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1.

In the Matter of the Admission to the Bar and Oath taking of successful
Bar Applicant Al C.Argosino

Facts: Petitioner Al Caparros Argosino was previously involved with hazing


which caused the death of Raul Camaligan during the fraternity initiation rites.
He was the convicted for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide. He applied
for probation thereafter which was approved and granted by the court. He took
the bar examinations and passed but was not allowed to take the oath. He filed
for a petition to allow him to take the lawyer’s oath of office and to admit him to
the practice of law claiming that his probation was already terminated. As a proof
of the required good moral character he now possesses, he presented 15
certifications among others from: two senators, five trial court judges, and six
members of religious order. In addition, he, together with the others who were
convicted, organized a scholarship foundation in honor of their hazing victim

Issue: Whether Applicant Argosino may take the lawyer’s oath office and admit
him to the practice of law

Ruling: Yes, The Practice of law is a privilege granted only to those who possess
the strict, intellectual and moral qualifications required of lawyers who are
instruments in the effective and efficient administration of justice. Given the fact
that the Applicant had exhibited competent proof that he possessed the required
good moral character as required before taking the Lawyer’s Oath and to sign the
Rolls of Attorneys, the Supreme Court considered the premises that he is not
inherently in bad moral fiber. The petitioner is then allowed to take the lawyer’s
oath, sign the Roll of Attorney’s and thereafter to practice the legal profession.
He was reminded that the Lawyer’s oath is not merely ceremony or formality for
practicing law. Every lawyer should at all times weigh his actions according to
the sworn promises he makes when taking the lawyer’s oath.

2. SPOUSES OLBERS v ATTY. DECIEMBRE.


A.C. No. 5365. April 27, 2005. Panganiban, J.

FACTS: A petition for disbarment of Atty. Victor V. Deciembre, filed by Spouses


Franklin and Lourdes Olbes, both workers of Central Post Office. They charged
respondent with willful and deliberate acts of dishonesty, falsification and
conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar. This happened after the respondent
filled up blank checks which were meant to be a security for the loan that the
spouses applied for that amounts to P14,874.37 (with surcharges). This loan was
then paid in full for which the respondent issued a receipt yet he filled up 4/5 of
the PNB checks for the amount of P50,000 each, with different dates of maturity.
On October 19, 1999, respondent filed before the Affidavit-Complaint against
petitioners for estafa and violation of BP 22 and another in January 20, 2000 in
Provincial Prosecution Office of Rizal and QC respectively. Petitioners insisted
the thing never happened and averred that many officemates suffered the same
fate in their dealings with Atty. Deciembre.
Report of the Commissioner suggested he be suspended for two years after
finding out that the statement of the respondent under oath are in direct contrast
to his testimony on cross-examination. Respondent has blatantly distorted the

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truth, insofar as the place where the transaction involving the four checks took
place. Such distortion on a very material fact would seriously cast doubt on his
version of the transaction with complainants.
ISSUE: WON respondent is clearly guilty of serious dishonesty and professional
misconduct.
HELD: YES. We agree with the findings and conclusions of Commissioner Dulay,
as approved and adopted by the IBP Board of Governors. However, the penalty
should be more severe than what the IBP recommended. His commission of an
abominable dishonesty by abusing the confidence reposed in him by petitioners
and malevolent act of filling up the blank checks by indicating amounts that had
not been agreed upon, and initiation of unfounded criminal suits against
petitioners, Respondent is clearly guilty of serious dishonesty and professional
misconduct. He committed an act indicative of moral depravity not expected
from, and highly unbecoming, a member of the bar.
By taking the lawyer's oath, an attorney becomes a guardian of truth and the rule
of law, and an indispensable instrument in the fair and impartial administration
of justice. Lawyers should act and comport themselves with honesty and
integrity in a manner beyond reproach, in order to promote the public's faith in
the legal profession.
A high standard of excellence and ethics is expected and required of members of
the bar. Such conduct of nobility and uprightness should remain with them,
whether in their public or in their private lives. As officers of the courts and
keepers of the public's faith, they are burdened with the highest degree of social
responsibility and are thus mandated to behave at all times in a manner
consistent with truth and honor.
He is hereby indefinitely SUSPENDED from the practice of law effective
immediately

