Digest Midterms

June 24, 2020 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Lawyer, Complaint, Negligence, Practice Of Law, Attorney's Fee
Share Embed Donate

Short Description

Download Digest Midterms...


DOLORES C. BELLEZA, vs ATTY. ALAN S. MACASA, A.C. No. 7815, July 23, 2009

ANTERO M. SISON, JR., Complainant, v. ATTY. MANUEL N. CAMACHO, Respondent.



Chua, friend of Dolores referred Atty. Macasa, for legal services in connection with the arrest of her son for Violation of RA 9165. Atty. Macasa agreed to handle the case for P30,000.00. Dolores made 3 partial payments on different occasions and P18,000 purpose of posting a bond to secure the liberty of his son, however no receipt was issued by Atty. Macasa. Dolores found out that Atty. Macasa did not remit the amount to the court supposed to be intended for the provisional liberty of her son. She demanded the return of P18,000 several times but respondent ignored her. Moreover, Atty. Macasa failed to act on the case of complainants son and complainant was forced to avail the services of a PAO lawyer.

Sison charged respondent Atty. Camacho with violation of the CPR for dishonestly entering into a compromise agreement without authorization and for failure to render an accounting of funds supposed to be paid as additional docket fees. Atty. Camacho was the counsel of Marsman in an insurance claim against Paramount Life and General Insurance. He proposed to increase their claim against the said insurance company and require additional docket fees. The money for the payment of additional docket fees was given to Atty. Camacho who promised to issue a receipt. Atty. Sison discovered that RTC had rendered a decision in favor of MDAHI granting its insurance claim plus interests on May 26, 2011. However, on August 11, 2011, Atty. Camacho sent a letter to MDAHI recommending a settlement with Paramount Insurance. MDAHI refused to offer a compromise. Even without the written conformity, Atty. Camacho, entered into a compromise agreement.

Issue: Ruling:

Whether or not Atty. Macasa grossly neglected his duties for the cause of his client.

Yes. Respondent undertook to defend the criminal case against complainants son. A lawyer who accepts the cause of a client commits to devote himself (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 be worthy thereof. Accordingly, he owes full devotion to the interest of his client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his clients rights and the exertion of his utmost learning, skill and ability to ensure that nothing shall be taken or withheld from his client, save by the rules of law legally applied.

Atty. Camacho denied all allegations against him and stressed that he had the authority to enter into the compromise agreement, and that the docket fees given to him by MDAHI formed part of his atty’s fees. Issue: WON Atty. Camacho has authority to enter a compromise agreement in behalf of his client.

A lawyer who accepts professional employment from a client undertakes to serve his client with competence and diligence. [17] He must conscientiously perform his duty arising from such relationship. He must bear in mind that by accepting a retainer, he impliedly makes the following representations: that he possesses the requisite degree of learning, skill and ability other lawyers similarly situated possess; that he will exert his best judgment in the prosecution or defense of the litigation entrusted to him; that he will exercise reasonable care and diligence in the use of his skill and in the application of his knowledge to his clients cause; and that he will take all steps necessary to adequately safeguard his clients interest.[18]


Those in the legal profession must always conduct themselves with honesty and integrity in all their dealings. Members of the Bar took their oath to conduct themselves according to the best of their knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to their clients and to delay no man for money or malice. These mandates apply especially to dealings of lawyers with their clients considering the highly fiduciary nature of their relationship In the practice of law, lawyers constantly formulate compromise agreements for the benefit of their clients. Article 1878 of the Civil Code provides that " [s]pecial powers of attorney are necessary in the following cases: xxx (3) To compromise, to submit questions to arbitration, to renounce the right to appeal from a judgment, to waive objections to the venue of an action or to abandon a prescription already acquired xxx."

A lawyers negligence in the discharge of his obligations arising from the relationship of counsel and client may cause delay in the administration of justice and prejudice the rights of a litigant, particularly his client. Thus, from the perspective of the ethics of the legal profession, a lawyers lethargy in carrying out his duties to his client is both unprofessional and unethical. [19]

In line with the fiduciary duty of the Members of the Bar, Section 23, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifies a stringent requirement with respect to compromise agreements, to wit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

In this case, after accepting the criminal case against complainants son and receiving his attorneys fees, respondent did nothing that could be considered as effective and efficient legal assistance. For all intents and purposes, respondent abandoned the cause of his client. Indeed, on account of respondents continued inaction, complainant was compelled to seek the services of the Public Attorneys Office. Respondents lackadaisical attitude towards the case of complainants son was reprehensible. Not only did it prejudice complainants son, it also deprived him of his constitutional right to counsel. Furthermore, in failing to use the amount entrusted to him for posting a bond to secure the provisional liberty of his client, respondent unduly impeded the latters constitutional right to bail.

Sec. 23. Authority of attorneys to bind clients. - Attorneys have authority to bind their clients in any case by any agreement in relation thereto made in writing, and in taking appeals, and in all matters of ordinary judicial procedure. But they cannot, without special authority, compromise their client's litigation, or receive anything in discharge of a client's claim but the full amount in cash.

A.C. No. 10910 [Formerly CBD Case No. 12-3594], January 19, 2016


Glaringly, despite the lack of a written special authority, Atty. Camacho agreed to a lower judgment award on behalf of his client and filed a satisfaction of judgment before the RTC. The said pleading also failed to bear the conformity of his client.24 Although MDAHI subsequently received the payment of P15M from Paramount Insurance, it does not erase Atty. Camacho's transgression in reaching the compromise agreement without the prior consent of his client.

The general rule is that a client is bound by the counsels acts, including even mistakes in the realm of procedural technique. [2] The rationale for the rule is that a counsel, once retained, holds the implied authority to do all acts necessary or, at least, incidental to the prosecution and management of the suit in behalf of his client, such that any act or


omission by counsel within the scope of the authority is regarded, in the eyes of the law, as

G.R. No. 159781

the act or omission of the client himself. [3] A recognized exception to the rule is when the

- versus -

reckless or gross negligence of the counsel deprives the client of due process of law. For

February 2, 2011

the exception to apply, however, the gross negligence should not be accompanied by the


clients own negligence or malice, considering that the client has the duty to be vigilant in respect of his interests by keeping himself up-to-date on the status of the case. Failing in Facts:

this duty, the client should suffer whatever adverse judgment is rendered against him. Bejarasco was convicted for grave threats and grave oral defamation in the MTC in Sibonga,

Cebu. RTC Argao Cebu affirmed the conviction. Petitioner represented by Atty. Besario filed a motion

Here, the petitioner took nearly 16 months from the issuance of the entry of

for extension to file his petition for review and was granted by the CA. Instead of filing his petition

judgment by the CA, and almost 22 months from when the RTC affirmed the convictions

within the period, Besario sought another extension, but still failed to file the petition for review.

before he actually filed his petition for review in the CA. He ought to have been sooner

Thus, the CA dismissed the petition for review. The dismissal became final and executory and the

alerted about his dire situation by the fact that an unreasonably long time had lapsed since

entry of judgment was made. Thereafter, MTC issued a warrant of arrest against the petitioner.

the RTC had handed down its dismissal of his appeal without Atty. Besario having updated him on the developments, including showing to him a copy of the expected petition for

Issue: Whether the negligent act of the lawyer binds his client.



EMMA V. DE JUAN, complainant, vs. ATTY. OSCAR R. BARIA III, respondent. Facts: Atty. Besario was negligent in handling the case was clear.

Emma de Juan, former client of Atty. Baria, charged him with negligence in handling her labor case and threats against her person.

Nonetheless, we find no justification to reverse the CAs disposition of the appeal.

She alleged that Atty. Baria negligently failed to file motion reconsideration of the decision of NLRC in her behalf. Atty. Baria represented complainant on a contingency fee agreement. Labor Arbiter rendered a decision in favor of the complained, NLRC reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter. De Juan blamed Atty. Baria of the reversal order because she came to know of such reversal only when she called the respondent.

The petitioner was bound by Atty. Besarios negligence.


Atty. Baria explained that soon after passing the bar he was employed as broadcaster of DWANs radio program offering free legal services to the poor. He gave free legal services to indigent and one of it is Emma de Juan. As a practice, he said he forewarned his clients that he was just a new lawyer and that they should not expect too much from him because of his limited legal experience. And that he advised the client to get a more experienced lawyer for her appeal because as a new lawyer he was not confident he could handle her appeal.Thereafter, complainant no longer contacted him and at some time, he even had to ask her whereabouts from her relatives. Respondent asserts that he has not committed any breach of his oath and that he has vigorously pursued his clients cause to the end. He avers that it was his clients own negligence and folly that caused her to lose her case. He asks that the complaint be dismissed.

Without a proper revocation of his authority and withdrawal as counsel, respondent remains counsel of record and whether or not he has a valid cause to withdraw from the case, he cannot just do so and leave his client out in the cold. An attorney may only retire from the case either by a written consent of his client or by permission of the court after due notice and hearing, in which event the attorney should see to it that the name of the new attorney is recorded in the case. [18] Respondent did not comply with these obligations. . SPOUSES LIRIO U. RABANAL AND CAYETANO D. RABANAL, vs. ATTY. FAUSTINO F. TUGADE, Facts:

Issue: whether the respondent committed culpable negligence, as would warrant disciplinary action, in failing to file for the complainant a motion for reconsideration from the decision of the NLRC.

Cayetano Rabanal, one of the accused was found guilty of homicide and the case was appealed to the Court of Appeals. Rabanal terminated the services of his previous counsel and engaged the services and engaged the services of Atty. Tugade as new counsel to prosecute the appeal. However, despite the extension of time granted to him, he failed to file the appellants brief, resulting in the dismissal of the appeal. Rabanal alleged that he has paid the respondent attorneys fees and an amount for the preparation of the appellants brief. Because of this, Rabanal was prompted to seek a suspension from the practice of law or disbarment of respondent Attorney.

Ruling: . No lawyer is obliged to advocate for every person who may wish to become his client, but once he agrees to take up the cause of a client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and must be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. [11] Further, among the fundamental rules of ethics is the principle that an attorney who undertakes an action impliedly stipulates to carry it to its termination, that is, until the case becomes final and executory. A lawyer is not at liberty to abandon his client and withdraw his services without reasonable cause and only upon notice appropriate in the circumstances.[12] Any dereliction of duty by a counsel, affects the client. [13] This means that his client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is authorized by the law and he may expect his lawyer to assert every such remedy or defense. [14]

Issue: WON Atty. Tugade was negligent in his duties as counsel of the complainant. Ruling: The records clearly show that respondent Atty. Faustino F. Tugade was remiss in the performance of his duties as counsel of complainant Cayetano Rabanal. He was given by the Court of Appeals an extension of time totalling 60 days within which to file the appellants brief, but he failed to file the same.

The records reveal that indeed the respondent did not file a motion for reconsideration of the NLRC such that the said decision eventually had become final and executory. Respondent does not refute this. His excuse that he did not know how to file a motion for reconsideration is lame and unacceptable. After complainant had expressed an interest to file a motion for reconsideration, it was incumbent upon counsel to diligently return to his books and re-familiarize himself with the procedural rules for a motion for reconsideration. Filing a motion for reconsideration is not a complicated legal task.

Once he agrees to take up the cause of a client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. He must serve the client with competence and diligence, and champion the latters cause with wholehearted fidelity, care, and devotion. Elsewise stated, he owes entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his clients rights, and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability to the end that nothing be taken or withheld from his client, save by the rules of law, legally applied. This simply means that his client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is authorized by the law of the land and he may expect his lawyer to assert every such remedy or defense. If much is demanded from an attorney, it is because the entrusted privilege to practice law carries with it the correlative duties not only to the client but also to the court, to the bar, and to the public. A lawyer who performs his duty with diligence and candor not only protects the interest of his client; he also serves the ends of justice, does honor to the bar, and helps maintain the respect of the community to the legal profession. [23]

We are however, not unaware that respondent had been forthright and candid with his client when he warned her of his lack of experience as a new lawyer. We are also not unaware that he had advised complainant to get a new lawyer. However, his candor cannot absolve him. As already stressed by this Court: A lawyer is expected to be familiar with these rudiments of law and procedure and anyone who acquires his service is entitled to not just competent service but also whole-hearted devotion to his clients cause. It is the duty of a lawyer to serve his client with competence and diligence and he should exert his best efforts to protect within the bounds of law the interest of his client. A lawyer should never neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, otherwise his negligence in fulfilling his duty will render him liable for disciplinary action.[15]


Again, the Court held in the case of Santos v. Lazaro,[16] that Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility[17] explicitly provides that negligence of lawyers in connection with legal matters entrusted to them for handling shall render them liable.



August 5, 2014

Jose Allan Tan secured the services of Atty. Diamante to pursue a case for partition of property. The case was then filed before RTC of Bacolod City. The complaint was dismissed by RTC for lack of cause of action and insufficiency of evidence. Respondent was notified of such dismissal but complainant learned the same only when he visited his office. Atty. Diamante even asked payment for the filing of notice of appeal. RTC dismissed complainant’s appeal for having been filed beyond the reglementary period provided for by law. Respondent did not disclose such fact instead showed him an Order directing him the submission of the results of a DNA testing to prove his filiation. When complainant go to the court to request an extension for its submission, he discovered that the said Order was spurious and the case was long been dismissed. Aggrieved, he filed the instant administrative complaint for disbarment against respondent.

-versusATTY. JOSE R. IMBANG, August 23, 2007

FACTS: Diana Ramos sought the assistance of respondent Atty. Jose R. Imbang in filing civil and criminal actions against the spouses Roque and Elenita Jovellanos. Ramos said that she tried to attend the scheduled hearings of her cases against the Jovellanoses. Oddly, respondent never allowed her to enter the courtroom and always told her to wait outside. Thereafter, he would just inform her that the hearing had been cancelled and rescheduled. After six consecutive postponements, the complainant became suspicious, and personally inquired about the status of her cases in the trial courts of Bian and San Pedro, Laguna. She was shocked to learn that respondent never filed any case against the Jovellanoses and that he was in fact employed in the Public Attorney's Office (PAO). [5]

Issue: whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for violating the CPR. Ruling: Under Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the CPR, it is the lawyer’s duty to keep his client constantly updated on the developments of his case as it is crucial in maintaining the latter’s confidence, to wit:

Respondent alleged that Ramos know that he was in the government service from the start because he first met Ramos when he was still a district attorney in the Citizen’s Legal Assistance Office (now PAO).

CANON 18 – A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. Rule 18.04 – A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to client’s request for information.


As an officer of the court, it is the duty of an attorney to inform his client of whatever important information he may have acquired affecting his client’s case. He should notify his client of any adverse decision to enable his client to decide whether to seek an appellate review thereof. Keeping the client informed of the developments of the case will minimize misunderstanding and loss of trust and confidence in the attorney. The lawyer should not leave the client in the dark on how the lawyer is defending the client’s interests.22 In this connection, the lawyer must constantly keep in mind that his actions, omissions, or nonfeasance would be binding upon his client. Concomitantly, the lawyer is expected to be acquainted with the rudiments of law and legal procedure, and a client who deals with him has the right to expect not just a good amount of professional learning and competence but also a whole-hearted fealty to the client’s cause. 23

Ruling: Lawyers are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity. [23] More specifically, lawyers in government service are expected to be more conscientious of their actuations as they are subject to public scrutiny. They are not only members of the bar but also public servants who owe utmost fidelity to public service.[24] Government employees are expected to devote themselves completely to public service. For this reason, the private practice of profession is prohibited. Thus, lawyers in government service cannot handle private cases for they are expected to devote themselves full-time to the work of their respective offices.

In the case at bar, records reveal that as of August 14, 2007, respondent already knew of the dismissal of complainant’s partition case before the RTC. Despite this fact, he never bothered to inform complainant of such dismissal as the latter only knew of the same on August 24, 2007 when he visited the former’s office. To add insult to injury, respondent was inexcusably negligent in filing complainant’s appeal only on September 12, 2007, or way beyond the reglementary period therefor, thus resulting in its outright dismissal. Clearly, respondent failed to exercise such skill, care, and diligence as men of the legal profession commonly possess and exercise in such matters of professional employment.24


Respondent's conduct in office fell short of the integrity and good moral character required of all lawyers, specially one occupying a public office. Lawyers in public office are expected not only to refrain from any act or omission which tend to lessen the trust and confidence of the citizenry in government but also uphold the dignity of the legal profession at all times and observe a high standard of honesty and fair dealing. A government lawyer is a keeper of public faith and is burdened with a high degree of social responsibility, higher than his brethren in private practice. [32] As a PAO lawyer, respondent should not have accepted attorney's fees from the complainant as this was inconsistent with the office's mission. [29] Respondent violated the prohibition against accepting legal fees other than his salary.

A. C. No. 6788 (Formerly, CBD 382)


A.C. No. 10543, March 16, 2016 – NENITA D. SANCHEZ, Petitioner, v. ATTY. ROMEO G. AGUILOS

Atty. Fojas, as lawyer of the complainant failed to answer the civil complaint against them and declared in default by the RTC. Fojas pretended that he had filed an answer to the complaint. In consequences thereof, complainant lost the case.


Fojas admits his mistake in failing to file the complainants’ answer but alleges that it was cured by filing a motion for reconsideration. He asserts that the Civil case was a “losing cause”. Thus, "[t]he unfavorable judgment in the Regional Trial Court is not imputable to [his] mistake but rather imputable to the merits of the case. The respondent then prays for the dismissal of this complaint for utter lack of merit, since his failure to file the answer was cured and, even granting for the sake of argument that such failure amounted to negligence, it cannot warrant his disbarment or suspension from the practice of the law profession.

Sanchez sought the legal services of Atty. Aguilos to represent her in the annulment case. Atty. Aguilos accepted the engagement and fixed the attorneys fees. Sanchez had given him an initial amount but Aguilos said he would just start working the case upon full payment of the acceptance fee and that the amount he had given for acceptance fee was for legal separation, he said he did not know that the complainant contemplated to file an annulment. Aguilos told her that she have to pay a higher acceptance fee for the annulment of marriage. Because of this, complainant subsequently withdraw the case and requested for a refund of the amounts already paid. Respondent refused to do the same as he had already working on the case. This made her bring an administrative complaint against Atty. Aguilos.

Issues: Whether the respondent committed culpable negligence, a would warrant disciplinary action, in failing to file answer for the complainant. Ruling:

Issue: WON the respondent is should be held administratively liable for misconduct

All told, the respondent committed a breach of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which requires him to serve his clients, the complainants herein, with diligence and, more specifically, Rule 18.03 thereof which provides: "A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable."

Ruling: Lawyers shall keep abreast of the legal developments and participate in continuing legal education program (Canon 5 of the Code of Professional Responsibility) in order to prevent repetition of such kind of advise that respondent gave to the complainant. In giving an advise, he should be able to distinguish between the grounds for legal separation and grounds for annulment of marriage. But as the respondent stated in his answer, it appears that he is mixed up with the basic provisions of the law.

Pressure and large volume of legal work provide no excuse for the respondent's inability to exercise due diligence in the performance of his duty to file an answer. Every case a lawyer accepts deserves his full attention, diligence, skill, and competence, regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. Lawyer owes entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his client's rights, and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability to the end that nothing be taken or withheld from his client, save by the rules of law, legally applied. 5 This simply means that his client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is authorized by the law of the land and he may expect his lawyer to assert every such remedy or defense. 6 If much is demanded from an attorney, it is because the entrusted privilege to practice law carries with it the correlative duties not only to the client but also to the court, to the bar, and to the public. A lawyer who performs his duty with diligence and candor not only protects the interest of his client; he also serves the ends of justice, does honor to the bar, and helps maintain the respect of the community to the legal profession. 7

Clearly, the respondent misrepresented his professional competence and skill to the complainant. As the foregoing findings reveal, he did not know the distinction between the grounds for legal separation and for annulment of marriage. Such knowledge would have been basic and expected of him as a lawyer accepting a professional engagement for either causes of action. His explanation that the client initially intended to pursue the action for legal separation should be disbelieved. The case unquestionably contemplated by the parties and for which his services was engaged, was no other than an action for annulment of the complainant's marriage with her husband with the intention of marrying her British fiancee. They did not contemplate legal separation at all, for legal separation would still render her incapacitated to re-marry. That the respondent was insisting in his answer that he had prepared a petition for legal separation, and that she had to pay more as attorney's fees if she desired to have the action for annulment was, therefore, beyond comprehension other than to serve as a hallow afterthought to justify his claim for services rendered.


A.C. No. 4103 September 7, 1995




In this administrative complaint, a lawyer is charged with violation of Rule 19.01 of Canon 19

the principal. Thus, in the performance of his role as agent, the lawyer may be tasked to enforce his

of the Code of Professional Responsibility for writing a demand letter the contents of which threatened

clients claim and to take all the steps necessary to collect it, such as writing a letter of demand

complainant with the filing of criminal cases for tax evasion and falsification of documents.

requiring payment within a specified period. However, the letter in this case contains more than just a simple demand to pay. It even contains a threat to file retaliatory charges against complainant which

Atty. Aparicio appeared as counsel of Grace C. Hufana in the illegal dismissal case before

have nothing to do with his clients claim for separation pay. The letter was obviously designed to

NLRC. In behalf of his client, he submitted a claim for separation pay in conciliation the conciliation

secure leverage to compel complainant to yield to their claims. Indeed, letters of this nature are

conference. This was rejected by the MOF Company for being baseless. Complainant then sent notices

definitely proscribed by the Code of Professional Responsibility.

to Hufana to explain her absences and return to work. But, Hufana wrote a letter to complainant G.R. No. 218536, January 26, 2016

reiterating his claim for separation pay. The letter also contained threat to the company. Thus, this prompted the complainant to file an administrative complaint against the respondent.



This is a petition for certiorari filed by Rolando P. Tolentino from the May 25, 2015 Order of the Commission on Elections (Comelec/the Commission) in SPR (BRGY) No. 03-2015.1 Tolentino questions the Commission's order advising the Election Officer of Tarlac City to await its resolution of the case before implementing the writ of execution issued by the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Tarlac City, in Election Case No. 03-2013.


FACTS: Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that a lawyer shall Tolentino and Manalo was a candidate during the 2013 barangay elections. Tolentino filed a protest before MTCC in which he came out ahead during the revision of votes. Thus, he was proclaimed the winner. Tolentino moved for the execution of judgment pending appeal. MTCC granted the motion for execution but held in abeyance the issuance of writ. MTCC also gave due course of the appeal of Manalo.

represent his client with zeal within the bounds of the law, reminding legal practitioners that a lawyers duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice; to that end, his clients success is wholly subordinate; and his conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics.[24] In particular, Rule 19.01 commands that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means

Manalo filed with the COMELEC a Petition for Certiorari, with a corresponding application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO), a status quo ante order, or a writ of preliminary injunction.

to attain the lawful objectives of his client and shall not present, participate in presenting or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper advantage in any case or proceeding.

While pending appeal, MTCC issued the writ of execution.

Under this Rule, a lawyer should not file or threaten to file any unfounded or baseless criminal case or

On the same day, the COMELEC, issued a 60-day TRO prohibiting the MTCC from implementing.

cases against the adversaries of his client designed to secure a leverage to compel the adversaries to When the 60-day TRO lapsed without decision of COMELEC, Tolentino wrote a request to MTCC and COMELEC to implement the writ of execution

yield or withdraw their own cases against the lawyers client. [25]

MTCC denied the implementation because of lack of jurisdiction. Despite the MTCC’s denial, Tolentino wrote a Final Request to the to the COMELEC City Election Office demanding the implementation of the writ of execution pending appeal with an accompanying threat that he would file contempt charges if immediate implementation would not take place.

Indeed, the writing of demand letters is a standard practice and tradition in this jurisdiction. It is usually done by a lawyer pursuant to the principal-agent relationship that he has with his client,


Issue: WON the threat made by Tolentino to the COMELEC city Election Officer constitutes a violation of CPR.

think of his clients as that, still it is unprofessional to be labeling an event as such when even the Sandiganbayan had not done so. G.R. No. 95026 October 4, 1991

Ruling: Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility demands that a lawyer represent his client with zeal; but the same Canon provides that a lawyer's performance of his duties towards his client must be within the bounds of the law. Rule 19.01 of the same Canon requires, among others, that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his client. Canon 15, Rule 15.07 also obliges lawyers to impress upon their clients compliance with the laws and the principle of fairness. 17


For lawyers to resort to unscrupulous practices for the protection of the supposed rights of their clients defeats one of the purposes of the state -the administration of justice. While lawyers owe their entire devotion to the interest of their clients and zeal in the defense of their client's right, they should not forget that they are, first and foremost, officers of the court, bound to exert every effort to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.18 A.C. No. 6155

Pedro, a retired government employee settled on a property abutting the national highway in Isabela. When the government needed the land, he was compelled to transfer residence to other side of the highway. The lot was en route to shrine frequented by pilgrims, he set up a vulcanizing shop and eatery. His cousins set up also their own eatery. His cousins, as the new owner of the lot filed a case against Pedro. Pedro and Angelina then, hired the services of Atty. Paguiran. The lower court awarded the property on question to his cousins. Sps Pedro wanted to appeal the case but since Atty. Paguiran was physically indisposed, Pedro asked Ernesto Palma who represent himself as a “lawyer”. Palma consented and the petitioners paid his “lawyer’s fees”.

