ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™  
Main Index Law Library Philippine Laws, Statutes & Codes Latest Legal Updates Philippine Legal Resources Significant Philippine Legal Resources Worldwide Legal Resources Philippine Supreme Court Decisions United States Jurisprudence
Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
Chan Robles Virtual Law Library
 









 

 
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
September-2001 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 137538 September 3, 2001 - OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. HON. FRANCISCO B. IBAY

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1249 September 4, 2001 - PHIL. GERIATRICS FOUNDATION, ET AL. v. LYDIA QUERUBIN LAYOSA

  • A.M. No. P-00-1373 September 4, 2001 - ELIZABETH A. TIONGCO v. ROGELIO S. MOLINA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1501 September 4, 2001 - JOSEPHINE D. SARMIENTO v. ALBERT S. SALAMAT

  • A.M. No. P-01-1502 September 4, 2001 - CRESENCIO N. BONGALOS v. JOSE R. MONUNGOLH and VICTORIA D. JAMITO

  • A.M. No. P-99-1357 September 4, 2001 - SHERWIN M. BALOLOY v. JOSE B. FLORES

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1651 September 4, 2001 - PROSECUTOR LEO C. TABAO v. JUDGE FRISCO T. LILAGAN

  • G.R. No. 125359 September 4, 2001 - ROBERTO S. BENEDICTO and HECTOR T. RIVERA v. THE COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 126859 September 4, 2001 - YOUSEF AL-GHOUL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127181 September 4, 2001 - LAND BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132709 September 4, 2001 - CAMILO L. SABIO, ET AL. v. INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE BANK, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134490 September 4, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEL BRAGAT

  • G.R. Nos. 135356-58 September 4, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MELECIO SAGARINO

  • G.R. No. 138923 September 4, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANITA AYOLA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1344 September 5, 2001 - LYDIO ARCILLA, ET AL. v. LUCIO PALAYPAYON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128145 September 5, 2001 - J.C. LOPEZ & ASSOCIATES v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133886 September 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. OSCAR PARBA

  • G.R. No. 134101 September 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELINO O. LLANITA

  • G.R. No. 136054 September 5, 2001 - SEVERINA SAN MIGUEL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132714 September 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO LALINGJAMAN

  • G.R. Nos. 139064-66 September 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO ARCE

  • G.R. No. 140529 September 6, 2001 - JOSE P. LOPEZ v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141400 September 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EVANGELINE GANENAS

  • Admin. Case. No. 4863 September 7, 2001 - URBAN BANK v. ATTY. MAGDALENO M. PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 114858-59 September 7, 2001 - COLUMBUS PHILIPPINES BUS CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 126352 September 7, 2001 - GSIS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127261 September 7, 2001 - VISAYAN SURETY & INSURANCE CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129644 September 7, 2001 - CHINA BANKING CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131805 September 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO HERMOSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132064 September 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ISAGANI BAYENG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132320 September 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CONRADO OJERIO

  • G.R. Nos. 135402-03 September 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IAN GONZAGA

  • G.R. No. 136779 September 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARNEL ASUNCION

  • G.R. No. 142065 September 7, 2001 - LENIDO LUMANOG v. HON. JAIME N. SALAZAR

  • G.R. No. 142875 September 7, 2001 - EDGAR AGUSTILO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144877 September 7, 2001 - DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHIL. v. VERONICA AGUIRRE, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1506 September 10, 2001 - GEORGE S. BICBIC v. DHALIA E. BORROMEO

  • G.R. Nos. 104769 & 135016 September 10, 2001 - AFP MUTUAL BENEFIT ASSO. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118943 September 10, 2001 - MARIO HORNALES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130362 September 10, 2001 - INT’L FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES (PHIL.) v. MERLIN J. ARGOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138485 September 10, 2001 - DR. v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE

  • G.R. No. 141970 September 10, 2001 - METROPOLITAN BANK v. FLORO T. ALEJO

  • G.R. No. 145588 September 10, 2001 - ESPERIDION LOPEZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140398 September 11, 2001 - FRANCISCO DELA MERCED, ET AL. v. GSIS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121877 September 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. ERLINDA GONZALES

  • G.R. Nos. 138431-36 September 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIOSCORA M. ARABIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140903 September 12, 2001 - HENRY SY v. COMMISSION ON SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 00-1-4-03-SC September 13, 2001 - RE: REQUEST FOR LIVE RADIO-TV COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL IN THE SANDIGANBAYAN OF THE PLUNDER CASES AGAINST FORMER PRESIDENT JOSEPH E. ESTRADA v. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA and INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • A.M. No. 00-4-188-RTC September 13, 2001 - REQUEST OF MR. OSCAR T. LLAMAS FOR RE-ASSIGNMENT OSCAR T. LLAMAS v. EMMANUEL LACANDOLA AND ET. AL.

