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Lawyer’s oath

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND OATH-TAKING OF SUCCESSFUL BAR APPLICANT AL
C. ARGOSINO

B.M. NO. 712 – JULY 13, 1995

FELICIANO, J.

FACTS:

Petitioner was involved in a hazing incident in 91 where a neophyte died

Petitioner was convicted of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide in 93; allowed for probation same
year

Petitioner passed the bar in also in 93, but was not allowed to take oath because of conviction

Petitioned in 94 to be allowed, resolved in 95

ISSUE:

WoN petitioner may now take oath and be admitted to practice

RULING:

YES. Lawyer’s oath is not a mere ceremony or formality for practicing law. Lawyer should at all times
weigh his actions according to his sworn oath. Same is necessary for the effective administration of
justice.

SPS. OLBES v. ATTY. DECIEMBRE

A.C. NO. 5365 – APRIL 27, 2005

PANGANIBAN, J.

FACTS:

Complainants were post office employees. Through respondent, they renewed a loan from Rodela Loans
of P10,000, with 5 blank checks as security.

Complainants, after having paid their loan with interests and penalties, requested for the security checks
from respondent. The latter failed to do so.

Complainants found out that respondent had filled 4 of the 5 blank checks for the total amount of
P200,000; that moreover, respondent filed cases of estafa and violation of BP 22 against them.
Complaint was thereafter filed against respondent. He claimed that the complainants actually came to
him and asked the checks to be exchanged with money for a business venture.

ISSUE:

WoN respondent is liable

RULING:

YES. Respondent violated Canons 1.01 and 7.03. He likewise violated the oath he swore to observe by
deceiving complainants and committing estafa for his material gain. The oath is a sacred trust that must
be upheld and kept inviolable at all times.

Respondent was suspended from practice indefinitely.

DE GUZMAN v. ATTY. DE DIOS

A.C. NO. 4943 – JANUARY 26, 2001

PARDO, J.

FACTS:

Complainant filed a disbarment case against respondent. Complainant averred that she engaged the
services of respondent as lawyer to form a hotel and restaurant corporation.

Complainant retained the services of respondent thereafter. She also had P745,000 worth of shares
during incorporation.

The corporation required complainant to pay for subscribed shares. Failing which, she later received
notice of public auction sale for her delinquent shares. She was soon ousted completely from the
corporation.

Complainant posits to the Court that she was mislead by respondent and that there was conflict of
interest.

Respondent argues that complainant misunderstood, and that the former had been appearing as
counsel for the corporation, not for complainant.

ISSUE:

WoN respondent is guilty of representing conflict of interest and doing falsehood

RULING:

YES. There was conflict of interest between complainant and respondent together with other
stockholders. There was also proof of collusion between the persons of the latter which lead to the
ouster of complainant from said corporation. Such acts were in violation of the lawyer’s oath, which is a
source of obligations.

Respondent was suspended for 6 months.


MELEGRITO v. BARBA

OCTOBER 2, 1933

VICKERS, J.

Complainant along with 230 others were party to a land dispute case regarding an hacienda in Nueva
Ecija.

Complainant, together with others, employed the services of respondent; the latter told the former that
in order to appeal the decision to the US SC, he had to go to Washington. In consideration thereof, the
complainants paid around P8,000 to respondent.

Respondent sailed to the US, but only to acquire a recommendation for a government position from the
Vice President.

Months after respondent’s return, complainant asked for their money back. Respondent instead filed
for a petition different from what complainant wanted.

Complainant filed charges of malpractice against respondent. The latter averred that he only sailed to
US to visit his alma mater, and that he did not receive P8,000. Instead, he claims that he received
P2,000, which he informed the complainant was not enough to petition the case.

ISSUE:

WoN respondent is guilty of malpractice.

RULING:

YES. Respondent’s act of accepting fees for a service which he did not do constituted malpractice. He
was also guilty of deceit when he accepted such employment when he knew that the case was no longer
appealable; neither did he inform the complainants thereof.

Respondent was suspended for 2 years.

CHUA AND HSIA v. ATTY MESINA, JR.

