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PALE DIGEST: constitutional requirement for the position of COMELEC

chairman, The respondent has been engaged in the


CAYETANO VS. MONSOD practice of law for at least ten years does In the view of
the foregoing, the petition is DISMISSED.
September 1991
IN RE: PETITION TO SIGN IN THE ROLL OF
Facts: Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by ATTORNEYS MICHAEL A. MEDADO,
President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of chairman PETITIONER. (DIGEST)
of the COMELEC. Petitioner opposed the nomination B.M. No. 2540
because allegedly Monsod does not posses required
qualification of having been engaged in the practice of September 24, 2013
law for at least ten years. The 1987 constitution provides
in Section 1, Article IX-C: There shall be a Commission TOPIC:
on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Admission to the Bar, Unauthorized Practice of Law,
Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Canon 9, Signing of the Roll of Attorneys
Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least
thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and FACTS:
must not have been candidates for any elective position in
Michael A. Medado passed the Philippine bar exams in
the immediately preceding elections. However, a majority
1979. On 7 May 1980, he took the Attorney’s Oath at the
thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the
PICC. He was scheduled to sign in the Roll of Attorneys
Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of on 13 May 1980, but failed to do so allegedly because he
law for at least ten years. had misplaced the Notice to Sign the Roll of Attorneys.
Several years later, while rummaging through his things,
Issue: Whether the respondent does not posses the he found said Notice. He then realized that he had not
required qualification of having engaged in the practice of signed in the roll, and that what he had signed at the
law for at least ten years. entrance of the PICC was probably just an attendance
record.
Held: In the case of Philippine Lawyers Association vs.
Agrava, stated: The practice of law is not limited to the He thought that since he already took the oath, the signing
conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the of the Roll of Attorneys was not as important. The matter
preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to of signing in the Roll of Attorneys was subsequently
actions and special proceeding, the management of such forgotten.
actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges
and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all In 2005, when Medado attended MCLE seminars, he was
advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters required to provide his roll number for his MCLE
compliances to be credited. Not having signed in the Roll
connected with the law incorporation services,
of Attorneys, he was unable to provide his roll number.
assessment and condemnation services, contemplating an
appearance before judicial body, the foreclosure of
About seven years later, in 2012, Medado filed the instant
mortgage, enforcement of a creditor’s claim in
Petition, praying that he be allowed to sign in the Roll of
bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting Attorneys. Medado justifies this lapse by characterizing
proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and his acts as “neither willful nor intentional but based on a
guardianship have been held to constitute law practice. mistaken belief and an honest error of judgment.
Practice of law means any activity, in or out court, which
requires the application of law, legal procedure, The Office of the Bar Confidant recommended that the
knowledge, training and experience. instant petition be denied for petitioner’s gross
negligence, gross misconduct and utter lack of merit,
The contention that Atty. Monsod does not posses the saying that petitioner could offer no valid justification for
required qualification of having engaged in the practice of his negligence in signing in the Roll of Attorneys.
law for at least ten years is incorrect since Atty. Monsod’s
past work experience as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer- ISSUE:
manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer- Whether or not petitioner may be allowed to sign the Roll
negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both of Attorneys.
rich and the poor – verily more than satisfy the
Also, during the one-year period, petitioner was not
RULING: allowed to engage in the practice of law.

Yes, the Supreme Court granted the petition subject to the RULING:
payment of a fine and the imposition of a penalty
equivalent to suspension from the practice of law. Yes, the Court allowed the petitioner to sign the Roll of
Attorneys subject to the payment of a fine and the
Not allowing Medado to sign in the Roll of Attorneys imposition of a penalty equivalent to suspension from the
would be akin to imposing upon him the ultimate penalty practice of law. The Court cannot forbid the petitioner
of disbarment, a penalty reserved for the most serious from signing the Roll of Attorneys because such action
ethical transgressions. In this case, said action is not constitutes disbarment. Such penalty is reserved to the
warranted. most serious ethical transgressions of members of the Bar.
The Court cited three main points which demonstrate
The Court considered Medado’s demonstration of good Medado’s worth to become a full-fledged member of the
faith in filing the petition himself, albeit after the passage Philippine Bar.
of more than 30 years; that he has shown that he possesses
the character required to be a member of the Philippine First, Medado demonstrated good faith and good moral
Bar; and that he appears to have been a competent and character when he finally filed the instant Petition to Sign
able legal practitioner, having held various positions at in the Roll of Attorneys. It was Medado himself who
different firms and companies. admitted his own error and not any third person. Second,
petitioner has not been subject to any action for
However, Medado is not free from all liability for his disqualification from the practice of law. He strove to
years of inaction. adhere to the strict requirements of the ethics of the
profession and that he has prima facie shown that he
A mistake of law cannot be utilized as a lawful possesses the character required to be a member of the
justification, because everyone is presumed to know the Philippine Bar. Third, Medado appears to have been a
law and its consequences. competent and able legal practitioner, having held various
positions at the Laurel Law Office, Petron, Petrophil
Corporation, the Philippine National Oil Company, and
Medado may have at first operated under an honest
the Energy Development Corporation. However, the
mistake of fact when he thought that what he had signed
Court cannot fully free Medado from all liability for his
at the PICC entrance before the oath-taking was already
years of inaction. His justification of his action, that it was
the Roll of Attorneys. However, the moment he realized
“neither willful nor intentional but based on a mistaken
that what he had signed was just an attendance record, he
belief and an honest error of judgment” was opposed by
could no longer claim an honest mistake of fact as a valid
the Court.
justification. At that point, he should have known that he
was not a full-fledged member of the Philippine Bar, as it
was the act of signing therein that would have made him “A mistake of law cannot be utilized as a lawful
so. When, in spite of this knowledge, he chose to continue justification, because everyone is presumed to know the
practicing law, he willfully engaged in the unauthorized law and its consequences.”
practice of law.
Although an honest mistake of fact could be used to
excuse a person from the legal consequences of his acts
Knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice of law
he could no longer claim it as a valid justification by the
likewise transgresses Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
moment he realized that what he had signed was merely
Responsibility. At the heart of Canon 9 is the lawyer’s
an attendance record. His action of continuing the practice
duty to prevent the unauthorized practice of law. This
of law in spite of his knowledge of the need to take the
duty likewise applies to law students and Bar candidates.
necessary steps to complete all requirements for the
As aspiring members of the Bar, they are bound to
admission to the bar constitutes unauthorized practice of
conduct themselves in accordance with the ethical
law. Such action transgresses Canon 9of 'the Code of
standards of the legal profession.
Professional Responsibility, which provides:
Medado cannot be suspended as he is not yet a full- CANON 9 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly,
fledged lawyer. However, the Court imposed upon him a assist in the unauthorized practice of law.
penalty akin to suspension by allowing him to sign in the
Roll of Attorneys one (1) year after receipt of the
With respect to the penalty, previous violations of Canon
Resolution. He was also made to pay a fine of P32,000.
9 have warranted the penalty of suspension from the
practice of law. However, in the instant case the Court ISSUE: Whether or not Rolando Torres should be granted
could not warrant the penalty of suspension from the judicial clemency by the court.
practice of law to Medado because he is not yet a full-
fledged lawyer. Instead, the Court see it fit to impose upon HELD: NO.
him a penalty similar to suspension by allowing him to
The principle which should hold true for lawyers,
sign in theRoll of Attorneys one (1) year after receipt of
the Resolution and to fine him in the amount of P32,000. being officers of the court, is that judicial clemency, as an
The instant Petition to Sign in the Roll of Attorneys is act of mercy removing any disqualification, should be
Affirmed. Petitioner Michael A. Medado is ALLOWED balanced with the preservation of public confidence in the
to sign in the Roll of Attorneys ONE (1) YEAR after courts. Thus, the Court will grant it only if there is a
receipt of the Resolution. Petitioner is likewise showing that it is merited. Proof of reformation and a
ORDERED to pay a FINE of P32,000 for his showing of potential and promise are indispensable. In
unauthorized practice of law. During the one year period, Re: The Matter of the Petition for Reinstatement of
petitioner is NOT ALLOWED to practice law, and is Rolando S. Torres as a member of the Philippine Bar, the
STERNLY WARNED that doing any act that constitutes Court laid down the following guidelines in resolving
practice of law before he has signed in the Roll of requests for judicial clemency, to wit:
Attorneys will be dealt with severely by the Court.
1. There must be proof of remorse and
IN RE: REINSTATEMENT OF ROLANDO S. reformation. These shall include but should not be limited
TORRES to certifications or testimonials of the officer(s) or
chapter(s) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, judges
AC # 5161, July 11, 2017 or judges associations and prominent members of the
FACTS: This is a petition filed by Rolando Torres for community with proven integrity and probity. A
judicial clemency for his reinstatement in the Roll of subsequent finding of guilt in an administrative case for
Attorneys. the same or similar misconduct will give rise to a strong
presumption of non-reformation.
The case of disbarment Torres got involved in
was a case of forgery that he participated and consented 2. Sufficient time must have lapsed from the
to for his client (Ting-Dumali vs. Torres, 2004), and he imposition of the penalty to ensure a period of reform.
was found guilty by the SC for violating Canons 1 & 10 3. The age of the person asking for clemency
of the CPR. Ultimately, he was disbarred by the SC in the must show that he still has productive years ahead of him
aforementioned case. that can be put to good use by giving him a chance to
Torres filed the necessary MRs (twice), but both redeem himself.
were denied with finality by the court and expressed that 4. There must be a showing of promise (such as
no further pleadings will be entertained. Still, he filed intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen or
motions that beg for his reinstatement and even wrote to contribution to legal scholarship and the development of
associate judges and even the Chief Justice for the legal system or administrative and other relevant
compassion and mercy. Consistently, such motions were skills), as well as potential for public service.
expunged in the Court’s resolutions, again stressing that
no further pleadings will be entertained in the case at bar. 5. There must be other relevant factors and
Undaunted, Torres kept on filing similar motions and the circumstances that may justify clemency.
court either expunges such or denies it with finality.
The SC held that Torres failed to prove any of the
After 10 years lapsed, Torres filed a petition aforementioned and merely rehashed all the several
seeking judicial clemency and for him to be reinstated in testimonials and endorsements that were previously
the Roll of Attorneys. It was denied once more, with the denied by the SC. Hence, his petition was denied.
SC explaining that Torres failed to provide substantial
proof of his reformation and reconciliation with his sister-
in-law, the original complainant in the disbarment case
against him. Moreover, he did not demonstrate any
remorse from his fraudulent acts committed against the
original complainant. Even with the SC ruling against
him, he still filed the instant petition seeking the same
remedies from the SC.
QUE VS REVILLA continued to file appeals before the court and continued
to receive negative response from the court.
TOPIC:
On July 18, 2014, the respondent filed a Profound Appeal
Reinstatement to the Practice of Law -- The basic for Judicial Clemency17 reiterating his apologies to the
inquiry in a petition for reinstatementto the practice of Court. He stressed that the penalty of disbarment has
law is whether the lawyer has sufficiently rehabilitated already taken its toll on his health; he has now become
himself or herself in conduct and character. x x x The most frail and weak; and he had been diagnosed with
lawyer has to demonstrate and prove by clear and chronic kidney disease at stage five (5) and undergoing
convincing evidence that he or she is again worthy of dialysis thrice weekly. He also stressed that in the years
membership in the Bar. The Court will take into that he had been excluded from the practice of law, he
consideration his or her character and standing prior to devoted his time to Christian and charity pursuits serving
the disbarment, the nature and character of the charge/s with all humility as a Lay Minister and a regular lecturer
for which he or she was disbarred, his or her conduct on Legal Aspect of Marriage at St. Peter Church, Quezon
subsequent to the disbarment, and the time that has City.
elapsed in between the disbarment and the application
for reinstatement.25 The respondent also pleads for clemency, not because he
intends to practice law again, but to be made whole, to
STATEMENT OF FACTS: recover from being shattered, and to finally have peace of
mind. Heexpressed his sincere repentance and deep
ATTY. ANASTACIO E. REVILLA, JR. (REVILLA) remorse by taking full responsibility for his misdemeanor.
was disbarred by the court from the practice of law on the He also prayed that his disbarment be lifted and that he be
following grounds: abuse of court procedures and reinstated as a member of the Philippine bar. As part of
processes; filing of multiple actions and forum-shopping; his petition, he submitted a Medical Abstract18evidencing
willful, intentional and deliberate resort to falsehood and his diagnosis for chronic kidney disease, and a
deception before the courts; maligning the name of his certification19 from St. Peter Parish, Commonwealth
fellow lawyer; and fraudulent and unauthorized Avenue, Quezon City, proving that he and his family are
appearances in court. dedicated parishioners.

