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1.Cayetano vs.

Monsod
G.R. No. 100113, September 3, 1991
]
I. Facts:
Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President
Corazon C. Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC in a
letter received by the Secretariat of the Commission on
Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner opposed the nomination
because allegedly Monsod does not possess the required
qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least
ten years.On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments
confirmed the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC.
On June 18, 1991, he took his oath of office. On the same day, he
assumed office as Chairman of the COMELEC. Challenging the
validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of
Monsod's nomination, petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed the
instant petition for certiorari and Prohibition praying that said
confirmation and consequent appointment of Monsod as Chairman
of the Commission on Elections be declared null and void.

II. Issue:
Whether the appointment of Chairman Monsod of Comelec
violates Section 1 (1), Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution?

III. Held:

The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-C, that


there shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman
and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the
Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five
years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been
candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding
elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall
be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the
practice of law for at least ten years. Atty. Christian Monsod is a
member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar examinations
of 1960 with a grade of 86-55%. He has been dues paying member
of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception
in 1972-73. He has also been paying his professional license fees as
lawyer for more than ten years. At this point, it might be helpful to
define private practice. The term, as commonly understood, means
"an individual or organization engaged in the business of delivering
legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers who practice alone are often called
"sole practitioners." Groups of lawyers are called "firms." The firm is
usually a partnership and members of the firm are the partners.
Some firms may be organized as professional corporations and the
members called shareholders.
In either case, the members of the firm are the experienced
attorneys. In most firms, there are younger or more inexperienced
salaried attorneys called "associates." Hence, the Commission on the
basis of evidence submitted doling the public hearings on Monsod's
confirmation,implicitlydetermined that he possessed the necessary
qualifications as required by law. The judgment rendered by the
Commission in the exercise of such an acknowledged power is
beyond judicial interference except only upon a clear showing of a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
(Art. VIII, Sec. 1 Constitution). Thus, only where such grave abuse of
discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the
Commission's judgment.
In the instant case, there is no occasion for the exercise of the
Court's corrective power, since no abuse, much less a grave abuse of
discretion, that would amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction and
would warrant the issuance of the writs prayed, for has been clearly
shown. Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service
Commission, the Court said that, Appointment is an essentially
discretionary power and must be performed by the officer in which it
is vested according to his best lights, the only condition being
that the appointee should possess the qualifications
required by law. If he does, then the appointment cannot be faulted
on the ground that there are others better qualified who should have
been preferred. This is a political question involving considerations
of wisdom which only the appointing authority can decide.

2.People vs. Maceda


G.R. Nos. 89591-96. January 24, 2000

I. Facts:

On September 8, 1999, the RTC denied the Peoples motion


seeking reconsideration for its August 13, 1990’s decision. In said
resolution, the RTC held that respondent Judge Maceda committed
no grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order of August 8, 1989
giving custody over private respondent Avelino T. Javellana to the
Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, San Jose,
Antique, Atty. Deogracias del Rosario, during the pendency of
Criminal Cases Nos. 3350-3355. At that time, sufficient reason was
shown why private respondent Javellana should not be detained at
the Antique Provincial Jail. The trial courts order specifically
provided for private respondents detention at the residence of Atty.
del Rosario. However, private respondent was not to be allowed
liberty to roam around but was to be held as detention prisoner in
said residence.

The order of the trial court was not strictly complied with because
private respondent was not detained in the residence of Atty. Del
Rosario. He went about his normal activities as if he were a free man,
including engaging in the practice of law.

On April 7, 1997, Senior State Prosecutor Guingoyon filed with


the Supreme Court a motion seeking clarification. After the RTC’s
decision, Atty. Javellana filed a motion to the SC, hence this petition.

II. Issue/s:
Since it appears that Atty. (now Judge) del Rosario never really
held and detained Atty. Javellana as prisoner in his residence, is not
Atty. Javellana considered an escapee or a fugitive of justice for
which warrant for his arrest should forthwith be issued?

III. Held:

RTC’s Decision:

The RTC denied the motion for reconsideration on September 8,


1999, the trial court resumed hearing Criminal Cases Nos.
3350-3355. Earlier, on August 2, 1999, Rolando Mijares filed with
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, San Jose, Antique, a motion
seeking the revocation of the trial courts custody order and the
imprisonment of private respondent Javellana in the provincial jail.

