April 2004 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
Fajardo v. Dela Torre : AC 6295 : April 14, 2004 : J. Ynares-Santiago : First Division : Resolution
[A.C. NO. 6295 : April 14, 2004]
JOSEFINA B. FAJARDO, Complainant, v. ATTY. DANILO DELA TORRE, Respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
Complainant was the defendant in Civil Case No. 581 for Forcible Entry, entitled, Felisa Imperial v. Josefina Fajardo, and the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 582 for Unlawful Detainer, entitled, Josefina B. Fajardo v. Felisa Imperial.The cases were consolidated and tried jointly by the Municipal Trial Court of Ba-ao, Camarines Sur, which rendered judgment in favor of Imperial.1 Complainants counsel, respondent herein, appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Iriga City, which affirmed the appealed decision.
Hence, complainant instructed respondent to file a Petition for Review with the Court of Appeals.Respondent demanded the amount of P4,300.002 for the preparation and filing of the petition which complainant complied by remitting the amount to respondent.
It appears that the Petition for Review was later dismissed by the Court of Appeals on the grounds of insufficient payment of docket fees and failure to attach the certified true copy of the assailed decision.Complainant only learned of the resolution dismissing her petition when her opponent, Imperial, filed a motion for new trial attaching a copy thereof in the separate action filed by complainant with the RTC of Iriga City for recovery of possession.
Complainant thus filed a complaint charging respondent of Gross Ignorance of the Law and Negligence in the Performance of Profession.3 cralawred
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Commission on Bar Discipline directed respondent to answer the complaint.Despite receipt of the Order of the IBP-CBD, respondent failed to answer the Complaint.
Subsequently, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline issued a Notice dated February 13, 20014 setting the case for hearing on March 13, 2001.Again, despite receipt by respondent of the notice, he failed to appear at the scheduled hearing.Complainant was allowed to present her evidence ex parte.
On September 22, 2003, the IBP-CBD submitted its Report finding respondent liable as charged and recommending that he be fined P1,500.00 and suspended from the practice of law for a period ranging from four (4) to six (6) months.The IBP Board of Governors adopted the findings of the Investigating Commissioner but reduced the suspension to one (1) month.
While we agree with the finding that respondent is liable for negligence, we find inadequate the recommended period of suspension. Hence, we impose on respondent the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year.
Complaints against lawyers for misconduct are normally addressed to the Court. If, at the outset, the Court finds the complaint to be clearly wanting in merit, it outrightly dismisses the case.If, however, the Court deems it necessary that further inquiry should be made, such as when the matter could not be resolved by merely evaluating the pleadings submitted, referral is made to the IBP for formal investigation of the case during which the parties are accorded an opportunity to be heard. Anex parte investigation may only be conducted when respondent fails to appear despite reasonable notice.Hereunder are some of the pertinent provisions of Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court on this matter, viz: