. Guilty of gross misconduct?

RULING:
1. The respondent, Atty. Quintin P. Alcid, Jr. was found GUILTY of gross misconduct for violating
Canons 17 and 18, and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, as well
as the Lawyers Oath. 2. The Court hereby imposed upon respondent the penalty of
SUSPENSION from the practice of law for a period of SIX (6) MONTHS to commence
immediately upon receipt of this Decision. 3. Respondent is further ADMONISHED to be more
circumspect and diligent in handling the cases of his clients, and 4. STERNLY WARNED that a
commission of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.

JOSEPHINE L. OROLA, MYRNA L. OROLA, MANUEL L. OROLA, MARY ANGELYN OROLA-


BELARGA, MARJORIE MELBA OROLA-CALIP, AND KAREN OROLA, (Heirs of Antonio) vs. ATTY.
JOSEPH ADOR RAMOS, A.C. No. 9860, September 11, 2013

FACTS:
Atty Joseph Ador Ramos was charged for his violation of (a) Rule 15.03 of the Code, as he
undertook to represent conflicting interests in the subject case; and (b) Section 20(e), Rule 138
of the Rules, as he breached the trust and confidence reposed upon him by his clients, the Heirs
of Antonio. The Antonio heirs first filed a hearing with the IBP. IBP found the respondent guilty
though there was no violation of Section 20, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. The IBP imposed
against respondent the penalty of six (6) months suspension from the practice of law.

ISSUE: Is the respondent guilty of representing conflicting interests in violation of Rule 15.03 of
the Rules of Court?

RULING: The Court concurs with the IBPs finding that respondent violated Rule 15.03 of the
Code, but reduced the recommended period of suspension to three (3) months to be more
appropriate taking into consideration the following factors: a. Respondent is a first time
offender; b. It is undisputed that respondent merely accommodated Maricars request out of
gratis to temporarily represent her only during the June 16 and July 14, 2006 hearings due to
her lawyers unavailability; c. It is likewise undisputed that respondent had no knowledge that
the late Antonio had any other heirs aside from Maricar whose consent he actually acquired
(albeit shortly after his first appearance as counsel for and in behalf of Emilio), hence, it can be
said that he acted in good faith; and, d. Complainants admit that respondent did not acquire
confidential information from the Heirs of Antonio nor did he use against them any knowledge
obtained in the course of his previous employment, hence, the said heirs were not in any
manner prejudiced by his subsequent engagement with Emilio. 2. The Court also served the
ruling as a warning to the respondent and that the next case would be dealt more severely
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JUDGE MANAHAN V. ATTY. FLORES, A.C. NO. 8954, NOVEMBER 13, 2013

FACTS:
Respondent Atty. Rodolto Flores (Atty. Flores) was counsel for the defendant in Civil Case No.
1863 captioned as Marsha Aranas plaintiff versus Arnold Balmores defendant a suit for
damages filed before the Municipal Trial Court of San Mateo, Rizal and presided by herein
complainant Judge Maribeth Rodriguez-Manahan (Judge Manahan). xxx During the proceedings
in Civil Case No. 1863, Judge Manahan issued an Order dated January 12, 2011, whereby she
voluntarily inhibited from hearing Civil Case No. 1863. The said Order reads in part, viz: More
than mere contempt do his (Atty. Flores) unethical actuations, his traits of dishonesty and
discourtesy not only to his own brethren in the legal profession, but also to the bench and
judges, would amount to grave misconduct, if not a malpractice of law, a serious ground for
disciplinary action of a member of the bar pursuant to Rules 139 a & b. During the Preliminary
Conference, respondent Atty. Flores entered his appearance and was given time to file a Pre-
Trial Brief. On May 24, 2010, respondent Atty. Flores filed his Pre-Trial Brief but without proof
of MCLE compliance. The preliminary conference was reset several times (August 11,
September 8) for failure of respondent Atty. Flores to appear and submit his Pre-Trial Brief
indicating thereon his MCLE compliance. The court a quo likewise issued Orders dated
September 15 and October 20, 2010 giving respondent Atty. Flores a last chance to submit his
Pre-Trial Brief with stern warning that failure to do so shall be considered a waiver on his part.
Respondent Atty. Flores later filed his Pre-Trial Brief bearing an MCLE number which was
merely superimposed without indicating the date and place of compliance. During the
preliminary conference on November 24, 2010, respondent Atty. Flores manifested that he will
submit proof of compliance of his MCLE on the following day. On December 1, 2010,
respondent Atty. Flores again failed to appear and to submit the said promised proof of MCLE
compliance. Instead, sending the courts a manifestation for refusing in proceeding to serve his
client dated September 14, 2010.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Flores is held liable for his unethical and contemptuous actuations
against the legal profession, client and judges?

RULING: Yes. There is no doubt that Atty. Flores failed to obey the trial courts order to submit
proof of his MCLE compliance notwithstanding the several opportunities given him. "Court
orders are to be respected not because the judges who issue them should be respected, but
because of the respect and consideration that should be extended to the judicial branch of the
Government. xxx Disrespect to judicial incumbents is disrespect to that branch the Government
to which they belong, as well as to the State which has instituted the judicial system." xxx Atty.
Flores also employed intemperate language in his pleadings. As an officer of the court, Atty.
Flores is expected to be circumspect in his language. Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility enjoins all attorneys to abstain from scandalous, offensive or
menacing language or behavior before the Courts. Atty. Flores failed in this respect. xxx
However, we find the recommended penalty too harsh and not commensurate with the
infractions committed by the respondent. It appears that this is the first infraction committed
by respondent. Also, we are not prepared to impose on the respondent the penalty of one-year
suspension for humanitarian reasons. Respondent manifested before this Court that he has
been in the practice of law for half a century. Thus, he is already in his twilight years.
Considering the foregoing, we deem it proper to fine respondent in the amount of P5,000.00
and to remind him to be more circumspect in his acts and to obey and respect court processes.
ACCORDINGLY, respondent Atty. Rodolfo Flores is FINED in the amount of P5,000.00 with
STERN WARNING that the repetition of a similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.
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CABUATAN V. ATTY. VENIDA, A.C. NO. 10043, NOVEMBER 20, 2013

FACTS:
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) thru its Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) received
a Complaint filed by Aurora H. Cabauatan (complainant) against respondent Atty. Freddie A.
Venida for serious misconduct and gross neglect of duty. x x x Complainant alleged that she was
the appellant in CA-G.R. [No.] 85024 entitled Aurora Cabauatan, Plaintiff-Appellant vs.
Philippine National Bank, Defendant-Appellee. The case was originally handled by a different
lawyer but she decided to change her counsel and engaged the services of the Respondent x x
x. Complainant was then furnished by the Respondent of the pleadings he prepared, such as
"Appearance as Counsel/Dismissal of the Previous Counsel and a Motion for Extension of time
to File a Memorandum." Complainant made several follow-ups on her case until she lost
contact with the Respondent. Complainant alleged the gross, reckless and inexcusable
negligence of the Respondent that led to the case is x x x deemed ABANDONED and
DISMISSED on authority of Sec. 1(e), Rule 50 of the 1996 Rules of Civil Procedure. x x x
Certified on March 31, 2006. Respondent did not submit any pleading with the Court of
Appeals. It is likewise very noticeable that the Respondent was not among those furnished with
a copy of the Entry of Judgment hence it is crystal clear that he never submitted his Entry of
Appearance with the Court of Appeals [insofar] as the case of the Complainant is concerned.
Respondent assured the Complainant that he was doing his best in dealing with the case,
nevertheless, later on Complainant lost contact with him. x x x including the fact that he was
not one of the parties furnished with a copy of the Entry of Judgment proved the inaction and
negligence of the Respondent. x x x

ISSUE: Is respondent can be held liable for his gross negligence and inaction against his clients
case?

