EMBIDO vs. PE

Posted: April 8, 2017 in case digests, legal ethics, PALE
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EMBIDO vs. PE
A.C. No. 6732           October 22, 2013
By: Karen P. Lustica

FACTS:
Atty. Ronel F. Sustituya received two written communications from Mr.
Ballam Delaney Hunt. The letter requested a copy of the decision dated
February 12, 1997 rendered by Judge Rafael O. Penuela in Special
Proceedings Case No. 084 entitled In the Matter of the Declaration of
Presumptive Death of Rey Laserna, whose petitioner was one Shirley
Quioyo.
Judge Penuela instructed the civil docket clerk to retrieve the
records of Special Proceedings Case No. 084 entitled In the Matter of
the Declaration of Presumptive Death of Rey Laserna. It was then
discovered that the RTC had no record of Special Proceedings No. 084
wherein Shirley Quioyo was the petitioner. Instead, the court files
revealed that Judge Penuela had decided Special Proceedings No. 084
entitled In the Matter of the Declaration of Presumptive Death of
Rolando Austria, whose petitioner was one Serena Catin Austria.
Informed that the requested decision and case records did not exist,
Mr. Hunt sent a letter attaching a machine copy of the purported
decision in Special Proceedings No. 084 entitled In the Matter of the
Declaration of Presumptive Death of Rey Laserna that had been
presented by Shirley Quioyo in court proceedings in the UK.
After comparing the two documents and ascertaining that the document
attached to the October 12, 2004 letter was a falsified court
document, Judge Penuela wrote Mr. Hunt to apprise him of the
situation.
The discovery of the falsified decision prompted the Clerk of Court to
communicate on the situation in writing to the NBI, triggering the
investigation of the falsification.
Dy Quioyo, a brother of Shirley Quioyo, executed an affidavit wherein
he stated that it was the respondent who had facilitated the issuance
of the falsified decision in Special Proceedings No. 084 entitled In
the Matter of the Declaration of Presumptive Death of Rey Laserna for
a fee of P60,000.00. The allegations against the respondent were
substantially corroborated by Mary Rose Quioyo, a sister of Shirley
Quioyo.
The NBI invited the respondent to explain his side but he invoked his
constitutional right to remain silent.

ISSUE:
WON Pe should be disbarred.

HELD:
YES.

RATIO:
In light of the established circumstances, the respondent was guilty
of grave misconduct for having authored the falsification of the
decision in a non-existent court proceeding. Canon 7 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility demands that all lawyers should uphold at
all times the dignity and integrity of the Legal Profession. Rule 7.03
of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that “a lawyer shall
not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to
practice law, nor shall he whether in public or private life, behave
in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.”
Lawyers are further required by Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility not to engage in any unlawful, dishonest and immoral or
deceitful conduct.
Gross immorality, conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or
fraudulent transactions can justify a lawyer’s disbarment or
suspension from the practice of law. Specifically, the deliberate
falsification of the court decision by the respondent was an act that
reflected a high degree of moral turpitude on his part. Worse, the act
made a mockery of the administration of justice in this country, given
the purpose of the falsification, which was to mislead a foreign
tribunal on the personal status of a person. He thereby became
unworthy of continuing as a member of the Bar.
It then becomes timely to remind all members of the Philippine Bar
that they should do nothing that may in any way or degree lessen the
confidence of the public in their professional fidelity and integrity.
The Court will not hesitate to wield its heavy hand of discipline on
those among them who wittingly and willingly fail to meet the enduring
demands of their Attorney’s Oath for them to:
x x x support the Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal
orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; xxx do no
falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; x x x not
wittingly or willingly promote or sue on groundless, false or unlawful
suit, nor give aid nor consent to the same; x x x delay no man for
money or malice, and x x x conduct themselves as lawyers according to
the best of their knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as
well to the courts as to their clients x x x.
No lawyer should ever lose sight of the verity that the practice of
the legal profession is always a privilege that the Court extends only
to the deserving, and that the Court may withdraw or deny the
privilege to him who fails to observe and respect the Lawyer’s Oath
and the canons of ethical conduct in his professional and private
capacities.

DISPOSITION:
The Court FINDS AND PRONOUNCES ASST. PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR SALVADOR N.
PE, JR. guilty of violating Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, and Rule 7.03 of
Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and DISBARS him.

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