A.C. 4904 – AUGUST 12, 2004

PER CURIAM

FACTS:

Respondent was, for years, Chua and spouse’s legal counsel. Complainants were lessees of certain
properties in Cabanatuan city.

The lessor of said properties, who had mortgaged such to a bank, defaulted in her payments. Facing
foreclosure of mortgage, respondent advised complainants to instead help the mortgagor with her
obligations; in return for which, mortgagor was to convey to complainants the ownership of properties.
Contracts therefor were executed. Upon complainants’ learning of capital gains tax to be paid by them,
respondent advised that they instead redo the contract and antedate the same, to evade the tax.

Another lessee within the properties, upon learning of such, filed a case against complainants.
Meanwhile, respondent advised that complainants transfer ownership to the former’s mother.

Some time after, the complainants insisted on reconveyance; respondent failed to do so. Thereafter,
complainants received notice of the property’s sale to the public. Complainants promptly filed a case
against respondent for gross misconduct.

ISSUE:

WoN respondent is guilty of gross misconduct.

RULING:

YES. Respondent’s acts of advising complainants to antedate the contract, simulate transfer of
ownership, and failure to reconvey the property constitute gross misconduct. Such acts were dishonest
and in defiance of the law.

Respondent was disbarred.

TOLEDO v. ATTY. ABALOS

A.C. NO. 5141 – SEPTEMBER 29, 1999

MELO, J.

FACTS:

Respondent obtained loan of P20,000 from complainant payable in six months. Despite lapse thereof
and after repeated demands, respondent still failed to pay her obligation.

Complainant filed a case with the IBP for respondent’s alleged misconduct.

An IBP commission entertained the complaint. The same required respondent to file an answer, but the
latter refused to do so.

Said commission passed a resolution recommending suspension of respondent. Such decision was
because of her failure to answer and not of failure to fulfil her obligation; the latter not being actionable
in a disciplinary case, being done in a private capacity.

ISSUE:

WoN respondent can be punished for gross misconduct in relation to her failure to pay.

RULING:

NO. SC adopted the commission’s resolution. Such misconduct was done in her private capacity; hence
she cannot be disciplined therefor. However, suspension was still meted out in light of her defiance to
the orders of the IBP.
Respondent was suspended for 1 month.

COJUANGCO v. ATTY. PALMA

A.C. NO. 2474 – SEPTEMBER 15, 2004

PER CURIAM

FACTS:

Complainant hired respondent as his personal counsel in the 70s; as a result of which the respondent
fostered an intimate relationship with complainant and his family.

Respondent would frequent complainant’s house and even tutored the latter’s 22-year-old daughter.

Respondent secretly courted said daughter and later married her in Hongkong.

In doing so, respondent duped complainant’s company to afford him a ticket to Hongkong, with the
intention of marrying therein.

Respondent belatedly informed the complainant of the marriage, assuring the latter that “everything
was legal.” Complainant was shocked, knowing that respondent was married and had 3 children.

Complainant petitioned for a declaration of nullity of said marriage; promptly thereafter a disbarment
case against respondent.

ISSUE:

WoN respondent was guilty of gross immoral conduct.

YES. Immoral conduct is the willful, flagrant, or shameless showing of moral indifference to the opinion
of the good and respectable members of community. Grossly immoral conduct is when such act is so
false or corrupt as to constitute a crime.

By going behind the back of complainant, secretly courting a young lady, and transgressing penal laws in
the process, respondent has shown that he is unfit to continue the practice of law.

Respondent was disbarred.


LACHICA v. JUDGE TORMIS

A.M. NO. MTJ-05-1609 – FEBRUARY 28, 2006

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.

FACTS:

Complainant was plaintiff in a criminal case against a certain accused Domugho.

Accused was apprehended July 2, 2003, 845 pm and booked 930 pm.

Respondent judge called precinct and asked that the accused be released because of a cash bail bond
posted by the latter and received by the former.

Day thereafter, accused called complainant saying that the latter was free. To verify, complainant asked
for the release order of the accused. It was unavailable and so were the case records, only being found
4pm later that day.

Complainant charged respondent with abuse of authority. Respondent averred that the release was in
virtue of a release order and not by her telephone call.

Upon investigation, it was shown that a) respondent was in Manila on July 2; b) she received the cash
bail bond; c) asked for the release through a telephone call.

ISSUE:

WoN respondent judge is guilty of gross misconduct.

RULING:

YES. Misconduct is the unlawful conduct concerning the administration of justice, prejudicial to the
rights of the parties or to the determination of the issue. It is gross when it is patent, deliberate, or in
bad faith.

Judges should not receive cash bail bond. Neither should they influence any matter not through the
judicial system. Judges, being visible representations of law and justice, must be the first to abide the
law and be an exemplary thereof.
JUDGE BRAVO v. ATTY. MORALES

A.M. NO. P-05-1950 – AUGUST 30, 2006

GARCIA, J.

FACTS:

Bravo is presiding judge of Branch 17, MeTC. Morales is a lawyer under the OCC of Manila MeTC. Both
are complainants of each other in the consolidated case.

When Bravo was acting presiding judge of said branch, he requested the detail of Morales, his branch
clerk of court, to the OCC of Manila MeTC. Thereafter, he recommended the latter’s immediate
dismissal for corrupt practices.

After the recommendation, animosity brewed between the two. Whenever the judge would greet court
employees with a “good morning, ladies and gentlemen” after flag ceremonies, the lawyer would parrot
him in a squeaky, comical voice.

Before one flag ceremony, judge caught the lawyer about to mock him again. He prompted the latter
“tumigil ka” before ordering security to arrest the same preparatory to an unjust vexation charge.

Judge then requested that the lawyer be arrested by the police, but the executive and 2nd vice executive
judges intervened.

Lawyer Morales also circulated a manifesto to denounce the acts of the judge, but only 3 out of 29
employees supported him. A supporter even admits that the lawyer was the root cause of the issue.

Judge charged the lawyer with conduct unbecoming a public officer; the latter charged the former with
grave abuse of authority.

ISSUE:

Are the parties guilty?


RULING:

YES. Judge acted with abuse of authority. He exceeded his authority when he ordered the arrest on the
basis of mere intent to sue. He should have restrained himself, even if the acts against him were wrong,
as this is what due process demands. However, there was no GRAVE abuse of authority.

Lawyer, on the other hand, acted unbecoming a public officer. Both are reprimanded with a P2,000 fine
on the lawyer.

IN RE: REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AND FINANCIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT
IN CITIES, KORONADAL CITY

A.M. NO. 02-9-233-MTCC – APRIL 27, 2005

PANGANIBAN, J.

FACTS:

Judicial and Financial audit was conducted in the MTCC Koronadal. The following were found:

Presiding Judge Sardino was habitually tardy.

75 cases were left undecided beyond reglementary periods.

Certain cases were accepted without collecting filing fees.

Custody of exhibits were disorganized. Guns and ammunitions were used by the presiding judge,
court employees.

Cash bail bonds were not accounted for and were being appropriated as personal funds.

As result, the Court suspended the presiding judge and treated the audit as an administrative matter
against respondents.

ISSUE:

Is the judge guilty together with his employees?


RULING:

YES. Judge is guilty of: a) dishonesty, for deliberately lying to the Court; b) gross misconduct, for his
patent unlawful misuse of court exhibits and funds; and c) gross ignorance of the law for failing to
observe basic tenets of law. Judge would have been dismissed if he were not already, fined, and
directed to remit misappropriated funds.

RE: CASES SUBMITTED FOR DECISION BEFORE JUDGE DAMASO A. HERRERA, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
BRANCH 24, BINAN, LAGUNA

A.M. RTJ-05-1924 – OCTOBER 13, 2010

BERSAMIN, J.

FACTS:

Respondent judge filed for optional retirement effective April 5, 2004. The Court subsequently approved
the same.

OCA, however, initiated an administrative matter against respondent judge for failure to decide 55 cases
before retiring. He was asked to explain the same. His clerk of court was also asked to explain why not
all of the 55 cases were submitted in a report.

Respondent prayed for the understanding of the Court, because his court inherited about 1,000 cases,
and he did not have the time nor the health to comply with the requirements.

ISSUE:

Is retired judge guilty of gross inefficiency?

