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A.C. No.

8761 February 12, 2014 It must then be stressed that, "a notary public’s function should not be
WILBERTO C. TALISIC, Complainant, vs. ATTY. PRIMO R. RINEN, trivialized and a notary public must discharge his powers and duties which are
Respondent. impressed with public interest, with accuracy and fidelity." Towards this end,
the Court emphasized that "[a] notary public should not notarize a document
Legal Ethics: Rules on Notarial Practice 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
FACTS: truth of what are stated therein. The presence of the parties to the deed will
An administrative case filed by complainant Wilberto C. Talisic (Wilberto) enable the notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature of the
against Atty. Primo R. Rinen1 (Atty. Rinen), charging the latter with falsification affiant."
of an Extra Judicial Partition with Sale which allowed the transfer to spouses
Benjamin Durante and Eleonor Lavifia (Spouses Durante) of a parcel of land In the present case, Atty. Rinen did not deny his failure to personally verify the
formerly owned by Wilberto's mother, Aurora Corpuz (Aurora). Court referred identity of all parties who purportedly signed the subject document and whom,
the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Commission on Bar as he claimed, appeared before him on April 7, 1994. Such failure was further
Discipline, for investigation, report and recommendation. shown by the fact that the pertinent details of the community tax certificates of
Wilberto and his sister, as proof of their identity, remained unspecified in the
Wilberto claimed that his mother died and left behind as heirs her spouse, subject deed’s acknowledgment portion. Clearly, there was a failure on the
Celedonio Talisic, and their three children, namely: Arlene, Wilberto and Alvin. part of Atty. Rinen to exercise the due diligence that was required of him as a
It was only after his father’s death on November 2, 2000 that Wilberto and his notary public ex-officio. The lapses he committed in relation to such function
siblings knew of the transfer of the subject parcel via the subject deed. While then justified the recommendations presented by the IBP.
Wilberto believed that his father’s signature on the deed was authentic, his and
his siblings’ supposed signatures were merely forged. "Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with
substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized
Atty. Rinen denied the charge and explained that it was only on April 7, 1994 may act as notaries public." Thus, "notaries public must observe with utmost
that he came to know of the transaction between the Spouses Durante and care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties."19 Otherwise,
the Talisics, when they approached him in his office as the then Presiding the confidence of the public in the integrity of public instruments would be
Judge of the Municipal. undermined.

After due proceedings, Investigating Commissioner Felimon C. Abelita III WHEREFORE, as recommended by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines is
(Commissioner Abelita) issued the Report and Recommendation dated hereby affirmed and revokes the notarial commission of Atty. Rinen for one
November 20, 2012 for the cancellation of Atty. Rinen’s notarial commission year.
and his suspension from notarial practice for a period of one year.

The report indicated that per Atty. Rinen’s admission, the subject deed was
prepared in his office and acknowledged before him. Although there was no
evidence of forgery on his part, he was negligent in not requiring from the A.C. No. 4545 February 5, 2014
parties to the deed their presentation of documents as proof of identity. Atty. CARLITO ANG, Complainant, vs. ATTY. JAMES JOSEPH GUPANA,
Rinen’s failure to properly satisfy his duties as a notary public was also shown Respondent.
by the inconsistencies in the dates that appear on the deed, to wit: "1994 as
to the execution; 1995 when notarized; [and] entered as Series of 1992 in the Legal Ethics: Rule 9.01, Canon 7; Rule 9.01, Canon 9
notarial book x x x."
ISSSUE: The case stemmed from an affidavit-complaint filed by complainant Carlito Ang
Whether or not Atty. Rinen committed violations of his notarial duties. against respondent. Ang alleged that he and the other heirs of the late
Candelaria Magpayo, namely Purificacion Diamante and William Magpayo,
HELD: executed an Extra-judicial Declaration of Heirs and Partition involving a land
which was covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. (T-22409)-6433. He was
given his share of 2,003 square meters designated as Lot No. 2066-B-2-B-4, Mercantile Co. despite his knowledge that said property is the subject of a
together with all the improvements thereon. pending litigation before the RTC of Mandaue City, Cebu.

However, when he tried to secure a TCT in his name, he found out that said The Investigating Commissioner additionally found that respondent "delegated
TCT number had already been cancelled and in lieu thereof, new TCTs had the notarial functions to the clerical staff of their office before being brought to
been issued in the names of William Magpayo, Antonio Diamante, Patricia him for his signature." This, according to the commissioner, "must have been
Diamante, Lolita D. Canque, Gregorio Diamante, Jr. and Fe D. Montero. the reason for the forged signatures of the parties in the questioned
document…as well as the erroneous entry in his notarial register. Respondent
Ang alleged that there is reasonable ground to believe that respondent had a should not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task
direct participation in the commission of forgeries and falsifications because which by law may only be performed by a member of the bar in accordance
he was the one who prepared and notarized the Affidavit of Loss and Deed of with Rule 9.0117 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Absolute Sale that led to the transfer and issuance of the new TCTs. Ang
pointed out that the Deed of Absolute Sale which was allegedly executed by ISSUE:
Candelaria Magpayo on April 17, 1989, was antedated and Candelaria WON the respondent is administratively liable for violating the notarial law and
Magpayo’s signature was forged as clearly shown by the Certification issued the Code of Professional Responsibility.
by the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu
since the Notarial Report indubitably showed that the document executed was HELD:
an affidavit, not a Deed of Absolute Sale. The Court finds respondent administratively liable for violation of his notarial
duties when he failed to require the personal presence of Candelaria
As to the Affidavit of Loss, which was allegedly executed by the late Candelaria Magpayo. it is clear that the party acknowledging must appear before the
Magpayo on April 29, 1994, it could not have been executed by her as she notary public or any other person authorized to take acknowledgments of
Died three years prior to the execution of the said affidavit of loss. instruments or documents.23 In the case at bar, the jurat of the Affidavit of
Loss stated that Candelaria subscribed to the affidavit before respondent on
Ang further alleged that respondent made himself the attorney-in-fact and April 29, 1994, at Mandaue City. Candelaria, however, was already dead since
executed a Deed of Sale selling the lot to Lim Kim So Mecantile Co even March 26, 1991. Hence, it is clear that the jurat was made in violation of the
though a civil case was pending before the RTC of Mandaue City, Cebu. notarial law.

