Lawyer's failure to file within reglementary period; offense

Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility requires that "A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. Accordingly, Rule 18.02 mandates that "a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable." As the Supreme Court said in Biomi Sarenas-Ochagabia v. Atty. Balmes L. Ocampos (466 Phil. 1, 6 [2004]), citing Ford v. Datol, A. C. No. 3736, November 16, 1995: "A lawyer engaged to represent a client in a case bears the responsibility of protecting the latter's interest with utmost diligence. By failing to file appellant's brief, respondent was remiss in the discharge of such responsibility. He thus violated the Code of Professional Responsibility."

Also, in In Re: Atty. David Briones (A.C. No. 5486,415 Phil. 203. [2001]), the High Court held that the failure of the counsel to submit the required brief within the reglementary period is an offense that entails disciplinary action, xxx His failure to file an appellant's brief x x x has caused the appeal to remain inactive for more than a year, to the prejudice of his client, the accused himself, who continues to languish in jail pending the resolution of his case.