March 14, 2006


Issue: Whether or not the representation of the petitioner by a fake lawyer amounts to a deprivation of his right to counsel and hence a lack of due process.



The complainants were convicted of homicide and attempted homicide before the SAndiganbayan After their conviction, they engaged the services of Atty. Portugal to handle their case. A motion for reconsideration was filed by Atty. Portugal which was denied by the Sandiganbayan. A second motion for reconsideration was also filed by the respondent. Pending resolution by the Sandiganbayan, respondent also filed with this Court a Petition for Review on Certiorari. In Atty Portugal’s appellation, he described the incident, as the “accused who had been convicted of homicide for the salvage of Froilan G. CAbiling and Jose M. Chua, xxx”.

A client is generally bound by the action of his counsel in the management of a litigation even by the attorney's mistake or negligence in procedural technique. 22 But how can there be negligence by the counsel in the case at bar when the "lawyer", "Atty. Palma," turned out to be fake? The Affidavit of the petitioner PEDRO TELAN, the sworn Petition, the Certifications of the Bar Confidant's Office and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the submitted records of Criminal Case No. 389-90 more than sufficiently establish the existence of an Ernesto Palma who misrepresented himself as a lawyer. 23


A.C. No. 5655

Whether the used of the word salvage in respondent’s appellation constitutes a violation of CPR.

January 23, 2006




Yes. The Court does not appreciate the offensive appellation respondent called the shooting incident that the accused was engaged in. He described the incident, thus: "the accused police officers who had been convicted of [h]omicide for the ‘salvage’ of Froilan G. Cabiling and Jose M. Chua and [a]ttempted [h]omicide of Mario C. Macato." 23 Rule 14.0124 of the Code of Professional Responsibility clearly directs lawyers not to discriminate clients as to their belief of the guilt of the latter. It is ironic that it is the defense counsel that actually branded his own clients as being the culprits that "salvaged" the victims. Though he might

Valeriana U. Dalisay, engaged respondent’s services as counsel in a case pending before the Municipal Trial Court, Rizal. Notwithstanding his receipt of documents and attorney’s fees from complainant, respondent never rendered legal services for her. As a result, she terminated the attorney-client relationship and demanded the return of her money and documents, but respondent refused. Upon rendering of Decision by the MTC, respondent had known that the documents submitted by the


complainant are not official records. Respondent then filed a Sworn Affidavit against the complainant charging her with falsifications for tampering evidence in court.

the criminal case for falsification, respondent is guilty of breaching their privileged and confidential lawyer-client relationship, and should be disbarred. Respondent maintains that his filing of the criminal complaint for falsification of public documents against complainant does not violate the rule on privileged communication between attorney and client because the bases of the falsification case are two certificates of live birth which are public documents and in no way connected with the confidence taken during the engagement of respondent as counsel.

Issue: Whether a lawyer is discharged with his attorney-client relationship upon the termination of services made by the client. Ruling:

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Vitriolo violated the privileged communication rule.

It is axiomatic that no lawyer is obliged to act either as adviser or advocate for every person who may wish to become his client. He has the right to decline employment. But once he accepts money from a client, an attorney-client relationship is established, giving rise to the duty of fidelity to the client’s cause. 5 From then on, he is expected to be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. He must serve the client with competence and diligence, and champion the latter’s cause with wholehearted devotion. 6

Ruling: In engaging the services of an attorney, the client reposes on him special powers of trust and confidence. Their relationship is strictly personal and highly confidential and fiduciary. In fine, the factors are as follows: (1) There exists an attorney-client relationship, or a prospective attorney-client relationship, and it is by reason of this relationship that the client made the communication.

However, in an ironic twist of fate, respondent became the accuser of complainant. Respondent accuses her of offering falsified documentary evidence, prompting him to file falsification cases against her. He thus justifies his inability to render legal services to complainant.

(2) The client made the communication in confidence. (3) The legal advice must be sought from the attorney in his professional capacity. [33]

Canon 19 outlines the procedure in dealing with clients who perpetrated fraud in the course of a legal proceeding.

Applying all these rules to the case at bar, we hold that the evidence on record fails to substantiate complainants allegations. We note that complainant did not even specify the alleged communication in confidence disclosed by respondent. All her claims were couched in general terms and lacked specificity. She contends that respondent violated the rule on privileged communication when he instituted a criminal action against her for falsification of public documents because the criminal complaint disclosed facts relating to the civil case for annulment then handled by respondent. She did not, however, spell out these facts which will determine the merit of her complaint. The Court cannot be involved in a guessing game as to the existence of facts which the complainant must prove.

As a lawyer, respondent is expected to know this Rule. Instead of inaction, he should have confronted complainant and ask her to rectify her fraudulent representation. If complainant refuses, then he should terminate his relationship with her.

[A.C. No. 5108. May 26, 2005]

Regala v Sandiganbayan

GR. No. 105938 9.20.96

F: Corporation clients of petitioner consulted them regarding corporate structure and financial matters upon which legal advice were given by petitioners. Said corporation is subject to investigation by the PCGG involving ill gotten wealth. Petitioner refuses to provide information on fear that it may implicate them in the very activity from which legal advice was sought from them and it may breach the fiduciary relationship of the petitioner with their client.

ROSA F. MERCADO, complainant, vs. ATTY. JULITO D. VITRIOLO, respondent. DECISION

I: WON fiduciary duty may be asserted by petitioner on refusal to disclose names of their clients (privilege information)

FACTS: Mercado’s husband filed a civil case for annulment of marriage with the RTC Pasig City. This case has been dismissed by the trial court. Atty. Vitriolo entered his appearance as collaborating counsel of the complainant when the latter’s counsel died. It also appears that the respondent filed a criminal action against the complainant alleging that the latter made false entries in the Certificates of Live birth of her children.

R: SC upheld the right of petitioners to refuse disclosure of names of their clients under the pain of breach of fiduciary relationship with their client. As a general rule, a lawyer MAY NOT INVOKE THE PRIVILEGE BECAUSE:

Complainant denied the accusations of respondent against her. Complainant alleged that the said criminal complaint for falsification of documents disclosed confidential facts and information relating the civil case for annulment, then handled by Vitriolo as her counsel. She claims that, in filing



The court has the right to know that the client whose privilege is sought to be protected is flesh and blood.


Privilege begins to exist only after the atty-client relationship has been established.


Privilege generally pertains to be the subject matter of the relationship.


With due process consideration, the opposing party should know his adversary.

expect his lawyer to assert every such remedy or defense. But it is steadfastly to be borne in mind that the great trust of the lawyer is to be performed within and not without the bounds of the law. The office of attorney does not permit, much less does it demand of him for any client, violation of law or any manner of fraud or chicanery. He must obey his own conscience and not that of his client.


Strong probability exists that revealing the client’s name would implicate the client in the very activity for which he sought the lawyer’s advice.


Disclosure would open to civil liability of client. (present in this case)


Government lawyers have no case against the lawyer’s client unless by revealing the client’s name it would provide them the only link that would form the chain of testimony necessary to convict an individual of a crime. (present in this case)


Relevant to the subject matter of the legal problem on which client seeks legal assistance. (present in this case)


Nature of atty-client relationship has been previously disclosed and it is the identity which is intended to be confidential.

Regala vs. Sandiganbayan PCGG want to build up their case against Eduardo Coujuanco for the anomalies in the COCO LEVY FUNDS. PCGG wants petitioners divulge that Cojuangco indeed was a client of their firm, as well as other information regarding Cojuangco. Issue: Can the PCGG compel petitioners to divulge its client’s name? Held: NO. As a matter of public policy, a client’s identity should not be shrouded in mystery. The general is that a lawyer may not invoke the privilege and refuse to divulge the name or identity of his client. 1) the court has a right to know that the client whose privileged information is sought to be protected is flesh and blood. 2) the privilege begins to exist only after the attorney-client relationship has been established. The attorney-client privilege does not attach until there is a client. 3) the privilege generally pertains to the subject matter of the relationship.

Old Code of Civil Procedure enacted by the Philippine Commission on August 7, 1901:Section 383 of the Code specifically "forbids counsel, without authority of his client to reveal any communication made by the client to him or his advice given thereon in the course of professional employment." 28 Passed on into various provisions of the Rules of Court, the attorney-client privilege, as currently worded provides: Sec. 24. Disqualification by reason of privileged communication. — The following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the following cases: An attorney cannot, without the consent of his client, be examined as to any communication made by the client to him, or his advice given thereon in the course of, or with a view to, professional employment, can an attorney's secretary, stenographer, or clerk be examined, without the consent of the client and his employer, concerning any fact the knowledge of which has been acquired in such capacity. Further, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court states: Sec. 20. It is the duty of an attorney: (e) to maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to preserve the secrets of his client, and to accept no compensation in connection with his client's business except from him or with his knowledge and approval. This duty is explicitly mandated in Canon 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that: Canon 17. A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. Canon 15 of the Canons of Professional Ethics also demands a lawyer's fidelity to client: The lawyers owes "entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his rights and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability," to the end that nothing be taken or be withheld from him, save by the rules of law, legally applied. No fear of judicial disfavor or public popularity should restrain him from the full discharge of his duty. In the judicial forum the client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is authorized by the law of the land, and he may

Finally, due process considerations require that the opposing party should, as a general rule, know his adversary. “A party suing or sued is entitled to know who his opponent is.” He cannot be obliged to grope in the dark against unknown forces. Except: 1) Client identity is privileged where a strong probability exists that revealing the client’s name would implicate that client in the very activity for which he sought the lawyer’s advice. 2) Where disclosure would open the client to civil liability, his identity is privileged. 3) Where the government’s lawyers have no case against an attorney’s client unless, by revealing the client’s name, the said name would furnish the only link that would form the chain of testimony necessary to convict an individual of a crime, the client’s name is privileged. That client identity is privileged in those instances where a strong probability exists that the disclosure of the client's identity would implicate the client in the very criminal activity for which the lawyer’s legal advice was obtained.


[A.C. No. 5280. March 30, 2004]

would be precluding any lawyer from instituting a case against anyone to protect his personal or proprietary interests. MA. LUISA HADJULA, - versus ATTY. ROCELES F. MADIANDA,

WILLIAM S. UY, complainant, vs. ATTY. FERMIN L. GONZALES, respondent. Facts:

A.C. No. 6711 July 3, 2007

FACTS: William Uy engaged the services of Atty Gonzales to prepare the petition for issuance of a new certificate of title. Atty. Gonzales prepared the petition but was not filed in Court. Instead, Atty. Gonzales filed a complaint against Uy for falsification of public documents.

Complainant Hadjula and Atty. Madianda used to be friends as they both worked at BFP. Sometime in 1998, she approached Atty. Madianda for some legal advice. In the course of their conversation which was supposed to be kept confidential, she disclosed personal secrets and produced copies of marriage contract, birth cert., and baptismal cert. and he was referred to lawyer friend. Respondent refused handling the case only after she heard her secrets. HAdjula seeks the suspension and/or disbarment for Madianda’s act of disclosing personal secrets and confidential information she revealed to him.

Atty Gonzales averred that he offered to redee, the property from complainant which he purchased his son. He paid the complainant and demanded the delivery of the title as well as the execution of the Deed of Redemption. However, complainant failed to delivery the said title because he has already transferred the title of the property to his children and that it is misplaced and cannot located. TO protect his interest he offered a free assistance to prepare the petition for lost title but the expenses will be shouldered by the complainant.

Issue: Whether the privilege communications rule was breached by Atty. Madianda Ruling: The moment complainant approached the then receptive respondent to seek legal advice, a veritable lawyer-client relationship evolved between the two. Such relationship imposes upon the lawyer certain restrictions circumscribed by the ethics of the profession. Among the burdens of the relationship is that which enjoins the lawyer, respondent in this instance, to keep inviolate confidential information acquired or revealed during legal consultations.

Issue: WON atty. Gonzales violated the privilege communication rule. Ruling: Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility reads: Canon 21 A LAWYER SHALL PRESERVE THE CONFIDENCE AND SECRETS OF HIS CLIENT EVEN AFTER THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATION IS TERMINATED.

The purpose of the rule of confidentiality is actually to protect the client from possible breach of confidence as a result of a consultation with a lawyer.

