Sunteți pe pagina 1din 25

IN RE DEL ROSARIO

52 Phil 399 – Legal Ethics – Practice of Law is a Privilege


Felipe Del Rosario took the bar in 1925 for the second time and he failed. He again took it in 1926 and he failed again. In
1927, he filed a motion before the Supreme Court in which he alleged that there was a mistake in the computation of his
exam results in the 1925 bar exams. He was then admitted to the bar.
HOWEVER, a subsequent investigation by the city fiscal uncovered that Del Rosario, together with one Juan Villaflor – a
former employee of the Supreme Court, falsified some documents to make it appear that Del Rosario actually passed the
1925 bar exams. The two were subsequently charged with falsification. Villaflor was convicted as he pleaded guilty but
Del Rosario was acquitted for lack of evidence. The fiscal however recommended Del Rosario to surrender his certificate
of attorney.
ISSUE: Whether or not the recommendation by the fiscal is correct.
HELD: Yes. The mere fact that Villaflor was convicted proves that Del Rosario is unworthy of the certificate of attorney.
The crime which Villaflor is proven guilty of has benefited only Del Rosario and it is impossible that the latter has no
knowledge of this illegal machination.
But shouldn’t the Supreme Court just allow Del Rosario to take the bar exams again?
No. The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be granted everyone who demands it, but is a privilege to be
extended or withheld in the exercise of a sound discretion. The standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by
conduct which merely enables one to escape the penalties of the criminal law. It would be a disgrace to the Judiciary to
receive one whose integrity is questionable as an officer of the court, to clothe him with all the prestige of its confidence,
and then to permit him to hold himself out as a duly authorized member of the bar.
Nunez v Ricafort (382 SCRA 381)

Facts: An administrative complaint was by Soledad Nuñez, a septuagenarian represented by her attorney-in-fact Ananias
B. Co, Jr., seeking the disbarment of Atty. Romulo Ricafort on the ground of grave misconduct.

Sometime in October 1982, Soledad authorized Atty. Ricafort to sell her two parcels of land located in Legazpi City
for P40,000. She agreed to the lawyer 10% of the price as commission. Atty. Ricafort succeeded in selling the lots, but
despite Soledad’s repeated demands, he did not turn over the proceeds of the sale. This forced Soledad to file an action
for a sum of money before the RTC, Quezon City.

The court rendered its decision ordering the Atty. to pay Soledad the sum of P16,000 as principal obligation, with at the
legal rate from the date of the commencement of the action.

An appeal to the CA was made. However, the appeal was dismissed for failure to pay the required docket fee within the
reglementary period despite notice.

Soledad filed a motion for the issuance of an alias writ of execution. But it appears that only a partial satisfaction of
the P16,000 judgment was made, leaving P13,800 unsatisfied. In payment for the latter, Atty. issued four postdated
checks but was dishonored because the account against which they were drawn was closed.

Hence, Soledad was forced to file four criminal complaints for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 before the MTC, Quezon City.

In a joint affidavit, Atty. Ricafort admitted having drawn and issued said four postdated checks in favor of Soledad.
Allegedly believing in good faith that said checks had already been encashed by Soledad, he subsequently closed his
checking account in China Banking Corporation, Legazpi City, from which said four checks were drawn. He was not
notified that the checks were dishonored. Had he been notified, he would have made the necessary arrangements with
the bank.

The court required Atty. to comment on the complaint. But he never did despite the favorable action on his three
motions for extension of time to file the comment. His failure to do so compelled Soledad to file a motion to cite Atty. in
contempt on the ground that his strategy to file piecemeal motions for extension of time to submit the comment
“smacks of a delaying tactic scheme that is unworthy of a member of the bar and a law dean.”

The IBP findings show that the Atty. had no intention to “honor” the money judgment against him. It recommended that
Atty. be declared “guilty of misconduct in his dealings with complainant” and be suspended from the practice of law for
at least one year and pay the amount of the checks issued to the complainant.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Romulo Ricafort is guilty of grave misconduct in his dealings with complainant.

Held: YES. There is a blatant violation of Rule 1:01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides:

A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest and immoral or deceitful conduct. By violating Rule 1:01 of Canon 1 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, Atty. diminished public confidence in the law and the lawyers. Instead of
promoting such confidence and respect, he miserably failed to live up to the standards of the legal profession.

His act of issuing bad checks in satisfaction of the alias writ of execution for money judgment rendered by the trial court
was a clear attempt to defeat the ends of justice. His failure to make good the checks despite demands and the criminal
cases for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 showed his continued defiance of judicial processes, which he, as an officer of the
court, was under continuing duty to uphold.

To further demonstrate his very low regard for the courts and judicial processes, he even had the temerity of making a
mockery of the court’s generosity to him. We granted his three motions for extension of time to file his comment on the
complaint in this case. Yet, not only did he fail to file the comment, he as well did not even bother to explain such failure
notwithstanding our resolution declaring him as having waived the filing of the comment. To the SC, Atty. openly
showed a high degree of irresponsibility amounting to willful disobedience to its lawful orders.

Atty. Ricafort then knowingly and willfully violated Rules 12.04 and 12:03 of Canon 12 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility stating that:

Lawyers should avoid any action that would unduly delay a case, impede the execution of a judgment or misuse court
processes; and that lawyers, after obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda or briefs, should not let the
period lapse without submitting the same or offering an explanation for their failure to do so.

The SC indefinitely suspended Atty. Ricafort from the practice of law and directed to pay Soledad P13,800.

SOLEDAD NUÑEZ VS. ATTY. ROMULO RICAFORT A.C. NO. 5054. MAY 29, 2002
Saturday, February 21, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes
Labels: Case Digests, Legal Ethics

Facts: Sometime in October 1982 petitioner authorized respondentattorney to sell her two parcels of land
located in Legazpi City for P40,000. She agreed to give respondent 10 percent of the price as commission.
Respondent succeeded in selling the lots, but despite complainant’s repeated demands, he did not turn
over to her the proceeds of the sale. This forced complainant to file against respondent and his wife
an actionfor a sum of money before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.

Respondent was declared in default and judgment was rendered in favor of petitioner. Respondent
appealed said decision to the Court of Appealsbut the same was dismissed for failure to pay the docket fee
within the required period.
A writ of execution was issued, it appeared however that only a partial amount has been paid by the
lawyer. Four postdated checks were subsequently issued to cover the balance. Said checks however, upon
presentment were dishonored because the account against which they were drawn was closed. Demands
to make good the checks were to noavail so a case for violation of BP 22 was filed by petitioner.

The lawyer denied the allegations and filed several motions for extension of time to file comment.
Complainant filed a motion to cite lawyer for contempt for his alleged delaying tactics unbecoming of a
lawyer and a law dean.

Issue: What is the liability of the lawyer?

Held: Atty. Romulo Ricafort is guilty of grave misconduct in his dealings with complainant. Rule 1:01 of
Canon 1 of the Code of ProfessionalResponsibility which provides that “A lawyer shall not engage in
unlawful,dishonest and immoral or deceitful conduct”.

Respondent had no intention to “honor” the money judgment against him in as can be gleaned from his
(1) issuance of postdated checks; (2) closing of the account against which said checks were drawn; and
(3) continued failure to make good the amounts of the checks.

[B.M. No. 1222. February 4, 2004] Re: 2003 BAR EXAMINATIONS

RESOLUTION
PER CURIAM:

On 22 September 2003, the day following the bar examination in Mercantile Law, Justice Jose C. Vitug, Chairman of
the 2003 Bar Examinations Committee, was apprised of a rumored leakage in the examination on the subject. After
making his own inquiries, Justice Vitug reported the matter to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., and to the other
members of the Court, recommending that the bar examination on the subject be nullified and that an investigation be
conducted forthwith. On 23 September 2003, the Court adopted the recommendation of Justice Vitug, and resolved to
nullify the examination in Mercantile Law and to hold another examination on 04 October 2003 at eight oclock in the
evening (being the earliest available time and date) at the De La Salle University, Taft Avenue, Manila. The resolution was
issued without prejudice to any action that the Court would further take on the matter.
Following the issuance of the resolution, the Court received numerous petitions and motions from the Philippine
Association of Law Schools and various other groups and persons, expressing agreement to the nullification of the bar
examinations in Mercantile Law but voicing strong reservations against the holding of another examination on the subject.
Several reasons were advanced by petitioners or movants, among these reasons being the physical, emotional and
financial difficulties that would be encountered by the examinees, if another examination on the subject were to be held
anew. Alternative proposals submitted to the Court included the spreading out of the weight of Mercantile Law among the
remaining seven bar subjects, i.e., to determine and gauge the results of the examinations on the basis only of the
performance of the examinees in the seven bar subjects. In a resolution, dated 29 September 2003, the Court, finding
merit in the submissions, resolved to cancel the scheduled examination in Mercantile Law on 04 October 2003 and to
allocate the fifteen percentage points among the seven bar examination subjects. In the same resolution, the Court further
resolved to create a Committee composed of three retired members of the Court that would conduct a thorough
investigation of the incident subject of the 23 September 2003 resolution.
In a resolution, dated 07 October 2003, the Court adopted the computation in the allocation of the fifteen percentage
points for Mercantile Law among the remaining seven bar examination subjects, to wit:
Subject Original Adjusted Relative Adjusted
Percentage Percentage Weight Relative
Weight Weight Weight
Political and
International
Law 15% 17.647% 3 3.53%
Labor and
Social
Legislation 10% 11.765% 2 2.35%

Civil law 15% 17.647% 3 3.53%

Taxation 10% 11.765% 2 2.35%

Criminal law 10% 11.765% 2 2.35%

Remedial
Law 20% 23.529% 4 4.71%
Legal Ethics
and Practical
Exercises 5% 5.882% 1 1.18%
100% 20%
In another resolution, dated 14 October 2003, the Court designated the following retired Associate Justices of the
Supreme Court to compose the Investigating Committee:

Chairman: Justice Carolina C. Grio-Aquino

Members: Justice Jose A.R. Melo

Justice Vicente V. Mendoza

The Investigating Committee was tasked to determine and identify the source of leakage, the parties responsible therefor
or who might have benefited therefrom, recommend sanctions against all those found to have been responsible for, or
who would have benefited from, the incident in question and to recommend measures to the Court to safeguard the
integrity of the bar examinations.
On 15 January 2004, the Investigating Committee submitted its report and recommendation to the Court, herein
reproduced in full; thus -

In the morning of September 21, 2003, the third Sunday of the 2003 bar examinations, the examination in commercial law was held in
De la Salle University on Taft Avenue, Manila, the venue of the bar examinations since 1995. The next day, the newspapers carried
news of an alleged leakage in the said examination. [1]

Upon hearing the news and making preliminary inquiries of his own, Justice Jose C. Vitug, chairman of the 2003 Bar Examinations
Committee, reported the matter to the Chief Justice and recommended that the examination in mercantile law be cancelled and that a
formal investigation of the leakage be undertaken.

Acting on the report and recommendation of Justice Vitug, the Court, in a resolution dated September 23, 2003, nullified the
examination in mercantile law and resolved to hold another examination in that subject on Saturday, October 4, 2003 at eight oclock
in the evening (being the earliest available time and date) at the same venue. However, because numerous petitions, protests, and
motions for reconsideration were filed against the retaking of the examination in mercantile law, the Court cancelled the holding of
such examination. On the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Court instead decided to allocate the fifteen (15)
percentage points for mercantile law among the seven (7) other bar examination subjects (Resolution dated October 7, 2003).

In a Resolution dated September 29, 2003, the Supreme Court created an Investigating Committee composed of three (3) retired
Members of the Court to conduct an investigation of the leakage and to submit its findings and recommendations on or
before December 15, 2003.

