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VII.

LAWYER’S DUTIES TO COURTS obviously quixotic maneuvers expected to be


overthrown by the courts but calculated to delay
A. LAWYER OWES CANDOR AND FAIRNESS an execution long overdue.
TO THE COURTS
Had the petitioners and their counsels seriously
MERCEDES COBB-PEREZ AND DAMASO PEREZ VS believed that the levied shares of stock were
JUDGE GREGORIO LANTIN | 24 SCRA 291 (1968) conjugal property, why did they not adopt this
position from the very start, or, at the latest, in CA-
CASTRO, J.:
G.R. 29962-R, wherein Damaso Perez challenged
This is a motion for partial reconsideration of this the legality of the levy's coverage, in order to end
Court's decision of May 22, 1968, specifically the litigation with reasonable dispatch? They chose,
directed against the following observation therein however, to attack the execution in a piecemeal
made: fashion, causing the postponement of the
projected execution sale six times. More than eight
We feel compelled to observe that during the years after the finality of the judgment have
protracted litigation below, the petitioners resorted passed, and the same has yet to be satisfied.
to a series of actions and petitions, at some stages
alternatingly, abetted by their counsel, for the sole In a determined effort to prolong the litigation, the
purpose of thwarting the execution of a simple Perez spouses, as represented by their counsels,
money judgment which has long become final and sought the issuance of preliminary injunctions to
executory. Some of the actions were filed, only to restrain the execution of the final judgment in civil
be abandoned or withdrawn. The petitioners and case 39407 from courts which did not have
their counsel, far from viewing courts as sanctuaries jurisdiction and which would, as expected, initially
for those who seek justice, have tried to use them to or ultimately deny their prayer. For instance, after
subvert the very ends of justice. Damaso Perez bowed out temporarily from the
scene following the rendition of the
Corollarily, this Court assessed treble costs against aforementioned Court of Appeals decision, his wife,
the petitioners, to "be paid by their counsel.". Mercedez, Ruth Cobb-Perez, intruded into the
controversy and asked for an ex parte writ of
The herein movants, Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A.
preliminary injunction from the Court of First
N. Bolinas, counsels for the petitioners, while
Instance of Rizal in connection with civil case 7532
submitting to the judgment on the merits, seek
which she filed with the said court, knowing fully
reconsideration of the decision in so far as it reflects
well that the basic civil case 39407 was decided by
adversely upon their "professional conduct" and
the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch VII
condemns them to pay the treble costs adjudged
presided by the respondent Judge Lantin), which
against their clients.
latter court was the proper forum for any action
At first blush, the motion for reconsideration presents relative to the execution. Judge Eulogio Mencias of
a semblance of merit. After mature deliberation the Court of First Instance of Rizal, looking to Acosta
and patient reprobing into the records of the case, vs. Alvendia (L-14598, October 31, 1960), which held
however, we are of the firmer conviction that the that courts of first instance have no power to
protracted litigation, alluded to in the above- restrain acts outside their territorial jurisdictions, lifted
quoted portion of our decision, was designed to on October 4, 1963 the ex parte writ which he
cause delay, and the active participation of the previously issued enjoining the respondent sheriff
petitioners' counsels in this adventure is patent. from carrying out the execution sale. It is clear,
however, that Mrs. Perez and her counsels, the
After November 15, 1962 when the Court of movants, knew or ought to have known
Appeals rendered judgment sustaining Damaso beforehand that the Court of First Instance of Rizal
Perez' position with respect to the extent of the levy, did not have jurisdiction to issue the writ which Mrs.
the subsequent proceedings interposed Perez herself sought, and, anticipating the recall of
alternatingly by the petitioner spouses were the writ improvidently issued, on September 3, 1963,
1
a month before the said writ was actually lifted, mentioned motion to recall the controverted writ of
filed in the basic civil case 39407 an urgent motion execution.
to lift the writ of execution issued on August 15,
1961, alleging as justification the conjugal nature of The foregoing motion, far from seriously seeking the
the levied shares of stock and the personal nature reconsideration of the order of October 19, 1963,
of Damaso Perez' judgment debt, the very same which in the first place Damaso Perez could not
reasons advanced in civil case 7532 which was legally do for he was not even a party to the
then still pending in the Court of First Instance of denied "Urgent Motion to Recall Writ of Execution"
Rizal. Incidentally, Mrs. Perez failed to adduce any (filed by his wife alone), was merely an offer to
evidence in support of her aforesaid urgent motion, replace the levied stocks with supposed cash
as in fact neither she nor her counsels appeared dividends due to the Perez spouses as stockholders
during the scheduled hearing, prompting the in the Republic Bank.1 As a matter of fact, when
respondent judge to issue the following order: the motion was set for hearing on December 21,
1963, the counsels for Damaso Perez promised to
When the urgent motion to recall or lift writ of produce the said cash dividends within five days,
execution was called this morning for hearing, but the promise was never fulfilled.2 Consequently,
counsel for the movant did not appear despite the the respondent Judge on January 4, 1964, denied
fact that he had been duly notified of the motion the said motion for reconsideration.
for hearing. In view thereof the court assumes that
he is waiving his right to present evidence in support The above exposition of the circumstances relative
of his urgent motion to recall or lift writ of execution. to the protracted litigation clearly negates the
Said urgent motion is therefore deemed submitted avowal of the movants that "in none of the various
for resolution. incidents in the case at bar has any particular
counsel of petitioners acted with deliberate
Despite the recall of the aforementioned writ of aforethought to delay the enforcement of the
injunction by Judge Mencias on a disclaimer of judgment in Civil Case No. 39407." From the
jurisdiction (since the execution sought to be chronology of antecedent events, the fact
enjoined was ordered by another tribunal), Mrs. becomes inescapable that the Perez spouses,
Perez, now assisted by her husband who had coached by their counsels, had sallied forth on a
staged a comeback, prayed for the issuance of strategem of "remedies" projected to foil the lawful
another injunction, this time from Branch XXII of the execution of a simple money judgment. It is equally
Court of First Instance of Manila (not the same obvious that they foreshadowed their own reversals
Branch which issued the controverted writ of in the "remedies" they ventured to adopt, such that
execution), in connection with civil case 7532, then even before, one remedy had been exhausted,
still pending in the Court of First Instance of Rizal. As they interposed another until the case reached this
most probably anticipated anew by the Perez Court for the second time. 3 Meanwhile, justice was
spouses and their counsels, Judge Alikpala, delayed, and more than one member of this Court
presiding judge of Branch XXII, on November 8, are persuaded that justice was practically waylaid.
1963 denied the preliminary injunction sought, on
the ground, among others, that he had no power The movants also contend that even this Court
to interfere by injunction with the judgment or sanctions the aforesaid civil cases 7532 and 55292
decree of a court of concurrent or coordinate as the "proper remedy" when we said that.
jurisdiction. On the very day the injunction was
In reality, what they attacked is not the writ of
denied, Damaso Perez, as if expecting the reversal
execution, the validity and regularity of which are
from Judge Alikpala, was already prepared with
unchallenged, but the levy made by the
another "remedy," as in fact on that day, November
respondent Sheriff. In this regard, the remedy is not
8, 1963, he filed in the basic civil case 39407 an
the recall of the writ, but an independent action to
"Urgent Motion for Reconsideration" of the order of
enjoin the Sheriff from proceeding with the
October 19, 1963, which denied his wife's above-
projected sale, in which action the conjugal nature

2
of the levied stocks should be established as a basis she advanced in the former case, until the said civil
for the subsequent issuance of a permanent case 7532 was dismissed on November 9,
injunction, in the event of a successful claim. 1963, upon her own motion. Anent civil case 55292,
Incidentally, in the course of the protracted the Perez spouses virtually deserted the same when
litigation, the petitioners had already availed of this they instituted the herein petition for certiorari with
remedy in civil cases 7532 and 55292, only to urgent writ of preliminary injunction based on the
abandon it as they incessantly sought other, and same grounds proffered in the said civil case — until
often simultaneous, devices of thwarting the latter was also dismissed on March 20, 1964,
satisfaction of the judgment debt. (Emphasis with the consent of the parties because of the
supplied) . pendency then of the aforesaid petition
for certiorari.
And because of this statement, they now counter
that the said cases could not be branded as The movants further contend that "If there was
having been instituted for delay. delay, it was because petitioners' counsel
happened to be more assertive ... a quality of the
The reference we made to civil cases 7532 and lawyers (which) is not to be condemned."
55292 in the above-quoted statement must not be
considered out of context. We said that the A counsel's assertiveness in espousing with candour
petitioners incidentally had already availed of the and honesty his client's cause must be encouraged
suggested remedy only in the sense that said civil and is to be commended; what we do not and
cases 7532 and 55292 were apparently instituted to cannot countenance is a lawyer's insistence
prove the conjugal nature of the levied shares of despite the patent futility of his client's position, as in
stocks in question. We used the the case at bar.
word incidentally advisedly to show that in their
incessant search for devices to thwart the It is the duty of a counsel to advise his client,
controverted execution, they accidentally ordinarily a layman to the intricacies and vagaries
stumbled on the suggested remedy. But the said of the law, on the merit or lack of merit of his case. If
civil cases were definitely not the "proper remedy" he finds that his client's cause is defenseless, then it
in so far as they sought the issuance of writs of is his bounden duty to advise the latter to
preliminary injunction from the Court of First acquiesce and submit, rather than traverse the
Instance of Rizal and the Court of First Instance of incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist the whims and
Manila (Branch XXII) where civil cases 7532 and caprices of his client, and temper his client's
55292 were filed respectively, for the said courts did propensity to litigate. A lawyer's oath to uphold the
not have jurisdiction to restrain the enforcement of cause of justice is superior to his duty to his client; its
the writ of execution issued by the Court of First primacy is indisputable.
Instance of Manila (Branch VII) under the settled
The movants finally state that the "Petitioners have
doctrines that Courts are without power to restrain
several counsel in this case but the participation of
acts outside of their territorial jurisdiction 4 or
each counsel was rather limited implying that the
interfere with the judgment or decree of a court of
decision of this Court ordering that "treble costs are
concurrent or coordinate jurisdiction. 5 However,
assessed against the petitioners, which shall be paid
the recall and the denial of the writs of preliminary
by their counsel" is not clear. The word "counsel"
injunction in civil cases 7532 and 55292 did not
may be either singular or plural in construction, so
amount to the termination or dismissal of the
that when we said "counsel" we meant the counsels
principal action in each case. Had the Perez
on record of the petitioners who were responsible
spouses desired in earnest to continue with the said
for the inordinate delay in the execution of the final
cases they could have done so. But the fact is that
judgment in the basic civil case 39407, after the
Mrs. Perez practically abandoned civil case 7532
Court of Appeals had rendered its aforementioned
when she instituted the above mentioned urgent
decision of November 15, 1962. And it is on record
motion to recall writ of execution in the basic civil
that the movants are such counsels. Atty. Bolinas,
case 39407, anchored on the same grounds which
3
upon his own admission, "entered his appearance portions of public land situated in Barrio Baluarte,
in the case at bar about the time the Court of First Municipality of Bulacan, Province of Bulacan, and
Instance of Manila dismissed the petitioners' Petition that lease contracts 4 had been executed in their
for Relief in Civil Case No. 39407," or about August 3, favor by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
1961 and even prior to the Court of Appeals Resources. Respondent prayed in the complaint
decision above-mentioned. Atty. Baizas claims that that his clients (the Alvendias) be declared “bona
he "became petitioners' counsel only in October, fide lessees of the land in controversy . . . .” 5In an
1963 when he filed, with Atty. A.N. Bolinao, Jr. Civil Order dated 2 October 1969, 6 the CFI dismissed
Case No. 55292 before the Court of First Instance of the complaint filed in Civil Case No. 3330-M for non-
Manila presided by the Hon. Judge Alikpala appearance of the Alvendias.
although it appears on record that the urgent
motion to recall writ of execution filed by Mrs. Perez On 18 June 1966, Congress passed Republic Act
in the basic civil case 39407 on September 3, 1963, No. 470, which provides:
was over the signature of one Ruby Zaida of the
“SECTION 1. The parcel of public domain
law firm of "Crispin Baizas & Associates" as counsel
comprising a portion of the foreshore fronting the
for Mrs. Perez. It is to be recalled that the said
Manila Bay along the Province of Bulacan . . . is
urgent motion is the same motion discussed above,
hereby withdrawn from sale or settlement and
which, curiously enough, antedated by at least one
reserved for communal fishing ground purposes
month the lifting of the writ of preliminary injunction
which shall hereafter be called the Bulacan Fishing
issued in civil case 7532.
Reservation.” 7
ACCORDINGLY, the motion for partial
It appears that the foreshore land being occupied
reconsideration is denied. Our decision of May 22,
by the Alvendias was part of the communal fishing
1968 is hereby modified in the sense that Attys.
ground reserved by Republic Act No. 470.
Crispin D. Baizas and A.N. Bolinao, Jr. shall pay
jointly and severally the treble costs assessed On 8 November 1977, respondent filed, on behalf of
against the petitioners. the Alvendias, Amended Application for Original
Registration of Title 8 in Land Registration Case
CHAVEZ VS VIOLA| 196 SCRA 10 (1991)
(“LRC”) No. 3711-M with the then CFI of Bulacan
PER CURIAM: praying that the land covered by Psu-141243, Amd.
2 9 be registered in the name of the spouses
In a letter-complaint dated 9 May 1990 1 addressed Alvendias. Respondent alleged in the Amended
to this Court, complainant Teodoro I. Chavez Application that the applicant Alvendias were the
prayed for the disbarment of or other appropriate owners of the land, they having acquired the same
penalty upon respondent Escolastico R. Viola, a from one Teresita Vistan by sale sometime in 1929.
member of the Philippine Bar, for gross misconduct
or malpractice. It is petitioner’s contention that respondent, in filing
the Amended Application for Original Registration
The letter-complaint stated that respondent Viola of Title in LRC No. 3711-M stating that his clients
was engaged by Felicidad Alvendia, Jesus were the owners of the property applied for despite
Alvendia and Jesus Alvendia, Jr. as their counsel in his full knowledge of the fact that his clients were
connection with Civil Case No. 3330-M 2 filed mere lessees of the land in controversy as so
sometime in 1966 with the then Court of First described in the complaint respondent had filed in
Instance (“CFI”) of Bulacan against Teodoro Civil Case No. 3330-M, had willingly aided in and
Chavez (herein complainant), Lucia dela Cruz, consented to the pursuit, promotion and
Alpon dela Cruz and Eugenio dela Cruz. In the prosecution of a false and unlawful application for
complaint, 3 respondent alleged, on behalf of the land registration, in violation of his oath of office as
Alvendias (plaintiffs therein), that Felicidad Alvendia a member of the Bar.
and Jesus Alvendia were the holders of Foreshore
Lease Applications Nos. V-1284 and 2807 covering
4
In his Answer, 10 respondent alleged that the In a Report 13 dated 28 February 1990, the Solicitor
Application for Original Registration of Title was General stated that:
originally instituted by one Atty. Montesclaro, and
when said lawyer withdrew his appearance therein, “In his answer to the letter complaint, respondent
respondent filed the Amended Application for avers that his clients, i.e., the Alvendias, have the
Original Registration of Title; that he believed his right to apply for registration of the land in question.
clients had the right to apply for the registration of
However, respondent does not deny that he
the land; and that assuming his clients did not in
prepared and signed the Amended Application for
fact have any such right, the court where the
Original Registration of Title in Land Reg. Case No.
Application for Original Registration of Title was filed
3711-M wherein he alleged that the Alvendias are
had not yet passed upon it; hence, this complaint
the owners of the land covered by Psu 141243,
for disbarment was filed prematurely.
Amd. 2. Respondent does not offer any explanation
Complainant filed a Reply to the Answer. 11 at all as to why his submission in said application
was diametrically opposite to his allegations in the
In a Resolution dated 29 October 1980, the Court complaint in the earlier Civil Case No. 3330-M that
resolved to refer the case to the Solicitor General the Alvendias were permittees and later the lessees
for investigation, report and recommendation. of the same property.

On 11 March 1981, respondent filed a Motion to It is evident, then, that respondent has knowingly
Dismiss 12 the complaint for disbarment. In said made a false statement to the court in the land
Motion, he alleged for the second time that he registration case. As proven by complaint,
was not the original lawyer who filed the respondent has willingly aided and consented in
application in the land registration case, but a the filing and prosecution of a groundless, if not
certain Atty. Montesclaro. Respondent further false, application for land registration, in violation of
alleged: his oath as a lawyer and member of the bar. 14

“. . . Your respondent, not content with just having It is well to stress again that the practice of law is
conferred with Atty. Montesclaro when he took not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State on
over, even went to the extent of verifying from the those who show that they possess, and continue to
Bureau of Lands if the application was proper. The possess, the qualifications required by law for the
Legal Department of the Bureau of Lands assured conferment of such privilege. 15 One of those
your respondent that it was. He was informed that requirements is the observance of honesty and
judicial application for registration is one of the candor. It cannot be gainsaid that candidness,
methods of acquiring such lands, said lands being especially towards the courts, is essential for the
‘alienable and disposable.’ There are, however, expeditious administration of justice. Courts are
other means of obtaining the said lands, but the entitled to expect only complete candor and
applicants (with Atty. Montesclaro) chose the honesty from the lawyers appearing and pleading
present action for land registration. before them. A lawyer, on the other hand, has the
fundamental duty to satisfy that expectation.
Undersigned wishes to point out that he merely took Otherwise, the administration of justice would
over from the original lawyer when said counsel gravely suffer if indeed it could proceed at all. It is
withdrew his appearance. Your respondent, hence, essential that lawyers bear in mind at all times that
was in good faith when he took over the land their first duty is not to their clients but rather to the
registration case, subject matter of this present courts, that they are above all officers of court
administrative investigation.” sworn to assist the courts in rendering justice to all
and sundry, and only secondarily are they
The Court, in a Resolution dated 8 June 1981,
advocates of the exclusive interests of their clients.
forwarded the Motion to Dismiss to the Solicitor
For this reason, he is required to swear to do no
General.

5
falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Resolution shall be spread on the personal record of
court. 16 respondent in the Office of the Bar Confidant.

