TAPAY vs. ATTY. BANCOLO AND ATTY. JARDER A.C. No. 9604 (March 20, 201! "ACT#$
Rodrigo Tapay and Anthony Rustia, both employees of the Sugar Regulatory Administration received an Order from the Office of the OmbudsmanVisayas requiring them to file a counter-affidavit to a complaint for usurpation of authority, falsification of public document, and graft and corrupt practices filed against them by Nehimias ivinagracia, !r", a co-employee" The #omplaint $as allegedly signed on behalf of ivinagracia by Atty" #harlie %" &ancolo" 'hen Atty" &ancolo and Rustia accidentally chanced upon each other, the latter informed Atty" &ancolo of the case filed against them" Atty" &ancolo denied that he represented ivinagracia since he had yet to meet ivinagracia and declared that the signature in the #omplaint $as not his" Thus, Atty" &ancolo signed an affidavit denying the said signature" This affidavit $as used by Tapay and Rustia in filing a counter-affidavit accusing ivinagracia of falsifying the signature of Atty" &ancolo" ivinagracia, denying the same, presented as evidence an affidavit by Richard A" #ordero, the legal assistant of Atty" &ancolo, that the !arder &ancolo %a$ Office accepted ivinagracia(s case and that the #omplaint filed $ith the Office of the Ombudsman $as signed by the office secretary per Atty" &ancolo(s instructions" The case $as then dismissed" Tapay and Rustia then later filed $ith the )ntegrated &ar of the *hilippines a complaint to disbar Atty" &ancolo and Atty" !arder, Atty" &ancolo(s la$ partner" The complainants alleged that not only $ere respondents engaging in unprofessional and unethical practices, they $ere also involved in falsification of documents used to harass and persecute innocent people" )n their Ans$er, respondents admitted that due to some minor lapses, Atty" &ancolo permitted that the pleadings be signed in his name by the secretary of the la$ office" After investigation, Atty" %olita A" +uisumbing, the )nvestigating #ommissioner of the #ommission on &ar iscipline of the )&*, submitted her Report" Atty" +uisumbing found that Atty" &ancolo violated Rule ". of #anon of the #ode of *rofessional Responsibility $hile Atty" !arder violated Rule .". of #anon .of the same #ode, and recommended that Atty" &ancolo be suspended for t$o years from the practice of la$ and Atty" !arder be admonished for his failure to e/ercise certain responsibilities in their la$ firm"
'hether or not Atty" &ancolo is guilty of violat ing #anon of the #ode of *rofessional Responsibility"
0es, Atty" &ancolo admitted that the #omplaint he filed for a former client before the Office of the Ombudsman $as signed in his name by a secretary of his la$ office" 1e li2e$ise categorically stated that because of some minor lapses, the communications and pleadings filed against Tapay and Rustia $ere signed by his secretary, albeit $ith his tolerance " #learly, he violated Rule ". of #anon of the #ode of *rofessional Responsibility 3#*R4, $hich provides5
#ANON " A %A'06R S1A%% NOT, )R6#T%0OR )N)R6#T%0, ASS)ST )NT16 7NA7T1OR)86 *RA#T)#6 O9 %A'" Rule "."A la$yer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any tas2 $hich by la$ may only be performed by a member of the &ar in good standing" *ublic policy requires that the practice of la$ be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character" The permissive right conferred on the la$yer is an individual and limited privilege sub:ect to $ithdra$al if he fails to maintain proper standards of moral and professional conduct" The purpose is to protect the public, the court, the client, and the bar from the incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice la$ and not sub:ect to the disciplinary control of the #ourt" Thus, the la$ ma2es it misbehavior on his part, sub:ect to disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the unauthori;ed practice of la$" )n Republic v" 4 to the best of his 2no$ledge, information and belief there is good ground to support it= and 3?4 it is not interposed for delay" Thus, by affi/ing one(s signature to a pleading, it is counsel alone $ho has the responsibility to certify to these matters and give legal effect to the document" This violation is an act of falsehood $hich is a ground for disciplinary action" )n sum, The #ourt found that the suspension of Atty" &ancolo from the practice of la$ for one year is $arranted and the dismissal of the case against Atty" !arder is proper
Pr)c*ss C. Ara+o) L. B. - %
LEE vs. ATTY. #%MANDO A.C. No. 9/ J)* 10, 201 "ACT#$
Atty" Simando $as the retained counsel of complainant r" %ee" Atty" Simando $ent to see r" %ee and as2ed if the latter could help a certain 9elicito @" @e:orado [email protected]
:orado4 for his needed funds" @e:orado $as Atty"Simando(s client in a case claiming re$ards against the &ureau of #ustoms" r" %ee initially refused to lend money but Atty" Simando persisted and assured her that @e:orado $ill pay his obligation" 1e even offered to be the co-ma2er of @e:orado and assured her that @e:orados obligation $ill be paid $hen due" ue to Atty" Simandos persistence, his daily calls and frequent visits to convince r" %ee, the latter gave into her la$yers demands, and finally agreed to give @e:orado si;eable amounts of money" 'hen the said obligation became due, despite r" %ees repeated demands, @e:orado failed and refused to comply $ith his obligation" Since Atty" Simando $as still her la$yer then, r" %ee instructed him to initiate legal against @e:orado" Atty" $ithout Simando said he getlegal in touch $ith @e:orado andaction as2 him to pay his obligation having to $ould resort to action" 1o$ever, even after several months, @e:orado still failed to pay r" %ee, so she again as2ed Atty" Simando $hy no payment has been made yet" r" %ee then reminded Atty" Simando that he $as supposed to be the co-ma2er of the obligation of @e:orado, to $hich he replied5 Bi 2asuhan din ninyo a2oCBespite complainants repeated requests, respondent ignored her and failed to bring legal actions against @e:orado" Thus, complainant $as forced to terminate her contract $ith Atty" Simando and demand payment from him as $ell" On @arch .D, >., the )&*-#& found Atty" Simando guilty violating the #ode of *rofessional Responsibility" )t recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of la$ for si/ 3E4 months" On ecember >, >., the )&* &oard of Fovernors adopted and approved the Report and Recommendation of the )&*-#& to suspend Atty" Simando from the practice of la$ for a period of si/ 3E4 months" Respondent moved for reconsideration" The Resolution dated ecember >, >. $as reversed and the case against respondent $as dismissed"
'hether or not Respondent is guilty of representing conflicting interest" 'ELD$
0es, it is improper for respondent to appear as counsel for one party 3complainant as creditor4 against the adverse party [email protected]
:orado as debtor4 $ho is also his client, since a la$yer is prohibited from representing conflicting interests" 1e may not, $ithout being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person $hose interest conflict $ith that of his present or former client" Respondents assertion that there is no conflict of interest because complainant and respondent are his clients in unrelated cases fails to convince" 1is representation of opposing clients in both cases, though unrelated, obviously constitutes conflict of interest or, at the least, invites suspicion of double-dealing" @oreover, $ith the sub:ect loan agreement entered into by the complainant and @e:orado, $ho are both his
clients, readily sho$s an apparent conflict of interest, more so $hen he signed as coma2er" 1ence, the #ourt reversed the ruling of the )&* &oard of Fovernors and adopt the findings and recommendation of the )&* in Resolution suspending respondent Atty" Simando for si/ 3E4 months from the practice of la$"