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EN BANC

[ A.C. No. 10498, September 04, 2018 ]

JUDGE ARIEL FLORENTINO R. DUMLAO, JR., COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. MANUEL N. CAMACHO, RESPONDENT.

DECISION

GESMUNDO, J.:

Before this Court is a Verified Complaint-Affidavit[1] for Disbarment filed before the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) against Atty. Manuel N. Camacho (respondent) for violating Rules 10.01, 11.03, 13.01 and 19.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (Code) in bribing, attempting to influence complainant, and disrespecting court officers.

The Antecedents

Complainant is the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Dagupan City, Pangasinan, Branch 42 (RTC), where CV Case No. 2004-0181-D, entitled "Pathways Trading International, Inc. (Pathways) versus Univet Agricultural Products, Inc., et al. (defendants)," was pending. Respondent is Pathways' counsel.

Complainant alleged that while the case was pending, respondent attempted to fraternize with him. Respondent casually mentioned his closeness to important personages, which included Justices of the Supreme Court. He also tried to impress complainant with his influence by dropping names of notables and his connection with the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law, where he served as a professor. Respondent told him that then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen were his colleagues and close friends.

Complainant averred that out of respect for the elderly and as a fellow U.P. graduate, he initially treated respondent's fraternization as casual, trivial and harmless.

In the course of the proceedings, Pathways, through respondent, filed a motion for summary judgment. In its Order[2] dated January 30, 2014, the RTC found the said motion meritorious because there was no genuine issue in the case. It underscored that the issues raised by defendants were contrived and false because the very same issues were denied by the courts in Mandaluyong City and Malolos, Bulacan. The dispositive portion of the RTC order states:

"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, as there is no genuine issue in this case, the Court is constrained to GRANT plaintiffs motion for summary judgment, and hereby renders judgment ordering defendant to pay plaintiff the following amounts:

1. Sixteen Million Pesos (P16,000,000.[00]) as reimbursement for plaintiffs expenses;

2. Ten percent (10%) of Sixteen Million Pesos as attorney's fees; and

3. Costs of litigation

Other amounts prayed for the by plaintiff, such as lost profit, are hereby denied for being speculative.

SO ORDERED."[3]


Defendants, through their new counsel, Atty. Geraldine U. Baniqued (Atty. Baniqued), filed a notice of appeal before the RTC.

Thereafter, respondent started to call complainant and even promised to share a portion of his attorney's fees with complainant in exchange for the denial of the notice of appeal filed by defendants and the issuance of the writ of execution. The promise was accompanied by a threat that if the offer is refused, respondent would file a disbarment case against complainant and he insinuated that through his connections, complainant would surely be disbarred. Respondent declared that the case of Pathways was closely monitored by the named Supreme Court Justices and he insisted that a portion of the judgment would be donated to the U.P. Law Center. He also stated that then President Benigno S. Aquino III (President Aquino III) would supposedly appoint him as a Presidential Legal Consultant.

Complainant was shocked by the bribery offer and threat of respondent. He was appalled that these statements came from a veteran lawyer and professor. Complainant, however, initially hesitated in taking immediate and drastic measures against the inappropriate acts of respondent as he was cowed by the latter's claim that he had power and influence.

Then, on March 6, 2014, Pathways, through respondent, filed a Motion to Deny Appeal with motion for the issuance of execution.

In its order dated April 1, 2014, the RTC denied defendants' notice of appeal because it was filed by Atty. Baniqued, who was not properly substituted as the counsel for defendants. It underscored that Atty. Baniqued had no standing to represent defendants.

On April 28, 2014, the RTC issued a Certificate of Finality and a Writ of Execution. On the very same morning that the writ of execution was issued, respondent went to the RTC together with the representatives of Pathways. He demanded Court Sheriff Russel Blair Nabua (Sheriff Nabua) to go with them and serve the writ of execution at the office of defendants in Mandaluyong City.

At that point, complainant was convinced of the abusive and scheming character of respondent to influence the court. He resolved to avoid all means of communication with respondent. Complainant then informed Sheriff Nabua to refrain from being influenced by respondent.