Respondent denied any wrongdoing. According to the respondent, in the As a lawyer commissioned as notary public, respondent is mandated to
pending civil case Ang anchored his claim on the Extra-judicial Declaration of subscribe to the sacred duties appertaining to his office, such duties being
Heirs and Partition and sought to annul the deed of sale and prayed for dictated by public policy impressed with public interest. Faithful observance
reconveyance of the subject parcel of land. However, because of Ang’s and utmost respect of the legal solemnity of the oath in an acknowledgment or
admission that he is not an heir of late Candelaria Magpayo, the notice of lis jurat is sacrosanct. The Code of Professional Responsibility also commands
pendens annotated in the title of land were ordered cancelled and the land him not to engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and to
became available for disposition. Respondent surmised that these uphold at all times the integrity and dignity of the legal profession.
developments in Civil Case No. Man-2202 meant that Ang would lose his case
so Ang resorted to the filing of the present administrative complaint. Thus, Respondent likewise violated Rule 9.01, Canon 9, of the Code of Professional
respondent prayed for the dismissal of the case for being devoid of any factual Responsibility which provides that "[a] lawyer shall not delegate to any
or legal basis, or in the alternative, holding resolution of the instant case in unqualified person the performance of any task which by law may only be
abeyance pending resolution of civil case. performed by a member of the Bar in good standing."

Investigating Commissioner Navarro of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline in notarizing an affidavit executed by a dead person, respondent is liable for
found that respondent is administratively liable. She recommended that misconduct. Under the facts and circumstances of the case, the revocation of
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for three months. She held his notarial commission, disqualification from being commissioned as a notary
that respondent committed an unethical act when he allowed himself to be an public for a period of two years and suspension from the practice of law for
instrument in the disposal of the subject property through a deed of sale one year are in order.
executed between him as attorney-in-fact of his client and Lim Kim So
The facts of the case are not disputed. Atty Revilla Jr notarized a complaint-
DIZON v. CABUCANA, JR. affidavit signed by Heneraline Brosas, Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa and Elmer
A.C. No. 10185 Alvarado. Heneraline Brosas is a sister of Heizel Wynda Brosas Revilla, Atyy
March 12, 2014 Revilla Jr’s wife. Jandoquile complains that Atyy Revilla Jr is disqualified to
perform the notarial act per Section 3 (c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial
FACTS: Complainant, Licerio Dizon, alleged that he was one of the “would be” Practice. Complainant also complains that respondent did not require the three
buyers of a parcel of land owned by Callangan in a Civil Case filed before the affiants in the complaint-affidavit to show their valid identification cards.Atty
MTC. On that case, a compromise agreement was executed by the parties Revilla did not deny but admitted complainant’s material allegations.
before respondent, Atty. Mercelino Cabucana, Jr. Issue: Whether or not the single act of notarizing the complaint-affidavit of
relatives within the fourth civil degree of affinity and, at the same time, not
At the hearing, the signatories regarding the compromise agreement therein requiring them to present valid identification cards is a ground for disbarment.
testified that they signed the instrument in the court room of MTCC but not in Rulings:
the presence of Atty. Cabucana as Notary Public; hence, there was delay in No. Since the facts are not contested, the court deems it more prudent to
the decision of the case which caused damage and injury to the complainant. resolve the case. Indeed, Atty Revilla, Jr. violated the disqualification rule
They also alleged that Atty. Cabucana violated the Notarial Law by notarizing under Section 3 ©, Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. The court
in the absence of most of the signatories and uttered grave threats against him agree with him, that respondent’s violation is not sufficient ground for
after the hearing of the said case. disbarment. Given the clear provision of the disqualification rule, it behooved
upon Atty. Revilla, Jr. to act with prudence and refuse notarizing the document.
Hence, he filed a petition against Atty. Cabucana, before the IBP, praying for On the second charge, Atty Revilla, Jr. cannot be held liable. If the notary
the disbarment of the latter for falsification of public document. public knows the affiants personally, he need not require them to show their
valid identification cards. This rule is supported by the definition of a “jurat”
In his answer, he averred that the complaint was intended to harass him for he under Sec 6, Rule II of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. A “Jurat” refers to
was the private prosecutor on a criminal case against Dizon and lack of cause an act in which an individual on a single occasion: (a) appears in person before
of action for he was only a “would be” buyer. the notary public and presents an instruments or documents; (b) is personally
known to the notary public or identified by the notary public through competent
evidence of identity; (c) signs the instrument or document in the presence of
ISSUE: Whether or not he violated a rule in the CPR through his conduct the notary; (d) takes an oath or affirmation before the notary public as to such
instrument or document. In this case, Heneraline Brosas is a sister-in-law of
RULING: Yes. As a notary public, Atty. Cabucana should not notarize a Atty Revilla, Jr’s wife; Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa is his wife’s sister-in-law; and
document unless the person who signs it is the same person executing it and Elmer Alvarado is the live-in house boy of the Brosas family. Respondent
personally appearing before him to attest to the truth of its contents. This is to knows the three affiants personally, thus he was justified in no longer requiring
enable him to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging them to show valid identification cards. But respondent is not without fault for
party and to ascertain that the document is the party's free and voluntary act failing to indicate such fact in the “jurat” of the complaint-affidavit. While he has
and deed. a valid defense as to the second charge, it does not exempt him from liability
for violating the disqualification rule.
Hence, the Court finds respondent Atty. Marcelino Cabucana, Jr. guilty of
violating Rule 1.01, Canon l of the CPR and suspends him from the practice
of law for three (3) months, and prohibits him from being commissioned as a Legal Ethics
notary public for two (2) years with a stern warning that a repetition of the same PESTO VS. MILLO, ADM. CASE NO. 9612, MAR. 13, 2013 (9612 bungling
or similar offense shall be dealt with more severely. of client's money)

Facts: Johnny Pesto (Johnny), a Canadian national, charged Atty. Marcelito

M. Millo with conduct unbecoming an officer of the Court, misleading his client,
Bernard Jandoquile, complainant bungling the transfer of title, and incompetence and negligence in the
Atty Quirino Revilla Jr, respondent performance of his duty as a lawyer.