RULING: Yes, It is beyond dispute that complainant engaged the services of respondent to
handle her case which was then on appeal before the Court of Appeals. Indeed, when a lawyer
takes a client's cause, he covenants that he will exercise due diligence in protecting the latter's
rights. Complainant also established that she made several follow-ups with the respondent but
the latter merely ignored her or made her believe that he was diligently handling her case.
Thus, complainant was surprised when she received a notice from the Court of Appeals
informing her that her appeal had been abandoned and her case dismissed. The dismissal had
become final and executory. This is a clear violation of Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which enjoins lawyers to keep their clients informed of the status of
their case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the clients' request for information.
The Code of Professional Responsibility pertinently provides: Canon 17 A lawyer owes fidelity
to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed on him.
Canon 18 A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. x x x x Rule 18.03 A
lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable. Rule 18.04 A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the
status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client's request for
information. WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Freddie A. Venida is SUSPENDED from the practice
o law for one year effective immediately, with WARNING that a similar violation will be dealt
with more severely. He is DIRECTED to report to this Court the date of his receipt of this
Resolution to enable this Court to determine when his suspension shall take effect. Let a copy
of this Resolution be entered in the personal records of respondent as a member of the Bar,
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and copies furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and
the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country. SO ORDERED.

CONCHITA BALTAZAR,ET AL. V. ATTY. JUAN B. BAEZ, JR., A.C. NO. 9091, December 11, 2013

FACTS:

Complainants engaged the legal services of Atty. Baez, Jr. in connection with the
recovery of their properties from Fevidal. Complainants signed a contract of legal services,
where they would not pay acceptance and appearance fees to Atty. Baez Jr., but that the
docket fees would instead be shared by the parties. Under the contract, complainants would
pay him 50% of whatever would be recovered of the properties. Later, however, complainants
terminated his services and entered into an amicable settlement with Fevidal. Atty. Baez, Jr.
opposed the withdrawal of their complaint in court. Thus, complainants filed a case against him
alleging that the motion of Atty. Baez, Jr. for the recording of his attorneys charging lien was
the legal problem preventing them from enjoying the fruits of their property.

ISSUE:
Whether the contract of legal services entered into between the complainants and Atty.
Baez, Jr. is champertous.

HELD:
Section 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court allows an attorney to intervene in a case to
protect his rights concerning the payment of his compensation. According to the discretion of
the court, the attorney shall have a lien upon all judgments for the payment of money rendered
in a case in which his services have been retained by the client. In this case, however, the
contract for legal services is in the nature of a champertous contract an agreement whereby
an attorney undertakes to pay the expenses of the proceedings to enforce the clients rights in
exchange for some bargain to have a part of the thing in dispute. Such contracts are contrary to
public policy and are thus void or inexistent. They are also contrary to Canon 16.04 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, which states that lawyers shall not lend money to a client, except
when in the interest of justice, they have to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter they
are handling for the client. Thus, the Court held that Atty. Baez, Jr. violated Canon 16.04 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.

ROSE BUNAGAN-BANSIG VS. ATTY. ROGELIO JUAN A. CELERA A.C. NO. 5581 JAN. 14, 2014

FACTS:
In complaint of Banasig, she narrated that, on May 8, 1997, respondent and Gracemarie R.
Bunagan, entered into a contract of marriage, as evidenced by a certified xerox copy of the
certificate of marriage issued by the City Civil Registry of Manila. Bansig is the sister of
Gracemarie R. Bunagan, legal wife of respondent. However, notwithstanding respondent's
marriage with Bunagan, respondent contracted another marriage on January 8, 1998 with a
certain Ma. Cielo Paz Torres Alba, as evidenced by a certified xerox copy of the certificate of
marriage issued by the City Registration Officer of San Juan, Manila. Bansig stressed that the
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marriage between respondent and Bunagan was still valid and in full legal existence when he
contracted his second marriage with Alba, and that the first marriage had never been annulled
or rendered void by any lawful authority. Bansig alleged that respondents act of contracting
marriage with Alba, while his marriage is still subsisting, constitutes grossly immoral and
conduct unbecoming of a member of the Bar, which renders him unfit to continue his
membership in the Bar. In a Resolution dated February 18, 2002, the Court resolved to require
respondent to file a comment on the instant complaint. Respondent failed to appear before the
mandatory conference and hearings set by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Commission
on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD), despite several notices

ISSUE: 1. Whether the respondent is still fit to continue to be an officer of the court due to the
act of committing bigamy. Violating the code of Professional Responsibility Rule 1.01, Canon 7,
and Rule 7.03 His act of contracting a second marriage while his first marriage is subsisting
constituted grossly immoral conduct and are grounds for disbarment under Section 27, Rule
138 of the Revised Rules of Court. 2. The failure of respondent to answer the charges against
him despite numerous notices. Clearly, respondent's acts constitute willful disobedience of the
lawful orders of the Court, which is under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.

HELD:
The certified xerox copies of the marriage certificates, other than being admissible in evidence,
clearly indicate that respondent contracted the second marriage while the first marriage is
subsisting. By itself, the certified xerox copies of the marriage certificates would already have
been sufficient to establish the existence of two marriages entered into by respondent. The
certified xerox copies should be accorded the full faith and credence given to public documents.
For purposes of this disbarment proceeding, these Marriage Certificates bearing the name of
respondent are competent and convincing evidence to prove that he committed bigamy, which
renders him unfit to continue as a member of the Bar. And respondents cavalier attitude in
repeatedly ignoring the orders of the Supreme Court constitutes utter disrespect to the judicial
institution. Respondents conduct indicates a high degree of irresponsibility. We have
repeatedly held that a Courts Resolution is "not to be construed as a mere request, nor should
it be complied with partially, inadequately, or selectively." Respondents obstinate refusal to
comply with the Courts orders "not only betrays a recalcitrant flaw in his character; it also
underscores his disrespect of the Court's lawful orders which is only too deserving of reproof."
In View of all foregoing , the judge finds respondent Atty. Rogelio Juan A. Celera, guilty of
grossly immoral conduct and willful disobedience of lawful orders rendering him unworthy of
continuing membership in the legal profession. He is thus ordered DISBARRED from the practice
of law and his name stricken of the Roll of Attorneys, effective immediately.

