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Mejia vs Reyes [A.C. No. 378. March 30, 1962]

16 Oct

Ponente: PADILLA, J.

FACTS:

Francisco S. Reyes, a practicing lawyer, was appointed bank attorney and notary public for the Baguio Branch of the Philippine National Bank. While still holding such position his professional services were engaged by Jose G. Mejia and Emilia N. Abrera, residents of Baguio City, to bring an action in court against the Philippine National Bank and the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation (now the Development Bank of the Philippines) as successor-in-interest of the defunct Agricultural and Industrial Bank for the cancellation of a mortgage on a parcel of land situated in Baguio City.

[C]omplainants Jose G. Mejia and Emilia N. Abrera allege that they had desired to take an appeal from the judgment rendered by the Court of First Instance of Baguio but did not, upon the respondent’s advice; that thereafter for the first time they learned that the respondent was counsel and notary public of the Baguio Branch of the Philippine National Bank; that his representing them against the Philippine National Bank, in whose Baguio Branch he was bank attorney and notary public, without revealing to them such connection with the Bank, constitutes malpractice; and pray this Court to disbar him.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the Atty. Reyes is guilty of malpractice and should be disbarred.

HELD:

YES. But the malpractice committed is not so serious. Respondent was just admonished and warned not to repeat it.

RATIO:

Lawyers are prohibited from representing conflicting interests in a case. The respondent’s act of appearing and acting as counsel for the complainants Jose G. Mejia and Emilia N. Abrera in the civil case against the Philippine National Bank, that had appointed him bank attorney and notary public, constitutes malpractice. However, it does not appear satisfactorily proven that during the pendency of their case the complaints did not know of the respondents connection with the bank as attorney and notary public. Evidence shows that the Philippine National Bank knew that the respondent was appearing as counsel for the complainants, yet it did not revoke or cancel his appointment as bank attorney and notary public.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

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