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CASE 2020-0040: VICENTE T. GUERRERO, VS. PHIL. PHOENIX SURETY & INSURANCE, INC. (G.R. No. 223178, DECEMBER 9, 2020, CARANDANG, J.)

DISPOSITIVE:

“WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated June 23, 2015 and the Resolution dated January 20, 2016 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 101902 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Complaint in Civil Case No. 09-122267 is DISMISSED

So Ordered.”

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

GUERRERO’S CHEVROLET PICK-UP DRIVEN BY A CERTAIN CORDERO  COLLIDED WITH AN IZUZU SPORTIVO OWNED AND DRIVEN BY GATICALES. PHOENIX INSURANCE PAID DAMAGES TO GATICALES AND SUED GUERERO AND CORDERO. EVIDENCE OF PHONIX INSURANCE CONSISTED OF TESTIMONY OF SOLE WITNESS, ITS CLAIMS MANAGER, THE POLICE CERTIFICATE STATING AN ENTRY RECORDED IN THE POLICE BLOTTER AND PICTURES. THE BLOTTER SHOWS THAT THE CHEVROLET OVERLAPPED TO THE CENTER LINE OF THE HIGHWAY RESULTING TO THE ACCIDENT. RTC AND CA RULED THAT GUERRERO AND CORDERO ARE JOINTLY LIABLE. SC REVERSED THEIR DECISIONS ON THE GROUND THAT THE POLICE CERTIFICATION AND PICTURES, THE MAIN EVIDENCES, WERE IMPROPERLY PRESENTED. THE PHOENIX CLAIMS MANAGER IS NOT THE PROPER PARTY TO TESTIFY ON THE POLICE CERTIFICATE BECAUSE HE HAS NO PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF IT, NOR OF THE INCIDENT. THE BLOTTER ENTRY SHOULD HAVE BEEN PRESENTED BY THE POLICE OFFICER WHO PREPARED IT OR WHO HAS PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE INCIDENT. LIKEWISE THE PICTURES SHOULD HAVE BEEN PRESENTED BY THE ONE WHO TOOK THEM OR THE ONE WHO WAS AT THE SCENE SO HE CAN RELATE THE PICTURES TO THE OBJECTS WHOSE PICTURES WERE TAKEN.WITH THE INADMISSIBILITY OF THE POLICE CERTIFICATE AND THE PICTURES, RES IPSA LOQUITOR DOES NOT APPLY BECAUSE NEGLIGENCE WAS NOT PROVEN.

A POLICE BLOTTER IS ADMISSIBLE BEING AN EXCEPTION TO THE HEARSAY RULE BECAUSE IT IS AN ENTRY IN OFFICIAL RECORD. WHY WAS THIS RULE NOT APPLIED IN THIS CASE?

BECAUSE TO BE ADMISSIBLE THE SAID EVIDENCE MUST BE PRESENTED PROPERLY. IN THIS CASE, PHOENIX INSURANCE FAILED TO PRESENT THE POLICE CERTIFICATE PROPERLY.

“The strength of Phoenix’s claim for damages mainly rests on the admissibility and probative value of the police certificate ( embodying the contents of the police blotter) and the pictures of the damaged Isuzu. The lower courts both concluded that the police blotter is an exception to the hearsay rule because it is classified as an entry in official record, following Section 46, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.40

A police blotter entry, or a certification thereof, is admissible in evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule under Section 46, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. In order for it to be admissible, the said evidence must be properly presented in evidence. What must have been presented in evidence was either the police blotter itself or a copy thereof certified by its legal keeper.”

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CASE 123: MICHELLE A. BUENAVENTURA, VS. ATTY. DANY B. GILLE, (A.C. No. 7446, DECEMBER 20, 2020, PERCURIAM:) (SUBJECT/S: LAWYER BORROWING MONEY FROM CLIENT, GIVING FAKE TITLE AS COLLATERAL, ISSUING BOUNCED CHECK, NOT FILING ANSWER TO COMPLAINT AT IBP) (BRIEF TITLE: BUENAVENTURA VS ATTY. GILLE)

DISPOSITIVE:

“WHEREFORE, Atty. Dany B. Gille is found GUILTY of violating Rules 1.01, 7.03, and 16.04, of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and of the Lawyer’s Oath. He is thus DISBARRED from the practice of law and his name stricken off from the Roll of Attorneys, effective immediately.

Atty. Dany B. Gille is also hereby meted a FINE in the amount PS,000.00 for his disobedience to the orders of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

Let a copy of this Decision be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant to be entered into Atty. Dany B. Gille’s records. Copies shall likewise be furnished to the (a) Integrated Bar of the Philippines, which shall disseminate copies thereof to all its Chapters; (b) all administrative and quasi-judicial agencies of the Republic of the Philippines; and ( c) the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts concerned.