In the instant case, respondent Viola alleged in an SANTA PANGAN VS ATTY. DIONISIO RAMOS
earlier pleading that his clients were merely lessees 93 SCRA 87 (1979)
of the property involved. In his later pleading, he
stated that the very same clients were owners of ANTONIO, J.: This has reference to the motion of
the same property. One of these pleadings must complainant, Santa Pangan, to cite respondent
have been false; it matters not which one. What Dionisio Ramos for contempt. It appears from the
does matter is that respondent, who, as a member record that on September 7, 1978 and March 13,
of the ancient and learned profession of the law, 1979, the hearings in this administrative case were
had sworn to do no falsehood before the courts, postponed on the basis of respondent's motions for
did commit one. It was incumbent upon postponement. These motions were predicated on
respondent to explain how or why he committed respondent's allegations that on said dates he had
no falsehood in pleading two (2) incompatible a case set for hearing before Branch VII, Court of
things; he offered no explanation, other than that First Instance of Manila, entitled People v. Marieta
he had not originated but merely continued the M. Isip (Criminal Case No. 35906). Upon verification,
registration proceedings when he filed the the attorney of record of the accused in said case
Amended Application, and that he really believed is one "Atty. Pedro D.D. Ramos, 306 Dona Salud
his clients were entitled to apply for registration of Bldg., Dasmarinas Manila." Respondent admits that
their rights. Respondent’s excuses ring very hollow; he used the name of "Pedro D.D. Ramos" before
we agree with the Solicitor General and the said court in connection with Criminal Case No.
complainant that those excuses do not exculpate 35906, but avers that he had a right to do so
the respondent. because in his Birth Certificate (Annex "A"), his
name is "Pedro Dionisio Ramos", and -his parents are
It is clear to the Court that respondent Viola Pedro Ramos and Carmen Dayaw, and that the
violated his lawyer’s oath and as well Canon 22 of D.D. in "Pedro D.D. Ramos" is but an abbreviation of
the Canons of Professional Ethics which stated that "Dionisio Dayaw his other given name and maternal
“[t]he conduct of the lawyer before the court and surname.
with other lawyers should be characterized by
candor and fairness” (now Canon 10 of the Code This explanation of respondent is untenable. The
of Professional Responsibility prescribing that “[a] name appearing in the "Roll of Attorneys" is "Dionisio
lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the D. Ramos". The attorney's roll or register is the official
courts”). He has been deplorably lacking in the record containing the names and signatures of
candor required of him as a member of the Bar and those who are authorized to practice law. A lawyer
an officer of the court. In his apparent zeal to is not authorized to use a name other than the one
secure the title to the property involved for his inscribed in the Roll of Attorneys in his practice of
clients, he disregarded his overriding duty to the law.
court and to the law itself.
The official oath obliges the attorney solemnly to
WHEREFORE, finding respondent Escolastico R. Viola swear that he will do no falsehood". As an officer in
guilty of committing a falsehood in violation of his the temple of justice, an attorney has irrefragable
lawyer’s oath and of the Canons of Professional obligations of "truthfulness, candor and
Ethics (now the Code of Professional Responsibility), frankness". 1 Indeed, candor and frankness should
the Court Resolved to SUSPEND respondent from characterize the conduct of the lawyer at every
the practice of law for a period of five (5) months, stage. This has to be so because the court has the
with a WARNING that commission of the same or right to rely upon him in ascertaining the truth. In
similar offense in the future will result in the representing himself to the court as "Pedro D.D.
imposition of a more severe penalty. A copy of this Ramos" instead of "Dionisio D. Ramos", respondent
has violated his solemn oath.
6
The duty of an attorney to the courts to employ, for personal service is the handing or tendering of a
the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to copy of the summons to the defendant himself.
him, such means as are consistent with truth and
honor cannot be overempahisized. These However, when the defendant cannot be served
injunctions circumscribe the general duty of entire personally within a reasonable time, substituted
devotion of the attorney to the client. As stated in a service may be effected (a) by leaving copies of
case, his I nigh vocation is to correctly inform the the summons at the defendant's dwelling house or
court upon the law and the facts of the case, and residence with some person of suitable age and
to aid it in doing justice and arriving at correct discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving
conclusions. He violates Ms oath of office ,when he the copies at defendant's office or regular place of
resorts to deception or permits his client to do so." 2 business with some competent person in charge
thereof. 2
In using the name of' Pedro D.D. Ramos" before the
courts instead of the name by which he was It is only when the defendant cannot be served
authorized to practice law - Dionisio D. Ramos - personally within a reasonable time that substituted
respondent in effect resorted to deception. The service maybe resorted to. The impossibility of
demonstrated lack of candor in dealing with the prompt service should be shown by stating the
courts. The circumstance that this is his first efforts made to find the defendant personally and
aberration in this regard precludes Us from imposing the fact that such efforts failed. This statement
a more severe penalty. should be made in the proof of service. This is
necessary because substituted service is in
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent derogation of the usual method of service. It has
Dionisio D. Ramos is severely REPRIMANDED and been held that this method of service is "in
warned that a repetition of the same overt act may derogation of the common law; it is a method
warrant his suspencion or disbarment from the extraordinary in character, and hence may be
practice of law. used only as prescribed and in the circumstances
authorized by statute." Thus, under the controlling
It appearing that the hearing of this case has been decisions, the statutory requirements of substituted
unduly delayed, the Investigator of this Court is service must be followed strictly, faithfully and fully,
directed forthwith to proceed with the hearing to and any substituted service other than that
terminate it as soon as possible. The request of authorized by the statute is considered
complainant to appear in the afore-mentioned ineffective. 3
hearing, assisted by her counsel, Atty. Jose U.
Lontoc, is hereby granted. The application of the foregoing rules is the issue in
this petition for review by certiorari of a decision of
SO ORDERED the Court of Appeals in G.R. CV No. 03386 entitled
"Paluwagan ng Bayan Savings Bank vs. Mercantile
PALUWAGAN NG BAYAN SAVINGS BANK VS.
Financing Corporation, et al." dated January 27,
ANGELO KING | G.R. No. 78252 April 12, 1989
1987, and its resolution dated April 22, 1987. 4
GANCAYCO, J.:
The facts are undisputed. Petitioner sued Mercantile
The rule on service of summons in this jurisdiction is Financing Corporation MFC, and private
too well-known. In civil cases, the service of respondents, as directors and officers of MFC, for
summons on a defendant is made by handing a the recovery of money market placements through
copy thereof to the defendant in person, or if he certain promissory notes. They were charged jointly
refuses to receive it, by tendering it to him. 1 Such and solidarily in accordance with Section 31 of the
service of summons may be made at the Corporation Code 5which provides as follows:
defendant's dwelling house or residence or at his
Section 31. Liability of Directors, Trustees, Officers.-
office or regular place of business. The essence of
Directors or trustees who willfully and knowingly vote
for or assent to patently unlawful acts of the
7
corporation or who are guilty of gross negligence or 100,000.00-on or before October 30, 1983
bad faith in directing the affairs of the corporation
shall be liable jointly and severally for all damages 100,000.00-on or before November 30, 1983
resulting therefrom suffered by the corporation, its
100,000.00--on or before December 30, 1983
stockholders or members and other persons.
100,000.00-on or before January 30, 1984.
Summons and copies of the complaints were
served upon MFC and private respondents at the 2. Except those mentioned above, the plaintiff has
4th Floor, LTA Building, No. 118 Perea Street, Makati, no more claim against the defendants.
Metro Manila, which is the stated office address of
MFC in the complaint, through its Assistant Manager 3. The plaintiff agrees to the proposal of settlement
Mr. Nasario S. Najomot Jr. who acknowledged offered by the defendants provided that in case
receipt thereof for and in behalf of MFC and the the latter fail to pay, jointly and severally, two or
private respondents. This is so recited in the more successive monthly installments, the plaintiff is
certification of deputy sheriff Bernardo San Juan entitled to secure from the Court a writ of execution
dated May 11, 1983. for the collection of the unpaid account of the
defendants. 6
On May 24, 1983, the law firm of Guillermo E.
Aragones and Associates filed a motion for On July 18, 1983, a decision was rendered by the
extension of time to file a responsible pleading trial court approving the said Compromise
and/or motion to dismiss. The said motion was Agreement and enjoining the parties to comply
signed by Atty. Guillermo E. Aragones as counsel for with the terms and conditions embodied therein.
the defendants. The motion was granted in an Partial payments were made under the
order dated May 26, 1983 giving the defendants an compromise judgment. Upon failure of private
extension of twenty (20) days from the expiration of respondent to make the other payments, petitioner
the reglementary period within which to file the filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of execution
responsive pleading and/or motion to dismiss. On of judgment. The trial court granted the motion on
June 13, 1983, said counsel for defendants filed a December 16, 1983.
motion asking for a suspension of the action for a
On January 16,1984, counsel for defendants filed a
period of sixty (60) days on the ground that there
pleading entitled "Clarification" thereby seeking a
was an on-going negotiation for an amicable
correction of the compromise judgment on the
settlement of the case between the parties. The
ground that he erroneously filed the Compromise
motion was denied. On June 27, 1983, counsel for
Agreement in behalf of all the defendants when in
plaintiff filed a motion to declare defendants in
fact he was the counsel for MFC only. On January
default for failure to file an answer. This motion was
17, 1984, said counsel filed a "Motion To Correct
granted in an order dated June 29, 1983. On July
Compromise Agreement" attaching thereto a copy
14, 1983, the parties, assisted by their counsel,
of the resolution of the Board of Directors of MFC of
submitted a compromise Agreement for the
July 6,1983 showing that he was the attorney-in-fact
approval of the court. It reads as follows:
of MFC only, and praying for the correction of the
1. The defendants propose to pay, jointly and judgment, accordingly. The motion for clarification
severally, then account with the plaintiff as of June was denied on January 20,1984.
15, 1983, in the sum of P707,500.01 with 20% interest
On January 24, 1984, the Syquia Law Offices, in
per annum as follows:
behalf of private respondents Angelo King, Keng
P100,000.00-on or before July 18, 1983 Suy Wat, Quintin Calderon and Jose J. Ferrer, Jr.,
filed a motion to set aside the decision dated July
100,000.00-on or before August 30, 1983 18,1983, the Compromise Agreement and the writ
of execution dated December 21, 1983 on the
100,000.00-on or before September 30, 1983
ground that there was no service of summons upon
each of them as the corporate address of the
8
corporation was not their address as they were no their respective correct addresses and thereafter to
longer connected therewith; that Atty. Aragones proceed in accordance with law.
had no authority to represent them in the action
and compromise agreement; that they were not SO ORDERED. 7
served copies of the decision of the court; that they
A motion for reconsideration of the said decision
learned about the same only when it was being
filed by petitioner was denied by the appellate
executed; and that they did not participate as
court on April 22, 1987. Hence, the instant petition
directors or officers of MFC in the subject
predicated on the following grounds:
transaction.
(A) THAT THE CASE AT BAR (a) PERTAINS TO (AN)
On January 26,1984, private respondent Domingo F.
APPEAL FROM ORDER OF TRIAL COURT DATED APRIL
Li filed a petition for relief from judgment with a
6,1984, DENYING (i) PRIVATE RESPONDENT
prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
DOMINGO K LI'S 'PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM
injunction alleging therein that there was no service
JUDGMENT' FILED JANUARY 25, 1984, AND (ii)
of summons upon him and that Atty. Aragones was
MOTION TO SET ASIDE DECISION, COMPROMISE
not authorized to represent him or to enter into the
AGREEMENT AND QUASH EXECUTION FILED
Compromise Agreement. After an opposition to
JANUARY 14,1984 BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS
said motion was filed by the petitioner, the lower
ANGELO KING, KING SUY WAT, QUINTIN CALDERON
court denied the same in its order dated April 6,
and JOSE FERRER, JR. and (b) DOES NOT INVOLVE
1984. Separate motions for reconsideration filed by
ANY APPEAL FROM TRIAL COURT'S DECISION DATED
the private respondents were also denied on May
JULY 19,1983 APPROVING THE COMPROMISE
4,1984.
AGREEMENT WHICH HAS LONG BECOME FINAL AND
Thus, private respondents appealed to the EXECUTORY.
respondent Court of Appeals, reiterating that there
(B) THAT RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS
was no service of summons upon each of them as
COMPLETELY IGNORED THE BASIC QUESTION OF
service of summons was made at the address of
WHETHER (a) PRIVATE RESPONDENT DOMINGO K. LI'S
the firm with which they had severed connections;
'PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT FILED
that the counsel of record of MFC has no authority
JANUARY 25,1984, and (b)'THE MOTION TO SET ASIDE
to represent them in the case and in the
DECISION, COMPROMISE AGREEMENT AND QUASH
Compromise Agreement; that they have not
EXECUTION' FILED JANUARY 14,1984 BY PRIVATE
ratified the same by a partial payment of the
RESPONDENTS ANGELO KING, KENG SUY WAT,
compromise judgment; and that they were no
QUINTIN CALDERON AND JOSE FERRER, JR., WERE
longer connected with MFC at the time they were
FILED OUT OF TIME.
sued. In due time, a decision was rendered by the
appellate court on January 27, 1987, the dispositive (C) THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS WHO WERE SUED
part of which reads as follows: AS DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS OF MFC WERE
PROPERLY SERVED WITH SUMMONS.
In view of the foregoing, the other errors assigned
by the appellants need not be resolved: Wherefore: The petition is devoid of merit.

