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A. The Lawyer and Society 6.

to abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact


prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless
Sps. Concepcion vs. Atty. Dela Rosa, AC No. 10681, February 3,
required by the justice of the cause with which he is charged;
2015
7. not to encourage either the commencement or the continuance of an
Philippine Association of Court Employees (Pace), Represented By
action or proceeding, or delay any mans cause for any corrupt motive
Its President, Atty. Virginia C. Rafael vs. Atty. Edna M. Alibutdan-
or interest;
Diaz, A.C. No. 10134, November 26, 2014
Atty. Alonso vs. Atty. Relamida, August 3, 2010 8. never to reject, for any consideration personal to himself, the cause
Overgaard vs. Valdez, Sept 30, 2008 of the defenseless or oppressed;
Guevarra vs. Eala, Aaugust 1, 2007 9. in the defense of a person accused of a crime, by all fair and
Donton vs. Tansingco, June 27, 2008 honorable means, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of
Rodica vs. Lazaro, Aaugust 23, 2012 the accused, to present every defense that the law permits, to the end
Bengco vs. Bernardo, June 13, 2012
that no person may be deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of
Catalan vs. Silvosa, July 24, 2012
law.
Code of Professional Responsibility Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
Chapter 1: immoral or deceitful conduct.
Conviction for crimes involving moral turpitude a number of lawyers
Lawyer and Society
have been suspended or disbarred for conviction of crimes involving
CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the
moral turpitude such as:
land and promote respect for law and for legal processes
1. estafa
Duties of Attorneys:
2. bribery
1. to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to
3. murder
support the Constitution and obey the laws of the Philippines;
4. seduction
2. to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and
5. abduction
judicial officers;
6. smuggling
3. to counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings only as appear to
7. falsification of public documents
him as just, and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly
Morality as understood in law This is a human standard based
debatable under the laws;
on natural moral law which is embodied in mans conscience and
4. to employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to him,
which guides him to do good and avoid evil.
such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and never
Moral Turpitude: any thing that is done contrary to justice, honesty,
seek to mislead the judge or any judicial officer by an artifice or false
modesty or good morals.
statement of fact or law;
Immoral Conduct: that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or
5. to maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to
shameless and which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the
preserve the secrets of his client, and to accept no compensation in
good and respectable members of the community (Arciga vs.
connection with his clients business except from him or with his
Maniwag, 106 SCRA 591).
knowledge and approval;
Grossly Immoral Conduct: One that is so corrupt and false as to
constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be
reprehensible to a high degree; it is a WILLFUL, FLAGRANT or legal services for the filing of a case against the person(s) who caused
SHAMELESS ACT which shows a MORAL INDIFFERENCE to the the accident(s).
opinion of respectable members of the community. (Narag vs. Narag, CANON 2 A lawyer shall make his legal services available
1998) in an efficient and convenient manner compatible with the
Rule 1.02 A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at independence, integrity and effectiveness of the
defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. profession.
Rule 1.03 A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest, Rule 2.01 A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid reasons, the
encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any mans cause. cause of the defenseless or oppressed.
Rule 1.04 A lawyer shall encourage his clients to avoid, end or Rule 2.02 In such a case, even if a lawyer does not accept a case,
settle the controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement. he shall not refuse to render legal advise to the person concerned if
If a lawyer finds that his clients cause is defenseless, it is his
only to the extent necessary to safeguard latters rights.
burden/duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and submit, rather than
Rule 2.03 a lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act
traverse the incontrovertible.
designed primarily to solicit legal business.
It is unprofessional for a lawyer to volunteer advice to bring a lawsuit,
Primary characteristics which distinguish the legal profession from
except in rare cases where the blood, relationship or trust makes it his
business;
duty to do so.
1. duty of service, of which the emolument is a by product, and in which
Temper clients propensity to litigate.
one may attain the highest eminence without making such money;
Should not be an instigator of controversy but a mediator for concord
2. a relation as an officer of court to the administration of justice
and conciliator for compromise.
involving thorough sincerity, integrity and reliability;
The law violated need not be a penal law. Moral Turpitude
3. a relation to clients in the highest degree of fiduciary;
everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good
4. a relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by candor, fairness
morals.
and unwillingness to resort to current business methods of advertising
Give advice tending to impress upon the client and his undertaking
and encroachment on their practice or dealing with their clients.
exact compliance with the strictest principles of moral law.
Defenseless not in the position to defend themselves due to
Until a statute shall have been construed and interpreted by
poverty, weakness, ignorance or other similar reasons.
competent adjudication, he is free and is entitled to advise as to its
Oppressed victims of acts of cruelty, unlawful exaction, domination
validity and as to what he conscientiously believes to be its just
or excessive use of authority.
meaning and extent.
Rule on Advertisements
A lawyer has the obligation not to encourage suits. This is so as to
General Rule: No advertisements allowed. The most worthy and
prevent barratry and ambulance chasing.
effective advertisement possible is the establishment of a well-merited
Barratry offense of frequently exciting and stirring up quarrels and
reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust.
suits, either at law or otherwise; Lawyers act of fomenting suits
among individuals and offering his legal services to one of them.
Lawyers may not advertise their services or expertise nor should not
Ambulance Chasing Act of chasing victims of accidents for the
resort to indirect advertisements for professional employment, such as
purpose of talking to the said victims (or relatives) and offering his
furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments, or procuring his photograph
to be published in connection with causes in which the lawyer has been CANON 3 A lawyer in making known is legal services
engaged or concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the shall use only true, honest, fair dignified and objective
interest involved, the importance of the lawyers position, and all other information or statement of facts.
self-laudation. Rule 3.01 A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false,
fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-auditory or
Exceptions/ Permissible advertisements: unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal
1. Reputable law lists, in a manner consistent with the standards of
services.
conduct imposed by the canons, of brief biographical and informative
Violation of Rule 3.01 is unethical, whether done by him personally or
data, are allowed.
through another with his permission.
2. Ordinary simple professional Card. It may contain only a statement
Rule 3.02 In the choice of a firm name, no false, misleading, or
of his name, the name of the law firm which he is connected with,
assumed name shall be used. The continued use of the name of a
address, telephone number and the special branch of law practiced.
deceased partner is permissible provided that the firm indicates in
3. A simple announcement of the opening of a law firm or of changes in
the partnership, associates, firm name or office address, being for the all its communication that said partner is deceased.
convenience of the profession, is not objectionable. Rule 3.03 Where a partner accepts public office, he shall withdraw
4. Advertisements or simple announcement of the existence of a lawyer from the firm and his name shall be dropped from the firm name
or his law firm posted anywhere it is proper such as his place of unless the law allows him to practice law concurrently.
business or residence except courtrooms and government buildings. Rule 3.04 A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of value to
5. Advertisements or announcement in any legal publication, including representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for,
books, journals, and legal magazines. publicity to attract legal business.
Rule 2.04 A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than those It is unethical to use the name of a foreign firm.
customarily or prescribed, unless circumstances so warrant. Death of a partner does not extinguish attorney-client relationship
A lawyer cannot delay the approval of a compromise agreement with the law firm.
entered into between parties, just because his attorneys fees were Negligence of a member in the law firm is negligence of the firm.
not provided for in the agreement.
Rule: A lawyer cannot compromise the case without clients consent CANON 4 A lawyer shall participate in the improvement of
(special authority). Exception: Lawyer has exclusive management of the legal system by initiating or supporting efforts in law
the procedural aspect of the litigation (e.g. Submission for decision on reform and in the administration of justice.
the evidence so far presented. But in case where lawyer is confronted Examples: Presenting position papers or resolutions for the
with an emergency and prompt/urgent action is necessary to protect introduction of pertinent bills in congress; Petitions with the Supreme
clients interest and theres no opportunity for consultation, the lawyer Court for the amendment of the Rules of Court.
may compromise.
Rule: Refrain from charging rates lower than the customary rates. CANON 5 A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal
Valid Justification: relatives, co-lawyers, too poor developments, participate in continuing legal education
programs, support efforts to achieve high standards in law
schools as well as in the practical training of students and
assist in disseminating information regarding the law and establishing the innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible
jurisprudence. and is cause of disciplinary action.
Rule 6.02 A lawyer in the government service shall not use his
Objectives of integration of the Bar public position to promote or advance his private interest, nor allow
To elevate the standards of the legal profession the latter to interfere with his public duties.
To improve the administration of justice Rule 6.03 A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service,
To enable the Bar to discharge its responsibility more effectively. accept engagements or employment in connection with any matter
The three-fold obligation of a lawyer in which he had intervened while in said service.
First, he owes it to himself to continue improving his knowledge of Various ways a government lawyer leaves government service:
the laws; 1. retirement
Second, he owes it to his profession to take an active interest in the 2. resignation
maintenance of high standards of legal education; 3. expiration of the term of office
Third, he owes it to the lay public to make the law a part of their 4. dismissal
social consciousness. 5. abandonment
Q: What are the pertinent statutory provisions regarding this
CANON 6 These canons shall apply to lawyers in Rule?
government service in the discharge of their official tasks.
Public Officials include elective and appointive officials and A: Sec. 3 (d) RA 3019 as amended and Sec. 7 (b), RA 6713
employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the career or non-
career service, including military and police personnel, whether or not Sec 3. Corrupt practice of Public Officers. In addition to acts or omission
they receive compensation, regardless of amount. (Sec. 3 (b), RA of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall
6713). constitute corrupt practice of any public officer and are hereby declared to
The law requires the observance of the following norms of conduct be unlawful:
by every public official in the discharge and execution of their official
duties: (d) accepting or having any member of his family accept employment in a
1. commitment to public interest private enterprise which has pending official business with him during the
2. professionalism pendency thereof or within one year after termination.
3. justness and sincerity
4. political neutrality Section 7 (b) of RA 6713 prohibits officials from doing any of the following
5. responsiveness to the public acts:
6. nationalism and patriotism
7. commitment to democracy 1. own, control, manage or accept employment as officer, employee,
8. simple living (Sec. 4, RA 6713) consultant, counsel, broker, agent, trustee or nominee in any private
Rule 6.01 The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public enterprise regulated, supervised or licensed by their office unless
prosecution is not to convict but to see that justice is done. The expressly allowed by law.
suppression of facts or the concealment of witnesses capable of
These prohibitions shall continue to apply for a period of one (1) year others, Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
after resignation, retirement, or separation from public office, except in (CPR). Complainants alleged that from 1997 until August
2008,3 respondent served as their retained lawyer and
the case of subparagraph (b) (2) above, but the professional concerned
counsel. In this capacity, respondent handled many of their
cannot practice his profession in connection with any matter before the
cases and was consulted on various legal matters, among
office he used to be with, in which case the one year prohibition shall
others, the prospect of opening a pawnshop business towards
likewise apply. the end of 2005. Said business, however, failed to materialize.
Aware of the fact that complainants had money intact from
Lawyers in the government service are prohibited to engage in the
their failed business venture, respondent, on March 23, 2006,
private practice of their profession unless authorized by the
called Henry to borrow money. The checks were personally
constitution or law, provided that such practice will not conflict or tend
encashed by respondent. Demanded the return of payment
to conflict with their official functions.
but failed to do so. Respondent denied borrowing
Misconduct in office as a public official may be a ground for
P2,500,000.00 from complainants, insisting that Nault was the
disciplinary action (if of such character as to affect his qualification as
real debtor.18 He also claimed that complainants had been
lawyer or to show moral delinquency).
attempting to collect from Nault and that he was engaged for
Should recommend the acquittal of the accused whose conviction is
that specific purpose.
on appeal, IF he finds no legal basis to sustain the conviction.
Includes restriction is representing conflicting interest (e.g. Accepting The IBP Report and Recommendation
engagements vs. former employer, PNB) In fine, the Investigating Commissioner concluded that
The OSG is not authorized to represent a public official at any state respondents actions degraded the integrity of the legal
of a criminal case. profession and clearly violated Rule 16.04 and Canons 7 and
16 of the CPR. Respondents failure to appear during the
mandatory conferences further showed his disrespect to the
XIII. Code of Professional Responsibility IBP-CBD.