So Ordered.”

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

ATTY GILLE BORROWED MONEY FROM HIS CLIENT MICHELLE BUENAVENTURA USING FAKE TITLE AS COLLATERAL. LATER HE ISSUED CHECK AS PAYMENT WHICH BOUNCED. COMPLAINT WAS FILED AT IBP. ATTY GILLE FAILED TO FILE ANSWER AND POSITION PAPER. IBP RECOMMENDED THAT HE BE SUSPENDED FOR TWO YEARS. SC DISBARRED HIM.

BY BORROWING MONEY FROM HIS CLIENT WHAT RULE DID ATTY GILLE VIOLATE?

“Atty. Gille violated Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the CPR, which prohibits a lawyer from borrowing money from his clie t unless the client’s interests are fully protected, to wit:

CANON 16-A LAWYER SHALL HOIJ,D IN TRUST ALL MONIES AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENTS T AIT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION.

Rule 16.04 -A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the client’s interests are fully protected by t e nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lefd money to a client except, when in the interest of justice, he has to advance! necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the client.

It is undisputed that Atty. Gille secured a loan from Michelle. The mere act of borrowing money from his client is confidered unethical and an abuse of the latter’s confidence reposed upon him. I In doing so, Atty. Gille took advantage of his influence over his client Mi’rhelle. 10 Further, Michelle was at a disadvantage because of respondent’s abilit~ to use all the legal maneuverings to evade his obligation. 11”

BY GIVING AS COLLATERAL A FAKE TITLE AND BY ISSUING BOUNCED CHECK WHAT RULE DID ATTY GILLE VIOLATE?

“Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the CPR provides that “A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or deceitful conduct.” The “conduct” under the Rule does not pertain solely to a lawyer’s performance of professional duties. 15 It has long been settled that “[a] lawyer may be disciplined for misconduct committed either in his or her professional or private capacity. The test is whether [a lawyer’s conduct manifests his or her wanting] in moral character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or [unworthiness] to continue as an officer of the court.”

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CASE 2020-0038: ADELITA S. VILLAMOR, VS. ATTY. ELY GALLAND A. JUMAO-AS, (A.C. No. 8111, DECEMBER 9, 2020, HERNANDO, J.) (SUBJECT/S: CONFLICT OF INTEREST) (BRIEF TITLE: VILLAMOR VS ATTY. JUMAO-AS)

DISPOSITIVE:

“WHEREFORE, the Court finds Atty. Ely Galland A. Jumao-as GUILTY of violating Canon 15, Rule 15.03 Code of Professional Responsibility. He is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years and WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.

Respondent is DIRECTED to file a Manifestation to this Court that his suspension has started, copy furnished all courts and quasi-judical bodies where he has entered his appearance as counsel.

Let copies of this Decision be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant, to be appended to the personal record of Atty. Ely Galland A. Jumao-as as an attorney-at-law; to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and to the Office of the Court Administrator for dissemination to all courts throughout the country for their guidance and information.

So Ordered.”

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

ATTY. JUMAO-AS ORGANIZED A LENDING CORPORATION FOR VILLAMOR. HE ARRANGED FOR A LOAN FOR SUCH LENDING CORP FROM A CERTAIN YU. LATER ATTY JUMAO-AS PUT UP A SINGLE PROPRIETORSHIP LENDING COMPANY FOR YU AND TOLD COLLECTORS OF VILLAMOR’S CORP TO TURN OVER THEIR COLLECTIONS TO YU’S COMPANY BECAUSE OF YU’S LOAN TO VILLAMOR’S CORP. THEN ATTY. JUMAO-AS SENT DEMAND LETTER TO VILLAMOR FOR PAYMENT OF HER COMPANY’S DENT TO YU. VILLAMOR FILED ADMIN CASE AGAINST ATTY. JUMAO-AS. SC ADOPTED IBP RECOMMENDATION THAT ATTY JUMAO-AS BE SUSPENDED FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW FOR TWO YEARS.

WHEN IS THERE CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

“In Hornilla v. Salunat, the Court explained the concept of conflict of interest in this wise:

There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties. The test is “whether or not in behalf of one client, it is the lawyer’s duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this argument will be opposed by him when he argues for the other client.” This rule covers not only cases in which confidential communications have been confided, but also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be used. Also, there is conflict of interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require the attorney to perform an act which will injuriously affect his first client in any matter in which he represents him and also whether he will be called upon in his new relation to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through their connection. Another test of the inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof.”  

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