(1) the decision dated July 18, 1983 approving the Although private respondents were sued in their
compromise agreement rendered by the lower capacity as directors and officers of MFC, they are,
court as well as the writ of execution issued nevertheless, being held personally liable for the
pursuant thereto as against appellants Angelo King, obligation subject of the litigation under the
Keng Suy Wat, Quintin Calderon, Jose Ferrer, Jr., complaint filed by petitioner. Hence, the rule on
and Domingo Li are hereby SET ASIDE; and personal service of summons must be observed in
that summons must be served personally on private
(2) the case is remanded to the court of origin
respondents or, if they refuse to receive the same,
which is hereby ordered to direct proper service of
by tendering it to them.
summons on the aforesaid individual appellants at
9
The proof of service prepared by the sheriff does corporation only and not in behalf of the private
not show that such personal service of summons respondents.
was effected. The office address of the corporation
as indicated in the complaint does not appear to Since the Compromise Agreement was signed by
be the office address of private respondents as Atty. Aragones in behalf of the private respondents
they were no longer connected with the without their authority, the same is null and void in
corporation then. Personal service of summons so far as they are concerned. By the same token,
should have been made on them at their the compromise judgment is also null and void as to
residences as shown in the records of the Securities private respondents. The ruling of the lower court
and Exchange Commission and the Central Bank. that the motion to set aside the judgment and the
Instead, the sheriff effected substituted service by petition for relief from judgment were filed beyond
leaving copies of the summons with the Assistant the reglementary period is untenable. An action to
Manager of MFC at the place of business of said declare the nullity of a void judgment does not
corporation with which as above stated private prescribe. 8
respondents were no longer connected. Such
One last word, Atty. Aragones' appears to be remiss
substituted service is not valid. There was no
in his duties and reckless in the performance of his
compliance with the requirements of the rule that
responsibility as counsel of record in said case. He
there must be a previous personal service and a
represented himself to be the counsel for the
failure to effect the same before substituted service
defendants including the private respondents not
could be resorted to. As the private respondents
only in the motions he filed but also in the
have not been duly served with summons, the trial
Compromise Agreement he submitted. It was only
court never acquired jurisdiction over their persons.
after the writ of execution of the compromise
It is true that Atty. Aragones, who entered his judgment was being enforced that he perked up
appearance in behalf of MFC and private by saying that he committed an oversight and that
respondents, sought an extension of time to file an he was not authorized by the private respondents
answer or a responsive pleading, and a suspension to represent them as counsel, much less in the
of the proceedings pending a possible settlement Compromise Agreement. Candor towards the
of the case; that thereafter, he signed a courts is a cardinal requirement of the practicing
Compromise Agreement in behalf of MFC and lawyer. To say one thing today and another
private respondents which was submitted to the tomorrow is a transgression of this imperative.
court on the basis of which a compromise Counsel should be made to account before his
judgment was rendered; that said judgment was peers.
partially complied with but upon default in the
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Let a copy of
payment of the balance, a writ of execution was
this decision be furnished the Integrated Bar of the
sought from and granted by the trial court; and
Philippines for an appropriate administrative
that it was only then that Atty. Aragones informed
investigation, report and recommendation on Atty.
the court that he committed an oversight in having
Guillermo E. Aragones who holds office at the 9th
filed the Compromise Agreement in behalf of
Floor of the Finasia Building, 6774 Ayala Avenue,
private respondents when it was only MFC which
Makati, Metro Manila. No costs. This decision is
hired his services. If Atty. Aragones was duly
immediately executory.
authorized to appear in behalf of the defendants,
his voluntary appearance in their behalf by the SO ORDERED.
filing of the aforementioned pleadings and the
Compromise Agreement would constitute a waiver
of the defect in the service of summons. However,
the lack of authority of Atty. Aragones was
revealed when he produced the resolution of the
Board of Directors of MFC to the effect that the
authority of said counsel was in behalf of said
10
EDUARDO J. BERENGUER VS PEDRO B. CARRANZA | duly heard. The issue in the opinion of the then
JANUARY 30, 1969 Solicitor General, the Honorable Antonio Barredo,
now a member of this Court, as set forth in his report
FERNANDO, J.: of March 18, 1968, is whether respondent
"consented in violation of his oath, to the doing of
The law is an exacting taskmaster. Membership in
any falsehood in court."
the bar, as so appropriately put, is a privilege
burdened with conditions. 1 A lawyer is called upon It was admitted in said report: "If respondent had
by virtue of his oath of office to "do no falsehood, anything to do with the preparation of the Petition
nor consent to the doing of any in court; ... [and to] or of the Affidavit of Adjudication, his participation
conduct (himself) as a lawyer according to the best does not appear from the evidence presented in
of [his] knowledge and discretion with all good this case. The Petition was subscribed and sworn to
fidelity ... to the courts ..." 2 The question, one that in Pasay City before one Atty. A. Mendoza, while
has an element of novelty, is whether respondent the Affidavit was subscribed under oath in Pasay
Pedro B. Carranza, duly admitted to the practice of before Notary Public Ernesto V. Ventura. The
the law, did get entangled in the complexity of the foregoing documents were posted from Pasay to
strands in the web of obligation such an oath the Clerk of Court, Sorsogon...." 5
imposes? More specifically, did he manifest the
utmost fealty to the trust reposed in him as an It was likewise noted that respondent testified as to
officer of the Court by taking all necessary his being "not "very meticulous about the petition"
measures to avoid the court being misled, even if because there was neither private nor government
such were the result not of design but of opposition thereto; that if he had intended to
inadvertence? deceive the court by virtue of the documents, he
could have told his client to answer his questions at
A complaint against respondent Pedro B. the cadastral hearing to conform to the
Carranza was filed on July 15, 1966, for deception controverted paragraph in the Affidavit of
practiced on the Court of First Instance of Sorsogon, Adjudication concerning the statement
in that aware of the falsity of an Affidavit of reproduced from the tax declaration that the
Adjudication and Transfer executed by the mother decedent left no legitimate ascendants or
of his client to the effect that her own mother left descendants or any other heirs except the
no legitimate ascendants or descendants or any affiant...." 6
other heirs except herself, when, as a matter of
fact, the deceased was survived by four other There is this admission in the aforesaid report. Thus:
daughters and one son, father of the complainant, "As the evidence stands, there is no apparent
he introduced the same in evidence. 3 causal link between the falsehood and the fact
that respondent is the lawyer handling the
Respondent Carranza was required in our cadastral case at the Sorsogon end."7 Nonetheless,
resolution of July 22, 1966, to file an answer. while recognizing the absence of evidence that
Thereafter, on August 17, 1966, he did so, alleging such falsehood in the Affidavit of Adjudication
as the truth of the matter that the aforesaid could be traced to respondent, the report would
Affidavit of Adjudication and Transfer was hold him liable for discretionary action as the
introduced in evidence only to prove the fact of circumstance that various estates are involved
such transfer of the property in question to his client, "certainly warranted a greater exercise of diligence
respondent having "no hand in the making of said on respondent's part." 8
affidavit nor of the petition, both of which were
prepared in Pasay City." 4 Moreover, as likewise stated therein, the fact "that
he did not even bother to read the entirety of the
On September 1, 1966, the matter was referred by affidavit runs counter to respondent's inescapable
us to the Solicitor General for investigation, report duty to clear up doubts and inconsistencies." 9 For
and recommendation. Such investigation was had he could have been aware of the family litigations
wherein both complainant and respondent were
11
between his client and complainant which are mentioned above, there was no opposition from
rooted in successional rights...." 10 If only for the anybody ... not even from the Bureau of Lands nor
above fact then, as stated in the report, "he should from the Honorable Solicitor General, making,
precisely have taken the bother to read the entirety therefore, the hearing therein a mere formality.
of the Affidavit of Adjudication when the cadastral Such being the case, the [respondent] presented
case was heard on January 17, 1966...." 11 the petitioner's case on January 17, 1966, without
meticulously going over the documents, and the
From which, in the light of the above, it was the alleged Affidavit of Adjudication and Transfer was
conclusion of the then Solicitor General Antonio presented to show the fact of transfer of the land
Barredo, assisted by Assistant Solicitor General Frine described therein from the affiant to her son. The
Zaballero: "If he did not, he cannot be relieved from stenographic notes in that proceeding will bear this
the consequences of his acts as a lawyer, and matter out. [Respondent's] failure to notice the
disclaim responsibility therefor. To allow respondent existence of an incorrect statement in the said
relief from his duty is to ignore what is obvious from affidavit was a mere oversight. It was not [wilful], for
the nature of the litigations in which he entered his he has not consented to the doing of the falsity
appearance.... Actually, respondent's failure to therein made, since the same was prepared by
read the affidavit proves that he did not properly petitioner's lawyer in Pasay City; nor did
inform himself of the evidence he was going to [respondent] willingly do falsehood in the hearing
present in court, thereby exhibiting an indifference mentioned above; ..." 14
to proof inconsistent with facts he definitely knows.
Thus, respondent has contributed to confusion and There is something unique in this proceeding then.
the prolongation of the cadastral suit, which pends With the finding of the then Solicitor General
as a petition for Relief...." 12 Barredo that there was nothing wilful in the conduct
pursued by respondent in thus introducing in
It was the recommendation that the evidence the Affidavit of Adjudication and Transfer
corresponding complaint for the violation of his which turned out to be false, in the preparation of
oath against respondent be instituted. Such which, however, he had nothing to do, the charge
complaint was filed by the two above officials on of deliberate deception obviously cannot be
March 18, 1968. Respondent was charged with sustained.1awphil.ñêt
"violation of his oath of office, [having] caused
confusion and prolongation of the cadastral suit for Would that of itself entirely exculpate him from any
presenting evidence therein containing a false responsibility? The answer must be in the negative.
statement inconsistent with facts he definitely As was correctly pointed out in the complaint, his
knows by reason of the family litigations between failure to exercise greater care did result in the
his client and complainant herein, which are rooted "confusion and prolongation of the cadastral suit."
in successional rights [and that] respondent's failure Under the circumstances, it would be to err on, the
to discharge his duties as a lawyer consistent with side of undue leniency if he would be held
his oath of office finds sanction in Rule 138, Section blameless. He had incurred liability. His fidelity to his
27, Revised Rules of Court." 13 oath as attorney was less than entire.

Respondent in his answer, dated May 16, 1968, Every member of the bar must be on his guard, lest
raised no issue as to the facts. He would allege in through oversight or inadvertence, the way he
justification however "that while it is true that the ... conducts his case or the evidence he presents
respondent was the counsel who appeared for the could conceivably result in a failure of justice. Time
petitioner in Cadastral Case No. 2, LRC Cadastral and time again, lawyers have been admonished to
Record No. 869 of Sorsogon Cadastre, yet he had remember that they are officers of the court, and
nothing to do with the making of the petition and that while they owe their clients the duty of
the annexes thereto attached; for the same were complete fidelity and the utmost diligence, they
made in Pasay City and that when (he) accepted are likewise held to strict accountability insofar as
to represent the petitioner in the Cadastral Case
12
candor and honesty towards the court is The antecedent facts are as follows:
concerned.
Complainant claimed that she is the widow of the
Even if there be no intent to deceive, therefore, a late Atty. Alberto Linco (Atty. Linco), the registered
lawyer whose conduct, as in this case, betrays owner of a parcel of land with improvements,
inattention or carelessness should not be allowed to consisting of 126 square meters, located at No.
free himself from a charge thereafter instituted 8, Macopa St., Phase I-A, B, C & D, Valley View
against him by the mere plea that his conduct was Executive Village, Cainta, Rizal and covered by
not wilful and that he has not consented to the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 259001.
doing of the falsity. Complainant alleged that Atty. Jimmy
D. Lacebal (respondent), a notary public
A lawyer's oath is one impressed with the utmost
for Mandaluyong City, notarized a deed of
seriousness; it must not be taken lightly. Every lawyer
donation2 allegedly executed by her husband in
must do his best to live up to it. There would be a
favor of Alexander David T. Linco, a minor.
failure of justice if courts cannot rely on the
The notarial acknowledgment thereof also stated
submission as well as the representations made by
that Atty. Linco and Lina P. Toledo (Toledo), mother
lawyers, insofar as the presentation of evidence,
of the donee, allegedly personally appeared
whether oral or documentary, is concerned. If, as
before respondent on July 30, 2003, despite the fact
unfortunately happened in this case, even without
that complainants husband died on July 29, 2003.3
any intent on the part of a member of the bar to
mislead the court, such deplorable event did
Consequently, by virtue of the purported deed of
occur, he must not be allowed to escape the
donation, the Register of Deeds of Antipolo City
responsibility that justly attaches to a conduct far
cancelled TCT No. 259001 on March 28, 20054 and
from impeccable.
issued a new TCT No. 292515 in the name of
WHEREFORE, respondent Pedro B. Carranza is Alexander David T. Linco.
reprimanded and warned that a repetition of an
offense of this character would be much more Aggrieved, complainant filed the instant complaint.
severely dealt with. The Court of First Instance of She claimed that respondent's reprehensible act in
Sorsogon, through any of the district judges, is connivance with Toledo was not only violative of
hereby directed to administer in public the her and her children's rights but also in violation of
reprimand thus imposed on respondent Pedro B. the law. Respondent's lack of honesty and candor
Carranza. The complainant, Eduardo J. Berenguer, is unbecoming of a member of the Philippine Bar.
must be duly informed of the date when such
reprimand is to be administered. In his Answer,6 respondent admitted having
notarized and acknowledged a deed of donation
ATTY. FLORITA LINCO VS ATTY. JIMMY LACEBAL executed by the donor, Atty. Linco, in favor of his
A.C. No. 7241 | OCT. 17, 2011 son, Alexander David T. Linco, as represented
by Lina P. Toledo.
PERALTA, J.: Respondent narrated that on July 8, 2003, he was
invited by Atty. Linco, through an emissary in the
The instant case stemmed from an Administrative person of Claire Juele-Algodon (Algodon), to see
Complaint1 dated June 6, 2005 filed by him at his residence located at Guenventille II D-31-
Atty. Florita S. Linco (complainant) before the B, Libertad Street, Mandaluyong City. Respondent
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) against Atty. was then informed that Atty. Linco was sick and
Jimmy D. Lacebal for disciplinary action for his wanted to discuss something with him.
failure to perform his duty as a notary public, which
resulted in the violation of their rights over their Respondent pointed out that Atty. Linco appeared
property. to be physically weak and sickly, but was articulate
and in full control of his faculties. Atty. Linco showed

13
him a deed of donation and the TCT of the donation was notarized only on July 30, 2003, a day
property subject of the donation. Respondent after Atty. Linco died, the acknowledgement
claimed that Atty. Linco asked him a favor of portion of the said deed of donation where
notarizing the deed of donation in his presence respondent acknowledged that Atty. Linco
along with the witnesses. personally came and appeared before me is false.
This act of respondent is also violative of the
However, respondent explained that since he had Attorney's Oath to obey the laws and do no
no idea that he would be notarizing a document, falsehood.
he did not bring his notarial book and seal with him.
Thus, he instead told Algodonand Toledo to bring to The IBP-CBD, thus, recommended that respondent
his office the signed deed of donation anytime at be suspended from the practice of law for a period
their convenience so that he could formally of one (1) year, and that his notarial commission be
notarize and acknowledge the same. revoked and he be disqualified from re-
appointment as notary public for a period of two
On July 30, 2003, respondent claimed that Toledo (2) years.
and Algodon went to his law office and informed
him that Atty. Linco had passed away on July 29, On April 27, 2006, in Resolution No. XVII-2006-
2003. Respondent was then asked to notarize the 215,10 the IBP-Board of Governors resolved to
deed of donation. Respondent admitted to have adopt and approve the report and
consented as he found it to be his commitment to a recommendation of the IBP-CBD.
fellow lawyer. Thus, he notarized the subject deed
of donation, which was actually signed in his Respondent moved for reconsideration, but was
presence on July 8, 2003. denied.11

During the mandatory conference/hearing on On July 29, 2009, considering respondent's petition
September 7, 2005, it was established that indeed for review dated May 19, 2009 of IBP Resolution No.
the deed of donation was presented to respondent XVII-2006-215 dated April 27, 2006 and IBP
on July 8, 2003.7 Respondent, likewise, admitted Resolution No. XVIII-2008-678 dated December 11,
that while he was not the one who prepared the 2008, denying complainant's motion for
deed of donation, he, however, performed the reconsideration and affirming the assailed
notarization of the deed of donation only on July resolution, the Court resolved to require
30, 2003, a day after Atty. Linco died.8 complainant to file her comment.12