  • G.R. No. 120009 September 13, 2001 - DOLE PHILIPPINES v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 122095 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DOMINGO DAWISAN

  • G.R. No. 127913 September 13, 2001 - RCBC v. METRO CONTAINER CORP.

  • G.R. No. 132354 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DEOMEDES IGLESIA

  • G.R. Nos. 136840-42 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO NAVARETTE

  • G.R. No. 137250-51 September 13, 2001 - PABLO MARGAREJO v. HON. ADELARDO ESCOSES

  • G.R. No. 138972-73 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUGENIO B. MARQUEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140512 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PETER PELERAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142043 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NELSON BITUON

  • G.R. No. 142430 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONNIE QUINICIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142444 September 13, 2001 - OFELIA D. ARTUZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142649 September 13, 2001 - ANTONIO C. SAN LUIS v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 143702 September 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ZALDY MENDOZA

  • G.R. No. 129212 September 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIO LACUESTA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1575 September 17, 2001 - ISAGANI RIZON v. JUDGE OSCAR E. ZERNA

  • A.M. No. RTJ 99-1498 September 17, 2001 - VICENTE P. LIM v. JUDGE JACINTA B. TAMBAGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111584 September 17, 2001 - PRODUCERS BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. COURT OF APPEALS and SPOUSES SALVADOR Y. CHUA and EMILIA U. CHUA

  • G.R. No. 135644 September 17, 2001 - GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM v. SPOUSES GONZALO and MATILDE LABUNG-DEANG

  • G.R. No. 135912 September 17, 2001 - ODIN SECURITY AGENCY v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138219 September 17, 2001 - GERARDO V. TAMBAOAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 138943-44 September 17, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HENRY ALMAZAN

  • G.R. No. 141209 September 17, 2001 - ANTONIA HUFANA, ET AL. v. WILLIAM ONG GENATO

  • A. C. No. 5043 September 19, 2001 - ABEDIN L. OSOP v. ATTY. V. EMMANUEL C. FONTANILLA

  • G.R. No. 135936 September 19, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GUALBERTO MIRADOR alias "GOLING"

  • G.R. No. 144400 September 19, 2001 - DOMINGO O. IGNACIO v. COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILS.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1369 September 20, 2001 - GUILLERMA D. CABAÑERO v. JUDGE ANTONIO K. CAÑON

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1371 September 20, 2001 - ATTY. NESCITO C. HILARIO v. JUDGE ROMEO A. QUILANTANG

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1472 September 20, 2001 - SPOUSES HERMINIO, ET Al. v. HON. DEMETRIO D. CALIMAG

  • A.M. No. P-01-1483 September 20, 2001 - EDNA FE F. AQUINO v. ISABELO LAVADIA

  • G.R. No. 116938 September 20, 2001 - LEONILA GARCIA-RUEDA v. REMEDIOS A. AMOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127405 September 20, 2001 - MARJORIE TOCAO and WILLIAM T. BELO v. COURT OF APPEALS and NENITA A. ANAY

  • G.R. No. 130399 September 20, 2001 - PUBLIC UTILITIES DEPARTMENT v. HON. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA

  • G.R. Nos. 135068-72 September 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MAXIMO RAMOS

  • G.R. No. 137674 September 20, 2001 - WILLIAM GO KIM HUY v. SANTIAGO GO KIM HUY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139410 September 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SILVERIO AGUERO

  • G.R. No. 140898 September 20, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE ISHIKAWA AMBA

  • A.M. No. P-99-1289 September 21, 2001 - JUDGE NAPOLEON S. DIAMANTE v. ANTHONY A. ALAMBRA

  • G.R. Nos. 119609-10 September 21, 2001 - PCGG v. HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division), ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128876 September 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANOLITO FELIZAR y CAPULI

  • G.R. No. 132384 September 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARLON GADIA

  • G.R. No. 134596 September 21, 2001 - RAYMUND ARDONIO v. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 142889 September 21, 2001 - EXECUTIVE LABOR ARBITER RICARDO N. OLAIREZ v. OMBUDSMAN ANIANO A. DESIERTO

  • G.R. No. 145416 September 21, 2001 - GOLDEN HORIZON REALTY CORPORATION v. SY CHUAN

  • A.M. No. 99-6-79-MTC September 24, 2001 - REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT

  • A.M. No. P-01-1512 September 24, 2001 - TERESITA H. ZIPAGAN v. JOVENCIO N. TATTAO

  • G.R. Nos. 132442-44 September 24, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BERNARDINO ARANZADO

  • G.R. Nos. 135524-25 September 24, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANOLITO AGUSTIN

  • G.R. No. 141897 September 24, 2001 - METRO CONSTRUCTION v. CHATHAM PROPERTIES

  • G.R. No. 144404 September 24, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LEODEGARIO BASCUGUIN Y AGQUIZ

  • G.R. Nos. 127759-60 September 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PO3 NOEL FELICIANO

  • G.R. Nos. 134527-28 September 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SERAPIO REY alias APIONG

  • G.R. Nos. 136867-68 September 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RODRIGO GALVEZ y JEREZ

  • G.R. No. 137612 September 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FRANCISCO ANTINERO BERIARMENTE

  • A.C. No. 4497 September 26, 2001 - MR. and MRS. VENUSTIANO G. SABURNIDO v. ATTY. FLORANTE E. MADROÑO

  • A.C. No. 4990 September 26, 2001 - ELENA ZARATE-BUSTAMANTE and LEONORA SAVET CATABIAN v. ATTY. FLORENTINO G. LIBATIQUE

  • G.R. No. 122824 September 26, 2001 - AURORA F. IGNACIO v. VALERIANO BASILIO,

  • G.R. No. 123058 September 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO NAPUD, JR.

  • G.R. No. 129107 September 26, 2001 - ALFONSO L. IRINGAN v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS , ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 129530-31 September 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WILFREDO OLARTE

  • G.R. Nos. 138308-10 September 26, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PABLO SANTOS

  • G.R. No. 142564 September 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HILGEM NERIO y GIGANTO

  • G.R. Nos. 143108-09 September 26, 2001 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • Adm. Case. No. 5505 September 27, 2001 - SEVERINO RAMOS v. ATTY. ELLIS JACOBA and ATTY. OLIVIA VELASCO JACOBA

  • G.R. No. 131864-65 September 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SHERJOHN ARONDAIN and JOSE PRECIOSO

  • G.R. Nos. 134963-64 September 27, 2001 - ALFREDO LONG and FELIX ALMERIA v. LYDIA BASA

  • G.R. No. 137676 September 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ATTY. ROBERTO DIONISIO

  • G.R. No. 144035 September 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE M. BASQUEZ

  • A.M. No. P-00-1391 September 28, 2001 - LIBRADA D. TORRES v. NELSON C. CABESUELA

  • G.R. No. 122425 September 28, 2001 - FLORDELIZA H. CABUHAT v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 124535 September 28, 2001 - THE RURAL BANK OF LIPA CITY, ET AL. v. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125154 September 28, 2001 - DIGNA VERGEL v. COURT OF APPEALS and DOROTEA-TAMISIN GONZALES

  • G.R. No. 125442 September 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FERNANDO ARELLANO y ROBLES

  • G.R. No. 127232 September 28, 2001 - GOLDENROD v. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and PATHFINDER HOLDINGS (PHILIPPINES)

  • G.R. No. 127241 September 28, 2001 - LA CONSOLACION COLLEGE, ET AL. v. NLRC , ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134128 September 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GERARDO DE LAS ERAS y ZAFRA

  • G.R. No. 134928 September 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FILOMENO BARNUEVO. ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 140789-92 September 28, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALIPIO CARBONELL and DIONISIO CARBONELL

  • G.R. No. 145371 September 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BEN AQUINO and ROMEO AQUINO

  •  





     
     

    A.C. No. 4990   September 26, 2001 - ELENA ZARATE-BUSTAMANTE and LEONORA SAVET CATABIAN v. ATTY. FLORENTINO G. LIBATIQUE

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [A.C. No. 4490. September 26, 2001.]

