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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)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
April-2003 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 4984 April 1, 2003 - JULITO D. VITRIOLO, ET AL. v. FELINA DASIG

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1485 April 1, 2003 - FIDEL ISIP, JR. v. VALENTINO B. NOGOY

  • A.M. Nos. P-02-1620, P-02-1621, P-02-1622 & P-96-1194 April 1, 2003 - MELINDA F. PIMENTEL v. PERPETUA SOCORRO M. DE LEOZ

  • A.M. No. P-02-1643 April 1, 2003 - DIMAS ABALDE v. ANTONIO ROQUE

  • G.R. No. 137782 April 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARTURO R. NICOLAS

  • G.R. No. 138470 April 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARTEMIO GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 143084 April 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE TORELLOS

  • G.R. No. 148635 April 1, 2003 - MARILLA MAYANG CAVILE, ET AL. v. HEIRS OF CLARITA CAVILE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149453 April 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL. v. PANFILO M. LACSON

  • A.M. No. 01-1-13-RTC April 2, 2003 - RE: Report on the Examination of the Cash and Accounts

  • A.M. No. P-02-1545 April 2, 2003 - ZENAIDA C. GUTIERREZ, ET AL. v. RODOLFO V. QUITALIG

  • G.R. No. 139412 April 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONALD CASTILLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 149028-30 April 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO CABALLERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149893 April 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MELCHOR RABAGO

  • A.C. No. 4958 April 3, 2003 - FIDEL D. AQUINO v. OSCAR MANESE

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1436 April 3, 2003 - JAIME C. TARAN v. JOSE S. JACINTO

  • A.M. No. P-02-1595 April 3, 2003 - TIMOTEO M. CASANOVA, JR. v. FELIZARDO P. CAJAYON

  • A.M. No. P-02-1650 April 3, 2003 - ZENAIDA REYES-MACABEO v. FLORITO EDUARDO V. VALLE

  • G.R. Nos. 111098-99 April 3, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PIO BISO

  • G.R. Nos. 143976 & 145846 April 3, 2003 - SPS. OSCAR and HAYDEE BADILLO v. ARTURO G. TAYAG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144444 April 3, 2003 - STATE INVESTMENT TRUST v. DELTA MOTORS CORP.

  • G.R. No. 150978 April 3, 2003 - POWTON CONGLOMERATE v. JOHNNY AGCOLICOL

  • G.R. No. 155875 April 3, 2003 - AGAPITO CRUZ FIEL, ET AL. v. KRIS SECURITY SYSTEMS, INC., ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1482 April 4, 2003 - ILUMINADA SANTILLAN VDA. DE NEPOMUCENO v. NICASIO V. BARTOLOME

  • A.M. No. P-03-1690, MTJ-01-1363 & 01-12-02-SC April 4, 2003 - ESTRELLITA M. PAAS v. EDGAR E. ALMARVEZ

  • G.R. No. 108405 April 4, 2003 - JAIME D. VIERNES, ET AL. v. N;RC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117020 April 4, 2003 - VIRON TRANSPORTATION CO. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125938 April 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL JANSON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140756 April 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUAN GONZALES ESCOTE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141631 April 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERDINAND FRANCISCO

  • G.R. No. 143135 April 4, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. DAMAYAN NG PUROK 14, INC.

  • G.R. No. 143779 April 4, 2003 - FRANCISCA L. MARQUEZ v. SIMEON BALDOZ

  • G.R. Nos. 145309-10 April 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VIRGILIO FLORES

  • G.R. Nos. 144476 & 144629 April 8, 2003 - ONG YONG, ET AL. v. DAVID. S. TIU, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149022 April 8, 2003 - CARMENCITA D. CORONEL v. ANIANO A. DESIERTO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1428 April 9, 2003 - ARFRAN L. QUIÑONES v. FRANCISCO H. LOPEZ

  • A.M. No. P-02-1580 April 9, 2003 - RENE ESPINA v. JUAN A. GATO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1630 April 9, 2003 - HEINZ R. HECK v. ANTHONY E. SANTOS

  • G.R. No. 119255 April 9, 2003 - TOMAS K. CHUA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126968 April 9, 2003 - RICARDO BALUNUECO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128568 April 9, 2003 - SPS. REYNALDO and ESMERALDA ALCARAZ v. PEDRO M. TANGGA-AN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132371 April 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO Q. SIMBAHON

  • G.R. No. 133003 April 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LAWRENCE MACAPANPAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141258 April 9, 2003 - TOMASA SARMIENTO v. SPS. LUIS & ROSE SUN-CABRIDO ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 141314 & 141369 April 9, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. REPRESENTED BY ENERGY REGULATORY BOARD v. MERALCO

  • G.R. No. 143004 April 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CLIDORO

  • G.R. No. 143432 April 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TERENCIO L. FUNESTO

  • G.R. No. 146034 April 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LASTIDE A. SUBE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146815 April 9, 2003 - HEIRS OF PEDRO, ET AL. v. STERLING TECHNOPARK III ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147468 April 9, 2003 - SPS. EDUARDO & JOSEFINA DOMINGO v. LILIA MONTINOLA ROCES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147745 April 9, 2003 - MARIA BUENA OBRA v. SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM

  • G.R. No. 148727 April 9, 2003 - SPS. HERMOGENA AND JOSE ENGRESO v. NESTORIA DE LA CRUZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149038 April 9, 2003 - PHIL. AMERICAN GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. PKS SHIPPING COMPANY

  • G.R. No. 149110 April 9, 2003 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. CITY OF CABANATUAN

  • G.R. No. 149422 April 10, 2003 - DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM v. APEX INVESTMENT AND FINANCING CORP.

  • G.R. No. 149578 April 10, 2003 - EVELYN TOLOSA v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143540 April 11, 2003 - JOEL G. MIRANDA v. ANTONIO C. CARREON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148138 April 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY VIAJEDOR

  • A.M. No. P-02-1645 April 21, 2003 - GILBERT HOWARD M. ATIENZA v. JOSEPHINE V. DINAMPO

  • A.M. No. P-03-1695 April 21, 2003 - ARTEMIO H. QUIDILLA v. JUNAR G. ARMIDA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1756 April 22, 2003 - AURORA S. GONZALES v. VICENTE A. HIDALGO

  • G.R. No. 127745 April 22, 2003 - FELICITO G. SANSON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129163 April 22, 2003 - VOLTAIRE ARBOLARIO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 138650-58 April 22, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IGNACIO SINORO

  • G.R. No. 140707 April 22, 2003 - NORGENE POTENCIANO, ET AL. v. DWIGHT "IKE" B. REYNOSO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146942 April 22, 2003 - CORAZON G. RUIZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152329 April 22, 2003 - ALEJANDRO ROQUERO v. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1763 April 24, 2003 - JOSE B. TIONGCO v. FLORENTINO P. PEDRONIO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1770 April 24, 2003 - MELISSA E. MAÑO v. CAESAR A. CASANOVA

  • G.R. No. 123968 April 24, 2003 - URSULINA GANUELAS, ET AL. v. ROBERT T. CAWED, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137182 April 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABDILA L. SILONGAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 137458-59 April 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS G. BATOCTOY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137601 April 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WINCHESTER ABUT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139230 April 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANUEL DANIELA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143672 April 24, 2003 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. GENERAL FOODS (PHILS.), INC.

  • G.R. No. 145915 April 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VILMA Z. ALMENDRAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147038 April 24, 2003 - RICHARD TEH v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1370 April 25, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. AGUSTIN T. SARDIDO

  • G.R. No. 118749 April 25, 2003 - SPS LORENZO and LORENZA FRANCISCO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141187 April 28, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONNIE A. MACTAL

  • A.C. No. 5225 April 29, 2003 - SPS. WILFREDO & LYDIA BOYBOY v. VICTORIANO R. YABUT, JR.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1453 April 29, 2003 - EDITHA PALMA GIL v. FRANCISCO H. LOPEZ, JR.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1615 April 29, 2003 - PEDRO MAGNAYE v. ERIBERTO R. SABAS

  • G.R. No. 119858 April 29, 2003 - EDWARD C. ONG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122363 April 29, 2003 - VICTOR G. VALENCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127002 April 29, 2003 - JEREMIAS L. DOLINO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135394 April 29, 2003 - JOSE V. DELA RAMA v. FRANCISCO G. MENDIOLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139841 April 29, 2003 - EMILIO C. VILLAROSA v. DEMOSTHENES L. MAGALLANES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141518 April 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLARENCE ASTUDILLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142015 April 29, 2003 - RURAL BANK OF STA. IGNACIA v. PELAGIA DIMATULAC

