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Legal Ethics Cases

1.)
Re: Administrative Case No. 1163, Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, respondent.
A
The name of respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, should likewise be stricken off
the Roll of Attorneys. This is a necessary consequence of the un-authorized re-evaluation of his
answers in five(5) major subjects Civil Law, Political and International Law, Criminal Law,
Remedial Law, and Mercantile Law.
The judicial function of the Supreme Court in admitting candidates to the legal profession, which
necessarily involves the exercise of discretion, requires: (1) previous established rules and
principles; (2) concrete facts, whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals; and (3) a
decision as to whether these facts are governed by the rules and principles (In re: Cunanan
Flunkers' Petition for Admission to the Bar -- 94 Phil. 534, 544-545). The determination of whether a
bar candidate has obtained the required passing grade certainly involves discretion (Legal and
Judicial Ethics, Justice Martin, 1969 ed., p. 13).
In the exercise of this function, the Court acts through a Bar Examination Committee, composed of a
member of the Court who acts as Chairman and eight (8) members of the Bar who act as examiners
in the eight (8) bar subjects with one subject assigned to each. Acting as a sort of liaison officer
between the Court and the Bar Chairman, on one hand, and the individual members of the
Committee, on the other, is the Bar Confidant who is at the same time a deputy clerk of the Court.
Necessarily, every act of the Committee in connection with the exercise of discretion in the
admission of examinees to membership of the Bar must be in accordance with the established rules
of the Court and must always be subject to the final approval of the Court. With respect to the Bar
Confidant, whose position is primarily confidential as the designation indicates, his functions in
connection with the conduct of the Bar examinations are defined and circumscribed by the Court and
must be strictly adhered to.
The re-evaluation by the Examiners concerned of the examination answers of respondent Galang in
five (5) subjects, as already clearly established, was initiated by Respondent Lanuevo without any
authority from the Court, a serious breach of the trust and confidence reposed by the Court in him as
Bar Confidant. Consequently, the re-evaluation that enabled respondent Galang to pass the 1971
Bar examinations and to be admitted to the Bar is a complete nullity. The Bar Confidant does not
possess any discretion with respect to the matter of admission of examinees to the Bar. He is not
clothed with authority to determine whether or not an examinee's answers merit re-evaluation or reevaluation or whether the Examiner's appraisal of such answers is correct. And whether or not the
examinee benefited was in connivance or a privy thereto is immaterial. What is decisive is whether
the proceedings or incidents that led to the candidate's admission to the Bar were in accordance with
the rules.
B

Section 2 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964, in connection, among others, with the
character requirement of candidates for admission to the Bar, provides that "every applicant for
admission as a member of the Bar must be ... of good moral
character ... and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral
character, and that no charges against him involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending
in any court in the Philippines." Prior to 1964, or under the old Rules of Court, a bar applicant was
required to produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory testimonials of good moral character
(Sec. 2, Rule 127). Under both rules, every applicant is duty bound to lay before the Court all his
involvement in any criminal case, pending or otherwise terminated, to enable the Court to fully
ascertain or determine applicant's moral character. Furthermore, as to what crime involves moral
turpitude, is for the supreme Court to determine. Hence, the necessity of laying before or informing
the Court of one's personal record whether he was criminally indicted, acquitted, convicted or the
case dismissed or is still pending becomes more compelling. The forms for application to take the
Bar examinations provided by the Supreme Court beginning the year 1965 require the disclosure not
only of criminal cases involving moral turpitude filed or pending against the applicant but also of all
other criminal cases of which he has been accused. It is of course true that the application form used
by respondent Galang when he took the Bar for the first time in 1962 did not expressly require the
disclosure of the applicant's criminal records, if any. But as already intimated, implicit in his task to
show satisfactory evidence or proof of good moral character is his obligation to reveal to the Court all
his involvement in any criminal case so that the Court can consider them in the ascertainment and
determination of his moral character. And undeniably, with the applicant's criminal records before it,
the Court will be in a better position to consider the applicant's moral character; for it could not be
gainsaid that an applicant's involvement in any criminal case, whether pending or terminated by its
dismissal or applicant's acquittal or conviction, has a bearing upon his character or fitness for
admission to the Bar. In 1963 and 1964, when respondent Galang took the Bar for the second and
third time, respectively, the application form provided by the Court for use of applicants already
required the applicant to declare under oath that "he has not been accused of, indicted for or
convicted by any court or tribunal of any offense involving moral turpitude; and that there is no
pending case of that nature against him." By 1966, when Galang took the Bar examinations for the
fourth time, the application form prepared by the Court for use of applicants required the applicant to
reveal all his criminal cases whether involving moral turpitude or not. In paragraph 4 of that form, the
applicant is required under oath to declare that "he has not been charged with any offense before a
Fiscal, Municipal Judge, or other officer; or accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or
tribunal of any crime involving moral turpitude; nor is there a pending case against him" (Adm. Case
No. 1163, p. 56, rec.). Yet, respondent Galang continued to intentionally withhold or conceal from the
Court his criminal case of slight physical injuries which was then and until now is pending in the City
Court of Manila; and thereafter repeatedly omitted to make mention of the same in his applications to
take the Bar examinations in 1967, 1969 and 1971.
All told, respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, is guilty of fraudulently concealing
and withholding from the Court his pending criminal case for physical injuries in 1962, 1963, 1964,
1966, 1967, 1969 and 1971; and in 1966, 1967,1969 and 1971, he committed perjury when he
declared under oath that he had no pending criminal case in court. By falsely representing to the
Court that he had no criminal case pending in court, respondent Galang was allowed unconditionally
to take the Bar examinations seven (7) times and in 1972 was allowed to take his oath.

That the concealment of an attorney in his application to take the Bar examinations of the fact that
he had been charged with, or indicted for, an alleged crime, is a ground for revocation of his license
to practice law is well settled (see 165 ALR 1151, 7 CJS 741). Thus:
[1] It requires no argument to reach the conclusion that the respondent, in
withholding from the board of law examiners and from the justice of this court, to
whom he applied for admission, information respecting so serious a matter as an
indictment for a felony, was guilty of fraud upon the court (cases cited).
[2] It is equally clear that, had the board of law examiners, or the judge to whom he
applied for admission, been apprised of the true situation, neither the certificate of
the board nor of the judge would have been forthcoming (State ex rel. Board of Law
Examiners v. Podell, 207 N W 709 710).
The license of respondent Podell was revoke and annulled, and he was required to surrender to the
clerk of court the license issued to him, and his name was stricken from the roll of attorneys (p. 710).
Likewise in Re Carpel, it was declared that:
[1] The power to admit to the bar on motion is conferred in the discretion of the
Appellate Division.' In the exercise of the discretion, the court should be informed
truthfully and frankly of matters tending to show the character of the applicant and his
standing at the bar of the state from which he comes. The finding of indictments
against him, one of which was still outstanding at the time of his motion, were facts
which should have been submitted to the court, with such explanations as were
available. Silence respecting them was reprehensible, as tending to deceive the
court (165 NYS, 102, 104; emphasis supplied).
Carpel's admission to the bar was revoked (p. 105).
Furthermore, respondent's persistent denial of his involvement in any criminal case despite his
having been apprised by the Investigation of some of the circumstances of the criminal case
including the very name of the victim in that case(he finally admitted it when he was confronted by
the victim himself, who was called to testify thereon), and his continued failure for about thirteen
years to clear his name in that criminal case up to the present time, indicate his lack of the requisite
attributes of honesty, probity and good demeanor. He is therefore unworthy of becoming a member
of the noble profession of law.
While this aspect of the investigation was not part of the formal resolution of the Court requiring him
to explain why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, respondent Galang was,
as early as August, 1973, apprised of his omission to reveal to the Court his pending criminal case.
Yet he did not offer any explanation for such omission.
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 which he passed the Bar,

WE have no other alternative but to order the surrender of his attorney's certificate and the striking
out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys. For as WE said in Re Felipe del Rosario:
The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be granted every one who
demands it, but is a privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise of sound
discretion. The standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by conduct which
merely enables one to escape the penalties of the criminal law. It would be a
disgrace to the Judiciary to receive one whose integrity is questionable as an officer
of the court, to clothe him with all the prestige of its confidence, and then to permit
him to hold himself as a duly authorized member of the bar (citing American cases)
[52 Phil. 399-401].
What WE now do with respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, in this present case is
not without any precedent in this jurisdiction. WE had on several occasions in the past nullified the
admission of successful bar candidates to the membership of the Bar on the grounds, among others,
of (a)misrepresentations of, or false pretenses relative to, the requirement on applicant's educational
attainment [Tapel vs. Publico, resolution of the Supreme Court striking off the name of Juan T.
Publico from the Roll of Attorneys on the basis of the findings of the Court Investigators contained in
their report and recommendation, Feb. 23, 1962; In re: Telesforo A. Diao, 7 SCRA 475-478; (b) lack
of good moral character [In re: Peralta, 101 Phil. 313-314]; and (c) fraudulent passing of the Bar
examinations [People vs. Romualdez -- re: Luis Mabunay, 57 Phil. 151; In re: Del Rosario, 52 Phil.
399 and People vs. Castro and Doe, 54 Phil. 42]. In the cases of Romualdez (Mabunay) and Castro,
the Court found that the grades of Mabunay and Castro were falsified and they were convicted of the
crime of falsification of public documents.
2.)
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
A.C. No. 389

February 28, 1967

IN RE: DISBARMENT OF ARMANDO PUNO.


FLORA QUINGWA complainant,
vs.
ARMANDO PUNO, respondent.
Domingo T. Zavalla for complainant.
Armando Puno for and in his own behalf as respondent.
REGALA, J.:

On April 16, 1959, Flora Quingwa filed before this Court a verified complaint charging Armando
Puno, a member of the Bar, with gross immorality and misconduct. In his answer, the respondent
denied all the material allegations of the complaint, and as a special defense averred that the
allegations therein do not constitute grounds for disbarment or suspension under section 25, Rule
127 of the former Rules of Court.
The case was referred to the Solicitor General on June 3, 1958, for investigation, report and
recommendation. Hearings were held by the then Solicitor Roman Cancino, Jr., during which the
complainant, assisted by her counsel, presented evidence both oral and documentary. The
respondent, as well as his counsel, cross-examined the complainant's witnesses. The respondent
likewise testified. He denied having sexual intercourse with complainant at the Silver Moon Hotel on
June 1, 1958, disclaimed the handwriting "Mr. & Mrs. A. Puno" appearing in the hotel register, and
disowned Armando Quingwa Puno, Jr. to be his child.
After the hearing, the Solicitor General filed a complaint, formally charging respondent with
immorality. The complaint recites:
That on June 1, 1958, at a time when complainant Flora Quingwa and respondent Armando
Puno were engaged to be married, the said respondent invited the complainant to attend a
movie but on their way the respondent told the complainant that they take refreshment
before going to the Lyric Theater; that they proceeded to the Silver Moon Hotel at R. Hidalgo,
Manila; that while at the restaurant on the first floor of the said Silver Moon Hotel, respondent
proposed to complainant that they go to one of the rooms upstairs assuring her that 'anyway
we are getting married; that with reluctance and a feeling of doubt engendered by love of
respondent and the respondent's promise of marriage, complainant acquiesced, and before
they entered the hotel room respondent registered and signed the registry book as 'Mr. and
Mrs. A. Puno; that after registering at the hotel, respondent shoved complainant inside the
room; that as soon as they were inside the room, someone locked the door from outside and
respondent proceeded to the bed and undressed himself; that complainant begged
respondent not to molest her but respondent insisted, telling her: 'anyway I have promised to
marry you'; and respondent, still noticing the reluctance of complainant to his overtures of
love, again assured complainant that 'you better give up. Anyway I promised that I will marry
you'; that thereupon respondent pulled complainant to the bed, removed her panty, and then
placed himself on top of her and held her hands to keep her flat on the bed; that when
respondent was already on top of complainant the latter had no other recourse but to submit
to respondent's demand and two (2) sexual intercourse took place from 3:00 o'clock until
7:00 o'clock that same evening when they left the hotel and proceeded to a birthday party
together; that after the sexual act with complainant on June 1, 1958, respondent repeatedly
proposed to have some more but complainant refused telling that they had better wait until
they were married; that after their said sexual intimacy on June 1, 1958 and feeling that she
was already on the family way, complainant repeatedly implored respondent to comply with
his promise of marriage but respondent refused to comply; that on February 20, 1959,
complainant gave birth to a child.
That the acts of the respondent in having carnal knowledge with the complainant through a
promise of marriage which he did not fulfill and has refused to fulfill up to the present

constitute a conduct which shows that respondent is devoid of the highest degree of morality
and integrity which at all times is expected of and must be possessed by members of the
Philippine Bar.
The Solicitor General asked for the disbarment of the respondent.
A copy of this complaint was served on respondent on May 3, 1962. Thereupon, he answered the
complaint on June 9, 1962, again denying that he took complainant to the Silver Moon Hotel and that
on the promise of marriage, succeeded twice in having sexual intercourse with her. He, however,
admitted that sometime in June, 1955, he and the complainant became sweethearts until November,
1955, when they broke off, following a quarrel. He left for Zamboanga City in July, 1958, to practice
law. Without stating in his answer that he had the intention of introducing additional evidence,
respondent prayed that the complaint be dismissed.
This case was set for hearing in this Court on July 20, 1962. On the day of the hearing Solicitor
Ceferino E. Gaddi who appeared for the complainant submitted the case for decision without oral
argument. There was no appearance for the respondents.
Since the failure of respondent to make known in his answer his intention to present additional
evidence in his behalf is deemed a waiver of the right to present such evidence (Toledo vs. Toledo,
Adm. Case No. 266, April 27, 1963), the evidence produced before the Solicitor General in his
investigation, where respondent had an opportunity to object to the evidence and cross-examine the
witnesses, may now be considered by this Court, pursuant to Section 6, Rule 139 of the Rules of
Court.
After reviewing the evidence, we are convinced that the facts are as stated in the complaint.
Complainant is an educated woman, having been a public school teacher for a number of years. She
testified that respondent took her to the Silver Moon Hotel on June 1, 1958, signing the hotel register
as "Mr. and Mrs. A. Puno," and succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her on the promise of
marriage. The hotel register of the Silver Moon Hotel (Exh. B-1 and Exh. B-2) shows that "Mr. and
Mrs. A. Puno" arrived at that hotel on June 1, 1958 at 3:00 P.M. and departed at 7:00 P.M.
Complainant also testified that she last saw respondent on July 5, 1958, when the latter went to
Zamboanga City. When she learned that respondent had left for Zamboanga City, she sent him a
telegram sometime in August of that year telling him that she was in trouble. Again she wrote him a
letter in September and another one in October of the same year, telling him that she was pregnant
and she requested him to come. Receiving no replies from respondent, she went to Zamboanga City
in November, 1958, where she met the respondent and asked him to comply with his promise to
marry her.
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Respondent admitted that he left for Zamboanga City in July, 1958, and that he and complainant met
in Zamboanga City in November, 1958. The fact that complainant sent him a telegram and letters
was likewise admitted in respondent's letter to the complainant dated November 3, 1958 (Exh. E),
which was duly identified by the respondent to be his.

Complainant gave birth to a baby boy on February 20, 1959, at the Maternity and Children's
Hospital. This is supported by a certified true copy of a birth certificate issued by the Deputy Local
Civil Registrar of Manila, and a certificate of admission of complainant to the Maternity and
Children's Hospital issued by the medical records clerk of the hospital.
To show how intimate the relationship between the respondent and the complainant was, the latter
testified that she gave money to the respondent whenever he asked from her. This was corroborated
by the testimony of Maria Jaca a witness for the complainant. Even respondent's letter dated
November 3, 1958 (Exh. E) shows that he used to ask for money from the complainant.
The lengthy cross-examination to which complainant was subjected by the respondent himself failed
to discredit complainant's testimony.
In his answer to the complaint of the Solicitor General, the respondent averred that he and
complainant were sweethearts up to November, 1955 only. The fact that they reconciled and were
sweethearts in 1958 is established by the testimony of Fara Santos, a witness of the complainant
(pp. 12 & 17, t.s.n.); respondent's letter to the complainant dated November 3, 1958 (Exh. E); and
respondent's own testimony (pp. 249 & 255, t.s.n.)
Complainant submitted to respondent's plea for sexual intercourse because of respondent's promise
of marriage and not because of a desire for sexual gratification or of voluntariness and mutual
passion. (Cf. Tanjanco vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-18630, December 17, 1966) .
One of the requirements for all applicants for admission to the Bar is that the applicant must produce
before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character (Section 2, Rule 127 of the
old Rules of Court, now section 2, Rule 138). If that qualification is a condition precedent to a license
or privilege to enter upon the practice of law, it is essential during the continuance of the practice and
the exercise of the privilege. (Royong vs. Oblena, Adm. Case No. 376, April 30, 1963, citing In
re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 567). When his integrity is challenged by evidence, it is not enough that he denies
the charges against him; he must meet the issue and overcome the evidence for the relator (Legal
and Judicial Ethics, by Malcolm, p. 93) and show proofs that he still maintains the highest degree of
morality and integrity, which at all times is expected of him. Respondent denied that he took
complainant to the Silver Moon Hotel and had sexual intercourse with her on June 1, 1958, but he
did not present evidence to show where he was on that date. In the case of United States vs. Tria,
17 Phil. 303, Justice Moreland, speaking for the Court, said:
An accused person sometimes owes a duty to himself if not to the State. If he does not
perform that duty he may not always expect the State to perform it for him. If he fails to meet
the obligation which he owes to himself, when to meet it is the easiest of easy things, he is
hardly indeed if he demand and expect that same full and wide consideration which the State
voluntarily gives to those who by reasonable effort seek to help themselves. This is
particularly so when he not only declines to help himself but actively conceals from the State
the very means by which it may assist him.
With respect to the special defense raised by the respondent in his answer to the charges of the
complainant that the allegations in the complaint do not fall under any of the grounds for disbarment

or suspension of a member of the Bar as enumerated in section 25 of Rule 127 of the (old) Rules of
Court, it is already a settled rule that the statutory enumeration of the grounds for disbarment or
suspension is not to be taken as a limitation on the general power of courts to suspend or disbar a
lawyer. The inherent powers of the court over its officers can not be restricted. Times without
number, our Supreme Court held that an attorney will be removed not only for malpractice and
dishonesty in his profession, but also for gross misconduct, which shows him to be unfit for the office
and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer upon him. (In re Pelaez, 44 Phil.
567, citing In re Smith [1906] 73 Kan 743; Balinon vs. de Leon Adm. Case No. 104, January 28,
1954; 50 O.G. 583; Mortel vs. Aspiras, Adm. Case No. 145, December 28, 1956, 53 O.G. 627). As a
matter of fact, "grossly immoral conduct" is now one of the grounds for suspension or disbarment.
(Section 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court).
Under the circumstances, we are convinced that the respondent has committed a grossly immoral
act and has, thus disregarded and violated the fundamental ethics of his profession. Indeed, it is
important that members of this ancient and learned profession of law must conform themselves in
accordance with the highest standards of morality. As stated in paragraph 29 of the Canons of
Judicial Ethics:
... The lawyer should aid in guarding the bar against the admission to the profession of
candidates unfit or unqualified because deficient in either moral character or education. He
should strive at all times to uphold the honor and to maintain the dignity of the profession
and to improve not only the law but the administration of justice.
Wherefore, respondent Armando Puno is hereby disbarred and, as a consequence, his name is
ordered stricken off from the Roll of Attorneys.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez and Castro,
JJ., concur.
3.)

A. M. No. 2104 August 24, 1989


NARCISO MELENDREZ and ERLINDA DALMAN, complainants,
vs.
ATTY. REYNERIO I. DECENA, respondent.

PER CURIAM:
In a sworn complaint 1 dated 25 September 1979, the spouses Erlinda Dalman and Narciso Melendrez
charged Reynerio I. Decena, a member of the Philippine Bar, with malpractice and breach of trust. The
complainant spouses alleged, among others, that respondent had, by means of fraud and deceit, taken
advantage of their precarious financial situation and his knowledge of the law to their prejudice,
succeeded in divesting them of their only residential lot in Pagadian City; that respondent, who was their

counsel in an estafa case against one Reynaldo Pineda, had compromised that case without their
authority.

In his answer dated 18 March 1980, respondent denied all the charges levelled against him and
prayed for the dismissal of the complaint.
By resolution dated 14 April 1980, the administrative complaint was referred to the Office of the
Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation.
Accordingly, the Solicitor General forthwith deputized the City Fiscal of Pagadian City, Jorge T.
Almonte, to conduct the necessary investigation, with instructions to submit thereafter this report and
recommendation thereon. Fiscal Almonte held several hearings on the administrative case until 15
July 1982, when he requested the Solicitor General to release him from the duty of investigating the
case.
On 10 September 1982, the Solicitor General granted Fiscal Almonte's request and in his stead
appointed the Provincial Fiscal of Zamboanga del Sur, Pedro S. Jamero, who resumed hearings on
15 June 1983.
Respondent filed with this Court on 9 June 1987, a motion seeking to inhibit Fiscal Jamero from
hearing the case followed by an urgent motion for indefinite postponement of the investigation. Both
motions were denied by the Court in a Resolution dated 21 September 1987 with instructions to the
Solicitor General to complete the investigation of the administrative case and to render his report
and recommendation thereon within thirty (30) days from notice.
On 19 July 1988, the Solicitor General submitted his Report and Recommendation 2 dated 21 June
1988. In as Report, after setting out the facts and proceedings held in the present case, the Solicitor
General presented the following:
FINDINGS
Complainants allege that on August 5, 1975, they obtained from respondent a loan of
P 4,000.00. This loan was secured by a real estate mortgage (Annex C,
Complainants' Complaint, p. 16, records). In the said Real Estate Mortgage
document, however, it was made to appear that the amount borrowed by
complainants was P5,000.00. Confronted by this discrepancy, respondent assured
complainants that said document was a mere formality, and upon such assurance,
complainants signed the same. The document was brought by complainant Narciso
Melendres to a Notary Public for notarization. After the same was notarized, he gave
the document to respondent. Despite the assurance, respondent exacted from
complainants P500.00 a month as payment for what is beyond dispute usurious
interest on the P5,000.00 loan. Complainants religiously paid the obviously usurious
interest for three months: September, October and November, 1975. Then they
stopped paying due to financial reverses. In view of their failure to pay said amounts
as interest, respondent prepared a new document on May 7, 1976, a Real Estate
Mortgage (Annex D, Complaint, p. 18, records) over the same lot 3125-C, replacing
lwph1.t

the former real estate mortgage dated August 5, 1975, but this time the sum
indicated in said new contract of mortgage is P 10,000.00, purportedly with interest at
19% per annum. In this new Real Estate Mortgage, a special power of attorney in
favor of respondent was inserted, authorizing him to sell the mortgaged property at
public auction in the event complainants fail to pay their obligation on or before May
30, 1976. Without explaining the provisions of the new contract to complainants,
respondent insisted that complainants sign the same, again upon the assurance that
the document was a mere formality. Unsuspecting of the motive of respondent,
complainants signed the document. Complainants Narciso Melendres again brought
the same document to a Notary Public for notarization. After the document was
notarized, he brought the same to respondent without getting a copy of it.
Complainants, relying on the assurance of the respondent that the second Real
Estate Mortgage was but a formality, neither bothered to ask from respondent the
status of their lot nor tried to pay their obligation. For their failure to pay the
obligation, the respondent on October 12, 1976, applied for the extrajudicial
foreclosure of the second real estate mortgage (Exhibit 16, Respondent's Position
Paper). All the requirements of Act No. 3135, as amended, re extrajudicial sale of
mortgage were ostensibly complied with by respondent. Hence, finally, title was
transferred to him, and on June 20, 1979, respondent sold the involved property to
Trinidad Ylanan for P12,000.00.
When informed of the above by one Salud Australlado on the first week of March
1979 (see Sworn Statement of complainant Narciso Melendres, p. 6, Folder No. 2 of
case), and not having known the legal implications of the provisions of the second
Real Estate Mortgage which they had executed, complainants could not believe that
title to their lot had already been transferred to respondent and that respondent had
already sold the same to a third person.
Upon learning of the sale in March, 1979, complainants tried to raise the amount of
P10,000.00 and went to respondent's house on May 30, 1979 to pay their obligation,
hoping that they could redeem their property, although three years had already
lapsed from the date of the mortgage.
Respondent did not accept the proffered P10,000.00, but instead gave complainants
a sheet of paper (Annex B, Complainants' Position Paper), which indicated that the
total indebtedness had soared to P20,400.00. The computation was made in
respondent's own handwriting. Complainants went home with shattered hopes and
with grief in their hearts. Hence, the instant competent for disbarment against
respondent filed on October 5, 1979.
Respondent DENIES all the allegations of complainants. He maintains that what
appears on the two documents allegedly executed by complainants, i.e., that they
obtained a loan of P5,000.00 on August 5, 1975 and another P10,000.00 on May
7,1976, is allegedly the truth, and claims that he in truth delivered the alleged amount
of P5,000.00 to complainants and not P4,000.00. With respect to the second loan,

respondent claims that he delivered to complainants P8,000.00, plus the P2,000.00


loan previously extended [to] complainants [by] one Regino Villanueva, which loan
had been indorsed to respondent for collection, thus making a total of P10,000.00, as
appearing on said document. Respondent denies that he exacted usurious interest of
10% a month or P500.00 from complainants. He asserts that the fact that
complainants were able to secure a loan from the Insular Bank of Asia and America
(IBAA) only proves the truth of his allegation that the title of the property, at the time
complainants obtained a loan from IBAA on April 1976, was clear of any
encumbrance, since complainants had already paid the original loan of P5,000.00
obtained from respondent; that complainants knew fully well all the conditions of said
mortgage; and that his acquisition of the property in question was in accordance with
their contract and the law on the matter. Thus, he denies that he has violated any
right of the complainants.
After weighing the evidence of both complainants and respondent, we find against
respondent.
While complainants are correct in their claim that they actually obtained an actual
cash of P4,000.00, they are only partly correct in the claim that out of the P10,000.00
appearing in the second Real Estate Mortgage, P6,000.00 was applied to interest
considering that not all the P6,000.00 but only P4,000.00 was applied to interest,
computed as follows: the first loan of P5,000.00 was supposedly due on August 31,
1975. Complainants paid 10% monthly interest or P500.00 on September 30, 1975,
October 31, 1975 and November 30, 1975. Consequently, beginning December 31,
1975 up to May 31, 1976 (the date of the execution of the second Real Estate
Mortgage) a total of six (6) months lapsed. Six (6) months at P500.00 equals P
3,000.00, which amount plus the P2,000.00 complainants' loan to one Engr.
Villanueva (indorsed to respondent for collection) totals P5,000.00. Adding this
amount to the previous P5,000.00 indicated loan secured by the first mortgage
results in P10,000.00, the amount appearing in the second Real Estate
Mortgage. Section 7, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 7. Evidence of written agreements. When the terms of an agreement have
been reduced to writing, it is to be considered as complaining all such terms, and,
therefore, there can be, as between the parties and their successors in interest, no
evidence of the terms of the agreement other than the contents of the writing, except
in the following cases:
(a) Where a mistake or imperfection of the writing, or its failure to express the true
intent and agreement of the parties, or the validity of the agreement is put in issue by
the pleadings;
(b) Where there is an intrinsic ambiguity in the writing. The term "agreement"
includes wills.

There is no dispute that the two documents denominated Real Estate Mortgages
covering the supposed original loan of P5,000.00 and the inflated P10,000.00,
respectively, were voluntarily signed by the complainants. The general rule is that
when the parties have reduced their agreement to writing, it is presumed that they
have made the writing the only repository and memorial of the truth, and whatever is
not found in the writing must be understood to have been waived and abandoned.
However, the rule is not absolute as it admits of some exceptions, as aforequoted.
One of the exceptions, that is, failure to express the true intent and agreement of the
parties, applies in this case. From the facts obtaining in the case, it is clear that the
complainants were induced to sign the Real Estate Mortgage documents by the false
and fraudulent representations of respondent that each of the successive documents
was a are formality.
While it may be true that complainants are not at all illiterate, respondent, being a
lawyer, should have at least explained to complainants the legal implications of the
provisions of the real estate mortgage, particularly the provision appointing him as
the complainants' attorney-in-fact in the event of default in payments on the part of
complainants. While it may be conceded that it is presumed that in practice the
notary public apprises complainants of the legal implications of the contract, it is of
common knowledge that most notaries public do not go through the desired practice.
Respondent at least could have informed the complainants by sending a demand
letter to them to pay their obligation as otherwise he would proceed to sell the lot at
public auction as per their contract. This respondent failed to do, despite the fact that
he knew fully wen that complainants were trying their best to raise money to be able
to pay their obligation to him, as shown by the loan obtained by complainants from
the IBAA on April 8, 1976. In this connection, it may be stated that complainants, per
advice of respondent himself, returned the proceeds of the IBAA loan to the bank
immediately on April 30, 1976, considering that the net proceeds of the loan from
said bank was only P4,300.00 and not enough to pay the indicated loan from
respondent of P5,000.00, which per computation of respondent would already have
earned interest of P2,500.00 for five (5) months (December 1975 to April, 1976).
Respondent claims that complainants had paid him the original loan of P5,000.00,
and that this was the reason why complainants were able to mortgage the lot to the
bank free from any encumbrance. This claim is incorrect. The reason why the title (T2684) was free from any encumbrance was simply because of the fact that the first
Real Estate Mortgage for the indicated loan of P5,000.00 (the actual amount was
only P 4,000.00) had not been annotated at the back of the title (see Annex B, p. 14,
rec.).
Respondent also denies that complainants offered to him the amount of Pl0,000. 00
as payment of the loan, alleging that if the offer were true, he could have readily
accepted the same since he sold the lot for almost the same amount, for only
P12,000.00, a difference of a few thousand pesos. Respondent's denial is spacious.

Indeed, complainants made the offer, but respondent refused the same for the simple
reason that the offer was made on May 30,1979, three (3) years after the execution
of the mortgage on May 31, 1976. With its lapse of time, respondent demanded
obviously the payment of the accumulated substantial interest for three years, as
shown by his own computation in as own handwriting on a sheet of paper (Annex C,
Complainants' Position Paper, Folder No. 2).
lwph1.t

In view of all the foregoing, the observation made by the Hearing Officer is worth
quoting:
In the humble opinion of the undersigned the pivotal question with respect to this
particular charge is whose version is to be believed. Is it the version of the
complainants or the version of the respondent.
In resolving this issue the possible motive on the part of the complainants in filing the
present complaint against the respondent must be carefully examined and
considered. At the beginning there was a harmonious relationship between the
complainants and the respondent so much so that respondent was even engaged as
counsel of the complainants and it is but human nature that when respondent
extended a loan to the complainants the latter would be grateful to the former.
However, in the case at bar, complainants filed a complaint against the respondent in
spite of the great disparity between the status of the complainants and the
respondent. Admittedly, respondent is in a better position financially, socially and
intellectually. To the mind of the undersigned, complainants were only compelled to
file the above entitled complaint against the respondent because they felt that they
are so aggrieved of what the respondent has done to them. It is for this reason
therefore that the undersigned is inclined to believe the version of the complainants
rather than of the respondent. In addition thereto, the respondent as a lawyer could
really see to it that the transaction between the complainants and himself on papers
appear legal and in order. Besides, there is ample evidence in the records of its case
that respondent is actually engaged in lending money at least in a limited way and
that the interest at the rate of ten per cent a month is but common among money
lenders during the time of the transactions in question'
Going now into the second charge, complainants alleged that respondent, who was
their counsel (private prosecutor) in Criminal Case No. 734, for estafa, against
accused Reynaldo Pineda, compromised the case with the accused without their
consent and received the amount of P500.00 as advance payment for the amicable
settlement, without however, giving to the complainants the Id amount nor informing
them of said settlement and payment.
Again, respondent denies the allegation and claims that the amicable settlement was
with the consent of complainant wife Erlinda Dalman Melendre[z].
We are inclined to believe the version of the complainants.

It is admitted that complainants were not interested in putting the accused Reynaldo
Pineda to jail but rather in merely recovering their money of P2,000.00. At this stage,
relationship between complainants and respondent was not yet strained, and
respondent, as counsel of the complainants in this case, knew that complainants
were merely interested in said recovery. Knowing this, respondent on his own volition
talked to accused and tried to settle the case amicably for P2,000.00. He accepted
the amount of P500.00 as advance payment, being then the only amount carried by
the accused Pineda. A receipt was signed by both respondent and accused Pineda
(Annex M, p. 34, record). However, respondent did not inform complainants about
this advance payment, perhaps because he was still waiting for the completion of the
payment of P2,000.00 before turning over the whole amount to complainants.
At any rate, complainants saw accused Pineda give the abovementioned P500.00 to
respondent, but they were ashamed then to ask directly of respondent what the
money was all about.
On June 27, 1979, barely a month after May 30, 1979, when the complainants had
already lost their trust and respect and/or confidence in respondent upon knowing
what happened to their lot and, more so, upon respondent's refusal to accept the
Pl0,000.00 offered by complainants to redeem the same, Narciso Melendre[z] saw
the accused Pineda on his way home and confronted him on the P500.00 that had
been given to respondent. Accused then showed complainant Melendres the receipt
(Annex M, Id.) showing that the P500.00 was an advance payment for the supposed
settlement/dismissal of the case filed by complainants against him.
Sensing or feeling that respondent was fooling them, complainants then filed a
motion before the court which was trying the criminal case and relieved respondent
as their counsel.
The Investigating Fiscal, who heard the case and saw the demeanor of the witnesses
in testifying, had this to say:
With respect to the second charge, the fact that respondent received P500.00 from
Reynaldo Pineda is duly established. Both the complainants and the respondent
agreed that the said amount was given to the respondent in connection with a
criminal case wherein the complainants were the private offended parties: that
Reynaldo Pineda is the accused and that the respondent is the private prosecutor of
the said case. The pivotal issue in this particular charge is whether the respondent
received the amount of P500.00 from Reynaldo Pineda as an advance payment of
an amicable settlement entered into by the complainants and the accused or the
respondent received said amount from the accused without the knowledge and
consent of the complainants. If it is true as alleged by the respondent that he only
received it for and in behalf of the complainants as advance payment of an amicable
settlement why is it that the same was questioned by the complainants? Why is it
that it was not the complainants who signed the receipt for the said amount? How
come that as soon as complainants knew that the said amount was given to the

respondent, the former filed a motion in court to relieve respondent as their counsel
on the ground that they have lost faith and confidence on him? If it is really true that
complainants have knowledge and have consented to this amicable settlement they
should be grateful to the efforts of their private prosecutor yet the fact is that they
resented the same and went to the extent of disqualifying the respondent as their
private prosecutor. Reynaldo Pineda himself executed an affidavit belying the claim
of the respondent.'
Clearly, the complained acts as described and levelled against respondent Decena
are contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals for which he may be
suspended. The moral turpitude for which an attorney may be disbarred may consist
of misconduct in either his professional or non- professional attitude (Royong v.
Oblena, 7 SCRA 859). The complained acts of respondent imply something immoral
in themselves, regardless of the fact whether they are punishable by law. The doing
of the act itself, and not its prohibition by statute, fixes the moral turpitude (Bartos vs.
U.S. Dist. Court for District of Nebraska C.C.C. Neb] 19 F [2d] 722).
A parting comment.
All the above is not to say that complainants themselves are faultless.
Complainants should likewise be blamed for trusting the respondent too much. They
did not bother to keep a copy of the documents they executed and considering that
they admitted they did not understand the contents of the documents, they did not
bother to have them explained by another lawyer or by any knowledgeable person in
their locality. Likewise, for a period of three years, they did not bother to ask for
respondent the status of their lot and/or their obligation to him. Their complacency or
apathy amounting almost to negligence contributed to the expedient loss of their
property thru the legal manuevers employed by respondent. Hence, respondent's
liability merits mitigation. (Emphasis supplied)
and made the following recommendation:
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that Atty. Reynerio I. Decena be
suspended from the practice of law for a period of five (5) years. 3
The Office of the Solicitor General, through Fiscals Almonte and Jamero, held several hearings
during the investigation of the present administrative case: City Fiscal Jorge T. Almonte was able to
hold six (6) actual hearings out of twenty-five (25) resettings 4 While only five (5) actual hearings, out of
forty (40) resettings 5 were held under Provincial Fiscal Pedro S. Jamero. In those hearings, the
complainants presented a number of witnesses who, after their direct testimony, were cross-examined by
the counsel for respondent; complainant Narciso Melendrez also testified and was accordingly crossexamined. Considering the long delay incurred in the investigation of the administrative case and having
been pressed by the Solicitor General immediately to complete the investigation, Fiscal Jamero posed a
change of procedure, from trial type proceedings to requiring the parties to submit their respective
position papers. The complainants immediately filed their position paper which consisted of their separate
sworn statements, (that of Narciso Melendrez was in a question and answer form), their documentary

exhibits and an affidavit of one Jeorge G. Santos. Respondent also filed his counter-affidavit and affidavits
of his witnesses, with several annexes in support thereof In the healing of 28 October 1987, which had
been set for the cross examination of the complainants and their witnesses by respondent, the
complainants refused to submit themselves to cross-examination on the ground that the order of the
hearing officer dated 17 December 1986 declaring respondent's right of cross examination as having
been waived, had become final and executory. Respondent questions now the evidentiary value of the
complainants' position paper, not having passed through any cross-examination and argues that the nonsubmission of the complainants and their witnesses to cross-examination constitutes a denial of his right
to due process.

We do not think respondent's right to confront the complainants and their witnesses against him has
been violated, Respondent in fact cross-examined complainant Narciso Melendrez and some of the
witnesses which complainants had presented earlier. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, the
record of the proceedings shows that respondent had all the opportunity to cross-examine the other
witnesses of the complainants (those whose affidavits were attached to complainants' position
paper) had he wanted to, but had forfeited such opportunity by asking for numerous continuances
which indicated a clear attempt on his part to delay the investigation proceedings. Respondent had
in fact requested a total of twenty three (23) resettings during the investigation proceedings: he had
eight (8) under Fiscal Almonte and fifteen (15) under Fiscal Jamero. There were also instances
where respondent asked for postponement and at the same time reset the hearing to a specific date
of his choice on which neither he nor as counsel would appear. That attitude of respondent
eventually led the hearing officer to declare his (respondent's) right to cross-examine the
complainants and their witnesses as having been waived in his order of 17 December 1986.
Respondent can not now claim that he had been deprived below of the opportunity to confront the
complainants and their witnesses.
After carefully going through the record of the proceedings as well as the evidence presented by
both parties, we agree with the findings and conclusions of the Solicitor General.
The following acts of respondent:
1. making it appear on the 5 August 1975 real estate mortgage that the amount
loaned to complainants was P5,000.00 instead of P4,000.00;
2. exacting grossly unreasonable and usurious interest;
3. making it appear in the second real estate mortgage of 7 May 1976 that the loan
extended to complainants had escalated to P10,000.00;
4. failing to inform complainants of the import of the real mortgage documents and
inducing them to sign those documents with assurances that they were merely for
purposes of "formality";
5. failing to demand or refraining from demanding payment from complainants before
effecting extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgaged property; and

6. failing to inform or refraining from informing complainants that the real estate
mortgage had already been foreclosed and that complainants had a right to redeem
the foreclosed property within a certain period of time.
constitute deception and dishonesty and conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar. We agree with
the Solicitor General that the acts of respondent "imply something immoral in themselves regardless
of whether they are punishable by law" and that these acts constitute moral turpitude, being
"contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals." The standard required from members of the
Bar is not, of course, satisfied by conduct which merely avoids collision with our criminal law. Even
so, respondent's conduct, in fact, may be penalizable under at least one penal statute the antiusury law.
The second charge against respondent relates to acts done in his professional capacity, that is, done
at a time when he was counsel for the complainants in a criminal case for estafa against accused
Reynaldo Pineda. There are two (2) aspects to this charge: the first is that respondent Decena
effected a compromise agreement concerning the civil liability of accused Reynaldo Pineda without
the consent and approval of the complainants; the second is that, having received the amount of
P500.00 as an advance payment on this "settlement," he failed to inform complainants of that
advance payment and moreover, did not turn over the P500.00 to the complainants. The facts show
that respondent "settled" the estafa case amicably for P2,000.00 without the knowledge and consent
of complainants. Respondent informed complainants of the amicable "settlement" and of the
P500.00 advance payment only after petitioner Narciso Melendrez had confronted him about these
matters. And respondent never did turn over to complainants the P500.00. Respondent is presumed
to be aware of the rule that lawyers cannot "without special authority, compromise their clients'
litigation or receive anything in discharge of a client's claim, but the full amount in
cash. 6 Respondent's failure to turn over to complainants the amount given by accused Pineda as partial
"settlement" of the estafa case underscores his lack of honesty and candor in dealing with his clients.
Generally, a lawyer should not be suspended or disbarred for misconduct committed in his personal
or non-professional capacity. Where however, misconduct outside his professional dealings
becomes so patent and so gross as to demonstrate moral unfitness to remain in the legal profession,
the Court must suspend or strike out the lawyer's name from the Rollo of Attorneys. 7 The nature of
the office of an attorney at law requires that he shall be a person of good moral character. This
qualification is not only a condition precedent to admission to the practice of law; its continued possession
is also essential for remaining in the practice of law, in the exercise of privileges of members of the Bar.
Gross misconduct on the part of a lawyer, although not related to the discharge of professional duties as a
member of the Bar, which puts his moral character in serious doubt, renders him unfit to continue in the
practice of law. 8
In the instant case, the exploitative deception exercised by respondent attorney upon the
complainants in his private transactions with them, and the exacting of unconscionable rates of
interest, considered together with the acts of professional misconduct committed by respondent
attorney, compel this Court to the conviction that he has lost that good moral character which is
indispensable for continued membership in the Bar.
WHEREFORE, respondent Reynerio I. Decena is hereby DISBARRED and his name shall be
stricken from the Rollo of Attorneys. Let a copy of this Resolution be FURNISHED each to the Bar

Confidant and spread on the personal records of respondent attorney, and to the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines.
Fernan, (C.J.), Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., in Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco,
Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Gr;no-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1 The complaint was originally filed on 29 August 1979 with the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (Zamboanga del Sur Chapter) and was referred to this Court on 17
November 1979.
2 Rollo, p. 94; Report and Recommendation, pp. 42-59.
3 Id., pp. 52-53.
4 December 22, 1980; January 9, 1981; January 24, 1981; February 7, 1981;
February 21, 1981; February 28, 1981; March 7, 1981; March 26 & 27,1981; April 9 &
10, 1981; April 27 & 28,1981; May 12, 1981; May 13,1981; July 2,1981; July 3,1981;
August 17 & 19,1981; October 5 & 8, 1981; October 7 to 8, 1981; November 23 to
26, 1981; February 22 to 26, 1982; February 22, 1982; February 23, 1982; February
24,1982; April 29 & 30,1982; June 10 to 11, 1982; and June 28 to 29, 1 982 (Total25).
5 June 15, 1983; November, 1983; December 12, 1983; February 24,1984; March 1,
1984; April 17,1984; May 9 & 16,1984; June 20 to 21, 1984; July 16, 1984;
September 5, 1984; October 3, 1984; October 22, 1984; December 27, 1984;
February 18, 1985; March 13, 1985; April 29, 1985; May 9, 1985; May 28 to 29,
1985; July 17, 1985; September 27, 1985; October 10, 1985; November 13, 1985;
January 27, 1986; February 20, 1986; October 16, 1986; November 7, 1986;
November 11, 1986; December 17,1986; December 24,1986; January 9, 1987;
February 26, 1987; March 26, 1987; April 24, 1987; May 18, 1987: June 8, 1987;
October 16, 1987; October 21, 1987; October 26, 1987; and October 28,1987 (Total40).
6 Section 23, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court.
7 Manolo v. Gan, 93 Phil. 202 (1953).
8 Caballero v. Deipairan 60 SCRA 136 (1974); Balinon v. De Leon, 94 Phil. 277
(1954).

4.

JOSEFINA ROYONG, complainant,


vs.
ATTY. ARISTON OBLENA, respondent.
BARRERA, J.:
In a verified complaint filed with this Court on January 14, 1959, complainant Josefina Royong
charged the respondent Ariston J. Oblena, a member of the Philippine Bar, with rape allegedly
committed on her person in the manner described therein. Upon requirement of this Court, the
respondent filed his answer denying all the allegations in the complaint and praying that he be not
disbarred. On February 3, 1959, this Court referred the case to the Solicitor General for
investigation, report and recommendation.
On July 10, 1961, the Solicitor General submitted his report on the case with the recommendation
that the respondent "be permanently removed from his office lawyer and his name be stricken from
the roll of attorneys". The pertinent part of the report reads as follows:
The complainant testified that after lunch on August 5, 1958, Cecilia Angeles, her foster
mother, left her alone in their house and went down to the pig sty to feed the pigs. At about
1:00 p.m., while she" (complainant) was ironing clothes on the second floor of the house the
respondent entered and read a newspaper at her back. Suddenly he covered her mouth with
one hand and with the other hand dragged her to one of the bedrooms of the house and
forced her to lie down on the floor. She did not shout for help because he threatened her and
her family with death. He next undressed as she lay on the floor, then had sexual intercourse
with her after he removed her panties and gave her hard blows on the thigh with his fist to
subdue her resistance. After the sexual intercourse, he warned her not to report him to her
foster parents, otherwise, he would kill her and all the members of her family. She resumed
ironing clothes after he left until 5:00 o'clock that afternoon when she joined her foster
mother on the first floor of the house. As a result of the sexual intercourse she became
pregnant and gave birth to a baby on June 2, 1959 (pp. 4-8, 21, 23, 26, 27, t.s.n., hearing of
Aug. 5, 1959).
She admitted that had she shouted for help she would have been heard by the neighbors
that she did not report the outrage to anyone because of the threat made by the respondent;
that she still frequented the respondent's house after August 5, 1959, sometimes when he
was alone, ran errands for him, cooked his coffee, and received his mail for him. Once, on
November 14, 1958, when respondent was sick of influenza, she was left alone with him in
his house while her aunt Briccia Angeles left for Manila to buy medicine (pp. 11, 14-18, 24,
t.s.n., hearing of August 5, 1959).
The respondent on the witness stand denied that he raped the complainant (p. 3, t.s.n.,
hearing of March 25 1960). He testified that after lunch on August 5, 1958, he went to the
Commission Of Civil Service to follow up his appointment as technical assistant in the office

of the mayor of Makati, Rizal, and read the record of the administrative case against
Buenaventura Perez (pp. 23, 24, 34, t.s.n., hearing of March 25, 1960, Exhs. 1 and 2).
The respondent, however, admitted that he had illicit relations with the complainant from
January, 1957 to December, 1958, when their clandestine affair was discovered by the
complainant's foster parents, but to avoid criminal liability for seduction, according to him, he
limited himself to kissing and embracing her and sucking her tongue before she completed
her eighteenth birthday. They had their first sexual intercourse on May 11, 1958, after she
had reached eighteen, and the second one week later, on May 18. The last intercourse took
place before Christmas in December, 1958. In all, they had sexual intercourse about fifty
times, mostly in her house and sometimes in his house whenever they had the opportunity.
He intended to marry her when she could legally contract marriage without her foster
parents' intervention, 'in case occasion will permit ... because we cannot ask permission to
marry, for her foster parents will object and even my common-law wife, will object.' After the
discovery of their relationship by the complainant's foster parents, he confessed the affair to
Briccia, explaining that he wanted to have a child, something she (Briccia) could not give
him. (pp. 14-16, 19-25, t.s.n., hearing of March 25, 1960).
xxx

xxx

xxx

FINDINGS AND COMMENT


There is no controversy that the respondent had carnal knowledge of the complainant. The
complainant claims she surrendered to him under circumstances of violence and
intimidation, but the undersigned are convinced that the sexual intercourse was performed
not once but repeatedly and with her consent. From her behaviour before and after the
alleged rape, she appears to have been more a sweetheart than of the victim of an outrage
involving her honor ....
But the foregoing observations notwithstanding, the undersigned cannot in conscience
recommend respondent's exoneration. The respondent tempted Briccia Angeles to live
maritally with him not long after she and her husband parted, and it is not improbable that the
spouses never reconciled because of him. His own evidence shows that, tiring of her after
more than fifteen years of adulterous relationship with her and on the convenient excuse that
she, Briccia Angeles, could not bear a child, he seduced Josefina Andalis, then 17 or 18
years of age, resulting in her pregnancy and the birth of a child, on June 2, 1959. The
seduction was accomplished with grave abuse of confidence and by means of promises of
marriage which he knew he could not fulfill without grievous injury to the woman who forsook
her husband so that he, respondent, could have all of her. He also took advantage of his
moral influence over her. From childhood, Josefina Andalis, treated him as an uncle and
called him 'tata' (uncle), undoubtedly because he is the paramour of a sister of her mother.
Considering her age (she was 17 or 18 years old then), it is not difficult to see why she could
not resist him.
The evidence further shows that on July 22, 1954, the respondent filed a sworn petition
dated May 22, 1954 alleging "that he is a person of good moral character" (Par. 3) and

praying that the Supreme Court permit him "to take the bar examinations to be given on the
first Saturday of August, 1954, or at any time as the Court may fix.."
But he was not then the person of good moral character he represented himself to be. From
1942 to the present, he has continuously lived an adulterous life with Briccia Angeles whose
husband is still alive, knowing that his concubine is a married woman and that her marriage
still subsists. This fact permanently disqualified him from taking the bar examinations, and
had it been known to the Supreme Court in 1954, he would not have been permitted to take
the bar examinations that year or thereafter, or to take his oath of office as a lawyer. As he
was then permanently disqualified from admission to the Philippine Bar by reason of his
adulterous relations with a married woman, it is submitted that the same misconduct should
be sufficient ground for his permanent disbarment, unless we recognize a double standard of
morality, one for membership to the Philippine Bar and another for disbarment from the office
of a lawyer.
xxx

xxx

xxx

RECOMMENDATION
Wherefore, the undersigned respectfully recommend that after due hearing, respondent
Ariston J. Oblena be permanently removed from his office as a lawyer and his name be
stricken from the roll of attorneys.
In view of his own findings as a result of his investigation, that even if respondent did not commit the
alleged rape nevertheless he was guilty of other misconduct, the Solicitor General formulated
another complaint which he appended to his report, charging the respondent of falsely and
deliberately alleging in his application for admission to the bar that he is a person of good moral
character; of living adulterously with Briccia Angeles at the same time maintaining illicit relations with
the complainant Josefina Royong, niece of Briccia, thus rendering him unworthy of public confidence
and unfit and unsafe to manage the legal business of others, and praying that this Court render
judgment ordering "the permanent removal of the respondent ... from his office as a lawyer and the
cancellation of his name from the roll of attorneys."
In his answer to this formal complaint, respondent alleged the special defense that "the complaint
does not merit action", since the causes of action in the said complaint are different and foreign from
the original cause of action for rape and that "the complaint lacks the necessary formalities called for
in Sec. 1, Rule 128 of the Rules of Court." Respondent prayed that after due notice and hearing for
additional evidence, the complaint be dismissed.
On September 13, 1961, this Court designated the Court Investigators to receive the additional
evidence. Accordingly the case was set for hearing of which the parties were duly notified. On
September 29, 1961, respondent asked leave to submit a memorandum which was granted, and on
October 9, 1961 the same was filed, alleging the following: 1) That the charge of rape has not been
proven; 2) That no act of seduction was committed by the respondent; 3) That no act of perjury or
fraudulent concealment was committed by the respondent when he filed his petition for admission to
the bar; and 4) That the respondent is not morally unfit to be a member of the bar.

Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and
approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to prove
their case not covered by this stipulation of facts.
1wph1.t

At the hearing on November 16, 1961, respondent presented his common-law wife, Briccia Angeles,
who testified as follows:
... Respondent is her common-law husband (t.s.n. 23). She first met respondent on
December 16, 1941 at Cavinti, Laguna (t.s.n. 23). She and her sister Cecilia AngelesRoyong were evacuated to Cavinti by the Red Cross (t.s.n. 23). She was already married (to
Teodoro Arines) at the time (t.s.n. 24). She and Arines are from Iriga, Camarines Sur (t.s.n.
24). Respondent and one Mr. Flores registered them (t.s.n. 24) as evacuees. When Mr.
Flores asked her about her status she told him she was 'single' (t.s.n. 25). She and her
sister, Cecilia, were then told to stay at respondent's house, respondent courted her (t.s.n.
26). Respondent asked her if she was married and she told him 'we will talk about that later
on' (t.s.n. 26). She told respondent she was married (to Arines) when she and respondent
were already living together as 'husband and wife', in 1942( t.s.n. 26). Respondent asked her
to marry him, when they were living as husband and wife (t.s.n. 27). Her sister Cecilia left
Cavinti 2 months after their arrival thereat, but she did not go with her because she and
respondent 'had already a good understanding'(sexual relations) [t.s.n. 27]. Later, she left
Cavinti and went to her hometown in Iriga, Camarines Sur, because respondent was already
reluctant to live with her and he told her it was better for her to go home to Iriga (t.s.n. 25).
Arriving at Iriga, she met her legitimate husband (Arines), who told her he had already a wife,
named Conching Guevara (t.s.n. 28-29). She then went back to Cavinti (in 1943), with her
father, and lived with respondent (t.s.n. 29). Respondent eventually agreed that she live with
him (t.s.n. 35); in fact, she is still presently living with respondent (t.s.n. 35) [Report of Court
Investigators, March 6, 1962, pp. 5-6]."
Thereafter, respondent requested permission to submit an affidavit at a later date, which request
was also granted. The affidavit was filed on December 16, 1961, the respondent averring, among
others, the following:.
... That he never committed any act or crime of seduction against the complainant, because
the latter was born on February 19, 1940, and his first sexual intercourse with her took place
on May 11, 1958, when she was already above 18 years of age; that he had been living with
his common-law wife, Briccia Angeles, for almost 20 years, but from the time he began
courting her, he 'had no intention to alienate' her love for her husband, Arines, or to commit
the crime of adultery; that he courted Briccia on October 16, 1941, and was shortly thereafter
accepted by her; that on February 21, 1942, he found Briccia alone in his house, who told
him that her sister, Cecilia, had gone to Pagsanjan with the other evacuees; that from said
date (February 21), to the present, he and Briccia had been living together as common-law
husband and wife; that 2 or 3 weeks thereafter, he asked Briccia to marry him, but she
confessed she was already married, and maybe her husband (Arines) was still living in Iriga;
that he could not then drive Briccia away, because she was a stranger in the place, nor could
he urge her to join her sister Cecilia, as the latter had left Pagsanjan; that in 1943 she told
Briccia to separate from him and to return to Iriga, and urged her never to see him again;

that contrary to his expectations, Briccia returned to Cavinti 3 months thereafter; that Briccia
strongly insisted to live with him again, telling him that she cannot separate from him
anymore, as he was ashamed; that Briccia's father told him that Briccia's husband (Arines)
had agreed not to molest them as in fact he (Arines) was already living with another woman;
that he had 'no choice but to live with her' (Briccia) again; that when he filed his petition to
take the bar examinations in 1954, he 'did not have the slightest intention to hide' from this
Court the fact of his 'open cohabitation with a married woman' (Briccia Angeles); that he did
not state said fact in his petition, because he did not see in the form of the petition being
used in 1954 that the fact must be stated; and that since his birth, he thought and believed
he was a man of good moral character, and it was only from the Solicitor General that he first
learned he was not so; and that he did not commit perjury or fraudulent concealment when
he filed his petition to take the bar examinations in 1954." (Report of the Court Investigators,
pp. 6-8, March 6, 1962).
After hearing, the investigators submitted a report with the finding that: 1) Respondent used his
knowledge of the law to take advantage by having illicit relations with complainant, knowing as he
did, that by committing immoral acts on her, he was free from any criminal liability; and 2)
Respondent committed gross immorality by continuously cohabiting with a married woman even
after he became a lawyer in 1955 to the present; and 3) That respondent falsified the truth as to his
moral character in his petition to take the 1954 bar examinations, being then immorally (adulterously)
in cohabitation with his common-law wife, Briccia Angeles, a married woman. The investigators also
recommended that the respondent be disbarred or alternatively, be suspended from the practice of
law for a period of one year.
Upon the submission of this report, a copy of which was served on respondent, through his counsel
of record, the case was set for hearing before the Court on April 30, 1962. Respondent asked leave
to file his memorandum in lieu of oral argument. This was granted and the corresponding
memorandum was duly filed.
It is an admitted and uncontroverted fact that the respondent had sexual relations with the
complainant several times, and as a consequence she bore him a child on June 2, 1959; and that he
likewise continuously cohabited with Briccia Angeles, in an adulterous manner, from 1942 up to the
present.
The main point in issue is thus limited illicit relations with the complainant Josefina Royong the and
the open cohabitation with Briccia Angeles, a married woman, are sufficient grounds to cause the
respondent's disbarment.
It is argued by the respondent that he is not liable for disbarment notwithstanding his illicit relations
with the complainant and his open cohabitation with Briccia Angeles, a married woman, because he
has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude. It is true that the respondent has not
been convicted of rape, seduction, or adultery on this count, and that the grounds upon which the
disbarment proceedings is based are not among those enumerated by Section 25, Rule 127 of the
Rules of Court for which a lawyer may be disbarred. But it has already been held that this
enumeration is not exclusive and that the power of the courts to exclude unfit and unworthy
members of the profession is inherent; it is a necessary incident to the proper administration of

justice; it may be exercised without any special statutory authority, and in all proper cases unless
positively prohibited by statute; and the power may be exercised in any manner that will give the
party be disbarred a fair trial and a fair opportunity to be heard. (1 Francisco, Rules of Court [1958
ed.] 698, citing In Re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 567). Although it is a well settled rule that the legislature (or the
Supreme Court by virtue of its rule-making power) may provide that certain acts or conduct shall
require disbarment, the accepted doctrine is that statutes and rules merely regulate the power to
disbar instead of creating it, and that such statutes (or rules) do not restrict the general powers of the
court over attorneys, who are its officers, and that they may be removed for other than statutory
grounds (7 C.J.S. 734). In the United States, where from our system of legal ethics is derived, "the
continued possession of a fair private and professional character or a good moral character is a
requisite condition for the rightful continuance in the practice of law for one who has been admitted,
and its loss requires suspension or disbarment even though the statutes do not specify that as a
ground of disbarment". The moral turpitude for which an attorney may be disbarred may consist of
misconduct in either his professional or non-professional activities (5 Am. Jur. 417). The tendency of
the decisions of this Court has been toward the conclusion that a member of the bar may be
removed or suspended from office as a lawyer for other than statutory grounds. Indeed, the rule is
so phrased as to be broad enough to cover practically any misconduct of a lawyer (In Re Pelaez, 44
Phil. 567). In the case at bar, the moral depravity of the respondent is most apparent. His pretension
that before complainant completed her eighteenth birthday, he refrained from having sexual
intercourse with her, so as not to incur criminal liability, as he himself declared and that he limited
himself merely to kissing and embracing her and sucking her tongue, indicates a scheming mind,
which together with his knowledge of the law, he took advantage of, for his lurid purpose.
Moreover, his act becomes more despicable considering that the complainant was the niece of his
common-law wife and that he enjoyed a moral ascendancy over her who looked up to him as her
uncle. As the Solicitor General observed: "He also took advantage of his moral influence over her.
From childhood, Josefina Andalis (Royong), treated him as an uncle and called him 'tata' (uncle),
undoubtedly because he is the paramour of a sister of her mother. Considering her age (she was 17
or 18 years old then), her inexperience and his moral ascendency over her, it is not difficult to see
why she could not resist him." Furthermore, the blunt admission of his illicit relations with the
complainant reveals the respondent to be a person who would suffer no moral compunction for his
acts if the same could be done without fear of criminal liability. He has, by these acts, proven himself
to be devoid of the moral integrity expected of a member of the bar.
The respondent's misconduct, although unrelated to his office, may constitute sufficient grounds for
disbarment. This is a principle we have followed since the ruling in In Re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 567, where
this Court quoted with approval the following portion of the decision of the Supreme Court of Kansas
in the case of Peyton's Appeal (12 Kan. 398, 404), to wit:.
The nature of the office, the trust relation which exists between attorney and client, as well as
between court and attorney, and the statutory rule prescribing the qualifications of attorneys,
uniformly require that an attorney be a person of good moral character. If that qualification is
a condition precedent to a license or privilege to enter upon the practice of the law, it would
seem to be equally essential during the continuance of the practice and the exercise of the
privilege. So it is held that an attorney will be removed not only for malpractice and
dishonesty in his profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with his

professional duties, which shows him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges
which his license and the law confer upon him. (Emphasis supplied).
Respondent's conduct though unrelated to his office and in no way directly bearing on his
profession, has nevertheless rendered him unfit and unworthy of the privileges of a lawyer. We
cannot give sanction to his acts. For us to do so would be as the Solicitor General puts it
recognizing "a double standard of morality, one for membership to the Philippine Bar, and another for
disbarment from the office of the lawyer." If we concede that respondent's adulterous relations and
his simultaneous seduction of his paramour's niece did not and do not disqualify him from continuing
with his office of lawyer, this Court would in effect be requiring moral integrity as an essential
prerequisite for admission to the bar, only to later on tolerate and close its eyes to the moral
depravity and character degeneration of the members of the bar.
The decisions relied upon by the respondent in justifying his stand that even if he admittedly
committed fornication, this is no ground for disbarment, are not controlling. Fornication, if committed
under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as have proven in this case, as to shock common
sense of decency, certainly may justify positive action by the Court in protecting the prestige of the
noble profession of the law. The reasons advanced by the respondent why he continued his
adulterous relations with Briccia Angeles, in that she helped him in some way finish his law studies,
and that his "sense of propriety and Christian charity" did not allow him to abandon her after his
admission to the bar after almost 13 years of cohabitation, are hardly an excuse for his moral
dereliction. The means he employed, as he stated, in order to extricate himself from the predicament
he found himself in, by courting the complainant and maintaining sexual relations with her makes his
conduct more revolting. An immoral act cannot justify another immoral act. The noblest means he
could have employed was to have married the complainant as he was then free to do so. But to
continue maintaining adulterous relations with a married woman and simultaneously maintaining
promiscuous relations with the latter's niece is moral perversion that can not be condoned.
Respondent's conduct therefore renders him unfit and unworthy for the privileges of the legal
profession. As good character is an essential qualification for admission of an attorney to practice,
he may be removed therefrom whenever he ceases to possess such character (7 C.J.S. 735).
The respondent further maintains that the Solicitor General exceeded his authority in filing the
present complaint against him for seduction, adultery and perjury, as it charges an offense or
offenses different from those originally charged in the complaint of January 14, 1959 for rape, and
cites as authority Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 128 of the Rules of Court, which state:.
SEC. 4. Report of the Solicitor General. Based upon the evidence adduced at the hearing,
if the Solicitor General finds no sufficient ground to proceed against the respondent, he shall
submit a report to the Supreme Court containing his findings of fact and conclusion,
whereupon the respondent shall be exonerated unless the court orders differently.
SEC. 5. Complaint of the Solicitor General. Answer of the respondent. If the Solicitor
General finds sufficient ground to proceed against the respondent, he shall file the
corresponding complaint, accompanied with all the evidence introduced in his investigation,
with the Supreme Court, and the respondent shall be served by the clerk of the Supreme
Court with a copy of the complaint with direction to answer the same within fifteen days.

The contention is devoid of merit. Nothing in the language of the foregoing rules requires the
Solicitor General to charge in his complaint the same offense charged in the complaint originally filed
by the complainant for disbarment. Precisely, the law provides that should the Solicitor General find
sufficient grounds to proceed against the respondent, he shall file the corresponding complaint,
accompanied by the evidence introduced in his investigation. The Solicitor General therefore is at
liberty to file any case against the respondent he may be justified by the evidence adduced during
the investigation..
The respondent also maintains that he did not falsify his petition to take the bar examinations in
1954 since according to his own opinion and estimation of himself at that time, he was a person of
good moral character. This contention is clearly erroneous. One's own approximation of himself is
not a gauge to his moral character. Moral character is not a subjective term, but one which
corresponds to objective reality. Moral character is what a person really is, and not what he or other
people think he is. As former Chief Justice Moran observed: An applicant for license to practice law
is required to show good moral character, or what he really is, as distinguished from good reputation,
or from the opinion generally entertained of him, the estimate in which he is held by the public in the
place where he is known. As has been said, ante the standard of personal and professional integrity
which should be applied to persons admitted to practice law is not satisfied by such conduct as
merely enables them to escape the penalties of criminal law. Good moral character includes at least
common honesty (3 Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, [1957 ed.] 626, citing In Re Weinstein,
42 P. [2d] 744 B.L.D., Cooper v. Greeley. 1 Den. [N.Y.] 3447; In Re Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399; and
People v. Macauley, 82 N.E. 612). Respondent, therefore, did not possess a good moral character at
the time he applied for admission to the bar. He lived an adulterous life with Briccia Angeles, and the
fact that people who knew him seemed to have acquiesced to his status, did not render him a
person of good moral character. It is of no moment that his immoral state was discovered then or
now as he is clearly not fit to remain a member of the bar.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby entered striking the name of herein respondent, Ariston J.
Oblena, from the roll of attorneys.
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Paredes, Regala and Makalintal, JJ.,
concur.
Padilla, Reyes, J.B.L., and Dizon, JJ., took no part.

5.

March 3, 1923
In re suspension of VICENTE PELAEZ, attorney,

Juan Sumulong for respondent.


Attorney-General Villa-Real for the Government.
MALCOLM, J.:
Following the suspension of Attorney Vicente Pelaez by Judge of First Instance Wislizenus for a
period of one year, the case has been elevated to this court as provided by law, for full investigation
of the facts involved, and for the rendition of the appropriate order.
The respondent Vicente Pelaez is a member of the Philippine Bar, residing at Cebu, Cebu. On
March 20, 1918, he was appointed guardian of the minor Gracia Cabrera. As such guardian, he
came into possession of certain property, including twenty shares of the E. Michael & Co., Inc., and
ten shares of the Philippine Engineering Co. While Pelaez was still the guardian of the minor, he
borrowed P2,800 from the Cebu branch of the Philippine National bank. Shortly thereafter, to
guarantee the loan, Pelaez, without the knowledge or consent of the Court of First Instance of Cebu,
deposited with the Cebu branch of the Philippine National Bank the shares of stock corresponding to
the guardianship. On April 13, 1921, Pelaez executed a written agreement in favor of the Cebu
branch of the Philippine National Bank, pledging, without the authority of the Court of First Instance
of Cebu, the shares of stock in question, to guarantee the payment of the loan above referred to.
These are the facts, taken principally from the memorandum filed in this court on behalf of the
respondent, which caused the judge of First Instance to suspend him from the legal profession. To
quote counsel for the respondent, "the misconduct of which the respondent in this case is guilty
consist of having pledged the shares belonging to his ward, to guarantee the payment of his
personal debt."
Two questions present themselves for the resolution. The first question is this: Are the courts in the
Philippines authorized to suspend or disbar a lawyer for causes other than those enumerated in the
statute? The second questions is this: May a lawyer be suspended or disbarred for non-professional
misconduct?
Section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that a member of the bar may be removed or
suspended from this office as lawyer by the Supreme Court for any of the causes therein
enumerated. It will be noticed that our statute merely provides that certain cause shall be deemed
sufficient for the revocation or suspension of an attorney's license. It does not provide that these
shall constitute the only causes for disbarment, or that an attorney may not be disbarred or
suspended for other reasons.
It is a well-settled rule that a statutory enumeration of the grounds of disbarment is not to be taken
as a limitation of the general power of the court in this respect. Even where the Legislature has
specified the grounds for disbarment, the inherent power of the court over its officer is not restricted.
The prior tendency of the decisions of this court has been toward the conclusion that a member of
the bar may be removed or suspended from his office as lawyer for other than statutory grounds.
Indeed, the statute is so phrased as to be broad enough to cover practically any misconduct of a
lawyer.
Passing now to the second point as a general rule, a court will not assume jurisdiction to
discipline one of its officers for misconduct alleged to have been committed in his private capacity.
But this is a general rule with many exceptions. The courts sometimes stress the point that the
attorney has shown, through misconduct outside of his professional dealings, a want of such
professional honesty as render him unworthy of public confidence, and an unfit and unsafe person to

manage the legal business of others. The reason why such a distinction can be drawn is because it
is the court which admits an attorney to the bar, and the court requires for such admission the
possession of good moral character.
The principal authority for the respondent is the case of People ex rel. vs. Appleton ([1883], 105 Ill.,
474). Here it was held, by a divided court, that where property is conveyed to an attorney in trust,
without his professional advice, and he mortgages the same, for the purpose of raising a sum of
money which he claims is due him from the cestui que trust, and the trustee afterwards sells the
property and appropriates the proceeds of the sale to his own use, the relation of client and attorney
not being created by such trust, his conduct, however censurable as an individual occupying the
position of a trustee, is not such as to warrant the summary disbarring of him on motion to the court
to strike his name from the roll of attorneys, but the injured party must be left to his proper remedy by
suit. The Illinois court, however, admits that although the general rule is, that an attorney-at-law will
not be disbarred for misconduct not in his professional capacity, but as an individual, there are cases
forming an exception where his misconduct in his private capacity may be of so gross a character as
to require his disbarment.
The Attorney-General relies principally on the case of In re Smith ([1906], 73 Kan., 743). In the
opinion written by Mr. Chief Justice Johnston, it was said:
It is next contended that some of the charges against Smith do not fall within the cause for
disbarment named in the statute. As will be observed, the statute does not provide that the
only cause for which the license of an attorney may be revoked or suspended are those
specified in it, nor does it undertake to limit the common-law power of the courts to protect
themselves and the public by excluding those who are unfit to assist in the administration of
the law. It merely provides that certain causes shall be deemed sufficient for the revocation
or suspension of an attorney's license. (Gen. Stat., 1901, sec. 398.) In the early case
ofPeyton's Appeal (12 Kan., 398, 404), it was held that this statute is not an enabling act, but
that the power of the court to exclude unfit and unworthy members of the profession is
inherent; that "it is a necessary incident to the proper administration of justice; that it may be
exercised without any special statutory authority, and in all proper cases, unless positively
prohibited by statute; and that it may be exercised in any manner that will give the party to be
disbarred a fair trial and a full opportunity to be heard.' If there is authority in the Legislature
to restrict the discretion of the courts as to what shall constitute causes for disbarment, or to
limit the inherent power which they have exercised from time immemorial, it should not be
deemed to have done so unless its purpose is clearly expressed. It is generally held that the
enumeration of the grounds for disbarment in the statute is not to be taken as a limitation on
the general power of the court, but that attorneys may be removed for common-law causes
when the exercise of the privileges and functions of their high office is inimical to the due
administration of justice . . . .
The nature of the office, the trust relation which exists between attorney and client, as well as
between court and attorney, and the statutory rule prescribing the qualifications of attorney,
uniformly require that an attorney shall be a person of good moral character. If that
qualification is a condition precedent to a license or privilege to enter upon the practice of the
law, it would seem to be equally essential during the continuance of the practice and the
exercise of the privilege. So it is held that an attorney will be removed not only for
malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected
with his professional duties, which shows him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the
privileges which his license and the law confer upon him.
We are of the opinion that the doctrines announced by the Supreme Court of Kansas are sound.

The relation of guardian and ward requires of the guardian the continual maintenance of the utmost
good faith in his dealings with the estate of the ward. The bond and the oath of the guardian require
him to manage the estate of the ward according to law for the best interests of the ward, and
faithfully to discharge his trust in relation thereto. Moreover, it has not escaped our attention that in
the petition by Vicente Pelaez, asking the court to appoint him the guardian of Gracia Cabrera, he
begins his petition in this manner: "El abogado que subscribe, nombrado tutor testamentario, etc."
(The undersigned attorney, appointed testamentary guardian, etc.) which indicates that petitioner
might not have been named the guardian in this particular case had he not at the same time been a
lawyer.
Counsel argues that the misconduct for which the respondent has been suspended by the lower
court is single and isolated. "It forms," he says, "the only blot upon the escutcheon." We feel,
however, that the trial court has been extremely considerate of the respondent, and that were we
sitting in first instance, we would probably incline to a more severe sentence.
Judgment affirmed. So ordered.
Araullo, C. J., Street, Avancea, Ostrand, and Romualdez, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
JOHNS, J., dissenting:
Upon the facts shown the period of suspension should be for the period of two years.

6.

JOSE TOLOSA, complainant,


vs.
ALFREDO CARGO, respondent.
RESOLUTION

FELICIANO, J.:
On 7 April 1982, complainant Jose Tolosa filed with the Court an Affidavit- Complaint dated 7 March
1982 seeking the disbarment of respondent District Citizens' Attorney Alfredo Cargo for immorality.
Complainant claimed that respondent had been seeing his (complainant's) wife Priscilla M. Tolosa in
his house and elsewhere. Complainant further alleged that in June 1981, his wife left his conjugal
home and went to live with respondent at No. 45 Sisa Street, Barrio Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro
Manila and that since then has been living with respondent at that address.
Complying with an order of this Court, respondent filed a "Comment and/or Answer" dated 13 May
1982 denying the allegations of complainant. Respondent acknowledged that complainant's wife had
been seeing him but that she bad done so in the course of seeking advice from respondent (in view
of the continuous cruelty and unwarranted marital accusations of affiant [complainant] against her),
much as complainant's mother-in-law had also frequently sought the advice of respondent and of his
wife and mother as to what to do about the" continuous quarrels between affiant and his wife and the
beatings and physical injuries (sometimes less serious) that the latter sustained from the former."
(Rollo, p. 8).
Complainant filed a Reply dated 16 June 1982 to respondent's "Comment and/or Answer" and made
a number of further allegations, to wit:
(a) That complainant's wife was not the only mistress that respondent
had taken;
(b) That respondent had paid for the hospital and medical bills of
complainant's wife last May 1981, and visited her at the hospital
everyday;
(c) That he had several times pressed his wife to stop seeing
respondent but that she had refused to do so;
(d) That she had acquired new household and electrical appliances
where she was living although she had no means of livelihood; and
(e) That respondent was paying for his wife's house rent.
Respondent filed a Rejoinder on 19 July 1982, denying the further allegations of complainant, and
stating that he (respondent) had merely given complainant's wife the amount of P35.00 by way of
financial assistance during her confinement in the hospital.
By a Resolution dated 29 July 1982, the Court referred this case to the Solicitor General for
investigation, report and recommendation. The Solicitor General's office held a number of hearings
which took place from 21 October 1982 until 1986, at which hearings complainant and respondent
presented evidence both testimonial and documentary.

The Solicitor General summed up what complainant sought to establish in the following terms:
1. That respondent had been courting his wife, Priscilla (tsn, May 12,
1982, p. 9).
2. That he actually saw them together holding hands in l980 in Cubao
and Sto. Domingo, Quezon City (tsn, pp. 13-15, May 12, 1983).
3. That sometime in June, 1982, his wife left their conjugal house at
No. 1 Lopez Jaena Street, Galas, Quezon City, to live with
respondent at No. 45 Sisa Street, Barrio Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro
Manila (tsn, pp. 16- 17, May 12, 1983).
4. That while Priscilla was staying there, she acquired household
appliances which she could not afford to buy as she has no source of
income (tsn, pp. 10-11, Sept. 10, 1985, Exh. 'M', N' and 'Q').
5. That when Priscilla was hospitalized in May, 1982, at the FEU
Hospital, respondent paid for her expenses and took care of her (tsn,
pp. 18-20, June 15, 1983). In fact, an incident between respondent
and complainant took place in said hospital (tsn, pp. 5-8, Sept. 20,
1983, Exhibits 'C' and 'C-l').
6. That an incident which was subject of a complaint took place
involving respondent and complainant at No. 45 Sisa Street, Barrio
Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila (tsn, pp. 8- 10, July 29, 1983; Exh.
'B', 'B-l' and 'K').
7. That again in Quezon City, incidents involving respondent and
complainant were brought to the attention of the police (Exhibits 'F'
and 'G').
8. That Complainant filed an administrative case for immorality
against respondent with the CLAO and that respondent was
suspended for one year (Exhibits 'D' and 'E'). (Rollo, pp. 33-35).
Respondent's defenses were summarized by the Solicitor General in the following manner:
a) That Priscilla used to see respondent for advice regarding her
difficult relationship with complainant; that Priscilla left complainant
because she suffered maltreatment, physical injuries and public
humiliation inflicted or caused by complainant;
b) That respondent was not courting Priscilla, nor lived with her at No.
45 Sisa St., Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila; that the owner of the

house where Priscilla lived in Malabon was a friend and former client
whom respondent visited now and then;
c) That respondent only gave P35.00 to Priscilla in the FEU Hospital,
as assistance in her medical expenses; that he reprimanded
complainant for lying on the bed of Priscilla in the hospital which led
to their being investigated by the security guards of the hospital;
d) That it is not true that he was with Priscilla holding hands with her
in Cubao or Sto. Domingo Church in 1980;
e) That Priscilla bought all the appliances in her apartment at 45 Sisa
Street, Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila from her earnings;
f) That it is not true that he ran after complainant and tried to stab him
at No. 1 Galas St., Quezon City; that said incident was between
Priscilla's brother and complainant;
g) That it is also not true that he is always in 45 Sisa St., Tenejeros,
Malabon, Metro Manila and/or he had a quarrel with complainant at
45 Sisa St., Malabon; that the quarrel was between Priscilla's brother,
Edgardo Miclat, and complainant; that respondent went there only to
intervene upon request of complainant's wife (see tsn, June 21,
1984). (Rollo, pp. 35-37).
The Solicitor General then submitted the following
FINDINGS
1. That complainant and Priscilla are spouses residing at No.1 Lopez
Jaena St., Galas, Quezon City.
2. That respondent's wife was their 'ninang' at their marriage, and
they (complainant and Priscilla) considered respondent also their
'ninong'.
3. That respondent and complainant are neighbors, their residences
being one house away from each other.
4. That respondent admitted that Priscilla used to see him for advice,
because of her differences with complainant.
5. That Priscilla, in fact, left their conjugal house and lived at No. 45
Sisa St., Barrio Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila; that the owner of
the house where Priscilla lived in Malabon is a friend and former
client of respondent.