B. The Lawyer and Society Accordingly, the Investigating Commissioner recommended


that respondent be disbarred and that he be ordered to return
Sps. Concepcion vs. Atty. Dela Rosa, AC No. 10681, February the P2,500,000.00 to complainants, with stipulated interest.
3, 2015
ISSUE: Whether or not respondent should be held
SPOUSES HENRY A. CONCEPCION AND BLESILDA S. administratively liable for
CONCEPCION v. ATTY. ELMER A. DELA ROSA, A.C. No. violating the CPR.
10681, February 03, 2015 FACTS: This is an administrative
HELD: The Court concurs with the IBPs findings except as to
case that stemmed from a Verified Complaint1 filed by
its recommended penalty and its directive to return the amount
complainants Spouses Henry A. Concepcion (Henry) and
of P2,500,000.00, with legal interest, to complainants. the
Blesilda S. Concepcion (Blesilda; collectively complainants)
complainants and incurring the same obligation.
against respondent Atty. Elmer A. dela Rosa (respondent),
charging him with gross misconduct for violating, among
Under Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the CPR, a lawyer is PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF COURT EMPLOYEES (PACE),
prohibited from borrowing money from his client unless the represented by its President, ATTY. VIRGINIA C.
clients interests are fully protected: RAFAEL, Complainant,
vs.
ATTY. EDNA M. ALIBUTDAN-DIAZ, Respondent.
CANON 16 A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and
properties of his DECISION
clients that may come into his possession.
MENDOZA, J.:
Rule 16.04 A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client
unless the clients interests are fully protected by the nature of This resolves the complaint for suspension or disbarment filed by the
the case or by independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend Philippine Association of Court Employees (PACE) through its president,
money to a client except, when in the interest of justice, he has Atty. Virginia C. Rafael (Atty. Rafael), on July 17, 2008 against Atty. Edna
to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is M. Alibutdan-Diaz (Atty. Diaz), former National Treasurer of PACE, before
handling for the client. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). 1

The Court has repeatedly emphasized that the relationship PACE, the umbrella association of 1st and 2nd level court employees in
the Judiciary held its 11th National Convention/Seminar in Davao City
between a lawyer and his client is one imbued with trust and
from October 6 to 8, 2005. As then National Treasurer of PACE, Atty. Diaz
confidence. And as true as any natural tendency goes, this was entrusted with all the money matters of PACE.
trust and confidence is prone to abuse. The rule against
borrowing of money by a lawyer from his client is intended to The complainant alleged that the liquidation for the 11th PACE national
prevent the lawyer from taking advantage of his influence over convention was submitted by Atty. Diaz only on March 29, 2007, during
his client.46 The rule presumes that the client is the 12th PACE national convention in Iloilo City ; that during the 12th
2

convention, an election of officers was conducted and Atty. Diaz ran for
disadvantaged by the lawyers ability to use all the legal the position of National Treasurer, but she was not elected; that on the
maneuverings to renege on his obligation. last day of the convention or on March 31, 2007,the outgoing Board of
Directors, including Atty. Diaz, passed and approved Resolution No. 1-
2007 appropriating the amount of 30,000.00as term-end bonus for each
Philippine Association of Court Employees (Pace), PACE official qualified thereto; that Atty. Diaz did not submit a liquidation
Represented By Its President, Atty. Virginia C. Rafael vs. Atty. report for the 12th convention; that there was no turn over of monies
Edna M. Alibutdan-Diaz, A.C. No. 10134, November 26, 2014 belonging to the association as a matter of procedure despite a letter of
demand, dated June 20, 2007 sent to Atty. Diaz; and that the new set of
3

PACE officers issued Board Resolution No. 00-07 directing past


Republic of the Philippines president, Rosita D. Amizola; and past treasurer, Atty. Diaz, to explain
SUPREME COURT why they failed to liquidate the finances of PACE for the Davao and Iloilo
Manila conventions. 4