Rule 21.01 A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences or secrets of his client except: a) When authorized by the client after acquainting him of the consequences of the disclosure;

It appears clear to us that respondent was actuated by the urge to retaliate without perhaps realizing

b) When required by law;

that, in the process of giving vent to a negative sentiment, she was violating the rule on confidentiality.

c) When necessary to collect his fees or to defend himself, his employees or associates or by judicial action. The alleged secrets of complainant were not specified by him in his affidavit-complaint. Whatever facts alleged by respondent against complainant were not obtained by respondent in his professional capacity but as a redemptioner of a property originally owned by his deceased son and therefore, when respondent filed the complaint for estafa against herein complainant, which necessarily involved alleging facts that would constitute estafa, respondent was not, in any way, violating Canon 21. There is no way we can equate the filing of the affidavit-complaint against herein complainant to a misconduct that is wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity and good demeanor or that renders him unworthy to continue as an officer of the court. To hold otherwise

A.C. No. 10548

December 10, 2014



Mario Crespo, otherwise known as Mark Jimenez (Jimenez), filed a complaint for estafa against complainant.5 Jimenez alleged that he was the true and beneficial owner of the shares of stock in Clarion Realty and Development Corporation (Clarion), which was incorporated specifically for the purpose of purchasing a residential house located in Forbes Park, Makati City (Forbes property).

In determining whether or not Atty. Francisco violated the rule on conflict of interests, a scrutiny of the parties’ submissions with the IBP reveals that the complainant failed to establish that she was a client of Atty. Francisco. First, complainant’s claim of being Atty. Francisco’s client remains unsubstantiated, considering its detailed refutation. All that the complaint alleged was that Atty. Francisco was Clarion’s legal counsel and that complainant sought advice and requested documentation of several transfers of shares and the sale of the Forbes property. This was only successful in showing that Atty. Francisco, indeed, drafted the documents pertaining to the transaction and that he was retained as legal counsel of Clarion. There was no detailed explanation as to how she supposedly engaged the services of Atty. Francisco as her personal counsel and as to what and how she communicated with the latter anent the dealings she had entered into. With the complaint lacking in this regard, the unrebutted answer made by Atty. Francisco, accompanied with a detailed narrative of his engagement as counsel of Jimenez and Clarion, would have to prevail.

Caroline was shocked in the complaint for estafa filed by Jimenez against her. She felt even more betrayed when she read the affidavit of Atty. Francisco, whom she relied as her personal lawyer and Clarion’s corporate counsel and secretary of Clarion. This prompted her to file a disciplinary case against Atty. Francisco for representing conflicting interests. According to her, she usually conferred with Atty. Francisco regarding the legal implications of Clarion’s transactions. More significantly, the principal documents relative to the sale and transfer of Clarion’s property were all prepared and drafted by Atty. Francisco or the members of his law office. 7 Atty. Francisco was the one who actively participated in the transactions involving the sale of the Forbes property. Without admitting the truth of the allegations in his affidavit, complainant argued that its execution clearly betrayed the trust and confidence she reposed on him as a lawyer. For this reason, complainant prayed for the disbarment of Atty. Francisco.

Second, there is a stark disparity inthe amount of narrative details presented by the parties. Atty. Francisco’s claim thathe was the counsel of Clarion and Jimenez, and not of the complainant, was clearly established in a sworn statement executed by Jimenez himself. Complainant’s evidence pales in comparison with her claims of being the client of Atty. Francisco couched in general terms that lacked particularity of circumstances.

Issue: Ruling:

Third, noteworthy is the fact that complainant opted not to file a reply to Atty. Francisco’s answer. This could have given her opportunity to present evidence showing their professional relationship. She also failed to appear during the mandatory conference with the IBP-CBD without even updating her residential address on record. Her participation in the investigation of the case apparently ended at its filing.

Rule on Conflicting Interests and Disclosure of Privileged Communication With respect to Atty. Francisco’s alleged representation of conflicting interests and disclosure of privileged communication, the Court deviates from the findings of the IBP-BOG.

In suspension or disbarment proceedings, lawyers enjoy the presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof rests upon the complainant to clearly prove the allegations in the complaint by preponderant evidence. Preponderance of evidence means that the evidence adduced by one side is, as a whole, superior to or has greater weight than that of the other. It means evidence which is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto. Under Section 1 of Rule 133, in determining whether or not there is preponderance of evidence, the court may consider the following: (a) all the facts and circumstances of the case; (b) the witnesses’ manner of testifying, their intelligence, their means and opportunity of knowing the facts to which they are testifying, the nature of the facts towhich they testify, the probability or improbability of their testimony; (c) the witnesses’ interest or want of interest, and also their personal credibility so far as the same may ultimately appear in the trial; and (d) the number of witnesses, although it does not mean that preponderance is necessarily with the greater number. 27

Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the CPR provides that, "[a] lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts." 24 "The relationship between a lawyer and his/her client should ideally be imbued with the highest level of trust and confidence. This is the standard of confidentiality that must prevail to promote a full disclosure of the client’s most confidential information to his/her lawyer for an unhampered exchange of information between them. Needless to state, a client can only entrust confidential information to his/her lawyer based on an expectation from the lawyer of utmost secrecy and discretion; the lawyer, for his part, is duty-bound to observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions withthe client. Part of the lawyer’s duty in this regard is to avoid representing conflicting interests…"25Thus, even if lucrative fees offered by prospective clients are at stake, a lawyer must decline professional employment if the same would trigger a violation of the prohibition against conflict of interest.

Markedly, Atty. Francisco could have prevented his entanglement with this fiasco among the members of Jimenez’s family by taking an upfront and candid stance in dealing with Jimenez’s children and complainant. He could have been staunch in reminding the latter that his tasks were performed in his capacity as legal counsel for Clarion and Jimenez. Be that as it may, Atty. Francisco’s indiscretion does not detract the Court from finding that the totality of evidence presented by the complainant miserably failed to discharge the burden of proving that Atty. Francisco was her lawyer. At most, he served as the legal counsel of Clarion and, based on the affirmation presented, of Jimenez. Suffice it to say, complainant failed to establish that Atty. Francisco committed a violation of the rule on conflict of interests.

From the foregoing, it is obvious that the rule on conflict of interests presupposes a lawyer-client relationship. The purpose of the rule is precisely to protect the fiduciary nature of the ties between an attorney and his client. Conversely, a lawyer may not be precluded from accepting and representing other clients on the ground of conflict of interests, if the lawyer-client relationship does not exist in favor of a party in the first place.


Consequently, the rule on lawyer-client privilege does not apply. In Mercado v. Vitriolo, 28 the Court elucidated on the factors essential to establish the existence of the said privilege, viz:


In fine, the factors are as follows:


(1) There exists an attorney-client relationship, or a prospective attorney-client relationship, and it is by reason of this relationship that the client made the communication.

Complainant availed the services of the law firm, of which Atty. Dionela, a partner of the law firm, was assigned to represent him. The labor cases were terminated upon the agreement of both parties. 3

Matters disclosed by a prospective client to a lawyer are protected by the rule on privileged communication even if the prospective client does not thereafter retain the lawyer or the latter declines the employment. The reason for this is to make the prospective client free to discuss whatever he wishes with the lawyer without fear that what he tells the lawyer will be divulged or used against him, and for the lawyer to be equally free to obtain information from the prospective client. xxx

A criminal case4 for qualified theft was filed against complainant and his wife. It was represented by the law firm, which handled complainant’s labor cases. Aggrieved, complainant filed this disbarment case against respondents. Respondents admitted that they indeed operated as partners of a law firm, but explained that their association is not a formal partnership, but one that is subject to certain "arrangements." Each lawyer contributes a fixed amount every month for the maintenance of the entire office; and expenses for cases are shouldered by each lawyer separately. As such, the lawyers do not discuss their clientele with the other lawyers and associates. They averred that complainant’s labor cases were solely and exclusively handled by Atty. Dionela and not by the entire law firm and that the qualified theft case filed by FEVE Farms was handled by Atty. Peñalosa, a new associate who had no knowledge of complainant’s labor cases.

(2) The client made the communication in confidence. The mere relation of attorney and client does not raise a presumption of confidentiality. The client must intend the communication to be confidential. A confidential communication refers to information transmitted by voluntary act of disclosure between attorney and client in confidence and by means which, so far as the client is aware, discloses the information to no third person other than one reasonably necessary for the transmission of the information or the accomplishment of the purpose for which it was given.

Issue: Whether or not respondents are guilty of representing conflicting interests in violation of the pertinent provisions of the CPR.

Our jurisprudence on the matter rests on quiescent ground. Thus, a compromise agreement prepared by a lawyer pursuant to the instruction of his client and delivered to the opposing party, an offer and counter-offer for settlement, or a document given by a client to his counsel not in his professional capacity, are not privileged communications, the element of confidentiality not being present.


(3) The legal advice must be sought from the attorney in his professional capacity.

A lawyer is prohibited from representing new clients whose interests oppose those of a former client in any manner, whether or not they are parties in the same action or on totally unrelated cases.

The communication made by a client to his attorney must not be intended for mere information, but for the purpose of seeking legal advice from his attorney as to his rights or obligations. The communication must have been transmitted by a client to his attorney for the purpose of seeking legal advice.

The law firm’s unethical acceptance of the criminal case arose from its failure to organize and implement a system by which it would have been able to keep track of all cases assigned to its handling lawyers, ensuring that every engagement it accepts stands clear of any potential conflict of interest. As an organization of individual lawyers which, albeit engaged as a collective, assigns legal work to a corresponding handling lawyer, it behooves the law firm to value coordination in deference to the conflict of interest rule.

If the client seeks an accounting service, or business or personal assistance, and not legal advice, the privilege does not attach to a communication disclosed for such purpose.

The Court clarifies that respondents' pronounced liability is not altered by the fact that the labor cases against complainant had long been terminated. Verily, the termination of attorney-client relation provides no justification for a lawyer to represent an interest adverse to or in conflict with that of the former client. The client's confidence once reposed should not be divested by mere expiration of professional employment.22

[Emphases supplied] A.C. No. 10567

February 25, 2015

WILFREDO ANGLO, Complainant, vs.

A.C. No. 10303, April 22, 2015


JOY A. GIMENO, Complainant, v. ATTY. PAUL CENTILLAS ZAIDE, Respondent.



PNB charged Atty. Cedo, former AVP of the Asset Mgt Group of PNB with violation of CPR by appearing as counsel for individuals who had transactions with the latter, in which Cedo during his employment with the said bank has intervened.

Gimeno alleged that she was a former client of Atty. Zaide. She engaged the services of his law firm ZMZ Law Offices in an annulment case involving her husband and her parents-in-law. Despite their previous lawyer-client relationship, Atty Zaide appeared against her before the Ombudsman. Thus, Zaide violated the prohibition against the representation of conflicting clients’ interests. Atty Zaide argued that Gimeno was never his client since she did not personally hire her as her counsel. Gimeno engaged the services of ZMZ where he previously worked as an associate. The real counsel of Gimeno was Atty Zaragosa, one of ZMZ’s partners.

When Cedo was still their employ, he participated in arranging the sale of steel sheets in favor of Milagros Ong Siy. When a civil action arose out of this transaction between Siy and PNB, Cedo appeared as counsel of Mrs. Siy. Similarly, when the same transaction became the subject of an administrative case filed by complainant bank against his former subordinate Emmanuel Elefan, respondent appeared as counsel for Elefan.

Issue: Whether there was a conflicting interests when Zaide appeared as counsel against Gimeno before the Ombudsman.

Moreover, while respondent was still the Asst. Vice President of complainant’s Asset Management Group, he intervened in the handling of the loan account of the spouses Ponciano and Eufemia Almeda with complainant bank by writing demand letters to the couple. When a civil action ensued between complainant bank and the Almeda spouses as a result of this loan account, the latter were represented by the law firm "Cedo, Ferrer, Maynigo & Associates" of which respondent is one of the Senior Partners.

Ruling: One of these tests is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of a lawyer's duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty.32

Issue:Whether a lawyer can appear as counsel in a case involved with his previous employment.

Another test is whether a lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against a former client any confidential information acquired through their connection or previous employment.


Applying these tests, we find no conflict of interest when Atty. Zaide appeared against Gimeno, his former law firm's client.

The foregoing disquisition on conflicting interest applies with equal force and effect to respondent in the case at bar. Having been an executive of complainant bank, respondent now seeks to litigate as counsel for the opposite side, a case against his former employer involving a transaction which he formerly handled while still an employee of complainant, in violation of Canon 6 of the Canons of Professional Ethics on adverse influence and conflicting interests, to wit:

The lawyer-client relationship between Atty. Zaide and Gimeno ceased when Atty. Zaide left ZMZ. Moreover, the case where Gimeno engaged ZMZ's services is an entirely different subject matter and is not in any way connected to the complaint filed against Gimeno with the Ombudsman. The prior case where Gimeno hired ZMZ and where Atty. Zaide represented her family pertained to the annulment of a land title. The case where Atty. Zaide appeared against Gimeno involved complaint against Gimeno for her alleged mishandling of the funds entrusted to her, and for Gimeno's alleged corruption as an examiner in the Register of Deeds of Iligan City. Clearly, the annulment of title case and the Ombudsman case are totally unrelated.