SC’s Decision:

Private respondent Javellana has been arrested based on the


filing of criminal cases against him. By such arrest, he is deemed to
be under the custody of the law.

Regarding his continued practice of law, as a detention prisoner


private respondent Javellana is not allowed to practice his
profession as a necessary consequence of his status as a detention
prisoner.

As a matter of law, when a person indicted for an offense is


arrested, he is deemed placed under the custody of the law. He is
placed in actual restraint of liberty in jail so that he may be bound to
answer for the commission of the offense. He must be detained in jail
during the pendency of the case against him, unless he is authorized
by the court to be released on bail or on recognizance. Let it be
stressed that all prisoners whether under preventive detention or
serving final sentence can not practice their profession nor engage in
any business or occupation, or hold office, elective or appointive,
while in detention. This is a necessary consequence of arrest and
detention. Consequently, all the accused in Criminal Cases Nos.
3350-3355 must be confined in the Provincial Jail of Antique.

Considering that the pendency of Criminal Cases Nos. 3350-3355


has dragged on for more than ten (10) years, the presiding judge of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, San Jose, Antique, is ordered to
continue with the trial of said criminal cases with all deliberate
dispatch and to avoid further delay.

Wherefore, the August 8, 1989 order of the trial court is hereby


SET ASIDE. All accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 3350-3355,
including Javellana and Pacificador are ordered detained at the
Provincial Jail of Antique, San Jose, Antique, effective immediately,
and shall not be allowed to go out of the jail for any reason or guise,
except upon prior written permission of the trial court for a lawful
purpose.

3,Office of the Court Administrator vs Atty. Misael M. Ladaga


A.M. No. P-99-1287, January 26, 2001

I. Facts:
Atty. Misael Ladaga, Branch Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial
Court of Makati, appeared as counsel for and in behalf of his cousin,
Narcisa Naldoza Ladaga, an accused in Criminal Case No. 84-885 for
“Falsification of Public Documents” before the METC of Quezon City.
It is also denied that the appearance of said respondent in said case
was without the previous permission of the Court. During the
occasions that the respondent appeared as such counsel before the
METC of Quezon City, he was on official leave of absence. Moreover,
his Presiding Judge, Judge Napoleon Inoturan was aware of the case
he was handling. Respondent appeared as pro bono counsel for his
cousin-client Narcisa Ladaga. Respondent did not receive a single
centavo from her. Helpless as she was andrespondent being the only
lawyer in the family, he agreed to represent her out of his
compassion and high regard for her.
This is the first time that respondent ever handled a case for a
member of his family who is like a bigsister to him. He appeared for
free and for the purpose of settling the case amicably. Furthermore,
his Presiding Judge was aware of his appearance as counsel for his
cousin. On top of this, during all the years that he has been in
government service, he has maintained his integrity and
independence. He failed to obtain a prior permission from the head
of the Department. The presiding judge of the court to which
respondent is assigned is not the head of the Department
contemplated by law.

II. Issue:
WON Atty. Ladaga, upon such several appearances, was engages
into private practice?

III. Held:
Respondent is charged under Sec. 7(b)(2) of the Code of Conduct
and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees which
prohibits civil servants from engaging in the private practice of their
profession. A similar prohibition is found under Sec. 35, Rule 138 of
the Revised Rules of Court which disallows certain attorneys from
engaging in the private practice of their profession. THERE WAS
NO PRIVATE PRACTICE: In People vs. Villanueva: Practice is more
than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary
action, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is
frequent habitual exercise (State vs. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864,
42 LRA, N.S. 768).
Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been
interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one’s self out to the
public, as a lawyer and demanding payment for such services (State
vs. Bryan, 4 S. E. 522, 98 N. C. 644, 647). The appearance as
counsel on one occasion, is not conclusive as determinative of
engagement in the private practiceof law. Based on the foregoing, it
is evident that the isolated instances when respondent appeared as
pro bono counsel of his cousin in Criminal Case No. 84885 does not
constitute the “private practice” of the law profession contemplated
by law.

4.Bar Matter No. 914, October 1, 1999


Re: Application for Admission to the Philippine Bar
vs.
Vicente D. Ching, petitioner

I. Facts:

Vicente D. Ching, a legitimate child of a Filipino mother and an


alien Chinese father, was born on April 11, 1964 in Tubao La Union,
under the 1935 Constitution. He has resided in the Philippines. He
completed his Bachelor of Laws at SLU in Baguio on July 1998, filed an
application to take the 1998 Bar Examination.

The Resolution in this Court, he was allowed to take the bar if he


submit to the Court the following documents as proof of his Philippine
Citizenship:
1. Certification issued by the PRC Board of Accountancy that
Ching is a certified accountant;
2. Voter Certification issued COMELEC in Tubao La Union showing
that Ching is a registered voter of his place; and
3. Certification showing that Ching was elected as member of the
Sangguniang Bayan of Tubao, La Union

On April 5, 1999, Ching was one of the bar passers. The oath
taking ceremony was scheduled on May 5, 1999.

Because of his questionable status of Ching's citizenship, he was


not allowed to take oath.He was required to submit further proof of his
citizenship.The Office of the Solicitor General was required to file a
comment on Ching's petition for admission to the Philippine Bar.
In his report:

1. Ching, under the 1935 Constitution, was a Chinese citizen and


continue to be so, unless upon reaching the age of majority he elected
Philippine citizenship, under the compliance with the provisions of
Commonwealth Act No. 265 "an act providing for the manner in which
the option to elect Philippine citizenship shall be declared by a person
whose mother is a Filipino citizen"
2. He pointed out the Ching has not formally elected Philippine
citizenship, and if ever he does, it would already be beyond the
"reasonable time" allowed by the present jurisprudence.

IV. Issue:

Whether or not he has elected Philippine citizenship within "a


reasonable time".

III. Rulings:

1. No. Ching, despite the special circumstances, failed to


elect Philippine citizenship within a reasonable time. The
reasonable time means that the election should be made within 3
years from "upon reaching the age of majority", which is 21
years old. Instead, he elected Philippine citizenship 14 years after
reaching the age of majority which the court considered not
within the reasonable time. Ching offered no reason why he
delayed his election of Philippine citizenship, as procedure in
electing Philippine citizenship is not a tedious and painstaking
process. All that is required is an affidavit of election of Philippine
citizenship and file the same with the nearest civil registry.

5.IN THE MATTER OF THE DISQUALIFICATION OF BAR EXAMINEE


HARON S. MELING IN THE 2002 BAR EXAMINATIONS AND FOR
DISCIPLINARY ACTION AS MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE SHARI’A
BAR,ATTY. FROILAN R. MELENDREZ, petitioner,

B.M. No. 1154. June 8, 2004

I. Facts:

On October 14, 2002, Atty. Froilan R. Melendrez


(Melendrez) filed with the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) a
Petition to disqualify Haron S. Meling (Meling) from taking the
2002 Bar Examinations and to impose on him the appropriate
disciplinary penalty as a member of the Philippine Shari’a Bar.In
the Petition, Melendrez alleges that Meling did not disclose in his
Petition to take the 2002 Bar Examinations that he has three (3)
pending criminal cases before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities
(MTCC), Cotabato City, namely: Criminal Cases Noa. 15685 and
15686, both for Grave Oral Defamation, and Criminal Case
No. 15687 for Less Serious Physical Injuries.

The above-mentioned cases arose from an incident which


occurred on May 21, 2001, when Meling allegedly uttered
defamatory words against Melendrez and his wife in front of
media practitioners and other people. Meling also purportedly
attacked and hit the face of Melendrez’ wife causing the injuries
to the latter.Furthermore, Melendrez alleges that Meling has been
using the title “Attorney” in his communications, as Secretary to
the Mayor of Cotabato City, despite the fact that he is not a
member of the Bar. Attached to the Petition is an indorsement
letter which shows that Meling used the appellation and appears
on its face to have been received by the Sangguniang
Panglungsod of Cotabato City on November 27, 2001.

Pursuant to this Court’s Resolution dated December 3,


2002, Meling filed his Answer with the OBC.In his Answer, Meling
explains that he did not disclose the criminal cases filed against
him by Melendrez because retired Judge Corocoy Moson, their
former professor, advised him to settle his misunderstanding
with Melendrez. Believing in good faith that the case would be
settled because the said Judge has moral ascendancy over them,
he being their former professor in the College of Law, Meling
considered the three cases that actually arose from a single
incident and involving the same parties as “closed and
terminated.” Moreover, Meling denies the charges and adds that
the acts complained of do not involve moral turpitude.

