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Spouses FRANKLIN and LOURDES OLBES, complainants, vs. Atty. VICTOR V.

TOR V. by their four PNB checks that were, however, subsequently dishonored due to ACCOUNT CLOSED. Thus, he
DECIEMBRE, respondent. filed criminal cases against them. He claimed that the checks had already been fully filled up when petitioners
PANGANIBAN, J.: signed them in his presence. He further claimed that he had given them the amounts of money indicated in the
Constituting a serious transgression of the Code of Professional Responsibility was the malevolent act checks, because his previous satisfactory transactions with them convinced him that they had the capacity to
of respondent, who filled up the blank checks entrusted to him as security for a loan by writing on those checks pay.
amounts that had not been agreed upon at all, despite his full knowledge that the loan they were meant to secure Moreover, respondent said that the loans were his private and personal transactions, which were not in
had already been paid. any way connected with his profession as a lawyer. The criminal cases against petitioners were allegedly private
The Case actions intended to vindicate his rights against their deception and violation of their obligations. He maintained
Before us is a verified Petition[1] for the disbarment of Atty. Victor V. Deciembre, filed by Spouses that his right to litigate should not be curtailed by this administrative action.
Franklin and Lourdes Olbes with the Office of the Bar Confidant of this Court. Petitioners charged respondent Report of the Investigating Commissioner
with willful and deliberate acts of dishonesty, falsification and conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar. After In his Report and Recommendation, Commissioner Dulay recommended that respondent be suspended
he had filed his Comment[2] on the Petition, the Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines from the practice of law for two years for violating Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
(IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation. The commissioner said that respondents version of the facts was not credible. Commissioner Dulay
The IBPs Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD), through Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, held several rendered the following analysis and evaluation of the evidence presented:
hearings. During those hearings, the last of which was held on May 12, 2003, [3] the parties were able to present In his affidavit-complaint x x x executed to support his complaint filed before the Provincial Prosecution Office
their respective witnesses and documentary evidence. After the filing of the parties respective formal offers of evidence, of Rizal respondent stated that:
as well as petitioners Memorandum,[4] the case was considered submitted for resolution. Subsequently, the 2. That last July 15, 1999, in the jurisdiction of Cainta, Rizal, both LOURDES E. OLBES and FRANKLIN A.
commissioner rendered his Report and Recommendation dated January 30, 2004, which was later adopted and OLBES x x x, personally met and requested me to immediately exchange with cash, right there and then, their
approved by the IBP Board of Governors in its Resolution No. XV-2003-177 dated July 30, 2004. postdated checks totaling P100,000.00 then, to be immediately used by them in their business venture.
The Facts Again in his affidavit-complaint executed to support his complaint filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor
In their Petition, Spouses Olbes allege that they were government employees working at the Central Post of Quezon City respondent stated that:
Office, Manila; and that Franklin was a letter carrier receiving a monthly salary of P6,700, and Lourdes, a mail 2. That last July 15, 1999, at around 2PM, in the jurisdiction of Quezon City, M.M., both LOURDES E. OLBES
sorter, P6,000.[5] and FRANKLIN A. OLBES x x x, personally met and requested me to immediately exchange with cash, right
Through respondent, Lourdes renewed on July 1, 1999 her application for a loan from Rodela Loans, there and then, their postdated checks totaling P100,000.00 then, to be immediately used by them in their
Inc., in the amount of P10,000. As security for the loan, she issued and delivered to respondent five Philippine business venture.
National Bank (PNB) blank checks (Nos. 0046241-45), which served as collateral for the approved loan as well The above statements executed by respondent under oath are in direct contrast to his testimony before this
as any other loans that might be obtained in the future.[6] Commission on cross-examination during the May 12, 2003 hearing, thus:
On August 31, 1999, Lourdes paid respondent the amount of P14,874.37 corresponding to the loan plus ATTY PUNZALAN: (continuing)
surcharges, penalties and interests, for which the latter issued a receipt, [7] herein quoted as follows: Q. Based on these four (4) checks which you claimed the complainant issued to you, you filed two
August 31, 1999 separate criminal cases against them, one, in Pasig City and the other in Quezon City, is
Received the amount of P14,874.37 as payment of the loan of P10,000.00 taken earlier by Lourdes that correct?