It is unprofessional to represent conflicting interests, except by express conflicting consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. Within the meaning of this canon, a lawyer represents conflicting interest when, in behalf on one client, it is his duty to contend for that which duty to another client requires him to oppose.

More importantly, nothing in the record shows that Atty. Zaide used against Gimeno any confidential information which he acquired while he was still their counsel in the annulment of title case.

A.C. No. 5858. December 11, 2003] A.C. No. 3701 March 28, 1995 PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, complainant, vs. ATTY. TELESFORO S. CEDO, respondent.

ROGELIO R. SANTOS, SR., complainant, vs. ATTY. RODOLFO C. BELTRAN, respondent. FACTS:


Atty. Beltran notarized a Deed of Donation of Sps. Filomeno and Benita, in favor of their nine children, except Rogelio, the complainant. When Benita died, Rogelio and Alberto, his brother were appointed as administrators. Rogelio filed a complaint against Atty. Beltran for notarizing the Deed of Donation without the personal appearance of his siblings.

MAlabed also alleged that respondent was guilty of conflict of interest when he represented the occupants of the lot owned by his family, who previously donated a parcel of land to the Roman Catholic Church, which deed of donation respondent notarized. Issue: whether respondent is guilty of dishonesty and grave misconduct.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

The Deed also shows that the siblings secured their CTC’s 22 days after the execution of the Deed of Donation. Complainant further alleged that respondent appeared as private prosecutor for falsification of public document, which he filed against Renato and Benito, without being engaged by him or authorized by the court; that respondent represented conflicting interest when he entered his appearance as defense counsel in an ejectment case in which his former client, Erlinda R. SantosCrawford, was the plaintiff.

Ruling: Complainant accuses respondent of conflict of interest when the latter allegedly notarized a deed of donation of a parcel of land executed by complainant's family in favor of the Roman Catholic Church. Eventually, respondent allegedly sought to litigate as counsel for the opposing parties who are occupants in the lot owned by complainant's family.

Issue: Whether or not there was a conflicting interests. Ruling:

Suffice to state that notarization is different from representation. A notary public simply performs the notarial acts authorized by the Rules on Notarial Practice, namely, acknowledgments, oaths and affirmations, jurats, signature witnessings, and copy certifications. Legal representation, on the other hand, refers to the act of assisting a party as counsel in a court action.

A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties. The test is whether or not in behalf of one client, it is the lawyers duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this argument will be opposed by him when he argues for the other client. This rule covers not only cases in which confidential communications have been confided, but also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be used. Also, there is conflict of interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require the attorney to perform an act which will injuriously affect his first client in any matter in which he represents him and also whether he will be called upon in his new relation to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through their connection. Another test of the inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof. [19]

As regards complainant's serious accusations against respondent of conniving with Judge Asis and conspiring with the latter to render judgments favorable to respondent's clients, such are bare allegations, without any proof. Complainant simply narrated the outcomes of the proceedings in Civil Case Nos. 1017, 860 and 973, which were filed by the Estrellers in the MCTC and reversed by the RTC. Complainant conveniently failed to present any concrete evidence proving her grave accusation of conspiracy between respondent and Judge Asis. Moreover, charges of bias and partiality on the part of the presiding judge should be filed against the judge, and not against the counsel allegedly favored by the judge.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

A.C. No. 7594, February 09, 2016


FELICITAS S. QUIAMBAO, Adm. Case No. 6708 Complainant, (CBD Case No. 01-874) A T T Y . N E S T O R A . B A M B A , Promulgated: August 25, 2005

ADELPHA E. MALABED, Complainant, v. ATTY. MELJOHN B. DE LA PEÑA, Respondent.


FACTS: Complainant

Malabed charged Atty. Dela Pena with dishonesty for deliberately and repeatedly making falsehood that misled the Court.









Investigation Bureau, Inc. (AIB), a family-owned corporation engaged in providing

First, the Cert to File Action filed by Dela Pena was different from the complaint filed against his brother. In effect, there was no Cert to File Action, which is required for filing a civil action.

security and investigation services. She avers that she procured the legal services of the respondent not only for the corporate affairs of AIB but also for her

Second, Malabed alleged that respondent did not furnish her counsel with a copy of the free patent, but respondent forwarded a copy to the Court of Appeals. Complainant claimed that she could not properly defend herself without a copy of the title. She further claimed that the title presented by respondent was fabricated.

personal case. Particularly, the respondent acted as her counsel of record in an ejectment case. After she resigned as AIB president, the respondent filed on behalf of AIB a complaint for replevin and damages against for the purpose of


recovering from her the car of AIB assigned to her as a service vehicle. This he


did without withdrawing as counsel of record in the ejectment case, which was

to use against a former client any confidential information acquired

then still pending. [2]

through their connection or previous employment.

Quiambao avers that the respondent proposed to her that she organize her

whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation








own security agency and that he would assist her in its organization, causing her

applies to a situation where the opposing parties are present clients in the

to resign as president of AIB. The respondent indeed assisted her in the formation

same action or in an unrelated action. It is of no moment that the lawyer


would not be called upon to contend for one client that which the lawyer









(QRMSI), with the respondent as a silent partner.

has to oppose for the other client, or that there would be no occasion to use the confidential information acquired from one to the disadvantage of


the other as the two actions are wholly unrelated. It is enough that the opposing parties in one case, one of whom would lose the suit, are present Whether the respondent is guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting

clients and the nature or conditions of the lawyers respective retainers


with each of them would affect the performance of the duty of undivided fidelity to both clients.

Ruling: In this case, it is undisputed that at the time the respondent filed the In

























when, in behalf of one client, it is their duty to contend for that which duty to

complainant in the pending ejectment case. We do not sustain respondents theory

another client requires them to oppose. TEST OF CONFLICTING INTEREST:

that since the ejectment case and the replevin case are unrelated cases fraught with different issues, parties, and subject matters, the prohibition is inapplicable.


whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim

His representation of opposing clients in both cases, though unrelated, obviously

in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that claim


for the other client.



whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the

consented to his continued representation in the ejectment case, the respondent

full discharge of the lawyers duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to

failed to show that he fully disclosed the facts to both his clients and he failed to

the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in

present any written consent of the complainant and AIB as required under Rule

the performance of that duty.

15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.















invites the







Neither can we accept respondents plea that he was duty-bound to handle all the

It is clear that respondent gravely abused the trust and confidence reposed in him by his client, the complainant. Were it not for complainants vigilance in inquiring into the status of her case, she would not have known that the same had already been dismissed. Respondent deliberately withheld this fact from her, notwithstanding that she talked to him.

cases referred to him by AIB, including the personal cases of its officers which had no connection to its corporate affairs. That the representation of conflicting

Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. More specifically, Rule 18.03 and Rule 18.04 state:

interest is in good faith and with honest intention on the part of the lawyer does not make the prohibition inoperative.


Moreover, lawyers are not obliged to act

Rule 18.03. A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.

either as an adviser or advocate for every person who may wish to become their client.

Rule 18.04. A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the clients request for information. Respondent breached his duty to his client when he failed to inform complainant of the status of the criminal case. His negligence shows a glaring lack of the competence and diligence required of every lawyer.[18] His infraction is rendered all the more deplorable by the fact that complainant is a resident of Quezon City and the case was filed in Bacolod City. It was precisely for this reason that complainant engaged the services of respondent, a Bacolod-based lawyer, so that her interests in the case may be amply protected in her absence. Respondents failure to look after his clients welfare in the case was a gross betrayal of his fiduciary duty and a breach of the trust and confident which was reposed in him

[A.C. No. 4724. April 30, 2003]

GORETTI ONG, complainant, vs. ATTY. JOEL M. GRIJALDO, respondent. FACTS:

Worse, when respondent used the money which he received from Atty. Reyes to pay for his own obligations, he violated Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which states that [a] lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession.

Goretti Ong engaged the services of respondent, as private prosecutor against Lemuel Sembrano and Arlene Villamil for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22.[2] During one of the hearings of the case, the accused offered to amicably settle their civil obligation to complainant. Complainant accepted the offer on the condition that payment shall be made in cash.

Respondents misappropriation of the money entrusted to him and his refusal to account for it to his client despite repeated demands were competent proof of his unfitness for the confidence and trust reposed on him. His acts showed a lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render him unworthy of public confidence. He held the money in trust for his client as settlement of the case he was handling. Upon receipt thereof, he was under obligation to immediately turn it over, in the absence of a showing that he had a lien over it. As a lawyer, he should have been scrupulously careful in handling money entrusted to him in his professional capacity, because a high degree of fidelity and good faith on his part is exacted.[20]

At the hearing, respondent advised complainant to wait outside the courtroom. When he came out, he handed to complainant cash and postdated Check drawn by counsel for the accused. Complainant objected to the check payment and refused to settle the case, but he assured her that the check was drawn by a reputable lawyer. Complainant was prevailed upon by respondent into signing an affidavit of desistance, but she instructed him not to file it in court until the check is cleared. Upon presentment of the check, it was dishonored due to a stop-payment order from the drawer. Complainant immediately informed respondent of the dishonor. Later, when complainant met with respondent in Manila, he relayed to her that they offer to replace the check with cash. Several weeks passed without any payment. She suggested that respondent move for a hearing of the case, but he told her that courts are not inclined to set hearings near the Christmas season.

G.R. No. 191641, September 02, 2015

Complainant personally inquire about her case. She was surprised to learn that the same was dismissed.[3] Apparently, respondent submitted her Affidavit of Desistance [4] and, on the basis thereof, the public prosecutor moved for the dismissal of the case which was granted by the court. When complainant confronted respondent, he admitted to her that he had already received the amount of but he used the same to pay for his financial obligations.

EDMUNDO NAVAREZ, Petitioner, v. ATTY. MANUEL ABROGAR III, Respondent. Facts:



Edmundo Navarez hired the law office of Abrogar Valerio Maderazo and Associates Law Offices (the Firm) through Atty. Abrogar III as collaborating counsel to Atty. Laguio in Sp. Proc. Their agreement provided for acceptance fee of P100,000.00 on instalment basis, 2% of the total money value share of Edmundo as co-onwer and heir of the Estata, as well as appearance fee of P2,500 per Court hearings/administrative meetings/other meetings. On September 2, 2008, Edmundo filed a Manifestation with the trial court that he was terminating the services of Atty. Abrogar; he also caused the delivery to Atty. Abrogar of a check for P220,107.51, allegedly representing one-half of 7.5% of his share (P11,200,000.00) in the estate of his wife, less Atty. Abrogar’s cash advances. Atty. Abrogar, in his manifestation, manifested that the RTC had already resolved the matter favourably to Edmundo due to its issuance of the release order for Edmundo to withdraw the amount. He also withdrew as counsel for Edmundo, effective upon appointment of an Administrator of the estate. On September 22, 2008, Atty. Abrogar filed a Motion to Enter into the Records his attorney’s lien. On January 21, 2009. The trial court issued its Order granting the motion, directing Edmundo to pay Atty. Abrogar as follows: to enter the Attorneys Lien in the Records; for Edmundo to pay 7.5% of P11,196,675.05 to Atty. Abrogar, and P103,000.00 as administrative costs/expenses to Atty. Abrogar.

and executory, enforcement of the lien is premature.

Sps San Pedro vs Atty. Mendoza The Facts: Spouses Nicasio and Donelita engaged the service of Atty. Mendoza to facilitate the transfer of title of a parcel of land from Marcaida to their name. They gave him a check as payment for the transfer taxes, as well as for professional fee. However, Mendoza failed to transfer the property in their name, and despite repeated follow-ups, failed to return the money, hence they referred the matter to the barangay for conciliation. They were then issued a certificate to file action. Mendoza wrote to the spouses and promised to settle the transfer of title, but reneged on the promise. Hence, they were forced to secure a loan to transfer the title in their name. Thus they filed an administrative case against Isagani. On the other hand, Isagani belied the accusations of the spouses. It was the spouses’ failure to submit the needed documents which prompted the delay in the transfer of title, according to him. In addition, the spouses paid him a paltry sum for so much work involving the property; he was also justified in impressing a retaining lien on the money since the spouses had receivables from the spouses in the various cases he handled for them. The spouses even dared him to prove his worth as a lawyer by doing away with the required documents in the transfer of title.

