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LEGAL ETHICS CASES


(FULL TEXT 1 – 17)
Table of Contents
Cayetano vs. Monsod, 201 SCRA 210 ......................................................................................................................... 2
Philippine Lawyer’s Association vs. Agrava, 105 Phil 173 .................................................................................. 10
In Re: Al Argosino, 246 SCRA 14 ............................................................................................................................... 15
In Re: Al Argosino, Bar Matter No. 712, March 19, 1997....................................................................................... 19
In Re: Borromeo, 241 SCRA 405 ................................................................................................................................ 20
A. CIVIL CASES ........................................................................................................................................................... 21
B. CRIMINAL CASES .................................................................................................................................................. 32
Bongalonta vs. Castillo, 240 SCRA 310 .................................................................................................................... 47
Ulep vs. Legal Clinic, Inc., 223 SCRA 378 ................................................................................................................ 48
Bar Matter No. 850 ......................................................................................................................................................... 67
In Re: Edillon, 84 SCRA 554 ........................................................................................................................................ 73
Hueysuwan vs. Florido, A.C. No. 5624...................................................................................................................... 75
Eternal Gardens Memorial Park vs. CA, GR No. 123698 ...................................................................................... 77
In Re: Almacen, GR No. L-27654 ................................................................................................................................ 80
Wicker vs. Arcangel, GR No. 112869 ......................................................................................................................... 98
Nunez vs. Ricafort, A.C. No. 5054 ............................................................................................................................ 101
Santiago vs. Rafanan, A.C. No. 6252 ....................................................................................................................... 103
The Case and the Facts ............................................................................................................................................ 103
The Courts Ruling ...................................................................................................................................................... 105
Lantoria vs. Bunyi, A.C. No. 1769 ............................................................................................................................ 108
Santiago vs. Fojas, A.C. No. 4103 ............................................................................................................................ 112

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Cayetano vs. Monsod, 201 SCRA 210 The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the
application of legal principles and technique to serve the
interest of another with his consent. It is not limited to
G.R. No. 100113 September 3, 1991 appearing in court, or advising and assisting in the
conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of
RENATO CAYETANO, petitioner, pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and
vs.
special proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of
CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. JOVITO R. SALONGA, legal instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal
COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENT, and HON. advice to clients. It embraces all advice to clients and all
GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as Secretary actions taken for them in matters connected with the law.
of Budget and Management, respondents. An attorney engages in the practice of law by maintaining
Renato L. Cayetano for and in his own behalf. an office where he is held out to be-an attorney, using a
letterhead describing himself as an attorney, counseling
Sabina E. Acut, Jr. and Mylene Garcia-Albano co-counsel clients in legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel
for petitioner. about pending litigation, and fixing and collecting fees for
services rendered by his associate. (Black's Law
PARAS, J.:
Dictionary, 3rd ed.)
We are faced here with a controversy of far-reaching
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases
proportions. While ostensibly only legal issues are
in court. (Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v.
involved, the Court's decision in this case would
Dworken, 129 Ohio St. 23, 193 N.E. 650) A person is also
indubitably have a profound effect on the political aspect
considered to be in the practice of law when he:
of our national existence.
... for valuable consideration engages in the business of
The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-
advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to
C:
their rights under the law, or appears in a representative
There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a capacity as an advocate in proceedings pending or
Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural- prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee,
born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law
appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a or authorized to settle controversies and there, in such
college degree, and must not have been candidates for representative capacity performs any act or acts for the
any elective position in the immediately preceding - purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients
elections. However, a majority thereof, including the under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a
Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who representative capacity, engages in the business of
have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten advising clients as to their rights under the law, or while
years. (Emphasis supplied) so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or
outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the
The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section l(l), practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v..C.S. Dudley
Article XII-C of the 1973 Constitution which similarly and Co., 102 S.W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852)
provides:
This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association
There shall be an independent Commission on Elections v.Agrava, (105 Phil. 173,176-177) stated:
composed of a Chairman and eight Commissioners who
shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases
time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of
and holders of a college degree. However, a majority pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special
thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the proceedings, the management of such actions and
Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts,
law for at least ten years.' (Emphasis supplied) and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to
clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected
Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence with the law incorporation services, assessment and
as to what constitutes practice of law as a legal condemnation services contemplating an appearance
qualification to an appointive office. before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage,
enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and
Black defines "practice of law" as:
insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in
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attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship characteristics of the profession. Generally, to practice
have been held to constitute law practice, as do the law is to give notice or render any kind of service, which
preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the device or service requires the use in any degree of legal
work done involves the determination by the trained legal knowledge or skill." (111 ALR 23)
mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr.
p. 262, 263). (Emphasis supplied) The following records of the 1986 Constitutional
Commission show that it has adopted a liberal
Practice of law under modem conditions consists in no interpretation of the term "practice of law."
small part of work performed outside of any court and
having no immediate relation to proceedings in court. It MR. FOZ. Before we suspend the session, may I make a
embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a manifestation which I forgot to do during our review of the
large variety of subjects, and the preparation and provisions on the Commission on Audit. May I be allowed
execution of legal instruments covering an extensive field to make a very brief statement?
of business and trust relations and other affairs. Although THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir).
these transactions may have no direct connection with
court proceedings, they are always subject to become The Commissioner will please proceed.
involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a high
MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications of the
degree of legal skill, a wide experience with men and
members of the Commission on Audit. Among others, the
affairs, and great capacity for adaptation to difficult and
qualifications provided for by Section I is that "They must
complex situations. These customary functions of an
be Members of the Philippine Bar" — I am quoting from
attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate relation to
the provision — "who have been engaged in the practice
the administration of justice by the courts. No valid
of law for at least ten years".
distinction, so far as concerns the question set forth in the
order, can be drawn between that part of the work of the To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in
lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part excluding members of the Bar who are now employed in
which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his the COA or Commission on Audit, we would like to make
office. It is of importance to the welfare of the public that the clarification that this provision on qualifications
these manifold customary functions be performed by regarding members of the Bar does not necessarily refer
persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of or involve actual practice of law outside the COA We have
sound moral character, and acting at all times under the to interpret this to mean that as long as the lawyers who
heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon all are employed in the COA are using their legal knowledge
attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. or legal talent in their respective work within COA, then
3 [1953 ed.] , p. 665-666, citing In re Opinion of the they are qualified to be considered for appointment as
Justices [Mass.], 194 N.E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar members or commissioners, even chairman, of the
Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 179 A. Commission on Audit.
139,144). (Emphasis ours)
This has been discussed by the Committee on
The University of the Philippines Law Center in Constitutional Commissions and Agencies and we deem
conducting orientation briefing for new lawyers (1974- it important to take it up on the floor so that this
1975) listed the dimensions of the practice of law in even interpretation may be made available whenever this
broader terms as advocacy, counselling and public provision on the qualifications as regards members of the
service. Philippine Bar engaging in the practice of law for at least
ten years is taken up.
One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of
employment in the profession. If what he does exacts MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just one
knowledge of the law and is of a kind usual for attorneys question.
engaging in the active practice of their profession, and he
follows some one or more lines of employment such as MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.
this he is a practicing attorney at law within the meaning
MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in the COA
of the statute. (Barr v. Cardell, 155 NW 312)
by a lawyer is equivalent to the requirement of a law
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which practice that is set forth in the Article on the Commission
requires the application of law, legal procedure, on Audit?
knowledge, training and experience. "To engage in the
practice of law is to perform those acts which are
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MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of [1941]). Because lawyers perform almost every function
COA, although it is auditing, will necessarily involve legal known in the commercial and governmental realm, such
work; it will involve legal work. And, therefore, lawyers a definition would obviously be too global to be
who are employed in COA now would have the necessary workable.(Wolfram, op. cit.).
qualifications in accordance with the Provision on
qualifications under our provisions on the Commission on The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in behalf of a
Audit. And, therefore, the answer is yes. client is at once the most publicly familiar role for lawyers
as well as an uncommon role for the average lawyer. Most
MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is lawyers spend little time in courtrooms, and a large
that this is equivalent to the practice of law. percentage spend their entire practice without litigating a
case. (Ibid., p. 593). Nonetheless, many lawyers do
MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. continue to litigate and the litigating lawyer's role colors
MR. OPLE. Thank you. much of both the public image and the self perception of
the legal profession. (Ibid.).
... ( Emphasis supplied)
In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation in the public
Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, mind reflects history, not reality. (Ibid.). Why is this so?
provides, among others, that the Chairman and two Recall that the late Alexander SyCip, a corporate lawyer,
Commissioners of the Commission on Audit (COA) once articulated on the importance of a lawyer as a
should either be certified public accountants with not less business counselor in this wise: "Even today, there are
than ten years of auditing practice, or members of the still uninformed laymen whose concept of an attorney is
Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of one who principally tries cases before the courts. The
law for at least ten years. (emphasis supplied) members of the bench and bar and the informed laymen
such as businessmen, know that in most developed
Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and
societies today, substantially more legal work is
which is in many ways synonymous with the word
transacted in law offices than in the courtrooms. General
"lawyer." Today, although many lawyers do not engage in
practitioners of law who do both litigation and non-
private practice, it is still a fact that the majority of lawyers
litigation work also know that in most cases they find
are private practitioners. (Gary Munneke, Opportunities in
themselves spending more time doing what [is] loosely
Law Careers [VGM Career Horizons: Illinois], [1986], p.
desccribe[d] as business counseling than in trying cases.
15).
The business lawyer has been described as the planner,
At this point, it might be helpful to define private practice. the diagnostician and the trial lawyer, the surgeon. I[t]
The term, as commonly understood, means "an individual need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in medicine,
or organization engaged in the business of delivering surgery should be avoided where internal medicine can
legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers who practice alone are be effective." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law,"
often called "sole practitioners." Groups of lawyers are Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).
called "firms." The firm is usually a partnership and
In the course of a working day the average general
members of the firm are the partners. Some firms may be
practitioner wig engage in a number of legal tasks, each
organized as professional corporations and the members
involving different legal doctrines, legal skills, legal
called shareholders. In either case, the members of the
processes, legal institutions, clients, and other interested
firm are the experienced attorneys. In most firms, there
parties. Even the increasing numbers of lawyers in
are younger or more inexperienced salaried
specialized practice wig usually perform at least some
attorneyscalled "associates." (Ibid.).
legal services outside their specialty. And even within a
The test that defines law practice by looking to traditional narrow specialty such as tax practice, a lawyer will shift
areas of law practice is essentially tautologous, unhelpful from one legal task or role such as advice-giving to an
defining the practice of law as that which lawyers do. importantly different one such as representing a client
(Charles W. Wolfram, Modern Legal Ethics [West before an administrative agency. (Wolfram, supra, p.
Publishing Co.: Minnesota, 1986], p. 593). The practice of 687).
law is defined as the performance of any acts . . . in or out
By no means will most of this work involve litigation,
of court, commonly understood to be the practice of law.
unless the lawyer is one of the relatively rare types — a
(State Bar Ass'n v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 145
litigator who specializes in this work to the exclusion of
Conn. 222, 140 A.2d 863, 870 [1958] [quoting Grievance
much else. Instead, the work will require the lawyer to
Comm. v. Payne, 128 Conn. 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626
have mastered the full range of traditional lawyer skills of
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client counselling, advice-giving, document drafting, and Although members of the legal profession are regularly
negotiation. And increasingly lawyers find that the new engaged in predicting and projecting the trends of the law,
skills of evaluation and mediation are both effective for the subject of corporate finance law has received
many clients and a source of employment. (Ibid.). relatively little organized and formalized attention in the
philosophy of advancing corporate legal education.
Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal work or in Nonetheless, a cross-disciplinary approach to legal
litigation work that is constrained in very important ways, research has become a vital necessity.
at least theoretically, so as to remove from it some of the
salient features of adversarial litigation. Of these special Certainly, the general orientation for productive
roles, the most prominent is that of prosecutor. In some contributions by those trained primarily in the law can be
lawyers' work the constraints are imposed both by the improved through an early introduction to multi-variable
nature of the client and by the way in which the lawyer is decisional context and the various approaches for
organized into a social unit to perform that work. The most handling such problems. Lawyers, particularly with either
common of these roles are those of corporate practice a master's or doctorate degree in business administration
and government legal service. (Ibid.). or management, functioning at the legal policy level of
decision-making now have some appreciation for the
In several issues of the Business Star, a business daily, concepts and analytical techniques of other professions
herein below quoted are emerging trends in corporate law which are currently engaged in similar types of complex
practice, a departure from the traditional concept of decision-making.
practice of law.
Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance
We are experiencing today what truly may be called a problems would require the services of an astute attorney
revolutionary transformation in corporate law practice. because of the complex legal implications that arise from
Lawyers and other professional groups, in particular those each and every necessary step in securing and
members participating in various legal-policy decisional maintaining the business issue raised. (Business Star,
contexts, are finding that understanding the major "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).
emerging trends in corporation law is indispensable to
intelligent decision-making. In our litigation-prone country, a corporate lawyer is
assiduously referred to as the "abogado de campanilla."
Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of He is the "big-time" lawyer, earning big money and with a
today requires an accurate understanding of the nature clientele composed of the tycoons and magnates of
and implications of the corporate law research function business and industry.
accompanied by an accelerating rate of information
accumulation. The recognition of the need for such Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many
improved corporate legal policy formulation, particularly people could not explain what it is that a corporate lawyer
"model-making" and "contingency planning," has does. For one, the number of attorneys employed by a
impressed upon us the inadequacy of traditional single corporation will vary with the size and type of the
procedures in many decisional contexts. corporation. Many smaller and some large corporations
farm out all their legal problems to private law firms. Many
In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be others have in-house counsel only for certain matters.
processed, the sorting and weighing of significant Other corporation have a staff large enough to handle
conditional factors, the appraisal of major trends, the most legal problems in-house.
necessity of estimating the consequences of given
courses of action, and the need for fast decision and A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a
response in situations of acute danger have prompted the lawyer who handles the legal affairs of a corporation. His
use of sophisticated concepts of information flow theory, areas of concern or jurisdiction may include, inter alia:
operational analysis, automatic data processing, and corporate legal research, tax laws research, acting out as
electronic computing equipment. Understandably, an corporate secretary (in board meetings), appearances in
improved decisional structure must stress the predictive both courts and other adjudicatory agencies (including the
component of the policy-making process, wherein a Securities and Exchange Commission), and in other
"model", of the decisional context or a segment thereof is capacities which require an ability to deal with the law.
developed to test projected alternative courses of action
in terms of futuristic effects flowing therefrom. At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume
responsibilities other than the legal affairs of the business
of the corporation he is representing. These include such

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matters as determining policy and becoming involved in resulting strategic repositioning that the firms he provides
management. ( Emphasis supplied.) counsel for are required to make, and the need to think
about a corporation's; strategy at multiple levels. The
In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of salience of the nation-state is being reduced as firms deal
being isolated from the action, or not understanding how both with global multinational entities and simultaneously
one's work actually fits into the work of the orgarnization. with sub-national governmental units. Firms increasingly
This can be frustrating to someone who needs to see the collaborate not only with public entities but with each other
results of his work first hand. In short, a corporate lawyer — often with those who are competitors in other arenas.
is sometimes offered this fortune to be more closely
involved in the running of the business. Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decision-
making within the corporation is rapidly changing. The
Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes modem corporate lawyer has gained a new role as a
be engaged by a multinational corporation (MNC). Some stakeholder — in some cases participating in the
large MNCs provide one of the few opportunities available organization and operations of governance through
to corporate lawyers to enter the international law field. participation on boards and other decision-making roles.
After all, international law is practiced in a relatively small Often these new patterns develop alongside existing legal
number of companies and law firms. Because working in institutions and laws are perceived as barriers. These
a foreign country is perceived by many as glamorous, tills trends are complicated as corporations organize for
is an area coveted by corporate lawyers. In most cases, global operations. ( Emphasis supplied)
however, the overseas jobs go to experienced attorneys
while the younger attorneys do their "international The practising lawyer of today is familiar as well with
practice" in law libraries. (Business Star, "Corporate Law governmental policies toward the promotion and
Practice," May 25,1990, p. 4). management of technology. New collaborative
arrangements for promoting specific technologies or
This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of the lawyer competitiveness more generally require approaches from
in the realm of finance. To borrow the lines of Harvard- industry that differ from older, more adversarial
educated lawyer Bruce Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer relationships and traditional forms of seeking to influence
is one who fails to spot problems, a good lawyer is one governmental policies. And there are lessons to be
who perceives the difficulties, and the excellent lawyer is learned from other countries. In
one who surmounts them." (Business Star, "Corporate Europe, Esprit, Eureka and Race are examples of
Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). collaborative efforts between governmental and business
Today, the study of corporate law practice direly needs a Japan's MITI is world famous. (Emphasis supplied)
"shot in the arm," so to speak. No longer are we talking of Following the concept of boundary spanning, the office of
the traditional law teaching method of confining the the Corporate Counsel comprises a distinct group within
subject study to the Corporation Code and the Securities the managerial structure of all kinds of organizations.
Code but an incursion as well into the intertwining modern Effectiveness of both long-term and temporary groups
management issues. within organizations has been found to be related to
Such corporate legal management issues deal primarily indentifiable factors in the group-context interaction such
with three (3) types of learning: (1) acquisition of insights as the groups actively revising their knowledge of the
into current advances which are of particular significance environment coordinating work with outsiders, promoting
to the corporate counsel; (2) an introduction to usable team achievements within the organization. In general,
disciplinary skins applicable to a corporate counsel's such external activities are better predictors of team
management responsibilities; and (3) a devotion to the performance than internal group processes.
organization and management of the legal function itself. In a crisis situation, the legal managerial capabilities of the
These three subject areas may be thought of as corporate lawyer vis-a-vis the managerial mettle of
intersecting circles, with a shared area linking them. corporations are challenged. Current research is seeking
Otherwise known as "intersecting managerial ways both to anticipate effective managerial procedures
jurisprudence," it forms a unifying theme for the corporate and to understand relationships of financial liability and
counsel's total learning. insurance considerations. (Emphasis supplied)

Some current advances in behavior and policy sciences Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate counsel,
affect the counsel's role. For that matter, the corporate three factors are apropos:
lawyer reviews the globalization process, including the
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First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics relationships with an increasingly diversified body of
has been found an effective tool for new managerial employees, managing expanded liability exposure,
thinking regarding both planning and pressing immediate creating new and varied interactions with public decision-
problems. An understanding of the role of feedback loops, makers, coping internally with more complex make or by
inventory levels, and rates of flow, enable users to decisions.
simulate all sorts of systematic problems — physical,
economic, managerial, social, and psychological. New This whole exercise drives home the thesis that knowing
programming techniques now make the system dynamics corporate law is not enough to make one a good general
principles more accessible to managers — including corporate counsel nor to give him a full sense of how the
corporate counsels. (Emphasis supplied) legal system shapes corporate activities. And even if the
corporate lawyer's aim is not the understand all of the
Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make law's effects on corporate activities, he must, at the very
better decisions involving complexity and uncertainty. In least, also gain a working knowledge of the management
the context of a law department, it can be used to appraise issues if only to be able to grasp not only the basic legal
the settlement value of litigation, aid in negotiation "constitution' or makeup of the modem corporation.
settlement, and minimize the cost and risk involved in "Business Star", "The Corporate Counsel," April 10, 1991,
managing a portfolio of cases. (Emphasis supplied) p. 4).

Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. Computer- The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and the bench)
based models can be used directly by parties and is to have more than a passing knowledge of financial law
mediators in all lands of negotiations. All integrated set of affecting each aspect of their work. Yet, many would admit
such tools provide coherent and effective negotiation to ignorance of vast tracts of the financial law territory.
support, including hands-on on instruction in these What transpires next is a dilemma of professional
techniques. A simulation case of an international joint security: Will the lawyer admit ignorance and risk
venture may be used to illustrate the point. opprobrium?; or will he feign understanding and risk
exposure? (Business Star, "Corporate Finance law," Jan.
[Be this as it may,] the organization and management of 11, 1989, p. 4).
the legal function, concern three pointed areas of
consideration, thus: Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by
President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of Chairman
Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires of the COMELEC in a letter received by the Secretariat of
special skills that comprise a major part of the general the Commission on Appointments on April 25, 1991.
counsel's responsibilities. They differ from those of Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly
remedial law. Preventive lawyering is concerned with Monsod does not possess the required qualification of
minimizing the risks of legal trouble and maximizing legal having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten
rights for such legal entities at that time when years.
transactional or similar facts are being considered and
made. On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments
confirmed the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the
Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within COMELEC. On June 18, 1991, he took his oath of office.
which are undertaken those activities of the firm to which On the same day, he assumed office as Chairman of the
legal consequences attach. It needs to be directly COMELEC.
supportive of this nation's evolving economic and
organizational fabric as firms change to stay competitive Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the
in a global, interdependent environment. The practice and Commission on Appointments of Monsod's nomination,
theory of "law" is not adequate today to facilitate the petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed the instant
relationships needed in trying to make a global economy petition for certiorari and Prohibition praying that said
work. confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod
as Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared
Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Counsel's null and void.
Office. The general counsel has emerged in the last
decade as one of the most vibrant subsets of the legal Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar,
profession. The corporate counsel hear responsibility for having passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade
key aspects of the firm's strategic issues, including of 86-55%. He has been a dues paying member of the
structuring its global operations, managing improved Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in

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1972-73. He has also been paying his professional After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a country's
license fees as lawyer for more than ten years. (p. 124, Constitution; it lays down the law as far as the loan
Rollo) transaction is concerned. Thus, the meat of any Loan
Agreement can be compartmentalized into five (5)
After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and fundamental parts: (1) business terms; (2) borrower's
having hurdled the bar, Atty. Monsod worked in the law representation; (3) conditions of closing; (4) covenants;
office of his father. During his stint in the World Bank and (5) events of default. (Ibid., p. 13).
Group (1963-1970), Monsod worked as an operations
officer for about two years in Costa Rica and Panama, In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any
which involved getting acquainted with the laws of debt restructuring program. For aside from performing the
member-countries negotiating loans and coordinating tasks of legislative drafting and legal advising, they score
legal, economic, and project work of the Bank. Upon national development policies as key factors in
returning to the Philippines in 1970, he worked with the maintaining their countries' sovereignty. (Condensed from
Meralco Group, served as chief executive officer of an the work paper, entitled "Wanted: Development Lawyers
investment bank and subsequently of a business for Developing Nations," submitted by L. Michael Hager,
conglomerate, and since 1986, has rendered services to regional legal adviser of the United States Agency for
various companies as a legal and economic consultant or International Development, during the Session on Law for
chief executive officer. As former Secretary-General the Development of Nations at the Abidjan World
(1986) and National Chairman (1987) of NAMFREL. Conference in Ivory Coast, sponsored by the World
Monsod's work involved being knowledgeable in election Peace Through Law Center on August 26-31, 1973). (
law. He appeared for NAMFREL in its accreditation Emphasis supplied)
hearings before the Comelec. In the field of advocacy,
Monsod, in his personal capacity and as former Co- Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more
Chairman of the Bishops Businessmen's Conference for so than purely renegotiation policies, demand expertise in
Human Development, has worked with the under the law of contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting
privileged sectors, such as the farmer and urban poor and in renegotiation. Necessarily, a sovereign lawyer may
groups, in initiating, lobbying for and engaging in work with an international business specialist or an
affirmative action for the agrarian reform law and lately the economist in the formulation of a model loan agreement.
urban land reform bill. Monsod also made use of his legal Debt restructuring contract agreements contain such a
knowledge as a member of the Davide Commission, a mixture of technical language that they should be carefully
quast judicial body, which conducted numerous hearings drafted and signed only with the advise of competent
(1990) and as a member of the Constitutional counsel in conjunction with the guidance of adequate
Commission (1986-1987), and Chairman of its Committee technical support personnel. (See International Law
on Accountability of Public Officers, for which he was cited Aspects of the Philippine External Debts, an unpublished
by the President of the Commission, Justice Cecilia dissertation, U.S.T. Graduate School of Law, 1987, p.
Muñoz-Palma for "innumerable amendments to reconcile 321). ( Emphasis supplied)
government functions with individual freedoms and public A critical aspect of sovereign debt restructuring/contract
accountability and the party-list system for the House of construction is the set of terms and conditions which
Representative. (pp. 128-129 Rollo) ( Emphasis supplied) determines the contractual remedies for a failure to
Just a word about the work of a negotiating team of which perform one or more elements of the contract. A good
Atty. Monsod used to be a member. agreement must not only define the responsibilities of
both parties, but must also state the recourse open to
In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts either party when the other fails to discharge an
as a team, and which is adequately constituted to meet obligation. For a compleat debt restructuring represents a
the various contingencies that arise during a negotiation. devotion to that principle which in the ultimate analysis
Besides top officials of the Borrower concerned, there are is sine qua non for foreign loan agreements-an
the legal officer (such as the legal counsel), the finance adherence to the rule of law in domestic and international
manager, and an operations officer (such as an official affairs of whose kind U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver
involved in negotiating the contracts) who comprise the Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said: "They carry no banners,
members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven, "Loan they beat no drums; but where they are, men learn that
Negotiating Strategies for Developing Country bustle and bush are not the equal of quiet genius and
Borrowers," Staff Paper No. 2, Central Bank of the serene mastery." (See Ricardo J. Romulo, "The Role of
Philippines, Manila, 1982, p. 11). (Emphasis supplied) Lawyers in Foreign Investments," Integrated Bar of the

8
9

Philippine Journal, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4, Third and Fourth L-3081, October 14, 1949; Gonzales, Law on Public
Quarters, 1977, p. 265). Officers, p. 200)

Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term The power of the Commission on Appointments to give its
Practice of law". particularly the modern concept of law consent to the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the
practice, and taking into consideration the liberal Commission on Elections is mandated by Section 1(2)
construction intended by the framers of the Constitution, Sub-Article C, Article IX of the Constitution which
Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer- provides:
economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of
industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer- The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be appointed
legislator of both the rich and the poor — verily more than by the President with the consent of the Commission on
satisfy the constitutional requirement — that he has been Appointments for a term of seven years without
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members
shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five
Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service years, and the last Members for three years, without
Commission, 143 SCRA 327, the Court said: reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only
for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall
Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary
must be performed by the officer in which it is vested or acting capacity.
according to his best lights, the only condition being that
the appointee should possess the qualifications required Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate opinion, suffice
by law. If he does, then the appointment cannot be faulted it to say that his definition of the practice of law is the
on the ground that there are others better qualified who traditional or stereotyped notion of law practice, as
should have been preferred. This is a political question distinguished from the modern concept of the practice of
involving considerations of wisdom which only the law, which modern connotation is exactly what was
appointing authority can decide. (emphasis supplied) intended by the eminent framers of the 1987
Constitution. Moreover, Justice Padilla's definition would
No less emphatic was the Court in the case of (Central require generally a habitual law practice, perhaps
Bank v. Civil Service Commission, 171 SCRA 744) where practised two or three times a week and would
it stated: outlaw say, law practice once or twice a year for ten
It is well-settled that when the appointee is qualified, as in consecutive years. Clearly, this is far from the
this case, and all the other legal requirements are constitutional intent.
satisfied, the Commission has no alternative but to attest Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Justice
to the appointment in accordance with the Civil Service Isagani Cruz states that in my written opinion, I made use
Law. The Commission has no authority to revoke an of a definition of law practice which really means nothing
appointment on the ground that another person is more because the definition says that law practice " . . . is what
qualified for a particular position. It also has no authority people ordinarily mean by the practice of law." True I cited
to direct the appointment of a substitute of its choice. To the definition but only by way of sarcasm as evident from
do so would be an encroachment on the discretion vested my statement that the definition of law practice by
upon the appointing authority. An appointment is "traditional areas of law practice is
essentially within the discretionary power of whomsoever essentially tautologous" or defining a phrase by means of
it is vested, subject to the only condition that the appointee the phrase itself that is being defined.
should possess the qualifications required by law. (
Emphasis supplied) Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that since the
law covers almost all situations, most individuals, in
The appointing process in a regular appointment as in the making use of the law, or in advising others on what the
case at bar, consists of four (4) stages: (1) nomination; (2) law means, are actually practicing law. In that sense,
confirmation by the Commission on Appointments; (3) perhaps, but we should not lose sight of the fact that Mr.
issuance of a commission (in the Philippines, upon Monsod is a lawyer, a member of the Philippine Bar, who
submission by the Commission on Appointments of its has been practising law for over ten years. This is different
certificate of confirmation, the President issues the from the acts of persons practising law, without first
permanent appointment; and (4) acceptance e.g., oath- becoming lawyers.
taking, posting of bond, etc. . . . (Lacson v. Romero, No.

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10

Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court can even When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was captured,
disqualify an elected President of the Philippines, say, on the procurator placed an iron rod burning white-hot two or
the ground that he lacks one or more qualifications. This three inches away from in front of Samson's eyes. This
matter, I greatly doubt. For one thing, how can an action blinded the man. Upon hearing of what had happened to
or petition be brought against the President? And even her beloved, Delilah was beside herself with anger, and
assuming that he is indeed disqualified, how can the fuming with righteous fury, accused the procurator of
action be entertained since he is the incumbent reneging on his word. The procurator calmly replied: "Did
President? any blade touch his skin? Did any blood flow from his
veins?" The procurator was clearly relying on the letter,
We now proceed: not the spirit of the agreement.
The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted In view of the foregoing, this petition is hereby
doling the public hearings on Monsod's confirmation, DISMISSED.
implicitly determined that he possessed the necessary
qualifications as required by law. The judgment rendered SO ORDERED.
by the Commission in the exercise of such an
acknowledged power is beyond judicial interference .
except only upon a clear showing of a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art.
VIII, Sec. 1 Constitution). Thus, only where such grave Philippine Lawyer’s Association vs. Agrava, 105 Phil
abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court 173
interfere with the Commission's judgment. In the instant
case, there is no occasion for the exercise of the Court's G.R. No. L-12426 February 16, 1959
corrective power, since no abuse, much less a grave
abuse of discretion, that would amount to lack or excess
PHILIPPINE LAWYER'S ASSOCIATION, petitioner,
of jurisdiction and would warrant the issuance of the writs vs.
prayed, for has been clearly shown. CELEDONIO AGRAVA, in his capacity as Director of
the Philippines Patent Office, respondent.
Additionally, consider the following:

(1) If the Commission on Appointments rejects a nominee Arturo A. Alafriz for petitioner.
by the President, may the Supreme Court reverse the Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and
Commission, and thus in effect confirm the appointment? Solicitor Pacifico P. de Castro for respondent.
Clearly, the answer is in the negative.
MONTEMAYOR, J.:
(2) In the same vein, may the Court reject the nominee,
whom the Commission has confirmed? The answer is This is the petition filed by the Philippine Lawyer's
likewise clear. Association for prohibition and injunction against
Celedonio Agrava, in his capacity as Director of the
(3) If the United States Senate (which is the confirming
Philippines Patent Office.
body in the U.S. Congress) decides to confirm a
Presidential nominee, it would be incredible that the U.S.
On may 27, 1957, respondent Director issued a circular
Supreme Court would still reverse the U.S. Senate.
announcing that he had scheduled for June 27, 1957 an
Finally, one significant legal maxim is: examination for the purpose of determining who are
qualified to practice as patent attorneys before the
We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the Philippines Patent Office, the said examination to cover
spirit that giveth life. patent law and jurisprudence and the rules of practice
before said office. According to the circular, members of
Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the Philippine Bar, engineers and other persons with
the procurator of Judea asked Delilah (who was Samson's sufficient scientific and technical training are qualified to
beloved) for help in capturing Samson. Delilah agreed on take the said examination. It would appear that
condition that — heretofore, respondent Director has been holding similar
examinations.
No blade shall touch his skin;
It is the contention of the petitioner Philippine Lawyer's
No blood shall flow from his veins.
Association that one who has passed the bar
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11

examinations and is licensed by the Supreme Court to administrative, in the Philippines. Naturally, the question
practice law in the Philippines and who is in good arises as to whether or not appearance before the patent
standing, is duly qualified to practice before the Office and the preparation and the prosecution of patent
Philippines Patent Office, and that consequently, the cat applications, etc., constitutes or is included in the practice
of the respondent Director requiring members of the of law.
Philippine Bar in good standing to take and pass an
examination given by the Patent Office as a condition The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of
precedent to their being allowed to practice before said cases or litigation in court; it embraces the
office, such as representing applicants in the preparation preparation of pleadings and other papers
and prosecution of applications for patent, is in excess of incident to actions and social proceedings, the
his jurisdiction and is in violation of the law. management of such actions and proceedings on
behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in
In his answer, respondent Director, through the Solicitor addition, conveying. In general, all advice to
General, maintains that the prosecution of patent cases clients, and all action taken for them in
"does not involve entirely or purely the practice of law but matters connected with the law corporation
includes the application of scientific and technical services, assessment and condemnation
knowledge and training, so much so that, as a matter of services contemplating an appearance before a
actual practice, the prosecution of patent cases may be judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage,
handled not only by lawyers, but also engineers and other enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy
persons with sufficient scientific and technical training and insolvency proceedings, and conducting
who pass the prescribed examinations as given by the proceedings in attachment, and in matters of
Patent Office; . . . that the Rules of Court do not prohibit estate and guardianship have been held to
the Patent Office, or any other quasi-judicial body from constitute law practice as do the preparation and
requiring further condition or qualification from those who drafting of legal instruments, where the work
would wish to handle cases before the Patent Office done involves the determination by the trained
which, as stated in the preceding paragraph, requires legal mind of the legal effect of facts and
more of an application of scientific and technical conditions. (5 Am. Jur. p. 262, 263). (Emphasis
knowledge than the mere application of provisions of law; supplied).
. . . that the action taken by the respondent is in
accordance with Republic Act No. 165, otherwise known Practice of law under modern conditions consists
as the Patent Law of the Philippines, which similar to the in no small part of work performed outside of any
United States Patent Law, in accordance with which the court and having no immediate relation to
United States Patent Office has also prescribed a similar proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing,
examination as that prescribed by respondent. . . . the giving of legal advice on a large variety of
subjects, and the preparation and execution of
Respondent further contends that just as the Patent law legal instruments covering an extensive field of
of the United States of America authorizes the business and trust relations and other
Commissioner of Patents to prescribe examinations to affairs. Although these transactions may have no
determine as to who practice before the United States direct connection with court proceedings, they are
Patent Office, the respondent, is similarly authorized to do always subject to become involved in litigation.
so by our Patent Law, Republic Act No. 165. They require in many aspects a high degree of
legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs,
Although as already stated, the Director of Patents, in the and great capacity for adaptation to difficult and
past, would appear to have been holding tests or complex situations. These customary functions of
examinations the passing of which was imposed as a an attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate
required qualification to practice before the Patent Office, relation to the administration of justice by the
to our knowledge, this is the first time that the right of the courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns the
Director of Patents to do so, specially as regards question set forth in the order, can be drawn
members of the bar, has been questioned formally, or between that part which involves advice and
otherwise put in issue. And we have given it careful drafting of instruments in his office. It is of
thought and consideration. importance to the welfare of the public that these
manifold customary functions be performed by
persons possessed of adequate learning and
The Supreme Court has the exclusive and constitutional
skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all
power with respect to admission to the practice of law in
times under the heavy trust obligations to clients
the Philippines1 and to any member of the Philippine Bar
which rests upon all attorneys. (Moran,
in good standing may practice law anywhere and before
Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 (1953
any entity, whether judicial or quasi-judicial or
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12

ed.), p. 665-666, citing In re Opinion of the is prevented; or if the patent or invention relates to food or
Justices (Mass.), 194 N.E. 313, quoted in Rhode medicine or is necessary to public health or public safety.
Is. Bar Assoc. vs. Automobile Service Assoc. (R. All these things involve the applications of laws, legal
I. ) 179 A. 139, 144). (Emphasis ours). principles, practice and procedure. They call for legal
knowledge, training and experience for which a member
In our opinion, the practice of law includes such of the bar has been prepared.
appearance before the Patent Office, the representation
of applicants, oppositors, and other persons, and the In support of the proposition that much of the business
prosecution of their applications for patent, their and many of the act, orders and decisions of the Patent
oppositions thereto, or the enforcement of their rights in Director involve questions of law or a reasonable and
patent cases. In the first place, although the transaction of correct evaluation of facts, the very Patent Law, Republic
business in the Patent Office involves the use and Act No. 165, Section 61, provides that:
application of technical and scientific knowledge and
training, still, all such business has to be rendered in . . . . The applicant for a patent or for the
accordance with the Patent Law, as well as other laws, registration of a design, any party to a proceeding
including the Rules and Regulations promulgated by the to cancel a patent or to obtain a compulsory
Patent Office in accordance with law. Not only this, but license, and any party to any other proceeding in
practice before the Patent Office involves the the Office may appeal to the Supreme Court from
interpretation and application of other laws and legal any final order or decision of the director.
principles, as well as the existence of facts to be
established in accordance with the law of evidence and In other words, the appeal is taken to this Tribunal. If the
procedure. For instance: Section 8 of our Patent Law transaction of business in the Patent Office and the acts,
provides that an invention shall not be patentable if it is orders and decisions of the Patent Director involved
contrary to public order or morals, or to public health or exclusively or mostly technical and scientific knowledge
welfare. Section 9 says that an invention shall not be and training, then logically, the appeal should be taken not
considered new or patentable if it was known or used by to a court or judicial body, but rather to a board of
others in the Philippines before the invention thereof by scientists, engineers or technical men, which is not the
the inventor named in any printed publication in the case.
Philippines or any foreign country more than one year
before the application for a patent therefor, or if it had
been in public use or on sale in the Philippines for more Another aspect of the question involves the consideration
than one year before the application for the patent of the nature of the functions and acts of the Head of the
therefor. Section 10 provides that the right to patent Patent Office.
belongs to the true and actual inventor, his heirs, legal
representatives or assigns. Section 25 and 26 refer to . . . . The Commissioner, in issuing or withholding
connection of any mistake in a patent. Section 28 patents, in reissues, interferences, and
enumerates the grounds for cancellation of a patent; that extensions, exercises quasi-judicial functions.
although any person may apply for such cancellation, Patents are public records, and it is the duty of
under Section 29, the Solicitor General is authorized to the Commissioner to give authenticated copies to
petition for the cancellation of a patent. Section 30 any person, on payment of the legal fees. (40 Am.
mentions the requirements of a petition for cancellation. Jur. 537). (Emphasis supplied).
Section 31 and 32 provide for a notice of hearing of the
petition for cancellation of the patent by the Director of . . . . The Commissioner has the only original
Patents in case the said cancellation is warranted. Under initiatory jurisdiction that exists up to the granting
Section 34, at any time after the expiration of three years and delivering of a patent, and it is his duty to
from the day the patent was granted, any person patent decide whether the patent is new and whether it
on several grounds, such as, if the patented invention is is the proper subject of a patent; and his action in
not being worked in the Philippines on a commercial awarding or refusing a patent is a judicial
scale, or if the demand for the patented article in the function. In passing on an application the
Philippines on a commercial scale, or if the demand for commissioner should decide not only questions
the patented article in the Philippines is not being met to of law, but also questions of fact, as whether
an adequate extent and reasonable terms, or if by reason there has been a prior public use or sale of the
of the patentee's refusal to grant a license on reasonable article invented. . . . (60 C.J.S. 460). (Emphasis
terms or by reason of the condition attached by him to the supplied).
license, purchase or use of the patented article or working
of the patented process or machine of production, the The Director of Patents, exercising as he does judicial or
establishment of a new trade or industry in the Philippines quasi-judicial functions, it is reasonable to hold that a
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13

member of the bar, because of his legal knowledge and technical qualifications necessary to enable him
training, should be allowed to practice before the Patent to render applicants for patent valuable service,
Office, without further examination or other qualification. and is otherwise competent to advise and assist
Of course, the Director of Patents, if he deems it advisable him in the presentation and prosecution of their
or necessary, may require that members of the bar application before the Patent Office. In order that
practising before him enlist the assistance of technical the Commissioner may determine whether a
men and scientist in the preparation of papers and person seeking to have his name placed upon
documents, such as, the drawing or technical description either of the registers has the qualifications
of an invention or machine sought to be patented, in the specified, satisfactory proof of good moral
same way that a lawyer filing an application for the character and repute, and of sufficient basic
registration of a parcel of land on behalf of his clients, is training in scientific and technical matters must be
required to submit a plan and technical description of said submitted and an examination which is held from
land, prepared by a licensed surveyor. time to time must be taken and passed. The
taking of an examination may be waived in the
But respondent Director claims that he is expressly case of any person who has served for three
authorized by the law to require persons desiring to years in the examining corps of the Patent Office.
practice or to do business before him to submit an
examination, even if they are already members of the bar. Respondent states that the promulgation of the Rules of
He contends that our Patent Law, Republic Act No. 165, Practice of the United States Patent Office in Patent
is patterned after the United States Patent Law; and of the Cases is authorized by the United States Patent Law
United States Patent Office in Patent Cases prescribes an itself, which reads as follows:
examination similar to that which he (respondent) has
prescribed and scheduled. He invites our attention to the The Commissioner of Patents, subject to the
following provisions of said Rules of Practice: approval of the Secretary of Commerce may
prescribe rules and regulations governing
Registration of attorneys and agents. — A the recognition of agents, attorneys, or other
register of an attorneys and a register agents are persons representing applicants or other
kept in the Patent Office on which are entered the parties before his office, and may require of such
names of all persons recognized as entitled to persons, agents, or attorneys, before being
represent applicants before the Patent Office in recognized as representatives of applicants or
the preparation and prosecution of applicants for other persons, that they shall show they are of
patent. Registration in the Patent Office under the good moral character and in good repute,
provisions of these rules shall only entitle the are possessed of the necessary qualifications to
person registered to practice before the Patent enable them to render to applicants or other
Office. persons valuable service, and are likewise to
competent to advise and assist applicants or
(a) Attorney at law. — Any attorney at law in good other persons in the presentation or
standing admitted to practice before any United prosecution of their applications or other
States Court or the highest court of any State or business before the Office. The Commissioner of
Territory of the United States who fulfills the Patents may, after notice and opportunity for a
requirements and complied with the provisions of hearing, suspend or exclude, either generally or
these rules may be admitted to practice before in any particular case from further practice before
the Patent Office and have his name entered on his office any person, agent or attorney shown to
the register of attorneys. be incompetent or disreputable, or guilty of gross
misconduct, or who refuses to comply with the
said rules and regulations, or who shall, with
xxx xxx xxx
intent to defraud in any matter, deceive, mislead,
or threaten any applicant or prospective
(c) Requirement for registration. — No person will applicant, or other person having immediate or
be admitted to practice and register unless he prospective applicant, or other person having
shall apply to the Commissioner of Patents in immediate or prospective business before the
writing on a prescribed form supplied by the office, by word, circular, letter, or by advertising.
Commissioner and furnish all requested The reasons for any such suspension or
information and material; and shall establish to exclusion shall be duly recorded. The action of
the satisfaction of the Commissioner that he is of the Commissioner may be reviewed upon the
good moral character and of good repute and petition of the person so refused recognition or so
possessed of the legal and scientific and suspended by the district court of the United
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14

States for the District of Columbia under such Secretary of Finance, upon recommendation of the
conditions and upon such proceedings as the Collector of Internal Revenue, shall promulgate all needful
said court may by its rules determine. (Emphasis rules and regulations for the effective enforcement of the
supplied) provisions of the code. We understand that rules and
regulations have been promulgated not only for the
Respondent Director concludes that Section 78 of Bureau of Customs and Internal Revenue, but also for
Republic Act No. 165 being similar to the provisions of law other bureaus of the Government, to govern the
just reproduced, then he is authorized to prescribe the transaction of business in and to enforce the law for said
rules and regulations requiring that persons desiring to bureaus.
practice before him should submit to and pass an
examination. We reproduce said Section 78, Republic Act Were we to allow the Patent Office, in the absence of an
No. 165, for purposes of comparison: express and clear provision of law giving the necessary
sanction, to require lawyers to submit to and pass on
SEC. 78. Rules and regulations. — The Director examination prescribed by it before they are allowed to
subject to the approval of the Secretary of Justice, practice before said Patent Office, then there would be no
shall promulgate the necessary rules and reason why other bureaus specially the Bureau of Internal
regulations, not inconsistent with law, for the Revenue and Customs, where the business in the same
conduct of all business in the Patent Office. area are more or less complicated, such as the
presentation of books of accounts, balance sheets, etc.,
assessments exemptions, depreciation, these as regards
The above provisions of Section 78 certainly and by far,
are different from the provisions of the United States the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the classification of
Patent Law as regards authority to hold examinations to goods, imposition of customs duties, seizures,
confiscation, etc., as regards the Bureau of Customs, may
determine the qualifications of those allowed to practice
not also require that any lawyer practising before them or
before the Patent Office. While the U.S. Patent Law
otherwise transacting business with them on behalf of
authorizes the Commissioner of Patents to require
clients, shall first pass an examination to qualify.
attorneys to show that they possess the necessary
qualifications and competence to render valuable service
to and advise and assist their clients in patent cases, In conclusion, we hold that under the present law,
which showing may take the form of a test or examination members of the Philippine Bar authorized by this Tribunal
to be held by the Commissioner, our Patent Law, Section to practice law, and in good standing, may practice their
78, is silent on this important point. Our attention has not profession before the Patent Office, for the reason that
been called to any express provision of our Patent Law, much of the business in said office involves the
giving such authority to determine the qualifications of interpretation and determination of the scope and
persons allowed to practice before the Patent Office. application of the Patent Law and other laws applicable,
as well as the presentation of evidence to establish facts
involved; that part of the functions of the Patent director
Section 551 of the Revised Administrative Code
are judicial or quasi-judicial, so much so that appeals from
authorizes every chief of bureau to prescribe forms and
his orders and decisions are, under the law, taken to the
make regulations or general orders not inconsistent with
Supreme Court.
law, to secure the harmonious and efficient administration
of his branch of the service and to carry into full effect the
laws relating to matters within the jurisdiction of his For the foregoing reasons, the petition for prohibition is
bureau. Section 608 of Republic Act 1937, known as the granted and the respondent Director is hereby prohibited
Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, provides that from requiring members of the Philippine Bar to submit to
the Commissioner of Customs shall, subject to the an examination or tests and pass the same before being
approval of the Department Head, makes all rules and permitted to appear and practice before the Patent Office.
regulations necessary to enforce the provisions of said No costs.
code. Section 338 of the National Internal Revenue Code,
Commonwealth Act No. 466 as amended, states that the

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15

In Re: Al Argosino, 246 SCRA 14 has filed three (3) Motions for Early Resolution of his
Petition for Admission to the Bar.
B.M. No. 712 July 13, 1995
The practice of law is not a natural, absolute or
constitutional right to be granted to everyone who
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR demands it. Rather, it is a high personal privilege limited
AND OATH-TAKING OF SUCCESSFUL BAR to citizens of good moral character, with special
APPLICANT AL C. ARGOSINO, petitioner. educational qualifications, duly ascertained and
certified.2 The essentiality of good moral character in
RESOLUTION those who would be lawyers is stressed in the following
excerpts which we quote with approval and which we
FELICIANO, J.: regard as having persuasive effect:

A criminal information was filed on 4 February 1992 with In Re Farmer: 3


the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 101,
charging Mr. A.C. Argosino along with thirteen (13) other xxx xxx xxx
individuals, with the crime of homicide in connection with
the death of one Raul Camaligan on 8 September 1991. This "upright character" prescribed by the
The death of Raul Camaligan stemmed from the infliction statute, as a condition precedent to the
of severe physical injuries upon him in the course of applicant's right to receive a license to
"hazing" conducted as part of university fraternity initiation practice law in North Carolina, and of
rites. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused then entered into which he must, in addition to other
plea bargaining with the prosecution and as a result of requisites, satisfy the court, includes all
such bargaining, pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of the elements necessary to make up such
homicide through reckless imprudence. This plea was a character. It is something more than an
accepted by the trial court. In a judgment dated 11 absence of bad character. It is the good
February 1993, each of the fourteen (14) accused name which the applicant has acquired,
individuals was sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a or should have acquired, through
period ranging from two (2) years, four (4) months and association with his fellows. It means that
one (1) day to four (4) years. he must have conducted himself as a
man of upright character ordinarily would,
Eleven (11) days later, Mr. Argosino and his colleagues or should, or does. Such character
filed an application for probation with the lower court. The expresses itself, not in negatives nor in
application for probation was granted in an Order dated following the line of least resistance, but
18 June 1993 issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Pedro quite often, in the will to do the
T. Santiago. The period of probation was set at two (2) unpleasant thing if it is right, and the
years, counted from the probationer's initial report to the resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is
probation officer assigned to supervise him. wrong. . . .