    ELENA ZARATE-BUSTAMANTE and LEONORA SAVET CATABIAN, Complainants, v. ATTY. FLORENTINO G. LIBATIQUE, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N


    QUISUMBING, J.:


    Before us is a complaint for disbarment filed by Elena Zarate Bustamante and Leonora Savet-Catabian against Atty. Florentino G. Libatique, received by the Office of the Bar Confidant on December 14, 1998. Complainants allege that respondent, as their counsel, neglected to inform them of the status of a case for partition they had earlier filed, which resulted to the loss of their share in the property subject of partition.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    The antecedent facts are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Elena Zarate-Bustamante, Felicitas Zarate-Savet, and Florencio Zarate were children of Casimiro and Trinidad Zarate. 1 The spouses Zarate owned a parcel of land in Bauang, La Union, with an area exceeding 3,000 square meters. 2 Casimiro donated the land to Florencio in 1944. 3

    In 1974, with respondent as counsel, Bustamante and Savet filed an action seeking partition of the land before Branch 4 of the then Court of First Instance of Bauang, La Union, docketed as Civil Case No. 155-BG. Defendant therein was Florencio Zarate. On October 2, 1975 the CFI ordered the parties to voluntarily partition the property, inasmuch as all three siblings have a right to the land.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Zarate appealed from the decision of the CFI. In a decision promulgated on January 29, 1982, the Court of Appeals reversed the order of the CFI and dismissed the complaint, after it found that the property in question was donated to Zarate by his father in 1944 and that, since then, he had been in actual, adverse possession of the property for almost 30 years when the complaint for partition was filed in 1974. Thus, he had acquired title to the property by prescription.

    In 1998, Bustamante secured a copy of the CFI order of partition and inquired from respondent if it could still be enforced. She was also able to secure a copy of an extrajudicial partition of the property made by the heirs of Zarate, who died in 1993, and asked respondent his opinion about such partition.

    Respondent replied that the CFI order of partition could still be enforced, and that the extrajudicial partition made by the heirs of Zarate was null and void, being contrary to the CFI order. Respondent agreed to file a new case to enforce the order, for an acceptance fee of P10,000.00 and appearance fee of P500.00. 4 Complainants paid the acceptance fee on September 30, 1998. 5 On the same day, respondent, as counsel for Bustamante and Savet’s daughter Leonora Savet-Catabian, filed a new case for recovery of ownership, partition, and declaration of nullity of extrajudicial partition. 6

    However, the case was dismissed upon motion of the heirs of Zarate, who cited the 1982 ruling of the CA upholding Zarate’s ownership of the property, which had become final and executory. 7

    Complainants claimed to have been unaware of the appeal made by Zarate to the CA, and confronted respondent about the matter. However, respondent allegedly claimed ignorance of such appeal. 8

    Hence, this complaint, in which complainants aver that they lost their share in a property worth millions of pesos due to the gross negligence and irresponsible conduct of Respondent. Complainants argue that respondent could not have been unaware of the appeal made by Zarate, since a check of court records allegedly made by them revealed that respondent was duly served court processes in connection with the appeal.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In his Comment, respondent admits that he was counsel for the plaintiffs in the action for partition filed before the CFI of Bauang, La Union. He also admits that he agreed to handle a new case, this time for recovery of ownership and declaration of nullity of an extrajudicial partition, for complainants. Respondent stated that in agreeing to accept the new case, he only relied on the order of the CFI dated October 2, 1975, which he believed could still be enforced. He also believed that the extrajudicial partition made by Zarate’s heirs was null and void, owing to the CFI’s order of partition.

    Respondent likewise admits having received P10,000.00 from complainants as acceptance fee. 9 However, he claims to have "no recollection" as to the status of the case filed before the CFI, "as it has been a long time ago and I have no more record of the case on file in my office.’’ 10

    We referred the matter to the IBP for investigation, report, and recommendation on June 23, 1999. We received the IBP’s report on October 16, 2000.cralaw : red

    The IBP found that, indeed, respondent was remiss in fulfilling his duty to his clients. He forgot about the case filed before the CFI, and thus, failed to consider its implication on the new case that he filed in 1998. The IBP recommended that respondent be admonished for filing a new case "when the outcome would have been dependent on an existing appealed case." 11 The IBP also recommended that respondent return the P10,000.00 he received from complainants as acceptance fee, with legal interest.

    We agree with the findings and the recommendation of the IBP.

    Respondent claims to have been rattled and shocked 12 upon learning, after he filed the new case in 1998, that the CA reversed in 1982 the order of the CFI directing partition of the property, implying that he was unaware of the appeal made by Zarate. He admits that when he filed the new case, he "had no recollection" regarding the status of the case before the CFI. The latest development he was aware of concerned the CFI order issued in 1975.

    However, respondent also admits having filed an appellees’ brief when the CFI’s order of partition was appealed to the CA. Yet, he claims to have lost track of the case owing to numerous other commitments requiring his attention. 13 He faults complainants for failing to inquire from him about the status of the case, despite having had the opportunity to do so when they went home to Bauang on several occasions. He blames them for not taking further steps to enforce the CFI order and protect their right to the property. Respondent also argues that complainants should have known of the appeal, since he certainly did not personally cause the printing of the appellees’ brief and provide the money to pursue the appeal in Manila. Only the complainants could have done so. Respondent avers that, like him, complainants might have forgotten all about the case. 14

    Respondent has expressed willingness to reimburse the P10,000.00 he received from complainants as acceptance fee. 15 He denied complainants’ allegations that he was only interested in money, since, according to him, he could have charged much more than P10,000.00 if indeed the property in question was worth millions as claimed by complainants. 16

    We are not entirely persuaded by respondent’s attempt to shift the blame to his clients regarding their case on appeal.

    Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. More specifically, Rule 18.03 and Rule 18.04 provide:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

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

    Rule 18.04 — A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client’s request for information.

    Clearly, respondent breached his duty to his client when he conveniently forgot about the appeal filed by Zarate. His negligence shows a glaring lack of the competence and diligence required of every lawyer, and his admission of negligence 17 does not mitigate his liability. He cannot now shift the blame to complainants for failing to inquire about the status of the case, since, as stated above, it was his duty as lawyer to inform his clients of the status of cases entrusted to him. His failure to do so is an infraction that this Court will not countenance.

    Respondent cannot simply say that he lost track of the first partition case because he had numerous other commitments to attend to. Like all professionals, he is expected to devise ways to follow the course of his cases and to keep his files updated. None of these would have happened had respondent been more mindful of his responsibilities as an attorney.

    Neither is the passage of time an excuse. It is a fundamental rule of ethics that "an attorney who undertakes to conduct an action impliedly stipulates to carry it to its conclusion." 18 It is respondent’s bounden duty to see his cases through until properly completed and not abandon or neglect them in midstream.

    WHEREFORE, Atty. Florentino G. Libatique is declared GUILTY of negligence in the performance of his duties to his clients, and ADMONISHED to henceforth adhere faithfully to the canons set forth in the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is ORDERED to return to complainants Elena Zarate-Bustamante and Leonora Savet-Catabian the amount of P10,000.00 he received from them as attorney’s fee, with legal interest until fully returned.

    Let a copy of this decision be spread in his file at the Office of the Bar Confidant and of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    SO ORDERED.

    Bellosillo, Mendoza, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, p. 56.

    2. Id. at 56-57.

    3. Id. at 57.

    4. Id. at 47.

    5. Id. at 67.

    6. Id. at 62.

    7. Id. at 19.

    8. Id. at 3-4.

    9. Id. at 48.

    10. Id. at 47.

    11. IBP Report and Recommendation, p. 9.

    12. Rollo, p. 47.

    13. Id. at 54.

    14. Id. at 49.

    15. Records, p. 61.

    16. Rollo, p. 53.

    17. Records, p 50.

    18. Orcino v. Gaspar, 279 SCRA 379, 384 (1997).

    A.C. No. 4990   September 26, 2001 - ELENA ZARATE-BUSTAMANTE and LEONORA SAVET CATABIAN v. ATTY. FLORENTINO G. LIBATIQUE


    Back to Home | Back to Main

     

    QUICK SEARCH

    cralaw

       

    cralaw



     
      Copyright © ChanRobles Publishing Company Disclaimer | E-mail Restrictions
    ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™
     
    RED