EDGARDO AREOLA VS. ATTY. MARIA VILMA MENDOZA A.C. NO. 10135. JANUARY 15, 2014

FACTS:
Edgardo D. Areola (Areola) filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza
(Atty. Mendoza), from the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) for violation of her attorneys oath of
office, deceit, malpractice or other gross misconduct in office under Section 27, Rule 138 of the
Revised Rules of Court, and for violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He said that
hes filing the said complaint in behalf of his co-detainees Allan Seronda, Aaron Arca, Joselito
Mirador, Spouses Danilo Perez and Elizabeth Perez. Areola claimed that when Atty. Mendoza
visited the Antipolo City Jail and called all detainees with pending cases before the RTC, Atty.
Mendoza stated the following in her speech: O kayong may mga kasong drugs na may
pangpiyansa o pang-areglo ay maging praktikal sana kayo kung gusto ninyong makalaya agad.
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Upang makatiyak kayo na hindi masasayang ang pera ninyo ay sa akin ninyo ibigay o ng kamag-
anak ninyo ang pera at ako na ang bahalang maglagay kay Judge Martin at Fiscal banqui; at
kayong mga detenidong mga babae na no bail ang kaso sa drugs, iyak-iyakan lang ninyo si Judge
Martin at palalayain na kayo. Malambot ang puso noon. In her unverified Answer, Atty.
Mendoza asseverated that the filing of the administrative complaint against her is a harassment
tactic by Areola as the latter had also filed several administrative cases against judges in the
courts including the jail warden where Areola was previously detained. Nonetheless, Atty.
Mendoza admitted in her Answer that she advised her clients and their relatives to approach
the judge and the fiscal to beg and cry so that their motions would be granted and their cases
against them would be dismissed. To the Investigating Commissioner, this is highly unethical
and improper as the act of Atty. Mendoza degrades the image of and lessens the confidence of
the public in the judiciary. The Investigating Commissioner recommended that Atty. Mendoza
be suspended from the practice of law for a period of two (2) months.

ISSUE: 1. Atty. Mendoza is guilty of her attorneys oath of office, deceit, malpractice or other
gross misconduct in office under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of CourtNo for lack
of evidence 2. Atty. Mendoza is guilty of violating Rule 1.02 and Rule 15.07 of the Code of
Professional ResponsibilityYes.

HELD:
1st Issue No. The Court finds that the instant Complaint against Atty. Mendoza profoundly lacks
evidence to support the allegations contained therein. All Areola has are empty assertions
against Atty. Mendoza that she demanded money from his co-detainees.The Court agrees with
the IBP that Areola is not the proper party to file the Complaint against Atty. Mendoza. He is
not even a client of Atty. Mendoza. He claims that he filed the Complaint on behalf of his co-
detainees, but it is apparent that no document was submitted which would show that they
authorized Areola to file a Complaint. Consequently, the Court rejects Areolas statements,
especially as regards Atty. Mendozas alleged demands of money. 2nd issue Yes. Atty. Maria
Vilma Mendoza GUILTY of giving improper advice to her clients in violation of Rule 1.02 and
Rule 15.07 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Mendoza admitted that she advised
her clients to approach the judge and plead for compassion so that their motions would be
granted. Atty. Mendoza made it appear that the judge is easily moved if a party resorts to
dramatic antics such as begging and crying in order for their cases to be dismissed. It is the
mandate of Rule 1.02 that a lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the
law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. Rule 15.07 states that a lawyer shall
impress upon his client compliance with the laws and the principles of fairness. Atty.
Mendozas improper advice only lessens the confidence of the public in our legal system.
Judges must be free to judge, without pressure or influence from external forces or factors
according to the merits of a case. Atty. Mendozas careless remark is uncalled for. It must be
remembered that a lawyers duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice. To that
end, his clients success is wholly subordinate. His conduct ought to and must always be
scrupulously observant of the law and ethics. Any means, not honorable, fair and honest which
is resorted to by the lawyer, even in the pursuit of his devotion to his clients cause, is
condemnable and unethical. Penalty: penalty of REPRIMAND, with the STERN WARNING that a
repetition of the same or similar act will be dealt with more severely Basis of the Penalty: In
several administrative cases, the Court has refrained from imposing the actual penalties in the
presence of mitigating factors. Factors such as the respondents length of service, the
respondents acknowledgement of his or her infractions and feeling of remorse, family
circumstances, humanitarian and equitable considerations, respondents advanced age, among
other things, have had varying significance in the Courts determination of the imposable
penalty. The Court takes note of Atty. Mendozas lack of ill-motive in the present case and her
being a PAO lawyer as her main source of livelihood. Furthermore, the complaint filed by Areola
is clearly baseless and the only reason why this was ever given consideration was due to Atty.
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Mendozas own admission. For these reasons, the Court deems it just to modify and reduce the
penalty recommended by the IBP Board of Governors.

P. NAVARRO VS. ATTY. IVAN M. SOLIDUM JR., A.C. 9872, January 28, 2014

FACTS: In April 2006, Hilda Presbitero engaged the services of Atty. Ivan Solidum, Jr. to help her
in the quieting of her title over a parcel of land. Presbitero paid Solidum P50,000.00 as
acceptance fee.
In May 2006, Ma. Theresa Yulo, daughter of Presbitero also engaged the services of
Solidum for the registration of a parcel of land. Yulo however asked the help of her sister,
Natividad Navarro, to finance the case. Hence, Navarro gave Solidum Php200,000.00 for the
registration expenses.
Meanwhile, Solidum in May and June 2006, obtained a total of Php2 million from
Navarro. The loan was covered by two Memorandum of Agreement (MOAs). The MOA was
prepared by Solidum. The MOA stated that the monthly interest shall be 10%.
Solidum also borrowed Php 1 million from Presbitero during the same period. He again
drafted a MOA containing the same terms and conditions as with Navarro. As additional
security for the loan, Solidum mortgaged his 263-hectare land for P1 million in favor of
Presbitero.
Nothing happened in the quieting of title case field by Presbitero since Solidum did
nothing after receiving the acceptance fee.
In the land registration case of Yulo financed by Navarro, Navarro later found out that
the land was already registered to someone else. Navarro claims that she should not have
financed the case if only Solidum advised her of the status of the land.
Anent the loans, Solidum failed to pay them. Instead, he questioned the terms of the
loans as he claimed that the interest rate of said loans at 10% is unconscionable.
Navarro and Presbitero later filed an administrative case against Solidum.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Ivan Solidum, Jr. should be disbarred.

HELD: Yes.

Although Solidum acted in his private capacity when he obtained a total of Php3 million
from Navarro and Presbitero, he may still be disciplined for misconduct committed either in his
private capacity. The test is whether his conduct shows him to be wanting in moral character,
honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or whether it renders him unworthy to continue as an
officer of the court. In this case, such act displayed by Solidum merited his disbarment.
Solidum is guilty of engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct, both in his professional
capacity with respect to his client, Presbitero, and in his private capacity with respect to
Navarro. Both Presbitero and Navarro allowed Splidum to draft the terms of the loan
agreements. Solidum drafted the MOAs knowing that the interest rates were exorbitant. Later,
using his knowledge of the law, he assailed the validity of the same MOAs he prepared.