Later, Sheriff Nabua issued a Notice of Garnishment as per instruction of respondent to the different bank accounts of defendants. The latter then informed Sheriff Nabua that they have personal properties in the form of poultry and swine feeds that were sufficient to cover the obligation stated in the writ of execution, or in the amount of P16,000,000.00. However, Pathways refused to accept the offer of defendants.

In view of defendants' proposal, Sheriff Nabua coordinated with Pathways for the inspection of the personal properties offered by defendants. This is pursuant to the judgment-debtor's right to avail of the three-tiered process in the implementation of a writ of execution, wherein garnishment is listed as the last resort.

On May 22, 2014, at around 8:30 in the morning, respondent barged into complainant's chambers and demanded that he order the court sheriff to sign the Garnishment Order,[4]  which respondent himself prepared. The said garnishment order sought the release of the supposed garnished check of one of the defendants, addressed to Rizal Commercial Bank Corporation (RCBC) in the amount of P18,690,000,643.00, in favor of Pathways. The prepared order also specifically stated that the RCBC should release the said amount to respondent as the counsel for Pathways.

Complainant, who was preparing for his scheduled hearings for the day, peremptorily dismissed respondent and told him to talk instead to Sheriff Nabua. Thereafter, respondent went out of complainant's chambers and fiercely demanded Sheriff Nabua to sign the document.

Consequently, Sheriff Nabua justifiably refused to sign the document prepared by respondent. He explained that since defendants offered their personal property for satisfaction of the writ of execution, the enforcement of the notice of garnishment must be held in abeyance pursuant to the prescribed procedure under Section 9, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.

Thereafter, respondent said the following statements to Sheriff Nabua: "Kapag hindi mo pipirmahan ito, papatanggal kita", "Alam ng nasa itaas ito.", "Alam ng dalawang Justices ito." As respondent was making a scene, complainant went out of his chamber and tried to pacify him. He told respondent to just leave the document he prepared and let Sheriff Nabua review the same. Respondent agreed to leave the document and uttered , "Kung hindi niya pipirmahan ito, tutuluyan ko dismissal nito."

Meanwhile, complainant received several text messages from respondent:

Date 
Time 
Message 
May 19, 2014 
6:37 a.m. 
Judge call me you will be involve in the in some of sheriff. He says its all your idea 
May 22, 2014 
10:24 a.m. 
Urgent please call after this 
May 23, 2014 
6:27 a.m. 
You are as guilty as your sheriff of antigraft. Call me I explain 
May 23, 2014 
6:38 a.m. 
Ok don't blame me 
May 23, 2014 
7:05 am 
On Monday you will receive two pleading 1 for supreme court [2] for antigraft.[5]


Thereafter, complainant made an Incident Report[6] stating the events that transpired on May 22, 2014 when respondent barged into his chambers and threatened Sheriff Nabua. The said report was submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA).

Hence, this complaint.

In its Resolution[7] dated August 13, 2014, the Court required respondent to file his comment within ten (10) days from notice. However, no comment was interposed by respondent despite receipt of the said resolution. Thus, in its Resolution[8] dated August 26, 2015, the Court resolved to deem as waived the right of respondent to file a comment and referred his case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation.

In the proceedings before the IBP, only complainant filed his Mandatory Conference Brief[9] dated December 22, 2015.

Report and Recommendation

In its Report and Recommendation[10] dated May 10, 2016, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline (Commission) found respondent guilty of violating the Code and the Lawyer's Oath. It observed that respondent committed various acts of professional misconduct and thereby failed to live up to the exacting ethical standards imposed on members of the bar. The acts of respondent in mentioning his alleged connections with Supreme Court Justices, his prominence, and influence in the legal community constitute a violation of his duty as an attorney and his oath as a lawyer to never mislead the judge or any judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of fact or law. The Commission recommended the ultimate penalty of disbarment because it was not respondent's first infraction.

In its Resolution No. XXII-2017-1186,[11] the IBP Board of Governors (Board) adopted the findings of fact of the Commission but reduced the recommended penalty of disbarment to suspension from the practice of law for six (6) months.

The Court's Ruling


The Court accepts and adopts the findings of fact but modifies the penalty imposed upon respondent.