3. DIANA D. DE GUZMAN, complainant, vs. ATTY. LOURDES I. DE DIOS


Pardo, J.
Facts: This is a complaint for disbarment against respondent for representing
conflicting interest and for acquiring property in litigation. Evidence disclosed
that complainant engaged the services of respondent in forming a hotel and
restaurant business in Olongapo City. Thereafter, Suzuki Beach Hotel, Inc. (SBHI)
came into being. Complainant became the majority stockholder having
subscribed to 29,800 shares equivalent to P2,980,000 and her paid subscription
amounted to P745,000.00. Respondent, thereafter, received a monthly retainer
fee of P5,000 from the former whom she even represented in a case. The unpaid
745 subscribed shares of complainant were later declared delinquent and said
shares were subjected to a public auction sale. Complainant soon learned that
her shares had been acquired by Ramon del Rosario, one of the incorporators of
SBHI. The sale ousted complainant from the corporation completely. Out of the
745 shares conveyed to Del Rosario, respondent purchased 100 shares and later
became the president of the company. Respondent manifested that her
appearance as counsel for complainant Diana de Guzman was to protect the
rights and interest of SBHI since the latter was the real owner of the land in
controversy.

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On October 22, 1999, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines issued a
resolution finding that the acts of respondent were not motivated by ill will as
she acted in the best interest of her client, SBHI. The IBP found that complainant
failed to present convincing proof of her attorney-client relationship with
respondent other than the pleadings respondent filed in the trial court where
complainant was one of the parties.

Issue: WON Atty. Lourdes I. De Dios violated Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, for representing conflicting interests.

Held: Yes. Respondent claims that there was no attorney-client relationship


between her and complainant. The claim has no merit. It was complainant who
retained respondent to form a corporation and appeared as counsel in behalf of
the complainant.
There was evidence of collusion between the board of directors and respondent.
Indeed, the board of directors now even included respondent as the president.
The present situation shows a clear case of conflict of interest of the respondent.
It should be remembered that lawyers must conduct themselves, especially in
their dealings with their clients and the public at large, with honesty and integrity
in a manner beyond reproach.
Clearly, respondent violated the prohibition against representing conflicting
interests and engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. As
a lawyer, respondent is bound by her oath to do no falsehood or consent to its
commission and to conduct herself as a lawyer according to the best of her
knowledge and discretion. The lawyer's oath is a source of obligations and
violation thereof is a ground for suspension, disbarment, or other disciplinary
action. The acts of respondent Atty. de Dios are clearly in violation of her solemn
oath as a lawyer that this Court will not tolerate.
Hence, The Court hereby SUSPENDS respondent from the practice of law for six
(6) months, with warning that a repetition of the charges will be dealt with more
severely.

4. FELIX MELEGRITO v EUSEBIO BARBA


58 PHIL 513, 2 OCTOBER 1933
VICKERS, J.

FACTS: Felix Melegrito in his behalf and 230 other persons filed charges of
malpractice against Atty. Eusebio Barba.

Francisco Gonzales, owner of the greater part of the Hacienda Esperanza,


transferred certain portions of it to his four daughters. His daughters filed
separate applications for the registration of their respective portions. The
registration was opposed by the complainants. The opposition was overruled and
the registration of the lands was ordered, which is affirmed by the SC.

Complainants engaged the respondent attorney to appeal their cases to the


Supreme Court of the United States, and agreed to pay him P6,500. Before the
respondent left for the US, he examined the record and have the complainants
sign affidavits respecting their claims to the land, for which he collected P2.50
from each. He then went to Washington to secure a letter of introduction from

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the Vice President of the US to the Governor-General of the Philippines in the
hope of being appointed a member of the Governor-General’s staff. There was no
attempt to take the cases of the complainants to the US SC. In his return,
complainants demanded the return of the money paid to him in total sum of
P8,226.

The respondent denies having received the sum of P8,226 or any such sum, but
in his answer he admitted that he had received P2,185. The respondent alleges
that after examining the records of the land registration cases, which had already
been returned to the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, he told the
complainants that the decision the court had already become final and could not
be appealed.

ISSUE: WON respondent attorney is guilty of malpractice

HELD: YES. He collected several thousand pesos from the complainants for the
purpose of taking their cases to the Supreme Court of the United States, but he
never removed said cases to that court or attempted to do so, because the
decision of this court had already become final and unappealable, and he was
guilty of deceit in concealing that fact from the complainants while collecting
fees from them for the purpose of prosecuting the appeal.

Although the decision have been final and unappealable when the complainants
consulted the respondent, he never so informed them, but on the contrary led
them to believe that the cases could be taken to the Supreme Court of the United
States, and that to prosecute the appeal to the best advantage it was necessary
for him to go to Washington. The receipts show that the respondent collected at
least P3,530 before he sailed for the United States; that the respondent wrote a
letter to Melegrito inquiring whether the voyage was to be made or not, and
urging Melegrito to advance P1,000 for the account of the respondent's compadre
in order to make up the agreed amount.

Respondent suspended from the practice of law for a period of two years and
until he shall have repaid the complainants.

EN BANC
5. [A.C. No. 4904. August 12, 2004]
ANA A. CHUA and MARCELINA HSIA, complainants, vs. ATTY. SIMEON M.
MESINA, JR., respondent.

Facts: Respondent was, for years, Ana Alvaran Chua and her now deceased
husband Chua Yap Ans legal counsel and adviser upon whom they reposed trust
and confidence. They were in fact lessees of a building situated at Burgos Street,
Cabanatuan City (Burgos property) owned by respondents family, and another
property containing an area of 854 sq. m., situated at Melencio Street,
Cabanatuan City (Melencio property), also owned by respondents family whereon
they (spouses Chua) constructed their house. These two properties were
mortgaged by the registered owner, respondents mother Felicisima Melencio vda.
de Mesina (Mrs. Mesina), in favor of the Planters Development Bank to secure a
loan she obtained.
As Mrs. Mesina failed to meet her obligation to the bank, respondent
convinced complainant Ana Chua and her husband to help Mrs. Mesina by way
of settling her obligation in consideration for which the Melencio property would
be sold to them at P850.00/sq. m.

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Accommodating respondents request, the spouses Chua and their business
partner, herein co-complainant Marcelina Hsia, settled Mrs. Mesinas bank
obligation in the amount of P983,125.40.
A Deed of Absolute Sale dated January 19, 1985 conveying the Melencio
property for P85,400.00 was thereafter executed by Mrs. Mesina, whose name
appears therein as Felicisima M. Melencio, in favor of complainants.
As complainants were later apprised of the amount of capital gains tax they
were to pay, they consulted respondent about it. Respondent thus suggested to
them that another Deed of Absolute Sale should be executed, antedated to 1979
before the effectivity of the law mandating the payment of capital gains tax. As
suggested by respondent, another Deed of Absolute Sale antedated February 9,
1979 was executed by Mrs. Mesina, whose name again appears therein as
Felicisima M. Melencio, in favor of complainants wherein the purchase price was
also indicated to be P85,400.00.
After liquidating the advances made by the Chua spouses in the redemption
of the MESINA properties, Mrs. Mesina was found to have an existing balance due
the spouses in the amount of P400,000.00, on account of which they advised
respondent about it. Respondent, by Affidavit of February 18, 1986,
acknowledged such obligation to be his and undertook to settle it within two
years.
Complainants were subsequently issued on January 21, 1986 a title over the
Melencio property.
Not long after the execution of the February 9, 1979 Deed of Absolute Sale or
in February 1986, one Juanito Tecson (Tecson) filed an Affidavit dated February
20, 1986 before the Cabanatuan City Prosecutors Office charging respondents
mother, the spouses Chua, Marcelina Hsia and the two witnesses to the said Deed
of Absolute Sale, for Falsification of Public Document and violation of the
Internal Revenue Code. In his complaint affidavit Tecson submitted documents
showing that indeed the July 9, 1979 Deed of Absolute Sale was antedated.
Respondent proposed to complainants that they would simulate a deed of
sale of the Melencio property wherein complainants would resell it to Mrs.
Mesina.
Heeding the proposal of respondent, complainants executed a Deed of
Absolute Sale dated April 1, 1986 conveying to Felicisima M. Melencio the
Melencio property for P85,400.00.
Tecson subsequently filed before the Cabanatuan City Prosecutors Office an
Affidavit of Desistance dated September 5, 1986 alleging that his filing of the
criminal complaint arose out of mere misunderstanding and difference with
herein complainants and their co-respondents and he had no sufficient evidence
against them.
Some years later or on May 2, 1990, respondent approached complainants
and told them that he would borrow the owners copy of Mrs. Mesinas title with
the undertaking that he would, in four months, let Mrs. Mesina execute a deed of
sale over the Melencio property in complainants favor. In fact, respondent gave
complainants a written undertaking
In the meantime, Mrs. Mesina died in the early part of 1991.
Despite respondents repeated promises to effect the transfer of title in
complainants name, he failed to do so. Complainants were later informed that
the Melencio property was being offered for sale to the public.

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The spouses Chua and complainant Marcelina Hsia thus filed on August 24,
1992 a Complaint against respondent and his two siblings before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Nueva Ecija in Cabanatuan City, for Declaration of Nullity of
Sale and Reconveyance of Real Property.

By Resolution of December 2, 1998, this Court, noting that the copy of the
Resolution of July 13, 1998 requiring respondent to comment on the complaint
sent to him at his office address at S. M. Mesina Law Office, 30 Jupiter St., Paseo
de Roxas, Bel-Air Subd., Makati City was returned unserved with the notation
Moved, considered the Resolution of July 13, 1998 served on respondent by
substituted service pursuant to Rule 13, Section 8 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure. Respondent was accordingly deemed to have waived the filing of the
required comment.
By the same Resolution of December 2, 1998, the case was referred to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and
recommendation within ninety days.
The IBP, acting on the complaint, issued a notice of hearing on September 14,
2001, copy of which was sent to respondent at his office address via registered
mail, covered by Registry Receipt No. 2605 of the Meralco Post Office. On the
scheduled date of hearing, complainants personally appeared with their
counsel. Respondent failed to show up.
Given the length of time that the case remained pending from its filing, the
IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, by Order of October 12, 2001, directed
complainants to just file their position paper with affidavits and supporting
documents in lieu of actual presentation of witnesses and to serve a copy thereof
to respondent at his last known address.
A copy of complainants position paper was sent on March 18, 2002 to
respondent at his office address by registered mail covered by Registry Receipt
No. 5278. There is no showing if respondent received this mail matter.
The IBP once more scheduled, by notice of December 13, 2002, a hearing of
the administrative case to January 15, 2003, copy of which notice was sent to
respondent at his office address by registered mail covered by Registry Receipt
No. 2953 issued by the Meralco Post Office. On the scheduled hearing on January
15, 2003, the IBP Investigating Commissioner, by Order of even date, noted the
presence of complainants, and the absence of respondent, copy of the notice of
hearing to whom was returned unserved with the notation RTS-Moved. The case
was thereupon deemed submitted for report and recommendation.

Issue: Whether Atty. Mesina is guilty of gross misconduct?

Held: In her March 3, 2003 Report and Recommendation, Investigation


Commissioner Maala observed as follows:

A lawyer should not engage or participate on any unlawful, dishonest, immoral


or deceitful conduct. The moral character he displayed when he applied for
admission at the Bar must be maintained incessantly.Otherwise, his privilege to
practice the legal profession may be withdrawn from him (Rule 1.01, Code of
Professional Responsibility). On the basis of the uncontroverted facts and
evidence presented, respondent Atty.Simeon M. Mesina

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has committed gross misconduct which shows him to be unfit for the office and
unworthy of the privilege which his license and law confer upon him,

and recommended that respondent be suspended for a period of One (1) Year.
This Court finds that indeed, respondent is guilty of gross misconduct.
First, by advising complainants to execute another Deed of Absolute Sale
antedated to 1979 to evade payment of capital gains taxes, he violated his duty
to promote respect for law and legal processes,28 and not to abet activities aimed
at defiance of the law;29 That respondent intended to, as he did defraud not a
private party but the government is aggravating.30
Second, when respondent convinced complainants to execute another
document, a simulated Deed of Absolute Sale wherein they made it appear that
complainants reconveyed the Melencio property to his mother, he committed
dishonesty.31
Third, when on May 2, 1990 respondent inveigled his own clients, the Chua
spouses, into turning over to him the owners copy of his mothers title upon the
misrepresentation that he would, in four months, have a deed of sale executed
by his mother in favor of complainants, he likewise committed dishonesty.
That the signature of Felicisima M. Melencio in the 1985 document32 and that
in the 1979 document33 are markedly different is in fact is a badge of falsification
of either the 1979 or the 1985 document or even both.
Respondent having welched on his promise to cause the reconveyance of the
Melencio property to complainants, consideration of whether he should be
ordered to honor such promise should be taken up in the civil case filed for the
purpose, the issue there being one of ownership while that in the case at bar is
moral fitness.37
In fine, respondent violated his oath of office and, more specifically, the
following canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility:

CANON 1. A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF


THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND 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 shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a
scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.

CANON 15. A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND LOYALTY IN


ALL HIS DEALINGS AND TRANSACTIONS WITH HIS CLIENTS.

Rule 15.07. - A lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with the laws and
the principles of fairness.

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CANON 17. A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS CLIENT AND HE
SHALL BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM.

WHEREFORE, respondent ATTY. SIMEON M. MESINA, JR. is, for gross


misconduct, hereby DISBARRED.

6. TOLEDO VS. ABALOS


A.C. No. 5141. September 29, 1999
Melo, J.

FACTS:
Respondent Atty. Erlinda Abalos obtained a loan of P20,000.00 from complainant
Priscila Toledo, payable within six months from date, plus interest of 5% per
month. To guarantee the payment of said obligation, respondent executed a
Promissory Note. After the lapse of six months, and despite repeated demands,
respondent failed to pay her obligation. Afraid that she will not recover her
money, complainant sought the help of the IBP, which referred the matter to the
Commission on Bar Discipline.

The Commission issued an order directing respondent to file her Answer to


complainant’s letter-complaint, while respondent did not comply with. The
Investigating Commissioner issued an order setting the case for hearing.
Respondent received as shown by the registry return, however, she failed to
appear. The Commission passed a resolution recommending the suspension
from practice of law of respondent for a period of six months “for her flouting
resistance to lawful orders of the Court and illustrating her despising of her oath
of office as a lawyers.” The Commission, however, declined to discipline her for
failing to meet her financial obligation, the same having been incurred in her
private capacity.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent should be disciplined for failing to meet her financial
obligation, incurred in her private capacity.

HELD:
We agree with the Commission that respondent may not be disciplined either
by the IBP or by this Court for failing to pay her obligation to complainant.
Complainant's remedy is to file a collection case before a regular court of justice
against respondent. The general rule is that a lawyer may not be suspended or
disbarred, and the court may not ordinarily assume jurisdiction to discipline him,
for misconduct in his non-professional or private capacity.

It was, however, still necessary for respondent to acknowledge the orders of the
Commission in deference to its authority over her as a member of the IBP. Her
wanton disregard of its lawful orders subjects her to disciplinary sanction.
Thus, her suspension from the practice of law for one month is warranted.

DOCTRINES:
The general rule is that a lawyer may not be suspended or disbarred, and the
court may not ordinarily assume jurisdiction to discipline him, for misconduct
in his non-professional or private capacity.

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We do not, of course, ignore the fact that by virtue of one's membership in the
IBP, a lawyer thus submits himself to the disciplinary authority of the
organization.

7. Cojuangco, Jr. v. Palma


A.C. No. 2474. September 15, 2004
PER CURIAM

FACTS: Complainant was a client of Angara Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law
Offices (ACCRA) and respondent was the lawyer assigned to handle his cases.
Owing to his growing business concerns, complainant decided to hire respondent
as his personal counsel.

Consequently, respondent's relationship with complainant's family became


intimate. He traveled and dined with them abroad. 2 He frequented their house
and even tutored complainant's 22-year old daughter Maria Luisa Cojuangco
(Lisa), then a student of Assumption Convent.

On June 22, 1982, without the knowledge of complainant's family, respondent


married Lisa in Hongkong. It was only the next day that respondent informed
complainant and assured him that "everything is legal." Complainant was
shocked, knowing fully well that respondent is a married man and has three
children. Upon investigation, complainant found that respondent courted Lisa
during their tutoring sessions. Complainant filed with filed with this Court the
instant complaint for disbarment.

ISSUE: WON the acts of respondent constitute as a violation of his oath as a


lawyer.

HELD: The circumstances here speak of a clear case of betrayal of trust and
abuse of confidence. It was respondent's closeness to the complainant's family
as well as the latter's complete trust in him that made possible his intimate
relationship with Lisa. When his concern was supposed to be complainant's legal
affairs only, he sneaked at the latter's back and courted his daughter. Like the
proverbial thief in the night, he attacked when nobody was looking. Moreover, he
availed of complainant's resources by securing a plane ticket from complainant's
office in order to marry the latter's daughter in Hongkong. He did this without
complainant's knowledge. Afterwards, he even had the temerity to assure
complainant that "everything is legal." Clearly, respondent had crossed the limits
of propriety and decency.

Respondent Leo J. Palma is found GUILTY of grossly immoral conduct and


violation of his oath as a lawyer, and is hereby DISBARRED from the practice of
law.