II. Issue:
WON the imposition of appropriate sanctions upon Haron S.
Meling is proper and shall subsequently barred him from
taking his lawyer’s oath and signing on the Roll of Attorneys
III. Held:

The Petition is GRANTED insofar as it seeks the imposition of


appropriate sanctions upon Haron S. Meling as a member of the
Philippine Shari’a Bar. Accordingly, the membership of Haron S.
Meling in the Philippine Shari’a Bar is hereby SUSPENDED until
further orders from the Court, the suspension to take effect
immediately. Insofar as the Petition seeks to prevent Haron S. Meling
from taking the Lawyer’s Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys as a
member of the Philippine Bar, the same is DISMISSED for having
become moot and academic.

Rationale:

Practice of law, whether under the regular or the Shari’a


Court, is not a matter of right but merely a privilege bestowed upon
individuals who are not only learned in the law but who are also
known to possess good moral character. The requirement of good
moral character is not only a condition precedent to admission to the
practice of law, its continued possession is also essential for
remaining in the practice of law.The disclosure requirement is
imposed by the Court to determine whether there is satisfactory
evidence of good moral character of the applicant. The nature of
whatever cases are pending against the applicant would aid the
Court in determining whether he is endowed with the moral fitness
demanded of a lawyer.

6.Alawi vs. Alauya


AM No. SDC-97-2-P, Feb. 4, 1997

I. Facts:

Sophia Alawi was a sales representative of E.B. Villarosa &


Partners Co., Ltd. of Davao City, a real estate and housing company.
Ashari M. Alauya is the incumbent executive clerk of court of the 4th
Judicial Shari’a District in Marawi City, They were classmates, and
used to be friends.

Through Alawi’s agency, a contract was executed for the


purchase on installments by Alauya of one of the housing units of
Villarosa. In connection, a housing loan was also granted to Alauya
by the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC).

Not long afterwards, Alauya addressed a letter to the President


of Villarosa & Co. advising of the termination of his contract with the
company. He claimed that his consent was vitiated because Alawi
had resorted to gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, dishonesty
and abuse of confidence. He laso wrote similar letters to the Vice
President of Villarosa and the Vice President of NHMFC.

On learning of Alauya’s letters, Alawi filed an administrative


complaint against him. One of her grounds was
Alauya’s usurpation of the title of “attorney,” which only regular
members of the Philippine Bar may properly use.

Alauya justified his use of the title, “attorney,” by the assertion


that it is “lexically synonymous” with “Counsellors-at-law.” a title to
which Shari’a lawyers have a rightful claim, adding that he prefers
the title of “attorney” because “counsellor” is often mistaken for
“councilor,” “konsehal” or the Maranao term “consial,” connoting a
local legislator beholden to the mayor. Withal, he does not consider
himself a lawyer.

II. Issue:

Whether or not Alauya, a member of the Shari’a bar, can use


the title of Attorney

III. Held:

He can’t. The title is only reserved to those who pass the


regular Philippine bar.

As regards Alauya’s use of the title of “Attorney,” this Court


has already had occasion to declare that persons who pass the
Shari’a Bar are not full-fledged members of the Philippine Bar, hence
may only practice law before Shari’a courts. While one who has been
admitted to the Shari’a Bar, and one who has been admitted to the
Philippine Bar, may both be considered “counsellors,” in the sense
that they give counsel or advice in a professional capacity, only the
latter is an “attorney.” The title of “attorney” is reserved to those who,
having obtained the necessary degree in the study of law and
successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have been admitted to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and remain members thereof in
good standing; and it is they only who are authorized to practice law
in this jurisdiction.
7.EMILIO GRANDE VS ATTY. EVANGELINE DE SILVA