Lawyers should always live up to the ethical standards of the legal profession as embodied in the Code. Public confidence in law and in lawyers may be eroded by the irresponsible and improper conduct of a member of the bar. Thus, every lawyer should act and comport himself in a manner that would promote public confidence in the integrity of the legal profession.[12]

It bears stressing that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. A lawyer has the privilege and right to practice law during good behavior and can only be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of the court after opportunity to be heard has afforded him. Without invading any constitutional privilege or right, an attorney's right to practice law may be resolved by a proceeding to suspend or disbar him, based on conduct rendering him unfit to hold a license or to exercise the duties and responsibilities of an attorney.[13] In disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests upon the complainant, and for the court to exercise its disciplinary powers, the case against the respondent must be established by clear, convincing and satisfactory proof.[14]

The Court finds that respondent violated the Code and the Lawyer's Oath for influence peddling, attempted bribery, threatening court officers and disrespecting court processes.

Influence Peddling and
Attempted Bribery

The highly immoral implication of a lawyer approaching a judge — or a judge evincing a willingness — to discuss, in private, a matter related to a case pending in that judge's sala cannot be over-emphasized.[15] A lawyer is duty-bound to actively avoid any act that tends to influence, or may be seen to influence, the outcome of an ongoing case, lest the people's faith in the judicial process is diluted. The primary duty of lawyers is not to their clients but to the administration of justice. To that end, their clients' success is wholly subordinate. The conduct of a member of the bar ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of the law and ethics. Any means, not honorable, fair and honest which is resorted to by the lawyer, even in the pursuit of his devotion to his client's cause, is condemnable and unethical.[16]

A lawyer that approaches a judge to try to gain influence and receive a favorable outcome for his or her client violates Canon 13 of the Code.[17] Canon 13 and Canon 13.01 state:

CANON 13 - A LAWYER SHALL RELY UPON THE MERITS OF HIS CAUSE AND REFRAIN FROM ANY IMPROPRIETY WHICH TENDS TO INFLUENCE, OR GIVES THE APPEARANCE OF INFLUENCING THE COURT.

Rule 13.01 - A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary attention or hospitality to, nor seek opportunity for cultivating familiarity with Judges.


On the other hand, bribery is classified as a serious charge that constitutes malfeasance in office.[18] When an attempted bribery is committed, the transaction is always done in secret and often only between the two parties concerned.[19] A lawyer who commits attempted bribery, or corruption of public officials, against a judge or a court personnel, violates Canon 10 and Rule 10.01 of the Code, to wit:

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

Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.


In this case, while CV Case No. 2004-0181-D was pending before the sala of complainant, where respondent was the counsel for the plaintiff therein, respondent fraternized with complainant and gave an impression that he was an influence peddler. He tried to impress complainant with his influence by dropping names of two Justices of the Supreme Court, who were supposedly his colleagues and close friends.

Then, while defendants' notice of appeal was pending before complainant, respondent asked him to deny the said notice and issue a writ of execution. He declared that the case of Pathways was closely monitored by the said Supreme Court Justices. He also stated that then President Aquino III would supposedly appoint him as the Presidential Legal Consultant. Verily, respondent consistently applied his influence peddling scheme in order to persuade complainant to rule in favor of his client.

At the same time, he related to complainant that he would share a portion of his attorney's fees with complainant in exchange for the issuance of the writ of execution and the denial of the notice of appeal filed by defendants. He also insisted that a portion of the judgment would be donated to the U.P. Law Center. Evidently, this constitutes attempted bribery or corruption of public officers on the part of respondent as he offered monetary consideration in exchange for a favorable ruling.

Then, on May 22, 2014, respondent barged in the chamber of complainant and required Sheriff Nabua to sign the garnishment order he prepared, he again gave an impression that he would be able to dismiss Sheriff Nabua because of his influence with the higher authorities. He uttered the following statements: "Kapag hindi mo pipirmahan ito, papatanggal kita ", "Alam ng nasa itaas ito.", "Alam ng dalawang Justices ito," and "Kung hindi niya pipirmahan ito, tutuluyan ko dismissal nito."

Respondent also sent several text messages to complainant stating that the latter and Sheriff Nabua are guilty of graft and that they will receive pleadings from the Supreme Court.

