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Adelino H. Ledesma v. Hon. Rafael C.

G.R. No. L- 23815 (June 28, 1974)



Petitioner Ledesma was assigned as counsel de parte for an accused in a case pending in
the sala of the respondent judge. On October 13, 1964, Ledesma was appointed Election
Registrar for the Municipality of Cadiz, Negros Occidental. He commenced discharging
his duties, and filed a motion to withdraw from his position as counsel de parte. The
respondent Judge denied him and also appointed him as counsel de officio for the two
defendants. On November 6, Ledesma filed a motion to be allowed to withdraw as
counsel de oficio, because the Comelec requires full time service which could prevent
him from handling adequately the defense. Judge denied the motion. So Ledesma
instituted this certiorari proceeding.


Whether or not the order of the respondent judged in denying the motion of the petitioner
is a grave abuse of discretion?


No, Ledesma's withdrawal would be an act showing his lack of fidelity to the duty
rqeuired of the legal profession. He ought to have known that membership in the bar is
burdened with conditions. The legal profession is dedicated to the ideal of service, and is
not a mere trade. A lawyer may be required to act as counsel de officio to aid in the
performance of the administration of justice. The fact that such services are rendered
without pay should not diminish the lawyer's zeal.
The People of the Philippines,plaintiff-appellee,
Felipe Malunsing, et al., defendants, Manel Villegas, defendant-appellant

G.R. No. L-29015 April 29, 1975

Manuel Villegas together with Malunsing et al were charged for murder. At the opening
of the trial, Manuel Villegas was appointed a counsel de oficio, Atty. Geronimo Pajarito.
Villegas however intimated to Geronimo and the trial court that he has his own lawyer.
However, the court proceeded without giving Villegas the opportunity to present his own
lawyer. The court then asked Atty. Pajarito if he wants to confer with his client but
Pajarito replied I think I know the case. Thereafter, trial began where the prosecution
presented evidence against Villegas. No evidence was presented in behalf of Villegas and
he was not even called to the witness stand to prove his innocence. Consequently,
Villegas was convicted of the crime charged.

Now, Atty. Pablito Pielago [presumably Villegas true lawyer and supposed lawyer from
the onset?] questioned the conviction as he presented the above irregularities. He said that
Villegas is an unlettered man and he does not know the intricacies of court proceedings
hence Pajarito should have been vigilant in representing him in court. Pielago now wants
the reversal of the conviction.

ISSUE:Whether or not the conviction should be reversed.

HELD:Yes, for there is a gross violation of Villegas constitutional rights. The Supreme
Court noted that it is not enough that a counsel de oficio was appointed, especially so as
here, where the accused had indicated that he wanted a lawyer of his choice, a decision
prompted moreover by the fact that he had lost confidence in the member of the bar thus
designated. Nor is it to manifest respect for this right if the counsel de oficio thus named,
instead of conferring with the accused, would just blithely inform the judge that he was
already fully prepared for his exacting responsibility. It was unintended, of course, but the
result could not rightly be distinguished from pure travesty. The Supreme Court reversed
the conviction but considering the gravity of the offense charged, it ordered a new trial.
People of the Philippines vs Ricardo Rio
G. R. No. 90294, 24 September 1991

Accused-appellant Ricardo Rio was charged and convicred of the crime of rape
before the RTC of Makati City and was sentenced to sufer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. He filed an appeal and as a conseqence, the branch clerj of court forwarded the
records to the CA. The appellate court, however, forwarded the records to the SC in view
of the penalty imposed upon the accused.

However, accused-appellant, in his two letters adressed to the clerk of court,

manifested his intention to withdraw the appeal due to his poverty. Upon inquiry of the
clerk of coirt of the trial court, through the recommendation of the SolGen, the accused-
appellant submits that he was no longer interested in pursuing his appeal and had, in fact,
withdtawn his appeal. The court denied his motion to withdraw and appointed a counsel
de oficio for him. All the letters reveal that the only reason he offered for the withdrawal
of his appeal is his inability to retain the services of a counsel de oficio on account of his

WON the right to counsel of accused-appellant ceased upon his conviction by the
trial court.

SC held in the negative. This right to counsel de oficio does not cease upon the
conviction of an accused by the trial court. It continues, even during appeal, such duty of
the court to assign a counsel de oficio persists where an accused interposes intent to
appeal. Even in a case, where the accused has signified his intent to withdraw his appeal,
the court is required to inquire in the reason for the withdrawal. Where it finds the sole
reason for the withdrawal to be poverty, the court must assign a counsel de oficio, for
despite such withdrawal, the duty to protect the rights of the accused subsists and
perhaps, with greater reason. After all, those who have less in life must have more in

The Court admonishes members of the Bar to be more conscious of their duties as
advocates of their clients causes whether acting de parte or de oficio for public interest
requires that an attorney exert his best efforts and ability in the prosecution or defense of
his clients cause.