Issue: Whether or not the RTC properly entered the Attorney’s Lien of Atty. Abrogar in the Records of the case. Ruling:

Issue: whether respondent is guilty of violating Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for failing to hold in trust the money of his clients.

An attorney has a right to be paid a fair and reasonable compensation for the services he has rendered to a client. As a security for his fees, Rule 138, Section 37 of the Rules of Court grants an attorney an equitable right to a charging lien over money judgments he has secured in litigation for his client. For the lien to be enforceable, the attorney must have caused: (1) a statement of his claim to be entered in the record of the case while the court has jurisdiction over the case and before the full satisfaction of the judgment;9 and (2) a written notice of his claim to be delivered to his client and to the adverse party.

RULING: A lawyer’s duty under Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is clear:

However, the filing of the statement of the claim does not, by itself, legally determine the amount of the claim when the client disputes the amount or claims that the amount has been paid. 10 In these cases, both the attorney and the client have a right to be heard and to present evidence in support of their claims.11 The proper procedure for the court is to ascertain the proper amount of the lien in a full dress trial before it orders the registration of the charging lien. 12 The necessity of a hearing is obvious and beyond dispute.13

The fiduciary nature of the relationship between counsel and client imposes on a lawyer the duty to account for the money or property collected or received for or from the client. [The lawyer’s] failure to return the client’s money upon demand gives rise to the presumption that he has misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice of and in violation of the trust reposed in him by the client[2]. (Emphasis supplied)

In the present case, the RTC ordered the registration of Atty. Abrogar's lien without a hearing even though the client contested the amount of the lien. The petitioner had the right to be heard and to present evidence on the true amount of the charging lien. The RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion because it denied the petitioner his right to be heard, i.e., the right to due process.

Respondent’s assertion of a valid lawyer’s lien is also untenable. A valid retaining lien has the following elements: An attorney’s retaining lien is fully recognized if the presence of the following elements concur: (1) lawyer-client relationship; (2) lawful possession of the client’s funds, documents and papers; and (3) unsatisfied claim for attorney’s fees. Further, the attorney’s retaining lien is a general lien for the balance of the account between the attorney and his client, and applies to the documents and funds of the client which may come into the attorney’s possession in the course of his employment.[3]

The registration of the lien should also be distinguished from the enforcement of the lien. Registration merely determines the birth of the lien.14 The enforcement of the lien, on the other hand, can only take place once a final money judgment has been secured in favor of the client. The enforcement of the lien is a claim for attorney's fees that may be prosecuted in the very action where the attorney rendered his services or in a separate action.

Respondent did not satisfy all the elements of a valid retaining lien. He did not present evidence as to an unsatisfied claim for attorney’s fees. The enumeration of cases he worked on for complainants

Lastly, the enforcement of a charging lien can only take place after a final money judgment has been rendered in favor of the client.17 The lien only attaches to the money judgment due to the client and is contingent on the final determination of the main case. Until the money judgment has become final


remains unsubstantiated. When there is no unsatisfied claim for attorney’s fees, lawyers cannot validly retain their client’s funds or properties.[4]

further strengthen complainant's position in the case, plus (20%) of the total area of the subject

Furthermore, assuming that respondent had proven all the requisites for a valid retaining lien, he cannot appropriate for himself his client’s funds without the proper accounting and notice to the client. The rule is that when there is “a disagreement, or when the client disputes the amount claimed by the lawyer . . . the lawyer should not arbitrarily apply the funds in his possession to the payment of his fees. . . .”[5]


- versus-


property as additional fees for his services.

Complainant did not accede to respondent's demand for it was contrary to their agreement. As a result of complainant's refusal to satisfy respondent's demands, the latter became furious and their

A. C. No. 6281 Present:

relationship became sore.

PERALTA, J., Acting Chairperson, ABAD, PEREZ,* MENDOZA, and PERLAS-BERNABE, JJ. Promulgated:

Issue: WON the lawyer is entitled to a retaining lien. Ruling:

September 26, 2011

An attorney's retaining lien is fully recognized if the presence of the following elements concur: (1) lawyer-client relationship; (2) lawful possession of the client's funds, documents and papers; and (3) unsatisfied claim for attorney's fees.[9] Further, the attorney's retaining lien is a general lien for the balance of the account between the attorney and his client, and applies to the documents and


funds of the client which may come into the attorney's possession in the course of his employment. [10]

FACTS: In the present case, complainant claims that there is no such agreement for the payment of

Complainant Valentin C. Miranda is one of the owners of a parcel of land located Metro Manila. In

professional fee consisting of 20% of the total area of the subject property and submits that their

1994, complainant initiated (LRC) Case for the registration of the aforesaid property. During the

agreement was only for the payment of the acceptance fee and the appearance fees.

course of the proceedings, complainant engaged the services of respondent Atty. Carpio as counsel in

There was no proof of any agreement between the complainant and the respondent that the latter is

the said case when his original counsel, figured in a vehicular accident.

entitled to an additional professional fee consisting of 20% of the total area covered by OCT No. 094. The agreement between the parties only shows that respondent will be paid the acceptance fee

Complainant and respondent agreed that complainant was to pay respondent (PhP20,000.00) as

and the appearance fees, which the respondent has duly received. Clearly, there is no unsatisfied

acceptance fee and (PhP2,000.00) as appearance fee. Complainant paid respondent the amounts due

claim for attorney's fees that would entitle respondent to retain his client's property. Hence,

him, as evidenced by receipts. During the last hearing of the case, respondent demanded the

respondent could not validly withhold the title of his client absence a clear and justifiable claim.

additional amount of (PhP10,000.00) for the preparation of a memorandum, which he said would


As above-discussed, respondent borrowed money from complainants who were his clients and whose interests, by the lack of any security on the loan, were not fully protected. Owing to their trust and confidence in respondent, complainants relied solely on the former’s word that he will return the money plus interest within five (5) days. However, respondent abused the same and reneged on his obligation, giving his previous clients the runaround up to this day. Accordingly, there is no quibble that respondent violated Rule 16.04 of the CPR.

A.C. No. 10681, February 03, 2015 SPOUSES HENRY A. CONCEPCION AND BLESILDA S. CONCEPCION, Complainants, v. ATTY. ELMER A. DELA ROSA, Respondent. This is an administrative case that stemmed from a Verified Complaint 1 filed by complainants Spouses Henry A. Concepcion (Henry) and Blesilda S. Concepcion (Blesilda; collectively complainants) against respondent Atty. Elmer A. dela Rosa (respondent), charging him with gross misconduct for violating, among others, Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).

A.C. No. 7387, November 07, 2016



Respondent served as the retained lawyer and counsel of the complainant. In this capacity, respondent handled many of their cases and was consulted on various legal matters, among others, the prospect of opening a pawnshop business. Said business, however, failed to materialize.4chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary


Aware of the fact that complainants had money intact from their failed business venture, respondent, called Henry to borrow the amount of P2,500,000.00, which he promised to return, with interest, five (5) days thereafter. Henry consulted his wife, Blesilda, who, believing that respondent would be soon returning the money, agreed to lend the aforesaid sum to respondent.

(The Zalamea brothers) sought respondent Atty. Rodolfo P. de Guzman, Jr.'s advice on the properties of their ailing mother, Merlinda L. Zalamea, who had a property situated at Scout Limbaga, Quezon City under her name. When Merlinda passed away, De Guzman prepared the incorporation of the Scout Limbaga property to Merlinda Holding Corp to incporporate Merlinda’s estate.

Upon receiving the checks, respondent signed a piece of paper containing: (a) photocopies of the checks; and (b) an acknowledgment that he received the originals of the checks and that he agreed to return the P2,500,000.00, plus monthly interest of five percent (5%), within five (5) days. 7 The foregoing checks were personally encashed by respondent. 8chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

The Zalameas put up EMZEE FOODS INC., (EMZEE) a corporation engaged in lechon business, with De Guzman providing the capital and operational funds. Sometime in 2002, Manuel Enrique informed De Guzman about the property located at Speaker Perez St. (Speaker Perez property) which was then under the name of Elarfoods, Inc. (Elarfoods), a corporation owned and run by the Zalamea brothers' aunts and uncles. The property had been mortgaged to BDO and the bank foreclosed it when ELARFOODs failed to pay. The ownership over the property was transferred in BDO's name.

On the day respondent promised to return the money, he failed to pay complainants. Complainants began demanding payment but respondent merely made repeated promises to pay soon. ISSUE:

Later, Manuel Enrique approached De Guzman and convinced him to help in the reacquisition of the Speaker Perez property from BDO. De Guzman thus negotiated with BDO and was able to secure a deal over the property. Due to lack of funds on Manuel Enrique's part, De Guzman's wife, Angel, agreed to shoulder the downpayment in order not to lose the good opportunity, but under the condition that the Speaker Perez property would later be transferred in the name of a new corporation they had agreed to form, the EMZALDEK Venture Corporation, a combination of the names EMZEE Foods, Zalamea, and Dek de Guzman. By this time, EMZEE had also relocated to Speaker Perez.

whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for violating the CPR. Ruling: Under Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the CPR, a lawyer is prohibited from borrowing money from his client unless the client’s interests are fully protected.svirtuallawlibrary

Not long after, the relationship, between the Zalamea brothers and the Spouses De Guzman turned sour. The Spouses De Guzman wanted reimbursement of the amounts which they had advanced for the corporation, while the Zalamea brothers claimed sole ownership over the Speaker Perez property. Hence, the brothers filed a disbarment case against De Guzman for allegedly buying a client's property which was subject of litigation.

The Court has repeatedly emphasized that the relationship between a lawyer and his client is one imbued with trust and confidence. And as true as any natural tendency goes, this “trust and confidence” is prone to abuse. The rule against borrowing of money by a lawyer from his client is intended to prevent the lawyer from taking advantage of his influence over his client. 46 The rule presumes that the client is disadvantaged by the lawyer’s ability to use all the legal maneuverings to renege on his obligation.47




Issue: WON the petitioner is entitled to an amount on a verbal agreement with the deceased on the basis of quantum merit

Canon 16 provides that "a lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession." Further, Section 3, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court requires every lawyer to take an oath to obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities. And for any violation of this oath, a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred by the Court. All of these underscore the role of the lawyer as the vanguard of our legal system. The transgression of any provision of law by a lawyer is a repulsive and reprehensible act which the Court will never countenance.6chanrobleslaw

Ruling: In order to resolve the issues in this case, it is necessary to discuss the two concepts of attorney’s fees – ordinary and extraordinary. In its ordinary sense, it is the reasonable compensation paid to a lawyer by his client for legal services rendered. In its extraordinary concept, it is awarded by the court to the successful litigant to be paid by the losing party as indemnity for damages.13

However, the prohibition which the Zalameas invoke does not apply where the property purchased was not involved in litigation. De Guzman clearly never acquired any of his client's properties or interests involved in litigation in which he may take part by virtue of his profession. There exists not even an iota of proof indicating that said property has ever been involved in any litigation in which De Guzman took part by virtue of his profession. True, they had previously sought legal advice from De Guzman but only on how to handle their mother's estate, which likewise did not involve the contested property. Neither was it shown that De Guzman's law firm had taken part in any litigation involving the Speaker Perez property.

The award that the court may grant to a successful party by way of attorney’s fee is an indemnity for damages sustained by him in prosecuting or defending, through counsel, his cause in court. It may be decreed in favor of the party, not his lawyer, in any of the instances authorized by law. On the other hand, the attorney’s fee which a client pays his counsel refers to the compensation for the latter’s services. The fee as an item of damages belongs to the party litigant and not to his lawyer. It forms part of his judgment recoveries against the losing party. The client and his lawyer may, however, agree that whatever attorney’s fee as an element of damages the court may award shall pertain to the lawyer as his compensation or as part thereof. In such a case, the court upon proper motion may require the losing party to pay such fee directly to the lawyer of the prevailing party.

Clearly, the relationship between the Spouses De Guzman and the Zalamea brothers is actually one of business partners rather than that of a lawyer and client. Atty. De Guzman's acquisition of the Speaker Perez property was a valid consequence of a business deal, not by reason of a lawyer-client relationship, for Which he could not be penalized by the Court. De Guzman and his wife are very well allowed by law to enter into such a transaction and their conduct in this regard was not borne out to have been attended by any undue influence, deceit, or misrepresentation.

In the case at bench, the attorney’s fees being claimed by the petitioner refers to the compensation for professional services rendered, and not as indemnity for damages. He is demanding payment from respondents for having successfully handled the civil case filed by Chong against Spouses de Guzman. The award of attorney’s fees by the RTC in the amount of P10,000.00 in favor of Spouses de Guzman, which was subsequently affirmed by the CA and this Court, is of no moment. The said award, made in its extraordinary concept as indemnity for damages, forms part of the judgment recoverable against the losing party and is to be paid directly to Spouses d3e Guzman (substituted by respondents) and not to petitioner.


