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THIRD DIVISION

 

A. C. No. 5019 April 6, 2000

Judge ADORACION G. ANGELES, Complainant,
vs.
Atty. THOMAS C. UY JR., Respondent.

 

PANGANIBAN, J.:

Lawyers must promptly account for money or property they receive on behalf of their clients. Failure to do so constitutes professional misconduct and justifies the imposition of disciplinary sanctions.

The Case and the Facts

In a letter dated February 11, 1999 addressed to the Office of the Chief Justice, Judge Adoracion G. Angeles of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City (Branch 121) charged Atty. Thomas C. Uy Jr. with violation of Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Complainant states that respondent's acts, which had earlier been held contemptible in her February 10, 1999 Order, 1 also rendered him administratively liable. In the said Order, she narrated the following facts:

When the case was called for the second time at 11:25 o'clock in the morning, the private prosecutor Atty. Thomas C. Uy, Jr. appeared. In open court, accused Norma Trajano manifested that she had already settled in full the civil aspect in Crim. Case No. C-54177 (98) in the total amount of [t]hirty [s]ix [t]housand [f]ive [h]undred (P36,500.00) [p]esos. She further alleged that she paid P20,000.00 directly to the private complainant and the balance of P16,500.00 was delivered to Atty. Thomas C. Uy, Jr., the lawyer of the private complainant and accordingly produced in open court the receipt for such payment signed by no less than the aforesaid lawyer. Indeed, the civil liability of the accused had already been satisfied in full.

However, the private complainant, Primitiva Malansing [Del Rosario] manifested that she did not receive the amount of [s]ixteen [t]housand [f]ive [h]undred (P16,500.00) [p]esos which was paid to his lawyer Atty. Thomas C. Uy, Jr., thereby constraining this court to direct Atty. Thomas C. Uy to turn over the money to the private complainant which he received in trust for his client. Atty. Uy however argued that his client did not like to accept the money but the assertion of the lawyer was belied by his own client, the herein private complainant, who manifested in open court . . . her willingness to accept the money. The Court again directed Atty. Uy to produce the money but the latter argued that he kept it in his office. Consequently, the Court suspended the proceedings to enable Atty. Uy to get the money from his law office which is located only at the second floor of the same building where this court is located.

Unfortunately, it is already 12:15 o'clock past noon but Atty. Uy did not show up anymore and not even his shadow appeared in Court.

It cannot be denied that the act of Atty. Thomas Uy in deliberately failing to return to the Court [the] proceedings [of which] were suspended just because of his representations, mirrors not only an undisguised disobedience of a court order but also manifests his propensity to mock the dignity of the Court. Disgustingly, he deliberately ignored his solemn oath to conduct himself as befitting the status of an officer of the court.

Indeed, this gross misbehavior of Atty. Uy cannot simply be ignored for it is a raw challenge to the authority of the Court.

It must also be pointedly emphasized that Atty. Thomas Uy committed a brazen violation of the provisions of Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, to wit:

xxx xxx xxx

Obviously, Atty. Thomas Uy fell short of the duties expected from him as a member of the bar.

In compliance with this Court's March 24, 1999 Resolution, Respondent Uy 2 filed his Comment on June 7, 1999. Denying that he violated Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, he explained:

1). In a criminal case, then pending before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 121 of Kalookan City, Metro Manila, presided by the complainant Honorable Adoracion G. Angeles, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Norma Trajano, et., al", Criminal Case No. C-54176-77 (98), Atty. Thomas C. Uy Jr., herein referred to as [r]espondent, was engaged as [p]rivate [p]rosecutor of the complainant therein, Mrs. Primitiva Malansing Del Rosario. At the outset Norma Trajano, accused in said criminal case, expressed her desire and offered to settle the civil aspect of the criminal case against her to which Primitiva Del Rosario acceded. On separate hearings, Norma Trajano made installment payments to Primitiva Del Rosario some of which payments were duly acknowledged by the latter in the presence of [r]espondent;

2). On a previously cancelled date of hearing of the aforesaid criminal case . . . on December 14, 1998, Norma Trajano went to the office of the [r]espondent at about 8:45 o'clock in the morning, . . . and met Mr. Romeo C. Jala Jr., who is acting as [r]espondent's personal secretary and at the same time the liason officer of the law firm De Veyra, Uy and Associates . . . .Mr[.] Romeo Jala Jr., is the lone staff of the law firm . . . . Respondent was at that time not in the office as he was attending a hearing before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 122, Kalookan City, Metro Manila. . . .

3). On the aforesaid date and time (December 14, 1998) at the office of the [r]espondent, Norma Trajano told Mr. Romeo Jala Jr. that she will make another partial payment to Primitiva M. Del Rosario because she cannot attend the hearing the following day (8[:]30 o'clock a.m. of December 15, 1999) before Judge Adoracion G. Angeles due to a conflict of schedule with her [other] case in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, Malolos, Bulacan, where she is likewise the accused for [e]stafa[.] Mr. Romeo Jala told Norma Trajano to wait for a while as he will fetch [r]espondent at the ground floor in the sala of the Honorable Remigio E. Zari. Respondent, upon being informed of the presence of Norma Trajano in the office of the [r]espondent by Romeo Jala Jr. went to his office and Norma Trajano immediately told [r]espondent that she knew that the setting for that day (December 14, 1998) was previously cancelled and that she cannot attend the hearing the following day (8[:]30 o'clock a.m. December 15, 1998) and further told the [r]espondent that she (Norma Trajano) will make another partial payment to Primitiva M. Del Rosario and that she will just leave her payment in the sum of [s]ixteen [t]housand [five hundred] [p]esos (P16,500.00), Philippine [c]urrency, in the office of the [r]espondent. Respondent then told Norma Trajano to inform Primitiva M. Del Rosario first but Norma Trajano replied that she will just call Primitiva [Del Rosario]. Nonetheless, [r]espondent told Romeo Jala Jr. to call Primitiva Del Rosario, using the office phone, and let her talk with Norma Trajano, and, if Primitiva Del Rosario agreed [r]espondent instructed Romeo Jala Jr., to just prepare a receipt. Respondent, fearing that his case (People vs. Rommel Senadrin, et al. above-stated) might have been called in the calendar, immediately left the office and proceeded [at] the sala of the Honorable Remigio E. Zari. Respondent, after the hearing . . ., returned to his office and upon learning that his signature was affixed by Romeo Jala Jr. upon the insistence of Norma Trajano scolded Romeo Jala Jr. and for his unsuccessful attempt to contact first Primitiva Del Rosario before receiving the sum of money left by Norma Trajano;

4). The following day [o]n the morning of December 15, 1998, [r]espondent arrived at his office and met Primitiva Del Rosario and her daughter Aurora Del Rosario and immediately the trio appeared before the sala of Judge Adoracion G. Angeles in the hearing of the Norma Trajano case. Returning [to] the office of the [r]espondent after the hearing, Primitiva Del Rosario and Aurora Del Rosario, being earlier informed that on December 14, 1998 Norma Trajano went [to] his office and made partial payment in the sum of P16,500 thru Mr. Romeo Jala Jr., the [r]espondent told Mr. Romeo Jala to get the money from the filing cabinet and while the money in the envelope [was] being handed over to Primitiva Del Rosario, [the latter] and her daughter . . ., however, told [r]espondent to just let the money in the sum of P16,500.00 be kept at the office of the [r]espondent so that future payments of Norma Trajano will be save[d] in whole and for them to avoid spending the same as what had happened to the past installment payments of Norma Trajano. Respondent then acceded to the request of Primitiva Del Rosario and her daughter and told them that they can get the money anytime they want from the [r]espondent's office. Hence, the money was kept locked [in] the filing cabinet of the [r]espondent where he used to keep all his personal file[s].

5). On December 23, 1998, early before noon, Primitiva Del Rosario and her daughter Aurora Del Rosario, on a prior invitation, attended the Christmas Party of the office of [r]espondent and undersigned counsel. . . . Respondent, after the . . . lunch, instructed Mr. Romeo Jala Jr., to give the sum of money (P16,500.00) and for Primitiva Del Rosario to receive the same for fear of a repetition of a burglary incident before, where some cash and minor office appliances of undersigned were lost. Primitiva Del Rosario, however, insisted that said sum of money be kept at the office of the [r]espondent to save in whole the installment payments of Norma Trajano and that [was] the wish of her son Fernando "Bong" Del Rosario, who is a long time friend and a compadre of the [r]espondent. Respondent, respecting the trust reposed upon him by Primitiva Del Rosario, her daughter Aurora Del Rosario, and son Fernando Del Rosario, acceded to hold in trust the said sum of [s]ixteen [t]housand [f]ive [h]undred (P16,500.00) [p]esos, Philippine [c]urrency, which [was] locked and safely kept [in] the filing cabinet of the [r]espondent until February 12, 1999; . . .;

6). On February 10, 1999 [during] the hearing of the Norma Trajano case before the Hon. Adoracion G. Angeles, [r]espondent appeared shortly before 10:30 o'clock in the morning, pursuant to a "Motion to Call Case at 10:30 o'clock in the Morning". . .

7). When the said Norma Trajano [case] . . . was called on second call at 11[:]25 a.m., [i]n said February 10, 1999 hearing, respondent was first scolded by the Honorable Court (Judge Adoracion G.
Angeles) . . . [for] giving more preference to the Metropolitan Trial Court than her Court. Resp[o]ndent, however, beg[ged the] indulgence of the Honorable Court (Judge Adoracion G. Angeles) and explained why [he] first attend[ed] the Mandaluyong hearing of Manny Chua's case, to wit; . . . .

8). That it was during the course of [the] litany of sermon, [i]n that hour, made by the Honorable Court addressed to the [r]espondent that Norma Trajano . . . butted in and informed the Honorable Court (Judge Adoracion G. Angeles) that she will be tendering another partial payment; it was at that moment that Judge Adoracion G. Angeles asked Norma Trajano how much had she paid Primitiva Del Rosario, and, Norma [T]rajano answered that she had already paid P36,500.00 as full payment for one case, and that of the P36,500, P20,000.00 was paid to Primitiva Del Rosario and HESITANTLY said that the P16,500 was paid to the [r]espondent. Judge Angeles then took the receipt from Norma Trajano and had it xeroxed by a personnel of the Court. The carbon duplicate original of the Receipt, dated [D]ecember 14, 1998, showing the receipt by the office of the [r]espondent, through Romeo Jala Jr., whose printed [name] was pre[ceded] by the word "By", indicating that he received the sum of money on behalf of or in representation of the [r]espondent, is hereto [attached] and marked as ANNEX "5", to form part hereof;

9). That it was perhaps due to the belief [in] and the immediate impression of Judge Adoracion G. Angeles [of the] answer of Norma Trajano that prompted Judge Angeles to ask, instantaneously in a loud manner, Primitiva Del Rosario "IN TAGALOG", the question, "NATANGGAP MO BA KAY ATTY. UY ANG PERA NA P16,500.00?". Primitiva Del Rosario, a seventy-year-old, who was shocked by the tone and the manner she was asked by Judge Angeles simply just answered "HINDI PO, KASI GUSTO [KO] PO NA MABUO ANG PERA". Primitiva Del Rosario, however, tried to explain her answer "HINDI PO" and why she did not yet [receive] the money from the [r]espondent by raising her hand but was prevented by Judge Adoracion G. Angeles from further answering by telling Primitiva Del Rosario to stop. With that answer of Primitiva Del Rosario, [r]espondent butted in to explain Primitiva Del Rosario's answer of "HINDI PO" and her having not yet received the sum of money, subject of the inquisition of Judge Angeles by manifesting to wit; . . . that Primitiva Del Rosario did not get the money when . . . handed the same on December 15, 1998 because she wanted [it] to be save[d] in whole together with the future installment payments of Norma Trajano and to be kept in the office of the [r]espondent as wished by her son Bong Del Rosario; and, that the said sum of money [was] kept in the filing cabinet in the office of the [r]espondent. All explanation[s] of the [r]espondent went to . . . naught as the [r]espondent was cut short by . . . Judge Angeles, [who] in a loud and angry voice orally directed the [r]espondent to get the money from [r]espondent's office and give the same to Primitiva Del Rosario. It was already 11:45 o'clock in the morning, more or less, and the [r]espondent was given fifteen (15) minutes to comply; [r]espondent requested Judge Angeles to be accompanied by Primitiva Del Rosario and her daughter Aurora Del Rosario but both were ordered to stay in court by Judge Angeles;

10). Respondent in compliance with the oral order of Judge Angeles immediately proceeded [to] his office but only to find out that Romeo Jala Jr., who [held] the only key [to r]espondent's filing cabinet, was on errand . . . that morning of February 10, 1999 [for] Atty. Angel B. De Veyra (the Undersigned Counsel) [who had sent him] to the offices of the solicitor general in Makati City, and, the City Prosecutor's Office of Manila to [furnish copies to] both offices; . . .;