Clearly, respondent continuously and unceasingly asserted that he had influence in the Court and that he would be able to punish complainant and Sheriff Nabua if they do not follow his whims and caprices. At one point, respondent even attempted to bribe complainant with a share of his attorney's fees.

By implying that he can influence Supreme Court Justices to advocate for his cause, respondent trampled upon the integrity of the judicial system and eroded confidence in the judiciary. This gross disrespect of the judicial system shows that he is wanting in moral fiber and that he lacks integrity in his character. These acts of respondent constitute the height of arrogance and deceit. Respondent violated Canon 13, Rule 13.01, Canon 10 and Canon 10.01 of the Code.

Threatening Court Officers and
Disrespecting Court Processes

Canon 19 of the Code states that a lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of the law, reminding legal practitioners that a lawyer's duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice; to that end, his client's success is wholly subordinate; and his conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics. In particular, Rule 19.01 commands that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his client and shall not present, participate in presenting or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper advantage in any case or proceeding. Under this Rule, a lawyer should not file or threaten to file any unfounded or baseless criminal case or cases against the adversaries of his client designed to secure leverage to compel the adversaries to yield or withdraw their own cases against the lawyer's client.[20]

Further, all lawyers are bound to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts, and to promote confidence in the fair administration of justice. It is the respect for the courts that guarantees the stability of the judicial institution; elsewise, the institution would be resting on a very shaky foundation. Hence, no matter how passionate a lawyer is towards defending his client's cause, he must not forget to display the appropriate decorum expected of him, being a member of the legal profession, and to continue to afford proper and utmost respect due to the courts.[21]

Also, a lawyer must not disrespect the officers of the court. Disrespect to judicial incumbents is disrespect to that branch of the government to which they belong, as well as to the State which has instituted the judicial system.[22] It is the duty of a lawyer to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers.[23] A lawyer who disrespects the court and its officers violates Canon 11 and Canon 11.03 of the Code, to wit:

CANON 11 — A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN THE RESPECT DUE THE COURTS AND TO JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND SHOULD INSIST ON SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS.

Rule 11.03 — A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behavior before the Courts.


In this case, while defendants' notice of appeal was pending before the sala of complainant, respondent called him. Respondent said that if the notice of appeal is not denied, he would file a disbarment case against complainant and insinuated that, through his connections with the Court, the complainant was sure to be disbarred. Complainant admitted that he was shocked by respondent's threat but, at the same time, he was cowed by the latter's claim of power and influence in the Court. Manifestly, respondent threatened complainant that he would suffer consequences, such as a disbarment complaint, if he does not act in favor of respondent.

Then, on May 22, 2014, respondent barged into complainant's chambers, fully aware that he had a pending case before complainant's sala, and demanded he order the court sheriff to sign the garnishment order, which respondent himself prepared. When respondent did not obtain a favorable response from complainant, he turned his ire on Sheriff Nabua and made several threats that he would be dismissed from service if he did not sign the said garnishment order. Respondent was already making a scene in the court that complainant had to pacify him.

Sheriff Nabua was only following the proper court processes when he declined to sign the garnishment order prepared by respondent. He correctly stated that he cannot enforce the order of garnishment because defendants offered their personal property for satisfaction of the writ of execution, thus, the enforcement of the notice of garnishment was held in abeyance pursuant to Section 9, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.

Instead of respecting the court processes, respondent blatantly seized for himself the execution of the judgment by drafting his own version of the order of garnishment and demanded that Sheriff Nabua sign it. Further, the said garnishment sought by respondent is highly questionable and dubious because it required the release of the supposed garnished check of one of the defendants, addressed to RCBC in the amount of P18,690,000,643.00, in favor of Pathways. However, it is clear from the RTC Order[24] dated January 30, 2014, that the judgment award is only P16,000,000.00 with 10% thereof as attorney's fee. Glaringly, the prepared garnishment order also specifically stated that the RCBC should release the check's amount to respondent.

The events that transpired on May 22, 2014 were duly recorded in the incident report submitted by complainant to the OCA. Respondent was given several opportunities to refute the charges against him but he neither submitted his comment before the Court, despite due notice, nor attended the mandatory conference in the IBP.