Olbes. A. Yes, Your Honor, because the checks were deposited at different banks.
(Sgd.) Atty. Victor V. Deciembre Q. These four checks were accordingly issued to you by the complainants on July 15, 1999, is that
8-31-99 correct?
P10,000.00 A. I will consult my records, You Honor, because its quite a long time. Yes, Your Honor, the first
PNB Check No. 46241 8/15/99[8] two checks is in the morning and the next two checks is in the afternoon (sic).
Notwithstanding the full payment of the loan, respondent filled up four (of the five) blank PNB Checks COMM. DULAY:
(Nos. 0046241, 0046242, 0046243 and 0046244) for the amount of P50,000 each, with different dates of Which are the first two checks?
maturity -- August 15, 1999, August 20, 1999, October 15, 1999 and November 15, 1999, respectively. [9] ATTY. DECIEMBRE:
On October 19, 1999, respondent filed before the Provincial Prosecution Office of Rizal an Affidavit- The first two checks covering check Nos. 46241 and 46242 in the morning. And Check No.
Complaint against petitioners for estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa (BP) 22. He alleged therein that on 46243 and 46244 in the afternoon, Your Honor.
July 15, 1999, around one-thirty in the afternoon at Cainta, Rizal, they personally approached him and requested ATTY. PUNZALAN:
that he immediately exchange with cash their postdated PNB Check Nos. 0046241 and 0046242 Q. Could you recall what particular time in the morning that these two checks with number
totaling P100,000.[10] 0046241 and 0046242 xxx have been issued to you?
Several months after, or on January 20, 2000, respondent filed against petitioners another Affidavit- A. I could not remember exactly but in the middle part of the morning around 9:30 to 10:00.
Complaint for estafa and violation of BP 22. He stated, among others, that on the same day, July 15, 1999, Q. This was issued to you in what particular place?
around two oclock in the afternoon at Quezon City, they again approached him and requested that he exchange A. Here in my office at Garnet Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
with cash PNB Check Nos. 0046243 and 0046244 totaling P100,000.[11] Q. Is that your house?
Petitioners insisted that on the afternoon of July 15, 1999, they never went either to Cainta, Rizal, or to A. No, its not my house?
Quezon City to transact business with respondent. Allegedly, they were in their office at the time, as shown by Q. What is that, is that your law office?
their Daily Time Records; so it would have been physically impossible for them to transact business in Cainta, A. That is my retainer client.
Rizal, and, after an interval of only thirty minutes, in Quezon City, especially considering the heavy traffic Q. What is the name of that retainer client of yours?
conditions in those places.[12] ATTY. DECIEMBRE:
Petitioners averred that many of their office mates -- among them, Juanita Manaois, Honorata Acosta Your Honor, may I object because what is the materiality of the question?
and Eugenia Mendoza -- had suffered the same fate in their dealings with respondent. [13] ATTY. PUNZALAN:
In his Comment,[14] respondent denied petitioners claims, which he called baseless and devoid of any That is very material. I am trying to test your credibility because according to you these checks
truth and merit. Allegedly, petitioners were the ones who had deceived him by not honoring their commitment have been issued in Pasig in the place of your client on a retainer. Thats why I am asking
regarding their July 15, 1999 transactions. Those transactions, totaling P200,000, had allegedly been covered your client
COMM. DULAY: The Code of Professional Responsibility specifically mandates the following:
The name of the client is not material I think. It is enough that he said it was issued here in Canon 1. A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and
Pasig. What building? legal processes.
ATTY. DECIEMBRE: xxxxxxxxx
AIC Corporate Center, Your Honor. Canon 7. A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the
COMM. DULAY: activities of the Integrated Bar.