The Court designated the following retired Associate Justices of the Supreme Court to compose the Committee:

Chairman: Justice CAROLINA GRIO-AQUINO

Members: Justice JOSE A. R. MELO

Justice VICENTE V. MENDOZA

The Investigating Committee was directed to determine and identify the source of the leakage, the parties responsible therefor and
those who benefited therefrom, and to recommend measures to safeguard the integrity of the bar examinations.

The investigation commenced on October 21, 2003 and continued up to November 7, 2003. The following witnesses appeared and
testified at the investigation:

1. Associate Justice Jose C. Vitug, chairman of the 2003 Bar Examinations Committee;

2. Atty. Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, law clerk in the office of Justice Vitug

3. Atty. Marcial O. T. Balgos, examiner in mercantile law;

4. Cheryl Palma, private secretary of Atty. Balgos;

5. Atty. Danilo De Guzman, assistant lawyer in the firm of Balgos & Perez;

6. Atty. Enrico G. Velasco, managing partner of Balgos & Perez;

7. Eduardo J. F. Abella, reviewer in commercial law at the Lex Review Center;

8. Silvestre T. Atienza, office manager of Balgos & Perez;

9. Reynita Villasis, private secretary of Atty. De Guzman;

10. Ronan Garvida, fraternity brother of Atty. De Guzman;

11. Ronald F. Collado, most illustrious brother of the Beta Sigma Lambda Fraternity;

12. Jovito M. Salonga, Asst. Division Chief of Systems Development for Judicial Application, MlSO;

The Committee held nine (9) meetings - six times to conduct the investigation and three times to deliberate on its report.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE JOSE C. VITUG, chairman of the Bar Examinations Committee, testified that on Monday morning,
September 22, 2003, the day after the Bar examination in mercantile or commercial law, upon arriving in his office in the Supreme
Court, his secretary,[2] Rose Kawada, informed him that one of the law clerks, Atty. Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, told her that a friend of
hers named Ma. Cecilia Delgado-Carbajosa, a bar examinee from Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City, who was staying at the
Garden Plaza Hotel in Paco, confided to her that something was wrong with the examination in mercantile law, because previous to
the examination, i.e., on Saturday afternoon, the eve of the examination, she received a copy of the test questions in that subject. She
did not pay attention to the test questions because no answers were provided, and she was hard-pressed to finish her review of that
subject, using other available bar review materials, of which there were plenty coming from various bar review centers.
However, upon perusing the questions after the examinations, Cecilia noticed that many of them were the same questions that were
asked in the just-concluded-examination.

Justice Vitug requested Marlo to invite her friend to his office in the Supreme Court, but Carbajosa declined the invitation. So, Justice
Vitug suggested that Marlo and Rose invite Carbajosa to meet them at Robinsons Place, Ermita. She agreed to do that.

Cecilia Carbajosa arrived at Robinsons Place at the appointed time and showed the test questions to Rose and Marlo. Rose obtained a
xerox copy of the leaked questions and compared them with the bar questions in mercantile law. On the back of the pages, she wrote,
in her own hand, the differences she noted between the leaked questions and the bar examination questions.

Rose and Marlo delivered the copy of the leaked questions to Justice Vitug who compared them with the bar examination questions in
mercantile law. He found the leaked questions to be the exact same questions which the examiner in mercantile law, Attorney Marcial
O. T. Balgos, had prepared and submitted to him as chairman of the Bar Examinations Committee. However, not all of those questions
were asked in the bar examination. According to Justice Vitug, only 75% of the final bar questions were questions prepared by Atty.
Balgos; 25% prepared by Justice Vitug himself, were included in the final bar examination. The questions prepared by Justice Vitug
were not among the leaked test questions.

Apart from the published news stories about the leakage, Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and Justice Vitug received, by telephone
and mail, reports of the leakage from Dean Mariano F. Magsalin, Jr. of the Arellano Law Foundation (Exh. H) and a certain Dale
Philip R. De los Reyes (Exh. B -B-3), attaching copies of the leaked questions and the fax transmittal sheet showing that the source of
the questions was Danny De Guzman who faxed them to Ronan Garvida on September 17, 2003, four days before the examination in
mercantile law on September 21, 2003 (Exh. B-1).

ATTORNEY MARLO MAGDOZA-MALAGAR was subpoenaed by the Committee. She identified the copy of the leaked questions
that came from Cecilia Carbajosa (Exh. A). She testified that, according to Carbajosa, the latter received the test questions from one of
her co-bar reviewees staying, like her, at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Paco, and also enrolled in the review classes at the Lex Review
Center at the corner of P. Faura Street and Roxas Boulevard, Ermita. She did not pay for the hand-out because
the Lex Review Center gives them away for free to its bar reviewees.

ATTORNEY MARCIAL O. T. BALGOS, 71 years of age, senior partner in the law firm of BALGOS AND PEREZ with offices in
Rm. 1009 West Tektite Tower, Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, testified that in November 2002, Justice Jose C. Vitug, as
chair of the Committee on the 2003 Bar Examinations, invited him to be the examiner in commercial law. He accepted the assignment
and almost immediately began the preparation of test questions on the subject. Using his personal computer in the law office, he
prepared for three consecutive days, three (3) sets of test questions which covered the entire subject of Mercantile Law (pp. 3-5,
tsn, Oct. 24, 2003). As he did not know how to prepare the questionnaire in final form, he asked his private secretary, Cheryl Palma, to
format the questions (p. 13, tsn, Oct. 24, 2003). And, as he did not know how to print the questionnaire, he likewise asked Cheryl
Palma to make a print-out (Id., pp. 14-15). All of this was done inside his office with only him and his secretary there. His secretary
printed only one copy (Id., p. 15). He then placed the printed copy of the test questions, consisting of three sets, in an envelope which
he sealed, and called up Justice Vitug to inform him that he was bringing the questions to the latters office that afternoon. However, as
Justice Vitug was leaving his office shortly, he advised Atty. Balgos to give the sealed envelope to his confidential assistant who had
been instructed to keep it. When Atty. Balgos arrived in the office of Justice Vitug, he was met by Justice Vitugs confidential assistant
to whom he entrusted the sealed envelope containing the test questions (pp. 19-26, tsn, Oct. 24, 2003).

Atty. Balgos admitted that he does not know how to operate a computer except to type on it. He does not know how to open and close
his own computer which has a password for that purpose. In fact, he did not know, as he still does, the password. It is his secretary,
Cheryl Palma, who opened and closed his computer for him (p. 45, tsn, Oct. 24, 2003).

Atty. Balgos testified that he did not devise the password himself. It was Cheryl Palma who devised it (Id., p. 71).

His computer is exclusively for his own use. It is located inside his room which is locked when he is not in the office. He comes to the
office every other day only.

He thought that his computer was safely insulated from third parties, and that he alone had access to it. He was surprised to discover,
when reports of the bar leakage broke out, that his computer was in fact interconnected with the computers of his nine (9) assistant
attorneys (tsn, pp. 30,45). As a matter of fact, the employees - Jovito M. Salonga and Benjamin R. Katly - of the Courts Management
Information Systems Office (MISO) who, upon the request of Atty. Balgos, were directed by the Investigating Committee to inspect
the computer system in his office, reported that there were 16, not 9, computers connected to each other via Local Area Network
(LAN) and one (1) stand-alone computer connected to the internet (Exh. M). Atty. Balgos law partner, former Justice Secretary
Hernando Perez, also had a computer, but Perez took it away when he became the Secretary of Justice.
The nine (9) assistant attorneys with computers, connected to Attorney Balgos computer, are:

1. Zorayda Zosobrado (she resigned in July 2003)

2. Claravel Javier

3. Rolynne Torio

4. Mark Warner Rosal

5. Charlynne Subia

6. Danilo De Guzman (resigned on October 22, 2003 [Exh. D])

7. Enrico G. Velasco, managing partner

8. Concepcion De los Santos

9. Pamela June Jalandoni

Upon learning from Justice Vitug of the leakage of the bar questions prepared by him in mercantile law, Atty. Balgos immediately
called together and questioned his office staff. He interrogated all of them except Atty. Danilo De Guzman who was absent then. All
of them professed to know nothing about the bar leakage.

He questioned Silvestre Atienza, the office manager, Atienza is only a second year law student at MLQU. But he is an expert in
installing and operating computers. It was he and/or his brother Gregorio who interconnected the computers in the law office,
including Attorney Balgos computer, without the latters knowledge and permission.

Atienza admitted to Attorney Balgos that he participated in the bar operations or bar ops of the Beta Sigma Lambda law fraternity of
which he is a member, but he clarified that his participation consisted only of bringing food to the MLQU bar examinees (Tsn, pp. 46-
47, Oct. 24, 2003).

The next day, Attorney Balgos questioned Attorney Danilo De Guzman, also a member of the Beta Sigma Lambda fraternity, FEU
chapter. De Guzman admitted to him that he downloaded the test questions from Attorney Balgos computer and faxed a copy to a
fraternity brother. Attorney Balgos was convinced that De Guzman was the source of the leakage of his test questions in mercantile
law (Tsn, p. 52, Oct. 24, 2003).

Attorney Balgos prepared a COMPARISON (Exh. E) of the juxtaposed final bar questions and his proposed test questions, with
marginal markings made by Justice Vicente V. Mendoza (Ret.), indicating whether the questions are similar: (S); or different: (D),
together with the percentage points corresponding to each question. On the basis of this comparative table and Atty. Balgos
indications as to which questions were the same or different from those given in the final questionnaire, Justice Mendoza computed
the credit points contained in the proposed leaked questions. The proposed questions constituted 82% of the final bar questions.
Attached to this Report as Annex A is the comparative table and the computation of credit points marked as Exh. E-1.

CHERYL PALMA, 34 years old, private secretary of Attorney Balgos for the past six years, testified that she did not type the test
questions. She admitted, however, that it was she who formatted the questions and printed one copy as directed by her employer. She
confirmed Atty. Balgos testimony regarding her participation in the operation of his personal computer. She disclosed that what
appears in Atty. Balgos computer can be seen in the neighborhood network if the other computers are open and not in use; that
Silvestre Atienza of the accounting section, can access Atty. Balgos computer when the latter is open and not in use.

ATTORNEY ENRICO VELASCO, managing partner of the firm, testified that on October 16, 2003, he sent De Guzman a memo
(Exh. C) giving him 72 hours to explain in writing why you should not be terminated for causing the Firm an undeserved
condemnation and dishonor because of the leakage aforesaid.

On October 22, 2003, De Guzman handed in his resignation effective immediately. He explained that:

Causing the firm, its partners and members to suffer from undeserved condemnation and humiliation is not only farthest from, but
totally out of, my mind. It is just unfortunate that the incident subject matter of your memorandum occurred. Rest assured, though, that
I have never been part of any deliberate scheme to malign the good reputation and integrity of the firm, its partners and members.
(Exh. D)

DANILO DE GUZMAN testified that he joined Balgos & Perez in April 2000. He obtained his LLB degree from FEU in 1998. As a
student, he was an awardee for academic excellence. He passed the 1998 bar examinations with a grade of 86.4%. In FEU, he joined
the Beta Sigma Lambda law fraternity which has chapters in MLQU, UE and MSU (Mindanao State University). As a member of the
fraternity, he was active during bar examinations and participated in the fraternitys bar ops.

He testified that sometime in May 2003, when he was exploring Atty. Balgos computer, (which he often did without the owners
knowledge or permission), to download materials which he thought might be useful to save for future use, he found and downloaded
the test questions in mercantile law consisting of 12 pages. He allegedly thought they were quizzers for a book that Atty. Balgos might
be preparing. He saved them in his hard disk.

He thought of faxing the test questions to one of his fraternity brods, a certain Ronan Garvida who, De Guzman thought, was taking
the 2003 bar examinations. Garvida is also a law graduate from FEU. He had taken the 2002 bar examinations, but did not pass.

On September 17, 2003, four days before the mercantile law bar examination, De Guzman faxed a copy of the 12-page-test questions
(Exhs. I, I-1, I-2, I-3) to Garvida because earlier he was informed by Garvida that he was retaking the bar examinations. He advised
Garvida to share the questions with other Betan examinees. He allegedly did not charge anything for the test questions. Later, after the
examination was over, Garvida texted (sent a text message on his cell phone) him (De Guzman), that he did not take the bar
examination.

Besides Garvida, De Guzman faxed the mercantile law bar questions to another fraternity brother named Arlan (surname unknown),
through Reynita (Nanette) Villasis, his secretary (Tsn, pp. 20-28, Oct. 29, 2003). But he himself faxed the questions to still another
brod named Erwin Tan who had helped him during the bar ops in 1998 when he (De Guzman) took the bar examinations (Id., p. 28).
He obtained the cell phone numbers of Arlan and Erwin Tan from Gabby Tanpiengco whom he informed by text message, that they
were guide questions, not tips, in the mercantile law examination.

When he was confronted by Attorney Velasco on Wednesday after the examination, (news of the leakage was already in all the
newspapers), De Guzman admitted to Attorney Velasco that he faxed the questions to his fraternity brothers, but he did not reveal
where he got the test questions.

De Guzman received a text message from Erwin Tan acknowledging that he received the test questions. However, Erwin informed
him that the questions were kalat na kalat (all over the place) even if he did not share them with others (Tsn, pp. 54-55, Oct. 29, 2003).

De Guzman also contacted Garvida who informed him that he gave copies of the test questions to Betans Randy Iigo and James
Bugain.

Arlan also texted De Guzman that almost all the questions were asked in the examination. Erwin Tan commented that many of the
leaked questions were asked in the examination, pero hindi exacto; mi binago (they were not exactly the same; there were some
changes).

De Guzman tried to text Garvida, but he received no response.

De Guzman disclosed that he learned how to operate a computer from Silvestre Atienza, the office manager, and through self-study,
by asking those who are knowledgeable on computers. He has been using computers since 1997, and he bought his own computer in
2001, a Pentium 3, which he uses at home.

REYNITA VILLASIS, the 36-year-old legal secretary of Attorney De Guzman, submitted her affidavit (Exh. F) and orally affirmed
her participation in the reproduction and transmittal by fax of the leaked test questions in mercantile law to Ronan Garvida and Arlan,
as testified by De Guzman.

RONAN GARVIDA, appeared before the Investigating Committee in compliance with the subpoena that was issued to him. Garvida
graduated from FEU College of Law in 2000. He is about 32 years of age. While still a student in 1998, he was afflicted with multiple
sclerosis or MS, a disease of the nervous system that attacks the nerve sheaths of the brain and spinal cord. It is a chronic disabling
disease although it may have periods of remission. It causes its victim to walk with erratic, stiff and staggering gait; the hands and
fingers may tremble in performing simple actions; the eyesight can be impaired, and speech may be slow and slurred (p. 737, Vol. 2,
Readers Digest Medical Encyclopedia, 1971 Ed., compiled by Benjamin F. Miller, M.D.). All these symptoms were present when
Garvida testified before the Committee on November 6, 2003 to answer its questions regarding his involvement in the leakage of the
examiners test questions in mercantile law.

Garvida testified that when he was a freshman at FEU, he became a member of the Beta Sigma Lambda fraternity where he met and
was befriended by Attorney De Guzman who was his senior by one and a half years. Although they had been out of touch since he
went home to the province on account of the recurrence of his illness, De Guzman was able [to] get this cell phone number from his
compadre, Atty. Joseph Pajara. De Guzman told Garvida that he was faxing him possible questions in the bar examination in
mercantile law. Because the test questions had no answers, De Guzman stressed that they were not tips but only possible test
questions.

Garvida had intended to take the 2003 bar examinations. He enrolled in the Consortium Review Center in FEU, paying P10,000.00 as
enrollment fee. However, on his way to the Supreme Court to file his application to take the bar examination, he suffered pains in his
wrist - symptoms that his MS had recurred. His physician advised him to go to the National Orthopedic Hospital in Quezon City for
treatment. This he did.

He gave up his plan to take the 2003 bar examinations. Nevertheless, he continued to attend the review classes at
the Consortium Review Center because he did not want to waste completely the P10,000-enrollment fee that he paid for the review
course (Nahihinayang ako). That was presumably why De Guzman thought that Garvida was taking the bar exams and sent him a
copy of the test questions in mercantile law.

Upon receipt of the test questions, Garvida faxed a copy to his brod Randy Iigo who was reviewing at the Consortium Review Center.
Randy photocopied them for distribution to other fraternity brods. Some of the brods doubted the usefulness of the test questions, but
Randy who has a high regard for De Guzman, believed that the questions were tips. Garvida did not fax the questions to any other
person than Randy Iigo. He allegedly did not sell the questions to Randy. I could not do that to a brod, he explained.

In view of the fact that one of the copies of the leaked test questions (Exh. H) bore on the left margin a rubber stamp composed of the
Greek initials BEA-MLQU, indicating that the source of that copy was the Beta Sigma Lambda chapter at MLQU, the Committee
subpoenaed Ronald Collado, the Most Illustrious Brother of the Beta Sigma Lambda fraternity of MLQU.

RONALD COLLADO is a senior law student at the MLQU. He admitted that his fraternity conducted Bar Ops for the 2003 bar
exams. Bar Ops are the biggest activity of the fraternity every year. They start as soon as new officers of the fraternity are elected in
June, and they continue until the bar examinations are over. The bar operations consist of soliciting funds from alumni brods and
friends to be spent in reproducing bar review materials for the use of their barristers (bar candidates) in the various review centers,
providing meals for their brod-barristers on examination days; and to rent a bar site or place near De la Salle University where the
examinees and the frat members can convene and take their meals during the break time. The Betans bar site for the 2003 bar
examinations was located on Leon Guinto Street, Malate. On September 19 and 21, before [the] start of the examination, Collados
fraternity distributed bar review materials for the mercantile law examination to the examinees who came to the bar site. The test
questions (Exh. H) were received by Collado from a brod, Alan Guiapal, who had received them from Randy Iigo.

Collado caused 30 copies of the test questions to be printed with the logo and initials of the fraternity (BEA-MLQU) for distribution to
the 30 MLQU examinees taking the bar exams. Because of time constraints, frat members were unable to answer the test questions
despite the clamor for answers, so, they were given out as is - without answers.

DEAN EDUARDO J. F. ABELLA of the Jose Rizal University law school in Mandaluyong City, was the reviewer in Mercantile Law
and Practical Exercises at the Lex Review Center which is operated by the Lex Review & Seminars Inc., of which Dean Abella is one
of the incorporators. He learned about the leakage of test questions in mercantile law when he was delivering the pre-week lecture on
Legal Forms at the Arellano University. The leaked questions were shown to him by his secretary, Jenylyn Domingo, after the
mercantile law exam. He missed the Saturday lecture in mercantile law because he was suffering from a touch of flu. He gave his last
lecture on the subject on Wednesday or Thursday before the exam. He denied having bought or obtained and distributed the leaked
test questions in Mercantile Law to the bar reviewees in the Lex Review Center.

FINDINGS

The Committee finds that the leaked test questions in Mercantile Law were the questions which the examiner, Attorney Marcial O. T.
Balgos, had prepared and submitted to Justice Jose C. Vitug, as chairman of the 2003 Bar Examinations Committee. The questions
constituted 82% of the questions asked in the examination in Mercantile Law in the morning of September 21, 2003, Sunday, in some
cases with slight changes which were not substantial and in other cases exactly as proposed by Atty. Balgos. Hence, any bar examinee
who was able to get hold of the leaked questions before the mercantile law examination and answered them correctly, would have
been assured of passing the examination with at least a grade of 82%!
The circumstance that the leaked test questions consisted entirely of test questions prepared by Atty. Balgos, proves conclusively that
the leakage originated from his office, not from the Office of Justice Vitug, the Bar Examinations Chairman.

Atty. Balgos claimed that the leaked test questions were prepared by him on his computer. Without any doubt, the source of the leaked
test questions was Atty. Balgos computer. The culprit who stole or downloaded them from Atty. Balgos computer without the latters
knowledge and consent, and who faxed them to other persons, was Atty. Balgos legal assistant, Attorney Danilo De Guzman, who
voluntarily confessed the deed to the Investigating Committee. De Guzman revealed that he faxed the test questions, with the help of
his secretary Reynita Villasis, to his fraternity brods, namely, Ronan Garvida, Arlan (whose surname he could not recall), and Erwin
Tan.

In turn, Ronan Garvida faxed the test questions to Betans Randy Iigo and James Bugain.

Randy Iigo passed a copy or copies of the same questions to another Betan, Alan Guiapal, who gave a copy to the MLQU-Beta Sigma
[Lambdas] Most Illustrious Brother, Ronald F. Collado, who ordered the printing and distribution of 30 copies to the MLQUs 30 bar
candidates.

Attorney Danilo De Guzmans act of downloading Attorney Balgos test questions in mercantile law from the latters computer, without
his knowledge and permission, was a criminal act of larceny. It was theft of intellectual property; the test questions were intellectual
property of Attorney Balgos, being the product of his intellect and legal knowledge.

Besides theft, De Guzman also committed an unlawful infraction of Attorney Balgos right to privacy of communication, and to
security of his papers and effects against unauthorized search and seizure - rights zealously protected by the Bill of Rights of our
Constitution (Sections 2 and 3, Article III, 1987 Constitution).

He transgressed the very first canon of the lawyers Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that [a] lawyer shall uphold
the Constitution, obey the laws of the land, and promote respect for law and legal processes.

By transmitting and distributing the stolen test questions to some members of the Beta Sigma Lambda Fraternity, possibly for
pecuniary profit and to given them undue advantage over the other examiners in the mercantile law examination, De Guzman abetted
cheating or dishonesty by his fraternity brothers in the examination, which is violative of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, as well as Canon 7 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility for members of the Bar, which provide:

Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct

Canon 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION
AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.

De Guzman was guilty of grave misconduct unbecoming a member of the Bar. He violated the law instead of promoting respect for it
and degraded the noble profession of law instead of upholding its dignity and integrity. His actuations impaired public respect for the
Court, and damaged the integrity of the bar examinations as the final measure of a law graduates academic preparedness to embark
upon the practice of law.

However, the Investigating Committee does not believe that De Guzman was solely responsible for the leakage of Atty. Balgos
proposed test questions in the mercantile law examination. The Committee does not believe that he acted alone, or did not have the
assistance and cooperation of other persons, such as:

Cheryl Palma, Atty. Balgos private secretary, who, according to Atty. Balgos himself, was the only person who knew the password,
who could open and close his computer; and who had the key to his office where his computer was kept. Since a computer may not be
accessed or downloaded unless it is opened, someone must have opened Atty. Balgos computer in order for De Guzman to retrieve the
test questions stored therein.

Silvestre Atienza, also a fraternity brod of De Guzman, who was responsible for interconnecting Atty. Balgos computer with the other
computers outside Atty. Balgos room or office, and who was the only other person, besides Cheryl Palma, who knew the password of
Atty. Balgos computer.

The following persons who received from De Guzman, and distributed copies of the leaked test questions, appear to have conspired
with him to steal and profit from the sale of the test questions. They could not have been motivated solely by a desire to help the
fraternity, for the leakage was widespread (kalat na kalat) according to Erwin Tan. The possible co-conspirators were:
Ronan Garvida,
Arlan,
Erwin Tan,
Randy Iigo,
Ronald Collado, and
Allan Guiapal

The Committee does not believe that De Guzman recklessly broke the law and risked his job and future as a lawyer, out of love for the
Beta Sigma Lambda fraternity. There must have been an ulterior material consideration for his breaking the law and tearing the shroud
of secrecy that, he very well knows, covers the bar examinations.

On the other hand, the Committee finds that the theft of the test questions from Atty. Balgos computer could have been avoided if
Atty. Balgos had exercised due diligence in safeguarding the secrecy of the test questions which he prepared. As the computer is a
powerful modern machine which he admittedly is not fairly familiar with, he should not have trusted it to deep secret the test questions
that he stored in its hard disk. He admittedly did not know the password of his computer. He relied on his secretary to use the
password to open and close his computer. He kept his computer in a room to which other persons had access. Unfamiliar with the use
of the machine whose potential for mischief he could not have been totally unaware of, he should have avoided its use for so sensitive
an undertaking as typing the questions in the bar examination. After all he knew how to use the typewriter in the use of which he is
quite proficient. Atty. Balgos should therefore have prepared the test questions in his trusty typewriter, in the privacy of his home,
(instead of his law office), where they would have been safe from the prying eyes of secretaries and assistant attorneys. Atty. Balgos
negligence in the preparation and safekeeping of his proposed test questions for the bar examination in mercantile law, was not the
proximate cause of the bar leakage; it was, in fact, the root cause. For, if he had taken those simple precautions to protect the secrecy
of his papers, nobody could have stolen them and copied and circulated them. The integrity of the bar examinations would not have
been sullied by the scandal. He admitted that Mali siguro ako, but that was what happened (43 tsn, Oct. 24, 2003).

RE COMME NDAT ION

This Honorable court in the case of Burbe v. Magulta, A.C. No. 5713, June 10, 2002, 383 SCRA 276, pronounced the following
reminder for lawyers: Members of the bar must do nothing that may tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in the
fidelity, the honesty and integrity of the profession. In another case, it likewise intoned: We cannot overstress the duty of a lawyer to
at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. He can do this by faithfully performing his duties to society, to the
bar, to the courts, and to his clients. (Reyes v. Javier, A.C. No. 5574, February 2, 2002, 375 SCRA 538). It goes without saying that a
lawyer who violates this precept of the profession by committing a gross misconduct which dishonors and diminishes the publics
respect for the legal profession, should be disciplined.

After careful deliberation, the Investigating Committee recommends that:

1. Attorney Danilo De Guzman be DISBARRED for he had shown that he is morally unfit to continue as a member of the legal
profession, for grave dishonesty, lack of integrity, and criminal behavior. In addition, he should make a written PUBLIC APOLOGY
and pay DAMAGES to the Supreme Court for involving it in another bar scandal, causing the cancellation of the mercantile law
examination, and wreaking havoc upon the image of this institution.

2. Attorney Marcial O. T. Balgos should be REPRIMANDED by the Court and likewise be required to make a written APOLOGY to
the Court for the public scandal he brought upon it as a result of his negligence and lack of due care in preparing and safeguarding his
proposed test questions in mercantile law. As the Court had to cancel the Mercantile Law examination on account of the leakage
of Attorney Balgos test questions, which comprised 82% of the bar questions in that examination, Atty. Balgos is not entitled to
receive any honorarium as examiner for that subject.

3. FURTHER INVESTIGATION of Danilo De Guzman, Cheryl Palma, Silvestre Atienza, Ronan Garvida, Arlan, Erwin Tan, Randy
Iigo, James Bugain, Ronald Collado and Allan Guiapal by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police,
with a view to their criminal prosecution as probable co-conspirators in the theft and leakage of the test questions in mercantile law.

With regard to recommending measures to safeguard the integrity of the bar examinations and prevent a repetition of future leakage in
the said examinations, inasmuch as this matter is at present under study by the Courts Committee on Legal Education and Bar Matters,
as an aspect of proposals for bar reforms, the Investigating Committee believes it would be well-advised to refrain from including in
[3]
this report what may turn out to be duplicative, if not contrary, recommendations on the matter.

The Court adopts the report, including with some modifications the recommendation, of the Investigating Committee.
The Court, certainly will not countenance any act or conduct that can impair not only the integrity of the Bar Examinations
but the trust reposed on the Court.
The Court also takes note that Mr. Jovito M. Salonga and Mr. Benjamin R. Katly, two of its employees assigned to
the Management Information Systems Office (MISO), who were tasked by the Investigating Committee to inspect the
computer system in the office of Atty. Balgos, found that the Courts Computer-Assisted Legal Research
(CALR) database[4] was installed in the computer used by Atty. Balgos. Mr. Salonga and Mr. Katly reported that the
system, which was developed by the MISO, was intended for the exclusive use of the Court. The installation thereof to
any external computer would be unauthorized without the permission of the Court. Atty. Velasco informed the two Court
employees that the CALR database was installed by Atty. De Guzman on the computer being used by Atty. Balgos. The
matter would also need further investigation to determine how Atty. De Guzman was able to obtain a copy of the Courts
CALR database.
WHEREFORE, the Court, acting on the recommendations of the Investigating Committee, hereby resolves to -
(1) DISBAR Atty. DANILO DE GUZMAN from the practice of law effective upon his receipt of this
RESOLUTION;
(2) REPRIMAND Atty. MARCIAL O.T. BALGOS and DISENTITLE him from receiving any honorarium as an
Examiner in Mercantile Law;
(3) Direct the National Bureau of Investigation (a) to undertake further investigation of Danilo De Guzman,
Cheryl Palma, Silvestre Atienza, Ronan Garvida, Erwin Tan, Randy Iigo, James Bugain, Ronald Collado and
Allan Guiapal with a view to determining their participation and respective accountabilities in the bar
examination leakage and to conduct an investigation on how Danilo De Guzman was able to secure a copy
of the Supreme Courts CALR database.
Let a copy of this Resolution be made part of the records of Danilo De Guzman in the Office of the Bar Confidant,
Supreme Court of the Philippines, and copies to be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and circulated by the
Office of the Court Administrator to all courts.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-
Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur.
FACTS:

On September 22, 2003, there was a rumored leakage in the bar examination on the Mercantile Law subject.
Investigation was lead back to the office of Atty. Marcial O.T. Balgos, then Mercantile Law Examiner, where the leakage
started. Allegedly, Atty. Danilo de Guzman (assistant lawyer in the firm of Balgos and Perez) stole a copy of Atty. Balgos’
file on Mercantile Law with the proposed test items, and the former sent it to some members of the Beta Sigma Lambda
Fraternity.

ISSUE: WON Atty. Balgos and Atty. de Guzman are guilty of gross misconduct unbecoming a member of the Bar.

RULING: Yes. De Guzman abetted cheating or dishonesty by his fraternity brothers in the examination, which is violative
of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, as well as Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for members of the Bar. As for
Atty. Balgos’ negligence, if he had taken those simple precautions to protect the secrecy of his papers, nobody could
have stolen them and copied and circulated them. The integrity of the bar examinations would not have been sullied by
the scandal.

ALFREDO BON, complainant, vs. ATTYS. VICTOR S. ZIGA and ANTONIO A. ARCANGEL, respondents.
[1]
On May 9, 2001, Alfredo Bon (complainant) filed a Complaint dated April 3, 2001 for disbarment against the respondents,
Attys. Victor S. Ziga (Ziga) and Antonio A. Arcangel (Arcangel). Allegedly, the respondents, conspiring with each other
and with the use of fraud, intimidation, stealth, deception and monetary consideration, caused Amalia Bon-Padre Borjal,
Teresa Bon-Padre Patenio, Felecito Bon and Angelina Bon (collectively, the Bons) to sign a document entitled Waiver and
Quitclaim. According to the complainant, the Bons signed the Waiver and Quitclaim because of Zigas representation that
the document was merely a withdrawal of a previously executed Special Power of Attorney. As it turned out, the document
was a waiver in favor of Ziga of all the properties which the Bons inherited from their parents and predecessors-in-
interest. Attached to the Complaint are Affidavits[2] executed by the Bons renouncing the Waiver and Quitclaim.
Moreover, the complainant claims that the Bons are residents of Manila and did not appear before Arcangel who was then
in Albay to acknowledge the Waiver and Quitclaim. Despite this fact, Arcangel notarized the document and even made it
appear that the Bons personally appeared before him to acknowledge the same.

ISSUE: W/N Arcangel failed to exercise due diligence in upholding hia duty as notary public.

RULING: YES. The Court do find the act of Arcangel in notarizing the Waiver and Quitclaim without requiring all the
persons who executed the document to personally appear before him and acknowledge that the same is their free act and
deed an unpardonable breach of his duty as a notary public. From his admission, the Court find that Arcangel failed to
exercise due diligence in upholding his duty as a notary public. He violated the Code of Professional Responsibility as
well. However, his transgression does not warrant disbarment, which is the severest form of disciplinary sanction.

NOTE: It is well to remind him that notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive
public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization converts a
private 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
and the public at large must be able to rely upon the acknowledgement executed by a notary public and appended to a
private instrument. For this reason, notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the
performance of their duties. Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of this form of conveyance would be
undermined.

Thus, a member of the bar who performs an act as a notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons
who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the
contents and truth of what are stated therein. The acts of the affiants cannot be delegated to anyone for what are stated
therein are facts of which they have personal knowledge. They should swear to the document personally and not through
any representative. Otherwise, their representatives name should appear in the said documents as the one who executed
the same. That is the only time the representative can affix his signature and personally appear before the notary public
for notarization of the said document.[28] Simply put, the party or parties who executed the instrument must be the ones to
personally appear before the Notary Public to acknowledge the document.

GONZALES VS RAMOS
A.C. No. 6649 /June 21, 2005

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

Facts: Complaint for disbarment filed by Marina C. Gonzales (P) against Atty. Calixto B. Ramos (C) because of the latter’s alleged
misconduct in notarizing a Deed of Absolute Sale involving the complainant.

C’s allegation: there was a sale wherein, C and his husband allegedly sold a piece of land with a building thereon to spouses
Henry and Mila Gatus. Due to the execution of the Deed of Sale, the Sps Ramos’ TCT was cancelled and a new one was issued in the
name of Sps Gatus. C maintained that they (C and his husband) never appeared before the respondent to acknowledge the Deed of
Sale.