In the case of Navarro, who financed the Yulo case, Solidum also violated Canon 16 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall hold in trust all
moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession. This is notwithstanding
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the fact that Navarro is not actually his client in the Yulo case but was only the financier of the
Yulo case.

In Presbiteros case, since Presbitero is his client, Solidum also violated Rule 16.04 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall not borrow money from
his client unless the clients interests are fully protected by the nature of the case or by
independent advice. Even though Solidum secured the loan with a mortgage and a MOA,
Presbiteros interest was not fully protected because the property Solidum mortgaged was
overvalued. He claimed that his 263-hectare land was worth P1 million but in fact Solidum sold
it later for only P150,000.00. Clearly, Presbitero was disadvantaged by Solidums ability to use
all the legal maneuverings to renege on his obligation. He took advantage of his knowledge of
the law as well as the trust and confidence reposed in him by his client.
Solidum was disbarred by the Supreme Court.

CARLITO ANG V. ATTY. JAMES JOSEPH GUPANA, A.C. NO. 4545. FEBRUARY 5, 2014.

FACTS:
The case stemmed from an affidavit-complaint3 filed by complainant Carlito Ang against
respondent. Ang alleged that on May 31, 1991, he and the other heirs of the late Candelaria
Magpayo, namely Purificacion Diamante and William Magpayo, executed an Extra-judicial
Declaration of Heirs and Partition4 involving Lot No. 2066-B-2-B which had an area of 6,258
square meters and was covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. (T-22409)-6433. He
was given his share of 2,003 square meters designated as Lot No. 2066-B-2-B-4, together with
all the improvements thereon.5 However, when he tried to secure a TCT in his name, he found
out that said TCT No. (T-22409)-6433 had already been cancelled and in lieu thereof, new
TCTs6 had been issued in the names of William Magpayo, Antonio Diamante, Patricia Diamante,
Lolita D. Canque, Gregorio Diamante, Jr. and Fe D. Montero.

Ang alleged that there is reasonable ground to believe that respondent had a direct
participation in the commission of forgeries and falsifications because he was the one who
prepared and notarized the Affidavit of Loss7 and Deed of Absolute Sale8 that led to the transfer
and issuance of the new TCTs. Ang pointed out that the Deed of Absolute Sale which was
allegedly executed by Candelaria Magpayo on April 17, 1989, was antedated and Candelaria
Magpayos signature was forged as clearly shown by the Certification 9 issued by the Office of
the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu. Further, the certified true copy of
page 37, Book No. XII, Series of 1989 of respondents Notarial Report indubitably showed that
Doc. No. 181 did not refer to the Deed of Absolute Sale, but to an affidavit. As to the Affidavit of
Loss, which was allegedly executed by the late Candelaria Magpayo on April 29, 1994, it could
not have been executed by her as she Diedthree years prior to the execution of the said
affidavit of loss.

Ang further alleged that on September 22, 1995, respondent made himself the attorney-in-fact
of William Magpayo, Antonio Diamante, Patricia Diamante, Lolita Canque, Gregorio Diamante,
Jr. and Fe D. Montero, and pursuant to the Special Power of Attorney in his favor, executed a
Deed of Sale selling Lot No. 2066-B-2-B-4 to Lim Kim So Mercantile Co. on October 10, 1995.
Ang complained that the sale was made even though a civil case involving the said parcel of
land was pending before the RTC of Mandaue City, Cebu.
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In his Comment, respondent denied any wrongdoing and argued that Ang is merely using the
present administrative complaint as a tool to force the defendants in a pending civil case and
their counsel, herein respondent, to accede to his wishes.

Investigating Commissioner Lydia A. Navarro of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, to whom
the case was referred for investigation, report and recommendation, submitted her Report and
Recommendation finding respondent administratively liable. She recommended that
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for three months. She held that respondent
committed an unethical act when he allowed himself to be an instrument in the disposal of the
subject property through a deed of sale executed between him as attorney-in-fact of his client
and Lim Kim So Mercantile Co. despite his knowledge that said property is the subject of a
pending litigation before the RTC of Mandaue City, Cebu.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Gupana is disqualified from being commissioned as a notary public?

HELD:
Under the law, the party acknowledging must appear before the notary public or any other
person authorized to take acknowledgments of instruments or documents. In this case, the
jurat of the Affidavit of Loss stated that Candelaria subscribed to the affidavit before Atty.
Gupana on April 29, 1994, at Mandaue City. Candelaria, however, was already dead since
March 26, 1991. Hence, it is clear that the jurat was made in violation of the notarial law. The
notarization of a document is not an empty act or routine. A notary publics function should not
be trivialized and a notary public must discharge his powers and duties which are impressed
with public interest, with accuracy and fidelity. As a lawyer commissioned as notary public,
Atty. Gupana is mandated to subscribe to the sacred duties appertaining to his office, such
duties being dictated by public policy impressed with public interest. Thus, the Supreme Court
held that Atty. Gupanas revocation of his notarial commission, disqualification from being
commissioned as a notary public for a period of two years and suspension from the practice of
law for one year are in order.

WILBERTO C. TALISIC V. ATTY. PRIMO R. RINEN, A.C. NO. 8761, FEBRUARY 12, 2014.

FACTS:
Wilberto claimed that his mother Aurora died on May 7, 1987, leaving behind as heirs her
spouse, Celedonio Talisic, and their three children, namely: Arlene Talisic Villarazo, Wilberto
and Alvin Corpuz Talisic. It was only after his fathers death on November 2, 2000 that Wilberto
and his siblings knew of the transfer of the subject parcel via the subject deed. While Wilberto
believed that his fathers signature on the deed was authentic, his and his siblings supposed
signatures were merely forged. Wilberto also pointed out that even his name was erroneously
indicated in the deed as "Wilfredo".
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For his defense, Atty. Rinen denied the charge against him and explained that it was only on
April 7, 1994 that he came to know of the transaction between the Spouses Durante and the
Talisics, when they approached him in his office as the then Presiding Judge of the Municipal

Trial Court, Real, Quezon, to have the subject deed prepared and notarized. His clerk of court
prepared the deed and upon its completion, ushered the parties to his office for the
administration of oath.6 The deed contained his certification that at the time of the documents
execution, "no notary public was available to expedite the transaction of the parties." Notarial
fees paid by the parties were also covered by a receipt issued by the Treasurer of the
Municipality of Real, Quezon.7

After due proceedings, Investigating Commissioner Felimon C. Abelita III (Commissioner


Abelita) issued the Report and Recommendation8 dated November 20, 2012 for the
cancellation of Atty. Rinens notarial commission and his suspension from notarial practice for a
period of one year.9 The report indicated that per Atty. Rinens admission, the subject deed was
prepared in his office and acknowledged before him. Although there was no evidence of forgery
on his part, he was negligent in not requiring from the parties to the deed their presentation of
documents as proof of identity. Atty. Rinens failure to properly satisfy his duties as a notary
public was also shown by the inconsistencies in the dates that appear on the deed, to wit:
"1994 as to the execution; 1995 when notarized; [and] entered as Series of 1992 in the notarial
book x x x."