RULING:

YES. Constitution demands that trial court judges resolve pending cases within 3 months after submitted
for decision. He should have requested for time extension. By his deliberate indifference to do so, he is
guilty of gross inefficiency. He is fined P11,000.
IN RE: PETITION FOR THE DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE AND/OR DISBARMENT OF JUDGE BALTAZR R.
DIZION, PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASAY CITY, BRANCH 113.

A.C. NO. 3086 – MAY 31, 1989

PER CURIAM

FACTS:

Respondent judge was removed for setting free a Chinese citizen who, for a criminal case, violated a
malum prohibitum circular. He was found guilty of gross ignorance incompetence and gross ignorance of
the law.

Respondent appealed the decision, pleading that his misjudgment was not of corrupt motive.

Respondent now prays for a reversal, arguing that there was no malice on his part and that his long and
commendable tenure be considered.

ISSUE:

Should respondent be pardoned?

RULING:

YES. There was gross misjudgment for he set free a guilty person through gross ignorance of elementary
principles of criminal law.

However, there was no evidence that he did the same for any corrupt motive. Given his humble
apology, and circumstances showing that he is otherwise a competent judge, it was ordered that he be
reinstated.

ATTY. GANDEZA, JR. v. JUDGE TABIN

A.M. NO. MTJ-09-1736 – JULY 25, 2011

PERALTA, J.

FACTS:
On Nov 20, 2007, complainant’s car (driven by his driver) collided with another car owned by
respondent judge’s nephew.

Upon complainant’s arrival at the scene of collision, respondent was already there accusing the former’s
driver of being completely at fault in front of police investigators.

Thereafter, both drivers were subjected to a physical examination. Complainant’s driver first turned out
a negative result for being under influence. Respondent insisted that there be a reexamination. A
positive result turned out on the second try.

Barely a week later, criminal charges were already filed in court. A staff of the respondent was also seen
carrying the case records out of the court. When asked, said staff explained that judge was merely
interested in the case for the protection of her nephew and nothing more.

Complainant now charges respondent judge with gross misconduct and conduct unbecoming a judge.

ISSUE:

Is respondent judge guilty?

RULING:

C1 independence

NO. Records are bereft of any indication of said charges. However, judge was found guilty only of
impropriety, violation of Canon 4 Sec. 1. It was improper for the judge to appear to be influencing
extrajudicial actors leading to the filing of charges. However, such impropriety is only a light charge, not
deserving of any sanction beyond mere admonishment. Respondent reprimanded.

JUDGE MACEDA v. OMBUDSMAN VASQUEZ

G.R. NO. 102781 – APRIL 22, 1993

NOCON, J.

FACTS:
Complainant seeks preliminary mandatory injunction vs the Office of the Ombudsman to enjoin the
latter from entertaining a criminal complaint against the former.

Said criminal complaint was filed by private respondent Atty. Abiera, charging Judge Maceda of
falsification. Abiera stated in his complaint that the judge falsified his records re the number of cases he
has decided.

Judge Maceda avers that he had prior obtained an extension from the SC to decide on pending cases. He
also argues that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over him being personnel of the SC.

ISSUE:

WoN Ombudsman has jurisdiction over the judge.

RULING:

YES. However, any action on the criminal complaint must first be deferred to SC for determination.
Doctrine of separation of powers dictates that any administrative matter against a court personnel
should first be dealt with by the Court. SC enjoys its constitutional power of control over all its
personnel, with no interference whatever from the other branches.

GUTIERREZ v. JUDGE SANTOS

G.R. NO. L-15824 – MAY 30, 1961

DIZON, J.

FACTS:

Private respondents filed a complaint against herein complainant Gutierrez regarding illegally
constructed dams and obstructions in certain communal fishing grounds in Pampanga. Trial and
investigation were to be done by the Sec. of Public Works and Communications.

Complainant moved the abovementioned department to refrain from entertaining the case altogether,
averring that said body, not being a court, cannot decide on the matter.

Complainant filed a petition for prohibition in CFI of Pampanga; the case was raffled to respondent
judge herein.
Private respondents motioned that the respondent judge inhibit himself from the case, as he once
intervened as counsel for one of the parties in the case.