11). Respondent, expecting that Romeo Jala Jr. would [arrive] before 12[:]00 noon, . . . waited for Romeo Jala Jr. while at the same time called up [his] wife to immediately [come] to his office to spare the sum of P16,500.00 as Romeo Ja[mi]sola may not [arrive] [within] the time allotted by Judge Angeles. The wife of respondent, however, arrived at about 12:25 P.M., more or less, ahead of Romeo Jala Jr. and spared [r]espondent the sum of P16,500.00 and [r]espondent immediately went [to] the fourth floor, where the sala of Judge Angeles [was] located but unfortunately the session was already adjourned. Respondent then talked to "Armand", one of the court personnel and is known as the door keeper of the chamber of Judge Angeles, and [requested that he be allowed to go inside the chamber to show [his] compliance, though late. Respondent, however, was told by "Armand" that Judge Angeles was on her lunch break and that it [was] better for [r]espondent to take his lunch too and return a little later;

12). At about 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon of that day (February 10, 1999) [r]espondent returned [to] the sale of Judge Angeles together with Primitiva Del Rosario and her daughter Aurora Del Rosario, who likewise returned to the court, to seek an audience in [the] chamber [of] Judge Angeles. Said audience with Judge Angeles was desired by Primitiva Del Rosario to let Judge Angeles [witness] the giving of the money to Primitiva Del Rosario. But request[s] for the same, through "Armand", were twice denied by Judge Angeles because at that time Judge Angeles was being interviewed by several media personnel of some TV stations. The Del [Rosarios], however, left earlier upon knowing that Judge Angeles denied their request for an audience. [T]hey told [r]espondent that they will be back the following day. It was only when Romeo Jala arrived at about 3:00 o'clock, more or less, in the afternoon and went at the fourth floor at the premises of the sala of Judge Angeles and informed the [r]espondent that he carried with him the key to [r]espondent's cabinet and the presence of some [squatter] families of Batasan Hills, Quezon City at the office of the [r]espondent, who has an appointment with the [r]espondent, that the [r]espondent left the premises of the sala of Judge Angeles. [sic] Respondent, at his office ordered Romeo Jala Jr. to open the filing cabinet and returned to the premises of the sala of Judge Angeles alone at about 4:00 o'clock P.M. after his meeting with the squatter families. But again, his request to "Armand" to talk with Judge Angeles, after the media interview, was denied. At about 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon, "Armand", the court personnel, served the Order, of said date, February 10, 1999 at the office of the [r]espondent;

13). In the early afternoon of the following day, February 11, 1999, [r]espondent together with Primitiva Del Rosario and her daughter Aurora Del Rosario went again [to] the sala of Judge Angeles . . . to seek an audience with Judge Angeles. Their request . . . w[as] likewise in vain. Primitiva Del Rosario, after the last attempt to seek audience with Judge Angeles and already tired of going [to] and [from] the sala of Judge Angeles, decided on February 12, 1999, to receive the sum of money in the amount of P16,500.00 from the office of the [r]espondent, through, Romeo Jala Jr. and executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay. . . .;

14). The Sinumpaang Salaysay of Primitiva Del Rosario, dated February 16, 1999 as well as the Acknowledgment Receipt, dated February 12, 199[9] was attached to a Manifestation caused to be filed by the [r]espondent on March 3, 1999 when the respondent was confined in Fatima Hospital in Valenzuela City, Metro Manila on March 2, 1999;

15). Learning of the instant administrative case against the [r]espondent, Bong Del Rosario, the son of Primitiva Del Rosario, upon whose wish the subject sum of money was kept at the office of the [r]espondent to save the same in whole as well as the future in[s]tallment payments of Norma Trajano executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay, attesting [to] and confirming the statement of [his] mother Primitiva Del Rosario. . . . 3

Stripped of unnecessary verbiage, the Comment contends that the respondent kept the money in his office because that was the alleged wish of both his client and her son. He allegedly informed them of such money and tried to give it to them, but they insisted that he retain it. He further maintained that it was only after Judge Angeles issued the February 10, 1999 Order that his client relented and accepted the money on February 12, 1999.

After the judge filed her Reply on June 30, 1999, this Court referred the case to the Office of the Bar Confidant for report and recommendation. The Court dispensed with the normal referral to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines because the records were complete and the question raised was simple. No further factual investigation was necessary in the premises.