What is the materiality of knowing the name of his clients office? xxxxxxxxx
ATTY. PUNZALAN: Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should
Because, Your Honor, the materiality is to find out whether he is telling the truth. The place, he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
Your Honor, according to the respondent is his client. Now I am asking who is that client? A high standard of excellence and ethics is expected and required of members of the bar. [21] Such conduct
COMM. DULAY: of nobility and uprightness should remain with them, whether in their public or in their private lives. As officers
Your answer. of the courts and keepers of the publics faith, they are burdened with the highest degree of social responsibility
ATTY. DECIEMBRE: and are thus mandated to behave at all times in a manner consistent with truth and honor. [22]
A. It is AIC Realty Corporation at AIC Building. The oath that lawyers swear to likewise impresses upon them the duty of exhibiting the highest degree
Q. And the same date likewise, the complainants in the afternoon issued PNB Check Nos. 0046243 of good faith, fairness and candor in their relationships with others. The oath is a sacred trust that must be upheld
and 0046244, is that correct? and kept inviolable at all times. Thus, lawyers may be disciplined for any conduct, whether in their professional
A. Yes. or in their private capacity, if such conduct renders them unfit to continue to be officers of the court. [23]
Q. So would you want to tell this Honorable office that there were four checks issued in the place In the present case, the IBP commissioner gave credence to the story of petitioners, who said that they
of your client in Pasig City, two in the morning and two in the afternoon? had given five blank personal checks to respondent at the Central Post Office in Manila as security for
A. That is correct, sir. the P10,000 loan they had contracted. Found untrue and unbelievable was respondents assertion that they had
Respondent was clearly not being truthful in his narration of the transaction with the complainants. As between filled up the checks and exchanged these with his cash at Quezon City and Cainta, Rizal. After a careful review
his version as to when the four checks were given, we find the story of complainant[s] more credible. of the records, we find no reason to deviate from these findings.
Respondent has blatantly distorted the truth, insofar as the place where the transaction involving the four checks Under the circumstances, there is no need to stretch ones imagination to arrive at an inevitable
took place. Such distortion on a very material fact would seriously cast doubt on his version of the transaction conclusion. Respondent does not deny the P10,000 loan obtained from him by petitioners. According to
with complainants. Franklin Olbes testimony on cross-examination, they asked respondent for the blank checks after the loan had
Furthermore respondents statements as to the time when the transactions took place are also obviously and been paid. On the pretext that he was not able to bring the checks with him, [24] he was not able to return them.
glaringly inconsistent and contradicts the written statements made before the public prosecutors. Thus further He thus committed abominable dishonesty by abusing the confidence reposed in him by petitioners. It was their
adding to the lack of credibility of respondents version of the transaction. high regard for him as a member of the bar that made them trust him with their blank checks. [25]
Complainants version that they issued blank checks to respondent as security for the payment of a loan It is also glaringly clear that the Code of Professional Responsibility was seriously transgressed by his
of P10,000.00 plus interest, and that respondent filled up the checks in amounts not agreed upon appears to be malevolent act of filling up the blank checks by indicating amounts that had not been agreed upon at all and
more credible. Complainants herein are mere employees of the Central Post Office in Manila who had a previous despite respondents full knowledge that the loan supposed to be secured by the checks had already been paid.
loan of P10,000.00 from respondent and which has since been paid x x x. Respondent does not deny the said His was a brazen act of falsification of a commercial document, resorted to for his material gain.
transaction. This appears to be the only previous transaction between the parties. In fact, complainants were And he did not stop there. Because the checks were dishonored upon presentment, respondent had the
even late in paying the loan when it fell due such that they had to pay interest. That respondent would trust them temerity to initiate unfounded criminal suits against petitioners, thereby exhibiting his vile intent to have them
once more by giving them another P200,000.00 allegedly to be used for a business and immediately release the punished and deprived of liberty for frustrating the criminal duplicity he had wanted to foist on them. As a
amounts under the circumstances described by respondent does not appear credible given the background of the matter of fact, one of the petitioners (Franklin) was detained for three months [26] because of the Complaints.
previous transaction and personal circumstances of complainants. That respondent who is a lawyer would not Respondent is clearly guilty of serious dishonesty and professional misconduct. He committed an act indicative
even bother to ask from complainants a receipt for the money he has given, nor bother to verify and ask them of moral depravity not expected from, and highly unbecoming, a member of the bar.
what businesses they would use the money for contributes further to the lack of credibility of respondents Good moral character is an essential qualification for the privilege to enter into the practice of law. It is
version. These circumstances really cast doubt as to the version of respondent with regard to the transaction. equally essential to observe this norm meticulously during the continuance of the practice and the exercise of
The resolution of the public prosecutors notwithstanding we believe respondent is clearly lacking in honesty in the privilege.[27] Good moral character includes at least common honesty.[28] No moral qualification for bar
dealing with the complainants. Complainant Franklin Olbes had to be jailed as a result of respondents filing of membership is more important than truthfulness and candor.[29] The rigorous ethics of the profession places a
the criminal cases. Parenthetically, we note that respondent has also filed similar cases against the co-employees premium on honesty and condemns duplicitous behavior. [30] Lawyers must be ministers of truth. Hence, they
of complainants in the Central Post Office and respondent is facing similar complaints in the IBP for his must not mislead the court or allow it to be misled by any artifice. In all their dealings, they are expected to act
actions.[15] in good faith.[31]
The Courts Ruling Deception and other fraudulent acts are not merely unacceptable practices that are disgraceful and
We agree with the findings and conclusions of Commissioner Dulay, as approved and adopted by the dishonorable;[32] they reveal a basic moral flaw. The standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by
IBP Board of Governors. However, the penalty should be more severe than what the IBP recommended. conduct that merely enables one to escape the penalties of criminal laws. [33]
Respondents Administrative Liability Considering the depravity of the offense committed by respondent, we find the penalty recommended by
Membership in the legal profession is a special privilege burdened with conditions. [16] It is bestowed the IBP of suspension for two years from the practice of law to be too mild. His propensity for employing deceit
upon individuals who are not only learned in the law, but also known to possess good moral character.[17] A and misrepresentation is reprehensible. His misuse of the filled-up checks that led to the detention of one
lawyer is an oath-bound servant of society whose conduct is clearly circumscribed by inflexible norms of law petitioner is loathsome.
and ethics, and whose primary duty is the advancement of the quest for truth and justice, for which he [or she] In Eustaquio v. Rimorin,[34] the forging of a special power of attorney (SPA) by the respondent to make
has sworn to be a fearless crusader.[18] it appear that he was authorized to sell anothers property, as well as his fraudulent and malicious inducement
By taking the lawyers oath, an attorney becomes a guardian of truth and the rule of law, and an of Alicia Rubis to sign a Memorandum of Agreement to give a semblance of legality to the SPA, were
indispensable instrument in the fair and impartial administration of justice. [19] Lawyers should act and comport sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law for five years. Here, the conduct of herein respondent is
themselves with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach, in order to promote the publics faith in the even worse. He used falsified checks as bases for maliciously indicting petitioners and thereby caused the
legal profession.[20] detention of one of them.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Victor V. Deciembre is found guilty of gross misconduct and violation of Rules his counsel.
1.01 and 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is hereby indefinitely SUSPENDED from the On September 16, 1977 Tan Tek Beng died at the Philippine Union Colleges Compound, Baesa, Caloocan
practice of law effective immediately. Let copies of this Decision be furnished all courts as well as the Office City but it was only in the manifestation of his counsel dated August 10, 1981 that the Solicitor General’s
of the Bar Confidant, which is directed to append a copy to respondents personal record. Let another copy be Office was informed of that fact. A report on this case dated March 21, 1983 was submitted by the Solicitor
furnished the National Office of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. General to this Court.
SO ORDERED. We hold that the said agreement is void because it was tantamount to malpractice which is "the practice of
soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers" Sec. 27,
TAN TEK BENG, Complainant, v. TIMOTEO A. DAVID, Respondent. Rule 138, Rules of Court). Malpractice ordinarily refers to any malfeasance or dereliction of duty committed
by a lawyer. Section 27 gives a special and technical meaning to the term "malpractice" (Act No. 2828,
AQUINO, J.: amending sec. 21 of Act No. 190).
The issue in this case is whether disciplinary action should be taken against lawyer Timoteo A. David That meaning is in consonance with the elementary notion that the practice of law is a profession, not a
(admitted to the bar in 1945) for not giving Tan Tek Beng, a nonlawyer (alleged missionary of the Seventh business. "The lawyer may not seek or obtain employment by himself or through others for to do so would be
Day Adventists), one-half of the attorney’s fees received by David from the clients supplied by Tan Tek unprofessional" (2 R.C.L. 1097 cited in In re Tagorda, 53 Phil. 37, 42; Malcolm, J., Jayme v. Bualan, 58 Phil.