Prior to said disbarment , the court had penalized him ISSUE:


already in Plus Builders, Inc. and Edgardo Garcia versus
Atty. Anastacio E. Revilla for his willful and intentional WON Atty Revilla is qualified for reinstatement in the
falsehood before the court; for misuse of court procedures practice of law.
and processes to delay the execution of a judgment; and
for collaborating with non-lawyers in the illegal practice HELD:
of law. We showed leniency then by reducing his penalty
to suspension for six (6) months. NO, Atty Revilla is no longer qualified.

The court in rendering their decision stated that: He is a Membership in the Bar is a privilege burdened with
continuing risk, too, to the public that the legal profession conditions.20 It is not a natural, absolute or constitutional
serves. Not even his ardor and overzealousness in right granted to everyone who demands it, but rather, a
defending the interests of his client can save him. Such special privilege granted and continued only to those who
traits at the expense of everything else, particularly the demonstrate special fitness inintellectual attainment and
integrity of the profession and the orderly administration in moral character.21 The same reasoning applies to
of justice, this Court cannot accept nor tolerate. reinstatement of a disbarred lawyer. When exercising its
inherent power to grant reinstatement, the Court should
STATEMENT OF CASE: see to it that only those who establish their present moral
fitness and knowledge of the law will be readmitted to the
On July 8, 2010, Revilla filed a Petition for Judicial Bar. Thus, though the doors to the practice of law are
Clemency and Compassion3 praying that his license to never permanently closed on a disbarred attorney, the
practice law be restored based on humanitarian Court owes a duty to the legal profession as well as to the
considerations, but the Court En Banc resolved to deny general public to ensure that if the doors are opened,it is
the petition for lack of merit. Subsequently, Revilla done so only as a matter of justice.22
appealed his case and pleaded the court’s mercy, but his
prayers were denied by the court. Albeit, Revilla The basic inquiry in a petition for reinstatement to the
practice of law is whether the lawyer has sufficiently
rehabilitated himself or herself in conduct and As a final word, while the Court sympathizes with the
character.23 Whether the applicant shall be reinstated in respondent's unfortunate physical condition, we stress
the Roll of Attorneys rests to a great extent on the sound that in considering his application for reinstatement to the
discretion of the Court.24 The lawyer has to demonstrate practice of law, the duty of the Court is to determine
and prove by clear and convincing evidence that he or whether he has established moral reformation and
she is again worthy of membership in the Bar. The Court rehabilitation, disregarding its feeling of sympathy or
will take into consideration his or her character and pity. Surely at this point, this requirement was not met.
standing prior to the disbarment, the nature and Until such time when the respondent can demonstrate to
character of the charge/s for which he or she was the Court that he has completely rehabilitated himself and
disbarred, his or her conduct subsequent to the deserves to resume his membership in the Bar, Our
disbarment, and the time that has elapsed in between the decision to disbar him from the practice of law stands.
disbarment and the application for reinstatement.25
DISPOSITIVE PORTION:
In the present case, we are not fully convinced that the
passage of more than four (4) years is sufficient to enable WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Profound
the respondent to reflect and to realize his professional Appeal for Judicial Clemency filed by Atty. Anastacio E.
transgressions. Revilla, Jr. is hereby DENIED.

We emphasize that this is the second timethat the ATTY. EDMUNDO L. MACARUBBO, RE:
respondent was accused and was found guilty of gross PETITION (FOR EXTRAORDINARY MERCY) OF
misconduct.1âwphi1 The respondent, in an earlier case of EDMUNDO L. MACARUBBO. Adm. Case No. 6148,
Plus Builders, Inc. v. Atty. Anastacio E. Revilla,Jr.,29 was 22 January 2013
likewise found guilty of gross misconduct for committing
willful and intentional falsehood before the court; FACTS:
misusing court procedure and processes to delay the
execution of a judgment; and collaborating with For resolution is the Petition (For Extraordinary Mercy)
nonlawyers in the illegal practice of law – mostly the filed by respondent Edmundo L. Macarubbo who seeks to
same grounds on which the Decision dated December 4, be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys.
2009 (2nd disbarment) was based. In Plus Builders, we
granted the respondent’s motion for reconsideration and
The Court disbarred him for having contracted a
reduced the penalty of suspension from the practice of law
bigamous marriage with the complainant and a third
from two (2) years to six (6) months out of compassion to
marriage with another while his first marriage was still
the respondent.
subsisting, which acts constituted gross immoral conduct
in violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03
Considering the respondent’s earlier disbarment case(and of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
subsequent reduction of the penalty imposed as an act of
clemency), and another disbarment case against him still
RULING:
pending review by the Court, we are not fully and
convincingly satisfied that the respondent has already
reformed. The period of five (5) years is likewise not Respondent had sufficiently shown his remorse and
considerably long considering the nature and perversityof acknowledged his indiscretion in the legal profession and
the respondent’s misdeeds. We believe that it is still early in his personal life. He had asked forgiveness from his
for the Court to consider the respondent’s reinstatement. children by complainant and maintained a cordial
relationship with them as shown by the herein attached
pictures. Records also showed that after his disbarment,
Furthermore, we are not persuaded by the respondent's
respondent returned to his hometown and devoted his
sincerity in acknowledging his guilt.1âwphi1 While he
time tending an orchard and taking care of his ailing
expressly stated in his appeal that he had taken full
mother until her death. He was appointed as Private
responsibility of his misdemeanor, his previous
Secretary to the Mayor and thereafter, assumed the
inclination to pass the blame to other individuals, to
position of Local Assessment Operations Officer II/
invoke self-denial, and to make alibis for his
Office-In-Charge in the Assessor’s Office, which office
wrongdoings, contradicted his assertion. The respondent
he continues to serve to date. Moreover, he became a part-
also failed to submit proof satisfactorily showing his
time instructor in a University. Respondent likewise took
contrition. He failed to establish by clear and convincing
an active part in socio-civic activities by helping his
evidence that he is again worthy of membership in the
neighbors and friends who are in dire need.
legal profession. We thus entertain serious doubts that the
respondent had completely reformed.
Furthermore, respondent’s plea for reinstatement was FROM ITS ROLL OF ATTORNEYS IS
duly supported by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, VALID.
Cagayan Chapter and by his former and present
colleagues. His parish priest certified that he is faithful to
and puts to actual practice the doctrines of the Catholic HELD:
Church. He was also observed to be a regular churchgoer. 1. To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated
Records further revealed that respondent had already Bar is not violative of Edillon’s constitutional freedom to
settled his previous marital squabbles, as in fact, no associate. Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to
opposition to the instant suit was tendered by associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not attend
complainant. He sends regular support to his children in the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or
compliance with the Court’s directive. refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only
compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of
annual dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further the
While the Court is ever mindful of its duty to discipline
State’s legitimate interest in elevating the quality of
and even remove its errant officers, concomitant to it is its
professional legal services, may require that the cost of
duty to show compassion to those who have reformed
improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the
their ways, as in this case.
subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program —
the lawyers.
After 8 years, he was reinstated to the practice of law.

IN RE: EDILLON (1978) But, assuming that the questioned provision does in a
sense compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated
Legal Ethics | IBP Dues| Delinquency| Disbarment| Bar, such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the
Practice of Law| Privileges police power of the State.

FACTS: 2. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits the Court, to


The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice
practicing attorney in the Philippines. On November of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article
1975, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) X, Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) — from requiring
unanimously recommended to the Court the removal of members of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to pay
the name of Edillon from its Roll of Attorneys for a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of
“stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues” to the IBP regulation of the profession to which they belong. It is
notwithstanding multiple due notices sent to him. quite apparent that the fee is indeed imposed as a
regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying
out the objectives and purposes of integration.
ISSUES:
1. WHETHER THE COURT IS WITHOUT
POWER TO COMPEL HIM TO BECOME 3. Whether the practice of law is a property right, the
A MEMBER OF THE INTEGRATED BAR respondent’s right to practice law before the courts of this
OF THE PHILIPPINES. country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and
inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a
regulatory measure is recognize, then a penalty designed
2. WHETHER THE PROVISION OF THE to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided
COURT RULE REQUIRING PAYMENT altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or
OF A MEMBERSHIP FEE IS VOID. arbitrary.

3. WHETHER THE ENFORCEMENT OF But it must be emphasized that the practice of law is not
THE PENALTY PROVISIONS WOULD a property right but a mere privilege, and as such must
AMOUNT TO A DEPRIVAT ION OF bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact
PROPERTY WITHOUT DUE PROCESS compliance with the lawyer’s public responsibilities.
AND HENCE INFRINGES ON ONE OF
HIS CONST IT UT IONAL R IGHTS. 4. Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction
of the Supreme Court to strike the name of a lawyer from
4. WHETHER THE POWER OF SC TO its Roll of Attorneys, it is sufficient to state that the
ST RIK E THE NAME OF A LAWYER matters of admission, suspension, disbarment and
reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and
supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as
inherent judicial functions and responsibilities, and the 4. There is no possibility of imposition or deception
authorities holding such are legion. because the deaths of their respective deceased
partners were well-publicized in all newspapers
Respondent Marcial A. Edillon is disbarred, and his of general circulation for several days. The
name was ordered to be stricken from the Roll of stationeries now being used by them carry new
Attorneys of the Court. letterheads indicating the years when their
respective deceased partners were connected
with the firm. Petitioners will notify all leading
PETITION FOR AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE USE national and international law directories of the
OF THE FIRM NAME "SYCIP, SALAZAR, fact of their deceased partners' deaths.
FELICIANO, HERNANDEZ & CASTILLO" and IN 5. No local custom prohibits the continued use of
THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR a deceased partner's name in a professional firm's
AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE USE OF THE FIRM name. There is no Philippine custom or usage
NAME "OZAETA, ROMULO, DE LEON, that recognizes that the name of a law firm
MABANTA & REYES." identifies the firm’s individual members.
1979 / Melencio-Herrera / Obligations of partners with 6. The continued use of a deceased partner's name
regard to third persons > Partnership name in the firm name of law partnerships has been
consistently allowed by U.S. Courts and is an
Two firms ask that they be allowed to continue using the accepted practice in the legal profession of
names of their firms despite the fact that Attys. Sycip and most countries.
Ozaeta died.
ISSUE & HOLDING
PETITIONERS’ ARGUMENTS WON they may be allowed to continue using the current
1. Under the law, a partnership is not prohibited names of their firms. NO. Petitioners advised to drop the
from continuing its business under a firm name names SYCIP and OZAETA from their respective firm
that includes the name of a deceased partner. names. Names may be included in the listing of
NCC 1840 explicitly sanctions the practice. individuals who have been partners, indicating the years
The use by the person or partnership during which they served.
continuing the business of the
partnership name, or the name of a RATIO
deceased partner as part thereof, shall JURISPRUDENCE
not of itself make the individual property  The Deen case [1953] – Court advised the firm
of the deceased partner liable for any to desist from including in their firm designation
debts contracted by such person or the name of C. D. Johnston, who has long been
partnership. dead
2. In regulating other professions (accountancy  Register of Deeds of Manila v. China Banking
and engineering), the legislature has authorized Corporation [1958] – In this case, the law firm
the adoption of firm names without any of Perkins & Ponce Enrile moved to intervene as
restriction as to the use of the name of a amicus curiae. The Court in a Resolution stated
deceased partner. There is no fundamental that it "would like to be informed why the name
policy that is offended by the continued use by of Perkins is still being used although Atty. E. A.
a firm of professionals of a firm name, which Perkins is already dead." The Court advised the
includes the name of a deceased partner, at least firm to drop the name of E. A. Perkins from the
where such firm name has acquired the firm name, and ruled that no practice should be
characteristics of a "trade name." allowed which even in a remote degree could give
3. The Canons of Professional Ethics are not rise to the possibility of deception. Deen case
transgressed by the continued use of the name of cited in the ruling.
a deceased partner because Canon 33 of the
Canons of Professional Ethics adopted by the Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws
American Bar Association declares that: form part of the legal system. The Supreme Court in the
The continued use of the name of a Deen and Perkins cases laid down a legal rule against
deceased or former partner when which no custom or practice to the contrary, even if
permissible by local custom, is not proven, can prevail. This is not to speak of our civil law
unethical but care should be taken that no which clearly ordains that a partnership is dissolved by
imposition or deception is practiced the death of any partner. Custom which are contrary to
through this use.
law, public order or public policy shall not be partnership, not in a professional partnership consisting of
countenanced. lawyers.