Manifestly, the acts of respondent are palpably irregular and disrespectful to the court and its officers. Respondent had the gall to barge into the chambers of a judge and threaten his court personnel. For his wanton disregard of the good conduct expected from lawyers before the courts, respondent violated Rules 11.03 and 19.01 and Canons 11 and 19 of the Code.

Further, respondent also violated the Lawyer's Oath to obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; to do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; and to conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to his clients.

Proper Penalty

In its report and recommendation, the Commission recommended that the penalty of disbarment be imposed against respondent. However, the IBP Board reduced the recommended penalty to suspension from the practice of law for six (6) months.

The Court finds that the recommended penalty by the IBP Board must be modified to suspension from the practice of law for two (2) years.

In Plumptre v. Atty. Rivera,[25] the lawyer successfully solicited money from his client to allegedly bribe a judge to rule in their favor. The Court imposed a suspension from the practice of law for three (3) years against the lawyer. It was emphasized that a lawyer's act of soliciting money to bribe a judge served to malign the judge and the judiciary by giving the impression that court cases are won by the party with the deepest pockets and not on the merits.

In Rau Sheng Mao v. Atty. Velasco,[26] the lawyer therein, among others, sent a letter to the complainant bragging about his influence over judges. The Court suspended him for two (2) years from the practice of law. It was highlighted therein that a lawyer is duty bound to avoid improprieties which give the appearance of influencing the court.

In Fajardo v. Atty. Alvarez,[27] the lawyer gave an impression that he is able to influence the Office of the Ombudsman to rule in favor of his client provided that complainant furnish the necessary bribe money for the said office. The Court suspended him for one (1) year from the practice of law for influence peddling. It was stated therein that lawyers who offer no skill other than their acquaintances or relationships with regulators, investigators, judges, or Justices pervert the system, weaken the rule of law, and debase themselves even as they claim to be members of a noble profession.

Given the gravity and seriousness of the offenses committed by respondent, the Court rules that the imposable penalty against respondent for influence peddling, attempted bribery, threatening court officers and disrespecting court processes is suspension from the practice of law for two (2) years.

Respondent had been disbarred

The Court is aware that respondent had been previously disbarred. In Sison, Jr. v. Atty. Camacho,[28]  the ultimate penalty of disbarment was imposed against respondent for violating Rule 1.01 and Rule 16.01 of the Code. In that case, respondent entered into a compromise agreement without the conformity of his client and he failed to account for the money he received from his client in the amount of P1,288,260.00.

In our laws, there is no double or multiple disbarment. Neither does our jurisdiction have a law mandating a minimum 5-year requirement for readmission.[29] Once a lawyer is disbarred, there is no penalty that could be imposed regarding his privilege to practice law. At best, the Court may only impose a fine or order the said lawyer to pay the monetary obligation to his or her client.

In Yuhico v. Gutierrez,[30] the Court found that the erring lawyer was previously disbarred. Thus, the said lawyer was simply ordered to pay the amount of P90,000.00 to complainant for his unpaid debt.

Similarly, in Punla v. Atty. Villa-Ona,[31] it was held that while the lawyer's condemnable acts ought to merit the penalty of disbarment, she may not be disbarred anew because there was no double disbarment in this jurisdiction. Hence, the Court imposed a fine of P40,000.00 and ordered the lawyer to pay the amount P350,000.00 to complainant as part of her monetary obligation.

Nevertheless, there were instances when the Court gave the corresponding penalty against a lawyer, who was previously disbarred, for the sole purpose of recording it in his or her personal file in the OBC.

In Sanchez v. Atty. Torres,[32] the lawyer therein was previously disbarred. However, considering that the issues and the infraction committed therein were different from his previous infraction, the Court deemed it proper to give the corresponding penalty of suspension for two (2) years from the practice of law for purposes of recording it in his personal file in the OBC.

Likewise, in Paras v. Paras,[33] the Court ruled that the penalty of suspension or disbarment can no longer be imposed on a lawyer who had been previously disbarred. Nevertheless, it resolved the issue of the lawyer's administrative liability with a suspension of six (6) months from the practice of law for recording purposes in the lawyer's personal file in the OBC.

