November 2010 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Legal and Judicial Ethics

Here are selected November 2010 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on legal and judicial ethics:

Attorney; gross misconduct. Deliberate failure to pay just debts constitute gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for the administration of justice and vanguards of our legal system. They must, at all times, faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar, the courts and to their clients, which include prompt payment of financial obligations. Manuel C. Yuhico vs. Atty. Fred L. Gutierrez, A.C. No. 8391, November 23, 2010.

Attorney; gross misconduct. There is nothing ethically remiss in a lawyer who files numerous cases in different fora, as long as he does so in good faith, in accordance with the Rules, and without any ill-motive or purpose other than to achieve justice and fairness.  In the present case, however, we find that the barrage of cases filed by the respondent against his former client and others close to her was meant to overwhelm said client and to show her that the respondent does not fold easily after he was meted a penalty of one year suspension from the practice of law. Atty. Carmen Leonor M. Alcantara, et al. vs. Atty. Eduardo C. de Vera, A.C. No. 5859, November 23, 2010.

Court personnel; gross dishonesty.  Saddi’s failure to turn over up to this time the full amount of his collections and to adequately explain and present evidence thereon constitute gross dishonesty, grave misconduct, and even malversation of public funds.  The delayed remittance of his cash collections and failure to submit monthly reports of court funds he received constitute gross neglect of duty.  Dishonesty alone, being in the nature of a grave offense, carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from the service with forfeiture of retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits, and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.  Office of the Court Administrator vs. Gregorio B. Saddi, A.M. No. P-10-2818, November 15, 2010.

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