Less than a month later, on 13 July 1993, Mr. Argosino xxx xxx xxx
filed a Petition for Admission to Take the 1993 Bar
Examinations. In this Petition, he disclosed the fact of his And we may pause to say that this
criminal conviction and his then probation status. He was requirement of the statute is eminently
allowed to take the 1993 Bar Examinations in this proper. Consider for a moment the duties
Court's En Banc Resolution dated 14 August 1993.1 He of a lawyer. He is sought as counsellor,
passed the Bar Examination. He was not, however, and his advice comes home, in its
allowed to take the lawyer's oath of office. ultimate effect, to every man's
fireside. Vast interests are committed to
On 15 April 1994, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition with this his care; he is the recipient of unbounded
Court to allow him to take the attorney's oath of office and trust and confidence; he deals with is
to admit him to the practice of law, averring that Judge client's property, reputation, his life, his
Pedro T. Santiago had terminated his probation period by all. An attorney at law is a sworn officer
virtue of an Order dated 11 April 1994. We note that his of the Court, whose chief concern, as
probation period did not last for more than ten (10) months such, is to aid the administration of
from the time of the Order of Judge Santiago granting him justice. . . .
probation dated 18 June 1993. Since then, Mr. Argosino

15
16

xxx xxx xxx4 Membership in the bar is a privilege


burdened with conditions, and a fair
In Re Application of Kaufman,5 citing Re private and professional character is one
Law Examination of 1926 (1926) 191 Wis of them; to refuse admission to an
359, 210 NW 710: unworthy applicant is not to punish him
for past offense: an examination into
character, like the examination into
It can also be truthfully said that there
learning, is merely a test of fitness.
exists nowhere greater temptations to
deviate from the straight and narrow path
than in the multiplicity of circumstances Cobb vs. Judge of Superior Court:8
that arise in the practice of profession.
For these reasons the wisdom of Attorney's are licensed because of their
requiring an applicant for admission to learning and ability, so that they may not
the bar to possess a high moral standard only protect the rights and interests of
therefore becomes clearly apparent, and their clients, but be able to assist court in
the board of bar examiners as an arm of the trial of the cause. Yet what protection
the court, is required to cause a minute to clients or assistance to courts could
examination to be made of the moral such agents give? They are required to
standard of each candidate for admission be of good moral character, so that the
to practice. . . . It needs no further agents and officers of the court, which
argument, therefore, to arrive at the they are, may not bring discredit upon the
conclusion that the highest degree of due administration of the law, and it is of
scrutiny must be exercised as to the the highest possible consequence that
moral character of a candidate who both those who have not such
presents himself for admission to the qualifications in the first instance, or who,
bar. The evil must, if possible, be having had them, have fallen
successfully met at its very source, and therefrom, shall not be permitted to
prevented, for, after a lawyer has once appear in courts to aid in the
been admitted, and has pursued his administration of justice.
profession, and has established himself
therein, a far more difficult situation is It has also been stressed that the requirement of good
presented to the court when proceedings moral character is, in fact, of greater importance so far as
are instituted for disbarment and for the the general public and the proper administration of justice
recalling and annulment of his license. are concerned, than the possession of legal learning:

In Re Keenan:6 . . . (In re Applicants for License, 55 S.E.


635, 143 N.C. 1, 10 L.R.A. [N.S.] 288, 10
The right to practice law is not one of the Ann./Cas. 187):
inherent rights of every citizen, as in the
right to carry on an ordinary trade or The public policy of our
business. It is a peculiar privilege granted state has always been to
and continued only to those who admit no person to the
demonstrate special fitness in intellectual practice of the law
attainment and in moral character. All unless he covered an
may aspire to it on an absolutely equal upright moral
basis, but not all will attain it. Elaborate character. The
machinery has been set up to test possession of this by the
applicants by standards fair to all and to attorney is more
separate the fit from the unfit. Only those important, if anything, to
who pass the test are allowed to enter the the public and to the
profession, and only those who maintain proper administration of
the standards are allowed to remain in it. justice than legal
learning. Legal learning
Re Rouss:7 may be acquired in after
years, but if the
applicant passes the

16
17

threshold of the bar with people's confidence in their courts of law and in our legal
a bad moral character system as we know it.12
the chances are that his
character will remain Mr. Argosino's participation in the deplorable "hazing"
bad, and that he will activities certainly fell far short of the required standard of
become a disgrace good moral character. The deliberate (rather than merely
instead of an ornament accidental or inadvertent) infliction of severe physical
to his great calling — a injuries which proximately led to the death of the
curse instead of a unfortunate Raul Camaligan, certainly indicated serious
benefit to his character flaws on the part of those who inflicted such
community — a Quirk, a injuries. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused had failed to
Gammon or a Snap, discharge their moral duty to protect the life and well-
instead of a Davis, a being of a "neophyte" who had, by seeking admission to
Smith or a Ruffin.9 the fraternity involved, reposed trust and confidence in all
of them that, at the very least, he would not be beaten and
All aspects of moral character and behavior may be kicked to death like a useless stray dog. Thus,
inquired into in respect of those seeking admission to the participation in the prolonged and mindless physical
Bar. The scope of such inquiry is, indeed, said to be beatings inflicted upon Raul Camaligan constituted
properly broader than inquiry into the moral proceedings evident rejection of that moral duty and was totally
for disbarment: irresponsible behavior, which makes impossible a finding
that the participant was then possessed of good moral
Re Stepsay: 10 character.

The inquiry as to the moral character of Now that the original period of probation granted by the
an attorney in a proceeding for his trial court has expired, the Court is prepared to
admission to practice is broader in consider de novo the question of whether applicant A.C.
scope than in a disbarment proceeding. Argosino has purged himself of the obvious deficiency in
moral character referred to above. We stress that good
moral character is a requirement possession of which
Re Wells: 11
must be demonstrated not only at the time of application
for permission to take the bar examinations but also, and
. . . that an applicant's contention that more importantly, at the time of application for admission
upon application for admission to the to the bar and to take the attorney's oath of office.
California Bar the court cannot reject him
for want of good moral character unless
Mr. Argosino must, therefore, submit to this Court, for its
it appears that he has been guilty of acts
examination and consideration, evidence that he may be
which would be cause for his disbarment
now regarded as complying with the requirement of good
or suspension, could not be
moral character imposed upon those seeking admission
sustained; that the inquiry is broader in
to the bar. His evidence may consist, inter alia, of sworn
its scope than that in a disbarment
certifications from responsible members of the community
proceeding, and the court may
who have a good reputation for truth and who
receive any evidence which tends to
have actually known Mr. Argosino for a significant period
show the applicant's character as
of time, particularly since the judgment of conviction was
respects honesty, integrity, and general
rendered by Judge Santiago. He should show to the Court
morality, and may no doubt refuse
how he has tried to make up for the senseless killing of a
admission upon proofs that might not
helpless student to the family of the deceased student and
establish his guilt of any of the acts
to the community at large. Mr. Argosino must, in other
declared to be causes for disbarment.
words, submit relevant evidence to show that he is a
different person now, that he has become morally fit for
The requirement of good moral character to be satisfied admission to the ancient and learned profession of the
by those who would seek admission to the bar must of law.
necessity be more stringent than the norm of conduct
expected from members of the general public. There is a
Finally, Mr. Argosino is hereby DIRECTED to inform this
very real need to prevent a general perception that entry
into the legal profession is open to individuals with Court, by appropriate written manifestation, of the names
and addresses of the father and mother (in default thereof,
inadequate moral qualifications. The growth of such a
brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan), within ten
perception would signal the progressive destruction of our
(10) day from notice hereof. Let a copy of this Resolution
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18

be furnished to the parents or brothers and sisters, if any,


of Raul Camaligan

18
19

In Re: Al Argosino, Bar Matter No. 712, March 19, 1997

B.M. No. 712 March 19, 1997 foundation had been established in honor of Raul
Camaligan, the hazing victim, through joint efforts of the
RE: PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE latter's family and the eight (8) accused in the criminal
LAWYERS OATH case.

RESOLUTION On 26 September 1995, the Court required Atty. Gilbert


Camaligan, father of Raul, to comment on petitioner's
prayer to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath.
PADILLA, J.:

In his comment dated 4 December 1995, Atty. Camaligan


Petitioner Al Caparros Argosino passed the bar
states that:
examinations held in 1993. The Court however deferred
his oath-taking due to his previous conviction for Reckless
Imprudence Resulting In Homicide. a. He still believes that the infliction of severe physical
injuries which led to the death of his son was deliberate
rather than accidental. The offense therefore was not only
The criminal case which resulted in petitioner's conviction,
arose from the death of a neophyte during fraternity homicide but murder since the accused took advantage of
the neophyte's helplessness implying abuse of
initiation rites sometime in September 1991. Petitioner
confidence, taking advantage of superior strength and
and seven (7) other accused initially entered pleas of not
treachery.
guilty to homicide charges. The eight (8) accused later
withdrew their initial pleas and upon re-arraignment all
pleaded guilty to reckless imprudence resulting in b. He consented to the accused's plea of guilt to the lesser
homicide. offense of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide only
out of pity for the mothers of the accused and a pregnant
wife of one of the accused who went to their house on
On the basis of such pleas, the trial court rendered
Christmas day 1991 and Maundy Thursday 1992, literally
judgment dated 11 February 1993 imposing on each of
on their knees, crying and begging for forgiveness and
the accused a sentence of imprisonment of from two (2)
compassion. They also told him that the father of one of
years four (4) months :and one (1) day to four (4) years.
the accused had died of a heart attack upon learning of
his son's involvement in the incident.
On 18 June 1993, the trial court granted herein petitioner's
application for probation.
c. As a Christian, he has forgiven petitioner and his co-
accused for the death of his son. However, as a loving
On 11 April 1994, the trial court issued an order approving father who had lost a son whom he had hoped would
a report dated 6 April 1994 submitted by the Probation succeed him in his law practice, he still feels the pain of
Officer recommending petitioner's discharge from an untimely demise and the stigma of the gruesome
probation. manner of his death.

On 14 April 1994, petitioner filed before this Court a d. He is not in a position to say whether petitioner is now
petition to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath based on morally fit for admission to the bar. He therefore submits
the order of his discharge from probation. the matter to the sound discretion of the Court.

On 13 July 1995, the Court through then Senior Associate The practice of law is a privilege granted only to those who
Justice Florentino P. Feliciano issued a resolution possess the strict intellectual and moral qualifications
requiring petitioner Al C. Argosino to submit to the Court required of lawyers who are instruments in the effective
evidence that he may now be regarded as complying with and efficient administration of justice. It is the sworn duty
the requirement of good moral character imposed upon of this Court not only to "weed out" lawyers who have
those seeking admission to the bar. become a disgrace to the noble profession of the law but,
also of equal importance, to prevent "misfits" from taking
In compliance with the above resolution, petitioner the lawyer's oath, thereby further tarnishing the public
submitted no less than fifteen (15) certifications/letters image of lawyers which in recent years has undoubtedly
executed by among others two (2) senators, five (5) trial become less than irreproachable.
court judges, and six (6) members of religious orders.
Petitioner likewise submitted evidence that a scholarship

19
20

The resolution of the issue before us required weighing After a very careful evaluation of this case, we resolve to
and reweighing of the reasons for allowing or disallowing allow petitioner Al Caparros Argosino to take the lawyer's
petitioner's admission to the practice of law. The oath, sign the Roll of Attorneys and practice the legal
senseless beatings inflicted upon Raul Camaligan profession with the following admonition:
constituted evident absence of that moral fitness required
for admission to the bar since they were totally In allowing Mr. Argosino to take the lawyer's oath, the
irresponsible, irrelevant and uncalled for. Court recognizes that Mr. Argosino is not inherently of bad
moral fiber. On the contrary, the various certifications
In the 13 July 1995 resolution in this case we stated: show that he is a devout Catholic with a genuine concern
for civic duties and public service.
. . . participation in the prolonged and
mindless physical behavior, [which] The Court is persuaded that Mr. Argosino has exerted all
makes impossible a finding that the efforts to atone for the death of Raul Camaligan. We are
participant [herein petitioner] was then prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, taking
possessed of good moral character. 1 judicial notice of the general tendency of youth to be rash,
temerarious and uncalculating.
In the same resolution, however, we stated that the Court
is prepared to consider de novo the question of whether We stress to Mr. Argosino that the lawyer's oath is NOT a
petitioner has purged himself of the obvious deficiency in mere ceremony or formality for practicing law. Every
moral character referred to above. lawyer should at ALL TIMES weigh his actions according
to the sworn promises he makes when taking the lawyer's
Before anything else, the Court understands and shares oath. If all lawyers conducted themselves strictly
the sentiment of Atty. Gilbert Camaligan. The death of according to the lawyer's oath and the Code of
one's child is, for a parent, a most traumatic experience. Professional Responsibility, the administration of justice
The suffering becomes even more pronounced and will undoubtedly be faster, fairer and easier for everyone
profound in cases where the death is due to causes other concerned.
than natural or accidental but due to the reckless
imprudence of third parties. The feeling then becomes a The Court sincerely hopes that Mr. Argosino will continue
struggle between grief and anger directed at the cause of with the assistance he has been giving to his community.
death. As a lawyer he will now be in a better position to render
legal and other services to the more unfortunate members
Atty. Camaligan's statement before the Court- of society.
manifesting his having forgiven the accused is no less
than praiseworthy and commendable. It is exceptional for PREMISES CONSIDERED, petitioner Al Caparros
a parent, given the circumstances in this case, to find Argosino is hereby ALLOWED to take the lawyer's oath
room for forgiveness. on a date to be set by the Court, to sign the Roll of
Attorneys and, thereafter, to practice the legal profession.
However, Atty. Camaligan admits that he is still not in a
position to state if petitioner is now morally fit to be a SO ORDERED.
lawyer.

In Re: Borromeo, 241 SCRA 405

A.M. No. 93-7-696-0 February 21, 1995 It is said that a little learning is a dangerous thing; and that
he who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client.
In Re JOAQUIN T. BORROMEO, Ex Rel. Cebu City There would seem to be more than a grain of truth in these
Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. aphorisms; and they appear to find validation in the
proceeding at bench, at least.
RESOLUTION
The respondent in this case, Joaquin T. Borromeo, is not
PER CURIAM: a lawyer but has apparently read some law books, and
ostensibly come to possess some superficial awareness
of a few substantive legal principles and procedural rules.
Incredibly, with nothing more than this smattering of
20
21

learning, the respondent has, for some sixteen (16) years The first bank that Joaquin T. Borromeo appears to have
now, from 1978 to the present, been instituting and dealt with was the Traders Royal Bank (TRB). On June 2,
prosecuting legal proceedings in various courts, 1978, he got a loan from it in the sum of P45,000.00. This
dogmatically pontificating on errors supposedly he secured by a real estate mortgage created over two
committed by the courts, including the Supreme Court. In parcels of land covered by TCT No. 59596 and TCT No.
the picturesque language of former Chief Justice Enrique 59755 owned, respectively, by Socorro Borromeo-
M. Fernando, he has "with all the valor of Thakuria (his sister) and Teresita Winniefred Lavarino. On
ignorance," 1 been verbally jousting with various June 16, 1978, Borromeo obtained a second loan from
adversaries in diverse litigations; or in the words of a well- TRB in the amount of P10,000.00, this time giving as
known song, rushing into arenas "where angels fear to security a mortgage over a parcel of land owned by the
tread." Under the illusion that his trivial acquaintance with Heirs of Vicente V. Borromeo, covered by TCT No. RT-
the law had given him competence to undertake litigation, 7634. Authority to mortgage these three lots was vested
he has ventured to represent himself in numerous original in him by a Special Power of Attorney executed by their
and review proceedings. Expectedly, the results have respective owners.
been disastrous. In the process, and possibly in aid of his
interminable and quite unreasonable resort to judicial Additionally, on April 23, 1980, Borromeo obtained a
proceedings, he has seen fit to compose and circulate Letter of Credit from TRB in the sum of P80,000.00, in
many scurrilous statements against courts, judges and consideration of which he executed a Trust Receipt (No.
their employees, as well as his adversaries, for which he 595/80) falling due on July 22, 1980.2
is now being called to account.
Borromeo failed to pay the debts as contracted despite
Respondent Borromeo's ill-advised incursions into demands therefor. Consequently, TRB caused the extra-
lawyering were generated by fairly prosaic transactions judicial foreclosure of the mortgages given to secure
with three (3) banks which came to have calamitous them. At the public sale conducted by the sheriff on
consequences for him chiefly because of his failure to September 7, 1981, the three mortgaged parcels of land
comply with his contractual commitments and his were sold to TRB as the highest bidder, for P73,529.09.
stubborn insistence on imposing his own terms and
conditions for their fulfillment. These banks were: Traders Within the redemption period, Borromeo made known to
Royal Bank (TRB), United Coconut Planters Bank the Bank his intention to redeem the properties at their
(UCPB), Security Bank & Trust Co. (SBTC). Borromeo auction price. TRB manager Blas C. Abril however made
obtained loans or credit accommodation from them, to clear that Borromeo would also have to settle his
secure which he constituted mortgages over immovables outstanding account under Trust Receipt No. 595/80
belonging to him or members of his family, or third
(P88,762.78), supra. Borromeo demurred, and this
persons. He failed to pay these obligations, and when
disagreement gave rise to a series of lawsuits
demands were made for him to do so, laid down his own commenced by him against the Bank, its officers and
terms for their satisfaction which were quite inconsistent counsel, as aforestated.
with those agreed upon with his obligees or prescribed by
law. When, understandably, the banks refused to let him
have his way, he brought suits right and left, successively A. CIVIL CASES
if not contemporaneously, against said banks, its officers,
and even the lawyers who represented the banks in the 1. RTC Case No. R-
actions brought by or against him. He sued, as well, the 22506; CA G.R.
public prosecutors, the Judges of the Trial Courts, and the CV
Justices of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court No. 07015; G.R. No. 83
who at one time or another, rendered a judgment, 306
resolution or order adverse to him, as well as the Clerks
of Court and other Court employees signing the notices On October 29, 1982 Borromeo filed a complaint in the
thereof. In the aggregate, he has initiated or spawned in Cebu City Regional Trial Court for specific performance
different fora the astounding number of no less-than fifty and damages against TRB and its local manager, Blas
(50) original or review proceedings, civil, criminal, Abril, docketed as Civil Case No. R-22506. The complaint
administrative. For some sixteen (16) years now, to sought to compel defendants to allow redemption of the
repeat, he has been continuously cluttering the Courts foreclosed properties only at their auction price, with
with his repetitive, and quite baseless if not outlandish stipulated interests and charges, without need of paying
complaints and contentions. the obligation secured by the trust receipt above
mentioned. Judgment was rendered in his favor on
I. CASES INVOLVING TRADERS December 20, 1984 by Branch 23 of the Cebu City RTC;
ROYAL BANK (TRB) but on defendants' appeal to the Court of Appeals —

21
22

docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 07015 — the judgment was In the meantime, and during the pendency of Civil Case
reversed, by decision dated January 27, 1988. The Court No. R-22506, TRB consolidated its ownership over the
of Appeals held that the "plaintiff (Borromeo) has lost his foreclosed immovables. Contending that act of
right of redemption and can no longer compel defendant consolidation amounted to a criminal offense, Borromeo
to allow redemption of the properties in question." filed complaints in the Office of the City Prosecutor of
Cebu against the bank officers and lawyers. These
Borromeo elevated the case to this court where his appeal complaints were however, and quite correctly, given short
was docketed as G.R. No. 83306. By Resolution dated shrift by that Office. Borromeo then filed suit in the Cebu
August 15, 1988, this Court's First Division denied his City RTC, this time not only against the TRB, TRB officers
petition for review "for failure . . . to sufficiently show that Jacinto Jamero and Arceli Bustamante, but also against
the respondent Court of Appeals had committed any City Prosecutor Jufelinito Pareja and his assistants,
reversible error in its questioned judgment, it appearing Enriqueta Belarmino and Eva A. Igot, and the TRB
on the contrary that the said decision is supported by lawyers, Mario Ortiz and the law, firm, HERSINLAW. The
substantial evidence and is in accord with the facts and action was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-9485. The
applicable law." Reconsideration was denied, by complaint charged Prosecutors Pareja, Belarmino and
Resolution dated November 23, 1988. A second motion Igot with manifest partiality and bias for dismissing the
for reconsideration was denied by Resolution dated criminal cases just mentioned; and faulted TRB and its
January 30, 1989, as was a third such motion, by manager, Jamero, as well as its lawyers, for consolidating
Resolution dated April 19, 1989. The last resolution also the titles to the foreclosed properties in favor of the bank
directed entry of judgment and the remand of the case to despite the pendency of Case No. R-22506. This action
the court of origin for prompt execution of judgment. Entry also failed. On defendants' motion, it was dismissed on
of judgment was made on May 12, 1989. By Resolution February 19, 1992 by the RTC. (Branch 22) on the ground
dated August 7, 1989, the Court denied another motion of of res judicata (being identical with Civil Case Nos. R-
Borromeo to set aside judgment; and by Resolution dated 22506 and CEB-8750, already decided with finality in
December 20, 1989, the Court merely noted without favor of TRB), and lack of cause of action (as to
action his manifestation and motion praying that the defendants Pareja, Belarmino and Igot).
decision of the Court of Appeals be overturned, and
declared that "no further motion or pleading . . . shall be Borromeo's certiorari petition to the Court of Appeals (CA
entertained . . . ." G.R. SP No. 28221) was dismissed by that Court's 16th
Division4 on October 6, 1992, for the reason that the
2. RTC Case No. CEB proper remedy was appeal.
8750;
CA-G.R. SP No. 22356 4. RTC Case No. CEB-
10368;
The ink was hardly dry on the resolutions just mentioned CA-G.R. SP No. 27100
before Borromeo initiated another civil action in the same
Cebu City Regional Court by which he attempted to Before Case No. CEB-9845 was finally decided,
litigate the same issues. The action, against the new TRB Borromeo filed, on May 30, 1991, still another civil action
Branch Manager, Jacinto Jamero, was docketed as Civil for the same cause against TRB, its manager, Jacinto
Case No. CEB-8750. As might have been anticipated, the Jamero, and its lawyers, Atty. Mario Ortiz and the
action was, on motion of the defense, dismissed by Order HERSINLAW law office. This action was docketed as Civil
dated May 18, 1990,3 on the ground of res judicata, the Case No. CEB-10368, and was described as one for
only issue raised in the second action — i.e., Borromeo's "Recovery of Sums of Money, Annulment of Titles with
right to redeem the lots foreclosed by TRB — having been Damages." The case met the same fate as the others. It
ventilated in Civil Case No. R-22506 (Joaquin T. was, on defendants' motion, dismissed on September 9,
Borromeo vs. Blas C. Abril and Traders Royal Bank) 1991 by the RTC (Branch 145) on the ground of litis
(supra) and, on appeal, decided with finality by the Court pendentia.
of Appeals and the Supreme Court in favor of defendants
therein. The RTC ruled that —

The Trial Court's judgment was affirmed by the Court of Civil Case No. CEB-9485 will readily
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 22356. show that the defendants therein, namely
the Honorable Jufelinito Pareja,
3. RTC Case No. CEB- Enriqueta Belarmino
9485;
CA-G.R. SP No. 28221

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23

, Eva Igot, Traders Royal Bank, Arceli and when plaintiff will ultimately and finally win Civil Case
Bustamante, Jacinto Jamero, Mario Ortiz No. R-22506."
and HERSINLAW are the same persons
or nearly all of them who are impleaded 6. RTC Case No. CEB-
as defendants in the present Civil Case 8236
No. CEB-10368, namely, the Traders
Royal Bank, Jacinto Jamero, Mario Ortiz
Having thus far failed in his many efforts to demonstrate
and HERSINLAW. The only difference is to the courts the "merit" of his cause against TRB and its
that more defendants were impleaded in officers and lawyers, Borromeo now took a different tack
Civil Case No. CEB-9485, namely, City by also suing (and thus also venting his ire on) the
Prosecutor Jufelinito Pareja and his members of the appellate courts who had ruled adversely
assistants Enriqueta Belarmino and Eva to him. He filed in the Cebu City RTC, Civil Case No. CEB-
Igot. The inclusion of the City Prosecutor 8236, impleading as defendants not only the same parties
and his two assistants in Civil Case No. he had theretofore been suing — TRB and its officers and
CEB-9485 was however merely lawyers (HERSINLAW, Mario Ortiz) — but also the
incidental as apparently they had nothing Chairman and Members of the First Division of the
to do with the questioned transaction in Supreme Court who had repeatedly rebuffed him in
said case. . . . G.R. No. 83306 (SEE sub-head I, A, 1, supra), as well as
the Members of the 5th, 9th and 10th Divisions of the
The Court likewise found that the reliefs prayed for were Court of Appeals who had likewise made dispositions
the same as those sought in Civil Case No. CEB-9485, unfavorable to him. His complaint, dated August 22, 1989,
and the factual bases of the two cases were essentially aimed to recover damages from the defendants Justices
the same — the alleged fraudulent foreclosure and for —
consolidation of the three properties mortgaged years
earlier by Borromeo to TRB. . . . maliciously and deliberately stating
blatant falsehoods and disregarding
For some reason, the Order of September 9, 1991 was evidence and pertinent laws, rendering
set aside by an Order rendered by another Judge on manifestly unjust and biased resolutions
November 11, 1991 6 — the Judge who previously heard and decisions bereft of signatures, facts
the case having inhibited himself; but this Order of or laws in support thereof, depriving
November 11, 1991 was, in turn, nullified by the Court of plaintiff of his cardinal rights to due
Appeals (9th Division), by Decision promulgated on process and against deprivation of
March 31, 1992 in CA-G.R. SP No. 27100 (Traders Royal property without said process, tolerating,
Bank vs. Hon. Celso M. Gimenez, etc. and Joaquin T. approving and legitimizing the patently
Borromeo), 7 which decision also directed dismissal of illegal, fraudulent, and contemptuous
Borromeo's complaint. acts of defendants TRB, (which)
constitute a) GRAVE DERELICTION OF
5. RTC Case No. CEB- DUTY AND ABUSE OF POWER
6452 emanating from the people, b)
FLAGRANT VIOLATIONS OF THE
When a new branch manager, Ronald Sy, was appointed CONSTITUTION, CARDINAL PRIMARY
for TRB, Cebu City, Borromeo forthwith made that event RIGHTS DUE PROCESS, ART. 27, 32,
the occasion for another new action, against TRB, Ronald CIVIL CODE, Art. 208, REV. PENAL
Sy, and the bank's attorneys — Mario Ortiz, Honorato CODE, and R.A. 3019, for which
Hermosisima, Jr., Wilfredo Navarro and HERSINLAW defendants must be held liable under
firm. This action was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB- said laws.
6452, and described as one for "Annulment of Title with
Damages." The complaint, dated October 20, 1987, again The complaint also prayed for reconveyance of the "fake
involved the foreclosure of the three (3) immovables titles obtained fraudulently by TRB/HERSINLAW," and
above mentioned, and was anchored on the alleged recovery of "100,000.00 moral damages; 30,000.00
malicious, deceitful, and premature consolidation of titles exemplary damages; and P5,000.00 litigation expenses."
in TRB's favor despite the pendency of Civil Case No. This action, too, met a quick and unceremonious demise.
22506. On defendant's motion, the trial court 8 dismissed On motion of defendants TRB and HERSINLAW, the trial
the case on the ground of prematurity, holding that "(a)t court, by Order dated November 7, 1989,9 dismissed the
this point . . ., plaintiff's right to seek annulment of case.
defendant Traders Royal Bank's title will only accrue if

23
24

7. RTC Case No. CEB- Borromeo Re "Minute


13069 Resolutions"

It appears that Borromeo filed still another case to litigate He next filed a Manifestation dated April 6, 1994 calling
the same cause subject of two (2) prior actions instituted the Resolution of March 23, 1994 "Un-Constitutional,
by him. This was RTC Case No. CEB-13069, against TRB Arbitrary and tyrannical and a gross travesty of 'Justice,'"
and the latter's lawyers, Wilfredo Navarro and Mario because it was "signed only by a mere clerk and . . .
Ortiz. The action was dismissed in an Order dated (failed) to state clear facts and law," and "the petition was
October 4, 1993, 10 on the ground of res judicata — the not resolved on MERITS nor by any Justice but by a mere
subject matter being the same as that in Civil Case No. R- clerk." 15
22506, decision in which was affirmed by the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 07015 as well as by this Court The Court responded with another Resolution,
in G.R. No. 83306 11 — and litis pendentia — the subject promulgated on June 22, 1994, and with some patience
matter being also the same as that in Civil Case No. CEB- drew his attention to the earlier resolution "in his own
8750, decision in which was affirmed by the Court of previous case (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Court of Appeals
Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 22356.12 and Samson Lao, G.R. No. 82273, 1 June 1990; 186
SCRA 1) 16 and on the same issue he now raises." Said
8. RTC Criminal Case Resolution of June 22, 1994, after reiterating that the
No. CBU-19344; notices sent by the Clerk of Court of the Court En Banc or
CA-G.R. SP any of the Divisions simply advise of and quote the
No. 28275; G.R. No. 11 resolution actually adopted by the Court after deliberation
2928 on a particular matter, additionally stated that Borromeo
"knew, as well, that the communications (notices) signed
On April 17, 1990 the City Prosecutor of Cebu City filed by the Clerk of Court start with the opening clause —
an information with the RTC of Cebu (Branch 22) against
Borromeo charging him with a violation of the Trust Quoted hereunder, for your information,
Receipts Law.13 The case was docketed as Criminal Case is a resolution of the First Division of this
No. CBU-19344. After a while, Borromeo moved to Court dated. _________,
dismiss the case on the ground of denial of his right to a
speedy trial. His motion was denied by Order of Judge thereby indisputably showing that it is not the Clerk of
Pampio A. Abarintos dated April 10, 1992. In the same Court who prepared or signed the resolutions."
order, His Honor set an early date for Borromeo's
arraignment and placed the case "under a continuous trial This was not, by the way, the first time that the matter had
system on the dates as may be agreed by the defense been explained to Borromeo. The record shows that on
and prosecution." Borromeo moved for reconsideration. July 10, 1987, he received a letter from Clerk of Court
When his motion was again found without merit, by Order Julieta Y. Carreon (of this Court's Third Division) dealing
dated May 21, 1992, he betook himself to the Court of with the subject, in relation to G.R. No. 77243. 17 The
Appeals on a special civil action of certiorari, to nullify same matter was also dealt with in the letter received by
these adverse orders, his action being docketed as CA- him from Clerk of Court Luzviminda D. Puno, dated April
G.R. SP No. 28275. 4, 1989, and in the letter to him of Clerk of Court (Second
Division) Fermin J. Garma, dated May 19, 1989. 18 And the
Here again, Borromeo failed. The Court of Appeals same subject was treated of in another Resolution of this
declared that the facts did not show that there had been Court, notice of which was in due course served on him,
unreasonable delay in the criminal action against him, and to wit: that dated July 31, 1989, in G.R. No. 87897. 19
denied his petition for being without merit. 14
B. CRIMINAL CASES
Borromeo then filed a petition for review with this Court
(G.R. No. 112928), but by resolution dated January 31, Mention has already been made of Borromeo's attempt —
1994, the same was dismissed for failure of Borromeo to with "all the valor of ignorance" — to fasten not only civil,
comply with the requisites of Circulars Numbered 1-88
but also criminal liability on TRB, its officers and
and 19-91. His motion for reconsideration was
lawyers. 20 Several other attempts on his part to cause
subsequently denied by Resolution dated March 23, criminal prosecution of those he considered his
1994. adversaries, will now be dealt with here.

a. Clarificatory 1. I. S. Nos. 90-1187


Communications to and 90-1188
24
25

On March 7, 1990, Borromeo filed criminal complaints deed of sale in TRB's favor after the
with the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor against lapse of the period of redemption, or that
Jacinto Jamero (then still TRB Branch Manager), "John Ortiz had benefited pecuniarily from the
Doe and officers of Traders Royal Bank." The complaints transaction to the prejudice of
(docketed as I.S. Nos. 90-1187-88) accused the complainant; and
respondents of "Estafa and Falsification of Public
Documents." He claimed, among others that the bank and b. I.S. No. 89-4234 (JOAQUIN T.
its officers, thru its manager, Jacinto Jamero, sold BORROMEO vs. RONALD SY, ET AL.)
properties not owned by them: that by fraud, deceit and for "Estafa Through False Pretenses and
false pretenses, respondents negotiated and effected the Falsification of Public Documents." —
purchase of the (foreclosed) properties from his This case was dismissed by Resolution
(Borromeo's) mother, who "in duress, fear and lack of dated January 31, 1990.
legal knowledge," agreed to the sale thereof for only
P671,000.00, although in light of then prevailing market 2. I.S.Nos. 88-205 to 88-
prices, she should have received P588,030.00 more. 207

In a Joint Resolution dated April 11, 1990, 21 the Cebu While Joaquin Borromeo's appeal (G.R. No. 83306) was
City Fiscal's office dismissed the complaints observing still pending before the Supreme Court, 22 an affidavit was
that actually, the Deed of Sale was not between the bank executed in behalf of TRB by Arceli Bustamante, in
and Borromeo's mother, but between the bank and Mrs.
connection with the former's fire insurance claim over
Thakuria (his sister), one of the original owners of the property registered in its name — one of two immovables
foreclosed properties; and that Borromeo, being a formerly owned by Socorro B. Thakuria (Joaquin
stranger to the sale, had no basis to claim injury or Borromeo's sister) and foreclosed by said bank. 23 In that
prejudice thereby. The Fiscal ruled that the bank's affidavit, dated September 10, 1987, Bustamante stated
ownership of the foreclosed properties was beyond that "On 24 June 1983, TRB thru foreclosure acquired real
question as the matter had been raised and passed upon property together with the improvements thereon which
in a judicial litigation; and moreover, there was no proof of property is located at F. Ramos St., Cebu City covered by
the document allegedly falsified nor of the manner of its TCT No. 87398 in the name or TRB." The affidavit was
falsification. notarized by Atty. Manuelito B. Inso.

a. I.S. Nos. 87-3795 and Claiming that the affidavit was "falsified and perjurious"
89-4234
because the claim of title by TRB over the foreclosed lots
was a "deliberate, wilful and blatant fasehood in that,
Evidently to highlight Borromeo's penchant for reckless among others: . . . the consolidation was premature, illegal
filing of unfounded complaints, the Fiscal also adverted to and invalid," Borromeo filed a criminal complaint with the
two other complaints earlier filed in his Office by Borromeo Cebu City Fiscal's Office against the affiant (Bustamante)
— involving the same foreclosed properties and directed and the notarizing lawyer (Atty. Inso) for "falsification of
against respondent bank officers' predecessors (including public document, false pretenses, perjury." On September
the former Manager, Ronald Sy) and lawyers — both of 28, 1988, the Fiscal's Office dismissed the complaint. 24 It
which were dismissed for lack of merit. These were: found no untruthful statements in the affidavit or any
malice in its execution, considering that Bustamante's
a. I. S. No. 87-3795 (JOAQUIN T. statement was based on the Transfer Certificate of Title
BORROMEO vs. ATTY. MARIO ORTIZ in TRB's file, and thus the document that Atty. Inso
and RONALD SY) for "Estafa Through notarized was legally in order.
Falsification of Public Documents, Deceit
and False Pretenses." — This case was 3. OMB-VIS-89-00136
dismissed by Resolution dated January
19, 1988 of the City Prosecutor's Office This Resolution of this Court (First Division) in G.R. No.
because based on nothing more than a 83306 dated August 15, 1988 — sustaining the judgment
letter dated June 4, 1985, sent by Bank of the Court of Appeals (10th Division) of January 27,
Manager Ronald Sy to the lessee of a
1988 in CA-G.R. CV No. 07015, supra, was made the
portion of the foreclosed immovables, subject of a criminal complaint by Borromeo in the Office
advising the latter to remit all rentals to of the Ombudsman, Visayas, docketed as OMB-VIS-89-
the bank as new owner thereof, as shown 00136. His complaint — against "Supreme Court Justice
by the consolidated title; and there was (First Div.) and Court of Appeals Justice (10th Div)" —
no showing that respondent Atty. Ortiz was dismissed for lack of merit in a Resolution issued on
was motivated by fraud in notarizing the
25
26

February 14, 1990 25 which, among other things, ruled as property. Lao accordingly instituted a suit for
follows: consolidation of title, docketed as Civil Case No. R-21009.
However, as will shortly be narrated, Borromeo opposed
It should be noted and emphasized that the consolidation prayed for. As a result, UCPB cancelled
complainant has remedies available Lao's application for a loan and itself commenced
under the Rules of Court, particularly on proceedings foreclose the mortgage constituted by
civil procedure and existing laws. It is not Borromeo over the property.
the prerogative of this Office to make a
review of Decisions and Resolutions of This signaled the beginning of court battles waged by
judicial courts, rendered within their Borromeo not only against Lao, but also against UCPB
competence. The records do not warrant and the latter's lawyers, battles which he (Borromeo)
this Office to take further proceedings fought contemporaneously with his court war with Traders
against the respondents. Royal Bank.

In addition, Sec. 20. of R.A. 6770, "the 1. RTC Case No. R-


Ombudsman Act states that the Office of 21009; AC-G.R.
the Ombudsman may not conduct the No. CV-
necessary investigation of any 07396; G.R. No. 82273
administrative act or omission
complained of if it believes that (1) the The first of this new series of court battles was, as just
complainant had adequate remedy in stated, the action initiated by Samson Lao in the Regional
another judicial or quasi-judicial body;" Trial Court of Cebu (Branch 12), docketed as Case No. R-
and Sec. 21 the same law provides that 21009, for consolidation of title in his favor over the 122-
the Office of the Ombudsman does not square-meter lot subject of the UCPB mortgage, in
have disciplinary authority over members accordance with Article 1007 of the Civil Code. In this suit
of the Judiciary. Lao was represented by Atty. Alfredo Perez, who was
later substituted by Atty. Antonio Regis. Borromeo
II. CASES INVOLVING UNITED COCONUT contested Lao's application.
PLANTERS BANK (UCPB)
Judgment was in due course rendered by the RTC
As earlier stated, 26 Borromeo (together with a certain (Branch 12, Hon. Francis Militante, presiding) denying
Mercader) also borrowed money from the United Coconut consolidation because the transaction between the
Planters Bank (UCPB) and executed a real estate parties could not be construed as a sale with pacto de
mortgage to secure repayment thereof. The mortgage retro being in law an equitable mortgage; however,
was constituted over a 122-square-meter commercial lot Borromeo was ordered to pay Lao the sum of
covered by TCT No. 75680 in Borromeo's name. This P170,000.00, representing the price stipulated in the
same lot was afterwards sold on August 7, 1980 by sale a retro, plus the amounts paid by Lao for capital gains
Borromeo to one Samson K. Lao for P170,000.00, with a and other taxes in connection with the transaction
stipulation for its repurchase (pacto de retro) by him (P10,497.50).
(Borromeo, as the vendor). The sale was made without
the knowledge and consent of UCPB. Both Lao and Borromeo appealed to the Court of Appeals.
Lao's appeal was dismissed for failure of his lawyer to file
A. CIVIL CASES brief in his behalf. Borromeo's appeal — AC-G.R. No. CV-
07396 — resulted in a Decision by the Court of Appeals
Now, just as he had defaulted in the payment of the loans dated December 14, 1987, affirming the RTC's
and credit accommodations he had obtained from the judgment in toto.
Traders Royal Bank, Borromeo failed in the fulfillment of
his obligations to the UCPB. The Appellate Court's decision was, in turn, affirmed by
this Court (Third Division) in a four-page Resolution dated
Shortly after learning of Borromeo's default, and obviously September 13, 1989, promulgated in G.R. No. 82273 —
to obviate or minimize the ill effects of the latter's an appeal also taken by Borromeo. Borromeo filed a
delinquency, Lao applied with the same bank (UCPB) for motion for reconsideration on several grounds, one of
a loan, offering the property he had purchased from which was that the resolution of September 13, 1989 was
Borromeo as collateral. UCPB was not averse to dealing unconstitutional because contrary to "Sec. 4 (3), Art. VIII
with Lao but imposed several conditions on him, one of of the Constitution," it was not signed by any Justice of the
which was for Lao to consolidate his title over the Division, and there was "no way of knowing which justices

26
27

had deliberated and voted thereon, nor of any the Ombudsman, Borromeo had
concurrence of at least three of the members." Since the repeatedly alleged that he "suffered
motion was not filed until after there had been an entry of injustices," because of the disposition of
judgment, Borromeo having failed to move for the four (4) cases he separately
reconsideration within the reglementary period, the same appealed to this Court which were
was simply noted without action, in a Resolution dated resolved by minute resolutions, allegedly
November 27, 1989. in violation of Sections 4 (3), 13 and 14 of
Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. His
Notices of the foregoing Resolutions were, in accordance invariable complaint is that the
with established rule and practice, sent to Borromeo over resolutions which disposed of his cases
the signatures of the Clerk of Court and Assistant Clerk of do not bear the signatures of the Justices
Court (namely: Attys. Julieta Y. CARREON and Alfredo who participated in the deliberations and
MARASIGAN, respectively). resolutions and do not show that they
voted therein. He likewise complained
that the resolutions bear no certification
a. RTC Case No. CEB-
of the Chief Justice and that they did not
8679
state the facts and the law on which they
were based and were signed only by the
Following the same aberrant pattern of his judicial Clerks of Court and therefore
campaign against Traders Royal Bank, Borromeo "unconstitutional, null and void."
attempted to vent his resentment even against the
Supreme Court officers who, as just stated, had given him
notices of the adverse dispositions of this Court's Third xxx xxx xxx
Division. He filed Civil Case No. CEB-8679 in the Cebu
City RTC (CFI) for recovery of damages against "Attys. The Court reminds all lower courts,
Julieta Y. Carreon and Alfredo Marasigan, Division Clerk lawyers, and litigants that it disposes of
of Court and Asst. Division Clerk of Court, Third Division, the bulk of its cases by minute resolutions
and Atty. Jose I. Ilustre, Chief of Judicial Records Office." and decrees them as final and executory,
He charged them with usurpation of judicial functions, for as were a case is patently without merit,
allegedly "maliciously and deviously issuing biased, fake, where the issues raised are factual in
baseless and unconstitutional 'Resolution' and 'Entry of nature, where the decision appealed
Judgment' in G.R. No. 82273." from is in accord with the facts of the case
and the applicable laws, where it is clear
from the records that the petition is filed
Summonses were issued to defendants by RTC Branch
merely to forestall the early execution of
18 (Judge Rafael R. Ybañez, presiding). These processes
judgment and for non-compliance with
were brought to the attention of this Court's Third Division.
the rules. The resolution denying due
The latter resolved to treat the matter as an incident in
course always gives the legal basis. As
G.R. No. 82273, and referred it to the Court En Banc on
emphasized in In Re: Wenceslao
April 25, 1990. By Resolution (issued in said G.R. No.
Laureta, 148 SCRA 382, 417 [1987],
82273, supra) dated June 1, 1990, the Court En
"[T]he Court is not 'duty bound' to render
Banc ordered Judge Ybañez to quash the summonses, to
signed Decisions all the time. It has
dismiss Civil Case No. CEB-8679, and "not to issue
ample discretion to formulate Decisions
summons or otherwise to entertain cases of similar nature
and/or Minute Resolutions, provided a
which may in the future be filed in his court." Accordingly,
legal basis is given, depending on its
Judge Ibañez issued an Order on June 6, 1990 quashing
evaluation of a case" . . . This is the only
the summonses and dismissing the complaint in said Civil
way whereby it can act on all cases filed
Case No. CEB-8679.
before it and, accordingly, discharge its
constitutional functions. . . .
The Resolution of June 1, 1990 27 explained to Borromeo
in no little detail the nature and purpose of notices sent by
. . . (W)hen the Court, after deliberating
the Clerks of Court of decisions or resolutions of the
on a petition and any subsequent
Court En Banc or the Divisions, in this wise:
pleadings, manifestations, comments, or
motions decides to deny due course to
This is not the first time that Mr. the petition and states that the questions
Borromeo has filed charges/complaints raised are factual, or no reversible error
against officials of the Court. In several in the respondent court's decision is
letter complaints filed with the courts and shown, or for some other legal basis
27
28

stated in the resolution, there is sufficient is still struggling to wipe out the backlogs
compliance with the constitutional accumulated over the years and meet the
requirement . . . (of Section 14, Article VIII ever increasing number of cases coming
of the Constitution "that no petition for to it. . . .
review or motion for reconsideration shall
be refused due course or denied without b. RTC CIVIL CASE
stating the legal basis thereof"). NO. CEB-(6501)
6740; G.R. No. 84054
For a prompt dispatch of actions of the
Court, minute resolutions are It is now necessary to digress a little and advert to actions
promulgated by the Court through the which, while having no relation to the UCPB, TRB or
Clerk of Court, who takes charge of SBTC, are relevant because they were the predicates for
sending copies thereof to the parties other suits filed by Joaquin Borromeo against
concerned by quoting verbatim the administrative officers of the Supreme Court and the
resolution issued on a particular case. It Judge who decided one of the cases adversely to him.
is the Clerk of Court's duty to inform the
parties of the action taken on their cases The record shows that on or about December 11, 1987,
quoting the resolution adopted by the Borromeo filed a civil action for damages against a certain
Court. The Clerk of Court never Thomas B. Tan and Marjem Pharmacy, docketed as Civil
participates in the deliberations of a case.
Case No. CEB-6501. On January 12, 1988, the trial court
All decisions and resolutions are actions dismissed the case, without prejudice, for failure to state
of the Court. The Clerk of Court merely a cause of action and prematurity (for non-compliance
transmits the Court's action. This was with P.D. 1508).
explained in the case — G.R. No. 56280,
"Rhine Marketing Corp. v. Felix
Gravante, et al.," where, in a resolution What Borromeo did was simply to re-file the same
dated July 6, 1981, the Court complaint with the same Court, on March 18, 1988. This
said — "[M]inute resolutions of this Court time it was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-6740, and
denying or dismissing unmeritorious assigned to Branch 17 of the RTC of Cebu presided by
petitions like the petition in the case at Hon. Mario Dizon. Again, however, on defendants'
bar, are the result of a thorough motion, the trial court dismissed the case, in an order
deliberation among the members of this dated May 28, 1988. His first and second motions for
Court, which does not and cannot reconsideration having been denied, Borromeo filed a
delegate the exercise of its judicial petition for review before this Court, docketed as G.R. No.
functions to its Clerk of Court or any of its 84054 (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Tomas Tan and Non.
subalterns, which should be known to Mario Dizon).
counsel. When a petition is denied or
dismissed by this Court, this Court In a Resolution dated August 3, 1988, the Court required
sustains the challenged decision or order petitioner to comply with the rules by submitting a verified
together with its findings of facts and statement of material dates and paying the docket and
legal conclusions. legal research fund fees; it also referred him to the
Citizens Legal Assistance Office for help in the case. His
Minute resolutions need not be signed by petition was eventually dismissed by Resolution of the
the members of the Court who took part Second Division dated November 21, 1988, for failure on
in the deliberations of a case nor do they his part to show any reversible error in the trial court's
require the certification of the Chief judgment. His motion for reconsideration was denied with
Justice. For to require members of the finality, by Resolution dated January 18, 1989.
Court to sign all resolutions issued would
not only unduly delay the issuance of its Borromeo wrote to Atty. Fermin J. Garma (Clerk of Court
resolutions but a great amount of their of the Second Division) on April 27, 1989 once more
time would be spent on functions more remonstrating that the resolutions received by him had not
properly performed by the Clerk of Court been signed by any Justice, set forth no findings of fact or
and which time could be more profitably law, and had no certification of the Chief Justice. Atty.
used in the analysis of cases and the Garma replied to him on May 19, 1989, pointing out that
formulation of decisions and orders of "the minute resolutions of this Court denying dismissing
important nature and character. Even petitions, like the petition in the case at bar, which was
with the use of this procedure, the Court denied for failure of the counsel and/or petitioner to

28
29

sufficiently show that the Regional Trial Court of Cebu, On June 8, 1990, Judge Renato C. Dacudao ordered the
Branch 17, had committed any reversible error in the records of the case transmitted to the Supreme Court
questioned judgment [resolution dated November 21, conformably with its Resolution dated June 1, 1990 in
1988], are the result of a thorough deliberation among the G.R. No. 82273, entitled "Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Hon.
members of this Court, which does not and cannot Court of Appeals and Samson-Lao," supra — directing
delegate the exercise of its judicial function to its Clerk of that all complaints against officers of that Court be
Court or any of its subalterns. When the petition is denied forwarded to it for appropriate action. 28
or dismissed by the Court, it sustains the challenged
decision or order together with its findings of facts and Borromeo filed a "Manifestation/Motion" dated June 27,
legal conclusions." 1990 asking the Court to "rectify the injustices" committed
against him in G.R. Nos. 83306, 84999, 87897, 77248 and
Borromeo obviously had learned nothing from the 84054. This the Court ordered expunged from the record
extended Resolution of June 1, 1990 in G.R. No. (Resolution, July 19, 1990).
82273, supra (or the earlier communications to him on the
same subject) which had so clearly pointed out that 2. RTC Case No. R-
minute resolutions of the Court are as much the product 21880; CA-G.R.
of the Members' deliberations as full-blown decisions or CV
resolutions, and that the intervention of the Clerk consists No. 10951; G.R. No. 87
merely in the ministerial and routinary function of 897
communicating the Court's action to the parties
concerned. Borromeo also sued to stop UCPB from foreclosing the
mortgage on his property. In the Cebu City RTC, he filed
c. RTC Case No. CEB- a complaint for "Damages with Injunction," which was
9042 docketed as Civil Case No. R-21880 (Joaquin T.
Borromeo vs. United Coconut Planters Bank, et al.).
What Borromeo did next, evidently smarting from this Named defendants in the complaint were UCPB, Enrique
latest judicial rebuff, yet another in an already long series, Farrarons (UCPB Cebu Branch Manager) and Samson
was to commence a suit against Supreme Court (Second K. Lao. UCPB was represented in the action by Atty.
Division) Clerk of Court Fermin J. Garma and Assistant Danilo Deen, and for a time, by Atty. Honorato
Clerk of Court Tomasita Dris. They were the officers who Hermosisima (both being then resident partners of
had sent him notices of the unfavorable resolutions in ACCRA Law Office). Lao was represented by Atty.
G.R. No. 84054, supra. His suit, filed on June 1, 1990, Antonio Regis. Once again, Borromeo was rebuffed. The
was docketed as Case No. CEB-9042 (Branch 8, Hon. Cebu RTC (Br. 11, Judge Valeriano R. Tomol, Jr.
Bernardo Salas presiding). Therein he complained presiding) dismissed the complaint, upheld UCPB's right
essentially of the same thing he had been harping on all to foreclose, and granted its counterclaim for moral
along: that in relation to G.R. No. 91030 — in which the damages in the sum of P20,000.00; attorney's fees
Supreme Court dismissed his petition for "technical amounting to P10,000.00; and litigation expenses of
reasons" and failure to demonstrate any reversible error P1,000.00.
in the challenged judgment — the notice sent to him — of
the "unsigned and unspecific" resolution of February 19, Borromeo perfected an appeal to the Court of Appeals
1990, denying his motion for reconsideration — had been where it was docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 10951. That
signed only by the defendant clerks of court and not by Court, thru its Ninth Division (per Martinez, J., ponente,
the Justices. According to him, he had thereupon written with de la Fuente and Pe, JJ., concurring), dismissed his
letters to defendants demanding an explanation for said appeal and affirmed the Trial Court's judgment.
"patently unjust and un-Constitutional resolutions," which
they ignored; defendants had usurped judicial functions Borromeo filed a petition far review with the Supreme
by issuing resolutions signed only by them and not by any Court which, in G.R. No. 87897 dismissed it for
Justice, and without stating the factual and legal basis insufficiency in form and substance and for being "largely
thereof; and defendants' "wanton, malicious and patently unintelligible." Borromeo's motion for reconsideration was
abusive acts" had caused him "grave mental anguish, denied by Resolution dated June 25, 1989. A second
severe moral shock, embarrassment, sleepless nights motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution
and worry;" and consequently, he was entitled to moral
dated July 31, 1989 which directed as well entry of
damages of no less than P20,000.00 and exemplary judgment (effected on August 1, 1989). In this Resolution,
damages of P10,000.00, and litigation expenses of the Court (First Division) said:
P5,000.00.

29
30

The Court considered the Motion for judgment; and in such a case, there is
Reconsideration dated July 4, 1989 filed obviously no point in reproducing and
by petitioner himself and Resolved to restating the conclusions and reasons
DENY the same for lack of merit, the therefor of the Court of Appeals.
motion having been filed without
"express leave of court" (Section 2, Rule Premises considered, the Court further
52, Rules of Court) apart from being a Resolved to DIRECT ENTRY OF
reiteration merely of the averments of the JUDGMENT.
Petition for Review dated April 14, 1989
and the Motion for Reconsideration dated On August 13, 1989 Borromeo wrote to Atty. Estrella C.
May 25, 1989. It should be noted that Pagtanac, then the Clerk of Court of the Court's First
petitioner's claims have already been Division, denouncing the resolution above mentioned as
twice rejected as without merit, first by "a LITANY OF LIES, EVASIONS, and ABSURD SELF-
the Regional Trial Court of Cebu and then SERVING LOGIC from a Supreme Court deluded and
by the Court of Appeals. What petitioner drunk with power which it has forgotten emanates from
desires obviously is to have a third ruling the people," aside from being "patently
on the merits of his claims, this time by UNCONSTITUTIONAL for absence of signatures and
this Court. Petitioner is advised that a facts and law: . . . and characterizing the conclusions
review of a decision of the Court of therein as "the height of ARROGANCE and
Appeals is not a matter of right but of
ARBITRARINESS assuming a KING-LIKE AND EVEN
sound judicial discretion and will be
GOD-LIKE
granted only when there is a special and POWER totally at variance and contradicted by . . .
important reason therefor (Section 4, CONSTITUTIONAL provisions . . ." To the letter
Rule 45); and a petition for review may be Borromeo attached copies of (1) his "Open Letter to the
dismissed summarily on the ground that Ombudsman" dated August 10, 1989 protesting the
"the appeal is without merit, or is Court's "issuing UNSIGNED, UNSPECIFIC, and
prosecuted manifestly for delay or the BASELESS 'MINUTE RESOLUTIONS;'" (2) his "Open
question raised is too unsubstantial to Letter of Warning" dated August 12, 1989; and (3) a
require consideration" (Section 3, Rule communication of Domingo M. Quimlat, News
45), or that only questions of fact are Ombudsman, Phil. Daily Inquirer, dated August 10, 1989.
raised in the petition, or the petition His letter was ordered expunged from the record because
otherwise fails to comply with the formal
containing "false, impertinent and scandalous matter
requisites prescribed therefor (Sections 1 (Section 5, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court)." Another letter
and 2, Rule 45; Circular No. 1-88).
of the same ilk, dated November 7, 1989, was simply
Petitioner is further advised that the first
"NOTED without action" by Resolution promulgated on
sentence of Section 14, Article VIII of the December 13, 1989.
1987 Constitution refers to a decision,
and has no application to a resolution as
to which said section pertinently provides 3. RTC Case No. CEB-
that a resolution denying a motion for 4852; CA G.R.
reconsideration need state only the legal SP
basis therefor; and that the resolution of No. 14519; G.R. No. 84
June 26, 1989 denying petitioner's first 999
Motion for Reconsideration dated May
25, 1989 does indeed state the legal In arrant disregard of established rule and practice,
reasons therefor. The plain and patent Borromeo filed another action to invalidate the foreclosure
signification of the grounds for denial set effected at the instance of UCPB, which he had
out in the Resolution of June 26, 1989 is unsuccessfully tried to prevent in Case No. CEB-21880.
that the petitioner's arguments — aimed This was Civil Case No. CEB-4852 of the Cebu City RTC
at the setting aside of the resolution (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. UCPB, et al.) for "Annulment of
denying the petition for review and Title with Damages." Here, UCPB was represented by
consequently bringing about a review of Atty. Laurence Fernandez, in consultation with Atty.
the decision of the Court of Appeals — Deen.
had failed to persuade the Court that the
errors imputed to the Court of Appeals On December 26, 1987, the Cebu City RTC (Br. VII, Hon.
had indeed been committed and Generoso A. Juaban, presiding) dismissed the complaint
therefore, there was no cause to modify on the ground of litis pendentia and ordered Borromeo to
the conclusions set forth in that
30
31

pay attorney's fees (P5,000.00) and litigation expenses . . . (his) knowledge and advice" — and declaring that he
(P1,000.00). had "not advised and . . . (had) no hand in the filing of
(said) Civil Case CEB 8178 before the Regional Trial
Borromeo instituted a certiorari action in the Court of Court in Cebu. On the other hand, Judge Lee, in his
Appeals to annul this judgment (CA G.R. SP No. 14519); "Compliance" dated October 23, 1989, apologized to the
but his action was dismissed by the Appellate Court on Court and informed it that he had already promulgated an
June 7, 1988 on account of his failure to comply with that order dismissing Civil Case No. CEB-8178 on motion of
Court's Resolution of May 13, 1988 for submission of the principal defendants therein, namely, Judge
certified true copies of the Trial Court's decision of Generoso Juaban and United Coconut Planters Bank
December 26, 1987 and its Order of February 26, 1988, (UCPB). Atty. Cerilles' withdrawal of appearance, and
and for statement of "the dates he received . . . (said) Judge Lee's compliance, were noted by the Court in its
decision and . . . order." Resolution dated November 29, 1989.

Borromeo went up to this Court on appeal, his appeal 4. RTC Case No. CEB-
being docketed as G.R. No. 84999. In a Resolution dated 374; CA-G.R.
October 10, 1988, the Second Division required comment CV
on Borromeo's petition for review by the respondents No. 04097; G.R. No. 77
therein named, and required Borromeo to secure the 248
services of counsel. On November 9, 1988, Atty. Jose L.
Cerilles entered his appearance for Borromeo. After due It is germane to advert to one more transaction between
proceedings, Borromeo's petition was dismissed, by Borromeo and Samson K. Lao which gave rise to another
Resolution dated March 6, 1989 of the Second Division action that ultimately landed in this Court. 29 The
for failure to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals transaction involved a parcel of land of Borromeo's known
had committed any reversible error in the questioned as the "San Jose Property" (TCT No. 34785). Borromeo
judgment. His motion for reconsideration dated April 4, sued Lao and another person (Mariano Logarta) in the
1989, again complaining that the resolution contained no Cebu Regional Trial Court on the theory that his contract
findings of fact and law, was denied. with the latter was not an absolute sale but an equitable
mortgage. The action was docketed as Case No. CEB-
a. RTC Case No. CEB- 374. Judgment was rendered against him by the Trial
8178 Court (Branch 12) declaring valid and binding the
purchase of the property by Lao from him, and the
subsequent sale thereof by Lao to Logarta. Borromeo
Predictably, another action, Civil Case No. CEB-8178,
appealed to the Court of Appeals, but that Court, in CA-
was commenced by Borromeo in the RTC of Cebu City,
G.R. CV No. 04097, affirmed the Trial Court's judgment,
this time against the Trial Judge who had lately rendered
by Decision promulgated on October 10, 1986.
judgment adverse to him, Judge Generoso Juaban. Also
impleaded as defendants were UCPB, and Hon. Andres
Narvasa (then Chairman, First Division), Estrella Borromeo came up to this Court. on appeal, his review
G.Pagtanac and Marissa Villarama (then, respectively, petition being docketed as G.R. No. 77248. By Resolution
Clerk of Court and Assistant Clerk of Court of the First of the Second Division of March 16, 1987, however, his
Division), and others. Judge German G. Lee of Branch 15 petition was denied for the reason that "a) the petition as
of said Court — to which the case was raffled — caused well as the docket and legal research fund fees were filed
issuance of summonses which were in due course served and paid late; and (b) the issues raised are factual and the
on September 22, 1989, among others, on said findings thereon of the Court of Appeals are final." He
defendants in and of the Supreme Court. In an En moved for reconsideration; this was denied by Resolution
Banc Resolution dated October 2, 1989 — in G.R. No. dated June 3, 1987.
84999 — this Court, required Judge Lee and the Clerk of
Court and Assistant Clerk of Court of the Cebu RTC to He thereafter insistently and persistently still sought
show cause why no disciplinary action should be taken reconsideration of said adverse resolutions through
against them for issuing said summonses. various motions and letters, all of which were denied. One
of his letters — inter alia complaining that the notice sent
Shortly thereafter, Atty. Jose L. Cerilles — who, as to him by the Clerk of Court did not bear the signature of
already stated, had for a time represented Borromeo in any Justice — elicited the following reply from Atty. Julieta
G.R. No. 84999 — filed with this Court his withdrawal of Y. Carreon, Clerk of Court of the Third Division, dated July
appearance, alleging that there was "no compatibility" 10, 1987, reading as follows:
between him and his client, Borromeo — because
"Borromeo had been filing pleadings, papers; etc. without Dear Mr. Borromeo:

31
32

This refers to your letter dated June 9, By Resolution dated January 12, 1990, 31 the Office of the
1987 requesting for a copy of the actual Ombudsman dismissed Borromeo's complaint, opining
resolution with the signatures of all the that the matters therein dealt with had already been tried
Justices of the Second Division in Case and their merits determined by different courts including
G.R. No. 77243 whereby the motion for the Supreme Court (decision, June 26, 1989, in G.R. No.
reconsideration of the dismissal of the 87987). The resolution inter alia stated that, "Finally, we
petition was denied for lack of merit. find it unreasonable for complainant to dispute and
defiantly refuse to acknowledge the authority of the
In connection therewith, allow us to cite decree rendered by the highest tribunal of the land in this
for your guidance, Resolution dated July case. . . ."
6, 1981 in G.R. No. 56280, Rhine
Marketing Corp. v. Felix Gravante, Jr., et 2. Case No. OMB-VIS-
al., wherein the Supreme Court declared 90-00418
that "(m)inute resolutions of this Court
denying or dismissing unmeritorious A second complaint was filed by Borromeo with the Office
petitions like the petition in the case at of the Ombudsman (Visayas), dated January 12, 1990,
bar, are the result of a thorough against Atty. Julieta Carreon, Clerk of Court of the Third
deliberation among the members of this Division, Supreme Court, and others, charging them with
Court, which does not and cannot a violation of R.A. 3019 (and the Constitution, the Rules
delegate the exercise of its judicial of Court, etc.) for supposedly usurping judicial functions
functions to its Clerk of Court or any of its in that they issued Supreme Court resolutions (actually,
subalterns, which should be known to notices of resolutions) in connection with G.R. No. 82273
counsel. When a petition is denied or which did not bear the justices' signatures. 32 In a
dismissed by this Court, this Court Resolution dated March 19, 1990, the Office of the
sustains the challenged decision or order Ombudsman dismissed his complaint for "lack of merit"
together with its findings of facts and declaring inter alia that "in all the questioned actuations of
legal conclusions." It is the Clerk of the respondents alleged to constitute usurpation . . . it
Court's duty to notify the parties of the cannot be reasonably and fairly inferred that respondents
action taken on their case by quoting the really were the ones rendering them," and "it is not the
resolution adopted by the Court. prerogative of this office to review the correctness of
judicial resolutions." 33
Very truly yours,
III. CASES INVOLVING SECURITY
JULIETA Y. CARREON BANK & TRUST CO. (SBTC)

B. CRIMINAL CASES A. CIVIL CASES

Just as he had done with regard to the cases involving the 1. RTC Case
Traders Royal Bank, and similarly without foundation, No. 21615; CA-
Borromeo attempted to hold his adversaries in the cases G.R. No. 20617; G.R. N
concerning the UCPB criminally liable. o. 94769

1. Case No; OMB-VIS- The third banking institution which Joaquin T. Borromeo
89-00181 engaged in running court battles, was the Security Bank
& Trust Company (SBTC). From it Borromeo had
In relation to the dispositions made of Borromeo's appeals obtained five (5) loans in the aggregate sum of
and other attempts to overturn the judgment of the RTC P189,126.19, consolidated in a single Promissory Note on
in Civil Case No. 21880, 30 Borromeo filed with the Office May 31, 1979. To secure payment thereof, Summa
of the Ombudsman (Visayas) on August 18, 1989, a Insurance Corp. (Summa) issued a performance bond
complaint against the Chairman and Members of the which set a limit of P200,000.00 on its liability thereunder.
Supreme Court's First Division; the Members of the Ninth Again, as in the case of his obligations to Traders Royal
Division of the Court of Appeals, Secretary of Justice Bank and UCPB, Borromeo failed to discharge his
Sedfrey Ordoñez, Undersecretary of Justice Silvestre contractual obligations. Hence, SBTC brought an action
Bello III, and Cebu City Prosecutor Jufelinito Pareja, in the Cebu City RTC against Borromeo and Summa for
charging them with violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt collection.
Practices Act and the Revised Penal Code.
32
33

The action was docketed as Civil Case No. R-21615, and worry, social embarrassment and severe anxiety for
was assigned to Branch 10, Judge Leonardo Cañares, which he sought payment of moral and exemplary
presiding. Plaintiff SBTC was represented by Atty. Edgar damages as well as litigation expenses.
Gica, who later withdrew and was substituted by the law
firm, HERSINLAW. The latter appeared in the suit through By Order dated May 21, 1991, the RTC of Cebu City,
Atty. Wilfredo Navarro. Branch 16 (Hon. Godardo Jacinto, presiding) granted the
demurrer to evidence filed by defendants and dismissed
Judgment by default was rendered in the case on January the complaint, holding that "since plaintiff failed to
5, 1989; both defendents were sentenced to pay to SBTC, introduce evidence to support . . . (his) causes of action
solidarily, the amount of P436,771.32; 25% thereof as asserted . . ., it would be superfluous to still require
attorney's fees (but in no case less than P20,000.00); and defendants to present their own evidence as there is
P5,000.00 as litigation expenses; and the costs. A writ of nothing for them to controvert."
execution issued in due course pursuant to which an
immovable of Borromeo was levied on, and eventually 2. RTC Case No. CEB-
sold at public auction on October 19, 1989 in favor of the 10458;
highest bidder, SBTC. CA-G.R. CV No. 39047

On February 5, 1990, Borromeo filed a motion to set aside Nothing daunted, and running true to form, Borromeo filed
the judgment by default, but the same was denied on on July 2, 1991 still another suit against the same parties
March 6, 1990. His Motion for Reconsideration having — SBTC, HERSINLAW, and Judge Cañares — but now
likewise been denied, Borromeo went to the Court of including Judge Godardo Jacinto, 34 who had rendered
Appeals for relief (CA-G.R. No. 20617), but the latter the latest judgment against him. This suit, docketed as
dismissed his petition. Failing in his bid for Civil Case No. CEB-10458, was, according to Borromeo,
reconsideration, Borromeo appealed to this Court one "for Damages (For Unjust Judgment and Orders,
on certiorari — his appeal being docketed as G.R. No. Denial of Equal Protection of the Laws Violation of the
94769. On September 17, 1990, this Court dismissed his Constitution, Fraud and Breach of Contract)." Borromeo
petition, and subsequently denied with finality his motion faulted Judges Cañares and Jacinto "for the way they
for reconsideration. Entry of Judgment was made on decided the two cases (CVR-21615 & CEB NO. 9267),"
December 26, 1990. and contended that defendants committed "wanton,
malicious, and unjust acts" by "conniving to defraud
However, as will now be narrated, and as might now have plaintiff and deny him equal protection of the laws and due
been anticipated in light of his history of recalcitrance and process," on account of which he had been "caused
bellicosity, these proceedings did not signify the end of untold mental anguish, moral shock, worry, sleepless
litigation concerning Borromeo's aforesaid contractual nights, and embarrassment for which the former are liable
commitments to SBTC, but only marked the start of under Arts. 20, 21, 27, and 32 of the Civil Code."
another congeries of actions and proceedings, civil and
criminal concerning the same matter, instituted by The defendants filed motions to dismiss. By Order dated
Borromeo. August 30, 1991, the RTC of Cebu City, Branch 15 (Judge
German G. Lee, Jr., presiding) dismissed the complaint
2. RTC Case No. CEB- on grounds of res judicata, immunity of judges from
9267 liability in the performance of their official functions, and
lack of jurisdiction.
While G.R. No. 94769 was yet pending in the Supreme
Court, Borromeo commenced a suit of his own in the Borromeo took an appeal to the Court of Appeals, which
Cebu RTC against SBTC; the lawyers who represented it docketed it as CA-G.R. CV No. 39047.
in Civil Case No. R-21625 — HERSINLAW, Atty. Wilfredo
Navarro, Atty. Edgar Gica; and even the Judge who tried In the course thereof, he filed motions to cite Atty. Wilfredo
and disposed of the suit, Hon. Leonardo Cañares. He F. Navarro, lawyer of SBTC, for contempt of court. The
denominated his action, docketed as Civil Case No. CEB- motions were denied by Resolution of the Court of
9267, as one for "Damages from Denial of Due Process, Appeals (Special 7th Division) dated April 13,
Breach of Contract, Fraud, Unjust Judgment, with 1993. 35 Said the Court:
Restraining Order and Injunction." His complaint accused
defendants of "wanton, malicious and deceitful acts" in Stripped of their disparaging and
"conniving to deny plaintiff due process and defraud him intemperate innuendoes, the subject
through excessive attorney's fees," which acts caused motions, in fact, proffer nothing but a
him grave mental and moral shock, sleepless nights, stark difference in opinion as to what can,
33
34

or cannot, be considered res case to the Court of Appeals where his appeal was
judicata under the circumstances. docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 14770. On March 21, 1990,
said Court rendered judgment affirming the Trial Court's
xxx xxx xxx decision, and on February 7, 1991, issued a Resolution
denying Borromeo's motion for reconsideration. His
appeal to this Court, docketed as G.R. No. 98929, was
By their distinct disdainful tenor towards
given short shrift. On May 29, 1991, the Court (First
the appellees, and his apparent penchant
Division) promulgated a Resolution denying his petition
for argumentum ad hominen, it is, on the
for review "for being factual and for failure . . . to
contrary the appellant who precariously
sufficiently show that respondent court had committed
treads the acceptable limits of
any reversible error in its questioned judgment."
argumentation and personal advocacy.
The Court, moreover, takes particular
note of the irresponsible leaflets he Stubbornly, in his motion for reconsideration, he insisted
admits to have authored and finds them the notices of the resolutions sent to him were
highly reprehensible and needlessly unconstitutional and void because bearing no signatures
derogatory to the dignity, honor and of the Justices who had taken part in approving the
reputation of the Courts. That he is not a resolution therein mentioned.
licensed law practitioner is, in fact, the
only reason that his otherwise B. RTC Case No. CEB-11528
contumacious behavior is presently
accorded the patience and leniency it What would seem to be the latest judicial dispositions
probably does not deserve. Considering rendered against Borromeo, at least as of date of this
the temperament he has, by far, Resolution, are two orders issued in Civil Case No. CEB-
exhibited, the appellant is, however, 11528 of the Regional Trial Court at Cebu City (Branch
sufficiently warned that similar displays in 18), which was yet another case filed by Borromeo
the future shall accordingly be dealt with outlandishly founded on the theory that a judgment
with commensurate severity. promulgated against him by the Supreme Court (Third
Division) was wrong and "unjust." Impleaded as
IV. OTHER CASES defendant in the action was former Chief Justice Marcelo
B. Fernan, as Chairman of the Third Division at the time
A. RTC Case No. CEB-2074; CA-G.R, in question. On August 31, 1994 the presiding judge, Hon.
CV No. 14770; G.R. No. 98929 Galicano O. Arriesgado, issued a Resolution inter
alia dismissing Borromeo's complaint "on grounds of lack
of jurisdiction and res judicata." His Honor made the
One other case arising from another transaction of
following pertinent observations:
Borromeo with Samson K. Lao is pertinent. This is Case
No. CEB-2974 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu. It
appears that sometime in 1979, Borromeo was granted a . . . (T)his Court is of the well-considered
loan of P165,000.00 by the Philippine Bank of view and so holds that this Court has
Communications (PBCom) on the security of a lot indeed no jurisdiction to review, interpret
belonging to him in San Jose Street, Cebu City, covered or reverse the judgment or order of the
by TCT No. 34785.36 Later, Borromeo obtained a letter of Honorable Supreme Court. The acts or
credit in the amount of P37,000.00 from Republic Planters omissions complained of by the plaintiff
Bank, with Samson Lao as co-maker. Borromeo failed to against the herein defendant and the
pay his obligations; Lao agreed to, and did pay other personnel of the highest Court of
Borromeo's obligations to both banks (PBCom and the land as alleged in paragraphs 6 to 12
Republic), in consideration of which a deed of sale was of plaintiff's complaint are certainly
executed in his favor by Borromeo over two (2) parcels of beyond the sphere of this humble court to
land, one of which was that mortgaged to PBCom, as consider and pass upon to determine
above stated. Lao then mortgaged the land to PBCom as their propriety and legality. To try to
security for his own loan in the amount of P240,000.00. review, interpret or reverse the judgment
or order of the Honorable Supreme Court
would appear not only presumptuous but
Borromeo subsequently sued PBCom, some of its
also contemptuous. As argued by the
personnel, and Samson Lao in the Cebu Regional Trial
Court alleging that the defendants had conspired to lawyer for the defendant, a careful
perusal of the allegations in the complaint
deprive him of his property. Judgment was rendered
clearly shows that all material allegations
against him by the Trial Court. Borromeo elevated the
thereof are directed against a resolution
34
35

of the Supreme Court which was B. Answer of Respondent Lawyers


allegedly issued by the Third Division
composed of five (5) justices. No The respondent lawyers denounced the disbarment
allegation is made directly against complaint as "absolutely baseless and nothing but pure
defendant Marcelo B. Fernan in his harassment." In a pleading dated July 10, 1990, entitled
personal capacity. That being the case, "Comments and Counter Motion to Cite Joaquin
how could this Court question the Borromeo in Contempt of Court;" July 10, 1990, filed by
wisdom of the final order or judgment of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu City Chapter,
the Supreme Court (Third Division) which signed by Domero C. Estenzo (President), Juliano Neri
according to the plaintiff himself had (Vice-President), Ulysses Antonio C. Yap (Treasurer);
issued a resolution denying plaintiffs Felipe B. Velasquez (Secretary), Corazon E. Valencia
petition and affirming the Lower Court's (Director), Virgilio U. Lainid (Director), Manuel A. Espina
decision as reflected in the "Entry of (Director), Ildefonsa A. Ybañez (Director), Sylvia G.
Judgment." Perhaps, if there was such Almase (Director), and Ana Mar Evangelista P. Batiguin
violation of the Rules of Court, due (Auditor). The lawyers made the following observations:
process and Sec. 14, Art. 8 of the
Constitution by the defendant herein, the It is ironic. While men of the legal
appropriate remedy should not have profession regard members of the
been obtained before this Court. For an Judiciary with deferential awe and
inferior court to reverse, interpret or
respect sometimes to the extent of
review the acts of a superior court might
cowering before the might of the courts,
be construed to a certain degree as a here is a non-lawyer who, with gleeful
show of an uncommon common sense. abandon and unmitigated insolence, has
Lower courts are without supervising cast aspersions and shown utter
jurisdiction to interpret or to reverse the disregard to the authority and name of
judgment of the higher courts. the courts.

Borromeo's motion for reconsideration dated September And lawyers included. For indeed, it is
20, 1994 was denied "for lack of sufficient factual and very unfortunate that here is a non-
legal basis" by an Order dated November 15, 1994. lawyer who uses the instruments of
justice to harass lawyers and courts who
V. ADMINISTRATIVE CASE No. 3433 crosses his path more especially if their
actuations do not conform with his whims
A. Complaint Against Lawyers and caprices.
of his Court Adversaries
Adverting to letters publicly circulated by Borromeo, inter
Borromeo also initiated administrative disciplinary alia charging then Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan with
proceedings against the lawyers who had appeared for supposed infidelity and violation of the constitution, etc.,
his adversaries — UCPB and Samson K. Lao — in the the lawyers went on to say the following:
actions above mentioned, and others. As already
mentioned, these lawyers were: Messrs. Laurence The conduct and statement of Borromeo
Fernandez, Danilo Deen, Honorato Hermosisima, Antonio against this Honorable Court, and other
Regis, and Alfredo Perez. His complaint against them, members of the Judiciary are clearly and
docketed as Administrative Case No. 3433, prayed for grossly disrespectful, insolent and
their disbarment. Borromeo averred that the respondent contemptuous. They tend to bring
lawyers connived with their clients in (1) maliciously dishonor to the Judiciary and subvert the
misrepresenting a deed of sale with pacto de retro as a public confidence on the courts. If
genuine sale, although it was actually an equitable unchecked, the scurrilous attacks will
mortgage; (2) fraudulently depriving complainant of his undermine the dignity of the courts and
proprietary rights subject of the Deed of Sale; and (3) will result in the loss of confidence in the
defying two lawful Court orders, all in violation of their country's judicial system and
lawyer's oath to do no falsehood nor consent to the doing administration of justice.
of any in Court. Borromeo alleged that respondents Perez
and Regis falsely attempted to consolidate title to his . . . (S)omething should be done to
property in favor of Lao. protect the integrity of the courts and the
legal profession. So many baseless

35
36

badmouthing have been made by "Award from the University of Texas for his contributions
Borromeo against this Honorable Court in upholding the Rule of Law, Justice, etc.," stressing that
and other courts that for him to go scot- Fernan "and the Supreme Court persist in rendering
free would certainly be demoralizing to rulings patently violative of the Constitution, Due Process
members of the profession who afforded and Rule of Law, particularly in their issuance of so-called
the court with all the respect and esteem Minute Resolutions devoid of FACT or LAW or
due them. SIGNATURES . . ." He sent a copy of his letter in the
Supreme Court.
Subsequently, in the same proceeding; Borromeo filed
another pleading protesting the alleged "refusal" of the He circulated an "OPEN LETTER TO SC justices,
Cebu City Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Fernan," declaring that he had "suffered INJUSTICE after
to act on his disbarment cases "filed against its members." INJUSTICE from you who are sworn to render TRUE
JUSTICE but done the opposite, AND INSTEAD OF
C. Decision of the IBP RECTIFYING THEM, labeled my cases as 'frivolous,
nuisance, and harassment suits' while failing to refute the
irrefutable evidences therein . . .;" in the same letter, he
On March 28, 1994, the National Executive Director, IBP
specified what he considered to be some of "the terrible
(Atty. Jose Aguila Grapilon) transmitted to this Court the
injustices inflicted on me by this Court."
notice and copy of the decision in the case, reached after
due investigation, as well as the corresponding records in
seven (7) volumes. Said decision approved and adopted In another letter to Chief Justice Fernan, he observed that
the Report and Recommendation dated December 15, "3 years after EDSA, your pledges have not been fulfilled.
1993 of Atty. Manuel P. Legaspi, President, IBP, Cebu Injustice continues and as you said, the courts are agents
City Chapter, representing the IBP Commission on Bar of oppression, instead of being saviours and defenders of
Discipline, recommending dismissal of the complaint as the people. The saddest part is that (referring again to
against all the respondents and the issuance of a minute resolutions) even the Supreme Court, the court of
"warning to Borromeo to be more cautious and not be last resort, many times, sanctions injustice and the
precipitately indiscriminate in the filing of administrative trampling of the rule of law and due process, and does not
complaints against lawyers." 37 comply with the Constitution when it should be the first to
uphold and defend it . . . ." Another circulated letter of his,
dated June 21, 1989 and captioned, "Open Letter to
VI. SCURRILOUS WRITINGS
Supreme Court Justices Marcelo Fernan and Andres
Narvasa," repeated his plaint of having "been the victim of
Forming part of the records of several cases in this Court many . . . 'Minute Resolutions' . . . which in effect sanction
are copies of letters ("open" or otherwise), "circulars," the theft and landgrabbing and arson of my properties by
flyers or leaflets harshly and quite unwarrantedly TRADERS ROYAL BANK, UNITED COCONUT
derogatory of the many court judgments or directives PLANTERS BANK, AND one TOMAS B. TAN — all
against him and defamatory of his adversaries and their without stating any FACT or LAW to support your
lawyers and employees, as well as the judges and court dismissal of . . . (my) cases, despite your firm assurances
employees involved in the said adverse dispositions — (Justice Fernan) that you would cite me such facts or laws
some of which scurrilous writings were adverted to by the (during our talk in your house last March 12 1989);" and
respondent lawyers in Adm. Case No. 3433, supra. The that "you in fact have no such facts or laws but simply
writing and circulation of these defamatory writing were want to ram down a most unjust Ruling in favor of a
apparently undertaken by Borromeo as a parallel activity wrongful party. . . ."
to his "judicial adventures." The Court of Appeals had
occasion to refer to his "apparent penchant
In another flyer entitled in big bold letters, "A Gov't That
for argumentum ad hominen" and of the "irresponsible
Lies! Blatant attempt to fool people!" he mentions what he
leaflets he admits to have authored . . . (which were found
regards as "The blatant lies and contradictions of the
to be) highly reprehensible and needlessly derogatory to
the dignity, honor and reputation of the Courts." Supreme Court, CA to support the landgrabbing by
Traders Royal Bank of Borromeos' Lands." Another flyer
has at the center the caricature of a person, seated on a
In those publicly circulated writings, he calls judges and throne marked Traders Royal Bank, surrounded by such
lawyers ignorant, corrupt, oppressors, violators of the statements as, "Sa TRB para kami ay royalty. Nakaw at
Constitution and the laws, etc. nakaw! Kawat Kawat! TRB WILL STEAL!" etc Still another
"circular" proclaims: "So the public may know: Supreme
Sometime in July, 1990, for instance, he wrote to the Court minute resolutions w/o facts, law, or signatures
editor of the "Daily Star" as regards the reported violate the Constitution" and ends with the admonition:
conferment on then Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan of an
36
37

"Supreme Court, Justice Fernan: STOP VIOLATING THE rule of law and rules of court and DUE
CHARTER." 38 PROCESS in so doing? (GR No. 82273).

One other "circular" reads: TYRANTS will never admit that they are
tyrants. But their acts speak for
SC, NARVASA — TYRANTS!!! themselves! NARVASA & ASSOC:
— CODDLERS OF CROOKS! ANSWER AND REFUTE THESE
— VIOLATOR OF LAWS SERIOUS CHARGES OR RESIGN!!

by: JOAQUIN BORROMEO IMPEACH NARVASA

NARVASA's SC has denied being a • ISSUING UNSIGNED,


DESPOT nor has it shielded CROOKS in SWEEPING,
the judiciary. Adding "The SCRA (SC UNCLEAR,
Reports) will attest to this continuing UNCONSTITUTIONAL
vigilance Of the supreme Court." These "MINUTE
are lame, cowardly and self-serving RESOLUTIONS"
denials and another "self-exoneration" VIOLATIVE OF SECS.
belied by evidence which speak for 4(3), 14, ART. 8,
themselves (Res Ipsa Loquitor) (sic) — Constitution
the SCRA itself.
• VIOLATING RULES
It is pure and simply TYRANNY when OF COURT AND DUE
Narvasa and associates issued PROCESS IN
UNSIGNED, UNCLEAR, SWEEPING ORDERING CASE
"Minute Resolutions" devoid of CLEAR AGAINST SC CLERKS
FACTS and LAWS in patent violation of (CEB-8679)
Secs. 4(3), 14, Art. 8 of the Constitution. DISMISSED DESPITE
It is precisely through said THE LATTER'S
TYRANNICAL, and FAILURE TO FILE
UNCONSTITUTIONAL sham rulings that PLEADINGS; HENCE
Narvasa & Co. have CODDLED IN DEFAULT
CROOKS like crony bank TRB, UCPB,
and SBTC, and through said fake • CORRUPTION
resolutions that Narvasa has LIED or AND/OR GROSS
shown IGNORANCE of the LAW in ruling IGNORANCE OF THE
that CONSIGNATION IS NECESSARY LAW IN RULING, THAT
IN RIGHT OF REDEMPTION (GR CONSIGNATION IS
83306). Through said despotic NECESSARY IN
resolutions, NARVASA & CO. have RIGHT OF
sanctioned UCPB/ACCRA's defiance of REDEMPTION,
court orders and naked land grabbing — CONTRADICTING LAW
What are these if not TYRANNY? (GR AND SC'S OWN
84999). RULINGS — TO
ALLOW CRONY BANK
Was it not tyranny for the SC to issue an TRB TO STEALS LOTS
Entry of Judgment without first resolving WORTH P3 MILLION
the motion for reconsideration (G.R No.
82273). Was it not tyranny and abuse of • CONDONING CRONY
power for the SC to order a case BANK UCPB'S
dismissed against SC clerks (CEBV- DEFIANCE OF TWO
8679) and declare justices and said LAWFUL COURT
clerks "immune from suit" — despite their ORDERS AND
failure to file any pleading? Were STEALING OF TITLE
Narvasa & Co. not in fact trampling on the OF PROPERTY
WORTH P4 MILLION

37
38

• BEING JUDGE AND xxx xxx xxx


ACCUSED AT THE
SAME TIME AND The records of the Court disclose inter
PREDICTABLY alia that as early as April 4, 1989, the
EXONERATING Acting Clerk of Court, Atty. Luzviminda D.
HIMSELF AND Puno, wrote a four page letter to Mr.
FELLOW CORRUPT Borromeo concerning G.R. No. 83306
JUSTICES (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Traders Royal
Bank [referred to by Borromeo in the
• DECLARING "circular" adverted to by the relator
HIMSELF, JUSTICES, herein, the IBP Cebu City Chapter]) and
and even MERE two (2) other cases also filed with the
CLERKS TO BE Court by Borromeo: G.R. No. 77248
IMMUNE FROM SUIT (Joaquin T. Borromeo v. Samson Lao
AND UN- and Mariano Logarta) and G.R. No.
ACCOUNTABLE TO 84054 (Joaquin T. Borromeo v. Hon.
THE PEOPLE and Mario Dizon and Tomas Tan), all
REFUSING TO resolved adversely to him by different
ANSWER AND Divisions of the Court. In that letter Atty.
REFUTE CHARGES Puno explained to Borromeo very briefly
AGAINST HIMSELF the legal principles applicable to his
cases and dealt with the matters
JOAQUIN T. mentioned in his circular.
BORROMEO
The records further disclose subsequent
Mabolo, Cebu City adverse rulings by the Court in other
cases instituted by Borromeo in this
Court, i.e., G.R. No. 87897 (Joaquin T.
Te. 7-56-49.
Borromeo v. Court of Appeals, et al.) and
No. 82273 (Joaquin T. Borromeo v. Court
VI. IMMEDIATE ANTECEDENTS of Appeals and Samson Lao), as well as
OF PROCEEDINGS AT BAR the existence of other communications
made public by Borromeo reiterating the
A. Letter of Cebu City Chapter arguments already passed upon by the
IBP, dated June 21, 1992 court in his cases and condemning the
court's rejection of those arguments.
Copies of these circulars evidently found their way into the
hands, among others, of some members of the Cebu City Acting on the letter dated June 21, 1993
Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Its of the Cebu City Chapter of the
President thereupon addressed a letter to this Court, Integrated Bar of the Philippines thru its
dated June 21, 1992, which (1) drew attention to one of above named, President, and taking
them — that last quoted, above — " . . . .sent to the IBP account of the related facts on record, the
Cebu City Chapter and probably other officers . . . in Court Resolved:
Cebu," described as containing "highly libelous and
defamatory remarks against the Supreme Court and the 1) to REQUIRE:
whole justice system"— and (2) in behalf of the Chapter's
"officers and members," strongly urged the Court "to
(a) the Clerk of Court (1) to DOCKET the
impose sanctions against Mr. Borromeo for his
matter at bar as a proceeding for
condemnable act."
contempt against Joaquin T. Borromeo
instituted at the relation of said Cebu City
B. Resolution of July 22, 1993 Chapter, Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, and (2) to SEND to the City
Acting thereon, the Court En Banc issued a Resolution on Sheriff, Cebu City, notice of this
July 22, 1993, requiring comment by Borromeo on the resolution and copies of the Chapter's
letter, notice of which was sent to him by the Office of the letter dated June 21, 1993 together with
Clerk of Court. The resolution pertinently reads as follows: its annexes; and

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39

(b) said City Sheriff of Cebu City to 2) the Chief Justice and other Members
CAUSE PERSONAL SERVICE of said of the Court should inhibit themselves
notice of resolution and a copy of the "since they cannot be the Accused and
Chapter's letter dated June 21, 1993, Judge at the same time, . . . (and) this
together with its annexes, on Joaquin T. case should be heard by an impartial and
Borromeo at his address at Mabolo, independent body;"
Cebu City; and
3) the letter of Atty. Legaspi "is not
2) to ORDER said Joaquin T. Borromeo, verified nor signed by members of said
within ten (10) days from receipt of such (IBP Cebu Chapter) Board; . . . is vague,
notice and the IBP Chapter's letter of unspecific, and sweeping" because
June 21, 1993 and its annexes, to file a failing to point out "what particular
comment on the letter and its annexes as statements in the circular are allegedly
well as on the other matters set forth in libelous and condemnable;" and does not
this resolution, serving copy thereof on appear that Atty. Legaspi has authority to
the relator, the Cebu City Chapter of the speak or file a complaint "in behalf of
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Palace those accused in the "libelous circular;"
of Justice Building, Capitol, Cebu City.
4) in making the circular, he (Borromeo)
SO ORDERED. "was exercising his rights of freedom of
speech, of expression, and to petition the
1. Atty. Puno's Letter of government for redress of grievances as
April 4, 1989 guaranteed by the Constitution (Sec. 4,
Art. III) and in accordance with the
accountability of public officials;" the
Clerk of Court Puno's letter to Borromeo of April 4, 1989,
circular merely states the truth and asks
referred to in the first paragraph of the resolution just
for justice based on the facts and the
mentioned, explained to Borromeo for perhaps the
law; . . . it is not libelous nor disrespectful
second time, precisely the principles and established
but rather to be commended and
practice relative to "minute resolutions" and notices
encouraged; . . . Atty. Legaspi . . . should
thereof, treated of in several other communications and
specify under oath which statements are
resolutions sent to him by the Supreme Court, to wit: the
false and lies;
letter received by him on July 10, 1987, from Clerk of
Court Julieta Y. Carreon (of this Court's Third Division) (in
relation to G.R No. 77243 39) the letter to him of Clerk of 5) he "stands by the charges in his
Court (Second Division) Fermin J. Garma, dated May 19, circular and is prepared to support them
1989, 40 and three resolutions of this Court, notices of with pertinent facts, evidence and law;"
which were in due course served on him, to wit: that dated and it is "incumbent on the Hon. Chief
July 31, 1989, in G.R. No. 87897; 41 that dated June 1, Justice and members of the High Court
1990 in G.R. No. 82274 (186 SCRA 1), 42 and that dated to either refute said charges or dispense
June 11, 1994 in G. R. No. 112928. 43 the justice that they are duty bound to
dispense.
C. Borromeo's Comment of August 27, 1993
D. Resolution of September 30, 1993
In response to the Resolution of July 22, 1993, Borromeo
filed a Comment dated August 27, 1993 in which he After receipt of the comment, and desiring to accord
alleged the following: Borromeo the fullest opportunity to explain his side, and
be reprsented by an attorney, the Court promulgated the
following Resolution on September 30, 1993, notice of
1) the resolution of July 22, 1993
which was again served on him by the Office of the Clerk
(requiring comment) violates the
of Court.
Constitution which requires "signatures
and concurrence of majority of members
of the High Court;" hence, "a certified . . . The return of service filed by Sheriff
copy duly signed by Justices is Jessie A. Belarmino, Office of the Clerk
respectfully requested;" of Court Regional Trial Court of Cebu
City, dated August 26, 1993, and the
Comment of Joaquin Borromeo, dated

39
40

August 27, 1993, on the letter of this Hon. Court has


President Manuel P. Legaspi of the ruled in many rulings
relator dated June 21, 1993, are both that CONSIGNATION
NOTED. After deliberating on the IS UNNECESSARY in
allegations of said Comment, the Court right of redemption;
Resolved to GRANT Joaquin T.
Borromeo an additional period of fifteen c) this Hon. Court has deplorably
(15) days from notice hereof within which condoned crony banks TRB and UCPB's
to engage the services or otherwise seek frauds and defiance of court orders in
the assistance of a lawyer and submit G.R. Nos. 83306 and 878997 and 84999.
such further arguments in addition to or
in amplification of those set out in his F. Borromeo's "Manifestation" of
Comment dated August 27, 1993, if he be November 26, 1993
so minded.
Borromeo afterwards filed a "Manifestation" under date of
SO ORDERED. November 26, 1993, adverting to "the failure of the IBP
and Atty. Legaspi to substantiate his charges under oath
E. Borromeo's Supplemental Comment and the failure of the concerned Justices to refute the
of October 15, 1992 charges in the alledged "libelous circular" and, construing
these as "and admission of the thruth in said circular,"
Borromeo filed a "Supplemental Comment" dated theorized that it is "incumbent on the said Justices to
October 15, 1992, reiterating the arguments and rectify their grave as well as to dismiss Atty. Legaspi's
allegations in his Comment of August 27, 1993, and baseless and false charges."
setting forth "additional arguments and amplification to . .
. (said) Comment," viz.: VII. THE COURT CONCLUSIONS

1) the IBP and Atty. Legaspi have failed A. Respondent's Liability


"to specify and state under oath the for Contempt of Court
alleged 'libelous' remarks contained in
the circular . . .; (they should) be ordered Upon the indubitable facts on record, there can scarcely
to file a VERIFIED COMPLAINT . .
be any doubt of Borromeo's guilt of contempt, for abuse
.(failing in which, they should) be cited in of and interference with judicial rules and processes,
contempt of court for making false gross disrespect to courts and judges and improper
charges and wasting the precious time of conduct directly impeding, obstructing and degrading the
this Highest Court by filing a baseless administration of justice.44 He has stubbornly litigated
complaint; issues already declared to be without merit, obstinately
closing his eyes to the many rulings rendered adversely
2) the allegations in their circular are not to him in many suits and proceedings, rulings which had
libelous nor disrespectful but "are based become final and executory, obdurately and
on the TRUTH and the LAW", namely: unreasonably insisting on the application of his own
individual version of the rules, founded on nothing more
a) "minute resolutions" than his personal (and quite erroneous) reading of the
bereft of signatures and Constitution and the law; he has insulted the judges and
clear facts and laws are court officers, including the attorneys appearing for his
patent violations of adversaries, needlessly overloaded the court dockets and
Secs. 4(32), 13, 14, Art. sorely tried the patience of the judges and court
VIII of the Constitution; employees who have had to act on his repetitious and
largely unfounded complaints, pleadings and motions. He
b) there is no basis nor has wasted the time of the courts, of his adversaries, of
thruth to this Hon. the judges and court employees who have had the bad
Court's affirmation to luck of having to act in one way or another on his
the Appelate Court's unmeritorious cases. More particularly, despite his
ruling that the attention having been called many times to the egregious
undersigned "lost" his error of his theory that the so-called "minute resolutions"
right of redemption of this Court should contain findings of fact and
price, since no less than conclusions of law, and should be signed or certified by