The use in their partnership names of the names of ON ARGUMENT #2


deceased partners will run counter to NCC 1815. A partnership for the practice of law cannot be likened
Art. 1815. Every partnership shall operate under to partnerships formed by other professionals or for
a firm name, which may or may not include the business. The law on accountancy specifically allows the
name of one or more of the partners. Those who, use of a trade name in connection with the practice of
not being members of the partnership, include accountancy.
their names in the firm name shall be subject to A partnership for the practice of law is not a legal
the liability of a partner. entity. It is a mere relationship or association for a
particular purpose. It is not a partnership formed to carry
Names in a firm name of a partnership must either be on trade or business or of holding property. The use of a
those of living partners and in the case of non-partners, nom de plume, assumed or trade name in law practice is
should be living persons who can be subjected to improper.
liability. NCC 1825 prohibits a third person from
including his name in the firm name under pain of Primary characteristics which distinguish the legal
assuming the liability of a partner. profession from business
The heirs of a deceased partner in a law firm 1. A duty of public service, of which the emolument is
cannot be held liable as the old members to the creditors a byproduct, and in which one may attain the highest
of a firm particularly where they are non-lawyers. Canon eminence without making much money
34 of the Canons of Professional Ethics “prohibits an 2. A relation as an "officer of court" to the
agreement for the payment to the widow and heirs of a administration of justice involving thorough
deceased lawyer of a percentage, either gross or net, of the sincerity, integrity, and reliability
fees received from the future business of the deceased 3. A relation to clients in the highest degree fiduciary
lawyer's clients, both because the recipients of such 4. A relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by
division are not lawyers and because such payments will candor, fairness, and unwillingness to resort to
not represent service or responsibility on the part of the current business methods of advertising and
recipient.” Neither the widow nor the heirs can be held encroachment on their practice, or dealing directly
liable for transactions entered into after the death of their with their clients
lawyer-predecessor. There being no benefits accruing,
there can be no corresponding liability. The right to practice law does not only presuppose in its
The public relations value of the use of an old possessor integrity, legal standing and attainment, but
firm name can tend to create undue advantages and also the exercise of a special privilege, highly personal
disadvantages in the practice of the profession. An able and partaking of the nature of a public trust.
lawyer without connections will have to make a name for
himself starting from scratch. Another able lawyer, who ON ARGUMENT #3
can join an old firm, can initially ride on that old firm's Canon 33 does not consider as unethical the continued
reputation established by deceased partners. use of the name of a deceased or former partner when such
a practice is permissible by local custom, but the Canon
ON ARGUMENT #1 warns that care should be taken that no imposition or
NCC 1840 is within Chapter 3 of Title IX entitled deception is practiced.
"Dissolution and Winding Up." It primarily deals with In the Philippines, no local custom permits or
the exemption from liability in cases of a dissolved allows the continued use of a deceased or former
partnership, of the individual property of the deceased partner's name. Firm names, under our custom,
partner for debts contracted by the person or partnership, identify the more active and/or more senior members or
which continues the business using the partnership name partners of the law firm.
or the name of the deceased partner as part thereof. What The possibility of deception upon the public, real
the law contemplates therein is a hold-over situation or consequential, where the name of a deceased partner
preparatory to formal reorganization. continues to be used cannot be ruled out. A person in
Secondly, NCC 1840 treats more of a search of legal counsel might be guided by the familiar
commercial partnership with a good will to protect ring of a distinguished name appearing in a firm title.
rather than of a professional partnership [with no
saleable goodwill but whose reputation depends on the ON ARGUMENT #6
personal qualifications of its individual members]. A U.S. Courts have allowed the continued use of a
saleable goodwill can exist only in a commercial deceased partner's name because it is sanctioned by
custom. Not so in this jurisdiction where there is no ROBERTO SORIANO VS. ATTY. MANUEL
local custom that sanctions the practice. DIZON
Custom has been defined as a rule of conduct
formed by repetition of acts, uniformly observed FACTS:
(practiced) as a social rule, legally binding and obligatory.
Atty. Manuel Dizon was driving his car under the
Courts take no judicial notice of custom. A custom must
be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence. A influence of liquor when along Abanao Street, Baguio
local custom as a source of right cannot be considered by City, a taxi driver overtook him. Incensed, Dizon tailed
a court of justice unless such custom is properly the taxi, pulled it over, and berated Roberto Soriano, the
established by competent evidence like any other fact. taxi driver, and held him by his shirt. To stop the
Merely because something is done as a matter of practice aggression, Soriano forced open his door, causing Dizon
does not mean that Courts can rely on the same for to fall to the ground. Soriano tried to help Dizon get up,
purposes of adjudication as a juridical custom. Juridical but the latter was about to punch him so Soriano punched
custom must be differentiated from social custom. The Dizon first to fend off an impending attack. Soriano
former can supplement statutory law or be applied in the prevented another attempt by Dizon to hit him. Dizon
absence of such statute. Not so with the latter. went back to his car and got his revolver with the handle
wrapped in a handkerchief. As Soriano was handing
The practice of law is related to the administration of
Dizon’s eyeglasses, which he just picked up from the
justice and should not be considered like an ordinary
pavement, Dizon fired and shot him. Soriano fell on the
"money-making trade." Petitioners' desire to preserve
the identity of their firms in the eyes of the public must thigh of the accused, and the latter merely pushed him out
bow to legal and ethical impediment. and sped off. The bullet hit Soriano’s neck and lacerated
his carotid artery. According to the doctors who treated
Petitions DENIED him, he would have died if not for the timely medical
assistance. Soriano sustained spinal cord injury causing
CONCURRENCE OF J. FERNANDO the left side of his body to be paralyzed, disabling him for
It is out of delicadeza that the undersigned did not his job as a taxi driver.
participate in the disposition of these petitions. Sycip
Salazar started with partnership of Quisumbing, Sycip, Dizon was eventually convicted for frustrated homicide
and Quisumbing, the senior partner, the late Ramon but was allowed probation, conditioned on payment of
Quisumbing, being the father-in-law of the undersigned, civil liabilities. However, four years after judgment was
and the most junior partner then, Norberto J. Quisumbing, rendered, Dizon has not yet fulfilled his civil obligation.
being his brother- in-law.
Soriano filed complaint before the Commission on Bar
DISSENT OF J. AQUINO Discipline of the IBP for Dizon’s disbarment. The
The petition may be granted with the condition that it be Commissioner of the CBD recommended that respondent
indicated in the letterheads of the two firms (as the case be disbarred for having been convicted of a crime
may be) that A. Sycip, former J. Ozaeta and H. Ozaeta are involving moral turpitude and for violating Rule. 1.01 of
dead or the period when they served as partners should be Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The
stated therein. IBP adopted the recommendation of the CBD and sent
The purpose of the two firms in continuing the their resolution to the Supreme Court for review.
use of the names of their deceased founders is to retain the
clients who had customarily sought the legal services of
Attys. Sycip and Ozaeta and to benefit from the goodwill
attached to the names of those respected and esteemed law ISSUES:
practitioners. That is a legitimate motivation. The
1. Whether or not the crime of frustrated homicide
retention of their names is not illegal per se.
committed by Atty. Dizon involved moral
turpitude.
DATU…… CASE – NONE 2. Whether or not Atty. Dizon’s guilt warrants his
disbarment.

HELD:
1. The Supreme Court agreed with the findings of
the CBD that the crime of frustrated homicide
committed by Atty. Dizon involved moral
turpitude. The court defined moral turpitude as
The court ruled that the appalling treachery and
“everything which is done contrary to justice,
brazen dishonesty of respondent clearly showed
modesty, or good morals; an act of baseness, his unfitness to continue as a member of the bar.
vileness or depravity in the private and social Membership in the legal profession is a privilege
duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to demanding a high degree of good moral
society in general, contrary to justice, honesty, character, which is not only a condition precedent
modesty, or good morals.” Moral turpitude was to admission, but also a continuing requirement
shown when Atty. Dizon shot a taxi driver for no for the practice of law. While the power to disbar
justifiable reason. His act definitely did not must be exercised with great caution, and that
constitute self-defense. It was he who was the disbarment should never be decreed when any
aggressor because he first tried to punch Soriano. lesser penalty would accomplish the end desired,
The latter was merely defending himself when he the court held that meting out a lesser penalty
counterpunched Dizon. Moreover, Dizon’s act would be irreconcilable with the lofty
was aggravated with treachery when he shot aspiration that every lawyer be a shining
Soriano when the latter was not in a position to exemplar of truth and justice. Atty. Dizon was
disbarred.
defend himself. Soriano was handing Dizon’s
eyeglasses, which he just picked up, when he was
shot. Furthermore, Dizon tried to escape
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR
punishment by wrapping the handle of his gun in
DISBARMENT OF TELESFORO A. DIAO vs.
handkerchief in order not to leave fingerprints on
SEVERINO G. MARTINEZ
the gun used. Dizon’s violent reaction to a simple
traffic incident indicated his skewed morals. A.C. No. 244, 29 March 1963 (BENGZON, C.J.)

FACTS:
2. The Supreme Court held that Dizon also violated
Canon 1 of the Code of Professional After successfully passing the corresponding
Responsibility, which provides that “A lawyer examinations held in 1953, Telesforo A. Diao was
shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the admitted to the Bar.
land and promote respect for law and legal About two years later, Severino Martinez
processes.” Dizon failed to obey the laws of the charged him with having falsely represented in his
land through his illegal possession of an application for such Bar examination, that he had the
unlicensed firearm. He failed to respect legal requisite academic qualifications.
processes through his unjust refusal to satisfy his
civil liabilities, the condition for his probation. Solicitor General investigated and recommended
that Diao's name be erased from the roll of attorneys
Dizon also violated Rule 1.01 of the Code of because Diao had not completed, before taking up law
Professional Responsibility, which provides that subjects, the required pre-legal education prescribed by
“A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, the Department of Private Education, specially, in the
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.” following particulars:
Dizon’s violation was exhibited when he tried to
reach an out-of-court settlement with the family (a) Diao did not complete his high school
of Soriano but when the negotiations failed, he training; and
made it appear as if it was the family who (b) Diao never attended Quisumbing College, and
approached him to get a referral to
never obtained his A.A. diploma therefrom — which
a neurosurgeon. In addition, Dizon fabricated a
contradicts the credentials he had submitted in support of
story that it was Soriano and two other persons
his application for examination, and of his allegation
who mauled him. According to the three doctors
who examined Dizon, his injuries were so minor therein of successful completion of the "required pre-legal
that his allegation was so improbable. education".
Answering this official report and complaint, 5. An administrative proceeding was filed for his
Telesforo A. Diao, practically admits the first charge but disbarment along with Bar Confidant Lanuevo.
claims that although he had left high school in his third
year, he entered the service of the U.S. Army, passed the
General Classification Test given therein, which ISSUE:
according to him is equivalent to a high school diploma.
Whether or not Galang must be stricken off in the roll of
Upon return to civilian life, the educational attorneys for concealing his case of SPI.
authorities considered his army service as the equivalent
of 3rd and 4th year high school but he fails to exhibit any
certification to that effect by the proper school officials. DECISION: YES
1. Under Rule 127, Sec 2 every applicant is duty bound to
However, it is unnecessary to dwell on this, since lay before the Court all his involvement in any criminal
the second charge is clearly meritorious. Diao never case, pending or otherwise terminated, to enable the Court
obtained his A.A. from Quisumbing College; and yet his to fully ascertain or determine applicant's moral character.
application for examination represented him as an A.A.
graduate. Now, asserting he had obtained his A.A. title 2. As to what crime involves moral turpitude, is for the
from the Arellano University in April, 1949, he said he Supreme Court to determine. Hence, the necessity of
was erroneously certified, due to confusion, as a graduate laying before or informing the Court of one's personal
of Quisumbing College, in his school records. record — whether he was criminally indicted, acquitted,
convicted or the case dismissed or is still pending —
becomes more compelling.

IN RE: RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E.


GALANG, 1971 Bar Examinee, respondent. 3. In 1963 and 1964, when Galang took the Bar for the
second and third time, respectively, the application form
Topic: Requirements for application to the Bar – no filed provided by the Court for use of applicants already
or pending case of moral turpitude required the applicant to declare under oath that "he has
not been accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court
FACTS: or tribunal of any offense involving moral turpitude; and
1. The case is one of the consolidated cases in In re that there is no pending case of that nature against him."
Lanuevo.

2. Ramon E. Galang passed the 1971 bar examination but 4. By 1966, when Galang took the Bar examinations for
his exam papers were subjected to unauthorized re- the fourth time, the application form prepared by the
correction and re-evaluation by 5 examiners. Court for use of applicants required the applicant to reveal
all his criminal cases whether involving moral turpitude
or not. Yet, Galang continued to intentionally withhold or
3. An investigation by the NBI revealed conceal from the Court his criminal case of slight physical
injuries which was then and until now is pending in the
 that Ramon (Roman/Romy) was a student of City Court of Manila; and thereafter repeatedly omitted to
School of Law of MLQU;
make mention of the same in his applications to take the
 that in Sept 8, 1959, he was charged with the
Bar examinations in 1967, 1969 and 1971.
crime of slight physical injuries(SPI) of another
student of the same university;
 that in a 1973 hearing, he was confronted with 5. That the concealment of an attorney in his application
this information but declared he does not to take the Bar examinations of the fact that he had been
remember being charged with the same. charged with, or indicted for, an alleged crime, is a ground
for revocation of his license to practice law is well —
4. Victim was summoned and narrated the case and
settled.
identified Galang as the very same person charged with
SPI in that case.
6. Under the circumstances in which respondent Ramon
E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was allowed to take
the Bar examinations and the highly irregular manner in 75% in all subjects w/o falling below 50% in any
which he passed the Bar, WE have no other alternative subject, although for the past few exams the passing
but to order the surrender of his attorney's certificate and grades were changed depending on the strictness of the
the striking out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys. correcting of the bar examinations (1946- 72%, 1947-
69%, 1948- 70% 1949-74%, 1950-1953 – 75%).

ISSUE: Whether or not Diao should still continue his Believing themselves to be fully qualified to practice law
admission to the Bar despite his non-fulfillment of pre- as those reconsidered and passed by the S.C., and feeling
law requirements. that they have been discriminated against, unsuccessful
candidates who obtained averages of a few percentages
RULING: lower than those admitted to the bar went to congress for,
and secured in 1951 Senate Bill no. 12, but was vetoed by
No, the explanation of error or confusion is not the president after he was given advise adverse to it. Not
acceptable, for the reason that the "error" or "confusion" overriding the veto, the senate then approved senate bill
was obviously of his own making. Had his application no. 372 embodying substantially the provisions of the
disclosed his having obtained A.A. from Arellano vetoed bill. The bill then became law on June 21, 1953
University, it would also have disclosed that he got it in
April, 1949, thereby showing that he began his law studies Republic Act 972 has for its object, according to its
(2nd semester of 1948-1949) six months before obtaining author, to admit to the Bar those candidates who suffered
his Associate in Arts degree. from insufficiency of reading materials and inadequate
preparations. By and large, the law is contrary to public
Then, he would not have been permitted to take interest since it qualifies 1,094 law graduates who had
the bar tests because the rule provides that the Bar inadequate preparation for the practice of law profession,
applicant must affirm under oath, "That previous to the as evidenced by their failure in the exams.
study of law, he had successfully and satisfactorily
completed the required pre-legal education (A.A.). ISSUES OF THE CASE:

Therefore, Diao was not qualified to take the bar Due to the far reaching effects that this law would have
examinations. Such admission having been obtained on the legal profession and the administration of justice,
under false pretenses must be, and is hereby revoked. the S.C. would seek to know if it is
CONSTITUTIONAL.
Passing such examinations is not the only
 An adequate legal preparation is one of the vital
qualification to become an attorney-at-law; taking the
requisites for the practice of the law that should be
prescribed courses of legal study in the regular manner is
developed constantly and maintained firmly.
equally essential.
 The Judicial system from which ours has been derived,
The Clerk is, therefore, ordered to strike from the the act of admitting, suspending, disbarring, and
roll of attorneys, the name of Telesforo A. Diao. And the reinstating attorneys at law in the practice of the
latter is required to return his lawyer's diploma within profession is concededly judicial.
thirty days.  The Constitution, has not conferred on Congress
and the S.C. equal responsibilities concerning the
admission to the practice of law. The primary power
and responsibility which the constitution recognizes
IN RE: CUNANAN continue to reside in this court.
FACTS OF THE CASE:  Its retroactivity is invalid in such a way, that what the
In the manner of the petitions for Admission to the Bar of law seeks to “cure” are not the rules set in place by the
unsuccessful candidates of 1946 to 1953; Albino Cunanan S.C. but the lack of will or the defect in judgment of the
et. al petitioners. court, and this power is not included in the power granted
by the Const. to Congress, it lies exclusively w/in the
In recent years few controversial issues have aroused so judiciary.
much public interest and concern as R.A. 972 popularly  Reasons for UNCONSTITUTIONALITY:
known as the “Bar Flunkers’ Act of 1953.” Generally a 1. There was a manifest encroachment on the
candidate is deemed passed if he obtains a general ave of constitutional responsibility of the Supreme Court.
2. It is in effect a judgment revoking the resolution of the the reconsideration of their grades without, however,
court, and only the S.C. may revise or alter them, in invoking the law in question. To avoid injustice to
attempting to do so R.A. 972 violated the Constitution. individual petitioners, the court first reviewed the motions
3. That congress has exceeded its power to repeal, alter, for reconsideration, irrespective of whether or not they
and supplement the rules on admission to the bar had invoked Republic Act No. 972.
(since the rules made by congress must elevate the
profession, and those rules promulgated are considered Issue:
the bare minimum.)
4. It is a class legislation WON RA No. 972 is constitutional and valid? NO
5. Art. 2 of R.A. 972 is not embraced in the title of the
Held:
law, contrary to what the constitution enjoins, and being
inseparable from the provisions of art. 1, the entire law is
RA No. 972 has for its object, according to its author, to
void.
admit to the Bar, those candidates who suffered from
insufficiency of reading materials and inadequate
HELD: preparation.

Under the authority of the court: In the judicial system from which ours has been evolved,
the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement
of attorneys at law in the practice of the profession and
1. That the portion of art. 1 of R.A. 972 referring to the
their supervision have been indisputably a judicial
examinations of 1946 to 1952 and all of art. 2 of the said function and responsibility. We have said that in the
law are unconstitutional and therefore void and w/o force judicial system from which ours has been derived, the
and effect. admission, suspension, disbarment or reinstatement of
2. The part of ART 1 that refers to the examinations attorneys at law in the practice of the profession is
subsequent to the approval of the law (1953- 1955) is concededly judicial.
valid and shall continue in force. (those petitions by the
candidates who failed the bar from 1946 to 1952 are The power of admitting an attorney to practice having
denied, and all the candidates who in the examination of been perpetually exercised by the courts, it having been
1953 obtained a GEN Ave. of 71.5% w/o getting a grade so generally held that the act of the court in admitting an
of below 50% in any subject are considered as having attorney to practice is the judgment of the court, and an
passed whether they have filed petitions for admissions or attempt as this on the part of the Legislature to confer such
not.) right upon any one being most exceedingly uncommon, it
seems clear that the licensing of an attorney is and always
16 07 2010
has been a purely judicial function, no matter where the
power to determine the qualifications may reside.
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITIONS FOR
ADMISSION TO THE BAR OF UNSUCCESSFUL
On this matter, there is certainly a clear distinction
CANDIDATES OF 1946 TO 1953; ALBINO
between the functions of the judicial and legislative
CUNANAN
departments of the government.
Resolution March 18, 1954
It is obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to grant
Facts:
license for the practice of law belongs exclusively to this
Court, and the law passed by Congress on the matter is of
Congress passed Republic Act Number 972, commonly permissive character, or as other authorities may say,
known as the “Bar Flunkers’ Act of 1953.” In accordance merely to fix the minimum conditions for the license.
with the said law, the Supreme Court then passed and
admitted to the bar those candidates who had obtained an
average of 72 per cent by raising it to 75 percent.

After its approval, many of the unsuccessful postwar


candidates filed petitions for admission to the bar
invoking its provisions, while other motions for the
revision of their examination papers were still pending
also invoked the aforesaid law as an additional ground for
admission. There are also others who have sought simply
PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF FREE LABOR old, that he was eligible for 3rd year high school by
UNIONS (PAFLU), ENRIQUE ENTILA AND utilizing the school records of his cousin and name-sake,
VICTORIANO TENAZAS VS. BINALBAGAN Juan M. Publico.
ISABELA SUGAR COMPANY, COURT OF ii. PUBLICO has not completed Grade 4
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND QUINTIN iii. Tapel instituted an administrative case against his
MUNING nephew for falsification of school records or credentials.
3. PUBLICO PASSED THE BAR, took the lawyer's oath,
FACTS: and signed the Roll of Attorneys.
1. COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ORDERED 4. Legal Officer-Investigator, Ricardo Paras, Jr.,
REINSTATEMENT WITH BACKWAGES FOR investigated and reported:
ENTILA AND TENAZAS. 1. September 1961, Dulcisimo Tapel dropped the complaint
1. Cipriano Cid & Associates, counsel of Entila and Tenazas on the ground that his witnesses had turned hostile.
filed a notice of attorney's lien equivalent to 30% of the i. Motion denied, his witnesses had already
total backwages. testified.
i. Entila and Tenazas filed manifestation indicating 2. Recommended PUBLICO’s name to be stricken off the
their non-objection to an award of attorney's fees for 25% roll of attorneys.
of their backwages i. Respondent falsified his school records
ii. Quentin Muning filed a "Petition for the Award ii. Thereby violating the provisions of Sections 5
of Services Rendered" equivalent to 20% of the and 6, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court, which require
backwages. completion by a bar examinee or candidate of the
1. Opposed by Cipriano Cid & Associates the ground that he prescribed courses in elementary, high, pre-law and law
is not a lawyer. school, prior to his admission to the practice of law.
a. Court of Industrial Relations awarded 25% of the 5. 11 years later, PUBLICO filed a Petition for
backwages as compensation for professional services Reinstatement alleging that he had never received, for had
rendered in the case, apportioned as follows: he been informed, nor did he have any knowledge of the
i. Cipriano 10% Resolution of the Court ordering the Bar Division to strike
ii. Quintin Muning 10% his name from the Roll of Attorneys.
iii. Atanacio Pacis 5% 1. He was advised to inquire into the outcome of the
disbarment case against him.
iii. CANON 34: condemns an agreement providing 2. He resigned from all his positions in public and private
for the division of attorney's fees, whereby a non-lawyer offices, and transferred to Manila.
union president is allowed to share in said fees with 3. Prayed that Court allow reinstatement taking into
lawyers consideration his exemplary conduct from the time he
1. Sec 5(b) of RA 875 that —No justification for a ruling, became a lawyer, his services to the community the
that the person representing the party-litigant in the Court numerous awards, resolutions and/'or commendations he
of Industrial Relations, even if he is not a lawyer, is received,
entitled to attorney's fees i. Court denied the Petition.
a. Duty and obligation of the Court or Hearing Officer to ii. Petitioner moved for reconsideration was denied
examine and cross examine witnesses on behalf of the by the Court for lack of merit.
parties and to assist in the orderly presentation of 4. 5th plea avers that his enrollment in Third Year High
evidence. School in Manila was through the initiative of his uncle,
b. Representation should be exclusively entrusted to duly Dulcisimo B. Tapel who accompanied him to school and
qualified members of the bar. enrolled him in a grade level above his qualifications in
2. The permission for a non-member does not entitle the spite of his demonstrations
representative to compensation for such representation. i. Misrepresentation committed was precipitated
1. Sec 24, Rule 138 Compensation of attorney's agreement by his uncle; that being merely 16 year old, he could not
as to fees: be expected to act with discernment as he was still under
i. An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover the influence of his uncle, who later on caused his
from his client no more than a reasonable compensation disbarment
for his services. ii. No opposition has been filed to any of the
petitions.
a. Petition to take the Bar Exam in 1960 after failing in the
1959 Bar Examination. ISSUE:
b. His uncle, TAPEL, opposed the petition alleging that his May a non-lawyer recover attorney's fees for legal
nephew is not a person of good moral character for having services rendered?
misrepresented, sometime in 1950, when he was 16 years
The award of 10% to Quintin Muning who is not a lawyer PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS SIMPLICIO
according to the order, is sought to be voided in the VILLANUEVA
present petition.

WON a union may appeal an award of attorney's fees 14 SCRA 109 – Legal Ethics – Practice of Law – Isolated
which are deductible from the backpay of some of its Appearance
members. YES. In 1959, Villanueva was charged with Malicious Mischief
It was PAFLU that moved for an extension of in the municipality of Alaminos in Laguna. In said case,
time to file the present petition for review; union members the private offended party asked his lawyer friend, Ariston
Entila and Tenazas did not ask for extension but they were Fule to prosecute said case. Apparently, Fule was the
included as petitioners in the present petition. Their fiscal in San Pablo, Laguna. Villanueva the opposed the
inclusion in the petition as co-petitioners was belated. appearance of Fule as counsel for the offended party as he
said that according to the Rules of Court when an attorney
HELD: had been appointed to the position of Assistant Provincial
ORDERS UNDER REVIEW ARE SET ASIDE AS Fiscal or City Fiscal and therein qualified, by operation of
THEY ARE AWARDED 10% OF BACKWAGES AS law, he ceased to engage in private law practice.
ATTORNEY’S FEES FOR MUNING. COSTS
ISSUE: Whether or not Ariston Fule is engaged in private
AGAINST MUNING.
law practice.
1. Lawyer-client relationship is only possible if one is a
lawyer. Since respondent Muning is not one, he cannot HELD: No. Private practice of law implies that one must
establish an attorney-client relationship with Enrique have presented himself to be in the active and continued
Entila and Victorino Tenezas or with PAFLU, and he practice of the legal profession and that his professional
cannot, therefore, recover attorney's fees. services are available to the public for a compensation, as
2. Public policy demands that legal work in representation a source of his livelihood or in consideration of his said
of parties litigant should be entrusted only to those services. In the case at bar, Fule is not being compensated
possessing tested qualifications, for the ethics of the but rather he’s doing it for free for his friend who
profession and for the protection of courts, clients and the happened to be the offended party. Practice is more than
public. an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or
3. The reasons are that the ethics of the legal profession customary actions, a succession of acts of the same kind.
should not be violated: In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise. Further,
1. Acting as an attorney with authority constitutes contempt the fact that the Secretary of Justice approved Fule’s
of court, which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or appearance for his friend should be given credence.
both,
2. Law will not assist a person to reap the fruits or benefit of
SANDY DOMINGO VS ATTY RUBIO CASE –
an act or an act done in violation of law
3. If were to be allowed to non-lawyers, it would leave the
NONE
public in hopeless confusion as to whom to consult in case
of necessity and also leave the bar in a chaotic condition,
aside from the fact that non-lawyers are not amenable to
disciplinary measures. ATTY. MELVIN D.C. MANE v. JUDGE
4. In response to UNION may appeal an award of attorney's MEDEL ARNALDO B. BELEN
fees which are deductible from the backpay of some of its
members: A.M. No. RTJ-08-2119, 30 June 2008
1. YES because such union or labor organization is
permitted to institute an action in the industrial court on An alumnus of a particular law school has no monopoly
behalf of its members of knowledge of the law.
2. If an award is disadvantageous to its members, the union
may prosecute an appeal as an aggrieved party, under Sec Petitioner Atty. Melvin D.C. Mane filed a letter-
6, RA 875: complaint to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA)
i. Sec. 6. Unfair Labor Practice cases — Appeals. charging respondent Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen of
— Any person aggrieved by any order of the Court may ―demeaning, humilating, and berating‖ him during a
appeal to the Supreme Court of the Philippines. hearing of Rural Bank of Cabuyao, Inc. v. Samue
3. Usually, individual unionist is not in a position to bear the Malabanan, et al. where Mane was counsel for the
financial burden of litigations. plaintiff. During the proceedings, Belen asked Mane
about the latter’s law school. When Mane answered that
he came from Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU),
Belen told him: ―Then you’re not from UP. Then you
cannot equate yourself to me because there is a saying and “Atty. Patrick A. Caronan” before the Integrated Bar of
I know this, not all law students are created equal, not all
the Philippines. In his complaint, he stated that he and his
law schools are created equal, not all lawyers are created
equal despite what the Supreme Being that we all are older brother both completed secondary education at the
created equal in His form and substance.‖
Makati High School and that he finished his college
Belen further lambasted Mane and lectured him on the education at the University of Makati. Thereafter, he
latter’s person, seemingly disregarding the case at hand. applied and got a job at a 7-11 convenience store in
Subsequently, the OCA, upon evaluation, found that
Belen’s insulting remarks were unwarranted and Muntinlupa City, working his way up until he was
inexcusable and recommended a reprimand of Belen. promoted as its store manager. On the other hand, his
ISSUE: brother enrolled at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng
Maynila and later managed to enter the Philippine
Whether or not the statements and actions made by Judge
Belen during the hearing constitute conduct unbecoming Military Academy in Baguio City but was discharged in
of a judge and a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct 1993. The respondent Richard then moved to Nueva
Vizcaya with his wife and three children.
HELD:

The Court held that an alumnus of a particular law school Patrick said he learned from Richard that he had
has no monopoly of knowledge of the law. By hurdling enrolled at St. Mary’s University’s College of Law in
the Bar Examinations which the Court administers, taking
of the Lawyer’s oath, and signing of the Roll of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya using Patrick’s name and
Attorneys, a lawyer is presumed to be competent to college records from the UM and that he passed the Bar
discharge his functions and duties as, inter alia an officer
of the court, irrespective of where he obtained his law exams in 2004.
degree. For a judge to determine the fitness
or competence of a lawyer primarily on his alma mater is But in 2009, he said he was ordered to report to
clearly an engagement in an argumentum ad hominem. the head office of Philippine Seven Corporation, operator

A judge must address the merits of the case and not the of 7-11, which informed him that the National Bureau of
person of the counsel. If Judge Belen felt that his integrity Investigation had requested his appearance in relation to
and dignity were being ―assaulted,‖ he acted properly
when he directed complainant to explain why he should its investigation of a certain “Atty. Patrick A. Caronan”
not be cited for contempt. He went out of bounds, for qualified theft and estafa. Aside from using his name,
however, when he engaged on a supercilious legal and
personal discourse. Patrick said he also learned that his brother was also
facing charges for gun-running and violation of Batas
The Court reminded members of the bench that even on
Pambansa 22 (Bouncing Checks Law).
the face of boorish behavior from those they deal with,
they ought to conduct themselves in a manner befitting
gentlemen and high officers of the court. The respondent Richard denied the allegations
but the SC said that the identity of the real “Patrick A.
PATRICK A. CARONAN v. RICHARD A.
Caronan” had been established based on the probe
CARONAN a.k.a. “ATTY. PATRICK A.
conducted by the IBP.
CARONAN”
ISSUE:
A.C. No. 11316, 12 July 2016, EN BANC (Sereno, CJ)
Whether or not the IBP erred in ordering that: (a) the name
FACTS:
“Patrick A. Caronan” be stricken off the Roll of
On 2013, a complaint was filed by the real Patrick Attorneys; and (b) the name “Richard A. Caronan” be
A. Caronan against his brother Richard A. Caronan a.k.a. barred from being admitted to the Bar.
HELD: from being admitted as a member of the Philippine Bar in
the future; ( 4) the Identification Cards issued by the
No. The Court finds no cogent reason to disturb
Integrated Bar of the Philippines to respondent under the
the findings and recommendations of the IBP. Since
name "Atty. Patrick A. Caronan" and the Mandatory
complainant - the real "Patrick A. Caronan" - never took
Continuing Legal Education Certificates issued in such
the Bar Examinations, the IBP correctly recommended
name are CANCELLED and/or REVOKED; and (5) the
that the name "Patrick A. Caronan" be stricken off the
Office of the Court Administrator is ordered to
Roll of Attorneys.
CIRCULATE notices and POST in the bulletin boards of
The IBP was also correct in ordering that all courts of the country a photograph of respondent with
respondent, whose real name is "Richard A. Caronan," be his real name, " Richard A. Caronan," with a warning that
barred from admission to the Bar. Under Section 6, Rule he is not a member of the Philippine Bar and a statement
138 of the Rules of Court, no applicant for admission to of his false assumption of the name and identity of
the Bar Examination shall be admitted unless he had "Patrick A. Caronan.
pursued and satisfactorily completed a pre-law course.
ENGEL PAUL ACA VS ATTY RONALDO
Clearly, respondent has not completed the requisite pre-
law degree. SALVADO – NONE

The respondent’s false assumption of his JIMENEZ VS FRANCISCO (2014)


brother's name, identity, and educational records renders
FACTS:
him unfit for admission to the Bar. The practice of law,
Atty. Edgar Francisco was the legal counsel of Mark
after all, is not a natural, absolute or constitutional right to Jimenez. What happened was Mark Jimenez filed a
be granted to everyone who demands it. Rather, it is a complaint for estafa against Caroline Jimenez
(complainant) and several others. Jimenez alleged that he
privilege limited to citizens of good moral character. was the true and beneficial owner of the shares of stock in
Respondent made a mockery of the legal profession by Clarion Realty and Development Corporation, which was
incorporated specifically for the purpose of purchasing a
pretending to have the necessary qualifications to be a residential house located in Forbes Park, Makati. In order
lawyer. to achieve its purpose of purchasing the Forbes property,
Clarion simulated a loan from the complainant in the
amount of P80,750,000.00. Thereafter, Clarion purchased
WHEREFORE, respondent Richard A. Caronan
the Forbes property in the amount of P117,000,000.00
a.k.a. "Atty. Patrick A. Caronan" (respondent) is found from Gerardo Contreras. To effect the sale, Myla handed
a check in the said amount which was funded entirely by
GUILTY of falsely assuming the name, identity, and
Jimenez. The sale, however, was undervalued. In the deed
academic records of complainant Patrick A. Caronan to of sale, it was made to appear that the Forbes property was
purchased for P78,000,000.00 only. Further, the money
obtain a law degree and take the Bar Examinations.
used as the purchase price was not reflected in the books
Accordingly, without prejudice to the filing of appropriate of Clarion.
civil and/or criminal cases, the Court hereby resolves that: Caroline (complainant) was shocked with the complaint.
(1) the name "Patrick A. Caronan" with Roll of Attorneys More so, she felt betrayed by Atty. Francisco who helped
Jimenez filed the estafa case. So, Caroline filed a
No. 49069 is ordered DROPPED and STRICKEN OFF complaint against Atty. Francisco for multiple violations
the Roll of Attorneys; (2) respondent is PROHIBITED of the Code of Professional responsibility before the
Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD). Caroline claimed
from engaging in the practice of law or making any that Atty. F represented conflicting interests. According
representations as a lawyer; (3) respondent is BARRED to her, she usually conferred with Atty. Francisco
regarding the legal implications of Clarion’s transactions.
More significantly, the principal documents relative to the Time and again, the Court has reminded lawyers that their
sale and transfer of Clarion’s property were all prepared support for the cause of their clients should never be
and drafted by Atty. Francisco or the members of his law attained at the expense of truth and justice. While a lawyer
office. owes absolute fidelity to the cause of his client, full
devotion to his genuine interest, and warm zeal in the
In his defense, Atty. F denied that he was ever the maintenance and defense of his rights, as well as the
personal lawyer of Caroline. He admitted that he acted as exertion of his utmost learning and ability, he must do so
legal counsel of Clarion, but then again, the corporation only within the bounds of the law.
has a personality separate from that of Caroline. He also
said that he helped Caroline under the impression that it The rule on conflict of interests presupposes a lawyer-
was what Jimenez would have wanted. client relationship. But here, there was no proof of such
lawyer-client relationship.
The CBD sided with Caroline and recommended that
Atty. F be suspended from the practice of law for one Elements of lawyer-client privilege: (1) There exists an
year. This was upheld by the IBP. attorney-client relationship, or a prospective attorney-
client relationship, and it is by reason of this relationship
Issue: Whether or not Atty. F was guilty of violations of that the client made the communication; (2) The client
the CPR. made the communication in confidence. (3) The legal
Held: Canon 1 and Rule 1.0 was violated, but he was not advice must be sought from the attorney in his
guilty of representing conflicting interests. professional capacity.

CANON 1 – A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE Considering these factors in the case at bench, the Court
CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND holds that the evidence on record fails to demonstrate the
AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL claims of complainant. As discussed, the complainant
PROCESSES. Rule 1.0 – A lawyer shall not engage in failed to establish the professional relationship between
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. her and Atty. Francisco. The records are further bereft of
any indication that the "advice" regarding the sale of the
In the facts obtaining in this case, Atty. Francisco clearly Forbes property was given to Atty. Francisco in
violated the canons and his sworn duty. He is guilty of confidence. Neither was there a demonstration of what
engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct when he she had communicated to Atty. Francisco nor a recital of
admitted to having allowed his corporate client, Clarion, circumstances under which the confidential
to actively misrepresent to the SEC, the significant communication was relayed. All that complaint alleged in
matters regarding its corporate purpose and subsequently, her complainant was that "she sought legal advice from
its corporate shareholdings. In the documents submitted respondent in various occasions." Considering that
to the SEC, such as the deeds of assignment and the GIS, complainant failed to attend the hearings at the IBP, there
Atty. Francisco, in his professional capacity, feigned the was no testimony as to the specific confidential
validity of these transfers of shares, making it appear that information allegedly divulged by Atty. Francisco
these were done for consideration when, in fact, the said without her consent. It is, therefore, difficult, if not
transactions were fictitious, albeit upon the alleged orders impossible, to determine if there was any violation of the
of Jimenez. The Investigating Commissioner was correct rule on privileged communication. As held in Mercado,
in pointing out that this ran counter to the deeds of such confidential information is a crucial link in
assignment which he executed as corporate counsel. In his establishing a breach of the rule on privileged
long practice as corporate counsel, it is indeed safe to communication between attorney and client. It is not
assume that Atty. Francisco is knowledgeable in the law enough to merely assert the attorney-client privilege.30 It
on contracts, corporation law and the rules enforced by cannot be gainsaid then that complainant, who has the
the SEC. As corporate secretary of Clarion, it was his duty burden of proving that the privilege applies, failed in this
and obligation to register valid transfers of stocks. regard.
Nonetheless, he chose to advance the interests of his
clientele with patent disregard of his duties as a lawyer.
Worse, Atty. Francisco admitted to have simulated the
loan entered into by Clarion and to have undervalued the
consideration of the effected sale of the Forbes property.
He permitted this fraudulent ruse to cheat the government
of taxes. Unquestionably, therefore, Atty. Francisco
participated in a series of grave legal infractions and was
content to have granted the requests of the persons
involved.
NILO B. DIONGZON vs. ATTY. WILLIAM ISSUE:
MIRANO
Was there an attorney-client relationship established
A.C. No. 2404, August 17, 2016
between the complainant Diongzon and Atty. Mirano that
Facts: would make the latter guilty of representing conflict of
interest?
In 1979 complainant Diongzon, a businessman engaged
in the fishing industry in Bacolod City, Negros RULING:
Occidental, retained respondent Atty. Mirano as his legal
counsel to represent him as the plaintiff in a civil case then YES.
pending in the City Court of Bacolod City.
The lawyer-client relationship begins from the moment a
In November 1981, the complainant again retained the
client seeks the lawyer's advice upon a legal concern. The
respondent as his lawyer in relation to the execution of
two deeds of sale covering the boats the former was seeking may be for consultation on transactions or other
selling to Spouses Almanzur and Milagros Gonzales legal concerns, or for representation of the client in an
(Gonzaleses). actual case in the courts or other fora. From that moment
on, the lawyer is bound to respect the relationship and to
In January 1982, the parties herein signed a retainer maintain the trust and confidence of his client. No written
contract for legal services that covered legal agreement is necessary to generate a lawyer-client
representation in cases and transactions involving the
relationship, but in formalizing it, the lawyer may present
fishing business of complainant Diongzon.
a retainer agreement to be considered and agreed to by the
In February 1982, the Gonzaleses sued Diongzon for client. As with all contracts, the agreement must contain
replevin and damages, and sought the annulment of the all the terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties.
aforementioned deeds of sale. They were represented by
Atty. Romeo Flora, the associate of respondent Atty. In this case, the respondent presented such a retainer
Mirano in his law office. contract to the complainant, the terms of which are stated
It appears that the respondent Atty. Mirano eventually below:
entered his appearance as the counsel for the Gonzaleses
against Diongzon. Therefore, Diongzon initiated this The CLIENT retains and employs the ATTORNEY to
administrative complaint for disbarment against the take charge of the legal matters of the former in
respondent by verified letter-complaint. connection with his fishing business, and the attorney
accepts such retainer and employment subject to the
The respondent stated that Diongzon had been his client
following terms and conditions, to wit:
in a different civil case; that Diongzon had never
consulted him upon any other legal matter; that Diongzon
1. That the term of this contract shall be for two "2" years
had only presented the deeds of sale prepared by another
lawyer because he had not been contented with the terms beginning February, 1982 but is deemed automatically
thereof; that he had not been Diongzon's retained counsel renewed for the same period if not terminated by both
because the retainer agreement did not take effect; that he parties by virtue of an agreement to that effect and signed
had returned the amount paid to him by Diongzon; that he by them;
had appeared for the Gonzaleses only after their evidence
against Diongzon had been presented. 2. That the compensation to be paid by the client for the
services of the attorney, shall be three hundred pesos
The complaint was referred to the IBP for investigation.
(P300.00) a month;
The IBP Board of Governors finally recommended that
the respondent be held guilty of conflict of interest for
3. That the attorney may be consulted at all times by
appearing as the counsel for the "opponents of Diongzon
with whom he had an existing lawyer-client relationship, CLIENT on all business requiring his professional advice
a gross violation of his ethical duties as an attorney. and opinion and when the ATTORNEY gives a written
opinion, a copy shall be sent to the CLIENT;

4. That the duties of the attorney in this retainer contract


shall include consultations, opinions, legal advices,
preparations and drafting of contracts and other legal turned out that Agtang had legal relationships with Tierrar
papers, and other legal works, in connection with the Realty.
business of the CLIENT, except those cases involving Hence, Foster filed a complaint against Agtang
trials in court, which if they are entrusted to the with the Commission of Bar Discipline (CBD) which
ATTORNEY, shall be subject to a new agreement; found Agtang guilty of ethical impropriety and
recommended his suspension from the practice of law for
The lawyer-client relationship between the parties was one (1) year. The IBP-BOG reduced the one-year
duly established beginning in 1979 and lasted until 1982. suspension to three months.
The respondent's claim that he returned the retainer fee Issue: Whether or not Agtang violated the CPR.
did not alter the juridical existence of their lawyer-client
Held: Yes. Rule 1.0, Canon 1 of the CPR, provides that
relationship. When the complainant consulted him on the “[a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
sale of the boats to the Gonzaleses, the respondent immoral or deceitful conduct.” It is well-established that
reviewed the contracts of sale in the capacity of the a lawyer’s conduct is “not confined to the performance of
complainant's lawyer, and even notarized the same. He his professional duties. A lawyer may be disciplined for
became aware of the details of the sale by virtue of the misconduct committed either in his professional or
confidentiality generated by his lawyer-client relationship private capacity. The test is whether his conduct shows
him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity,
with the complainant.
and good demeanor, or whether it renders him unworthy
to continue as an officer of the court.” In this case,
A conflict of interest exists when a lawyer represents respondent is guilty of engaging in dishonest and deceitful
inconsistent interests of two opposing parties, like when conduct, both in his professional and private capacity. As
the lawyer performs an act that will injuriously affect his a lawyer, he clearly misled complainant into believing
first client in any matter in which he represented him, or that the filing fees for her case were worth more than the
when the lawyer uses any knowledge he previously prescribed amount in the rules, due to feigned reasons
acquired from his first client against the latter. such as the high value of the land involved and the extra
expenses to be incurred by court employees. In other
When he appeared in court for the benefit of the words, he resorted to overpricing, an act customarily
related to depravity and dishonesty. He demanded the
Gonzaleses to try the case against the complainant, the
amount of P150,000.00 as filing fee, when in truth, the
respondent unquestionably incurred a conflict of interest. same amounted only to P22,410.00. His defense that it
Having become privy to the terms of the sale subject of was complainant who suggested that amount deserves no
the civil case, the conflict of interest became unmitigated iota of credence. For one, it is highly improbable that
because the complainant had not expressly consented in complainant, who was then plagued with the rigors of
writing to his appearing in behalf of the Gonzaleses. It litigation, would propose such amount that would further
would have been more prudent for him to have excused burden her financial resources. Assuming that the
complainant was more than willing to shell out an
himself from representing either party in the civil case.
exorbitant amount just to initiate her complaint with the
trial court, still, respondent should not have accepted the
FOSTER VS AGTANG (2014) excessive amount. As a lawyer, he is not only expected to
be knowledgeable in the matter of filing fees, but he is
Facts:
likewise duty-bound to disclose to his client the actual
Complainant Erlinda Foster had a legal problem over amount due, consistent with the values of honesty and
a deed of sale she entered with Tierra Realty. Atty. Jaime good faith expected of all members of the legal
Agtang agreed to represent her as her counsel for the profession.
filing of the appropriate case in court, even though he was
Respondent’s unbecoming conduct towards
the one who notarized the deed of sale.
complainant did not stop here. Records reveal that he
In the course of being Foster’s lawyer, Agtang likewise violated Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the CPR, which
committed the following acts: (1) Borrowed money from states that “[a] lawyer shall not borrow money from his
Foster in the amount of P100,000 anp P220,000; (2) client unless the client’s interests are fully protected by
Misrepresented the amount (P150,000) of filing fee; (3) the nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither
Asked for P50,000 purportedly to be given to the judge as shall a lawyer lend money to a client except, when in the
a bribe; and (4) Failed to notify Foster that the case was interest of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses
dismissed in September 2010. Foster found out when he in a legal matter he is handling for the client.” In his
checked it herself in December of that same year. Also, it private capacity, he requested from his client, not just one,
but two loans of considerable amounts. The first time, he NAVARRO VS SOLIDUM JR (2014)
visited his client in her home and borrowed P100,000.00
for the repair of his car; and the next time, he implored FACTS
her to extend to him a loan of P70,000.00 or P50,000.00 On 4 April 2006, respondent signed a retainer agreement
“in the moment of urgency or emergency” but was only with Presbitero to follow up the release of the payment for
given P22,000.00 by complainant. These transactions the latter’s 2.7-hectare property located in Bacolod which
were evidenced by promissory notes and receipts, the was the subject of a Voluntary Offer to Sell (VOS) to the
authenticity of which was never questioned by Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). The agreement
respondent. These acts were committed by respondent in also included the payment of the debts of Presbitero’s late
his private capacity, seemingly unrelated to his husband to the Philippine National Bank (PNB), the sale
relationship with complainant, but were indubitably of the retained areas of the property, and the collection of
acquiesced to by complainant because of the trust and the rentals due for the retained areas from their occupants.
confidence reposed in him as a lawyer.
It appeared that the DAR was supposed to payP700,000
The Court deviates from the findings of the IBP. for the property but it was mortgaged by Presbitero and
There is substantial evidence to hold respondent liable for her late husband to PNB for P1,200,000. Presbitero
representing conflicting interests in handling the case of alleged that PNB’s claim had already prescribed, and she
complainant against Tierra Realty, a corporation to which engaged the services of respondent to represent her in the
he had rendered services in the past. The Court cannot matter. Respondent proposed the filing of a case for
ignore the fact that respondent admitted to having quieting of title against PNB.
notarized the deed of sale, which was the very document
Respondent and Presbitero agreed to an attorney’s fee of
being questioned in complainant’s case.
10% of the proceeds from the VOS or the sale of the
While the Investigating Commissioner found that the property, with the expenses to be advanced by Presbitero
complaint in Civil Case No. 14791-65 did not question but deductible from respondent’s fees. Respondent
the validity of the said contract, and that only the received P50,000 from Presbitero, supposedly for the
intentions of the parties as to some provisions thereof expenses of the case, but nothing came out of it.
were challenged, the Court still finds that the purpose for In May 2006, Presbitero’s daughter, Ma. Theresa P. Yulo
which the proscription was made exists. The Court cannot (Yulo), also engaged respondent’s services to handle the
brush aside the dissatisfied observations of the registration of her 18.85-hectare lot located in Nasud-ong,
complainant as to the allegations lacking in the complaint Caradio-an, Himamaylan, Negros. Yulo convinced her
against Tierra Realty and the clear admission of sister, Navarro, to finance the expenses for the registration
respondent that he was the one who notarized the assailed of the property. Respondent undertook to register the
document. property in consideration of 30% of the value of the
Regardless of whether it was the validity of the entire property once it is registered. Respondent
document or the intention of the parties as to some of its obtained P200,000 from Navarro for the registration
provisions raised, respondent fell short of prudence in expenses.
action when he accepted complainant’s case, knowing Navarro later learned that the registration decree over the
fully that he was involved in the execution of the very property was already issued in the name of one Teodoro
transaction under question. Neither his unpaid notarial Yulo. Navarro alleged that she would not have spent for
fees nor the participation of a collaborating counsel would the registration of the property if respondent only apprised
excuse him from such indiscretion. her of the real situation of the property.
It is apparent that respondent was retained by clients who On 25 May 2006, respondent obtained a loan
had close dealings with each other. More significantly, of P1,000,000 from Navarro to finance his sugar trading
there is no record of any written consent from any of the business. Respondent and Navarro executed a
parties involved. The representation of conflicting Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and agreed that the
interests is prohibited “not only because the relation of loan (a) shall be for a period of one year; (b) shall earn
attorney and client is one of trust and confidence of the interest at the rate of 10% per month; and (c) shall be
highest degree, but also because of the principles of public secured by a real estate mortgage over a property located
policy and good taste. An attorney has the duty to deserve in Barangay Alijis, Bacolod City, covered by Transfer
the fullest confidence of his client and represent him with Certificate of Title No. 304688.
undivided loyalty. Once this confidence is abused or
They also agreed that respondent shall issue postdated
violated the entire profession suffers.”
checks to cover the principal amount of the loan as well
Agtang was disbarred by the Supreme Court. as the interest thereon. Respondent delivered the checks
to Navarro, drawn against an account in Metrobank,
Bacolod City Branch, and signed them in the presence of mortgaged his 263-square-meter property to her
Navarro. for P1,000,000 but he later sold it for only P150,000.
In June 2006, respondent obtained an additional loan ISSUE
of P1,000,000 from Navarro, covered by a second MOA
Whether or not respondent violated the CPR?
with the same terms and conditions as the first MOA.
Respondent sent Navarro, through a messenger, postdated RULING
checks drawn against an account in Bank of Commerce, The records show that respondent violated at least four
Bacolod City Branch. Respondent likewise discussed provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
with Navarro about securing a "Tolling Agreement" with
Victorias Milling Company, Inc. but no agreement was Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
signed. provides:
At the same time, respondent obtained a loan Rule 1.01. - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
of P1,000,000 from Presbitero covered by a third MOA, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
except that the real estate mortgage was over a 263- With respect to his client, Presbitero, it was established
square-meter property located in Barangay Taculing, that respondent agreed to pay a high interest rate on the
Bacolod City. Respondent sent Presbitero postdated loan he obtained from her. He drafted the MOA. Yet,
checks drawn against an account in Metrobank, Bacolod when he could no longer pay his loan, he sought to nullify
City Branch. the same MOA he drafted on the ground that the interest
Presbitero was dissatisfied with the value of the 263- rate was unconscionable. It was also established that
square-meter property mortgaged under the third MOA, respondent mortgaged a 263-square-meter property to
and respondent promised to execute a real estate mortgage Presbitero for P1,000,000 but he later sold the property
over a 1,000-square-meter parcel of land adjacent to the for only P150,000, showing that he deceived his client as
4,000-square-meter property he mortgaged to Navarro. to the real value of the mortgaged property. Respondent’s
allegation that the sale was eventually rescinded did not
However, respondent did not execute a deed for the distract from the fact that he did not apprise Presbitero as
additional security. to the real value of the property.
Respondent paid the loan interest for the first few months. Respondent failed to refute that the checks he issued to
He was able to pay complainants a total of P900,000. his client Presbitero and to Navarro belonged to his son,
Thereafter, he failed to pay either the principal amount or Ivan Garcia Solidum III whose name is similar to his
the interest thereon. In September 2006, the checks issued name. He only claimed that complainants knew that he
by respondent to complainants could no longer be could no longer open a current bank account, and that they
negotiated because the accounts against which they were even suggested that his wife or son issue the checks for
drawn were already closed. When complainants called him. However, we are inclined to agree with the IBP-
respondent’s attention, he promised to pay the agreed CBD’s finding that he made complainants believe that the
interest for September and October 2006 but asked for a account belonged to him. In fact, respondent signed in the
reduction of the interest to 7% for the succeeding months. presence of Navarro the first batch of checks he issued to
In November 2006, respondent withdrew as counsel for Navarro. Respondent sent the second batch of checks to
Yulo. On the other hand, Presbitero terminated the Navarro and the third batch of checks to Presbitero
services of respondent as counsel. Complainants then through a messenger, and complainants believed that the
filed petitions for the judicial foreclosure of the mortgages checks belonged to accounts in respondent’s name.
executed by respondent in their favor. Respondent It is clear that respondent violated Rule 1.01 of the Code
countered that the 10% monthly interest on the loan was of Professional Responsibility. We have ruled that
usurious and illegal. Complainants also filed cases for conduct, as used in the Rule, is not confined to the
estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 against performance of a lawyer’s professional duties. A lawyer
respondent. may be disciplined for misconduct committed either in his
Complainants alleged that respondent induced them to professional or private capacity. The test is whether his
grant him loans by offering very high interest rates. He conduct shows him to be wanting in moral character,
also prepared and signed the checks which turned out to honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or whether it
be drawn against his son’s accounts. Complainants further renders him unworthy to continue as an officer of the
alleged that respondent deceived them regarding the court.
identity and value of the property he mortgaged because In this case, the loan agreements with Navarro were done
he showed them a different property from that which he in respondent’s private capacity. Although Navarro
owned. Presbitero further alleged that respondent financed the registration of Yulo’s lot, respondent and
Navarro had no lawyer-client relationship. However,
respondent was Presbitero’s counsel at the time she from Presbitero. As the IBP-CBD pointed out, the records
granted him a loan. It was established that respondent do not show how respondent spent the funds because he
misled Presbitero on the value of the property he was not transparent in liquidating the money he received
mortgaged as a collateral for his loan from her. To from Presbitero.
appease Presbitero, respondent even made a Deed of
Clearly, respondent had been negligent in properly
Undertaking that he would give her another 1,000-square-
accounting for the money he received from his client,
meter lot as additional collateral but he failed to do so.
Presbitero. Indeed, his failure to return the excess money
Clearly, respondent is guilty of engaging in dishonest and in his possession gives rise to the presumption that he has
deceitful conduct, both in his professional capacity with misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice of, and
respect to his client, Presbitero, and in his private capacity in violation of the trust reposed in him by, the client.
with respect to complainant Navarro. Both Presbitero and
Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
Navarro allowed respondent to draft the terms of the loan
provides:
agreements. Respondent drafted the MOAs knowing that
the interest rates were exorbitant. Later, using his Rule 16.04. - A lawyer shall not borrow money from his
knowledge of the law, he assailed the validity of the same client unless the client’s interests are fully protected by
MOAs he prepared. He issued checks that were drawn the nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither
from his son’s account whose name was similar to his shall a lawyer lend money to a client except, when in the
without informing complainants. Further, there is nothing interest of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses
in the records that will show that respondent paid or in a legal matter he is handling for the client.
undertook to pay the loans he obtained from Here, respondent does not deny that he
complainants. borrowed P1,000,000 from his client Presbitero. At the
Canon 16 and Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional time he secured the loan, respondent was already the
Responsibility provide: retained counsel of Presbitero.
CANON 16. - A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST While respondent’s loan from Presbitero was secured by
ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT a MOA, postdated checks and real estate mortgage, it
THAT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION. turned out that respondent misrepresented the value of the
property he mortgaged and that the checks he issued were
Rule 16.01 – A lawyer shall account for all money or
not drawn from his account but from that of his son.
property collected or received for or from the client.
Respondent eventually questioned the terms of the MOA
The fiduciary nature of the relationship between the that he himself prepared on the ground that the interest
counsel and his client imposes on the lawyer the duty to rate imposed on his loan was unconscionable. Finally, the
account for the money or property collected or received checks issued by respondent to Presbitero were
for or from his client. We agree with the IBP-CBD that dishonored because the accounts were already closed. The
respondent failed to fulfill this duty. In this case, the IBP- interest of his client, Presbitero, as lender in this case, was
CBD pointed out that respondent received various not fully protected. Respondent violated Rule 16.04 of the
amounts from complainants but he could not account for Code of Professional Responsibility, which presumes that
all of them. the client is disadvantaged by the lawyer’s ability to use
all the legal maneuverings to renege on his obligation. In
Navarro, who financed the registration of Yulo’s 18.85-
his dealings with his client Presbitero, respondent took
hectare lot, claimed that respondent received P265,000
advantage of his knowledge of the law as well as the trust
from her. Respondent countered that P105,000 was paid
and confidence reposed in him by his client.
for real estate taxes but he could not present any receipt
to prove his claim. Respondent also claimed that he We modify the recommendation of the IBP Board of
paid P70,000 to the surveyor but the receipt was only Governors imposing on respondent the penalty of
for P15,000. Respondent claimed that he paid P50,000 for suspension from the practice of law for two years. Given
filing fee, publication fee, and other expenses but again, the facts of the case, we see no reason to deviate from the
he could not substantiate his claims with any receipt. As recommendation of the IBP-CBD imposing on
pointed out by the IBP-CBD, respondent had been less respondent the penalty of disbarment. Respondent failed
than diligent in accounting for the funds he received from to live up to the high standard of morality, honesty,
Navarro for the registration of Yulo’s property. integrity, and fair dealing required of him as a member of
the legal profession. Instead, respondent employed his
Unfortunately, the records are not clear whether
knowledge and skill of the law and took advantage of his
respondent rendered an accounting to Yulo who had since
client to secure undue gains for himself that warrants his
passed away.
removal from the practice of law. Likewise, we cannot
As regards Presbitero, it was established during the sustain the IBP Board of Governors’ recommendation
clarificatory hearing that respondent received P50,000 ordering respondent to return his unpaid obligation to
complainants, except for advances for the expenses he HELD:
received from his client, Presbitero, that were not
accounted at all. In disciplinary proceedings against The Court agrees with the findings of the OCA. Santos’
lawyers, the only issue is whether the officer of the court order for the counsel of one of the parties to draft the
is still fit to be allowed to continue as a member of the decision and his adoption verbatim of the draft clearly
Bar. Our only concern is the determination of violate the Code of Judicial Conduct. The
respondent’s administrative liability. pertinent canons of which read: Canon 2, a Judge should
Our findings have no material bearing on other judicial avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in
action which the parties may choose to file against each all activities. Canon 3, a Judge should perform official
other. Nevertheless, when a lawyer receives money from duties honestly, and with impartiality
a client for a particular purpose involving the client- and diligence adjudicative responsibilities.
attorney relationship, he is bound to render an accounting
to the client showing that the money was spent for that By such order, Judge Santos abdicated a function
particular purpose. If the lawyer does not use the money exclusively granted to him by no less than the
for the intended purpose, he must immediately return the fundamental law of the land. It is axiomatic that decision-
money to his client. Respondent was given an opportunity making, among other duties, is the primordial and most
to render an accounting, and he failed. He must return the important duty of a member of the bench. He must use his
full amount of the advances given him by Presbitero, own perceptiveness in understanding and analyzing
amounting to P50,000. the evidence presented before him and his own
discernment when determining the proper action,
HEINZ R. HECK v. JUDGE ANTHONY E. SANTOS resolution or decision. Delegating to a counsel of one of
the parties the preparation of a decision and parroting it
verbatim reflect blatant judicial sloth.
401 SCRA 46 (2003)
Lack of malice or bad faith is not an excuse. It bears
Delegating to a counsel of one of the parties the
emphasis that a judge must not only render a just, correct
preparation of a decision and parroting it verbatim reflect
and impartial decision. He should do so in such a manner
blatant judicial sloth.
as to be free from any suspicion as to his fairness,
impartiality and integrity.
Heinz R. Heck is one of the defendants in a Civil Case
before the Regional Trial presided by Judge Anthony E.
SPOUSES EDWIN B. BUFFE AND KAREN M.
Santos. Heck and his co-defendant did not receive a copy
SILVERIO-BUFFE, Complainants, v. SEC. RAUL M.
of the order to schedule the
GONZALEZ, USEC. FIDEL J. EXCONDE, JR., AND
CONGRESSMAN ELEANDRO JESUS F.
trial on June 10 and 11, 1996. Consequently, they and MADRONA
their counsel failed to appear therein. Since only the
plaintiff’s counsel, Atty. Manuel Singson, appeared in FACTS:
that hearing, Judge Santos considered the non-attendance
of Heck and his co-defendant as waiver of their right to On 15 July 2008, former President Gloria
present evidence. Judge Santos thereafter ordered that the Macapagal Arroyo appointed Karen M. Silverio-Buffe
case to be submitted for decision. He therefore authorized (Silverio-Buffe) as Prosecutor I/Assistant Provincial
Atty. Singson to prepare the draft of the decision. Prosecutor of Romblon province. On 15 August 2008,
Silverio-Buffe took her oath of office before Metropolitan
The decision issued by Judge Santos was copied verbatim Trial Court of Manila, Branch 24, Judge Jesusa P.
from the draft which Atty. Singson prepared. Hence, Maningas (Judge Maningas). She, then, furnished the
Heck filed an administrative complaint charging Judge Office of the President, Civil Service Commission and
Santos with violation of Section 1, Rule 36 of the Revised Department of Justice (DOJ) with copies of her oath of
Rules of Court. The Office of the Court Administrator office. On 19 August 2008, Silverio-Buffe informed the
(OCA) found Judge Santos guilty for adopting Singson’s Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Romblon that she
work as his own. was officially reporting for work beginning that day.

In a letter dated 26 August 2008, Romblon


ISSUE:
Provincial Prosecutor Arsenio R.M. Almadin asked
former Secretary of Justice Raul M. Gonzalez (Gonzalez)
Whether or not Judge Santos is guilty of gross ignorance to confirm the appointment of Silverio-Buffe since the
of the law Provincial Prosecution Office did not receive any official
communication regarding Silverio-Buffe's appointment.
In her Reply, Silverio-Buffe insisted that her appointment
In a Memorandum Order Gonzalez ordered Silverio- papers were endorsed by the Office of the President to the
Buffe "to cease and desist from acting as prosecutor in the Office of the Secretary of Justice, as evidenced by the
Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Romblon, or in any Endorsement Letter of then Executive Secretary Eduardo
Prosecutor's Office for that matter, considering that [she R. Ermita. However, Exconde, as Chief of Personnel
has] no appointment to act as such, otherwise [she] will Management and Development under the Office of the
be charged of usurpation of public office." Secretary of Justice, refused to forward her appointment
letter to the Personnel Division of DOJ for
Silverio-Buffe, together with her husband Edwin implementation.
B. Buffe, filed with the Office of the Bar Confidant
(OBC) a Joint Complaint-Affidavit3 alleging that former In a Resolution, the Court, through the Third Division,
Congressman Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona (Madrona), referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
acting out of spite or revenge, persuaded and influenced (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation.
Gonzalez and Undersecretary Fidel J. Exconde, Jr.
(Exconde) into refusing to administer Silverio-Buffe's In a Memorandum, then DOJ Secretary Leila M. De Lima
oath of office and into withholding the transmittal of her transmitted Silverio-Buffe's appointment papers to the
appointment papers to the DOJ Regional Office. Madrona Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Romblon.
allegedly acted out of spite or revenge against Silverio-
Buffe because she was one of the plaintiffs in a civil case In a Resolution the Court, through the Second Division,
for enforcement of a Radio Broadcast Contract, which referred the Motion to Dismiss filed by Madrona to the
was cancelled by the radio station due to adverse IBP. Madrona sought to dismiss the present
commentaries against Madrona and his allies in Romblon. administrative complaint on the ground of forum-
shopping, because he received an order from the Office of
In a Resolution, the Court, through the First Division, the Ombudsman directing him to file a counter-affidavit
required the respondents to comment on the complaint. based on the same administrative complaint filed before
the OBC.
In his Comment with Counter-Complaint, Madrona
denied that he acted out of spite or revenge against
Silverio-Buffe or that he persuaded, induced, or In a Report and Recommendation, Investigating
influenced anyone to refuse to administer oath to Silverio- Commissioner Oliver A. Cachapero (Investigating
Buffe and to withhold the transmittal of her appointment Commissioner) found the complaint impressed with
papers. Madrona insisted that the allegations against him merit, and recommended the penalty of censure against
are without proof, and based on general conjectures and the respondents. The Investigating Commissioner found
hearsay. On the other hand, Madrona alleged that respondents' united action of stopping the appointment of
complainants should be accountable for their dishonest Silverio-Buffe unethical.
and deceitful conduct in submitting to the Court as
annexes a complaint without its last two pages and a ISSUE:
contract altered by Silverio-Buffe. Whether Gonzalez, Exconde, and Madrona should be
administratively disciplined based on the allegations in
In a joint Comment, Gonzalez and Exconde claimed that: the complaint.
(1) the complaint is unfounded and purely for harassment
because Silverio-Buffe's appointment papers were not HELD:
endorsed by the Office of the President to the DOJ for
We dismiss the administrative case against Exconde and
implementation; (2) the Court has no jurisdiction over the
Madrona for lack of jurisdiction. The present
complaint because a case for violation of RA 6713 and
administrative case should be resolved by the Office of
civil service rules should be filed with the Civil Service
the Ombudsman, considering that complainants have
Commission and a case for violation of RA 3019 should
filed a complaint before it on 12 February 2009.16 In the
be filed with the Sandiganbayan; (3) the proper venue for
case of Gonzalez, his death on 7 September 2014
her grievance is with the Office of the President; (4)
forecloses any administrative case against
assuming that her appointment papers were withheld, 17
him. chanrobleslaw
such act was presumed to be the act of the President
herself, with the presumption of regularity of official
The authority of the Ombudsman to act on complainants'
functions; and (5) Exconde was erroneously impleaded
administrative complaint is anchored on Section 13(1),
since he never signed any document relating to Silverio-
Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that:
Buffe's appointment.
"[t]he Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following
powers, functions, and duties: (1) investigate on its own,
or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any
public official, employee, office or agency, when such act
or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or
inefficient."

Under Section 1618 of RA 6770, otherwise known as the


Ombudsman Act of 1989, the jurisdiction of the
Ombudsman encompasses all kinds of malfeasance,
misfeasance, and nonfeasance committed by any public
officer or employee during his or her tenure.19 Section
1920 of RA 6770 also states that the Ombudsman shall act
on all complaints relating, but not limited, to acts or
omissions which are unreasonable, unfair, oppressive, or
discriminatory.

Considering that both Exconde and Madrona are public


officers being charged for actions, which are allegedly
unfair and discriminatory, involving their official
functions during their tenure, the present case should be
resolved by the Office of the Ombudsman as the
appropriate government agency. Indeed, the IBP has no
jurisdiction over government lawyers who are charged
with administrative offenses involving their official
duties. For such acts, government lawyers fall under the
disciplinary authority of either their superior21 or the
Ombudsman.22 Moreover, an anomalous situation will
arise if the IBP asserts jurisdiction and decides against a
government lawyer, while the disciplinary authority finds
in favor of the government lawyer.