- versus -
ATTY. MACARIO GA,
A.C. No. 7771
April 6, 2011
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case stemmed from the complaint for disciplinary action dated 23 October 1989
filed by Patricio Gone against Atty. Macario Ga before the Commission on Bar
Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). The complaint was
alleged that on 13 December 1983, the NLRC building in Intramuros,
Gone further reported that as early as 8 March 1984,
9 September 1989, complainant allegedly sent a letter to
On 16 February 1999, Commissioner Gonzales-delos Reyes, IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, issued an Order directing respondent Ga to file his answer on the complaint.
a letter dated 22 November 1999,
The instant case was set for presentation of evidence on 17 January 2000. On said date, complainant appeared without counsel while respondent failed to appear. Several hearings were set for the case but these were reset for failure of one or both of the parties to appear.
In the hearing held on 19 June 2000, complainant appeared with counsel but respondent failed to appear despite notice. During that hearing, the Commissioner asked complainant if there was a possibility for the case to be settled amicably considering that respondent is a relative of his wife. The complainant answered in the affirmative and the case was reset to 24 July 2000. The two succeeding hearings scheduled by the Commissioner were again reset. On 10 November 2000, a hearing was conducted wherein respondent Ga appeared while complainant was absent despite notice. In view of the latters absence, respondent Ga prayed for time to file a Motion to Dismiss.
In his Motion to Dismiss dated 8 December 2000, respondent Ga alleged that he had a heart to heart talk with complainant about his labor case and the latter may have already understood that it was not respondents fault that the case was shelved by the NLRC. He averred that complainant may have already been dissuaded from pursuing the case, thus his absence in the hearing held on 10 November 2000. Nevertheless, if there is still hope for the case, he commits to help complainant by whatever means he can.
14 February 2007, Commissioner Marilyn S. Guzman, IBP Commission on Bar
Discipline, submitted her report recommending that respondent
19 September 2007, the Board of Governors of the IBP adopted and approved with
modification, the report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. Respondent
In a resolution dated 2 June 2008, the Office of the Bar Confidant and the IBP were directed to inform the Court if any motion for reconsideration was filed in the case. The IBP was further directed to confirm if respondent has complied with Resolution No. XVIII-2007-94 dated 19 September 2007 directing him to reconstitute and turn over the records of the case to complainant.
In compliance with the resolution, the Office of the Bar Confidant reported that no motion for reconsideration or petition for review was filed by either party.
The IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, for its part, reported that no motion for reconsideration was filed by either party and that respondent failed to comply with IBP Resolution No. XVIII-2007-94 dated 19 September 2007.
on 2 September 2009, the Court issued a resolution requiring
We agree with the findings and recommendation of the IBP. The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates lawyers to serve their clients with competence and diligence. Rule 18.03 and Rule 18.04 state:
Rule 18.03. A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
Rule 18.04. A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the clients request for information.
It is settled that a lawyer is not obliged to act as counsel for every person who may wish to become his client. He has the right to decline employment subject however, to the provision of Canon 14 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Once he agrees to take up the cause of a client, he owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed to him. Respondent Meneses, as counsel, had the obligation to inform his client of the status of the case and to respond within a reasonable time to his clients request for information. Respondents failure to communicate with his client deliberately disregarding its request for an audience or conference is an unjustifiable denial of its right to be fully informed of the developments in and the status of its case.
Respondents sentiments against complainant Gone is not a valid reason for him to renege on his obligation as a lawyer. The moment he agreed to handle the case, he was bound to give it his utmost attention, skill and competence. Public interest requires that he exerts his best efforts and all his learning and ability in defense of his clients cause. Those who perform that duty with diligence and candor not only safeguard the interests of the client, but also serve the ends of justice. They do honor to the bar and help maintain the communitys respect for the legal profession.
If respondent believed that he will not be able to represent complainant effectively because of what the latter has done to his family, then he should have withdrawn his services as a lawyer. Had it not been for complainants insistence, his labor case would have forever remained dormant. The fact that respondent is retained as the lawyer of the complainant, he was duty bound to give his best service. His failure to do so constitutes an infringement of his oath.
In addition, We note respondents disregard of the IBP Commission on Bar Disciplines directive for him to reconstitute and turn over the records of the case to complainant. Likewise, respondent unjustifiably ignored the directive of the Court for him to explain his failure to comply with IBP Resolution No. XVIII-2007-94.
Respondents unjustified disregard of the lawful orders of this Court and the IBP is not only irresponsible, but also constitutes utter disrespect for the Judiciary and his fellow lawyers. His conduct is unbecoming of a lawyer, for lawyers are particularly called upon to obey Court orders and processes and are expected to stand foremost in complying with Court directives being themselves officers of the Court.
As an officer of the Court, respondent is expected to know that a resolution of this Court is not a mere request but an order which should be complied with promptly and completely. This is also true of the orders of the IBP as the investigating arm of the Court in administrative cases against lawyers.
Respondent should strive harder to live up to his duties of observing and maintaining the respect due to the Courts, respect for law and for legal processes, and of upholding the integrity and dignity of the legal profession in order to perform his responsibilities as a lawyer effectively.
told, We could suspend respondent for his transgressions. Considering, however, that he is already in
the twilight of his career and considering further that he was not entirely to
be blamed for the archiving of the labor case, complainants absence during the
hearings being contributory therein, We deem the penalty of fine in the amount
P5,000.00 sufficient sanction under the circumstances. Such consideration would be more in line with
the very purpose of administrative cases against lawyers, that is, not so much
to punish but to instill discipline in them, as well as, protect the integrity
of the Court and shelter the public from the misconduct and inefficiency of
P5,000.00) for his
failure to comply with the directive in Resolution No. XVIII-2007-94 dated 19
September 2007 of the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice Associate Justice
 Rollo, p. 1. Letter-complaint of Patricio Gone.
 Id at 3.
 Id.at 9. Order of IBP Commissioner Victoria Gonzalez-de los Reyes.
 Id. at 21.
 Id. at 26. Report and recommendation of Commissioner Marilyn S. Guzman.
 CBD, A.C. No. 313, 30 January 1998, 285 SCRA 586, 593.
 Burbe v. Atty. Magulta, 432 Phil. 840, 848 (2002).
 Ong v. Grijaldo, A.C. No. 4724, 30 April 2003, 402 SCRA 1; Sencio v. Calvadores, A.C. No. 5841, 20 January 2003, 395 SCRA 393.
 Ngayan v. Tugade, A.C. No. 2490, 7 February 1991, 193 SCRA 779, 783.
 Ong v. Grijaldo, supra note 18 at 10-11.
 Rule 139-B, Revised Rules of Court.
 Canon 11, Code of Professional Responsibility.
 Canon 1, Code of Professional Responsibility.
 Canon 7, Code of Professional Responsibility.