On November 23, 2005, in its Report and In her Compliance,13 complainant maintained that
Recommendation,9 the IBP-Commission on Bar respondent has not stated anything new in his
Discipline (IBP-CBD) found respondent guilty of motion for reconsideration that would warrant the
violating the Notarial Law and the Code of reversal of the recommendation of the IBP. She
Professional Responsibility. maintained that respondent violated
the Notarial Law and is unfit to continue being
The IBP-CBD observed that respondent wanted it to commissioned as notary public; thus, should be
appear that because the donor appeared before sanctioned for his infractions.
him and signed the deed of donation on July 8,
2003, it was just ministerial duty on his part to On August 16, 2011, in view of the denial of
notarize the deed of donation on July 30, 2003, a respondent's motion for reconsideration, the Office
day after Atty. Linco died. The IBP-CBD pointed out of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court,
that respondent should know that the parties who recommended that the instant complaint is now
signed the deed of donation on July 8, 2003, binds ripe for judicial adjudication.
only the signatories to the deed and it was not yet
a public instrument. Moreover, since the deed of RULING

14
are qualified or authorized may act as notaries
The findings and recommendations of the IBP are public. Notarization converts a private document
well taken. into a public document; thus, making that
document admissible in evidence without further
There is no question as to respondent's guilt. The proof of its authenticity. A notarial document is by
records sufficiently established that Atty. Linco was law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face.
already dead when respondent notarized the deed Courts, administrative agencies and the public at
of donation on July 30, 2003. Respondent likewise large must be able to rely upon the
admitted that he knew that Atty. Linco died a day acknowledgment executed by a notary public and
before he notarized the deed of donation. We take appended to a private instrument.16
note that respondent notarized the document after
the lapse of more than 20 days from July 8, 2003, For this reason, notaries public must observe with
when he was allegedly asked to notarize the deed utmost care the basic requirements in the
of donation. The sufficient lapse of time from the performance of their duties. Otherwise, the
time he last saw Atty. Linco should have put him on confidence of the public in the integrity of this form
guard and deterred him from proceeding with the of conveyance would be undermined.17 Hence,
notarization of the deed of donation. again, a notary public should not notarize a
document unless the persons who signed the same
However, respondent chose to ignore the basics are the very same persons who executed and
of notarial procedure in order to accommodate personally appeared before him to attest to the
the alleged need of a colleague. The fact that contents and truth of what are stated therein.
respondent previously appeared before him in This responsibility is more pronounced when the
person does not justify his act of notarizing the deed notary public is a lawyer. A graver responsibility is
of donation, considering the affiant's absence on placed upon him by reason of his solemn oath to
the very day the document was notarized. In obey the laws and to do no falsehood or consent
the notarial acknowledgment of the deed of to the doing of any. He is mandated to the sacred
donation, respondent attested that duties appertaining to his office, such duties, being
Atty. Linco personally came and appeared before dictated by public policy and impressed with public
him on July 30, 2003. Yet obviously, Atty. Linco could interest.18Respondent's failure to perform his duty
not have appeared before him on July 30, 2003, as a notary public resulted not only in damaging
because the latter died on July 29, 2003. Clearly, complainant's rights over the property subject of
respondent made a false statement and violated the donation but also in undermining the integrity of
Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility a notary public. He should, therefore, be held liable
and his oath as a lawyer. for his acts, not only as a notary public but also as a
lawyer.
We will reiterate that faithful observance and
utmost respect of the legal solemnity of the oath in In Lanuzo v. Atty. Bongon,19 respondent having
an acknowledgment or jurat is sacrosanct. 14 failed to discharge his duties as a notary public, the
Respondent should not notarize a document unless revocation of his notarial commission,
the persons who signed the same are the very disqualification from being commissioned as a
same persons who executed and personally notary public for a period of two years and
appeared before him to attest to the contents and suspension from the practice of law for one year
truth of what are stated therein.15 were imposed. We deem it proper to impose the
same penalty.
Time and again, we have repeatedly reminded
notaries public of the importance attached to the WHEREFORE, for breach of the Notarial Law and
act of notarization. Notarization is not an empty, Code of Professional Responsibility, the
meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with notarial commission of respondent ATTY. JIMMY D.
substantive public interest, such that only those who LACEBAL, is REVOKED. He is DISQUALIFIED from

15
reappointment as Notary Public for a period of two Zaldivar then filed a Motion for Contempt against
years. He is also SUSPENDED from the practice of Gonzalez. The Supreme Court then ordered
law for a period of one year, effective immediately. Gonzalez to explain his side. Gonzalez stated that
He is further WARNED that a repetition of the same the statements in the newspapers were true; that
or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely. He he was only exercising his freedom of speech; that
is DIRECTED to report the date of receipt of this he is entitled to criticize the rulings of the Court, to
Decision in order to determine when his suspension point out where he feels the Court may have
shall take effect. lapsed into error. He also said, even attaching
notes, that not less than six justices of the Supreme
Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of Court have approached him to ask him to “go
the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the slow” on Zaldivar and to not embarrass the
Philippines, and all courts all over the country. Let a Supreme Court.
copy of this Decision likewise be attached to the
personal records of the respondent. ISSUE: Whether or not Gonzalez is guilty of
contempt.
SO ORDERED.
HELD: Yes. The statements made by respondent
Gonzalez clearly constitute contempt and call for
B. OBSERVING AND MAINTAINING RESPECT
the exercise of the disciplinary authority of the
DUE TO THE COURTS AND JUDICIAL
Supreme Court. His statements necessarily imply
OFFICERS
that the justices of the Supreme Court betrayed
their oath of office. Such statements constitute the
ZALDIVAR VS GONZALES | 166 SCRA 316 (1988) digest
grossest kind of disrespect for the Supreme Court.
Such statements very clearly debase and degrade
FACTS: Zaldivar was the governor of Antique. He the Supreme Court and, through the Court, the
entire system of administration of justice in the
was charged before the Sandiganbayan for
country.
violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
Act. Gonzales was the then Tanodbayan who was Gonzalez is entitled to the constitutional guarantee
investigating the case. Zaldivar then filed with the of free speech. What Gonzalez seems unaware of is
Supreme Court a petition for Certiorari, Prohibition that freedom of speech and of expression, like all
and Mandamus assailing the authority of the constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that
Tanodbayan to investigate graft cases under the freedom of expression needs on occasion to be
1987 Constitution. The Supreme Court, acting on adjusted to and accommodated with the
the petition issued a Cease and Desist Order requirements of equally important public interests.
against Gonzalez directing him to temporarily One of these fundamental public interests is the
restrain from investigating and filing informations maintenance of the integrity and orderly
against Zaldivar. functioning of the administration of justice. There is
no antinomy between free expression and the
Gonzales however proceeded with the
integrity of the system of administering justice.
investigation and he filed criminal informations
against Zaldivar. Gonzalez even had a newspaper Gonzalez, apart from being a lawyer and an officer
interview where he proudly claims that he scored of the court, is also a Special Prosecutor who owes
one on the Supreme Court; that the Supreme duties of fidelity and respect to the Republic and to
Court’s issuance of the TRO is a manifestation theta the Supreme Court as the embodiment and the
the “rich and influential persons get favorable repository of the judicial power in the government
actions from the Supreme Court, [while] it is difficult of the Republic. The responsibility of Gonzalez to
for an ordinary litigant to get his petition to be given uphold the dignity and authority of the Supreme
due course”. Court and not to promote distrust in the

16
administration of justice is heavier than that of a June 2, 1965, after quoting said statements required
private practicing lawyer. Atty. Sebastian to show cause why administrative
action should not be taken against him.
Gonzalez is also entitled to criticize the rulings of the
court but his criticisms must be bona fide. In the On June 18, 1965, counsel filed an "explanatory
case at bar, his statements, particularly the one memorandum," stating:
where he alleged that members of the Supreme
Court approached him, are of no relation to the When we said that the said violation is a ground for
Zaldivar case. impeachment, the undersigned did not say that he
would file impeachment proceedings against the
The Supreme Court suspended Gonzalez indefinitely Justices who supported the resolution. We said only
from the practice of law. what we said. The task of impeaching the highest
Justices in this country is obviously not the task for a
PARAGAS VS CRUZ | 14 SCRA 809 (1965) common man, like the undersigned; it is a
herculean task which only exceptional men, like
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Floor Leader Jose Laurel Jr., can do. In addition to
In asking for reconsideration of this Court's dismissal this, we do not have the time, the means and the
of his petition for certiorari in the above-entitled strength for this purpose.
case, Atty. Jeremias T. Sebastian, acting as
The assertion that "But when the laws and the rules
counsel de parte for petitioner Rosauro Paragas,
are violated, the victims resort, sometimes, to
stated the following in his written motion, filed on
armed force and to the ways of the cave-men! We
May 22, 1965:
do not want Verzosa and Reyes repeated again
"The petitioner respectfully prays for a and again, killed in the premises of the Supreme
reconsideration of the resolution of this Honorable Court and in those of the City Hall of Manila," is only
Court dated April 20, 1965 on the ground that it a statement of fact and of our wish. We learn from
constitutes a violation of Section 14 of Rule 112 of observation that when the laws and the rules are
the Rules, of Court promulgated by this very Hon. violated, the victims, sometimes, resort to armed
Supreme Court, and on the further ground that it is force and to the ways of the cavemen, as shown in
likewise a violation of the most important right in the the case of Luis M. Taruc and in the case of Jesus
Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the Philippines, Lava, both of whom went to the mountains when
a culpable violation which is a ground for they were not allowed to take their seats in the
impeachment." House of Representatives and, according to the
newspapers, one was charged with murder and
... . The rule of law in a democracy should always was found guilty. It was only recently that Jesus
be upheld and protected by all means, because Lava surrendered to the authorities. We had this sad
the rule of law creates and preserves peace and recollection when we wrote the underlined
order and gives satisfaction and contentment to all passage mentioned in this paragraph. While writing
concerned. But when the laws and the rules are that BRIEF MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION, the
violated, the victims resort, sometimes, to armed thought of Verzosa and Reyes flashed across the
force and to the ways of the cave-men! We do not mind of the undersigned as the shooting of those
want Verzosa and Reyes repeated again and two government employees must have resulted
again, killed in the premises of the Supreme Court from some kind of dissatisfaction with their
and in those of the City Hall of Manila. Educated actuations while in office. We stated or the
people should keep their temper under control at undersigned stated that we are against the
all times! But justice should be done to all repetition of these abominable acts that surely
concerned to perpetuate the very life of disturbed the peace and order of the community.
Democracy on the face of the earth." Shall the undersigned be punished by this
Honorable Supreme Court only for telling the truth,
Considering the foregoing expressions to be
for telling what happened before in this Country?
derogatory to its dignity, this Court, by Resolution of
17
Our statement is clear and unmistakable, because languages by him employed. He cannot escape
we stated "We do not want Verzosa and Reyes responsibility by claiming that his words did not
repeated ..." The intention of the undersigned is mean what any reader must have understood
likewise clear and unmistakable; he is against the them as meaning. (In re Franco, 67 Phil. 313)
repetition of these acts of subversion and hate!
WHEREFORE, Atty. Jeremias T. Sebastian is hereby
We find the explanations submitted to be found guilty of direct contempt, and sentenced to
unsatisfactory. The expressions contained in the pay a fine of P200.00 within ten days from notice
motion for reconsideration, previously quoted, are hereof, or, in case of default, to suffer imprisonment
plainly contemptuous and disrespectful, and not exceeding ten (10) days. And he is warned that
reference to the recent killing of two employees is a subsequent repetition of the offense will be more
but a covert threat upon the members of the Court. drastically dealt with.