In May 1990, his wife Abella Pesto (Abella) retained the services of professional negligence or misconduct was borne out by the record. This
Atty. Millo to handle the transfer of title over a parcel of land to her name, and approach bespeaks the Court’s consistent view that the Legal Profession is
the adoption of her niece, Arvi Jane Dizon. Johnny and Abella gave to Atty. not only a lofty and noble calling, but also a rare privilege reserved only for the
Millo the amounts of P14,000.00 for the transfer of title and P10,000.00 for the deserving.
adoption case. Atty. Millo thereafter repeatedly gave them false information Atty. Millo made his situation even worse by consistently absenting
and numerous excuses to explain his inability to complete the transfer of title himself from the scheduled hearings the IBP had set for his benefit. His
and made them believe that the capital gains tax for the property had been disregard of the IBP’s orders requiring his attendance in the hearings was not
paid way back in 1991, but they found out upon their return to the country in only irresponsible, but also constituted utter disrespect for the Judiciary and
February 1995 that he had not yet paid the tax. When they confronted him, his fellow lawyers. Such conduct was absolutely unbecoming of a lawyer,
Atty. Millo insisted that he had already paid the same, but he could not produce because lawyers are particularly called upon to obey Court orders and
any receipt for the supposed payment. Atty. Millo then further promised in processes and are expected to stand foremost in complying with orders from
writing to assume the liability for the accrued penalties. the duly constituted authorities
Exasperated by Atty. Millo’s neglect and ineptitude, Johnny brought The recommended penalty is not well taken. We modify the penalty,
this administrative complaint in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). On because Atty. Millo displayed no remorse as to his misconduct, and could not
October 11, 2001, the IBP-CBD, through Commissioner Victoria Gonzalez-De be given a soft treatment. His professional misconduct warranted a longer
los Reyes, deemed the case submitted for resolution. On October 4, 2010, suspension from the practice of law because he had caused material prejudice
Investigating Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez, to whom the case had been to the clients’ interest. He should somehow be taught to be more ethical and
meanwhile transferred, submitted a report and recommendation, whereby he professional in dealing with trusting clients like Johnny and Abella, who were
found Atty. Millo liable for violating Canon 18 of the Code of Professional innocently too willing to repose their utmost trust in his abilities as a lawyer and
Responsibility, and recommended his suspension from the practice of law for in his trustworthiness as a legal professional. He should remember that
six months. misconduct has no place in the heart and mind of a lawyer who has taken the
solemn oath to delay no man for money or malice, and to conduct himself as
Ruling: Every attorney owes fidelity to the causes and concerns of his a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion. Under the
clients. He must be ever mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him circumstances, suspension from the practice of law for six months is the
by the clients. His duty to safeguard the clients’ interests commences from his condign and commensurate penalty for him.
engagement as such, and lasts until his effective release by the clients. In that FAIR AND HONEST MEANS TO ATTAIN THE LAWFUL OBJECTIVES
time, he is expected to take every reasonable step and exercise ordinary care
as his clients’ interests may require.
Without doubt, Atty. Millo had the obligation to serve his clients with A.C. No. 9310 February 27, 2013
competence and diligence. Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional
Facts : The instant case stemmed from a Complaint for specific performance
Responsibility, expressly so demanded of him, to wit:
CANON 18 – A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE filed with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) by the buyers
of the lots in Don Jose Zavalla Subdivision against the subdivision's owner and
Rule 18.03 – A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and
his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. developer- Purence Realty Corporation and Roberto Bassig. The HLURB
ordered the owner and the developer to deliver the Deeds of Sale and the
Atty. Millo claimed that his belated response to the charge was due to the
assurances of Abella that she would be withdrawing the complaint. The Court Transfer Certificates of Title to the winning litigants.
disbelieves him, however, and treats his claim as nothing but a belated attempt
The Decision did not show any directive for the buyers to vacate the
to save the day for himself. He ought to remember that the withdrawal of an
administrative charge for suspension or disbarment based on an attorney’s property. Purence Realty and Roberto Bassig did not appeal the Decision, thus
professional misconduct or negligence will not furnish a ground to dismiss the
making it final and executory. Thereafter, the HLURB issued a Writ of
charge. Suspension or disbarment proceedings that are warranted will still
proceed regardless of the lack or loss of interest on the part of the complainant. Execution. It was at this point that respondent Villarin entered his special
The Court may even entirely ignore the withdrawal of the complaint, and
appearance to represent Purence Realty. Specifically, he filed an Omnibus
continue to investigate in order to finally determine whether the charge of
Motion to set aside the Decision and to quash the Writ of Execution for being Florence Teves Macarrubo vs Atty. Edmundo Macarrubo
null and void on the ground of lack of jurisdiction due to the improper service
of summons on his client. This motion was not acted upon by the HLURB. 424 SCRA 42 – Problem Areas in Legal Ethics – Disbarment Case is Sui
Generis – Immoral and Deceitful Conduct
Respondent sent demand letters to herein complainants.
In all of these letters, he demanded that they immediately vacate the
In 1982, Edmundo Macarrubo married Helen Esparza. In 1986, he began his
property and surrender it to Purence Realty within five days from receipt.
career as a lawyer. However in 1991, Macarrubo married Florence Teves while
Otherwise, he would file the necessary action against them. True enough, his marriage with Esparza was subsisting. In June 2000, Teves filed a
complaint for disbarment against Macarrubo. Teves alleged that Macarrubo
Purence Realty, as represented by respondent, filed a Complaint for forcible
made her believe that his marriage with Esparza was void; that Macarubbo
entry before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) against Trinidad, Lander, lived with her as her husband but later on left her and then Macarrubo
subsequently married another woman named Josephine Constantino whom
Casubuan and Mendoza.
he subsequently abandoned. Teves presented as evidence documents
Aggrieved, the four complainants filed an administrative case against proving Macarubbo’s marriages as well as photos of him and his wife as a
family. Macarrubo was initially declared in default for failing to appear multiple
respondent. A month after, Alojado, Villamin and Tolentino filed a disbarment
times but was subsequently given the opportunity to defend himself. In his
case against respondent. As found by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines defense, Macarrubo avers that he was only coerced to marry Teves in order
to save her face because at that time she was already pregnant; that Teves
(IBP) and affirmed by its Board of Governors, complainants asserted in their
sent some strangers to pick Macarrubo up wherever he goes. He presented a
respective verified Complaints that the demand letters sent by Villarin had judicial declaration of the nullity of his marriage with Teves; that the marriage
was void for being a sham. He also averred that the ruling in the said case
been issued with malice and intent to harass them. They insisted that the
serves as res judicata on the disbarment case because Teves failed to appear
letters also contravened the HLURB Decision ordering his client to permit the in the annulment case. He also avers that his third marriage, with Constantino,
is currently being annulled due to similar circumstances.
buyers to pay the balance of the purchase price of the subdivision lots.