  • G.R. No. 147230 April 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYNALDO R. REMERATA

  • G.R. No. 150656 April 29, 2003 - MARGARITA ROMUALDEZ-LICAROS v. ABELARDO B. LICAROS

  • A.C. No. 4724 April 30, 2003 - GORETTI ONG v. JOEL M. GRIJALDO

  • A.M. No. CA-99-9-P April 30, 2003 - MAGTANGGOL GABRIEL v. VIRGINIA C. ABELLA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-00-1445 April 30, 2003 - MEDARDO M. PADUA v. IRENEO S. PAZ

  • A.M. No. P-02-1599 April 30, 2003 - LEANDRO T. LOYAO v. MAMERTO J. CAUBE, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1600 April 30, 2003 - DOMINADOR. AREVALO, ET AL. v. EDGARDO S. LORIA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1696 April 30, 2003 - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION v. ZENAIDA T. STA. ANA

  • A.M. RTJ No. 03-1761 April 30, 2003 - JOSE B. CUSTODIO v. JESUS V. QUITAIN

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1775 April 30, 2003 - ISAGANI A. CRUZ v. PHILBERT I. ITURRALDE

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1779 April 30, 2003 - JOVENCITO R. ZUÑO, ET AL. v. ARNULFO G. CABREDO

  • G.R. Nos. 107789 & 147214 April 30, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116326 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT LEE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121211 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONETO DEGAMO

  • G.R. No. 121637 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO GREFALDIA

  • G.R. No. 125761 April 30, 2003 - SALVADOR P. MALBAROSA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126568 April 30, 2003 - QUIRINO GONZALES LOGGING CONCESSIONAIRE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126911 April 30, 2003 - PHIL. DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127141 April 30, 2003 - SPS. EMMANUEL and MELANIE LANTIN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128378 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT GOMEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128512 & 128963 April 30, 2003 - DARIO P. BELONGHILOT v. RTC OF ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE

  • G.R. No. 129090 April 30, 2003 - RICARDO B. GONZALES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129895 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO C. DALAG

  • G.R. No. 134940 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CATALINO MELENDRES

  • G.R. No. 138266 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRO CABRERA, JR.

  • G.R. No. 139876 April 30, 2003 - WILLIAM TIU and/or THE ROUGH RIDERS v. JULIO PASAOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140753 April 30, 2003 - BENJAMIN S. SANTOS v. ELENA VELARDE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141375 April 30, 2003 - MUNICIPALITY OF KANANGA v. FORTUNITO L. MADRONA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142435 April 30, 2003 - ESTELITA BURGOS LIPAT, ET AL. v. PACIFIC BANKING CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142591 April 30, 2003 - JOSEPH CHAN, ET AL. v. BONIFACIO S. MACEDA

  • G.R. Nos. 144445-47 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GENARO BIONG

  • G.R. No. 146099 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMEL SANIDAD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146481 April 30, 2003 - ARTURO G. RIMORIN, SR. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. Nos. 146685-86 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN M. HILET

  • G.R. Nos. 146862-64 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GAUDENCIO D. UMBAÑA

  • G.R. No. 146886 April 30, 2003 - DEVORAH E. BARDILLON v. BARANGAY MASILI of Calamba, Laguna

  • G.R. No. 146923 April 30, 2003 - BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147033 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO UMAYAM

  • G.R. Nos. 148394-96 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGER ELIARDA

  • G.R. No. 150179 April 30, 2003 - HEIRS OF WILLIAM SEVILLA, ET AL. v. LEOPOLDO SEVILLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 150820-21 April 30, 2003 - SPS. ANTONIO and GENOVEVA BALANON-ANICETE, ET AL. v. PEDRO BALANON

  • G.R. No. 154037 April 30, 2003 - IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF BENJAMIN VERGARA, ET AL.