Accordingly, in those cases, the purpose of giving the penalty against the disbarred lawyer was only for purposes of recording. The Court shall be fully informed by his personal record in the OBC that aside from his disbarment, he also committed other infractions that would have merited the imposition of penalties were it not for his disbarment. These factors shall be taken into consideration should the disbarred lawyer subsequently file a petition to lift his disbarment.

In this case, the infractions committed by respondent are influence peddling, attempted bribery, threatening court officers and disrespecting court processes. These offenses are different from that of his previous administrative case that caused his disbarment. There is no monetary penalty that could be imposed against respondent because he has no unpaid debt or misappropriated funds. Verily, a fine or an order to pay a monetary obligation cannot be imposed upon him. Thus, the Court finds that, as respondent was previously disbarred, it is proper to give the corresponding penalty of suspension for two (2) years from the practice of law for the sole purpose of recording it in his personal file in the OBC.

In the event that respondent should apply for the lifting of his disbarment in Sison, Jr. v. Atty. Camacho,[34] the penalty in the present case should be considered in the resolution of the same.

WHEREFORE, the Court finds Atty. Manuel N. Camacho GUILTY of violating Canons 10, 11, 13, 19 and Rules 10.01, 11.03,13.01 and 19.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Lawyer's Oath and is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for two (2) years. However, considering that he has already been previously disbarred, this penalty can no longer be imposed. In the event that he should apply for the lifting of his disbarment in Sison, Jr. v. Atty. Camacho, the penalty imposed in the present case should be considered in the resolution of the same.

Let a copy of this Decision be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant to be entered into the records of Atty. Manuel N. Camacho. Copies shall likewise be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts concerned.

SO ORDERED.

Leonardo-De Castro, C.J., Carpio, Peralta, Bersamin, Perlas-Bernabe, Leonen, Jardeleza, Caguioa, Tijam, Reyes, A. Jr., and  Reyes, J. Jr., JJ., concur.
Del Castillo, J., on official leave.




NOTICE OF JUDGMENT


Sirs/Mesdames:

Please take notice that on September 4, 2018 a Decision, copy attached herewith, was rendered by the Supreme Court in the above-entitled administrative matters, the original of which was received by this Office on October 3, 2018 at 4:12 p.m.

Very truly yours,

(SGD.) EDGAR O. ARICHETA
Clerk of Court




[1] Rollo, pp. 1-11.

[2] Id.at 12-21.

[3] Id. at 21.

[4] Id. at 22.

[5] Id. at 25.

[6] Id. at 24.

[7] Id. at 67.

[8] Id. at 70.

[9] Id. at 74-87.

[10] Id. at 98-103.

[11] Id. at 96.

[12] Belleza v. Atty. Macasa, 611 Phil. 179, 192 (2009).

[13] Velasco v. Atty. Doroin, et al., 582 Phil. 1, 9 (2008).

[14] Ceniza v. Atty. Rubia, 617 Phil. 202, 208-209 (2009).

[15]  Bildner, et al. v. Ilusorio, et al., 606 Phil. 369-389 (2009).

[16] Jimenez, et al. v. Atty. Verano, Jr., 739 Phil. 49, 57 (2014).

[17] Fajardo v. Atty. Alvarez, 785 Phil. 303, 325 (2016).

[18] See National Bureau of Investigation v. Judge Reyes, 382 Phil. 872, 885 (2000).

[19] See Bildner, et al., v. Ilusorio, et al., 606 Phil. 369, 390 (2009).

[20] Pena v. Atty. Aparicio, 552 Phil. 512, 523 (2007).

[21] Judge Alpajora v. Atty. Calayan, A.C. No. 8208, January 10, 2018.

[22] De Leon v. Torres, 99 Phil. 462, 466 (1956).

[23] Lacson, et al. v. CA, et al., 311 Phil. 143, 149 (1995).

[24] Id. at 12-21.

[25] 792 Phil. 626 (2016).

[26] 459 Phil. 440 (2003).

[27] 785 Phil. 303 (2016).

[28] 777 Phil. 1 (2016).

[29] See Yuhico v. Gutierrez, 650 Phil. 225, 231 (2010).

[30] Id.

[31] A.C. No. 11149, August 15, 2017.

[32] 748 Phil. 18 (2014)

[33] A.C. No. 5333, March 13, 2017.

[14] Supra note 28

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