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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
 

   
February-2013 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. OCA IPI No. 12-201-CA-J, February 19, 2013 - ETHELWOLDO E. FERNANDEZ, ANTONIO A. HENSON AND ANGEL S. ONG, Complainants, v. COURT OF APPEALS ASSOCIATE JUSTICES RAMON M. BATO, JR., ISAIAS P. DICDICAN AND EDUARDO B. PERALTA, JR., Respondents.

  • A.C. No. 9310, February 27, 2013 - VERLEEN TRINIDAD, FLORENTINA LANDER, WALLY CASUBUAN, MINERVA MENDOZA, CELEDONIO ALOJADO, ROSENDO VILLAMIN AND AUREA TOLENTINO, Complainants, v. ATTY. ANGELITO VILLARIN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 151334, February 13, 2013 - CAROLINA (CARLINA) VDA. DE FIGURACION, HEIRS OF ELENA FIGURACION-ANCHETA, NAMELY: LEONCIO ANCHETA, JR., AND ROMULO ANCHETA, HEIRS OF HILARIA A. FIGURACION, NAMELY: FELIPA FIGURACION-MANUEL, MARY FIGURACION-GINEZ, AND EMILIA FIGURACION-GERILLA, AND HEIRS OF QUINTIN FIGURACION, NAMELY: LINDA M. FIGURACION, LEANDRO M. FIGURACION, II, AND ALLAN M. FIGURACION, Petitioners, v. EMILIA FIGURACION-GERILLA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 154083, February 27, 2013 - OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, Petitioner, v. SAMSON DE LEON, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 157086, February 18, 2013 - LEPANTO CONSOLIDATED MINING COMPANY, Petitioner, v. THE LEPANTO CAPATAZ UNION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 158649, February 18, 2013 - SPOUSES QUIRINO V. DELA CRUZ AND GLORIA DELA CRUZ, Petitioners, v. PLANTERS PRODUCTS, INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 159823, February 18, 2013 - TEODORO A. REYES, Petitioner, v. ETTORE ROSSI, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 161596, February 20, 2013 - ROBERTO BORDOMEO, JAYME SARMIENTO AND GREGORIO BARREDO, Petitioners, v. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. SECRETARY OF LABOR, AND INTERNATIONAL PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. Nos. 164155 and 175543, February 25, 2013 - FORT BONIFACIO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 164662, February 18, 2013 - MARIA LOURDES C. DE JESUS, Petitioner, v. HON. RAUL T. AQUINO,PRESIDING COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, SECOND DIVISION, QUEZON CITY,AND SUPERSONIC SERVICES, INC., Respondents.; G.R. NO. 165787 - SUPERSONIC SERVICES, INC., Petitioner, v. MARIA LOURDES C. DE JESUS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 168703, February 26, 2013 - RAMON G. NAZARENO, Petitioner, v. MAERSK FILIPINAS CREWING INC., AND ELITE SHIPPING A/S, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 166282, February 13, 2013 - HEIRS OF FE TAN UY (REPRESENTED BY HER HEIR, MANLING UY LIM), Petitioners, v. INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE BANK, RESPONDENT. - G.R. NO. 166283 - GOLDKEY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, PETITIONER. VS. INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE BANK, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 169677, February 18, 2013 - METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, AS SUCCESSOR-IN-INTEREST OF ASIAN BANK CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. HON. EDILBERTO G. SANDOVAL, HON. FRANCISCO H. VILLARUZ, JR. AND HON. RODOLFO A. PONFERRADA (IN THEIR CAPACITIES AS CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS, RESPECTIVELY, OF THE SECOND DIVISION OF SANDIGANBAYAN) AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 173357, February 13, 2013 - ROWENA DE LEON CRUZ, Petitioner, v. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 173489, February 25, 2013 - ALILEM CREDIT COOPERATIVE, INC., NOW KNOWN AS ALILEM MULTIPURPOSE COOPERATIVE, INC., Petitioner, v. SALVADOR M. BANDIOLA, JR., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 173987, February 25, 2013 - PADILLA MERCADO, ZULUETA MERCADO, BONIFACIA MERCADO, DAMIAN MERCADO AND EMMANUEL MERCADO BASCUG, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES AGUEDO ESPINA AND LOURDES ESPINA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 175369, February 27, 2013 - TEGIMENTA CHEMICAL PHILS. AND VIVIAN ROSE D. GARCIA, Petitioners, v. MARY ANNE OCO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 175108, February 27, 2013 - CHINA BANKING CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 175602, February 13, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. P02 EDUARDO VALDEZ AND EDWIN VALDEZ, Accused-Appellants.

  • G.R. No. 175876, February 20, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. TOMAS TEODORO Y ANGELES, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 177116, February 27, 2013 - ASIAN TERMINALS, INC., Petitioner, v. SIMON ENTERPRISES, INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 178065, February 20, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ARNOLD TAPERE Y POLPOL, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 179965, February 20, 2013 - NICOLAS P. DIEGO, Petitioner, v. RODOLFO P. DIEGO AND EDUARDO P. DIEGO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 180269, February 20, 2013 - JOSE Z. CASILANG, SR., SUBSTITUTED BY HIS HEIRS, NAMELY: FELICIDAD CUDIAMAT VDA. DE CASILANG, JOSE C. CASILANG, JR., RICARDO C. CASILANG, MARIA LOURDES C. CASILANG, CHRISTOPHER C. CASILANG, BEN C. CASILANG, DANTE C. CASILANG, GREGORIO C. CASILANG, HERALD C. CASILANG; AND FELICIDAD Z. CASILANG, MARCELINA Z. CASILANG, JACINTA Z. CASILANG, BONIFACIO Z. CASILANG, LEONORA Z. CASILANG, AND FLORA Z. CASILANG, Petitioners, v. ROSARIO Z. CASILANG-DIZON, MARIO A. CASILANG, ANGELO A. CASILANG, RODOLFO A. CASILANG, AND ATTY. ALICIA B. FABIA, IN HER CAPACITY AS CLERK OF COURT AND EX-OFFICIO SHERIFF OF PANGASINAN AND/OR HER DULY AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 180677, February 18, 2013 - VICTORIO P. DIAZ, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND LEVI STRAUSS [PHILS.], INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 180882, February 27, 2013 - THE BAGUIO REGREENING MOVEMENT, INC., REPRESENTED BY ATTY. ERDOLFO V. BALAJADIA; CITY ENVIRONMENT AND PARKS MANAGEMENT OFFICE, REPRESENTED BY ITS OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, CORDELIA C. LACSAMANA; AND THE BUSOL FOREST RESERVATION TASK FORCE, REPRESENTED BY ITS TEAM LEADER, VICTOR DICTAG, Petitioners, v. ATTY. BRAIN MASWENG, IN HIS CAPACITY AS REGIONAL HEARING OFFICER, NCIP-CAR; ELIZABETH MAT-AN, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF RAFAEL; JUDITH MARANES, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF MOLINTAS; HELEN LUBOS, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF KALOMIS; MAGDALENA GUMANGAN QUE, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF GUMANGAN; SPOUSES ALEXANDER AMPAGUEY AND LUCIA AMPAGUEY; AND SPOUSES CARMEN PANAYO AND MELANIO PANAYO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 181354, February 27, 2013 - SIMON A. FLORES, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 182152, February 25, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND MIRIAM RUTH T. MAGSINO, Petitioners, v. PO1 RICARDO P. EUSEBIO, SPO2 ROMEO ISIDRO, AND JOJIT GEORGE CONTRERAS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 182431, February 27, 2013 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. ESTHER ANSON RIVERA, ANTONIO G. ANSON AND CESAR G. ANSON, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 183102, February 27, 2013 - MACARIO DIAZ CARPIO, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, SPOUSES GELACIO G. ORIA AND MARCELINA PRE ORIA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 184487, February 27, 2013 - HON. MEDEL ARNALDO B. BELEN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 36, 4TH JUDICIAL REGION, CALAMBA CITY, Petitioner, v. JOSEF ALBERT S. COMILANG, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 184681, February 25, 2013 - GERRY A. SALAPUDDIN, Petitioner, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, GOV. JUM AKBAR, AND NOR-RHAMA J. INDANAN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 188363, February 27, 2013 - ALLIED BANKING CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 188849, February 13, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JONATHAN "UTO" VELOSO Y RAMA, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 188969, February 27, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOHN ALVIN PONDIVIDA, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 193804, February 27, 2013 - SPOUSES NILO RAMOS AND ELIADORA RAMOS, Petitioners, v. RAUL OBISPO AND FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 194168, February 13, 2013 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. SPOUSES PLACIDO AND CLARA DY ORILLA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 195825, February 27, 2013 - SPOUSES ALFONSO AND MARIA ANGELES CUSI, Petitioners, v. LILIA V. DOMINGO, Respondent. : G.R. NO. 195871 - RAMONA LIZA L. DE VERA, Petitioner, v. LILIA V. DOMINGO AND SPOUSES RADELIA AND ALFRED SY, Respondents.

