Monday, March 26, 2012

Spouses David and Williams vs. Enriquez [A.C. No. 6353 February 27, 2006]

Facts: The respondent is the counsel of record of the plaintiffs in the case pending before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33, Dumaguete City where complainants are the defendants. According to the complainant-spouses, Marisa Williams bought the lot subject of the controversy. 

In the case at bar, complainant argued that the counsel of the spouses acted in malicious violation of the rules governing the practice of law, the counsel cited outdated material in his complaint-affidavit and in his comments to counter-affidavit. He then knowingly applied this stale law in a perverse fashion to argue that Marisa Batacan Williams automatically lost her Filipino citizenship when she married an American, and was thus prohibited to own land in the Philippines, thereby making her guilty of falsification in the Deed she executed to buy property in Negros Oriental. As such, Atty. Rudy T. Enriquez was charged with "unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful acts in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Canons of Professional Ethics, and with conduct unbecoming an attorney." 

On December 1, 2004, the case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation. Forthwith, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline scheduled the case for mandatory conference/hearing. However, only the respondent appeared. The parties were then directed to submit their verified position papers. 

Issue: Whether the respondent is guilt of violation of Canon 5 of the code of professional responsibility 

Held: Canon 5 of the Code of Professional Responsibility requires that a lawyer be updated in the latest laws and jurisprudence. Indeed, when the law is so elementary, not to know it or to act as if one does not know it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. As a retired judge, respondent should have known that it is his duty to keep himself well-informed of the latest rulings of the Court on the issues and legal problems confronting a client. 

In this case, the law he apparently misconstrued is no less than the Constitution, the most basic law of the land. Implicit in a lawyer’s mandate to protect a client’s interest to the best of his/her ability and with utmost diligence is the duty to keep abreast of the law and legal developments, and participate in continuing legal education programs. Thus, in championing the interest of clients and defending cases, a lawyer must not only be guided by the strict standards imposed by the lawyer’s oath, but should likewise espouse legally sound arguments for clients, lest the latter’s cause be dismissed on a technical ground. 

As such, for gross ignorance of the law, Atty. Rudy T. Enriquez is REPRIMANDED and ADVISED to carefully study the opinions he may give to his clients. He is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of a similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

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1 comments: on "Spouses David and Williams vs. Enriquez [A.C. No. 6353 February 27, 2006]"

GED online said...

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