40
41

the Justices promulgating the same, 45 he has mulishly employees; and other persons, for abusing the processes
persisted in ventilating that self-same theory in various and rules of the courts, wasting their time, and bringing
proceedings, causing much loss of time, annoyance and them into disrepute and disrespect.
vexation to the courts, the court employees and parties
involved. B. Basic Principles Governing
the Judicial Function
1. Untenability of
Proffered Defenses The facts and issues involved in the proceeding at bench
make necessary a restatement of the principles governing
The first defense that he proffers, that the Chief Justice finality of judgments and of the paramount need to put an
and other Members of the Court should inhibit themselves end to litigation at some point, and to lay down definite
"since they cannot be the Accused and Judge at the same postulates concerning what is perceived to be a growing
time . . . (and) this case should be heard by an impartial predilection on the part of lawyers and litigants — like
and independent body, is still another illustration of an Borromeo — to resort to administrative prosecution (or
entirely unwarranted, arrogant and reprehensible institution of civil or criminal actions) as a substitute for or
assumption of a competence in the field of the law: he supplement to the specific modes of appeal or review
again uses up the time of the Court needlessly by invoking provided by law from court judgments or orders.
an argument long since declared and adjudged to be
untenable. It is axiomatic that the "power or duty of the 1. Reason for
court to institute a charge for contempt against itself, courts; Judicial
without the intervention of the fiscal or prosecuting officer, Hierarchy
is essential to the preservation of its dignity and of the
respect due it from litigants, lawyers and the public. Were
Courts exist in every civilized society for the settlement of
the intervention of the prosecuting officer required and controversies. In every country there is a more or less
judges obliged to file complaints for contempts against established hierarchical organization of courts, and a
them before the prosecuting officer, in order to bring the more or less comprehensive system of review of
guilty to justice, courts would be inferior to prosecuting judgments and final orders of lower courts.
officers and impotent to perform their functions with
dispatch and absolute independence. The institution of
charges by the prosecuting officer is not necessary to hold The judicial system in this jurisdiction allows for several
persons guilty of civil or criminal contempt amenable to levels of litigation, i.e., the presentation of evidence by the
trial and punishment by the court. All that the law requires parties — a trial or hearing in the first instance — as well
is that there be a charge in writing duly filed in court and as a review of the judgments of lower courts by higher
an opportunity to the person charged to be heard by tribunals, generally by consideration anew and ventilation
himself or counsel. The charge may be made by the fiscal, of the factual and legal issues through briefs or
by the judge, or even by a private person. . . ." 46 memoranda. The procedure for review is fixed by law, and
is in the very nature of things, exclusive to the courts.
His claim — that the letter of Atty. Legaspi "is not verified
nor signed by members of said (IBP Cebu Chapter) 2. Paramount Need to
Board; . . . is vague, unspecific, and sweeping" because end
failing to point out what particular statements in the Litigation at Some Point
circular are allegedly libelous and condemnable;" and it
does not appear that Atty. Legaspi has authority to speak It is withal of the essence of the judicial function that at
or file a complaint "in behalf of those accused in the some point, litigation must end. Hence, after the
'libelous' circular" — is in the premises, plainly nothing but procedures and processes for lawsuits have been
superficial philosophizing, deserving no serious undergone, and the modes of review set by law have been
treatment. exhausted, or terminated, no further ventilation of the
same subject matter is allowed. To be sure, there may be,
Equally as superficial, and sophistical, is his other on the part of the losing parties, continuing disagreement
contention that in making the allegations claimed to be with the verdict, and the conclusions therein embodied.
contumacious, he "was exercising his rights of freedom of This is of no moment, indeed, is to be expected; but, it is
speech, of expression, and to petition the government for not their will, but the Court's, which must prevail; and, to
redress of grievances as guaranteed by the Constitution repeat, public policy demands that at some definite time,
(Sec. 4, Art. III) and in accordance with the accountablity the issues must be laid to rest and the court's dispositions
of public officials." The constitutional rights invoked by him thereon accorded absolute finality. 47 As observed by this
afford no justification for repetitious litigation of the same Court in Rheem of the Philippines v. Ferrer, a 1967
causes and issues, for insulting lawyers, judges, court decision, 48 a party "may think highly of his intellectual
41
42

endowment. That is his privilege. And he may suffer determining controversies submitted to
frustration at what he feels is others' lack of it. This is his them should become final at some
misfortune. Some such frame of mind, however, should definite time fixed by law, or by a rule of
not be allowed to harden into a belief that he may attack practice recognized by law, so as to be
a court's decision in words calculated to jettison the time- thereafter beyond the control even of the
honored aphorism that courts are the temples of right." court which rendered them for the
purpose of correcting errors of fact or of
3. Judgments of law, into which, in the opinion of the court
Supreme Court it may have fallen. The very purpose for
Not Reviewable which the courts are organized is to put
an end to controversy, to decide the
questions submitted to the litigants, and
The sound, salutary and self-evident principle prevailing
to determine the respective rights of the
in this as in most jurisdictions, is that judgments of the
parties. (Luzon Brokerage Co., Inc. vs.
highest tribunal of the land may not be reviewed by any
Maritime Bldg., Co., Inc., 86 SCRA 305,
other agency, branch, department, or official of
316-317)
Government. Once the Supreme Court has spoken, there
the matter must rest. Its decision should not and cannot
be appealed to or reviewed by any other entity, much less xxx xxx xxx
reversed or modified on the ground that it is tainted by
error in its findings of fact or conclusions of law, flawed in Indeed, resolutions of the Supreme Court
its logic or language, or otherwise erroneous in some as a collegiate court, whether an en
other respect. 49 This, on the indisputable and unshakable banc or division, speak for themselves
foundation of public policy, and constitutional and and are entitled to full faith and credence
traditional principle. and are beyond investigation or inquiry
under the same principle of
In an extended Resolution promulgated on March 12, conclusiveness of enrolled bills of the
1987 in In Re: Wenceslao Laureta — involving an attempt legislature. (U.S. vs. Pons, 34 Phil. 729;
by a lawyer to prosecute before the Tanod bayan Gardiner, et al. vs. Paredes, et al., 61
"members of the First Division of this Court collectively Phil. 118; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78
with having knowingly and deliberately rendered an Phil. 1) The Supreme Court's
'unjust extended minute Resolution' with deliberate bad pronouncement of the doctrine that "(I)t is
faith in violation of Article 204 of the Revised penal Code well settled that the enrolled bill . . . is
". . . and for deliberatly causing "undue injury" to conclusive upon the courts as regards
respondent . . . and her co-heirs because of the "unjust the tenor of the measure passed by
Resolution" promulgated, in violation of the Anti-Graft and Congress and approved by the
Corrupt Practices Act . . . — the following President. If there has been any mistake
pronouncements were made in reaffirmation of in the printing of the bill before it was
established doctrine: 50 certified by the officers of Congress and
approved by the Executive [as claimed
by petitioner-importer who
. . . As aptly declared in the Chief
unsuccessfully sought refund of margin
Justice's Statement of December 24,
fees] — on which we cannot speculate,
1986, which the Court hereby adopts in
without jeopardizing the principle of
toto, "(I)t is elementary that the Supreme
separation of powers and undermining
Court is supreme — the third great
one of the cornerstones of our
department of government entrusted
democractic system — the remedy is by
exclusively with the judicial power to
amendment or curative legislation, not by
adjudicate with finality all justiciable
judicial decree" is fully and reciprocally
disputes, public and private. No other
department or agency may pass upon its applicable to Supreme Court orders,
resolutions and decisions, mutatis
judgments or declare them "unjust." It is
mutandis. (Casco Phil. Chemical Co.,
elementary that "(A)s has ever been
Inc. vs. Gimenez, 7 SCRA 347, 350.
stressed since the early case of Arnedo
(Citing Primicias vs. Paredes, 61 Phil.
vs.Llorente (18 Phil. 257, 263 [1911])
118, 120; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78
"controlling and irresistible reasons of
Phil. 1; Macias vs. Comelec, 3 SCRA 1).
public policy and of sound practice in the
courts demand that at the risk of
occasional error, judgments of courts
42
43

The Court has consistently stressed that Now, the Court takes judicial notice of the fact that there
the "doctrine of separation of has been of late a regrettable increase in the resort to
powers calls for the executive, legislative administrative prosecution — or the institution of a civil or
and judicial departments being left alone criminal action — as a substitute for or supplement to
to discharge their duties as they see fit" appeal. Whether intended or not, such a resort to these
(Tan vs. Macapagal, 43 SCRA 677). It remedies operates as a form of threat or intimidation to
has thus maintained in the same way that coerce judges into timorous surrender of their
the judiciary has a right to expect that prerogatives, or a reluctance to exercise them. With rising
neither the President nor Congress frequency, administrative complaints are being presented
would cast doubt on the mainspring of its to the Office of the Court Administrator; criminal
orders or decisions, it should refrain from complaints are being filed with the Office of the
speculating as to alleged hidden forces at Ombudsman or the public prosecutor's office; civil actions
work that could have impelled either for recovery of damages commenced in the Regional Trial
coordinate branch into acting the way it Courts against trial judges, and justices of the Court of
did. The concept of separation of powers Appeals and even of the Supreme Court.
presupposes mutual respect by and
between the three departments of the 1. Common Basis of
government. (Tecson vs. Salas, 34 Complaints
SCRA 275, 286-287). Against Judges

4. Final and Executory Many of these complaints set forth a common indictment:
Judgments of that the respondent Judges or Justices rendered
Lower Courts Not manifestly unjust judgments or interlocutory
Reviewable orders 53 — i.e., judgments or orders which are allegedly
Even by Supreme Court not in accord with the evidence, or with law or
jurisprudence, or are tainted by grave abuse of discretion
In respect of Courts below the Supreme Court, the — thereby causing injustice, and actionable and
ordinary remedies available under law to a party who is compensable injury to the complainants (invariably losing
adversely affected by their decisions or orders are a litigants). Resolution of complaints of this sort quite
motion for new trial (or reconsideration) under Rule 37, obviously entails a common requirement for the fiscal, the
and an appeal to either the Court of Appeals or the Ombudsman or the Trial Court: a review of the decision
Supreme Court, depending on whether questions of both or order of the respondent Judge or Justice to determine
fact and law, or of law only, are raised, in accordance with its correctness or erroneousness, as basic premise for a
fixed and familiar rules and conformably with the pronouncement of liability.
hierarchy of courts. 51Exceptionally, a review of a ruling or
act of a court on the ground that it was rendered without 2. Exclusivity of Specific
or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of Procedures for
discretion, may be had through the special civil action Correction of Judgments
of certiorari or prohibition pursuant to Rule 65 of the Rules and Orders
of Court.
The question then, is whether or not these complaints are
However, should judgments of lower courts — which may proper; whether or not in lieu of the prescribed recourses
normally be subject to review by higher tribunals — for appeal or review of judgments and orders of courts, a
become final and executory before, or without, exhaustion party may file an administrative or criminal complaint
of all recourse of appeal, they, too, become inviolable, against the judge for rendition of an unjust judgment, or,
impervious to modification. They may, then, no longer be having opted for appeal, may nonetheless simultaneously
reviewed, or in anyway modified directly or indirectly, by a seek also such administrative or criminal remedies.
higher court, not even by the Supreme Court, much less
by any other official, branch or department of Given the nature of the judicial function, the power vested
Government. 52 by the Constitution in the Supreme Court and the lower
courts established by law, the question submits to only
C. Administrative Civil or Criminal Action one answer: the administrative or criminal remedies are
against Judge. Not Substitute for Appeal; neither alternative nor cumulative to judicial review where
Proscribed by Law and Logic such review is available, and must wait on the result
thereof.

43
44

Simple reflection will make this proposition amply clear, To subject to the threat and ordeal of
and demonstrate that any contrary postulation can have investigation and prosecution, a judge,
only intolerable legal implications. Allowing a party who more so a member of the Supreme Court
feels aggrieved by a judicial order or decision not yet final for official acts done by him in good faith
and executory to mount an administrative, civil or criminal and in the regular exercise of official duty
prosecution for unjust judgment against the issuing judge and judicial functions is to subvert and
would, at a minimum and as an indispensable first step, undermine that very independence of the
confer the prosecutor (or Ombudsman) with an judiciary, and subordinate the judiciary to
incongruous function pertaining, not to him, but to the the executive. "For it is a general
courts: the determination of whether the questioned principle of the highest importance to the
disposition is erroneous in its findings of fact or proper administration of justice that a
conclusions of law, or both. If he does proceed despite judicial officer in exercising the authority
that impediment, whatever determination he makes could vested in him, shall be free to act upon
well set off a proliferation of administrative or criminal his own convictions, without
litigation, a possibility here after more fully explored. apprehension of personal consequences
to himself. Liability to answer to everyone
Such actions are impermissible and cannot prosper. It is who might feel himself aggrieved by the
not, as already pointed out, within the power of public action of the judge would be inconsistent
prosecutors, or the Ombudsman or his deputies, directly with the possession of this freedom, and
or vicariously, to review judgments or final orders or would destroy that independence without
resolutions of the Courts of the land. The power of review which no judiciary can be either
— by appeal or special civil action — is not only lodged respectable or useful." (Bradley vs.
exclusively in the Courts themselves but must be Fisher, 80 U. S. 335).
exercised in accordance with a well-defined and long
established hierarchy, and long-standing processes and xxx xxx xxx
procedures. No other review is allowed; otherwise
litigation would be interminable, and vexatiously To allow litigants to go beyond the
repetitive. Court's resolution and claim that the
members acted "with deliberate bad
These principles were stressed in In Re: Wenceslao faith" and rendered an "unjust resolution"
Laureta, supra. 54 in disregard or violation of the duty of
their high office to act upon their own
Respondents should know that the independent consideration and judgment
provisions of Article 204 of the Revised of the matter at hand would be to destroy
Penal Code as to "rendering knowingly the authenticity, integrity and
unjust judgment," refer to an individual conclusiveness of such collegiate acts
judge who does so "in any case and resolutions and to disregard utterly
submitted to him for decision" and even the presumption of regular performance
then, it is not the prosecutor who would of official duty. To allow such collateral
pass judgment on the "unjustness" of the attack would destroy the separation of
decision rendered by him but the proper powers and undermine the role of the
appellate court with jurisdiction to review Supreme Court as the final arbiter of all
the same, either the Court of Appeals justiciable disputes.
and/or the Supreme Court. Respondents
should likewise know that said penal Dissatisfied litigants and/or their
article has no application to the members counsels cannot without violating the
of a collegiate court such as this Court or separation of powers mandated by the
its Divisions who reach their conclusions Constitution relitigate in another forum
in consultation and accordingly render the final judgment of this Court on legal
their collective judgment after due issues submitted by them and their
deliberation. It also follows, adversaries for final determination to and
consequently, that a charge of violation by the Supreme Court and which fall
of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices within the judicial power to determine
Act on the ground that such a collective and adjudicate exclusively vested by the
decision is "unjust" cannot prosper. Constitution in the Supreme Court and in
such inferior courts as may be
xxx xxx xxx established by law.
44
45

This is true, too, as regards judgments, otherwise be out of the question; it would mean that the Office of the
appealable, which have become final and executory. Ombudsman or of the public prosecutor would have to
Such judgments, being no longer reviewable by higher find, at the preliminary investigation, not only that the
tribunals, are certainly not reviewable by any other body judge's decision was wrong and unjust, but by necessary
or authority. implication that the decisions or orders of the Regional
Trial Court Judge, as well as the Justices of the Court of
3. Only Courts Appeals and the Supreme Court who affirmed the original
Authorized, under Fixed judgment were also all wrong and unjust — most certainly
Rules to Declare an act of supreme arrogance and very evident
Judgments or Orders supererogation. Pursuing the proposition further,
Erroneous or Unjust assuming that the public prosecutor or Ombudsman
should nevertheless opt to undertake a review of the
decision in question — despite its having been affirmed at
To belabor the obvious, the determination of whether or
all three (3) appellate levels — and thereafter, disagreeing
not a judgement or order is unjust — or was (or was not)
with the verdict of all four (4) courts, file an information in
rendered within the scope of the issuing judge's authority,
the Regional Trial Court against the Municipal Trial Court
or that the judge had exceeded his jurisdiction and powers
Judge, the fate of such an indictment at the hands of the
or maliciously delayed the disposition of a case — is an
Sandiganbayan or the Regional Trial Court would be fairly
essentially judicial function, lodged by existing law and
immemorial practice in a hierarchy of courts and predictable.
ultimately in the highest court of the land. To repeat, no
other entity or official of the Government, not the Even if for some reason the Municipal Trial Court Judge
prosecution or investigation service or any other branch; is convicted by the Sandiganbayan or a Regional Trial
nor any functionary thereof, has competence to review a Court, the appeal before the Supreme Court or the Court
judicial order or decision — whether final and executory of Appeals would have an inevitable result: given the
or not — and pronounce it erroneous so as to lay the basis antecedents, the verdict of conviction would be set aside
for a criminal or administrative complaint for rendering an and the correctness of the judgment in question, already
unjust judgment or order. That prerogative belongs to the passed upon and finally resolved by the same appellate
courts alone. courts, would necessarily be sustained.

4. Contrary Rule Results Moreover, in such a scenario, nothing would prevent the
in Circuitousness Municipal Trial Judge, in his turn, from filing a criminal
and Leads to Absurd action against the Sandiganbayan Justices, or the
Consequences Regional Trial Court Judge who should convict him of the
offense, for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, or
against the Justices of the Court of Appeals or the
Pragmatic considerations also preclude prosecution for
Supreme Court who should affirm his conviction.
supposed rendition of unjust judgments or interlocutory
orders of the type above described, which, at bottom,
consist simply of the accusation that the decisions or The situation is ridiculous, however the circumstances of
interlocutory orders are seriously wrong in their the case may be modified, and regardless of whether it is
conclusions of fact or of law, or are tainted by grave abuse a civil, criminal or administrative proceeding that is availed
of discretion — as distinguished from accusations of of as the vehicle to prosecute the judge for supposedly
corruption, or immorality, or other wrongdoing. To allow rendering an unjust decision or order.
institution of such proceedings would not only be legally
improper, it would also result in a futile and circuitous 5. Primordial Requisites
exercise, and lead to absurd consequences. for Administrative
Criminal Prosecution
Assume that a case goes through the whole gamut of
review in the judicial hierarchy; i.e., a judgment is This is not to say that it is not possible at all to prosecute
rendered by a municipal trial court; it is reviewed and judges for this impropriety, of rendering an unjust
affirmed by the proper Regional Trial Court; the latter's judgment or interlocutory order; but, taking account of all
judgment is appealed to and in due course affirmed by the the foregoing considerations, the indispensable requisites
Court of Appeals; and finally, the appellate court's are that there be a final declaration by a competent court
decision is brought up to and affirmed by the Supreme in some appropriate proceeding of the manifestly unjust
Court. The prosecution of the municipal trial court judge character of the challenged judgment or order, and there
who rendered the original decision (for knowingly be also evidence of malice or bad faith, ignorance or
rendering a manifestly unjust judgment) would appear to inexcusable negligence, on the part of the judge in

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rendering said judgement or order. That final declaration As far as civil or criminal liability is concerned, existing
is ordinarily contained in the judgment rendered in the doctrine is that "judges of superior and general jurisdiction
appellate proceedings in which the decision of the trial are not liable to respond in civil action for damages for
court in the civil or criminal action in question is what they may do in the exercise of their judicial functions
challenged. when acting within their legal powers and
jurisdiction."58 Based on Section 9, Act No. 190, 59 the
What immediately comes to mind in this connection is a doctrine is still good law, not inconsistent with any
decision of acquittal or dismissal in a criminal action, as to subsequent legislative issuance or court rule: "No judge,
which — the same being unappealable — it would be justice of the peace or assessor shall be liable to a civil
unreasonable to deny the State or the victim of the crime action for the recovery of damages by reason of any
(or even public-spirited citizens) the opportunity to put to judicial action or judgment rendered by him in good faith,
the test of proof such charges as they might see fit to and within the limits of his legal powers and jurisdiction."
press that it was unjustly rendered, with malice or by
deliberate design, through inexcusable ignorance or Exception to this general rule is found in Article 32 of the
negligence, etc. Even in this case, the essential requisite Civil Code, providing that any public officer or employee,
is that there be an authoritative judicial pronouncement of or any private individual, who directly or indirectly
the manifestly unjust character of the judgment or order in obstructs, defeats, violates or in any manner impedes or
question. Such a pronouncement may result from either impairs any of the enumerated rights and liberties of
(a) an action of certiorari or prohibition in a higher court another person — which rights are the same as those
impugning the validity of the; judgment, as having been guaranteed in the Bill of Rights (Article III of the
rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave Constitution); — shall be liable to the latter for damages.
abuse of discretion; e.g., there has been a denial of due However, such liability is not demandable from a judge
process to the prosecution; or (b) if this be not proper, an unless his act or omission constitutes a violation of the
administrative proceeding in the Supreme Court against Penal Code or other penal statute. But again, to the extent
the judge precisely for promulgating an unjust judgment that the offenses therein described have "unjust judgment
or order. Until and unless there is such a final, or "unjust interlocutory order" for an essential element, it
authoritative judicialdeclaration that the decision or order need only be reiterated that prosecution of a judge for any
in question is "unjust," no civil or criminal action against of them is subject to the caveat already mentioned: that
the judge concerned is legally possible or should be such prosecution cannot be initiated, much less
entertained, for want of an indispensable requisite. maintained, unless there be a final judicial
pronouncement of the unjust character of the decision or
D. Judges Must be Free from order in issue.
Influence or Pressure
E. Afterword
Judges must be free to judge, without pressure or
influence from external forces or factors. They should not Considering the foregoing antecedents and long standing
be subject to intimidation, the fear of civil, criminal or doctrines, it may well be asked why it took no less than
administrative sanctions for acts they may do and sixteen (16) years and some fifty (50) grossly unfounded
dispositions they may make in the performance of their cases lodged by respondent Borromeo in the different
duties and functions. Hence it is sound rule, which must rungs of the Judiciary before this Court decided to take
be recognized independently of statute, that judges are the present administrative measure. The imposition on
not generally liable for acts done within the scope of their the time of the courts and the unnecessary work
jurisdiction and in good faith. occasioned by respondent's crass adventurism are self-
evident and require no further elaboration. If the Court,
This Court has repeatedly and uniformly ruled that a judge however, bore with him with Jobian patience, it was in the
may not be held administratively accountable for every hope that the repeated rebuffs he suffered, with the
erroneous order or decision he renders. 55 To hold attendant lectures on the error of his ways, would
otherwise would be nothing short of harassment and somehow seep into his understanding and deter him from
would make his position doubly unbearable, for no one further forays along his misguided path. After all, as has
called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the repeatedly been declared, the power of contempt is
process of administering justice can be infallible in his exercised on the preservative and not the vindictive
judgment. 56 The error must be gross or patent, deliberate principle. Unfortunately the Court's forbearance had no
and malicious, or incurred with evident bad faith; 57 it is effect on him.
only in these cases that administrative sanctions are
called for as an imperative duty of the Supreme Court. Instead, the continued leniency and tolerance extended to
him were read as signs of weakness and impotence.
Worse, respondent's irresponsible audacity appears to
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have influenced and emboldened others to just as WHEREFORE, Joaquin T. Borromeo is found and
flamboyantly embark on their own groundless and declared GUILTY of constructive contempt repeatedly
insulting proceedings against the courts, born of affected committed over time, despite warnings and instructions
bravado or sheer egocentrism, to the extent of even given to him, and to the end that he may ponder his
involving the legislative and executive departments, the serious errors and grave misconduct and learn due
Ombudsman included, in their assaults against the respect for the Courts and their authority, he is hereby
Judiciary in pursuit of personal agendas. But all things, sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment of TEN (10)
good or bad, must come to an end, and it is time for the DAYS in the City Jail of Cebu City and to pay a fine of
Court to now draw the line, with more promptitude, ONE THOUSAND PESOS (P1,000.00). He is warned that
between reasoned dissent and self-seeking pretense. a repetition of any of the offenses of which he is herein
The Court accordingly serves notice to those with the found guilty, or any similar or other offense against courts,
same conceit or delusions that it will henceforth deal with judges or court employees, will merit further and more
them, decisively and fairly, with a firm and even hand, and serious sanctions.
resolutely impose such punitive sanctions as may be
appropriate to maintain the integrity and independence of IT IS SO ORDERED.
the judicial institutions of the country.

Bongalonta vs. Castillo, 240 SCRA 310

CBD Case No. 176 January 20, 1995 During the pendency of these cases, one Gregorio Lantin
filed civil Case No. 58650 for collection of a sum of money
SALLY D. BONGALONTA, complainant, based on a promissory note, also with the Pasig Regional
vs. Trial Court, against the Sps. Abuel. In the said case
ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO and ALFONSO M. Gregorio Lantin was represented by Atty. Alfonso Martija.
MARTIJA, respondents. In this case, the Sps. Abuel were declared in default for
their failure to file the necessary responsive pleading and
evidence ex-parte was received against them followed by
RESOLUTION
a judgment by default rendered in favor of Gregorio
Lantin. A writ of execution was, in due time, issued and
the same property previously attached by complainant
MELO, J.: was levied upon.

In a sworn letter-complaint dated February 15, 1995, It is further alleged that in all the pleadings filed in these
addressed to the Commission on Bar Discipline, National three (3) aforementioned cases, Atty. Pablito Castillo and
Grievance Investigation Office, Integrated Bar of the Atty. Alfonso Martija placed the same address, the same
Philippines, complainant Sally Bongalonta charged PTR and the same IBP receipt number to wit" Permanent
Pablito M. Castillo and Alfonso M. Martija, members of the Light Center, No. 7, 21st Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City,
Philippine Bar, with unjust and unethical conduct, to wit: PTR No. 629411 dated 11-5-89 IBP No. 246722 dated 1-
representing conflicting interests and abetting a scheme 12-88.
to frustrate the execution or satisfaction of a judgment
which complainant might obtain.
Thus, complainant concluded that civil Case No. 58650
filed by Gregorio Lantin was merely a part of the scheme
The letter-complaint stated that complainant filed with the of the Sps. Abuel to frustrate the satisfaction of the money
Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Criminal Case No. 7635-55, judgment which complainant might obtain in Civil Case
for estafa, against the Sps. Luisa and Solomer Abuel. She No. 56934.
also filed, a separate civil action Civil Case No. 56934,
where she was able to obtain a writ of preliminary
After hearing, the IBP Board of Governors issued it
attachment and by virtue thereof, a piece of real property
Resolution with the following findings and
situated in Pasig, Rizal and registered in the name of the
recommendations:
Sps. Abuel under TCT No. 38374 was attached. Atty.
Pablito Castillo was the counsel of the Sps. Abuel in the
aforesaid criminal and civil cases. Among the several documentary exhibits
submitted by Bongalonta and attached to
the records is a xerox copy of TCT No.

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48

38374, which Bongalonta and the Atty. Castillo and in failing to pay in due
respondents admitted to be a faithful time the IBP membership dues of her
reproduction of the original. And it clearly employer, deserves scant consideration,
appears under the Memorandum of for it is the bounded duty and obligation
Encumbrances on aid TCT that the of every lawyer to see to it that he pays
Notice of Levy in favor of Bongalonta and his IBP membership dues on time,
her husband was registered and especially when he practices before the
annotated in said title of February 7, courts, as required by the Supreme
1989, whereas, that in favor of Gregorio Court.
Lantin, on October 18, 1989. Needless to
state, the notice of levy in favor of WHEREFORE, it is respectfully
Bongalonta and her husband is a recommended that Atty. Pablito M.
superior lien on the said registered Castillo be SUSPENDED from the
property of the Abuel spouses over that practice of law for a period of six (6)
of Gregorio Lantin. months for using the IBP Official Receipt
No. of his co-respondent Atty. Alfonso M.
Consequently, the charge against the Martija.
two respondents (i.e. representing
conflicting interests and abetting a The complaint against Atty. Martija is
scheme to frustrate the execution or hereby DISMISSED for lack of evidence.
satisfaction of a judgment which (pp. 2-4, Resolution)
Bongalonta and her husband might
obtain against the Abuel spouses) has no The Court agrees with the foregoing findings and
leg to stand on. recommendations. It is well to stress again that the
practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by
However, as to the fact that indeed the the State on those who show that they possess, and
two respondents placed in their continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for
appearances and in their pleadings the the conferment of such privilege. One of these
same IBP No. "246722 dated requirements is the observance of honesty and candor.
1-12-88", respondent Atty. Pablito M. Courts are entitled to expect only complete candor and
Castillo deserves to be SUSPENDED for honesty from the lawyers appearing and pleading before
using, apparently thru his negligence, the them. A lawyer, on the other hand, has the fundamental
IBP official receipt number of respondent duty to satisfy that expectation. for this reason, he is
Atty. Alfonso M. Martija. According to the required to swear to do no falsehood, nor consent to the
records of the IBP National Office, Atty. doing of any in court.
Castillo paid P1,040.00 as his delinquent
and current membership dues, on WHEREFORE, finding respondent Atty. Pablito M.
February 20, 1990, under IBP O.R. No. Castillo guilty committing a falsehood in violation of his
2900538, after Bongalonta filed her
lawyer's oath and of the Code of Professional
complaint with the IBP Committee on Bar Responsibility, the Court Resolved to SUSPEND him from
Discipline. the practice of law for a period of six (6) months, with a
warning that commission of the same or similar offense in
The explanation of Atty. Castillo's the future will result in the imposition of a more severe
Cashier-Secretary by the name of Ester penalty. A copy of the Resolution shall be spread on the
Fraginal who alleged in her affidavit personal record of respondent in the Office of the Bar
dated March 4, 1993, that it was all her Confidant.
fault in placing the IBP official receipt
number pertaining to Atty. Alfonso M. SO ORDERED.
Martija in the appearance and pleadings

Ulep vs. Legal Clinic, Inc., 223 SCRA 378

Bar Matter No. 553 June 17, 1993 MAURICIO C. ULEP, petitioner,
vs.
THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC., respondent.

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49

R E SO L U T I O N confidence of the community in the integrity of the


members of the bar and that, as a member of the legal
REGALADO, J.: profession, he is ashamed and offended by the said
advertisements, hence the reliefs sought in his petition as
hereinbefore quoted.
Petitioner prays this Court "to order the respondent to
cease and desist from issuing advertisements similar to
or of the same tenor as that of annexes "A" and "B" (of In its answer to the petition, respondent admits the fact of
said petition) and to perpetually prohibit persons or publication of said advertisement at its instance, but
entities from making advertisements pertaining to the claims that it is not engaged in the practice of law but in
exercise of the law profession other than those allowed by the rendering of "legal support services" through
law." paralegals with the use of modern computers and
electronic machines. Respondent further argues that
assuming that the services advertised are legal services,
The advertisements complained of by herein petitioner
the act of advertising these services should be allowed
are as follows:
supposedly
in the light of the case of John R. Bates and Van O'Steen
Annex A vs. State Bar of Arizona,2 reportedly decided by the
United States Supreme Court on June 7, 1977.
SECRET MARRIAGE?
P560.00 for a valid marriage. Considering the critical implications on the legal
Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE. profession of the issues raised herein, we required the (1)
ANNULMENT. VISA. Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), (2) Philippine Bar
Association (PBA), (3) Philippine Lawyers' Association
THE Please call: 521-0767 LEGAL (PLA), (4) U.P. Womens Lawyers' Circle (WILOCI), (5)
5217232, 5222041 CLINIC, INC. 8:30 Women Lawyers Association of the Philippines (WLAP),
am— 6:00 pm 7-Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN and (6) Federacion International de Abogadas (FIDA) to
Ave., Mla. submit their respective position papers on the controversy
and, thereafter, their memoranda. 3 The said bar
Annex B associations readily responded and extended their
valuable services and cooperation of which this Court
GUAM DIVORCE. takes note with appreciation and gratitude.

DON PARKINSON The main issues posed for resolution before the Court are
whether or not the services offered by respondent, The
Legal Clinic, Inc., as advertised by it constitutes practice
an Attorney in Guam, is giving FREE
of law and, in either case, whether the same can properly
BOOKS on Guam Divorce through The
be the subject of the advertisements herein complained
Legal Clinic beginning Monday to Friday
of.
during office hours.
Before proceeding with an in-depth analysis of the merits
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage.
of this case, we deem it proper and enlightening to
Immigration Problems, Visa Ext.
present hereunder excerpts from the respective position
Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special
papers adopted by the aforementioned bar associations
Retiree's Visa. Declaration of Absence.
and the memoranda submitted by them on the issues
Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees.
involved in this bar matter.
Adoption. Investment in the Phil.
US/Foreign Visa for Filipina
Spouse/Children. Call Marivic. 1. Integrated Bar of the Philippines:

THE 7F Victoria Bldg. 429 UN Ave., xxx xxx xxx


LEGAL Ermita, Manila nr. US Embassy
CLINIC, INC.1 Tel. 521-7232; 521-7251; Notwithstanding the subtle manner by
522-2041; 521-0767 which respondent endeavored to
distinguish the two terms, i.e., "legal
It is the submission of petitioner that the advertisements support services" vis-a-vis "legal
above reproduced are champterous, unethical, services", common sense would readily
demeaning of the law profession, and destructive of the dictate that the same are essentially
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50

without substantial distinction. For who traced, first of all, to the very name being
could deny that document search, used by respondent — "The Legal Clinic,
evidence gathering, assistance to Inc." Such a name, it is respectfully
layman in need of basic institutional submitted connotes the rendering of legal
services from government or non- services for legal problems, just like a
government agencies like birth, medical clinic connotes medical services
marriage, property, or business for medical problems. More importantly,
registration, obtaining documents like the term "Legal Clinic" connotes lawyers,
clearance, passports, local or foreign as the term medical clinic connotes
visas, constitutes practice of law? doctors.

xxx xxx xxx Furthermore, the respondent's name, as


published in the advertisements subject
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines of the present case, appears with (the)
(IBP) does not wish to make issue with scale(s) of justice, which all the more
respondent's foreign citations. Suffice it reinforces the impression that it is being
to state that the IBP has made its position operated by members of the bar and that
manifest, to wit, that it strongly opposes it offers legal services. In addition, the
the view espoused by respondent (to the advertisements in question appear with a
effect that today it is alright to advertise picture and name of a person being
one's legal services). represented as a lawyer from Guam, and
this practically removes whatever doubt
may still remain as to the nature of the
The IBP accordingly declares in no
service or services being offered.
uncertain terms its opposition to
respondent's act of establishing a "legal
clinic" and of concomitantly advertising It thus becomes irrelevant whether
the same through newspaper respondent is merely offering "legal
publications. support services" as claimed by it, or
whether it offers legal services as any
lawyer actively engaged in law practice
The IBP would therefore invoke the
does. And it becomes unnecessary to
administrative supervision of this
make a distinction between "legal
Honorable Court to perpetually restrain
services" and "legal support services," as
respondent from undertaking highly
the respondent would have it. The
unethical activities in the field of law
advertisements in question leave no
practice as aforedescribed.4
room for doubt in the minds of the reading
public that legal services are being
xxx xxx xxx offered by lawyers, whether true or not.

A. The use of the name "The Legal Clinic, B. The advertisements in question are
Inc." gives the impression that meant to induce the performance of acts
respondent corporation is being operated contrary to law, morals, public order and
by lawyers and that it renders legal public policy.
services.
It may be conceded that, as the
While the respondent repeatedly denies respondent claims, the advertisements in
that it offers legal services to the public, question are only meant to inform the
the advertisements in question give the general public of the services being
impression that respondent is offering offered by it. Said advertisements,
legal services. The Petition in fact simply however, emphasize to Guam divorce,
assumes this to be so, as earlier and any law student ought to know that
mentioned, apparently because this (is) under the Family Code, there is only one
the effect that the advertisements have instance when a foreign divorce is
on the reading public. recognized, and that is:

The impression created by the Article 26. . . .


advertisements in question can be
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51

Where a marriage defiance of the law or at


between a Filipino lessening confidence in
citizen and a foreigner is the legal system.
validly celebrated and a
divorce is thereafter In addition, it may also be relevant to
validly obtained abroad point out that advertisements such as
by the alien spouse that shown in Annex "A" of the Petition,
capacitating him or her which contains a cartoon of a motor
to remarry, the Filipino vehicle with the words "Just Married" on
spouse shall have its bumper and seems to address those
capacity to remarry planning a "secret marriage," if not
under Philippine Law. suggesting a "secret marriage," makes
light of the "special contract of permanent
It must not be forgotten, too, that the union," the inviolable social institution,"
Family Code (defines) a marriage as which is how the Family Code describes
follows: marriage, obviously to emphasize its
sanctity and inviolability. Worse, this
Article 1. Marriage particular advertisement appears to
is special contract of encourage marriages celebrated in
permanent secrecy, which is suggestive of immoral
union between a man publication of applications for a marriage
and woman entered into license.
accordance with law for
the establishment of If the article "Rx for Legal Problems" is to
conjugal and family be reviewed, it can readily be concluded
life. It is the foundation that the above impressions one may
of the family and an gather from the advertisements in
inviolable social question are accurate. The Sharon
institution whose nature, Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion example
consequences, and alone confirms what the advertisements
incidents are governed suggest. Here it can be seen that criminal
by law and not subject to acts are being encouraged or committed
stipulation, except that (a bigamous marriage in Hong Kong or
marriage settlements Las Vegas) with impunity simply because
may fix the property the jurisdiction of Philippine courts does
relation during the not extend to the place where the crime
marriage within the limits is committed.
provided by this Code.
Even if it be assumed, arguendo, (that)
By simply reading the questioned the "legal support services" respondent
advertisements, it is obvious that the offers do not constitute legal services as
message being conveyed is that Filipinos commonly understood, the
can avoid the legal consequences of a advertisements in question give the
marriage celebrated in accordance with impression that respondent corporation
our law, by simply going to Guam for a is being operated by lawyers and that it
divorce. This is not only misleading, but offers legal services, as earlier
encourages, or serves to induce, discussed. Thus, the only logical
violation of Philippine law. At the very consequence is that, in the eyes of an
least, this can be considered "the dark ordinary newspaper reader, members of
side" of legal practice, where certain the bar themselves are encouraging or
defects in Philippine laws are exploited inducing the performance of acts which
for the sake of profit. At worst, this is are contrary to law, morals, good
outright malpractice. customs and the public good, thereby
destroying and demeaning the integrity of
Rule 1.02. — A lawyer the Bar.
shall not counsel or abet
activities aimed at xxx xxx xxx
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52

It is respectfully submitted that legal services. Alternatively, the more


respondent should be enjoined from difficult task of carefully distinguishing
causing the publication of the between which service may be offered to
advertisements in question, or any other the public in general and which should be
advertisements similar thereto. It is also made available exclusively to members
submitted that respondent should be of the Bar may be undertaken. This,
prohibited from further performing or however, may require further
offering some of the services it presently proceedings because of the factual
offers, or, at the very least, from offering considerations involved.
such services to the public in general.
It must be emphasized, however, that
The IBP is aware of the fact that providing some of respondent's services ought to
computerized legal research, electronic be prohibited outright, such as acts which
data gathering, storage and retrieval, tend to suggest or induce celebration
standardized legal forms, investigators abroad of marriages which are bigamous
for gathering of evidence, and like or otherwise illegal and void under
services will greatly benefit the legal Philippine law. While respondent may not
profession and should not be stifled but be prohibited from simply disseminating
instead encouraged. However, when the information regarding such matters, it
conduct of such business by non- must be required to include, in the
members of the Bar encroaches upon the information given, a disclaimer that it is
practice of law, there can be no choice not authorized to practice law, that
but to prohibit such business. certain course of action may be illegal
under Philippine law, that it is not
Admittedly, many of the services involved authorized or capable of rendering a
in the case at bar can be better legal opinion, that a lawyer should be
performed by specialists in other fields, consulted before deciding on which
such as computer experts, who by course of action to take, and that it cannot
reason of their having devoted time and recommend any particular lawyer without
effort exclusively to such field cannot subjecting itself to possible sanctions for
fulfill the exacting requirements for illegal practice of law.
admission to the Bar. To prohibit them
from "encroaching" upon the legal If respondent is allowed to advertise,
profession will deny the profession of the advertising should be directed
great benefits and advantages of modern exclusively at members of the Bar, with a
technology. Indeed, a lawyer using a clear and unmistakable disclaimer that it
computer will be doing better than a is not authorized to practice law or
lawyer using a typewriter, even if both are perform legal services.
(equal) in skill.
The benefits of being assisted by
Both the Bench and the Bar, however, paralegals cannot be ignored. But
should be careful not to allow or tolerate nobody should be allowed to represent
the illegal practice of law in any form, not himself as a "paralegal" for profit, without
only for the protection of members of the such term being clearly defined by rule or
Bar but also, and more importantly, for regulation, and without any adequate and
the protection of the public. effective means of regulating his
Technological development in the activities. Also, law practice in a
profession may be encouraged without corporate form may prove to be
tolerating, but instead ensuring advantageous to the legal profession, but
prevention of illegal practice. before allowance of such practice may be
considered, the corporation's Article of
There might be nothing objectionable if Incorporation and By-laws must conform
respondent is allowed to perform all of its to each and every provision of the Code
services, but only if such services are of Professional Responsibility and the
made available exclusively to members Rules of Court.5
of the Bench and Bar. Respondent would
then be offering technical assistance, not 2. Philippine Bar Association:
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53

xxx xxx xxx. act for it are subject to court discipline.


The practice of law is not a profession
Respondent asserts that it "is not open to all who wish to engage in it nor
engaged in the practice of law but can it be assigned to another (See 5 Am.
engaged in giving legal support services Jur. 270). It is a personal right limited to
to lawyers and laymen, through persons who have qualified themselves
experienced paralegals, with the use of under the law. It follows that not only
modern computers and electronic respondent but also all the persons who
machines" (pars. 2 and 3, Comment). are acting for respondent are the persons
This is absurd. Unquestionably, engaged in unethical law practice.6
respondent's acts of holding out itself to
the public under the trade name "The 3. Philippine Lawyers' Association:
Legal Clinic, Inc.," and soliciting
employment for its enumerated services The Philippine Lawyers' Association's
fall within the realm of a practice which position, in answer to the issues stated
thus yields itself to the regulatory powers herein, are wit:
of the Supreme Court. For respondent to
say that it is merely engaged in paralegal 1. The Legal Clinic is engaged in the
work is to stretch credulity. Respondent's practice of law;
own commercial advertisement which
announces a certain Atty. Don
Parkinson to be handling the fields of law 2. Such practice is unauthorized;
belies its pretense. From all indications,
respondent "The Legal Clinic, Inc." is 3. The advertisements complained of are
offering and rendering legal not only unethical, but also misleading
services through its reserve of lawyers. It and patently immoral; and
has been held that the practice of law is
not limited to the conduct of cases in 4. The Honorable Supreme Court has the
court, but includes drawing of deeds, power to supress and punish the Legal
incorporation, rendering opinions, and Clinic and its corporate officers for its
advising clients as to their legal right and unauthorized practice of law and for its
then take them to an attorney and ask the unethical, misleading and immoral
latter to look after their case in court See advertising.
Martin, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 1984
ed., p. 39). xxx xxx xxx

It is apt to recall that only natural Respondent posits that is it not engaged
persons can engage in the practice of in the practice of law. It claims that it
law, and such limitation cannot be merely renders "legal support services"
evaded by a corporation employing to answers, litigants and the general
competent lawyers to practice for it. public as enunciated in the Primary
Obviously, this is the scheme or device Purpose Clause of its Article(s) of
by which respondent "The Legal Clinic, Incorporation. (See pages 2 to 5 of
Inc." holds out itself to the public and Respondent's Comment). But its
solicits employment of its legal services. advertised services, as enumerated
It is an odious vehicle for deception, above, clearly and convincingly show
especially so when the public cannot that it is indeed engaged in law practice,
ventilate any grievance albeit outside of court.
for malpractice against the business
conduit. Precisely, the limitation of
As advertised, it offers the general public
practice of law to persons who have been
its advisory services on Persons and
duly admitted as members of the Bar
Family Relations Law, particularly
(Sec. 1, Rule 138, Revised Rules of
regarding foreign divorces, annulment of
Court) is to subject the members to
marriages, secret marriages, absence
the discipline of the Supreme Court.
and adoption; Immigration Laws,
Although respondent uses its business
particularly on visa related problems,
name, the persons and the lawyers who
immigration problems; the Investments
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54

Law of the Philippines and such other appears that lawyers are prohibited
related laws. under the present Code of Professional
Responsibility from advertising, it
Its advertised services unmistakably appears in the instant case that legal
require the application of the aforesaid services are being advertised not by
law, the legal principles and procedures lawyers but by an entity staffed by
related thereto, the legal advices based "paralegals." Clearly, measures should
thereon and which activities call for legal be taken to protect the general public
training, knowledge and experience. from falling prey to those who advertise
legal services without being qualified to
offer such services. 8
Applying the test laid down by the Court
in the aforecited Agrava Case, the
activities of respondent fall squarely and A perusal of the questioned
are embraced in what lawyers and advertisements of Respondent, however,
laymen equally term as "the practice of seems to give the impression that
law."7 information regarding validity of
marriages, divorce, annulment of
marriage, immigration, visa extensions,
4. U.P. Women Lawyers' Circle:
declaration of absence, adoption and
foreign investment, which are in essence,
In resolving, the issues before this legal matters , will be given to them if they
Honorable Court, paramount avail of its services. The Respondent's
consideration should be given to the name — The Legal Clinic, Inc. — does
protection of the general public from the not help matters. It gives the impression
danger of being exploited by unqualified again that Respondent will or can cure
persons or entities who may be engaged the legal problems brought to them.
in the practice of law. Assuming that Respondent is, as
claimed, staffed purely by paralegals, it
At present, becoming a lawyer requires also gives the misleading impression that
one to take a rigorous four-year course of there are lawyers involved in The Legal
study on top of a four-year bachelor of Clinic, Inc., as there are doctors in any
arts or sciences course and then to take medical clinic, when only "paralegals" are
and pass the bar examinations. Only involved in The Legal Clinic, Inc.
then, is a lawyer qualified to practice law.
Respondent's allegations are further
While the use of a paralegal is sanctioned belied by the very admissions of its
in many jurisdiction as an aid to the President and majority stockholder, Atty.
administration of justice, there are in Nogales, who gave an insight on the
those jurisdictions, courses of study structure and main purpose of
and/or standards which would qualify Respondent corporation in the
these paralegals to deal with the general aforementioned "Starweek" article."9
public as such. While it may now be the
opportune time to establish these 5. Women Lawyer's Association of the
courses of study and/or standards, the Philippines:
fact remains that at present, these do not
exist in the Philippines. In the meantime,
Annexes "A" and "B" of the petition are
this Honorable Court may decide to make
clearly advertisements to solicit cases for
measures to protect the general public
the purpose of gain which, as provided
from being exploited by those who may
for under the above cited law, (are) illegal
be dealing with the general public in the
and against the Code of Professional
guise of being "paralegals" without being
Responsibility of lawyers in this country.
qualified to do so.

