G.R. No. L-32684 September 20, 1988
RAMON TUMBAGAHAN Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, TEODULO C. TANDAYAG, TIMOTEA LASMARIAS, JOSE F. DEL ROSARIO, and THE IISMI SUPERVISORS HOUSING ASSOCIATION, INC., through TIBURCIO ESPENIDO Respondents.
Demetrio P. Sira, Sr. for petitioner.chanrobles virtual law library
Francisco Ma. Garcia for respondent Timotea Lasmarias.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
In this present petition for review on certiorari, the petitioner assails the dismissal by the Court of Appeals of his petition for mandamus to compel the trial court to give due course to his appeal. The appellate court dismissed his appeal on the ground that it was filed beyond the reglementary period to appeal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The issue in this case is whether or not the petitioner validly terminated the services of his counsels of record-Attys. Melvyn Salise and Jose Amarga - such that service on them of processes and notices would no longer bind him. The resolution of this issue will also resolve the question raised in the petition whether the receipt by Atty. Amarga of the trial court's order of dismissal would start the running of the period within which the petitioner should file his appeal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The records show that the petitioner filed two cases with the Court of First Instance of Lanao del Norte, Branch II, namely: (1) Civil Case No. 1257, for declaration of ownership and reconveyance of Lot Nos. 3050 and 3051 of the Iligan Cadastre; and (2) Cadastral Case No. IL-N-4, for the review of the decree of registration issued by the Land Registration Commission in favor of Timotea Lasmarias and cancellation of her titles to the same lots. When the cases were called for joint trial on April 10, 1968, the petitioner relieved Atty. Salise as his counsel. Atty. Salise filed his withdrawal of appearance which was approved by the court. On April 15, 1968, the cases were again called for trial. This time, the petitioner personally appeared and filed a written motion for postponement on the ground that he still had no counsel and was not ready for trial. Upon motion of the other party, the motion for postponement was denied and the court issued an order dismissing the two cases.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
A copy of the order was sent to Atty. Amarga which he received on April 26, 1968. The petitioner received his copy of the order on May 17, 1968. Thereafter, he filed his motion for reconsideration. After the motion was denied, he filed a notice of appeal and record on appeal which the Court dismissed for being filed out of time, counting the period to appeal from the day Atty. Amarga received a copy of the order of dismissal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The petitioner alleges that he had neither engaged the services of Atty. Amarga nor authorized the latter to represent him in his two cases. From an examination of the records, however, this Court finds that these allegations are without merit.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The pleadings filed with the trial court bear the names of Atty. Salise and Atty. Amarga as counsels for the petitioner. Copies of some of the pleadings of the opposing party were furnished to Atty. Amarga who received the same and signed for Atty. Salise. Such being the case, the Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in agreeing with the trial court in its rejection of the claim that the petitioner had not even authorized the said counsel to represent him and to take part in the conduct of the case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
As stated by the Court of Appeals:
This Court, therefore, affirms the appellate court's findings that Atty. Amarga was one of the counsels for petitioner and that he remained as the petitioner's counsel after Atty. Salise withdrew from the case and was discharge by the court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
There is a need to observe the legal formalities before a counsel of record may be considered relieved of his responsibility as such counsel (Cubar vs. Mendoza, 120 SCRA 768). The withdrawal as counsel of a client, or the dismissal by the client of his counsel, must be made in a formal petition filed in the case Baquiran vs. Court of Appeals, 2 SCRA 873, 878). In this case, the termination of the attorney-client relationship between the petitioner and Atty. Salise does not automatically severe the same relations between the petitioner and Atty. Amarga. Only Atty. Salise's dismissal was made of record. None was made with regard to the other counsel.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The attorney-client relation does not terminate formally until there is a withdrawal made of record; at least so far as the opposite party is concerned, the relation otherwise continues until the end of the litigation (Visitacion vs. Manit 27 SCRA 523). Unless properly relieved, the counsel is responsible for the conduct of the case (Cortez vs. Court of Appeals, 83 SCRA 31).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The questioned decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Fernan, C.J., Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.
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