The Investigating Commissioner, perhaps finding that Macarrubo was never
Issue: Whether or not the respondent should be administratively sanctioned
remiss in supporting Teves and the two kids he fathered with her and that his
for sending the demand letters? marriage with her is void, recommended a penalty of three months suspension
from the practice of law for grave misconduct.
Ruling: The respondent’s action is clearly proscribed by Rule 19.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility which states that:
ISSUE: Whether or not a second marriage entered into by a lawyer while his
Rule 19.01 - A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain
first one is subsisting shall be a ground for disciplinary action if such second
the lawful objectives of his client and shall not present, participate in marriage is subsequently declared void.
presenting or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain
an improper advantage in any case or proceeding. HELD: Yes. Macarubbo is disbarred. Even though his second marriage is
declared void, it is still undeniable that he contracted it while his first one is
The rule requires that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to
subsisting. Further, since the second marriage is void, he is then liable for
attain lawful objectives. Lawyers must not present and offer in evidence any concubinage for living with another woman while his first marriage is
subsisting. The Supreme Court cannot give credit to his defense that both
document that they know is false like in the case at bar.
second and third marriages are shot gun marriages. He is a lawyer and is
unlikely to be coerced. One incident of a “shotgun marriage” is believable, but
two such in succession would tax one’s credulity. Macarrubo’s actions show a
blatant disregard to the institution of marriage and family. His acts import moral Omana then prepared a document entitled “Kasunduan Ng
turpitude and is a public assault upon the basic social institution of marriage. Paghihiwalay” (contract) which reads:
As officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral KASUNDUAN NG PAGHIHIWALAY
character but must also be perceived to be of good moral character and must
lead a life in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community.
Filipino, may sapat na gulang, dating legal na mag-asawa,
The moral delinquency that affects the fitness of a member of the bar to
kasalukuyang naninirahan at may pahatirang sulat sa Brgy.
continue as such, including that which makes a mockery of the inviolable social
institution of marriage, outrages the generally accepted moral standards of the Buensoceso, Gumaca, Quezon, at COMELEC, Intramuros,
community. Macarrubo violated the following provisions of the Code of Manila ayon sa pagkakasunod-sunod, matapos makapanumpa
Professional Responsibility: ng naaayon sa batas ay nagpapatunay ng nagkasundo ng mga
Rule 1.01 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct. Na nais na naming maghiwalay at magkanya-kanya ng
aming mga buhay ng walang pakialaman, kung kaya”t
CANON 7 – A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the bawat isa sa amin ay maaari ng humanap ng
legal profession, and support the activities of the Integrated Bar. makakasama sa buhay;
Rule 7.03 – A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his Na ang aming mga anak na sina Ariel John Espinosa,
fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in 14 na taong gulang; Aiza Espinosa, 11 taong gulang at
a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. Aldrin Espinosa, 10 taong gulang ay namili na kung
Anent the issue of res judicata, it has been long ruled that disbarment cases kanino sasama sa aming dalawa. Si Ariel John at Aiza
are sui generis cases. A disbarment case is neither purely civil nor purely Espinosa ay sasama sa kanilang ama, Rodolfo
criminal but is rather an investigation by the Court into the conduct of its Espinosa, at ang bunso, Aldrin Espinosa at sasama
officers. Thus, if the acquittal of a lawyer in a criminal action is not naman sa ina na si Elena;
determinative of an administrative case against him, or if an affidavit of Na dahil sina Ariel John at Aiza ay nagsisipag-aral sa
withdrawal of a disbarment case does not affect its course. In this case, the kasalukuyan sila ay pansamantalang mananatili sa
annulment of Macarrubo’s second marriage will not work to remove such kanilang ina, habang tinatapos ang kanilang pag-aaral.
second marriage as a ground for disbarment.
Sa pasukan sila ay maaari ng isama ng ama, sa lugar
kung saan siya ay naninirahan;
Na ang mga bata ay maaaring dalawin ng sino man sa
aming dalawa tuwing may pagkakataon;
Espinosa and Glindo v. Atty. Omana (1961) (illegally notarizing) Na magbibigay ng buwanang gastusin o suporta ang
ama kay Aldrin at ang kakulangan sa mga
pangangailangan nito ay pupunan ng ina;
In preparing and notarizing a void document, a lawyer violates Na lahat ng mga kasangkapan sa bahay tulad ng T.V.,
Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
gas stove, mga kagamitan sa kusina ay aking (Rodolfo)
provides that “[a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
ipinagkakaloob kay Elena at hindi na ako interesado
immoral or deceitful conduct.”
Na lahat ng maaaring maipundar ng sino man sa amin
Spouses Espinosa and Marantal charged Atty. Omana with violation dalawa sa mga panahong darating ay aming mga sari-
of her oath as a lawyer, malpractice, and gross misconduct in office. sariling pag-aari na at hindi na pinagsamahan o
On Nov. 1997, Espinosa and his wife sought Omana”s legal advice conjugal.
on whether they could legally live separately and dissolve their marriage.
BILANG PATUNAY ng lahat ng ito, nilagdaan namin ito ngayong This Court has ruled that the extrajudicial dissolution of the conjugal
ika-17 ng Nobyembre, 1997, dito sa Gumaca, Quezon. partnership without judicial approval is void. The Court has also ruled
The spouses, fully convinced of the validity of the contract started that a notary public should not facilitate the disintegration of a
implementing its terms and conditions. However, Marantal eventually marriage and the family by encouraging the separation of the
spouses and extrajudicially dissolving the conjugal partnership,
took custody of all their children and took possession of most of the
which is exactly what Omaña did in this case.
property they acquired during their union.
