Lawyer's harassing tactics against opposing counsel

In the case of Judge Alpajora v. Atty. Calayan (A.C. No. 8208, January 10, 2018), the IBP Investigating Commissioner noted that respondent Atty. Calayan did not deny filing several cases, both civil and criminal, against opposing parties and their counsels. In his motion for reconsideration of the IBP Board of Governors' Resolution, he again admitted such acts but expressed that it was not ill-willed. He explained that the placing of CEFI under receivership and directing the creation of a management committee and the continuation of the receiver's duties and responsibilities by virtue of the Omnibus Order spurred his filing of various pleadings and/or motions. It was in his desperation and earnest desire to save CEFI from further damage that he implored the aid of the courts.

The Supreme Court has always been mindful of the lawyer's duty to defend his client's cause with utmost zeal. However, professional rules impose limits on a lawyer's zeal and hedge it with necessary restrictions and qualifications. The filing of cases by respondent against the adverse parties and their counsels, as correctly observed by the Investigating Commissioner, manifests his malice in paralyzing the lawyers from exerting their utmost effort in protecting their client's interest. Even assuming arguendo that such acts were done without malice, it showed respondent's gross indiscretion as a colleague in the legal profession.

For having violated the CPR and the Lawyer's Oath, respondent's conduct should be meted with a commensurate penalty.SC'S DECISION: WHEREFORE, the Court ADOPTS and APPROVES the Resolution of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines - Board of Governors dated September 28, 2013. Accordingly, Atty. Ronaldo Antonio V. Calayan is found GUILTY of violating The Lawyer's Oath and The Code of Professional Responsibility and he is hereby ordered SUSPENDED from the practice of law for two (2) years, with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or a similar offense will warrant the imposition of a more severe penalty.

ALSO READ: Avida Land Corporation vs. Atty. Argosino, A.C. No. 7437, August 17, 2016, 800 SCRA 510, 520.

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