Complainant's desistance will not end counsel's disbarment case

In Bautista v. Atty. Bernabe,[1] a lawyer was suspended from the practice of law for one year and his notarial commission was revoked in addition to his disqualification for reappointment as a notary public for two years, despite his client's affidavit of desistance. This is so because of the unique nature of disciplinary proceedings wherein the sole purpose is to promote public welfare by weeding out those who are unfit for the practice of law. As the Court elucidated in Bautista, viz.:

Complainant's desistance or withdrawal of the complaint does not exonerate respondent or put an end to the administrative proceedings. A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainant. What matters is whether, on the basis of the facts borne out by the record, the charge of deceit and grossly immoral conduct has been proven. This rule is premised on the nature of disciplinary proceedings. A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not a civil action where the complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a defendant. Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare. They are undertaken for the purpose of preserving courts of justice from the official ministration of persons unfit to practice in them. The attorney is called to answer to the court for his conduct as an officer of the court. The complainant or the person who called the attention of the court to the attorney's alleged misconduct is in no sense a party, and has generally no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have in the proper administration of justice.[2]

[1] Bautista v. Atty. Bernabe, 517 Phil. 236 (2006).

[2] Id. at 241.