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EN BANC [A.C. No. 5624. January 20, 2004.] NATASHA HUEYSUWAN-FLORIDO , complainant, vs . ATTY. JAMES BENEDICT C. FLORIDO , respondent. DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO , J : p This is an administrative complaint for the disbarment of respondent Atty. James Benedict C. Florido and his eventual removal from the
  EN BANC [A.C. No. 5624. January 20, 2004.]NATASHA HUEYSUWAN-FLORIDONATASHA HUEYSUWAN-FLORIDO,  complainant  , vs vs  . ATTY. JAMES. ATTY. JAMESBENEDICT C. FLORIDOBENEDICT C. FLORIDO,  respondent  .D E C I S I O ND E C I S I O NYNARES-SANTIAGOYNARES-SANTIAGO,  J p :This is an administrative complaint for the disbarment of respondent Atty. James BenedictC. Florido and his eventual removal from the Roll of Attorneys for allegedly violating hisoath as a lawyer by manufacturing, flaunting and using a spurious and bogus Court ofAppeals Resolution/Order. 11 In her Complaint-Affidavit, Natasha V. Hueysuwan-Florido averred that she is the legitimatespouse of respondent Atty. James Benedict C. Florido, but that they are estranged andliving separately from each other. They have two children — namely, Kamille Nicole H.Florido, five years old, and James Benedict H. Florido, Jr., three years old — both of whomare in complainant's custody. Complainant filed a case for the annulment of her marriagewith respondent, docketed as Civil Case No. 23122, before the Regional Trial Court ofCebu City, Branch 24. Meanwhile, there is another case related to the complaint forannulment of marriage which is pending before the Court of Appeals and docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 54235 entitled, James Benedict C. Florido v. Hon. Pampio Abarientos, et al. Sometime in the middle of December 2001, respondent went to complainant's residencein Tanjay City, Negros Oriental and demanded that the custody of their two minor childrenbe surrendered to him. He showed complainant a photocopy of an alleged Resolutionissued by the Court of Appeals which supposedly granted his motion for temporary childcustody. 22   Complainant called up her lawyer but the latter informed her that he had notreceived any motion for temporary child custody filed by respondent. HEITAD Complainant asked respondent for the srcinal copy of the alleged resolution of the Courtof Appeals, but respondent failed to give it to her. Complainant then examined theresolution closely and noted that it bore two dates: November 12, 2001 and November 29,2001. Sensing something amiss, she refused to give custody of their children torespondent.In the mid-morning of January 15, 2002, while complainant was with her children in theABC Learning Center in Tanjay City, respondent, accompanied by armed men, suddenlyarrived and demanded that she surrender to him the custody of their children. Hethreatened to forcefully take them away with the help of his companions, whom he claimedto be agents of the National Bureau of Investigation.Alarmed, complainant immediately sought the assistance of the Tanjay City Police. Theresponding policemen subsequently escorted her to the police station where the mattercould be clarified and settled peacefully. At the police station, respondent caused to beentered in the Police Blotter a statement that he, assisted by agents of the NBI, formallyserved on complainant the appellate court's resolution/order. 33   In order to diffuse the CD Technologies Asia, Inc. © 2016cdasiaonline.com  tension, complainant agreed to allow the children to sleep with respondent for one nighton condition that he would not take them away from Tanjay City. This agreement wasentered into in the presence of Tanjay City Chief of Police Juanito Condes and NBIInvestigator Roger Sususco, among others.In the early morning of January 16, 2002, complainant received information that a vanarrived at the hotel where respondent and the children were staying to take them toBacolod City. Complainant rushed to the hotel and took the children to another room,where they stayed until later in the morning.On the same day, respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City, Branch31, a verified petition 44   for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus   asserting his right tocustody of the children on the basis of the alleged Court of Appeals' Resolution. In themeantime, complainant verified the authenticity of the Resolution and obtained acertification dated January 18, 2002 55   from the Court of Appeals stating that no suchresolution ordering complainant to surrender custody of their children to respondent hadbeen issued.At the hearing of the petition for habeas corpus   on January 23, 2002, respondent did notappear. Consequently, the petition was dismissed.Hence, complainant filed the instant complaint alleging that respondent violated hisattorney's oath by manufacturing, flaunting and using a spurious Court of Appeals'Resolution in and outside a court of law. Furthermore, respondent abused and misused theprivilege granted to him by the Supreme Court to practice law in the country.After respondent answered the complaint, the matter was referred to the IBP-Commissionon Bar Discipline for investigation, report and recommendation. The IBP-CBDrecommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period ofthree years with a warning that another offense of this nature will result in his disbarment. 