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

24 Sep

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.

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

 

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