We cannot accept Omaña”s allegation that it was her part-time office
Espinosa sought the advice of his friend, co-complainant Glindo, a
staff who notarized the contract. We agree with the IBP-CBD that
law graduate, who informed him that the contract executed by Omana was
Omaña herself notarized the contract. Even if it were true that it was
not valid. They hired a lawyer to file a complaint against Omana before the
her part-time staff who notarized the contract, it only showed Omaña”s
IBP. Omana alleged that her signature was a forgery and that one of her office
negligence in doing her notarial duties. We reiterate that a notary
staff did it. She even presented a letter of apology from her staff, Arlene,
public is personally responsible for the entries in his notarial register
acknowledging that she notarized the document without Omana”s knowledge.
and he could not relieve himself of this responsibility by passing the
blame on his secretaries or any member of her staff.
Espinosa later submitted a “Karagdagang Salaysay” stating that
Omaña arrived at his residence together with a girl whom he later recognized We likewise agree with the IBP-CBD that in preparing and notarizing
as the person who notarized the contract. He further stated that Omaña was a void document, Omaña violated Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code
not in her office when the contract was notarized. of Professional Responsibility which provides that “[a] lawyer
shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
The Decision of the Commission on Bar Discipline: Espinosa”s conduct.” Omaña knew fully well that the “Kasunduan Ng
desistance did not put an end to the proceedings. The IBP-CBD found that Paghihiwalay” has no legal effect and is against public policy.
Omaña violated Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Therefore, Omaña may be suspended from office as an attorney for
Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, breach of the ethics of the legal profession as embodied in the Code
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. The IBP-CBD stated that Omaña of Professional Responsibility.
had failed to exercise due diligence in the performance of her function as a
notary public and to comply with the requirements of the law. The IBP-CBD Court suspended Atty. Omana from the practice of law for 1 year and
noted the inconsistencies in the defense of Omaña who first claimed that revoked her notarial commission, if still existing, and suspend her as
it was her part-time staff who notarized the contract but then later claimed that a notary public for 2 years.
it was her former maid who notarized it.
Respondent truly signed the questioned document, yet she still
Marcos v. Judge Fernando Vil. Pamintuan
disclaimed its authorship, thereby revealing much more her propensity to lie
and make deceit, which she is deserving [of] disciplinary sanction or A.M. RTJ-07-2062, Jan 18, 2011
The IBP-CBD recommended that Omaña be suspended for one year Lessons Applicable: Ignorance of the Law
from the practice of law and for two years as a notary public. Omana filed for
a motion for reconsideration which was denied.
· Judge Reyes in an order on May 30, 1996 dismissed Civil Case No. 3383-
W/N Omaña violated the Canon of Professional Responsibility in the
R due to forum shopping and ordered that that the Buddha statuette in the
notarization of Marantal and Espinosa”s “Kasunduan Ng
Paghihiwalay.” custody of this Court be immediately released to the children of the late
Held/Ratio: Rogelio Roxas in trust for the estate of the late Rogelio Roxas
YES · RTC: Denied the separate motions for reconsideration by the parties
· Judge Pamintuan in an order dated May 9, 2006 set the case for hearing on · Judge Pamintuan was placed under preventive suspension pending
June 29, 2006 purportedly to formally and finally release the Golden Buddha resolution of the administrative case to stop him from committing further
to its rightful owner. damage to the judiciary.
o Marcos was one of the subpoenaed parties, being a person with interest in the · Judge Pamintuan moved for reconsideration and eventually filed a Motion
case for Early Resolution of Motion for Reconsideration and to Submit the Case for
o Buddha Statuette or Buddha replica is awarded to the estate of Rogelio Decision.
Roxas. However, the Buddha Statuette or Buddha replica shall be under · Judge Pamintuan then sent a letter requesting for his backpay and benefits
custodia legis until the final settlement of the estate of the late Rogelio Roxas, covering the period of his preventive suspension - denied for being premature
or upon the appointment of his estate’s administrator and for lack of merit
o Also ruled that the Golden Buddha in its custody is a fake one
· November 15, 2006: Marcos filed a complaint-affidavit charging Judge ISSUE: W/N Judge Pamintuan is guilty of Gross Ignorance of the Law
Pamintuan with Gross Ignorance of the Law for reversing motu proprio the final
and executory order of then Acting Presiding Judge Antonio Reyes in Civil HELD: Judge Fernando Vil Pamintuan of the RTC of Baguio City, Branch 3,
Case No. 3383-R, entitled “Albert D. Umali, in his capacity as the exclusive is DISMISSED from the service
administrator and as President of the Treasure Hunters Association of the · Judge Pamintuan should have realized that the trial court did not rule on that
Philippines v. Jose D. Roxas, et al. point that the Golden Buddha is fake in its May 30, 1996 Order (even in its
o Pamintuan Commented that Marcos should have filed a motion for September 2, 1996 Order)
reconsideration instead of filing an administrative complaint. · Section 6, Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct:
o Marcos, in her Reply-Affidavit, cited Section 1 of Rule 37 which provides that o SECTION 6. Judges, like any other citizen, are entitled to freedom of
only the aggrieved party may file a motion for reconsideration within the period expression, belief, association and assembly, but in exercising such rights,
for taking an appeal they shall always conduct themselves in such manner as to preserve the
· Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommended that Judge dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality and independence of the
Pamintuan be dismissed from the service with the additional penalty of judiciary.
forfeiture of all his retirement benefits and disqualification from re-employment · The doctrine of immutability and inalterability of a final judgment has a two-
in the government service, including government owned or controlled fold purpose, to wit:
corporations, for Gross Ignorance of the Law and for violation of Canon 4 of 1. to avoid delay in the administration of justice and thus,
the Code of Judicial Conduct. procedurally, to make orderly the discharge of judicial business
o A final judgment may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the 2. to put an end to judicial controversies, at the risk of occasional
modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact or law. Should errors, which is precisely why courts exist.
judgment of lower courts – which may normally be subject to review by higher · Notably, this is NOT Judge Pamintuan’s first and sole administrative
tribunals – become final and executory before, or without exhaustion of all case. Judge Pamintuan was charged with Gross Ignorance of the Law, Gross
recourse of appeal, they too become inviolable, impervious to modification. Violation of the Constitutional Rights of the Accused, Arrogance and Violation
of the Canons of Judicial Ethics and was suspended for 1 year. Having been
Rule 15.07 - A lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with the laws
previously warned and punished for various infractions, Judge Pamintuan now and the principles of fairness.
deserves the ultimate administrative penalty − dismissal from service
Willem Kupers vs. Atty. Johnson B. Hontanosas REPOSED IN HIM.
