446 Phil. 861
“Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.”Immoral conduct has been defined as:xxx xxx xxx
“CANON 7 - A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession, and support the activities of the Integrated Bar.”xxx xxx xxx
“Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.”
“xxx that conduct which is so willful, flagrant, or shameless as to show indifference to the opinion of good and respectable members of the community. Furthermore, such conduct must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. That is, it must be so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree or committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the common sense of decency.”In his affidavit dated September 10, 1997, duly acknowledged before a notary public, he declared explicitly:
“1. That I had a relationship with one Carmelita Zaguirre, my officemate;More incriminating is his handwritten letter dated March 12, 1998 which states in part:
“2. That as a result of that relationship, she is presently pregnant with my child;
“3. That I hereby voluntarily recognize the child now under (sic) her womb to be my own;
“4. That I am willing to support the said child henceforth, including his/her personal and medical needs, education, housing, food, clothing and other necessities for living, which I will give through his/her mother, Carmelita Zaguirre, until he/she becomes of legal age and capable to live on his/her own;
“5. That I undertake to sign the birth certificate as an additional proof that he/she is my child; however, my failure to sign does not negate the recognition and acknowledgement already done herein;
“6. That I am executing this affidavit without compulsion on my part and being a lawyer, I have full knowledge of the consequence of such acknowledgment and recognition.”
“Ayoko ng umabot tayo sa kung saan-saan pa. All your officemates, e.g., Ate Ging, Glo, Guy and others (say) that I am the look like(sic) of your daughter.In the recent case of Luguid vs. Judge Camano, Jr., the Court in castigating a judge stated that:
“Here’s my bargain. I will help you in supporting your daughter, but I cannot promise fix amount for monthly support of your daughter. However it shall not be less than P500 but not more than P1,000.”
“...even as an ordinary lawyer, respondent has to conform to the strict standard of conduct demanded of members of the profession. Certainly, fathering children by a woman other than his lawful wife fails to meet these standards.”Siring a child with a woman other than his wife is a conduct way below the standards of morality required of every lawyer.
“as officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must also be seen to be of good moral character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community. More specifically, a member of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required to refrain from adulterous relationships or the keeping of mistresses but must also so behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral standards.”While respondent does not deny having an extra-marital affair with complainant he seeks understanding from the Court, pointing out that “men by nature are polygamous,” and that what happened between them was “nothing but mutual lust and desire.” The Court is not convinced. In fact, it is appalled at the reprehensible, amoral attitude of the respondent.
“In a disbarment proceeding, it is immaterial that the complainant is in pari delicto because this is not a proceeding to grant relief to the complainant, but one to purge the law profession of unworthy members, to protect the public and the courts.”The illicit relationship with Carmelita took place while respondent was preparing to take the bar examinations. Thus, it cannot be said that it is unknown to him that an applicant for admission to membership in the bar must show that he is possessed of good moral character, a requirement which is not dispensed with upon admission to membership of the bar. This qualification is not only a condition precedent to admission to the legal profession, but its continued possession is essential to maintain one’s good standing in the profession; it is a continuing requirement to the practice of law and therefore admission to the bar does not preclude a subsequent judicial inquiry, upon proper complaint, into any question concerning his mental or moral fitness before he became a lawyer. This is because his admission to practice merely creates a rebuttable presumption that he has all the qualifications to become a lawyer.
“The practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. We must stress that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. A lawyer has the privilege to practice law only during good behavior. He can be deprived of his license for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of the court after giving him the opportunity to be heard.”and in Dumadag vs. Lumaya:
“The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. Adherence to the rigid standards of mental fitness, maintenance of the highest degree of morality and faithful compliance with the rules of the legal profession are the conditions required for remaining a member of good standing of the bar and for enjoying the privilege to practice law.”Respondent repeatedly engaged in sexual congress with a woman not his wife and now refuses to recognize and support a child whom he previously recognized and promised to support. Clearly therefore, respondent violated the standards of morality required of the legal profession and should be disciplined accordingly.