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Rinen be disqualified from being commissioned as a notary public?

HELD:
The Court said yes.
In Bautista v. Atty. Bernabe, the Court held that [a] notary public should not notarize a
document unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed
and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated
therein. The presence of the parties to the deed will enable the notary public to verify the
genuineness of the signature of the affiant. Notarization is not an empty, meaningless,
routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are
qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. It converts a private document into a public
one, making it admissible in court without further proof of its authenticity. Thus, notaries public
must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties.
Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of public instruments would be
undermined.
In this case, Atty. Rinen did not deny his failure to personally verify the identity of all parties
who purportedly signed the subject document and whom, as he claimed, appeared before him
on April 7, 1994. Such failure was further shown by the fact that the pertinent details of the
community tax certificates of Wilberto and his sister, as proof of their identity, remained
unspecified in the deeds acknowledgment portion. Clearly, there was a failure on the part of
Atty. Rinen to exercise the due diligence that was required of him as a notary public exofficio.
Thus, Atty. Rinens notarial commission as revoked and he were disqualified from being
commissioned as a notary public for one year.

NESTOR FIGUERAS AND BIENVENIDO VICTORIA, JR. V. ATTY. DIOSDADO B. JIMENEZ,A.C. NO.
9116, MARCH 12, 2014.
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FACTS:

Congressional Village Homeowners Association, Inc. is the entity in charge of the affairs of the
homeowners of Congressional Village in Quezon City. On January 7, 1993, the Spouses Federico
and Victoria Santander filed a civil suit for damages against the Association and Ely
Mabanag8 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 104 for building a
concrete wall which abutted their property and denied them of their right of way. The spouses
Santander likewise alleged that said concrete wall was built in violation of Quezon City
Ordinance No. 8633, S-71 which prohibits the closing, obstructing, preventing or otherwise
refusing to the public or vehicular traffic the use of or free access to any subdivision or
community street.9 The Law Firm of Gonzalez Sinense Jimenez and Associates was the legal
counsel for the Association, with respondent as the counsel of record and handling lawyer.
After trial and hearing, the RTC rendered a decision10 on October 4, 1996 in favor of the
Spouses Santander. The Association, represented by said law firm, appealed to the Court of
Appeals (CA). On February 5, 1999, the CA issued a Resolution11 in CA-G.R. CV No. 55577
dismissing the appeal on the ground that the original period to file the appellants brief had
expired 95 days even before the first motion for extension of time to file said brief was filed.
The CA also stated that the grounds adduced for the said motion as well as the six subsequent
motions for extension of time to file brief were not meritorious. The CA resolution became
final.

Eight years later or on April 11, 2007, complainants Nestor Figueras and Bienvenido Victoria, Jr.,
as members of the Association, filed a Complaint12 for Disbarment against respondent before
the IBP Committee on Bar Discipline (CBD) for violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, particularly Rule 12.03, Canon 12; Canon 17; and Rule 18.03, Canon 18 thereof
for his negligence in handling the appeal and willful violation of his duties as an officer of the
court.

In his Verified Answer with Counter Complaint,13 respondent denied administrative liability. He
claimed that although his law firm represented the homeowners association in CA-G.R. CV No.
55577, the case was actually handled by an associate lawyer in his law office. As the partner in
charge of the case, he exercised general supervision over the handling counsel and signed the
pleadings prepared by said handling lawyer. Upon discovery of the omissions of the handling
lawyer, appropriate sanctions were imposed on the handling lawyer and he thereafter
personally took responsibility and spent personal funds to negotiate a settlement with Federico
Santander at no cost to the Association. No damage whatsoever was caused to the Association.

Respondent likewise alleged that after he defeated complainant Figueras in the election for
President of the homeowners association in 1996, Figueras and his compadre, complainant
Victoria, stopped paying their association dues and other assessments. Complainants and other
delinquent members of the association were sanctioned by the Board of Directors and were
sued by the association before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). In
retaliation, complainants filed the present disbarment case against him and several other cases
against him and other officers of the association before the HLURB to question, among others,
the legitimacy of the Association, the election of its officers, and the sanctions imposed by the
Association. Thus, he concluded that the disbarment case was filed to harass him. Respondent
added that complainants have no personality to file the disbarment complaint as they were not
his clients; hence, there was likewise no jurisdiction over the complaint on the part of the IBP-
CBD.

ISSUE:
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.Whether or not the procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil proceedings that only
the real party-in-interest must initiate the suit does applies in disbarment cases.
HELD:
The Supreme Court held that the complainants have personality to file the disbarment case.
In Heck v. Judge Santos, the Court held that [a]ny interested person or the court motu
proprio may initiate disciplinary proceedings. The right to institute disbarment proceedings is
not confined to clients nor is it necessary that the person complaining suffered injury from the
alleged wrongdoing. The procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil proceedings that
only the real party-in-interest must initiate the suit does not apply in disbarment cases.
Disbarment proceedings are matters of public interest and the only basis for the judgment is
the proof or failure of proof of the charges. Further, the Supreme Court held that a lawyer
engaged to represent a client in a case bears the responsibility of protecting the latters interest
with utmost diligence. In failing to file the appellants brief on behalf of his client, Atty. Jimenez
had fallen far short of his duties as counsel as set forth in Rule 12.04, Canon 12 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which exhorts every member of the Bar not to unduly delay a case
and to exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient
administration of justice. However, the Supreme Court only suspended Atty. Jimenez from the
practice of law for one.

RE: MELCHOR TIONGSON, HEAD WATCHER, DURING THE 2011 BAR EXAMINATIONS, B.M. NO.
2482, APRIL 1, 2014.

FACTS:

The Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) designated Tiongson, an employee of the Court of
Appeals (CA), to serve as head watcher for the 2011 Bar Examinations on 6, 13, 20 and 27
November 2011. Tiongson, together with the designated watchers, namely, Eleonor V. Padilla
(Padilla), Christian Jay S. Puruganan (Puruganan) and Aleli M. Padre (Padre), were assigned to
Room No. 314 of St. Martin De Porres Building in UST.

On 13 November 2011 or during the second Sunday of the bar examinations, Tiongson brought
his digital camera inside Room No. 314. Padilla, Puruganan and Padre alleged that after the
morning examination in Civil Law, while they were counting the pages of the questionnaire,
Tiongson took pictures of the Civil Law questionnaire using his digital camera. Tiongson
allegedly repeated the same act and took pictures of the Mercantile Law questionnaire after
the afternoon examination.

On the same day, Padilla reported Tiongsons actions to Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar
Confidant Atty. Ma. Cristina B. Layusa, who immediately investigated the report. Padilla,
Puruganan and Padre subsequently executed separate affidavits confirming Tiongsons actions.
Upon demand by the OBC to explain, Tiongson admitted that he brought his digital camera
inside the bar examination room. He explained that he did not surrender his new digital camera
to the badge counter personnel because the counter personnel might be negligent in handling
his camera.