I. FACTS

A. Factual Antecedent

Emilio Grande, the complainant in this case, is the private offended


party in Criminal Cases Nos. 96-1346 to 96-1353, People of the
Philippines vs Sergio Natividad filed before RTC-Branch 273 Marikina
City for Estafa and Violation of BP Blg 22.
During the proceedings of the cases in the preceding paragraph,
Atty. Evangeline de Silva, respondent in the case at bar, tendered to
Emilio Grande check no. 0023638 in the amount of P144,768.00,
drawn against her account with the Philippine National Bank, as
settlement. Emilio Grande refused to accept the check. Atty. de Silva
assured him that the same will be paid upon its presentment. She
manifested that as a lawyer, she would not issue a check which is not
sufficiently funded. Thus, respondent was prevailed upon by Emilio
Grande to accept the check.
Consequently, Emilio Grande desisted from prosecuting the cases
thus, said criminal cases were dismissed. Accused Sergio Natividad was
then released. Upon deposit of the check, the same was returned
unpaid by the drawee bank for the reason that the account is closed.
Emilio Grande then wrote a letter to Atty. de Silva demanding that she
pay the face value of the check. His demand was ignored by Atty. de
Silva. This prompted Emilio Grande to institute a criminal complaint
against Atty. de Silva for Estafa and Violation of BP Blg 22 with the
Office of the City Prosecutor of Marikina. The City Prosecutor of
Marikina filed the necessary Information for Violation of BP Blg 22
against Atty. de Silva.
Emilio Grande filed the instant administrative complaint for
disbarment of respondent for deceit and violation of the Lawyer’s Oath.
On February 2, 1998, a Resolution was sent to respondent requiring
her to comment on the complaint within ten (10) days from notice. The
same was returned unserved with the notation: “Moved”.
On June 20, 2001, another Resolution requiring respondent to
comment on the administrative complaint filed against her was served.
This was again returned unserved with the notation: “Refused”. Thus,
the case was referred to the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline
(IBP-CBD) for investigation, report and recommendation.
B. Recommendation of IBP Commission on Bar Discipline
Investigating Commissioner Florimond C. Rous found respondent
Atty. de Silva guilty of deceit, gross misconduct and violation of the
Lawyer’s Oath in a Report dated December 6, 2001. Thus, he
recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law
for two (2) years.
C. Recommendation of IBP Board of Governors
On October 19, 2002, the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution
NO. XV-2002-554 which adopted the recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner that respondent be suspended from the
practice of law for two (2) years.

II. ISSUE
Whether or not Atty. de Silva should be suspended.

III. RULING
The office of an Attorney’s nature requires that a lawyer shall be a
person of good moral character. Gross misconduct which puts the
lawyer’s moral character in serious doubt may render her unfit to
continue in the practice of law. A lawyer may be disciplined for evading
payment of a debt validly incurred. The loss of moral character of a
lawyer for any reason whatsoever shall warrant her suspension or
disbarment.
Any wrongdoing which indicates moral unfitness for the profession,
whether it be professional or non-professional justifies disciplinary
action. For a lawyer’s professional and personal conduct must at all
times be kept beyond reproach and above suspicion.

Her deliberate refusal to accept the notices served on her stains the
nobility of the profession. How else would a lawyer endeavor to serve
justice and uphold the law when she disdains to follow simple
directives? Canon 1 expressly states that: “A lawyer shall uphold the
constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for legal
processes.”

8.RE: PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE LAWYER’S OATH

I. FACTS
A. Factual Antecedent
This is a matter for admission to the bar and oath taking of a
successful bar applicant. Petitioner Al Caparros Argosino passed the
bar examinations held in 1993. The Court however deferred his
oath-taking due to his previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence
Resulting in Homicide.
Argosino was previously involved with hazing that caused the death
of Raul Camaligan but was sentenced with Reckless Imprudence
Resulting in Homicide after he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced with
two (2) years imprisonment where he applied for a probation thereafter
which was granted by the Court with a two (2) year probation. He took
the Bar Exam and passed but was not allowed to take oath. He filed a
petition to allow him to take the attorney’s oath of office averring that
his probation was already terminated. The Court notes that he spent
only ten (10) months of the probation period before it was terminated.