A. C. No. 5704 Aside from constituting violation of the lawyer's oath, the acts of respondents
May 8, 2009 also amount to gross misconduct under Section 27, Rule 138 of Rules Court.
The supreme penalty of disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of
FACTS: misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as
an officer of the court.
Complainant Kupers filed an administative case against respondent Atty.
Hontanosas for allegedly preparing and notarizing contracts that are both WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Johnson B. Hontanosas, is found GUILTY
invalid and illegal for being violative of the limitations on aliens leasing private of violating the lawyer’s oath and gross misconduct. He is SUSPENDED from
lands under P. D. 471. the practice of law for six (6) months with a WARNING that a repetition of the
same or similar act will be dealt with more severely.
He knowingly indicated that the contract shall be enforced for 49 years,
instead of 25 years, and renewable for another 49 years. He failed to inform
his clients of the limitations of the aforesaid law and by his acts, deliberately Dolores C. Belleza, Complainant, v. Atty. Alan S. Macasa, Respondent
prepared a document contrary to law. Adm. Case No. 7815 | 23 July 2009

ISSUE: On 10 November 2004, complainant went to see respondent on referral of their
Whether or not Atty. Hontanosas violated the Lawyer's Oath and several mutual friend, Joe Chua. Complainant wanted to avail of respondent’s legal
canons of the Code of Professional Responsibilty in preaparing and services in connection with the case of her son, Francis John Belleza, who
notarizing the illegal lease contacts. was arrested by policemen of Bacolod City earlier that day for alleged violation
of Republic Act (RA) 9165. Respondent agreed to handle the case for
RULINGS: P30,000.

In preparing and notarizing the illegal lease contracts, respondent violated The following day, complainant made a partial payment of P15,000 to
the Attorney’s Oath and several canons of the Code of Professional respondent thru their mutual friend Chua. On 17 November 2004, she gave
Responsibility. One of the foremost sworn duties of an attorney-at-law is to him an additional P10,000. She paid the P5,000 balance on 18 November
“obey the laws of the Philippines." 2004. Both payments were also made thru Chua. On all three occasions,
respondent did not issue any receipt.
This duty is enshrined in the Attorney’s Oath and in Canon 1, which provides
that “(a) lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and On 21 November 2004, respondent received P18,000 from complainant for
promote respect for law and legal processes.” the purpose of posting a bond to secure the provisional liberty of her
(complainant’s) son. Again, respondent did not issue any receipt. When
The other canons of professional responsibilty which respondent complainant went to the court the next day, she found out that respondent did
transgressed are the ff: not remit the amount to the court.

CANON 15 -- A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND Complainant demanded the return of the P18,000 from respondent on several
LOYALTY IN ALL HIS DEALINGS AND TRANSACTIONS WITH HIS occasions but respondent ignored her. Moreover, respondent failed to act on
CLIENTS. the case of complainant’s son and complainant was forced to avail of the
services of the Public Attorney’s Office for her son’s defense.
A lawyer who accepts professional employment from a client undertakes to
Thereafter, complainant filed a verified complaint for disbarment against serve his client with competence and diligence. He must conscientiously
respondent in the Negros Occidental chapter of the Integrated Bar of the perform his duty arising from such relationship. He must bear in mind that by
Philippines (IBP). In an order dated 13 July 2005, the Commission on Bar accepting a retainer, he impliedly makes the following representations: that he
Discipline (CBD) required respondent to submit his answer within 15 days from possesses the requisite degree of learning, skill and ability other lawyers
receipt thereof. Respondent, in an urgent motion for extension of time to file similarly situated possess; that he will exert his best judgment in the
an answer dated 10 August 2005, simply brushed aside the complaint for being prosecution or defense of the litigation entrusted to him; that he will exercise
"baseless, groundless and malicious" without, however, offering any reasonable care and diligence in the use of his skill and in the application of
explanation. He also prayed that he be given until 4 September 2005 to submit his knowledge to his client’s cause; and that he will take all steps necessary to
his answer. adequately safeguard his client’s interest.

Respondent subsequently filed urgent motions for second and third extensions A lawyer’s negligence in the discharge of his obligations arising from the
of time praying to be given until 4 November 2005 to submit his answer. He relationship of counsel and client may cause delay in the administration of
never did. justice and prejudice the rights of a litigant, particularly his client. Thus, from
the perspective of the ethics of the legal profession, a lawyer’s lethargy in
Issue: carrying out his duties to his client is both unprofessional and unethical.
Was the Respondent in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility
due to his negligence of the case of the respondent’s son? If his client’s case is already pending in court, a lawyer must actively represent
his client by promptly filing the necessary pleading or motion and assiduously
Held: attending the scheduled hearings. This is specially significant for a lawyer who
For grossly neglecting the cause of his client, Atty. Macasa is guilty. represents an accused in a criminal case.
Respondent undertook to defend the criminal case against complainant’s son.
Such undertaking imposed upon him the following duties: The accused is guaranteed the right to counsel under the Constitution.
However, this right can only be meaningful if the accused is accorded ample
CANON 17 – A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS CLIENT legal assistance by his lawyer:
AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE The right to counsel proceeds from the fundamental principle of due process
REPOSED IN HIM. which basically means that a person must be heard before being condemned.
The due process requirement is a part of a person's basic rights; it is not a
CANON 18 – A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE mere formality that may be dispensed with or performed perfunctorily.
xxxxxxxxx The right to counsel must be more than just the presence of a lawyer in the
Rule 18.03 – A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and courtroom or the mere propounding of standard questions and objections. The
his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. right to counsel means that the accused is amply accorded legal assistance
xxxxxxxxx extended by a counsel who commits himself to the cause for the defense and
acts accordingly. The right assumes an active involvement by the lawyer in the
CANON 19 – A LAWYER SHALL REPRESENT HIS CLIENT WITH ZEAL proceedings, particularly at the trial of the case, his bearing constantly in mind
WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW. of the basic rights of the accused, his being well-versed on the case, and his
knowing the fundamental procedures, essential laws and existing
A lawyer who accepts the cause of a client commits to devote himself jurisprudence.