In a Memorandum dated 16 November 2011 addressed to the CA Clerk of Court Atty. Teresita
R. Marigomen, the OBC revoked and cancelled Tiongsons designation as head watcher for the
remaining Sundays of the bar examinations.
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In a Resolution dated 10 April 2012, the Court, upon recommendation of the Committee on
Continuing Legal Education and Bar Matters, required Tiongson to file his comment. In his
Comment dated 25 May 2012, Tiongson restated his admission that he brought his digital
camera inside the bar examination room. Tiongson reiterated his explanation for bringing his
camera and apologized for his infraction.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Tiongson is liable for misconduct?

HELD:
The Court held that in administrative proceedings, substantial evidence is the quantum of proof
required for a finding of guilt, and this requirement is satisfied if there is reasonable ground to
believe that the employee is responsible for the misconduct. Misconduct means transgression
of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross
negligence by an employee. Any transgression or deviation from the established norm of
conduct, work related or not, amounts to a misconduct. In this case, there was substantial
evidence to prove that Tiongson committed a misconduct. Tiongson was held liable for simple
misconduct only, because the elements of grave misconduct were not proven with substantial
evidence, and Tiongson admitted his infraction before the Office of the Bar Confidant. As a CA
employee, Tiongson disregarded his duty to uphold the strict standards required of every court
employee, that is, to be an example of integrity, uprightness and obedience to the judiciary.

A.C. No. 3405, March 18, 2014 JULIETA B. NARAG vs. ATTY. DOMINADOR M. NARAG

FACTS:
On November 13, 1989, Julieta B. Narag (Julieta) filed an administrative complaint for
disbarment against her husband, herein respondent, whom she accused of having violated Rule
1.011 in relation to Canons 12 and 63 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. She claimed
that the respondent, who was then a college instructor in St. Louis College of Tuguegarao and a
member of theSangguniang Panlalawigan of Cagayan, maintained an amorous relationship with
a certain Gina Espita (Gina) a 17year old first year college student. Julieta further claimed
that the respondent had already abandoned her and their children to live with Gina. The
respondent denied the charge against him, claiming that the allegations set forth by Julieta
were mere fabrications; that Julieta was just extremely jealous, which made her concoct stories
against him. On June 29, 1998, the Court rendered a Decision, which directed the disbarment of
the respondent. The Court opined that the respondent committed an act of gross immorality
when he abandoned his family in order to live with Gina. The Court pointed out that the
respondent had breached the high and exacting moral standards set for members of the legal
profession. A Motion for the Reopening of the Administrative Investigation, or in the
Alternative, Reconsideration of the Decision was filed by the respondent on August 25, 1998.
He averred that he was denied due process of law during the administrative investigation as he
was allegedly unjustly disallowed to testify in his behalf and adduce additional vital
documentary evidence. Finding no substantial arguments to warrant the reversal of the
questioned decision, the Court denied the motion with finality in the Resolution dated
September 22, 1998. On November 29, 2013, the respondent filed the instant petition for
reinstatement to the Bar. The respondent alleged that he has expressed extreme repentance
and remorse to his wife and their children for his misgivings. He claimed that his wife Julieta
and their children had already forgiven him on June 10, 2010 at their residence in Tuguegarao
City. The respondent presented an undated affidavit prepared by his son, Dominador, Jr.,
purportedly attesting to the truth of the respondents claim. The respondent averred that he
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has been disbarred for 15 years already and that he has been punished enough. He alleged that
he is already 80 years old, weak and wracked with debilitating osteoarthritic pains. That he has
very limited mobility due to his arthritis and his right knee injury. He further claimed that he
enlisted in the Philippine Air Force Reserve Command where he now holds the rank of
Lieutenant Colonel; that as member of the Reserve Command, he enlisted in various rescue,
relief and recovery missions. The respondent likewise submitted the various recommendations,
testimonials and affidavits in support of his petition for readmission.

ISSUE: Whether the applicant shall be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys rests to a great
extent on the sound discretion of the Court. The action will depend on whether or not the
Court decides that the public interest in the orderly and impartial administration of justice will
continue to be preserved even with the applicants reentry as a counselor at law. The applicant
must, like a candidate for admission to the bar, satisfy the Court that he is a person of good
moral character, a fit and proper person to practice law. The Court will take into consideration
the applicants character and standing prior to the disbarment, the nature and character of the
charge/s for which he was disbarred, his conduct subsequent to the disbarment, and the time
that has elapsed between the disbarment and the application for reinstatement. The extreme
penalty of disbarment was meted on the respondent on account of his having committed a
grossly immoral conduct, i.e., abandoning his wife and children to live with his much younger
paramour. Indeed, nothing could be more reprehensible than betraying ones own family in
order to satisfy an irrational and insatiable desire to be with another woman. The respondents
act was plainly selfish and clearly evinces his inappropriateness to be part of the noble legal
profession. More than 15 years after being disbarred, the respondent now professes that he
had already repented and expressed remorse over the perfidy that he had brought upon his
wife and their children. That such repentance and remorse, the respondent asserts, together
with the long years that he had endured his penalty, is now sufficient to enable him to be
readmitted to the practice of law.

RULING:
The Court, in deciding whether the respondent should indeed be readmitted to the practice of
law, must be convinced that he had indeed been reformed; that he had already rid himself of
any grossly immoral act which would make him inept for the practice of law. However, it
appears that the respondent, while still legally married to Julieta, is still living with his paramour
the woman for whose sake he abandoned his family. This only proves to show that the
respondent has not yet learned from his prior misgivings. That he was supposedly forgiven by
his wife and their children would likewise not be sufficient ground to grant respondents plea. It
is noted that only his son, Dominador, Jr., signed the affidavit which was supposed to evidence
the forgiveness bestowed upon the respondent. Thus, with regard to Julieta and the six other
children of the respondent, the claim that they had likewise forgiven the respondent is hearsay.
In any case, that the family of the respondent had forgiven him does not discount the fact that
he is still committing a grossly immoral conduct; he is still living with a woman other than his
wife. Likewise, that the respondent executed a holographic will wherein he bequeaths all his
properties to his wife and their children is quite immaterial and would not be demonstrative
that he had indeed changed his ways. Verily, nothing would stop the respondent from later on
executing another last will and testament of a different tenor once he had been readmitted to
the legal profession. In fine, the Court is not convinced that the respondent had shown remorse
over his transgressions and that he had already changed his ways as would merit his
reinstatement to the legal profession. Time and again the Court has stressed that the practice
of law is not a right but a privilege. It is enjoyed only by those who continue to display
unassailable character. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the Petition for
Reinstatement to the Bar filed by Dominador M. Narag is hereby DENIED. SO ORDERED.
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QUIACHON V. ATTY. RAMOS, A.C. NO. 9317, June 4, 2014

FACTS:

A disbarment case was filed by Quiachon against her lawyer Atty. Ramos who
represented her in a labor case before NLRC and a special proceeding case before the RTC.
Complainant charges respondent with gross negligence and deceit in violation of Canon Rules
18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
IBP conducted an investigation on the disbursement case filed by the complainant
against her lawyer and the report found out that the respondent had been remiss in failing to
update complainant in what had happened to the cases being handled by respondent in behalf
of complainant. There was a failure to inform complainant (the client) of the status of the cases
that thereafter prevented the client from exercising her options. There was neglect in that
regard.
However inspite of finding neglect on respondents part, the complainant during the
pendency of the proceedings, withdrew the disbarment case.