P’s defense: At first, he was hesitant to notarize the document because he did not see the complainant sign the same, but due
to Francisco’s insistence and knowing them personally, he eventually notarized the deed.
Respondent compared the signatures of Marina C. Gonzales on the Deed of Absolute Sale with her other signatures in his files,
the spouses Gonzales being his clients from way back. Convinced that the signature on the Deed of Absolute Sale was indeed the
signature of complainant Marina C. Gonzales, respondent notarized the Deed of Absolute Sale on March 27, 1996.
During the mandatory conference before the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP, the respondent admitted that the
complainant never appeared before him to affirm the genuineness and authenticity of her signature in the Deed of Absolute Sale
dated March 27, 1996.
Commission on Bar Discipline and IBP ruled against C (suspension).
Decision: Affirmed CBP and IBP. A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the same are the
very same persons who executed and personally appeared before the said notary public to attest to the contents and truth of what
are stated therein. The presence of the parties to the deed making the acknowledgment will enable the notary public to verify the
genuineness of the signature of the affiant. A notary public is enjoined from notarizing a fictitious or spurious document. The
function of a notary public, is among others, to guard against any illegal deed.[14]
By affixing his notarial seal on the instrument, the respondent converted the Deed of Absolute Sale, from a private document
into a public document. Such act is no empty gesture. The principal function of a notary public is to authenticate documents. When a
notary public certifies to the due execution and delivery of a document under his hand and seal, he gives the document the force of
evidence. Indeed, one of the purposes of requiring documents to be acknowledged before a notary public, in addition to the
solemnity which should surround the execution and delivery of documents, is to authorize such documents to be given without
further proof of their execution and delivery. A notarial document is by law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. Courts,
administrative agencies and the public at large must be able to rely upon the acknowledgement executed before a notary public and
appended to a private instrument. Hence, a notary public must discharge his powers and duties, which are impressed with public
[15]
interest, with accuracy and fidelity.
The respondent’s act of notarizing the acknowledgment of a deed of sale even if one of the signatories therein did not
personally appear before him clearly falls short of the yardstick of accuracy and fidelity referred to above. The respondent himself
admitted his professional shortcomings when he said that all he did to ascertain the authenticity of the signature of the complainant
was to compare her signature on the Deed of Absolute Sale with her other signatures on pleadings on file with him. Such conduct
of the respondent runs contrary to the express wordings of the acknowledgment in the deed of sale which provides:
The respondent’s act of notarizing the document despite the non-appearance of one of the signatories should not be
countenanced. His conduct, if left unchecked, is fraught with dangerous possibilities considering the conclusiveness on the due
execution of a document that our courts and the public accord to notarized documents. Respondent has clearly failed to exercise
utmost diligence in the performance of his functions as a notary public and to comply with the mandates of law.
As a lawyer, respondent breached the Code of Professional Responsibility. By notarizing the questioned deed, he engaged in
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. [17] He also committed falsehood and misled or allowed the Court to be misled by
any artifice.

G.R. No. L-28546 July 30, 1975

VENANCIO CASTANEDA and NICETAS HENSON, petitioners,


vs.
PASTOR D. AGO, LOURDES YU AGO and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.

Facts: The petitioners recovered the machineries from the complainant, thus result to petition to the CA yet, it was dismissed. The
sheriff then sold it to the highest bidder.

The respondents then filed a petition to the CA in which the sold machineries are under a conjugal property, thus, the ½ share of the
property belongs to the petitioner’s wife.

The petitioners then filed a petition, hence, this case.

Respondents Agos, abetted by their lawyer Jose M. Luison, have misused legal remedies and prostituted the judicial process to thwart
the satisfaction of the judgment, to the extended prejudice of the petitioners. The respondents, with the assistance of counsel,
maneuvered for fourteen (14) years to doggedly resist execution of the judgment thru manifold tactics in and from one court to another
(5 times in the Supreme Court).

We condemn the attitude of the respondents and their counsel who far from viewing courts as sanctuaries for those who seek justice,
have tried to use them to subvert the very ends of justice.

Forgetting his sacred mission as a sworn public servant and his exalted position as an officer of the court, Atty. Luison has allowed
himself to become an instigator of controversy and a predator of conflict instead of a mediator for concord and a conciliator for
compromise, a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of litigation instead of a true exponent of the primacy of truth and moral justice.

Issue: WON Atty. Luison violated Canon 1.03 (A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest, encourage any suit or
proceeding or delay any man’s cause.)

Held: A counsel's assertiveness in espousing with candour and honesty his client's cause must be encouraged and is to be commended;
what we do not and cannot countenance is a lawyer's insistence despite the patent futility of his client's position, as in the case at bar.
It is the duty of a counsel to advise his client, ordinarily a layman to the intricacies and vagaries of the law, on the merit or lack of
merit of his case. If he finds that his client's cause is defenseless, then it is his bounden duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and
submit, rather than traverse the incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his client, and temper his client’s
propensity to litigate. A lawyer's oath to uphold the cause of justice is superior to his duty to his client; its primacy is indisputable.

MUNICIPALITY OF PILILLA, RIZAL vs. COURT OF APPEALS

REGALADO, J.:

Facts: Atty. Felix E. Mendiola served as counsel for the Municipality of Pililia in a collection suit for unpaid business taxes,
storage permit fee, mayor’s permit fee, sanitary inspection fee, and the cost of the suit against private respondent
Philippine Petroleum Corporation (PPC). The municipality won in the trial court, and when PPC elevated the case to the
Supreme Court, the SC affirmed the aforesaid judgment. The judgment became final and executory and the records were
remanded to the trial court for execution.

In connection with the execution of said judgment, Atty. Felix E. Mendiola filed a motion in behalf of the municipality for
the examination of defendant corporation's gross sales for the years 1976 to 1978 and 1984 to 1991 for the purpose of
computing business tax. Defendant corporation filed a manifestation that Pililla Mayor Nicomedes Patenia received from it
the sum of P11,457,907.00 as full satisfaction of the above-mentioned judgment of the Supreme Court, as evidence by
the release and quitclaim documents executed by said mayor. The RTC denied the municipality's motion for examination
and execution of judgment on the ground that the judgment had already been satisfied.

It was when the case was only when the case was brought before to the CA that respondent PPC filed a motion
questioning Atty. Mendiola's authority to represent petitioner municipality. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for
having been filed by a private counsel in violation of law and jurisprudence, but without prejudice to the filing of a similar
petition by the Municipality of Pililla through the proper provincial or municipal legal officer.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Mendiola can represent the Municipality of Pilila

Held: No. The Court of Appeals is correct in holding that Atty. Mendiola has no authority to file a petition in behalf of and
in the name of the Municipality of Pililla. Section 1683 of the Revised Administrative Code provides:

Section 1683. Duty of fiscal to represent provinces and provincial subdivisions in litigation. — The provincial fiscal
shall represent the province and any municipality or municipal district thereof in any court, except in cases
whereof original jurisdiction is vested in the Supreme Court or in cases where the municipality or municipal district
in question is a party adverse to the provincial government or to some other municipality or municipal district in
the same province. When the interests of a provincial government and of any political division thereof are
opposed, the provincial fiscal shall act on behalf of the province.

When the provincial fiscal is disqualified to serve any municipality or other political subdivision of a province, a
special attorney may be employed by its council.

Only the provincial fiscal and the municipal attorney can represent a province or municipality in their lawsuits. The
provision is mandatory. The municipality's authority to employ a private lawyer is expressly limited only to situations where
the provincial fiscal is disqualified to represent it.

The fact that the provincial fiscal was disqualified to handle the municipality's case must appear on record. In the case,
there is nothing in the records to show that the provincial fiscal is disqualified to act as counsel for the Municipality of Pililla
on appeal, hence the appearance of herein private counsel is without authority of law.

The submission of Atty. Mendiola that the exception is broad enough to apply to situations where the provincial fiscal
refuses to handle the case cannot be sustained. The fiscal's refusal to represent the municipality is not a legal justification.
A fiscal cannot refuse to perform his functions on grounds not provided for by law without violating his oath of office.
Instead of engaging the services of a special attorney, the municipal council should request the Secretary of Justice to
appoint an acting provincial fiscal in place of the provincial fiscal who has declined to handle and prosecute its case in
court.
It should also be noted that the lack of authority of Atty. Mendiola, was even raised by the municipality itself in its
comment and opposition to said counsel's motion for execution of his lien, which was filed by the office of the Provincial
Prosecutor of Rizal in behalf of said municipality.

The contention of Atty. Mendiola that private respondent cannot raise for the first time on appeal his lack of authority to
represent the municipality is untenable. The legality of his representation can be questioned at any stage of the
proceedings.

Also, even assuming that the representation of the municipality by Atty. Mendiola was duly authorized, said authority is
deemed to have been revoked by the municipality when the latter, through the municipal mayor and without said counsel's
participation, entered into a compromise agreement with PPC.

WHEREFORE, the petition at bar is DENIED for lack of merit and the judgment of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby
AFFIRMED.

Director vs Bayot

74 Phil 579 – Legal Ethics – Malpractice


In June 1943, Bayot advertised in a newspaper that he helps people in securing marriage licenses; that he does so
avoiding delays and publicity; that he also makes marriage arrangements; that legal consultations are free for the poor;
and that everything is confidential. The Director of Religious Affairs took notice of the ad and so he sued Bayot for
Malpractice.
Bayot initially denied having published the advertisement. But later, he admitted the same and asked for the court’s mercy
as he promised to never repeat the act again.
ISSUE: Whether or not Bayot is guilty of Malpractice.
HELD: Yes. Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly provides among other things that “the practice of soliciting cases at law for
the purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.” The advertisement he
caused to be published is a brazen solicitation of business from the public. .” It is highly unethical for an attorney to
advertise his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his wares. The Supreme Court again emphasized that best
advertisement for a lawyer is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust.
But because of Bayot’s plea for leniency and his promise and the fact that he did not earn any case by reason of the ad,
the Supreme Court merely reprimanded him.
PETITION FOR AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE USE OF THE FIRM NAME “SYCIP, SALAZAR, FELICIANO, HERNANDEZ
& CASTILLO.”
July 30, 1979

Facts: Petitions were filed by the surviving partners of Atty. Alexander Sycip, who died on May 5, 1975 and by the
surviving partners of Atty. Herminio Ozaeta, who died on February 14, 1976, praying that they be allowed to continue
using, in the names of their firms, the names of partners who had passed away.
Petitioners contend that the continued use of the name of a deceased or former partner when permissible by local
custom, is not unethical but care should be taken that no imposition or deception is practiced through this use. They also
contend that no local custom prohibits the continued use of a deceased partner’s name in a professional firm’s name;
there is no custom or usage in the Philippines, or at least in the Greater Manila Area, which recognizes that the name of a
law firm necessarily identifies the individual members of the firm.
Issue: WON the surviving partners may be allowed by the court to retain the name of the partners who already passed
away in the name of the firm? NO

Held: In the case of Register of Deeds of Manila vs. China Banking Corporation, the SC said:
The Court believes that, in view of the personal and confidential nature of the relations between attorney and client, and
the high standards demanded in the canons of professional ethics, no practice should be allowed which even in a remote
degree could give rise to the possibility of deception. Said attorneys are accordingly advised to drop the names of the
deceased partners from their firm name.
The public relations value of the use of an old firm name can tend to create undue advantages and disadvantages in the
practice of the profession. An able lawyer without connections will have to make a name for himself starting from scratch.
Another able lawyer, who can join an old firm, can initially ride on that old firm’s reputation established by deceased
partners.
The court also made the difference from the law firms and business corporations:
A partnership for the practice of law is not a legal entity. It is a mere relationship or association for a particular purpose. …
It is not a partnership formed for the purpose of carrying on trade or business or of holding property.” Thus, it has been
stated that “the use of a nom de plume, assumed or trade name in law practice is improper.
We find such proof of the existence of a local custom, and of the elements requisite to constitute the same, wanting
herein. Merely because something is done as a matter of practice does not mean that Courts can rely on the same for
purposes of adjudication as a juridical custom.
Petition suffers legal and ethical impediment.

DACANAY VS BAKER & MCKENZIE


Legal Ethics – Use of Foreign Law Firm Name
In November 1979, Atty. Vicente Torres sent a letter to one Rosie Clurman, represented by Atty. Adriano Dacanay, asking
Clurman to release some shares to Torres’ client. The letterhead contained the name “Baker & McKenzie”. Dacanay
denied Clurman’s liability and at the same time he asked why is Torres using the letterhead “Baker & McKenzie”, a foreign
partnership established in Chicago, Illinois. No reply was received so Dacanay filed an administrative complaint enjoining
Torres from using “Baker & McKenzie”.
Later, Torres said that he is an associate of the law firm Guerrero & Torres; that their law firm is a member of Baker &
McKenzie; that the said foreign firm has members in 30 cities all over the world; that they associated with them in order to
make a representation that they can render legal services of the highest quality to multinational business enterprises and
others engaged in foreign trade and investment.
ISSUE: Whether or not the use of a foreign law office name is allowed.
HELD: No. Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot practice law in the Philippines. Such use of foreign law
firm name is unethical therefore Torres and his law firm are enjoined from using “Baker & McKenzie” in their practice of
law.
Dacanay vs. Baker & McKenzie [A.C. No. 2131 May 10, 1985]

FACTS: [R]espondent Vicente A. Torres, using the letterhead of Baker & McKenzie, which contains the names of the ten lawyers,
asked a certain Rosie Clurman for the release of 87 shares of Cathay Products International, Inc. to H.E. Gabriel, a client. Attorney
Dacanay, in his reply dated December 7, 1979, denied any liability of Clurman to Gabriel. He requested that he be informed whether
the lawyer of Gabriel is Baker & McKenzie “and if not, what is your purpose in using the letterhead of another law office.” Not
having received any reply, he filed the instant complaint. As admitted by the respondents in their memorandum, Baker & McKenzie
is a professional partnership organized in 1949 in Chicago, Illinois with members and associates in 30 cities around the world.
Respondents, aside from being members of the Philippine bar, practicing under the firm name of Guerrero & Torres, are members or
associates of Baker & McKenzie.

ISSUE: Whether or not Baker & McKenzie, an alien law firm, could practice law in the Philippines.

HELD: NO. Respondents were enjoined from practicing law under the firm name Baker & McKenzie.

RATIO: Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot practice law in the Philippines (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Rules of Court).
[R]espondents’ use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie constituted a representation that being associated with the firm they could
“render legal services of the highest quality to multinational business enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade and
investment”. This was unethical because Baker & McKenzie was not authorized to practice law here.

[A.M. No. RTJ-91-766. April 7, 1993.]

JOSE P. UY and RIZALINA C. UY, Complainants, v. HON. JUDGE TERESITA DIZON-CAPULONG,


Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 172, Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Respondent.

Romeo M. Mendoza for complainants.

SYLLABUS
1. JUDICIAL ETHICS; ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT AGAINST JUDGE; FORMAL INVESTIGATION NOT
REQUIRED WHERE CULPABILITY WELL DOCUMENTED. — The charges against her are clearly meritorious
and supported by the records. Hence, there is no need in fact for Us to conduct a formal investigation if
only to determine her culpability as it is well documented. Her orders and those of the appellate courts
display her open defiance of higher judicial authority. In Special Proceedings No. 335-V-88 pending before
her sala, respondent Judge committed the following highly irregular and questionable acts indicative of
gross ignorance of the law and grave misconduct prejudicial to the public interest, to wit: (a) respondent
Judge cancelled on mere motion of a party the titles of complainants Jose P. Uy and Rizalina Cortes, who
were not parties to the case, to the great prejudice of the latter; (b) respondent Judge issued two (2)
orders which disregarded the Decision of the Court of Appeals annulling her disputed Order of 7 June
1989; (c) respondent Judge issued another order authorizing the sale of the other properties previously
titled in the complainant Jose P. Uy; (d) respondent Judge issued still two (2) more orders approving
deeds of sale even after this Court had already affirmed the Decision of the Court of Appeals annulling her
Order of 7 June 1989. These actuations of respondent Judge clearly stress her blatant disobedience to the
lawful orders of superior courts and belie any claim that she rendered the erroneous orders in good faith
as would excuse her from administrative liability.

2. ID.; ID.; CONDUCT EXPECTED OF JUDGE AS VISIBLE REPRESENTATION OF LAW AND JUSTICE. — Time
and again We emphasize that the judge is the visible representation of law and justice from whom the
people draw their will and awareness to obey the law. For the judge to return that regard, the latter must
be the first to abide by the law and weave an example for the others to follow. The judge should be
studiously careful to avoid even the slightest infraction of the law. To fulfill this mission, the judge should
keep abreast of the law, the rulings and doctrines of this Court. If the judge is already aware of them, the
latter should not deliberately refrain from applying them, otherwise such omission can never be excused.

3. ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO KNOW LAW THAT IS SO ELEMENTARY CONSTITUTES GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE
LAW; CASE AT BAR. — Elementary in our statutory law is the doctrine that when title to land has already
been registered and the certificate of title thereto issued, such Torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked
because the issue on the validity of the title can only be raised in an action instituted expressly for the
purpose. Corollary to this is the constitutional mandate that no person shall be deprived of his property
without due process of law. In cancelling the titles of complainants over their properties on mere motion
of a party and without affording them due process, respondent Judge violated her sworn obligation to
uphold the law and promote the administration of justice. It has been held that if the law is so
elementary, not to know it or to act as if one does not know it, constitutes gross ignorance of the law.

4. ID.; ID.; WILLFUL DISOBEDIENCE AND CONTINUED DISREGARD OF JUDGMENT OF HIGHER COURT
AND RESOLUTION OF SUPREME COURT CONSTITUTE GRAVE AND SERIOUS MISCONDUCT. — The
foregoing transgressions of respondent Judge are further aggravated by her refusal to abide by the
Decision of the Court of Appeals annulling her Order of 7 June 1989 which directed the cancellation of the
titles of complainants. She was in fact specifically enjoined from proceeding against them, yet, despite this
Decision, respondent Judge skill authorized the subsequent transfer or alienation to other persons of
properties titled in the name of complainants to the detriment of the latter. This utter disrespect for the
judgment of a higher court constitutes grave misconduct prejudicial to the interest of the public, the bench
and the bar . . . Moreover, the total disregard by respondent Judge of Our Resolution of 8 March 1991
cannot be condoned. Therein, We affirmed the Decision of the Court of Appeals declaring her to have
exceeded her jurisdiction in cancelling the titles of complainants. Nonetheless, respondent Judge chose not
to heed our pronouncement. She issued two (2) more orders approving the sale to other persons of the
remaining properties which were titled in the name of complainants. We consider this willful disobedience
and continued disregard of Our Resolution as grave and serious misconduct. Indeed, respondent Judge
displayed open defiance to Our authority and utterly failed to show proper respect for, and due and
needed cooperativeness with resolutions of this Court.

5. ID.; ID.; ACT OR OMISSION WHICH WOULD DIMINISH PEOPLE’S FAITH IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF
JUSTICE NOT COUNTENANCED BY SUPREME COURT; RATIONALE THEREFOR; CASE AT BAR. — By her acts
and omissions, respondent Judge has failed to observe in the performance of her duties that prudence and
circumspection which the law requires for public service. She has made a mockery of the judicial system
of which she is a part and which she is sworn to uphold. This Court cannot countenance any act or
omission which would diminish the faith of the people in the administration of justice. As Chief Justice Jose
Abad Santos articulated, "the power of the judiciary rests upon the faith of the people and the integrity of
the courts. Take this faith away and the moral influence of the court is gone and popular respect
impaired."cralaw virtua1aw library

6. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS; SETTLEMENT OF ESTATE OF DECEASED PERSONS; PROBATE


COURT WITHOUT JURISDICTION OVER QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP WHERE PROPERTY ALLEGEDLY
BELONGING TO ESTATE CLAIMED BY ANOTHER PERSON. — Every judge should be cognizant of the basic
principle that when questions arise as to ownership of property alleged to be part of the estate of a
deceased person, but claimed by some other person to be his property, not by virtue of any right of
inheritance from the deceased but by title adverse to that of the deceased and his estate, such questions
cannot be determined in the courts of administration proceedings. The trial court, acting as probate court,
has no jurisdiction to adjudicate such contentions, which must be submitted to the trial court in the
exercise of its general jurisdiction. The failure of respondent judge to apply this basic principle indicates a
manifest disregard of well-known legal rules.

RESOLUTION

JUDGE TERESITA DIZON-CAPULONG, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Branch
172, Metro Manila, is charged 1 with gross incompetence, gross ignorance of the law and grave
misconduct in a complaint filed on 15 November 1991 with the Office of the Court Administrator by the
spouses Jose P. Uy and Rizalina C. Uy, relative to Special Proceedings No. 335-V-88 for settlement of the
estate of the late Ambrocio C. Pingco.chanrobles law library : red

The records show that on 21 November 1988, a certain Herminia R. Alvos, claiming to be a niece of Paz
Ramirez, surviving spouse of the late Ambrocio C. Pingco, filed with the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela
a petition for settlement of the estate of Ambrocio C. Pingco. Two (2) days after, or on 23 November
1988, respondent Judge appointed said Herminia R. Alvos special administratrix under Rule 80 of the
Rules of Court.

On 27 March 1989, counsel for the special administratrix filed an urgent motion stating that sometime in
February 1978 two (2) parcels of land belonging to the late Ambrocio C. Pingco and his wife covered by
TCT Nos. 7537 and 75101 had been sold to complainants Jose P. Uy and Rizalina C. Uy who registered the
sale with the Register of Deeds of Manila in February 1989. Consequently, counsel requested the court to
direct the Register of Deeds of Valenzuela to "freeze any transaction without the signature of Herminia
Alvos" involving the properties covered by TCT Nos. B-15345 to B-15352, B-15354 to B-15359, TCT Nos.
T39565, T-50276, T-52754, T-220168, TCT. Nos. T-7537 and 75101. On 29 March 1989, respondent
Judge granted the motion.

On 18 April 1989, upon order of respondent Judge, the Register of Deeds of Valenzuela reported on the
status of the titles to the properties subject of the "freeze order;" informing the Court that on 3 February
1989, a deed of absolute sale executed by the spouses Ambrocio C. Pingco and Paz Ramirez dated 9
December 1978 was filed with the Register of Deeds, describing therein fifteen (15) parcels of land
covered by TCT Nos. B-15345 to B-15352, B-15354 to B-15359, and B-163276; that, by virtue of the
deed of sale, new transfer certificates of title were issued in the name of complainants Jose P. Uy and
Rizalina C. Uy, except for TCT No. B-163276 which could not be located in the Registry of Deeds of
Caloocan City; that TCT Nos. T-50276 and 52754 were still registered in the name of Ambrocio C. Pingco
and Paz Ramirez, and, that the status of TCT Nos. T-39565 and T-220168, which were with the Registry of
Deeds of Caloocan, could not yet be determined.

On 5 May 1989, counsel for the special administratrix filed with the court an urgent motion to cancel the
titles issued in the name of Jose P. Uy stating that the latter was able to register the titles in his name in
February 1989 through fraud, and the signatures of the vendors on the deed of sale were forged.

On 7 June 1989, respondent Judge ordered the cancellation of the titles in the name of complainant Jose
P. Uy and the reinstatement of the names of the spouses Ambrocio C. Pingco and Paz Ramirez or the
issuance of new titles in their name.
On 3 July 1989, complainant Jose P. Uy filed with the Court of Appeals a petition to annul the Order of 7
June 1989 of respondent Judge, with prayer for a temporary restraining order enjoining the Register of
Deeds of Valenzuela from implementing the Order of 7 June 1989, and that respondent Judge be
restrained from further proceeding against him.

Meanwhile, acting on the questioned Order of respondent Judge, the Register of Deeds of Valenzuela
cancelled the certificates of title of complainants Jose P. Uy and Rizalina C. Uy and reverted them to
Ambrocio C. Pingco and Paz Ramirez.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

On 28 September 1989, the Court of Appeals granted the petition for certiorari and prohibition of
complainants and set aside the Order of 7 June 1989 of respondent Judge, and enjoined her from
proceeding against complainant Jose P. Uy in the intestate proceedings thus —

". . . a probate court has no authority to y decide questions of the ownership of property, real or personal.
The only purpose of the examination . . . is to elicit information or to secure evidence from the persons
suspected of having possession or knowledge of the property of the deceased, or of having concealed,
embezzled, or conveyed away any of the property of the deceased. If after such examination there is good
reason for believing that the person so examined has property in possession belonging to the estate, it is
the duty of the administrator, by ordinary action, to recover the same (Alafriz v. Mina, 28 Phil. 137
[1914]; Modesto v. Modesto, 109 Phil. 1066 [1959]; Chanco v. Madrilejo, 12 Phil. 543 [1909])."cralaw
virtua1aw library

Special Administratrix Herminia R. Alvos sought a reconsideration of the ruling of the Court of Appeals but
the same was denied on 15 November 1989.

