Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions


Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions > Year 2011 > January 2011 Resolutions > [G.R. No. 143786 : January 10, 2011] SPOUSES LOURDES V. ROTAQUIO AND LEONARDO LIWANAG, ET AL. V. MAURA PEÑAMORA, ET AL. :




SPECIAL THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 143786 : January 10, 2011]

SPOUSES LOURDES V. ROTAQUIO AND LEONARDO LIWANAG, ET AL. V. MAURA PEÑAMORA, ET AL.

Sirs/Mesdames:

Please take notice that the Court, Third Division, issued a Resolution dated 10 January 2011, which reads as follows: 

G.R. No. 143786 (Spouses Lourdes V. Rotaquio and Leonardo Liwanag, et al. v. Maura Pe´┐Żamora, et al.). - On October 17, 2008, we decided this case, allowing the appeal of petitioner Julian Villaflor (Villaflor) to the Court of Appeals, despite its having been filed way beyond the reglementary period. Villaflor's former counsel, Valdez-Sales & Associates (law office) and Atty. Willie B. Sarmiento (Atty. Sarmiento), failed to file the appellant's brief for an unreasonable length of time. In the same Decision, we directed the law office and Atty. Sarmiento to show cause why they should not be disciplinarily dealt with for gross negligence.[1]

In the Resolution[2] dated September 30, 2009, we noted that the law office and Atty. Sarmiento failed to comply with the October 17, 2008 Decision. Hence, we imposed upon them a fine of P5,000.00, payable to the Court within ten (10) days from notice, or a penalty of imprisonment of five (5) days, if the said fine was not paid within the same period. We also required them to comply with the October 17, 2008 Decision within ten (10) days from notice. We then directed the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) to attach a copy of the Resolution to the records of Atty. Sarmiento in the said office.

On November 5, 2009, Atty. Sarmiento paid the fine of P5,000.00.[3]

On November 6, 2009, Atty. Sarmiento filed a Motion for Reconsideration and Compliance [With Prayer for Additional Time],[4] alleging that he resigned from the law office in 1999, and that he had no recollection of appearing for Villaflor or of filing any pleading, except those probably made by him as an associate. He said that, since his resignation, he has not received any notice or order from the Court regarding the case, including the one that required him to explain why he should not be subjected to disciplinary action. Attaching proof of his payment of the fine imposed, he prayed that he be allowed to photocopy the entire records of the case for proper guidance in the preparation of his true and honest explanation, and an extension often (10) days to comply with the October 17, 2008 Decision.

In the Resolution[5] dated December 14, 2009, we noted Atty. Sarmiento's payment of the fine, granted his prayer for an additional time to comply with our Decision, and allowed him to photocopy the records of the case.

On November 10, 2009, Atty. Sarmiento photocopied the case records after payment of the required fees.[6]

On March 1, 2010, we issued a Resolution[7] dismissing this case and considering it closed and terminated, but only with respect to the appeal of Villaflor. Further, the Resolution directed the OBC to institute the appropriate action against the law office and Atty. Sarmiento for their failure to file Villaflor's appellant's brief, and for their obstinate refusal to comply with the lawful orders of this Court.

On March 3, 2010, Atty. Sarmiento filed a Compliance/Explanation [With Prayer for Clemency],[8] alleging that, after a painstaking review of the records of the case, which he photocopied, he learned that he never signed any other pleading therein except for the Entry of Appearance with Motion for Extension of Time, with the understanding that the counsel of record for the case was the law office itself He further mentioned that, in fact, he was never assigned as the handling lawyer of this case. Thus, he said, when he resigned from the law office on June 15, 1999, he had nothing to turn over to the law office with respect to this case. Nevertheless, he mentioned that, upon his resignation, he ensured a proper turnover of all his handled cases, complete with a status report and the corresponding pending incidents, to Elizabeth Go, the then executive secretary of the law office. He pointed out that the date of his resignation did not coincide with the deadline for the filing of the appellant's brief He argued that, inasmuch as the case record remained with the law office, the 82-day delay in filing the brief was too long a period for the law office not to have noticed it. Atty. Sarmiento, invoking this Court's clemency, prayed that he be exonerated from any liability that may attach to the firm's non-filing of the appellant's brief on time.