It is well settled that a claim for attorney’s fees may be asserted either in the very action in which the services of a lawyer had been rendered or in a separate action.

Spouses Pedro and Rosita de Guzman (Spouses de Guzman) engaged the legal services of Atty. Francisco L. Rosario, Jr. (petitioner) as defense counsel in the complaint filed against them by one Loreta A. Chong (Chong) for annulment of contract and recovery of possession with damages involving a parcel of land in Parañaque City. Petitioner’s legal services commenced from the RTC and ended up in this Court.3 Spouses de Guzman, represented by petitioner, won their case at all levels. While the case was pending before this Court, Spouses de Guzman died in a vehicular accident. Thereafter, they were substituted by their children, the (respondents).4

With respect to the first situation, the remedy for recovering attorney’s fees as an incident of the main action may be availed of only when something is due to the client. Attorney’s fees cannot be determined until after the main litigation has been decided and the subject of the recovery is at the disposition of the court. The issue over attorney’s fees only arises when something has been recovered from which the fee is to be paid. While a claim for attorney’s fees may be filed before the judgment is rendered, the determination as to the propriety of the fees or as to the amount thereof will have to be held in abeyance until the main case from which the lawyer’s claim for attorney’s fees may arise has become final. Otherwise, the determination to be made by the courts will be premature. Of course, a petition for attorney’s fees may be filed before the judgment in favor of the client is satisfied or the proceeds thereof delivered to the client.

Petitioner filed the Motion to Determine Attorney’s Fees 5 before the RTC. He alleged, among others, that he had a verbal agreement with the deceased Spouses de Guzman that he would get 25% of the market value of the subject land if the complaint filed against them by Chong would be dismissed. Despite the fact that he had successfully represented them, respondents refused his written demand for payment of the contracted attorney’s fees. Petitioner insisted that he was entitled to an amount equivalent to 25% percent of the value of the subject land on the basis of quantum meruit.


It is apparent from the foregoing discussion that a lawyer has two options as to when to file his claim for professional fees. Hence, private respondent was well within his rights when he made his claim and waited for the finality of the judgment for holiday pay differential, instead of filing it ahead of the award’s complete resolution. To declare that a lawyer may file a claim for fees in the same action only before the judgment is reviewed by a higher tribunal would deprive him of his aforestated options and render ineffective the foregoing pronouncements of this Court. [Emphases and underscoring supplied]

As earlier mentioned, petitioner served as defense counsel for deceased Spouses de Guzman and respondents for almost seventeen (17) years. The Court is certain that it was not an easy task for petitioner to defend his clients’ cause for such a long period of time, considering the heavy and demanding legal workload of petitioner which included the research and preparation of pleadings, the gathering of documentary proof, the court appearances, and the various legal work necessary to the defense of Spouses de Guzman. It cannot be denied that petitioner devoted much time and energy in handling the case for respondents. Given the considerable amount of time spent, the diligent effort exerted by petitioner, and the quality of work shown by him in ensuring the successful defense of his clients, petitioner clearly deserves to be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees for services rendered. Justice and equity dictate that petitioner be paid his professional fee based on quantum meruit.


With respect to petitioner’s entitlement to the claimed attorney’s fees, it is the Court’s considered view that he is deserving of it and that the amount should be based on quantum meruit.

G.R. No. 160334

Quantum meruit – literally meaning as much as he deserves – is used as basis for determining an attorney’s professional fees in the absence of an express agreement. The recovery of attorney’s fees on the basis of quantum meruit is a device that prevents an unscrupulous client from running away with the fruits of the legal services of counsel without paying for it and also avoids unjust enrichment on the part of the attorney himself. An attorney must show that he is entitled to reasonable compensation for the effort in pursuing the client’s cause, taking into account certain factors in fixing the amount of legal fees.20

September 11, 2006

GUENTER BACH, petitioner, vs. ONGKIKO KALAW MANHIT & ACORDA LAW OFFICES, respondent. FACTS: Petitioner Guenter Bach engaged the services of respondent law firm Ongkiko Kalaw Manhit & Accorda Law Offices to represent him in a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage. The parties signed a "Fee Agreement," for the legal services to be rendered by respondent.

Rule 20.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility lists the guidelines for determining the proper amount of attorney fees, to wit:cralavvonlinelawlibrary Rule 20.1 – A lawyer shall be guided by the following factors in determining his fees:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

However, Respondent withdrew its appearance as counsel of petitioner, due to policy differences. Respondent sent the termination billing3 for the services they rendered and billed petitioner the total amount of P1,000,000.00 plus 2% interest for every month of delay in payment, based on the provision for termination of services stated in their Fee Agreement, thus: xxx

a) The time spent and the extent of the services rendered or required;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary b) The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

It is understood that you may terminate our services at any time. In such an event, we shall be entitled to collect fees for legal services already performed and results obtained based on quantum meruit."4

c) The importance of the subject matter;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary d) The skill demanded;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Respondent filed with the RTC a Notice5 of Charging Lien over the properties of the spouses Bach.

e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of the proffered case;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary


f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of the IBP chapter to which he belongs;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Whether or not under the concept of quantum meruit, the amount awarded by the trial court and CA, is excessive, unreasonable and unreasonable.

g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the service;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary


h) The contingency or certainty of compensation;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

The issue in this case concerns attorney's fees in the ordinary concept. Generally, the amount of attorney's fees due is that stipulated in the retainer agreement which is conclusive as to the amount of the lawyer's compensation. In the absence thereof, the amount of attorney's fees is fixed on the basis of quantum meruit, i.e., the reasonable worth of the attorney's services. Courts may ascertain also if the attorney's fees are found to be excessive, what is reasonable under the circumstances. 18 In

i) The character of the employment, whether occasional or established; and j) The professional standing of the lawyer.


no case, however, must a lawyer be allowed to recover more than what is reasonable, pursuant to Section 24, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, which provides:

In determining a reasonable fee to be paid to respondent as compensation for their services on quantum meruit, based on the factors abovequoted, it is proper to consider all the facts and circumstances obtaining in this case.

SEC. 24. Compensation of attorney's fees; agreement as to fees.- An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for his services, with a view to the importance of the subject - matter of the controversy, the extent of the services rendered, and the professional standing of the attorney. No court shall be bound by the opinion of attorneys as expert witnesses as to the proper compensation, but may disregard such testimony and base its conclusion on its own professional knowledge. A written contract for services shall control the amount to be paid therefor unless found by the court to be unconscionable or unreasonable. (Underscoring supplied.)

It is undisputed that respondent firm had rendered services as counsel for the petitioners. We do not find herein a situation so intricate that demands more than a careful scrutiny of the legal matters involved. These are simply the normal duties of a lawyer that he is bound by law to render to his clients with utmost fidelity for which his client must not be burdened to pay an extra price. It bears stressing that at the time respondent firm withdrew their appearance due to policy differences with petitioner, the case was still in its initial stage.

We have identified the circumstances to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a claim for attorney's fees as follows: (1) the amount and character of the service rendered; (2) labor, time, and trouble involved; (3) the nature and importance of the litigation or business in which the services were rendered; (4) the responsibility imposed; (5) the amount of money or the value of the property affected by the controversy or involved in the employment; (6) the skill and experience called for in the performance of the services; (7) the professional character and social standing of the attorney; (8) the results secured; and (9) whether the fee is absolute or contingent, it being recognized that an attorney may properly charge a much larger fee when it is contingent than when it is not. 19

Guided by the above yardstick and so much of the pertinent data as are extant in the records of this case and in the exercise of our sound discretion, we hold that the amount of P500,000.00 is a reasonable and fair compensation for the legal services rendered by respondent to the petitioner.

A.C. No. 8494, October 05, 2016

Rule 20.1, Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility enumerates the following factors which should guide a lawyer in determining his fees:


(a) the time spent and extent of services rendered or required;


(b) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;


(c) the importance of the subject matter;

A lawyer shall observe candor, honesty and fairness in dealing with his clients, and shall only charge fair and reasonable fees for his legal services. He should not excessively estimate the value of his professional services. In drawing up the terms of his professional engagement, he should not practice deceit. The clients are entitled to rescind the written agreement on his professional fees if the terms thereof contravened the true agreement of the parties.

(d) the skill demanded; (e) the probability of losing other employment as a result of the acceptance of the proffered case;


(f) the customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of the IBP Chapter to which he belongs;

Sps. Emilio and Alicia Jacinto filed an admin case against Atty. Bangot for unjust and dishonest treatment as her clients.

(g) the amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the service;

A private survey team had conducted a survey Lot pursuant to the order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 39, in Cagayan de Oro City in connection with the reconstitution of the lost certificate of title of said lot by the owners. After conducting the perimeter survey, the survey team had tried to enter the premises owned by them but they had prevented the team from doing so because their premises had already been segregated. The land had already been subdivided into nine lots and the survey team had then desisted from proceeding with their survey of their land but had nonetheless informed them that they would return another time for the survey. This forced them to consult a lawyer on the legal remedies to prevent the intrusion on their property. 2chanrobleslaw

(h) the contingency or certainty of compensation; (i) the character of the employment, whether occasional or established; and (j) the professional standing of the lawyer.

The complainants further averred that they had then consulted with the respondent, briefing him on


their concern, and delivering to him the documents pertinent to their land. After scrutinizing the documents, he had told them that he would be initiating a case for certiorari in their behalf to nullify the order for the reconstitution of the lost title.he had insinuated that one of their lots would be his attorney's fees.They had not initially agreed to the insinuation because the lots had already been allocated to each of their seven children, but they had ultimately consented to giving him only a portion of Lot.

of the Code of Professional Responsibility may serve as a guide, to wit: (a) the time spent and the extent of the services rendered or required; (b) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved; (c) the importance of the subject matter; (d) the skill demanded; (e) the probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of the proffered case; (f) the customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of the IBP chapter to which he belongs; (g) the amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the service; (h) the contingency or certainty of compensation; (i) the character of the employment, whether occasional or established; and j) the professional standing of the lawyer.

Respondent unilaterally prepared the document so-called Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). They had signed the MOA without knowing and reading the contents. Complainants offered to pay in cash, to revoke the said MOA. But Bangot refused to received.He refused our offer to pay his services in cash alleging that he already filed a Manifestation in court and claimed that our possession would not be disturbed and that he will be filing a case for Certiorari as promised.

It was not disputed that only the filing of the two-paged Manifestation for Information constituted the respondent's rendition of professional services for the complainants. Although he did claim that the filing of the Manifestation for Information had prevented any intrusion on their property, thereby fulfilling his end of the contract, 13 the worth of such minimal effort was exaggerated and disproportionate when taken in the context of the attorney's fees. The two-paged Manifestation for Information was not even the procedural precursor of the promised petition for certiorari. Moreover, he did not actually file the petition for certiorari as he had promised. And, lastly, he did nothing more after filing the Manifestation for Information. He certainly transgressed the Lawyer's Oath by receiving property of a substantial value from the complainants after having made them believe that he could ensure their land from intrusion by third parties. He took advantage of them who had reposed their full trust and confidence in his ability to perform the task by virtue of his being a lawyer. Surely, the totality of the respondent's actuations inevitably eroded public trust in the Legal Profession. On the basis of his acts and actuations, the attorney's fees in the form of the lot he charged from them were unconscionable and unreasonable, and should be struck down for failing to pass muster under the aforestated guidelines.

Issue Did the respondent violate his ethical duties as a member of the Bar in his dealings with the complainants? Ruling We find and hold that the respondent grossly violated his Lawyer's Oath and his ethical duties as an attorney because he did not observe candor and fairness in his dealings with his clients. To begin with, the conduct of Respondent had evinced an instinctive interest in the property of Complainants. He had the MOA executed at the same time he filed the Manifestation for Information before the court that was hearing LRC Case. Not only that, Respondent's proposal to have a MOA executed between him and the Complainant was meant to impress that his supposed attorney's fees would be paid on contingent basis, however, a perusal of the MOA indicates that the payment of Respondents' fee by way of a real property is being made immediately effective upon execution of the agreement.


But, the most shocking of all, is the apparent inequity or disproportion between the amount of attorney's fees (measured from the value of the property taken by Respondent) and the effort or service already performed or still to be performed by him. The Complainants were not made parties to the LRC case or any other case and Respondent filed a mere two-paged Manifestation for Information in court which he did almost effortlessly. It is not clear how the court had reacted to the manifestation but Respondent did not follow it up with [any] other action. Despite the same, Respondent stuck to his tale that the Complainants had signed [the] MOA and despite his minimal representation of the Complainants in court, he held on to his idea that he had taken from his clients valid title to a million [pesos] worth of real estate in payment of his fees.