SECOND DIVISION In her defense, Atty. Diaz countered that she had filed the Statement of
Liquidation for the 11th national convention in Davao in less than a week
A.C. No. 10134 November 26, 2014 after the said convention; that it was duly audited by the national auditor,
Letecia Agbayani; that the net proceeds of that convention was "fully
accounted, liquidated and entirely deposited to PACE accounts;" that she
5
also filed the Statement of Liquidation for the 12th national convention on As regards the accusation that Atty. Diaz ran for re-election in the PACE
May 22, 2007; that the report, together with the cash, checks and original elections even though she was no longer connected with the Judiciary
receipts, were received by Rosita Amisola and witnessed by former and therefore disqualified, Commissioner Fernandez opined that the best
PACE officers; that she denied running for re-election as PACE national
6
evidence, which was the "certificate of candidacy," was never
treasurer during the Iloilo convention as she had already filed her offered, and that Atty. Diaz, being a lawyer, knew that her bid for re-
12

certificate of candidacy for Board Member of the First District of Ipil, election would be a useless exercise since she would not beable to
Zamboanga Sibugay; that the approval of the P30,000.00 term-end
7
assume office if she won. 13

bonus did not rest with her solely, rather, it was approved by the previous
board of directors; and that she never sponsored the bonus, as it was Finally, Commissioner Fernandez believed Atty. Diazs assertion that she
initiated by Aliven Maderaza and seconded by Atty. Lourdes Garcia and never sponsored the appropriation of the 30,000.00 term-end bonus and
Sarah Ampong. that the approval of Resolution No. 1-2007 was a collegial action among
the Board of Directors. Again, Commissioner Fernandez was of the view
On her part, Atty. Garcia averred that she was not privy to the that her participation in the passage of the questioned board resolution
disbursement of the said term-end bonus. 8
was not connected to her being a lawyer. 14

Initially, the case was assigned to IBP Commissioner Elpidio G. Soriano. On November 19, 2011, the IBP Board of Governors (IBP-BOG) passed
After an exchange of pleadings, the mandatory conference was held. a resolution adopting and approving the report and recommendation of
Afterwards, the protagonists were directed to submit their respective Commissioner Fernandez, and dismissed the complaint against Atty.
position papers. Thereafter, the case was re-assigned to IBP Diaz.15

Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez (Commissioner Fernandez). 9

On reconsideration, the IBP-BOG issued the Extended Resolution,16


The lone issue here is whether or not Atty. Diaz violated Chapter 1, dated June 21, 2013, granting the complainants motion for
Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR), reconsideration. It reversedand set asideits earlier resolution and
which reads: suspended Atty. Diaz from the practice of law for one (1) year. 17

"A lawyer should not engage in an unlawful, dishonest, immoral or The IBP-BOG explained that the questions regarding (i) Atty. Diaz
deceitful conduct." liquidation of PACE funds;(ii) her running for re-election when she was no
longer with the Judiciary; and (iii) her entitlement to the term-end bonus
In his Report and Recommendation, dated June 28, 2010, Commissioner when she was no longer working in the Judiciary, constituted a "triple
Fernandez recommended the dismissal of the case against Atty. Diaz for -whammy" of questionable actions committed by Atty. Diaz in
18

lack of merit. Atty. Diaz offered documentary evidence to show that she contravention of Rule 1.01 of the CPR.
was able to submit the liquidation reports for the two aforementioned
conventions of PACE. He also took note that Atty. Rafael herself The Courts Ruling
acknowledged the liquidation report made by Atty. Diaz with respect to
the Davao City convention. As to the sufficiency and completeness of
10
This Court agrees with the IBP-BOG and adopts its June 21, 2013
these reports, this would be better resolvedthrough an audit rather than in Extended Resolution. Everyone should keep in mind that the practice of
disbarment proceedings. Besides, Commissioner Fernandez did not
1wphi1
law is only a privilege. It is definitely not a right. Inorder to enjoy this
consider the position of Atty. Diaz as national treasurer of PACE to have privilege, one must show that he possesses, and continues to possess,
any connection with her being as a lawyer. Thus, according to him, she the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege.
should be sanctioned in accordance with the by-laws of PACE instead of
a disbarment case. 11
One of those requirements is the observance of honesty and candor.
Candor in all their dealings is the very essence of a practitioner's
honorable membership in the legal profession. Lawyers are required to
act with the highest standard of truthfulness, fair play and nobility in the Confidant to be entered into respondent's personal records as a member
conduct of litigation and in their relations with their clients, the opposing of the Philippine Bar.
parties, the other counsels and the courts. They are bound by their oath
to speak the truth and to conduct themselves according to the best of SO ORDERED.
their knowledge and discretion, and with fidelity to the courts and their
clients. Time and again, the Court has held that the practice of law is
19
JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
granted only to those of good moral character. The Bar maintains a high Associate Justice
standard of honesty and fair dealing. Thus, lawyers must conduct
themselves beyond reproach at all times, whether they are dealing with
WE CONCUR:
their clients or the public at large, and a violation of the high moral
standards of the legal profession justifies the imposition of the
appropriate penalty, including suspension and disbarment. 20 ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
It bears stressing that Atty. Diaz is a servant of the law and belongs to
that profession which society entrusts with the administration of law and
the dispensation of justice. For this, he or she is an exemplar for others to MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO BIENVENIDO L. REYES*
emulate and should not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or Associate Justice Associate Justice
deceitful conduct. Necessarily, this Court has been exacting in its
demand for integrity and good moral character from members of the Bar. MARVIC M.V.F LEONEN
They are always expected to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal Associate Justice
profession and to refrain from any act or omission which might lessen the
trust and confidence reposed by the public in the fidelity, honesty, and Atty. Alonso vs. Atty. Relamida, August 3, 2010
integrity of this noble profession.
21

Republic of the Philippines


Atty. Diaz' delay in the liquidation of the finances of PACE; her running for SUPREME COURT
re-election, including her non-admission that she ran for said election as Manila
shown not by her certificate of candidacy but by the affidavits of former
PACE officers; and her involvement in the approval or passage of the EN BANC
questioned term-end bonus of PACE officers, including herself even
though she was no longer working in the Judiciary, were definitely not the
candor the Court speaks of. There was much to be desired in Atty. Diaz' A.C. No. 8481 August 3, 2010
actions/ inactions. [Formerly B.M. No. 1524]

WHEREFORE, Atty. Edna M. Alibutdan-Diaz is found GUILTY of violating ATTY. JOSABETH V. ALONSO and SHALIMAR P.
Chapter 1, Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, LAZATIN, Complainants,
and is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of three vs.
(3) months. ATTY. IBARO B. RELAMIDA, JR., Respondent.

This decision shall be immediately executory. DECISION

Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Court Administrator for its PERALTA, J.:
distribution to all courts of the land; the IBP; and the Office of the Bar
Before us is a Complaint1 dated October 13, 2005 for disciplinary action
against respondent Atty. Ibaro B. Relamida, Jr. filed by Attys. Josabeth V.
Alonso and Shalimar P. Lazatin, counsel of Servier Philippines, 2005, the Court denied her motion for being a prohibited pleading and
Incorporated for violating the rules on forum shopping and res judicata. noted without action Ebanens third motion for reconsideration. 10

The antecedent facts of the case are as follows: On July 27, 2005, the Second Division of the Supreme Court noted
without action Ebanens Motion for Leave to Admit Supplemental Third
In March 2001, Jennifer Ebanen filed a Complaint for illegal dismissal Motion for Reconsideration dated June 1, 2005, in view of the entry of
against Servier Philippines, Incorporated (Servier) docketed as NLRC- judgment on February 17, 2005.11
NCR-Case No. 30-03-01583-01, alleging constructive dismissal with
prayer for reinstatement or payment of separation pay, backwages, moral On February 17, 2005, the Courts Resolution dated August 4, 2004 has
and exemplary damages. already become final and executory; thus, a corresponding Entry of
Judgment12 has been issued.
On July 5, 2002, the Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of Servier. 2 It held that
Ebanen voluntarily resigned from Servier and was, therefore, not illegally However, despite said entry of judgment, Ebanen, thru her counsel, Atty.
dismissed. Relamida, filed a second complaint on August 5, 2005 for illegal dismissal
based on the same cause of action of constructive dismissal against
Ebanen appealed at the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). Servier, now docketed as NLRC-NCR Case No. 00-08-07222-05.
On March 31, 2003, the NLRC-Third Division affirmed the Decision of the
Labor Arbiter.3 Thus, on October 13, 2005, Servier, thru counsel, filed a letter-complaint
addressed to the then Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., praying that
Thus, Ebanen moved for reconsideration. However, the NLRC denied the respondents be disciplinary sanctioned for violation of the rules on forum
same in a Resolution4 dated May 5, 2003. shopping and res judicata.