(particularly his time, knowledge, skills and effort) to such cause. He must be
ever mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him, constantly striving to The right of an accused to counsel is beyond question a fundamental right.
be worthy thereof. Accordingly, he owes full devotion to the interest of his Without counsel, the right to a fair trial itself would be of little consequence, for
client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his client’s rights and the it is through counsel that the accused secures his other rights. In other words,
exertion of his utmost learning, skill and ability to ensure that nothing shall be the right to counsel is the right to effective assistance of counsel.
taken or withheld from his client, save by the rules of law legally applied.
The right of an accused to counsel finds substance in the performance by the Torben Overgaard filed a disbarment case against Atty. Valdez for despite the
lawyer of his sworn duty of fidelity to his client. Tersely put, it means an receipt of the full amount of legal fees ofP900,000.00 as stipulated in a
effective, efficient and truly decisive legal assistance, not a simply perfunctory Retainer Agreement, Valdez refused to perform any of his obligations under
representation. their and, ignored the Overgaard’s request for report of the status of the cases
entrusted, and rejected the complainants demands for the return of the money
In this case, after accepting the criminal case against complainant’s son and paid to him.
receiving his attorney’s fees, respondent did nothing that could be considered For his part, Atty. Valdez failed to neither answer the complaint against him
as effective and efficient legal assistance. For all intents and purposes, nor attend the hearing even with due notice.
respondent abandoned the cause of his client. Indeed, on account of On September 30, 2008 the Court found Valdez to be guilty of violations of the
respondent’s continued inaction, complainant was compelled to seek the canons of Code of Professional Responsibility his name was ordered to be
services of the Public Attorney’s Office. Respondent’s lackadaisical attitude stricken the roll of attorneys.
towards the case of complainant’s son was reprehensible. Not only did it October 21, 2008 filed a Motion for Reconsideration. He argued that he have
prejudice complainant’s son, it also deprived him of his constitutional right to no knowledge of the disbarment case filed against him. In September 2006 he
counsel. Furthermore, in failing to use the amount entrusted to him for posting abandoned his Makati office and Cavite residence and moved his office in
a bond to secure the provisional liberty of his client, respondent unduly Bukidnon where he also resided due to a threat on his person, and he was not
impeded the latter’s constitutional right to bail. able to receive the demands of Overgaard or orders and notices pertaining to
the disbarment case.
The Supreme Court found the Respondent GUILTY not only of dishonesty but He also argued that he gave the Overgaard legal advice, and that he searched
also of professional misconduct for prejudicing Francis John Belleza’s (the for and interviewed witnesses in relation to the cases he was handling for the
Complainant’s son) right to counsel and to bail under Sections 13 and 14(2), latter. As for the 900, 000.00 pesos, he claimed that he gave 300,000.00 to
Article III of the Constitution, and for two intelligence operatives to locate witnesses. He offered to return
violating Canons 1, 7, 17, 18 and 19 and Rules 12.03, 16.01, 16.02, 16.03 and 250,000.00 but Overgaard’s partner refused to accept. But he was not able to
18.03 of present receipt made by the intelligence operatives nor other certification or
the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is therefore DISBARRED from the receipts on how the money was spent to provide sufficient accounting.
practice Held:
of law effective immediately. In abruptly abandoning his law office without advising his client and without
making sure that the cases he was handling for his client were properly
Respondent is hereby ORDERED to return to complainant Dolores C. Belleza attended to during his absence, and without making arrangements whereby
the he would receive important mail, the Valdez is clearly guilty of gross
amounts of P30,000 and P18,000 with interest at 12% per annum from the negligence. A lawyer cannot simply disappear and abandon his clients and
date of then rely on the convenient excuse that there were threats to his safety. Even
promulgation of this decision until full payment. Respondent is further assuming that there were serious threats to his person, this did not give him
DIRECTED to the permission to desert his client and leave the cases entrusted to his care
submit to the Court proof of payment of the amount within ten days from hanging. He should have at least exercised reasonable and ordinary care and
payment. diligence by taking steps to ensure that the cases he was handling were
Failure to do so will subject him to criminal prosecution. attended to and that his clients interest was safeguarded. If it was not possible
for him to handle the cases entrusted to his care, he should have informed the
complainant of his predicament and asked that he be allowed to withdraw from
the case to enable the client to engage the services of another counsel who
Torben Overgaard vs Godwin Valdez could properly present him.
A.C. no. 7902 March 31, 2009
The Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED. This Courts en banc decision in
Facts: Administrative Case No. 7902 dated September 30, 2008, entitled Torben B.
Overgaard engaged the services of Atty. Valdez as his legal counsel in two Overgaard v. Atty. Godwin R. Valdez, is AFFIRMED
cases filed by him and two cases filed against him.
De Leon vs. Atty. Castelo
AC No. 8620 (January 12, 2011)
MECARAL V. VELASQUEZ (April 23, 2010, A.C. No. 8392 [ Formerly CBD
Case No. 08-2175], Per Curiam,June 29, 2010) FACTS:

Facts: On April 29, 2010, De Leon initiated an administrative case against Atty.
Castelo for alleged dishonesty and falsification committed in the pleadings he
Complainant was hired as a secretary by the atty. Velasquez who later became filed in behalf of the defendants in the civil action (Civil Case No. 4674MN) in
hiscommon-law wife.Mecaral was later brought to Upper San Agustin in which De Leon intervened. He alleged that various pleadings were filed for
Caibiran,Biliran where he left her with a religiousgroup known as the Faith defendants Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu despite said spouses being
HealersAssociation of the Philippines. Later, Mecaral returned home andupon already deceased at the time of filing. As such, complainant submits that
knowing,Velasquez brought her back to San Agustin where, on his instruction, respondent violated his Lawyer’s Oath and The Code of Professional
hisfollowerstortured, brainwashed and injected her with drugs. Her mother, Responsibility.