Respondent judge ordered that while he was not a counsel, he did intervene through a letter years ago
for one of the parties. Thus, he inhibited himself.

Complainant now files a mandamus against the judge compelling him to proceed with the case.

ISSUE:

WoN judge’s inhibition was valid.

RULING:

YES. While it could be true that he was not at all a counsel for any of the parties to the present case,
judge himself admits that his intervention letter may be a remote factor affecting his impartiality. SC
held that the judge’s self-inhibition was proper.

IN RE IMPEACHMENT OF HON. TOMAS FLORDELIZA, JUDGE OF FIRST INSTANCE OF THE 16TH JUDICIAL
DISTRICT

MARCH 12, 1923

MALCOM, J.

FACTS:

Six lawyers in Sorsogon charges Judge Flordeliza with several violations of the Administrative Code, and
partiality.

The most pertinent violation, according to the Court, was falsification of decided cases in order to claim
compensation.

Respondent argues that he had already determined these cases, although not officially decided yet. He
further avers that the administrative code treats determined and decided cases the same.

ISSUE:

WoN respondent is guilty of said violations.


RULING:

Judge is guilty only of misconduct when he erroneously applied the administrative code. Determined
cases do not mean decided. However, his error and inefficiency were not shown to be willful nor
intentional. Judge is therefore admonished.

KILAT v. JUDGE MACIAS

A.M. NO. RTJ-05-1960 – OCTOBER 25, 2005

TINGA, J.

FACTS:

Complainant initially charged respondent judge with immorality, conduct unbecoming a judge, rape, and
violation of RA 7610.

In a sworn statement, complainant alleged that when she was 16 y/o, she was raped by respondent and
subsequently forced her to be his mistress.

Respondent moved that the complaint be dismissed, as these were apparently concocted by
conspirators including his ex-wife.

Complainant, however, later recanted her statements before various officials. She confessed that she
was abducted, detained, and forced to sign the sworn statements.

Thereafter, charges for grave coercion and serious illegal detention were filed against said conspirators,
including respondent’s wife. Case was raffled to respondent judge and he later issued a warrant of
arrest vs the several accused.

ISSUE:

WoN judge is guilty of immorality and abuse of authority.

RULING:

There being no evidence to the charges of rape and immorality, case thereto appertaining are dismissed.
Substantial evidence is necessary for administrative charges.
Anent the abuse of authority, judge was found guilty thereof. Rule 137 of the RoC provides, inter alia,
that judges are mandatorily disqualified when a party to a case is his spouse. His issuance of a warrant
against the several accused, including his wife, was clear violation of the RoC. Judge was fined 20,000 for
being committing a less serious offense.

SALCEDO v. JUDGE BOLLOZOS

A.M. NO. RTJ-10-2236 – JULY 5, 2010

BRION, J.

FACTS:

Complainant was supervising an on-going construction over a disputed property. The other disputant
went to the construction site, together with armed men, threatening to kill complainant and his workers
if they proceeded construction on the disputed property.

Complainant forthwith reported the incident to a nearby police station. Disputants and his party were
arrested and detained for their acts.

Disputant, through his sister, filed a verified petition for the writ of amparo with respondent judge.
Acting thereupon, said judge issued a protection and release order for the disputant. The latter was
immediately released thereafter.

Upon knowledge, complainant filed this administrative case against the judge, charging the latter with
grave misconduct and gross ignorance of law.

Complainant avers that the petition for the writ of amparo was not proper, there being no threat of EJK
to the person of the disputant. Furthermore, it is alleged that the issuance by the judge was attended by
impropriety and bias, for the counsel of the disputant was a Mason brother of the judge.

ISSUE:

WoN judge is guilty of grave misconduct and gross ignorance of the law.
RULING:

NO. Mere allegations of misconduct need clear and convincing evidence. The mere fact that the counsel
of disputant was a Mason brother of the judge is not sufficient to constitute grave misconduct.
Furthermore, the writ of amparo was a novel law at the time. While the judge erred in issuing such, for
there was no EJK threat to the disputant, his error was not motivated by bad faith. Administrative
complaint is therefor improper, but rather certiorari.