6. That Priscilla indeed acquired appliances while she was staying in


Malabon.
7. That incidents involving respondent and complainant had indeed
happened.
8. That Priscilla returned to her mother's house later in 1983 at No. 1
Lopez Jaena St., Galas, Quezon City; but complainant was staying
two or three houses away in his mother's house.
9. That complainant filed an administrative case for immorality
against respondent in CLAO, where respondent was found guilty and
suspended for one year. (Rollo, pp. 37-39).
In effect, the Solicitor General found that complainant's charges of immorality had not been
sustained by sufficient evidence. At the same time, however, the Solicitor General found that the
respondent had not been able to explain satisfactorily the following:
1. Respondent's failure to avoid seeing Priscilla, in spite of
complainant's suspicion and/or jealousy that he was having an affair
with his wife.
2. Priscilla's being able to rent an apartment in Malabon whose owner
is admittedly a friend and former client of respondent.
3. Respondent's failure to avoid going to Malabon to visit his friend, in
spite of his differences with complainant.
4. Respondent's failure to avoid getting involved invarious incidents
involving complainant and Priscilla's brothers (Exhs. 'B', B-1', 'F', 'G',
['G-1'] and ['I'])
5. Respondent's interest in seeing Priscilla in the evening when she
was confined in the FEU Hospital, in spite again of his differences
with complainant. (Rollo, pp. 39-40).
Thus, the Solicitor General concluded that respondent had failed "to properly deport himself by
avoiding any possible action or behavior which may be misinterpreted by complainant, thereby
causing possible trouble in the complainant's family," which behavior was "unbecoming of a lawyer
and an officer of the court." (Rollo, p. 40). The Solicitor General recommended that respondent Atty.
Alfredo Cargo be suspended from the practice of law for three (3) months and be severely
reprimanded.
We agree with the Solicitor General that the record does not contain sufficient evidence to show that
respondent had indeed been cohabiting with complainant's wife or was otherwise guilty of acts of

immorality. For this very reason, we do not believe that the penalty of suspension from the practice
of law may be properly imposed upon respondent.
At the same time, the Court agrees that respondent should be reprimanded for failure to comply with
the rigorous standards of conduct appropriately required from the members of the Bar and officers of
the court. As officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must
also be seen to be of good moral character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral
standards of the community. More specifically, a member of the Bar and officer of the court is not
only required to refrain from adulterous relationships or the keeping of mistresses 1 but must also so
behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral
standards.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to REPRIMAND respondent attorney for conduct unbecoming
a member of the Bar and an officer of the court, and to WARN him that continuation of the same or
similar conduct will be dealt with more severely in the future.
Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1 Royong v. Oblena, 7 SCRA 869 (1963); Toledo v. Toledo, 7 SCRA 747 (1963)
7.
G.R. No. 79690-707 February 1, 1989
ENRIQUE A. ZALDIVAR, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN and HONORABLE RAUL M. GONZALEZ, claiming to be
and acting as Tanodbayan-Ombudsman under the 1987 Constitution, respondents.
G.R. No. 80578 February 1, 1989
ENRIQUE A. ZALDIVAR, petitioner,
vs.
HON. RAUL M. GONZALES, claiming to be and acting as Tanodbayan-Ombudsman under the
1987 Constitution, respondent.
RESOLUTION
PER CURIAM:
We have examined carefully the lengthy and vigorously written Motion for Reconsideration dated
October 18, 1988 filed by counsel for respondent Raul M. Gonzalez, relating to the per

curiam Resolution of the Court dated October 7, 1988. We have reviewed once more the Court's
extended per curiam Resolution, in the light of the argument adduced in the Motion for
Reconsideration, but must conclude that we find no sufficient basis for modifying the conclusions
and rulings embodied in that Resolution. The Motion for Reconsideration sets forth copious
quotations and references to foreign texts which, however, whatever else they may depict, do not
reflect the law in this jurisdiction.
Nonetheless, it might be useful to develop further, in some measure, some of the conclusions
reached in the per curiam Resolution, addressing in the process some of the "Ten (10) Legal Points
for Reconsideration," made in the Motion for Reconsideration.
1. In respondent's point A, it is claimed that it was error for this Court "to charge
respondent [with] indirect contempt and convict him of direct contempt."
In the per curiam Resolution (page 50), the Court concluded that "respondent Gonzalez is guilty both
of contempt of court in facie curiae and of gross misconduct as an officer of the court and member of
the bar." The Court did not use the phrase "in facie curiae" as a technical equivalent of "direct
contempt," though we are aware that courts in the United States have sometimes used that phrase
in speaking of "direct contempts' as "contempts in the face of the courts." Rather, the court sought to
convey that it regarded the contumacious acts or statements (which were made both in a pleading
filed before the Court and in statements given to the media) and the misconduct of respondent
Gonzalez as serious acts flaunted in the face of the Court and constituting a frontal assault upon the
integrity of the Court and, through the Court, the entire judicial system. What the Court would stress
is that it required respondent, in its Resolution dated 2 May 1988, to explain "why he should not be
punished for contempt of court and/or subjected to administrative sanctions" and in respect of which,
respondent was heard and given the most ample opportunity to present all defenses, arguments and
evidence that he wanted to present for the consideration of this Court. The Court did not summarily
impose punishment upon the respondent which it could have done under Section 1 of Rule 71 of the
Revised Rules of Court had it chosen to consider respondent's acts as constituting "direct contempt."
2. In his point C, respondent's counsel argues that it was "error for this Court to
charge respondent under Rule 139 (b) and not 139 of the Revised Rules of Court."
In its per curiam Resolution, the Court referred to Rule 139 (b) of the Revised Rules of Court
pointing out that:
[R]eference of complaints against attorneys either to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines or to the Solicitor General is not mandatory upon the Supreme Court
such reference to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or to the Solicitor General is
certainly not an exclusive procedure under the terms of Rule 139 (b) of the Revised
Rules of Court, especially where the charge consists of acts done before the
Supreme Court.
The above statement was made by the Court in response to respondent's motion for referral of this
case either to the Solicitor General or to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines under Rule 139 (b).
Otherwise, there would have been no need to refer to Rule 139 (b). It is thus only necessary to point

out that under the old rule, Rule 139, referral to the Solicitor General was similarly not an exclusive
procedure and was not the only course of action open to the Supreme Court. It is well to recall that
under Section 1 (entitled "Motion or complaint") of Rule 139, "Proceedings for the removal or
suspension of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court, (1) on its own motion, or (2) upon the
complaint under oath of another in writing" (Parentheses supplied). The procedure described in
Sections 2 et seq. of Rule 139 is the procedure provided for suspension or disbarment proceedings
initiated upon sworn complaint of another person, rather than a procedure required for proceedings
initiated by the Supreme Court on its own motion. It is inconceivable that the Supreme Court would
initiate motu proprioproceedings for which it did not find probable cause to proceed against an
attorney. Thus, there is no need to refer a case to the Solicitor General, which referral is made "for
investigation to determine if there is sufficient ground to proceed with the prosecution of the
respondent" (Section 3, Rule 139), where the Court itself has initiated against the respondent. The
Court may, of course, refer a case to the Solicitor General if it feels that, in a particular case, further
factual investigation is needed. In the present case, as pointed out in the per curiamResolution of the
Court (page 18), there was "no need for further investigation of facts in the present case for it [was]
not substantially disputed by respondent Gonzalez that he uttered or wrote certain statements
attributed to him" and that "in any case, respondent has had the amplest opportunity to present his
defense: his defense is not that he did not make the statements ascribed to him but that those
statements give rise to no liability on his part, having been made in the exercise of his freedom of
speech. The issues which thus need to be resolved here are issues of law and of basic policy and
the Court, not any other agency, is compelled to resolve such issues."
In this connection, we note that the quotation in page 7 of the Motion for Reconsideration is from
a dissentingopinion of Mr. Justice Black in Green v. United State. 1 It may be pointed out that the
majority in Green v. United States, through Mr. Justice Harlan, held, among other things, that: Federal
courts do not lack power to impose sentences in excess of one year for criminal contempt; that criminal
contempts are not subject to jury trial as a matter of constitutional right; nor does the (US) Constitution
require that contempt subject to prison terms of more than one year be based on grand jury indictments.
In his concurring opinion in the same case, Mr. Justice Frankfurter said:
Whatever the conflicting views of scholars in construing more or less dubious
manuscripts of the Fourteenth Century, what is indisputable is that from the
foundation of the United States the constitutionality of the power to punish for
contempt without the intervention of a jury has not been doubted. The First Judiciary
Act conferred such a power on the federal courts in the very act of their
establishment, 1 State 73, 83, and of the Judiciary Committee of eight that reported
the bill to the Senate, five member including the chairman, Senator, later to be Chief
Justice, Ellsworth, had been delegates to the Constitutional Convention (Oliver
Ellsworth, Chairman, William Paterson, Caleb Strong, Ricard Basett, William Few. 1
Annals of Cong 17). In the First Congress itself no less than nineteen member
including Madison who contemporaneously introduced the Bill of Rights, had been
delegates to the Convention. And when an abuse under this power manifested itself,
and led Congress to define more explicitly the summary power vested in the courts, it
did not remotely deny the existence of the power but merely defined the conditions

for its exercise more clearly, in an Act "declaratory of the law concerning contempts
of court." Act of Mar. 2, 1831, 4 Stat 487.
xxxxxxxxx
Nor has the constitutionality of the power been doubted by this Court throughout its
existence . In at least two score cases in this Court, not to mention the vast mass of
decisions in the lower federal courts, the power to punish summarily has been
accepted without question. ... 2
To say that a judge who punishes a contemnor judges his own cause, is simplistic at best. The judge
who finds himself compelled to exercise the power to punish for contempt does so not really to
avenge a wrong inflicted upon his own person; rather he upholds and vindicates the authority, dignity
and integrity of the judicial institution and its claim to respectful behaviour on the part of all persons
who appears before it, and most especially from those who are officers of the court.
3. In his point D, respondent counsel urges that it is error "for this Court to apply the
"visible tendency" rule rather than the "clear and present danger" rule in disciplinary
and contempt charges."
The Court did not purport to announce a new doctrine of "visible tendency," it was, more modestly,
simply paraphrasing Section 3 (d) of Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court which penalizes a variety
of contumacious conduct including: "any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede,
obstruct or degrade the administration of justice."
The "clear and present danger" doctrine invoked by respondent's counsel is not a magic incantation
which dissolves all problems and dispenses with analysis and judgment in the testing of the
legitimacy of claims to free speech, and which compels a court to exonerate a defendant the
moment the doctrine is invoked, absent proof of impending apocalypse. The clear and present
danger" doctrine has been an accepted method for marking out the appropriate limits of freedom of
speech and of assembly in certain contexts. It is not, however, the only test which has been
recognized and applied by courts. In Logunzad v. Vda. de Gonzales, 3 this Court, speaking through
Mme. Justice Melencio-Herrera said:
...The right of freedom of expression indeed, occupies a preferred position in the
"hierarchy of civil liberties" (Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization v.
Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., 51 SCRA 191 [1963]. It is not, however, without
limitations. As held in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 27 SCRA 835, 858
[1960]:
"From the language of the specific constitutional provision, it would appear that the
right is not susceptible of any limitation. No law may be passed abridging the
freedom of speech and of the press. The realities of life in a complex society
preclude however, a literal interpretation. Freedom of expression is not an absolute.
It would be too much to insist that all times and under all circumstances it should

remain unfettered and unrestrained. There are other societal values that press for
recognition."
The prevailing doctrine is that the clear and present danger rule is such a limitation.
Another criterion for permissible limitation on freedom of speech and of the
press, which includes such vehicles of the mass media as radio, television and the
movies, is the "balancing-of-interests test" (Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando on the
Bill of Rights, 1970 ed., p. 79). The principle "requires a court to take conscious and
detailed consideration of the interplay of interests observable in a given situation or
type of situation (Separate Opinion of the late Chief Justice Castro in Gonzales v.
Commission on Elections, supra, p. 899). (Emphasis Supplied) 4
Under either the "clear and present danger" test or the "balancing-of-interest test," we believe that
the statements here made by respondent Gonzalez are of such a nature and were made in such a
manner and under such circumstances, as to transcend the permissible limits of free speech. This
conclusion was implicit in the per curiam Resolution of October 7, 1988. It is important to point out
that the "substantive evil" which the Supreme Court has a right and a duty to prevent does not, in the
instant case, relate to threats of physical disorder or overt violence or similar disruptions of public
order. 5 What is here at stake is the authority of the Supreme Court to confront and prevent a "substantive
evil" consisting not only of the obstruction of a free and fair hearing of a particular case but also the
avoidance of the broader evil of the degradation of the judicial system of a country and the destruction of
the standards of professional conduct required from members of the bar and officers of the courts. The
"substantive evil" here involved, in other words, is not as palpable as a threat of public disorder or rioting
but is certainly no less deleterious and more far reaching in its implications for society.
4. In his point H, respondent's counsel argues that it is error "for this Court to hold
that intent is irrelevant in charges of misconduct." What the Court actually said on
this point was:
Respondent Gonzalez disclaims an intent to attack and denigrate the Court. The
subjectivities of the respondent are irrelevant so far as characterization of his
conduct or misconduct is concerned. He will not, however, be allowed to disclaim the
natural and plain import of his words and acts. It is, upon the other hand, not
irrelevant to point out that the respondent offered no apology in his two (2)
explanations and exhibited no repentance (Resolution, p. 7; footnotes omitted).
The actual subjectivities of the respondent are irrelevant because such subjectivities (understood as
pyschological phenomena) cannot be ascertained and reached by the processes of this Court.
Human intent can only be shown derivatively and implied from an examination of acts and
statements. Thus, what the Court was saying was that respondent's disclaimer of an intent to attack
and denigrate the Court, cannot prevail over the plain import of what he did say and do. Respondent
cannot negate the clear import of his acts and statements by simply pleading a secret intent or state
of mind incompatible with those acts or statements. It is scarcely open to dispute that, e.g., one
accused of homicide cannot successfully deny his criminal intent by simply asserting that while he
may have inserted a knife between the victim's ribs, he actually acted from high motives and kind
feelings for the latter.

5 In his point 1, respondent's counsel argues that it is error "for this Court to punish
respondent for contempt of court for out of court publications."
Respondent's counsel asks this Court to follow what he presents as alleged modern trends in the
United Kingdom and in the United States concerning the law of contempt. We are, however, unable
to regard the texts that he cites as binding or persuasive in our jurisdiction. The Court went to some
length to document the state of our case law on this matter in its per curiam Resolution. There is
nothing in the circumstances of this case that would suggest to this Court that that case law, which
has been followed for at least half a century or so, ought to be reversed.
6. In his point J, respondent's counsel pleads that the imposition of indefinite
suspension from the practice of law constitutes "cruel, degrading or inhuman
punishment". The Court finds it difficult to consider this a substantial constitutional
argument. The indefiniteness of the respondent's suspension, far from being "cruel"
or "degrading" or "inhuman," has the effect of placing, as it were, the key to the
restoration of his rights and privileges as a lawyer in his own hands. That sanction
has the effect of giving respondent the chance to purge himself in his own good time
of his contempt and misconduct by acknowledging such misconduct, exhibiting
appropriate repentance and demonstrating his willingness and capacity to live up to
the exacting standards of conduct rightly demanded from every member of the bar
and officer of the courts.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to DENY the Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit. The
denial is FINAL.
The Court also NOTED the Ex-Parte Manifestation and Motion, dated October 25, 1988 and the
Supplemental Manifestation, dated October 27, 1988, filed by respondent
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla,
Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1 356 US 165, 2 L Ed 2d 672 (1958).
2 2 L ed 2d at 691-692; Emphasis supplied.
3 92 SCRA 476 (1979).
4 92 SCRA at 488.
5 See the separate opinion of the late Chief Justice Castro in Gonzalez v.
Commission on Elections, 27 SCRA 835, 888 at 897-898 (1969).
8.

G.R. No. L-27654 February 18, 1970


IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST ATTY. VICENTE
RAUL ALMACEN In L-27654, ANTONIO H. CALERO,
vs.
VIRGINIA Y. YAPTINCHAY.
RESOLUTION

CASTRO, J.:
Before us is Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen's "Petition to Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title," filed on
September 25, 1967, in protest against what he therein asserts is "a great injustice committed
against his client by this Supreme Court." He indicts this Court, in his own phrase, as a tribunal
"peopled by men who are calloused to our pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons their own
applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity." His client's he
continues, who was deeply aggrieved by this Court's "unjust judgment," has become "one of the
sacrificial victims before the altar of hypocrisy." In the same breath that he alludes to the classic
symbol of justice, he ridicules the members of this Court, saying "that justice as administered by the
present members of the Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb." He then vows to
argue the cause of his client "in the people's forum," so that "the people may know of the silent
injustice's committed by this Court," and that "whatever mistakes, wrongs and injustices that were
committed must never be repeated." He ends his petition with a prayer that
... a resolution issue ordering the Clerk of Court to receive the certificate of the
undersigned attorney and counsellor-at-law IN TRUST with reservation that at any
time in the future and in the event we regain our faith and confidence, we may
retrieve our title to assume the practice of the noblest profession.
He reiterated and disclosed to the press the contents of the aforementioned petition. Thus, on
September 26, 1967, the Manila Times published statements attributed to him, as follows:
Vicente Raul Almacen, in an unprecedented petition, said he did it to expose the
tribunal's"unconstitutional and obnoxious" practice of arbitrarily denying petitions or
appeals without any reason.
Because of the tribunal's "short-cut justice," Almacen deplored, his client was
condemned to pay P120,000, without knowing why he lost the case.
xxx xxx xxx

There is no use continuing his law practice, Almacen said in this petition, "where our
Supreme Court is composed of men who are calloused to our pleas for justice, who
ignore without reason their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations
of the Constitution with impunity.
xxx xxx xxx
He expressed the hope that by divesting himself of his title by which he earns his
living, the present members of the Supreme Court "will become responsive to all
cases brought to its attention without discrimination, and will purge itself of those
unconstitutional and obnoxious "lack of merit" or "denied resolutions. (Emphasis
supplied)
Atty. Almacen's statement that
... our own Supreme Court is composed of men who are calloused to our pleas of
[sic] justice, who ignore their own applicable decisions and commit culpable
violations of the Constitution with impunity
was quoted by columnist Vicente Albano Pacis in the issue of the Manila Chronicle of September 28,
1967. In connection therewith, Pacis commented that Atty. Almacen had "accused the high tribunal
of offenses so serious that the Court must clear itself," and that "his charge is one of the
constitutional bases for impeachment."
The genesis of this unfortunate incident was a civil case entitled Virginia Y. Yaptinchay vs. Antonio
H. Calero,1 in which Atty. Almacen was counsel for the defendant. The trial court, after due hearing,
rendered judgment against his client. On June 15, 1966 Atty. Almacen received a copy of the decision.
Twenty days later, or on July 5, 1966, he moved for its reconsideration. He served on the adverse counsel
a copy of the motion, but did not notify the latter of the time and place of hearing on said motion.
Meanwhile, on July 18, 1966, the plaintiff moved for execution of the judgment. For "lack of proof of
service," the trial court denied both motions. To prove that he did serve on the adverse party a copy of his
first motion for reconsideration, Atty. Almacen filed on August 17, 1966 a second motion for
reconsideration to which he attached the required registry return card. This second motion for
reconsideration, however, was ordered withdrawn by the trial court on August 30, 1966, upon verbal
motion of Atty. Almacen himself, who, earlier, that is, on August 22, 1966, had already perfected the
appeal. Because the plaintiff interposed no objection to the record on appeal and appeal bond, the trial
court elevated the case to the Court of Appeals.
But the Court of Appeals, on the authority of this Court's decision in Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc.
vs. Batu Construction & Co., L-16636, June 24, 1965, dismissed the appeal, in the following words:
Upon consideration of the motion dated March 27, 1967, filed by plaintiff-appellee
praying that the appeal be dismissed, and of the opposition thereto filed by
defendant-appellant; the Court RESOLVED TO DISMISS, as it hereby dismisses, the
appeal, for the reason that the motion for reconsideration dated July 5, 1966 (pp. 90113, printed record on appeal) does not contain a notice of time and place of hearing
thereof and is, therefore, a useless piece of paper (Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc.

vs. Batu Construction & Co., G.R. No. L-16636, June 24, 1965), which did not
interrupt the running of the period to appeal, and, consequently, the appeal was
perfected out of time.
Atty. Almacen moved to reconsider this resolution, urging that Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. is not
decisive. At the same time he filed a pleading entitled "Latest decision of the Supreme Court in
Support of Motion for Reconsideration," citing Republic of the Philippines vs. Gregorio A.
Venturanza, L-20417, decided by this Court on May 30, 1966, as the applicable case. Again, the
Court of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration, thus:
Before this Court for resolution are the motion dated May 9, 1967 and the
supplement thereto of the same date filed by defendant- appellant, praying for
reconsideration of the resolution of May 8, 1967, dismissing the appeal.
Appellant contends that there are some important distinctions between this case and
that of Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction & Co., G.R. No. L16636, June 24, 1965, relied upon by this Court in its resolution of May 8, 1967.
Appellant further states that in the latest case,Republic vs. Venturanza, L-20417,
May 30, 1966, decided by the Supreme Court concerning the question raised by
appellant's motion, the ruling is contrary to the doctrine laid down in the Manila
Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. case.
There is no substantial distinction between this case and that of Manila Surety &
Fidelity Co.
In the case of Republic vs. Venturanza, the resolution denying the motion to dismiss
the appeal, based on grounds similar to those raised herein was issued on
November 26, 1962, which was much earlier than the date of promulgation of the
decision in the Manila Surety Case, which was June 24, 1965. Further, the resolution
in the Venturanza case was interlocutory and the Supreme Court issued it "without
prejudice to appellee's restoring the point in the brief." In the main decision in said
case (Rep. vs. Venturanza the Supreme Court passed upon the issue sub silencio
presumably because of its prior decisions contrary to the resolution of November 26,
1962, one of which is that in the Manila Surety and Fidelity case. Therefore Republic
vs. Venturanza is no authority on the matter in issue.
Atty. Almacen then appealed to this Court by certiorari. We refused to take the case, and by minute
resolution denied the appeal. Denied shortly thereafter was his motion for reconsideration as well as
his petition for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration and for extension of time. Entry of
judgment was made on September 8, 1967. Hence, the second motion for reconsideration filed by
him after the Said date was ordered expunged from the records.
It was at this juncture that Atty. Almacen gave vent to his disappointment by filing his "Petition to
Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title," already adverted to a pleading that is interspersed from
beginning to end with the insolent contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and derogatory remarks

hereinbefore reproduced, against this Court as well as its individual members, a behavior that is as
unprecedented as it is unprofessional.
Nonetheless we decided by resolution dated September 28, 1967 to withhold action on his petition
until he shall have actually surrendered his certificate. Patiently, we waited for him to make good his
proffer. No word came from him. So he was reminded to turn over his certificate, which he had
earlier vociferously offered to surrender, so that this Court could act on his petition. To said reminder
he manifested "that he has no pending petition in connection with Case G.R. No. L-27654, Calero
vs. Yaptinchay, said case is now final and executory;" that this Court's September 28, 1967
resolution did not require him to do either a positive or negative act; and that since his offer was not
accepted, he "chose to pursue the negative act."
In the exercise of its inherent power to discipline a member of the bar for contumely and gross
misconduct, this Court on November 17, 1967 resolved to require Atty. Almacen to show cause "why
no disciplinary action should be taken against him." Denying the charges contained in the November
17 resolution, he asked for permission "to give reasons and cause why no disciplinary action should
be taken against him ... in an open and public hearing." This Court resolved (on December 7) "to
require Atty. Almacen to state, within five days from notice hereof, his reasons for such request,
otherwise, oral argument shall be deemed waived and incident submitted for decision." To this
resolution he manifested that since this Court is "the complainant, prosecutor and Judge," he
preferred to be heard and to answer questions "in person and in an open and public hearing" so that
this Court could observe his sincerity and candor. He also asked for leave to file a written
explanation "in the event this Court has no time to hear him in person." To give him the ampliest
latitude for his defense, he was allowed to file a written explanation and thereafter was heard in oral
argument.
His written answer, as undignified and cynical as it is unchastened, offers -no apology. Far from
being contrite Atty. Almacen unremittingly repeats his jeremiad of lamentations, this time
embellishing it with abundant sarcasm and innuendo. Thus:
At the start, let me quote passages from the Holy Bible, Chapter 7, St. Matthew:
"Do not judge, that you may not be judged. For with what judgment
you judge, you shall be judged, and with what measure you measure,
it shall be measured to you. But why dost thou see the speck in thy
brother's eye, and yet dost not consider the beam in thy own eye? Or
how can thou say to thy brother, "Let me cast out the speck from thy
eye"; and behold, there is a beam in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite,
first cast out the beam from thy own eye, and then thou wilt see
clearly to cast out the speck from thy brother's eyes."
"Therefore all that you wish men to do to you, even to do you also to
them: for this is the Law and the Prophets."
xxx xxx xxx

Your respondent has no intention of disavowing the statements mentioned in his


petition. On the contrary, he refirms the truth of what he stated, compatible with his
lawyer's oath that he will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court.
But he vigorously DENY under oath that the underscored statements contained in
the CHARGE are insolent, contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and derogatory to the
individual members of the Court; that they tend to bring the entire Court, without
justification, into disrepute; and constitute conduct unbecoming of a member of the
noble profession of law.
xxx xxx xxx
Respondent stands four-square that his statement is borne by TRUTH and has been
asserted with NO MALICE BEFORE AND AFTER THOUGHT but mainly motivated
with the highest interest of justice that in the particular case of our client, the
members have shown callousness to our various pleas for JUSTICE, our pleadings
will bear us on this matter, ...
xxx xxx xxx
To all these beggings, supplications, words of humility, appeals for charity, generosity,
fairness, understanding, sympathy and above all in the highest interest of JUSTICE,
what did we get from this COURT? One word, DENIED, with all its hardiness and
insensibility. That was the unfeeling of the Court towards our pleas and prayers, in
simple word, it is plain callousness towards our particular case.
xxx xxx xxx
Now that your respondent has the guts to tell the members of the Court that
notwithstanding the violation of the Constitution, you remained unpunished, this
Court in the reverse order of natural things, is now in the attempt to inflict punishment
on your respondent for acts he said in good faith.
Did His Honors care to listen to our pleadings and supplications for JUSTICE,
CHARITY, GENEROSITY and FAIRNESS? Did His Honors attempt to justify their
stubborn denial with any semblance of reason, NEVER. Now that your respondent is
given the opportunity to face you, he reiterates the same statement with emphasis,
DID YOU? Sir. Is this. the way of life in the Philippines today, that even our own
President, said: "the story is current, though nebulous ,is to its truth, it is still being
circulated that justice in the Philippines today is not what it is used to be before the
war. There are those who have told me frankly and brutally that justice is a
commodity, a marketable commodity in the Philippines."
xxx xxx xxx
We condemn the SIN, not the SINNER. We detest the ACTS, not the ACTOR. We
attack the decision of this Court, not the members. ... We were provoked. We were

compelled by force of necessity. We were angry but we waited for the finality of the
decision. We waited until this Court has performed its duties. We never interfered nor
obstruct in the performance of their duties. But in the end, after seeing that the
Constitution has placed finality on your judgment against our client and sensing that
you have not performed your duties with "circumspection, carefulness, confidence
and wisdom", your Respondent rise to claim his God given right to speak the truth
and his Constitutional right of free speech.
xxx xxx xxx
The INJUSTICES which we have attributed to this Court and the further violations we
sought to be prevented is impliedly shared by our President. ... .
xxx xxx xxx
What has been abhored and condemned, are the very things that were applied to us. Recalling
Madam Roland's famous apostrophe during the French revolution, "O Liberty, what crimes are
committed in thy name", we may dare say, "O JUSTICE, what technicalities are committed in thy
name' or more appropriately, 'O JUSTICE, what injustices are committed in thy name."
xxx xxx xxx
We must admit that this Court is not free from commission of any abuses, but who
would correct such abuses considering that yours is a court of last resort. A strong
public opinion must be generated so as to curtail these abuses.
xxx xxx xxx
The phrase, Justice is blind is symbolize in paintings that can be found in all courts
and government offices. We have added only two more symbols, that it is also deaf
and dumb. Deaf in the sense that no members of this Court has ever heard our cries
for charity, generosity, fairness, understanding sympathy and for justice; dumb in the
sense, that inspite of our beggings, supplications, and pleadings to give us reasons
why our appeal has been DENIED, not one word was spoken or given ... We refer to
no human defect or ailment in the above statement. We only describe the.
impersonal state of things and nothing more.
xxx xxx xxx
As we have stated, we have lost our faith and confidence in the members of this
Court and for which reason we offered to surrender our lawyer's certificate, IN
TRUST ONLY. Because what has been lost today may be regained tomorrow. As the
offer was intended as our self-imposed sacrifice, then we alone may decide as to
when we must end our self-sacrifice. If we have to choose between forcing ourselves
to have faith and confidence in the members of the Court but disregard our

Constitution and to uphold the Constitution and be condemned by the members of


this Court, there is no choice, we must uphold the latter.
But overlooking, for the nonce, the vituperative chaff which he claims is not intended as a studied
disrespect to this Court, let us examine the grain of his grievances.
He chafes at the minute resolution denial of his petition for review. We are quite aware of the
criticisms2 expressed against this Court's practice of rejecting petitions by minute resolutions. We have
been asked to do away with it, to state the facts and the law, and to spell out the reasons for denial. We
have given this suggestion very careful thought. For we know the abject frustration of a lawyer who
tediously collates the facts and for many weary hours meticulously marshalls his arguments, only to have
his efforts rebuffed with a terse unadorned denial. Truth to tell, however, most petitions rejected by this
Court are utterly frivolous and ought never to have been lodged at all. 3 The rest do exhibit a firstimpression cogency, but fail to, withstand critical scrutiny. By and large, this Court has been generous in
giving due course to petitions forcertiorari.
Be this as it may, were we to accept every case or write a full opinion for every petition we reject, we
would be unable to carry out effectively the burden placed upon us by the Constitution. The proper
role of the Supreme Court, as Mr. Chief Justice Vinson of the U.S. Supreme Court has defined it, is
to decide "only those cases which present questions whose resolutions will have immediate
importance beyond the particular facts and parties involved." Pertinent here is the observation of Mr.
Justice Frankfurter in Maryland vs. Baltimore Radio Show, 94 L. ed 562, 566:
A variety of considerations underlie denials of the writ, and as to the same petition
different reasons may read different justices to the same result ... .
Since there are these conflicting, and, to the uninformed, even confusing reasons for
denying petitions for certiorari, it has been suggested from time to time that the Court
indicate its reasons for denial. Practical considerations preclude. In order that the
Court may be enabled to discharge its indispensable duties, Congress has placed
the control of the Court's business, in effect, within the Court's discretion. During the
last three terms the Court disposed of 260, 217, 224 cases, respectively, on their
merits. For the same three terms the Court denied, respectively, 1,260, 1,105,1,189
petitions calling for discretionary review. If the Court is to do its work it would not be
feasible to give reasons, however brief, for refusing to take these cases. The tune
that would be required is prohibitive. Apart from the fact that as already indicated
different reasons not infrequently move different members of the Court in concluding
that a particular case at a particular time makes review undesirable.
Six years ago, in Novino, et al., vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 1,21098, May 31, 1963 (60 O.G. 8099),
this Court, through the then Chief Justice Cesar Bengzon, articulated its considered view on this
matter. There, the petitioners counsel urged that a "lack of merit" resolution violates Section 12 of
Article VIII of the Constitution. Said Chief Justice Bengzon:
In connection with identical short resolutions, the same question has been raised
before; and we held that these "resolutions" are not "decisions" within the above
constitutional requirement. They merely hold that the petition for review should not be

entertained in view of the provisions of Rule 46 of the Rules of Court; and even
ordinary lawyers have all this time so understood it. It should be remembered that a
petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals is not a matter of right, but of
sound judicial discretion; and so there is no need to fully explain the court's denial.
For one thing, the facts and the law are already mentioned in the Court of Appeals'
opinion.
By the way, this mode of disposal has as intended helped the Court in
alleviating its heavy docket; it was patterned after the practice of the U.S. Supreme
Court, wherein petitions for review are often merely ordered "dismissed".
We underscore the fact that cases taken to this Court on petitions for certiorari from the Court of
Appeals have had the benefit of appellate review. Hence, the need for compelling reasons to
buttress such petitions if this Court is to be moved into accepting them. For it is axiomatic that the
supervisory jurisdiction vested upon this Court over the Court of Appeals is not intended to give
every losing party another hearing. This axiom is implied in sec. 4 of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
which recites:
Review of Court of Appeals' decision discretionary.A review is not a matter of right
but of sound judicial discretion, and will be granted only when there are special and
important reasons therefor. The following, while neither controlling nor fully
measuring the court's discretion, indicate the character of reasons which will be
considered:
(a) When the Court of Appeals has decided a question of substance, not theretofore
determined by the Supreme Court, nor has decided it in a way probably not in accord
with law or with the applicable decisions of the Supreme Court;
(b) When the Court of Appeals has so far departed from the accepted and usual
course of judicial proceedings, or so far sanctioned such departure by the lower
court, as to call for the exercise of the power of supervision.
Recalling Atty. Almacen's petition for review, we found, upon a thoroughgoing examination of the
pleadings. and records, that the Court of Appeals had fully and correctly considered the dismissal of
his appeal in the light of the law and applicable decisions of this Court. Far from straying away from
the "accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings," it traced the procedural lines etched by this
Court in a number of decisions. There was, therefore, no need for this Court to exercise its
supervisory power.
As a law practitioner who was admitted to the Bar as far back as 1941, Atty. Almacen knew or
ought to have known that for a motion for reconsideration to stay the running of the period of
appeal, the movant must not only serve a copy of the motion upon the adverse party (which he did),
but also notify the adverse party of the time and place of hearing (which admittedly he did not). This
rule was unequivocally articulated in Manila Surety & Fidelity vs. Batu Construction & Co., supra:

The written notice referred to evidently is prescribed for motions in general by Rule
15, Sections 4 and 5 (formerly Rule 26), which provides that such notice shall state
the time, and place of hearing and shall be served upon all the Parties concerned at
least three days in advance. And according to Section 6 of the same Rule no motion
shall be acted upon by the court without proof of such notice. Indeed it has been held
that in such a case the motion is nothing but a useless piece of paper (Philippine
National Bank v. Damasco, I,18638, Feb. 28, 1963; citing Manakil v. Revilla, 42 Phil.
81; Roman Catholic Bishop of Lipa v. Municipality of Unisan, 41 Phil. 866; and
Director of Lands vs. Sanz, 45 Phil. 117). The reason is obvious: Unless the movant
sets the time and place of hearing the Court would have no way to determine
whether that party agrees to or objects to the motion, and if he objects, to hear him
on his objection, since the Rules themselves do not fix any period within which he
may file his reply or opposition.
If Atty. Almacen failed to move the appellate court to review the lower court's judgment, he has only
himself to blame. His own negligence caused the forfeiture of the remedy of appeal, which,
incidentally, is not a matter of right. To shift away from himself the consequences of his
carelessness, he looked for a "whipping boy." But he made sure that he assumed the posture of a
martyr, and, in offering to surrender his professional certificate, he took the liberty of vilifying this
Court and inflicting his exacerbating rancor on the members thereof. It would thus appear that there
is no justification for his scurrilous and scandalous outbursts.
Nonetheless we gave this unprecedented act of Atty. Almacen the most circumspect consideration.
We know that it is natural for a lawyer to express his dissatisfaction each time he loses what he
sanguinely believes to be a meritorious case. That is why lawyers are given 'wide latitude to differ
with, and voice their disapproval of, not only the courts' rulings but, also the manner in which they
are handed down.
Moreover, every citizen has the right to comment upon and criticize the actuations of public officers.
This right is not diminished by the fact that the criticism is aimed at a judicial authority,4 or that it is
articulated by a lawyer.5 Such right is especially recognized where the criticism concerns a concluded
litigation,6 because then the court's actuations are thrown open to public consumption. 7 "Our decisions
and all our official actions," said the Supreme Court of Nebraska, 8 "are public property, and the press and
the people have the undoubted right to comment on them, criticize and censure them as they see fit.
Judicial officers, like other public servants, must answer for their official actions before the chancery of
public opinion."
The likely danger of confusing the fury of human reaction to an attack on one's integrity, competence
and honesty, with "imminent danger to the administration of justice," is the reason why courts have
been loath to inflict punishment on those who assail their actuations.9 This danger lurks especially in
such a case as this where those who Sit as members of an entire Court are themselves collectively the
aggrieved parties.
Courts thus treat with forbearance and restraint a lawyer who vigorously assails their
actuations. 10 For courageous and fearless advocates are the strands that weave durability into the
tapestry of justice. Hence, as citizen and officer of the court, every lawyer is expected not only to exercise

the right, but also to consider it his duty to expose the shortcomings and indiscretions of courts and
judges. 11

Courts and judges are not sacrosanct. 12 They should and expect critical evaluation of their
performance. 13 For like the executive and the legislative branches, the judiciary is rooted in the soil of
democratic society, nourished by the periodic appraisal of the citizens whom it is expected to serve.
Well-recognized therefore is the right of a lawyer, both as an officer of the court and as a citizen, to
criticize in properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges.
The reason is that
An attorney does not surrender, in assuming the important place accorded to him in
the administration of justice, his right as a citizen to criticize the decisions of the
courts in a fair and respectful manner, and the independence of the bar, as well as of
the judiciary, has always been encouraged by the courts. (In re Ades, 6 F Supp.
487) .
Criticism of the courts has, indeed, been an important part of the traditional work of the bar. In the
prosecution of appeals, he points out the errors of lower courts. In written for law journals he
dissects with detachment the doctrinal pronouncements of courts and fearlessly lays bare for -all to
see that flaws and inconsistence" of the doctrines (Hill v. Lyman, 126 NYS 2d 286). As aptly stated
by Chief Justice Sharswood in Ex Parte Steinman, 40 Am. Rep. 641:
No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expansion or
publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than
members of the bar. They have the best opportunities for observing and forming a
correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. ... To say that an
attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account
and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood, by the judge or judges whom he
may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be
entertained. ... .
Hence, as a citizen and as Officer of the court a lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right, but
also to consider it his duty to avail of such right. No law may abridge this right. Nor is he
"professionally answerable for a scrutiny into the official conduct of the judges, which would not
expose him to legal animadversion as a citizen." (Case of Austin, 28 Am. Dee. 657, 665).
Above all others, the members of the bar have the beat Opportunity to become
conversant with the character and efficiency of our judges. No class is less likely to
abuse the privilege, as no other class has as great an interest in the preservation of
an able and upright bench. (State Board of Examiners in Law v. Hart, 116 N.W. 212,
216)
To curtail the right of a lawyer to be critical of the foibles of courts and judges is to seal the lips of
those in the best position to give advice and who might consider it their duty to speak disparagingly.