Unsatisfied, Ebanen filed a Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Subsequently, in a Resolution13 dated November 15, 2005, the Court
Appeals which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 77968. In a required both Ebanen and Atty. Relamida to comment on the letter-
Decision5 dated January 16, 2004, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the complaint against them.
findings of the NLRC that Ebanen voluntarily resigned and that there was
no constructive dismissal. Ebanen moved anew for reconsideration, but On January 16, 2006, respondents filed their Comments.14 Both
was denied in a Resolution6 dated April 30, 2004. respondents admitted the filing of the second complaint against Servier.
They claimed that the judgment rendered by the Labor Arbiter was null
Unrelenting, Ebanen filed a Petition for Review before the Supreme and void for want of due process, since the motion for the issuance of
Court. However, in a Resolution7 dated August 4, 2004, the Court found subpoena duces tecum for the production of vital documents filed by the
no reversible error on the part of the CA, thus, denied said petition. complainant was ignored by the Labor Arbiter. They opined that the
Ebanen filed a motion for reconsideration, but was denied with finality in dismissal did not amount to res judicata, since the decision was null and
a Resolution8 dated October 11, 2004. void for lack of due process. As a result, they claimed that there was also
no violation of the rule on forum shopping.15
Ebanen filed a Motion for Leave to Admit Second Motion for
Reconsideration of the Resolutions dated August 4, 2004 and October On February 7, 2006, the Court referred the instant bar matter to the
11, 2004, respectively. On January 19, 2005, the Court denied her Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and
motion.9 recommendation.16

Persistent, Ebanen filed a Motion to Admit a Third Motion for On January 22, 2007, the Labor Arbiter dismissed the second complaint
Reconsideration of the Resolution dated January 19, 2005. On April 20, on the grounds of res judicata and forum shopping. It further reiterated
that Ebanen voluntarily resigned from employment and was not On April 19, 2008, the IBP-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD)
constructively dismissed. recommended that respondent Atty. Relamida be suspended from the
practice of law for six (6) months. It imposed no sanction on Ebanen for
On March 14, 2008, during the mandatory conference before the IBP, being a non-lawyer.
complainants failed to appear. Ebanen manifested that she is not a
lawyer. In its Report, the IBP found that by filing the second complaint, Atty.
Relamida was guilty of violating the rules onres judicata and forum
Both parties were required to submit their respective position papers. shopping. It concluded that Atty. Relamida abused his right of recourse to
the courts by filing a complaint for a cause that had been previously
Atty. Relamida reiterated that Ebanen is not a lawyer and that she is the rejected by the courts.
daughter of Atty. Leonardo Aurelio (Atty. Aurelio), the senior partner of
A.M. Sison Jr. and Partners Law Offices where he is employed as On June 5, 2008, the IBP Board of Governors resolved to adopt and
associate lawyer. approve with modification as to penalty the report of the IBP-CBD.
Instead, it recommended that Atty. Relamida be suspended from the
He narrated that on March 28, 2001, Ebanen filed a Complaint for illegal practice of law for one (1) month for his violation of the rules on res
dismissal against Servier. He claimed that in the beginning, Atty. Aurelio judicata and forum shopping.
was the one who prepared and reviewed all the pleadings and it was Atty.
Lapulapu Osoteo who stood as counsel for Ebanen in the said labor On December 7, 2009, the Office of the Bar Confidant recommended that
case. Atty. Relamida admitted, however, that during the filing of the the instant complaint be re-docketed as a regular administrative case
second complaint he took over as counsel of Ebanen, as requested by against Atty. Relamida.
Atty. Aurelio.17 He also admitted that during the pendency of the first
complaint, he occasionally examined pleadings and signed as counsel for We sustain the findings of the IBP-CBD.
Ebanen.18
All lawyers must bear in mind that their oaths are neither mere words nor
Atty. Relamida reasoned out that as a courtesy to Atty. Aurelio and an empty formality. When they take their oath as lawyers, they dedicate
Ebanen, he had no choice but to represent the latter. Moreover, he their lives to the pursuit of justice. They accept the sacred trust to uphold
stressed that his client was denied of her right to due process due to the the laws of the land. As the first Canon of the Code of Professional
denial of her motion for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum. He Responsibility states, "[a] lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the
then argued that the decision of the Labor Arbiter was null and void; thus, laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes."
there was no res judicata.19 He maintained that he did not violate the Moreover, according to the lawyers oath they took, lawyers should "not
lawyers oath by serving the interest of his client. wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit,
nor give aid or consent to the same."20
Servier, on the other hand, argued that the filing of the second complaint
is a violation of the rights of Servier, since the issue has already attained In the instant case, it is clear that Atty. Relamida is guilty of forum
finality. It contended that Atty. Relamida violated the rules on forum shopping and violation of the rule on res judicata. Atty. Relamida should
shopping for the same act of filing a second complaint. As a have refrained from filing the second complaint against Servier. He ought
consequence, they are being made to defend themselves in a case that to have known that the previous dismissal was with prejudice, since it
has been settled before the labor tribunals and courts. Likewise, Servier had the effect of an adjudication on the merits. He was aware of all the
insisted that the filing of the second complaint was also a blatant violation proceedings which the first complaint went through as by his own
of the rule on res judicata. Hence, Servier prayed that Atty. Relamida be admission, he participated in the preparation of the pleadings and even
disciplinary dealt with due to his abuse of the processes of the courts. signed as counsel of Ebanen occasionally.21 He knew that the decision in
the subject case had already attained finality. Atty. Relamida was well
aware that when he filed the second complaint, it involved the same
parties and same cause of action, albeit, he justified the same on the The filing of another action concerning the same subject matter, in
ground of nullity of the previous dismissal. violation of the doctrine of res judicata, runs contrary to Canon 12 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires a lawyer to exert
His allegation that he was not the original counsel of Ebanen and that his every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient
intention was only to protect the rights of his clients whom he believed administration of justice. By his actuations, respondent also violated Rule
were not properly addressed in the prior complaint deserves scant 12.02 and Rule 12.04 of the Code, as well as a lawyers mandate "to
consideration. He should know that once a case is decided with finality, delay no man for money or malice."25
the controversy is settled and the matter is laid to rest. The prevailing
party is entitled to enjoy the fruits of his victory, while the other party is The Court has, time and again, warned lawyers not to resort to forum
obliged to respect the courts verdict and to comply with it.22 shopping for this practice clogs the court dockets. Their primary duty is to
assist the courts in the administration of justice. Any conduct which tends
The essence of forum shopping is the filing of multiple suits involving the to delay, impede or obstruct the administration of justice contravenes
same parties for the same cause of action, either simultaneously or such lawyers duty.26 This we will not tolerate.
1avvphi1

