Saturday, February 04, 2012

Rosa Yap-Paras vs. Atty. Justo Paras [A.C. No. 4947.  February 14, 2005]

Facts: Complainant alleged that on February 9, 1965 the children of Ledesma de Jesus Paras-Sumabong namely Conegunda, Justo, Corazon, Carmen and Cataluna all surnamed Paras executed a Special Power of Attorney prepared by the respondent to sell parcels of land located in Matobato, Bindoy, Negros Oriental giving authority to their mother to sell the subject real properties previously registered in the name of the heirs of Vicente Paras wherein respondent was one of the signatories therein.

Complainant alleged that on May 4, 1966 on the basis of said Special Power of Attorney, Ledesma J. Paras-Sumabang executed a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Aurora Dy-Yap over the subject real property located in Matobato, Bindoy, Negros Oriental which was with the respondent’s full knowledge since he was residing at the house of Soledad Dy-Yap at that time and from that time, the Yap family had been in possession of the subject real property up to the present.Complainant alleged that sometime in June 1998 her attention was called to the fact that a free patent title to the aforesaid property was issued in respondent’s name and upon verification with the DENR, Bureau of Lands, Dumaguete City, complainant was able to get copies of the documents for lot Nos. 660, 490 and 585 pertaining to the Notice of Application for Free Patent dated April 2, 1985 signed by the respondent; over the aforesaid lots previously sold by Ledesma de Jesus to Aurora D. Yap; Quitclaim/Renunciation of Property Rights and Interest Over Real Property executed by Ledesma de Jesus dated May 28, 1985; Letter of Application dated April 2, 1985 signed by respondent under oath before Apolonio Tan authorized officer to administer oath; Letter of Certification signed by Apolonio Tan dated June 4, 1985 and Order of Approval dated August 19, 1985 signed by District Land Officer Teopisto L. Gallozo with a Free Patent No. 328 in the name of respondent Justo J. Paras.

Complainant alleged that the aforementioned application was made by the respondent without her knowledge and consent and those acts of deceit, machinations and falsification of documents were deliberately willfully, and maliciously committed by the respondent in violation of Art. 172 in relation to Art. 171 of the RPC; in betrayal of his oath as a lawyer and a transgression of the Canons of Professional Responsibility. Complainant alleged that respondent surreptitiously obtained a free patent title over real properties which had been previously sold by his own mother to Aurora D. Yap and now still under the control and possession of complainant’s natural family, a fact respondent allegedly withheld from the Bureau of Lands which he had full knowledge in successfully causing the release of a free patent in his name and unjustly and unlawfully deprived the rightful owners of their legitimate title to the said property in betrayal of the court to pervert the administration of justice in gross violation of his oath of office.

Issue: Whether or not respondent may be suspended for violating the Canons of Professional Responsibility.

Held: The Court has always reminded that a lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession as the bar should always maintain a high standard of legal proficiency as well as of honesty and fair dealing among its members. By and large, a lawyer can do honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. To this end, nothing should be done by any member of the legal fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence and trust reposed by the public in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the legal profession. In the instant case, it is clear to the Court that respondent violated his lawyer’s oath as well as the Code of Professional Responsibility which mandates upon each lawyer, as his duty to society and to the courts, the obligation to obey the laws of the land and to do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in court. Respondent has been deplorably lacking in the candor required of him as a member of the Bar and an officer of the court in his acts of applying for the issuance of a free patent over the properties in issue despite his knowledge that the same had already been sold by his mother to complainant’s sister. This fact, respondent even admitted in the comment that he filed before this Court when he alleged that the said properties were public land under the Forestal Zone “when the mother of the respondent ceded to Aurora Yap some portions of entire occupancy of the Parases”. Moreover, respondent committed deceit and falsehood in his application for free patent over the said properties when he manifested under oath that he had been in the actual possession and occupation of the said lands despite the fact that these were continuously in the possession and occupation of complainant’s family, as evidenced no less by respondent’s own statements in the pleadings filed before the IBP.

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2 comments: on "Rosa Yap-Paras vs. Atty. Justo Paras [A.C. No. 4947.  February 14, 2005]"

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