B. Resolution of the Court


The Court issued a Resolution requiring petitioner Al C. Argosino to
submit to the Court evidence that he may ow be regarded as complying
with the requirement of good moral character imposed upon those
seeking admission to the bar.
The Court required Atty. Gilbert Camaligan, father of Raul to
comment on petitioner’s prayer to be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath.
In his comment, Atty. Camaligan states that:
B. He still believes that the infliction of severe physical injuries
which led to the death of his son was deliberate rather than
accidental. The offense therefore was not only homicide but
murder since the accused took advantage of the neophyte's
helplessness implying abuse of confidence, taking advantage
of superior strength and treachery.
C. xxx
D. As a Christian, he has forgiven petitioner and his co-accused
for the death of his son. However, as a loving father who had
lost a son whom he had hoped would succeed him in his law
practice, he still feels the pain of an untimely demise and the
stigma of the gruesome manner of his death.
E. He is not in a position to say whether petitioner is now
morally fit for admission to the bar. He therefore submits the
matter to the sound discretion of the Court.
F. xxx
II. ISSUE
Whether or not Argosino may take oath of office.

III. RULING
The Court understands and shares the sentiment of Atty. Gilbert
Camaligan. The death of one’s child is, for a parent, a most traumatic
experience. The suffering becomes even more pronounced and
profound in cases where the death is due to causes other than natural
or accidental but due to the reckless imprudence of third parties. Atty.
Camaligan’s statement before the Court manifesting his having forgiven
the accused is no less than praiseworthy and commendable. it is
exceptional for a parent, given the circumstances in these cases, to find
room for forgiveness. However, Atty. Camaligan admits that he is still
not in a position to state if petitioner is now morally fit to be a lawyer.
After a very careful evaluation of this case, we resolve to allow
petitioner Al Caparros Argosino to take the lawyer’s oath, sign the Roll
of Attorneys and practice the legal profession with the following
admonition:
In allowing Mr. Argosino to take the lawyer’s oath, the Court
recognizes that Mr. Argosino is not inherently bad moral fiber. On the
contrary, the various certifications show that he is a devout Catholic
with a genuine concern for civic duties and public service.
The Court is persuaded that Mr. Argosino has exerted all efforts to
atone for the death of Raul Camaligan. The Court stresses to Mr.
Argosino that the lawyer’s oath is not a mere ceremony or formality for
practicing law. Every lawyer should at all times weigh his actions
according tot he sworn promises he makes when taking the lawyer’s
oath. If all lawyers conducted themselves strictly according to the
lawyer’s oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility, the
administration of justice will undoubtedly be faster, fairer and easier for
everyone concerned.

9.REMEDIOS RAMIREZ VS ATTY. LAURO L. TAPUCAR

I. FACTS
A.Facts
In a letter-complaint dated November 22, 1993, complainant
Remedios Ramirez Tapucar sought the disbarment of her husband,
Atty. Lauro L. Tapucar, on the ground of continuing grossly immoral
conduct for cohabiting with a certain Elena Pena under scandalous
circumstances.
Prior to this complaint, respondent was already administratively
charged four (4) times for conduct unbecoming an officer of the Court.
In AM No. 1740, resolved on April 11, 1980, respondent, at that time
the Judge of Butuan City, was meted the penalty of six (6) months
suspension without pay, while in AM Nos. 1720, 1911 and 2300-CFI,
which were consolidated, this Court on January 31, 1981 ordered the
separation from service of respondent.

B. Recommendation of the IBP-Commission on Bar Discipline


Consistent with Section 20, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, the
matter was referred to the Commission on Bar Discipline of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation, report and
recommendation. After conducting a thorough investigation, the
Commission through Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez recommended
that respondent be disbarred, and his name be stricken off the roll of
attorneys. Mainly, this was premised on the ground that,
notwithstanding sanctions previously imposed upon him by the
Honorable Supreme Court, respondent continued the illicit liaison with
Elena.
In his report Commissioner Fernandez noted that, instead of
contradicting the charges against him, respondent displayed
arrogance, and even made a mockery of the law and the Court, as when
he said:
I have been ordered suspended by Supreme Court for two months
without pay in 1980 for having a mistress, the same girl Ms. Elena
(Helen) Pea, now my wife. Being ordered separated in later
administrative case constitute double jeopardy. If now disbarred for
marrying Ms. Elena Pea will constitute triple jeopardy. If thats the law so
be it.
C. Recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and
APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner in the above-titled case, herein made part of the
Resolution/Decision as Annex A; and, finding the recommendation
therein to be fully supported by the evidence on record and the
applicable laws and rules, Respondent Atty. Lauro L. Tapucar is hereby
DISBARRED and that his name be stricken off the roll of attorneys.
We find the Report and Recommendation of Commissioner
Fernandez, as approved and adopted by the Board of Governors of IBP,
more than sufficient to justify and support the foregoing Resolution,
herein considered as the recommendation to this Court by said Board
pursuant to Rule 139-B, Sec. 12(b), of the Rules of Court. We are in
agreement that respondents actuations merit the penalty of
disbarment.