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Note: The law profession does not prescribe a dichotomy of standards among its
members. There is no distinction as to whether the transgression is committed
in the lawyer's professional capacity or in his private life. This is because a lawyer
may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one time and a mere
citizen at another. Thus, not only his professional activities but even his private
life, insofar as the latter may reflect unfavorably upon the good name and
prestige of the profession and the courts, may at any time be the subject of
inquiry on the part of the proper authorities.

Immoral conduct is that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and


which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable
members of the community. Measured against this definition, respondent's act
is manifestly immoral. First, he abandoned his lawful wife and three children.
Second, he lured an innocent young woman into marrying him. And third, he
misrepresented himself as a "bachelor" so he could contract marriage in a foreign
land.

CHUA V MESINA
A.C. No. 4904. August 12, 2004

Complainants Ana Alvaran Chua and Marcelina Hsia administratively charged


respondent Atty. Simeon M. Mesina, Jr., for breach of professional ethics, gross
professional misconduct, and culpable malpractice.

Complainants were lessees of the property of respondent's mother. Respondent's


mother defaulted in paying a loan that she obtained in a bank, thus respondent
convinced complainants to help her mother if paying the said obligation, to which
the complainants acceded. It was agreed among that that in consideration for
the act of complainants, the property which they are leasing will be transferred
to their name. The complainants complied with the terms of the agreement. A
deed of sale concerning such property was executed.
However, to evade liability for paying capital gains tax, respondent instructed
complainants to execute another deed of sale which will be antedated 1979,
wherein the capital gains tax was not yet in effective.
Subsequently, after the execution of the deed of sale, respondents instructed his
clients [complainants] to execute a simulated deed of sale which will reflect that
the property was re-conveyed to his mother.
The cunning acts of respondent did not end there. Respondent went to the house
of complainants and got the owners certificate of title of the said property which
is still under the name of her mother. he promised to the complainants that he
will process the transfer of the property to their name. Years passed, but
respondent never returned the said title to the complainants.
Meanwhile, another lessee file a criminal case against the complainants and
respondents for falsification. He claims that was also given the promise that the
property will be offered to him before it will be sold to another, but respondents

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sold it to complainants without offering to him. Because of the foregoing
circumstances, complainants filed an administrative case against respondent.

Issue:
Whether or not respondent is guilty of gross misconduct.

Held:
Yes, said the Court- "This Court finds that indeed, respondent is guilty of gross
misconduct.

First, by advising complainants to execute another Deed of Absolute Sale


antedated to 1979 to evade payment of capital gains taxes, he violated his duty
to promote respect for law and legal processes, and not to abet activities aimed
at defiance of the law; That respondent intended to, as he did defraud not a
private party but the government is aggravating.

Second, when respondent convinced complainants to execute another document,


a simulated Deed of Absolute Sale wherein they made it appear that
complainants reconveyed the Melencio property to his mother, he committed
dishonesty.

Third, when on May 2, 1990 respondent inveigled his own clients, the Chua
spouses, into turning over to him the owner’s copy of his mother’s title upon the
misrepresentation that he would, in four months, have a deed of sale executed
by his mother in favor of complainants, he likewise committed dishonesty.

That the signature of “Felicisima M. Melencio” in the 1985 document and that in
the 1979 document are markedly different is in fact is a badge of falsification of
either the 1979 or the 1985 document or even both.

A propos is this Court’s following pronouncement in Nakpil v. Valdez

As a rule, a lawyer is not barred from dealing with his client but the business
transaction must be characterized with utmost honesty and good faith. The
measure of good faith which an attorney is required to exercise in his dealings
with his client is a much higher standard that is required in business dealings
where the parties trade at “arms length.” Business transactions between an
attorney and his client are disfavored and discouraged by the policy of the law.
Hence, courts carefully watch these transactions to assure that no advantage is
taken by a lawyer over his client. This rule is founded on public policy for, by
virtue of his office, an attorney is in an easy position to take advantage of the

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credulity and ignorance of his client. Thus, no presumption of innocence or
improbability of wrongdoing is considered in an attorney’s favor.

Respondent having welched on his promise to cause the reconveyance of the


Melencio property to complainants, consideration of whether he should be
ordered to honor such promise should be taken up in the civil case filed for the
purpose, the issue there being one of ownership while that in the case at bar is
moral fitness.

Respondent ATTY. SIMEON M. MESINA, JR. is, for gross misconduct, hereby
DISBARRED.

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