"Under such a rule," so far as the bar is concerned, "the merits of a sitting judge may be rehearsed,
but as to his demerits there must be profound silence." (State v. Circuit Court, 72 N.W. 196)
But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over
the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the One hand, and
abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate and unfair criticism is
a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts. It is Such a misconduct that subjects a lawyer to
disciplinary action.
For, membership in the Bar imposes upon a person obligations and duties which are not mere flux
and ferment. His investiture into the legal profession places upon his shoulders no burden more
basic, more exacting and more imperative than that of respectful behavior toward the courts. He
vows solemnly to conduct himself "with all good fidelity ... to the courts; 14 and the Rules of Court
constantly remind him "to observe and maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial
officers." 15 The first canon of legal ethics enjoins him "to maintain towards the courts a respectful attitude,
not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme
importance."
As Mr. Justice Field puts it:
... the obligation which attorneys impliedly assume, if they do not by express
declaration take upon themselves, when they are admitted to the Bar, is not merely
to be obedient to the Constitution and laws, but to maintain at all times the respect
due to courts of justice and judicial officers. This obligation is not discharged by
merely observing the rules of courteous demeanor in open court, but includes
abstaining out of court from all insulting language and offensive conduct toward
judges personally for their judicial acts. (Bradley, v. Fisher, 20 Law. 4d. 647, 652)
The lawyer's duty to render respectful subordination to the courts is essential to the orderly
administration of justice. Hence, in the assertion of their clients' rights, lawyers even those
gifted with superior intellect are enjoined to rein up their tempers.
The counsel in any case may or may not be an abler or more learned lawyer than the
judge, and it may tax his patience and temper to submit to rulings which he regards
as incorrect, but discipline and self-respect are as necessary to the orderly
administration of justice as they are to the effectiveness of an army. The decisions of
the judge must be obeyed, because he is the tribunal appointed to decide, and the
bar should at all times be the foremost in rendering respectful submission. (In Re
Scouten, 40 Atl. 481)
We concede that a lawyer may think highly of his intellectual endowment That is his
privilege. And he may suffer frustration at what he feels is others' lack of it. That is his
misfortune. Some such frame of mind, however, should not be allowed to harden into
a belief that he may attack a court's decision in words calculated to jettison the timehonored aphorism that courts are the temples of right. (Per Justice Sanchez
in Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer, L-22979. June 26, 1967)

In his relations with the courts, a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one
time and a mere citizen at another. Thus, statements made by an attorney in private conversations
or communications 16 or in the course of a political, campaign, 17 if couched in insulting language as to
bring into scorn and disrepute the administration of justice, may subject the attorney to disciplinary action.
Of fundamental pertinence at this juncture is an examination of relevant parallel precedents.
1. Admitting that a "judge as a public official is neither sacrosanct nor immune to public criticism of
his conduct in office," the Supreme Court of Florida in State v. Calhoon, 102 So. 2d 604, 608,
nevertheless declared that "any conduct of a lawyer which brings into scorn and disrepute the
administration of justice demands condemnation and the application of appropriate penalties,"
adding that:
It would be contrary to, every democratic theory to hold that a judge or a court is
beyond bona fide comments and criticisms which do not exceed the bounds of
decency and truth or which are not aimed at. the destruction of public confidence in
the judicial system as such. However, when the likely impairment of the
administration of justice the direct product of false and scandalous accusations then
the rule is otherwise.
2. In In Re Glenn, 130 N.W. 2d 672, an attorney was suspended for putting out and circulating a
leaflet entitled "JUSTICE??? IN OTUMWA," which accused a municipal judge of having committed
judicial error, of being so prejudiced as to deny his clients a fair trial on appeal and of being subject
to the control of a group of city officials. As a prefatory statement he wrote: "They say that Justice is
BLIND, but it took Municipal Judge Willard to prove that it is also DEAF and DUMB!" The court did
not hesitate to find that the leaflet went much further than the accused, as a lawyer, had a right to do.
The entire publication evidences a desire on the part Of the accused to belittle and
besmirch the court and to bring it into disrepute with the general public.
3. In In Re Humphrey, 163 Pac. 60, the Supreme Court of California affirmed the two-year
suspension of an attorney who published a circular assailing a judge who at that time was a
candidate for re-election to a judicial office. The circular which referred to two decisions of the judge
concluded with a statement that the judge "used his judicial office to enable -said bank to keep that
money." Said the court:
We are aware that there is a line of authorities which place no limit to the criticism
members of the bar may make regarding the capacity, impartiality, or integrity of the
courts, even though it extends to the deliberate publication by the attorney capable of
correct reasoning of baseless insinuations against the intelligence and integrity of the
highest courts. See State Board, etc. v. Hart. 116 N.W. 212, 17 LRA (N.S.) 585, 15
Ann Cas 197 and note: Ex parte Steinman 95 Pac. 220, 40 Am. Rep. 637. In the first
case mentioned it was observed, for instance:

"It may be (although we do not so decide) that a libelous publication


by an attorney, directed against a judicial officer, could be so vile and
of such a nature as to justify the disbarment of its author."
Yet the false charges made by an attorney in that case were of graver character than
those made by the respondent here. But, in our view, the better rule is that which
requires of those who are permitted to enjoy the privilege of practicing law the
strictest observance at all times of the principles of truth, honesty and fairness,
especially in their criticism of the courts, to the end that the public confidence in the
due administration of justice be upheld, and the dignity and usefulness of the courts
be maintained. In re Collins, 81 Pac. 220.
4. In People ex rel Chicago Bar Asso. v. Metzen, 123 N.E. 734, an attorney, representing a woman
who had been granted a divorce, attacked the judge who set aside the decree on bill of review. He
wrote the judge a threatening letter and gave the press the story of a proposed libel suit against the
judge and others. The letter began:
Unless the record in In re Petersen v. Petersen is cleared up so that my name is
protected from the libel, lies, and perjury committed in the cases involved, I shall be
compelled to resort to such drastic action as the law allows and the case warrants.
Further, he said: "However let me assure you I do not intend to allow such dastardly work to go
unchallenged," and said that he was engaged in dealing with men and not irresponsible political
manikins or appearances of men. Ordering the attorney's disbarment, the Supreme Court of Illinois
declared:
... Judges are not exempt from just criticism, and whenever there is proper ground for
serious complaint against a judge, it is the right and duty of a lawyer to submit his
grievances to the proper authorities, but the public interest and the administration of
the law demand that the courts should have the confidence and respect of the
people. Unjust criticism, insulting language, and offensive conduct toward the judges
personally by attorneys, who are officers of the court, which tend to bring the courts
and the law into disrepute and to destroy public confidence in their integrity, cannot
be permitted. The letter written to the judge was plainly an attempt to intimidate and
influence him in the discharge of judicial functions, and the bringing of the
unauthorized suit, together with the write-up in the Sunday papers, was intended and
calculated to bring the court into disrepute with the public.
5. In a public speech, a Rhode Island lawyer accused the courts of the state of being influenced by
corruption and greed, saying that the seats of the Supreme Court were bartered. It does not appear
that the attorney had criticized any of the opinions or decisions of the Court. The lawyer was charged
with unprofessional conduct, and was ordered suspended for a period of two years. The Court said:
A calumny of that character, if believed, would tend to weaken the authority of the
court against whose members it was made, bring its judgments into contempt,

undermine its influence as an unbiased arbiter of the people's right, and interfere with
the administration of justice. ...
Because a man is a member of the bar the court will not, under the guise of
disciplinary proceedings, deprive him of any part of that freedom of speech which he
possesses as a citizen. The acts and decisions of the courts of this state, in cases
that have reached final determination, are not exempt from fair and honest comment
and criticism. It is only when an attorney transcends the limits of legitimate criticism
that he will be held responsible for an abuse of his liberty of speech. We well
understand that an independent bar, as well as independent court, is always a
vigilant defender of civil rights. In Re Troy, 111 Atl. 723. 725.
6. In In Re Rockmore, 111 NYS 879, an attorney was suspended for six months for submitting to an
appellate court an affidavit reflecting upon the judicial integrity of the court from which the appeal
was taken. Such action, the Court said, constitutes unprofessional conduct justifying suspension
from practice, notwithstanding that he fully retracted and withdrew the statements, and asserted that
the affidavit was the result of an impulse caused by what he considered grave injustice. The Court
said:
We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that there is a growing habit in the profession of
criticising the motives and integrity of judicial officers in the discharge of their duties,
and thereby reflecting on the administration of justice and creating the impression
that judicial action is influenced by corrupt or improper motives. Every attorney of this
court, as well as every other citizen, has the right and it is his duty, to submit charges
to the authorities in whom is vested the power to remove judicial officers for any
conduct or act of a judicial officer that tends to show a violation of his duties, or would
justify an inference that he is false to his trust, or has improperly administered the
duties devolved upon him; and such charges to the tribunal, if based upon
reasonable inferences, will be encouraged, and the person making them
protected. ... While we recognize the inherent right of an attorney in a case decided
against him, or the right of the Public generally, to criticise the decisions of the courts,
or the reasons announced for them, the habit of criticising the motives of judicial
officers in the performance of their official duties, when the proceeding is not against
the officers whose acts or motives are criticised, tends to subvert the confidence of
the community in the courts of justice and in the administration of justice; and when
such charges are made by officers of the courts, who are bound by their duty to
protect the administration of justice, the attorney making such charges is guilty of
professional misconduct.
7. In In Re Mitchell, 71 So. 467, a lawyer published this statement:
I accepted the decision in this case, however, with patience, barring possible
temporary observations more or less vituperative and finally concluded, that, as my
clients were foreigners, it might have been expecting too much to look for a decision
in their favor against a widow residing here.

The Supreme Court of Alabama declared that:


... the expressions above set out, not only transcend the bounds of propriety and
privileged criticism, but are an unwarranted attack, direct, or by insinuation and
innuendo, upon the motives and integrity of this court, and make out a prima
facie case of improper conduct upon the part of a lawyer who holds a license from
this court and who is under oath to demean himself with all good fidelity to the court
as well as to his client.
The charges, however, were dismissed after the attorney apologized to the Court.
8. In State ex rel. Dabney v. Breckenridge, 258 Pac. 747, an attorney published in a newspaper an
article in which he impugned the motives of the court and its members to try a case, charging the
court of having arbitrarily and for a sinister purpose undertaken to suspend the writ of habeas
corpus. The Court suspended the respondent for 30 days, saying that:
The privileges which the law gives to members of the bar is one most subversive of
the public good, if the conduct of such members does not measure up to the
requirements of the law itself, as well as to the ethics of the profession. ...
The right of free speech and free discussion as to judicial determination is of prime
importance under our system and ideals of government. No right thinking man would
concede for a moment that the best interest to private citizens, as well as to public
officials, whether he labors in a judicial capacity or otherwise, would be served by
denying this right of free speech to any individual. But such right does not have as its
corollary that members of the bar who are sworn to act honestly and honorably both
with their client and with the courts where justice is administered, if administered at
all, could ever properly serve their client or the public good by designedly misstating
facts or carelessly asserting the law. Truth and honesty of purpose by members of
the bar in such discussion is necessary. The health of a municipality is none the less
impaired by a polluted water supply than is the health of the thought of a community
toward the judiciary by the filthy wanton, and malignant misuse of members of the
bar of the confidence the public, through its duly established courts, has reposed in
them to deal with the affairs of the private individual, the protection of whose rights
he lends his strength and money to maintain the judiciary. For such conduct on the
part of the members of the bar the law itself demands retribution not the court.
9. In Bar Ass'n of San Francisco v. Philbrook, 170 Pac. 440, the filing of an affidavit by an attorney in
a pending action using in respect to the several judges the terms criminal corrupt, and wicked
conspiracies,," "criminal confederates," "colossal and confident insolence," "criminal prosecution,"
"calculated brutality," "a corrupt deadfall," and similar phrases, was considered conduct unbecoming
of a member of the bar, and the name of the erring lawyer was ordered stricken from the roll of
attorneys.
10. In State Board of Examiners v. Hart, 116 N.W. 215, the erring attorney claimed that greater
latitude should be allowed in case of criticism of cases finally adjudicated than in those pending. This

lawyer wrote a personal letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Minnesota impugning
both the intelligence and the integrity of the said Chief Justice and his associates in the decisions of
certain appeals in which he had been attorney for the defeated litigants. The letters were published
in a newspaper. One of the letters contained this paragraph:
You assigned it (the property involved) to one who has no better right to it than the
burglar to his plunder. It seems like robbing a widow to reward a fraud, with the court
acting as a fence, or umpire, watchful and vigilant that the widow got no undue
advantage. ... The point is this: Is a proper motive for the decisions discoverable,
short of assigning to the court emasculated intelligence, or a constipation of morals
and faithlessness to duty? If the state bar association, or a committee chosen from
its rank, or the faculty of the University Law School, aided by the researches of its
hundreds of bright, active students, or if any member of the court, or any other
person, can formulate a statement of a correct motive for the decision, which shall
not require fumigation before it is stated, and quarantine after it is made, it will gratify
every right-minded citizen of the state to read it.
The Supreme Court of Minnesota, in ordering the suspension of the attorney for six months,
delivered its opinion as follows:
The question remains whether the accused was guilty of professional misconduct in
sending to the Chief Justice the letter addressed to him. This was done, as we have
found, for the very purpose of insulting him and the other justices of this court; and
the insult was so directed to the Chief Justice personally because of acts done by
him and his associates in their official capacity. Such a communication, so made,
could never subserve any good purpose. Its only effect in any case would be to
gratify the spite of an angry attorney and humiliate the officers so assailed. It would
not and could not ever enlighten the public in regard to their judicial capacity or
integrity. Nor was it an exercise by the accused of any constitutional right, or of any
privilege which any reputable attorney, uninfluenced by passion, could ever have any
occasion or desire to assert. No judicial officer, with due regard to his position, can
resent such an insult otherwise than by methods sanctioned by law; and for any
words, oral or written, however abusive, vile, or indecent, addressed secretly to the
judge alone, he can have no redress in any action triable by a jury. "The sending of a
libelous communication or libelous matter to the person defamed does not constitute
an actionable publication." 18 Am. & Eng. Enc. Law (2d Ed.) p. 1017. In these
respects the sending by the accused of this letter to the Chief Justice was wholly
different from his other acts charged in the accusation, and, as we have said, wholly
different principles are applicable thereto.
The conduct of the accused was in every way discreditable; but so far as he
exercised the rights of a citizen, guaranteed by the Constitution and sanctioned by
considerations of public policy, to which reference has been made, he was immune,
as we hold, from the penalty here sought to be enforced. To that extent his rights as
a citizen were paramount to the obligation which he had assumed as an officer of this
court. When, however he proceeded and thus assailed the Chief Justice personally,

he exercised no right which the court can recognize, but, on the contrary, willfully
violated his obligation to maintain the respect due to courts and judicial officers. "This
obligation is not discharged by merely observing the rules of courteous demeanor in
open court, but it includes abstaining out of court from all insulting language and
offensive conduct toward the judges personally for their official acts."Bradley v.
Fisher, 13 Wall. (U.S.) 355, 20 L. Ed. 646. And there appears to be no distinction, as
regards the principle involved, between the indignity of an assault by an attorney
upon a judge, induced by his official act, and a personal insult for like cause by
written or spoken words addressed to the judge in his chambers or at his home or
elsewhere. Either act constitutes misconduct wholly different from criticism of judicial
acts addressed or spoken to others. The distinction made is, we think entirely logical
and well sustained by authority. It was recognized in Ex parte McLeod supra. While
the court in that case, as has been shown, fully sustained the right of a citizen to
criticise rulings of the court in actions which are ended, it held that one might be
summarily punished for assaulting a judicial officer, in that case a commissioner of
the court, for his rulings in a cause wholly concluded. "Is it in the power of any
person," said the court, "by insulting or assaulting the judge because of official acts, if
only the assailant restrains his passion until the judge leaves the building, to compel
the judge to forfeit either his own self-respect to the regard of the people by tame
submission to the indignity, or else set in his own person the evil example of
punishing the insult by taking the law in his own hands? ... No high-minded, manly
man would hold judicial office under such conditions."
That a communication such as this, addressed to the Judge personally, constitutes
professional delinquency for which a professional punishment may be imposed, has
been directly decided. "An attorney who, after being defeated in a case, wrote a
personal letter to the trial justice, complaining of his conduct and reflecting upon his
integrity as a justice, is guilty of misconduct and will be disciplined by the court."
Matter of Manheim 133 App. Div. 136, 99 N.Y. Supp. 87 The same is held in Re
Griffin (City Ct.) 1 N.Y. 7 and in Re Wilkes (City Ct.) 3 N.Y. In the latter case it
appeared that the accused attorney had addressed a sealed letter to a justice of the
City Court of New York, in which it was stated, in reference to his decision: "It is not
law; neither is it common sense. The result is I have been robbed of 80." And it was
decided that, while such conduct was not a contempt under the state, the matter
should be "called to the attention of the Supreme Court, which has power to
discipline the attorney." "If," says the court, "counsel learned in the law are permitted
by writings leveled at the heads of judges, to charge them with ignorance, with unjust
rulings, and with robbery, either as principals or accessories, it will not be long before
the general public may feel that they may redress their fancied grievances in like
manner, and thus the lot of a judge will be anything but a happy one, and the
administration of justice will fall into bad repute."
The recent case of Johnson v. State (Ala.) 44 South. 671, was in this respect much
the same as the case at bar. The accused, an attorney at law, wrote and mailed a
letter to the circuit judge, which the latter received by due course of mail, at his
home, while not holding court, and which referred in insulting terms to the conduct of

the judge in a cause wherein the accused had been one of the attorneys. For this it
was held that the attorney was rightly disbarred in having "willfully failed to maintain
respect due to him [the judge] as a judicial officer, and thereby breached his oath as
an attorney." As recognizing the same principle, and in support of its application to
the facts of this case, we cite the following: Ex parte Bradley, 7 Wall (U.S.) 364, 19 L.
Ed. 214; Beene v. State, 22 Ark. 149;Commonwealth v. Dandridge, 2 Va. Cas.
408; People v. Green, 7 Colo 237, 244, 3 Pac. 65, 374, 49 Am. Rep. 351; Smith's
Appeal, 179 Pa. 14, 36 Atl. 134; Scouten's Appeal, 186 Pa. 270, Atl. 481.
Our conclusion is that the charges against the accused have been so far sustained
as to make it our duty to impose such a penalty as may be sufficient lesson to him
and a suitable warning to others. ...
11. In Cobb v. United States, 172 F. 641, the court affirmed a lawyer's suspension for 18 months for
publishing a letter in a newspaper in which he accused a judge of being under the sinister influence
of a gang that had paralyzed him for two years.
12. In In Re Graves, 221 Pac. 411, the court held that an attorney's unjustifiable attack against the
official acts and decisions of a judge constitutes "moral turpitude." There, the attorney was disbarred
for criticising not only the judge, but his decisions in general claiming that the judge was dishonest in
reaching his decisions and unfair in his general conduct of a case.
13. In In Re Doss, 12 N.E. 2d 659, an attorney published newspaper articles after the trial of cases,
criticising the court in intemperate language. The invariable effect of this sort of propaganda, said the
court, is to breed disrespect for courts and bring the legal profession into disrepute with the public,
for which reason the lawyer was disbarred.
14. In State v. Grimes, 354 Pac. 2d 108, an attorney, dissatisfied with the loss of a case, prepared
over a period of years vicious attacks on jurists. The Oklahoma Supreme Court declared that his
acts involved such gross moral turpitude as to make him unfit as a member of the bar. His
disbarment was ordered, even though he expressed an intention to resign from the bar.
The teaching derived from the above disquisition and impressive affluence of judicial
pronouncements is indubitable: Post-litigation utterances or publications, made by lawyers, critical of
the courts and their judicial actuations, whether amounting to a crime or not, which transcend the
permissible bounds of fair comment and legitimate criticism and thereby tend to bring them into
disrepute or to subvert public confidence in their integrity and in the orderly administration of justice,
constitute grave professional misconduct which may be visited with disbarment or other lesser
appropriate disciplinary sanctions by the Supreme Court in the exercise of the prerogatives inherent
in it as the duly constituted guardian of the morals and ethics of the legal fraternity.
Of course, rarely have we wielded our disciplinary powers in the face of unwarranted outbursts of
counsel such as those catalogued in the above-cited jurisprudence. Cases of comparable nature
have generally been disposed of under the power of courts to punish for contempt which, although
resting on different bases and calculated to attain a different end, nevertheless illustrates that
universal abhorrence of such condemnable practices.

A perusal of the more representative of these instances may afford enlightenment.


1. In Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61 Phil. 724, where counsel branded the denial of his motion for
reconsideration as "absolutely erroneous and constituting an outrage to the rigths of the petitioner
Felipe Salcedo and a mockery of the popular will expressed at the polls," this Court, although
conceding that
It is right and plausible that an attorney, in defending the cause and rights of his
client, should do so with all the fervor and energy of which he is capable, but it is not,
and never will be so for him to exercise said right by resorting to intimidation or
proceeding without the propriety and respect which the dignity of the courts requires.
The reason for this is that respect for the courts guarantees the stability of their
institution. Without such guaranty, said institution would be resting on a very shaky
foundation,
found counsel guilty of contempt inasmuch as, in its opinion, the statements made disclosed
... an inexcusable disrespect of the authority of the court and an intentional contempt
of its dignity, because the court is thereby charged with no less than having
proceeded in utter disregard of the laws, the rights to the parties, and 'of the
untoward consequences, or with having abused its power and mocked and flouted
the rights of Attorney Vicente J. Francisco's client ... .
2. In In re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595, counsel, a senator and the author of the Press Freedom Law, reaching
to, the imprisonment for contempt of one Angel Parazo, who, invoking said law, refused to divulge
the source of a news item carried in his paper, caused to be published in i local newspaper a
statement expressing his regret "that our High Tribunal has not only erroneously interpreted said law,
but it is once more putting in evidence the incompetency or narrow mindedness of the majority of its
members," and his belief that "In the wake of so many blunders and injustices deliberately
committed during these last years, ... the only remedy to put an end to go much evil, is to change the
members of the Supreme Court," which tribunal he denounced as "a constant peril to liberty and
democracy" and "a far cry from the impregnable bulwark of justice of those memorable times of
Cayetano Arellano, Victorino Mapa, Manuel Araullo and other learned jurists who were the honor
and glory of the Philippine Judiciary." He there also announced that one of the first measures he
would introduce in then forthcoming session of Congress would have for its object the complete
reorganization of the Supreme Court. Finding him in contempt, despite his avowals of good faith and
his invocation of the guarantee of free speech, this Court declared:
But in the above-quoted written statement which he caused to be published in the
press, the respondent does not merely criticize or comment on the decision of the
Parazo case, which was then and still is pending consideration by this Court upon
petition of Angel Parazo. He not only intends to intimidate the members of this Court
with the presentation of a bill in the next Congress, of which he is one of the
members, reorganizing the Supreme Court and reducing the number of Justices from
eleven, so as to change the members of this Court which decided the Parazo case,
who according to his statement, are incompetent and narrow minded, in order to

influence the final decision of said case by this Court, and thus embarrass or obstruct
the administration of justice. But the respondent also attacks the honesty and
integrity of this Court for the apparent purpose of bringing the Justices of this Court
into disrepute and degrading the administration. of justice ... .
To hurl the false charge that this Court has been for the last years committing
deliberately so many blunders and injustices, that is to say, that it has been deciding
in favor of Que party knowing that the law and justice is on the part of the adverse
party and not on the one in whose favor the decision was rendered, in many cases
decided during the last years, would tend necessarily to undermine the confidence of
the people in the honesty and integrity of the members of this Court, and
consequently to lower ,or degrade the administration of justice by this Court. The
Supreme Court of the Philippines is, under the Constitution, the last bulwark to which
the Filipino people may repair to obtain relief for their grievances or protection of their
rights when these are trampled upon, and if the people lose their confidence in the
honesty and integrity of the members of this Court and believe that they cannot
expect justice therefrom, they might be driven to take the law into their own hands,
and disorder and perhaps chaos might be the result. As a member of the bar and an
officer of the courts, Atty. Vicente Sotto, like any other, is in duty bound to uphold the
dignity and authority of this Court, to which he owes fidelity according to the oath he
has taken as such attorney, and not to promote distrust in the administration of
justice. Respect to the courts guarantees the stability of other institutions, which
without such guaranty would be resting on a very shaky foundation.
Significantly, too, the Court therein hastened to emphasize that
... an attorney as an officer of the court is under special obligation to be respectful in
his conduct and communication to the courts; he may be removed from office or
stricken from the roll of attorneys as being guilty of flagrant misconduct (17 L.R.A.
[N.S.], 586, 594.)
3. In Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer: In re Proceedings against Alfonso Ponce Enrile, et al.,
supra, where counsel charged this Court with having "repeatedly fallen" into ,the pitfall of blindly
adhering to its previous "erroneous" pronouncements, "in disregard of the law on jurisdiction" of the
Court of Industrial Relations, our condemnation of counsel's misconduct was unequivocal.
Articulating the sentiments of the Court, Mr. Justice Sanchez stressed:
As we look back at the language (heretofore quoted) employed in the motion for
reconsideration, implications there are which inescapably arrest attention. It speaks
of one pitfall into which this Court has repeatedly fallen whenever the jurisdiction of
the Court of Industrial Relations comes into question. That pitfall is the tendency of
this Court to rely on its own pronouncements in disregard of the law on jurisdiction. It
makes a sweeping charge that the decisions of this Court, blindly adhere to earlier
rulings without as much as making any reference to and analysis of the pertinent
statute governing the jurisdiction of the industrial court. The plain import of all these
is that this Court is so patently inept that in determining the jurisdiction of the

industrial court, it has committed error and continuously repeated that error to the
point of perpetuation. It pictures this Court as one which refuses to hew to the line
drawn by the law on jurisdictional boundaries. Implicit in the quoted statements is
that the pronouncements of this Court on the jurisdiction of the industrial court are
not entitled to respect. Those statements detract much from the dignity of and
respect due this Court. They bring into question the capability of the members and
some former members of this Court to render justice. The second paragraph quoted
yields a tone of sarcasm which counsel labelled as "so called" the "rule against
splitting of jurisdiction."
Similar thoughts and sentiments have been expressed in other cases
brevity, need not now be reviewed in detail.

18

which, in the interest of

Of course, a common denominator underlies the aforecited cases all of them involved
contumacious statements made in pleadings filed pending litigation. So that, in line with the doctrinal
rule that the protective mantle of contempt may ordinarily be invoked only against scurrilous remarks
or malicious innuendoes while a court mulls over a pending case and not after the conclusion
thereof, 19 Atty. Almacen would now seek to sidestep the thrust of a contempt charge by his studied
emphasis that the remarks for which he is now called upon to account were made only after this Court
had written finis to his appeal. This is of no moment.
The rule that bars contempt after a judicial proceeding has terminated, has lost much of its vitality.
For sometime, this was the prevailing view in this jurisdiction. The first stir for a modification thereof,
however, came when, inPeople vs. Alarcon, 20 the then Chief Justice Manuel V. Moran dissented with
the holding of the majority, speaking thru Justice Jose P. Laurel, which upheld the rule above-adverted to.
A complete disengagement from the settled rule was later to be made in In re Brillantes, 21 a contempt
proceeding, where the editor of the Manila Guardian was adjudged in contempt for publishing an editorial
which asserted that the 1944 Bar Examinations were conducted in a farcical manner after the question of
the validity of the said examinations had been resolved and the case closed. Virtually, this was an
adoption of the view expressed by Chief Justice Moran in his dissent in Alarcon to the effect that them
may still be contempt by publication even after a case has been terminated. Said Chief Justice Moran
in Alarcon:
A publication which tends to impede, obstruct, embarrass or influence the courts in
administering justice in a pending suit or proceeding, constitutes criminal contempt
which is 'summarily punishable by courts. A publication which tends to degrade the
courts and to destroy public confidence in them or that which tends to bring them in
any way into disrepute, constitutes likewise criminal contempt, and is equally
punishable by courts. What is sought, in the first kind of contempt, to be shielded
against the influence of newspaper comments, is the all-important duty of the courts
to administer justice in the decision of a pending case. In the second kind of
contempt, the punitive hand of justice is extended to vindicate the courts from any act
or conduct calculated to bring them into disfavor or to destroy public confidence in
them. In the first there is no contempt where there is no action pending, as there is
no decision which might in any way be influenced by the newspaper publication. In
the second, the contempt exists, with or without a pending case, as what is sought to

be protected is the court itself and its dignity. Courts would lose their utility if public
confidence in them is destroyed.
Accordingly, no comfort is afforded Atty. Almacen by the circumstance that his statements and
actuations now under consideration were made only after the judgment in his client's appeal had
attained finality. He could as much be liable for contempt therefor as if it had been perpetrated during
the pendency of the said appeal.
More than this, however, consideration of whether or not he could be held liable for contempt for
such post litigation utterances and actuations, is here immaterial. By the tenor of our Resolution of
November 17, 1967, we have confronted the situation here presented solely in so far as it concerns
Atty. Almacen's professional identity, his sworn duty as a lawyer and his fitness as an officer of this
Court, in the exercise of the disciplinary power the morals inherent in our authority and duty to
safeguard and ethics of the legal profession and to preserve its ranks from the intrusions of
unprincipled and unworthy disciples of the noblest of callings. In this inquiry, the pendency or nonpendency of a case in court is altogether of no consequence. The sole objective of this proceeding is
to preserve the purity of the legal profession, by removing or suspending a member whose
misconduct has proved himself unfit to continue to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities
belonging to the office of an attorney.
Undoubtedly, this is well within our authority to do. By constitutional mandate, 22 our is the solemn
duty, amongst others, to determine the rules for admission to the practice of law. Inherent in this
prerogative is the corresponding authority to discipline and exclude from the practice of law those who
have proved themselves unworthy of continued membership in the Bar. Thus
The power to discipline attorneys, who are officers of the court, is an inherent and
incidental power in courts of record, and one which is essential to an orderly
discharge of judicial functions. To deny its existence is equivalent to a declaration
that the conduct of attorneys towards courts and clients is not subject to restraint.
Such a view is without support in any respectable authority, and cannot be tolerated.
Any court having the right to admit attorneys to practice and in this state that power is
vested in this court-has the inherent right, in the exercise of a sound judicial
discretion to exclude them from practice. 23
This, because the admission of a lawyer to the practice of law is a representation to all that he is
worthy of their confidence and respect. So much so that
... whenever it is made to appear to the court that an attorney is no longer worthy of
the trust and confidence of the public and of the courts, it becomes, not only the right,
but the duty, of the court which made him one of its officers, and gave him the
privilege of ministering within its bar, to withdraw the privilege. Therefore it is almost
universally held that both the admission and disbarment of attorneys are judicial acts,
and that one is admitted to the bar and exercises his functions as an attorney, not as
a matter of right, but as a privilege conditioned on his own behavior and the exercise
of a just and sound judicial discretion. 24

Indeed, in this jurisdiction, that power to remove or suspend has risen above being a mere inherent
or incidental power. It has been elevated to an express mandate by the Rules of Court. 25
Our authority and duty in the premises being unmistakable, we now proceed to make an assessment
of whether or not the utterances and actuations of Atty. Almacen here in question are properly the
object of disciplinary sanctions.
The proffered surrender of his lawyer's certificate is, of course, purely potestative on Atty. Almacen's
part. Unorthodox though it may seem, no statute, no law stands in its way. Beyond making the mere
offer, however, he went farther. In haughty and coarse language, he actually availed of the said
move as a vehicle for his vicious tirade against this Court. The integrated entirety of his petition
bristles with vile insults all calculated to drive home his contempt for and disrespect to the Court and
its members. Picturing his client as "a sacrificial victim at the altar of hypocrisy," he categorically
denounces the justice administered by this Court to be not only blind "but also deaf and dumb." With
unmitigated acerbity, he virtually makes this Court and its members with verbal talons, imputing to
the Court the perpetration of "silent injustices" and "short-cut justice" while at the same time branding
its members as "calloused to pleas of justice." And, true to his announced threat to argue the cause
of his client "in the people's forum," he caused the publication in the papers of an account of his
actuations, in a calculated effort ;to startle the public, stir up public indignation and disrespect toward
the Court. Called upon to make an explanation, he expressed no regret, offered no apology. Instead,
with characteristic arrogance, he rehashed and reiterated his vituperative attacks and, alluding to the
Scriptures, virtually tarred and feathered the Court and its members as inveterate hypocrites
incapable of administering justice and unworthy to impose disciplinary sanctions upon him.
The virulence so blatantly evident in Atty. Almacen's petition, answer and oral argumentation speaks
for itself. The vicious language used and the scurrilous innuendoes they carried far transcend the
permissible bounds of legitimate criticism. They could never serve any purpose but to gratify the
spite of an irate attorney, attract public attention to himself and, more important of all, bring ;this
Court and its members into disrepute and destroy public confidence in them to the detriment of the
orderly administration of justice. Odium of this character and texture presents no redeeming feature,
and completely negates any pretense of passionate commitment to the truth. It is not a whit less
than a classic example of gross misconduct, gross violation of the lawyer's oath and gross
transgression of the Canons of Legal Ethics. As such, it cannot be allowed to go unrebuked. The
way for the exertion of our disciplinary powers is thus laid clear, and the need therefor is
unavoidable.
We must once more stress our explicit disclaimer of immunity from criticism. Like any other
Government entity in a viable democracy, the Court is not, and should not be, above criticism. But a
critique of the Court must be intelligent and discriminating, fitting to its high function as the court of
last resort. And more than this, valid and healthy criticism is by no means synonymous to obloquy,
and requires detachment and disinterestedness, real qualities approached only through constant
striving to attain them. Any criticism of the Court must, possess the quality of judiciousness and must
be informed -by perspective and infused by philosophy. 26
It is not accurate to say, nor is it an obstacle to the exercise of our authority in ;the premises, that, as
Atty. Almacen would have appear, the members of the Court are the "complainants, prosecutors and

judges" all rolled up into one in this instance. This is an utter misapprehension, if not a total
distortion, not only of the nature of the proceeding at hand but also of our role therein.
Accent should be laid on the fact that disciplinary proceedings like the present are sui generis.
Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, this proceeding is not and does not involve a trial of an
action or a suit, but is rather an investigation by the Court into the conduct of its officers. 27 Not being
intended to. inflict punishment, it is in no sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a
plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein It may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. 28 Public interest is its
primary objective, and the real question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person
to be allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court merely
calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in
view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by
purging the profession of members who by their misconduct have proved themselves no longer worthy to
be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. 29 In such posture,
there can thus be no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor.
Undeniably, the members of the Court are, to a certain degree, aggrieved parties. Any tirade against
the Court as a body is necessarily and inextricably as much so against the individual members
thereof. But in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court acts as an entity separate and
distinct from the individual personalities of its members. Consistently with the intrinsic nature of a
collegiate court, the individual members act not as such individuals but. only as a duly constituted
court. Their distinct individualities are lost in the majesty of their office. 30 So that, in a very real sense, if
there be any complainant in the case at bar, it can only be the Court itself, not the individual members
thereof as well as the people themselves whose rights, fortunes and properties, nay, even lives, would
be placed at grave hazard should the administration of justice be threatened by the retention in the Bar of
men unfit to discharge the solemn responsibilities of membership in the legal fraternity.
Finally, the power to exclude persons from the practice of law is but a necessary incident of the
power to admit persons to said practice. By constitutional precept, this power is vested exclusively in
this Court. This duty it cannot abdicate just as much as it cannot unilaterally renounce jurisdiction
legally invested upon it. 31 So that even if it be conceded that the members collectively are in a sense the
aggrieved parties, that fact alone does not and cannot disqualify them from the exercise of that power
because public policy demands that they., acting as a Court, exercise the power in all cases which call for
disciplinary action. The present is such a case. In the end, the imagined anomaly of the merger in one
entity of the personalities of complainant, prosecutor and judge is absolutely inexistent.
Last to engage our attention is the nature and extent of the sanctions that may be visited upon Atty.
Almacen for his transgressions. As marked out by the Rules of Court, these may range from mere
suspension to total removal or disbarment. 32 The discretion to assess under the circumstances the
imposable sanction is, of course, primarily addressed to the sound discretion of the Court which, being
neither arbitrary and despotic nor motivated by personal animosity or prejudice, should ever be controlled
by the imperative need that the purity and independence of the Bar be scrupulously guarded and the
dignity of and respect due to the Court be zealously maintained.
That the misconduct committed by Atty. Almacen is of considerable gravity cannot be
overemphasized. However, heeding the stern injunction that disbarment should never be decreed
where a lesser sanction would accomplish the end desired, and believing that it may not perhaps be

futile to hope that in the sober light of some future day, Atty. Almacen will realize that abrasive
language never fails to do disservice to an advocate and that in every effervescence of candor there
is ample room for the added glow of respect, it is our view that suspension will suffice under the
circumstances. His demonstrated persistence in his misconduct by neither manifesting repentance
nor offering apology therefor leave us no way of determining how long that suspension should last
and, accordingly, we are impelled to decree that the same should be indefinite. This, we are
empowered to do not alone because jurisprudence grants us discretion on the matter 33 but also
because, even without the comforting support of precedent, it is obvious that if we have authority to
completely exclude a person from the practice of law, there is no reason why indefinite suspension, which
is lesser in degree and effect, can be regarded as falling outside of the compass of that authority. The
merit of this choice is best shown by the fact that it will then be left to Atty. Almacen to determine for
himself how long or how short that suspension shall last. For, at any time after the suspension becomes
effective he may prove to this Court that he is once again fit to resume the practice of law.
ACCORDINGLY, IT IS THE SENSE of the Court that Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen be, as he is hereby,
suspended from the practice of law until further orders, the suspension to take effect immediately.
Let copies of this resolution. be furnished the Secretary of Justice, the Solicitor General and the
Court of Appeals for their information and guidance.
Concepcion,. C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Teehankee, Barredo and
Villamor JJ., concur.
Fernando, J., took no part.

Footnotes
1 Docketed as Civil Case 8909 on September 17, 1965 in the Court of First Instance
of Rizal.
2 See e.g. "Mounting Discontent against the Supreme Court's Minute Resolution," 32
Lawyers J. p. 325; "Lack of Merit Resolutions are Obnoxious," 31 Lawyers J. p. 329.
3 In the years 1966, 1967 and 1968, this Court rejected by minute resolutions 803,
682 and 848 petitions, respectively, and resolved by extended decisions or
resolutions 584, 611 and 760 cases, respectively. For the period covering the first six
months of the year 1969, this Court rejected by minute resolutions 445 petitions, and
resolved by extended decision or resolutions 279 cases.
4 U.S. vs. Bustos, 37 Phil. 731 (1918); In re Gomez, 43 Phil. 376; Salcedo vs.
Hernandez, 61 Phil. 736 (Malcolm, J., dissenting); Austria vs. Masaquel, G.R. L22536, Aug. 31, 1967; Cabansag vs. Fernandez, et al., G.R. L-8974, Oct. 18, 1957.
5 In re Gomez, supra.

6 In re Gomez, supra; In re Lozano and Quevedo, 54 Phil. 801 (1930) ; In re


Abistado 57 Phil. 668 (1932); People vs. Alarcon; In re Contempt Proceedings,
Mangahas, 69 Phil. 265 (1939). SeePennekamp v. State of Florida, 328 U.S. 331, 90
L. ed. 1295; In re Bozorth, 118 A. 2d 432; In re Jameson, 340 Pac. 2d 432 (1959) ; In
re Pryor, 26 Am. Rep. 474; Hill vs. Lyman, 126 NYS 2d 286;Caig v. Hecht, 68 L. ed.
293 (Concurring opinion of Justice Taft).
7 Strebel v. Figueras, 96 Phil. 321 (1954).
8 State v. Bee Pub. Co., 83 N.W. 204, Sullivan, J. See also State ex rel Atty. Gen. v.
Circuit Ct., 72 N. W. 193.
9 In re Jameson, 340 Pac. 2d 432 (1959).
10 U.S. vs. Bustos, 37 Phil. 731 (1918) ; In re Gomez, 43 Phil. 376; Cabansag v.
Fernandez, L-18974, Oct. 18, 1957; Austria vs. Masaquel, L-22536, Aug. 31,
1967; Re Troy (1920), 111 Atl. 723; State ex rel. Atty. Gen. v. Circuit Ct. (1897), 65
Am. St. Rep. 90; Goons v. State, 134 N.E. 194; State vs. Sweetland, 54 N.W.
415; Hill vs. Lyman, 126 NYS 2d 286; Case of Austin, 28 Am. Dec. 657.
11 State Board of Examiners v. Hart, 116 N.W. 212, 17 LRA (NS) 585; Re Pryor, 26
Am. Rep. 747;Ex Parte Steinman, 40 Am. Rep. 637; Case of Austin, 28 Am. Dec.
657; Brannon v. State, 29 So. 2d 918; Medgar Evers v. State, 131 So. 2d 653; Re
Ades, 6 F 2d 467.
12 "A judge as a public official," said Justice Thornal in State v. Calhoon, 102 So. 2d
604, "is neither sacrosanct nor immune to public criticism of his conduct in office."
13 In re Bozorth, 118 Atl. 432: "The harsh and sometimes unfounded criticism of the
members of any of the three branches of our Government may be unfortunate lot of
public officials ..., but it has always been deemed a basic principle that such
comment may be made by the public ... . Nor should the judicial branch ... enjoy any
more enviable condition than the other two branches."
In Bridges v. California, 86 L. ed. 192, Mr. Justice Black, speaking for the majority,
said: "... an enforced silence, however, limited, solely in the name of preserving the
dignity of the bench, would probably engender resentment, suspicion, and contempt
much more than it would enhance respect." Mr. Justice Frankfurter, who wrote the
minority opinion, said: "Judges as persons, or courts as institutions, are entitled to no
greater immunity from criticism than other persons or institutions. Just because the
holders of judicial office are identified with the interest of justice they may forget their
common human frailties and fallibilities. There have sometimes been martinets upon
the bench as there have sometimes been wielders of authority who have used the
paraphernalia of power in support of what they called their dignity. Therefore judges
must be kept mindful of their limitations and of their ultimate public responsibility by a
vigorous stream of criticism expressed with candor however blunt "A man cannot be

summarily laid by the heels because his words may make public feeling more
unfavorable in case the judge should be asked to act at some later date, any more
than he can for exciting public feeling against a judge for what he already has
done." ... Courts and judges mast take their share of the gains and pains of
discussion which is unfettered except by laws of libel, by self- restraint, and by good
taste. Winds of doctrine should freely blow for the promotion of good and the
correction of evil. Nor should restrictions be permitted that cramp the feeling of
freedom in the use of tongue or pen regardless of the temper of the truth of what may
be uttered."
14 Sec. 3, Rule 138.
15 Sec. 20(b), Rule 138.
16 See e.g. Re Chopac, 66 F. Supp., where an attorney was suspended for three
years for writing a judge a letter in which he said that the judge in signing an order
took "advantage of your office to rule with passion and vehemence." Also People v.
Green, 3 P. 65, where an attorney was disbarred for stopping a judge upon the street
and addressed abusive, insulting language to him. See alsoJohnson v. State, 44 So.
671; In re McCowan, 170 P. 1101; State v. Calhoon, 102, 2d 604; Re Huppe, 11 Pac.
2d 793; State v. Rhodes, 131 NW 2d 118; Re Rogers, 212 Pac. 1034; In re Griffin, 1
NYS 7; In re Wilkes, 3 NYS 753; Re Manheim, 99 NYS 87; Re Greenfield, 262 NYS
2d 349; In re Klein, 262 NYS 2d 416; In re Smith, 36 A 130.
17 In re Humphrey, 163 P. 60; In re Thatcher, 89 N.E. 39; In Snyder's Case, 76 ALR
666; Re Troy, 111 A. 723; State v. Sprigs, 155 P. 2d 285.
18 Medina vs. Rivera, 66 Phil. 151; In the matter of the Intestate Estate of Rosario
Olba, Contempt proceedings against Antonio Franco, 67 Phil. 312, 315; People
vs. Carillo, 77 Phil. 579; People vs. Venturanza, et al., 85 Phil. 211, 214; De Joya, et
al. vs. CFI of Rizal, 99 Phil. 907, 914; Sison vs. Sandejas, L-9270, April 29,
1959; Paragas vs. Cruz, L-24438, July 30, 1965; Cornejo vs. Tan, 85 Phil. 772, 775.
19 In re Gomez, 43 Phil. 376; In re Lozano, 54 Phil. 801; In re Abistado, 57 Phil.
668; People vs. Alarcon, 69 Phil. 1965; Cornejo vs. Tan, 85 Phil. 772, 775. State vs.
Dist. Court, 151 Pac. 2d 1002; In re Shannon, 27 Pac. 352; State ex rel. Grice vs.
Dist. Court, 97 Pac. 1032; Weston vs. Commonwealth, 77 S.E. 2d 405; State vs.
Kaiser, 13 P. 964; State vs. Bee Pub. Co. 83 N.W. 204;Patterson vs. Colorado. 51 L.
ed. 879; Re Hart, 116 N.W. 212.
20 69 Phil. 265.
21 42 O.G. 59.
22 Article VIII, Section 12, Constitution.

