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Catalan vs.

Silvosa
A.C. No. 7360 | July 24, 2012
Facts:
Atty. Catalan filed a complaint against respondent Atty. Silvosa alleging that: (a) respondent
appeared as counsel for the accused in the same case (Esperon Case) for which he previously
appeared a prosecutor; (b) the respondent bribed Prosecutor Toribio for P30,000.00 to
reconsider the downgraded charge of less serious physical injuries back to the charge of
frustrated murder against complainants brother; and (c) the Sandiganbayan convicted
respondent Silvosa for direct bribery. IBP Commissioner Funa found that respondent is only
guilty of the first charge and recommended for a reprimand. As to the second charge, Funa said
that there can be no certainty as to the bribery for it allegedly occurred seven years ago. As to
the third charge, Funa upheld respondents view that Atty. Catalan has no personal knowledge
of the extortion case and said that findings in criminal proceedings are not binding in disbarment
proceedings.
Issue:
Are findings in criminal proceedings binding in disbarment proceedings? Yes.
Ruling:
Yes. First, disbarment proceedings may be instituted by any interested person. It is of no
moment that Atty. Catalan is not the complainant in the extortion case against Silvosa. Second,
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude is a ground for disbarment. In a
disbarment case, the Court will no longer review a final judgment of conviction. Third, the crime
for direct bribery is a crime involving moral turpitude.
Silvosas representation of conflicting interest and his failed attempt to bribe Pros. Toribio merit
at least the penalty of suspension. Disbarment follows as a consequence of Silvosas conviction
of the crime. His excuse that his conviction was not in his capacity as a lawyer, but as a public
officer, is unacceptable and betrays the unmistakable lack of integrity in his character.
Hence, Silvosa was disbarred.