  • A.C. No. 7350 - Patrocinio V. Agbulos v. Atty. Roseller A. Viray

  • A.M. No. 10-2-41-RTC - Missing Exhibits and Court Properties in Regional Trial Court, Br. 4, Panabo City, Davao del Norte

  • A.M. OCA-IPI No. 07-2618-RTJ - A.M. OCA-IPI No. 07-2619-RTJ - A.M. OCA-IPI No. 07-2652-RTJ - A.M. OCA-IPI No. 07-2720-RTJ - A.M. OCA-IPI No. 07-2721-RTJ - A.M. OCA-IPI No. 08-2808-RTJ - Eduardo Panes, Jr. et al. v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City; Joewe Palad v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City; Roque C. Facura, et al. v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City; Eden V. Castro v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City; Rosalinda G. Farofaldane v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City; Engr. Roque C. Facura, et al. v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City

  • A.M. No. MTJ-10-1771 - Victoriano G. Manlapaz v. Judge Manuel T. Sabillo, MCTC, Lamitan, Basilan

  • A.M. No. MTJ-12-1818 - Atty. Manuel J. Jimenez, Jr. v. Presiding Judge Michael M. Amdengan, Municipal Trail Court, Angono Rizal

  • A.M. No. 10-9-15-SC - Re: Request of (Ret.) Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban for Re-Computation of his Creditable Service for the Purpose of Re-Computing his Retirement Benefits.

  • A.M. No. P-11-2967 - Erlinda C. Mendoza v. Pedro S. Esguerra, Process Server, RTC, Br. 89, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija

  • G.R. No. 145336 - Reynante Tadeja, et al. v. People of the Philippines

  • A.M. No. P-12-3032 - Ray Antonio C. Sasing v. Celestial Venus G. Gelbolingo, Sheriff IV, RTC, Branch 20, Cagayan de Oro City

  • G.R. No. 169253 - Pacifico C. Velasco v. The Hon. Sandiganbayan (Fifth Division) and The People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 163037 - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Inc. v. Eastern Telecom Philippines

  • G.R. No. 172044 - Cavite Apparel, Inc., et al. v. Michelle Marquez

  • G.R. No. 169899 - Philacor Credit Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

  • G.R. No. 174385 - Republic of the Philippines v. Hon. Ramon S. Caguiao, etc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 177158 - People of the Philippines v. Linda Alviz y Yatco and Elizabeth Dela Vega y Bautista

  • G.R. No. 179096 - Joseph Goyanko, Jr., as administrator of the Estate of Joseph Goyanko, Sr. v. United Coconut Planters Bank, Mango Avenue Branch

  • G.R. No. 179965 - Nicolas P. Diego v. Rodolfo P. Diego and Eduardo P. Diego

  • G.R. No. 180325 - O. Ventanilla Enterprises Corporation v. Adelina S. Tan and Sheriff Reynante G. Velasquez, Presiding Judge

  • G.R. No. 182358 - Department of Health, et al. v. Phil Pharmawealth, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 183102 - Macario Diaz Carpio v. Court of Appeals, spouses Gelacio G. Gloria and Marcelina Pre Oria

