RSS

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Public Attorney’s Office vs. Sandiganbayan [G.R. Nos. 154297-300. February 15, 2008]

Ponente: AZCUNA, J.

FACTS:

Chief Public Attorney filed an Urgent and Ex-Parte Motion to be Relieved as Court-Appointed Counsel with the Special Division of the Sandiganbayan, praying that she be relieved of her duties and responsibilities as counsel de oficio for the said accused on the ground that she had a swelling workload consisting of administrative matters and that the accused are not indigent persons; hence, they are not qualified to avail themselves of the services of PAO. Respondent Court found the reasons of the Chief Public Attorney to be plausible and relieved the Chief Public Attorney as counsel de oficio of former President Joseph Estrada and Mayor Jose Estrada. The remaining eight PAO lawyers filed an Ex-Parte Motion To Be Relieved As Court-Appointed Counsels with respondent Court on the ground that the accused are not indigents; therefore, they are not qualified to avail themselves of the services of PAO. Respondent Court issued a Resolution denying the motion, but retaining two of the eight PAO lawyers, namely, the   petitioners Atty. Usita, Jr. and Atty. Andres.

Later, PAO filed a Manifestation and Compliance which informed the Court that petitioners Atty. Usita and Atty. Andres were appointed as Assistant City Prosecutors of the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office sometime in August 2002, and that PAO is left as the lone petitioner in this case. PAO asserts that while its lawyers are also aware of their duties under Rule 14.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, PAO lawyers are limited by their mandate as government

ISSUE:

Whether or not respondent committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the subject Resolutions retaining two PAO lawyers to act as counsels de oficio for the accused who are not indigent persons.

HELD:

NO. Petition dismissed for being moot.

RATIO:

The Court holds that respondent did not gravely abuse its discretion in issuing the subject Resolutions as the issuance is not characterized by caprice or arbitrariness.  At the time of PAO’s appointment, the accused did not want to avail themselves of any counsel; hence, respondent exercised a judgment call to protect the constitutional right of the accused to be heard by themselves and counsel during the trial of the cases.

Subsequently, respondent reduced the number of PAO lawyers directed to represent the accused, in view of the engagement of new counsels de parte, but retained two of the eight PAO lawyers obviously to meet such possible exigency as the accused again relieving some or all of their private counsels.

In any event, since these cases of the accused in the Sandiganbayan have been finally resolved, this petition seeking that PAO, the only remaining petitioner, be relieved as counsel de oficio therein has become moot.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

Tags:

Foodsphere, Inc. vs. Atty. Mauricio, Jr. [AC No. 7199. July 22, 2009]

Ponente: CARPIO-MORALES, J.

FACTS:

[A] certain Alberto Cordero (Cordero) purportedly bought from a grocery in Valenzuela City canned goods including a can of CDO Liver spread.  As Cordero and his relatives were eating bread with the CDO Liver spread, they found the spread to be sour and soon discovered a colony of worms inside the can. This was complained before the BFAD. After conciliation meetings between Cordero and the petitioner, the Corderos eventually forged a KASUNDUAN seeking the withdrawal of their complaint before the BFAD.  The BFAD thus dismissed the complaint. Respondent, Atty. Mauricio, Jr.,  who affixed his signature to the KASUNDUAN as a witness, later wrote in one of his articles/columns in a tabloid that he prepared the document.

Complainant filed criminal complaints against respondent and several others for Libel and Threatening to Publish Libel under Articles 353 and 356 of the Revised Penal Code before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City and Valenzuela City.  The complaints were pending at the time of the filing of the present administrative complaint. Despite the pendency of the civil case against him and the issuance of a status quo order restraining/enjoining further publishing, televising and broadcasting of any matter relative to the complaint of CDO, respondent continued with his attacks against complainant and its products.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:

YES. Respondent suspended for three (3) years from the practice of law.

RATIO:

The above actuations of respondent are also in violation of Rule 13.03 of the Canon of Professional Responsibility which reads: “A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.”

The language employed by respondent undoubtedly casts aspersions on the integrity of the Office of the City Prosecutor and all the Prosecutors connected with said Office. Respondent clearly assailed the impartiality and fairness of the said Office in handling cases filed before it and did not even design to submit any evidence to substantiate said wild allegations. The use by respondent of the above-quoted language in his pleadings is manifestly violative of Canon 11 and the fundamental Canon 1 also of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which mandates lawyers to “uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.”  Respondent defied said status quo order, despite his (respondent’s) oath as a member of the legal profession to “obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities.”

Further, respondent violated Canon 8 and Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which mandate, and by failing to live up to his oath and to comply with the exacting standards of the legal profession, respondent also violated Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which directs a lawyer to “at all times uphold the integrity and the dignity of the legal profession.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

Tags:

Maronilla vs. Jorda [AC No. 6973. October 30, 2006]

Ponente: TINGA, J.

FACTS:

After formal investigation of what appeared as fraternity war, before the UP Student Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), the dispositive portion of Decision dismissed cases against Maronilla bothers, et.al. while expulsion ruled the other suspects. Respondent, who was a University Legal Counsel, subsequently moved for partial reconsideration of the decision of the SDT before the UP Office of the President with respect to the dismissal of the case against the Maronilla brothers. Furthermore, Jorda thereafter prepared an Extended Manifestation praying that the Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the SDT decision be considered as an appeal and the modification of the SDT decision holding that the Maronilla brothers be equally held liable as the rest of respondents in the SDT case. The Extended Manifestation was noted by also respondent Atty. Ida May J. La’o (La’o), the chief legal officer of the UP Diliman Legal Office.

Petitioner, the father of the Maronilla brothers, representing his sons, filed a complaint-affidavit before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) against respondents Jorda and La’o for violating Rule 12.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility by filing an appeal or motion for reconsideration in a disciplinary action that did not provide for such procedure. He also averred that respondents were obviously biased and partial and had the intention of inflicting harm and undue injury to his sons when they filed the appeal to the UP Office of the President. Thus, in effect, their acts took the form of persecution rather than prosecution.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the respondents Jordan ad La’o violated Rule 12.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:

YES to Jorda. Reprimanded; NO to La’o. Dismissed for lack of merit.

RATIO:

Without any express provision of the law, an appeal cannot be undertaken as the same is not one of the rights of the litigants. Appeal is more of a privilege given to a party by the laws or procedures. It is not a natural right or a part of due process.

Rule 12.04 – A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case, impede the execution of a judgment or misuse Court processes.

Only Jorda prepared and signed the offending Motion for Reconsideration which ultimately became the appeal in the disciplinary case before the UP President. While La’o’s signature appears on the Extended Manifestation, the annotation “Noted” appears above the said signature, thus presumably indicating that she did not directly prepare the said document. Evidently, it cannot be said outright that she shared the vigor of Jorda in pursuing the erroneous appeal, and for lack of such evidence indubitably evincing a shared intent with Jorda, her exoneration is the prudent course of action.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

Tags:

Paredes-Garcia vs. CA [G.R. No. 120654. September 11, 1996]

Ponente: DAVIDE, JR., J.

FACTS:

The petitioner, an Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal, was deputized at the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati City and assigned at the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 58, Makati City.  The respondent is the presiding judge of the said branch. Petitioner arrived ten minutes late in one of the hearing, just when the second case in the calendar was on its first call.  The respondent Judge forthwith ordered the petitioner to explain within seventy-two hours her failure to come to court on time. Petitioner answered with alleged falsity. Both the petitioner and the respondent Judge have resorted to personal attacks against each other in this case.  Verbal clash with the branch clerk followed because of refusals to let petitioner enter the undersigned’s chambers. Petitioner was later cited in contempt of Court. Aggrieved by the aforementioned orders, the petitioner instituted with the Court of Appeals a special civil action for certiorari. The Court of Appeals limited the issues to whether the petitioner was tardy and whether she committed falsehood in her explanation. The CA ruled in favor of the respondent.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the charges of the respondent judge will hold against the petitioner.

HELD:

NO. Petition was granted, but petitioner must be re-assigned somewhere else.

RATIO:

The respondent Judge disregarded the requirements of due process in contempt proceedings and, therefore, acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.

[P]ronouncements, however, should not be understood as absolving the petitioner from any liability for her tardiness or from her solemn duty as an officer of the court.  As a lawyer, she is bound by her oath to conduct herself as a lawyer according to the best of her knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to her client.  She should never forget that punctuality is not only a practice mandated by the Code of Professional Responsibility

Rule 11.02 A lawyer shall punctually appear at court hearings.

and Canons of Professional Ethics it is a virtue which must be faithfully maintained as part of her contribution in the task of ensuring a speedy, efficient, and effective administration of justice. If the petitioner then had committed a breach of her duty to the court she should accordingly be dealt with but in accordance with established procedure.  The right to do so is hereby reserved to the respondent Judge.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

Tags:

Ramos vs. Pallugna [AC 5908. October 25, 2004]

Ponente: CALLEJO, SR., J.

FACTS:

Respondent Atty. Pallugna, with the use of the Resolution issued by the Court of Appeals, filed a Motion to Restore Possession with Motion to Appoint a New Sheriff.  Petitioner alleged it is very clear that the Motion to Restore Possession is a misplaced attempt to deceive the Court as to the correct import and interpretation of the Resolution of the Court of Appeals. Respondent also requested police assistance for the implementation of what he maliciously termed as a “TRO” allegedly issued by the Court of Appeals. The complainants maintain, the illegal and unjust maneuverings of the respondent were made in utter violation to his oath of office as a lawyer and officer of the court, for which he should be disbarred.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Atty. Pallugna violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD: 

YES. Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for three (3) months.

RATIO:

Atty. Alejandro Jose C. Pallugna is found guilty of violating Canon 10, Rule 10.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which read as follows:

CANON 10 – A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT.

Rule 10.03 – A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.

[T]he respondent’s actuations render him administratively liable for failing to observe the candor, fairness and honesty required of him as a member of the bar.  It was his duty to inform the appellate court, as well as his client, of the factual developments in the case, and otherwise to bring the case to an end if the court thereafter determines that the issues had thereby been rendered moot and academic.  The appellate court could then have devoted its efforts to the study and adjudication of meritorious controversies pending decision. The respondent’s bad faith is evident, as he applied for a restraining order in the Court of Appeals when he very well knew that the orders of the trial court which were sought be enjoined had already been implemented.  The respondent’s insistence that he was merely “assisting in the implementation of the Order of the Higher Court” deserves scant consideration.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

Tags:

Small Things (100th Post)

Everyone is so after a great achievement. Many are searching for enormous contributions of epic proportions. For what? For recognition? For publicity? For self-gain? If we are liberating ourselves from such huge targeting schemes, we can find small things equally important as those that can be achieved in larger scale?

[Almost] every engineer or architect looks for a subject of their design. One that can capture the eyes of any observer. One that will leave his or her name with the structure itself. It is just like any bridge engineer’s dream to design and construct his or her “work of art”. Or it is an architects dream to have his or her concept and design realized in a building or structure. But do we need to accomplish such to be great? I believe there are alternatives.

Small things, when done correctly and with justice, is already great by itself. It just doesn’t earn outright recognition. But when summed up in the end, it will be proved to be more enduring. Take the case of the late Sec. Jesse Robredo. He is just so simple to be so great. Very few person knew that he was an achiever but there are so many persons who cannot accept that fact upon knowing it. When he died in that tragic manner, the world realized that it lost one significant person who may be an essential ingredient for a lasting positive change. Take note, Sec. Jesse had no big news breaking achievement. He just did small but the right things, and the rest was history.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Personal

 

Tags: , , ,

Public Bidding ng Infrastructure Projects

Medyo kaiba ng konti sa Procurement of Goods, ang Procurement of Infrastructures ay may kinalaman sa pagbili ng materyales, na may kasamang labor at equipment sa pagpapatupad nito. Mas mabusisi ito dahil kailangan ng kasanayan o specialty ng mga engineers at iba pang technical fields. Kung may mga insidente ng sabwatan sa Goods, sinasabing mas malala ang sabwatan sa Infrastructures o Infra dahil limitado kasi ang may kakayanang malaman ang tunay na layunin at sakop ng isang proyekto. Madali para sa gustong magsamantala na magdagdag at magbawas ng nilalaman ng proyekto dahil hindi naman pamilyar ang karamihan sa titingin nito. Ngunit kung padadaanin natin sa tamang proseso, at kapag ang BAC ay may INTEGRIDAD na suriin at salain ang mga proposal, makakaasa ang mga Gobernador at Mayor na maayos ding mae-evaluate ang proyekto at mga bidder nito.

Ang pagpapatupad ng lahat ng Infrastructure Projects ay nagsisimula sa procurement. Ngunit bago pa magsimula ang procurement, marami pang dapat isaalangalang para maging epektibo at makabuluhan ang proyektong gagawin. Ayon sa Section 17.6:

“No bidding and award of contract for infrastructure projects shall be made unless the detailed engineering investigations, surveys and designs, including the acquisition of the ROW, for the project have been sufficiently carried out and duly approved in accordance with the standards and specifications prescribed by the Head of the Procuring Entity concerned or his duly authorized representative, and in accordance with the provisions of Annex “A” of this IRR.”

Isang detalyadong imbestigasyon, pagbisita sa lugar, disenyo, at pag-aaral ng lupa o lugar na pagtatayuan ng proyekto ang kailangan bago tuluyang dumako sa Public Bidding. Sa madaling salita, hindi pwede ang basta na lang tayong magpa-public bidding ng “pagsesemento ng kalsada” kahit pa alam natin ang sukat at halaga ng proyekto. Mahalaga na pinag-aralan munang mabuti ang proyekto upang mapakinabanagan ng taum-bayan. At dahil bihira sa mga umuupong gobernador at mayor ng local na pamahalaan ay may background sa engineering, madalas ay ipinauubaya na ang pag-aaral nito sa Provincial/Municipal Engineer at sa kanilang consultant kung mayroon man. Ang opisina ng lokal na inhinyeriya o Engineering Office ng probinsya, bayan o lungsod ang nangangasiwa sa lahat ng paghahanda nito sang-ayon sa Annual Investment Plan o AIP. Isang pagbubukod-tangi ang mga proyektong Design-Build Scheme kung saan ang disenyo ay magmumula na rin sa bidder:

“The exception is design and build scheme, wherein the bidders shall be allowed to submit its detailed engineering designs as part of its bid. The procedures for the procurement and contract implementation of infrastructure projects using a design and build scheme shall be in accordance with the provisions of Annex “G” of this IRR.”

Subalit ang pagpapatupad nito ay dapat lamang sa mga kakaibang sitwasyon, kung ang Engineering Office ay walang sapat na kasanayan, kakayahan, at gamit upang gawin ang mga disenyo ng proyekto, at kung mas maraming benepisyo itong maidudulot sa pamahalaan.

***

Q: What are some major changes under procurement of infrastructure projects under the Revised IRR?

A: Summarizing the major changes for Infra in the Revised IRR:

  1. From Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid (IAEB) to Invitation to Bid (IB);
  2. Eligibility check shall be done at the same time of opening of bids, and not a separate activity anymore;
  3. Prescriptive ten (10) year period where a similar contract was completed
  4. Two-envelope system; 1st envelope for eligibility and technical documents, 2nd envelope for financial components;
  5. Documentary requirements trimmed down to six (6) for Infra, but some documents still have to be submitted by the LCB during post-qualifications;
  6. Introduction of Omnibus Sworn Statement covering several affidavit and notarized statements;
  7. Registry of Suppliers/Contractors/Consultants mandatory as a basis for drawing up shortlist and/or selecting contractors under Negotiated Procurement after Two-Failed Biddings  (Sec.53.1.2.2) 
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 17, 2012 in BAC^k Issues

 

Tags: ,