II. ISSUE
Whether or not respondent violated Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility

III. RULING
Yes. The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that:
Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct.
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.
A lawyer us expected at all times to uphold the integrity and dignity
of the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society, to
the bar, to the Courts and to his clients. Exacted from him, as a
member of the profession charged with the responsibility to stand as a
shield in the defense of what is right, are such positive qualities of
decency, truthfulness and responsibility that have been compendiously
described as “moral character.” To achieve such end, every lawyer
needs to strive at all times to honor and maintain the dignity of his
profession, and thus improve not only the public regard for the Bar but
also the administration of justice.
10. Maelotesia Garrido vs Atty. Angel E. Garrido and Atty. Romana
P.Valencia
A.C.No.6593

I. Facts:
Maelotisea Garrido filed a disbarment case against Atty. Angel
Garrido and Atty.Romana Valencia before the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines Committee on Discipline charging them with gross
immorality.
By way of defense Atty. Angel Garrido denied that Maelotesia
Garrido is his legal wife, as he was already married to a certain
Constancia David when he married the complainant. Further, Atty.
Garrido emphasized that all his marriages were contracted before he
was admitted to the bar.
On her counter-affidavit Atty. Valencia contended that she never
was a mistress of Atty. Garrido since the former’s marriage to the
complainant is void ab initio due to the then existing marriage of Atty.
GArrido to a certain Constancia David. Therefore, the complainant had
no cause of action against her.
In the course of the hearings, the parties filed the following motions
before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline:
(1) The respondents filed a Motion for Suspension of Proceedings in
view of the criminal complaint for concubinage Maelotisea filed
against them, and the Petition for Declaration of Nullity(of
marriage) Atty. Garrido filed to nullify his marriage to Maelotisea.
The IBP Commission on Bar Discipline denied this motion for
lack of merit.
(2) The respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaints after
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City declared the marriage
between Atty. Garrido and Maelotisea an absolute nullity. Since
Maelotisea was never the legal wife of Atty. Garrido, the
respondents argued that she had no personality to file her
complaints against them. The respondents also alleged that they
had not committed any immoral act since they married when
Atty. Garrido was already a widower, and the acts complained of
were committed before his admission to the bar. The IBP
Commission on Bar Discipline also denied this motion.
(3) Maelotisea filed a motion for the dismissal of the complaints she
filed against the respondents, arguing that she wanted to
maintain friendly relations with Atty. Garrido, who is the father of
her six (6) children. The IBP Commission on Bar Discipline
likewise denied this motion
Atty. Garrido moved to reconsider this resolution, but the IBP
Commission on Bar Discipline denied his motion under Resolution
No. XVII-2007-038 dated January 18, 2007. Hence, seeking relief
with the Supreme Court through the present petition for review.
II. ISSUE/S:
Whether or not Atty. Garrido and Atty.Valencia’s action constitutes
violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility and thus a good
enough cause for their disbarment, despite the offense was being
committed when they were not yet lawyers.
III. SUPREME COURT RULING:
Yes. Membership of the Bar is a privilege, and as a privilege it can be
withdrawn where circumstances show the lawyer’s lack of essential
qualifications required of lawyers, be it academic or moral.
In this present case, the Supreme Court resolved to withdraw this
privilege from Atty. Garrido and Atty. Valencia respectively. The
contention of the respondent that they got married when they were not
yet lawyers will not afford them exemptions from sanctions: good moral
character was already a condition required precedent to the admission
to the bar.
As a lawyer, both the respondents were shouldered with the
expectation to uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the land
and set as an example to others to do the same. When they violated the
law and distorted it to cater to his own personal needs and selfish
motives, not only did their actions discredit the legal profession. Such
actions by themselves, without even including the fact of Garrido’s
abandonment of paternal responsibility, to the detriment of his children
by the petitioner; or the fact that Valencia married Garrido despite
knowing of his other marriages to two other women including the
petitioner, are clear indications of a lack of moral values not consistent
with the proper conduct of practicing lawyers within the country. As,
such their disbarment is affirmed.