On 28 December 1989, Alvos then filed with Us a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the
Court of Appeals, docketed as G.R. No. 91092.

On 6 February 1990, respondent Judge approved a project of partition dated 18 August 1990 submitted
by Special Administratrix Herminia R. Alvos, together with Paz Ramirez (surviving spouse of Ambrocio C.
Pingco) and Alicia Alinsunurin. In the project of partition, TCT Nos. B-15345 to B-15352 and B-15354 to
B-15359 covering the parcels of land in Bulacan (which were reverted in the name of Ambrocio C. Pingco
pursuant to the Order of 7 June 1989) were adjudicated to the surviving spouse Paz Ramirez Pingco.

On 16 January 1991, on motion of counsel for the Special Administratrix, respondent Judge ordered the
Registers of Deeds of Valenzuela and Manila to cancel the titles in the name of Ambrocio C. Pingco and Paz
Ramirez and to issue new ones in favor of the persons mentioned in the approved project of partition.

On 4 February 1991, respondent Judge granted the ex-parte petition of the Special Administratrix for
approval of the deed of absolute sale of the parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. B-15350, B-15351, B-
15348 and B-15349, and stating therein that as far as the intestate proceedings were concerned,
complainant Jose P. Uy was not a participant either as heir or oppositor; that the property covered by TCT
Nos. B-15350, B-15351 and B-15348 and B-15349 were part of the intestate estate of the late Ambrocio
C. Pingco over which the trial court had jurisdiction and in whose name said titles were registered when
the proceedings were instituted, that even as the Decision of the Court of Appeals annulled her Order of 7
June 1989, it did not prevent her from proceeding with her actions on the properties, neither did it direct
the Register of Deeds of Valenzuela to revert the titles again from Ambrocio C. Pingco to complainant Jose
P. Uy. As a result, instead of complying with the Decision of the Court of Appeals, respondent Judge
directed the Register of Deeds of Valenzuela to comply with her own Order of 16 January 1991 cancelling
the titles of the Pingcos and ordering the issuance of new titles in accordance with the project of partition
she obstinately approved.

On 8 March 1991, in G.R. No. 91092, We affirmed the Decision of the Court of Appeals which annulled and
set aside the Order of 7 June 1989 of respondent Judge. Thus —

"We find no merit in the petition. Section 6, Rule 87 of the Rules of Court simply provides that a person
who is suspected of having in his possession property belonging to an estate, may be cited and the court
may examine him under oath on the matter. Said section nowhere gives the court the power to determine
the question of ownership of such property. Furthermore, the declaration of nullity of the sale of a parcel
of land under administration and the consequent cancellation of the certificate of title issued in favor of
the vendee, cannot be obtained through a mere motion in the probate proceedings over the objection of
said vendee over whom the probate court has no jurisdiction. To recover the property, an independent
action against the vendee must be instituted in the proper court" (citing Tagle, Et. Al. v. Manalo Et. Al.,
105 Phil 1124).

On 2 April 1991, respondent Judge, in utter disregard of Our Resolution of March 1991, granted the ex-
parte petition of the Special Administratrix for approval of the deed of absolute sale of properties covered
by TCT Nos. B-15345 and B-15346 of the Register of Deeds of Valenzuela and reiterated the rationale of
her questioned Order of 4 February 1991.

On 29 April 1991, undaunted by her reversal by the Court of Appeals and this Court, and in blatant
disobedience to judicial authority, and established precedents and jurisprudence, respondent Judge again
granted an ex-parte petition of the Special Administratrix for approval of another deed of absolute sale
covering three (3) more parcels of land originally titled in the name of complainant Jose P. Uy, to wit: TCT
Nos. B-15347, B-15355 and B-15356 of the Register of Deeds of Valenzuela, reiterating for the second
time the reasons stated in her Orders of 4 February and 2 April 1991.

In their complaint, the spouses Jose P. Uy and Rizalina C. Uy claim that despite the Decision of the Court
of Appeals of 28 September 1989 and the pendency of the petition for review by way of certiorari before
this Court, respondent Judge continued issuing various orders resulting in the issuance of new titles to the
properties in the name of persons stated in the project of partition, to the damage and prejudice of
complainants.chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad

Complainants further contend that even after this Court had affirmed the ruling of the Court of Appeals
that respondent Judge had no jurisdiction to entertain further proceedings concerning the ownership of
the properties, respondent Judge still, in an attempt to defeat the proscription imposed by higher judicial
authority, issued, orders approving the sale of the properties to the further prejudice of complainants.

In her comment, respondent Judge alleges that the filing of the complaint against her is merely to harass
her. While she admits that her Order of 7 June 1989 was annulled and set aside by the Court of Appeals,
which annulment was affirmed by this Court, she argues that no temporary restraining order was issued
and that before the Decision of the Court of Appeals was promulgated her Order of 7 June 1989 was
already complied with by the Register of Deeds of Valenzuela. She further contends that even as she was
prohibited from proceeding against complainants herein, the Court of Appeals did not order the reversion
of the titles to them.

We are far from persuaded by respondent Judge. The charges against her are clearly meritorious and
supported by the records. Hence, there is no need in fact for Us to conduct a formal investigation if only to
determine her culpability 2 as it is well documented. Her orders and those of the appellate courts display
her open defiance of higher judicial authority.

In Special Proceedings No. 335-V-88 pending before her sala, respondent Judge committed the following
highly irregular and questionable acts indicative of gross ignorance of the law and grave misconduct
prejudicial to the public interest, to wit: (a) respondent Judge cancelled on mere motion of a party the
titles of complainants Jose P. Uy and Rizalina Cortes, who were not parties to the case, to the great
prejudice of the latter; (b) respondent Judge issued two (2) orders which disregarded the Decision of the
Court of Appeals annulling her disputed Order of 7 June 1989; 3 (c) respondent Judge issued another
order authorizing the sale of the other properties previously titled in the complainant Jose P. Uy; 4 (d)
respondent Judge issued still two (2) more orders approving deeds of sale even after this Court had
already affirmed the Decision of the Court of Appeals annulling her Order of 7 June 1989. 5

These actuations of respondent Judge clearly stress her blatant disobedience to the lawful orders of
superior courts and belie any claim that she rendered the erroneous orders in good faith as would excuse
her from administrative liability.

Time and again We emphasize that the judge is the visible representation of law and justice from whom
the people draw their will and awareness to obey the law. For the judge to return that regard, the latter
must be the first to abide by the law and weave an example for the others to follow. The judge should be
studiously careful to avoid even the slightest infraction of the law. 6 To fulfill this mission, the judge
should keep abreast of the law, the rulings and doctrines of this Court. 7 If the judge is already aware of
them, the latter should not deliberately refrain from applying them, otherwise such omission can never be
excused. 8

Every judge should be cognizant of the basic principle that when questions arise as to ownership of
property alleged to be part of the estate of a deceased person, but claimed by some other person to be his
property, not by virtue of any right of inheritance from the deceased but by title adverse to that of the
deceased and his estate, such questions cannot be determined in the courts of administration
proceedings. The trial court, acting as probate court, has no jurisdiction to adjudicate such contentions,
which must be submitted to the trial court in the exercise of its general jurisdiction. 9 The failure of
respondent judge to apply this basic principle indicates a manifest disregard of well-known legal rules.

Elementary in our statutory law is the doctrine that when title to land has already been registered and the
certificate of title thereto issued, such Torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked because the issue on
the validity of the title can only be raised in an action instituted expressly for the purpose. Corollary to this
is the constitutional mandate that no person shall be deprived of his property without due process of law.
In cancelling the titles of complainants over their properties on mere motion of a party and without
affording them due process, respondent Judge violated her sworn obligation to uphold the law and
promote the administration of justice. It has been held that if the law is so elementary, not to know it or
to act as if one does not know it, constitutes gross ignorance of the law. 10

The foregoing transgressions of respondent Judge are further aggravated by her refusal to abide by the
Decision of the Court of Appeals annulling her Order of 7 June 1989 which directed the cancellation of the
titles of complainants. She was in fact specifically enjoined from proceeding against them, yet, despite this
Decision, respondent Judge skill authorized the subsequent transfer or alienation to other persons of
properties titled in the name of complainants to the detriment of the latter. This utter disrespect for the
judgment of a higher court constitutes grave misconduct prejudicial to the interest of the public, the bench
and the bar. The absence of a temporary restraining order or an order from the Court of Appeals to revert
the titles to complainants is not sufficient justification for respondent Judge to issue subsequent orders
contrary to the appellate court’s proscription. Certainly, respondent Judge is fully aware that the
necessary consequence of the appellate court’s decision is to put back the complainants to their former
status prior to the issuance of the annulled order. Consequently, the Order of 7 June 1989 being void and
of no effect, the ownership of the properties subject of the settlement proceedings remains vested in
complainants and will continue to be so until declared void in an appropriate proceeding, not in the
intestate proceedings before respondent Judge. Thus, an order from the appellate court that will revert
the titles to complainants is not necessary as it is already implied from its decision annulling the
questioned cancellation.chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad

Moreover, the total disregard by respondent Judge of Our Resolution of 8 March 1991 cannot be
condoned. Therein, We affirmed the Decision of the Court of Appeals declaring her to have exceeded her
jurisdiction in cancelling the titles of complainants. Nonetheless, respondent Judge chose not to heed our
pronouncement. She issued two (2) more orders approving the sale to other persons of the remaining
properties which were titled in the name of complainants.

We consider this willful disobedience and continued disregard of Our Resolution as grave and serious
misconduct. 11 Indeed, respondent Judge displayed open defiance to Our authority and utterly failed to
show proper respect for, and due and needed cooperativeness with resolutions of this Court. 12

By her acts and omissions, respondent Judge has failed to observe in the performance of her duties that
prudence and circumspection which the law requires for public service. She has made a mockery of the
judicial system of which she is a part and which she is sworn to uphold. This Court cannot countenance
any act or omission which would diminish the faith of the people in the administration of justice. 13 As
Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos articulated, "the power of the judiciary rests upon the faith of the people
and the integrity of the courts. Take this faith away and the moral influence of the court is gone and
popular respect impaired."cralaw virtua1aw library

WHEREFORE, this Court finds respondent JUDGE TERESITA DIZON-CAPULONG guilty of gross ignorance of
the law and grave misconduct prejudicial to the interest of the judicial service; consequently, she is
hereby DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits, with prejudice to
reinstatement or reemployment in any branch of the government or any of its agencies or
instrumentalities, including government owned or controlled corporations.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon,
Bellosillo, Melo, Campos and Quiason, JJ., concur.