Annex "A" of the petition is not only illegal


In the same manner, the general public
in that it is an advertisement to solicit
should also be protected from the
cases, but it is illegal in that in bold letters
dangers which may be brought about by
it announces that the Legal Clinic, Inc.,
advertising of legal services. While it
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55

could work out/cause the celebration of a 1.7 That entities admittedly not engaged
secret marriage which is not only illegal in the practice of law, such as
but immoral in this country. While it is management consultancy firms or travel
advertised that one has to go to said agencies, whether run by lawyers or not,
agency and pay P560 for a valid marriage perform the services rendered by
it is certainly fooling the public for valid Respondent does not necessarily lead to
marriages in the Philippines are the conclusion that Respondent is not
solemnized only by officers authorized to unlawfully practicing law. In the same
do so under the law. And to employ an vein, however, the fact that the business
agency for said purpose of contracting of respondent (assuming it can be
marriage is not necessary. engaged in independently of the practice
of law) involves knowledge of the law
No amount of reasoning that in the USA, does not necessarily make respondent
Canada and other countries the trend is guilty of unlawful practice of law.
towards allowing lawyers to advertise
their special skills to enable people to . . . . Of necessity, no
obtain from qualified practitioners legal one . . . . acting as a
services for their particular needs can consultant can render
justify the use of advertisements such as effective service unless
are the subject matter of the petition, for he is familiar with such
one (cannot) justify an illegal act even by statutes and
whatever merit the illegal act may serve. regulations. He must be
The law has yet to be amended so that careful not to suggest a
such act could become justifiable. course of conduct which
the law forbids. It seems
We submit further that these . . . .clear that (the
advertisements that seem to project that consultant's) knowledge
secret marriages and divorce are of the law, and his use
possible in this country for a fee, when in of that knowledge as a
fact it is not so, are highly reprehensible. factor in determining
what measures he shall
It would encourage people to consult this recommend, do not
constitute the practice
clinic about how they could go about
of law . . . . It is not only
having a secret marriage here, when it
presumed that all men
cannot nor should ever be attempted,
know the law, but it is a
and seek advice on divorce, where in this
fact that most men have
country there is none, except under the
considerable
Code of Muslim Personal Laws in the
Philippines. It is also against good morals acquaintance with
broad features of the
and is deceitful because it falsely
law . . . . Our knowledge
represents to the public to be able to do
of the law — accurate
that which by our laws cannot be done
or inaccurate — moulds
(and) by our Code of Morals should not
our conduct not only
be done.
when we are acting for
ourselves, but when we
In the case (of) In re Taguda, 53 Phil. 37, are serving others.
the Supreme Court held that solicitation Bankers, liquor dealers
for clients by an attorney by circulars of and laymen generally
advertisements, is unprofessional, and possess rather precise
offenses of this character justify knowledge of the laws
permanent elimination from the Bar. 10 touching their particular
business or profession.
6. Federacion Internacional de A good example is the
Abogados: architect, who must be
familiar with zoning,
xxx xxx xxx building and fire

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56

prevention codes, the industrial relations


factory and tenement experts are the officers
house statutes, and and business agents of
who draws plans and the labor unions and
specification in harmony few of them are
with the law. This is not lawyers. Among the
practicing law. larger corporate
employers, it has been
But suppose the the practice for some
architect, asked by his years to delegate
client to omit a fire special responsibility in
tower, replies that it is employee matters to a
required by the statute. management group
Or the industrial chosen for their
relations expert cites, in practical knowledge and
support of some skill in such matter, and
measure that he without regard to legal
recommends, a thinking or lack of it.
decision of the National More recently,
Labor Relations Board. consultants like the
Are they practicing law? defendants have the
In my opinion, they are same service that the
not, provided no larger employers get
separate fee is charged from their own
for the legal advice or specialized staff.
information, and the
legal question is The handling of
subordinate and industrial relations is
incidental to a major growing into a
non-legal problem. recognized profession
for which appropriate
It is largely a matter of courses are offered by
degree and of custom. our leading universities.
The court should be
very cautious about
If it were usual for one
declaring [that] a
intending to erect a
widespread, well-
building on his land to
established method of
engage a lawyer to
advise him and the conducting business is
unlawful, or that the
architect in respect to
considerable class of
the building code and
men who customarily
the like, then an
perform a certain
architect who performed
function have no right to
this function would
do so, or that the
probably be considered
technical education
to be trespassing on
given by our schools
territory reserved for
cannot be used by the
licensed attorneys.
graduates in their
Likewise, if the
industrial relations field business.
had been pre-empted
by lawyers, or custom In determining whether
placed a lawyer always a man is practicing law,
at the elbow of the lay we should consider his
personnel man. But this work for any particular
is not the case. The client or customer, as a
most important body of whole. I can imagine
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57

defendant being agent particularly skilled


engaged primarily to in the subject under
advise as to the law discussion, and the
defining his client's person appointed is free
obligations to his to accept the
employees, to guide his employment whether or
client's obligations to his not he is a member of
employees, to guide his the bar. Here, however,
client along the path there may be an
charted by law. This, of exception where the
course, would be the business turns on a
practice of the law. But question of law. Most
such is not the fact in real estate sales are
the case before me. negotiated by brokers
Defendant's primarily who are not lawyers.
efforts are along But if the value of the
economic and land depends on a
psychological lines. The disputed right-of-way
law only provides the and the principal role of
frame within which he the negotiator is to
must work, just as the assess the probable
zoning code limits the outcome of the dispute
kind of building the and persuade the
limits the kind of opposite party to the
building the architect same opinion, then it
may plan. The may be that only a
incidental legal advice lawyer can accept the
or information assignment. Or if a
defendant may give, controversy between an
does not transform his employer and his men
activities into the grows from differing
practice of law. Let me interpretations of a
add that if, even as a contract, or of a statute,
minor feature of his it is quite likely that
work, he performed defendant should not
services which are handle it. But I need not
customarily reserved to reach a definite
members of the bar, he conclusion here, since
would be practicing the situation is not
law. For instance, if as presented by the proofs.
part of a welfare
program, he drew Defendant also appears
employees' wills. to represent the
employer before
Another branch of administrative agencies
defendant's work is the of the federal
representations of the government, especially
employer in the before trial examiners of
adjustment of the National Labor
grievances and in Relations Board. An
collective bargaining, agency of the federal
with or without a government, acting by
mediator. This is not per virtue of an authority
se the practice of law. granted by the
Anyone may use an Congress, may regulate
agent for negotiations the representation of
and may select an parties before such

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58

agency. The State of Responsibility succintly states the rule of


New Jersey is without conduct:
power to interfere with
such determination or to Rule 15.08 — A lawyer who is engaged
forbid representation in another profession or occupation
before the agency by concurrently with the practice of law shall
one whom the agency make clear to his client whether he is
admits. The rules of the acting as a lawyer or in another capacity.
National Labor
Relations Board give to 1.10. In the present case. the Legal Clinic
a party the right to appears to render wedding services (See
appear in person, or by Annex "A" Petition). Services on routine,
counsel, or by other straightforward marriages, like securing a
representative. Rules marriage license, and making
and Regulations, arrangements with a priest or a judge,
September 11th, 1946, may not constitute practice of law.
S. 203.31. 'Counsel' However, if the problem is as
here means a licensed complicated as that described in "Rx for
attorney, and ther Legal Problems" on the Sharon Cuneta-
representative' one not
Gabby Concepcion-Richard Gomez
a lawyer. In this phase
case, then what may be involved is
of his work, defendant actually the practice of law. If a non-
may lawfully do lawyer, such as the Legal Clinic, renders
whatever the Labor such services then it is engaged in the
Board allows, even unauthorized practice of law.
arguing questions
purely legal.
(Auerbacher v. Wood, 1.11. The Legal Clinic also appears to
53 A. 2d 800, cited in give information on divorce, absence,
Statsky, Introduction to annulment of marriage and visas (See
Paralegalism [1974], at Annexes "A" and "B" Petition). Purely
pp. 154-156.). giving informational materials may not
constitute of law. The business is similar
to that of a bookstore where the customer
1.8 From the foregoing, it can be said that
buys materials on the subject and
a person engaged in a lawful calling determines on the subject and
(which may involve knowledge of the law) determines by himself what courses of
is not engaged in the practice of law action to take.
provided that:
It is not entirely improbable, however,
(a) The legal question is subordinate and that aside from purely giving information,
incidental to a major non-legal problem;. the Legal Clinic's paralegals may apply
the law to the particular problem of the
(b) The services performed are not client, and give legal advice. Such would
customarily reserved to members of the constitute unauthorized practice of law.
bar; .
It cannot be claimed
(c) No separate fee is charged for the that the publication of a
legal advice or information. legal text which
publication of a legal
All these must be considered in relation text which purports to
to the work for any particular client as a say what the law is
whole. amount to legal
practice. And the mere
1.9. If the person involved is both lawyer fact that the principles
and non-lawyer, the Code of Professional or rules stated in the
text may be accepted

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59

by a particular reader as the kit, there was no


a solution to his proper basis for the
problem does not affect injunction against
this. . . . . Apparently it defendant maintaining
is urged that the an office for the purpose
conjoining of these two, of selling to persons
that is, the text and the seeking a divorce,
forms, with advice as to separation, annulment
how the forms should or separation
be filled out, constitutes agreement any printed
the unlawful practice of material or writings
law. But that is the relating to matrimonial
situation with many law or the prohibition in
approved and accepted the memorandum of
texts. Dacey's book is modification of the
sold to the public at judgment against
large. There is no defendant having an
personal contact or interest in any
relationship with a publishing house
particular individual. Nor publishing his
does there exist that manuscript on divorce
relation of confidence and against his having
and trust so necessary any personal contact
to the status of attorney with any prospective
and client. THIS IS THE purchaser. The record
ESSENTIAL OF LEGAL does fully support,
PRACTICE — THE however, the finding
REPRESENTATION that for the change of
AND ADVISING OF A $75 or $100 for the kit,
PARTICULAR the defendant gave
PERSON IN A legal advice in the
PARTICULAR course of personal
SITUATION. At most contacts concerning
the book assumes to particular problems
offer general advice on which might arise in the
common problems, and preparation and
does not purport to give presentation of the
personal advice on a purchaser's asserted
specific problem matrimonial cause of
peculiar to a designated action or pursuit of other
or readily identified legal remedies and
person. Similarly the assistance in the
defendant's publication preparation of
does not purport to give necessary documents
personal advice on a (The injunction
specific problem therefore sought to)
peculiar to a designated enjoin conduct
or readily identified constituting the practice
person in a particular of law, particularly with
situation — in their reference to the giving
publication and sale of of advice and counsel
the kits, such by the defendant
publication and sale did relating to specific
not constitutes the problems of particular
unlawful practice of law individuals in
. . . . There being no connection with a
legal impediment under divorce, separation,
the statute to the sale of annulment of separation
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60

agreement sought and The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases
should be affirmed. in court. It includes legal advice and counsel, and the
(State v. Winder, 348, preparation of legal instruments and contract by which
NYS 2D 270 [1973], legal rights are secured, although such matter may or may
cited in not be pending in a court. 13
Statsky, supra at p.
101.). In the practice of his profession, a licensed attorney at law
generally engages in three principal types of professional
1.12. Respondent, of course, states that activity: legal advice and instructions to clients to inform
its services are "strictly non-diagnostic, them of their rights and obligations, preparation for clients
non-advisory. "It is not controverted, of documents requiring knowledge of legal principles not
however, that if the services "involve possessed by ordinary layman, and appearance for
giving legal advice or counselling," such clients before public tribunals which possess power and
would constitute practice of law authority to determine rights of life, liberty, and property
(Comment, par. 6.2). It is in this light that according to law, in order to assist in proper interpretation
FIDA submits that a factual inquiry may and enforcement of law. 14
be necessary for the judicious disposition
of this case. When a person participates in the a trial and advertises
himself as a lawyer, he is in the practice of law. 15 One
xxx xxx xxx who confers with clients, advises them as to their legal
rights and then takes the business to an attorney and asks
2.10. Annex "A" may be ethically the latter to look after the case in court, is also practicing
objectionable in that it can give the law. 16 Giving advice for compensation regarding the legal
impression (or perpetuate the wrong status and rights of another and the conduct with respect
notion) that there is a secret marriage. thereto constitutes a practice of law. 17 One who renders
With all the solemnities, formalities and an opinion as to the proper interpretation of a statute, and
other requisites of marriages (See receives pay for it, is, to that extent, practicing law. 18
Articles 2, et seq., Family Code), no
Philippine marriage can be secret. In the recent case of Cayetano vs. Monsod, 19 after citing
the doctrines in several cases, we laid down the test to
2.11. Annex "B" may likewise be ethically determine whether certain acts constitute "practice of
objectionable. The second paragraph law," thus:
thereof (which is not necessarily related
to the first paragraph) fails to state the Black defines "practice of law" as:
limitation that only "paralegal services?"
or "legal support services", and not legal The rendition of services requiring the
services, are available." 11 knowledge and the application of legal
principles and technique to serve the
A prefatory discussion on the meaning of the phrase interest of another with his consent. It is
"practice of law" becomes exigent for the proper not limited to appearing in court, or
determination of the issues raised by the petition at bar. advising and assisting in the conduct of
On this score, we note that the clause "practice of law" litigation, but embraces the preparation
has long been the subject of judicial construction and of pleadings, and other papers incident to
interpretation. The courts have laid down general actions and special proceedings,
principles and doctrines explaining the meaning and conveyancing, the preparation of legal
scope of the term, some of which we now take into instruments of all kinds, and the giving of
account. all legal advice to clients. It embraces all
advice to clients and all actions taken for
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which them in matters connected with the law.
requires the application of law, legal procedures,
knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases
practice of law is to perform those acts which are on court.(Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. Dworken ,
characteristic of the profession. Generally, to practice law 129 Ohio St. 23, 193N. E. 650). A person is also
is to give advice or render any kind of service that involves considered to be in the practice of law when he:
legal knowledge or skill. 12

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61

. . . . for valuable consideration engages on a large variety of subjects and the


in the business of advising person, firms, preparation and execution of legal
associations or corporations as to their instruments covering an extensive field of
right under the law, or appears in a business and trust relations and other
representative capacity as an advocate affairs. Although these transactions may
in proceedings, pending or prospective, have no direct connection with court
before any court, commissioner, referee, proceedings, they are always subject to
board, body, committee, or commission become involved in litigation. They
constituted by law or authorized to settle require in many aspects a high degree of
controversies and there, in such legal skill, a wide experience with men
representative capacity, performs any act and affairs, and great capacity for
or acts for the purpose of obtaining or adaptation to difficult and complex
defending the rights of their clients under situations. These customary functions of
the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a an attorney or counselor at law bear an
representative capacity, engages in the intimate relation to the administration of
business of advising clients as to their justice by the courts. No valid distinction,
rights under the law, or while so engaged so far as concerns the question set forth
performs any act or acts either in court or in the order, can be drawn between that
outside of court for that purpose, is part of the work of the lawyer which
engaged in the practice of law. (State ex. involves appearance in court and that
rel. Mckittrick v. C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 part which involves advice and drafting of
S. W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852). instruments in his office. It is of
importance to the welfare of the public
This Court, in the case of Philippines Lawyers Association that these manifold customary functions
v. Agrava (105 Phil. 173, 176-177),stated: be performed by persons possessed of
adequate learning and skill, of sound
moral character, and acting at all times
The practice of law is not limited to the
under the heavy trust obligations to
conduct of cases or litigation in court; it
clients which rests upon all attorneys.
embraces the preparation of pleadings
(Moran, Comments on the Rules o Court,
and other papers incident to actions and
Vol. 3 [1973 ed.], pp. 665-666, citing In
special proceedings, the management of
Re Opinion of the Justices [Mass], 194 N.
such actions and proceedings on behalf
of clients before judges and courts, and E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v.
Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 197 A.
in addition, conveying. In general, all
139, 144).
advice to clients, and all action taken for
them in matters connected with the law
incorporation services, assessment and The practice of law, therefore, covers a wide range of
condemnation services contemplating an activities in and out of court. Applying the aforementioned
appearance before a judicial body, the criteria to the case at bar, we agree with the perceptive
foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement findings and observations of the aforestated bar
of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and associations that the activities of respondent, as
insolvency proceedings, and conducting advertised, constitute "practice of law."
proceedings in attachment, and in
matters or estate and guardianship have The contention of respondent that it merely offers legal
been held to constitute law practice, as support services can neither be seriously considered nor
do the preparation and drafting of legal sustained. Said proposition is belied by respondent's own
instruments, where the work done description of the services it has been offering, to wit:
involves the determination by the trained
legal mind of the legal effect of facts and Legal support services basically consists
conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263). of giving ready information by trained
paralegals to laymen and lawyers, which
Practice of law under modern conditions are strictly non-diagnostic, non-advisory,
consists in no small part of work through the extensive use of computers
performed outside of any court and and modern information technology in
having no immediate relation to the gathering, processing, storage,
proceedings in court. It embraces transmission and reproduction of
conveyancing, the giving of legal advice information and communication, such as
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62

computerized legal research; encoding The aforesaid conclusion is further strengthened by an


and reproduction of documents and article published in the January 13, 1991 issue of the
pleadings prepared by laymen or Starweek/The Sunday Magazine of the Philippines Star,
lawyers; document search; evidence entitled "Rx for Legal Problems," where an insight into the
gathering; locating parties or witnesses structure, main purpose and operations of respondent
to a case; fact finding investigations; and corporation was given by its own "proprietor," Atty.
assistance to laymen in need of basic Rogelio P. Nogales:
institutional services from government or
non-government agencies, like birth, This is the kind of business that is
marriage, property, or business transacted everyday at The Legal Clinic,
registrations; educational or employment with offices on the seventh floor of the
records or certifications, obtaining Victoria Building along U. N. Avenue in
documentation like clearances, Manila. No matter what the client's
passports, local or foreign visas; giving problem, and even if it is as complicated
information about laws of other countries as the Cuneta-Concepcion domestic
that they may find useful, like foreign situation, Atty. Nogales and his staff of
divorce, marriage or adoption laws that lawyers, who, like doctors are
they can avail of preparatory to "specialists" in various fields can take
emigration to the foreign country, and care of it. The Legal Clinic, Inc. has
other matters that do not involve specialists in taxation and criminal law,
representation of clients in court; medico-legal problems, labor, litigation,
designing and installing computer and family law. These specialist are
systems, programs, or software for the backed up by a battery of paralegals,
efficient management of law offices, counsellors and attorneys.
corporate legal departments, courts and
other entities engaged in dispensing or Atty. Nogales set up The Legal Clinic in
administering legal services. 20 1984. Inspired by the trend in the medical
field toward specialization, it caters to
While some of the services being offered by respondent clients who cannot afford the services of
corporation merely involve mechanical and technical the big law firms.
knowhow, such as the installation of computer systems
and programs for the efficient management of law offices, The Legal Clinic has regular and walk-in
or the computerization of research aids and materials,
clients. "when they come, we start by
these will not suffice to justify an exception to the general
analyzing the problem. That's what
rule. doctors do also. They ask you how you
contracted what's bothering you, they
What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation take your temperature, they observe you
gives out legal information to laymen and lawyers. Its for the symptoms and so on. That's how
contention that such function is non-advisory and non- we operate, too. And once the problem
diagnostic is more apparent than real. In providing has been categorized, then it's referred to
information, for example, about foreign laws on marriage, one of our specialists.
divorce and adoption, it strains the credulity of this Court
that all the respondent corporation will simply do is look There are cases which do not, in medical
for the law, furnish a copy thereof to the client, and stop terms, require surgery or follow-up
there as if it were merely a bookstore. With its attorneys treatment. These The Legal Clinic
and so called paralegals, it will necessarily have to explain disposes of in a matter of minutes.
to the client the intricacies of the law and advise him or "Things like preparing a simple deed of
her on the proper course of action to be taken as may be
sale or an affidavit of loss can be taken
provided for by said law. That is what its advertisements care of by our staff or, if this were a
represent and for the which services it will consequently hospital the residents or the interns. We
charge and be paid. That activity falls squarely within the can take care of these matters on a while
jurisprudential definition of "practice of law." Such a
you wait basis. Again, kung baga sa
conclusion will not be altered by the fact that respondent
hospital, out-patient, hindi kailangang
corporation does not represent clients in court since law ma-confine. It's just like a common cold
practice, as the weight of authority holds, is not limited or diarrhea," explains Atty. Nogales.
merely giving legal advice, contract drafting and so forth.

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Those cases which requires more The same rule is observed in the american jurisdiction
extensive "treatment" are dealt with wherefrom respondent would wish to draw support for his
accordingly. "If you had a rich relative thesis. The doctrines there also stress that the practice of
who died and named you her sole heir, law is limited to those who meet the requirements for, and
and you stand to inherit millions of pesos have been admitted to, the bar, and various statutes or
of property, we would refer you to a rules specifically so provide. 25 The practice of law is not
specialist in taxation. There would be real a lawful business except for members of the bar who have
estate taxes and arrears which would complied with all the conditions required by statute and
need to be put in order, and your relative the rules of court. Only those persons are allowed to
is even taxed by the state for the right to practice law who, by reason of attainments previously
transfer her property, and only a acquired through education and study, have been
specialist in taxation would be properly recognized by the courts as possessing profound
trained to deal with the problem. Now, if knowledge of legal science entitling them to advise,
there were other heirs contesting your counsel with, protect, or defend the rights claims, or
rich relatives will, then you would need a liabilities of their clients, with respect to the construction,
litigator, who knows how to arrange the interpretation, operation and effect of law. 26 The
problem for presentation in court, and justification for excluding from the practice of law those
gather evidence to support the case. 21 not admitted to the bar is found, not in the protection of
the bar from competition, but in the protection of the public
That fact that the corporation employs paralegals to carry from being advised and represented in legal matters by
out its services is not controlling. What is important is that incompetent and unreliable persons over whom the
it is engaged in the practice of law by virtue of the nature judicial department can exercise little control.27
of the services it renders which thereby brings it within the
ambit of the statutory prohibitions against the We have to necessarily and definitely reject respondent's
advertisements which it has caused to be published and position that the concept in the United States of paralegals
are now assailed in this proceeding. as an occupation separate from the law profession be
adopted in this jurisdiction. Whatever may be its merits,
Further, as correctly and appropriately pointed out by the respondent cannot but be aware that this should first be a
U.P. WILOCI, said reported facts sufficiently establish that matter for judicial rules or legislative action, and not of
the main purpose of respondent is to serve as a one-stop- unilateral adoption as it has done.
shop of sorts for various legal problems wherein a client
may avail of legal services from simple documentation to Paralegals in the United States are trained professionals.
complex litigation and corporate undertakings. Most of As admitted by respondent, there are schools and
these services are undoubtedly beyond the domain of universities there which offer studies and degrees in
paralegals, but rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers paralegal education, while there are none in the
engaged in the practice of law. 22 Philippines. 28As the concept of the "paralegals" or "legal
assistant" evolved in the United States, standards and
It should be noted that in our jurisdiction the services guidelines also evolved to protect the general public. One
being offered by private respondent which constitute of the major standards or guidelines was developed by
practice of law cannot be performed by paralegals. Only the American Bar Association which set up Guidelines for
a person duly admitted as a member of the bar, or the Approval of Legal Assistant Education Programs
hereafter admitted as such in accordance with the (1973). Legislation has even been proposed to certify
provisions of the Rules of Court, and who is in good and legal assistants. There are also associations of paralegals
regular standing, is entitled to practice law. 23 in the United States with their own code of professional
ethics, such as the National Association of Legal
Assistants, Inc. and the American Paralegal
Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to
Association. 29
those individuals found duly qualified in education and
character. The permissive right conferred on the lawyers
is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal In the Philippines, we still have a restricted concept and
if he fails to maintain proper standards of moral and limited acceptance of what may be considered as
professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, paralegal service. As pointed out by FIDA, some persons
the court, the client and the bar from the incompetence or not duly licensed to practice law are or have been allowed
dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not limited representation in behalf of another or to render
subject to the disciplinary control of the court. 24 legal services, but such allowable services are limited in
scope and extent by the law, rules or regulations granting
permission therefor. 30

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Accordingly, we have adopted the American judicial policy brokers, constitutes malpractice." It is
that, in the absence of constitutional or statutory authority, highly unethical for an attorney to
a person who has not been admitted as an attorney advertise his talents or skill as a
cannot practice law for the proper administration of justice merchant advertises his wares. Law is a
cannot be hindered by the unwarranted intrusion of an profession and not a trade. The lawyer
unauthorized and unskilled person into the practice of degrades himself and his profession who
law. 31 That policy should continue to be one of stoops to and adopts the practices of
encouraging persons who are unsure of their legal rights mercantilism by advertising his services
and remedies to seek legal assistance only from persons or offering them to the public. As a
licensed to practice law in the state. 32 member of the bar, he defiles the temple
of justice with mercenary activities as the
Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned money-changers of old defiled the temple
advertisements, the Code of Professional Responsibility of Jehovah. "The most worthy and
provides that a lawyer in making known his legal services effective advertisement possible, even
shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective for a young lawyer, . . . . is the
information or statement of facts. 33 He is not supposed to establishment of a well-merited
use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, reputation for professional capacity and
deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced but
or claim regarding his qualifications or legal must be the outcome of character and
services. 34 Nor shall he pay or give something of value to conduct." (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.).
representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in
return for, publicity to attract legal business. 35 Prior to the We repeat, the canon of the profession tell us that the best
adoption of the code of Professional Responsibility, the advertising possible for a lawyer is a well-merited
Canons of Professional Ethics had also warned that reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust,
lawyers should not resort to indirect advertisements for which must be earned as the outcome of character and
professional employment, such as furnishing or inspiring conduct. Good and efficient service to a client as well as
newspaper comments, or procuring his photograph to be to the community has a way of publicizing itself and
published in connection with causes in which the lawyer catching public attention. That publicity is a normal by-
has been or is engaged or concerning the manner of their product of effective service which is right and proper. A
conduct, the magnitude of the interest involved, the good and reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to
importance of the lawyer's position, and all other like self- generate it and to magnify his success. He easily sees the
laudation. 36 difference between a normal by-product of able service
and the unwholesome result of propaganda. 40
The standards of the legal profession condemn the
lawyer's advertisement of his talents. A lawyer cannot, Of course, not all types of advertising or solicitation are
without violating the ethics of his profession. advertise his prohibited. The canons of the profession enumerate
talents or skill as in a manner similar to a merchant exceptions to the rule against advertising or solicitation
advertising his goods. 37 The prescription against and define the extent to which they may be undertaken.
advertising of legal services or solicitation of legal The exceptions are of two broad categories, namely,
business rests on the fundamental postulate that the that those which are expressly allowed and those which are
the practice of law is a profession. Thus, in the case of necessarily implied from the restrictions. 41
The Director of Religious Affairs. vs. Estanislao R.
Bayot 38 an advertisement, similar to those of respondent The first of such exceptions is the publication in reputable
which are involved in the present proceeding, 39 was held law lists, in a manner consistent with the standards of
to constitute improper advertising or solicitation. conduct imposed by the canons, of brief biographical and
informative data. "Such data must not be misleading and
The pertinent part of the decision therein reads: may include only a statement of the lawyer's name and
the names of his professional associates; addresses,
It is undeniable that the advertisement in telephone numbers, cable addresses; branches of law
question was a flagrant violation by the practiced; date and place of birth and admission to the
respondent of the ethics of his bar; schools attended with dates of graduation, degrees
profession, it being a brazen solicitation and other educational distinction; public or quasi-public
of business from the public. Section 25 of offices; posts of honor; legal authorships; legal teaching
Rule 127 expressly provides among positions; membership and offices in bar associations and
other things that "the practice of soliciting committees thereof, in legal and scientific societies and
cases at law for the purpose of gain, legal fraternities; the fact of listings in other reputable law
either personally or thru paid agents or lists; the names and addresses of references; and, with
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their written consent, the names of clients regularly It bears mention that in a survey conducted by the
represented." 42 American Bar Association after the decision in Bates, on
the attitude of the public about lawyers after viewing
The law list must be a reputable law list published television commercials, it was found that public opinion
primarily for that purpose; it cannot be a mere dropped significantly 47 with respect to these
supplemental feature of a paper, magazine, trade journal characteristics of lawyers:
or periodical which is published principally for other
purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may not properly Trustworthy from 71% to
publish his brief biographical and informative data in a 14%
daily paper, magazine, trade journal or society program. Professional from 71%
Nor may a lawyer permit his name to be published in a to 14%
law list the conduct, management or contents of which are Honest from 65% to
calculated or likely to deceive or injure the public or the 14%
bar, or to lower the dignity or standing of the profession. 43 Dignified from 45% to
14%
The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also
permitted. The card may contain only a statement of his Secondly, it is our firm belief that with the present situation
name, the name of the law firm which he is connected of our legal and judicial systems, to allow the publication
with, address, telephone number and special branch of of advertisements of the kind used by respondent would
law practiced. The publication of a simple announcement only serve to aggravate what is already a deteriorating
of the opening of a law firm or of changes in the public opinion of the legal profession whose integrity has
partnership, associates, firm name or office address, consistently been under attack lately by media and the
being for the convenience of the profession, is not community in general. At this point in time, it is of utmost
objectionable. He may likewise have his name listed in a importance in the face of such negative, even if unfair,
telephone directory but not under a designation of special criticisms at times, to adopt and maintain that level of
branch of law. 44 professional conduct which is beyond reproach, and to
exert all efforts to regain the high esteem formerly
Verily, taking into consideration the nature and contents accorded to the legal profession.
of the advertisements for which respondent is being taken
to task, which even includes a quotation of the fees In sum, it is undoubtedly a misbehavior on the part of the
charged by said respondent corporation for services lawyer, subject to disciplinary action, to advertise his
rendered, we find and so hold that the same definitely do services except in allowable instances 48 or to aid a
not and conclusively cannot fall under any of the above- layman in the unauthorized practice of law. 49 Considering
mentioned exceptions. that Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales, who is the prime
incorporator, major stockholder and proprietor of The
The ruling in the case of Bates, et al. vs. State Bar of Legal Clinic, Inc. is a member of the Philippine Bar, he is
Arizona, 45 which is repeatedly invoked and constitutes hereby reprimanded, with a warning that a repetition of
the justification relied upon by respondent, is obviously the same or similar acts which are involved in this
not applicable to the case at bar. Foremost is the fact that proceeding will be dealt with more severely.
the disciplinary rule involved in said case explicitly allows
a lawyer, as an exception to the prohibition against While we deem it necessary that the question as to the
advertisements by lawyers, to publish a statement of legal legality or illegality of the purpose/s for which the Legal
fees for an initial consultation or the availability upon Clinic, Inc. was created should be passed upon and
request of a written schedule of fees or an estimate of the determined, we are constrained to refrain from lapsing
fee to be charged for the specific services. No such into an obiter on that aspect since it is clearly not within
exception is provided for, expressly or impliedly, whether the adjudicative parameters of the present proceeding
in our former Canons of Professional Ethics or the present which is merely administrative in nature. It is, of course,
Code of Professional Responsibility. Besides, even the imperative that this matter be promptly determined, albeit
disciplinary rule in the Bates case contains a proviso that in a different proceeding and forum, since, under the
the exceptions stated therein are "not applicable in any present state of our law and jurisprudence, a corporation
state unless and until it is implemented by such authority cannot be organized for or engage in the practice of law
in that state." 46 This goes to show that an exception to the in this country. This interdiction, just like the rule against
general rule, such as that being invoked by herein unethical advertising, cannot be subverted by employing
respondent, can be made only if and when the canons some so-called paralegals supposedly rendering the
expressly provide for such an exception. Otherwise, the alleged support services.
prohibition stands, as in the case at bar.

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The remedy for the apparent breach of this prohibition by ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to RESTRAIN and
respondent is the concern and province of the Solicitor ENJOIN herein respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., from
General who can institute the corresponding quo issuing or causing the publication or dissemination of any
warranto action, 50 after due ascertainment of the factual advertisement in any form which is of the same or similar
background and basis for the grant of respondent's tenor and purpose as Annexes "A" and "B" of this petition,
corporate charter, in light of the putative misuse thereof. and from conducting, directly or indirectly, any activity,
That spin-off from the instant bar matter is referred to the operation or transaction proscribed by law or the Code of
Solicitor General for such action as may be necessary Professional Ethics as indicated herein. Let copies of this
under the circumstances. resolution be furnished the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, the Office of the Bar Confidant and the Office
of the Solicitor General for appropriate action in
accordance herewith.

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Bar Matter No. 850

[B.M. 850. October 2, 2001] (b) At least four (4) hours shall be devoted to
trial and pretrial skills equivalent to four (4)
credit units.
(c) At least five (5) hours shall be devoted to
MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION
alternative dispute resolution equivalent to
five (5) credit units.
RESOLUTION
(d) At least nine (9) hours shall be devoted to
ADOPTING THE REVISED RULES ON THE updates on substantive and procedural laws,
CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION FOR and jurisprudence equivalent to nine (9)
MEMBERS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF credit units.
THE PHILIPPINES
(e) At least four (4) hours shall be devoted to
Considering the Rules on the Mandatory Continuing legal writing and oral advocacy equivalent
Legal Education (MCLE) for members of the Integrated to four (4) credit units.
Bar of the Philippines (IBP), recommended by the IBP,
endorsed by the Philippine Judicial Academy, and (f) At least two (2) hours shall be devoted to
reviewed and passed upon by the Supreme Court international law and international
Committee on Legal Education, the Court hereby resolves conventions equivalent to two (2) credit
to approve, as it hereby approves, the following Revised units.
Rules for proper implementation:
(g) The remaining six (6) hours shall be devoted
to such subjects as may be prescribed by the
MCLE Committee equivalent to six (6)
Rule 1. PURPOSE credit units.

SECTION 1. Purpose of the MCLE. Continuing legal


education is required of members of the Integrated Bar of Rule 3. COMPLIANCE PERIOD
the Philippines (IBP) to ensure that throughout their
career, they keep abreast with law and jurisprudence,
SECTION 1. Initial compliance period. -- The initial
maintain the ethics of the profession and enhance the
compliance period shall begin not later than three (3)
standards of the practice of law.
months from the adoption of these Rules. Except for the
initial compliance period for members admitted or
readmitted after the establishment of the program, all
Rule 2. MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL compliance periods shall be for thirty-six (36) months and
EDUCATION shall begin the day after the end of the previous
compliance period.

SECTION 1. Commencement of the MCLE. Within SEC. 2. Compliance Groups. -- Members of the IBP
two (2) months from the approval of these Rules by the not exempt from the MCLE requirement shall be divided
Supreme Court En Banc, the MCLE Committee shall be into three (3) compliance groups, namely:
constituted and shall commence the implementation of (a) Compliance group 1. -- Members in the
the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro
program in accordance with these Rules. Manila are assigned to Compliance Group 1.
SEC. 2. Requirements of completion of MCLE. (b) Compliance group 2. -- Members in Luzon
Members of the IBP not exempt under Rule 7 shall outside NCR are assigned to Compliance
complete every three (3) years at least thirty-six (36) Group 2.
hours of continuing legal education activities approved by
the MCLE Committee. Of the 36 hours: (c) Compliance group 3. -- Members in Visayas
and Mindanao are assigned to Compliance
(a) At least six (6) hours shall be devoted to Group 3.
legal ethics equivalent to six (6) credit
units. Nevertheless, members may participate in any
legal education activity wherever it may be available
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to earn credit unit toward compliance with the MCLE 1.1 PARTICIPANT/ 1 CU PER HOUR
requirement. OF CERTIFICATE OF
ATTENDEE ATTENDANCE ATTENDANCE WITH
SEC. 3. Compliance period of members admitted or
readmitted after establishment of the program. Members U
admitted or readmitted to the Bar after the establishment M
of the program shall be assigned to the appropriate B
Compliance Group based on their Chapter membership E
on the date of admission or readmission. R
The initial compliance period after admission or O
readmission shall begin on the first day of the month of F
admission or readmission and shall end on the same day H
as that of all other members in the same Compliance O
Group. U
R
(a) Where four (4) months or less remain of the S
initial compliance period after admission or
readmission, the member is not required to 1.2 LECTURER FULL CU FOR THE PHOTOCOPY OF
comply with the program requirement for the RESOURCE SUBJECT PER PLAQUE OR
initial compliance. SPEAKER COMPLIANCE PERIOD SPONSORS

(b) Where more than four (4) months remain of E


the initial compliance period after admission R
or readmission, the member shall be T
required to complete a number of hours of I
approved continuing legal education F
activities equal to the number of months I
remaining in the compliance period in which C
the member is admitted or readmitted. Such A
member shall be required to complete a T
number of hours of education in legal ethics I
in proportion to the number of months O
remaining in the compliance period. N
Fractions of hours shall be rounded up to the
next whole number. 1.3 PANELIST/REACTOR 1/2 OF CU FOR
THE CERTIFICATION
COMMENTATOR/ SUBJECT PER FROM
Rule 4. COMPUTATION OF CREDIT UNITS(CU) MODERATOR/ COMPLIANCE
PERIOD SPONSORING
COORDINATOR/ ORGANIZATION
SECTION 1. Guidelines. - CREDIT UNITS FACILITATOR
ARE EQUIVALENT TO CREDIT HOURS. CREDIT
UNITS measure compliance with the MCLE 2. AUTHORSHIP, EDITING AND REVIEW
requirement under the Rules, based on the category
of the lawyers participation in the MCLE activity. The 2.1 LAW BOOK OF NOT FULL CU FOR
following are the guidelines for computing credit THE PUBLISHED BOOK
units and the supporting documents required LESS THAN 100 PAGES SUBJECT PER
therefor: COMPLIANCE
PERIOD
PROGRAMS/ACTIVITY CREDIT UNITS SUPPORTING
DOCUMENTS 2.2 BOOK EDITOR 1/2 OF THE CU
OF PUBLISHED BOOK
1. SEMINARS, CONVENTIONS, CONFERENCES, AUTHORSHIP
SYMPOSIA, IN-HOUSE EDUCATION PROGRAMS, CATEGORY WITH
WORKSHOPS, DIALOGUES, ROUND TABLE PROOF AS
DISCUSSIONS BY APPROVED PROVIDERS UNDER
RULE 7 AND OTHER RELATED RULES

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(a)
T Attending approved education activities like
O seminars, conferences, conventions,
R symposia, in-house education programs,
workshops, dialogues or round table
2.3 RESEARCH PAPER 1/2 OF CU FOR THE DULY discussion.
INNOVATIVE PROGRAM/ SUBJECT PER CERTIFIED/ (b) Speaking or lecturing, or acting as assigned
CREATIVE PROJECT COMPLIANCE panelist, reactor, commentator, resource
PERIOD PUBLISHED speaker, moderator, coordinator or facilitator
TECHNICAL in approved education activities.
R
E (c) Teaching in a law school or lecturing in a bar
P review class.
O
R SEC. 3. Claim for non-participatory credit units.
Non-participatory
T credit units may be claimed per
compliance
/ period for:
P (a) Preparing, as an author or co-author, written
A materials published or accepted for
P publication, e.g., in the form of an article,
E chapter, book, or book review which
R contribute to the legal education of the
author member, which were not prepared in
2.4 LEGAL ARTICLE OF AT 1/2 OF CU FOR the ordinary course of the members practice
THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE or employment.
LEAST TEN (10) PAGES SUBJECT PER
COMPLIANCE PERIOD (b) Editing a law book, law journal or legal
newsletter.
2.5 LEGAL NEWSLETTER/ 1 CU PER
ISSUE PUBLISHED
LAW JOURNAL EDITOR NEWSLETTER/JOURNAL Rule 6. COMPUTATION OF CREDIT HOURS (CH)

2.6 PROFESSORIAL CHAIR/ FULL CU FOR


THE CERTIFICATION OF SECTION 1. Computation of credit hours. -- Credit
BAR REVIEW LECTURE SUBJECT PER LAW DEAN hours are computed based on actual time spent in an
OR education activity in hours to the nearest one-quarter hour
LAW TEACHING/ COMPLIANCE PERIOD BAR reported in decimals.
REVIEW
D
I Rule 7. EXEMPTIONS
R
E
C SECTION 1. Parties exempted from the MCLE. --
T following members of the Bar are exempt from the
The
O
MCLE requirement:
R
(a) The President and the Vice President of the
Philippines, and the Secretaries and
Undersecretaries of Executive Departments;
Rule 5. CATEGORIES OF CREDIT UNITS
(b) Senators and Members of the House of
Representatives;
SECTION 1. Classes of Credit units. -- Credit
(c) The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of
units are either participatory or non-participatory.
the Supreme Court, incumbent and retired
SEC. 2. Claim for participatory credit units. -- members of the judiciary, incumbent
Participatory credit units may be claimed for: members of the Judicial and Bar Council and
incumbent court lawyers covered by the

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Philippine Judicial Academy program of SEC. 5. Proof of exemption. Applications for


continuing judicial education; exemption from or modification of the MCLE requirement
shall be under oath and supported by documents.
(d) The Chief State Counsel, Chief State
Prosecutor and Assistant Secretaries of the
Department of Justice;
Rule 8. STANDARDS FOR APPROVAL OF
(e) The Solicitor General and the Assistant EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
Solicitors General;
(f) The Government Corporate Counsel, Deputy
SECTION 1. Approval of MCLE program. Subject to
and Assistant Government Corporate
the implementing regulations that may be adopted by
Counsel;
the MCLE Committee, continuing legal education
(g) The Chairmen and Members of the program may be granted approval in either of two (2)
Constitutional Commissions; ways: (1) the provider of the activity is
an accredited provider and certifies that the activity
(h) The Ombudsman, the Overall Deputy meets the criteria of Section 2 of this Rule; and (2) the
Ombudsman, the Deputy Ombudsman and provider is specifically mandated by law to provide
the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the continuing legal education.
Ombudsman;
SEC. 2. Standards for all education activities. All
(i) Heads of government agencies exercising continuing legal education activities must meet the
quasi-judicial functions; following standards:
(j) Incumbent deans, bar reviewers and (a) The activity shall have significant current
professors of law who have teaching intellectual or practical content.
experience for at least ten (10) years in
accredited law schools; (b) The activity shall constitute an organized
program of learning related to legal subjects
(k) The Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and and the legal profession, including cross
members of the Corps of Professors and profession activities (e.g., accounting-tax or
Professorial Lecturers of the Philippine medical-legal) that enhance legal skills or
Judicial Academy; and the ability to practice law, as well as subjects
(l) Governors and Mayors. in legal writing and oral advocacy.

SEC. 2. Other parties exempted from the MCLE. The (c) The activity shall be conducted by a provider
following Members of the Bar are likewise exempt: with adequate professional experience.

(a) Those who are not in law practice, private or (d) Where the activity is more than one (1) hour
public. in length, substantive written materials must
be distributed to all participants. Such
(b) Those who have retired from law practice materials must be distributed at or before the
with the approval of the IBP Board of time the activity is offered.
Governors.
(e) In-house education activities must be
SEC. 3. Good cause for exemption from or scheduled at a time and location so as to be
modification of requirement A member may file a verified free from interruption like telephone calls
request setting forth good cause for exemption (such as and other distractions.
physical disability, illness, post graduate study abroad,
proven expertise in law, etc.) from compliance with or
modification of any of the requirements, including an
Rule 9. ACCREDITATION OF PROVIDERS
extension of time for compliance, in accordance with a
procedure to be established by the MCLE Committee.
SEC. 4. Change of status. The compliance period SECTION 1. Accreditation of providers. -
shall begin on the first day of the month in which a - Accreditation of providers shall be done by the MCLE
member ceases to be exempt under Sections 1, 2, or 3 of Committee.
this Rule and shall end on the same day as that of all other SEC. 2. Requirements for accreditation of
members in the same Compliance Group. providers. Any person or group may be accredited as a
provider for a term of two (2) years, which may be

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renewed, upon written application. All providers of instructors. The provider shall make available to
continuing legal education activities, including in-house each participant a copy of THE MCLE
providers, are eligible to be accredited providers. COMMITTEE-approved Education Activity
Application for accreditation shall: Evaluation Form.
(a) Be submitted on a form provided by the
MCLE Committee; (f) The provider shall maintain the completed
Education Activity Evaluation Forms for a period
(b) Contain all information requested in the of not less than one (1) year after the activity,
form; copy furnished the MCLE COMMITTEE.
(c) Be accompanied by the appropriate
(g) Any person or group who conducts an
approval fee.
unauthorized activity under this program or
SEC. 3. Requirements of all providers. -- All issues a spurious certificate in violation of these
approved accredited providers shall agree to the Rules shall be subject to appropriate sanctions.
following:
SEC. 4. Renewal of
(a) An official record verifying the attendance at
provider accreditation. The accreditation of a provider
the activity shall be maintained by the
may be renewed every two (2) years. It may be denied if
provider for at least four (4) years after the
the provider fails to comply with any of the requirements
completion date. The provider shall include
of these Rules or fails to provide satisfactory education
the member on the official record of
activities for the preceding period.
attendance only if the members signature
was obtained at the time of attendance at the SEC. 5. Revocation of provider accreditation. --
activity. The official record of attendance the accreditation of any provider referred to in Rule 9
shall contain the members name and may be revoked by a majority vote of the MCLE
number in the Roll of Attorneys and shall Committee, after notice and hearing and for good cause.
identify the time, date, location, subject
matter, and length of the education activity.
A copy of such record shall be furnished the
MCLE COMMITTEE. Rule 10. FEE FOR APPROVAL OF ACTIVITY AND
ACCREDITATION OF PROVIDER
(b) The provider shall certify that:

(1) This activity has been approved BY THE MCLE SECTION 1. Payment of fees. Application for
COMMITTEE in the amount of ________ hours of which approval of an education activity or accreditation as a
______ hours will apply in (legal ethics, etc.), as provider requires payment of the appropriate fee as
appropriate to the content of the activity; provided in the Schedule of MCLE Fees.

(2) The activity conforms to the standards for approved


education activities prescribed by these Rules and such Rule 11. GENERAL COMPLIANCE PROCEDURES
regulations as may be prescribed by the MCLE
COMMITTEE.
SECTION 1. Compliance card. -- Each member shall
(c) The provider shall issue a record or certificate to secure from the MCLE Committee a Compliance Card
all participants identifying the time, date, before the end of his compliance period. He shall
location, subject matter and length of the activity. complete the card by attesting under oath that he has
complied with the education requirement or that he is
exempt, specifying the nature of the exemption. Such
(d) The provider shall allow in-person observation of Compliance Card must be returned to the Committee
all approved continuing legal education activity not later than the day after the end of the members
by THE MCLE COMMITTEE, members of the compliance period.
IBP Board of Governors, or designees of the
Committee and IBP staff Board for purposes of SEC. 2. Member record keeping requirement. -
monitoring compliance with these Rules. - Each member shall maintain sufficient record of
compliance or exemption, copy furnished the MCLE
(e) The provider shall indicate in promotional Committee. The record required to be provided to the
materials, the nature of the activity, the time members by the provider pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 9
devoted to each topic and identity of the should be a sufficient record of attendance at a
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72

participatory activity. A record of non-participatory activity excess of the requirement are earned, in which
shall also be maintained by the member, as referred to in case the excess may be counted toward meeting
Section 3 of Rule 5. the current compliance period requirement.

Rule 12. NON-COMPLIANCE PROCEDURES Rule 13. CONSEQUENCES OF NON-COMPLIANCE

SECTION 1. What constitutes non-compliance. The SECTION 1. Non-compliance fee. -- A member who,
following shall constitute non-compliance: for whatever reason, is in non-compliance at the end of
the compliance period shall pay a non-compliance fee.
(a) Failure to complete the education
requirement within the compliance period; SEC. 2. Listing as delinquent member. -- A member
who fails to comply with the requirements after the sixty
(b) Failure to provide attestation of compliance (60) day period for compliance has expired, shall be listed
or exemption; as a delinquent member of the IBP upon the
(c) Failure to provide satisfactory evidence of recommendation of the MCLE Committee. The
compliance (including evidence of exempt investigation of a member for non-compliance shall be
status) within the prescribed period; conducted by the IBPs Commission on Bar Discipline as
a fact-finding arm of the MCLE Committee.
(d) Failure to satisfy the education requirement
and furnish evidence of such compliance SEC. 3. Accrual of membership fee. -- Membership
within sixty (60) days from receipt of non- fees shall continue to accrue at the active rate against a
compliance notice; member during the period he/she is listed as a delinquent
member.
(e) Failure to pay non-compliance fee within the
prescribed period;
(f) Any other act or omission analogous to any Rule 14. REINSTATEMENT
of the foregoing or intended to circumvent or
evade compliance with the MCLE
requirements. SECTION 1. Process. -- The involuntary listing as a
delinquent member shall be terminated when the member
SEC. 2. Non-compliance notice and 60-day period to provides proof of compliance with the MCLE requirement,
attain compliance. -Members failing to comply will receive including payment of non-compliance fee. A member may
a Non-Compliance Notice stating the specific deficiency attain the necessary credit units to meet the requirement
and will be given sixty (60) days from the date of for the period of non-compliance during the period the
notification to file a response clarifying the deficiency or member is on inactive status. These credit units may not
otherwise showing compliance with the requirements. be counted toward meeting the current compliance period
Such notice shall contain the following language near the requirement. Credit units earned during the period of
beginning of the notice in capital letters: non-compliance in excess of the number needed to
satisfy the prior compliance period requirement may be
IF YOU FAIL TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROOF counted toward meeting the current compliance period
OF COMPLIANCE WITH THE MCLE requirement.
REQUIREMENT BY (INSERT DATE 60 DAYS
FROM DATE OF NOTICE), YOU SHALL BE SEC. 2. Termination of delinquent listing is an
LISTED AS A DELINQUENT MEMBER AND administrative process. The termination of listing as a
SHALL NOT BE PERMITTED TO PRACTICE LAW delinquent member is administrative in nature AND it shall
UNTIL SUCH TIME AS ADEQUATE PROOF OF be made by the MCLE Committee.
COMPLIANCE IS RECEIVED BY THE MCLE
COMMITTEE.
Rule. 15. COMMITTEE ON MANDATORY
Members given sixty (60) days to respond to a Non- CONTINUING
Compliance Notice may use this period to attain the LEGAL EDUCATION
adequate number of credit units for compliance.
Credit units earned during this period may only be
counted toward compliance with the prior SECTION 1. Composition. The MCLE Committee
compliance period requirement unless units in shall be composed of five (5) members, namely, a retired
Justice of the Supreme Court as Chair, and four (4)
72
73

members respectively nominated by the IBP, the the record-keeping, auditing, reporting, approval and
Philippine Judicial Academy, a law center designated by other necessary functions.
the Supreme Court and associations of law schools
and/or law professors. SEC. 4. Submission of annual
budget. The MCLE Committee shall submit to the
The members of the Committee shall be of proven Supreme Court for approval, an annual budget [for a
probity and integrity. They shall be appointed by the subsidy] to establish, operate and maintain the MCLE
Supreme Court for a term of three (3) years and shall Program.
receive such compensation as may be determined by the
Court. This resolution shall take effect on the fifteenth of
September 2000, following its publication in two (2)
SEC. 2. Duty of committee. The MCLE Committee newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.
shall administer and adopt such implementing rules as
may be necessary subject to the approval of the Supreme Adopted this 22nd day of August, 2000, as amended
Court. It shall, in consultation with the IBP Board of on 02 October 2001.
Governors, prescribe a schedule of MCLE fees with the Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug,
approval of the Supreme Court. Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena,
SEC. 3. Staff of the MCLE Committee. Subject to Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., and Sandoval-Gutierrez,
approval by the Supreme Court, the MCLE Committee JJ., concur.
shall employ such staff as may be necessary to perform Kapunan, J., on official leave.

In Re: Edillon, 84 SCRA 554

A.C. 1928 December 19, 1980 Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon)
recommending to the Court the removal of the name of
In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for 'stubborn
Delinquency of Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILLION (IBP refusal to pay his membership dues' to the IBP since the
Administrative Case No. MDD-1), petitioner, latter's constitution notwithstanding due notice. On
January 21, 1976, the IBP, through its then President
Liliano B. Neri, submitted the said resolution to the Court
FERNANDO, C.J.:
for consideration and approval,. Pursuant to paragraph 2,
Section 24, Article III of the By-Laws of the IBP, which.
The full and plenary discretion in the exercise of its reads: ... Should the delinquency further continue until the
competence to reinstate a disbarred member of the bar following June 29, the Board shall promptly inquire into
admits of no doubt. All the relevant factors bearing on the the cause or causes of the continued delinquency and
specific case, public interest, the integrity of the take whatever action it shall deem appropriate, including
profession and the welfare of the recreant who had a recommendation to the Supreme Court for the removal
purged himself of his guilt are given their due weight. of the delinquent member's name from the Roll of
Respondent Marcial A. Edillon was disbarred on August Attorneys. Notice of the action taken should be submit by
3, 1978, 1 the vote being unanimous with the late. registered mail to the member and to the Secretary of the
Chapter concerned.' On January 27, 1976, the Court
Chief Justice Castro ponente. From June 5, 1979, he had required the respondent to comment on the resolution and
repeatedly pleaded that he be reinstated. The minute letter adverted to above he submitted his comment on
resolution dated October 23, 1980, granted such prayer. February 23, 1976, reiterating his refusal to pay the
It was there made clear that it "is without prejudice to membership fees due from him. On March 2, 1976, the
issuing an extended opinion." 2 Court required the IBP President and the IBP Board of
Governors to reply to Edillon's comment: On March 24,
Before doing so, a recital of the background facts that led 1976, they submitted a joint reply. Thereafter, the case
to the disbarment of respondent may not be amiss. As set was set for hearing on June 3, 1976. After the hearing, the
forth in the resolution penned by the late Chief Justice parties were required to submit memoranda in
Castro: "On November 29. 1975, the Integrated Bar of the amplification of their oral arguments. The matter was
Philippines (IBP for short) Board of Governors, thenceforth submitted for resolution." 3
unanimously adopted Resolution No. 75-65 in
Administrative case No. MDD-1 (In the Matter of the
73
74

Reference was then made to the authority of the IBP sheer obstinacy. Necessary, the extreme penalty of
Board of Governors to recommend to the Supreme Court disbarment visited on him was more than justified.
the removal of a delinquent member's name from the Roll
of Attorneys as found in Rules of Court: 'Effect of non- Since then, however, there were other communications to
payment of dues. — Subject to the provisions of Section this Court where a different attitude on his part was
12 of this Rule, default in the payment of annual dues for discernible. 9 The tone of defiance was gone and
six months shall warrant suspension of membership in the circumstances of a mitigating character invoked — the
Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one year state of his health and his advanced age. He likewise
shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the spoke of the welfare of former clients who still rely on him
delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys. 4 for counsel, their confidence apparently undiminished.
For he had in his career been a valiant, if at times
The submission of respondent Edillion as summarized in unreasonable, defender of the causes entrusted to him.
the aforesaid resolution "is that the above provisions
constitute an invasion of his constitutional rights in the This Court, in the light of the above, felt that reinstatement
sense that he is being compelled, as a pre-condition to could be ordered and so it did in the resolution of October
maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be 23, 1980. It made certain that there was full acceptance
a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues, on his part of the competence of this Tribunal in the
and that as a consequence of this compelled financial exercise of its plenary power to regulate the legal
support of the said organization to which he is admittedly profession and can integrate the bar and that the dues
personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights were duly paid. Moreover, the fact that more than two
to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the years had elapsed during which he war. barred from
Constitution. Hence, the respondent concludes, the exercising his profession was likewise taken into account.
above provisions of the Court Rule and of the IBP By- It may likewise be said that as in the case of the inherent
Laws are void and of no legal force and effect. 5 It was power to punish for contempt and paraphrasing the
pointed out in the resolution that such issues was raised dictum of Justice Malcolm in Villavicencio v.
on a previous case before the Court, entitled Lukban, 10 the power to discipline, especially if amounting
'Administrative Case No. 526, In the Matter of the Petition to disbarment, should be exercised on the preservative
for the Integration of the Bar of the Philippines, Roman and not on the vindictive principle. 11
Ozaeta, et al., Petitioners.' The Court exhaustively
considered all these matters in that case in its Resolution One last word. It has been pertinently observed that there
ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines, is no irretrievable finality as far as admission to the bar is
promulgated on January 9, 1973. 6The unanimous concerned. So it is likewise as to loss of membership.
conclusion reached by the Court was that the integration
What must ever be borne in mind is that membership in
of the Philippine Bar raises no constitutional question and
the bar, to follow Cardozo, is a privilege burdened with
is therefore legally unobjectionable, "and, within the conditions. Failure to abide by any of them entails the loss
context of contemporary conditions in the Philippine, has of such privilege if the gravity thereof warrant such drastic
become an imperative means to raise the standards of the move. Thereafter a sufficient time having elapsed and
legal profession, improve the administration of justice, after actuations evidencing that there was due contrition
and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility on the part of the transgressor, he may once again be
fully and effectively." 7
considered for the restoration of such a privilege. Hence,
our resolution of October 23, 1980.
As mentioned at the outset, the vote was unanimous.
From the time the decision was rendered, there were The Court restores to membership to the bar Marcial A.
various pleadings filed by respondent for reinstatement Edillon.
starting with a motion for reconsideration dated August
19, 1978. Characterized as it was by persistence in his
Footnotes: 2 The minute resolution reads in full:- "Acting on the
adamantine refusal to admit the full competence of the
petition of Mr. Marcial Edillon for reinstatement to the Roll of
Court on the matter, it was not unexpected that it would Attorneys and it appearing that he had fully paid his delinquant
be denied. So it turned out. 8 It was the consensus that he membership fees due the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and
continued to be oblivious to certain balic juridical submitted to the IBP Board of Governors a verified application
concepts, the appreciation of which does not even require for reinstatement together with an undertaking to abide by all By-
great depth of intellect. Since respondent could not be laws and resolutions by said Board in the event of reinstatement,
said to be that deficient in legal knowledge and since his the Court Resolved to GRANT the petition of Mr. Marcial A.
pleadings in other cases coming before this Tribunal were Edillon for as member of the Philippine Bar. He is hereby allowed
quite literate, even if rather generously sprinkled with to take anew the lawyer's oath and sign the Roll of Attorneys
after payment of the required fees. This resolution is without
invective for which he had been duly taken to task, there
prejudice to is an extended opinion.
was the impression that his recalcitrance arose from and
74
75

Hueysuwan vs. Florido, A.C. No. 5624

[A.C. No. 5624. January 20, 2004] threatened to forcefully take them away with the help of
his companions, whom he claimed to be agents of the
NATASHA HUEYSUWAN-FLORIDO, complainant, National Bureau of Investigation.
vs. ATTY. JAMES BENEDICT C.
FLORIDO, respondent. Alarmed, complainant immediately sought the
assistance of the Tanjay City Police. The responding
DECISION policemen subsequently escorted her to the police station
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: where the matter could be clarified and settled peacefully.
At the police station, respondent caused to be entered in
This is an administrative complaint for the the Police Blotter a statement that he, assisted by agents
disbarment of respondent Atty. James Benedict C. Florido of the NBI, formally served on complainant the appellate
and his eventual removal from the Roll of Attorneys for courts resolution/order.[3] In order to diffuse the tension,
allegedly violating his oath as a lawyer by manufacturing, complainant agreed to allow the children to sleep with
flaunting and using a spurious and bogus Court of respondent for one night on condition that he would not
Appeals Resolution/Order.[1] take them away from Tanjay City. This agreement was
entered into in the presence of Tanjay City Chief of Police
In her Complaint-Affidavit, Natasha V. Heysuwan- Juanito Condes and NBI Investigator Roger Sususco,
Florido averred that she is the legitimate spouse of among others.
respondent Atty. James Benedict C. Florido, but that they
are estranged and living separately from each other. They In the early morning of January 16, 2002,
have two children namely, Kamille Nicole H. Florido, five complainant received information that a van arrived at the
years old, and James Benedict H. Florido, Jr., three years hotel where respondent and the children were staying to
old both of whom are in complainants custody. take them to Bacolod City. Complainant rushed to the
Complainant filed a case for the annulment of her hotel and took the children to another room, where they
marriage with respondent, docketed as Civil Case No. stayed until later in the morning.
23122, before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City,
Branch 24. Meanwhile, there is another case related to On the same day, respondent filed with the Regional
the complaint for annulment of marriage which is pending Trial Court of Dumaguete City, Branch 31, a verified
before the Court of Appeals and docketed as CA-G.R. SP petition[4] for the issuance of a writ of habeas
No. 54235 entitled, James Benedict C. Florido v. Hon. corpus asserting his right to custody of the children on the
Pampio Abarientos, et al. basis of the alleged Court of Appeals resolution. In the
meantime, complainant verified the authenticity of the
Sometime in the middle of December 2001, Resolution and obtained a certification dated January 18,
respondent went to complainants residence in Tanjay 2002[5] from the Court of Appeals stating that no such
City, Negros Oriental and demanded that the custody of resolution ordering complainant to surrender custody of
their two minor children be surrendered to him. He their children to respondent had been issued.
showed complainant a photocopy of an alleged
Resolution issued by the Court of Appeals which At the hearing of the petition for habeas corpus on
supposedly granted his motion for temporary child January 23, 2002, respondent did not appear.
custody.[2]Complainant called up her lawyer but the latter Consequently, the petition was dismissed.
informed her that he had not received any motion for Hence, complainant filed the instant complaint
temporary child custody filed by respondent. alleging that respondent violated his attorneys oath by
Complainant asked respondent for the original copy manufacturing, flaunting and using a spurious Court of
of the alleged resolution of the Court of Appeals, but Appeals Resolution in and outside a court of law.
respondent failed to give it to her. Complainant then Furthermore, respondent abused and misused the
examined the resolution closely and noted that it bore two privileged granted to him by the Supreme Court to
dates: November 12, 2001 and November 29, 2001. practice law in the country.
Sensing something amiss, she refused to give custody of After respondent answered the complaint, the matter
their children to respondent. was referred to the IBP-Commission on Bar Discipline for
In the mid-morning of January 15, 2002, while investigation, report and recommendation. The IBP-CBD
complainant was with her children in the ABC Learning recommended that respondent be suspended from the
Center in Tanjay City, respondent, accompanied by practice of law for a period of three years with a warning
armed men, suddenly arrived and demanded that she that another offense of this nature will result in his
surrender to him the custody of their children. He disbarment.[6] On June 23, 2003, the IBP Board of
Governors adopted and approved the Report and
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76

recommendation of the Commission with the modification already rendered inoperative by


that the penalty of suspension be increased to six years. repeal or amendment, or assert as a
fact that which has not been proved.
The issue to be resolved is whether or not the
respondent can be held administratively liable for his
reliance on and attempt to enforce a spurious Resolution Moreover, the records show that respondent used
of the Court of Appeals. offensive language in his pleadings in describing
complainant and her relatives. A lawyers language should
In his answer to the complaint, respondent claims be forceful but dignified, emphatic but respectful as
that he acted in good faith in invoking the Court of Appeals befitting an advocate and in keeping with the dignity of the
Resolution which he honestly believed to be authentic. legal profession.[9] The lawyers arguments whether
This, however, is belied by the fact that he used and written or oral should be gracious to both court and
presented the spurious resolution several times. As opposing counsel and should be of such words as may be
pointed out by the Investigating Commissioner, the properly addressed by one gentlemen to another. [10] By
assailed Resolution was presented by respondent on at calling complainant, a sly manipulator of truth as well as a
least two occasions: first, in his Petition for Issuance of vindictive congenital prevaricator, hardly measures to the
Writ of Habeas Corpus docketed as Special Proc. Case sobriety of speech demanded of a lawyer.
No. 3898,[7] which he filed with the Regional Trial Court of
Dumaguete City; and second, when he sought the Respondents actions erode the public perception of
assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the legal profession. They constitute gross misconduct
Tanjay City to recover custody of his minor children from and the sanctions for such malfeasance is prescribed by
complainant. Since it was respondent who used the Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which states:
spurious Resolution, he is presumed to have participated
in its fabrication. SEC. 27. Disbarment and suspension of attorneys by Supreme
Court, grounds therefore.- A member of the bar may be
Candor and fairness are demanded of every lawyer. disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the
The burden cast on the judiciary would be intolerable if it Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice or other gross
could not take at face value what is asserted by counsel. misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct or by
The time that will have to be devoted just to the task of reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude,
verification of allegations submitted could easily be or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take
imagined. Even with due recognition then that counsel is before the admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience
expected to display the utmost zeal in the defense of a appearing as attorney for a party without authority to do so.
clients cause, it must never be at the expense of the
truth.[8] Thus, the Code of professional Responsibility Considering the attendant circumstances, we agree
states: with the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors
that respondent should be suspended from the practice of
CANON 10. A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, law. However, we find that the period of six years is too
FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH harsh a penalty. Instead, suspension for the lesser period
TO THE COURT. of two years, which we deem commensurate to the
offense committed, is hereby imposed on respondent.
Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood;
nor consent to the doing of any in WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, Atty.
court; nor shall he mislead, or allow James Benedict C. Florido is SUSPENDED from the
the Court to be misled by any practice of law for a period of two (2) years.
artifice. Let copies of this resolution be entered in the
personal record of respondent as a member of the Bar
Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote and furnished the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the
or misrepresent the contents of a Philippines (IBP) and the Court Administrator for
paper, the language or the argument circulation to all courts of the country.
of an opposing counsel, or the text
of a decision or authority, or SO ORDERED.
knowingly cite as a law a provision

76
77

Eternal Gardens Memorial Park vs. CA, GR No. 123698

[G.R. No. 123698. August 5, 1998] Declaring the defendant's Certificate of Title No. 205942
null and void.
ETERNAL GARDENS MEMORIAL PARK
CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. COURT OF Dismissing counterclaim of defendant without
APPEALS and SPS. LILIA SEVILLA and JOSE
pronouncement as to costs."
SEELIN, respondents.
The aforesaid decision was affirmed [3] by
DECISION respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 25989
MARTINEZ, A.M., J.: on June 25, 1991 and eventually upheld by this Court in
G.R. No. L-101819 on November 25, 1991. Said
dismissal became final on March 5, 1992.[4]
This is the second time petitioner Eternal Gardens
Memorial Park Corporation has come to this Court The RTC decision, having become final and
assailing the execution of the judgment dated August 24, executory, private respondents moved for execution
1989, rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan which was granted by the lower court. Accordingly, a writ
City in Civil Case No. C-9297. Apparently, hope springs of execution of the decision was issued.
eternal for petitioner, considering that the issues raised in
this second petition for review are but mere reiterations of Subsequently, private respondents filed an Urgent
previously settled issues which have already attained Manifestation and Motion for an Immediate Writ of
finality. We now write finis to this controversy which has Possession/Break Open Order. The motion was opposed
dragged on for seventeen (17) years, for as we ruled in by herein petitioner Eternal Gardens Memorial Park
Gomez vs. Presiding Judge, RTC, Br. 15, Ozamis City:[1] Corporation contending that it is not submitting to the
jurisdiction of the trial court; that it is completely unaware
x x x litigations must end and terminate sometime and of the suit between private respondents and Central
Dyeing; that it is the true and registered owner of the lot
somewhere, it being essential to the effective
having bought the same from Central Dyeing; and that it
administration of justice that once a judgment has
was a buyer in good faith.
become final, the winning party be not, through a mere
subterfuge, deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Hence, On July 1, 1992, the trial court granted private
courts must guard themselves against any scheme to respondents motion. Another Order was issued on August
bring about that result, for constituted as they are to put 18, 1992 by the trial court holding that the judgment was
an end to controversies, they should frown upon any binding on petitioner, being the successor-in-interest of
attempt to prolong it. Public policy and sound practice defendant Central Dyeing pursuant to Rule 39, Section
demand that at the risk of occasional errors, judgments 48(b) of the Revised Rules of Court.
of courts should become final and irrevocable at some
definite date fixed by law. Interes rei publicae ut finis sit Petitioner went to the Court of Appeals in a petition
litium. for certiorari. On September 30, 1992 the Court of
Appeals rendered judgment dismissing the petition,
The facts: excerpts of which read:

The case started on May 18, 1981 when private We reviewed carefully the assailed orders and find no
respondent-spouses Jose Seelin and Lilia Sevilla Seelin compelling reason to disturb the same.
filed a complaint against Central Dyeing & Finishing
Corporation (Central Dyeing for brevity) for quieting of Indeed, since petitioner admits that it bought the
title and for declaration of nullity of Transfer Certificate of property from Central Dyeing and Finishing Corporation,
Title (TCT No. 205942) issued in the name of said defendant in Civil Case No. C-9297, petitioner is bound
corporation, docketed as Civil Case No. C-9297, before by the decision rendered therein by respondent Judge.
the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City.
Under Section 20, Rule 3, Revised Rules of Court, a
On August 24, 1989, the trial court rendered transferee pendente lite does not have to be included or
judgment,[2] the dispositive portion of which reads: impleaded by name in order to be bound by the
judgment because the action or suit may be continued
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: for or against the original party or the transferor and still
be binding on the transferee[5]

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78

The motion for reconsideration was also denied by assessment of double costs of this suit against petitioner
the Court of Appeals on February 18, 1993. [6] Sec. 3, Rule 142 of the Revised Rules of Court).
On further appeal to this Court, petitioners petition for
review on certiorari, docketed as G. R. No. 109076, was Moreover, as manifested by the plaintiffs, herein
denied in a resolution dated August 2, 1993. [7] Upon private respondents, the instant petition has already
finality of said resolution, this Court issued Entry of become moot and academic as the property in
Judgment dated October 21, 1993.[8] question was already turned over by the Deputy
Sheriff to the plaintiffs, and the writs of execution
Thereafter, private respondents filed another motion and possession fully satisfied. Thus, hopefully,
for the issuance of a second writ of execution before the putting the legal battle of this case to rest."
trial court which was granted in the Order of July 20, 1994. (Emphasis ours.)
Not willing to give up, petitioner sought a
The motion for reconsideration was likewise denied
reconsideration. Petitioners motion was initially
on January 30, 1996.[13]
granted[9] on August 29, 1994 by the trial court thru Judge
Arturo Romero. However, upon motion of private Petitioner once again seeks this Court's intervention
respondents, the said order was reconsidered on reiterating in essence the same line of arguments
December 19, 1994[10] by Judge Emilio L. Leachon, Jr., espoused in their petition before the respondent Court of
who succeeded Judge Romero. Forthwith, alias writs of Appeals.
execution were issued.
The petition must fail.
Desperately needing a favorable judgment,
petitioner, for the second time, filed a petition for It is a settled rule that once a court renders a final
certiorari[11] with respondent Court of Appeals (docketed judgment, all the issues between or among the parties
as CA-G.R. SP No. 36591), arguing inter alia: that the before it are deemed resolved and its judicial functions
judgment cannot be executed against it because it was with respect to any matter related to the controversy
not a party to Civil Case No. C-9297; that the decision of litigated come to an end.
the trial court in said case never Petitioners argument that the trial court cannot order
mandatedCentral Dyeing to deliver possession of the it and the one hundred (100) memorial lot owners to
property to the private respondents; that certain facts and surrender and/or deliver possession of the property in
circumstances which occurred after the finality of the dispute on the ground that they were never parties to the
judgment will render the execution highly unjust, illegal case between private respondents and Central Dyeing,
and inequitable; that the issuance of the assailed writ of has long been resolved by respondent Court of Appeals
execution violates the lot buyers freedom of religion and
in CA-G.R. SP No. 28797 when it ruled:
worship; and that private respondents title is being
questioned in another case.
Indeed, since petitioner admits that it bought the
On September 29, 1995, the respondent court property from Central Dyeing and Finishing Corporation,
rendered judgment[12] dismissing the petition for certiorari defendant in Civil Case No. C-9297, petitioner is bound
on the ground that the lower court's decision in Civil Case by the decision rendered therein by respondent Judge.
No. 9297 had long become final and executory. It ruled,
thus: Under Section 20, Rule 3, Revised Rules of Court, a
transferee pendente lite does not have to be included or
"This Court needs (sic) not belabor the fact that the impleaded by name in order to be bound by the
respondent Court's decision in Civil Case No. 9297 had judgment because the action or suit may be continued
long become final and executory. The respondent court's for or against the original party or the transferor and still
writs of execution and possession could have been be binding on the transferee.[14]
implemented a long time ago if not for the series of legal
maneuvers of petitioner Eternal Gardens. x x x The aforesaid decision was affirmed by this Court in
x Petitioner Eternal Gardens cannot anymore stop G.R. No. 109076 and attained finality on October 21,
the execution of a final judgment by raising issues 1993. There is, therefore, no need for us to belabor the
which actually have been ruled upon by this Court in same issue here.
its earlier case with Us in CA-G.R. SP No. 28797. To
Our mind, the instant petition is a mere continuation of Further, petitioners contention that a determination
petitioner's dilatory tactics so that plaintiffs, although of the issue of possession should first be resolved before
prevailing party, will not benefit at all from a final the issuance of a writ of possession is untenable.
judgment in their favor. Thus, the instant petition is
Placing private respondents in possession of the
obviously, frivolous and dilatory warranting the
land in question is the necessary and logical effect or
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79

consequence of the decision in Civil Case No. C-9297 the defendant-petitioners to negotiate with the plaintiff-
declaring them as the rightful owners of the respondents for payment in cash of the property subject
property. As correctly argued by the private respondents, of their complaint to avoid demolition or desecration
they do not have to institute another action for the purpose since they benefited from the sale of the burial lots." [15]
of taking possession of the subject realty.
Petitioner likewise asserts that certain facts and In another order dated May 4, 1995, the following
circumstances transpired after the finality of judgment in directive was given, to wit:
Civil Case No. C-9297 which will render the execution of
the said judgment unjust and illegal. It points to the "The court directs and orders the defendant to give
pendency of Civil Case No. C-11337 before the Regional access to the plaintiffs and as proposed by the plaintiffs,
Trial Court of Caloocan City filed by the Republic of the they are given authority to destroy a small portion of the
Philippines against private respondents for nullification of fence so that they can have access to the property. But
22 titles which include the title to the subject property. as to the demolition of the burial lots, negotiation could
Petitioner argues that the pendency of the said case be made by the defendant with the former owner so that
provides a reasonable justification why execution of the cash payment or cash settlement be made." [16]
aforesaid judgment and delivery of possession of the
subject property should be permanently stayed or at least Even the former Presiding Judge Arturo A. Romero,
held in abeyance until after the final resolution of the case. in his Order dated July 20, 1994, imposed the following
limitation on the writ of execution, as follows:
We do not agree.
The pendency of Civil Case No. C-11337 for "Moreover, considering the manifestation that large
annulment of titles filed by the Republic against private areas within the Eternal Gardens have been sold to so
respondents will not justify the suspension of the many persons who now have buried their beloved ones
execution of the judgment in Civil Case No. C-9297. This in the grave lots adjoining the lot in question, it is
is so because the petitioners title which originated from therefore, in the interest of justice and equity, that the
Central Dyeing (TCT No. 205942) was already annulled enforcement of the writ of possession and break open
in the judgment sought to be executed, and which order should be applied only to the gate of Eternal
judgment had long been affirmed by the Court of Appeals Gardens Memorial Park at the eastern side nearest to
and by this Court. Thus, even if, in the remote possibility, the parcel of land in question where the factory of the
the trial court will nullify the said private respondents title defendant is located, in order to avoid disturbing the
in Civil Case No. C-11337, as argued by petitioner, the peace of the resting souls over the graves spread over
supposed adverse decision cannot validate TCT No. the parcels of land within the said memorial park."[17]
205942 and make petitioner the rightful owner of the
subject land. Clearly, the present petition was instituted From the above-mentioned orders, it can be seen
merely to delay the execution of the judgment. that the issue as to the status of the burial lot owners has
Finally, petitioners fear that the grave lots will be been properly addressed.
disturbed, desecrated and destroyed once the execution Be that as it may, the petition has been rendered
of the judgment proceeds is more imagined than real. A moot and academic in view of the fact that the questioned
perusal of the Orders of the trial court with regard to the Alias Writ of Possession dated December 27, 1994 and
execution of the judgment reveals that the interests of said the Alias Writ of Execution dated December 27, 1994
burial lot owners have been taken into account by the trial have already been implemented by the Sheriff as shown
court when it took steps and made suggestions as to how by the Sheriffs Return,[18] dated March 31, 1995, with the
their rights could be amply protected. In its Order dated attached Turn Over Premises[19]indicating therein that
February 13, 1995, the trial court, through Judge Emilio L. private respondents took possession of the subject
Leachon, Jr., stated: property.

"The defendant-petitioner are (sic) however not A note of caution. This case has again delayed the
completely without recourse or remedy because they execution of a final judgment for seventeen (17) years to
can still go after the original party-defendant or transferor the prejudice of the private respondents. In the meantime
of the property in question which is Central Dyeing and that petitioner has thwarted execution, interment on the
Finishing Corporation pursuant to Section 20, Rule 3 of disputed lot has long been going on, so that by the time
the Rules of Court. And should it be difficult or nay this case is finally terminated, the whole lot shall have
impossible for plaintiff-respondents to be placed in already been filled with tombstones, leaving nothing for
possession of the subject property, due to defendant- private respondents, the real owners of the property. This
petitioners' arguments that the same have already been is a mockery of justice.
sold to burial lot buyers, then it should be incumbent for
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80

We note that while lawyers owe entire devotion to the discharge this duty by filing pointless petitions that only
interest of their clients and zeal in the defense of their add to the workload of the judiciary, especially this
client's right, they should not forget that they are officers Court, which is burdened enough as it is. A judicious
of the court, bound to exert every effort to assist in study of the facts and the law should advise them when
the speedy and efficient administration of justice. a case such as this, should not be permitted to be filed
They should not, therefore, misuse the rules of procedure to merely clutter the already congested judicial dockets.
to defeat the ends of justice or unduly delay a case, They do not advance the cause of law or their clients by
impede the execution of a judgment or misuse court commencing litigations that for sheer lack of merit do not
processes.[20] In Banogan et. al. vs. Cerna, et. al.,[21] we deserve the attention of the courts."
ruled:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.
"As officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to
assist in the proper administration of justice. They do not SO ORDERED.

In Re: Almacen, GR No. L-27654

G.R. No. L-27654 February 18, 1970 ... a resolution issue ordering the Clerk of
Court to receive the certificate of the
IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR undersigned attorney and counsellor-at-
DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST ATTY. VICENTE law IN TRUST with reservation that at
RAUL ALMACEN In L-27654, ANTONIO H. CALERO, 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
vs.
the noblest profession.
VIRGINIA Y. YAPTINCHAY.
He reiterated and disclosed to the press the contents of
the aforementioned petition. Thus, on September 26,
RESOLUTION 1967, the Manila Times published statements attributed
to him, as follows:
CASTRO, J.:
Vicente Raul Almacen, in an
Before us is Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen's "Petition to unprecedented petition, said he did it to
Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title," filed on expose the tribunal's "unconstitutional
September 25, 1967, in protest against what he therein and obnoxious" practice of arbitrarily
asserts is "a great injustice committed against his client denying petitions or appeals without any
by this Supreme Court." He indicts this Court, in his own reason.
phrase, as a tribunal "peopled by men who are calloused
to our pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons their Because of the tribunal's "short-cut
own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations justice," Almacen deplored, his client
of the Constitution with impunity." His client's he was condemned to pay P120,000,
continues, who was deeply aggrieved by this Court's without knowing why he lost the case.
"unjust judgment," has become "one of the sacrificial
victims before the altar of hypocrisy." In the same breath
xxx xxx xxx
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 There is no use continuing his law
Court is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb." He then practice, Almacen said in this
vows to argue the cause of his client "in the people's petition, "where our Supreme Court is
forum," so that "the people may know of the silent composed of men who are calloused to
injustice's committed by this Court," and that "whatever our pleas for justice, who ignore without
mistakes, wrongs and injustices that were committed reason their own applicable decisions
must never be repeated." He ends his petition with a and commit culpable violations of the
prayer that Constitution with impunity.

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81

xxx xxx xxx Construction & Co., L-16636, June 24, 1965, dismissed
the appeal, in the following words:
He expressed the hope that by divesting
himself of his title by which he earns his Upon consideration of the motion dated
living, the present members of the March 27, 1967, filed by plaintiff-appellee
Supreme Court "will become responsive praying that the appeal be dismissed,
to all cases brought to its attention and of the opposition thereto filed by
without discrimination, and will purge defendant-appellant; the Court
itself of those unconstitutional and RESOLVED TO DISMISS, as it hereby
obnoxious "lack of merit" or "denied dismisses, the appeal, for the reason that
resolutions. (Emphasis supplied) the motion for reconsideration dated July
5, 1966 (pp. 90-113, printed record on
Atty. Almacen's statement that appeal) does not contain a notice of time
and place of hearing thereof and is,
therefore, a useless piece of paper
... our own Supreme Court is composed
(Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs.
of men who are calloused to our pleas of
Batu Construction & Co., G.R. No. L-
[sic] justice, who ignore their own
16636, June 24, 1965), which did not
applicable decisions and commit
interrupt the running of the period to
culpable violations of the Constitution
appeal, and, consequently, the appeal
with impunity
was perfected out of time.
was quoted by columnist Vicente Albano Pacis in the
Atty. Almacen moved to reconsider this resolution, urging
issue of the Manila Chronicle of September 28, 1967. In
that Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. is not decisive. At the
connection therewith, Pacis commented that Atty.
same time he filed a pleading entitled "Latest decision of
Almacen had "accused the high tribunal of offenses so
the Supreme Court in Support of Motion for
serious that the Court must clear itself," and that "his
Reconsideration," citing Republic of the Philippines vs.
charge is one of the constitutional bases for
Gregorio A. Venturanza, L-20417, decided by this Court
impeachment."
on May 30, 1966, as the applicable case. Again, the Court
of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration, thus:
The genesis of this unfortunate incident was a civil case
entitled Virginia Y. Yaptinchay vs. Antonio H. Calero, 1 in
Before this Court for resolution are the
which Atty. Almacen was counsel for the defendant. The
motion dated May 9, 1967 and the
trial court, after due hearing, rendered judgment against
supplement thereto of the same date filed
his client. On June 15, 1966 Atty. Almacen received a
by defendant- appellant, praying for
copy of the decision. Twenty days later, or on July 5,
reconsideration of the resolution of May
1966, he moved for its reconsideration. He served on the
8, 1967, dismissing the appeal.
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 Appellant contends that there are some
execution of the judgment. For "lack of proof of service," important distinctions between this case
the trial court denied both motions. To prove that he did and that of Manila Surety and Fidelity
serve on the adverse party a copy of his first motion for Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction &
reconsideration, Atty. Almacen filed on August 17, 1966 a Co., G.R. No. L- 16636, June 24, 1965,
second motion for reconsideration to which he attached relied upon by this Court in its resolution
the required registry return card. This second motion for of May 8, 1967. Appellant further states
reconsideration, however, was ordered withdrawn by the that in the latest case, Republic vs.
trial court on August 30, 1966, upon verbal motion of Atty. Venturanza, L-20417, May 30, 1966,
Almacen himself, who, earlier, that is, on August 22, 1966, decided by the Supreme Court
had already perfected the appeal. Because the plaintiff concerning the question raised by
interposed no objection to the record on appeal and appellant's motion, the ruling is contrary
appeal bond, the trial court elevated the case to the Court to the doctrine laid down in the Manila
of Appeals. Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. case.

But the Court of Appeals, on the authority of this Court's There is no substantial distinction
decision in Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu between this case and that of Manila
Surety & Fidelity Co.

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82

In the case of Republic vs. Venturanza, In the exercise of its inherent power to discipline a
the resolution denying the motion to member of the bar for contumely and gross misconduct,
dismiss the appeal, based on grounds this Court on November 17, 1967 resolved to require Atty.
similar to those raised herein was issued Almacen to show cause "why no disciplinary action should
on November 26, 1962, which was much be taken against him." Denying the charges contained in
earlier than the date of promulgation of the November 17 resolution, he asked for permission "to
the decision in the Manila Surety Case, give reasons and cause why no disciplinary action should
which was June 24, 1965. Further, the be taken against him ... in an open and public hearing."
resolution in the Venturanza case was This Court resolved (on December 7) "to require Atty.
interlocutory and the Supreme Court Almacen to state, within five days from notice hereof, his
issued it "without prejudice to appellee's reasons for such request, otherwise, oral argument shall
restoring the point in the brief." In the be deemed waived and incident submitted for decision."
main decision in said case (Rep. vs. To this resolution he manifested that since this Court is
Venturanza the Supreme Court passed "the complainant, prosecutor and Judge," he preferred to
upon the issue sub silencio presumably be heard and to answer questions "in person and in an
because of its prior decisions contrary to open and public hearing" so that this Court could observe
the resolution of November 26, 1962, one his sincerity and candor. He also asked for leave to file a
of which is that in the Manila Surety and written explanation "in the event this Court has no time to
Fidelity case. Therefore Republic vs. hear him in person." To give him the ampliest latitude for
Venturanza is no authority on the matter his defense, he was allowed to file a written explanation
in issue. and thereafter was heard in oral argument.

Atty. Almacen then appealed to this Court by certiorari. His written answer, as undignified and cynical as it is
We refused to take the case, and by minute resolution unchastened, offers -no apology. Far from being contrite
denied the appeal. Denied shortly thereafter was his Atty. Almacen unremittingly repeats his jeremiad of
motion for reconsideration as well as his petition for leave lamentations, this time embellishing it with abundant
to file a second motion for reconsideration and for sarcasm and innuendo. Thus:
extension of time. Entry of judgment was made on
September 8, 1967. Hence, the second motion for At the start, let me quote passages from
reconsideration filed by him after the Said date was the Holy Bible, Chapter 7, St. Matthew:
ordered expunged from the records. —

It was at this juncture that Atty. Almacen gave vent to his "Do not judge, that you
disappointment by filing his "Petition to Surrender may not be judged. For
Lawyer's Certificate of Title," already adverted to — a with what judgment you
pleading that is interspersed from beginning to end with judge, you shall be
the insolent contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and judged, and with what
derogatory remarks hereinbefore reproduced, against this measure you measure, it
Court as well as its individual members, a behavior that is shall be measured to
as unprecedented as it is unprofessional. you. But why dost thou
see the speck in thy
Nonetheless we decided by resolution dated September brother's eye, and yet
28, 1967 to withhold action on his petition until he shall dost not consider the
have actually surrendered his certificate. Patiently, we beam in thy own eye? Or
waited for him to make good his proffer. No word came how can thou say to thy
from him. So he was reminded to turn over his certificate, brother, "Let me cast out
which he had earlier vociferously offered to surrender, so the speck from thy eye";
that this Court could act on his petition. To said reminder and behold, there is a
he manifested "that he has no pending petition in beam in thy own eye?
connection with Case G.R. No. L-27654, Calero vs. Thou hypocrite, first cast
Yaptinchay, said case is now final and executory;" that out the beam from thy
this Court's September 28, 1967 resolution did not require own eye, and then thou
him to do either a positive or negative act; and that since wilt see clearly to cast
his offer was not accepted, he "chose to pursue the out the speck from thy
negative act." brother's eyes."

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"Therefore all that you notwithstanding the violation of the


wish men to do to you, Constitution, you remained unpunished,
even to do you also to this Court in the reverse order of natural
them: for this is the Law things, is now in the attempt to inflict
and the Prophets." punishment on your respondent for acts
he said in good faith.
xxx xxx xxx
Did His Honors care to listen to our
Your respondent has no intention of pleadings and supplications for
disavowing the statements mentioned in JUSTICE, CHARITY, GENEROSITY and
his petition. On the contrary, he refirms FAIRNESS? Did His Honors attempt to
the truth of what he stated, compatible justify their stubborn denial with any
with his lawyer's oath that he will do no semblance of reason, NEVER. Now that
falsehood, nor consent to the doing of your respondent is given the opportunity
any in court. But he vigorously DENY to face you, he reiterates the same
under oath that the underscored statement with emphasis, DID YOU? Sir.
statements contained in the CHARGE Is this. the way of life in the Philippines
are insolent, contemptuous, grossly today, that even our own President, said:
disrespectful and derogatory to the — "the story is current, though nebulous
individual members of the Court; that ,is to its truth, it is still being circulated
they tend to bring the entire Court, that justice in the Philippines today is not
without justification, into disrepute; and what it is used to be before the war.
constitute conduct unbecoming of a There are those who have told me frankly
member of the noble profession of law. and brutally that justice is a commodity, a
marketable commodity in the
Philippines."
xxx xxx xxx

xxx xxx xxx


Respondent stands four-square that his
statement is borne by TRUTH and has
been asserted with NO MALICE We condemn the SIN, not the SINNER.
BEFORE AND AFTER THOUGHT but We detest the ACTS, not the ACTOR.
mainly motivated with the highest interest We attack the decision of this Court, not
of justice that in the particular case of our the members. ... We were provoked. We
client, the members have shown were compelled by force of necessity.
callousness to our various pleas for We were angry but we waited for the
JUSTICE, our pleadings will bear us on finality of the decision. We waited until
this matter, ... this Court has performed its duties. We
never interfered nor obstruct in the
performance of their duties. But in the
xxx xxx xxx
end, after seeing that the Constitution
has placed finality on your judgment
To all these beggings, supplications, against our client and sensing that you
words of humility, appeals for charity, have not performed your duties with
generosity, fairness, understanding, "circumspection, carefulness, confidence
sympathy and above all in the highest and wisdom", your Respondent rise to
interest of JUSTICE, — what did we get claim his God given right to speak the
from this COURT? One word, DENIED, truth and his Constitutional right of free
with all its hardiness and insensibility. speech.
That was the unfeeling of the Court
towards our pleas and prayers, in simple
xxx xxx xxx
word, it is plain callousness towards our
particular case.
The INJUSTICES which we have
attributed to this Court and the further
xxx xxx xxx
violations we sought to be prevented is
impliedly shared by our President. ... .
Now that your respondent has the guts to
tell the members of the Court that
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84

xxx xxx xxx Court, there is no choice, we must uphold


the latter.
What has been abhored and condemned, are the very
things that were applied to us. Recalling Madam Roland's But overlooking, for the nonce, the vituperative chaff
famous apostrophe during the French revolution, "O which he claims is not intended as a studied disrespect to
Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name", we may this Court, let us examine the grain of his grievances.
dare say, "O JUSTICE, what technicalities are committed
in thy name' or more appropriately, 'O JUSTICE, what He chafes at the minute resolution denial of his petition for
injustices are committed in thy name." review. We are quite aware of the criticisms 2 expressed
against this Court's practice of rejecting petitions by
xxx xxx xxx minute resolutions. We have been asked to do away with
it, to state the facts and the law, and to spell out the
We must admit that this Court is not free reasons for denial. We have given this suggestion very
from commission of any abuses, but who careful thought. For we know the abject frustration of a
would correct such abuses considering lawyer who tediously collates the facts and for many
that yours is a court of last resort. A weary hours meticulously marshalls his arguments, only
strong public opinion must be generated to have his efforts rebuffed with a terse unadorned denial.
so as to curtail these abuses. Truth to tell, however, most petitions rejected by this Court
are utterly frivolous and ought never to have been lodged
xxx xxx xxx at all.3 The rest do exhibit a first-impression cogency, but
fail to, withstand critical scrutiny. By and large, this Court
has been generous in giving due course to petitions
The phrase, Justice is blind is symbolize for certiorari.
in paintings that can be found in all courts
and government offices. We have added
Be this as it may, were we to accept every case or write a
only two more symbols, that it is also deaf
full opinion for every petition we reject, we would be
and dumb. Deaf in the sense that no
unable to carry out effectively the burden placed upon us
members of this Court has ever heard our
by the Constitution. The proper role of the Supreme Court,
cries for charity, generosity, fairness,
as Mr. Chief Justice Vinson of the U.S. Supreme Court
understanding sympathy and for justice;
has defined it, is to decide "only those cases which
dumb in the sense, that inspite of our
present questions whose resolutions will have immediate
beggings, supplications, and pleadings to
importance beyond the particular facts and parties
give us reasons why our appeal has been
involved." Pertinent here is the observation of Mr. Justice
DENIED, not one word was spoken or
Frankfurter in Maryland vs. Baltimore Radio Show, 94 L.
given ... We refer to no human defect or
ed 562, 566:
ailment in the above statement. We only
describe the. impersonal state of things
and nothing more. A variety of considerations underlie
denials of the writ, and as to the same
petition different reasons may read
xxx xxx xxx
different justices to the same result ... .
As we have stated, we have lost our faith
Since there are these conflicting, and, to
and confidence in the members of this
the uninformed, even confusing reasons
Court and for which reason we offered to
for denying petitions for certiorari, it has
surrender our lawyer's certificate, IN
been suggested from time to time that the
TRUST ONLY. Because what has been
Court indicate its reasons for denial.
lost today may be regained tomorrow. As
Practical considerations preclude. In
the offer was intended as our self-
order that the Court may be enabled to
imposed sacrifice, then we alone may
discharge its indispensable duties,
decide as to when we must end our self-
Congress has placed the control of the
sacrifice. If we have to choose between
Court's business, in effect, within the
forcing ourselves to have faith and
Court's discretion. During the last three
confidence in the members of the Court
terms the Court disposed of 260, 217,
but disregard our Constitution and to
224 cases, respectively, on their merits.
uphold the Constitution and be
For the same three terms the Court
condemned by the members of this
denied, respectively, 1,260, 1,105,1,189

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85

petitions calling for discretionary review. Review of Court of Appeals' decision


If the Court is to do its work it would not discretionary.—A review is not a matter
be feasible to give reasons, however of right but of sound judicial discretion,
brief, for refusing to take these cases. and will be granted only when there are
The tune that would be required is special and important reasons therefor.
prohibitive. Apart from the fact that as The following, while neither controlling
already indicated different reasons not nor fully measuring the court's discretion,
infrequently move different members of indicate the character of reasons which
the Court in concluding that a particular will be considered:
case at a particular time makes review
undesirable. (a) When the Court of Appeals has
decided a question of substance, not
Six years ago, in Novino, et al., vs. Court of Appeals, et theretofore determined by the Supreme
al., 1,21098, May 31, 1963 (60 O.G. 8099), this Court, Court, nor has decided it in a way
through the then Chief Justice Cesar Bengzon, articulated probably not in accord with law or with the
its considered view on this matter. There, the petitioners applicable decisions of the Supreme
counsel urged that a "lack of merit" resolution violates Court;
Section 12 of Article VIII of the Constitution. Said Chief
Justice Bengzon: (b) When the Court of Appeals has so far
departed from the accepted and usual
In connection with identical short course of judicial proceedings, or so far
resolutions, the same question has been sanctioned such departure by the lower
raised before; and we held that these court, as to call for the exercise of the
"resolutions" are not "decisions" within power of supervision.
the above constitutional requirement.
They merely hold that the petition for Recalling Atty. Almacen's petition for review, we found,
review should not be entertained in view upon a thoroughgoing examination of the pleadings. and
of the provisions of Rule 46 of the Rules records, that the Court of Appeals had fully and correctly
of Court; and even ordinary lawyers have considered the dismissal of his appeal in the light of the
all this time so understood it. It should be law and applicable decisions of this Court. Far from
remembered that a petition to review the straying away from the "accepted and usual course of
decision of the Court of Appeals is not a judicial proceedings," it traced the procedural lines etched
matter of right, but of sound judicial by this Court in a number of decisions. There was,
discretion; and so there is no need to fully therefore, no need for this Court to exercise its
explain the court's denial. For one thing, supervisory power.
the facts and the law are already
mentioned in the Court of Appeals' As a law practitioner who was admitted to the Bar as far
opinion. back as 1941, Atty. Almacen knew — or ought to have
known — that for a motion for reconsideration to stay the
By the way, this mode of disposal has — running of the period of appeal, the movant must not only
as intended — helped the Court in serve a copy of the motion upon the adverse party (which
alleviating its heavy docket; it was he did), but also notify the adverse party of the time and
patterned after the practice of the U.S. place of hearing (which admittedly he did not). This rule
Supreme Court, wherein petitions for was unequivocally articulated in Manila Surety & Fidelity
review are often merely ordered vs. Batu Construction & Co., supra:
"dismissed".
The written notice referred to evidently is
We underscore the fact that cases taken to this Court on prescribed for motions in general by Rule
petitions for certiorari from the Court of Appeals have had 15, Sections 4 and 5 (formerly Rule 26),
the benefit of appellate review. Hence, the need for which provides that such notice shall
compelling reasons to buttress such petitions if this Court state the time, and place of hearing and
is to be moved into accepting them. For it is axiomatic that shall be served upon all the Parties
the supervisory jurisdiction vested upon this Court over concerned at least three days in
the Court of Appeals is not intended to give every losing advance. And according to Section 6 of
party another hearing. This axiom is implied in sec. 4 of the same Rule no motion shall be acted
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which recites: upon by the court without proof of such

85
86

notice. Indeed it has been held that in with "imminent danger to the administration of justice," is
such a case the motion is nothing but a the reason why courts have been loath to inflict
useless piece of paper (Philippine punishment on those who assail their actuations. 9 This
National Bank v. Damasco, I,18638, Feb. danger lurks especially in such a case as this where those
28, 1963; citing Manakil v. Revilla, 42 who Sit as members of an entire Court are themselves
Phil. 81; Roman Catholic Bishop of Lipa collectively the aggrieved parties.
v. Municipality of Unisan, 41 Phil. 866;
and Director of Lands vs. Sanz, 45 Phil. Courts thus treat with forbearance and restraint a lawyer
117). The reason is obvious: Unless the who vigorously assails their actuations. 10 For courageous
movant sets the time and place of and fearless advocates are the strands that weave
hearing the Court would have no way to durability into the tapestry of justice. Hence, as citizen and
determine whether that party agrees to or officer of the court, every lawyer is expected not only to
objects to the motion, and if he objects, exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to expose
to hear him on his objection, since the the shortcomings and indiscretions of courts and
Rules themselves do not fix any period judges. 11
within which he may file his reply or
opposition. Courts and judges are not sacrosanct. 12 They should and
expect critical evaluation of their performance. 13 For like
If Atty. Almacen failed to move the appellate court to the executive and the legislative branches, the judiciary is
review the lower court's judgment, he has only himself to rooted in the soil of democratic society, nourished by the
blame. His own negligence caused the forfeiture of the periodic appraisal of the citizens whom it is expected to
remedy of appeal, which, incidentally, is not a matter of serve.
right. To shift away from himself the consequences of his
carelessness, he looked for a "whipping boy." But he Well-recognized therefore is the right of a lawyer, both as
made sure that he assumed the posture of a martyr, and, an officer of the court and as a citizen, to criticize in
in offering to surrender his professional certificate, he took properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels
the liberty of vilifying this Court and inflicting his the acts of courts and judges. The reason is that
exacerbating rancor on the members thereof. It would
thus appear that there is no justification for his scurrilous
and scandalous outbursts. An attorney does not surrender, in
assuming the important place accorded
to him in the administration of justice, his
Nonetheless we gave this unprecedented act of Atty.
right as a citizen to criticize the decisions
Almacen the most circumspect consideration. We know
of the courts in a fair and respectful
that it is natural for a lawyer to express his dissatisfaction manner, and the independence of the
each time he loses what he sanguinely believes to be a bar, as well as of the judiciary, has
meritorious case. That is why lawyers are given 'wide always been encouraged by the courts.
latitude to differ with, and voice their disapproval of, not (In re Ades, 6 F Supp. 487) .
only the courts' rulings but, also the manner in which they
are handed down.
Criticism of the courts has, indeed, been an important part
of the traditional work of the bar. In the prosecution of
Moreover, every citizen has the right to comment upon appeals, he points out the errors of lower courts. In written
and criticize the actuations of public officers. This right is for law journals he dissects with detachment the doctrinal
not diminished by the fact that the criticism is aimed at a pronouncements of courts and fearlessly lays bare for -all
judicial authority,4 or that it is articulated by a to see that flaws and inconsistence" of the doctrines (Hill
lawyer.5 Such right is especially recognized where the v. Lyman, 126 NYS 2d 286). As aptly stated by Chief
criticism concerns a concluded litigation,6 because then Justice Sharswood in Ex Parte Steinman, 40 Am. Rep.
the court's actuations are thrown open to public 641:
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 No class of the community ought to be
undoubted right to comment on them, criticize and allowed freer scope in the expansion or
censure them as they see fit. Judicial officers, like other publication of opinions as to the capacity,
public servants, must answer for their official actions impartiality or integrity of judges than
before the chancery of public opinion." members of the bar. They have the best
opportunities for observing and forming a
correct judgment. They are in constant
The likely danger of confusing the fury of human reaction attendance on the courts. ... To say that
to an attack on one's integrity, competence and honesty,
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an attorney can only act or speak on this the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office,
subject under liability to be called to but for the maintenance of its supreme importance."
account and to be deprived of his
profession and livelihood, by the judge or As Mr. Justice Field puts it:
judges whom he may consider it his duty
to attack and expose, is a position too ... the obligation which attorneys
monstrous to be
impliedly assume, if they do not by
entertained. ... . express declaration take upon
themselves, when they are admitted to
Hence, as a citizen and as Officer of the court a lawyer is the Bar, is not merely to be obedient to
expected not only to exercise the right, but also to the Constitution and laws, but to maintain
consider it his duty to avail of such right. No law may at all times the respect due to courts of
abridge this right. Nor is he "professionally answerable for justice and judicial officers. This
a scrutiny into the official conduct of the judges, which obligation is not discharged by merely
would not expose him to legal animadversion as a observing the rules of courteous
citizen." (Case of Austin, 28 Am. Dee. 657, 665). demeanor in open court, but includes
abstaining out of court from all insulting
Above all others, the members of the bar language and offensive conduct toward
have the beat Opportunity to become judges personally for their judicial acts.
conversant with the character and (Bradley, v. Fisher, 20 Law. 4d. 647, 652)
efficiency of our judges. No class is less
likely to abuse the privilege, as no other The lawyer's duty to render respectful subordination to the
class has as great an interest in the courts is essential to the orderly administration of justice.
preservation of an able and upright Hence, in the — assertion of their clients' rights, lawyers
bench. (State Board of Examiners in Law — even those gifted with superior intellect are enjoined to
v. Hart, 116 N.W. 212, 216) rein up their tempers.

To curtail the right of a lawyer to be critical of the foibles The counsel in any case may or may not
of courts and judges is to seal the lips of those in the best be an abler or more learned lawyer than
position to give advice and who might consider it their duty the judge, and it may tax his patience and
to speak disparagingly. "Under such a rule," so far as the temper to submit to rulings which he
bar is concerned, "the merits of a sitting judge may be regards as incorrect, but discipline and
rehearsed, but as to his demerits there must be profound self-respect are as necessary to the
silence." (State v. Circuit Court, 72 N.W. 196) orderly administration of justice as they
are to the effectiveness of an army. The
But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it decisions of the judge must be obeyed,
shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of because he is the tribunal appointed to
decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair decide, and the bar should at all times be
criticism, on the One hand, and abuse and slander of the foremost in rendering respectful
courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate submission. (In Re Scouten, 40 Atl. 481)
and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of
respect to courts. It is Such a misconduct that subjects a We concede that a lawyer may think
lawyer to disciplinary action. highly of his intellectual endowment That
is his privilege. And he may suffer
For, membership in the Bar imposes upon a person frustration at what he feels is others' lack
obligations and duties which are not mere flux and of it. That is his misfortune. Some such
ferment. His investiture into the legal profession places frame of mind, however, should not be
upon his shoulders no burden more basic, more exacting allowed to harden into a belief that he
and more imperative than that of respectful behavior may attack a court's decision in words
toward the courts. He vows solemnly to conduct himself calculated to jettison the time-honored
"with all good fidelity ... to the courts; 14 and the Rules of aphorism that courts are the temples of
Court constantly remind him "to observe and maintain the right. (Per Justice Sanchez in Rheem of
respect due to courts of justice and judicial the Philippines vs. Ferrer, L-22979. June
officers." 15 The first canon of legal ethics enjoins him "to 26, 1967)
maintain towards the courts a respectful attitude, not for

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In his relations with the courts, a lawyer may not divide his judicial office to enable -said bank to keep that money."
personality so as to be an attorney at one time and a mere Said the court:
citizen at another. Thus, statements made by an attorney
in private conversations or communications 16 or in the We are aware that there is a line of
course of a political, campaign, 17 if couched in insulting authorities which place no limit to the
language as to bring into scorn and disrepute the criticism members of the bar may make
administration of justice, may subject the attorney to regarding the capacity, impartiality, or
disciplinary action. integrity of the courts, even though it
extends to the deliberate publication by
Of fundamental pertinence at this juncture is an the attorney capable of correct reasoning
examination of relevant parallel precedents. of baseless insinuations against the
intelligence and integrity of the highest
1. Admitting that a "judge as a public official is neither courts. See State Board, etc. v. Hart. 116
sacrosanct nor immune to public criticism of his conduct N.W. 212, 17 LRA (N.S.) 585, 15 Ann
in office," the Supreme Court of Florida in State v. Cas 197 and note: Ex parte Steinman 95
Calhoon, 102 So. 2d 604, 608, nevertheless declared that Pac. 220, 40 Am. Rep. 637. In the first
"any conduct of a lawyer which brings into scorn and case mentioned it was observed, for
disrepute the administration of justice demands instance:
condemnation and the application of appropriate
penalties," adding that: "It may be (although we
do not so decide) that a
It would be contrary to, every democratic libelous publication by
theory to hold that a judge or a court is an attorney, directed
beyond bona fide comments and against a judicial officer,
criticisms which do not exceed the could be so vile and of
bounds of decency and truth or which are such a nature as to
not aimed at. the destruction of public justify the disbarment of
confidence in the judicial system as such. its author."
However, when the likely impairment of
the administration of justice the direct Yet the false charges made by an
product of false and scandalous attorney in that case were of graver
accusations then the rule is otherwise. character than those made by the
respondent here. But, in our view, the
2. In In Re Glenn, 130 N.W. 2d 672, an attorney was better rule is that which requires of those
suspended for putting out and circulating a leaflet entitled who are permitted to enjoy the privilege
"JUSTICE??? IN OTUMWA," which accused a municipal of practicing law the strictest observance
judge of having committed judicial error, of being so at all times of the principles of truth,
prejudiced as to deny his clients a fair trial on appeal and honesty and fairness, especially in their
of being subject to the control of a group of city officials. criticism of the courts, to the end that the
As a prefatory statement he wrote: "They say that Justice public confidence in the due
is BLIND, but it took Municipal Judge Willard to prove that administration of justice be upheld, and
it is also DEAF and DUMB!" The court did not hesitate to the dignity and usefulness of the courts
find that the leaflet went much further than the accused, be maintained. In re Collins, 81 Pac. 220.
as a lawyer, had a right to do.
4. In People ex rel Chicago Bar Asso. v. Metzen, 123 N.E.
The entire publication evidences a desire 734, an attorney, representing a woman who had been
on the part Of the accused to belittle and granted a divorce, attacked the judge who set aside the
besmirch the court and to bring it into decree on bill of review. He wrote the judge a threatening
disrepute with the general public. letter and gave the press the story of a proposed libel suit
against the judge and others. The letter began:
3. In In Re Humphrey, 163 Pac. 60, the Supreme Court of
California affirmed the two-year suspension of an attorney Unless the record in In re Petersen v.
who published a circular assailing a judge who at that time Petersen is cleared up so that my name
was a candidate for re-election to a judicial office. The is protected from the libel, lies, and
circular which referred to two decisions of the judge perjury committed in the cases involved,
concluded with a statement that the judge "used his I shall be compelled to resort to such

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drastic action as the law allows and the decisions of the courts of this state, in
case warrants. cases that have reached final
determination, are not exempt from fair
Further, he said: "However let me assure you I do not and honest comment and criticism. It is
intend to allow such dastardly work to go unchallenged," only when an attorney transcends the
and said that he was engaged in dealing with men and not limits of legitimate criticism that he will be
irresponsible political manikins or appearances of men. held responsible for an abuse of his
Ordering the attorney's disbarment, the Supreme Court of liberty of speech. We well understand
Illinois declared: that an independent bar, as well as
independent court, is always a vigilant
defender of civil rights. In Re Troy, 111
... Judges are not exempt from just
Atl. 723. 725.
criticism, and whenever there is proper
ground for serious complaint against a
judge, it is the right and duty of a lawyer 6. In In Re Rockmore, 111 NYS 879, an attorney was
to submit his grievances to the proper suspended for six months for submitting to an appellate
authorities, but the public interest and the court an affidavit reflecting upon the judicial integrity of the
administration of the law demand that the court from which the appeal was taken. Such action, the
courts should have the confidence and Court said, constitutes unprofessional conduct justifying
respect of the people. Unjust criticism, suspension from practice, notwithstanding that he fully
insulting language, and offensive retracted and withdrew the statements, and asserted that
conduct toward the judges personally by the affidavit was the result of an impulse caused by what
attorneys, who are officers of the court, he considered grave injustice. The Court said:
which tend to bring the courts and the law
into disrepute and to destroy public We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that
confidence in their integrity, cannot be there is a growing habit in the profession
permitted. The letter written to the judge of criticising the motives and integrity of
was plainly an attempt to intimidate and judicial officers in the discharge of their
influence him in the discharge of judicial duties, and thereby reflecting on the
functions, and the bringing of the administration of justice and creating the
unauthorized suit, together with the write- impression that judicial action is
up in the Sunday papers, was intended influenced by corrupt or improper
and calculated to bring the court into motives. Every attorney of this court, as
disrepute with the public. well as every other citizen, has the right
and it is his duty, to submit charges to the
5. In a public speech, a Rhode Island lawyer accused the authorities in whom is vested the power
courts of the state of being influenced by corruption and to remove judicial officers for any conduct
greed, saying that the seats of the Supreme Court were or act of a judicial officer that tends to
bartered. It does not appear that the attorney had show a violation of his duties, or would
criticized any of the opinions or decisions of the Court. justify an inference that he is false to his
The lawyer was charged with unprofessional conduct, and trust, or has improperly administered the
was ordered suspended for a period of two years. The duties devolved upon him; and such
Court said: charges to the tribunal, if based upon
reasonable inferences, will be
encouraged, and the person making
A calumny of that character, if believed,
them
would tend to weaken the authority of the
protected. ... While we recognize the
court against whose members it was
inherent right of an attorney in a case
made, bring its judgments into contempt,
decided against him, or the right of the
undermine its influence as an unbiased
arbiter of the people's right, and interfere Public generally, to criticise the decisions
of the courts, or the reasons announced
with the administration of justice. ...
for them, the habit of criticising the
motives of judicial officers in the
Because a man is a member of the bar performance of their official duties, when
the court will not, under the guise of the proceeding is not against the officers
disciplinary proceedings, deprive him of whose acts or motives are criticised,
any part of that freedom of speech which tends to subvert the confidence of the
he possesses as a citizen. The acts and community in the courts of justice and in
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the administration of justice; and when and ideals of government. No right


such charges are made by officers of the thinking man would concede for a
courts, who are bound by their duty to moment that the best interest to private
protect the administration of justice, the citizens, as well as to public officials,
attorney making such charges is guilty of whether he labors in a judicial capacity or
professional misconduct. otherwise, would be served by denying
this right of free speech to any individual.
7. In In Re Mitchell, 71 So. 467, a lawyer published this But such right does not have as its
statement: corollary that members of the bar who are
sworn to act honestly and honorably both
with their client and with the courts where
I accepted the decision in this case,
justice is administered, if administered at
however, with patience, barring possible
all, could ever properly serve their client
temporary observations more or less
or the public good by designedly
vituperative and finally concluded, that,
misstating facts or carelessly asserting
as my clients were foreigners, it might
the law. Truth and honesty of purpose by
have been expecting too much to look for
members of the bar in such discussion is
a decision in their favor against a widow
necessary. The health of a municipality is
residing here.
none the less impaired by a polluted
water supply than is the health of the
The Supreme Court of Alabama declared that: thought of a community toward the
judiciary by the filthy wanton, and
... the expressions above set out, not only malignant misuse of members of the bar
transcend the bounds of propriety and of the confidence the public, through its
privileged criticism, but are an duly established courts, has reposed in
unwarranted attack, direct, or by them to deal with the affairs of the private
insinuation and innuendo, upon the individual, the protection of whose rights
motives and integrity of this court, and he lends his strength and money to
make out a prima facie case of improper maintain the judiciary. For such conduct
conduct upon the part of a lawyer who on the part of the members of the bar the
holds a license from this court and who is law itself demands retribution — not the
under oath to demean himself with all court.
good fidelity to the court as well as to his
client. 9. In Bar Ass'n of San Francisco v. Philbrook, 170 Pac.
440, the filing of an affidavit by an attorney in a pending
The charges, however, were dismissed after the attorney action using in respect to the several judges the terms
apologized to the Court. criminal corrupt, and wicked conspiracies,," "criminal
confederates," "colossal and confident insolence,"
8. In State ex rel. Dabney v. Breckenridge, 258 Pac. 747, "criminal prosecution," "calculated brutality," "a corrupt
an attorney published in a newspaper an article in which deadfall," and similar phrases, was considered conduct
he impugned the motives of the court and its members to unbecoming of a member of the bar, and the name of the
try a case, charging the court of having arbitrarily and for erring lawyer was ordered stricken from the roll of
a sinister purpose undertaken to suspend the writ attorneys.
of habeas corpus. The Court suspended the respondent
for 30 days, saying that: 10. In State Board of Examiners v. Hart, 116 N.W. 215,
the erring attorney claimed that greater latitude should be
The privileges which the law gives to allowed in case of criticism of cases finally adjudicated
members of the bar is one most than in those pending. This lawyer wrote a personal letter
subversive of the public good, if the to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Minnesota
conduct of such members does not impugning both the intelligence and the integrity of the
measure up to the requirements of the said Chief Justice and his associates in the decisions of
law itself, as well as to the ethics of the certain appeals in which he had been attorney for the
profession. ... defeated litigants. The letters were published in a
newspaper. One of the letters contained this paragraph:
The right of free speech and free
discussion as to judicial determination is You assigned it (the property involved) to
of prime importance under our system one who has no better right to it than the
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burglar to his plunder. It seems like by a jury. "The sending of a libelous


robbing a widow to reward a fraud, with communication or libelous matter to the
the court acting as a fence, or umpire, person defamed does not constitute an
watchful and vigilant that the widow got actionable publication." 18 Am. & Eng.
no undue Enc. Law (2d Ed.) p. 1017. In these
advantage. ... The point is this: Is a respects the sending by the accused of
proper motive for the decisions this letter to the Chief Justice was wholly
discoverable, short of assigning to the different from his other acts charged in
court emasculated intelligence, or a the accusation, and, as we have said,
constipation of morals and faithlessness wholly different principles are applicable
to duty? If the state bar association, or a thereto.
committee chosen from its rank, or the
faculty of the University Law School, The conduct of the accused was in every
aided by the researches of its hundreds way discreditable; but so far as he
of bright, active students, or if any exercised the rights of a citizen,
member of the court, or any other person, guaranteed by the Constitution and
can formulate a statement of a correct sanctioned by considerations of public
motive for the decision, which shall not policy, to which reference has been
require fumigation before it is stated, and made, he was immune, as we hold, from
quarantine after it is made, it will gratify the penalty here sought to be enforced.
every right-minded citizen of the state to To that extent his rights as a citizen were
read it. paramount to the obligation which he had
assumed as an officer of this court.
The Supreme Court of Minnesota, in ordering the When, however he proceeded and thus
suspension of the attorney for six months, delivered its assailed the Chief Justice personally, he
opinion as follows: exercised no right which the court can
recognize, but, on the contrary, willfully
The question remains whether the violated his obligation to maintain the
accused was guilty of professional respect due to courts and judicial officers.
misconduct in sending to the Chief "This obligation is not discharged by
Justice the letter addressed to him. This merely observing the rules of courteous
was done, as we have found, for the very demeanor in open court, but it includes
purpose of insulting him and the other abstaining out of court from all insulting
justices of this court; and the insult was language and offensive conduct toward
so directed to the Chief Justice the judges personally for their official
personally because of acts done by him acts." Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. (U.S.)
and his associates in their official 355, 20 L. Ed. 646. And there appears to
capacity. Such a communication, so be no distinction, as regards the principle
made, could never subserve any good involved, between the indignity of an
purpose. Its only effect in any case would assault by an attorney upon a judge,
be to gratify the spite of an angry attorney induced by his official act, and a personal
and humiliate the officers so assailed. It insult for like cause by written or spoken
would not and could not ever enlighten words addressed to the judge in his
the public in regard to their judicial chambers or at his home or elsewhere.
capacity or integrity. Nor was it an Either act constitutes misconduct wholly
exercise by the accused of any different from criticism of judicial acts
constitutional right, or of any privilege addressed or spoken to others. The
which any reputable attorney, distinction made is, we think entirely
uninfluenced by passion, could ever have logical and well sustained by authority. It
any occasion or desire to assert. No was recognized in Ex
judicial officer, with due regard to his parte McLeod supra. While the court in
position, can resent such an insult that case, as has been shown, fully
otherwise than by methods sanctioned sustained the right of a citizen to criticise
by law; and for any words, oral or written, rulings of the court in actions which are
however abusive, vile, or indecent, ended, it held that one might be
addressed secretly to the judge alone, he summarily punished for assaulting a
can have no redress in any action triable judicial officer, in that case a

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commissioner of the court, for his rulings bar. The accused, an attorney at law,
in a cause wholly concluded. "Is it in the wrote and mailed a letter to the circuit
power of any person," said the court, "by judge, which the latter received by due
insulting or assaulting the judge because course of mail, at his home, while not
of official acts, if only the assailant holding court, and which referred in
restrains his passion until the judge insulting terms to the conduct of the judge
leaves the building, to compel the judge in a cause wherein the accused had been
to forfeit either his own self-respect to the one of the attorneys. For this it was held
regard of the people by tame submission that the attorney was rightly disbarred in
to the indignity, or else set in his own having "willfully failed to maintain respect
person the evil example of punishing the due to him [the judge] as a judicial officer,
insult by taking the law in his own hands? and thereby breached his oath as an
... No high-minded, manly man would attorney." As recognizing the same
hold judicial office under such principle, and in support of its application
conditions." to the facts of this case, we cite the
following: Ex parte Bradley, 7 Wall (U.S.)
That a communication such as this, 364, 19 L. Ed. 214; Beene v. State, 22
addressed to the Judge personally, Ark. 149; Commonwealth v. Dandridge, 2
constitutes professional delinquency for Va. Cas. 408; People v. Green, 7 Colo
which a professional punishment may be 237, 244, 3 Pac. 65, 374, 49 Am. Rep.
imposed, has been directly decided. "An 351; Smith's Appeal, 179 Pa. 14, 36 Atl.
attorney who, after being defeated in a 134; Scouten's Appeal, 186 Pa. 270, Atl.
case, wrote a personal letter to the trial 481.
justice, complaining of his conduct and
reflecting upon his integrity as a justice, Our conclusion is that the charges
is guilty of misconduct and will be against the accused have been so far
disciplined by the court." Matter of sustained as to make it our duty to
Manheim 133 App. Div. 136, 99 N.Y. impose such a penalty as may be
Supp. 87 The same is held in Re Griffin sufficient lesson to him and a suitable
(City Ct.) 1 N.Y. 7 and in Re Wilkes (City warning to others. ...
Ct.) 3 N.Y. In the latter case it appeared
that the accused attorney had addressed 11. In Cobb v. United States, 172 F. 641, the court
a sealed letter to a justice of the City affirmed a lawyer's suspension for 18 months for
Court of New York, in which it was stated, publishing a letter in a newspaper in which he accused a
in reference to his decision: "It is not law; judge of being under the sinister influence of a gang that
neither is it common sense. The result is had paralyzed him for two years.
I have been robbed of 80." And it was
decided that, while such conduct was not 12. In In Re Graves, 221 Pac. 411, the court held that an
a contempt under the state, the matter attorney's unjustifiable attack against the official acts and
should be "called to the attention of the
decisions of a judge constitutes "moral turpitude." There,
Supreme Court, which has power to
the attorney was disbarred for criticising not only the
discipline the attorney." "If," says the judge, but his decisions in general claiming that the judge
court, "counsel learned in the law are was dishonest in reaching his decisions and unfair in his
permitted by writings leveled at the heads general conduct of a case.
of judges, to charge them with ignorance,
with unjust rulings, and with robbery,
either as principals or accessories, it will 13. In In Re Doss, 12 N.E. 2d 659, an attorney published
not be long before the general public may newspaper articles after the trial of cases, criticising the
feel that they may redress their fancied court in intemperate language. The invariable effect of this
grievances in like manner, and thus the sort of propaganda, said the court, is to breed disrespect
lot of a judge will be anything but a happy for courts and bring the legal profession into disrepute
one, and the administration of justice will with the public, for which reason the lawyer was disbarred.
fall into bad repute."
14. In State v. Grimes, 354 Pac. 2d 108, an attorney,
The recent case of Johnson v. dissatisfied with the loss of a case, prepared over a period
State (Ala.) 44 South. 671, was in this of years vicious attacks on jurists. The Oklahoma
respect much the same as the case at Supreme Court declared that his acts involved such gross

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moral turpitude as to make him unfit as a member of the ... an inexcusable disrespect of the
bar. His disbarment was ordered, even though he authority of the court and an intentional
expressed an intention to resign from the bar. contempt of its dignity, because the court
is thereby charged with no less than
The teaching derived from the above disquisition and having proceeded in utter disregard of
impressive affluence of judicial pronouncements is the laws, the rights to the parties, and 'of
indubitable: Post-litigation utterances or publications, the untoward consequences, or with
made by lawyers, critical of the courts and their judicial having abused its power and mocked
actuations, whether amounting to a crime or not, which and flouted the rights of Attorney Vicente
transcend the permissible bounds of fair comment and J. Francisco's client ... .
legitimate criticism and thereby tend to bring them into
disrepute or to subvert public confidence in their integrity 2. In In re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595, counsel, a senator and the
and in the orderly administration of justice, constitute author of the Press Freedom Law, reaching to, the
grave professional misconduct which may be visited with imprisonment for contempt of one Angel Parazo, who,
disbarment or other lesser appropriate disciplinary invoking said law, refused to divulge the source of a news
sanctions by the Supreme Court in the exercise of the item carried in his paper, caused to be published in i local
prerogatives inherent in it as the duly constituted guardian newspaper a statement expressing his regret "that our
of the morals and ethics of the legal fraternity. High Tribunal has not only erroneously interpreted said
law, but it is once more putting in evidence the
Of course, rarely have we wielded our disciplinary powers incompetency or narrow mindedness of the majority of its
in the face of unwarranted outbursts of counsel such as members," and his belief that "In the wake of so many
those catalogued in the above-cited jurisprudence. Cases blunders and injustices deliberately committed during
of comparable nature have generally been disposed of these last years, ... the only remedy to put an end to go
under the power of courts to punish for contempt which, much evil, is to change the members of the Supreme
although resting on different bases and calculated to Court," which tribunal he denounced as "a constant peril
attain a different end, nevertheless illustrates that to liberty and democracy" and "a far cry from the
universal abhorrence of such condemnable practices. 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
A perusal of the more representative of these instances
the Philippine Judiciary." He there also announced that
may afford enlightenment.
one of the first measures he would introduce in then
forthcoming session of Congress would have for its object
1. In Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61 Phil. 724, where counsel the complete reorganization of the Supreme Court.
branded the denial of his motion for reconsideration as Finding him in contempt, despite his avowals of good faith
"absolutely erroneous and constituting an outrage to the and his invocation of the guarantee of free speech, this
rigths of the petitioner Felipe Salcedo and a mockery of Court declared:
the popular will expressed at the polls," this Court,
although conceding that
But in the above-quoted written
statement which he caused to be
It is right and plausible that an attorney, published in the press, the respondent
in defending the cause and rights of his does not merely criticize or comment on
client, should do so with all the fervor and the decision of the Parazo case, which
energy of which he is capable, but it is was then and still is pending
not, and never will be so for him to consideration by this Court upon petition
exercise said right by resorting to of Angel Parazo. He not only intends to
intimidation or proceeding without the intimidate the members of this Court with
propriety and respect which the dignity of the presentation of a bill in the next
the courts requires. The reason for this is Congress, of which he is one of the
that respect for the courts guarantees the members, reorganizing the Supreme
stability of their institution. Without such Court and reducing the number of
guaranty, said institution would be resting Justices from eleven, so as to change the
on a very shaky foundation, members of this Court which decided the
Parazo case, who according to his
found counsel guilty of contempt inasmuch as, in its statement, are incompetent and narrow
opinion, the statements made disclosed minded, in order to influence the final
decision of said case by this Court, and
thus embarrass or obstruct the
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administration of justice. But the 3. In Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer: In re


respondent also attacks the honesty and Proceedings against Alfonso Ponce Enrile, et al., supra,
integrity of this Court for the apparent where counsel charged this Court with having "repeatedly
purpose of bringing the Justices of this fallen" into ,the pitfall of blindly adhering to its previous
Court into disrepute and degrading the "erroneous" pronouncements, "in disregard of the law on
administration. of justice ... . jurisdiction" of the Court of Industrial Relations, our
condemnation of counsel's misconduct was unequivocal.
To hurl the false charge that this Court Articulating the sentiments of the Court, Mr. Justice
has been for the last years committing Sanchez stressed:
deliberately so many blunders and
injustices, that is to say, that it has been As we look back at the language
deciding in favor of Que party knowing (heretofore quoted) employed in the
that the law and justice is on the part of motion for reconsideration, implications
the adverse party and not on the one in there are which inescapably arrest
whose favor the decision was rendered, attention. It speaks of one pitfall into
in many cases decided during the last which this Court has repeatedly
years, would tend necessarily to fallen whenever the jurisdiction of the
undermine the confidence of the people Court of Industrial Relations comes into
in the honesty and integrity of the question. That pitfall is the tendency of
members of this Court, and consequently this Court to rely on its own
to lower ,or degrade the administration of pronouncements in disregard of the law
justice by this Court. The Supreme Court on jurisdiction. It makes a sweeping
of the Philippines is, under the charge that the decisions of this
Constitution, the last bulwark to which the Court, blindly adhere to earlier rulings
Filipino people may repair to obtain relief without as much as making any
for their grievances or protection of their reference to and analysis of the pertinent
rights when these are trampled upon, statute governing the jurisdiction of the
and if the people lose their confidence in industrial court. The plain import of all
the honesty and integrity of the members these is that this Court is so patently inept
of this Court and believe that they cannot that in determining the jurisdiction of the
expect justice therefrom, they might be industrial court, it has committed error
driven to take the law into their own and continuously repeated that error to
hands, and disorder and perhaps chaos the point of perpetuation. It pictures this
might be the result. As a member of the Court as one which refuses to hew to the
bar and an officer of the courts, Atty. line drawn by the law on jurisdictional
Vicente Sotto, like any other, is in duty boundaries. Implicit in the quoted
bound to uphold the dignity and authority statements is that the pronouncements of
of this Court, to which he owes fidelity this Court on the jurisdiction of the
according to the oath he has taken as industrial court are not entitled to respect.
such attorney, and not to promote Those statements detract much from the
distrust in the administration of justice. dignity of and respect due this Court.
Respect to the courts guarantees the They bring into question the capability of
stability of other institutions, which the members — and some former
without such guaranty would be resting members of this Court to render justice.
on a very shaky foundation. The second paragraph quoted yields a
tone of sarcasm which counsel labelled
Significantly, too, the Court therein hastened to as "so called" the "rule against splitting of
emphasize that jurisdiction."

... an attorney as an officer of the court is Similar thoughts and sentiments have been expressed in
under special obligation to be respectful other cases 18 which, in the interest of brevity, need not
in his conduct and communication to the now be reviewed in detail.
courts; he may be removed from office or
stricken from the roll of attorneys as Of course, a common denominator underlies the
being guilty of flagrant misconduct (17 aforecited cases — all of them involved contumacious
L.R.A. [N.S.], 586, 594.) statements made in pleadings filed pending litigation. So
that, in line with the doctrinal rule that the protective
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mantle of contempt may ordinarily be invoked only against protected is the court itself and its dignity.
scurrilous remarks or malicious innuendoes while a court Courts would lose their utility if public
mulls over a pending case and not after the conclusion confidence in them is destroyed.
thereof, 19 Atty. Almacen would now seek to sidestep the
thrust of a contempt charge by his studied emphasis that Accordingly, no comfort is afforded Atty. Almacen by the
the remarks for which he is now called upon to account circumstance that his statements and actuations now
were made only after this Court had written finis to his under consideration were made only after the judgment in
appeal. This is of no moment. his client's appeal had attained finality. He could as much
be liable for contempt therefor as if it had been
The rule that bars contempt after a judicial proceeding has perpetrated during the pendency of the said appeal.
terminated, has lost much of its vitality. For sometime, this
was the prevailing view in this jurisdiction. The first stir for More than this, however, consideration of whether or not
a modification thereof, however, came when, in People he could be held liable for contempt for such post litigation
vs. Alarcon, 20 the then Chief Justice Manuel V. Moran utterances and actuations, is here immaterial. By the
dissented with the holding of the majority, speaking thru tenor of our Resolution of November 17, 1967, we have
Justice Jose P. Laurel, which upheld the rule above- confronted the situation here presented solely in so far as
adverted to. A complete disengagement from the settled it concerns Atty. Almacen's professional identity, his
rule was later to be made in In re Brillantes, 21 a contempt sworn duty as a lawyer and his fitness as an officer of this
proceeding, where the editor of the Manila Guardian was Court, in the exercise of the disciplinary power the morals
adjudged in contempt for publishing an editorial which inherent in our authority and duty to safeguard and ethics
asserted that the 1944 Bar Examinations were conducted of the legal profession and to preserve its ranks from the
in a farcical manner after the question of the validity of the intrusions of unprincipled and unworthy disciples of the
said examinations had been resolved and the case noblest of callings. In this inquiry, the pendency or non-
closed. Virtually, this was an adoption of the view pendency of a case in court is altogether of no
expressed by Chief Justice Moran in his dissent consequence. The sole objective of this proceeding is to
in Alarcon to the effect that them may still be contempt by preserve the purity of the legal profession, by removing or
publication even after a case has been terminated. Said suspending a member whose misconduct has proved
Chief Justice Moran in Alarcon: himself unfit to continue to be entrusted with the duties
and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney.
A publication which tends to impede,
obstruct, embarrass or influence the Undoubtedly, this is well within our authority to do. By
courts in administering justice in a constitutional mandate, 22 our is the solemn duty,
pending suit or proceeding, constitutes amongst others, to determine the rules for admission to
criminal contempt which is 'summarily the practice of law. Inherent in this prerogative is the
punishable by courts. A publication which corresponding authority to discipline and exclude from the
tends to degrade the courts and to practice of law those who have proved themselves
destroy public confidence in them or that unworthy of continued membership in the Bar. Thus —
which tends to bring them in any way into
disrepute, constitutes likewise criminal
The power to discipline attorneys, who
contempt, and is equally punishable by are officers of the court, is an inherent
courts. What is sought, in the first kind of and incidental power in courts of record,
contempt, to be shielded against the and one which is essential to an orderly
influence of newspaper comments, is the discharge of judicial functions. To deny
all-important duty of the courts to its existence is equivalent to a
administer justice in the decision of a declaration that the conduct of attorneys
pending case. In the second kind of towards courts and clients is not subject
contempt, the punitive hand of justice is to restraint. Such a view is without
extended to vindicate the courts from any
support in any respectable authority, and
act or conduct calculated to bring them cannot be tolerated. Any court having the
into disfavor or to destroy public right to admit attorneys to practice and in
confidence in them. In the first there is no this state that power is vested in this
contempt where there is no action
court-has the inherent right, in the
pending, as there is no decision which
exercise of a sound judicial discretion to
might in any way be influenced by the exclude them from practice. 23
newspaper publication. In the second,
the contempt exists, with or without a
pending case, as what is sought to be
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This, because the admission of a lawyer to the practice of Scriptures, virtually tarred and feathered the Court and its
law is a representation to all that he is worthy of their members as inveterate hypocrites incapable of
confidence and respect. So much so that — administering justice and unworthy to impose disciplinary
sanctions upon him.
... whenever it is made to appear to the
court that an attorney is no longer worthy The virulence so blatantly evident in Atty. Almacen's
of the trust and confidence of the public petition, answer and oral argumentation speaks for itself.
and of the courts, it becomes, not only the The vicious language used and the scurrilous innuendoes
right, but the duty, of the court which they carried far transcend the permissible bounds of
made him one of its officers, and gave legitimate criticism. They could never serve any purpose
him the privilege of ministering within its but to gratify the spite of an irate attorney, attract public
bar, to withdraw the privilege. Therefore attention to himself and, more important of all, bring ;this
it is almost universally held that both the Court and its members into disrepute and destroy public
admission and disbarment of attorneys confidence in them to the detriment of the orderly
are judicial acts, and that one is admitted administration of justice. Odium of this character and
to the bar and exercises his functions as texture presents no redeeming feature, and completely
an attorney, not as a matter of right, but negates any pretense of passionate commitment to the
as a privilege conditioned on his own truth. It is not a whit less than a classic example of gross
behavior and the exercise of a just and misconduct, gross violation of the lawyer's oath and gross
sound judicial discretion. 24 transgression of the Canons of Legal Ethics. As such, it
cannot be allowed to go unrebuked. The way for the
Indeed, in this jurisdiction, that power to remove or exertion of our disciplinary powers is thus laid clear, and
suspend has risen above being a mere inherent or the need therefor is unavoidable.
incidental power. It has been elevated to an express
mandate by the Rules of Court. 25 We must once more stress our explicit disclaimer of
immunity from criticism. Like any other Government entity
Our authority and duty in the premises being in a viable democracy, the Court is not, and should not be,
unmistakable, we now proceed to make an assessment above criticism. But a critique of the Court must be
of whether or not the utterances and actuations of Atty. intelligent and discriminating, fitting to its high function as
Almacen here in question are properly the object of the court of last resort. And more than this, valid and
disciplinary sanctions. healthy criticism is by no means synonymous to obloquy,
and requires detachment and disinterestedness, real
qualities approached only through constant striving to
The proffered surrender of his lawyer's certificate is, of
attain them. Any criticism of the Court must, possess the
course, purely potestative on Atty. Almacen's part.
quality of judiciousness and must be informed -by
Unorthodox though it may seem, no statute, no law stands
perspective and infused by philosophy. 26
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 It is not accurate to say, nor is it an obstacle to the
against this Court. The integrated entirety of his petition exercise of our authority in ;the premises, that, as Atty.
bristles with vile insults all calculated to drive home his Almacen would have appear, the members of the Court
contempt for and disrespect to the Court and its members. are the "complainants, prosecutors and judges" all rolled
Picturing his client as "a sacrificial victim at the altar of up into one in this instance. This is an utter
hypocrisy," he categorically denounces the justice misapprehension, if not a total distortion, not only of the
administered by this Court to be not only blind "but also nature of the proceeding at hand but also of our role
deaf and dumb." With unmitigated acerbity, he virtually therein.
makes this Court and its members with verbal talons,
imputing to the Court the perpetration of "silent injustices" Accent should be laid on the fact that disciplinary
and "short-cut justice" while at the same time branding its proceedings like the present are sui generis. Neither
members as "calloused to pleas of justice." And, true to purely civil nor purely criminal, this proceeding is not —
his announced threat to argue the cause of his client "in and does not involve — a trial of an action or a suit, but is
the people's forum," he caused the publication in the rather an investigation by the Court into the conduct of its
papers of an account of his actuations, in a calculated officers. 27 Not being intended to. inflict punishment, it is
effort ;to startle the public, stir up public indignation and in no sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is
disrespect toward the Court. Called upon to make an neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein It may be
explanation, he expressed no regret, offered no apology. initiated by the Court motu proprio. 28 Public interest is its
Instead, with characteristic arrogance, he rehashed and primary objective, and the real question for determination
reiterated his vituperative attacks and, alluding to the is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be
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allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of primarily addressed to the sound discretion of the Court
its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a which, being neither arbitrary and despotic nor motivated
member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an by personal animosity or prejudice, should ever be
officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the controlled by the imperative need that the purity and
purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest independence of the Bar be scrupulously guarded and the
administration of justice by purging the profession of dignity of and respect due to the Court be zealously
members who by their misconduct have proved maintained.
themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the
duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an That the misconduct committed by Atty. Almacen is of
attorney. 29 In such posture, there can thus be no considerable gravity cannot be overemphasized.
occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor. However, heeding the stern injunction that disbarment
should never be decreed where a lesser sanction would
Undeniably, the members of the Court are, to a certain accomplish the end desired, and believing that it may not
degree, aggrieved parties. Any tirade against the Court as perhaps be futile to hope that in the sober light of some
a body is necessarily and inextricably as much so against future day, Atty. Almacen will realize that abrasive
the individual members thereof. But in the exercise of its language never fails to do disservice to an advocate and
disciplinary powers, the Court acts as an entity separate that in every effervescence of candor there is ample room
and distinct from the individual personalities of its for the added glow of respect, it is our view that
members. Consistently with the intrinsic nature of a suspension will suffice under the circumstances. His
collegiate court, the individual members act not as such demonstrated persistence in his misconduct by neither
individuals but. only as a duly constituted court. Their manifesting repentance nor offering apology therefor
distinct individualities are lost in the majesty of their leave us no way of determining how long that suspension
office. 30So that, in a very real sense, if there be any should last and, accordingly, we are impelled to decree
complainant in the case at bar, it can only be the Court that the same should be indefinite. This, we are
itself, not the individual members thereof — as well as the empowered to do not alone because jurisprudence grants
people themselves whose rights, fortunes and properties, us discretion on the matter 33 but also because, even
nay, even lives, would be placed at grave hazard should without the comforting support of precedent, it is obvious
the administration of justice be threatened by the retention that if we have authority to completely exclude a person
in the Bar of men unfit to discharge the solemn from the practice of law, there is no reason why indefinite
responsibilities of membership in the legal fraternity. suspension, which is lesser in degree and effect, can be
regarded as falling outside of the compass of that
Finally, the power to exclude persons from the practice of authority. The merit of this choice is best shown by the
law is but a necessary incident of the power to admit fact that it will then be left to Atty. Almacen to determine
persons to said practice. By constitutional precept, this for himself how long or how short that suspension shall
power is vested exclusively in this Court. This duty it last. For, at any time after the suspension becomes
cannot abdicate just as much as it cannot unilaterally effective he may prove to this Court that he is once again
renounce jurisdiction legally invested upon it. 31 So that fit to resume the practice of law.
even if it be conceded that the members collectively are
in a sense the aggrieved parties, that fact alone does not ACCORDINGLY, IT IS THE SENSE of the Court that Atty.
and cannot disqualify them from the exercise of that Vicente Raul Almacen be, as he is hereby, suspended
power because public policy demands that they., acting from the practice of law until further orders, the
as a Court, exercise the power in all cases which call for suspension to take effect immediately.
disciplinary action. The present is such a case. In the end,
the imagined anomaly of the merger in one entity of the Let copies of this resolution. be furnished the Secretary of
personalities of complainant, prosecutor and judge is Justice, the Solicitor General and the Court of Appeals for
absolutely inexistent. their information and guidance.

Last to engage our attention is the nature and extent of Concepcion,. C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal,
the sanctions that may be visited upon Atty. Almacen for Zaldivar, Sanchez, Teehankee, Barredo and Villamor JJ.,
his transgressions. As marked out by the Rules of Court, concur.
these may range from mere suspension to total removal
or disbarment. 32 The discretion to assess under the
Fernando, J., took no part.
circumstances the imposable sanction is, of course,

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Wicker vs. Arcangel, GR No. 112869

[G.R. No. 112869. January 29, 1996] 3. Plaintiffs have information that the Acting Presiding
Judge was personally recruited from the south by Atty.
KELLY R. WICKER and ATTY. ORLANDO A. Benjamin Santos and/or his wife, Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-
RAYOS, petitioners, vs. HON. PAUL T. Santos, one time member of the Judicial and Bar Council,
ARCANGEL, as Presiding Judge of the RTC, against whom plaintiff Kelly R. Wicker filed Administrative
Makati, Branch 134, respondent. Case No. 3796, and although said case was dismissed,
nevertheless, plaintiffs feel that it was the reason for Atty.
DECISION Ofelia Calcetas-Santos relief;
MENDOZA, J.:
4. Plaintiffs have reason to doubt the partiality and
integrity of His Honor and to give a fighting chance for
This is a petition for certiorari, assailing the orders plaintiffs to prove their case, since this will be the last case
dated December 3, 1993 and December 17, 1993 of to recover the partnership property, plaintiffs feel that His
respondent Judge Paul T. Arcangel of the Regional Trial Honor inhibit himself and set this case for re-raffle;
Court, Branch 134 of Makati, finding petitioners guilty of
direct contempt and sentencing each of them to suffer
5. This move finds support in the Rules of Court and
imprisonment for five (5) days and to pay a fine of
jurisprudence that in the first instance that a litigant doubts
P100.00.
the partiality and integrity of the Presiding Judge, he
The antecedent facts are as follows: should immediately move for his inhibition.
Kelly Wicker, with his wife Wynee Dieppe and the
The motion was verified by Kelly Wicker.
Tectonics Asia Architects and Engineering Co., brought
suit in the Regional Trial Court of Makati against the LFS Considering the allegations to be malicious,
Enterprises, Inc. and others, for the annulment of certain derogatory and contemptuous, respondent judge ordered
deeds by which a house and lot at Forbes Park, which the both counsel and client to appear before him on
plaintiffs claimed they had purchased, was allegedly November 26, 1993 and to show cause why they should
fraudulently titled in the name of the defendant LFS not be cited for contempt of court.[2]
Enterprises and later sold by the latter to codefendant
Jose Poe. The case, docketed as Civil Case No. 14048, In a pleading entitled Opposition to and/or Comment
was assigned to Branch 134 formerly presided over by to Motion to Cite for Direct Contempt Directed Against
Judge Ignacio Capulong who later was replaced by Plaintiff Kelly R. Wicker and his Counsel, Atty. Rayos
respondent Judge Paul T. Arcangel. claimed that the allegations in the motion did not
necessarily express his views because he merely signed
It appears that on November 18, 1993, Wickers the motion in a representative capacity, in other words,
counsel, Atty. Orlando A. Rayos, filed a motion seeking just lawyering, for Kelly Wicker, who said in a note to him
the inhibition of respondent judge from the consideration that a young man possibly employed by the Court had
of the case.[1] The motion alleged in pertinent part: advised him to have the case reraffled, when the opposing
counsel Atty. Benjamin Santos and the new judge both
1. That before the Acting Presiding Judge took over, failed to come for a hearing, because their absence was
defendant LFS Enterprises, Inc. was able to maneuver an indication that Atty. Santos knew who the judge may
the three (3) successive postponements for the be and when he would appear. Wickers sense of disquiet
presentation for cross-examination of Mrs. Remedios increased when at the next two hearings, the new judge
Porcuna on her 10 August 1992 Affidavit, but eventually, as well as Atty. Santos and the latters witness, Mrs.
she was not presented; Remedios Porcuna, were all absent, while the other
counsels were present.[3]
2. Meantime, Judge [Ignacio] Capulong who had full Finding petitioners explanation unsatisfactory,
grasp of this case was eased out of his station. In one respondent judge, in an order dated December 3, 1993,
hearing, the Acting Presiding Judge had not yet reported held them guilty of direct contempt and sentenced each to
to his station and in that set hearing, counsel for suffer imprisonment for five (5) days and to pay a fine of
defendant LFS Enterprises, Inc. who must have known P100.00.
that His Honor was not reporting did not likewise appear
while other counsels were present; Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, which
respondent judge denied for lack of merit in his order
of December 17, 1993. In the same order respondent
judge directed petitioners to appear before him
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on January 7, 1994 at 8:30 a.m. for the execution of their misbehavior committed in the presence of or so near a
sentence. court or judge as to interrupt the proceedings before the
same within the meaning of Rule 71, 1 of the Rules of
In their petition[4] before this Court, Kelly Wicker and Court and, therefore, direct contempt.[6]
Atty. Orlando A. Rayos contend that respondent judge
committed a grave abuse of his discretion in citing them It is important to point out this distinction because in
for contempt. They argue that when a person, impelled by case of indirect or constructive contempt, the contemnor
justifiable apprehension and acting in a respectful may be punished only [a]fter charge in writing has been
manner, asks a judge to inhibit himself from hearing his filed, and an opportunity given to the accused to be heard
case, he does not thereby become guilty of contempt. by himself or counsel, whereas in case of direct contempt,
the respondent may be summarily adjudged in
In his comment,[5] respondent judge alleges that he contempt. Moreover, the judgment in cases of indirect
took over as Acting Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial contempt is appealable, whereas in cases of direct
Court of Makati, Branch 134 by virtue of Administrative contempt only judgments of contempt by MTCs, MCTCs
Order No. 154-93 dated September 2, 1993 of this Court and MeTCs are appealable.[7]
and not because, as petitioners alleged, he was
personally recruited from the South by Atty. Santos and/or Consequently, it was unnecessary in this case for
his wife, Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos; that he assumed respondent judge to hold a hearing. Hence even if
his new office on October 11, 1993 and started holding petitioners are right about the nature of the case against
sessions on October 18, 1993; that when all male them by contending that it involves indirect contempt, they
personnel of his court were presented to petitioner Kelly have no ground for complaint since they were afforded a
Wicker he failed to pick out the young man who was the hearing before they were held guilty of contempt. What is
alleged source of the remarks prompting the filing of the important to determine now is whether respondent judge
motion for inhibition; that he was not vindictive and that he committed grave abuse of discretion in holding petitioners
in fact refrained from implementing the execution of his liable for direct contempt.
order dated December 3, 1993 to enable petitioners to
avail themselves of all possible remedies; that after We begin with the words of Justice Malcolm that the
holding petitioners in contempt, he issued an order dated power to punish for contempt is to be exercised on the
December 8, 1993 inhibiting himself from trying Civil Case preservative and not on the vindictive principle. Only
No. 14048; that Atty. Rayos claim that he was just occasionally should it be invoked to preserve that respect
lawyering and acting as the vehicle or mouthpiece of his without which the administration of justice will fail.[8] The
client is untenable because his (Atty. Rayos) duties to the contempt power ought not to be utilized for the purpose of
court are more important than those which he owes to his merely satisfying an inclination to strike back at a party for
client; and that by tendering their profuse apologies in showing less than full respect for the dignity of the court. [9]
their motion for reconsideration of the December 3, 1993 Consistent with the foregoing principles and based
order, petitioners acknowledged the falsity of their on the abovementioned facts, the Court sustains Judge
accusations against him; and that the petitioners have Arcangels finding that petitioners are guilty of contempt. A
taken inconsistent positions as to who should try Civil reading of the allegations in petitioners motion for
Case No. 14048 because in their Motion for Inhibition inhibition, particularly the following paragraphs thereof:
dated November 18, 1993 they asked that the case be
reraffled to another sala of the RTC of Makati, while in
2. Meantime, Judge Capulong who had full grasp of this
their petition dated November 29, 1993, which they filed
case was eased out of his station. In one hearing, the
with the Office of Court Administrator, petitioners asked
Acting Presiding Judge had not yet reported to his station
that Judge Capulong be allowed to continue hearing the
and in that set hearing, counsel for defendant LFS
case on the ground that he had a full grasp of the case.
Enterprises, Inc. who must have known that His Honor
In reply to the last allegation of respondent judge, was not reporting did not likewise appear while other
petitioners claim that although they wanted a reraffle of counsels were present;
the case, it was upon the suggestion of respondent judge
himself that they filed the petition with the Court 3. Plaintiffs have information that the Acting Presiding
Administrator for the retention of Judge Capulong in the Judge was personally recruited from the south by Atty.
case. Benjamin Santos and/or his wife, Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-
Santos, one time member of the Judicial and Bar Council,
What is involved in this case is an instance of direct against whom plaintiff Kelly R. Wicker filed Administrative
contempt, since it involves a pleading allegedly containing Case No. 3796, and although said case was dismissed,
derogatory, offensive or malicious statements submitted
nevertheless, plaintiffs feel that it was the reason for Atty.
to the court or judge in which the proceedings are Ofelia Calcetas-Santos relief;
pending, as distinguished from a pleading filed in another
case. The former has been held to be equivalent to
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leads to no other conclusion than that respondent judge the courts and to judicial officers and [to] insist on similar
was beholden to the opposing counsel in the case, Atty. conduct by others[12] and not [to] attribute to a Judge
Benjamin Santos, to whom or to whose wife, the judge motives not supported by the record or have materiality to
owed his transfer to the RTC of Makati, which the case.[13]
necessitated easing out the former judge to make room
for such transfer. After the respondent judge had favorably responded
to petitioners profuse apologies and indicated that he
These allegations are derogatory to the integrity and would let them off with a fine, without any jail sentence,
honor of respondent judge and constitute an unwarranted petitioners served on respondent judge a copy of their
criticism of the administration of justice in this instant petition which prayed in part that Respondent
country. They suggest that lawyers, if they are well Judge Paul T. Arcangel be REVERTED to his former
connected, can manipulate the assignment of judges to station. He simply cannot do in the RTC of Makati where
their advantage. The truth is that the assignments of more complex cases are heared (sic) unlike
Judges Arcangel and Capulong were made by this Court, in Davao City. If nothing else, this personal attack on the
by virtue of Administrative Order No. 154-93, precisely in judge only serves to confirm the contumacious attitude, a
the interest of an efficient administration of justice and flouting or arrogant belligerence first evident in petitioners
pursuant to Sec. 5 (3), Art. VIII of the Constitution.[10] This motion for inhibition belying their protestations of good
is a matter of record which could have easily been verified faith.
by Atty. Rayos. After all, as he claims, he deliberated for
two months whether or not to file the offending motion for Petitioners cite the following statement in Austria v.
inhibition as his client allegedly asked him to do. Masaquel:[14]

In extenuation of his own liability, Atty. Rayos claims Numerous cages there have been where judges, and
he merely did what he had been bidden to do by his client even members of the Supreme Court, were asked to
of whom he was merely a mouthpiece. He was just inhibit themselves from trying, or from participating in the
lawyering and he cannot be gagged, even if the consideration of a case, but scarcely were the movants
allegations in the motion for the inhibition which he punished for contempt, even if the grounds upon which
prepared and filed were false since it was his client who they based their motions for disqualification are not
verified the same. among those provided in the rules. It is only when there
To be sure, what Wicker said in his note to Atty. was direct imputation of bias or prejudice, or a stubborn
Rayos was that he had been told by an unidentified young insistence to disqualify the judge, done in a malicious,
man, whom he thought to be employed in the court, that arrogant, belligerent and disrespectful manner, that
it seemed the opposing counsel, Atty. Santos, knew who movants were held in contempt of court.
the replacement judge was, because Atty. Santos did not
show up in court on the same days the new judge failed It is the second sentence rather than the first that applies
to come. It would, therefore, appear that the other to this case.
allegations in the motion that respondent judge had been Be that as it may, the Court believes that consistent
personally recruited by the opposing counsel to replace with the rule that the power to cite for contempt must be
Judge Capulong who had been eased out were Atty. exercised for preservative rather than vindictive principle
Rayos and not Wickers. Atty. Rayos is thus understating
we think that the jail sentence on petitioners may be
his part in the preparation of the motion for inhibition. dispensed with while vindicating the dignity of the court. In
Atty. Rayos, however, cannot evade responsibility the case of petitioner Kelly Wicker there is greater reason
for the allegations in question. As a lawyer, he is not just for doing so considering that the particularly offending
an instrument of his client. His client came to him for allegations in the motion for inhibition do not appear to
professional assistance in the representation of a cause, have come from him but were additions made by Atty.
and while he owed him whole-souled devotion, there were Rayos. In addition, Wicker is advanced in years (80) and
bounds set by his responsibility as a lawyer which he in failing health (suffering from angina), a fact Judge
could not overstep.[11] Even a hired gun cannot be Arcangel does not dispute. Wicker may have indeed been
excused for what Atty. Rayos stated in the motion. Based the recipient of such a remark although he could not point
on Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, a court employee who was the source of the same. At
Atty. Rayos bears as much responsibility for the least he had the grace to admit his mistake both as to the
contemptuous allegations in the motion for inhibition as source and truth of said information. It is noteworthy
his client. Judge Arcangel was also willing to waive the imposition of
the jail sentence on petitioners until he came upon
Atty. Rayos duty to the courts is not secondary to that petitioners description of him in the instant petition as a
of his client. The Code of Professional Responsibility judge who cannot make the grade in the RTC of Makati,
enjoins him to observe and maintain the respect due to where complex cases are being filed. In response to this,

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he cited the fact that the Integrated Bar of day sentence was not duly mindful of the exacting
the Philippines chose him as one of the most outstanding standard [of] preservation of the dignity of his office not
City Judges and Regional Trial Court Judges in 1979 and indulging his sense of grievance sets the limits of the
1988 respectively and that he is a 1963 graduate of authority he is entitled to exercise. It is the view of the
the U.P. College of Law. Court that under the circumstances the fine imposed
should be increased to P500.00.
In Ceniza v. Sebastian,[15] which likewise involved a
motion for inhibition which described the judge corrupt,
the Court, while finding counsel guilty of direct contempt, The same justification also holds true in this case.
removed the jail sentence of 10 days imposed by the trial WHEREFORE, the order of December 3, 1993 is
court for the reason that MODIFIED by DELETING the sentence of imprisonment
for five (5) days and INCREASING the fine from P 100.00
Here, while the words were contumacious, it is hard to to P200.00 for each of the petitioners.
resist the conclusion, considering the background of this
occurrence that respondent Judge in imposing the ten- SO ORDERED.

Nunez vs. Ricafort, A.C. No. 5054

[A.C. No. 5054. May 29, 2002] action, i.e., 8 March 1993, until it is fully paid, and to pay
the costs of suit.
SOLEDAD NUEZ, Represented by ANANIAS B. CO,
Attorney-in-Fact for Respondent and his wife appealed from the decision
Complainant, petitioner, vs. ATTY. ROMULO to the Court of Appeals. However, the appeal was
RICAFORT, respondent. dismissed for failure to pay the required docket fee within
the reglementary period despite notice.
RESOLUTION On 23 October 1995 complainant filed in Civil Case
PER CURIAM: No. Q-93-15052 a motion for the issuance of an alias writ
of execution, which the court granted on 30 October 1995.
The next day, the alias writ of execution was issued
This is an administrative complaint filed on 21 April (Annex B of Complaint). It appears that only a partial
1999 by Soledad Nuez, a septuagenarian represented by satisfaction of the P16,000 judgment was made,
her attorney-in-fact Ananias B. Co, Jr., seeking the leaving P13,800 thereof unsatisfied. In payment for the
disbarment of respondent Atty. Romulo Ricafort on the latter, respondent issued four postdated checks drawn
ground of grave misconduct. against his account in China Banking Corporation,
From the documents submitted by the complainant, Legazpi City.
it appears that sometime in October 1982 she authorized Upon presentment, however, the checks were
respondent to sell her two parcels of land located in dishonored because the account against which they were
Legazpi City for P40,000. She agreed to give respondent drawn was closed (Annexes D and E of Complaint).
10 percent of the price as commission. Respondent Demands for respondent to make good the checks fell on
succeeded in selling the lots, but despite complainants deaf ears, thus forcing complainant to file four criminal
repeated demands, he did not turn over to her the complaints for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 before the
proceeds of the sale. This forced complainant to file Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City (Annexes F, G, H
against respondent and his wife an action for a sum of and I of the Complaint).
money before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.
The case was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-93-15052. In the Joint Affidavit of respondent and his wife filed
with the Office of the Prosecutor, Quezon City,
For his failure to file an answer, respondent was respondent admitted having drawn and issued said four
declared in default and complainant was required to postdated checks in favor of complainant. Allegedly
present ex-parte her evidence. On 29 September 1993, believing in good faith that said checks had already been
the court rendered its decision (Annex C of the Complaint) encashed by complainant, he subsequently closed his
ordering respondent herein to pay complainant the sum checking account in China Banking Corporation, Legazpi
of P16,000 as principal obligation, with interest thereon at City, from which said four checks were drawn. He was not
the legal rate from the date of the commencement of the notified that the checks were dishonored. Had he been

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102

notified, he would have made the necessary belongs to the latter. Unsatisfied with what he had already
arrangements with the bank. unjustly and unlawfully done to complainant, respondent
issued checks to satisfy the alias writ of execution. But,
We required respondent to comment on the remaining unrepentant of what he had done and in
complaint. But he never did despite our favorable action continued pursuit of a clearly malicious plan not to pay
on his three motions for extension of time to file the complainant of what had been validly and lawfully
comment. His failure to do so compelled complainant to adjudged by the court against him, respondent closed the
file on 10 March 2000 a motion to cite respondent in account against which the checks were drawn. There was
contempt on the ground that his strategy to file piecemeal deceit in this. Respondent never had the intention of
motions for extension of time to submit the comment paying his obligation as proved by the fact that despite the
smacks of a delaying tactic scheme that is unworthy of a criminal cases for violation of B.P. Blg. 22, he did not pay
member of the bar and a law dean. the obligation.
In our resolution of 14 June 2000, we noted the All the foregoing constituted grave and gross
motion for contempt; considered respondent to have misconduct in blatant violation of Rule 1:01 of Canon 1 of
waived the filing of a comment; and referred this case to the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides:
the Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP) for investigation,
report and recommendation or decision within ninety days
from notice of the resolution. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest and
immoral or deceitful conduct.
In her Report and Recommendation dated 12
September 2000, Investigating Commissioner Atty. Respondents claim of good faith in closing his
Milagros V. San Juan concluded that respondent had no account because he thought complainant has already
intention to honor the money judgment against him in Civil encashed all checks is preposterous. The account was
Case No. Q-93-15052 as can be gleaned from his (1) closed on or before 26 February 1996. He knew that there
issuance of postdated checks; (2) closing of the account were still other checks due on 29 February 1996 and 15
against which said checks were drawn; and (3) continued March 1996 which could not be encashed before their
failure to make good the amounts of the checks. She then maturity dates.
recommends that respondent be declared guilty of
misconduct in his dealings with complainant and be By violating Rule 1:01 of Canon 1 of the Code of
suspended from the practice of law for at least one year Professional Responsibility, respondent diminished public
and pay the amount of the checks issued to the confidence in the law and the lawyers (Busios v. Ricafort,
complainant. 283 SCRA 407 [1997]; Ducat v. Villalon, 337 SCRA 622
[2000]). Instead of promoting such confidence and
In its Resolution No. XV-2001-244 of 27 October respect, he miserably failed to live up to the standards of
2001, the Board of Governors of the IBP approved and the legal profession (Gonato v. Adaza, 328 SCRA 694
adopted Atty. San Juans Report and Recommendation. [2000]; Ducat v. Villalon, supra).
We concur with the findings of the Investigating Respondents act of issuing bad checks in
Commissioner, as adopted and approved by the Board of satisfaction of the alias writ of execution for money
Governors of the IBP, that respondent Atty. Romulo judgment rendered by the trial court was a clear attempt
Ricafort is guilty of grave misconduct in his dealings with to defeat the ends of justice. His failure to make good the
complainant. Indeed, the record shows respondents checks despite demands and the criminal cases for
grave misconduct and notorious dishonesty. violation of B.P. Blg. 22 showed his continued defiance of
judicial processes, which he, as an officer of the court,
There is no need to stretch ones imagination to arrive
was under continuing duty to uphold.
at an inevitable conclusion that respondent gravely
abused the confidence that complainant reposed in him To further demonstrate his very low regard for the
and committed dishonesty when he did not turn over the courts and judicial processes, respondent even had the
proceeds of the sale of her property. Worse, with palpable temerity of making a mockery of our generosity to him. We
bad faith, he compelled the complainant to go to court for granted his three motions for extension of time to file his
the recovery of the proceeds of the sale and, in the comment on the complaint in this case. Yet, not only did
process, to spend money, time and energy therefor. Then, he fail to file the comment, he as well did not even bother
despite his deliberate failure to answer the complaint to explain such failure notwithstanding our resolution
resulting in his having been declared in default, he declaring him as having waived the filing of the comment.
appealed from the judgment to the Court of Appeals. To the Highest Court of the land, respondent openly
Again, bad faith attended such a step because he did not showed a high degree of irresponsibility amounting to
pay the docket fee despite notice. Needless to state, willful disobedience to its lawful orders (Thermochem
respondent wanted to prolong the travails and agony of Incorporated v. Naval, 344 SCRA 76, 82 [2000]; Sipin-
the complainant and to enjoy the fruits of what rightfully
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Nabor v. Atty. Baterina, Adm. Case No. 4073, 28 June 12:03 and 12:04 of Canon 12 of the Code of Professional
2001). Responsibility, coupled with his palpable bad faith and
dishonesty in his dealings with the complainant,
Respondent then knowingly and willfully violated respondent deserves a graver penalty. That graver
Rules 12.04 and 12:03 of Canon 12 of the Code of penalty is indefinite suspension from the practice of law.
Professional Responsibility, which respectively provide
that lawyers should avoid any action that would unduly IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, respondent
delay a case, impede the execution of a judgment or Atty. Romulo Ricafort is hereby INDEFINITELY
misuse court processes; and that lawyers, after obtaining SUSPENDED from the practice of law, and is directed to
extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda or briefs, pay complainant Soledad Nuez the amount of P13,800
should not let the period lapse without submitting the within ten (10) days from notice of this resolution.
same or offering an explanation for their failure to do so.
This resolution shall take effect immediately. Copies
The penalty of suspension for at least one (1) year thereof shall be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant,
imposed by the Board of Governors of the IBP is both to be appended to respondents personal record; the
vague and inadequate. A suspension may either be Office of the President; the Department of Justice; the
indefinite or for a specific duration. Besides, under the Court of Appeals; the Sandiganbayan; and the Integrated
circumstances of this case a suspension for a year is Bar of the Philippines. The Court Administrator shall also
plainly very light and inadequate. For his deliberate furnish all lower courts with copies of this Resolution.
violation or defiance of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 and Rules
SO ORDERED.

Santiago vs. Rafanan, A.C. No. 6252

THIRD DIVISION The Case and the Facts

JONAR SANTIAGO, A.C. No. 6252


Before us is a verified Complaint[1] filed by Jonar
Complainant, Present: Panganiban, J., Chairman, Santiago, an employee of the Bureau of Jail Management
and Penology (BJMP), for the disbarment of Atty. Edison
- versus –
V. Rafanan. The Complaint was filed with the
Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, and Carpio Morales,* JJ Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines (IBP) on January 16, 2001. It charged
Promulgated: Atty. Rafanan with deceit; malpractice or other gross
misconduct in office under Section 27 of Rule 138[2] of
Atty. EDISON V. RAFANAN, the Rules of Court; and violation of Canons 1.01, 1.02 and
1.03[3], Canon 5[4], and Canons 12.07[5] and 12.08
Respondent. October 5, 2004 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).
x -- -- -- -- ------ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- x
In his Report, IBP Investigating Commissioner
DECISION Leland R. Villadolid Jr. summarized the allegations of the
complainant in this wise:
PANGANIBAN, J.:
x x x. In his Letter-Complaint,
Notaries public are expected to exert utmost care
Complainant alleged, among others, that
in the performance of their duties, which are impressed
Respondent in notarizing several
with public interest. They are enjoined to comply faithfully
documents on different dates failed
with the solemnities and requirements of the Notarial
and/or refused to: a)make the proper
Law. This Court will not hesitate to mete out appropriate
notation regarding the cedula or
sanctions to those who violate it or neglect observance
community tax certificate of the affiants;
thereof.
b) enter the details of the notarized
__________________ documents in the notarial register; and c)
* On leave. make and execute the certification and
enter his PTR and IBP numbers in the
documents he had notarized, all in
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104

violation of the notarial provisions of the justice. Complainant charged respondents clients with
Revised Administrative Code. attempted murder. Respondent averred that since they
were in his house when the alleged crime occurred, his
Complainant likewise alleged testimony is very essential to the ends of justice.
that Respondent executed an Affidavit in
favor of his client and offered the same
as evidence in the case wherein he was Respondent alleged that it was complainant who
actively representing his client. Finally, had threatened and harassed his clients after the hearing
Complainant alleges that on a certain of their case by the provincial prosecutor on January 4,
date, Respondent accompanied by 2001. Respondent requested the assistance of the
several persons waited for Complainant Cabanatuan City Police the following day, January 5,
after the hearing and after confronting the 2001, which was the next scheduled hearing, to avoid a
latter disarmed him of his sidearm and repetition of the incident and to allay the fears of his
thereafter uttered insulting words and clients. In support of his allegations, he submitted
veiled threats.[6] Certifications[10] from the Cabanatuan City Police and
the Joint Affidavit[11] of the two police officers who had
assisted them.
On March 23, 2001, pursuant to the January 19, 2001
Order of the CBD,[7] Atty. Rafanan filed his verified
Answer.[8] He admitted having administered the oath to Lastly, he contended that the case had been
the affiants whose Affidavits were attached to the verified initiated for no other purpose than to harass him, because
Complaint. He believed, however, that the he was the counsel of Barangay Captain Ernesto Ramos
non-notation of their Residence Certificates in the in the cases filed by the latter before the ombudsman and
Affidavits and the Counter-affidavits was allowed. the BJMP against complainant.

He opined that the notation of residence After receipt of respondents Answer, the CBD,
certificates applied only to documents acknowledged by a through Commissioner Tyrone R. Cimafranca, set the
notary public and was not mandatory for affidavits related case for hearing on June 5, 2001, at two oclock in the
to cases pending before courts and other government afternoon. Notices[12] of the hearing were sent to the
offices. He pointed out that in the latter, the affidavits, parties by registered mail. On the scheduled date and
which were sworn to before government prosecutors, did time of the hearing, only complainant
not have to indicate the residence certificates of the appeared.Respondent was unable to do so, apparently
affiants. Neither did other notaries public in Nueva Ecija - because he had received the Notice only on June 8,
- some of whom were older practitioners -- indicate the 2001.[13] The hearing was reset to July 3, 2001 at two
affiants residence certificates on the documents they oclock in the afternoon.
notarized, or have entries in their notarial register for
these documents.
On the same day, June 5, 2001, complainant filed
his Reply[14] to the verified Answer of respondent. The
As to his alleged failure to comply with the latters Rejoinder was received by the CBD on July 13,
certification required by Section 3 of Rule 112[9] of the 2001.[15] It also received complainants Letter-
Rules of Criminal Procedure, respondent explained that Request[16] to dispense with the hearings. Accordingly, it
as counsel of the affiants, he had the option to comply or granted that request in its Order[17] dated July 24, 2001,
not with the certification. To nullify the Affidavits, it was issued through Commissioner Cimafranca. It thereby
complainant who was duty-bound to bring the said directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda
noncompliance to the attention of the prosecutor within fifteen days from receipt of the Order, after which
conducting the preliminary investigation. the case was to be deemed submitted for resolution.

The CBD received complainants Memorandum[18] on


September 26, 2001. Respondent did not file any.
As to his alleged violation of Rule 12.08 of the
CPR, respondent argued that lawyers could testify on The IBPs Recommendation
behalf of their clients on substantial matters, in cases
where [their] testimony is essential to the ends of
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105

On September 27, 2003, the IBP Board of


Governors issued Resolution No. XVI-2003-
172[19] approving and adopting the Investigating
Commissioners Report that respondent had violated These formalities are mandatory and cannot be
specific requirements of the Notarial Law on the execution simply neglected, considering the degree of importance
of a certification, the entry of such certification in the and evidentiary weight attached to notarized
notarial register, and the indication of the affiants documents. Notaries public entering into their
residence certificate. The IBP Board of Governors found commissions are presumed to be aware of these
his excuse for the violations unacceptable. It modified, elementary requirements.
however, the recommendation[20] of the investigating
commissioner by increasing the fine to P3,000 with a In Vda. de Rosales v. Ramos,[24] the Court
warning that any repetition of the violation will be dealt explained the value and meaning of notarization as
with a heavier penalty. follows:

The importance attached to the


act of notarization cannot be
The other charges -- violation of Section 27 of overemphasized. Notarization is not an
Rule 138 of the Rules of Court; and Canons 1.01 to 1.03, empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is
12.07 and 12.08 of the CPR -- were dismissed for invested with substantive public interest,
insufficiency of evidence. such that only those who are qualified or
authorized may act as notaries
public. Notarization converts a private
The Courts Ruling document into a public document thus
making that document admissible in
evidence without further proof of its
authenticity. A notarial document is by
law entitled to full faith and credit upon its
face. Courts, administrative agencies
We agree with the Resolution of the IBP Board of and the public at large must be able to
Governors. rely upon the acknowledgment executed
by a notary public and appended to a
private instrument.

For this reason, notaries public should not take


Respondents Administrative Liability for granted the solemn duties pertaining to their
office. Slipshod methods in their performance of the
notarial act are never to be countenanced. They are
Violation of the Notarial Law expected to exert utmost care in the performance of their
duties,[25] which are dictated by public policy and are
impressed with public interest.
The Notarial Law is explicit on the obligations and
duties of notaries public. They are required to certify that It is clear from the pleadings before us -- and
the party to every document acknowledged before them respondent has readily admitted -- that he violated the
has presented the proper residence certificate (or Notarial Law by failing to enter in the documents notations
exemption from the residence tax); and to enter its of the residence certificate, as well as the entry number
number, place of issue and date as part of such and the pages of the notarial registry.
certification.[21] They are also required to maintain and
keep a notarial register; to enter therein all instruments Respondent believes, however, that
notarized by them; and to give to each instrument noncompliance with those requirements is not mandatory
executed, sworn to, or acknowledged before [them] a for affidavits relative to cases pending before the courts
number corresponding to the one in [their] register [and to and government agencies. He points to similar practices
state therein] the page or pages of [their] register, on of older notaries in Nueva Ecija.
which the same is recorded.[22] Failure to perform these
duties would result in the revocation of their commission We cannot give credence to, much less honor, his
as notaries public.[23] claim. His belief that the requirements do not apply to
affidavits is patently irrelevant. No law dispenses with
these formalities. Au contraire, the Notarial Law makes no
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106

qualification or exception. It is appalling and inexcusable standing and the character of the lawyer as an officer of
that he did away with the basics of notarial procedure the court and a member of the bar. Where any lesser
allegedly because others were doing so. Being swayed by penalty can accomplish the end desired, disbarment
the bad example of others is not an acceptable should not be decreed.[30] Considering the nature of the
justification for breaking the law. infraction and the absence of deceit on the part of
We note further that the documents attached to respondent, we believe that the penalty recommended by
the verified Complaint are the Joint Counter-Affidavit of the IBP Board of Governors is a sufficient disciplinary
respondents clients Ernesto Ramos and Rey Geronimo, measure in this case.
as well as their witnesses Affidavits relative to Criminal
Case No. 69-2000 for attempted murder, filed by Lawyer as Witness for Client
complainants brother against the aforementioned
clients. These documents became the basis of the Complainant further faults respondent for
present Complaint. executing before Prosecutor Leonardo Padolina an
affidavit corroborating the defense of alibi proffered by
As correctly pointed out by the investigating respondents clients, allegedly in violation of Rule 12.08 of
commissioner, Section 3 of Rule 112 of the Rules of the CPR: A lawyer shall avoid testifying in behalf of his
Criminal Procedure expressly requires respondent as client.
notary -- in the absence of any fiscal, state prosecutor or
government official authorized to administer the oath -- to Rule 12.08 of Canon 12 of the CPR states:
certify that he has personally examined the affiants and Rule 12.08 A lawyer
that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and shall avoid testifying in
understood their affidavits. Respondent failed to do so behalf of his client,
with respect to the subject Affidavits and Counter- except:
Affidavits in the belief that -- as counsel for the affiants --
he was not required to comply with the certification a) on formal matters,
requirement. such as the mailing,
authentication or
custody of an
instrument and the like;
It must be emphasized that the primary duty of b)on substantial
lawyers is to obey the laws of the land and promote matters, in cases where
respect for the law and legal processes.[26] They are his testimony is
expected to be in the forefront in the observance and essential to the ends of
maintenance of the rule of law. This duty carries with it the justice, in which event
obligation to be well-informed of the existing laws and to he must, during his
keep abreast with legal developments, recent enactments testimony, entrust the
and jurisprudence.[27] It is imperative that they be trial of the case to
conversant with basic legal principles.Unless they another counsel.
faithfully comply with such duty, they may not be able to
discharge competently and diligently their obligations as Parenthetically, under the law, a lawyer is not
members of the bar. Worse, they may become disqualified from being a witness,[31] except only in
susceptible to committing mistakes. certain cases pertaining to privileged communication
arising from an attorney-client relationship.[32]
Where notaries public are lawyers, a graver
responsibility is placed upon them by reason of their The reason behind such rule is the difficulty
solemn oath to obey the laws.[28] No custom or age-old posed upon lawyers by the task of dissociating their
practice provides sufficient excuse or justification for their relation to their clients as witnesses from that as
failure to adhere to the provisions of the law. In this case, advocates. Witnesses are expected to tell the facts as
the excuse given by respondent exhibited his clear they recall them. In contradistinction, advocates are
ignorance of the Notarial Law, the Rules of Criminal partisans -- those who actively plead and defend the
Procedure, and the importance of his office as a notary cause of others. It is difficult to distinguish the fairness and
public. impartiality of a disinterested witness from the zeal of an
Nonetheless, we do not agree with complainants advocate. The question is one of propriety rather than of
plea to disbar respondent from the practice of law. The competency of the lawyers who testify for their clients.
power to disbar must be exercised with great
caution.[29] Disbarment will be imposed as a penalty only
in a clear case of misconduct that seriously affects the
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107

Acting or appearing to act in the double capacity dispute the statements of respondent or suggest the
of lawyer and witness for the client will provoke unkind falsity of its contents.
criticism and leave many people to suspect the
truthfulness of the lawyer because they cannot believe the Second, paragraph (b) of Rule 12.08
lawyer as disinterested. The people will have a plausible contemplates a situation in which lawyers give their
reason for thinking, and if their sympathies are against the testimonies during the trial. In this instance, the Affidavit
lawyers client, they will have an opportunity, not likely to was submitted during the preliminary investigation which,
be neglected, for charging, that as a witness he fortified it as such, was merely inquisitorial.[37] Not being a trial of
with his own testimony. The testimony of the lawyer the case on the merits, a preliminary investigation has the
becomes doubted and is looked upon as partial and oft-repeated purposes of securing innocent persons
untruthful.[33] against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecutions;
protecting them from open and public accusations of
Thus, although the law does not forbid lawyers crime and from the trouble as well as expense and anxiety
from being witnesses and at the same time counsels for a of a public trial; and protecting the State from useless and
cause, the preference is for them to refrain from testifying expensive prosecutions.[38]The investigation is advisedly
as witnesses, unless they absolutely have to; and should called preliminary, as it is yet to be followed by the trial
they do so, to withdraw from active management of the proper.
case.[34]
Nonetheless, we deem it important to stress and
Notwithstanding this guideline and the existence of the remind respondent to refrain from accepting employment
Affidavit executed by Atty. Rafanan in favor of his clients, in any matter in which he knows or has reason to believe
we cannot hastily make him administratively liable for the that he may be an essential witness for the prospective
following reasons: client. Furthermore, in future cases in which his testimony
First, we consider it the duty of a lawyer to assert may become essential to serve the ends of justice, the
every remedy and defense that is authorized by law for canons of the profession require him to withdraw from the
the benefit of the client, especially in a criminal action in active prosecution of these cases.
which the latters life and liberty are at stake.[35] It is the
fundamental right of the accused to be afforded full No Proof of Harassment
opportunity to rebut the charges against them. They are
entitled to suggest all those reasonable doubts that may The charge that respondent harassed
arise from the evidence as to their guilt; and to ensure that complainant and uttered insulting words and veiled
if they are convicted, such conviction is according to law. threats is not supported by evidence. Allegation is never
equivalent to proof, and a bare charge cannot be equated
Having undertaken the defense of the accused, with liability.[39] It is not the self-serving claim of
respondent, as defense counsel, was thus expected to complainant but the version of respondent that is more
spare no effort to save his clients from a wrong credible, considering that the latters allegations are
conviction. He had the duty to present -- by all fair and corroborated by the Affidavits of the police officers and the
honorable means -- every defense and mitigating Certifications of the Cabanatuan City Police.
circumstance that the law permitted, to the end that his
clients would not be deprived of life, liberty or property, WHEREFORE, Atty. Edison V. Rafanan is found guilty of
except by due process of law.[36] violating the Notarial Law and Canon 5 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and is hereby FINED P3,000
The Affidavit executed by Atty. Rafanan was with a warning that similar infractions in the future will be
clearly necessary for the defense of his clients, since it dealt with more severely.
pointed out the fact that on the alleged date and time of
the incident, his clients were at his residence and could
not have possibly committed the crime charged against
them. Notably, in his Affidavit, complainant does not SO ORDERED.

107
108

Lantoria vs. Bunyi, A.C. No. 1769

A.M. No. 1769 June 8, 1992 Upon informing him of your willingness to
prepare the corresponding judgements
CESAR L. LANTORIA, complainant, (sic) on the 3 defaulted cases he said he
vs. has no objection in fact he is happy and
ATTY. IRINEO L. BUNYI, respondent. recommended that you mail the said
decisions in due time thru me to be
delivered to him.
PER CURIAM:

xxx xxx xxx


This is an administrative complaint filed by Cesar L.
Lantoria, seeking disciplinary action against respondent
Irineo L. Bunyi, member of the Philippine Bar, on the I will communicate with you from time to
ground that respondent Bunyi allegedly committed acts of time for any future development.
"graft and corruption, dishonesty and conduct
unbecoming of a member of the Integrated Bar of the My best regards to you
Philippines, and corruption of the judge and bribery", in and family and to Mrs.
connection with respondent's handling of Civil Case Nos. Constancia Mascarinas
81, 83 and 88 then pending before the Municipal Court of and all.
Experanza, Agusan del Sur, presided over by Municipal
Judge Vicente Galicia 1 in which respondent Bunyi was Very truly yours,
the counsel of one of the parties, namely, Mrs. Constancia
Mascarinas. (SGD.) CESAR L LANTORIA
Major Inf PC (ret)
Respondent Bunyi alleged that Mrs. Constancia M. Executive Director 5
Mascarinas of Manila was the owner of d farm located in
Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, and that herein complainant On 01 June 1974, respondent Bunyi wrote to the
Lantoria was the manager and supervisor of said farm, complainant regarding the said three (3) cases, in this
receiving as such a monthly allowance. 2 It appears that wise:
the complaint in Civil Case Nos. 81, 83 and 88 sought to
eject the squatters from the aforementioned farm. 3 These
cases were assigned to the Municipal Court of June 1, 1974
Esperanza, Agusan del Bur, the acting municipal judge of
which was the Honorable Vicente Galicia (who was at the Dear Major Lantoria,
same time the regular judge of the municipal court of
Bayugan, Agusan del Sur). 4 The defendants in the At last, I may say that I have tried my best
mentioned civil cases were, in due course, declared in to respond to the call in your several
default. letters received, which is about the
preparation of the three (3) Decisions
In relation to the same three (3) civil cases, the records of awaited by Judge Galicia. The delay is
the present case show that complainant Lantoria wrote a that I have been too much occupied with
letter to respondent Bunyi, dated 23 April 1974, which my cases and other professional
reads as follows: commitments here in Manila and nearby
provinces. Not only to Mrs. Mascarinas I
Butuan City would say that I am so sorry but also to
23 April 1974 you. Mrs. Mascarinas has been
reminding me but I always find myself at
a loss to prepare these Decisions at an
Atty. Ireneo Bunye early date sa (sic) possible. So also with
928 Rizal Avenue my calendar as to the dates for the next
Santa Cruz, Manila hearing of the remaining cases over
there.
Dear Atty. Bunye:
Herewith now, you will find enclosed the
xxx xxx xxx three (3) Decisions against the (3)

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109

defaulted defendants. I am not sure if happen to go there, if he is not in Butuan


they will suit to satisfy Judge Galicia to City.
sign them at once. However, it is my
request to Judge Galicia, thru your kind Thanking You for your kind attention and
mediation, that if the preparation of these favor.
Decisions do not suit his consideration,
then I am ready and willing to accept his
Truly yours,
suggestions or correction to charge or
modify them for the better. And to this
effect, kindly relay at once what he is (SGD.) L. BUNYI 7
going to say or thinks if he signs them
readily and please request for each copy Three years after, that is, on 11 April 1977, complainant
for our hold. filed with this Court the present administrative case
against respondent Bunyi, predicated mainly on the
xxx xxx xxx above-quoted three (3) letters dated 04 March, 23 April
and 01 June, 1974. Complainant contends that
respondent won the said three (3) cases because to
Please excuse this delay, and thanks for (respondent) was the one who unethically prepared the
your kind assistance in attending to our decisions rendered therein, and that the preparation by
cases there. Regards to you and family
respondent of said decisions warranted disciplinary action
and prayer for your more vigor and against him.
success.
By way of answer to the complaint, respondent, in a
Brotherly yours,
motion to dismiss 8 the administrative complaint,
admitted the existence of the letter of 01 June 1974, but
(SGD.) IRINEO L. BUNYI 6 explained the contents thereof as follows:
Counsel
xxx xxx xxx
It also appears that respondent Bunyi wrote an earlier
letter to complainant Lantoria, dated 04 March 1974, the b) In the second place, the said letter of
contents of which read as follows: June 1, 1974, is self-explanatory and
speaks for itself, that if ever the same
928 Rizal Ave., Sta. Cruz, Manila was written by the Respondent, it was
March 4, 1974 due to the insistence of the Complainant
thru his several letters received, that the
Dear Major Lantoria, decisions in question be drafted or
prepared for Judge Galicia, who
This is an additional request, strictly considered such preparation as a big
personal and confidential. Inside the help to him, because he was at that time
envelope addressed to Judge Vicente C. holding two (2) salas — one as being the
Galicia, are the Decisions and Orders, regular Municipal Judge of Bayugan and
which he told me to prepare and he is the other, as the acting Judge of
going to sign them. If you please, deliver Esperanza, both of Agusan del Sur, with
the envelope to him as if you have no many pending cases and it was to the
knowledge and information and that you benefit of the Complainant that the early
have not opened it. Unless, of course, if disposition of the cases involved would
the information comes from him. But, you not suffer inconsiderable delay. But, the
can inquire from him if there is a need to intention to draft or prepare the decisions
wait from his words about them, or copies in question was never spawned by the
to be furnished me, after he signs them, Respondent. Instead, it came from the
it could be made thru you personally, to under-standing between the Judge and
expedite receiving those copies for our the complainant who, from his several
hold. According to him, this envelope letters, had demonstrated so much
could be delivered to him at his residence interest to eject at once the squatters
at No. 345 M. Calo St., Butuan City, from the farm he was entrusted to
during week end. or, at Bayugan if you manage. Furthermore, the Complainant's
conclusion that the said decisions
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were lutong macao is purely non-sense In his aforesaid report, the Solicitor General found as
as it is without any factual or legal basis. follows: a) that the letters of respondent Bunyi (dated 4,
He himself knew that Judge Galicia March and 1 June 1974), addressed to complainant,
asked for help in the drafting of said showed that respondent had indeed prepared the draft of
decisions as at any rate they were the decisions in Civil Case Nos. 81, 83 and 88 of the
judgments by default, the defendants lost Municipal Court of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, which he
their standing in court when they were submitted to Judge Vicente Galicia thru the complainant;
declared in default for failure to file their b) that those letters indicated that respondent had
answers and to appear at the place and previous communications with Judge Galicia regarding
time set for hearing thereof (See first the preparation of the decisions; c) that the testimony of
paragraph, letter of June 1, 1974) complainant to the effect that he had lost the original of
said letters, and complainant's withdrawal of the
c) Thirdly, in the same letter, the complaint in the case at bar are of no moment, as
decisions as prepared were in the form of respondent Bunyi, and his motion to dismiss filed with the
drafts, as in fact, the letter mentioned Supreme Court, admitted that he prepared the draft of the
subject to suggestion or correction to decisions in the said civil cases, and be affirmed the
change or modify for the better by Judge existence of the letters.
Galicia (Second paragraph, Ibid);
Hence, in his report, the Solicitor General found that
d) Fourthly, in the some letter, respondent is guilty of highly unethical and unprofessional
Responding (sic) even apologized for the conduct for failure to perform his duty, as an officer of the
delay in sending the same to the court, to help promote the independence of the judiciary
Complainant and expressed his gratitude and to refrain from engaging in acts which would influence
for his assistance in attending to the judicial determination of a litigation in which he is
cases involved (Last paragraph, Ibid.) counsel. 11 The Solicitor General recommended that
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a
period of one (1) year. He filed with the Court the
In its resolution dated 28 November 1977, this Court
corresponding complaint against respondent.
referred the case to the Solicitor General for investigation,
report and recommendation. 9 On 21 July 1980, the
Solicitor General submitted his report to the Court, with In his answer 12 to the complaint filed by the Solicitor
the following averments, to wit: 1) that the case was set General, respondent manifested that in the future he
for hearing on April 12, September 29, and December 18, would be more careful in observing his duties as a lawyer,
1978, but in all said scheduled hearings only respondent and in upholding the provisions of the canons of
Bunyi appeared; 2) that in the hearing of 16 January 1979, professional ethics.
both respondent and complainant appeared; 3) that at the
same hearing, the Solicitor General reported the following On 10 December 1980, the date set by this Court for the
development — hearing of this case, the hearing was postponed until
further notice. On 9 March 1981, respondent filed a
Atty. Mercado submitted a letter of manifestation 13 alleging that no hearing was as yet set in
complainant dated January 16, 1979 the case since the last setting on 10 December 1980, and
sworn to before the investigating he requested that the next hearing be not set until after
Solicitor, praying that the complaint be six (6) months when be expected to return from the United
considered withdrawn, dropped or States of America where he would visit his children and at
dismissed on the ground that the same time have a medical check-up.
complainant "could hardly substantiate"
his charges and that he is "no longer On 28 October 1981, the date set by this Court for bearing
interested to prosecute" the same. For in this case, respondent Bunyi and the Solicitor General
his part, respondent manifested that he appeared, and respondent was directed to submit his
has no objection to the withdrawal of the memorandum. Respondent Bunyi filed his memorandum
complaint against him. At the same time, on 16 November 1981. In said
he presented complainant Lantoria as a memorandum, 14 respondent submitted that although he
witness are elicited testimony to the prepared the draft of the decisions in the civil cases, he
effect that complainant no longer has in did not offer Judge Galicia any gift or consideration to
his possession the original of the letters influence the Judge in allowing him to prepare the draft
attached to his basic complaint, and decisions. 15 He also offered his apology to the Court for
hence, he was not prepared to prove his all the improprieties which may have resulted from his
charges. 10(emphasis supplied) preparation of the draft decisions.
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We agree with the observation of the Solicitor General and should be avoided. A lawyer should
that the determination of the merits of the instant case not communicate or argue privately with
should proceed notwithstanding complainant's withdrawal the judge as to the merits of a pending
of his complaint in the case, the respondent himself cause and deserves rebuke and
having admitted that the letters in question truly exist, and denunciation for any device or attempt to
that he even asked for an apology from the Court, for gain from a judge special personal
whatever effects such letters may have had on his duty as consideration or favor. A self-respecting
a lawyer. independence in the discharge of
professional duty, without denial or
With the admission by respondent of the existence of the diminution of the courtesy and respect
letters upon which the present administrative complaint is due the judge's station, is the only proper
based, the remaining issue to be resolved is the effect of foundation for cordial personal and
the acts complained of on respondent's duty both as a official relations between bench and bar.
lawyer and an officer of the Court.
In the new Code of Professional Responsibility 16 a
We find merit in the recommendation of the Solicitor lawyer's attempt to influence the court is rebuked, as
General that respondent, by way of disciplinary action, shown in Canon No. 13 and Rule 13.01, which read:
deserves suspension from the practice of law.
CANON 13 — A lawyer shall rely upon
The subject letters indeed indicate that respondent had the merits of his cause and refrain from
previous communication with Judge Galicia regarding the any impropriety which tends to influence,
preparation of the draft decisions in Civil Case Nos. 81, or gives the appearance of influencing
83, and 88, and which he in fact prepared. Although the court.
nothing in the records would show that respondent got the
trial court judge's consent to the said preparation for a Rule 13.01 — A lawyer shall not extend
favor or consideration, the acts of respondent extraordinary attention or hospitality to,
nevertheless amount to conduct unbecoming of a lawyer nor seek opportunity for, cultivating
and an officer of the Court. familiarity with judges.

Clearly, respondent violated Canon No. 3 of the Canons Therefore, this Court finds respondent guilty of unethical
of Professional Ethics (which were enforced at the time practice in attempting to influence the court where he had
respondent committed the acts admitted by him), which pending civil case. 17
provides as follows:
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Irineo L. Bunyi is hereby
3. Attempts to exert personal influence SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one
on the court (1) year from the date of notice hereof. Let this decision
be entered in the bar records of the respondent and the
Marked attention and unusual hospitality Court Administrator is directed to inform the different
on the part of a lawyer to a judge, courts of this suspension.
uncalled for by the personal relations of
the parties, subject both the judge and SO ORDERED.
the lawyer to misconstructions of motive

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Santiago vs. Fojas, A.C. No. 4103


A.C. No. 4103 September 7, 1995 disbarred in the practice of his
profession.
VERONICA S. SANTIAGO, BENJAMIN Q.
HONTIVEROS, MR. SOCORRO F. MANAS, and In his Comment, the respondent admits his "mistake" in
TRINIDAD NORDISTA, complainants, failing to file the complainants' answer in Civil Case No.
vs. 3526-V-91, but he alleges that it was cured by his filing of
ATTY. AMADO R. FOJAS, respondent. a motion for reconsideration, which was unfortunately
denied by the court. He asserts that Civil Case No. 3526-
V-91 was a "losing cause" for the complainants because
it was based on the expulsion of the plaintiff therein from
the Far Eastern University Faculty Association (FEUFA)
DAVIDE JR., J.:
which was declared unlawful in the final decision in NCR-
OD-M-90-10-050. Thus, "[t]he unfavorable judgment in
In their letter of 8 September 1993, the complainants, the Regional Trial Court is not imputable to [his] mistake
former clients of the respondent, pray that the latter be but rather imputable to the merits of the case, i.e., the
disbarred for "malpractice, neglect and other offenses decision in the Expulsion case wherein defendants
which may be discovered during the actual investigation (complainants herein) illegally removed from the union
of this complaint." They attached thereto an Affidavit of (FEUFA) membership Mr. Paulino Salvador. . . ." He
Merit wherein they specifically allege: further claims that the complainants filed this case to
harass him because he refused to share his attorney's
1. That we are Defendants-Appellates fees in the main labor case he had handled for them. The
[sic] in the Court of Appeals Case No. respondent then prays for the dismissal of this complaint
CA-G.N. CV No. 38153 of which to our for utter lack of merit, since his failure to file the answer
surprise lost unnecessarily the aforesaid was cured and, even granting for the sake of argument
Petition [sic]. A close perusal of the case that such failure amounted to negligence, it cannot
reveals the serious misconduct of our warrant his disbarment or suspension from the practice of
attorney on record, Atty. Amado Fojas the law profession.
tantamount to malpractice and
negligence in the performance of his duty The complainants filed a Reply to the respondent's
obligation to us, to defend us in the Comment.
aforesaid case. That the said attorney
without informing us the reason why and
riding high on the trust and confidence we Issues having been joined, we required the parties to
inform us whether they were willing to submit this case for
repose on him either abandoned, failed
decision on the basis of the pleadings they have filed. In
to act accordingly, or seriously neglected
their separate compliance, both manifested in the
to answer the civil complaint against us in
affirmative.
the sala of Judge Teresita Capulong
Case No. 3526-V-91 Val. Metro Manila
so that we were deduced [sic] in default. The facts in this case are not disputed.

2. That under false pretenses Atty. Fojas Complainants Veronica Santiago, Benjamin Hontiveros,
assured us that everything was in order. Ma. Socorro Manas, and Trinidad Nordista were the
That he had already answered the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Auditor,
complaint so that in spite of the incessant respectively, of the FEUFA. They allegedly expelled from
demand for him to give us a copy he the union Paulino Salvador. The latter then commenced
continued to deny same to us. Only to with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) a
disclose later that he never answered it complaint (NCR-OD-M-90-10-050) to declare illegal his
after all because according to him he was expulsion from the union.
a very busy man. Please refer to Court of
Appeals decision dated August 17, 1993. In his resolution of 22 November 1990, Med-Arbiter
Tomas Falconitin declared illegal Salvador's expulsion
3. That because of Atty. Amado Foja's and directed the union and all its officers to reinstate
neglect and malpractice of law we lost the Salvador's name in the roll of union members with all the
Judge Capulong case and our appeal to rights and privileges appurtenant thereto. This resolution
the Court of Appeals. So that it is only was affirmed in toto by the Secretary of Labor and
proper that Atty. Fojas be disciplined and Employment.
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Subsequently, Paulino Salvador filed with the Regional The core issue that presents itself is whether the
Trial Court (RTC) of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch respondent committed culpable negligence, as would
172, a complaint against the complainants herein for warrant disciplinary action, in failing to file for the
actual, moral, and exemplary damages and attorney's complainants an answer in Civil Case No. 3526-V-91 for
fees, under Articles 19, 20, and 21 of the Civil Code. The which reason the latter were declared in default and
case was docketed as Civil Case No. 3526-V-91. judgment was rendered against them on the basis of the
plaintiff's evidence, which was received ex-parte.
As the complainants' counsel, the respondent filed a
motion to dismiss the said case on grounds of (1) res It is axiomatic that no lawyer is obliged to act either as
judicata by virtue of the final decision of the Med-Arbiter adviser or advocate for every person who may wish to
in NCR-OD-M-90-10-050 and (2) lack of jurisdiction, since become his client. He has the right to decline
what was involved was an intra-union issue cognizable by employment,1 subject, however, to Canon 14 of the Code
the DOLE. Later, he filed a supplemental motion to of Professional Responsibility. Once he agrees to take up
dismiss. the cause of a client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such
cause and must always be mindful of the trust and
The trial court, per Judge Teresita Dizon-Capulong, confidence reposed in him.2 He must serve the client with
granted the motion and ordered the dismissal of the case. competence and diligence,3 and champion the latter's
Upon Salvador's motion for reconsideration, however, it cause with wholehearted fidelity, care, and
reconsidered the order of dismissal, reinstated the case, devotion.4 Elsewise stated, he owes entire devotion to the
and required the complainants herein to file their answer interest of the client, warm zeal in the maintenance and
within a nonextendible period of fifteen days from notice. defense of his client's rights, and the exertion of his
utmost learning and ability to the end that nothing be
taken or withheld from his client, save by the rules of law,
Instead of filing an answer, the respondent filed a motion
legally applied.5 This simply means that his client is
for reconsideration and dismissal of the case. This motion
entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and
having been denied, the respondent filed with this Court a
defense that is authorized by the law of the land and he
petition for certiorari, which was later referred to the Court
may expect his lawyer to assert every such remedy or
of Appeals and docketed therein as CA-G.R. SP No.
defense.6 If much is demanded from an attorney, it is
25834.
because the entrusted privilege to practice law carries
with it the correlative duties not only to the client but also
Although that petition and his subsequent motion for to the court, to the bar, and to the public. A lawyer who
reconsideration were both denied, the respondent still did performs his duty with diligence and candor not only
not file the complainants' answer in Civil Case No. 3526- protects the interest of his client; he also serves the ends
V-91. Hence, upon plaintiff Salvador's motion, the of justice, does honor to the bar, and helps maintain the
complainants were declared in default, and Salvador was respect of the community to the legal profession. 7
authorized to present his evidence ex-parte.
The respondent admits that it was his duty to file an
The respondent then filed a motion to set aside the order answer in Civil Case No. 3526-V-91. He justifies his failure
of default and to stop the ex-parte reception of evidence to do so in this wise:
before the Clerk of Court, but to no avail.
[I]n his overzealousness to question the
Thereafter, the trial court rendered a decision ordering the Denial Order of the trial court, 8 [he]
complainants herein to pay, jointly and severally, plaintiff instead, thru honest mistake and
Salvador the amounts of P200,000.00 as moral damages; excusable neglect, filed a PETITION
P50,000.00 as exemplary damages or corrective FOR CERTIORARI with the Honorable
damages; and P65,000.00 as attorney's fees; plus cost of Court, docketed as G.R. No. 100983. . . .
suit.
And, when the Court of Appeals, to which G.R.
The complainants, still assisted by the respondent, No. 100983 was referred, dismissed the petition,
elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, which, he again "inadvertently" failed to file an answer
however, affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court. "[d]ue to honest mistake and because of his
overzealousness as stated earlier. . . . "
The respondent asserts that he was about to appeal the
said decision to this Court, but his services as counsel for In their Reply, the complainants allege that his failure to
the complainants and for the union were illegally and file an answer was not an honest mistake but was
unilaterally terminated by complainant Veronica Santiago. "deliberate, malicious and calculated to place them on the

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legal disadvantage, to their damage and prejudice" for, as All told, the respondent committed a breach of Canon 18
admitted by him in his motion to set aside the order of of the Code of Professional Responsibility which requires
default, his failure to do so was "due to volume and him to serve his clients, the complainants herein, with
pressure of legal work."9 In short, the complainants want diligence and, more specifically, Rule 18.03 thereof which
to impress upon this Court that the respondent has given provides: "A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter
inconsistent reasons to justify his failure to file an answer. entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable."
We agree with the complainants. In his motion for
reconsideration of the default order, the respondent The respondent's negligence is not excused by his claim
explained his non-filing of the required answer by that Civil Case No. 3526-V-91 was in fact a "losing cause"
impliedly invoking forgetfulness occasioned by a large for the complainants since the claims therein for damages
volume and pressure of legal work, while in his Comment were based on the final decision of the Med-Arbiter
in this case he attributes it to honest mistake and declaring the complainants' act of expelling Salvador from
excusable neglect due to his overzealousness to question the union to be illegal. This claim is a mere afterthought
the denial order of the trial court. which hardly persuades us. If indeed the respondent was
so convinced of the futility of any defense therein, he
Certainly, "overzealousness" on the one hand and should have seasonably informed the complainants
"volume and pressure of legal work" on the other are two thereof. Rule 15.05, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional
distinct and separate causes or grounds. The first Responsibility expressly provides:
presupposes the respondent's full and continuing
awareness of his duty to file an answer which, A lawyer, when advising his client, shall
nevertheless, he subordinated to his conviction that the give a candid and honest opinion on the
trial court had committed a reversible error or grave abuse merits and probable results of the client's
of discretion in issuing an order reconsidering its previous case, neither overstating nor
order of dismissal of Salvador's complaint and in denying understanding the prospects of the case.
the motion to reconsider the said order. The second
ground is purely based on forgetfulness because of his Then too, if he were unconvinced of any defense,
other commitments. we are unable to understand why he took all the
trouble of filing a motion to dismiss on the
Whether it be the first or the second ground, the fact grounds of res judicata and lack of jurisdiction
remains that the respondent did not comply with his duty and of questioning the adverse ruling thereon
to file an answer in Civil Case No. 3526-V-91. His lack of initially with this Court and then with the Court of
diligence was compounded by his erroneous belief that Appeals, unless, of course, he meant all of these
the trial court committed such error or grave abuse of to simply delay the disposition of the civil case.
discretion and by his continued refusal to file an answer Finally, the complainants were not entirely
even after he received the Court of Appeals' decision in without any valid or justifiable defense. They
the certiorari case. There is no showing whatsoever that could prove that the plaintiff was not entitled to all
he further assailed the said decision before this Court in a the damages sought by him or that if he were so,
petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court to they could ask for a reduction of the amounts
prove his claim of overzealousness to challenge the trial thereof.
court's order. Neither was it shown that he alleged in his
motion to lift the order of default that the complainants had We do not therefore hesitate to rule that the respondent is
a meritorious defense. 10 And, in his appeal from the not free from any blame for the sad fate of the
judgment by default, he did not even raise as one of the complainants. He is liable for inexcusable negligence.
errors of the trial court either the impropriety of the order
of default or the court's grave abuse of discretion in WHEREFORE, ATTY. AMADO R. FOJAS is hereby
denying his motion to lift that order. REPRIMANDED and ADMONISHED to be, henceforth,
more careful in the performance of his duty to his clients.
Pressure and large volume of legal work provide no
excuse for the respondent's inability to exercise due SO ORDERED.
diligence in the performance of his duty to file an answer.
Every case a lawyer accepts deserves his full attention,
diligence, skill, and competence, regardless of its
importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free.

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