Thereafter, on March 24, 2010, after receipt of the Resolution dated March 1, 2010, Atty. Sarmiento filed a Motion for Reconsideration,[9]  alleging that, considering the circumstances, he did not have the slightest intention of not complying with this Court's orders. He said that he was not in receipt of any order from this Court. He said that he only learned of the Decision dated October 17, 2008, directing him and the law office to show cause why they should not be disciplinary dealt with for failing to file the required appellant's brief on time, and the Resolution dated September 30, 2009, imposing upon him and the law office the fine of P5,000.00, and to comply with the October 17, 2008 Decision, through a colleague; after which, he took no time in complying by paying the fine on November 5, 2009, and in filing a compliance the following day, praying that he be allowed to photocopy the entire records of the case. He reiterated his prayer for exoneration from any liability that would result from the non-filing of the required appellant's brief.

On April 12, 2010, this Court issued a Resolution directing the law office to comment on the above pleadings filed by Atty. Sarmiento within ten (10) days from notice thereof. It appears, however, that the copy for the law office was also received by Atty. Sarmiento, who undertook to locate the present address of his former law office.

On June 29, 2010, Atty. Sarmiento filed a Manifestation,[10]  stating that, after diligent efforts to locate the present address of the law office, he could not find the whereabouts of the latter, and was informed that it moved out of the building where it held office more than five (5) years ago.

On July 26, 2010, the Court noted the Manifestation of Atty. Sarmiento and directed the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to inform the Court of the current address of the law office within ten (10) days from receipt of notice.

On August 18, 2010, the IBP, through its National Secretary Tomas N. Prado, informed the Court, through a letter dated August 17, 2010,[11] that it had no record of the address of the law office.

Inasmuch as the main case has already been closed and terminated, and the OBC, acting on the directive of this Court, had already instituted an administrative complaint against Atty. Sarmiento and the law office, being the proper forum for this remaining administrative controversy, which is entirely distinct and separate from the main case, we RESOLVE to refer the Compliance/Explanation and the Motion for Reconsideration of Atty. Sarmiento to the OBC for consideration. These pleadings may be treated as Atty. Sarmiento's comment to the complaint, or, if he so desires, he may still file an omnibus comment thereto. We also note that the law office and/or its partners have yet to comment on the pleadings of Atty. Sarmiento. We reiterate our directive for the law firm and/or its partners to file their comment thereon.

WHEREFORE, the Compliance/Explanation [With Prayer for Clemency] and the Motion for Reconsideration of Atty. Willie B. Sarmiento are REFERRED to the Office of the Bar Confidant for proper consideration.

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) LUCITA ABJELINA-SORIANO
  Clerk of Court

Endnotes:


[1] Rollo, pp. 275-285.

[2] Id. at 296-297.

[3] Per acknowledgment receipt of the same date; id. at 298.

[4] Id. at 299-303.

[5] Id. at 304-305.

[6] Per note on Atty. Sarmiento's letter of same date; id. at 307.

[7] Id. at 317-319.

[8] Id. at 320-325.

[9] Id. at 326-331.

[10] Id. at 341.

[11] Id. at 344.




Back to Home | Back to Main


chanrobles.com





ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review : www.chanroblesbar.com

ChanRobles MCLE On-line

ChanRobles Lawnet Inc. - ChanRobles MCLE On-line : www.chanroblesmcleonline.com






January-2011 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 4304 : January 24, 2011 : PEDRO NOCETE, JR., COMPLAINANT, VERSUS ATTY. LEO DIOCOS, RESPONDENT.

  • G.R. No. 193498 : January 25, 2011 - ROMEO D. LONZANIDA VS. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND SIGRID S. RODOLFO

  • G.R. No. 188845 : January 10, 2011 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VERSUS ROBERTO MEJIA Y SORIANO A.K.A. "TOTONG MEJIA", APPELLANT.

  • A.M. No. P-08-2556 (Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 08-2821-P), January 10, 2011 - SPS. BUTCH AND PATRICIA NAVARETTE, COMPLAINANTS VS. LEONARDO "NOLI" E. CALALANG, SHERIFF III, METC, BRANCH 52, CALOOCAN CITY, RESPONDENT.

  • A.M. No. P-05-2044 (Formerly OCA IPI No. 05-2209-P), January 10, 2011 - CORAZON M. TIONGCO, COMPLAINANT VS. EMERSON B. PILIPIÑA, FORMER CLERK OF COURT III, NOW SHERIFF IV, NOTARIAL SECTION, OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, CITY OF MANILA, RESPONDENT.

  • G.R. No. 192940 : January 10, 2011 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V. REGGIE VILLAFLOR

  • [G.R. No. 192787 : January 19, 2011] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V. LUIS DOGILLO, JR. Y FUNDANO

  • [G.R. No. 189275 : January 19, 2011] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V. SEVERINO CASTILLO, JR.