ISSUE:
Whether the withdrawal of the disbarment case will terminate or abate the jurisdiction
of the IBP and of this Court to continue an administrative proceeding against a lawyer-
respondent as a member of the Philippine Bar.

HELD:
No. The withdrawal of a disbarment case against a lawyer does not terminate or abate
the jurisdiction of the IBP and of this Court to continue an administrative proceeding against a
lawyer-respondent as a member of the Philippine Bar. The complainant in a disbarment case is
not a direct party to the case, but a witness who brought the matter to the attention of the
Court. In this case, Atty. Ramos violated Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Thus, the appropriate penalty should be imposed despite the
desistance of complainant or the withdrawal of the charges.

ATTY. ALAN F. PAGUIA V. ATTY. MANUEL T. MOLINA, A.C. NO. 9881, JUNE 4, 2014.

FACTS:
The case involves a conflict between neighbors in a four-unit compound named "Times Square"
at Times Street, Quezon City. The neighbors are the following: 1) Mr. And Mrs. Gregorio M.
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Abreu, clients of Atty. Paguia; 2) Mr. And Mrs. Wilson Lim, clients of respondent Molina; 3) Dr.
and Mrs. Eduardo Yap; and Dr. Belinda San Juan.

The clients of Atty. Molina entered into a contract with the other unit owners save for Mr.
Abreu. The agreement, covered by a document titled "Times Square Preamble," establishes a
set of internal rules for the neighbors on matters such as the use of the common right of way to
the exit gate, assignment of parking areas, and security. Mr. Abreu, the client of complainant,
Atty. Paguia, was not a party to the contract since the former did not agree with the terms
concerning the parking arrangements.
On 4 February 2010, Atty. Paguia filed a Complaint for Dishonesty with the IBP Commission on
Bar Discipline against Atty. Molina for allegedly giving legal advice to the latters clients to the
effect that the Times Square Preamble was binding on Mr. Abreu, who was never a party to the
contract.

In his Answer, Atty. Molina downplayed the case as a petty quarrel among neighbors. He
maintained that the Times Square Preamble was entered into for purposes of maintaining order
in the residential compound. All homeowners, except Mr. Abreu, signed the document.

Respondent further stated in his Answer that Mr. and Mrs. Gregorio Abreu filed two cases
against his clients, Mr. And Mrs. William Lim, on the belief that Mr. Abreu was not bound by the
Times Square Preamble. The first case, was filed with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory
Board (HLURB), which was an action to declare the Times Square Preamble invalid. The second
suit was an action for declaratory relief. Both cases, according to respondent, were dismissed.
Respondent further claimed that another case had been filed in court, this time by his client,
the Lims. They were prompted to file a suit since Mr. Abreu had allegedly taken matters into his
own hands by placing two vehicles directly in front of the gate of the Lims, thus blocking the
latters egress to Times Street. The Lims filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 96, Quezon
City, a Complaint for Injunction and Damages, coupled with a prayer for the immediate
issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction, which was docketed
as Civil Case No. Q-08-63579. According to respondent, the RTC granted the relief prayed for in
an Order dated 12 December 2008

ISSUE:
Whether or not an administrative complaint for dishonesty against Atty. Molina will prosper?

HELD:
The Supreme Court in dismissing the complaint held that when it comes to administrative cases
against lawyers, two things are to be considered: quantum of proof, which requires clearly
preponderant evidence; and burden of proof, which is on the complainant. Here, the complaint
was without factual basis. The allegation of giving legal advice was not substantiated in this
case, either in the complaint or in the corresponding hearings. Bare allegations are not proof.
Even if Atty. Molina did provide his clients legal advice, he still cannot be held administratively
liable without any showing that his act was attended with bad faith or malice. The default rule
is presumption of good faith.

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR V. SARAH P. AMPONG, ETC., A.M. NO. P-13-3132,
JUNE 4, 2014.

FACTS:
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Sometime in August 1994, the CSC instituted an administrative case against Ampong for
Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service for
having impersonated or taken the November 1991 Civil Service Eligibility Examination for
Teachers on behalf of one Evelyn B. Junio-Decir (Decir). On March 21, 1996, after Ampong
herself admitted to having committed the charges against her, the CSC rendered a resolution
dismissing her from service, imposing all accessory penalties attendant to such dismissal, and
revoking her Professional Board Examination for Teachers (PBET) rating. Ampong moved for
reconsideration on the ground that when the said administrative case was filed, she was
already appointed to the judiciary; as such, she posited that the CSC no longer had any
jurisdiction over her. Ampongs motion was later denied, thus, prompting her to file a petition
for review before the Court of Appeals (CA).

On November 30, 2004, the CA denied Ampongs petition and affirmed her dismissal from
service on the ground that she never raised the issue of jurisdiction until after the CSC ruled
against her and, thus, she is estopped from assailing the same.5 Similarly, on August 26, 2008,
the Court En Banc denied her petition for review on certiorari and, thus, affirmed her dismissal
from service in G.R. No. 167916, entitled "Sarah P. Ampong v. Civil Service Commission, CSC-
Regional Office No. 11"6 (August 26, 2008 Decision).

Notwithstanding said Decision, the Financial Management Office (FMO) of the OCA, which did
not receive any official directive regarding Ampongs dismissal, continued to release her salaries
and allowances. However, in view of Judge Infantes letter notifying the OCA of such situation,
the FMO issued a Memorandum7 dated September 7, 2011 informing the OCA that starting
June 2011, it had started to withhold Ampongs salaries and allowances.8

In her Comment dated September 25, 2012, Ampong prayed that the Court revisit its ruling in
G.R. No. 167916 despite its finality because it might lead to unwarranted complications in its
enforcement. Moreover, Ampong reiterated her argument that the CSC did not have any
jurisdiction over the case against her

ISSUE:
Whether or not Ampong be held liable for dishonesty?