BELEN v. JUDGE BELEN

A.M. NO. RTJ-08-2139, AUGUST 9, 2010

CARPIO, J.

FACTS:

Respondent judge filed a case for estafa vs complainant’s father. It was subsequently dismissed by a city
prosecutor for lack of probable cause.

Thereafter, the judge instituted a complaint against said prosecutor. He had also threatened
complainant of various criminal charges.

Some time later, complainant was alerted by his piggery worker that the judge went to the piggery and
took photos. The former also learned that the judge had been writing various officials notifying them of
complainant’s alleged violations of laws regarding his piggery.

It was also found out that the judge had been writing these various officials using a letterhead indicating
he was a presiding judge.

Complainant now charges respondent judge with grave abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming a
judge.

ISSUE: WoN the judge acted with impropriety.

RULING:

YES. Insofar as the letterheads were concerned, even though they were not the official letterheads of
the court, it was still improper to indicate that he was a judge. This is in violation of Sec. 4 Canon 1, the
prestige of judicial office having been used to advance the judge’s private interests. Furthermore, Sec. 1
Canon 4 was also violated because his acts appeared improper to the public.

MERCADO v. HON. SALCEDO

FACTS:

Complainant charged respondent judge with dishonesty, inefficiency, and grave misconduct.

Complaint states that:

1) Respondent judge misconducted the investigation regarding the absenteeism of a fellow


judge and caused the latter’s exoneration.
2) He was using a Pajero which was subject of an Anti-Fencing Law criminal proceeding, of
which he was the judge.
3) He modified a final and executory judgment on a certain agrarian case.

Respondent counters that:

1) He found that the absenteeism charge was unfounded, as he himself presided over the
investigation.
2) He did not know it was the same Pajero in the said criminal case, because it was now of a
different color.
3) He only corrected a supposed error on the final judgment of the agrarian case.

It was found, however, that the judge deliberately neglected his duties in the investigation; that he knew
the car was subject of a criminal proceeding; and that he modified the final and executory judgment
substantially.

ISSUE:

WoN judge is guilty of the charges.

RULING:

YES. He is guilty of inefficiency and dishonesty for deliberately causing the exoneration of the other
delinquent judge. He also violated Canon 4, because it was highly improper for him to borrow the car
subject of the proceeding that was before him. Finally, his modification of a final judgment constituted
gross ignorance of the law. P120,000 fine was imposed on the late judge’s benefits.

JUDGE MACIAS v. MACIAS

G.R. NO. 149617 – SEPTEMBER 3, 2003

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.

FACTS:

Complainant is wife of respondent judge. She charges him with immorality and conduct unbecoming a
judge.

Complainant posits that since 1998, respondent had been in an illicit affair with a certain Serallinos,
single and in her early 20s. She further imputes that the judge had been bringing said woman to his
official sala, and hearings would often be delayed because the two were “not done with each other.”

The complainant offered 8 witnesses, 5 of which later recanted their statements.

Respondent judge counters that he only had dinner with said woman, and nothing illicit happened.
Moreover, there was no sufficient evidence to prove the allegations.

ISSUE:

WoN judge is guilty of immorality and unbecoming conduct.

RULING:

Judge is NOT guilty of immorality, there being no substantial evidence to the same. However, he is fined
for unbecoming conduct, because he it was proved that he had dinner with the woman, being he was a
married man. Judge was fined P10,000.
BURIAS v. JUDGE VALENCIA

A.M. NO. MTJ-07-1689 – MARCH 13, 2009

TINGA, J.

Complaint charges respondent judge with gross misconduct.

Complainant states that before and during a civil case to which respondent is a judge, the latter
borrowed money from the former. Complainant also states that the judge was forcing her to condone
the sum, lest the latter render a decision against her case.

Complainant requests that the judge be disqualified from hearing the case because of undue delay.

ISSUE:

WoN judge is guilty of gross misconduct.

RULING:

NO. No substantial evidence to prove allegations of extortion. However, it was still improper for the
judge to borrow property from party-litigants in a pending case as per Sec. 8, Rule 140 RoC. Being guilty
for this serious charge, retired judge is fined P20,000.