Bar Confidant's Report and Recommendation

Recommending that Atty. Thomas C. Uy Jr. be suspended from the practice of law for one month, the Office of the Bar Confidant in its Report and Recommendation dated December 15, 1999 said:

. . . [I]t is clear that it is the sworn duty of a member of the bar to be accountable, at all times, for anything which he receives for and in behalf of his client.

In the case at bar, this Office is more inclined to believe the story of the complainant.

First, it cannot be disputed that the transcript of stenographic notes is the most reliable record of what indeed transpired (and what words were uttered by the parties involved) on February 10, 1999 at the hearing of Crim. Case No. C-54176-77 (98). Records clearly show that the private complainant in the criminal case, when asked by Judge Angeles as to the whereabouts of the P16,500.00, spontaneously replied that she had no knowledge of the same; in effect saying that Atty. Uy has not given her the subject P16,500.00. If, indeed, Primitiva Del Rosario requested Atty. Uy to keep the money as far back as December 1998, then she should have told the same to Judge Angeles.

Atty. Uy's allegation that Judge Angeles prevented Primitiva Del Rosario from saying in open court the words "HINDI PO KASI GUSTO KO PO NA MABUO ANG PERA" does not have any proof as nothing of that sort appears in the transcript of stenographic notes. Atty. Uy has not even bothered to refute the truth of the contents of the stenographic notes, all the more bolstering this Office's opinion that the said notes are accurate and truthful.

Second, the affidavits executed by Primitiva Del Rosario and her son, Fernando Del Rosario, dated February 16, 1999 and June 7, 1999, respectively, attesting to Atty. Uy's averment that his act of personally keeping the subject P16,500.00 was with and at their request cannot be given much credence to outweigh the arguments of Judge Angeles. The said affidavits, both executed after February 10, 1999, are suspect. Caught by surprise when Judge Angeles inquired of the whereabouts of his client's money, Atty. Uy . . . resorted to seeking the help of his client to corroborate his defense. Being the clients of Atty. Uy, Primitiva Del Rosario and her son could have been persuaded to help extricate their counsel from the latter's predicament.

In the absence of any contradicting evidence to dispute the allegation that Atty. Uy failed to immediately remit to his client the money due the latter, it is safe to conclude that Atty. Uy has violated his sworn duty to uphold, at all times, the trust and confidence reposed in him by his client(s).

xxx xxx xxx

In the instant case, Atty. Uy, upon receipt of the P16,500.00 from the accused in the criminal case, should have promptly remitted the same to his client, Primitiva Del Rosario. Had Judge Angeles not inquired of the whereabouts of the money, the same would have remained with Atty. Uy, to the prejudice of the latter's client. 4

This Court's Ruling

We agree with the findings and the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant.

Administrative Liability of Respondent

The relationship between a lawyer and a client is highly fiduciary; it requires a high degree of fidelity and good faith. It is designed "to remove all such temptation and to prevent everything of that kind from being done for the protection of the client." 5

Thus, Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that "a lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession." Furthermore, Rule 16.01 of the Code also states that "a lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client." The Canons of Professional Ethics is even more explicit:

The lawyer should refrain from any action whereby for his personal benefit or gain he abuses or takes advantage of the confidence reposed in him by his client.

Money of the client collected for the client or other trust property coming into the possession of the lawyer should be reported and accounted for promptly and should not under any circumstances be commingled with his own or be used by him. 6

In the present case, it is clear that respondent failed to promptly report and account for the P16,500 he had received from Norma Trajano on behalf of his client, Primitiva Del Rosario. Although the amount had been entrusted to respondent on December 14, 1998, his client revealed during the February 10, 1999 hearing that she had not yet received it. Worse, she did not even know where it was.

Respondent maintains that on December 15, 1998 he informed Mrs. Del Rosario about the payment. He further avers that he kept the money upon her instruction, as she had allegedly wanted "future payments . . . [to] be saved in whole and for them to avoid spending the same as what had happened to the past installment payments." 7 This assertion allegedly finds support in her answer to the question of Judge Angeles, who had asked her whether she had received the disputed payment: "Hindi po, kasi gusto [ko] po na mabuo ang pera."

The Court is not persuaded. Respondent's assertions are contradicted by the following transcript of stenographic notes:

Court: This P16,500, did you turn it over to the private complainant?

Atty. Uy: No your Honor, because she wanted the full amount of the settlement.