23 Re Simpson, 83 N.W. 541.


24 Re Thatcher, 89 N.E. 39, 84.
25 Section 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court.
26 See Norman Dorsen, Frontiers of Civil Liberties, pp. 60-61; Griswold, "Of Time
and Attitudes," 74Harvard Law Review, 81, 94; Paul A. Freund, The Supreme Court
of the United States, (1961) pp. 176-177; see also Freund, On Law and
Justice (1968) ch. 4.
27 In re Montagne and Dominguez, 3 Phil. 577; De Durant, 10 Ann. Cas. 1913, 1220.
28 State vs. Peck, 91 Atl. 274; 286; Fairfield County Bar vs. Taylor, 22 Atl. 441.
29 Ex Parte Tyler, 40 Pac. 33, 34; Treadwell's case, 7 Pac. 724; Deles vs. Aragona,
March 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 634, 644, and the cases therein cited.
30 Sarcos vs. Castillo, et al., L-29755, January 21, 1969.
31 Cf. Radiowealth, Inc. vs. Agregado, 47 O.G., No. 12 (Supp) pp. 87, 89, citing
Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, Vol. 2, P. 870; Perfecto vs. Meer, 85 Phil. 552,
553; Ex parte Alabama State Bar Ass'n., 8 So. 768.
32 Section 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court.
33 Melville vs. Wettengel, 57 Pa. 2d 699; People vs. Winogard, 287 Pac. 864;
People vs. Kelly, 285 Pac. 767; People vs. Harris, 112 N.E. 978; People vs.
Anderson, 112 N.E. 273; In re Gullickson, 181 Atl. 716; Haitmanek vs. Turano, 158 A.
878; Grimsell vs. Wilcox, 98 A. 799; States vs. Kern, 233 N.W. 629; In re Borchardt,
192 N.E. 383; State vs. Trapley, 259 Pac. 783; State vs. Jennings, 159 S.E. 627; In
re Jacobson, 126 S.E. 2d 346; Mulvey vs. O'Niell, 44 Atl. 2d 880; State ex rel
Oklahoma Bar Ass'n vs. Hatcher, 209 Pac. 2d 873; Cleveland Bar Ass'n vs.
Wilkerson, 156 N.E. 2d 136 N.E. 2d 136; In re Eddy, 292 N.Y.S. 619.
9.
G.R. No. L-27072 January 9, 1970
SURIGAO MINERAL RESERVATION BOARD, ET AL., petitioners,
vs.
HON. GAUDENCIO CLORIBEL ETC., ET AL., respondents, In Re: Contempt Proceedings
Against Attorneys Vicente L. Santiago, Jose Beltran Sotto, Graciano C. Regala and
Associates, Erlito R. Uy, Juanito M. Caling; and Morton F. Meads.
RESOLUTION

SANCHEZ, J.:
After the July 31, 1968 decision of this Court adverse to respondent MacArthur International
Minerals Co., the Solicitor General brought to our attention statements of record purportedly made
by Vicente L. Santiago, Erlito R. Uy, Graciano Regala, and Jose Beltran Sotto, members of the Bar,
with the suggestion that disciplinary action be taken against them. On November 21, 1968, this
Court issued a show-cause order.
The following statements, so the Solicitor General avers, are set forth in the memoranda personally
signed by Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto:
a. They (petitioners, including the Executive Secretary) have made these false,
ridiculous and wild statements in a desperate attempt to prejudice the courts against
MacArthur International. Such efforts could be accurately called "scattershot
desperation" (Memorandum for Respondents dated March 27, 1968, pp. 13-14, three
lines from the bottom of page 13 and first line page 14).
b. Such a proposition is corrupt on its face and it lays bare the immoral and arrogant
attitude of the petitioners. (Respondents' Supplemental Memorandum and Reply to
Petitioner's Memorandum Brief, dated April 13, 1968, p. 16, last two lines on bottom
of the page).
c. The herein petitioners ... opportunistically change their claims and stories not only
from case to case but from pleading to pleading in the same case. (Respondents'
Supplemental Memorandum,Ibid., p.17, sixth, seventh and eighth lines from bottom
of the page).
MacArthur's third motion for reconsideration signed by Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, on his behalf and
purportedly for Attys. Erlito R. Uy, Graciano Regala and Associates, and Jose B. Sotto, the Solicitor
General points out, contain the following statements:
d. ... ; and [the Supreme Court] has overlooked the applicable law due to the
misrepresentation and obfuscation of the petitioners' counsel. (Last sentence, par. 1,
Third Motion for Reconsideration dated Sept. 10, 1968).
e. ... Never has any civilized, democratic tribunal ruled that such a gimmick (referring
to the "right to reject any and all bids") can be used by vulturous executives to cover
up and excuse losses to the public, a government agency or just plain fraud ... and it
is thus difficult, in the light of our upbringing and schooling, even under many of the
incumbent justices, that the Honorable Supreme Court intends to create a decision
that in effect does precisely that in a most absolute manner. (Second sentence, par.
7, Third Motion for Reconsideration dated Sept. 10, 1968).

The motion to inhibit filed on September 21, 1968 after judgment herein was rendered and
signed by Vicente L. Santiago for himself and allegedly for Attys. Erlito R. Uy, and Graciano Regala
and Associates, asked Mr. Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion and Mr. Justice Fred Ruiz Castro to
inhibit themselves from considering, judging and resolving the case or any issue or aspect thereof
retroactive to January 11, 1967. The motion charges "[t]hat the brother of the Honorable Associate
Justice Castro is a vice-president of the favored party who is the chief beneficiary of the false,
erroneous and illegal decision dated January 31, 1968" and the ex partepreliminary injunction
rendered in the above-entitled case, the latter in effect prejudging and predetermining this case even
before the joining of an issue. As to the Chief Justice, the motion states "[t]hat the son of the
Honorable Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion was given a significant appointment in the Philippine
Government by the President a short time before the decision of July 31, 1968 was rendered in this
case." The appointment referred to was as secretary of the newly-created Board of Investments. The
motion presents a lengthy discourse on judicial ethics, and makes a number of side comments
projecting what is claimed to be the patent wrongfulness of the July 31, 1968 decision. It enumerates
"incidents" which, according to the motion, brought about respondent MacArthur's belief that
"unjudicial prejudice" had been caused it and that there was "unjudicial favoritism" in favor of
"petitioners, their appointing authority and a favored party directly benefited by the said decision."
The "incidents" cited are as follows:
(a) said decision is in violation of the law, which law has not been declared
unconstitutional.
(b) said decision ignores totally the applicable law in the above-entitled case.
(c) said decision deprives respondent of due process of law and the right to adduce
evidence as is the procedure in all previous cases of this nature.
(d) due course was given to the unfounded certiorari in the first place when the
appeal from a denial of a motion to dismiss was and is neither new nor novel nor
capable of leading to a wholesome development of the law but only served to
delay respondent for the benefit of the favored party.
(e) the preliminary injunction issued herein did not maintain the status quo but
destroyed it, and the conclusion cannot be avoided that it was destroyed for a
reason, not for no reason at all.
(f) there are misstatements and misrepresentations in the said decision which the
Honorable Supreme Court has refused to correct.
(g) the two main issues in the said decision were decided otherwise in previous
decisions, and the main issue "right to reject any or all bids" is being treated on a
double standard basis by the Honorable Supreme Court.
(h) the fact that respondent believes that the Honorable Supreme Court knows better
and has greater understanding than the said decision manifests.

(i) the public losses (sic) one hundred and fifty to two hundred million dollars by said
decision without an effort by the Honorable Supreme Court to learn all the facts
through presentation through the trial court, which is elementary.
On November 21, 1968, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, again for himself and Attys. Erlito R. Uy and
Graciano Regala and Associates, in writing pointed out to this Court that the statements specified by
the Solicitor General were either quoted out of context, could be defended, or were comments
legitimate and justifiable. Concern he expressed for the fullest defense of the interests of his clients.
It was stressed that if MacArthur's attorney could not plead such thoughts, his client would be
deprived of due process of law. However, counsel sought to change the words "Chief Justice" to
"Supreme Court" appearing on line 7, paragraph 2 of the motion to inhibit. Atty. Santiago also
voluntarily deleted paragraph 6 of the said motion, which in full reads:
6. Unfortunately for our people, it seems that many of our judicial authorities believe
that they are the chosen messengers of God in all matters that come before them,
and that no matter what the circumstances are, their judgment is truly ordained by
the Almighty unto eternity. Some seem to be constitutionally incapable of considering
that any emanation from their mind or pen could be the product of unjudicial
prejudice or unjudicial sympathy or favoritism for a party or an issue. Witness the
recent absurdity of Judge Alikpala daring to proceed to judge a motion to hold himself
in contempt of court seemingly totally oblivious or uncomprehending of the
violation of moral principle involved and also of Judge Geraldez who refuses to
inhibit himself in judging a criminal case against an accused who is also his
correspondent in two other cases. What is the explanation for such mentality? Is it
outright dishonesty? Lack of intelligence? Serious deficiency in moral
comprehension? Or is it that many of our government officials are just amoral?
And, in addition, he attempted to explain further subparagraphs (f) and (h) of paragraph 7 thereof.
It was on December 2, 1968 that Atty. Vicente L. Santiago filed his compliance with this Court's
resolution of November 21, 1968. He there stated that the motion to inhibit and third motion for
reconsideration were of his exclusive making and that he alone should be held responsible therefor.
He further elaborated on his explanations made on November 21, 1968.
On December 5, 1968, he supplemented his explanations by saying that he already deleted
paragraph 6 of the Motion to Inhibit heretofore quoted from his rough draft but that it was still
included through inadvertence.
On March 1, 1969, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, as counsel for MacArthur, registered an amended
motion to inhibit. While it repeats the prayer that Mr. Chief Justice Concepcion and Mr. Justice
Castro inhibit themselves, it left but three paragraphs of the original motion to inhibit, taking out the
dissertation on judicial ethics and most of the comments attacking the decision of this Court of July
31, 1968.
On the part of Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto, it must be stated that as early as October 7, 1968, he insisted
in withdrawing his appearance in this case as one of the lawyers of MacArthur. His ground was that

he did not agree with the filing of the motion to inhibit the two justices. According to him, "[t]he
present steps (sic) now being taken is against counsel's upbringing and judicial conscience."
In Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto's return of November 29, 1968, he took pains to say that the questioned
statements he made were also taken out of context and were necessary for the defense of his client
MacArthur. He made the admission, though, that those statements lifted out of context would indeed
be sufficient basis for a finding that Section 20(f), Rule 138, had been violated.
On January 8, 1969, additional arguments were filed by Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto. He there averred
that the Supreme Court had no original jurisdiction over the charge against him because it is one of
civil contempt against a party and the charge is originally cognizable by the Court of First Instance
under Sections 4 and 10, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. He also stressed that said charge was not
signed by an "offended party or witness", as required by law; and that the Solicitor General and his
assistants could not stand in the stead of an "offended Party or witness."
We now come to Atty. Graciano C. Regala. In his explanation of December 2, 1968, as further
clarified by a supplemental motion of December 27, 1968, he manifested that the use of or reference
to his law firm in this case was neither authorized nor consented to by him or any of his associates;
that on July 14, 1967, one Morton F. Meads, in MacArthur's behalf, offered to retain his services,
which was accepted; that Meads inquired from him whether he could appear in this case; that he
advised Meads that this case was outside his professional competence and referred Meads to
another lawyer who later on likewise turned down the offer; that in view of the rejection, Meads and
he agreed to terminate their previous retainer agreement; that he had not participated in any manner
in the preparation or authorship of any pleading or any other document in connection with this case.
On February 4, 1969, Atty. Erlito R. Uy explained his side of the case. In brief, he denied
participation in any of the court papers subject of our November 21, 1968 order; claimed that he was
on six months' leave of absence from July 1, 1968 to December 31, 1968 as one of the attorneys for
MacArthur but that he gave his permission to have his name included as counsel in all of
MacArthur's pleadings in this case (L-27072), even while he was on leave of absence.
Hearing on this contempt incident was had on March 3, 1969.
A second contempt proceeding arose when, on July 14, 1969, respondent MacArthur, through new
counsel, Atty. Juanito M. Caling who entered a special appearance for the purpose, lodged a fourth
motion for reconsideration without express leave of court. Said motion reiterated previous grounds
raised, and contained the following paragraphs:
4. The said decision is illegal because it was penned by the Honorable Chief Justice
Roberto Concepcion when in fact he was outside the borders of the Republic of the
Philippines at the time of the Oral Argument of the above-entitled case which
condition is prohibited by the New Rules of Court Section 1, Rule 51, and we
quote: "Justices; who may take part. ... . only those members present when any
matter is submitted for oral argument will take part in its consideration and
adjudication ..." This requirement is especially significant in the present instance
because the member who penned the decision was the very member who was

absent for approximately four months or more. This provision also applies to the
Honorable Justices Claudio Teehankee and Antonio Barredo.
xxx xxx xxx
6. That if the respondent MacArthur International Minerals Company abandons its
quest for justice in the Judiciary of the Philippine Government, it will inevitably either
raise the graft and corruption of Philippine Government officials in the bidding of May
12, 1965, required by the Nickel Law to determine the operator of the Surigao nickel
deposits, to the World Court on grounds of deprivation of justice and confiscation of
property and /or to the United States Government, either its executive or judicial
branches or both, on the grounds of confiscation of respondent's proprietary vested
rights by the Philippine Government without either compensation or due process of
law and invoking the Hickenlooper Amendment requiring the cutting off of all aid
and benefits to the Philippine Government, including the sugar price premium,
amounting to more than fifty million dollars annually, until restitution or compensation
is made.
This elicited another resolution from this Court on July 18, 1969, requiring Atty. Juanito M. Caling "to
show cause within five (5) days from receipt of notice hereof why he should not be dealt with for
contempt of court."
On July 30, 1969, Atty. Juanita M. Caling filed his return. He there alleged that the said fourth motion
for reconsideration was already finalized when Atty. Vicente L. Santiago came to his office and
requested him to accommodate MacArthur by signing the motion; that he turned down said request
twice on the ground that he did not know anything about the case, much less the truth of the
allegations stated in the motion; that "the allegations in said motion were subsequently explained to
the undersigned counsel together with the background of the case involved by Atty. Vicente L.
Santiago and by one Morton F. Meads"; that upon assurance that there was nothing wrong with the
motion he was persuaded in good faith to sign the same; that he was misled in so signing and the
true facts of the allegations were not revealed to him especially the oral argument allegedly made in
the case.
Because of the foregoing explanation by Atty. Caling, this Court, on August 4, 1969, resolved "to
require Atty. Vicente L. Santiago and Morton Meads to file in writing their answer to the said return
[of Atty. Caling] and at the same time to show cause why they, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago and Morton
Meads, should not be dealt with for contempt of court, on or before August 16, 1969; and ... to direct
that the three, Atty. Juanita M. Caling, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, and Morton Meads, personally
appear Before this Court on Thursday, August 27, 1969, at 9:30 a.m., on which date the contempt
proceedings against all of them will be heard by this Court."
On August 13, 1969, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago gave his explanation. He disavowed the truth of Atty.
Caling's statement that he (Santiago) convinced Caling to sign the motion. The truth, according to
Santiago, is that one day Morton Meads went to his office and asked him if he knew of a lawyer
nearby who could help him file another motion for reconsideration, and he (Santiago) mentioned
Atty. Caling; he there upon accompanied Meads to Caling, told Caling of Meads' desire and left

Meads with Caling. Santiago insists that he never prepared the motion and that he never even read
it.
On August 15, 1969, Morton Meads answered. Meads' version is as follows: On July 14, 1969, he
went to Atty. Santiago's office with the fourth motion for reconsideration which he himself prepared.
Santiago started to read the motion and in fact began to make some changes in Pencil in the first or
second paragraph when Meads told him that MacArthur wanted a new lawyer, not Santiago, to file
the same. Meads asked Santiago if he could recommend one. They then went to Caling whose
office was on the same floor. Santiago introduced Meads to Caling at the same time handing the
fourth motion to Caling. While Caling was reading the document, Santiago left. After reading the
motion, Caling gave his go-signal. He signed the same after his name was typed therein. The motion
was then filed. According to Meads, from the time he entered the office of Santiago to the time the
motion was filed, the period that elapsed was approximately one hour and a half. Santiago was with
Caling for about three minutes and Meads was with Caling for about fifteen minutes.
In defending himself from the contempt charge, Meads asserts that the quotation from the Rules of
Court set forth in the fourth motion for reconsideration has not been taken out of context because
said quotation is precisely accurate; that the "xs" indicate that it is not a complete quotation and that
it is a common practice in court pleadings to submit partial quotations. Meads further contends that
the announced plan to bring the case to the World Court is not a threat. In fact, his answer also
included a notice of appeal to the World Court.
On August 27, 1969, this Court heard Attys. Vicente L. Santiago and Juanito Caling and Morton
Meads in oral argument with respect to the second contempt incident. We shall now discuss the first
and second contempt incidents seriatim.
1. We start with the case of Atty. Vicente L. Santiago. In his third motion for reconsideration, we,
indeed, find language that is not to be expected of an officer of the courts. He pictures petitioners as
"vulturous executives". He speaks of this Court as a "civilized, democratic tribunal", but by innuendo
would suggest that it is not.
In his motion to inhibit, his first paragraph categorizes our decision of July 31, 1968 as "false,
erroneous and illegal" in a presumptuous manner. He there charges that the ex parte preliminary
injunction we issued in this case prejudiced and predetermined the case even before the joining of
an issue. He accuses in a reckless manner two justices of this Court for being interested in the
decision of this case: Associate Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, because his brother is the vice president
of the favored party who is the chief beneficiary of the decision, and Chief Justice Roberto
Concepcion, whose son was appointed secretary of the newly-created Board of Investments, "a
significant appointment in the Philippine Government by the President, a short time before the
decision of July 31, 1968 was rendered." In this backdrop, he proceeds to state that "it would seem
that the principles thus established [the moral and ethical guidelines for inhibition of any judicial
authority by the Honorable Supreme Court should first apply to itself." He puts forth the claim that
lesser and further removed conditions have been known to create favoritism, only to conclude that
there is no reason for a belief that the conditions obtaining in the case of the Chief Justice and
Justice Castro "would be less likely to engender favoritism or prejudice for or against a particular
cause or party." Implicit in this at least is that the Chief Justice and Justice Castro are insensible

to delicadeza, which could make their actuation suspect. He makes it plain in the motion that the
Chief Justice and Justice Castro not only were not free from the appearance of impropriety but did
arouse suspicion that their relationship did affect their judgment. He points out that courts must be
above suspicion at all times like Caesar's wife, warns that loss of confidence for the Tribunal or a
member thereof should not be allowed to happen in our country, "although the process has already
begun."
It is true that Santiago voluntarily deleted paragraph 6 which contained language that is as
disrespectful. But we cannot erase the fact that it has been made. He explained that, he deleted this
paragraph in his rough draft, which paragraph was included in the motion filed in this Court only
because of mere inadvertence. This explanation does not make much of a distinguishing difference;
it erects no shield. Not only because it was belatedly made but also because his signature appeared
on the motion to inhibit which included paragraph 6. And this paragraph 6 describes with derision
"many of our judicial authorities" who "believe that they are the chosen messengers of God in all
matters that come before them, and that no matter what the circumstances are, their judgment is
truly ordained by the Almighty unto eternity." It depicts them as seemingly "incapable of considering
that any emanation from their mind or pen could be the product of unjudicial prejudice or unjudicial
sympathy or favoritism for a party or an issue." After citing acts of two judges of first instance, he
paused to ask: "What is the explanation for such mentality? Is it outright dishonesty? Lack of
intelligence? Serious deficiency in moral comprehension? Or is it that many of our government
officials are just amoral?"
Paragraph 7 also of the motion to inhibit repeated mention of "unjudicial prejudice" against
respondent MacArthur and spoke of "unjudicial favoritism" for petitioners, their appointing authority
and a favored party directly benefited by the decision. Paragraph 8 is a lecture on judicial ethics.
Paragraph 9 is a warning to this Court about loss of confidence, and paragraph 10 makes a
sweeping statement that "any other justices who have received favors or benefits directly or
indirectly from any of the petitioners or members of any board-petitioner, or their agents or principals,
including the President", should also inhibit themselves.
What is disconcerting is that Atty. Santiago's accusations have no basis in fact and in law. The slur
made is not limited to the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Castro. It sweepingly casts aspersion on the
whole court. For, inhibition is also asked of, we repeat, "any other justices who have received favors
or benefits directly or indirectly from any of the petitioners or any members of any board-petitioner or
their agents or principals, including the president." The absurdity of this posture is at once apparent.
For one thing, the justices of this Court are appointed by the President and in that sense may be
considered to have each received a favor from the President. Should these justices inhibit
themselves every time a case involving the Administration crops up? Such a thought may not
certainly be entertained. The consequence thereof would be to paralyze the machinery of this Court.
We would in fact, be wreaking havoc on the tripartite system of government operating in this country.
Counsel is presumed to know this. But why the unfounded charge? There is the not-too-well
concealed effort on the part of a losing litigant's attorney to downgrade this Court.
The mischief that stems from all of the foregoing gross disrespect is easy to discern. Such
disrespect detracts much from the dignity of a court of justice. Decidedly not an expression of faith,
counsel's words are intended to create an atmosphere of distrust, of disbelief. We are thus called

upon to repeat what we have said in Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer (1967), 20 SCRA 441, 444,
as follows: "By now, a lawyer's duties to the Court have become common place. Really, there could
hardly be any valid excuse for lapses in the observance thereof. Section 20(b), Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court, in categorical terms, spells out one such duty: 'To observe and maintain the respect
due to the courts of justice and judicial officers.' As explicit is the first canon of legal ethics which
pronounces that '[i]t is the duty of the lawyer to maintain towards the Courts a respectful attitude, not
for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme
importance.' That same canon, as a corollary, makes it peculiarly incumbent upon lawyers to support
the courts against 'unjust criticism and clamor.' And more. The attorney's oath solemnly binds him to
a conduct that should be 'with all good fidelity ... to the courts.' Worth remembering is that the duty of
an attorney to the courts can only be maintained by rendering no service involving any disrespect to
the judicial office which he is bound to uphold.' "
A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, "like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance
the ends of justice."1 His duty is to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts to which he owes
fidelity, "not to promote distrust in the administration of justice." 2 Faith in the courts a lawyer should seek
to preserve. For, to undermine the judicial edifice "is disastrous to the continuity of government and to the
attainment of the liberties of the people."3 Thus has it been said of a lawyer that "[a]s an officer of the
court, it is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and
regard towards the courts so essential to the proper administration of justice." 4
It ill behooves Santiago to justify his language with the statement that it was necessary for the defense of
his client. A client's cause does not permit an attorney to cross the line between liberty and license.
Lawyers must always keep in perspective the thought that "[s]ince lawyers are administrators of justice,
oath-bound servants of society, their first duty is not to their clients, as many suppose, but to the
administration of justice; to this, their clients' success is wholly subordinate; and their conduct ought to
and must be scrupulously observant of law and ethics." 5 As rightly observed by Mr. Justice Malcolm in his
well-known treatise, a judge from the very nature of his position, lacks the power to defend himself and it
is the attorney, and no other, who can better or more appropriately support the judiciary and the
incumbent of the judicial position.6 From this, Mr. Justice Malcolm continued to say: "It will of course be a
trying ordeal for attorneys under certain conditions to maintain respectful obedience to the court. It may
happen that counsel possesses greater knowledge of the law than the justice of the peace or judge who
presides over the court. It may also happen that since no court claims infallibility, judges may grossly err
in their decisions. Nevertheless, discipline and self-restraint on the part of the bar even under adverse
conditions are necessary for the orderly administration of
justice."7

The precepts, the teachings, the injunctions just recited are not unfamiliar to lawyers. And yet, this
Court finds in the language of Atty. Santiago a style that undermines and degrades the
administration of justice. The stricture in Section 3 (d) of Rule 71 of the Rules against improper
conduct tending to degrade the administration of justice8 is thus transgressed. Atty. Santiago is
guilty of contempt of court.
2. We next take the case of Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto. We analyze the statements pointed out to us by
the Solicitor General hereinbefore quoted. Sotto accuses petitioners of having made "false,
ridiculous and wild statements in a desperate attempt to prejudice the courts against MacArthur." He
brands such efforts as "scattershot desperation". He describes a proposition of petitioners as

"corrupt on its face", laying bare "the immoral and arrogant attitude of the petitioners." He charges
petitioners with opportunistically changing their claims and stories not only from case to case but
from pleading to pleading in the same case. Such language is not arguably protected; it is the
surfacing of a feeling of contempt towards a litigant; it offends the court before which it is made. It is
no excuse to say that these statements were taken out of context. We have analyzed the lines
surrounding said statements. They do not in any manner justify the inclusion of offensive language in
the pleadings. It has been said that "[a] lawyer's language should be dignified in keeping with the
dignity of the legal profession."9 It is Sotto's duty as a member of the Bar "[t]o abstain from all offensive
personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless
required by the justice of the cause with which he is
charged." 10
Not far from the case of Atty. Sotto is People vs. Young, 83 Phil. 702, 708, where counsel for the accused
convicted of murder made use of the following raw language in his brief : "The accused since birth was a
poor man and a son of a poor farmer, that since his boyhood he has never owned a thousand pesos in his
own name. Now, here comes a chance for him. A cold fifty thousand bucks in exchange of a man's life. A
simple job. Perhaps a question of seconds' work and that would transform him into a new man. Once in a
small nipa shack, now in a palatial mansion! This poor ignorant man blinded by the promise of wealth,
protection and stability was given to do the forbidden deed." We there held that "[s]uch a plea is a
disgrace to the bar and an affront to the court."

It will not avail Sotto any to say that the Solicitor General or his assistants may not be considered
offended parties in this case. This Court may motu proprio start proceedings of this nature. There
should be no doubt about the power of this Court to punish him for contempt under the
circumstances. For, inherent in courts is the power "[t]o control, in furtherance of justice, the conduct
of its ministerial officers, and of all other persons in any manner connected with a case before it, in
every manner appertaining thereto." 11
We, accordingly, hold that Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto has misbehaved, under Section 3 (a), Rule 71 of the
Rules of Court, as an officer of the court in the performance of his official duties; and that he too has
committed, under Section 3 (d) of the same rule, improper conduct tending to degrade the administration
of justice. He is, therefore, guilty of contempt.

3. Not much need be said of the case of Atty. Graciano C. Regala. It was improper for Atty. Santiago
to have included the name of the firm of Atty. Regala without the latter's knowledge and consent.
Correctly did Regala insist and this is confirmed by the other lawyers of respondents that he
had not participated in any way in the pleadings of the above-entitled case. Regala did not even
know that his name was included as co-counsel in this case. He is exonerated.
4. Last to be considered with respect to the first contempt incident is the case of Atty. Erlito R. Uy.
Borne out by the record is the fact that Atty. Uy was not also involved in the preparation of any of the
pleadings subject of the contempt citation. He should be held exempt from contempt.
5. We now turn our attention to the second contempt incident. The fourth motion for reconsideration
is, indeed, an act of contumacy.

First. It was filed without express leave of court. No explanation has been made why this has been
done.
Second. It lifted Section 1. Rule 51, Rules of Court, out of context. Said Section 1 was quoted as
follows: "Justices; who may take part. ... only those members present when any matter is
submitted for oral argument will take part in its consideration and adjudication ..." However, the
provision in its entire thought should be read thus
SECTION 1. Justices; who may take part. All matters submitted to the court for its
consideration and adjudication will be deemed to be submitted for consideration and
adjudication by any and all of the Justices who are members of the division of the
court at the time when such matters are taken up for consideration and adjudication,
whether such Justices were or were not present at the date of submission; however,
only those members present when any matter is submitted for oral argument will take
part in its consideration and adjudication, if the parties or either of them, express a
desire to that effect in writing filed with the clerk at the date of
submission. 12
Atty. Caling, who was admitted to the Bar in 1966, did not attempt to explain this point.

Meads, however, for his part tried to reason out why such a distorted quotation came about the
portion left out was anyway marked by "XS" which is a common practice among lawyers. Canon 22
of the Canons of Legal Ethics reminds the lawyer to characterize his conduct with candor and
fairness, and specifically states that "it is not candid nor fair for the lawyer knowingly to misquote."
While Morton Meads is admittedly not a lawyer, it does not take a lawyer to see the deliberate
deception that is being foisted upon this Court. There was a qualification to the rule quoted and that
qualification was intentionally omitted.
Third. The motion contained an express threat to take the case to the World Court and/or the United
States government. It must be remembered that respondent MacArthur at that time was still trying to
overturn the decision of this Court of July 31, 1968. In doing so, unnecessary statements were
injected. More specifically, the motion announced that MacArthur "will inevitably ... raise the graft and
corruption of [the] Philippine government officials in the bidding of May 12, 1965 ... to the World
Court" and would invoke "the Hickenlooper Amendment requiring the cutting off of all aid and
benefits to the Philippine Government, including the sugar price premium, amounting to more than
fifty million dollars annually ... ."
This is a clear attempt to influence or bend the mind of this Court to decide the case in its favor. A
notice of appeal to the World Court has even been embodied in Meads' return. There is a gross
inconsistency between the appeal and the move to reconsider the decision. An appeal from a
decision presupposes that a party has already abandoned any move to reconsider that decision. And
yet, it would appear that the appeal to the World Court is being dangled as a threat to effect a
change of the decision of this Court. Such act has no aboveboard explanation.
6. Atty. Caling has not shown to the satisfaction of this Court that he should be exempted from the
contempt charge against him. He knows that he is an officer of this Court. He admits that he has

read the fourth motion for reconsideration before he signed it. While he has been dragged in only at
the last minute, still it was plainly his duty to have taken care that his name should not be attached to
pleadings contemptuous in character.
7. As for Morton F. Meads, he had admitted having prepared the fourth motion for reconsideration.
He cannot beg off from the contempt charge against him even though he is not a lawyer. He is guilty
of contempt.
8. We go back to Atty. Vicente L. Santiago. His insistence that he had nothing to do with the fourth
motion for reconsideration and that he had not even read the same is too transparent to survive fair
appraisal. It goes against the grain of circumstances. Caling represents before us that it was
Santiago who convinced him to sign the motion, who with Meads explained to him the allegations
thereof and the background of the case. Caling says that if not for his friendship with Santiago, he
would not have signed the motion. On the other hand, Meads states that Santiago began to read the
fourth motion for reconsideration and even started to make changes thereon in pencil. We must not
forget, too, that according to Meads himself, he spent, on July 14, 1969, quite some time with
Santiago before they proceeded to Caling. It is highly improbable that Santiago did not read the
fourth motion for reconsideration during all that time.
Furthermore, Santiago is a lawyer of record for respondent MacArthur in this case. He has not
resigned from his position as such lawyer. He has control of the proceedings. Whatever steps his
client takes should be within his knowledge and responsibility. Indeed, Canon 16 of the Canons of
Legal Ethics should have reminded him that "[a] lawyer should use his best efforts to restrain and to
prevent his clients from doing those things which the lawyer himself ought not to do, particularly with
reference to their conduct towards courts, judicial officers, jurors, witnesses and suitors. If a client
persists in such wrongdoing the lawyer should terminate their relation."
The dignity of the Court, experience teaches, can never be protected where infraction of ethics
meets with complacency rather than punishment. The people should not be given cause to break
faith with the belief that a judge is the epitome of honor amongst men. To preserve its dignity, a court
of justice should not yield to the assaults of disrespect. Punctilio of honor, we prefer to think, is a
standard of behavior so desirable in a lawyer pleading a cause before a court of justice.
9. One last word. It would seem apropos to say again that, if only for one reason, this Court had
really no alternative but to decide the main case against respondent MacArthur. As we held in our
decision of July 31, 1968, MacArthur did not even adhere to the terms and conditions of the
invitation to bid. For, this invitation to bid explicitly warned that "bids not accompanied by bid bonds
will be rejected. And We repeat, "[a]dmittedly, the bid of the Company [MacArthur] had been
submitted without the requisite bond." 13 It would not require the adroit mind of a lawyer to say that a bid
unaccompanied by a bond., contrary to the instructions to bidders, is not entitled to any consideration.
It should be emphasized, too, that because the decision herein was by a unanimous Court, even if
the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Fred Ruiz Castro had not taken part in the decision on the merits of
this case, the result would have been the same: MacArthur's cause would just the same have failed.
For the reasons given, this Court hereby finds:

1. On the first contempt charge, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago and Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto guilty of
contempt of court, and fines Atty. Santiago in the sum of P1,000, and Atty. Sotto, P100; and holds
Attys. Graciano C. Regala and Associates and Atty. Erlito R. Uy not guilty of contempt of court; and
2. On the second contempt charge, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, Morton F. Meads and Atty. Juanita M.
Caling guilty of contempt of court, and fines Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, an additional P1,000, Morton
F. Meads, P1,000, and Atty. Juanito M. Caling, P200.
Let a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Honorable, the Secretary of Justice, for whatever
action he may deem proper to take in the premises against Morton F. Meads who is an alien.
Let another copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Honorable, the Solicitor General, for such
action as he may deem proper in relation to the disbarment or suspension of Attys. Vicente L.
Santiago, Jose Beltran Sotto and Juanito M. Caling.
The Clerk of this Court is hereby directed to append a copy of this decision to the personal records
of Attorneys Vicente L. Santiago, Jose Beltran Sotto and Juanito M. Caling. So ordered.
Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar and Fernando, JJ., concur.
Concepcion C.J., Castro, Teehankee and Barredo, JJ., took no part.

Footnotes
* Editor's Note: See main decision in 24 SCRA 491-495.
1 People ex rel. Karlin vs. Culkin, 60 A.L.R. 851, 855.
2 In re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595, 602.
3 Malcolm, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 1949 ed., p. 160.
4 People vs. Carillo, 77 Phil. 572, 580.
5 5 Martin, Rules of Court in the Philippines, 1966 ed., p. 69, citing In re Kelly, 243 F.
696, 706.
6 Malcolm, op. cit., p. 161.
7 Ibid., pp. 161-162; emphasis supplied.
8 Section 3(d), Rule 71, provides:

SEC. 3. Indirect contempts to be punished after charge and hearing.After charge in


writing has been filed, and an opportunity given to the accused to be heard by
himself or counsel, a person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for
contempt:
xxx xxx xxx
(d) Any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or
degrade the administration of justice;
xxx xxx xxx
9 5 Martin, op. cit., p. 97.
10 Section 20(f), Rule 138, Rules of Court.
11 Section 5(d), Rule 135, Rules of Court.
12 Emphasis supplied.
13 Decision of July 31, 1968, p. 3, Rollo, p. 387.

10.
G.R. No. L-24114 June 30, 1970
IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST ATTY. CLEMENTE
M. SORIANO IN L-24114, People's Homesite and Housing Corporation and University of the
Philippines,
vs.
HON. EULOGIO MENCIAS, ELPIDIO TIBURCIO, MARCELINO TIBURCIO, ET AL.
RESOLUTION

CASTRO, J.:
By virtue of a pleading entitled "Appearance" filed with this Court on October 10, 1969, Clemente M.
Soriano, a member of the Philippine Bar since January 19, 1954, entered his appearance in the
present case (L-24114, PHHC and U.P. vs. Mencias, Tiburcio, et al.) as "chief counsel of record" for
the respondents Marcelino Tiburcio, et al. This act in itself would have been innocuous were it not for

the fact that it was done one year and eight months after the decision in this case became final.
Wittingly or unwittingly, therefore, Atty. Soriano was in effect asking this Court to exhume this case
from the archives. We thus considered it needful that he explain in full and in writing his
unprecedented, if not altogether bizzare behavior.
His subsequent explanation did not, however, serve to dissuade this Court from requiring him to
show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for entering an appearance at
such a late date. He forthwith came with a recital of the circumstances under which he had agreed to
have his services retained by the respondents Tiburcio, et al.
He alleged that sometime during the first week of October 1969, the respondent Marcelino Tiburcio,
in his own behalf and as attorney-in-fact of the other respondents, went to him to engage his
professional services in two cases, to wit: this terminated case (L-24114), and the case entitled
"Varsity Hills vs. Hon. Herminio C. Mariano, etc., et al." (L-30546). At their conference, Marcelino
Tiburcio supposedly informed Atty. Soriano of the precise status of each of the two cases, thus: that
the Varsity Hills case was set for hearing by this Court on October 27, 1969, while the present case
was still pending and the date of hearing thereof was yet undetermined. In addition to Marcelino
Tiburcio's representations, Atty. Soriano allegedly relied upon the assurance of a mutual
acquaintance, Atty. Antonio J. Dalangpan that indeed these two cases were pending in this Court.
And so Atty. Soriano prepared a letter-contract dated October 8, 1969, by virtue of which he agreed
to render professional services in the two cases in consideration of a contingent fee of 143.33
hectares of land out of the 430 hectares (more or less) involved in the two cases. It was on the same
date, October 8, 1969, that he then caused the preparation of his written appearance in the present
case.
Parenthetically, it is interesting to note that the contingent fee of 143.33 hectares of land would find
no justification if Atty. Soriano were to render his professional services solely in the Varsity
Hills case, for in this latter case, the records of which we are in a position to take judicial notice, an
area of only about 19 hectares is involved, 1 the bulk of the property claimed by the respondents
having been litigated in the present case.
The entry of appearance of a counsel in a case which has long been sealed and terminated by a
final judgment, besides being an unmitigated absurdity in itself and an unwarranted annoyance to
the court which pronounced the judgment, is a sore deviation from normal judicial processes. It
detracts heavily from the faith which should be accorded final judgments of courts of justice,
generating as it does in the minds of the litigants, as well as of the public, an illusory belief that
something more can be done toward overturning a final judicial mandate.
In the incident before us, we find Atty. Soriano grossly remiss and inexcusably precipitate in putting
an officious finger into the vortex of the case. He was wanting in the reasonable care which every
member of the Bar must needs exercise before rushing into the midst of a case already litigated or
under litigation.
Before taking over a case handled by a peer in the Bar, a lawyer is enjoined to obtain the conformity
of the counsel whom he would substitute. And if this cannot be had, then he should, at the very least,
give notice to such lawyer of the contemplated substitution. 2 Atty. Soriano's entry of appearance in the

present case as "chief counsel of record" for the respondents in effect sought to preempt the former
counsel, Atty. Nemesio Diaz, of the premier control over the case. Although at the hearing of the present
incident he averred that he exerted efforts to communicate with Atty. Diaz to no avail, we are far from
being convinced that he really did so. Nowhere in his written manifestations to this Court did he make
mention of such efforts on his part. His subsequent assertions to the contrary are plainly mere after
thoughts.

Furthermore, we note that Atty. Soriano has joined one Atty. Bonifacio T. Doria as counsel for the
respondents in the Varsity Hills case now pending before this Court. Atty. Doria, who was counsel of
record in that case even prior to October 10, 1969, certainly knew the status of the present case
since the scope of our decision in the latter is a prime issue raised in the Varsity Hills case. Clearly,
therefore, when Atty. Soriano accepted the two cases for the respondents, especially the Varsity
Hills case, he had not bothered at all to communicate with Atty. Doria, as is the befitting thing to do
when a lawyer associates with another in a pending cause. 3 He did not bother either to comprehend
the substance of the Varsity Hills case before accepting the said case, something which is elementary in
the lawyer's trade. Had he been less precipitate in his actions, he would have surely detected the
existence of a final judgment in the present case. Further still, if it were true, as claimed by Atty. Soriano
at the hearing of this incident, that his clients complained to him about having been left out in the cold by
their former lawyer, then that circumstance of itself should have indicated to him the imperative need for
verification of the true status of the present case. Atty. Soriano cannot lean on the supposed assurance of
Atty. Dalangpan that the case was still pending with his Court which assurance Atty. Dalangpan, at the
hearing of this incident, categorically denied having given. What Atty. Soriano should have done, in
keeping with the reasonable vigilance exacted of members of the legal profession, was to pay a
verification visit to the records section of this Court, which is easily and quickly accessible by car or public
conveyance from his office (May Building, Rizal Avenue, Manila). If this office were situated in the
province and he did not have the time to come to the Supreme Court building in Manila, he could have
posed the proper query to the Clerk of Court by registered mail or by telegram.
We find Atty. Clemente M. Soriano guilty of gross negligence in the performance of his duties as a
lawyer and as an officer of this Court. This inexcusable negligence would merit no less than his
suspension from the practice of the law profession, were it not for his candor, at the hearing of this
incident, in owning his mistake and the apology he made to this Court. It is the sense of this Court,
however, that he must be as he is hereby severely censured. Atty. Soriano is further likewise warned
that any future similar act will be met with heavier disciplinary sanction.
Atty. Soriano is hereby ordered, in the present case, to forthwith withdraw the appearance that he
has entered as chief counsel of record for the respondents Marcelino Tiburcio, et al.
Let a copy of this resolution be attached to the personal record of Atty. Clemente M. Soriano on file
in the Bar Division of this Court.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Fernando, Teehankee and Barredo,
JJ., concur.
Villamor, J., is on leave.

# Footnotes
1 Annex "R-1" of Petition in the Varsity Hills case, entitled "Memorandum of plaintiffs"
(the respondents in this case).
2 U. S. vs. Borromeo, 20 Phil. 189.
3 Canons of Professional Ethics, par. 7.

11.)
G.R. No. L-23959 November 29, 1971
PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF FREE LABOR UNIONS (PAFLU), ENRIQUE ENTILA &
VICTORIANO TENAZASpetitioners,
vs.
BINALBAGAN ISABELA SUGAR COMPANY, COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, & QUINTIN
MUNINGrespondents.
Cipriano Cid & Associates for petitioners.
Ceferino Magat and Manuel C. Gonzales for respondent Quintin Muning.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:


May a non-lawyer recover attorney's fees for legal services rendered? This is the issue presented in
this petition for review of an order, dated 12 May 1964, and the en banc resolution, dated 8
December 1964, of the Court of Industrial Relations, in its Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo, granting
respondent Quintin Muning a non-lawyer, attorney's fees for professional services in the said case.
The above-named petitioners were complainants in Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo entitled, "PAFLU et al.
vs. Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Co., et al." After trial, the Court of Industrial Relations rendered a
decision, on 29 March 1961, ordering the reinstatement with backwages of complainants Enrique
Entila and Victorino Tenazas. Said decision became final. On 18 October 1963, Cipriano Cid &
Associates, counsel of record for the winning complainants, filed a notice of attorney's lien equivalent
to 30% of the total backwages. On 22 November 1963, Atty. Atanacio Pacis also filed a similar notice
for a reasonable amount. Complainants Entila and Tenazas on 3 December 1963, filed a
manifestation indicating their non-objection to an award of attorney's fees for 25% of their
backwages, and, on the same day, Quentin Muning filed a "Petition for the Award of Services
Rendered" equivalent to 20% of the backwages. Munings petition was opposed by Cipriano Cid &
Associates the ground that he is not a lawyer.

The records of Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo show that the charge was filed by Cipriano Cid & Associates
through Atty. Atanacio Pacis. All the hearings were held in Bacolod City and appearances made in
behalf of the complainants were at first by Attorney Pacis and subsequently by respondent Quintin
Muning.
On 12 May 1964, the Court of Industrial Relations awarded 25% of the backwages as compensation
for professional services rendered in the case, apportioned as follows:
Attys. Cipriano Cid & Associates ............................................. 10%
Quintin Muning ......................................................................... 10%
Atty. Atanacio Pacis ................................................................. 5%
The award of 10% to Quintin Muning who is not a lawyer according to the order, is sought to be
voided in the present petition.
Respondent Muning moved in this Court to dismiss the present petition on the ground of late filing
but his motion was overruled on 20 January 1965. 1 He asked for reconsideration, but, considering that
the motion contained averments that go into the merits of the case, this Court admitted and considered
the motion for reconsideration for all purposes as respondent's answer to the petitioner for review. 2 The
case was considered submitted for decision without respondent's brief. 3
Applicable to the issue at hand is the principle enunciated in Amalgamated Laborers' Association, et
al. vs. Court of Industrial Relations, et al., L-23467, 27 March 1968, 4 that an agreement providing for
the division of attorney's fees, whereby a non-lawyer union president is allowed to share in said fees with
lawyers, is condemned by Canon 34 of Legal Ethics and is immoral and cannot be justified. An award by
a court of attorney's fees is no less immoral in the absence of a contract, as in the present case.
The provision in Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 875 that
In the proceeding before the Court or Hearing Examiner thereof, the parties shall not
be required to be represented by legal counsel ...
is no justification for a ruling, that the person representing the party-litigant in the Court of Industrial
Relations, even if he is not a lawyer, is entitled to attorney's fees: for the same section adds that
it shall be the duty and obligation of the Court or Hearing Officer to examine and
cross examine witnesses on behalf of the parties and to assist in the orderly
presentation of evidence.
thus making it clear that the representation should be exclusively entrusted to duly qualified
members of the bar.

The permission for a non-member of the bar to represent or appear or defend in the said court on
behalf of a party-litigant does not by itself entitle the representative to compensation for such
representation. For Section 24, Rule 138, of the Rules of Court, providing
Sec. 24. Compensation of attorney's agreement as to fees. An attorney shall be
entitled to have and recover from his client no more than a reasonable compensation
for his services, ...
imports the existence of an attorney-client relationship as a condition to the recovery of attorney's
fees. Such a relationship cannot exist unless the client's representative in court be a lawyer. Since
respondent Muning is not one, he cannot establish an attorney-client relationship with Enrique Entila
and Victorino Tenezas or with PAFLU, and he cannot, therefore, recover attorney's fees. Certainly
public policy demands that legal work in representation of parties litigant should be entrusted only to
those possessing tested qualifications and who are sworn, to observe the rules and the ethics of the
profession, as well as being subject to judicial disciplinary control for the protection of courts, clients
and the public.
On the present issue, the rule in American jurisdictions is persuasive. There, it is stated:
But in practically all jurisdictions statutes have now been enacted prohibiting persons
not licensed or admitted to the bar from practising law, and under statutes of this
kind, the great weight of authority is to the effect that compensation for legal services
cannot be recovered by one who has not been admitted to practice before the court
or in the jurisdiction the services were rendered. 5
No one is entitled to recover compensation for services as an attorney at law unless he
has been duly admitted to practice ... and is an attorney in good standing at the time. 6

The reasons are that the ethics of the legal profession should not be violated; 7 that acting as an
attorney with authority constitutes contempt of court, which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or
both, 8 and the law will not assist a person to reap the fruits or benefit of an act or an act done in violation
of law; 9 and that if were to be allowed to non-lawyers, it would leave the 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. 10
And the general rule above-stated (referring to non-recovery of attorney's fees by
non-lawyers) cannot be circumvented when the services were purely legal, by
seeking to recover as an "agent" and not as an attorney. 11
The weight of the reasons heretofore stated why a non-lawyer may not be awarded attorney's fees
should suffice to refute the possible argument that appearances by non-lawyers before the Court of
Industrial Relations should be excepted on the ground that said court is a court of special
jurisdiction; such special jurisdiction does not weigh the aforesaid reasons and cannot justify an
exception.
The other issue in this case is whether or not a union may appeal an award of attorney's fees which
are deductible from the backpay of some of its members. This issue arose because it was the union

PAFLU, alone, that moved for an extension of time to file the present petition for review; union
members Entila and Tenazas did not ask for extension but they were included as petitioners in the
present petition that was subsequently filed, it being contended that, as to them (Entila and
Tenazas), their inclusion in the petition as co-petitioners was belated.
We hold that a union or legitimate labor organization may appeal an award of attorney's fees which
are deductible from the backpay of its members because such union or labor organization is
permitted to institute an action in the industrial court, 12 on behalf of its members; and the union was
organized "for the promotion of the emloyees' moral, social and economic well-being"; 13 hence, if an
award is disadvantageous to its members, the union may prosecute an appeal as an aggrieved party,
under Section 6, Republic Act 875, which provides:
Sec. 6. Unfair Labor Practice cases Appeals. Any person aggrieved by any
order of the Court may appeal to the Supreme Court of the Philippines ...,
since more often than not the individual unionist is not in a position to bear the financial burden of
litigations.
Petitioners allege that respondent Muning is engaged in the habitual practice of law before the Court
of Industrial Relations, and many of them like him who are not licensed to practice, registering their
appearances as "representatives" and appearing daily before the said court. If true, this is a serious
situation demanding corrective action that respondent court should actively pursue and enforce by
positive action to that purpose. But since this matter was not brought in issue before the court a quo,
it may not be taken up in the present case. Petitioners, however, may file proper action against the
persons alleged to be illegally engaged in the practice of law.
WHEREFORE, the orders under review are hereby set aside insofar as they awarded 10% of the
backwages as attorney's fees for respondent Quintin Muning. Said orders are affirmed in all other
respects. Costs against respondent Muning.
Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo, Villamor and
Makasiar, JJ. concur.

Footnotes
1 Rollo, page 37.
2 Rollo, page 62.
3 Rollo, page 75.
4 22 SCRA, 1266.

5 4 A.L.R. 1088, Editorial note.


6 7 C.J.S 1022.
7 See also, Foundation Finance Co. vs. Robins, 153 So. 833 179 La. 259, reversing
(App) 149 So. 166.
8 Rule 71, Rules of Court.
9 Harris v. Clark, 142 N.E. 881, 81 Ind. App. 494.
10 Harriman v. Straham, 33 P. 2d 1067, 47 Wyo. 208.
11 4 A.L.R. 1089.
12 NLU v. Dinglasan, L-7945, 23 March 1956, 52 O.G. No. 4, 1933.
13 Section 1(a), Republic Act 875.
12.
G.R. No. L-23482

August 30, 1968

ALFONSO LACSON, petitioner,


vs.
CARMEN SAN JOSE-LACSON and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
----------------------------G.R. No. L-23767

August 30, 1968

CARMEN SAN JOSE-LACSON, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
ALFONSO LACSON, defendant-appellee.
----------------------------G.R. No. L-24259

August 30, 1968

ALFONSO LACSON, petitioner-appellee,


vs.
CARMEN SAN JOSE-LACSON, petitioner-appellant.
Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno for respondent-appellant Carmen San Jose-Lacson.
Norberto Quisumbing for petitioner-appellee Alfonso Lacson.

CASTRO, J.:
These three cases (G.R. L-23482, L-23767 and L-24259) involving the same parties pose a common
fundamental issue the resolution of which will necessarily and inescapably resolve all the other
issues. Thus their joinder in this decision.
The antecedent facts are not disputed.
Alfonso Lacson (hereinafter referred to as the petitioner spouse) and Carmen San Jose-Lacson
(hereinafter referred to as the respondent spouse) were married on February 14, 1953. To them
were born four children, all alive.
On January 9, 1963 the respondent spouse left the conjugal home in Santa Clara Subdivision,
Bacolod City, and commenced to reside in Manila. She filed on March 12, 1963 a complaint
docketed as civil case E-00030 in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Manila (hereinafter
referred to as the JDRC) for custody of all their children as well as support for them and herself.
However, the spouses, thru the assistance of their respective attorneys, succeeded in reaching an
amicable settlement respecting custody of the children, support, and separation of property. On April
27, 1963 they filed a joint petition dated April 21, 1963, docketed as special proceeding 6978 of the
Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental (hereinafter referred to as the CFI).
The important and pertinent portions of the petition, embodying their amicable settlement, read as
follows:
3. Petitioners have separated last January 9, 1963 when petitioner Carmen San JoseLacson left their conjugal home at the Santa Clara Subdivision, Bacolod City, did not return,
and decided to reside in Manila.
4. Petitioners have mutually agreed upon the dissolution of their conjugal partnership subject
to judicial approval as required by Article 191 of the Civil Code of the Philippines the
particular terms and conditions of their mutual agreement being as follows:
(a) There will be separation of property petitioner Carmen San Jose-Lacson
hereby waiving any and all claims for a share in property that may be held by
petitioner Alfonso Lacson since they have acquired no property of any consequence.
(b) Hereafter, each of them shall own, dispose of, possess, administer and enjoy
such separate estate as they may acquire without the consent of the other and all
earnings from any profession, business or industry as may be derived by each
petitioner shall belong to that petitioner exclusively.
(c) The custody of the two elder children named Enrique and Maria Teresa shall be
awarded to petitioner Alfonso Lacson and the custody of the younger children named
Gerrard and Ramon shall be awarded to petitioner Carmen San Jose-Lacson.

(d) Petitioner Alfonso Lacson shall pay petitioner Carmen San Jose-Lacson a
monthly allowance of P300.00 for the support of the children in her custody.
(e) Each petitioner shall have reciprocal rights of visitation of the children in the
custody of the other at their respective residences and, during the summer months,
the two children in the custody of each petitioner shall be given to the other except
that, for this year's summer months, all four children shall be delivered to and remain
with petitioner Carmen San Jose-Lacson until June 15, 1963 on which date, she
shall return the two elder children Enrique and Maria Teresa to petitioner Alfonso
Lacson this judgment of course being subject to enforcement by execution writ
and contempt.
5. Petitioners have no creditors.
WHEREFORE, they respectfully pray that notice of this petition be given to creditors and
third parties pursuant to Article 191 of the Civil Code of the Philippines and thereafter that the
Court enter its judicial approval of the foregoing agreement for the dissolution of their
conjugal partnership and for separation of property, except that the Court shall immediately
approve the terms set out in paragraph 4 above and embody the same in a judgment
immediately binding on the parties hereto to the end that any non-compliance or violation of
its terms by one party shall entitle the other to enforcement by execution writ and contempt
even though the proceedings as to creditors have not been terminated.".
Finding the foregoing joint petition to be "conformable to law," the CFI (Judge Jose F. Fernandez,
presiding) issued an order on April 27, 1963, rendering judgment (hereinafter referred to as the
compromise judgment) approving and incorporating in toto their compromise agreement. In
compliance with paragraph 4 (e) of their mutual agreement (par. 3[e] of the compromise judgment),
the petitioner spouse delivered all the four children to the respondent spouse and remitted money for
their support.
On May 7, 1963 the respondent spouse filed in the JDRC a motion wherein she alleged that she
"entered into and signed the ... Joint Petition as the only means by which she could have immediate
custody of the ... minor children who are all below the age of 7," and thereafter prayed that she "be
considered relieved of the ... agreement pertaining to the custody and visitation of her minor children
... and that since all the children are now in her custody, the said custody in her favor be
confirmed pendente lite." On May 24, 1963 the petitioner spouse opposed the said motion and
moved to dismiss the complaint based, among other things, on the grounds of res judicata and lis
pendens. The JDRC on May 28, 1963, issued an order which sustained the petitioner spouse's plea
of bar by prior judgment and lis pendens, and dismissed the case. After the denial of her motion for
reconsideration, the respondent spouse interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. No.
32608-R) wherein she raised, among others, the issue of validity or legality of the compromise
agreement in connection only with the custody of their minor children. On October 14, 1964 the
Court of Appeals certified the said appeal to the Supreme Court (G.R. No. L-23767), since "no
hearing on the facts was ever held in the court below no evidence, testimonial or documentary,
presented only a question of law pends resolution in the appeal." .

The respondent spouse likewise filed a motion dated May 15, 1963 for reconsideration of the
compromise judgment dated April 27, 1963 rendered in special proceeding 6978 of the CFI, wherein
she also alleged, among others, that she entered into the joint petition as the only means by which
she could have immediate custody of her minor children, and thereafter prayed the CFI to reconsider
its judgment pertaining to the custody and visitation of her minor children and to relieve her from the
said agreement. The petitioner spouse opposed the said motion and, on June 1, 1963, filed a motion
for execution of the compromise judgment and a charge for contempt. The CFI (Judge Jose R.
Querubin, presiding), in its order dated June 22, 1963, denied the respondent spouse's motion for
reconsideration, granted the petitioner spouse's motion for execution, and ordered that upon "failure
on the part of Carmen San Jose-Lacson to deliver the said children [i.e., to return the two older
children Enrique and Maria Teresa in accordance with her agreement with Alfonso Lacson] to the
special sheriff on or before June 29, 1963, she may be held for contempt pursuant to the provisions
of Rule 39 sections 9 and 10, and Rule 64 section 7 of the (old) Rules of Court." From the aforesaid
compromise judgment dated April 27, 1963 and execution order dated June 22, 1963, the
respondent spouse interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. No. 32798-R) wherein
she likewise questioned the validity or legality of her agreement with the petitioner spouse respecting
custody of their children. On February 11, 1965 the Court of Appeals also certified the said appeal to
the Supreme Court (G.R. No. L-24259), since "no evidence of any kind was introduced before the
trial court and ... appellant did not specifically ask to be allowed to present evidence on her behalf." .
The respondent spouse also instituted certiorari proceedings before the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R.
No. 32384R), now the subject of an appeal by certiorari to this Court (G.R. No. L-23482). In her
petition for certiorari dated June 27, 1963, she averred that the CFI (thru Judge Querubin) committed
grave abuse of discretion and acted in excess of jurisdiction in ordering the immediate execution of
the compromise judgment in its order of June 22, 1963, thus in effect depriving her of the right to
appeal. She prayed for (1) the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the respondents
therein and any person acting under them from enforcing, by contempt proceedings and other
means, the writ of execution issued pursuant to the order of the respondent Judge Querubin dated
June 22, 1963 in special proceeding 6978 of the CFI, (2) the setting aside, after hearing, of the
compromise judgment dated April 27, 1963 and the order dated June 22, 1963, and (3) the awarding
of the custody of Enrique and Maria Teresa to her, their mother. As prayed for, the Court of Appeals
issued ex parte a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of the order dated June 22,
1963 for execution of the compromise judgment rendered in special proceeding 6978. The petitioner
spouse filed an urgent motion dated July 5, 1963 for the dissolution of the writ of preliminary
injunction ex parte which urgent motion was denied by the Court of Appeals in its resolution dated
July 9, 1963. The petitioner spouse likewise filed his answer. After hearing, the Court of Appeals on
May 11, 1964 promulgated in said certiorari case (CA-G.R. No. 32384-R) its decision granting the
petition for certiorari and declaring null and void both (a) the compromise judgment dated April 27,
1963 in so far as it relates to the custody and right of visitation over the two children, Enrique and
Teresa, and (b) the order dated June 22, 1963 for execution of said judgment. The petitioner spouse
moved to reconsider, but his motion for reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in its
resolution dated July 31, 1964. From the decision dated May 11, 1964 and the resolution dated July
31, 1964, the petitioner spouse interposed an appeal to this Court, as abovestated, and assigned the
following errors:

(1) The Court of Appeals erred in annulling thru certiorari the lower court's order of execution
of the compromise judgment.
(2) The Court of Appeals erred in resolving in the certiorari case the issue of the legality of
the compromise judgment which is involved in two appeals, instead of the issue of grave
abuse of discretion in ordering its execution.
(3) The Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the compromise agreement upon which the
judgment is based violates article 363 of the Civil Code.
1wph1.t

As heretofore adverted, the aforecited three appeals converge on one focal issue: whether the
compromise agreement entered into by the parties and the judgment of the CFI grounded on the
said agreement, are conformable to law.
We hold that the compromise agreement and the judgment of the CFI grounded on the said
agreement are valid with respect to the separation of property of the spouses and the dissolution of
the conjugal partnership.
The law allows separation of property of the spouses and the dissolution of their conjugal
partnership provided judicial sanction is secured beforehand. Thus the new Civil Code provides:
In the absence of an express declaration in the marriage settlements, the separation of
property between spouses during the marriage shall not take place save in virtue of a judicial
order. (Art. 190, emphasis supplied)
The husband and the wife may agree upon the dissolution of the conjugal partnership during
the marriage, subject to judicial approval. All the creditors of the husband and of the wife, as
well as of the conjugal partnership, shall be notified of any petition for judicial approval of the
voluntary dissolution of the conjugal partnership, so that any such creditors may appear at
the hearing to safeguard his interests. Upon approval of the petition for dissolution of the
conjugal partnership, the court shall take such measures as may protect the creditors and
other third persons. (Art. 191, par. 4, emphasis supplied).
In the case at bar, the spouses obtained judicial imprimatur of their separation of property and the
dissolution of their conjugal partnership. It does not appeal that they have creditors who will be
prejudiced by the said arrangements.
It is likewise undisputed that the couple have been separated in fact for at least five years - the wife's
residence being in Manila, and the husband's in the conjugal home in Bacolod City. Therefore,
inasmuch as a lengthy separation has supervened between them, the propriety of severing their
financial and proprietary interests is manifest.
Besides, this Court cannot constrain the spouses to live together, as
[I]t is not within the province of the courts of this country to attempt to compel one of the
spouses to cohabit with, and render conjugal rights to, the other. .. At best such an order can

be effective for no other purpose than to compel the spouse to live under the same roof; and
the experience of those countries where the courts of justice have assumed to compel the
cohabitation of married couple shows that the policy of the practice is extremely
questionable. (Arroyo v. Vasquez de Arroyo, 42 Phil. 54, 60).
However, in so approving the regime of separation of property of the spouses and the dissolution of
their conjugal partnership, this Court does not thereby accord recognition to nor legalize the de facto
separation of the spouses, which again in the language of Arroyo v. Vasquez de Arroyo, supra is
a "state which is abnormal and fraught with grave danger to all concerned." We would like to douse
the momentary seething emotions of couples who, at the slightest ruffling of domestic tranquility
brought about by "mere austerity of temper, petulance of manners, rudeness of language, a want of
civil attention and accommodation, even occasional sallies of passion" without more would be
minded to separate from each other. In this jurisdiction, the husband and the wife are obliged to live
together, observe mutual respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support (art. 109, new Civil
Code). There is, therefore, virtue in making it as difficult as possible for married couples impelled
by no better cause than their whims and caprices to abandon each other's company.
'... For though in particular cases the repugnance of the law to dissolve the obligations of
matrimonial cohabitation may operate with great severity upon individuals, yet it must be
carefully remembered that the general happiness of the married life is secured by its
indissolubility. When people understand that they must live together, except for a very few
reasons known to the law, they learn to soften by mutual accommodation that yoke which
they know they cannot shake off; they become good husbands and good wives from the
necessity of remaining husbands and wives; for necessity is a powerful master in teaching
the duties which it imposes ..." (Evans vs. Evans, 1 Hag. Con., 35; 161 Eng. Reprint, 466,
467.) (Arroyo vs. Vasquez de Arroyo, Id., pp. 58-59).
We now come to the question of the custody and support of the children.
It is not disputed that it was the JDRC which first acquired jurisdiction over the matter of custody and
support of the children. The complaint docketed as civil case E-00030 in the JDRC was filed by the
respondent spouse on March 12, 1963, whereas the joint petition of the parties docketed as special
proceeding 6978 in the CFI was filed on April 27, 1963. However, when the respondent spouse
signed the joint petition on the same matter of custody and support of the children and filed the same
with the CFI of Negros Occidental, she in effect abandoned her action in the JDRC. The petitioner
spouse who could have raised the issue of lis pendens in abatement of the case filed in the CFI,
but did not do so - had the right, therefore, to cite the decision of the CFI and to ask for the dismissal
of the action filed by the respondent spouse in the JDRC, on the grounds of res judicata and lis
pendens. And the JDRC acted correctly and justifiably in dismissing the case for custody and
support of the children based on those grounds. For it is no defense against the dismissal of the
action that the case before the CFI was filed later than the action before the JDRC, considering:.
... [T]hat the Rules do not require as a ground for dismissal of a complaint that there is a prior
pending action. They provide only that there is a pending action, not a pending prior action. 1

We agree with the Court of Appeals, however, that the CFI erred in depriving the mother, the
respondent spouse, of the custody of the two older children (both then below the age of 7).
The Civil Code specifically commands in the second sentence of its article 363 that "No mother shall
be separated from her child under seven years of age, unless the court finds compelling reasons for
such measure." The rationale of this new provision was explained by the Code Commission thus:
The general rule is recommended in order to avoid many a tragedy where a mother has
seen her baby torn away from her. No man can sound the deep sorrows of a mother who is
deprived of her child of tender age. The exception allowed by the rule has to be for
"compelling reasons" for the good of the child: those cases must indeed be rare, if the
mother's heart is not to be unduly hurt. If she has erred, as in cases of adultery, the penalty
of imprisonment and the (relative) divorce decree will ordinarily be sufficient punishment for
her. Moreover, her moral dereliction will not have any effect upon the baby who is as yet
unable to understand the situation." (Report of the Code Commission, p. 12).
The use of the word shall2 in article 363 of the Civil Code, coupled with the observations made by the
Code Commission in respect to the said legal provision, underscores its mandatory character. It
prohibits in no uncertain: terms the separation of a mother and her child below seven years, unless
such separation is grounded upon compelling reasons as determined by a court.
The order dated April 27, 1963 of the CFI, in so far as it awarded custody of the two older children
who were 6 and 5 years old, respectively, to the father, in effect sought to separate them from their
mother. To that extent therefore, it was null and void because clearly violative of article 363 of the
Civil Code.
Neither does the said award of custody fall within the exception because the record is bereft of
any compelling reason to support the lower court's order depriving the wife of her minor children's
company. True, the CFI stated in its order dated June 22, 1963, denying the respondent spouse's
motion for reconsideration of its order dated April 27, 1963, that .
... If the parties have agreed to file a joint petition, it was because they wanted to avoid the
exposure of the bitter truths which serve as succulent morsel for scandal mongers and idle
gossipers and to save their children from embarrassment and inferiority complex which may
inevitably stain their lives. ..
If the parties agreed to submit the matter of custody of the minor children to the Court for
incorporation in the final judgment, they purposely suppressed the "compelling reasons for such
measure" from appearing in the public records. This is for the sake and for the welfare of the minor
children.".
But the foregoing statement is at best a mere hint that there were compelling reasons. The lower
court's order is eloquently silent on what these compelling reasons are. Needless to state, courts
cannot proceed on mere insinuations; they must be confronted with facts before they can properly
adjudicate.

It might be argued and correctly that since five years have elapsed since the filing of these
cases in 1963, the ages of the four children should now be as follows: Enrique 11, Maria Teresa
10, Gerrard 9, and Ramon 5. Therefore, the issue regarding the award of the custody of
Enrique and Maria Teresa to the petitioner spouse has become moot and academic. The passage of
time has removed the prop which supports the respondent spouse's position.
Nonetheless, this Court is loath to uphold the couple's agreement regarding the custody of the
children.
1wph1.t

Article 356 of the new Civil Code provides:


Every child:
(1) Is entitled to parental care;
(2) Shall receive at least elementary education;
(3) Shall be given moral and civic training by the parents or guardian;
(4) Has a right to live in an atmosphere conducive to his physical, moral and
intellectual development.
It is clear that the abovequoted legal provision grants to every child rights which are not and should
not be dependent solely on the wishes, much less the whims and caprices, of his parents. His
welfare should not be subject to the parents' say-so or mutual agreement alone. Where, as in this
case, the parents are already separated in fact, the courts must step in to determine in whose
custody the child can better be assured the right granted to him by law. The need, therefore, to
present evidence regarding this matter, becomes imperative. A careful scrutiny of the records reveals
that no such evidence was introduced in the CFI. This latter court relied merely on the mutual
agreement of the spouses-parents. To be sure, this was not a sufficient basis to determine the
fitness of each parent to be the custodian of the children.
Besides, at least one of the children Enrique, the eldest is now eleven years of age and should
be given the choice of the parent he wishes to live with. This is the clear mandate of sec. 6, Rule 99
of the Rules of Court which, states, inter alia:
... When husband and wife are divorced or living separately and apart from each other, and
the question as to the care, custody, and control of a child or children of their marriage is
brought before a Court of First Instance by petition or as an incident to any other proceeding,
the court, upon hearing testimony as may be pertinent, shall award the care, custody and
control of each such child as will be for its best interestpermitting the child to choose which
parent it prefers to live with if it be over ten years of age, unless the parent so chosen be
unfit to take charge of the child by reason of moral depravity, habitual drunkenness,
incapacity, or poverty... (Emphasis supplied).

One last point regarding the matter of support for the children assuming that the custody of any or
more of the children will be finally awarded to the mother. Although the spouses have agreed upon
the monthly support of P150 to be given by the petitioner spouse for each child, still this Court must
speak out its mind on the insufficiency of this amount. We, take judicial notice of the devaluation of
the peso in 1962 and the steady skyrocketing of prices of all commodities, goods, and services, not
to mention the fact that all the children are already of school age. We believe, therefore, that the CFI
may increase this amount of P150 according to the needs of each child.
With the view that we take of this case, we find it unnecessary to pass upon the other errors
assigned in the three appeals.
ACCORDINGLY, the decision dated May 11, 1964 and the resolution dated July 31, 1964 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. 32384-R (subject matter of G.R. L-23482), and the orders dated May
28, 1963 and June 24, 1963 of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (subject matter of G.R. L23767) are affirmed. G.R. L-24259 is hereby remanded to the Court of First Instance of Negros
Occidental for further proceedings, in accordance with this decision. No pronouncement as to costs.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar and Angeles, JJ., concur.
Sanchez and Fernando, JJ., took no part.
Footnotes
1

Teodoro vs. Mirasol, 99 Phil. 150, 153.

"In common or ordinary parlance and in its ordinary significance the term "shall" is a word of
command, and one which has always or which must be given a compulsory meaning, and it
is generally imperative or mandatory. It has the invariable significance of operating to impose
a duty which may be enforced, particularly if public policy is in favor of this meaning or when
public interest is involved, or where the public or persons have rights which ought to be
exercised or enforced, unless a contrary intent appears. People v. O'Rourke, 13 P. 2d. 989,
992, 124 Cal. App. 752, (30 Words, and Phrases, Permanent Ed., p. 90).
2

"The presumption is that the word "shall" in a statute is used in an imperative, and
not in a directory, sense. If a different interpretation is sought, it must rest upon
something in the character of the legislation or in the context which will justify a
different meaning. Haythron v. Van Keuren & Sons, 74 A 502, 504, 79 N.J.L. 101;
Board of Finance of School City of Aurora v. People's Nat. Bank of Lawrenceburg, 89
N.E. 904, 905, 44 Ind. App. 578. (39 Words and Phrases, Permanent Ed. P. 93.)"
Diokno v. Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, G.R. No. L-4712, July 11, 1952, 91
Phil. 608) (emphasis supplied).

13
G.R. No. L-33672 September 28, 1973
VICENTE MUOZ, petitioner,
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents, DELIA T.
SUTTON, respondent.
RESOLUTION

FERNANDO, J.:
We have before us a task far from pleasant. Respondent, Delia T. Sutton, a member of the Philippine
Bar, connected with the law firm of Salonga, Ordoez, Yap, Parlade, and Associates, must be held
accountable for failure to live up to that exacting standard expected of counsel, more specifically with
reference to a duty owing this Tribunal. She failed to meet the test of candor and honesty required of
pleaders when, in a petition forcertiorari prepared by her to review a Court of Appeals decision, she
attributed to it a finding of facts in reckless disregard, to say the least, of what in truth was its version
as to what transpired. When given an opportunity to make proper amends, both in her appearance
before us and thereafter in her memorandum, there was lacking any showing of regret for a
misconduct so obvious and so inexcusable. Such an attitude of intransigence hardly commends
itself. Her liability is clear. Only her relative inexperience in the ways of the law did save her from a
penalty graver than severe censure. So we rule.
The background of the incident before us was set forth in our resolution of July 12,
1971. It reads as follows: "Acting upon the petition for review in G.R. No. L33672, Vicente Muoz v. People of the Philippines and the Court of Appeals, and
considering that the main issue therein is whether petitioner Muoz is guilty of
homicide through reckless negligence, as charged in the information; that in the
language of the decision of the Court of Appeals "the prosecution and the defense
offered two conflicting versions of the incident that gave rise to the case"; that, upon
examination of the evidence, the Court of Appeals found, as did the trial court, that
the version of the prosecution is the true one and that of the defense is unbelievable;
that this finding of the Court of Appeals is borne out by substantial evidence, whereas
the version of the defense is inconsistent with some established facts, for: (a)

petitioner's theory, to the effect that his boat had been rammed by that of the
complainant, is refuted by the fact that after hitting the left frontal outrigger of the
latter's boat, the prow and front outrigger of petitioner's motorboat hit also the left
front portion of complainant's boat where the complainant was seated, thereby
hitting him on the back and inflicting the injury that cause his death so that,
immediately after the collision - part of petitioner's boat was on top of that of the
complainant; (b) these circumstances, likewise, indicate the considerable speed at
which petitioner's motorboat was cruising, (c) petitioner's motorboat had suffered
very little damage, which would have been considerable had it been rammed by the
offended party's boat, the latter being bigger than, as well as provided with an engine
twice as powerful as, that of the petitioner; and (d) although appellant's boat carried
several passengers, including children, and was, in fact, overloaded, appellant acted
as pilot and, at the same time, as its machinist, thereby rendering it difficult for him to
manuever it properly; the Court resolved to [deny] the petition upon the ground that it
is mainly factual and for lack of merit. Considering further, that the petition quotes, on
page 5 thereof a portion of the decision appealed from, summing up evidence for the
defense, and makes reference thereto "findings" of the Court of Appeals, which is not
true; that, on page 6 of the petition, petitioner states, referring to a portion of the
same quotation, that the same "are the established uncontroverted facts recognized
by the Court of Appeals," which is, likewise, untrue; that, on page 8 of the petition, it
is averred "It being conceded that the two versions recounted above are by
themselves credible, although they are conflicting the same cannot be binding on,
and is therefore, reviewable by the Honorable Supreme Court. Where the findings of
fact of the Court of Appeals [are conflicting], the same [are not binding] on the
Supreme Court. (Cesica v. Villaseca, G.R. L-9590, April 30, 1957)" although, in fact,
no conflicting findings of fact are made in the decision appealed from; and that, on
page 9 of the petition, it is alleged that the Court of Appeals had"affirmed the
minimum penalty of one (1) year and one (1) day imposed by the lower court,"
although, in fact, minimum penalty imposed by the trial court was "four(4) months
of arresto mayor"; the Court resolved to require counsel for the petitioner to show
cause, within ten (10) days from notice, why they should not be dealt with for
contempt of court [or] otherwise subjected to disciplinary action for making
aforementioned misrepresentations." " 1
A pleading entitled "Compliance with Resolution" by the aforesaid law firm was filed on
August 14, 1971. There was no attempt at justification, because in law there is none, but
it did offer what was hoped to be a satisfactory explanation. If so, such optimism was
misplaced. It betrayed on its face more than just a hint of lack of candor, of minimizing the
effects of grave inaccuracies in the attribution to the Court of Appeals certain alleged
facts not so considered as such. It was then to say that the least a far from meticulous
appraisal of the matter in issue. Much of what was therein contained did not ring true.

Under the circumstances, we set the matter for hearing on September 14 of the same year, requiring
all lawyers-partners in said firm to be present. At such a hearing, respondent Delia T. Sutton
appeared. While her demeanor was respectful, it was obvious that she was far from contrite. On the
contrary, the impression she gave the Court was that what was done by her was hardly deserving of
any reproach. Even when subjected to intensive questioning by several members of the Court, she

was not to be budged from such an untenable position. It was as if she was serenely unconcerned,
oblivious of the unfavorable reaction to, which her evasive answers gave rise. There certainly was
lack of awareness of the serious character of her misdeed. The act of unruffled assurance under the
circumstances was hard to understand. Perhaps realizing that the Court was not disposed to look at
the matter as a minor peccadillo, Attorney Sedfrey A. Ordoez of the law firm expressly
acknowledged that what appeared in its petition for certiorari prepared by respondent Delia T. Sutton
insofar as it did misrepresent what is set forth in the Court of Appeals decision sought to be reviewed
was reprehensible, and did make with the proper spirit of humility the necessary expression of
regret.
What is more, the law firm in a pleading entitled "Joint Apology to the Supreme Court" filed on
December 1, 1971, signed jointly by Sedfrey A. Ordoez and Delia Sutton, did seek to make amends
thus: "1. That undersigned attorney, Delia T. Sutton, together with Messrs. Sedfrey A. Ordoez,
Pedro L. Yap and Custodio O. Parlade, partners in the firm of Salonga, Ordoez, Yap, Parlade &
Associates, appeared before this Honorable Court on November 22, 1971, pursuant to an order
dated October 18, 1971; 2. That with all the sincerity and candor at the command of undersigned
attorney, the circumstances surrounding her preparation of the pleading which gave rise to the
instant citation to show cause why she should not be punished for contempt of court were explained
by her, with the assistance of Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez; 3. That the undersigned Delia T. Sutton had
no intention to misrepresent any question of fact before this Honorable Court for her personal gain or
benefit, and that it was her lack of adequate extensive experience in preparing petitions
for certiorari which may have caused the inaccurate statements in the said petition which were
enumerated in the order of this Honorable Court; 4. That undersigned Delia T. Sutton contritely
realizes the errors which she committed in the preparation of the said petition forcertiorari and that
the same will not recur in the future as she will always abide by the provisions on candor and
fairness in the Canons of Professional Ethics, which reads: "22. [Candor and Fairness]. The
conduct of the lawyer before the court and with other lawyers should be characterized by candor and
fairness. It is not candid or fair for the lawyer knowingly to misquote the contents of a paper, the
testimony of a witness, the language or the argument of opposing counsel, or the language of a
decision or a textbook or; with knowledge of its invalidity, to cite as authority a decision that has been
overruled, or a statute that has been repealed; or in argument to assert as fact that which has not
been proved, or in those jurisdictions where a side has the opening and closing arguments to
mislead his opponent by concealing or withholding positions in his opening argument upon which his
side then intends to rely. ..." 5. That undersigned Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez joins Atty. Delia T. Sutton
in expressing his own apologies to the Honorable Court for not having thoroughly supervised the
preparation by Atty. Delia T. Sutton of a type of pleading with which she was not thoroughly familiar." 2
The "Joint Apology" thus offered did mitigate to some extent the liability of respondent Sutton. Some
members of the Court feel, however, that it does not go far enough. While expressing regret and
offering apology, there was lacking that free admission that what was done by her should not
characterized merely as "errors" consisting as they do of "inaccurate statements." If there were a
greater sincerity on her part, the offense should have been acknowledged as the submission of
deliberate misstatements. There ought to be, for the apology to gain significance, no further attempt
at minimizing the enormity of the misdeed. It is then as if there was hardly any retreat from the
untenable stand originally taken. The mood, even at this stage, seems to be that she could brazen it
out as long as the words indicative of an apology were offered. This Court does not view matters

thus. To purge herself of the contempt, she ought to have displayed the proper spirit of contrition and
humility. The burden cast on the judiciary would be intolerable if it could not take at face value what
is asserted by counsel. The time that will have to be devoted just to the task of verification of
allegations submitted could easily be imagined. Even with due recognition then that counsel is
expected to display the utmost zeal in defense of a client's cause, it must never be at the expense of
deviation from the truth. As set forth in the applicable Canon of Legal Ethics: "Nothing operates more
certainly to create or to foster popular prejudice against lawyers as a class, and to deprive the
profession of that full measure of public esteem and confidence which belongs to the proper
discharge of its duties than does the false claim, often set up by the unscrupulous in defense of
questionable transactions, that it is the duty of the lawyer to do whatever may enable him to succeed
in winning his client's cause." 3 What is more, the obligation to the bench, especially to this Court, for
candor and honesty takes precedence. It is by virtue of such considerations that punishment that must fit
the offense has to be meted out to respondent Delia T. Sutton.
At the same time, the attitude displayed by one of the senior partners, Attorney Sedfrey A. Ordoez,
both in the appearances before the Court and in the pleadings submitted, must be commended. He
has made manifest that his awareness of the role properly incumbent on counsel, especially in his
relationship to this Court, is deep-seated. It must be stated, however, that in the future he, as well as
the other senior partners, should exercise greater care in the supervision of the attorneys connected
with their law firm, perhaps inexperienced as yet but nonetheless called upon to comply with the
peremptory tenets of ethical conduct.
WHEREFORE, respondent Delia T. Sutton is severely censured. Let a copy of this resolution be
spread on her record.
Makalintal, Actg. C.J., Zaldivar, Castro, Teehankee, Antonio and Esguerra, JJ., concur.
Barredo, J., took no part.
Makasiar, J., is on leave.

Footnotes
1 Resolution dated July 12, 1971.
2 Joint Apology, 1-2.
3 Canon 15, Canons of Professional Ethics, Appendix I, Malcolm, Legal and Judicial
Ethics, 221-222 (1949).
14
G.R. No. 115932 January 25, 1995

THE SPOUSES JOSE B. TIONGCO and LETICIA M. TIONGCO, petitioners,


vs.
HON. SEVERIANO C. AGUILAR, Judge, RTC, Branch 35, Iloilo City, and the Spouses
WILFREDO and LORENA AGUIRRE, respondents.
RESOLUTION

DAVIDE, J.:
In the resolution of 26 September 1994, this Court required ATTY. JOSE B. TIONGCO, as counsel
for the petitioners, to show cause why he should not be dealt with administratively for the violation of
Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility considering:
. . . the insinuation of counsel for the petitioners that this Court did not read the
petition as borne out by the following statement:
". . . Truly, it is hard to imagine that this Honorable Court had read the
petition and the annexes attached thereto and hold that the same has
"failed to sufficiently show that the respondent Court had committed a
grave abuse of discretion in rendering the questioned judgment". . .
which, as earlier noted, is unfounded and malicious, and considering further his use
of intemperate language in the petition, as exemplified by his characterization of the
decision of the respondent Judge as having been "crafted in order to fool the winning
party"; as a "hypocritical judgment in plaintiffs' favor"; one "you could have sworn it
was the Devil who dictated it"; or one with "perfidious character," although the
petitioners as plaintiffs therein and who were the prevailing party in the decision did
not appeal therefrom; and by his charge that the respondent Judge was "a bit
confused with that confusion which is the natural product of having been born,
nurtured and brought up amongst the crowded surroundings of the non-propertied
class; In fact, His Honor, Respondent Judge, the Honorable Severino O. Aguilar had
not owned any real property until March 5, 1974 when his Honor was already either
Public-Prosecutor or RTC Judge; in one scale of the balance, a 311 square meter
lot, 6 houses from the Provincial Road, about 6 kilometers from the Iloilo City Hall of
Justice, and, in the other scale, His Honor's brand-new car, impeccable attire, and
dignified "mien"; and his charge that the respondent Judge has "joined the
defendants and their counsel in a scheme to unlawfully deprive petitioners of the
possession and fruits of their property for the duration of appeal"; and with respect to
the Order of 30 May 1994, by describing the respondent Judge as a "liar," "perjurer,"
or "blasphemer."
In his 2-page Compliance, dated 11 October 1994, he alleges that:

If the undersigned has called anyone a "liar" "thief" "perfidious" and "blasphemer" it is
because he is in fact a liar, thief, perfidious and blasphemer; "this Honorable [sic]
First Division, however, forget, that the undersigned alsp [sic] called him a "robber"
(Petition, pp. 13 bottom; 14 bottom), a "rotten manipulator" (Petition, p. 11 line 26)
and "abetter" of graft and shady deals (Petition, p. 12 bottom, p. 13 top); On the other
hand, if the undersigned called anybody "cross-eyed," it must be because he is
indeed cross-eyed particularly when he sees but five (5) letters in an eight (8)
letter-word; Indeed, it must be a lousy Code of Professional Responsibility and
therefore stands in dire need of amendment which punishes lawyer who truthfully
expose incompetent and corrupt judges before this Honorable Supreme Court; It is
therefore, respectfully submitted, that for all his pains, the undersigned does not
deserve or is entitled to the honors of being dealt with administratively or otherwise.
and prays:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the undersigned respectfully prays of this
Honorable Supreme Court, that it forebear from turning the undersigned into a martyr
to his principles.
Yet, he added the following:
WITH THE UNDERSIGNED'S RESPECTFUL APOLOGIES AND UNDYING LOVE
(Constitution, Preamble, 66 word).
It must at once be noted that Atty. Tiongco did not at all show cause why he should not be dealt with
administratively for violation of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility in view of his
unfounded and malicious insinuation that this Court did not at all read the petition in this case before
it concluded that the petition failed to sufficiently show that the respondent court had committed a
grave abuse of discretion. Moreover, while he tried to justify as true his descriptions of the
respondent judge as a "liar," "thief." perfidious," and "blasphemer" he did not offer any excuse for his
use of the rest of the intemperate words enumerated in the resolution. Worse, feeling obviously
frustrated at the incompleteness of the Court's enumeration of the intemperate words or phrases, he
volunteered to point out that in addition to those so enumerated, he also called the respondent judge
a "robber," "rotten manipulator," "abettor" of graft and corruption, and "cross-eyed."
Atty. Tiongco's Compliance is unsatisfactory and is entirely unacceptable for the following reasons:
first, he impliedly admitted the falsity of his insinuation that this Court did not read the petition'
second, except as to the words "liar," "thief," "perfidious'" and "blasphemer," he failed to address
squarely the other intemperate words and phrases enumerated in the resolution of 26 September
1994, which failure amounts to an admission of their intemperateness; third, he did not indicate the
circumstances upon which his defense of truth lies; and, fourth, he miserably failed to show the
relevance of the harsh words and phrase to his petition.
We do not then hesitate to rule that by falsely and maliciously insinuating that this Court did not at all
read the petition in this case, Atty. Tiongco not only exhibited his gross disrespect to and contempt
for this Court and exposed his plot to discredit the Members of the First Division of the Court and put

them to public contempt or ridicule; he, as well, charged them with the violation of their solemn duty
to render justice, thereby creating or promoting distrust in judicial administration which could have
the effect of "encouraging discontent which, in many cases, is the source of disorder, thus
undermining the foundation on which rests the bulwark called judicial power to which those who are
aggrieved turn for protection and relief" (Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61 Phil. 724 [1953]).
In using in the petition in this case intemperate and scurrilous words and phrases against the
respondent judge which are obviously uncalled for and entirely irrelevant to the petition and whose
glaring falsity is easily demonstrated by the respondent judge's decision if favor of Atty. Tiongco and
his wife in their case for recovery of possession and damages, and by the dismissal of the instant
petition for failure of the petitioners to sufficiently show that the respondent judge committed grave
abuse of discretion, Atty. Tiongco has equally shown his disrespect to and contempt for the
respondent judge, thereby diminishing public confidence in the latter and eventually, in the judiciary,
or sowing mistrust in the administration of justice.
Consequently, Atty. Tiongco has made a strong case for a serious violation of Canon 11 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility which reads as follows:
CANON 11 A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN THE RESPECT DUE
TO THE COURTS AND TO JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND SHOULD INSIST ON
SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS.
This duty is closely entwined with his vow in the lawyer's oath "to conduct himself as a lawyer with all
good fidelity to the courts"; his duty under Section 20 (b), Rule 138 of the Rules of Court "[t]o
observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers"; and his duty
under the first canon of the Canons Professional Ethics "to maintain towards the courts a respectful
attitude, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of
its incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme importance."
In Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer (20 SCRA 441, 444 [1967]), this Court said:
By now, a lawyer's duties to the Court had become commonplace. Really, there could
hardly be any valid excuse for lapses in the observance thereof. Section 20(b), Rule
138 of the Rules of Court, in categorical terms, spells out one such duty: "To observe
and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers." As explicit
is the first canon of legal ethics which pronounces that "[i]t is the duty of the lawyer to
maintain towards the Courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of the temporary
incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme importance."
That same canon, as a corollary, makes it peculiarly incumbent upon lawyers to
support the courts against "unjust criticism and clamor." And more. The attorney's
oath solemnly binds him to conduct that should be "with all good fidelity . . . to the
courts." Worth remembering is that the duty of an attorney to the courts "can only be
maintained by rendering no service involving any disrespect to the judicial office
which he is bound to uphold." [Lualhati vs. Albert, 57 Phil. 86, 92].

We concede that a lawyer may think highly of his intellectual endowment. That is his
privilege. And, he may suffer frustration at what he feels is others' lack of it. That is
his misfortune. Some such frame of mind, however, should not be allowed to harden
into a belief that he may attack court's decision in words calculated to jettison the
time-honored aphorism that courts are the temples of right. He should give due
allowance to the fact that judges are but men; and men are encompassed by error,
fettered by fallibility.
Expounding further on the lawyer's duty to the courts, this Court, in Surigao Mineral Reservation
Board vs.Cloribel (31 SCRA 1, 16-17 [1970]), stated:
A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, "like the court itself, an instrument or
agency to advance the ends of justice." [People ex rel. Karlin vs. Culkin, 60 A.L.R.
851, 855]. His duty is to uphold the dignity and the authority of the courts to which he
owes fidelity, "not to promote distrust in the administration in the administration of
justice." [In re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595, 602]. faith in the courts a lawyer should seek to
preserve. For, to undermine the judicial edifice "is disastrous to the continuity of the
government and to the attainment of the liberties of the people." [Malcolm legal and
Judicial Ethics, 1949 ed., p. 160]. Thus has it been said of a lawyer that "[a]s an
officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy
unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards the courts so essential to the
proper administration of justice." [People vs. Carillo, 77 Phil. 572, 580]. (See also In
re: Rafael C. Climaco, 55 SCRA 107 [1974]).
It does not, however, follow that just because a lawyer is an officer of the court, he cannot criticize
the courts. That is his right as a citizen, and it is even his duty as an officer of the court to avail of
such right. Thus, In Re:Almacen (31 SCRA 562, 579-580 [1970]), this Court explicitly declared:
Hence, as a citizen and as an officer of the court, a lawyer is expected not only to
exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to avail of such right. No law may
abridge this right. Nor is he "professionally answerable for a scrutiny into the official
conduct of the judge, which would not expose him to legal animadversion as a
citizen." (Case of Austin, 28 Am dec. 657, 665).
"Above all others, the members of the bar have the best opportunity
to become conversant with the character and efficiency of out judges.
No class is less likely to abuse the privilege, or no other class has as
great an interest in the preservation of an able and upright bench."
(State Board of Examiners in Law vs. Hart, 116 N.W. 212, 216).
To curtail the right of a lawyer to be critical of the foibles of courts and judges is to
seal the lips of those in the best position to give advice and who might consider it
their duty to speak disparagingly. "Under such a rule," so far as the bar is concerned,
"the merits of a sitting judge may be rehearsed, but as to his demerits there must be
profound silence. (State vs. Circuit Court (72 N.W. 196)).

Nevertheless, such a right is not without limit. For, as this Court warned in Almacen:
But it is a cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall
not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair
criticism, on the one hand, and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof,
on the other. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of
respect to courts. It is such a misconduct that subjects a lawyer to disciplinary action.
xxx xxx xxx
The lawyer's duty to render respectful subordination to the courts is essential to the
orderly administration of justice. hence, in the assertion of their client's rights,
lawyers even those gifted with superior intellect are enjoined to rein up their
tempers.
Elsewise stated, the right to criticize, which is guaranteed by the freedom of speech and of
expression in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, must be exercised responsibly, for every right
carries with it a corresponding obligation. Freedom is not freedom from responsibility, but
freedom with responsibility. In Zaldivar vs. Gonzales (166 SCRA 316, 353-354 [1988]), it was held:
Respondent Gonzales is entitled to the constitutional guarantee of free spe ech. No
one seeks to deny him that right, least of all this Court. What respondent seems
unaware of is that freedom of speech and of expression, like all constitutional
freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom of expression needs an occasion to be
adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of equally important public
interests. One of these fundamental public interests is the maintenance of the
integrity and orderly functioning of the administration justice. There is no antimony
between free expression and the integrity of the system of administering justice. For
the protection and maintenance of freedom of expression itself can be secured only
within the context of a functioning and orderly system of dispensing justice, within the
context, in other words, of viable independent institutions for delivery of justice which
are accepted by the general community.
Proscribed then are, inter alia, the use of unnecessary language which jeopardizes high esteem in
courts, creates or promotes distrust in judicial administration (Rheem, supra), or tends necessarily to
undermine the confidence of the people in the integrity of the members of this Court and to degrade
the administration of justice by this Court (In re: Sotto, 82 Phil. 595 [1949]); or of offensive and
abusive language (In re: Rafael Climaco, 55 SCRA 107 [1974]); or abrasive and offensive language
(Yangson vs. Salandanan, 68 SCRA 42 [1975]); or of disrespectful, offensive, manifestly baseless,
and malicious statements in pleadings or in a letter addressed to the judge (Baja vs. Macando, 158
SCRA 391 [1988], citing the resolution of 19 January 1988 in Phil. Public Schools Teachers
Association vs. Quisumbing, G.R. No. 76180, and Ceniza vs. Sebastian, 130 SCRA 295 [1984]); or
of disparaging, intemperate, and uncalled-for remarks (Sangalang vs. Intermediate Appellate Court,
177 SCRA 87 [1989]).

That Atty. Tiongco had exceeded the bounds of decency and propriety in making the false and
malicious insinuation against this Court, particularly the Members of the First Division, and the
scurrilous characterizations of the respondent judge is, indeed, all too obvious. Such could only
come from anger, if not hate, after he was not given what he wanted. Anger or hate could only come
from one who "seems to be of that frame of mind whereby he considers as in accordance with law
and justice whatever he believes to be right in his own opinion and as contrary to law and justice
whatever does not accord with his views" (Montecillo vs. Gica, 60 SCRA 234, 238 [1974]). When
such anger or hate is coupled with haughtiness or arrogance as when he even pointed out other
intemperate words in his petition which this Court failed to incorporate in the resolution of 26
September 1994, and with seething sarcasm as when he prays that this Court "forebear[s] from
turning . . . [him] into a martyr to his principles" and ends up his Compliance with the "RESPECTFUL
APOLOGIES AND UNDYING LOVE" (Constitution Preamble, 66th word), "nothing more can
extenuate his liability for gross violation of Canon 11 of the Code of professional Responsibility and
his other duties entwined therewith as earlier adverted to.
WHEREFORE, for such violation, ATTY. JOSE B. TIONGCO is hereby ordered to pay a Fine of FIVE
THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) and WARNED that the commission of the same or similar acts in
the future shall be dealt with more money.
Let a copy of this resolution be attached to the record of Atty. Jose B. Tiongco in this Court.
Padilla, Quiason and Kapunan, JJ., concur.
Bellosillo, J., took no part.

15
G.R. No. L-36800 October 21, 1974
JORGE MONTECILLO and QUIRICO DEL MAR, petitioners,
vs.
FRANCISCO M. GICA, MAGNO S. GATMAITAN, JOSE N. LEUTERIO, and RAMON G. GAVIOLA,
Justices of the Court of Appeals, respondents. In Re Quirico del Mar, For Disciplinary action
as member of the Philippine Bar, respondent.

ESGUERRA, J.:p
Petitioner Atty. Quirico del Mar of Cebu City in G. R. No. L-36800, and as respondent in contempt
proceedings both in the Court of Appeals and in this Court, virtually focused the limelight on himself
and relegated to insignificance the limelight on himself and relegated to insignificance the principal
issue raised in the petition forcertiorari to review the entitled "Francisco M. Gica vs. Hon. Santiago O.

Taada, et al" which was denied due course by this Court's resolution dated May 14, 1973, for lack
of merit.
Although the petition for certiorari has been denied, it becomes imperatively necessary to elucidate
upon the antecedents of this case even if Our only justification in so doing is to seek a reason or
motive for the acts of contempt perpetrated by respondent Quirico del Mar that might serve to lighten
the enormity of his wrongdoing as a member of the Bar.
As a result of an alleged slander committed by Jorge Montecillo on Francisco M. Gica (the former
allegedly calling the latter "stupid" or a "fool'), Mr. Gica filed a criminal complaint for oral defamation
against Montecillo (Criminal Case No. R-28782 in Branch VII of the Cebu City Court) and a case for
damages arising from the same incident (Civil Case No. R-13075 in Branch VI of the Cebu City
Court). Montecillo was acquitted in Criminal Case No. R-28782, and in Civil Case No. R-13075, the
Cebu City Court found that Montecillo did not call Gica "stupid". Finding the counter-claim of
Montecillo meritorious, the City Court rendered judgment against Gica for him to pay Montecillo five
hundred pesos as moral damages, two hundred pesos as compensatory damages and three
hundred pesos as attorney's fees, plus costs.
Francisco Gica appealed from the decision of the City Court of Cebu in Civil Case No. R-13075 to
the Court of First Instance of Cebu presided by Hon. Santiago O. Taada but the Court of First
Instance upheld the decision of the City Court. The case was then elevated to the Court of Appeals
by petition for review by petitioner Francisco M. Gica and it was docketed therein as CA-G.R. No.
46504-R.
The Fourth Division of the Court of Appeals in a decision penned by the Hon. Magno S. Gatmaitan
and concurred in by Associate Justices Jose N. Leuterio and Ramon G. Gaviola, Jr. (promulgated on
Sept. 27, 1972), reversed the decision of the Court of First Instance of Cebu; ruled in favor of
petitioner Gica on the ground that the preponderance of evidence favored petitioner Francisco M.
Gica on the principle that positive must prevail over the negative evidence, and that "some words
must have come from Montecillo's lips that were insulting to Gica". The appellate court concluded
that its decision is a vindication of Gica and instead, awarded him five hundred pesos as damages.
It is from this point that trouble began for respondent Atty. Quirico del Mar when, as counsel for
Montecillo, he moved for a reconsideration of the Appellate Court's decision with a veiled threat by
mentioning the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on "Knowingly rendering unjust judgment" and
"judgment rendered through negligence", and the innuendo that the Court of Appeals allowed itself
to be deceived. When the Appellate Court denied the motion for reconsideration in its Resolution of
October 24, 1972, it observed that the terminology of the motion insinuated that the Appellate Court
rendered an unjust judgment, that it abetted a falsification and it permitted itself to be deceived. It
admonished Atty. del Mar to remember that threats and abusive language cannot compel any court
of justice to grant reconsideration. Respondent del Mar persisted and in his second motion for
reconsideration, filed without leave of court, made another threat by stating that "with almost all
penal violations placed under the jurisdiction of the President of the Philippines, particularly Articles
171, 204 and 205 of the Revised Penal Code, as Commander in Chief of the AFP, by virtue of the
proclamation of martial law, the next appeal that will he interposed, will be to His Excellency, the
President of the Philippines."

The Appellate Court in its resolution of Nov. 27, 1972, noticed that notwithstanding its admonition in
its resolution of Oct. 24, 1972, for Atty. del Mar to refrain from abusive language and threats, he
reiterated his threats, and that the Appellate Court, impelled to assert its authority, ordered
respondent del Mar to explain within 10 days (and to appear on January 10, 1973) why he should
not be punished for contempt of court.
On December 5, 1972, respondent del Mar made a written explanation wherein he said that the
Appellate Court could not be threatened and he was not making any threat but only informing the
Appellate Court of the course of action he would follow. On the same date, respondent sent a letter
to the Justices of the 4th Division of the Court of Appeals informing them that he sent a letter to the
President of the Philippines, furnishing them a copy thereof, and requesting the Justices to take into
consideration the contents of said letter during the hearing of the case scheduled for January 10,
1973. Not content with that move, on December 8, 1972, respondent sent another letter to the same
Justices of the Court of Appeals wherein he reminded them of a civil case he instituted against
Justices of the Supreme Court for damages in the amount of P200,000 for a decision rendered not in
accordance with law and justice, stating that he would not like to do it again but would do so if
provoked. We pause here to observe that respondent del Mar seems to be of that frame of mind
whereby he considers as in accordance with law and justice whatever he believes to be right in his
own opinion and as contrary to law and justice whatever does not accord with his views. In other
words, he would like to assume the role of this Court, personally and individually, in the interpretation
and construction of the laws, evaluation of evidence and determination of what is in accordance with
law and justice.
The documented incidents as narrated in the Appellate Court's Resolution of March 5, 1973, cannot
more eloquently depict the very manifest and repeated threats of respondent del Mar to bludgeon
the Justices of the Fourth Davison into reconsidering its decision which happened to be adverse to
respondent's client. Respondent del Mar, instead of presenting lucid and forceful arguments on the
merits of his plea for a reconsideration to convince the Justices of the Fourth Division of the alleged
error in their decision, resorted to innuendos and veiled threats, even casting downright aspersion on
the Justices concerned by insinuating that for their decision they could be criminally and civilly liable
for knowingly rendering unjust judgment, or doing it through ignorance.
We quote with approval this portion of the Appellate Court's Resolution (March 5, 1973):
A just man can never be threatened, p. 145, rollo, is not at all true; any man, just or
unjust, can be threatened; if he is unjust, he will succumb, if he is just, he will not, but
the offense is committed, whether the threats do or do not succeed. As to his
(respondent del Mar's reference to the New Society, p. 150, in his letter to his
Excellency, complaining against those justices, let it be said that precisely it was
under the Former Society that there had been so much disrespect for the constituted
authorities, there was abuse, worse than abuse, there was arrogant abuse, of the socalled civil liberties, against the authorities, including the courts, not excluding even
the President; it is this anarchy that is the program to cure in the New.
This Resolution of the Appellate Court of March 5, 1973, fittingly concluded that "counsel del Mar is
found guilty of contempt and condemned to pay a fine of P200.00 and ordered suspended from the

practice of law and pursuant to Sec. 9 of Rule 139, let certified copies of these papers be elevated to
the Honorable Supreme Court". We upheld the Court of Appeals and gave full force and effect to this
order of suspension from the practice of law when in Our resolution dated Nov. 19, 1973, the Judicial
Consultant of this Court was directed to circularize all courts about the order of the Court of Appeals
suspending Atty. Quirico del Mar from the practice of law.
Not satisfied with the wrong that he had already done against Associate Justices Magno S.
Gatmaitan, Jose N. Leuterio and Ramon Gaviola, Jr., respondent del Mar sued the three Justices for
damages in Civil Case No. R-13277 of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, trying to hold them liable
for their decision in CA-G.R. No. 46504-R; that the case for damages (R-13277)was terminated by
compromise agreement after Mr. del Mar himself moved for the dismissal of his complaint
apologized to the Court of Appeals and the Justices concerned, and agreed to pay nominal moral
damages in favor of the defendants-justices. This is the undeniable indication that respondent del
Mar did not only threaten the three Justices of the Appellate Court but he actually carried out his
threat, although he did not succeed in making them change their minds in the case they decided in
accordance with the exercise of their judicial discretion emanating from pure conviction.
To add insult to injury, respondent del Mar had the temerity to file his motion on October 10, 1973,
before Us, asking that his suspension from the practice of law imposed by the Court of Appeals be
ignored because of the amicable settlement reached in Civil Case No. R-13277 of the Court of First
Instance of Cebu which was the action for damages filed against the three Justices of the Appellate
Court.
Respondent del Mar's ire at the Appellate Court, fanned by the wind of frustration, turned against Us
when We denied on May 14, 1973, his petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Appellate
Court, G. R. No. L-36800, for on May 25, 1973, he filed his motion for reconsideration and wrote a
letter addressed to the Clerk of this Court requesting the names of the Justices of this Court who
supported the resolution denying his petition, together with the names of the Justices favoring his
motion for reconsideration. This motion for reconsideration We denied for lack of merit in Our
resolution dated June 15, 1973. He, then, filed a manifestation dated July 1, 1973, before Us, stating
brazenly, among other things, "I can at this time reveal to you that, had your Clerk of Court furnished
me with certified true copies of the last two Resolutions of the Supreme Court confirming the
decision of the Court of Appeals in the case entitled Francisco M. Gica vs. Jorge Montecillo, I would
have filed against the Justices supporting the same, civil and criminal suit as I did to the Justices of
the Court of Appeals who, rewarding the abhorent falsification committed by Mr. Gica, reversed for
him the decisions of the City Court and the Court of First Instance of Cebu, not with a view to
obtaining a favorable judgment therein but for the purpose of exposing to the people the corroding
evils extant in our Government, so that they may well know them and work for their extermination"
(Emphasis supplied. In one breath and in a language certainly not complimentary to the Appellate
Court and to Us, respondent del Mar again made his veiled threat of retribution aimed at the
Appellate Court and at Us for Our judicial acts in CA-G. R. No. 46504-R and G. R. No. L-36800.
Our immediate reaction to this manifestation, dictated by the impulse of placing on a pedestal
beyond suspicion the integrity and honor of this Court and that of any of our other courts of justice,
was to require by Resolution of July 16, 1973, respondent del Mar to show cause why disciplinary

action should not be taken against him for the contemptuous statements contained in his
manifestation.
At this juncture, We pause to reexamine the act of the Appellate Court in CA-G. R. No. 46504-R and
our own in G. R. No. L-36800 to determine what error we might have committed to generate such a
vengeful wrath of respondent del Mar which drove him to make his contemptuous statements.
The crucial issue in the case of oral defamation filed by Francisco M. Gica against Jorge Montecillo
is as to what was the statement really uttered by Montecillo on the occasion in question "binuang
man gud na" (That act is senseless or done without thinking) or "buang man gud na siya" (He is
foolish or stupid). If the statement uttered was the former, Montecillo should be exonerated; if the
latter, he would be liable. The Appellate Court on evaluating the evidence ruled that the
preponderance thereof favored Gica "on the principle that the positive evidence must prevail over
the negative" and, therefore, what was really uttered by Montecillo on that occasion was "buang man
gud na siya" (He is foolish or stupid), thus making him liable for oral defamation. When We denied in
G. R. No. L-36800 the petition for review on certiorari of the Appellate Court's decision in CA-G. R.
No. 46504-R, We did so because We could find no reason for disturbing the Appellate Court's finding
and conclusion on the aforementioned lone question of fact which would warrant overturning its
decision.
On July 13, 1973, Our resolution of May 14, 1973, denying the petition for review on certiorari of the
decision of the Appellate Court in CA-G. R. No. 46504-R, became final and executory and the Court
of Appeals was so informed.
To Our resolution of July 16, 1973, requiring respondent del Mar to show cause why he should not
be disciplined for his statements contained in his manifestation of July 1, 1973, he submitted an
explanation dated August 1, 1973, wherein he stated that "..., he is attaching hereto the criminal
case he filed with the President of the Philippines (copy marked as Annex "A") and the civil case he
instituted in the Court of First Instance of Cebu (copy marked as Annex "B") against Justices Magno
S. Gatmaitan, Jose N. Leuterio and Ramon G. Gaviola, Jr., which embody the corroding evils he
complained of as extant in the Government needing correction. He would have followed suit were it
not for the fact that he is firmly convinced that human efforts in this direction will be fruitless. As
manifested, he, therefore, decided to retire from a life of militancy to a life of seclusion leaving to
God the filling-up of human deficiencies" (Emphasis supplied).
This so-called explanation is more, in its tenor, of a defiant justification of his contemptuous
statements contained in the manifestation of July 1, 1973. Its contents reveal a continued veiled
threat against the Justices of this Court who voted to deny del Mar's petition for review
on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Court Appeals in CA-G R. No. 46504-R.
Our resolution of September 4, 1973, required respondent Atty. Quirico del Mar to appear personally
at the hearing of his explanation on November 5, 1973. On September 26, 1973, respondent filed an
additional explanation with this Court, wherein he stated, among other things: "Graft, corruption and
injustice are rampant in and outside of the Government. It is this state of things that convinced me
that all human efforts to correct and/or reform the said evils will be fruitless and, as stated in my

manifestation to you, I have already decided to retire from a life of militancy to a life of seclusion,
leaving to God the filling-up of human deficiencies."
Again We noticed that the tenor of this additional explanation is a toned-down justification(as
compared to his explanation of August 1, 1973) of his previous contemptuous statements without
even a hint of apology or regret. Respondent is utilizing what exists in his mind as state of graft,
corruption and injustice allegedly rampant in and outside of the government as justification for his
contemptuous statements. In other words, he already assumed by his own contemptuous utterances
that because there is an alleged existence of rampant corruption, graft, and injustice in and out of
the government, We, by Our act in G. R. No. L-36800, are among the corrupt, the grafters and those
allegedly committing injustice. We are at a complete loss to follow respondent del Mar's logic and
We certainly should, with understanding condescension, commiserate in the pitiable state of mind of
a brother in the legal profession who seems to have his reasoning and sense of proportion blurred or
warped by an all-consuming obsession emanating from a one-track mind that only his views are
absolutely correct and those of others are all wrong.
When this Court in the resolution dated November 19, 1973, directed the Judicial Consultant to
circularize to all courts concerning the order of the Court of Appeals suspending Atty. Quirico del Mar
from the practice of law, respondent del Mar filed a motion for reconsideration on December 12,
1973, requesting Us to reconsider said directive. In Our resolution dated December 17, 1973,
respondent del Mar, after he had been interpellated by the Court, was given a period of five days to
submit a memorandum in support of his explanation. In view of respondent's manifestation that there
was no need for further investigation of the facts involved, in accordance with Section 29 of Rule
138, We resolved that the matter be deemed submitted for decision.
In the memorandum entitled "Explanation" dated December 20, 1973, respondent del Mar stated
that he suffered repeated strokes of high blood pressure which rendered him dizzy and unstable
mentally and physically; that his sight is blurred and his reasoning is faulty; he easily forgets things
and cannot readily correlate them; that for any and all mistakes he might have committed he asked
for forgiveness; he reiterated that "blunders" were committed by the Court of Appeals in its decision
and that the Justices thereof knowingly rendered the same in violation of Article 204 of the Penal
Code; he persisted in his view that the Court of Appeals committed an error in its decision; justified
his act of invoking Article 204 of the Penal Code in trying to make the Appellate Justices liable; that
he was high in his academic and scholastic standing during his school days; that "with all the
confusion prevailing nowadays, the undersigned has decided for reasons of sickness and old age to
retire from the practice of law. He hopes and expects that, with the approval thereof by the Supreme
Court, he could have himself released from the obligation he has contracted with his clients as
regards all his pending cases."
It is Our observation that the tenor of this explanation although pleading mental and physical ailment
as a mitigation of the contemptuous acts, is still that of arrogant justification for respondent's
previous statements. We quote:
The undersigned was asked if he had not filed against the Justices of the Supreme
Court a case for damages against them. He answered in the affirmative, but the case
was dismissed by Judge Villasor, of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, because of

an American ruling that a justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines cannot be
civilly held liable. The ruling cited was rendered during the American regime in the
Philippines which was still subject to the jurisdiction of the American laws. But the
Philippines is now independent and Article 204 of the Penal Code still remains
incorporated therein for observance and fulfillment. Up to now, there is not yet any
definite ruling of the Supreme Court thereon
While still persistently justifying his contemptuous statements and at the same time pleading that his
physical and mental ailment be considered so that We may forgive respondent del Mar he shrewdly
stated at the end of his explanation that he has decided for reasons of sickness and old age to retire
from the practice of law, in practical anticipation of whatever penalty We may decide to impose on
him and thus making it appear that he has voluntarily done so with honor and in complete evasion of
whatever this Court may decide to do in this case.
With full realization that a practicing lawyer and officer of the court facing contempt proceedings
cannot just be allowed to voluntarily retire from the practice of law, an act which would negate the
inherent power of the court to punish him for contempt in defense of its integrity and honor, We
resolve, by resolution of January 10, 1974, to deny said prayer of Atty. del Mar without prejudice to
his making arrangement directly with his clients.
To aged brethren of the bar it may appear belated to remind them that second only to the duty of
maintaining allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to support the Constitution and obey
the laws of the Philippines, is the duty of all attorneys to observe and maintain the respect due to the
courts of justice and judicial officers (Sec. 20 (b) Rule 138, Rules of Court). But We do remind them
of said duty to emphasize to their younger brethren its paramount importance. A lawyer must always
remember that he is an officer of the court exercising a high privilege and serving in the noble
mission of administering justice.
It is the duty of the lawyer to maintain towards the courts a respectful attitude (People vs. Carillo, 77
Phil. 572). As an officer of the court, it is his duty to uphold the dignity and authority of the court to
which he owes fidelity, according to the oath he has taken. Respect for the courts guarantees the
stability of our democratic institutions which, without such respect, would be resting on a very shaky
foundation. (In re Sotto 82 Phil. 595).
As We stated before:
We concede that a lawyer may think highly of his intellectual endowment. That is his
privilege. And, he may suffer frustration at what he feels is others' lack of it. This is
his misfortune. Some such frame of mind, however, should not be allowed to harden
into a belief that he may attack a court's decision in words calculated to jettison the
time-honored aphorism that courts are the temples of right. He should give due
allowance to the fact that judges are but men; and men are encompassed by error,
fettered by fallibility.
... To be sure, lawyers may come up with various methods, perhaps much more
effective, in calling the Court's attention to the issues involved. The language vehicle

does not run short of expressions, emphatic but respectful, convincing but not
derogatory, illuminating but not offensive (Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer G. R.
No. L-22979, June 26, 1967; 20 SCRA 441, 444-445)
Criminal contempt has been defined as a conduct that is directed against the dignity and authority of
the court or a judge acting judicially. It is an act obstructing the administration of justice which tends
to bring the court into disrepute or disrespect (17 C. J. S. 7).
We have held that statements contained in a motion to disqualify a judge, imputing to the latter
conspiracy or connivance with the prosecutors or concocting a plan with a view to securing the
conviction of the accused, and implicating said judge in a supposed attempt to extort money from the
accused on a promise or assurance of the latter's acquittal, all without basis, were highly derogatory
and serve nothing but to discredit the judge presiding the court in an attempt to secure his
disqualification. Statements of that nature have no place in a court pleading and if uttered by a
member of the bar, constitute a serious disrespect. We said:
As an officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not
destroy unnecessarilythe high esteem and regard towards the court so essential to
the proper administration of justice(Emphasis supplied). (People vs. Carillo, 43 O.G.
No. 12, p. 5021; De Joya et al vs. C. F. I. of Rizal and Rilloraza 52 0. G. 6150).
As already stated, the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. No. 46504-R was based on its
evaluation of the evidence on only one specific issue. We in turn denied in G. R. No. L-36800 the
petition for review oncertiorari of the decision because We found no reason for disturbing the
appellate court's finding and conclusion. In both instances, both the Court of Appeals and this Court
exercised judicial discretion in a case under their respective jurisdiction. The intemperate and
imprudent act of respondent del Mar in resorting to veiled threats to make both Courts reconsider
their respective stand in the decision and the resolution that spelled disaster for his client cannot be
anything but pure contumely for said tribunals.
It is manifest that respondent del Mar has scant respect for the two highest Courts of the land when
on the flimsy ground of alleged error in deciding a case, he proceeded to challenge the integrity of
both Courts by claiming that they knowingly rendered unjust judgment. In short, his allegation is that
they acted with intent and malice, if not with gross ignorance of the law, in disposing of the case of
his client.
We note with wonder and amazement the brazen effrontery of respondent in assuming that his
personal knowledge of the law and his concept of justice are superior to that of both the Supreme
Court and the Court of Appeals. His pretense cannot but tend to erode the people's faith in the
integrity of the courts of justice and in the administration of justice. He repeatedly invoked his
supposed quest for law and justice as justification for his contemptuous statements without realizing
that, in seeking both abstract elusive terms, he is merely pursuing his own personal concept of law
and justice. He seems not to comprehend that what to him may be lawful or just may not be so in the
minds of others. He could not accept that what to him may appear to be right or correct may be
wrong or erroneous from the viewpoint of another. We understand that respondent's mind delves into
the absolute without considering the universal law of change. It is with deep concern that We view

such a state of mind of a practicing lawyer since what We expect as a paramount qualification for
those in the practice of law is broadmindedness and tolerance, coupled with keen perception and a
sound sense of proportion in evaluating events and circumstances.
For a lawyer in the twilight of his life, with supposed physical and mental ailments at that, who dares
to challenge the integrity and honor of both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, We have
nothing but commiseration and sympathy for his choosing to close the book of his long years of law
practice not by voluntary retirement with honor but in disciplinary action with ignominy and dishonor.
To those who are in the practice of law and those who in the future will choose to enter this
profession, We wish to point to this case as a reminder for them to imprint in their hearts and minds
that an attorney owes it to himself to respect the courts of justice and its officers as a fealty for the
stability of our democratic institutions.
WHEREFORE, the resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 46504-R, dated March 5,
1973, suspending Atty. Quirico del Mar from the practice of law, as implemented by Our resolution of
November 19, 1973, is hereby affirmed.
Respondent Atty. Quirico del Mar for his misconduct towards the Supreme Court, shall be, as he is
hereby, suspended from the practice of law until further orders of this Court, such suspension to take
effect immediately. (In re Almacen, No. L-27654, Feb. 18, 1970, 31 SCRA, p. 562.)
The Judicial Consultant of this Court is directed to circularize all courts and the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines regarding the indefinite suspension of Atty. Quirico del Mar from the practice of law.
SO ORDERED.
Makalintal, C.J., Castro, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio, Fernandez, Muoz Palma and
Aquino, JJ., concur.
Fernando, J., took no part.