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    A.C. No. 4724   April 30, 2003 - GORETTI ONG v. JOEL M. GRIJALDO

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

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

    GORETTI ONG, Complainant, v. ATTY. JOEL M. GRIJALDO, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N


    PER CURIAM:


    The fiduciary duty of a lawyer and advocate is what places the law profession in a unique position of trust and confidence, and distinguishes it from any other calling. Once this trust and confidence is betrayed, the faith of the people not only in the individual lawyer but also in the legal profession as a whole is eroded. To this end, all members of the bar are strictly required to at all times maintain the highest degree of public confidence in the fidelity, honesty, and integrity of their profession. 1 In this administrative case for disbarment, respondent Atty. Joel M. Grijaldo failed to perform his sworn duty to preserve the dignity of the legal profession.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Complainant Goretti Ong is a widow residing in Talayan Village, Quezon City. Sometime in the early part of 1996, she engaged the services of respondent, a practicing lawyer in Bacolod City, as private prosecutor in Criminal Case No. 52843 before the Metropolitan Trial Court in Cities of Bacolod City, Branch 5, against Lemuel Sembrano and Arlene Villamil for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. 2 During one of the hearings of the case, the accused offered to amicably settle their civil obligation to complainant by paying the amount of P180,000.00. Complainant accepted the offer on the condition that payment shall be made in cash.

    At the hearing held on July 17, 1996, respondent advised complainant to wait outside the courtroom. When he came out, he handed to complainant cash in the amount of P100,000.00 and Metrobank Check No. 0701263862 for P80,000.00, postdated August 16, 1996, drawn by Atty. Roger Reyes, counsel for the accused. Complainant objected to the check payment and refused to settle the case, but he assured her that the check was drawn by a reputable lawyer. Complainant was prevailed upon by respondent into signing an affidavit of desistance, but she instructed him not to file it in court until the check is cleared.

    Upon presentment on its maturity date, the check was dishonored due to a stop-payment order from the drawer. Complainant immediately informed respondent of the dishonor, and the latter told her that he will talk to Atty. Reyes about it. Later, when complainant met with respondent in Manila, he relayed to her Atty. Reyes’ offer to replace the check with cash. Several weeks passed without any payment of the proceeds of the check, despite complainant’s repeated telephone calls to Respondent. Sometime in December 1996, she suggested that respondent move for a hearing of the case, but he told her that courts are not inclined to set hearings near the Christmas season.

    On December 17, 1996, complainant personally went to Bacolod City to inquire about her case. She was surprised to learn that the same was dismissed as early as September 26, 1996. 3 Apparently, respondent submitted her Affidavit of Desistance 4 and, on the basis thereof, the public prosecutor moved for the dismissal of the case which was granted by the court. When complainant confronted respondent, he admitted to her that he had already received the amount of P80,000.00 from Atty. Reyes but he used the same to pay for his financial obligations.

    Thus, on April 2, 1997, complainant filed an Administrative Complaint against respondent for disbarment. 5

    Complainant further alleged in her complaint that respondent represented her in another case, entitled "People of the Philippines versus Norma Mondia," also for violation of B.P. 22, where she was the offended party. Respondent approached the accused, Norma Mondia, and offered to delay the hearing of the case in consideration of the amount of P10,000.00. However, Mondia did not have that amount of money. Attached to the complaint is the affidavit of Norma Mondia attesting to this fact. 6

    Furthermore, Henry Tiu, a former client of respondent, executed an affidavit, which is attached to the complaint, alleging that he gave respondent the amount of P3,000.00 for the purpose of posting his bail bond, but respondent did not post his bail which resulted in Tiu’s arrest. 7

    Likewise, a certain Luz Dimailig, whose affidavit is also attached to the complaint, averred that respondent represented her as counsel for plaintiff in a civil case before the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City, Branch 52; that the case was dismissed by the trial court; that the appeal filed by respondent to the Court of Appeals was dismissed due to his failure to file the appellant’s brief; and that the petition for review before the Supreme Court was denied for lack of proof of service on the Court of Appeals, late filing and late payment of docket fees. Moreover, Dimailig alleged that she gave respondent the amount of P10,000.00 for settling the said civil case, but she later learned that he did not remit the money to the defendants or their counsel. 8

    On June 25, 1997, respondent was required to file his comment within ten days from notice. 9 Respondent filed a Motion for Extension of Time, alleging that he has not received a copy of the complaint. 10 On February 5, 1998, 11 complainant furnished respondent a copy of the complaint. However, despite receipt of a copy of the complaint, respondent still failed to file his comment.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    On October 19, 1998, respondent was required to show cause why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with or held in contempt for failing to file his comment. 12 Respondent filed a Compliance, stating that the copy of the complaint he received from complainant was not legible. Complainant again furnished respondent with a clearer and more legible copy of the complaint including its annexes; but respondent still did not file his comment. Consequently, on June 14, 2000, another show cause order was issued against Respondent. 13 Respondent replied by stating that the quality of the copy furnished him by complainant was worse than the first one he received.

    Dissatisfied with respondent’s explanation, respondent was ordered to pay a fine of P1,000.00, which he complied with on November 27, 2000. 14 However, he again failed to file his comment and, instead, moved for additional time to file said comment.

    On August 13, 2001, this case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation. 15 The records of the IBP show that respondent has not filed his comment to the complaint. On January 18, 2002, the Investigating Commissioner, Manuel A. Tiuseco, submitted his report recommending the disbarment of Respondent. 16 However, in its Resolution No. XV-2002-553 dated October 19, 2002, the IBP Board of Governors modified the penalty of disbarment and recommended instead respondent’s indefinite suspension from the practice of law for grossly immoral conduct and deceit. 17

    After a careful review of the records of this case, we find the recommendation of Commissioner Manuel A. Tiuseco well-taken.

    It is clear that respondent gravely abused the trust and confidence reposed in him by his client, the complainant. Were it not for complainant’s vigilance in inquiring into the status of her case, she would not have known that the same had already been dismissed on September 26, 1996. Respondent deliberately withheld this fact from her, notwithstanding that she talked to him sometime in December 1996.

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

    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.

    Respondent breached his duty to his client when he failed to inform complainant of the status of the criminal case. His negligence shows a glaring lack of the competence and diligence required of every lawyer. 18 His infraction is rendered all the more deplorable by the fact that complainant is a resident of Quezon City and the case was filed in Bacolod City. It was precisely for this reason that complainant engaged the services of respondent, a Bacolod-based lawyer, so that her interests in the case may be amply protected in her absence. Respondent’s failure to look after his client’s welfare in the case was a gross betrayal of his fiduciary duty and a breach of the trust and confident which was reposed in him. In a similar case, we held:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    It is settled that a lawyer is not obliged to act as counsel for every person who may wish to become his client. He has the right to decline employment subject however, to the provision of Canon 14 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Once he agrees to take up the cause of a client, he owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed to him. Respondent Meneses, as counsel, had the obligation to inform his client of the status of the case and to respond within a reasonable time to his client’s request for information. Respondent’s failure to communicate with his client by deliberately disregarding its request for an audience or conference is an unjustifiable denial of its right to be fully informed of the developments in and the status of its case. 19

    Worse, when respondent used the money which he received from Atty. Reyes to pay for his own obligations, he violated Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which states that" [a] lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession." Furthermore:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Rule 16.01. A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client.

    Rule 16.02. A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by him.

    Rule 16.03. A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon demand. However, he shall have a lien over the funds and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to his client. He shall also have a lien to the same extent on all judgments and executions he has secured for his client as provided for in the Rules of Court.

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

    A lawyer, under his oath, pledges himself not to delay any man for money or malice and is bound to conduct himself with all good fidelity to his clients. He is obligated to report promptly the money of his client that has come into his possession. He should not commingle it with his private property or use it for his personal purposes without his client’s consent. Respondent, by converting the money of his client to his own personal use without her consent, was guilty of deceit, malpractice and gross misconduct. Not only did he degrade himself but as an unfaithful lawyer he besmirched the fair name of an honorable profession. 21

    Aside from violating the Code of Professional Responsibility, respondent’s failure to promptly turn over the money to his client and his conversion of the same for his personal use rendered him liable for contempt under Rule 138, Section 25 of the Rules of Court, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Unlawful retention of client’s funds; contempt. — When an attorney unjustly retains in his hands money of his client after it has been demanded he may be punished for contempt as an officer of the court who has misbehaved in his official transactions; but proceedings under this section shall not be a bar to a criminal prosecution.

    Furthermore, respondent violated his oath of office and duties as counsel when he approached his client’s opponent and offered to delay the case in exchange for money. His offer to delay the case would have frustrated the interests of his client which he had sworn to protect. As a lawyer, respondent should avoid any unethical or improper practices that impede, obstruct or prevent the speedy, efficient and impartial adjudication of cases. 22

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

    Respondent’s act of propositioning his client’s opponent and offering to delay the case against her was intended to benefit the latter. Hence, such act amounted to double-dealing and conflict of interest, and was unethical practice of law. Attorneys, like Caesar’s wife, must not only keep inviolate their client’s confidence, but must also avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing, for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their attorneys which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice. 24

    Finally, respondent’s cavalier attitude in repeatedly ignoring the directives of this Court to file his comment constitutes utter disrespect to the judicial institution. His conduct indicates a high degree of irresponsibility. A resolution of this Court is not to be construed as a mere request, nor should it be complied with partially, inadequately or selectively. 25 Respondent’s obstinate refusal to comply therewith not only betrays a recalcitrant flaw in his character; it also underscores his disrespect of our lawful orders which is only too deserving of reproof.

    Any departure from the path which a lawyer must follow as demanded by the virtues of his profession shall not be tolerated by this Court as the disciplining authority. This is especially so, as in the instant case, where respondent even deliberately defied the lawful orders of the Court for him to file his comment on the complaint, thereby transgressing Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which requires a lawyer to observe and maintain the respect due the courts. 26

    All told, respondent’s transgressions manifested dishonesty and amounted to grave misconduct and grossly unethical behavior which caused dishonor, not only to complainant, but to the noble profession to which he belongs, for it cannot be denied that the respect of litigants for the profession is inexorably diminished whenever a member of the Bar betrays their trust and confidence. 27 He has proved himself unworthy of membership in the legal profession and must, therefore, be disbarred.

    WHEREFORE, for dishonesty, grave misconduct, and grossly unethical behavior, respondent ATTY. JOEL GRIJALDO is DISBARRED from the practice of law. His name is ordered STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys. He is further directed to PAY complainant Goretti Ong the amount of P80,000.00 within ten (10) days from notice of this Decision.

    This Decision shall take effect immediately. Copies thereof shall be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, to be appended to respondent’s personal record; the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; the Office of the President; the Department of Justice; the Court of Appeals; the Sandiganbayan; the Philippines Judges Association; and all courts of the land for their information and guidance.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    SO ORDERED.

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr. and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

    Quisumbing, J., is on leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Burbe v. Magulta, A.C. No. 5713, 10 June 2002, citing Sipin-Nabor v. Baterina, A.C. No. 4073, 28 June 2001, 360 SCRA 6.

    2. Rollo, pp. 2–3.

    3. Id., p. 8.

    4. Id., p. 9.

    5. Id., pp. 2–7.

    6. Id., pp. 11–12.

    7. Id., p. 13.

    8. Id., pp. 16–18.

    9. Id., p. 31.

    10. Id., p. 32–34.

    11. Id., p. 41.

    12. Id., p. 45.

    13. Id., p. 68.

    14. Id., p. 84.

    15. Id., p. 91.

    16. Id., pp. 94–97.

    17. Id., p. 93.

    18. Zarate-Bustamante v. Libatique, A.C. No. 4990, 26 September 2001, 366 SCRA 8.

    19. Navarro v. Meneses, CBD A.C. No. 313, 30 January 1998, 285 SCRA 586.

    20. Id.

    21. Busiños v. Ricafort, A.C. No. 4349, 22 December 1997, 283 SCRA 407.

    22. Manila Pilots Association v. Philippine Ports Authority, G.R. No. 130150, 1 October 1998, 297 SCRA 30.

    23. Ellis v. Jacoba, A.C. No. 5505, 27 September 2001, 366 SCRA 91.

    24. Philippine National Bank v. Cedo, A.C. No. 3701, 28 March 1995, 243 SCRA 1, 6.

    25. Guerrero v. Judge Deray, A.M. No. MTJ-02-1466, 10 December 2002.

    26. Busiños v. Ricafort, supra.

    27. Id.

    A.C. No. 4724   April 30, 2003 - GORETTI ONG v. JOEL M. GRIJALDO


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