successively, for the purpose of obtaining a favorable judgment. It exists


when, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks a In cases of similar nature,27 the penalty imposed by this Court was six (6)
favorable opinion in another, or when he institutes two or more actions or months suspension from the practice of law. Thus, consistent with the
proceedings grounded on the same cause to increase the chances of existing jurisprudence, we find that, in this case, the suspension of six (6)
obtaining a favorable decision. An important factor in determining its months from practice of law is proper.
existence is the vexation caused to the courts and the parties-litigants by
the filing of similar cases to claim substantially the same reliefs. Forum WHEREFORE, Resolution No. XVIII-2008-286, dated June 5, 2008, of
shopping exists where the elements of litis pendentia are present the IBP, which found respondent Atty. Ibaro B. Relamida, Jr. guilty of
or where a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in violating the Rules on Res Judicata and Forum Shopping, is AFFIRMED.
another. Thus, the following requisites should concur:23 Atty. Relaminda is hereby SUSPENDED for six (6) months from the
practice of law, effective upon the receipt of this Decision. He is warned
x x x (a) identity of parties, or at least such parties as represent the same that a repetition of the same or a similar act will be dealt with more
interests in both actions, (b) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed severely.
for, the relief being founded on the same facts, and (c) the identity of the
two preceding particulars is such that any judgment rendered in the other Let a copy of this Decision be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant,
action will, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res to be appended to the personal record of Atty. Relamida as a member of
judicata in the action under consideration. the Bar; the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and the Office of the Court
Administrator, for circulation to all courts in the country for their
A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client, but not at the expense of information and guidance.
truth and the administration of justice. The filing of multiple petitions
constitutes abuse of the courts processes and improper conduct that This Decision shall be immediately executory.
tends to impede, obstruct and degrade the administration of justice and
will be punished as contempt of court. Needless to state, the lawyer who SO ORDERED.
files such multiple or repetitious petitions (which obviously delays the
execution of a final and executory judgment) subjects himself to
DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
disciplinary action for incompetence (for not knowing any better) or for
Associate Justice
willful violation of his duties as an attorney to act with all good fidelity to
the courts, and to maintain only such actions as appear to him to be just
and are consistent with truth and honor.24 WE CONCUR:
RENATO C. CORONA would pay P300,000.00 to two intelligence operatives, as he claims in
Chief Justice his Motion for Reconsideration, he should have held this money in
trust, and he was under an obligation to make an accounting. It was
Overgaard vs. Valdez, Sept 30, 2008 his duty to secure a receipt for the payment of this amount on behalf
of his client. But he failed to present any receipt or certification from
CASE 116: Torben B. Overgaard vs. Atty. Godwin R. Valdez, A.C. No.
Collado that the payment was received. Since the respondent was not
7902, September 30, 2008 able either to present an accounting of the P900,000.00 paid to him
FACTS: Torben Overgaard engaged the services of respondent upon the complainants demand, or to provide a sufficient and
Valdez as his legal counsel in two cases filed by him and two cases plausible explanation for where such amount was spent, he must
filed against him. Despite the receipt of the full amount of legal fees of immediately return the same
P900,000.00 as stipulated in a Retainer Agreement, the respondent Guevarra vs. Eala, Aaugust 1, 2007
refused to perform any of his obligations under their contract for legal
services, ignored the complainants request for a report of the status Guevarra vs. Eala A.C. No. 7136 August 1, 2007
of the cases entrusted to his care, and rejected the complainants Joselano Guevarra vs. Atty. Jose Emmanuel Eala
demands for the return of the money paid to him. Complainant
Overgaard filed a complaint for disbarment against Valdez before the A.C. No. 7136
IBP. Valdez argues that he did not abandon his client. He claims that
August 1, 2007
he gave periodic status reports on the result of his work, that he
returned the documents in connection with the case, and that he Facts: On March 4, 2002 a complaint of disbarment was filed before the
rendered an accounting of the money that he actually received. Integrated Bar of the Philippines Committee on Bar Discipline against Atty.
Overgaard declared that he did not receive the documents being Jose Emmanuel M. Eala a.k.a. Noli Eala for grossly immoral conduct and
demanded from the respondent, nor did he receive an accounting of unmitigated violation of the lawyers oath. In the Complaint, Guevarra first
met the respondent in January 2000 when his then fiance Irene Moje
the money he paid to Atty. Valdez.
introduced respondent to him as her friend who was married to Marianne
Tantoco with whom he had three children.

ISSUE/S: WON Atty. Valdez violated Canon 16.01 for failing to After his marriage to Irene on October 7, 2000, Complainant noticed that
from January to March 2001, Irene had been receiving from respondent
account for all money or property collected or received for or from
Cellphone calls, as well as messages some which read I love you, I miss
Overgaard. you, or Meet you at Megamall. He also noticed that Irene habitually went
home very late at night or early in the morning of the following day, and
HELD: Atty. Valdez violated Canon 16.01 for failing to account for all sometimes did not go home from work. When he asked her whereabouts,
money or property collected or received for or from Overgaard. If the she replied that she slept at her parents house in Binangonan, Rizal or she
respondent had indeed returned the documents sometime in the was busy with her work.
middle of July 2006, he would have presented a receipt to prove such
turnover of documents. And if the respondent had indeed rendered an In February or March 2001, complainant saw Irene and Respondent together
on two occasions. On the second occasion, he confronted them following
accounting of the money that was paid to him, he would have
which Irene abandoned the conjugal house. On April 22, 2001 complainant
attached a received copy of the accounting to his Motion for went uninvited to Irenes birthday celebration at which he saw her and the
Reconsideration. But he failed to do both. There was no proof respondent celebrating with her family and friends. Out of embarrassment,
presented. It is a lawyers duty to properly account for the money he anger and humiliation, he left the venue immediately. Following that incident,
received from the client.If indeed the respondent told the client that he Irene went to the conjugal house and hauled off all her personal belongings.
Complainant later found a handwritten letter dated October 7, 2007, the day
of his wedding to Irene, Complainant soon saw respondents car and that of The OCCUPANCY AGREEMENT dated September 11, 1995 was
Irene constantly parked at No. 71-B11 Street, New Manila where as he was prepared and notarized under the following circumstances:
later learn sometime in April 2001, Irene was already residing. He also
learned still later that when his friends saw Irene on about January 18, 2002
together with respondent during a concert, she was pregnant. A. Mr. Duane O. Stier is the owner and long-time resident of a real
property located at No. 33 Don Jose Street, Bgy. San Roque,
Issue: Whether Concubinage or Adulterous relationship, be the reason for Murphy, Cubao, Quezon City.
the disbarment of Atty. Jose Emmanuel Eala.

Held: Lawyers oath stated that a lawyer should support the Constitution and B. Sometime in September 1995, Mr. Stier a U.S. citizen and
obey the laws, Meaning he shall not make use of deceit, malpractice, or thereby disqualified to own real property in his name agreed that
other gross misconduct, grossly immoral conduct, or be convicted in any the property be transferred in the name of Mr. Donton, a Filipino.
crime involving moral turpitude. In the case at bar Atty. Eala was accused of
Concubinage, under ART. 334 of the Revised Penal Code, Any husband
who shall keep a mistress in a conjugal dwelling, or, shall have sexual C. Mr. Stier, in the presence of Mr. Donton, requested me to prepare
intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his several documents that would guarantee recognition of him being
wife, or shall cohabit with her in any other place, shall be punished by prision the actual owner of the property despite the transfer of title in the
correccional in its minimum and medium period. Section 2 of ART. XV states
that Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the name of Mr. Donton.
family and shall be protected by the state. Respondents grossly immoral
conduct runs afoul of the constitution and the laws, that he as a lawyer has D. For this purpose, I prepared, among others, the OCCUPANCY
sworn to uphold. Hence the court declared Atty. Jose Emmanul M. Eala AGREEMENT, recognizing Mr. Stiers free and undisturbed use of the
DISBARRED for grossly immoral conduct, violation of his oath of office, and
violation of canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of property for his residence and business operations. The OCCUPANCY
Professional Responsibility. AGREEMENT was tied up with a loan which Mr. Stier had extended
to Mr. Donton.
Donton vs. Tansingco, June 27, 2008
Thereafter, complainant prayed that respondent be disbarred in
Case: Donton vs Tansingco violation of the Code for the act of preparing the Occupancy
A.C 6057 Agreement, despite the knowledge that Stier was disqualified to
June 27, 2006 own a real property for being a foreign national.

On Oct 1, 2003 the Court referred the matter to the IBP for
Facts: investigation and on Feb 26, 2004, Commissioner San Juan found
respondent liable for taking part in a scheme to circumvent the
On May 20, 2003, Peter T. Donton (complainant) filed a criminal
constitutional prohibition against foreign ownership of land in the
complaint for estafa thru falsification of public document against
Philippines and recommended respondents suspension from the
Duane O. Stier, Emelyn A. Maggay, and respondent Atty. Emmanuel
practice of law for 2 years and cancellation of his commission as
O. Tansingco, as the notary public who notarized the Occupancy
Notary Public.
Agreement.
Subsequently, respondent Tansingco filed a counter-charge for
On April 16, 2004, the IBP Board of Governors adopted the report
perjury against complainant. The affidavit-complaint stated that:
with modification and recommended respondents suspension from
the practice of law for 6 months. Then on July 28, 2004, respondent
filed a motion for reconsideration before the IBP stating that his On May 5, 2011, William Strong was arrested and detained by
practice of law is his only means of supporting his family and 6 the Bureau of Immigration for allegedly being involved in an
minor children. international gang and conspiracy in Brazil on fraud involving
the creation of hundreds of dollars in illegal securities. Strong
Issue: requested his friend Philip Apostol to look for a lawyer. Apostol
recommended the Lazaro Law Office represented by Atty.
WON respondent is guilty of violation of Canon I and Rule 1.02 of Manuel Lazaro and his associates who initially declined but
the Code of Professional Responsibility. later accepted to handle the deportation case.

Held: Strong initiated giving the information that his deportation case
may be due to the complaint filed by his live-in partner Jasper
A lawyer should not render any service or give advice to any client Rodica before the RTC against the Hillview Marketing
which will involve defiance of the laws which he is bound to uphold. Corporation for recovery and possession and damages
Respondents knowledge that Stier, a US citizen, was disqualified involving a property they have in Boracay which is represented
from owning real property and his preparation of Occupancy
by Atty. Tan. Rodica was represented by Atty. Ibutnande in this
Agreement that would guarantee Stiers recognition as the actual
case. Apparently, Rodica claimed that Atty. Manuel met with
owner of the property, aided in circumventing the constitutional
Atty. Tan to discuss the settlement package on the deportation
prohibition against foreign ownership of lands. Thus, he violated his
oath and the Code when he prepared and notarized the Occupancy case they filed against Strong on the condition that Rodica
Agreement. Respondent used his knowledge of the law to achieve withdraws her complaint from the RTC of Cebu.
an unlawful end. Such an act amounts to malpractice in his office,
for which he may be suspended. On May 25, 2011 the Bureau of Immigration rendered a
judgment deporting Strong to leave the country. On June 6,
Rodica vs. Lazaro, Aaugust 23, 2012 2011 Rodica filed before the RTC a motion to withdraw her
complaint against Hillview. Rodica now alleges that after
Jasper Rodica vs Atty. Manuel Lazaro et al, AC No. 9259, Strong was deported and withdrawing the case before the
August 23, 2012 RTC, she was deceived by Atty Manuel et al for over
"The power to disbar or suspend ought always to be exercised settlement of 7 million which was allegedly extorted from her
on the preservative and not on the vindicative principle, with after misrepresenting that the withdrawal of the case before
great caution and only for the most weighty reasons." the RTC is only a part of the settlement package.

Facts: It appears on the record that Atty. Espejo, an associate of the


Lazaro Law office helped in drafting the Manifestation with
This is a disbarment complaint filed by Rodica against the
Motion to Withdraw Motion for Reconsideration after Rodica
respondent Atty. Lazaro on grounds of gross and serious
pleaded him to prepare the motion and was requested further
misconduct, deceit, malpractice, grossly immoral conduct and
to indicate the name of the Lazaro Law Office including the
violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
name of Atty. Manuel and Atty. Michelle to give more weight on
the pleading. Rodica promised Atty. Espejo to talk to Atty.
Manuel about it. The case before the RTC was actually
dismissed on March 29, 2011 for failure to show cause of on the termination of the pending case attached to the
action but a motion for reconsideration was filed by Rodica. property to make the sale.

Issue: On her claim to have paid 7 million to Atty. Manuel et al, she
Whether or not the allegations of Rodica merit the disbarment failed to substantiate such claim despite showing off
of the respondents. withdrawals from her bank account certain amount of money
after failing to prove that the said amount was paid to the
Ruling respondents. Moreover, the court held that Rodica is not a
The court ruled that Rodica failed to overcome the client of Lazaro Law Office. They merely handled the
presumption of innocence of the respondents. As a general deportation case of Strong.
rule, lawyers enjoy the presumption of innocence and the As for Atty. Espejo, the court found him to have aided Rodica
burden of proof rests upon the complainant to clearly prove the for misrepresenting before the court that she was aided by the
allegations made against them. The required quantum of proof Lazaro Law Office when in fact she is not. Atty. Espejo
is preponderance of evidence which is an evidence which is explained that Rodica assured him to talk to Atty. Manuel and
more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that Atty. Michelle about including their name on the pleading but
which is offered in opposition thereto. she did not do so. Atty. Espejo should have known better that
On Rodica's claim with regards to the settlement package, the Atty. Ibutnande was the counsel on record on the case before
court find it without merit because she withdrew her complaint the RTC and therefore it is not his duty to prepare said
only after the deportation of Strong. It was also evident on pleading. He also should have known that all pleadings before
record that the said case was already dismissed even before the court are acted based on merit or the lack of it and not by
the deportation case was filed only she filed a motion for the name of the law firm. However, the court give due
reconsideration. Therefore, it cannot be said that her recognition on the fact that Atty. Espejo expressed remorse on
withdrawal of the complaint is a settlement consideration his conduct and made a sincere apology to the RTC for
regarding the deportation case of Strong. Moreover, Strong is wrongly employing the name of the Lazaro Law Office and that
not a party to the case she filed before the RTC therefore he was newly admitted to the Bar in 2010, the court find it
there is no connection between these 2 cases. proper to give him a warning to become more prudent on his
actuation in the practice of his profession.
There was sufficient preponderance of evidence that was
presented that the cause of her withdrawal of the complaint is The complaint for disbarment was dismissed.
to facilitate the sale of her property in Boracay. According to Bengco vs. Bernardo, June 13, 2012
Atty. Espejo who helped Rodica draft the motion for withdrawal BENGCO vs. BERNARDO AC No. 6368
of the complaint, the said withdrawal is for the purpose of
selling her property to Apostol. Apostol further corroborated FACTS: Fidela Bengco and Teresita Bengco filed a complaint
that he told Rodica he is willing to purchase the property once for disbarment against Atty. Pablo Bernardo for deceit,
it is free from any pending case. Rodica promised him to work malpractice, conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar and
violation of his duties and oath as a lawyer. The disbarment
case was filed because from April 15, 1997 to July 22, 1997, by the IBP to be suspended for 2 years from the practice of
Atty. Bernardo with the connivance of Andres Magat willfully law and as a member of the Bar. The IBP governor adopted
and illegally committed fraudulent act with intent to defraud and approved the recommendation.
against complainants Fidela and Teresita Bengco by using
false pretenses, deceitful words to the effect that he would ISSUES: 1) Whether or not the IBP Resolution is in accord
expedite the titling of land belonging to the Miranda Family of with the rules considering that the complaint was filed for more
Tagaytay City who are the acquaintance of complainants. It than 2 years from the alleged misconduct and thus has
started when the respondent convinced the complainants to prescribed? 2) Whether or not Atty. Bernardo is liable? HELD:
finance and deliver to him the amount of P495,000 as advance 1.) Yes, the IBP Resolution is valid. The respondents defense
money to expedite the titling of the subject land. He further of prescription is untenable. The Court has held that
committed misrepresentation by representing himself as the administrative cases against lawyers do not prescribe. The
lawyer of William Gatchalian, the prospective buyer of the land lapse of considerable time from the commission of the
and that he is the one handling William Gatchalians business offending act to the institution of the administrative complaint
transaction. He also led complainants to believe that he has will not erase the administrative culpability of a lawyer.
contracts at NAMREA, DENR, CENRO and REGISTER OF Otherwise, members of the bar would only be emboldened to
DEEDS which representation he well knew were false, disregard the very oath they took as lawyers, prescinding from
fraudulent and were only made to induce the complainants to the fact that as long as no private complainant would
give and deliver the said amount. And after he has possessed immediately come forward, they stand a chance of being
the money he did not comply with his obligation to expedite completely exonerated from whatever administrative liability
and the titling of the land unlawfully and illegally they ought to answer for. 2) Yes, respondent Atty. Pablo S.
misappropriated, misapplied and converted the said amount to Bernardo is found guilty of violating the Code of Professional
his personal use and benefit despite demand upon him to Responsibility. Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of
return the amount. By reason of his failure and refusal to do Professional Responsibility read: Rule 2.03. A lawyer shall not
so, this constitute deceit, malpractice and conduct unbecoming do or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit
a member of the Bar and violation of duties and oath as a legal business. Rule 3.01. A lawyer shall not use or permit the
lawyer. In defense, respondent averred that he had not use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive,
deceived both complainants for purposes of getting from them undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim
the amount of [P]495,000.00. It was Andy Magat whom they regarding his qualifications or legal services. The SC held that
contacted and who in turn sought the legal services of the there is no question that the respondent committed the acts
respondent. It was Andy Magat who received the said money complained of. He himself admitted in his answer that his legal
from them. The arrangement for titling of the land was made services were hired by the complainants through Magat
by Teresita N. Bengco and Andy Magat with no participation of regarding the purported titling of land supposedly purchased.
respondent. The case was thus referred to the IBP for He used his position as a lawyer in order to deceive the
investigation, report and recommendation. The investigating complainants into believing that he can expedite the titling of
officer made a finding that respondent committed a crime that the subject properties. He never denied that he did not benefit
import deceit and violation of his attorneys oath and the Code from the money given by the complainants in the amount of
of Professional Responsibility. As such he was recommended P495,000.00. The practice of law is not a business. It is a
profession in which duty to public service, not money, is the findings and uphold the charge of murder. Atty. Catalan also
primary consideration. Lawyering is not primarily meant to be a presented the Sandiganbayans decision in a criminal case
money-making venture, and law advocacy is not a capital that convicting Atty. Silvosa of direct bribery on May 18, 2006.
necessarily yields profits. The gaining of a livelihood should be
a secondary consideration. The duty to public service and to RESPONDENTS CONTENTION: Atty. Silvosa claims that his
the administration of justice should be the primary appearance was only for the purpose of reinstatement of bail
consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their personal and denies any relationship between and the accused. Atty.
interests or what they owe to themselves. Accordingly, Silvosa dismisses at the same time the allegations of Prosec.
Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for 1 Toribio and such allegations were self-serving and purposely
year. Furthermore, he was ordered to return the amount of dug by Atty. Catalan and his puppeteer to pursue persecution.
P200,000.00 to Fidela Bengco and Teresita Bengco. While admitting of his conviction by the Sandiganbayan,
respondent asserts that conviction under the 2nd paragraph
of Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code do not involve moral
turpitude.

IBP FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATION: The IBP ruled that


Catalan vs. Silvosa, July 24, 2012 respondent was guilty only of the first charge by appearing and
filing a motion to post bail bond pending appeal and thus
ATTY. POLICARPIO CATALAN JR., vs. ATTY. JOSELITO
violating Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
SILVOSA A.C. No. 7360 July 24, 2012
and gave the penalty of reprimand. The IBP Board of
FACTS: Petitioner Atty. Catalan filed a case for disbarment Governors adopted and approved the report and
against Respondent Atty. Silvosa on the following grounds: 1) recommendation however modifying the penalty to suspension
Atty. Silvosa appeared as counsel for the accused in the same from the practice of law for 6 months.
case for which he previously appeared as prosecutor; 2) Atty.
ISSUES: Whether or not respondent is guilty?
Silvosa bribed his then colleague Prosecutor Phoebe Toribio
for P30,000 and 3) the Sandiganbayan convicted respondent HELD: Yes, respondent is guilty of violating Rule 6.03. Rule
in a criminal case for direct bribery. PETITIONERS 6.03 which states that A lawyer shall not, after leaving
CONTENTION: Atty. Catalan accused Atty. Silvosa of government service, accept engagement or employment in
appearing as private counsel in a case where he previously connection with any matter in which he had intervened while in
appeared as public prosecutor hence violating Rule 6.03 of the said service. When he entered his appearance on the Motion
Code of Professional responsibility. Atty Catalan alleged that to Post Bail Bond Pending Appeal, Atty. Silvosa conveniently
respondent and the accused are relatives and have the same forgot Rule 15.03 which provides that A lawyer shall not
middle name. represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all
concerned given after a full disclosure of facts. Atty. Silvosas
In a case for frustrated murder where Atty. Catalans brother
representation of conflicting interests and his failed attempt at
was a respondent. Prosec Toribio testified Atty. Silvosa, while
bribing Pros. Toribio merit at least the penalty of suspension.
still a public prosecutor, offered her P30,000 to reconsider her
Atty. Silvosas final conviction of the crime of direct bribery Listening through the extension phone, he heard respondent
clearly falls under one of the grounds for disbarment under utter the words "I love you, I'll call you later". When confronted,
Section 27 of Rule 138. Disbarment follows as a consequence his wife initially denied any amorous involvement with
of Atty. Silvosas conviction of the crime. We are constrained to respondent but eventually broke down and confessed to their
impose a penalty more severe than suspension because we love affair that began in 1993. Respondent likewise admitted
find that Atty. Silvosa is predisposed to flout the exacting the relationship. Subsequently, at a meeting initiated by
standards of morality and decency required of a member of respondent and held at the Salibao Restaurant in Burnham
the Bar. His excuse that his conviction was not in his capacity Park, Baguio City, respondent and complainant's wife, Ma.
as a lawyer, but as a public officer, is unacceptable and Elena, confessed anew to their illicit affair before their
betrays the unmistakable lack of integrity in his character. The respective spouses. On May 15, 1995, the parties met again at
practice of law is a privilege, and Atty. Silvosa has proved the Mandarin Restaurant in Baguio City and, in the presence
himself unfit to exercise this privilege. Respondent was of a Notary Public, Atty. Liberato Tadeo, respondent and Ma.
disbarred. Elena executed and signed an affidavit attesting to their illicit
relationship and seeking their respective spouses' forgiveness.
Complainant instituted the present suit for disbarment on May
23, 1995 charging respondent of gross immorality and grave
C. The Lawyer and the Legal Profession misconduct. In his Answer, respondent admitted the material
allegations of the complaint but interposed the defense of
Tiong vs. Florendo, December 12, 2011 pardon. Finding merit in the complaint, the Commission on Bar
Pobre vs. Defensor Santiago, August 25, 2009 Discipline (CBD), through Commissioner Agustinus V.
Noe-Lacsamana vs. Bustamante, November 23, 2011 Gonzaga, submitted its Report and Recommendation dated
September 21, 2007 for the suspension of respondent from
Tiong vs. Florendo, December 12, 2011
the practice of law for one (1) year, which was adopted and
TIONG v. FLORENDO. 662 SCRA 1. 2011 approved by the IBP Board of Governors in its Resolution
dated October 19, 2007. Respondent's Motion for
FACTS: Complainant Elpidio P. Tiong, an American Citizen, Reconsideration there from was denied in the Resolution
and his wife, Ma. Elena T. Tiong, are real estate lessors in dated June 26, 2011.
Baguio City. They are likewise engaged in the assembly and
repair of motor vehicles in Paldit, Sison, Pangasinan. In 1991, Respondent, however, maintains that he cannot be sanctioned
they engaged the services of respondent Atty. George M. for his questioned conduct because he and Ma. Elena had
Florendo not only as legal counsel but also as administrator of already been pardoned by their respective spouses in the May
their businesses whenever complainant would leave for the 15, 1995 Affidavit.
United States of America (USA). Sometime in 1993,
ISSUE: WHETHER THE PARDON EXTENDED BY
complainant began to suspect that respondent and his wife
COMPLAINANT IN THE AFFIDAVIT DATED MAY 15, 1995 IS
were having an illicit affair. His suspicion was confirmed in the
SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT THE DISMISSAL OF THE
afternoon of May 13, 1995 when, in their residence, he
chanced upon a telephone conversation between the two.
PRESENT DISBARMENT CASE AGAINST RESPONDENT utmost moral depravity and low regard for the ethics of his
FOR GROSS IMMORAL CONDUCT. profession.

HELD: NO. Likewise, he violated the trust and confidence reposed on him
by complainant which in itself is prohibited under Canon 17 of
The pertinent provisions in the Code of Professional the Code of Professional Responsibility. Undeniably, therefore,
Responsibility provide, thus: "CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL his illicit relationship with Ma. Elena amounts to a disgraceful
UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE and grossly immoral conduct warranting disciplinary action
LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL from the Court. Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
PROCESSES. Rule 1.01. - A lawyer shall not engage in provides that an attorney may be disbarred or suspended from
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. xxxx his office by the Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other
gross misconduct in office, grossly immoral conduct, among
CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE
others.
INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION
AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED It bears to stress that a case of suspension or disbarment is
BAR. xxxx sui generis and not meant to grant relief to a complainant as in
a civil case but is intended to cleanse the ranks of the legal
Rule 7.03. - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that
profession of its undesirable members in order to protect the
adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he,
public and the courts. It is not an investigation into the acts of
whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous
respondent as a husband but on his conduct as an officer of
manner to the discredit of the legal profession."
the Court and his fitness to continue as a member of the Bar.
It has been consistently held by the Court that possession of Hence, the Affidavit dated March 15, 1995, which is akin to an
good moral character is not only a condition for admission to affidavit of desistance, cannot have the effect of abating the
the Bar but is a continuing requirement to maintain one's good instant proceedings.
standing in the legal profession. It is the bounden duty of law
However, considering the circumstances of this case, the
practitioners to observe the highest degree of morality in order
Court finds that a penalty of suspension from the practice of
to safeguard the integrity of the Bar.
law for six (6) months, instead of one (1) year as
Consequently, any errant behaviour on the part of a lawyer, be recommended by the IBP-CBD, is adequate sanction for the
it in his public or private activities, which tends to show him grossly immoral conduct of respondent. WHEREFORE,
deficient in moral character, honesty, probity or good respondent ATTY. GEORGE M. FLORENDO is hereby found
demeanor, is sufficient to warrant his suspension or GUILTY of Gross Immorality and is SUSPENDED from the
disbarment. practice of law for SIX (6) MONTHS effective upon notice
hereof, with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same
Respondent's act of having an affair with his client's wife or similar offense will be dealt with more severely.
manifested his disrespect for the laws on the sanctity of
marriage and his own marital vow of fidelity. It showed his Pobre vs. Defensor Santiago, August 25, 2009
ANTERO J. POBRE v. SEN. MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO HELD: This Court is aware of the need and has in fact been in the
forefront in upholding the institution of parliamentary immunity and
A.C. No. 7399, August 25, 2009
promotion of free speech. Neither has the Court lost sight of the
FACTS: In his sworn letter/complaint dated December 22, 2006, with importance of the legislative and oversight functions of the Congress
enclosures, Antero J. Pobre invites the Courts attention to the that enable this representative body to look diligently into every affair
following excerpts of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiagos speech of government, investigate and denounce anomalies, and talk about
delivered on the Senate floor: x x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am how the country and its citizens are being served. Courts do not
foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated, interfere with the legislature or its members in the manner they
debased, degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to perform their functions in the legislative floor or in committee rooms.
be living my middle years in a country of this nature. I am nauseated. I Any claim of an unworthy purpose or of the falsity and mala fides of
spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts the statement uttered by the member of the Congress does not
in the Supreme Court, I am no longer interested in the position [of destroy the privilege. The disciplinary authority of the assembly and
Chief Justice] if I was to be surrounded by idiots. I would rather be in the voters, not the courts, can properly discourage or correct such
another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x. To abuses committed in the name of parliamentary immunity. For the
Pobre, the foregoing statements reflected a total disrespect on the above reasons, the plea of Senator Santiago for the dismissal of the
part of the speaker towards then Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban complaint for disbarment or disciplinary action is well taken. Indeed,
and the other members of the Court and constituted direct contempt her privilege speech is not actionable criminally or in a disciplinary
of court. Accordingly, Pobre asks that disbarment proceedings or proceeding under the Rules of Court. It is felt, however, that this could
other disciplinary actions be taken against the lady senator. not be the last word on the matter.

Defendants Defense: Senator Santiago, through counsel, does not


deny making the aforequoted statements. She, however, explained
No lawyer who has taken an oath to maintain the respect due to the
that those statements were covered by the constitutional provision on
courts should be allowed to erode the peoples faith in the judiciary. In
parliamentary immunity, being part of a speech she delivered in the
this case, the lady senator clearly violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and
discharge of her duty as member of Congress or its committee. The
Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
purpose of her speech, according to her, was to bring out in the open
respectively provide: Canon 8, Rule 8.01.A lawyer shall not, in his
controversial anomalies in governance with a view to future remedial
professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or
legislation. She averred that she wanted to expose what she believed
otherwise improper.
to be an unjust act of the Judicial Bar Council [JBC], which, after
sending out public invitations for nomination to the soon to-be vacated
position of Chief Justice, would eventually inform applicants that only
Canon 11.A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the
incumbent justices of the Supreme Court would qualify for nomination.
courts and to the judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct
She felt that the JBC should have at least given an advanced advisory
by others. Senator/Atty. Santiago is a cut higher than most lawyers.
that non-sitting members of the Court, like her, would not be
Her achievements speak for themselves. She was a former Regional
considered for the position of Chief Justice.
Trial Court judge, a law professor, an oft-cited authority on
ISSUE: WON Sen. Miriam Santiago may be disbarred or be constitutional and international law, an author of numerous law
administratively liable. textbooks, and an elected senator of the land. Needless to stress,
Senator Santiago, as a member of the Bar and officer of the court, like
any other, is duty-bound to uphold the dignity and authority of this
Court and to maintain the respect due its members. Lawyers in public with the help of Regine Macasieb (Macasieb), Busmentes former
service are keepers of public faith and are burdened with the higher secretary. Busmente alleged that he did not represent Ulaso and that
degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher than their brethren in his signature in the Answer presented as proof by Noe-Lacsamana
private practice.[7] Senator Santiago should have known, as any was forged.
perceptive individual, the impact her statements would make on the
IBP: The IBP-CBD recommended Busmentes suspension from the
peoples faith in the integrity of the courts.
practice of law for not less than five years. ISSUE: Whether Busmente
The Rules of the Senate itself contains a provision on is guilty of directly or indirectly assisting Dela Rosa in her illegal
Unparliamentary Acts and Language that enjoins a Senator from practice of law that warrants his suspension from the practice of law.
using, under any circumstance, offensive or improper language HELD: We agree with the IBP. The lawyers duty to prevent, or at the
against another Senator or against any public institution. But as to very least not to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded
Senator Santiagos unparliamentary remarks, the Senate President on public interest and policy. Public policy requires that the practice of
had not apparently called her to order, let alone referred the matter to law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education
the Senate Ethics Committee for appropriate disciplinary action, as and character. The permissive right conferred on the lawyer is an
the Rules dictates under such circumstance. The lady senator clearly individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to
violated the rules of her own chamber. It is unfortunate that her peers maintain proper standards of moral and professional conduct.
bent backwards and avoided imposing their own rules on her.
The purpose is to protect the public, the court, the client, and the bar
Noe-Lacsamana vs. Bustamante, November 23, 2011 from the incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice
law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves
ATTY. EDITA NOE-LACSAMANA VS. ATTY. YOLANDO F.
upon a lawyer to see that this purpose is attained.
BUSMENTE A.C. No. 7269, November 23, 2011
Thus, the canons and ethics of the profession enjoin him not to permit
FACTS: Noe-Lacsamana alleged in her complaint that she was the
his professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to make
counsel for Irene Bides, while Busmente was the counsel for the
possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any agency, personal or
defendant Imelda B. Ulaso (Ulaso) in an ejectment case. Another
corporate. And, the law makes it a misbehavior on his part, subject to
case for falsification was filed against Ulaso where Busmente also
disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the unauthorized practice of law.
appeared as counsel. Noe-Lacsamana alleged that one Atty.
Elizabeth Dela Rosa or Atty. Liza Dela Rosa (Dela Rosa) would In this case, it has been established that Dela Rosa, who is not a
accompany Ulaso in court, projecting herself as Busmentes member of the Bar, misrepresented herself as Busmentes
collaborating counsel. Dela Rosa signed the minutes of the court collaborating counsel in Civil Case No. 9284. The only question is
proceedings. Noe-Lacsamana further alleged that the court orders whether Busmente indirectly or directly assisted Dela Rosa in her
and notices specified Dela Rosa as Busmentes collaborating counsel. illegal practice of law. Busmente alleged that Dela Rosas employment
Noe-Lacsamana alleged that upon verification with this Court and the in his office ended in 2000 and that Dela Rosa was able to continue
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, she discovered that Dela Rosa was with her illegal practice of law through connivance with Macasieb,
not a lawyer. another member of Busmentes staff. As pointed out by the IBP-CBD,
Busmente claimed that Macasieb resigned from his office in 2003.
RESPONDENT: Busmente alleged that Dela Rosa was a law
Yet, Dela Rosa continued to represent Ulaso until 2005. Pleadings
graduate and was his paralegal assistant for a few years. Busmente
and court notices were still sent to Busmentes office until 2005. The
alleged that Dela Rosas employment with him ended in 2000 but
IBP-CBD noted that Dela Rosas practice should have ended in 2003
Dela Rosa was able to continue misrepresenting herself as a lawyer
when Macasieb left.
Hence, we agree with the findings of the IBP-CBD that there was
sufficient evidence to prove that Busmente was guilty of violation of
Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. We agree with the
recommendation of the IBP, modifying the recommendation of the
IBP-CBD, that Busmente should be suspended from the practice of
law for six months. We SUSPEND Atty. Yolando F. Busmente from the
practice of law for SIX MONTHS