66   On June 23, 2003, the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the Report andRecommendation of the Commission with the modification that the penalty of suspensionbe increased to six years.The issue to be resolved is whether or not the respondent can be held administrativelyliable for his reliance on and attempt to enforce a spurious Resolution of the Court ofAppeals.In his answer to the complaint, respondent claims that he acted in good faith in invokingthe Court of Appeals Resolution which he honestly believed to be authentic. This, however,is belied by the fact that he used and presented the spurious Resolution several times. Aspointed out by the Investigating Commissioner, the assailed Resolution was presented byrespondent on at least two occasions: first, in his Petition for Issuance of Writ of Habeas Corpus   docketed as Special Proc. Case No. 3898, 77   which he filed with the Regional TrialCourt of Dumaguete City; and second, when he sought the assistance of the PhilippineNational Police (PNP) of Tanjay City to recover custody of his minor children fromcomplainant. Since it was respondent who used the spurious Resolution, he is presumedto have participated in its fabrication.Candor and fairness are demanded of every lawyer. The burden cast on the judiciary wouldbe intolerable if it could not take at face value what is asserted by counsel. The time thatwill have to be devoted just to the task of verification of allegations submitted could easilybe imagined. Even with due recognition then that counsel is expected to display the CD Technologies Asia, Inc. © 2016cdasiaonline.com  utmost zeal in the defense of a client's cause, it must never be at the expense of the truth. 88 Thus, the Code of Professional Responsibility states: CANON 10. A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH TOTHE COURT.Rule 10.01 — A lawyer shall not do any falsehood; nor consent to the doing of anyin court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice. CaDEAT Rule 10.02 — A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contentsof a paper, the language or the argument of an opposing counsel, or the text of adecision or authority, or knowingly cite as a law a provision already renderedinoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact that which has not beenproved. Moreover, the records show that respondent used offensive language in his pleadings indescribing complainant and her relatives. A lawyer's language should be forceful butdignified, emphatic but respectful as befitting an advocate and in keeping with the dignityof the legal profession. 99  The lawyer's arguments whether written or oral should begracious to both court and opposing counsel and should be of such words as may beproperly addressed by one gentleman to another. 1010  By calling complainant, a slymanipulator of truth as well as a vindictive congenital prevaricator , hardly measures tothe sobriety of speech demanded of a lawyer.Respondent's actions erode the public perception of the legal profession. They constitutegross misconduct and the sanctions for such malfeasance is prescribed by Section 27,Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which states: SEC. 27. Disbarment and suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefore  . — A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his officeas attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice or other grossmisconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct or by reason of hisconviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oathwhich he is required to take before the admission to practice, or for a willfuldisobedience appearing as attorney for a party without authority to do so. Considering the attendant circumstances, we agree with the recommendation of the IBPBoard of Governors that respondent should be suspended from the practice of law.However, we find that the period of six years is too harsh a penalty. Instead, suspension forthe lesser period of two years, which we deem commensurate to the offense committed,is hereby imposed on respondent. TSEcAD WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, Atty. James Benedict C. Florido is SUSPENDEDfrom the practice of law for a period of two (2) years.Let copies of this resolution be entered in the personal record of respondent as a memberof the Bar and furnished the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) andthe Court Administrator for circulation to all courts of the country.SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr  .  , C.J  .  , Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria- Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr  .  , Azcuna   and Tinga, JJ  .  ,  concur. Footnotes CD Technologies Asia, Inc. © 2016cdasiaonline.com  1 Rollo  , p. 1.2. Id. , p. 14.3. Id. , p. 9.4. Id. , p. 10.5. Id. , p. 13.6. IBP Commission on Bar Discipline Report and Recommendation, p. 9.7. Rollo  , p. 10.8. Muñoz v. People  , G.R. No. L-33672, 28 September 1973, 53 SCRA 190.9. Surigao Mineral v. Cloribel  , G.R. No. L-27072, 9 January 1970, 31 SCRA 1; In re Almacen  ,G.R. No. L-27654, 18 February 1970, 31 SCRA 562; Montecillo v. Gica  , G.R. No. L-36800,21 October 1974, 60 SCRA 235; In re Gomez  , 43 Phil. 376 [1922]; Sulit v. Tiangco  , G.R.No. L-35555, 20 July 1982, 115 SCRA 207; Zaldivar v. Gonzales  , G.R. Nos. L-79690-707,7 October 1988, 166 SCRA 316. 10. National Security Co. v. Jarvis  , 278 U.S. 610; People v. Taneo  , G.R. No. 117683, 16January 1998, 284 SCRA 251.  CD Technologies Asia, Inc. © 2016cdasiaonline.com
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