HELD:
The Supreme Court has already held in its August 26, 2008 Decision that Ampong was
administratively liable for dishonesty in impersonating and taking the November 1991 Civil
Service Eligibility Examination for Teachers on behalf of one Decir. Under section 58(a) of the
Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (URACCS), the penalty of dismissal
carries with it the following administrative disabilities: (a) cancellation of civil service eligibility;
(b) forfeiture of retirement benefits; and (c) perpetual disqualification from re-employment in
any government agency or instrumentality, including any government-owned and controlled
corporation or government financial institution. Ampong should be made to similarly suffer the
same. Every employee of the Judiciary should be an example of integrity, uprightness, and
honesty. Court personnel are enjoined to adhere to the exacting standards of morality and
decency in their professional and private conduct in order to preserve the good name and
integrity of the courts of justice. Here, Ampong failed to meet these stringent standards set for
a judicial employee and does not, therefore, deserve to remain with the Judiciary
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ADELIA V. QUIACHON vs. ATTY. JOSEPH ADORA. RAMOS, A.C. NO. 9317, JUNE 4, 2014
(FORMERLY CBD CASE NO. 12-3615)

FACTS:
This is a disbarment case filed by Adelia V. Quiachon (complainant), against her lawyer, Atty.
Joseph Ador A. Ramos (respondent). The latter represented complainant, who was then the
plaintiff in a labor case filed before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and in a
special proceeding case filed before the Regional Trial Court (R TC). Complainant charges
respondent with gross negligence and deceit in violation of Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.

The Labor Arbiter (LA) granted complainant a favorable decision on 26 November 2007. Upon
appeal, it was reversed and set aside by the NLRC in its Decision dated 25 July 2008. 3 On 24
October 2008, the NLRC also denied the Motion for Reconsideration filed by respondent on
complainant's behalf. A Petition for Certiorari was filed before the Court of Appeals (CA), but it
affirmed the NLRC's reversal of the LA's Decision. The Notice of the CA Decision was received by
respondent on 23 November 2010.

After the Petition was filed before the CA, complainant would always ask respondent about the
status of her case. The latter always told her that there was no decision yet. Sometime in
August 2011, while complainant was in respondents office waiting for him to arrive, she
noticed a mailman delivering an envelope with the title of her labor case printed thereon.

Complainant asked the secretary of respondent to open the envelope and was surprised to
discover that it contained the Entry of Judgment of the CAs Decision. Thereafter, complainant
tried repeatedly to contact respondent, but to no avail. When she finally got to talk to him,
respondent assured her that "it was alright" as they still had six months to appeal the case to
the Supreme Court. After that final meeting, no updates on the labor case were ever
communicated to complainant.

With respect to the special proceeding case, the RTC of Roxas City dismissed it for lack of
jurisdiction. A Motion for Reconsideration was filed, but it was also denied. Once again,
respondent did nothing to reverse the RTC Decision. Consequently, the Entry of Judgment was
received on 28 October 2008.

On 28 November 2011, complainant filed the instant disbarment Complaint5 against


respondent.

In his Comment, respondent averred that complainant was informed of the status of the case.
He claimed that he had told complainant that he "cannot cite any error of law or abuse of
discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals decision that necessitates a Petition for Review
with the Supreme Court;" thus, he supposedly advised her to "respect the decision of the Court
of Appeals." Respondent prayed that a Decision be rendered dismissing the instant disbarment
Complaint for lack of merit. During the pendency of the proceedings, complainant withdrew
the disbarment case

ISSUE:
Whether or not the withdrawal of a disbarment case against a lawyer will terminate or abate
the jurisdiction of the IBP and of this Court to continue an administrative proceeding against a
lawyer-respondent as a member of the Philippine Bar?

HELD:
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The court said no.


The Supreme Court held that the withdrawal of a disbarment case against a lawyer does not
terminate or abate the jurisdiction of the IBP and of this Court to continue an administrative
proceeding against a lawyer-respondent as a member of the Philippine Bar. The complainant in
a disbarment case is not a direct party to the case, but a witness who brought the matter to the
attention of the Court. In this case, Atty. Ramos violated Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Thus, the appropriate penalty should be imposed despite
the desistance of complainant or the withdrawal of the charges.

FOSTER VS. JAIME AGTANG, A.C. NO. 10579, December 10, 2014

FACTS:
In 2009, Erlinda Foster engaged the services of Atty. Jaime Agtang in a realty dispute in
Ilocos Norte. Agtangs acceptance fee was P20,000.00 plus P5,000.00 for incidental expenses.
For the case, Agtang collected P150,000.00 from Foster as filing fee. He also advised
Foster to shell out a total of P50,000.00 for them to bribe the judge and get a favorable
decision. Although reluctant, Foster gave in to Agtangs demands.
various occasions, Agtang borrowed money from Foster for his personal use, i.e., car
repair. Such loan amounted to P122,000.00. Foster, being prudent, asked for receipts for all
funds she handed over to Agtang.
Later however, Foster learned that she lost the case due to Agtangs negligence and
incompetence in drafting the complaint. She also found out that the filing fee therefor was only
P22,410 (not P150k). Further, it turned out that Agtang was once the lawyer of the opposing
party. When she asked Agtang to return her the balance, the said lawyer failed to do so hence,
she filed an administrative complaint against Agtang.
IBP Board of Governors (IBP-BOG) eventually ordered Agtang to return the balance of
the filing fee (P127,590.00) as well as the money he borrowed from Foster (P122,000.00). It was
also recommended that Agtang be suspended for three months only.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the recommendation by the IBP-BOG is proper.

HELD:
No. The recommended penalty of 3 months suspension is too light. Agtang was
disbarred by the Supreme Court.
Rule 1.0, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, provides that a lawyer
shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
In this case, Agtang is guilty of engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct, both in his
professional and private capacity. As a lawyer, he clearly misled Foster into believing that the
filing fees for her case were worth more than the prescribed amount in the rules, due to
feigned reasons such as the high value of the land involved and the extra expenses to be
incurred by court employees. In other words, he resorted to overpricing, an act customarily
related to depravity and dishonesty.
When asked to return the balance, he failed and refused to do so and even had the
temerity that it was all the clients idea. . A lawyers failure to return upon demand the funds
held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated the
same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by his client. Such act is a gross
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violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics. It impairs public confidence in the
legal profession and deserves punishment.
It is clear that Agtang failed to fulfill this duty. He received various amounts from Foster
but he could not account for all of them. Worse, he could not deny the authenticity of the
receipts presented by Foster.
Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that a lawyer
shall not borrow money from his client unless the clients interests are fully protected by the
nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client
except, when in the interest of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter
he is handling for the client.
In the first place, Agtang should have never borrowed from Foster, his client. Second, his
refusal to pay reflects his baseness. Deliberate failure to pay just debts 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. They must, at all times, faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar,
the courts and their clients, which include prompt payment of financial obligations.
The acts of the Agtang constitute malpractice and gross misconduct in his office as
attorney. His incompetence and appalling indifference to his duty to his client, the courts and
society render him unfit to continue discharging the trust reposed in him as a member of the
Bar.
SIDE ISSUE: May the Court order Agtang to return the money he borrowed from Foster?
No. The Court held that it cannot order the lawyer to return money to complainant if he
or she acted in a private capacity because its findings in administrative cases have no bearing
on liabilities which have no intrinsic link to the lawyers professional engagement. In disciplinary
proceedings against lawyers, the only issue is whether the officer of the court is still fit to be
allowed to continue as a member of the Bar. The only concern of the Court is the determination
of respondents administrative liability. Its findings have no material bearing on other judicial
actions which the parties may choose against each other. To rule otherwise would in effect
deprive respondent of his right to appeal since administrative cases are filed directly with the
Court.
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