DECISION PERALTA, J.: Before us is a special civil action for certiorari1 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, dated March 17, 2010, filed by Atty. Augusto M. Aquino (petitioner) assailing the Order dated January 11, 2010 issued by respondent Presiding Judge Ismael P. Casabar (public respondent), in relation to Agrarian Case No. 1217-G,2 for allegedly having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

The undersigned does not see fairness and judiciousness to Respondent's treatment of his clients, 81 and 76 years old, respectively, and he need not add to his brief disquisition in this regard.12chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary We adopt the findings and note the insights thus expressed. We must, therefore, highlight the following reasons why the findings and insights should be sustained. To determine the reasonableness of attorney's fees, the following factors as enumerated in Rule 20.1



Atty. Angel T. Domingo (now deceased) verbally contracted petitioner to represent him in Agrarian Case on a contingency fee basis. The case was for the determination of the just compensation for the expropriation and taking of Atty. Domingo's ricelands.

[A.C. NO. 7056 : September 13, 2006] PLUS BUILDERS, INC. and EDGARDO C. GARCIA, Complainants, v. ATTY. ANASTACIO E. REVILLA, JR., Respondent.

The RTC, acting as Special Agrarian Court (RTC/SAC) issued a Decision, fixing the just compensation for Atty. Domingo's property higher than the initial DAR and the Land Bank valuation. The appellate court affirmed in toto the SAC Decision.

FACTS: Plus Builders Inc. filed before the (PARAD) of DAR, DARAB CASE against the tenants/farmers.

Land Bank assailed the appellate court's decision and resolution before the Supreme Court via a petition for review on certiorari . However, in a Resolution, the Court denied the same for failure to sufficiently show any reversible error in the appellate court's decision.

Respondent Anastacio Revilla Jr., knowing that there was a monetary judgment by way of Disturbance Compensation granted to Tenants/Farmers, filed a 'Motion for Leave of Court to Allow Correction of Caption and Amendment of Judgment' with a prayer to include the name of the KALAYAAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION representing the following respondents herein above stated in the caption of [the] pleading.' A Contract of Retainership was attached to the Motion to make KDC represented by Respondent, [the] retained counsel on record'.

Aquino then requested her to inform the Land Bank of the segregation of petitioner's thirty percent (30%) contingent attorney's fees out of the increase of the just compensation, or thirty percent (30%) of the total increase. Petitioner filed a Motion for Approval of Charging Attorney's Lien and for the Order of Payment. 4 Petitioner further executed an Affidavit5, attesting to the circumstances surrounding the legal services he has rendered for the deceased Atty. Domingo and the successful prosecution of the Agrarian case from the RTC/SAC through the appellate court and the Supreme Court.

"Enraged by his defeat, Respondent filed a verified "Action to Quiet Title" before the Regional Trial Court of Imus, Cavite praying for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), among others, to deliberately and maliciously stop the enforcement of the Decisions of the higher courts to implement the PARAD Decision.


Respondent signed his pleading under a group of non-lawyers joining him in the practice of law as [KDC] LEGAL SERVICES, LAW OFFICERS AND ASSOCIATES which included KDC as law partners in violation of the Rules on the practice of law with non-lawyers. As a matter of fact, under the Retainership Contract submitted by Respondent before the PARAD of Cavite, it was specifically mentioned that legal fees were to be collected as counsel on record for the cooperative and respondent. Therefore, this contract was effectively used [for] unlawful solicitation of clients in the practice of law with non-lawyers, being the cooperative (KDC) to become "counsel on record [sic] x xx.

WHETHER OR NOT A CHARGING (ATTORNEY'S) LIEN CAN EFFECTIVELY BE FILED ONLY BEFORE JUDGMENT IS RENDERED.cralawred RULING While a claim for attorney’s fees may be filed before the judgment is rendered, the determination as to the propriety of the fees or as to the amount thereof will have to be held in abeyance until the main case from which the lawyer’s claim for attorney’s fees may arise has become final. Otherwise, the determination to be made by the courts will be premature. Of course, a petition for attorney’s fees may be filed before the judgment in favor of the client is satisfied or the proceeds thereof delivered to the client.

Issue: WON it is proper to sign a pleading under a group of non-lawyers. Ruling

It is apparent from the foregoing discussion that a lawyer has two options as to when to file his claim for professional fees. Hence, private respondent was well within his rights when he made his claim and waited for the finality of the judgment for holiday pay differential, instead of filing it ahead of the award’s complete resolution. To declare that a lawyer may file a claim for fees in the same action only before the judgment is reviewed by a higher tribunal would deprive him of his aforestated options and render ineffective the foregoing pronouncements of this Court.15

Moreover, we agree with the finding of IBP Commissioner Espina that the silence or failure of respondent to challenge the allegation that he allowed non-lawyers to engage in the unauthorized practice of law may be deemed an admission of the truth of the accusation. We note that complainants successfully substantiated their claim that respondent, who held himself out as a law partner of the "KDC Legal Services, Law Offices and Associates," was rendering legal services together with persons not licensed to practice law. His silence on this accusation is deemed an admission, especially because he had every chance to deny it. 21 "The lawyer's duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded on public interest and policy. Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character. The permissive right conferred on the


lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal 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 law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves upon a lawyer to see that this purpose is attained. Thus, the canons and ethics of the profession enjoin him not to permit his professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to make possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any agency, personal or corporate. And, the law makes it a misbehavior on his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the unauthorized practice of law." 23

their clients, in accordance with the values and norms embodied in the Code. 11 Lawyers may, thus, be disciplined for any conduct that is wanting of the above standards whether in their professional or in their private capacity. In the present case, respondent's defense that forgery had attended the execution of the August letter was belied by his July letter admitting to have undertaken the payment of complainant's commission but passing on the responsibility to Sps. Yap. Clearly, respondent has violated Rule 9.02,12 Canon 9 of the Code which prohibits a lawyer from dividing or stipulating to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to practice law, except in certain cases which do not obtain in the case at bar.

Respondent failed to live up to the exacting standards expected of him as a vanguard of law and justice. In line with jurisprudence, he is held liable for gross misconduct and is suspended from the practice of law.24

A.C. No. 6934 [A.C. NO. 6116 - August 1, 2012]

HELEN CHANG, Complainant, vs. ATTY. JOSE R. HIDALGO, Respondent.





A lawyer cannot simply withdraw from a case without notice to the client and complying with the requirements in Rule 138, Section 26 of the Rules of Court. Otherwise, the lawyer will be held liable for violating Canons 17 and 18 ofthe Code of Professional Responsibility.

Complainant narrated that respondent undertook to give him 20% commission, later reduced to 10%, of the attorney's fees the latter would receive in representing Spouses Amable and Rosalinda Yap (Sps. Yap), whom he referred, in an action for partition. Their agreement was reflected in a letter 2. However, respondent failed to pay him the agreed commission notwithstanding receipt of attorney's fees amounting to 17% of the total estate or about P 40 million. Instead, he was informed through a letter3that Sps. Yap assumed to pay the same after respondent had agreed to reduce his attorney's fees. He then demanded the payment of his commission 4 which respondent ignored.

Facts: Chang alleged that she engaged the services of Atty. Hidalgo as legal counsel to represent her in several collection cases pending in various courts.4 Pursuant to the contract they executed, Chang issued five (5) checks in favor of Atty. Hidalgo totaling ₱52,000.00. 5 Atty. Hidalgo also collected ₱9,500.00 as "hearing fee."6Chang claimed that despite receiving a total of ₱61,500.00, Atty. Hidalgo did not attend any of the hearings in the collection cases and, instead, sent another lawyer without her consent.7 The other lawyer failed to attend all hearings, which resulted in the dismissal of the cases.8 Chang prayed that Atty. Hidalgo be administratively disciplined by this Court. 9

Respondent explained that he accepted Sps. Yap's case on a 25% contingent fee basis, a nd advanced all the expenses. He disputed the letter for being a forgery and claimed that Sps. Yap assumed to pay complainant's commission which he clarified in his letter. He, thus, smissal of the complaint and for the filing a baseless complaint.6ςrνll corresponding sanction against complainant's counsel, Atty. Florencio B. prayed for the diGonzales, for





We find respondent remiss of his duties as complainant’s counsel.

The practice of law is considered a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that they possess and continue to possess the legal qualifications for the profession. As such, lawyers are expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing, and must perform their four-fold duty to society, the legal profession, the courts and

In Layos v. Villanueva,60 this Court reiterated that a "lawyer must constantly keep in mind that his [or her] actions, omissions, or nonfeasance would be binding upon his [or her] client." 61


Due to respondent’s withdrawal as complainant’s counsel for the cases, he did not anymore attend any of the hearings. Since the withdrawal was without the conformity of complainant, new counsel was not engaged. This necessarily resulted in the summary dismissal of the collection cases as alleged by complainant.

as a major block to the compromise agreement. To remove the Intervenor, the only way is to terminate its services as her legal counsel. Issues

Complainant could have obtained the services of another lawyer to represent her and handle her cases with the utmost zeal and diligence expected from officers of the court. However, respondent simply opted to withdraw from the cases without complying with the requirements under the Rules of Court and in complete disregard of his obligations towards his client.

G.R. No. 183952

whether or not the Motion for Intervention to protect attorney’s rights can prosper, and, if so, how much could it recover as attorney’s fees. Ruling: In the absence of the lawyer’s fault, consent or waiver, a client cannot deprive the lawyer of his just fees already earned in the guise of a justifiable reason. Here, Malvar not only downplayed the worth of the Intervenor’s legal service to her but also attempted to camouflage her intent to defraud her lawyer by offering excuses that were not only inconsistent with her actions but, most importantly, fell short of being justifiable.

September 9, 2013


The letter Malvar addressed to Retired Justice Bellosillo, who represented the Intervenor, debunked her allegations of unsatisfactory legal service because she thereby lavishly lauded the Intervenor for its dedication and devotion to the prosecution of her case and to the protection of her interests. Also significant was that the attorney-client relationship between her and the Intervenor was not severed upon Atty. Dasal’s appointment to public office and Atty. Llasos’ resignation from the law firm. In other words, the Intervenor remained as her counsel of record, for, as we held in Rilloraza, Africa, De Ocampo and Africa v. Eastern Telecommunication Philippines, Inc., 50 a client who employs a law firm engages the entire law firm; hence, the resignation, retirement or separation from the law firm of the handling lawyer does not terminate the relationship, because the law firm is bound to provide a replacement.

DECISION BERSAMIN, J.: Although the practice of law is not a business, an attorney is entitled to be properly compensated for the professional services rendered for the client, who is bound by her express agreement to duly compensate the attorney. The client may not deny her attorney such just compensation.

The stipulations of the written agreement between Malvar and the Intervenors, not being contrary to law, morals, public policy, public order or good customs, were valid and binding on her. They expressly gave rise to the right of the Intervenor to demand compensation. In a word, she could not simply walk away from her contractual obligations towards the Intervenor, for Article 1159 of the Civil Code provides that obligations arising from contracts have the force of law between the parties and should be complied with in good faith.

FACTS: Kraft Foods (Phils.), Inc. hired Czarina Malvar . But she was placed under preventive suspension and ultimately terminated by KFPI. Malvar filed a complaint for illegal suspension and illegal dismissal against KFPI and Bautista in the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

To be sure, the Intervenor’s withdrawal from the case neither cancelled nor terminated the written agreement on the contingent attorney’s fees. Nor did the withdrawal constitute a waiver of the agreement. On the contrary, the agreement continued between them because the Intervenor’s Manifestation (with Motion to Withdraw as Counsel for Petitioner)explicitly called upon the Court to safeguard its rights under the written agreement

A motion for intervention was filed by Retired SC AJ Bellosilo to protect attorney’s right and sought both Malvar and KFPI jointly and severally liable for Intervenor’s contingent fees. Petitioner engaged the professional services of Intervenor on a contingency basis whereby they agreed in writing in connection with her labor case. To the Intervenor’s surprise, Malvar unceremoniously and without any justifiable reason terminated its legal service and required it to withdraw from the case. The Intervenor indicated that Malvar’s precipitate action had baffled, shocked and even embarrassed the Intervenor, because it had done everything legally possible to serve and protect her interest. It added that it could not recall any instance of conflict or misunderstanding with her, for, on the contrary, she had even commended it for its dedication and devotion to her case through a letter. According to the Intervenor, the compromise agreement was authored by the Respondent to evade possible loss, they saw Intervenor



View more...


Copyright ©2017 KUPDF Inc.