  • [G.R. No. 192875 : January 19, 2011] PHIMCO INDUSTRIES LABOR ASSOCIATION (PILA), FERNANDO N. QUADRA, DANILO V. BANAAG, PHILIP E. GARCES, AMELIA P. ZAMORA, ARSENIO A. ZAMORA, MAXIMO A. PEDRO, LEONIDA G. CATALAN, PABLO L. SARMIENTO, REYNALDO L. CAMARIN, NICANOR O. ILAGAN, GONZALO MANALILI, ERLINDA VASQUEZ, ANGELITA BALOSA AND ANGELITO DE GUZMAN V. PHIMCO INDUSTRIES, INC.

  • [G.R. No. 193194 : January 19, 2011] RAMON P. GUEVARRA, JR. V. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • [G.R. No. 181824 : January 19, 2011] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V. ERLINDO CONTRILLON Y VILAN

  • [A.M. No. 11-1-06-RTC : January 18, 2011] RE: REQUEST FOR AUTHORITY TO WITHHOLD SALARIES OF ATTY. DOMINGO P. DE CASTRO, CLERK OF COURT, RTC, BISLIG, SURIGAO DEL SUR

  • [G.R. No. 194830 : January 18, 2011] DOROTEO M. SALAZAR, JESUS PELAYO, AND SALVADOR VILLARUEL, JR. V. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 61, BOGO, CEBU; SALVADOR S. DELA FUENTE; RECLINE S. ASENTISTA; AMELITA M. GABITO; AND RANDOLPH G. RIVERA

  • [G.R. No. 169569 : January 17, 2011] RAMON TORRES AND JESSIE BELARMINO V. SPOUSES VIHINZKY ALAMAG AND AIDA A. NGOJU

  • [G.R. No. 188125 : January 17, 2011] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VERSUS WILFREDO BETTY Y PEREZ, APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 184608 : January 17, 2011] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VERSUS DANN MORALES, APPELLANT.

  • [A.M. No. P-06-2189 (Formerly OCA-IPI No. 05-2307-P) : January 17, 2011] RAQUEL PACHECO V. SHERIFF VICENTE V. SICAT, JR., RTC, BRANCH 60, ANGELES CITY

  • [G.R. No. 190344 : January 12, 2011] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V. RICARDO ENCALLADO

  • [G.R. No. 181264, January 12, 2011] MARCELINO COLLADO Y CUNANAN AND RAUL ESQUIVEN Y ESPIRITU VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • [G.R. No. 187485 : January 12, 2011] COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE VS. SAN ROQUE POWER CORPORATION

  • [G.R. No. 184150, January 12, 2011] UNIROCK CORPORATION V. GERARDO GUTIERREZ AND COURT OF APPEALS

  • [G. R. No. 176389 : January 11, 2011] ANTONIO LEJANO VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND G.R. NO. 176864 (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. HUBERT JEFFREY P. WEBB, ET AL.

  • [A.M. No. P-07-2289 [Formerly OCA IPI No. 06-2472-P] : January 10, 2011] NIEVES M, DE GUZMAN VS. ARSENIO S. VICENCIO, CLERK OF COURT IV, MTCC, OCC, CABANATUAN CITY

  • [A.C. No. 6166 : January 10, 2011] MARIA EARL BEVERLY C. CENIZA VS. ATTY. VIVIAN G. RUBIA

  • [G.R. No. 188703 : January 10, 2011] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. NANET ARAZA AND GLORIA ARANETA

  • [G.R. No. 173475 : January 10, 2011] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V. AMIN USMAN AND MARCELINO ELCARTE

  • [G.R. No. 175501 : January 10, 2011] MANILA WATER CO., INC. V. JOSE J. DALUMPINES, ET AL.

  • [GR. No. 193157 : January 10, 2011] NESTOR M. SEVILLENA, PETITIONER VS. HON. MERCEDITAS N. GUTIERREZ, IN HER CAPACITY AS OMBUDSMAN, AND DIONISIO N. VELASCO, JR. AND ANTONIO S. NIVAL, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 170596 : January 10, 2011] NGO SIN SING, ET AL. VS. LI SENG GIAP AND INC., ET AL.

  • [G.R. No. 143786 : January 10, 2011] SPOUSES LOURDES V. ROTAQUIO AND LEONARDO LIWANAG, ET AL. V. MAURA PEÑAMORA, ET AL.

  • [G.R. No. 185387 : January 10, 2011] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VERSUS ULDARICO TEBAJARES, APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 146210 : January 10, 2011] ELY FEGALAN V. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES