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BUGARING v.

ESPAOL
Canon 8 Courtesy, Fairness, Candor Towards Professional Colleagues |
January 19, 2001 | De Leon, Jr.
Nature of Case: Review on certiorari
Petitioner: Rexie Efren Bugaring
Respondent: Hon. Dolores S. Espaol
SUMMARY: During a hearing for the annulment of Sale and Certificates of
Title in the case of Royal Bechtel Builders, Inc. v. Spouses Luis Alvaran and Beatriz
Alvaran, et. al., petitioner (here-in counsel for Alvarans), together with his
assistant operating a video camera and taking pictures of the proceedings,
manifested that he was ready to mark his documentary evidence pursuant to
his Motion to cite in contempt of court the Deputy Register of Deeds of
Cavite, Diosdado Concepcion. Despite the court asking petitioner to allow
the defendants counsel to finish his manifestation and respect the courts
decision to give defendant counsel time to write their comment, petitioner
kept insisting that he be allowed to mark his evidence and even accused the
court of being antagonistic and biased and threatening to file an inhibition
to the Hon. Court.
The court cited petitioner in direct contempt and ordered for him to be put
in jail for three days and fined P3,000. Petitioner served his sentence but
afterwards filed for a declaration of such order as null and void as it had no
legal basis; he also asked for a reimbursement of the fine. CA decision to
uphold RTC judgment was affirmed but P1000 was asked to be returned to
petitioner as it was in excess of the ceiling of P2000 under Supreme Court
Admin. Circ. No. 22-95.
DOCTRINE: The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts and
is essential to the preservation of order in judicial proceedings and to the
enforcement of judgments, orders, and mandates of the court, and
consequently, to the due administration of justice. Direct contempt is
committed in the presence of or so near a court or judge, and can be punished
summarily without hearing.
FACTS:
(Refer to pages 698-699 of the original case as the facts are summarized clearly and written in order
therein)

During the hearing of the case, plaintiffs and counsel were present
together with one operating a video camera who was taking photos of
the proceedings of the case while counsel, Atty. Rexie Efren Bugaring,
was making manifestation to the effect that he was ready to mark his
documentary evidence pursuant to his Motion to cite (in contempt of
court) the Deputy Register of Deeds of Cavite Diosdado Concepcion

The Court called the attention of said counsel who explained that he did
not in fact instruct his assistant to take photos and added that the reason
they had with them a camera was because they had just come from a
function
Counsel sent out his assistant after the Court took exception to the fact
that although proceedings are open to the public and it being a court of
record, the situation at hand is an abuse of discretion of the court since
the court was not asked for permission to do so.
When the respondent, Deputy Register of Deeds Concepcion manifested
that he needed the services of counsel and right then and there appointed
Atty. Barzaga to represent him, the case was allowed to be called again
On second call, Atty. Bugaring started to insist that he be allowed to
mark and present his documentary evidence in spite of the fact that Atty.
Barzaga was still manifesting that he be allowed to submit a written
pleading for his client.
The court declared him out of order. Atty. Bugaring served 3 days and
paid a fine of P3,000 as instructed by the court.
After serving his sentence and paying the fine, he filed for a declaration
of said order to be null and void. He argued that he was never in
contempt of court given that 1) he always addressed it with respect by
using the phrase your Honour please and 2) he was merely carried
away by his emotions in espousing the case of his client.
CA affirmed the decision of the RTC but ordered the excess P1,000 to be
returned.

ISSUE/S & RATIO:


1. WON RTC erred in citing petitioner in direct contempt of court NO
a. The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts and
is essential to the preservation of order in judicial proceedings
and to the enforcement of judgments, orders, and mandates of
the court, and consequently, to the due administration of
justice.
b. As regards courts legal basis for citing contempt of court, and in
light of Atty. Bugaring defense of being polite and using the
phrase your Honour please during the proceedings, the court
ruled that his deference to the court in consistently addressing
respondent judge as your Honour please is belied by his
behaviour therein:
i. Veiled threat to file a petition for certiorari against the
trial court (in violation of Rule 11.03, Canon 11)
ii. The hurled uncalled for accusation that the respondent
Judge was partial in favour of the other party (in
violation of Rule 11.04, Canon 11)

iii. Behaving without due regard to the trial courts order to


maintain order in the proceedings (in disregard of Canon
1)
iv. Behaving without due regard or deference to his fellow
counsel who at the time was making representation in
behalf of the other party, was rudely interrupted by the
petitioner and was not allowed to further a word in
edgewise (in violation of Canon 8 and Canon 22)
v. Refusal of petitioner to allow the Registrar of Deeds of
the Province of Cavite, through counsel, to exercise his
right to be heard (in violation of Section 1, Article III,
1987 Constitution and Canon 18, and Canon 12)
c.

Regarding counsels argument of being carried away in an effort


to espouse the case of his client, the CA stated that: A lawyer
should not be carried away in espousing his clients cause he
should not forget that he is an officer of the court, bound to exert
every effort and placed under duty, to assist in the speedy and
efficient administration of justice.

d. The CA however directed the RTC to return P1,000 to Atty.


Bugaring as it exceeded the ceiling set by SC Admin. Circ. No.
22-95 of P2,000.
RULING: The assailed decision of the CA is AFFIRMED. The RTC is ordered to
RETURN to petitioner, Rexie Efren A. Bugaring, the sum of P1,000 out of the original
fine of P3,000.