  • G.R. No. 187474 - Government Service Insurance System v. Marilou Alcaraz

  • G.R. No. 187496 - People of the Philippines v. Malik Manalao y Alauya

  • G.R. No. 187919 - Rafael H. Galvez and Katherine L. Guy v. Asia United Bank; G.R. No. 187979 - Asia United Bank v. Gilbert, et al.; G.R. No. 188030 - Gilbert Guy, et al. v. Asia Untied Bank

  • G.R. No. 188551 - Edmundo Escamilla y Jugo v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 188659 - Heirs of Manuel H. Ridad, et al. v. Gregorio Araneta University Foundation

  • G.R. No. 187485 - Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. San Roque Power Corporation; G.R. No. 196113 - Taganito Mining Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue; G.R. No. 197156 - Philex Mining Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

  • G.R. No. 190343 - People of the Philippines v. Saiben Langcua y Daimla

  • G.R. No. 191023 - Don Djowel Sales y Abalahin v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 191644 - Dennis A.B. Funa v. Acting Secretary of Justice Alberto C. Agra, etc., et al.

  • G.R. No 191726 - People of the Philippines v. Noel Bartolome y Bajo

  • G.R. No. 191740 - Susana R. Sy v. Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc., and/or SSC Ship Management Pte., Ltd

  • G.R. No. 193314 - Svetlana P. Jalosjos v. Commission on Elections, Edwin Elim Tupag

  • G.R. No. 194578 - Philip Sigrid A. Fortun v. Prima Jesusa B. Quinsayas, et al.

  • G.R. No. 195032 - Isabelo A. Braza v. The Honorable Sandiganbayan (1st Division)

  • G.R. No. 195198 - Loreli LIm Po v. Department of the Justice, et al.; G.R. No. 197098 - Antonio ng Chiu v. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 197003 - Nerie C. Serrano v. Ambassador Hotel, Inc. and Yolanda Chan

  • G.R. No. 196577 - Land Bank of the Philippines v. Barbara Sampaga Poblete

  • G.R. No. 197299 - Office of the Ombudsman v. Rodrigo V. Mapoy and Don Emmanuel R. Regalario

  • G.R. No. 198115 - People of the Philippines v. Jose Alex Secreto y Villanueva

  • G.R. No. 198794 - People of the Philippines v. Victor De Jesus y Garcia

  • G.R. No. 199781 - Licomcen, Inc. v. Engr. Salvador Abainza, etc.

  • G.R. No. 204528 - Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol B. Gatdula

  • A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801 (Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 11-2438 MTJ), February 27, 2013 - ANONYMOUS, Complainant, v. JUDGE RIO C. ACHAS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, BRANCH 2, OZAMIZ CITY, MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 201167, February 27, 2013 - GOTESCO PROPERTIES, INC., JOSE C. GO, EVELYN GO, LOURDES G. ORTIGA, GEORGE GO, AND VICENTE GO, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES EUGENIO AND ANGELINA FAJARDO, Respondents.

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    A.C. No. 9310, February 27, 2013 - VERLEEN TRINIDAD, FLORENTINA LANDER, WALLY CASUBUAN, MINERVA MENDOZA, CELEDONIO ALOJADO, ROSENDO VILLAMIN AND AUREA TOLENTINO, Complainants, v. ATTY. ANGELITO VILLARIN, Respondents.

      A.C. No. 9310, February 27, 2013 - VERLEEN TRINIDAD, FLORENTINA LANDER, WALLY CASUBUAN, MINERVA MENDOZA, CELEDONIO ALOJADO, ROSENDO VILLAMIN AND AUREA TOLENTINO, Complainants, v. ATTY. ANGELITO VILLARIN, Respondents.

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [A.C. No. 9310, February 27, 2013]

    VERLEEN TRINIDAD, FLORENTINA LANDER, WALLY CASUBUAN, MINERVA MENDOZA, CELEDONIO ALOJADO, ROSENDO VILLAMIN AND AUREA TOLENTINO, Complainants, v. ATTY. ANGELITO VILLARIN, Respondents.