ALI VS ATTY BUBONG

This is a verified petition for disbarment[1] filed against Atty. Mosib Ali Bubong for having been found guilty of grave
misconduct while holding the position of Register of Deeds of Marawi City.
It appears that this disbarment proceeding is an off-shoot of the administrative case earlier filed by complainant
against respondent. In said case, which was initially investigated by the Land Registration Authority (LRA), complainant
charged respondent with illegal exaction; indiscriminate issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-2821 in the
names of Lawan Bauduli Datu, Mona Abdullah,[2] Ambobae Bauduli Datu, Matabae Bauduli Datu, Mooamadali Bauduli
Datu, and Amenola Bauduli Datu; and manipulating the criminal complaint filed against Hadji Serad Bauduli Datu and
others for violation of the Anti-Squatting Law. It appears from the records that the Baudali Datus are relatives of
respondent.[3]
The initial inquiry by the LRA was resolved in favor of respondent. The investigating officer, Enrique Basa, absolved
respondent of all the charges brought against him.
The case was then forwarded to the DOJ for review, then SoJ Franklin Drilon exonerated respondent of the charges of illegal
exaction and infidelity in the custody of documents, but held guilty of grave misconduct for his imprudent issuance of TCT and
manipulating the criminal case for violation of the Anti-Squatting Law instituted against Hadji Serad Bauduli Datu and the latter’s co-
accused. As a result of this finding, former President FVR issued AO No. 41 adopting in toto the conclusion reached by Secretary
Drilon. Respondent questioned said AO before this Court through a petition for certiorari, mandamus, and prohibition claiming that
the Office of the President did not have the authority and jurisdiction to remove him from office and insisted that respondents violated
the laws on security of tenure and that respondent Reynaldo V. Maulit, then the administrator of the LRA committed a breach of Civil
Service Rules when he abdicated his authority to resolve the administrative complaint against him (herein respondent), but was
dismissed for failure on the part of petitioner to sufficiently show that public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in
issuing the questioned order. Respondent MR was denied with finality.
On the disbarment proceeding, complainant claims that it has become obvious that respondent had proven himself unfit to be
further entrusted with the duties of an attorney and that he poses a serious threat to the integrity of the legal profession. Respondent
maintains that there was nothing irregular with his issuance of TCT No. T-2821 in the name of the Bauduli Datus. According to him,
both law and jurisprudence support his stance that it was his ministerial duty, as the Register of Deeds of Marawi City, to act on
applications for land registration on the basis only of the documents presented by the applicants. In the case of the Bauduli Datus,
nothing in the documents they presented to his office warranted suspicion, hence, he was duty-bound to issue TCT No. T-2821 in their
favor.
Respondent also insists that he had nothing to do with the dismissal of criminal complaint for violation of the Anti-Squatting
Law and explains that his participation in said case was a result of the two subpoenas duces tecum issued by the investigating
prosecutor who required him to produce the various land titles involved in said dispute. The IBP commenced the investigation of this
disbarment suit. On 23 February 1996, Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez denied the order relative to the transfer of venue of this
case and penalized with dismissal from the service, as Register of Deeds of Marawi City. The finding of Grave Misconduct on the part
of respondent by the Office of the President was fully supported by evidence and as such carries a very strong weight in considering
the professional misconduct of respondent in the present case. The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved, with modification,
which pertained solely to the period of suspension from the practice of law from a five-year suspension to a two-year suspension to be
proper.
On 17 January 2003, respondent MR was denied as by that time, the matter had already been endorsed to this Court.
ISSUE: WON respondent may be disbarred for grave misconduct committed while he was in the employ of the government.
RULING: We resolve this question in the affirmative. The Code of Professional Responsibility does not cease to apply to a lawyer
simply because he has joined the government service. In fact, by the express provision of Canon 6 thereof, the rules governing the
conduct of lawyers shall apply to lawyers in government service in the discharge of their official tasks. Thus, where a lawyer’s
misconduct as a government official is of such nature as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or to show moral delinquency, then he
may be disciplined as a member of the bar on such grounds. Although the general rule is that a lawyer who holds a government office
may not be disciplined as a member of the bar for infractions he committed as a government official, he may, however, be disciplined
as a lawyer if his misconduct constitutes a violation of his oath a member of the legal profession.
In the case at bar, respondents grave misconduct, as established by the Office of the President and subsequently affirmed by this
Court, deals with his qualification as a lawyer. By taking advantage of his office as the Register of Deeds of Marawi City and
employing his knowledge of the rules governing land registration for the benefit of his relatives, respondent had clearly demonstrated
his unfitness not only to perform the functions of a civil servant but also to retain his membership in the bar. Rule 6.02 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility is explicit on this matter. It reads: Rule 6.02 A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public
position to promote or advance his private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere with his public duties.
Respondents conduct manifestly undermined the people’s confidence in the public office he used to occupy and cast doubt on the
integrity of the legal profession. The ill-conceived use of his knowledge of the intricacies of the law calls for nothing less than the
withdrawal of his privilege to practice law.
As for the letter sent by Bainar Ali, the deceased complainants daughter, requesting for the withdrawal of this case, we cannot possibly
favorably act on the same as proceedings of this nature cannot be interrupted or terminated by reason of desistance, settlement,
compromise, restitution, withdrawal of the charges or failure of the complainant to prosecute the same. As we have previously
explained in the case of Irene Rayos-Ombac v. Atty. Orlando A. Rayos:
A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainant. What matters is whether,
on the basis of the facts borne out by the record, the charge of deceit and grossly immoral conduct has been duly proven. This rule is
premised on the nature of disciplinary proceedings. A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not in any sense a civil action where
the complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a defendant. Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford
no redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare. They are undertaken for the
purpose of preserving courts of justice from the official ministration of persons unfit to practice in them. The attorney is called to
answer to the court for his conduct as an officer of the court. The complainant or the person who called the attention of the court to the
attorneys alleged misconduct is in no sense a party, and has generally no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have
in the proper administrative of justice.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Mosib A. Bubong is hereby DISBARRED and his name is ORDERED STRICKEN from the Roll of
Attorneys.
SUAREZ VS PLATON: 69 Phil 556 – Legal Ethics – Duty of the Prosecutor
In May 1935, Atty. Fortunato Suarez was riding a train on his way to Calauag, Tayabas. Apparently he was very vocal and
he was despising the abuses made by government officers. Incidentally, Lieutenant Vivencio Orais was aboard the train.
Orais arrested Suarez and charged him with sedition. Orais however later moved for the dismissal of the case upon the
instruction of his superior. Thereafter, Suarez filed a case against Orais for arbitrary detention. Provincial Fiscal Ramon
Valdez moved for the dismissal of the case due to insufficiency of evidence. Suarez asked Valdez to inhibit and later
asked for a special prosecutor to take his place as he alleged that Valdez does not have the courage to prosecute the
case. Valdez was then replaced by special prosecutor Jacinto Yamzon who also found that there is insufficient evidence
to prosecute the case. Eventually, the case was dismissed by Judge Servillano Platon on the ground that there is
insufficiency of evidence. Suarez appealed the dismissal of the case but his appeal was denied on the ground that
mandamus is the proper remedy. Hence, Suarez filed this Mandamus case to compel Platon to reinstate the case.
ISSUE: Whether or not the case should be reinstated.
HELD: No. The fiscals are well within their rights not to push through with the case if they find the evidence to be
insufficient. The prosecuting officer is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty
whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a
criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very
definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence shall suffer.

PCGG V SANDIGANBAYAN

FACTS: In 1976 the General Bank and Trust Company (GENBANK) encountered financial difficulties. GENBANK had
extended considerable financial support to Filcapital Development Corporation causing it to incur daily overdrawings on
its current account with Central Bank. Despite the mega loans GENBANK failed to recover from its financial woes. The
Central Bank issued a resolution declaring GENBANK insolvent and unable to resume business with safety to its
depositors, creditors and the general public, and ordering its liquidation. A public bidding of GENBANK’s assets was held
where Lucio Tan group submitted the winning bid. Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza filed a petition with the CFI praying
for the assistance and supervision of the court in GENBANK’s liquidation as mandated by RA 265. After EDSA Revolution
I Pres Aquino established the PCGG to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of former Pres Marcos, his family and cronies.
Pursuant to this mandate, the PCGG filed with the Sandiganbayan a complaint for reversion, reconveyance, restitution
against respondents Lucio Tan, at.al. PCGG issued several writs of sequestration on properties allegedly acquired by them
by taking advantage of their close relationship and influence with former Pres. Marcos. The abovementioned respondents
Tan, et. al are represented as their counsel, former Solicitor General Mendoza. PCGG filed motions to disqualify
respondent Mendoza as counsel for respondents Tan et. al. with Sandiganbayan. It was alleged that Mendoza as then Sol
Gen and counsel to Central Bank actively intervened in the liquidation of GENBANK which was subsequently acquired by
respondents Tan et. al., which subsequently became Allied Banking Corporation. The motions to disqualify invoked Rule
6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which prohibits former government lawyers from accepting “engagement”
or employment in connection with any matter in which he had intervened while in the said service. The Sandiganbayan
issued a resolution denyting PCGG’s motion to disqualify respondent Mendoza. It failed to prove the existence of an
inconsistency between respondent Mendoza’s former function as SolGen and his present employment as counsel of the
Lucio Tan group. PCGGs recourse to this court assailing the Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan.

ISSUE: Whether Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility applies to respondent Mendoza. The prohibition
states: “A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept engagement or employment in connection with any
matter in which he had intervened while in the said service.”

HELD: The case at bar does not involve the “adverse interest” aspect of Rule 6.03. Respondent Mendoza, it is conceded,
has no adverse interest problem when he acted as SOlGen and later as counsel of respondents et.al. before the
Sandiganbayan. However there is still the issue of whether there exists a “congruent-interest conflict” sufficient to
disqualify respondent Mendoza from representing respondents et. al. The key is unlocking the meaning of “matter” and
the metes and bounds of “intervention” that he made on the matter. Beyond doubt that the “matter” or the act of
respondent Mendoza as SolGen involved in the case at bar is “advising the Central Bank, on how to proceed with the said
bank’s liquidation and even filing the petition for its liquidation in CFI of Manila. The Court held that the advice given by
respondent Mendoza on the procedure to liquidate GENBANK is not the “matter” contemplated by Rule 6.03 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility. ABA Formal Opinion No. 342 is clear in stressing that “drafting, enforcing or interpreting
government or agencyprocedures, regulations and laws, or briefing abstract principles of law are acts which do not fall
within the scope of the term “matter” and cannot disqualify. Respondent Mendoza had nothing to do with the decision of
the Central Bank to liquidate GENBANK. He also did not participate in the sale of GENBANK to Allied Bank. The legality
of the liquidation of GENBANK is not an issue in the sequestration cases. Indeed, the jurisdiction of the PCGG does not
include the dissolution and liquidation of banks. Thus, the Code 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility cannot
apply to respondent Mendoza because his alleged intervention while SolGen is an intervention on a matter different from
the matter involved in the Civil case of sequestration. In the metes and boundsof the “intervention”. The applicable
meaning as the term is used in the Code of Professional Ethics is that it is an act of a person who has the power to
influence the subject proceedings. The evil sought to be remedied by the Code do not exist where the government lawyer
does not act which can be considered as innocuous such as “ drafting, enforcing, or interpreting government
or agencyprocedures, regulations or laws or briefing abstract principles of law.” The court rules that the intervention of
Mendoza is not significant and substantial. He merely petitions that the court gives assistance in the liquidation of
GENBANK. The role of court is not strictly as a court of justice but as an agent to assist the Central Bank in determining
the claims of creditors. In such a proceeding the role of the SolGen is not that of the usual court litigator protecting the
interest of government.
Petition assailing the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan is denied.
Relevant Dissenting Opinion of Justice Callejo:
Rule 6.03 is a restatement of Canon 36 of the Canons of Professional Ethics: “ A lawyer, having once held public office or
having been in the public employ, should not after his retirement accept employment in connection with any matter which
he has investigated or passed upon while in such office or employ.”
Indeed, the restriction against a public official from using his public position as a vehicle to promote or advance his private
interests extends beyond his tenure on certain matters in which he intervened as a public official. Rule 6.03 makes this
restriction specifically applicable to lawyers who once held public office.” A plain reading shows that the interdiction 1.
applies to a lawyer who once served in the government and 2. relates to his accepting “engagement or employment” in
connection with any matter in which he had intervened while in the service.