TOLOSA vs. CARGO

Posted: March 6, 2017 in case digests, legal ethics, PALE, succession
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TOLOSA vs. CARGO

A.M. No. 2385 | March 8, 1989

By: Karen P. Lustica

Facts:

 Complainant Jose Tolosa filed with the Court an Affidavit- Complaint seeking the disbarment of respondent District Citizens’ Attorney Alfredo Cargo for immorality. Complainant claimed that respondent had been seeing his (complainant’s) wife Priscilla M. Tolosa in his house and elsewhere. Complainant further alleged that his wife left his conjugal home and went to live with respondent.

Complying with an order of this Court, respondent filed a “Comment and/or Answer” denying the allegations of complainant. Respondent acknowledged that complainant’s wife had been seeing him but that she had done so in the course of seeking advice from respondent (in view of the continuous cruelty and unwarranted marital accusations of affiant [complainant] against her), much as complainant’s mother-in-law had also frequently sought the advice of respondent and of his wife and mother as to what to do about the” continuous quarrels between affiant and his wife and the beatings and physical injuries (sometimes less serious) that the latter sustained from the former.

Complainant filed a Reply to respondent’s “Comment and/or Answer” and made a number of further allegations, to wit:

(a) That complainant’s wife was not the only mistress that respondent had taken;

(b) That respondent had paid for the hospital and medical bills of complainant’s wife last May 1981, and visited her at the hospital everyday;

(c) That he had several times pressed his wife to stop seeing respondent but that she had refused to do so;

(d) That she had acquired new household and electrical appliances where she was living although she had no means of livelihood; and

(e) That respondent was paying for his wife’s house rent.

Respondent filed a Rejoinder denying the further allegations of complainant, and stating that he (respondent) had merely given complainant’s wife the amount of P35.00 by way of financial assistance during her confinement in the hospital.

The Solicitor General found that complainant’s charges of immorality had not been sustained by sufficient evidence. At the same time, however, the Solicitor General found that the respondent had not been able to explain satisfactorily the following:

  1. Respondent’s failure to avoid seeing Priscilla, in spite of complainant’s suspicion and/or jealousy that he was having an affair with his wife.
  2. Priscilla’s being able to rent an apartment in Malabon whose owner is admittedly a friend and former client of respondent.
  3. Respondent’s failure to avoid going to Malabon to visit his friend, in spite of his differences with complainant.
  4. Respondent’s failure to avoid getting involved invarious incidents involving complainant and Priscilla’s brothers
  5. Respondent’s interest in seeing Priscilla in the evening when she was confined in the FEU Hospital, in spite again of his differences with complainant.

 

Issue: WON the respondent should be suspended

Held: NO.

Ratio: The record does not contain sufficient evidence to show that respondent had indeed been cohabiting with complainant’s wife or was otherwise guilty of acts of immorality. For this very reason, we do not believe that the penalty of suspension from the practice of law may be properly imposed upon respondent.

At the same time, the Court agrees that respondent should be reprimanded for failure to comply with the rigorous standards of conduct appropriately required from the members of the Bar and officers of the court. As officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must also be seen to be of good moral character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community. More specifically, a member of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required to refrain from adulterous relationships or the keeping of mistresses but must also so behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral standards.

 

Dispositive: The Court Resolved to REPRIMAND respondent attorney for conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar and an officer of the court, and to WARN him that continuation of the same or similar conduct will be dealt with more severely in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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