    R E S O L U T I O N

    SERENO, C.J.:

    Before this Court is a consolidated administrative complaint against herein respondent, Angelito Villarin, for allegedly harassing complainants through the demand letters he sent to them.

    The facts are as follows:

    The instant case stemmed from a Complaint for specific performance filed with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) by the buyers of the lots in Don Jose Zavalla Subdivision against the subdivision’s owner and developer – Purence Realty Corporation and Roberto Bassig.

    In the final adjudication of that case on 11 October 2000, the HLURB ordered the respondents therein to accept the payments of the buyers under the old purchase price. These buyers included some of the complainants in the instant case, to wit: Florentina Lander, Celedonio Alojado, Aurea Tolentino and Rosendo Villamin.

    The HLURB ordered the owner and the developer to deliver the Deeds of Sale and the Transfer Certificates of Title to the winning litigants. The Decision did not evince any directive for the buyers to vacate the property.

    Purence Realty and Roberto Bassig did not appeal the Decision, thus making it final and executory. Thereafter, the HLURB issued a Writ of Execution.1 It was at this point that respondent Villarin entered his special appearance to represent Purence Realty.2 Specifically, he filed an Omnibus Motion to set aside the Decision and to quash the Writ of Execution3 for being null and void on the ground of lack of jurisdiction due to the improper service of summons on his client. This motion was not acted upon by the HLURB.4

    On 4 December 2003, respondent sent demand letters to herein complainants.5 In all of these letters, he demanded that they immediately vacate the property and surrender it to Purence Realty within five days from receipt. Otherwise, he would file the necessary action against them.

    True enough, Purence Realty, as represented by respondent, filed a Complaint for forcible entry before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) against Trinidad,6 Lander,7 Casubuan8 and Mendoza.9 Aggrieved, the four complainants filed an administrative case against respondent.10 A month after, Alojado, Villamin and Tolentino filed a disbarment case against respondent.11

    As found by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)12 and affirmed by its Board of Governors,13 complainants asserted in their respective verified Complaints that the demand letters sent by Villarin had been issued with malice and intent to harass them. They insisted that the letters also contravened the HLURB Decision ordering his client to permit the buyers to pay the balance of the purchase price of the subdivision lots.

    Considering that these two actions were related, Villarin moved for the consolidation of the administrative cases, and his motion was granted by the IBP commissioner.14

    In his Position Paper,15 Villarin denied the allegations of harassment and claimed that no malice attended the sending of the demand letters. He narrated that when he inquired at the HLURB, he was informed that his client did not receive a summons pertinent to the Complaint for specific damages. With this information, he formed the conclusion that the HLURB Decision was void and not binding on Purence Realty. Since his client was the lawful owner of the property, respondent issued the ejectment letters, which were indispensable in an action for unlawful detainer. Moreover, he insisted that the addressees of the letters were different from the complainants who had filed the case with the HLURB.

    Hence, the pertinent issue in this consolidated case is whether respondent should be administratively sanctioned for sending the demand letters despite a final and executory HLURB Decision directing, not the ejectment of complainants, but the payment of the purchase price of the lots by the subdivision buyers.

    Prefatorily, this Court affirms the factual finding of the IBP16 that of complainants herein, only Florentina Lander, Celedonio Alojado, Aurea Tolentino and Rosendo Villamin were listed as the subdivision lot buyers who were parties to the HLURB case; and that Verleen Trinidad, Wally Casubuan and Minerva Mendoza were non-parties who could not claim any right pursuant to the Decision in that case.

    Proceeding to the contested demand letters, we adopt the recommendation of the IBP board of governors that the issuance thereof was not malicious.17 According to its Report,18 respondent counsel merely acted on his legal theory that the HLURB Decision was not binding on his client, since it had not received the summons. Espousing the belief that the proceedings in the HLURB were void, Villarin pursued the issuance of demand letters as a prelude to the ejectment case he would later on file to protect the property rights of his client.

    As the lawyer of Purence Realty, respondent is expected to champion the cause of his client with wholehearted fidelity, care, and devotion.19 This simply means that his client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense20 – including the institution of an ejectment case – that is recognized by our property laws. In Legarda v. Court of Appeals, we held that in the full discharge of their duties to the client, lawyers shall not be afraid of the possibility that they may displease the general public.21

    Nevertheless, the Code of Professional Responsibility provides the limitation that lawyers shall perform their duty to the client within the bounds of law.22 They should only make such defense only when they believe it to be honestly debatable under the law.23 In this case, respondent’s act of issuing demand letters, moved by the understanding of a void HLURB Decision, is legally sanctioned. If his theory holds water, the notice to vacate becomes necessary in order to file an action for ejectment.24 Hence, he did not resort to any fraud or chicanery prohibited by the Code,25 just to maintain his client’s disputed ownership over the subdivision lots.

    Even so, respondent cannot be considered free of error. The factual findings of the IBP board of governors reveal that in his demand letter, he brazenly typified one of the complainants, Florentina Lander, as an illegal occupant. However, this description is the exact opposite of the truth, since the final and executory HLURB Decision had already recognized her as a subdivision lot buyer who had a right to complete her payments in order to occupy her property. Respondent is very much aware of this ruling when he filed an Omnibus Motion to set aside the HLURB Decision and the appurtenant Writ of Execution.

    Given that respondent knew that the aforementioned falsity totally disregarded the HLURB Decision, he thus advances the interest of his client through means that are not in keeping with fairness and honesty. What he does is clearly proscribed by Rule 19.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain lawful objectives. Lawyers must not present and offer in evidence any document that they know is false.26

    Considering the present circumstances, we agree with the 14 May 2011 Resolution of the IBP board of governors that the penalty of reprimand with a stern warning is appropriate. Notably, no motion for reconsideration27 was filed by either of the parties. Thus, by virtue of the rules for disbarment of attorneys, the case is deemed terminated.28

    WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Atty. Angelito Villarin is REPRIMANDED with a warning that a repetition of the same or a similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

    SO ORDERED.

    Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, Villarama, Jr., and Reyes, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:


    1Rollo, pp. 21-26.

    2 Id. at 27, Special Appearance dated 3 December 2003.

    3 Id. at 29-35.

    4 Id. at 147, Report and Recommendation dated 16 February 2009.

    5 Id. at 8-11; Letters addressed to Verleen Trinidad, Wally Casubuan, Minerva Mendoza, and Florentina Lander.

    6 Id. at 37.

    7 Id. at 49.

    8 Id. at 41.

    9 Id. at 45.

    10 Id. at 98, docketed as CBD Case No. 04-1203.

    11 Id., docketed as CBD Case No. 04-1218.

    12 Id. at 148, Report and Recommendation dated 16 February 2009.

    13 Id. at 143-144, Notice of Resolution.

    14 Id. at 98, Order dated 22 June 2004.

    15 Id. at 99-105.

    16 Id. at 149, Report and Recommendation dated 16 February 2009.

    17 Id.

    18 Id.

    19Pangasinan Electric Cooperative v. Montemayor, A.C. No. 5739, 12 September 2007, 533 SCRA 1, citing Natino v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 247 Phil. 602 (1991).

    20 Id.

    21 G.R. No. 94457, 18 March 1991, 195 SCRA 418.

    22 CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, Canon 19.

    23 RULES OF COURT, Rule 138, Sec. 20(c).

    24 RULES OF COURT, Rule 70, Sec. 2.

    25 CODE OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS, Canon 10.

    26 ERNESTO L. PINEDA, LEGAL ETHICS, 306 (2009) citing Lacsamana v. Dela Peña, 156 Phil. 13 (1974).

    27Rollo, p. 150, Report and Recommendation dated 16 February 2009.

    28 RULES OF COURT, Rule 139-B, Sec. 12 (c).

    A.C. No. 9310, February 27, 2013 - VERLEEN TRINIDAD, FLORENTINA LANDER, WALLY CASUBUAN, MINERVA MENDOZA, CELEDONIO ALOJADO, ROSENDO VILLAMIN AND AUREA TOLENTINO, Complainants, v. ATTY. ANGELITO VILLARIN, Respondents.


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