Lawyers are an indispensable part of the whole system of administering justice in

this jurisdiction. And a lawyer who performs that duty with diligence and candor not only
protects the interests if his client; he also serve the ends of justice, does honor to the Bar
and held maintain practice law carries with it the correlative duties not only to the client
but also to the court, to the ar and to the public.
filart_1919 September 27, 1919
In re the complaint against Attorney ANACLETO FILART.

These proceedings were instituted at the instance of thirty-seven residents of Asingan,
Pangasinan, who filed a complaint against attorney Anacleto Filart for malpractice,
alleging in substance:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

1. That while Filart was deputy fiscal of Pangasinan he received of them the sum of P111
as fees for drafting a memorandum in connection with Registration Case No. 3, Record
No. 8540;

2. That Filart was guilty of fraud and negligence in prosecuting the appeal to the Supreme
Court, he having practically abandoned the case.

WON Atty. Filart be suspended or disbarred for malpractice of law

The Acting Attorney-General believes that the facts are not sufficient to support the
complaint, and recommends dismissal of the case. We agree to the extent that such gross
misconduct or negligence has not been shown as warrants disbarment or suspension
pursuant to sections 21 and 22 of the Code of Civil Procedure. "That part of the
profession," said Lord Mansfield in Pitt v. Yalden, ([1767], 4 Burr., 2060), "which is
carried on by attorneys is liberal and reputable, as well as useful to the public, when they
conduct themselves with honor and integrity; and they ought to be protected when they
act to the best of their skill and knowledge.

The court, having in mind the many appeals which have been dismissed because of the
lack of diligence of counsel, cannot let the occurrence pass without expressing a strong
disapproval of such criminal carelessness. While we would not wish to assume a harsh
and uncompromising attitude towards attorneys-at-law, we would wish for them to know
that by indulging in such unprofessional tactics they by come unworthy of the trust which
the law reposes in them. The lack of due care is a breach of the attorneys undertaking
with his client, and is indicative of a disregard of the attorneys duties to the court.
Mejia vs Reyes [A.C. No. 378. March 30, 1962]


Francisco S. Reyes, a practicing lawyer, was appointed bank attorney and notary public
for the Baguio Branch of the Philippine National Bank. While still holding such position
his professional services were engaged by Jose G. Mejia and Emilia N. Abrera, residents
of Baguio City, to bring an action in court against the Philippine National Bank and the
Rehabilitation Finance Corporation (now the Development Bank of the Philippines) as
successor-in-interest of the defunct Agricultural and Industrial Bank for the cancellation
of a mortgage on a parcel of land situated in Baguio City.

[C]omplainants Jose G. Mejia and Emilia N. Abrera allege that they had desired to take
an appeal from the judgment rendered by the Court of First Instance of Baguio but did
not, upon the respondents advice; that thereafter for the first time they learned that the
respondent was counsel and notary public of the Baguio Branch of the Philippine
National Bank; that his representing them against the Philippine National Bank, in whose
Baguio Branch he was bank attorney and notary public, without revealing to them such
connection with the Bank, constitutes malpractice; and pray this Court to disbar him.


Whether or not the Atty. Reyes is guilty of malpractice and should be disbarred.


YES. But the malpractice committed is not so serious. Respondent was just admonished
and warned not to repeat it.


Lawyers are prohibited from representing conflicting interests in a case. The respondents
act of appearing and acting as counsel for the complainants Jose G. Mejia and Emilia N.
Abrera in the civil case against the Philippine National Bank, that had appointed him
bank attorney and notary public, constitutes malpractice. However, it does not appear
satisfactorily proven that during the pendency of their case the complaints did not know
of the respondents connection with the bank as attorney and notary public. Evidence
shows that the Philippine National Bank knew that the respondent was appearing as
counsel for the complainants, yet it did not revoke or cancel his appointment as bank
attorney and notary public.
PNB vs Atty. Telesforo Cedo
A.C. No. 3701, March 28, 1995


After having arranged the sale of steel sheets for Mrs. Siy, the latter became
implicated in a civil case with the complainant PNB. After having stop employment with
PNB, respondent Atty. Cedo appeared as counsel for Mrs . Siy. A similar situation
happened when spouses Almeda were implicated to a case with complainant PNB-
counsel for Sps. Almeda is the Cedo, Ferrer, Maynigo and Associates. Atty. Cedo was
AVP of the Asset Mgt. Group of complainant bank, where such loan transaction of Sps.
Almeda came under his purview. Respondent asserted that in the former case, he did not
participate in the litigation before the court, while the latter, it was another partner of the
firm that handle the case. IBP made its report and recommendation for suspension for
having deliberate intent to devise ways and means to attract as clients former borrowers
of complainant bank since he was in the best position to see the legal weakness of his
former employer.

WON respondent be held administratively liable

Suspended. According to Canon 6.03 of the CPR, A lawyer shall not, after leaving
govt service, accept engagement or employment in connection with any matter in which
he had intervened while in said service. Having been an executive of complainant bank,
respondent sought to litigate as counsel for the opposite side, a case against his former
employer involving a transaction which he formerly handled while still an employee of
complainant, violated said Canon.