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HUYSSEN v GUTIERREZ ● Atty.

Gutierrez’ defense remained unsubstantiated for he failed to submit


March 24, 2006 || Per Curiam evidences. His action of shifting the blame to someone is not only impudent
but downright ignominious. He also failed, without any plausible reason, to
appear several times whenever the case was set for reception of his
PROVISION INVOLVED:
Canon 6 Rule 6.02 -- A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public evidence despite due notice.
position to promote or advance his private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere ● As correctly issued by the Investigating Commissioner, Atty. Gutierrez would
with his public duties. not have issued his personal checks if said amount were officially deposited
with the BID. This is an admission of misconduct.
FACTS
Atty. Gutierrez’ act of asking money from complainant in consideration of the
This is a Complaint for Disbarment filed by Gisela Huyssen against Atty.
latter’s visa application goes against Rule 1.01 and Rule 6.02 of the Code of
Fred Gutierrez.
Professional Responsibility.
● For Rule 1.01: prohibits members of the Bar from engaging or participating
Huyssen and her three sons (American citizens) applied for Philippine Visas,
in any unlawful, dishonest, or deceitful acts.
and Atty. Gutierrez, who was still connected with the Bureau of Immigration and
● For Rule 6.02: bars lawyers in government service from promoting their
Deportation (BID), told her that they needed to deposit a certain sum of money, to be
private interest.
returned to them after one year, in order for their visa to be favorably acted upon.
○ Promoting of private interest includes soliciting gifts or anything of
Huyssen deposited $20,000 all in all. Atty. Gutierrez prepared receipts and vouchers
monetary value in any transaction requiring the approval of his
as proof he had received the money, and yet when Huyssen demanded from him the
office or which may be affected by the functions of his office.
return of the money, he failed to give the money back. Several demand letters were
● He even compounded his case by issuing several worthless checks in
sent, and in all of those letters, Atty. Gutierrez would explain the reason for the delay
an attempt to camouflage his misdeed.
and would deposit post-dated checks which were all dishonored by the bank. This
happened on two occasions, totalling to 7 dishonored post-dated checks.
These pronouncement gain practical significance in the case at bar given
that Atty. Gutierrez was a former member of the Board of Special Inquiry of the BID. It
Atty. Gutierrez admitted having received the $20,000, but his defense was
bears stressing that government lawyers who are public servants owe fidelity to the
that the money was indeed used as payment for visa services and that he could not
public service, a public trust. As such, government lawyers should be more sensitive
have appropriated or pocketed the money. Furthermore, he said he delivered it to a
to their professional obligations as their disreputable conduct is more likely to be
certain Atty. Mendoza who assisted Huyssen in their visa application in BID, but later
magnified in the public eye.
on Atty. Mendoza died and so he was left to answer for the vouchers and pay.

Respondent’s acts constitute gross misconduct, and deserves the ultimate


The Investigating Commissioner recommended the disbarment of Atty.
penalty of expulsion from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers.
Gutierrez. In the investigation, it was found out that his defense was untenable due to
lack of proof of existence of one “Atty. Mendoza”, and due to the strong documentary
HELD
evidences by the complainant. Also, the fact that he issued personal checks to cover
DISBARRED.
the return of money to complainant despite the money being supposedly deposited to
BID shows that he received the money from complainant and actually appropriated it
for his personal use. IBP Board of Governors approved the Investigating
Commissioner’s report and stated that Atty. Gutierrez should be disbarred.

ISSUE
W/N Atty. Gutierrez should be disbarred? YES

RATIO
Lawyers in government service in the discharge of their official task have more
restrictions than lawyers in private practice. Want of moral integrity is to be
more severely condemned in a lawyer who holds a public office.