Lawyer's failure to file; disbarment by SC


A lawyer is expected to serve his client with competence and diligence.[1] Lawyers are reminded to note Rules 12.03 and 18.03 of the CPR:
Rule 18.03. - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection there with shall render him liable.
In Solidon v. Macalalad,[2] the Supreme Court stated that receiving money as acceptance fee for legal services and failing to render the services is a violation of Canon 18 of the CPR. In that case, the Supreme Court also stated that a lawyer's failure to file the position paper is a per se violation of Rule 18.03 of the CPR.[3] The High Court pointed to the fiduciary nature of a lawyer's duty to his client, thus:
x x x A lawyer so engaged to represent a client bears the responsibility of protecting the latter's interest with utmost diligence. The lawyer bears the duty to serve his client with competence and diligence, and to exert his best efforts to protect, within the bounds of the law, the interest of his or her client. Accordingly, competence, not only in the knowledge of law, but also in the management of the cases by giving these cases appropriate attention and due preparation, is expected from a lawyer.[4] (Citations omitted)

In Mariveles v. Mallari,[5] the Supreme Court disbarred Atty. Mallari for violating Rules 12.03 and 18.03 of the CPR. There, Atty. Mallari, after being granted a total of 245 days to file his client's appellant's brief failed to file the same, resulting in the dismissal of the appeal. The Supreme Court considered Atty. Mallari's act a shameless disregard of his duties as a lawyer and found him to be unfit for membership in the noble profession.[6] In the recent case of Figueras v. Jimenez,[7] Atty. Jimenez was found administratively liable for failing to file the appellant's brief on behalf of his client.

Canon 18 - A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence.
[2] 627 Phil. 284 (2010).
[3] Id. at 289-290.
[4] Id. at 290-291.
[5] Adm. Case No. 3294, February 17, 1993.
[6] Id. at 45 and 46.
[7] A.C. No. 9116, March 12, 2014.