Monday, February 20, 2012

Villaflor vs. Sarita (308 SCRA 129)

Facts: Complainant filed a case for disbarment against respondent before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline. The Commissioner assigned to investigate the case issued an order directing respondent to file his answer or comment to the complaint. The period of time alloted to answer the complaint lapsed without respondent submitting his comment. An order was issued requiring the parties to attend the hearing of the case but the respondent failed to appear. A notice of hearing was sent to respondent but again he failed to attend the proceeding. After giving the respondent enough opportunity to face the charges against him, which the latter did not avail, the case was submitted for resolution.

Issue: Whether or not failure to obey notices from the IBP investigators constitutes an unethical act.

Held: Yes. As an officer of the court, it is the duty of a lawyer to uphold the dignity and authority of the court to which he owes fidelity, according to the oath he has taken. It is his foremost responsibility to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers. The highest form of respect to the judicial authority is shown by a lawyer’s obedience to court orders and processes.

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