Delia Tambis Vda. De Mecaral (Delia),having received information that she
was weak,pale and walking barefoot along the i the mountainousarea of Castelo, in his comments, explained that the persons who had engaged
Caibiran caused therescue operation of Mecaral. Thus, Mecaral filed a him as attorney to represent the Lim family were William and Leonardo Lim,
disbarment complaintagainstrespondent and charged the latter with bigamy the children of Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu; that they were already
for contracting a second marriage toLeny H.Azur on August 2, 1996, despite the actively managing the family business, and now co-owned the properties by
subsistence of his marriage to his firstwife, Ma. Shirley G. Yunzal. virtue of the deed of absolute sale their parents had executed in their favor;
and that they had honestly assumed that their parents had already caused the
Issue: whether respondent is guilty of grossly immoral and acts which transfer of the TCTs to their names. Likewise, a Motion for Substitution of
constitutegross misconduct Defendants was filed. Thus, whether Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu were
still living or already deceased as of the filing of the pleadings became
Held: immaterial. Also, he assured that he had no intention to commit either a
falsehood or a falsification, for he in fact submitted the death certificates of the
WHEREFORE, respondent, Atty. Danilo S. Velasquez, is DISBARRED, and Spouses in order to apprise the trial court of that fact.
hisname ORDEREDSTRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys. This Decision is
immediatelyexecutory and ordered to be part of the records of respondent in ISSUE:
the Office of theBar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.Ruling:
Investigating Commissioner of the CBD found that [respondents] acts W/N respondent violated the letter and spirit of the Lawyer’s Oath and
of converting his secretaryinto a mistress; contracting two marriages with the Code of Professional Responsibility in making the averments in the
Shirley andLeny, are grossly immoral which no civilizedsociety in the world can pleadings of the defendants
countenance. The subsequent detention and torture of the complainant is
grossmisconduct[which] only a beast may be able to do. Certainly, the HELD:
respondent had violatedCanon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The
practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the state upon No. A plain reading of the pleadings indicates that the respondent did
thosewho show that theypossess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required bylaw not misrepresent that Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu were still living. On
for the conferment of such privilege.When a lawyers moral character isassailed, the contrary, he directly stated in his answer and clarification that the Spouses
such that his right to continue practicing his cherishedprofession isimperiled, it behooves were already deceased. He was acting in the interest of the actual owners of
him to meet the charges squarely and present evidence, tothesatisfaction of the properties when he filed the answer with counterclaim and cross-claim. As
the investigating body and this Court, that he is morally fit to keephis name in such, his pleadings were privileged and would not occasion any action against
the Roll of Attorneys.Respondent has not discharged the burden. He never attended the him as an attorney. Also, since the Spouses were no longer the actual owners
hearings beforethe IBP to rebut thecharges brought against him, suggesting that they are of the affected properties, the fact that they are already deceased is
true.Despite his letter dated March 28, 2008manifesting that he would come up immaterial.
with hisdefense in a verified pleading,he never did
De Leon could not disclaim knowledge that the Spouses were no Resolution adopting and approving the Report and Recommendation of the
longer living. As voluntary intervenor, he was charged with notice of all the Investigating Commissioner.
other persons interested in the litigation. He also had an actual awareness of
such other persons, as his own complaint in intervention. Thus, he could not
validly insist that the respondent committed any dishonesty or falsification in ISSUE:
relation to him or to any other party.
Whether or not Atty. Melchor A. Battung is guilty of violating Rule
Court also emphasized that good faith must always motivate any 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for insulting a
complaint against a Member of the Bar. A Bar that is insulated from intimidation judge in his courtroom
and harassment is encouraged to be courageous and fearless, which can then
best contribute to the efficient delivery and proper administration of justice.
Hence, the complaint for disbarment or suspension filed against Atty.
Eduardo G. Castelo is dismissed for utter lack of merit. Petition GRANTED.

The Supreme Court agrees with the finding of the IBP that the
JUDGE RENE B. BACULI v. ATTY. MELCHOR A. BATTUNG respondent did violate Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional
A.C. 8920, 28 September 2011, SECOND DIVISION (Brion, J.) Responsibility. By shouting at the petitioner, Atty. Battung clearly disrespected
the former in the presence of litigants and their counsels and court personnel.
A lawyer who insulted a judge inside a courtroom completely Furthermore, the respondent even threatened the judge that he will file a case
disregards the latter’s role, stature and position in our justice system. of gross ignorance of the law against the latter. The respondent’s actions are
found not only against the person, the position and the stature of petitioner but
On July 24, 2008, during a hearing on the motion for reconsideration also against the court whose proceedings were disrupted.
of a case, respondent Atty. Mechor A. Battung acted disrespectfully by
shouting while arguing his motion. Petitioner, Judge Rene Baculi, had advised As an officer of the court, it is the duty of Atty. Battung to uphold the
respondent to tone down his voice but the respondent consistently kept dignity and authority of the courts. A lawyer who insulted a judge inside a
shouting, even when he was warned that he would be cited for direct contempt. courtroom completely disregard’s the latter’s role, stature and position in our
After eventually being cited for direct contempt and was imposed a fine of justice system. Respects for the courts guarantee the stability of the judicial
P100.00, the respondent left. However, while other cases were being heard, institution and without such, the courts would be resting on very shaky
respondent re-entered the court and shouted “Judge, I will file gross ignorance foundations and will thus, lose the confidence from the people. By threatening
against you! I am not afraid of you!” He was escorted out of the courtroom and to a file a case against the judge, Atty. Battung seems to erode public
was again cited for direct contempt for the second time. Respondent also confidence in the petitioner’s competence. However, incompetence is a matter
uttered the same lines when he saw petitioner at the hall of the courthouse that, even if true, should be handled with sensitivity in the manner that is
afterwards and even challenged the latter to a fight. He was then escorted out provided under the Rules of Court, and not how the respondent handled the
of the building. situation. The respondent’s actions, being scandalous and offensive to the
integrity of the judicial system, clearly showed a violation of the Rule 11.03,
Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Based on the tape of the incident and the transcript of stenographic
notes, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Investigative Commissioner Jose
de la Rama, Jr. found that the respondent was the one who shouted first at the
complainant, despite the latter’s claim that he was provoked by the petitioner.
The Commissioner further stated that the respondent failed to observe Rule
11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides
that a lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language
or behaviour before the courts. The IBP Board of Governors passed a