Court: Private complainant, is it true that you did not want to accept the money?

Mrs. Del Rosario: Hindi po, sila po ang nagbigayan.

Court: Hindi po ibinibigay sa inyo ni Atty. Uy?

Mrs. Del Rosario: Hindi po.

xxx xxx xxx

Court: Nasaan iyong P16,500?

Huwag kayong matakot.

Mrs. Del Rosario: Aywan ko po sa kanilang dalawa. 8

If it were true that Mrs. Del Rosario was informed about the payment and that she entrusted it to respondent, she would have known its whereabouts. That she did not know it showed the falsity of his claim.

It is noteworthy that respondent did not dispute the foregoing transcript although it belied his allegation that Mrs. Del Rosario's express wish was to have the payments in full.

Neither are we convinced by the affidavits of Mrs. Del Rosario and her son, both of whom affirmed their intention to have their money in the safekeeping of respondent. It should be stressed that he was her counsel and the compadre of her son. Moreover, the affidavits were executed after the filing of this Complaint. As the Office of the Bar Confidant observed, these considerations militate against the credibility of the affiants. In any event, their affidavits fail to explain adequately why Mrs. Del Rosario, during the hearing on February 10, 1999, did not know where her money was.

The records do not clearly show whether Attorney Uy had in fact appropriated the said amount; in fact, Mrs. Del Rosario acknowledged that she had received it on February 12, 1999. They do show, however, that respondent failed to promptly report that amount to her. This is clearly a violation of his professional responsibility. Indeed, in Aya v. Bigornia, 9 the Court ruled that money collected by a lawyer in favor of his clients must be immediately turned over to them. In Daroy v. Legaspi, 10 the Court held that "lawyers are bound to promptly account for money or property received by them on behalf of their clients and failure to do so constitutes professional misconduct."

Verily, the question is not necessarily whether the rights of the clients have been prejudiced, but whether the lawyer has adhered to the ethical standards of the bar. 11 In this case, respondent has not done so. Indeed, we agree with the following observation of the Office of the Bar Confidant:

Keeping the money in his possession without his client's knowledge only provided Atty. Uy the tempting opportunity to appropriate for himself the money belonging to his client. This situation should, at all times, be avoided by members of the bar. Like judges, lawyers must not only be clean; they must also appear clean. This way, the people's faith in the justice system would remain undisturbed. 12

In this light, the Court must stress that it has the duty to look into dealings between attorneys and their clients and to guard the latter from any undue consequences resulting from a situation in which they may stand
unequal. 13 The present situation calls for the exercise of this duty.

For misappropriating and failing to promptly report and deliver money they received on behalf of their clients, some lawyers have been disbarred 14 and others have been suspended for six months. 15 In the present case, the records merely show that respondent did not promptly report that he received money on behalf of his client. There is no clear evidence of misappropriation. Under the circumstances, we rule that he should be suspended for one month.

WHEREFORE, Atty. Thomas C. Uy Jr. is hereby SUSPENDED for one month. He is warned that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.

Let copies of this Decision be served on Atty. Thomas C. Uy Jr. at his given address or any other known one. Copies of this Decision shall also be entered in his record as attorney and served on the IBP, as well as the Court Administrator who shall circulate them to all the courts in the country for their information and guidance.

SO ORDERED.

Melo, Vitug, Purisima and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.


Endnotes:

1 Rollo, pp. 4-6.

2 Through his counsel Angel B. De Veyra.

3 Rollo, pp. 14-23.

4 Rollo, pp. 55-58.

5 Agpalo, Legal Ethics, 1992 ed., p. 188.

6 Paragraph 11, "Dealing with trust property"; emphasis supplied.

7 Comment, p. 4; rollo, p. 17.

8 See complainant's Reply, p. 2; rollo, 42. (Emphasis supplied)

9 57 Phil. 8, July 26, 1932.

10 65 SCRA 304, July 25, 1975, per Aquino, J., citing In Re Bamberger, 49 Phil. 962. See also Obid v. Catimbang, 196 SCRA 23, April 19, 1991; Dumadag v. Legaspi, 197 SCRA 303, May 21, 1991.

11 See Hilado v. David, 84 Phil. 569, September 21, 1949.

12 Report and Recommendation, p. 9; rollo, p. 58.

13 Hilado v. David, supra.

14 Daroy v. Legaspi, supra.

15 Aya v. Bigonia, supra.




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