Beng. Their agreement 422; Arce v. Philippine National Bank, 62 Phil. 569). The commercialization of law practice is condemned in
"December 3, 1970 certain canons of professional ethics adopted by the American Bar
"Mr. Tan Tek Beng "34. Division of Fees. — No division of fees for legal services is proper, except with another lawyer, based
"Manila upon a division of service or responsibility."cralaw virtua1aw library
"Dear Mr. Tan:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library "35. Intermediaries. — The professional services of a lawyer should not be controlled or exploited by any law
In compliance with your request, I am now putting into writing our agreement which must be followed in agency, personal or corporate, which intervenes between client and lawyer. A lawyer’s responsibilities and
connection with the accounts that you will entrust to me for collection. Our terms and conditions shall be as qualifications are individual. He should avoid all relations which direct the performance of his duties by or in the interest of such intermediary. A lawyer’s relation to his client should be personal, and the responsibility
"1. On all commission or attorney’s fees that we shall receive from our clients by virtue of the collection that should be direct to the client. . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
we shall be able to effect on their accounts, we shall divide fifty-fifty. Likewise you are entitled to "38. Compensation, Commissions and Rebates. — A lawyer should accept no compensation, commissions,
commission, 50/50 from domestic, inheritance and commercial from our said clients or in any criminal cases rebates or other advantages from others without the knowledge and consent of his client after full disclosure."
where they are involved. (Appendix, Malcolm, Legal Ethics).
"2. I shall not deal directly with our clients without your consent. We censure lawyer David for having entered and acted upon such void and unethical agreement. We
"3. You shall take care of collecting our fees as well as advances for expenses for the cases referred to us by discountenance his conduct, not because of the complaint of Tan Tek Beng (who did not know legal ethics)
our clients and careful in safeguarding our interest. but because David should have known better.chanrobles law library
"4. It is understood that legal expenses that we shall recover from the debtors shall be turned over to our "Unprofessional conduct in an attorney is that which violates the rules or ethical code of his profession or
clients. Other clients who directly or indirectly have been approached or related (sic) to you as a result of your which is unbecoming a member of that profession" (Note 14, 7 C.J.S. 743).
labor are your clients. WHEREFORE, respondent is reprimanded for being guilty of malpractice. A copy of this decision should be
"I hereby pledge in the name of God, our Heavenly Father, that I will be sincere, honest and fair with you in attached to his record in the Bar Confidant’s office.
connection with our transactions with our clients. Likewise you must be sincere, honest and fair with me. SO ORDERED.
Very truly yours,
(Sgd.) Illegible ATTY. ISMAEL G. KHAN, JR., Assistant Court Administrator and Chief, Public Information
TIMOTEO A. DAVID Office, complainant, vs. ATTY. RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO, respondent.
"P.S. [G.R. No. 157053. August 19, 2003]
I will be responsible for all documents entrusted me by our clients. ATTY. RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO, petitioner, vs. IBP COMMISSION ON BAR DISCIPLINE and
(Sgd.) Initial ATTY. ISMAEL G. KHAN, JR., in his capacity as Assistant Court Administrator and Chief,
"CONFORME to the above and likewise will reciprocate my sincerity to Atty. David as stated in the last Public Information Office, respondents.
paragraph of this letter. YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
(Sgd.) Tan Tek Beng This administrative complaint arose from a paid advertisement that appeared in the July 5, 2000 issue of
MR. TAN TEK BENG" the newspaper, Philippine Daily Inquirer,which reads: ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE Specialist 532-
The foregoing was a reiteration of an agreement dated August 5, 1969. Note that in said agreement lawyer Ms. Ma. Theresa B. Espeleta, a staff member of the Public Information Office of the Supreme Court,
David not only agreed to give one-half of his professional fees to an intermediary or commission agent but he called up the published telephone number and pretended to be an interested party. She spoke to Mrs. Simbillo,
also bound himself not to deal directly with the clients. who claimed that her husband, Atty. Rizalino Simbillo, was an expert in handling annulment cases and can
The business relationship between David and Tan Tek Beng did not last. There were mutual accusations of guarantee a court decree within four to six months, provided the case will not involve separation of property or
doublecross. For allegedly not living up to the agreement, Tan Tek Beng in 1973 denounced David to custody of children. Mrs. Simbillo also said that her husband charges a fee of P48,000.00, half of which is
Presidential Assistant Ronaldo B. Zamora, to the Office of Civil Relations at Camp Crame and to this Court. payable at the time of filing of the case and the other half after a decision thereon has been rendered.
He did not file any civil action to enforce the agreement. Further research by the Office of the Court Administrator and the Public Information Office revealed
In his 1974 comment, David clarified that the partnership was composed of himself as manager, Tan Tek that similar advertisements were published in the August 2 and 6, 2000 issues of the Manila Bulletin and August
Beng as assistant manager and lawyer Pedro Jacinto as president and financier. When Jacinto became ill and 5, 2000 issue of The Philippine Star.[2]
the costs of office maintenance mounted, David suggested that Tan Tek Beng should also invest some money On September 1, 2000, Atty. Ismael G. Khan, Jr., in his capacity as Assistant Court Administrator and
or shoulder a part of the business expenses but Tan Tek Beng : virtual law library Chief of the Public Information Office, filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Rizalino T. Simbillo for
This case was referred to the Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation. Hearings were improper advertising and solicitation of his legal services, in violation of Rule 2.03 and Rule 3.01 of the Code
scheduled from 1974 to 1981. It was proposed that respondent should submit a stipulation of facts but that did of Professional Responsibility and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court.[3]
not materialize because the scheduled hearings were not held due to the nonavailability of Tan Tek Beng and
In his answer, respondent admitted the acts imputed to him, but argued that advertising and sanctity of an institution still considered sacrosanct despite the contemporary climate of permissiveness in our
solicitation per se are not prohibited acts; that the time has come to change our views about the prohibition on society. Indeed, in assuring prospective clients that an annulment may be obtained in four to six months from
advertising and solicitation; that the interest of the public is not served by the absolute prohibition on lawyer the time of the filing of the case,[19] he in fact encourages people, who might have otherwise been disinclined
advertising; that the Court can lift the ban on lawyer advertising; and that the rationale behind the decades-old and would have refrained from dissolving their marriage bonds, to do so.
prohibition should be abandoned. Thus, he prayed that he be exonerated from all the charges against him and Nonetheless, the solicitation of legal business is not altogether proscribed. However, for solicitation to
that the Court promulgate a ruling that advertisement of legal services offered by a lawyer is not contrary to be proper, it must be compatible with the dignity of the legal profession. If it is made in a modest and decorous
law, public policy and public order as long as it is dignified.[4] manner, it would bring no injury to the lawyer and to the bar. [20] Thus, the use of simple signs stating the name
The case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation, report and or names of the lawyers, the office and residence address and fields of practice, as well as advertisement in legal
recommendation.[5] On June 29, 2002, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline passed Resolution No. XV-2002- periodicals bearing the same brief data, are permissible. Even the use of calling cards is now
306,[6] finding respondent guilty of violation of Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility acceptable.[21] Publication in reputable law lists, in a manner consistent with the standards of conduct imposed
and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court, and suspended him from the practice of law for one (1) year by the canon, of brief biographical and informative data is likewise allowable. As explicitly stated in Ulep v.
with the warning that a repetition of similar acts would be dealt with more severely. The IBP Resolution was Legal Clinic, Inc.:[22]
noted by this Court on November 11, 2002.[7] Such data must not be misleading and may include only a statement of the lawyers name and the names of his
In the meantime, respondent filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration,[8] which was denied by the IBP professional associates; addresses, telephone numbers, cable addresses; branches of law practiced; date and
in Resolution No. XV-2002-606 dated October 19, 2002[9] place of birth and admission to the bar; schools attended with dates of graduation, degrees and other educational
Hence, the instant petition for certiorari, which was docketed as G.R. No. 157053 entitled, Atty. Rizalino distinctions; public or quasi-public offices; posts of honor; legal authorships; legal teaching positions;
T. Simbillo, Petitioner versus IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, Atty. Ismael G. Khan, Jr., Asst. Court membership and offices in bar associations and committees thereof, in legal and scientific societies and legal
Administrator and Chief, Public Information Office, Respondents. This petition was consolidated with A.C. No. fraternities; the fact of listings in other reputable law lists; the names and addresses of references; and, with
5299 per the Courts Resolution dated March 4, 2003. their written consent, the names of clients regularly represented.