That such threats and disrespectful language MAGLUCOT-AW VS MAGLUCOT | 329 SCRA 78, 2000
contained in a pleading filed in Courts are
constitutive of direct contempt has been KAPUNAN, J.:
repeatedly decided (Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61
Phil. 724; People vs. Varturanza 52 Off. Gaz. 769: This petition for review on certiorari assails the
Medina vs. Rivera, 66 Phil. 151; De Joya vs. Court of Decision, dated 11 November 1997, of the Court of
First Instance of Rizal, L-9785, Sept. 19, 1956; Sison vs. Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 48816 which reversed
Sandejas, L-9270, April 29, 1959; Lualhati vs. Albert, and set aside the Decision, dated 13 December
57 Phil. 86). What makes the present case more 1994, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 30 of
deplorable is that the guilty party is a member of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental in an action for
the bar; for, as remarked in People vs. Carillo, 77 recovery of possession and damages.
Phil. 580 —
The core issue in this case is whether a partition of
Counsel should conduct himself towards the judges Lot No. 1639 had been effected in 1952. Petitioners
who try his cases with that courtesy all have a right contend that there was already a partition of said
to expect. As an officer of the court, it is his sworn lot; hence, they are entitled to exclusive possession
and moral duty to help build and not destroy and ownership of Lot No. 1639-D, which originally
unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards formed part of Lot No. 1639 until its partition. Private
the courts so essential to the proper administration respondents, upon the other hand, claim that there
of justice. was no partition; hence, they are co-owners of Lot
No. 1639-D. Notably, this case presents a unique
It is right and plausible that an attorney, in situation where there is an order for partition but
defending the cause and rights of his client, should there is no showing that the sketch/subdivision plan
do so with all the fervor and energy of which he is was submitted to the then Court of First Instance for
capable, but it is not, and never will be so, for him its approval or that a decree or order was
to exercise said right by resorting to intimidation or registered in the Register of Deeds.
proceeding without the propriety and respect
which the dignity of the courts require. (Salcedo vs. The antecedent facts of the case are as
Hernandez, [In re Francisco], 61 Phil. 729) follows: Korte

Counsel's disavowal of any offensive intent is of no Petitioners filed with the RTC a complaint for
avail, for it is a well-known and established rule that recovery of possession and damages alleging, inter
defamatory words are to be taken in the ordinary alia, that they are the owners of Lot No. 1639-D.
meaning attached to them by impartial observers. Said lot was originally part of Lot No. 1639 which
was covered by Original Certificate Title No. 6775
A mere disclaimer of any intentional disrespect by
issued in the names of Hermogenes Olis, Bartolome
appellant is no ground for exoneration. His intent
Maglucot, Pascual Olis, Roberto Maglucot, Anselmo
must be determined by a fair interpretation of the
Lara and Tomas Maglucot on 16 August 1927.[1] On
18
19 April 1952, Tomas Maglucot, one of the an approved partition against the other co-owners
registered owners and respondents predecessor-in- who claim that there was one.[7] Said court,
interest, filed a petition to subdivide Lot No. likewise, ruled that the tax declarations[8] over the
1639.[2]Consequently, on 13 May 1952, then CFI of houses of respondents, expressly stating that the
Negros Oriental issued an order[3] directing the same are constructed on the lots of Roberto
parties to subdivide said lot into six portions as Maglucot, constitute a conclusive admission by
follows: them of the ownership of the subject lot by the
a) Hermogenes Olis - lot 1639-A latter.[9]
b) Pascual Olis - lot 1639-B
c) Bartolome Maglucot - lot 1639-C The dispositive portion of the lower courts decision
d) Roberto (Alberto) - lot 1639-D reads as follows: Missdaa
Maglucot
e) Anselmo Lara - lot 1639-E WHEREFORE, on the basis of the foregoing
f) Tomas Maglucot - lot 1639-F.[4] discussion, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
the plaintiffs against the defendants ordering the
Sometime in 1963, Guillermo Maglucot rented a latter:
portion of Lot No. 1639-D (subject lot).
1. To demolish their houses inside lot 1639-D, vacate
Subsequently, Leopoldo and Severo, both
the premises thereof and deliver the possession of
surnamed Maglucot, rented portions of subject lot
the same to Plaintiffs; Slxmis
in 1964 and 1969, respectively, and each paying
rentals therefor. Said respondents built houses on
2. To jointly and solidarily pay plaintiffs the sum of
their corresponding leased lots. They paid the rental
P15,000.00 for attorneys fees;
amount of P100.00 per annum to Mrs. Ruperta
Salma, who represented the heirs of Roberto 3. To each pay plaintiffs the sum of P100.00 every
Maglucot, petitioners predecessor-in-interest. In year from 1993 for actual damages representing
December 1992, however, said respondents the amount of unpaid rentals up to the time they
stopped paying rentals claiming ownership over the actually vacate the premises in question; Sclaw
subject lot. Petitioners thus filed the complaint a
quo. Sdaadsc 4. To pay the costs.[10]

After trial, the lower court rendered judgment in On appeal, the CA reversed the decision of the
favor of petitioners. The RTC found the existence of RTC. The appellate court ruled that the sketch plan
tax declarations in the names of Hermogenes Olis and tax declarations relied upon by petitioners are
and Pascual Olis (purported owners of Lot Nos. not conclusive evidence of partition.[11]The CA
1639-A and 1639-B, respectively)[5] as indubitable likewise found that the prescribed procedure under
proof that there was a subdivision of Lot No. 1639. It Rule 69 of the Rules of Court was not followed. It
likewise found that Tomas Maglucot, respondents thus declared that there was no partition of Lot No.
predecessor-in-interest, took active part in the 1639. Slxsc
partition as it was he, in fact, who commenced the
action for partition.[6] The court a quo cited Article Petitioners filed this petition for review
1431 of the Civil Code which states that "[t]hrough on certiorari alleging that the CA committed the
estoppel an admission or representation is rendered following reversible errors:
conclusive upon the person making it, and cannot
be denied or disproved as against the person I
relying thereon." Applying said provision of law, it
held that while there was no court order showing IN VIOLATING THE LAW ON ACQUISITIVE
that Lot No. 1639 was partitioned, its absence could PRESCRIPTION PLAINTIFFS HAVING POSSESSED LOT
not be used by Tomas Maglucot, or respondents as 1639-D SINCE 1946;
his successors-in-interest, to deny the existence of

19
II For their part, respondents posit three points in
support of their position. First, they emphasize that
IN VIOLATING THE LAW ON ESTOPPEL; THE FACT OF petitioners failed to show that the interested parties
PAYMENT OF RENTALS AND OFFER TO BUY BY THE were apprised or notified of the tentative
DEFENDANTS IS ADMISSION THAT THE AREA IN LOT subdivision contained in the sketch and that the CFI
1639-D, HAD LONG BEEN ADJUDICATED TO subsequently confirmed the same.[17] Second,
PLAINTIFFS; they point to the fact that petitioners were unable
to show any court approval of any
III partition.[18] Third, they maintain that Lot No. 1639
remain undivided since to date, OCT No. 6275 is still
IN DECLARING THAT THERE WAS NO PRIOR
an existing and perfectly valid title, containing no
PARTITION, CONTRARY TO THE FINDINGS OF THE
annotation of any encumbrance or partition
TRIAL COURT, AND AGAINST THE EVIDENCE ON
whatsoever.[19]
RECORD, OF WHICH IF PROPERLY CONSIDERED
WOULD CHANGE THE OUTCOME OF THE CASE; After a careful consideration of the pleadings filed
by the parties and the evidence on record, we find
IV
that the petition is meritorious. As stated earlier, the
core issue in this case is whether there was a valid
IN DECLARING THAT THERE IS NO LAW OR
partition in 1952. Scslx
JURISPRUDENCE APPLICABLE UNDER THE PREMISES;
THIS WOULD ONLY SHOW THAT THE RECORD OF THE
Preliminarily, this Court recognizes that "the
CASE WAS NOT PROPERLY SCRUTINIZED, AND THE
jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought before it
LAW WAS NOT PROPERLY STUDIED; ESPECIALLY IN
from the Court of Appeals via Rule 45 of the Rules of
THE CASE AT BENCH THAT THE ORAL AND MUTUAL
Court is limited to reviewing errors of law. Findings of
PARTITION HAPPENED DURING THE REGIME OF THE
fact of the latter are conclusive, except in the
OLD RULES OF PROCEDURE;[12]
following instances: (1) when the findings are
grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or
Petitioners maintain that Lot No. 1639 was mutually
conjectures; (2) when the inference made is
partitioned and physically subdivided among the
manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible; (3) when
co-owners and that majority of them participated
there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the
in the actual execution of the subdivision. Further,
judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts;
the co-owners accepted their designated shares in
(5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6)
1946 as averred by Tomas Maglucot in his petition
when in making its findings the Court of Appeals
for partition.[13] Petitioners opine that in 1952,
went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings
Tomas Maglucot himself initiated a court
are contrary to the admissions of both the
proceeding for a formal subdivision of Lot No. 1639.
appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings
In said petition, he averred that only Hermogenes
are contrary to those of the trial court; (8) when the
Olis and the heirs of Pascual Olis were not
findings are conclusions without citation of specific
agreeable to the partition.[14] Petitioners further
evidence on which they are based; (9) when the
contend that respondents admitted in their tax
facts set forth in the petition as well as in the
declarations covering their respective houses that
petitioners main and reply briefs are not disputed
they are "constructed on the land of Roberto
by the respondent; and (10) when the findings of
Maglucot."[15]Simply put, petitioners vigorously
fact are premised on the supposed absence of
assert that respondents are estopped from claiming
evidence and contradicted by the evidence on
to be co-owners of the subject lot in view of the
record."[20] This case falls under exceptions (7), (8)
mutual agreement in 1946, judicial confirmation in
and (10) in that the findings of facts of the CA are in
1952, and respondents acquiescence because
conflict with that of the RTC, are mere conclusions
they themselves exclusively exercised ownership
without citation of specific evidence on which they
over Lot No. 1639-A beginning 1952 up to the
are based and are premised on absence of
present.[16]
evidence but are contradicted by the evidence on
20
record. For these reasons, we shall consider the ownership over Lot No. 1639 by the parties and the
evidence on record to determine whether indeed propriety of the partition thereof. Hence, if the
there was partition. Slx present rule were applied, the order not having
been appealed or questioned by any of the parties
In this jurisdiction, an action for partition is to the case, it has become final and executory and
comprised of two phases: first, an order for partition cannot now be disturbed. Mesm
which determines whether a co-ownership in fact
exists, and whether partition is proper; and, second, The true test to ascertain whether or not an order or
a decision confirming the sketch or subdivision a judgment is interlocutory or final is: Does it leave
submitted by the parties or the commissioners something to be done in the trial court with respect
appointed by the court, as the case may to the merits of the case? If it does, it is interlocutory;
be.[21] The first phase of a partition and/or if it does not, it is final. The key test to what is
accounting suit is taken up with the determination interlocutory is when there is something more to be
of whether or not a co-ownership in fact exists, (i.e., done on the merits of the case.[24] An order for
not otherwise legally proscribed) and may be partition is final and not interlocutory and, hence,
made by voluntary agreement of all the parties appealable because it decides the rights of the
interested in the property. This phase may end with parties upon the issue submitted.[25]
a declaration that plaintiff is not entitled to have a
partition either because a co-ownership does not However, this Court notes that the order of partition
exist, or partition is legally prohibited. It may end, was issued when the ruling in Fuentebella vs.
upon the other hand, with an adjudgment that a Carrascoso,[26] which held that the order of
co-ownership does in truth exist, partition is proper in partition is interlocutory, was controlling. In addition,
the premises and an accounting of rents and profits the reports of the commissioners not having been
received by the defendant from the real estate in confirmed by the trial court are not binding.[27] In
question is in order. In the latter case, the parties this case, both the order of partition and the
may, if they are able to agree, make partition unconfirmed sketch plan are, thus, interlocutory.
among themselves by proper instruments of Nevertheless, where parties do not object to the
conveyance, and the court shall confirm the interlocutory decree, but show by their conduct
partition so agreed upon. In either case i.e., either that they have assented thereto, they cannot
the action is dismissed or partition and/or thereafter question the decree,[28]especially,
accounting is decreed the order is a final one, and where, by reason of their conduct, considerable
may be appealed by any party aggrieved thereby. expense has been incurred in the execution of the
The second phase commences when it appears commission.[29] Respondents in this case have
that "the parties are unable to agree upon the occupied their respective lots in accordance with
partition" directed by the court. In that event, the sketch/subdivision plan. They cannot after
partition shall be done for the parties by the court acquiescing to the order for more than forty (40)
with the assistance of not more than three (3) years be allowed to question the binding effect
commissioners. This second stage may well also thereof.
deal with the rendition of the accounting itself and
its approval by the court after the parties have This case is to be distinguished from the order in the
been accorded opportunity to be heard thereon, action for partition in Arcenas vs. Cinco.[30] In that
and an award for the recovery by the party or case, the order was clearly interlocutory since it
parties thereto entitled of their just share in the rents required the parties " to submit the corresponding
and profits of the real estate in question. Such an deed of partition to the Court for its approval."
order is, to be sure, final and appealable.[22] Here, the order appointed two commissioners and
directed them merely to approve the sketch plan
The present rule on the question of finality and already existing and tentatively followed by the
appealability of a decision or order decreeing parties. Calrky
partition is that it is final and appealable.[23] The
order of partition is a final determination of the co-
21
Under the present rule, the proceedings of the sketch/subdivision plan, were aware that it was that
commissioners without being confirmed by the same sketch/subdivision plan which would be
court are not binding upon the considered by the commissioners for approval.
parties.[31] However, this rule does not apply in There is no showing that respondents by themselves
case where the parties themselves actualized the or through their predecessors-in-interest raised any
supposedly unconfirmed sketch/subdivision plan. objections. On the contrary, the records show that
The purpose of court approval is to give effect to the parties continued their possession of the specific
the sketch/subdivision plan. In this case, the parties portions of Lot No. 1639 pursuant to the
themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest sketch/subdivision plan. Kyle
implemented the sketch plan made pursuant to a
court order for partition by actually occupying It has been previously held that a co-owner, who,
specific portions of Lot No. 1639 in 1952 and though not a party to a partition accepts the
continue to do so until the present until this case partition allotted to him, and holds and conveys the
was filed, clearly, the purpose of the court approval same in severalty, will not be subsequently
has been met. This statement is not to be taken to permitted to avoid partition.[34] It follows that a
mean that confirmation of the commissioners may party to a partition is also barred from avoiding
be dispensed with but only that the parties herein partition when he has received and held a portion
are estopped from raising this question by their own of the subdivided land especially in this case where
acts of ratification of the supposedly non-binding respondents have enjoyed ownership rights over
sketch/subdivision plan. Kycalr their share for a long time.

The records of the case show that sometime in 1946 Parties to a partition proceeding, who elected to
there was a prior oral agreement to tentatively take under partition, and who took possession of
partition Lot No. 1639.[32] By virtue of this the portion allotted to them, are estopped to
agreement, the original co-owners occupied question title to portion allotted to another
specific portions of Lot No. 1639.[33] It was only in party.[35] A person cannot claim both under and
1952 when the petition to subdivide Lot No. 1639 against the same instrument.[36] In other words,
was filed because two of the co-owners, namely they accepted the lands awarded them by its
Hermogenes Olis and heirs of Pascual Olis, refused provisions, and they cannot accept the decree in
to have said lot subdivided and have separate part, and repudiate it in part. They must accept all
certificates of title. Significantly, after the 1952 or none.[37] Parties who had received the property
proceedings, the parties in this case by themselves assigned to them are precluded from subsequently
and/or through their predecessors-in-interest attacking its validity of any part of it.[38] Here,
occupied specific portions of Lot No. 1639 in respondents, by themselves and/or through their
accordance with the sketch plan. Such possession predecessors-in-interest, already occupied of the
remained so until this case arose, or about forty (40) lots in accordance with the sketch plan. This
years later. occupation continued until this action was filed.
They cannot now be heard to question the
From its order in 1952, it can be gleaned that the possession and ownership of the other co-owners
CFI took notice of the tentative subdivision plan by who took exclusive possession of Lot 1639-D also in
oral partition of the parties therein. Further, it accordance with the sketch plan. Exsm
appears that said court was aware that the parties
therein actually took possession of the portions in In technical estoppel, the party to be estopped
accordance with the sketch/subdivision plan. With must knowingly have acted so as to mislead his
this factual backdrop, said court ordered the adversary, and the adversary must have placed
partition and appointed two (2) commissioners to reliance on the action and acted as he would
approve the tentative sketch/subdivision plan. It otherwise not have done. Some authorities,
would not be unreasonable to presume that the however, hold that what is tantamount to estoppel
parties therein, having occupied specific portions of may arise without this reliance on the part of the
Lot No. 1639 in accordance with the adversary, and this is called, ratification or election
22
by acceptance of benefits, which arises when a Partition may be inferred from circumstances
party, knowing that he is not bound by a defective sufficiently strong to support the
proceeding, and is free to repudiate it if he will, presumption.[42] Thus, after a long possession in
upon knowledge, and while under no disability, severalty, a deed of partition may be
chooses to adopt such defective proceeding as his presumed.[43] It has been held that recitals in
own.[39] Ratification means that one under no deeds, possession and occupation of land,
disability voluntarily adopts and gives sanction to improvements made thereon for a long series of
some unauthorized act or defective proceeding, years, and acquiescence for 60 years, furnish
which without his sanction would not be binding on sufficient evidence that there was an actual
him. It is this voluntary choice, knowingly made, partition of land either by deed or by proceedings
which amounts to a ratification of what was in the probate court, which had been lost and were
theretofore unauthorized, and becomes the not recorded.[44] And where a tract of land held in
authorized act of the party so making the common has been subdivided into lots, and one of
ratification.[40] the lots has long been known and called by the
name of one of the tenants in common, and there
The records show that respondents were paying is no evidence of any subsequent claim of a
rent for the use of a portion of Lot No. 1639-D. Had tenancy in common, it may fairly be inferred that
they been of the belief that they were co-owners of there has been a partition and that such lot was set
the entire Lot No. 1639 they would not have paid off to him whose name it bears.[45]
rent. Respondents attempted to counter this point
by presenting an uncorroborated testimony of their Respondents insist that the absence of any
sole witness to the effect that the amount so paid annotation in the certificate of title showing any
to Roberto Maglucot and, subsequently, to Ruperta partition of Lot No. 1639 and that OCT No. 6725 has
Salma were for the payment of real property taxes. not been canceled clearly indicate that no
We are not persuaded. It is quite improbable that partition took place. The logic of this argument is
the parties would be unaware of the difference in that unless partition is shown in the title of the
their treatment of their transactions for so long a subject property, there can be no valid partition or
time. Moreover, no evidence was ever presented that the annotation in the title is the sole evidence
to show that a tax declaration for the entire Lot No. of partition. Esmso
1639 has ever been made. Replete in the records
are tax declarations for specific portions of Lot 1639. Again, we are not persuaded. The purpose of
It is inconceivable that respondents would not be registration is to notify and protect the interests of
aware of this. With due diligence on their part, they strangers to a given transaction, who may be
could have easily verified this fact. This they did not ignorant thereof, but the non-registration of the
do for a period spanning more than four decades. deed evidencing such transaction does not relieve
the parties thereto of their obligations
The payment of rentals by respondents reveal that thereunder.[46] As originally conceived, registration
they are mere lessees. As such, the possession of is merely a species of notice. The act of registering
respondents over Lot No. 1639-D is that of a holder a document is never necessary in order to give it
and not in the concept of an owner. One who legal effect as between the
possesses as a mere holder acknowledges in parties.[47] Requirements for the recording of the
another a superior right which he believes to be instruments are designed to prevent frauds and to
ownership, whether his belief be right or permit and require the public to act with the
wrong.[41] Since the possession of respondents presumption that recorded instruments exist and
were found to be that of lessors of petitioners, it are genuine.[48]
goes without saying that the latter were in
possession of Lot No. 1639-D in the concept of an It must be noted that there was a prior oral partition
owner from 1952 up to the time the present action in 1946. Although the oral agreement was merely
was commenced. Msesm tentative, the facts subsequent thereto all point to
the confirmation of said oral partition. By virtue of
23
that agreement, the parties took possession of In numerous cases it has been held or stated that
specific portions of the subject lot. The action for parol partition may be sustained on the ground of
partition was instituted because some of the co- estoppel of the parties to assert the rights of a
owners refused to have separate titles issued in lieu tenant in common as to parts of land divided by
of the original title. In 1952, an order for partition parol partition as to which possession in severalty
was issued by the cadastral court. There is no was taken and acts of individual ownership were
evidence that there has been any change in the exercised. And a court of equity will recognize the
possession of the parties. The only significant fact agreement and decree it to be valid and effectual
subsequent to the issuance of the order of partition for the purpose of concluding the right of the
in 1952 is that respondents rented portions of Lot No. parties as between each other to hold their
1639-D. It would be safe to conclude, therefore, respective parts in severalty.
that the oral partition as well as the order of
partition in 1952 were the bases for the finding of A parol partition may also be sustained on the
actual partition among the parties. The legal ground that the parties thereto have acquiesced in
consequences of the order of partition in 1952 and ratified the partition by taking possession in
having been discussed separately, we now deal severalty, exercising acts of ownership with respect
with oral partition in 1946. Given that the oral thereto, or otherwise recognizing the existence of
partition was initially tentative, the actual possession the partition.
of specific portions of Lot No. 1639 in accordance
with the oral partition and the continuation of such A number of cases have specifically applied the
possession for a very long period indicate the doctrine of part performance, or have stated that a
permanency and ratification of such oral partition. part performance is necessary, to take a parol
The validity of an oral partition is already well- partition out of the operation of the statute of
settled. In Espina vs. Abaya,[49] we declared that frauds. It has been held that where there was a
an oral partition is valid. In Hernandez vs. partition in fact between tenants in common, and
Andal,[50] reiterated in Tan vs. Lim,[51] this Court a part performance, a court of equity would have
has ruled, thus: regard to enforce such partition agreed to by the
parties. Esmsc
On general principle, independent and in spite of
the statute of frauds, courts of equity have enforce Two more points have constrained this Court to rule
oral partition when it has been completely or partly against respondents. First, respondents Wilfreda
performed. Esmmis Maglucot-Alejo and Constancio Alejo offered to
buy the share of Roberto Maglucot. Second, the
Regardless of whether a parol partition or tax declarations contain statements that the houses
agreement to partition is valid and enforceable at of respondents were built on the land owned by
law, equity will proper cases where the parol Roberto Maglucot. Esm
partition has actually been consummated by the
taking of possession in severalty and the exercise of On the first point, petitioners presented Aida
ownership by the parties of the respective portions Maglucot who testified that after respondents were
set off to each, recognize and enforce such parol informed that petitioners were going to use Lot No.
partition and the rights of the parties thereunder. 1639-D belonging to Roberto Maglucot,
Thus, it has been held or stated in a number of respondents Wilfreda Maglucot-Alejo and
cases involving an oral partition under which the Constancio Alejo went to the house of said witness
parties went into possession, exercised acts of and offered to buy the share of Roberto
ownership, or otherwise partly performed the Maglucot.[52] Aida Maglucot further testified that
partition agreement, that equity will confirm such they refused the offer because they also intend to
partition and in a proper case decree title in use the lot for a residential purpose.[53] This
accordance with the possession in severalty. testimony of Aida Maglucot is unrebutted by
respondents, and the CA did not touch upon this
finding of fact. Hence, the offer to buy has been
24
established by the unrebutted evidence of the Any court when it renders a decision does so as an
petitioners. Why would they give such offer if they arm of the justice system and as an institution apart
claim to be at least a co-owner of the said lot? In from the persons that comprise it. Decisions are
effect, respondents impliedly admit the title of the rendered by the courts and not the persons or
petitioners and that they are not co-owners, much personnel that may participate therein by virtue of
less the sole owners, of Lot No. 1639-D. Chief their office. It is highly improper and unethical for
counsel for petitioners to berate the researcher in
On the second point, the existence of Tax his appeal. Counsel for petitioner should be
Declaration No. 04-557 in the names of Constancio reminded of the elementary rules of the legal
Alejo and Godofreda Maglucot,[54] Tax profession regarding respect for the courts by the
Declaration No. 04-87-13 in the names of Leopoldo use of proper language in its pleadings and
Maglucot and Regina Barot,[55] Tax Declaration admonished for his improper references to the
No. 04-593 in the names of Severo Maglucot and researcher of the CA in his petition. A lawyer shall
Samni Posida[56] showing that the houses of the abstain from scandalous, offensive, or menacing
above-mentioned persons are constructed on the language or behavior before the courts.[63]
land of Roberto Maglucot[57] constitute
incontrovertible evidence of admission by the same WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED The decision
persons of the ownership of the land by Roberto of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and the
Maglucot. Tax Declarations are public documents. decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby
Unless their veracity is directly attacked, the REINSTATED.
contents therein are presumed to be true and
accurate.[58] The lone testimony of Severo SO ORDERED.
Maglucot that Roberto Maglucot was only made to
appear as owner of the land in their respective
declarations because he was the administrator of VILLAFLOR VS SARITA | 308 SCRA 129, 1999
Lot No. 1639 is uncorroborated and not supported
by any other evidence. Jksm KAPUNAN, J.:

This administrative case originated from a sworn


No injustice is dealt upon respondents because
affidavit-complaint1 dated 14 March 1997, filed
they are entitled to occupy a portion of Lot No.
before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines ("IBP"),
1639, particularly Lot No. 1639-A, in their capacity as
Commission on Bar Discipline, by Lt. Lamberto P.
heirs of Tomas Maglucot, one of the original co-
Villaflor seeking the disbarment of Atty. Alvin T.
owners of Lot No. 1639 in accordance with the
Sarita for disregarding the Temporary Restraining
sketch plan of said lot showing the partition into six
Order ("TRO") issued by the Court of Appeals in
portions.[59]
relation to the case entitled "Lamberto Villaflor vs.
Finally, this Court takes notice of the language Biyaya Corporation, et al."2 now pending with the
utilized by counsel for petitioners in their petition for same court.
review on certiorari. Thrice in the petition, counsel
Respondent Atty. Alvin T. Sarita is the counsel of
for petitioners made reference to the researcher of
Biyaya Corporation, the plaintiff in the ejectment
the CA. First, he alluded to the lack of scrutiny of
case3 filed against complainant Lt. Lamberto P.
the records and lack of study of the law "by the
Villaflor before the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch
researcher."[60] Second, he cited the researcher of
53, of Kalookan City. Metropolitan Trial Court Judge
the CA as having "sweepingly stated without
Romanito A. Amatong decided the ejectment case
reference to the record"[61] that "[w]e have
in favor of Biyaya Corporation. Complainant
scanned the records on hand and found no
appealed this decision to the Regional Trial Court of
evidence of any partition." Finally, counsel for
Kalookan City, Branch 131,4 which affirmed the
petitioners assailed the CA decision, stating that
decision of the MTC. Not satisfied with the decision
"this will only show that there was no proper study of
of the RTC, complainant brought the case on
the case by the researcher."[62]
25
appeal before the Court of Appeals which was nor prohibited from enforcing and/or implementing
docketed as CA G.R No. 50623. 5 Losing no time, its judicial process such as the subject writ of
complainant also filed with the Court of Appeals an demolition.
Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for the Issuance of a
Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the xxx xxx xxx
impending demolition of his family home.
On 9 January 1997, Judge Amatong granted the
In a Resolution dated 27 December 1996, the Court motion of respondent and issued an order8 for the
of Appeals granted the prayer for a TRO, the implementation of the writ of demolition. The
dispositive portion of which reads as follows: demolition order was actually carried out the next
day, or on 10 January 1997, by the deputy sheriff of
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, let a restraining order the lower court.9
forthwith issue against defendants-appellees
including the public respondent Judge or Sheriff or In response to the situation, complainant filed
any person under him from evicting and before the Court of Appeals an action for Indirect
demolishing the family house of the movant, Contempt against respondent, Biyaya Corporation,
pending appeal. . . . Judge Amatong, and the Register of Deeds of
Kalookan City.
SO ORDERED.
The Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated 20
The TRO was specifically addressed to, and February 1997, found respondent and his co-
personally served on, the Presiding Judge of RTC, defendants, Judge Amatong and Biyaya
Branch 131, Kalookan City; the Sheriff/Deputy Corporation, guilty of indirect contempt. The
Sheriff, RTC Branch 131, Kalookan City; Atty. Alvin T. dispositive portion of the resolution states:
Sarita; and Atty. Romeo F. Barza.6 Despite the TRO
issued by the Court of Appeals, respondent on 8 WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing
January 1997, filed before the MTC an Urgent Ex- disquisitions, defendants-appellees Biyaya
Parte Motion for the Implementation and/or Corporation and MTC Judge Ramonito Amatong,
Enforcement of the Writ of Demolition7 which had and their counsel, Atty. Alvin Sarita are hereby
already been issued by the trial court as early as 12 adjudged GUILTY OF CONTEMPT OF COURT as they
August 1996. In his motion which is quoted are hereby fined to pay the amount of P30,000.00
hereunder, respondent stated the reason why he each, as per SC Administrative Circular No. 22-95,
did not heed the TRO: amending Section 6, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court,
with a warning that repetition of the same or similar
1. That last January 7, 1997, plaintiff received a acts will be dealt with more severely.
"Resolution" dated December 27, 1996 from the
Thirteenth Division of the Court of Appeals granting Atty. Alvin Sarita is likewise REPRIMANDED for his
the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order contemptuous or improvident act despite receipt
(TRO). of Our Restraining Order, without prejudice to any
further administrative sanction the injured party
2. A close scrutiny of the afore-said "Resolution" may seek in the proper forum.
including the "Notice of Resolution" and the
"Temporary Restraining Order" show that it was Describing the unfortunate behavior of respondent,
directed to the Honorable Presiding Judge the Court of Appeals said:
(Honorable Antonio J. Fineza) of the Regional Trial
Specifically, the Court is convinced that Atty. Alvin
Court of Caloocan City, Branch 131 and to the
Sarita should answer for contempt of court for
assigned (deputy) sheriff thereon and NOT to this
misleading if not deceiving the defendant-appellee
Honorable Court and its deputy sheriff.
MTC Judge into doing a precipitate act of
3. The only conclusion therefrom is that the implementing the writ of demolition of appellant's
Honorable Metropolitan Trial Court is not restrained family house which is restrained by this Court, or for
making false allegations that led his clients to
26
commit a contemptuous act. (Cu Unjieng In filing his urgent ex-parte motion to implement the
vs. Mitchell, 58 Phil. 476.) His misinterpretation of the writ of demolition issued against the residence of
resolution is no defense otherwise, all lawyers can the complainant, Atty. Sarita was well-aware that
effectively avoid restraining orders of the higher what he was seeking to do was specifically
court by arguing around the bush. 10 restrained by the Court of Appeals in no uncertain
terms. Even if we were inclined, in a gesture of
The Court of Appeals also granted the prayer for utmost liberality, to hold for Atty. Sarita's (sic) and
the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory resolve any doubts in his favor, we are simply
injunction and ordered Biyaya Corporation and overwhelmed by the thought that as a lawyer, Atty.
Judge Amatong to immediately restore the Sarita knew quite well or must have known quite
demolished family house of complainant or, return well that what he was asking for in his motion was
to him the estimated value of the same. violative not only of an order from the second
highest court but more personally was violative of
Thereafter, complainant filed a case for disbarment
his own oath as a lawyer;
against respondent before the IBP Commission on
Bar Discipline. The commissioner 11 assigned to The findings of the Court of Appeals says it all. What
investigate the case issued an order 12 dated 3 all the more moves the undersigned to recommend
September 1997, directing respondent to file his the ultimate penalty of disbarment against Atty.
answer or comment to the complaint. The period of Alvin T. Sarita is the evident, even palpable disdain,
time allotted to answer the complaint lapsed in which he clearly holds this Office in particular,
without respondent submitting his comment. On 8 and the Integrated Bar in general. Nowhere is this
December 1997, an order 13 was issued by the disdain more felt than in Atty. Sarita's deliberate
investigating commissioner requiring the parties to and pointed refusal, not only to file an Answer to
attend the hearing of the case on 10 February 1998. the complaint against him but also his unjustified
Respondent failed to appear therein. The hearing refusal to appear before this Office despite
was postponed and reset to 6 March 1998. A notice repeated notices. It appears that Atty. Sarita is
of hearing 14 was sent to respondent but again he beyond caring for whatever sanctions this Office
failed to attend the proceeding. After giving may recommend against him. Surely, he cannot
respondent enough opportunity to face the turn his back on the possibility that the
charges against him, which the latter did not avail, complainant's prayer may be granted given the
the case was submitted for resolution on 6 March seriousness of his (Sarita's) misdeeds. But then,
1998. 15 considering that Atty. Sarita has no compunctions
about misleading a judge of the Metropolitan Trial
The commissioner's report dated 10 September
Court into disregarding and violating an order from
1998, recommending the disbarment of Atty. Alvin
the Court of Appeals, it is no surprise that he would
T. Sarita stated in part:
ignore the Commission on Bar Discipline;
As clearly established in the resolution of the
We recommend for the disbarment of Atty. Alvin T.
Honorable Thirteenth Division of the Court of
Sarita.
Appeals in its disquisition on his culpability, Atty.
Sarita is liable not only for deliberately misleading if In its 4 December 1998 Resolution, the IBP Board of
not deceiving the defendant-appellee MTC Judge Governors resolved to adopt the findings of the
into violating the appellate court's restraining order, investigating commissioner, to wit:
but also for making false allegations that led his
clients to commit a contemptuous act; RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby
ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report and
As a member of the Bar, Atty. Sarita is mandated by Recommendation of the Investigating
his oath to obey the laws as well as the duly Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein
constituted authorities therein and not to do any made part of this Resolution/Decision as Annex "A";
falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in court; and finding the recommendation fully supported by

27
the evidence on record and the applicable laws incumbents to the positions, but because of the
and rules, Respondent Atty. Alvin T. Sarita is authority that vests in them. Disrespect to judicial
DISBARRED from the practice of law. incumbents is disrespect to that branch of the
Government to which they belong, as well as to the
The facts and evidence obtaining in this case State which has instituted the judicial system.
clearly reveal respondent's failure to live up to his
duties as a member of the Bar in accordance with Not only did respondent disobey the order of the
the Code of Professional Responsibility, the Lawyer's Court of Appeals, he also misled the trial court
Oath and Section 20 (b), Rule 138 of the Rules of judge into issuing the order to implement the writ of
Court, thus warranting disciplinary sanction. demolition which led to the destruction of the
family home of complainant. In doing so,
As an officer of the court, it is the duty of a lawyer respondent violated his oath of office and Canon
to uphold the dignity and authority of the court, to 10, Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional
which he owes fidelity, according to the oath he Responsibility which provides that "a lawyer shall not
has taken. It is his foremost responsibility "to observe do any falsehood nor consent to the doing of any
and maintain the respect due to the courts of in court." Surely, such conduct of respondent is
justice and judicial officers." 16 The highest form of starkly unbecoming of an officer of the court.
respect to the judicial authority is shown by a
lawyer's obedience to court orders and processes. Respondent's behavior also exhibited his reckless
and unfeeling attitude towards the complainant. By
Atty. Alvin T. Sarita committed an immeasurable disobeying the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals,
disservice to the judicial system when he openly he inflicted deep physical and moral injury upon
defied the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals. By complainant and his family by making them
such act, he deliberately disregarded or ignored his homeless. Obviously, it did not matter to him
solemn oath to conduct himself as a lawyer whether complainant and his family would still have
according to the best of his knowledge and a place to stay as long as he won the case for his
discretion, with all good fidelity to the courts. He client. We would like to emphasize that a lawyer's
neglected his duties to observe and maintain the responsibility to protect and advance the interests
respect due to the courts of justice and judicial of his client does not warrant a course of action
officers, 17 and to act with candor, fairness and propelled by ill motives and malicious intentions
good faith to the courts. 18 against the other party. 20 Respondent failed to live
up to this expectation.
Moreover, even assuming ex gratia argumenti that
the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals was We find the complaint against respondent fully
ambiguous in its phraseology, respondent should substantiated by the evidence. However, we
have carried out the intent and the spirit of the said believe that the penalty of disbarment imposed by
TRO rather than choose to be narrowly technical in the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the
interpreting and implementing the same. In De Philippines is too severe and, hereby reduce it to
Leon vs. Torres, 19 this Court said: suspension for two (2) years from the practice of
law. 21
We desire to call attention to the fact that courts'
orders, however erroneous they may be, must be ACCORDINGLY, respondent Atty. Alvin T. Sarita is
respected, especially by the bar or the lawyers who hereby SUSPENDED for two (2) years from the
are themselves officers of the courts. Court orders practice of law and from the enjoyment of all rights
are to be respected not because the judges who and privileges appurtenant to membership in the
issue them should be respected, but because of Philippine Bar, effective immediately.
the respect and consideration that should be
extended to the judicial branch of the Let copies of this Resolution be furnished the Bar
Government. This is absolutely essential if our Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and
Government is to be a government of laws and not all courts throughout the country. SO ORDERED.
of men. Respect must be had not because of the
28