Intestate Estate of Jose Uy vs. Atty. Pacifico Maghari A.C. No. 10525, Sept. 1, 2015

Facts:

Lilia Hofileña (Hofileña) filed a Petition before the RTC praying that she be designated administratrix of the estate of her common-law partner, the deceased Jose Uy. Hofileña was initially designated administratrix. However, a Motion for Reconsideration of the Order designating Hofileña as administratix was filed by Wilson Uy, one of Jose Uy’s children, on behalf of Jose Uy’s spouse and other children. In its Order the RTC designated Wilson Uy as administrator of Jose Uy’s estate. Subsequently, Hofileña’s claims in the settlement of Jose Uy’s estate were granted. Hence, she filed a Motion for Execution.

In other proceedings arising from the conflicting claims to Jose Uy’s estate, Hofileña was represented by her counsel, Atty. Mariano L. Natu-El (Atty. Natu-el). In a pleading filed in the course of these proceedings Atty. Natu-El indicated the following details:

MARIANO L. NATU-EL
Counsel for Private-Respondent
Rm. 14, J.S. Building
Lacson-Galo Sts., Bacolod City
IBP O.R. No. 731938 11/24/08
PTR NO. 0223568 1/5/09
ROLL NO. 20865
MCLENO. 0015970
10 (Emphasis supplied)

Thereafter, Magdalena Uy, through Maghari, her counsel, filed a Motion to Quash Subpoena ad Testificandum with Alternative Motion to Cite the Appearance of Johnny K.H. Uy. In signing this Motion, Maghari indicated the following details:

PACIFICO M. MAGHARI, III
Counsel for Magdalena Uy
590 Ylac St., Villamonte
Bacolod City
IBP O.R. No. 731938 11/24/08 B.C.
PTR NO. 0223568 1/5/09 B.C.
ROLL NO. 20865
MCLECompl. 0015970 1/14/09
15 (Emphasis supplied)

Wilson Uy filed his Opposition to Magdalena Uy’s Motion to Quash.

Magdalena Uy, through Maghari, filed her Reply to Wilson Uy’s Opposition. In signing this Reply, Maghari indicated the following details:

PACIFICO M. MAGHARI, III
Counsel for Magdalena Uy
590 Ylac St., Villamonte
Bacolod City
IBP O.R. No. 766304 11/27/09 B.C.
PTR NO. 3793872 1/4/10 B.C.
ROLL NO. 20865
MCLE Compl. 0015970 1/14/09
18 (Emphasis supplied)

The RTC subsequently denied Magdalena Uy’s Motion to Quash. Thereafter, Maghari filed for Magdalena Uy a Motion for Reconsideration. In signing this Motion, Maghari indicated the following details:

PACIFICO M. MAGHARI, III
Counsel for Magdalena Uy
590 Ylac St., Villamonte
Bacolod City
IBP O.R. No. 815530 1/4/11 B.C.
PTR NO. 4190929 1/4/11 B.C.
ROLL NO. 20865
MCLE Compl. IH-0000762 1/14/09
21(Emphasis supplied)

As the Motion for Reconsideration was denied, Maghari filed for Magdalena Uy a Motion to Recall Subpoena ad Testificandum. In signing this Motion, Maghari indicated the following details:

PACIFICO M. MAGHARI, III
Counsel for Magdalena Uy
590 Ylac St., Villamonte
Bacolod City
IBP O.R. No. 848630 12/27/11 B.C.
PTR NO. 4631737 1/2/12 B.C.
ROLL NO. 44869
MCLE Compl. III-0000762 1/14/09
24 (Emphasis supplied)

At this point, Wilson Uy’s counsel noticed that based on the details indicated in the March 8, 2012 Motion, Maghari appeared to have only recently passed the bar examinations. This prompted Wilson Uy to check the records. Upon doing so, he learned that since 2010, Maghari had been changing the professional details indicated in the pleadings he has signed and has been copying the professional details of Atty. Natu-El.

Wilson Uy filed before this court the present Complaint for disbarment. Pointing to Maghari’s act of repeatedly a changing and using another lawyer’s professional details, Wilson Uy asserts that Maghari violated the Lawyer’s Oath and acted in a deceitful manner.

For resolution are the issues of whether respondent Atty. Pacifico M. Maghari, III engaged in unethical conduct and of what proper penalty may be meted on him.

Issue:

Whether the Respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility when he failed to put his correct Attorney Details in his pleadings?

Held:

Yes, A counsel’s signature is such an integral part of a pleading that failure to comply with this requirement reduces a pleading to a mere scrap of paper totally bereft of legal effect. Thus, faithful compliance with this requirement is not only a matter of satisfying a duty to a court but is as much a matter of fidelity to one’s client. A deficiency in this respect can be fatal to a client’s cause.As with the signature itself, these requirements are not vain formalities: The inclusion of a counsel’s Roll of Attorneys number, professional tax receipt number, and Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) receipt (or lifetime membership) number is intended to preserve and protect the integrity of legal practice. They seek to ensure that only those who have satisfied the requisites for legal practice are able to engage in it. With the Roll of Attorneys number, parties can readily verify if a person purporting to be a lawyer has, in fact, been admitted to the Philippine bar. With the professional tax receipt number, they can verify if the same person is qualified to engage in a profession in the place where he or she principally discharges his or her functions. With the IBP receipt number, they can ascertain if the same person remains in good standing as a lawyer. These pieces of information protect the public from bogus lawyers. Paying professional taxes (and the receipt that proves this payment) is likewise compliance with a revenue mechanism that has been statutorily devolved to local government units.

The inclusion of information regarding compliance with (or exemption from) Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) seeks to ensure that legal practice is reserved only for those who have complied with the recognized mechanism for “keep[ing] abreast with law and jurisprudence, maintaining] the ethics of the profession[,] and enhancing] the standards of the practice of law.”

Lastly, the inclusion of a counsel’s address and contact details is designed to facilitate the dispensation of justice. These pieces of information aid in the service of court processes, enhance compliance with the requisites of due process, and facilitate better representation of a client’s cause.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Pacifico M. Maghari, III, having clearly violated his Lawyer’s Oath and the Canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility through his unlawful, dishonest, and deceitful conduct, is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for two (2) years, effective upon receipt of a copy of this Resolution.

2 thoughts on “Intestate Estate of Jose Uy vs. Atty. Pacifico Maghari A.C. No. 10525, Sept. 1, 2015

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