In a Resolution dated March 26, 2003, the parties were required to manifest whether or not they were The law list must be a reputable law list published primarily for that purpose; it cannot be a mere supplemental
willing to submit the case for resolution on the basis of the pleadings. [10] Complainant filed his Manifestation feature of a paper, magazine, trade journal or periodical which is published principally for other
on April 25, 2003, stating that he is not submitting any additional pleading or evidence and is submitting the purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may not properly publish his brief biographical and informative data in
case for its early resolution on the basis of pleadings and records thereof. [11] Respondent, on the other hand, a daily paper, magazine, trade journal or society program. Nor may a lawyer permit his name to be published
filed a Supplemental Memorandum on June 20, 2003. in a law list the conduct, management, or contents of which are calculated or likely to deceive or injure the
We agree with the IBPs Resolutions Nos. XV-2002-306 and XV-2002-606. public or the bar, or to lower dignity or standing of the profession.
Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility read: The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also permitted. The card may contain only a statement of his
Rule 2.03. A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit legal business. name, the name of the law firm which he is connected with, address, telephone number and special branch of
Rule 3.01. A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, law practiced. The publication of a simple announcement of the opening of a law firm or of changes in the
self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services. partnership, associates, firm name or office address, being for the convenience of the profession, is not
Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court states: objectionable. He may likewise have his name listed in a telephone directory but not under a designation of
SEC. 27. Disbarment and suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefor. A member of the bar special branch of law. (emphasis and italics supplied)
may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice or WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO is found GUILTY of
other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct or by reason of his conviction of a crime violation of Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Rule 138, Section 27 of the
involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before the admission to Rules of Court. He is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE (1) YEAR effective upon receipt of this
practice, or for a willful disobedience appearing as attorney for a party without authority to do so. Resolution. He is likewise STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt
It has been repeatedly stressed that the practice of law is not a business. [12] It is a profession in which with more severely.
duty to public service, not money, is the primary consideration. Lawyering is not primarily meant to be a money- Let copies of this Resolution be entered in his record as attorney and be furnished the Integrated Bar of
making venture, and law advocacy is not a capital that necessarily yields profits. [13] The gaining of a livelihood the Philippines and all courts in the country for their information and guidance.
should be a secondary consideration.[14] The duty to public service and to the administration of justice should SO ORDERED
be the primary consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their personal interests or what they owe to
themselves.[15] The following elements distinguish the legal profession from a business:
1. A duty of public service, of which the emolument is a by-product, and in which one may attain
the highest eminence without making much money;
2. A relation as an officer of the court to the administration of justice involving thorough sincerity,
integrity and reliability;
3. A relation to clients in the highest degree of fiduciary;
4. A relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by candor, fairness, and unwillingness to resort
to current business methods of advertising and encroachment on their practice, or dealing
directly with their clients.[16]
There is no question that respondent committed the acts complained of. He himself admits that he caused
the publication of the advertisements.While he professes repentance and begs for the Courts indulgence, his
contrition rings hollow considering the fact that he advertised his legal services again after he pleaded for
compassion and after claiming that he had no intention to violate the rules. Eight months after filing his answer,
he again advertised his legal services in the August 14, 2001 issue of the Buy & Sell Free Ads
Newspaper.[17] Ten months later, he caused the same advertisement to be published in the October 5, 2001 issue
of Buy & Sell.[18] Such acts of respondent are a deliberate and contemptuous affront on the Courts authority.
What adds to the gravity of respondents acts is that in advertising himself as a self-styled Annulment of
Marriage Specialist, he wittingly or unwittingly erodes and undermines not only the stability but also the