Dela Fuente Torres v. Dalangin A.C. No. 10758, 5 December 2017

Facts: Atty. Dalangin was accused of maintaining an illicit and immoral affair with one Julita Pascual, a clerk at the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in Talavera, Nueva Ecija. Upon review, however, the alleged amorous relationship was not adequately proved (The quantum of proof in administrative cases is substantial evidence). Also, Atty. Dalangin was said to be misquoting jurisprudence in a pleading he filed in court. In addition, he took an immediate recourse to the Court via a petition for review that questioned the IBP Board of Governors’ resolve to affirm the Investigating Commissioner’s recommendation on his administrative liability, notwithstanding the fact that the Court had not yet taken a final action on the complaints.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Dalangin should be held administratively liable.

Held: Yes. While he vehemently denied any romantic relationship with Pascual, he admitted demonstrating closeness with the latter’s family, including her children. It was such display of affection that could have sparked in the minds of observers the idea of a wrongful relationship and belief that Julienne was a product of the illicit affair. Atty. Dalangin should have been more prudent and mindful of his actions and the perception that his acts built upon the public, particularly because he and Pascual were both married. The fault, nonetheless, does not warrant Atty. Dalangin’s suspension, much less disbarment. An admonition should suffice under the circumstances. Also, while the Court detests Atty. Dalangin’s failure to properly indicate that the statement was not a verbatim reproduction of the cited jurisprudence and, accordingly, calls his attention on the matter, it finds the admonition to be adequate. A suspension for the lone incident would be too harsh a penalty. Lastly, the filing of the petition for review on the issue of Atty. Dalangin’s suspension from the practice of law was as yet not among his remedies, considering that the Court still had to release its final action on the matter.

Atty. Bayani P. Dalangin is ADMONISHED to be more prudent and cautious in handling his personal affairs and dealings with courts and the public, with a STERN WARNING that any repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.

Credit to:
Case Digest Author
Lenard L. Bautista
Arellano University School of Law

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