A.C. No. 7199


July 22, 2009
[Formerly CBD 04-1386]
FOODSPHERE, INC., Complainant,
vs.
ATTY. MELANIO L. MAURICIO, JR., Respondent.
DECISION
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
Foodsphere, Inc. (complainant), a corporation engaged in the business of meat processing and
manufacture and distribution of canned goods and grocery products under the brand name "CDO,"
filed a Verified Complaint1 for disbarment before the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) against Atty. Melanio L. Mauricio, Jr., popularly known as
"Batas Mauricio" (respondent), a writer/columnist of tabloids including Balitang Patas BATAS,
Bagong TIKTIK, TORO and HATAW!, and a host of a television program KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS
telecast over UNTV and of a radio program Double B-BATAS NG BAYAN aired over DZBB, for (1)
grossly immoral conduct; (2) violation of lawyers oath and (3) disrespect to the courts and to
investigating prosecutors.
The facts that spawned the filing of the complaint are as follows:
On June 22, 2004, a certain Alberto Cordero (Cordero) purportedly bought from a grocery in
Valenzuela City canned goods including a can of CDO Liver spread. On June 27, 2004, as Cordero
and his relatives were eating bread with the CDO Liver spread, they found the spread to be sour and
soon discovered a colony of worms inside the can.
Corderos wife thus filed a complaint with the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration (BFAD).
Laboratory examination confirmed the presence of parasites in the Liver spread.

Pursuant to Joint DTI-DOH-DA Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1993, the BFAD conducted a
conciliation hearing on July 27, 2004 during which the spouses Cordero demanded P150,000 as
damages from complainant. Complainant refused to heed the demand, however, as being in
contravention of company policy and, in any event, "outrageous."
Complainant instead offered to return actual medical and incidental expenses incurred by the
Corderos as long as they were supported by receipts, but the offer was turned down. And the
Corderos threatened to bring the matter to the attention of the media.
Complainant was later required by the BFAD to file its Answer to the complaint. In the meantime or
on August 6, 2004, respondent sent complainant via fax a copy of the front page of the would-be
August 10-16, 2004 issue of the tabloid Balitang Patas BATAS, Vol. 1, No. 12 2 which complainant
found to contain articles maligning, discrediting and imputing vices and defects to it and its products.
Respondent threatened to publish the articles unless complainant gave in to the P150,000 demand
of the Corderos. Complainant thereupon reiterated its counter-offer earlier conveyed to the
Corderos, but respondent turned it down.
Respondent later proposed to settle the matter for P50,000, P15,000 of which would go to the
Corderos andP35,000 to his Batas Foundation. And respondent directed complainant to place paid
advertisements in the tabloids and television program.
The Corderos eventually forged a KASUNDUAN3 seeking the withdrawal of their complaint before
the BFAD. The BFAD thus dismissed the complaint.4 Respondent, who affixed his signature to the
KASUNDUAN as a witness, later wrote in one of his articles/columns in a tabloid that he prepared
the document.
On August 11, 2004, respondent sent complainant an Advertising Contract 5 asking complainant to
advertise in the tabloid Balitang Patas BATAS for its next 24 weekly issues at P15,000 per issue or a
total amount ofP360,000, and a Program Profile6 of the television program KAKAMPI MO ANG
BATAS also asking complainant to place spot advertisements with the following rate cards: (a) spot
buy 15-second TVC at P4,000; (b) spot buy 30-second TVC at P7,700; and (c) season buy [13
episodes, 26 spots] of 30-second TVC for P130,000.
As a sign of goodwill, complainant offered to buy three full-page advertisements in the tabloid
amounting toP45,000 at P15,000 per advertisement, and three spots of 30-second TVC in the
television program at P7,700 each or a total of P23,100. Acting on complainants offer, respondent
relayed to it that he and his Executive Producer were disappointed with the offer and threatened to
proceed with the publication of the articles/columns. 7
On August 28, 2004, respondent, in his radio program Double B- Batas ng Bayan at radio station
DZBB, announced the holding of a supposed contest sponsored by said program, which
announcement was transcribed as follows:
"OK, at meron akong pa-contest, total magpapasko na o ha, meron pa-contest si Batas Mauricio ang
Batas ng Bayan. Ito yung ating pa-contest, hulaan ninyo, tatawag kayo sa telepono, 433-7549 at
433-7553. Ang mga premyo babanggitin po natin sa susunod pero ito muna ang contest, o, aling

liver spread ang may uod? Yan kita ninyo yan, ayan malalaman ninyo yan. Pagka-nahulaan yan
ah, at sasagot kayo sa akin, aling liver spread ang may uod at anong companya ang gumagawa
nyan? Itawag po ninyo sa 433-7549 st 433-7553. Open po an[g] contest na ito sa lahat ng ating
tagapakinig. Pipiliin natin ang mananalo, kung tama ang inyong sagot. Ang tanong, aling liver
spread sa Pilipinas an[g] may uod? 8 (Emphasis and italics in the original; underscoring supplied)
And respondent wrote in his columns in the tabloids articles which put complainant in bad light.
Thus, in the August 31- September 6, 2004 issue of Balitang Patas BATAS, he wrote an article
captioned "KADIRI ANG CDO LIVER SPREAD!" In another article, he wrote "IBA PANG
PRODUKTO NG CDO SILIPIN!"9 which appeared in the same publication in its September 7-13,
2004 issue. And still in the same publication, its September 14-20, 2004 issue, he wrote another
article entitled "DAPAT BANG PIGILIN ANG CDO."10
Respondent continued his tirade against complainant in his column LAGING HANDA published in
another tabloid, BAGONG TIKTIK, with the following articles:11 (a) "Uod sa liver spread," Setyembre
6, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.276);12(b) "Uod, itinanggi ng CDO," Setyembre 7, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.277); 13 (c)
"Pagpapatigil sa CDO," Setyembre 8, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.278); 14 (d) "Uod sa liver spread
kumpirmado," Setyembre 9, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.279); 15 (e) "Salaysay ng nakakain ng uod," Setyembre
10, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.280);16 (f) "Kaso VS. CDO itinuloy," Setyembre 11, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.281);17 (g)
"Kasong Kidnapping laban sa CDO guards," Setyembre 14, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.284); 18 (h) "Brutalidad
ng CDO guards," Setyembre 15, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.285); 19 (i) "CDO guards pinababanatan sa PNP,"
Setyembre 17, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.287);20 (j) "May uod na CDO liver spread sa Puregold binili,"
Setyembre 18, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.288);21 (k) "Desperado na ang CDO," Setyembre 20, 2004 (Taon 7,
Blg.290);22 (l) "Atty. Rufus Rodriguez pumadrino sa CDO," Setyembre 21, 2004 (Taon 7,Blg.
291);23 (m) "Kasunduan ng CDO at Pamilya Cordero," Setyembre 22, 2004 (Taon 7,Blg. 292); 24 (n)
"Bakit nagbayad ng P50 libo ang CDO," Setyembre 23, 2004 (Taon 7,Blg. 293). 25
In his September 8, 2004 column "Anggulo ng Batas" published in Hataw!, respondent wrote an
article "Reaksyon pa sa uod ng CDO Liver Spread."26
And respondent, in several episodes in September 2004 of his television program Kakampi Mo ang
Batas aired over UNTV, repeatedly complained of what complainant claimed to be the "same
baseless and malicious allegations/issues" against it.27
Complainant thus filed criminal complaints against respondent and several others for Libel and
Threatening to Publish Libel under Articles 353 and 356 of the Revised Penal Code before the Office
of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City and Valenzuela City. The complaints were pending at he time
of the filing of the present administrative complaint.28
In the criminal complaints pending before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Valenzuela City,
docketed as I.S. Nos. V-04-2917-2933, respondent filed his Entry of Appearance with Highly Urgent
Motion to Elevate These Cases to the Department of Justice,29 alleging:
xxxx

2.N. The question here is this: What gives, Honorable (???) Prosecutors of the Office of the City
Prosecutor of Valenzuela City?
xxxx
2.R. Can an ordinary person like Villarez simply be tossed around, waiting for miracles to happen?
2.S. Why? How much miracle is needed to happen here before this Office would ever act on his
complaint?
xxxx
8. With a City Prosecutor acting the way he did in the case filed by Villarez, and with an investigating
prosecutor virtually kowtowing to the wishes of his boss, the Chief Prosecutor, can Respondents
expect justice to be meted to them?
9. With utmost due respect, Respondents have reason to believe that justice would elude them in
this Office of the City Prosecutor of Valenzuela City, not because of the injustice of their cause, but,
more importantly, because of the injustice of the system;
10. Couple all of these with reports that many a government office in Valenzuela City had been the
willing recipient of too many generosities in the past of the Complainant, and also with reports that a
top official of the City had campaigned for his much coveted position in the past distributing products
of the Complainant, what would one expect the Respondents to think?
11. Of course, not to be lost sight of here is the attitude and behavior displayed even by mere staff
and underlings of this Office to people who dare complain against the Complainant in their
respective turfs. Perhaps, top officials of this Office should investigate and ask their associates and
relatives incognito to file, even if on a pakunwari basis only, complaints against the Complainant, and
they would surely be given the same rough and insulting treatment that Respondent Villarez got
when he filed his kidnapping charge here;30
And in a Motion to Dismiss [the case] for Lack of Jurisdiction 31 which respondent filed, as counsel for
his therein co-respondents-staffers of the newspaper Hataw!, before the Office of the City Prosecutor
of Valenzuela City, respondent alleged:
xxxx
5. If the Complainant or its lawyer merely used even a little of whatever is inside their thick
skulls, they would have clearly deduced that this Office has no jurisdiction over this
action.32 (Emphasis supplied)
xxxx

Meanwhile, on October 26, 2004, complainant filed a civil case against respondent and several
others, docketed as Civil Case No. 249-V-04,33 before the Regional Trial Court, Valenzuela City and
raffled to Branch 75 thereof.
The pending cases against him and the issuance of a status quo order notwithstanding, respondent
continued to publish articles against complainant 34 and to malign complainant through his television
shows.
Acting on the present administrative complaint, the Investigating Commissioner of the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines (IBP) came up with the following findings in his October 5, 2005 Report and
Recommendation:35
I.
xxxx
In Civil Case No. 249-V-04 entitled "Foodsphere, Inc. vs. Atty. [Melanio] Mauricio, et al.", the Order
dated 10 December 2004 (Annex O of the Complaint) was issued by Presiding Judge Dionisio C.
Sison which in part reads:
"Anent the plaintiffs prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order included in the instant
plaintiffs motion, this Court, inasmuch as the defendants failed to appear in court or file an
opposition thereto, is constrained to GRANT the said plaintiffs prater, as it is GRANTED, in order to
maintain STATUS QUO, and that all the defendants, their agents, representatives or any person
acting for and in behalf are hereby restrained/enjoined from further publishing, televising and/or
broadcasting any matter subject of the Complaint in the instant case more specifically the imputation
of vices and/or defects on plaintiff and its products."
Complainant alleged that the above-quoted Order was served on respondent by the Branch Sheriff
on 13 December 2004. Respondent has not denied the issuance of the Order dated 10 December
2004 or his receipt of a copy thereof on 13 December 2004.
Despite his receipt of the Order dated 10 December 2004, and the clear directive therein addressed
to him to desists [sic] from "further publishing, televising and/or broadcasting any matter subject of
the Complaint in the instant case more specifically the imputation of vices and/or defects on plaintiff
and its products", respondent in clear defiance of this Order came out with articles on the prohibited
subject matter in his column "Atty. Batas", 2004 in the December 16 and 17, 2004 issues of the
tabloid "Balitang Bayan Toro" (Annexes Q and Q-1 of the Complaint).
The above actuations of respondent are also in violation of Rule 13.03 of the Canon of Professional
Responsibilitywhich reads: "A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a
pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party."
II.
xxxx

In I.S. No. V.04-2917-2933, then pending before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Valenzuela City,
respondent filed his "Entry of Appearance with Highly Urgent Motion to Elevate These Cases To the
Department of Justice". In said pleading, respondent made the following statements:
xxxx
The above language employed by respondent undoubtedly casts aspersions on the integrity of the
Office of the City Prosecutor and all the Prosecutors connected with said Office. Respondent clearly
assailed the impartiality and fairness of the said Office in handling cases filed before it and did not
even design to submit any evidence to substantiate said wild allegations. The use by respondent of
the above-quoted language in his pleadings is manifestly violative of Canon 11 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which provides: "A lawyer [s]hall [o]bserve and [m]aintain [t]he [re]spect
[d]ue [t]o [t]he [c]ourts [a]nd [t]o [j]udicial [o]fficers [a]nd [s]hould [i]nsist [o]n [s]imilar [c]onduct [b]y
[o]thers."
III.
The "Kasunduan" entered into by the Spouses Cordero and herein complainant (Annex C of the
Complaint) was admittedly prepared, witnessed and signed by herein respondent.
xxxx
In its Order dated 16 August 2004, the Bureau of Food and Drugs recognized that the said
"Kasunduan" was not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order and policy, and this
accordingly dismissed the complaint filed by the Spouses Cordero against herein complainant.
However, even after the execution of the "Kasunduan" and the consequent dismissal of the
complaint of his clients against herein complainant, respondent inexplicably launched a media
offensive intended to disparage and put to ridicule herein complainant. On record are the numerous
articles of respondent published in 3 tabloids commencing from 31 August to 17 December 2004
(Annexes G to Q-1). As already above-stated, respondent continued to come out with these articles
against complainant in his tabloid columns despite a temporary restraining order issued against him
expressly prohibiting such actions. Respondent did not deny that he indeed wrote said articles and
submitted them for publication in the tabloids.
Respondent claims that he was prompted by his sense of public service, that is, to expose the
defects of complainants products to the consuming public. Complainant claims that there is a baser
motive to the actions of respondent. Complainant avers that respondent retaliated for complainants
failure to give in to respondents "request" that complainant advertise in the tabloids and television
programs of respondent. Complainants explanation is more credible. Nevertheless, whatever the
true motive of respondent for his barrage of articles against complainant does not detract from the
fact that respondent consciously violated the spirit behind the "Kasunduan" which he himself
prepared and signed and submitted to the BFAD for approval. Respondent was less than forthright
when he prepared said "Kasunduan" and then turned around and proceeded to lambaste
complainant for what was supposedly already settled in said agreement. Complainant would have
been better of with the BFAD case proceeding as it could have defended itself against the charges of

the Spouses Cordero. Complainant was helpless against the attacks of respondent, a media
personality. The actuations of respondent constituted, to say the least, deceitful conduct
contemplated under Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.36 (Underscoring supplied)
The IBP Board of Governors, by Resolution No. XVIII-2006-114 dated March 20, 2006, adopted the
findings and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner to suspend respondent from the
practice of law for two years.
The Court finds the findings/evaluation of the IBP well-taken.
The Court, once again, takes this occasion to emphasize the necessity for every lawyer to act and
comport himself in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the legal
profession,37 which confidence may be eroded by the irresponsible and improper conduct of a
member of the bar.
By the above-recited acts, respondent violated Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which mandates lawyers to refrain from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct. For, as the IBP found, he engaged in deceitful conduct by, inter alia, taking
advantage of the complaint against CDO to advance his interest to obtain funds for his Batas
Foundation and seek sponsorships and advertisements for the tabloids and his television program.
He also violated Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which mandates:
A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse
public opinion for or against a party.
For despite the pendency of the civil case against him and the issuance of a status quo order
restraining/enjoining further publishing, televising and broadcasting of any matter relative to the
complaint of CDO, respondent continued with his attacks against complainant and its products. At
the same time, respondent violated Canon 1 also of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
mandates lawyers to "uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law
and legal processes." For he defied said status quo order, despite his (respondents) oath as a
member of the legal profession to "obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted
authorities."
Further, respondent violated Canon 8 and Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which mandate, viz:
CANON 8 - A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor toward his professional
colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel.
Rule 8.01 A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive
or otherwise improper, by using intemperate language.
Apropos is the following reminder in Saberon v. Larong:38

To be sure, the adversarial nature of our legal system has tempted members of the bar to use strong
language in pursuit of their duty to advance the interests of their clients.
However, while a lawyer is entitled to present his case with vigor and courage, such
enthusiasm does not justify the use of offensive and abusive language. Language abounds with
countless possibilities for one to be emphatic but respectful, convincing but not derogatory,
illuminating but not offensive.
1awphi1

On many occasions, the Court has reminded members of the Bar to abstain from all offensive
personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor and reputation of a party or witness,
unless required by the justice of the cause with which he is charged. In keeping with the dignity of
the legal profession, a lawyers language even in his pleadings must be dignified.39 (Underscoring
supplied)
By failing to live up to his oath and to comply with the exacting standards of the legal profession,
respondent alsoviolated Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which directs a lawyer
to "at all times uphold the integrity and the dignity of the legal profession." 40
1avvph!1

The power of the media to form or influence public opinion cannot be underestimated. In Dalisay v.
Mauricio, Jr.,41 the therein complainant engaged therein-herein respondents services as "she was
impressed by the pro-poor and pro-justice advocacy of respondent, a media personality," 42 only to
later find out that after he demanded and the therein complainant paid an exorbitant fee, no action
was taken nor any pleadings prepared by him. Respondent was suspended for six months.
On reading the articles respondent published, not to mention listening to him over the radio and
watching him on television, it cannot be gainsaid that the same could, to a certain extent, have
affected the sales of complainant.
Back to Dalisay, this Court, in denying therein-herein respondents motion for reconsideration, took
note of the fact that respondent was motivated by vindictiveness when he filed falsification charges
against the therein complainant.43
To the Court, suspension of respondent from the practice of law for three years is, in the premises,
sufficient.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Melanio Mauricio is, for violation of the lawyers oath and breach of ethics of the
legal profession as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility, SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for three years effective upon his receipt of this Decision. He is warned that a
repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.
Let a copy of this Decision be attached to his personal record and copies furnished the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator for dissemination to all courts.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. Nos. L-10236-48

January 31, 1958

THE PFOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
EUSTACIO DE LUNA, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor Felicisimo R. Rosete for appellant.
Luis F. Gabinete for appellee Eustacio de Luna.
Pedro B. Ayuda for appellee Estella R. Gordo.
Alejandro P. Capitulo for appellees Angelo T. Lopez and Alawadin I. Bandon.
Fransisco de la Fuente for appellee Oreste Arellano y Rodriguez.
Bienvenido Peralta for appellee Abraham C. Calaguas.
Santos L. Parina, Generosa H. Hubilla, Maria Velez y Estrellas, Jaime P. Marco, Roque J. Briones,
Balbino P. Fajardo and Emilio P. Jardinico, Jr. in their own behalf.
CONCEPCION, J.:
This is an appeal, taken by the prosecution, from an order, of the Court of First Instance of Manila,
granting a motion to dismiss filed by the defendant in each one of the above entitled cases, for lack
of jurisdiction and, also, upon the ground that the facts alleged in the amended informations, filed in
said cases, do not constitute the crime of contempt of court with which said defendants (Eustacio de
Luna, Jaime P. Marco, Santos L. Parina, Estela R. Gordo, Angelo T. Lopez, Generosa H. Hubilla
Oreste Arellano y Rodriguez, Abraham C. Calaguas, Roque J. Briones, Alawadin T. Bandon, Balbino
P. Fajardo, Maria Velez y Estrellas and Emilio P. Jardinico, Jr., are charged. It is alleged in said
amended informations that, on or about the 22nd day of December, 1954, in the City of Manila,
Philippines, the person accused in each one Of these cases.
. . . well knowing that he has not passed the bar examination and was not in any way
authorized to take his oath as a lawyer and after haing been duly informed and notified that
certain portions of Republic Act No. 972, known as the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953, are
unconstitutional and therefore void and without force and effect, and that all the petitions of
the candidates including the accused who failed in the examinations of 1946 to 1952,
inclusive, for admission to the bar were refused and denied by the Resolution of the
Honorable, the Supreme Court, promulgated on March 18, 1954, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and contemptously disobey and resist in an insolent and defiant manner the said
Resolution of the Supreme Court directed to him and each and everyone of the petitioners,
and perform acts constituting improper conduct and manifestations that tend directly or
indirectly to impede, obstruct or degrade the administration of justice in all courts of the
Philippines and impair the respect to and attack the authority and dignity of the Honorable,
the Supreme Court and all other inferior courts by then and there, without being lawfully
authorized to do so, taking an oath as a lawyer before a notary public and making
manifestations to that effect before the Honorable, the Supreme Court.
After quoting from Rule 64, section 4, of the Rules of Court, the pertinent part of which reads:
Where the contempt . . . has been committed against a superior court or judge, or against an
officer appointed by it, the charge may be filed with such superior court . . . (Emphasis our.).

and from the Corpus Juris Secundum, the rule to the effect that .
It is a well-established rule that the power to judge the contempt rest exclusively with the
court contemned and that no court is authorized to punish a contempt against another.
Accordingly, disobedience of the order of a state court is not punishable as for contempt by a
court of another state or by a federal court.
the lower court concluded that the contemptuous act allegedly committed by appellees herein "was
committed not against" said court "but against the Supreme Court of the Philippines" and that,
accordingly, the Court of First Instance of Manila "has no jurisdiction to try and punish" the appellees
herein.
This conclusion is untenable. The above-quoted provisions of the Rules of court is permissive in
nature. It is merely declaratory of the inherent power of courts to punish those guilty of contempt
against the same. It does not declare that jurisdiction of the court concerned to so punish the guilty
party is exclusive. Indeed, in promulgating said Rules of Court, this Court could not have validly
denied to other Courts, to which the jurisdiction may have been vested by statute, the right to
exercise said authority, for the rule-making power of the Supreme Court, under Article VIII, section
13, of the Constitution, is limited to the promulgation of "rules concerning pleadings, practice and
procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law," and does not extend to the
determination of the jurisdiction of the courts of justice in the Philippines. In fact, section 2 of said
Article VIII of the Constitution explicitly ordains that "Congress shall have the power to define,
prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts," thereby implying, necessarily, that
such power is withheld from the Supreme Court. Needless to say, the aforesaid view, quoted from
Corpus Juris Secundum, is good law only "unless otherwise provided by stattute" (17 C.J.S., 81),
and such statute, providing "otherwise", exists in the Philippines.
Moreover, the amended informantions specifically allege that the defendants herein did "perform
acts constituting improper conduct and manifestations that the tend directly or indirectly to impede,
obstruct or degrade the administration of justice in all courts of the Philippines and impair the respect
to and attack the authority and dignity of the Honorable, the Supreme Court and all other inferior
courts." To put it differently the acts charged werecommitted, according to said amended
informations, in contempt of the Supreme Court, as well as of "all other courts of the
Philippines," including the Court of First Instance of Manila. Thus, the very authorities cited in the
order appealed from do not justify the same.
Again , section 236 of Act No. 190 and section 6 of Rule 64 of the Rules of Court provide that a
person guilty of any of the acts of contempt defined, respectively, in section 232 of said Act and
section 3 of said Rule 64, "may be fined not exceeding one thousand pesos, or imprisoned not more
than six months." Pursuant to section 44 of the Revised Judiciary Act of 1948 (Republic Act No.
296), courts of first instance have original jurisdiction over criminal cases "in which the penalty
provided by law is imprisonment for more than six months, or a fine of more than two thousand
pesos." Inasmuch as a fine not exceeding P1,000 may be imposed in the cases of contempt under
consideration, it follows that the same are within the original jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance
of Manila, although such jurisdiction is concurrent with that of the Supreme Court, in view of the
inherent power of the latter to punish those guilty of contempt against the same.
It may not be amiss to add that, in the event of such concurrent jurisdiction over cases of contempt
of court, it would be a good practice to acknowledge the preferencial right of the court against which
the act of contempt was committed to try and punish the guilty party. However, insofar as appellees
herein are concerned, on February 3, 1955, this Court passed and promulgated a resolution of the
following tenor:

The Court received from Pedro B. Ayuda a communication of the following tenor:
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
SUPREME COURT
MANILA
IN-RE ATTORNEYS WHO TOOK THE OATH BEFORE A NOTARY PUBLIC UNDER THE
PROVISIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 972.
Oreste Arellano y Rodriguez.
Pedro B. Ayuda.
Alawadin I. Bandon.
Roque J. Briones.
Abraham C. Calaguas.
Balbino P. Fajardo.
Claro C. Gofredo.
Estela R. Gordo.
Generoso H. Hubilla.
Emilio P. Jardinico, Jr.
Angelo T. Lopez.
Eustacio de Luna.
Jaime P. Marco.
Santos L. Parina.
Florencio P. Sugarol, and
Maria Velez y Estrellas.
Attorneys.
xxx

xxx

xxx.

MANIFESTATION
COMES NOW the undersigned for and in representation of the above-named attorneys and
to this Honorable Court, hereby respectfully makes manifestation that they have taken the
oath of office as Attorneys-at-Law on December 22, 1954 before Mr. Anatolio A. Alcova, a
Notary Public in and for the City of Manila, with office at R-201 Regina Building, Escolta,
Manila, in pursuance of the provisions of Republic Act No. 972;
There are attached to this manifestation seventeen (17) copies of the oath of office as
Annexes 'A', 'B', 'C', 'D', 'E', 'F', 'G', 'H', 'I', 'K', 'L', 'M', 'N', 'O', 'P', and 'Q'.
Messrs, Alejandro P. Capitulo, Claro C. Godofredo, and Florencio P. Sugarol of the group
took the bar examination in August, 1954. They also had taken their oath before this
Honorable Tribunal, January 20, 1955.
This manifestation is made for all legal effects as they will practice law in all the Courts of the
Philippines.
Manila, Philippines, January 28, 1955.

(Sgd.) PEDRO B. AYUDA

In his own behalf and on behalf of the others in his capacity as president of the 19461952 BAR EXAMINEES ASSOCIATION, 2034 Azcarraga, Manila.
It appearing that the persons mentioned, except Capitulo, Gefredo, and Sugarol, have not passed
the examinations, it was resolved:
A. To refer the matter to the Fiscal, City of Manila for investigation and appropriate action in
connection with Section 3 (e), Rule 64;
B. As Pedro Ayuda has assumed to be an attorney without authority, he is given 10 days
from notice thereof, within which to explain why he should not be dealt with for contempt of
the Court;
C. The notary public Anatolio A. Alcoba, member of the Bar, who has illegally administered
the oath to the said persons in disregard of this Court's resolution denying them admission to
the Bar (except Capitulo, Gofredo and Sugarol), is hereby given ten days to show cause why
he should not be disbarred or suspended from the pratice of law;
D. The clerk of Court is directed to furnish copy of this resolution to the Court of Appeals and
to all courts of first instance, the Court of Industrial Relations, the Public Service
Commission, and the Department of Justice;
E. As to Capitulo, Gofredo and Sugarol, proper action will be taken later in their respective
cases. (pp. 36-37, rec., G.R. No. L-10245.)
It is clear, from the foregoing resolution, that this Court did not intend to exercise its concurrent
jurisdiction over the acts of alleged contempt committed by appellees herein and that we preferred
that the corresponding action be taken by the City Fiscal of Manila in the Court of First Instance of
Manila. In fine, the latter had no jurisdiction over the cases at the bar.
The next question for determination is whetehr the acts charged in the amended informations
constitute contempt of court. After quoting the allegation of said amended informations to the effect
that the defendant in each one of the instant cases.
. . . did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and contemptuously disobey and resist in an
insolent snd defiant manner the said Resolution of the Supreme Court directed to him, and
each and everyone of the petitioners and perform acts constituting improper conduct and
manifestations that tend directly and indirectly to impede, obstruct or degrade the
administration of justice. . .
the lower court had the following to say:
From this allegation, there is no hint whatsoever that any command, order or notification
from the judicial court or any non-judicial person, committee or body clothed by law with
power to punish for contempt has been disobeyed or violated by the herein accused.
Moreover, there is nothing shown in the resolution of the Honorable Supreme Court of March

18, 1954 dircting the accused not to take their oath as lawyers. The mere fact of taking an
oath by any person as a lawyer does not make him automatically a lawyer without having
completed the requirements prescribed by the Supreme Court for the admission to the
practice by law. It is necessary before his admission to the Bar that he passes the required
bar examinations and is admitted by the Supreme Court to practice as attorney. Our statutes
punishas criminal contempt one 'assuming to be an attorney or an officer of a court and
acting as such without authority.' (par. F. Rule 64, Rules of Court.) The mere taking of oath of
lawyers by herein accused, in the humble opinion of this Court, is not tantamount to practice
law. However, if this had taken one step further, as for example, after taking their oaths, they
have held out themselves as lawyers to the public, received cases for litigants, appeared
before any court of justice personally or by filing pleadings therewith, would be considered
that they are really engaged in the practice of law. These accused have not committed any of
these acts as enunciated by our Supreme Tribunal in the case of Bosque and Ney, 8 Phil.,
146, nor have they disobeyed or defied any command, order or notification of this Court or of
the Honorable Supreme Court. What they have done only was the taking of their oath as
lawyers before a notary public who was not authorized by law to take their oath as lawyers,
as the latter can only swear as such before the Supreme Court or any member thereof.
Pursuant to the above stated reasons, this Court is of the opinion and so holds that no
criminal contempt has been committed by the herein accused before this Court and neither
before the highest Tribunal of this land.
The aforementioned quotation from the amended informations is, however, incomplete. It did not
include the allegation to the effect that the defendant in each one of the cases ar bar took his "oath
as a lawyer before a notary public" and filed the manifestation transcribed in the resolutionabove
quoted,
well knowing that he has not passed the bar examination and was not in any way authorized
to take his oath as a lawyer and after having been duly informed and notified that certain
portions of Republic Act No. 972, known as the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953, are
unconstitutional and therefore void and without force and effect, and that all the petition of
the candidates including the accused who failed in the examinations of 1946 to 1952,
inclusive for admission to the bar were refused and denied by the resolution of the
Honorable Supreme Court, on March 18, 1954, . . .
In other words, appellees knew that they did not pass the bar examination. Although they, likewise,
sought admission to the Bar under the provisions of Republic Act No. 972, known as the Bar
Flunkers Act of 1953, they were subsequently notified of the resolution of this Court denying said
petition. Inasmuch as the oath as lawyer is a prerequisite to the practice of law and may be taken
only, before the Supreme Court, by those authorized by the latter to engage in such practice, the
resolution denying the aforementioned petition of appellees herein, implied, necessarily, a denial of
the right to said oath, as well as a prohibition of or injunction against the taking thereof. When, this
notwithstanding, appellees took the oath before a notary public, and formally advised this Court, not
only of such fact, but also, that "they will practice in all the courtr of the Philippines," they,
accordingly, disobeyed the order implied, in said resolution, thus violating section 232 of Act No. 190,
which declares in part:
A person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished as for contempt:
1. Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, judgment, or command of a
court, or injunction granted by a court or judge.

and section 3, subdivision (b), Rule 64, of the Rules of Court, which is identical.
This case is, in principle, analogous to that of U.S. vs. Ney and Bosque (8 Phil., 146), which involved
two lawyers, an American, C.W. Ney, and a Spaniard, Juan Garcia Bosque, who sent out a circular,
signed "Ney and Bosque", stating that they had established an office for the general practice of law
in all courts of the Islands and that Bosque would devote himself especially to consultation and office
work relating to Spanish Law. Accused of contempt of court, both were convicted as charged,
although upon different grounds. As regards the Spaniard, it was held that a former order of this
Court denying his admission to the practice of in the Philippines, on account of alienage, "was
directly binding upon him;" that the aforementioned circular "amounted to an assertation of his right
and purpose" to engage in such practice of law; and that "consequently the conduct of the defendant
Bosque amounts to disobedience of an order made in a proceeding to which he was a party." As
regards Ney, he was found guilty of "misbehaviour" committed by "an officer of the court."
Likewise, by their aforementioned acts, as set forth in the amended informations, appellees herein
expressed clearly their intent to, and did, in fact, challenged and defy the authority of this Court to
pass upon and settle, in a final and conclusive manner, the issue whether or not they should be
admitted to the bar, as well as, embarrass, hinder and obstruct the administration of justice and
impair the respect due to the courts of justice in general, and the Supreme Court, in particular. Thus,
they performed acts constituting an "improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede,
obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice," in violation of section 3, subdivision (b) of said
Rule 64.
. . . Acts which bring the court into disrepute or disrespect or which offend its dignity, affront
its majesty, or challenge its authority constitute contempt of court. . . . (12 Am. Jur. 395.).
The lower court is, seemingly, under the impression that appellees could not be guilty of contempt of
court unless they actually engaged in the practice of law or "held out to the public" as lawyers "by
means of circulars." Such view is inaccurate, for assuming to be an attorney . . . and acting as such
without authority," is, only one of the means by which contempt of court may be committed, under
said Rule 64, section 3, of the Rules of Court. At any rate, by taking "'the oath of office as attorneyat-law" and notifying the Supreme Court that they had done so and would "practice law in all courts
of the Philippines", the appellees had for all intents and purposes, "held out to the public" as such
attorneys-at-law (U.S. vs. Ney and Mosque, supra).
Wherefore, the order appealed from is hereby reversed, and let the records of these cases be
remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings not inconsistent with this decision. It is so
ordered.
Bengzon, Paras, C.J., Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Reyes, J.B.L.,
Endencia, and Felix, JJ., concur.

A.C. No. 244

March 29, 1963

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR DISBARMENT OF TELESFORO A. DIAO,


vs.
SEVERINO G. MARTINEZ, petitioner.
BENGZON, C.J.:
After successfully passing the corresponding examinations held in 1953, Telesforo A. Diao was
admitted to the Bar.
About two years later, Severino Martinez charged him with having falsely represented in his
application for such Bar examination, that he had the requisite academic qualifications. The matter
was in due course referred to the Solicitor General who caused the charge to be investigated; and
later he submitted a report recommending that Diao's name be erased from the roll of attorneys,
because contrary to the allegations in his petition for examination in this Court, he (Diao) had not
completed, before taking up law subjects, the required pre-legal education prescribed by the
Department of Private Education, specially, in the following particulars:
(a) Diao did not complete his high school training; and
(b) Diao never attended Quisumbing College, and never obtained his A.A. diploma therefrom
which contradicts the credentials he had submitted in support of his application for
examination, and of his allegation therein of successful completion of the "required pre-legal
education".
Answering this official report and complaint, Telesforo A. Diao, practically admits the first charge: but
he 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 (according to him) is equivalent to
a high school diploma, and upon his return to civilian life, the educational authorities considered his
army service as the equivalent of 3rd and 4th year high school.
We have serious doubts, about the validity of this claim, what with respondent's failure to exhibit any
certification to that effect (the equivalence) by the proper school officials. However, it is unnecessary
to dwell on this, since the second charge is clearly meritorious. Diao never obtained his A.A. from
Quisumbing College; and yet his application for examination represented him as an A.A. graduate
(1940-1941) of such college. Now, asserting he had obtained his A.A. title from the Arellano
University in April, 1949, he says he was erroneously certified, due to confusion, as a graduate of
Quisumbing College, in his school records.

Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and
approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to prove
their case not covered by this stipulation of facts.
1wph1.t

This explanation is not acceptable, for the reason that the "error" or "confusion" was obviously of his
own making. Had his application disclosed his having obtained A.A. from Arellano University, it would
also have disclosed that he got it in April, 1949, thereby showing that he began his law studies (2nd
semester of 1948-1949) six months before obtaining his Associate in Arts degree. And then he would
not have been permitted to take the bar tests, because our Rules provide, and the applicant for the
Bar examination must affirm under oath, "That previous to the study of law, he had successfully and
satisfactorily completed the required pre-legal education(A.A.) as prescribed by the Department of
Private Education," (emphasis on "previous").
Plainly, therefore, Telesforo A. Diao was not qualified to take the bar examinations; but due to his
false representations, he was allowed to take it, luckily passed it, and was thereafter admitted to the
Bar. Such admission having been obtained under false pretenses must be, and is hereby revoked.
The fact that he hurdled the Bar examinations is immaterial. Passing such examinations is not the
only qualification to become an attorney-at-law; taking the prescribed courses of legal study in the
regular manner is equally essential..
The Clerk is, therefore, ordered to strike from the roll of attorneys, the name of Telesforo A. Diao.
And the latter is required to return his lawyer's diploma within thirty days. So ordered.
Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, Regala and
Makalintal, JJ., concur.

Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6397


AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE INTEGRATION OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR, AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress


assembled:
Section 1. Within two years from the approval of this Act, the Supreme Court may adopt rules of
court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit in order to
raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the bar
to discharge its public responsibility more effectively.
Section 2. The sum of five hundred thousand pesos is hereby appropriated, out of any funds in the
National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to carry out the purposes of this Act. Thereafter, such

sums as may be necessary for the same purpose shall be included in the annual appropriations for
the Supreme Court.
Section 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Approved, September 17, 1971.

Presidential Decree No. 181

CONSTITUTING THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES INTO A BODY CORPORATE

AND PROVIDING GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE THERETO FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF


ITS PURPOSES

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of the Philippines, by virtue of its rule-making power and
conformably to the provisions of Republic Act No. 6397, has ordained the integration of the
Philippine Bar by Resolution of January 9, 1973, for the fundamental purposes of elevating the
standards of the legal profession, improving the administration of justice, and enabling the Bar to
discharge its public responsibility more effectively;
WHEREAS, pursuant to the said Resolution and in accordance with Court Rule 139-A, effective
January 16, 1973, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines has been organized, its various organs have
been established, and its officers, both national and local, have been duly elected and have entered
into the exercise and discharge of their respective powers and duties; and
WHEREAS, the Integrated Bar, in the pursuit of its lofty objectives, obviously merits the aid and
support of the people and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, particularly in the form
of direct material and financial assistance, at least during the initial years of its corporate existence;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the


powers vested in me by the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972, and General Order
No. 1 dated September 22, 1972, and Proclamation No. 1104 dated January 17, 1973, do hereby
order and decree as part of the law of the land that;
Section 1. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines is hereby constituted into a body corporate, by the
name, style and title of Integrated Bar of the Philippines, with principal office in the Greater Manila
Area.
Sec. 2. The Integrated Bar shall have perpetual succession and shall have all legal powers
appertaining to a juridical person, particularly the power to sue and be sued; to contract and be
contracted with; to hold real and personal property as may be necessary for corporate purposes; to
mortgage, lease, sell, transfer, convey and otherwise dispose of the same; to solicit and receive
public and private donations and contributions; to accept and receive real and personal property by
gift, devise or bequest; to levy and collect membership dues and special assessments from its
members; to adopt a seal and to alter the same at pleasure; to have offices and conduct its affairs in
the Greater Manila Area and elsewhere; to make and adopt by-laws, rules and regulations not
inconsistent with the laws of the Philippines or the Rules of Court, particularly Rule 139-A thereof;
and generally to do all such acts and things as may be necessary or proper to carry into effect and
promote the purposes for which it was organized.
Sec. 3. All donations or contributions which may be made by private entities or persons to the
Integrated Bar shall be exempt from income and gift taxes, and the same shall further be deductible
in full and shall not be included for purposes of computing the maximum amount deductible under
Section 30, paragraph (h), of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended.
Sec. 4. All taxes, charges and fees that may be paid by the Integrated Bar or any of its Chapters to
the Government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof shall be refundable annually to
the former for the period extending up to December 31, 1978.
Sec. 5. The Integrated Bar shall receive by way of donation or lease at a nominal rent from the
Government of the Republic of the Philippines a parcel of land in the Greater Manila Area as a
suitable site for the construction of a building for the Integrated Bar, with full power to mortgage or
otherwise encumber the same.
Sec. 6. The foregoing provisions shall without prejudice to the exercise by the Supreme Court of its
rule-making power under the Constitution or to the provisions of Court Rule 139-A.
Sec. 7. The sum of five hundred thousand pesos is hereby appropriated, out of any funds in the
National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the purposes of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines for the fiscal year 1973-1974.
Sec. 8. This Decree shall take effect immediately.

Done in the City of Manila, this 4th day of May, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and
seventy-three.

(Sgd.) Ferdinand E. Marcos


President of the Philippines

By the President:

(Sgd.) Alejandro Melchor


Executive Secretary