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A.M. No. MTJ-08-1698.March 3, 2008
(Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 04-1523-MTJ)


Racines filed a Complaint against  Judge Morallos and Sheriff Cabusao for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, other deceits, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, violation of Article 32 of the New Civil Code, Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, and the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Court, finding the evaluation of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to be in accord with law and the facts on record, affirmed its recommendation and dismissed Racines’s complaint in the Resolution. The Court held that there was nothing in the records to show that Judge Morallos was moved by improper motive when he rendered the decision in Civil Case No. 9681;  neither was there anything to show that Sheriff Cabusao used his position to influence the outcome of the decision; and in any event, the proper recourse was to elevate the case to a higher court for review, and not through an administrative case. The Court, in the said resolution also directed Racines to show cause within 10 days from receipt thereof, why he should not be held in contempt of court for filing an utterly baseless and unfounded administrative case.

Racines through counsel filed a Motion for Reconsideration. Denied.

Racines explained: The complaint and the other documents which Atty. Manalad prepared were all written in English and because he fully trusted Atty. Manalad, he immediately signed the same even though Atty. Manalad did not explain it to him. Had Atty. Manalad fully explained the documents to him, he would not have signed the same, as he had no intention of filing a baseless administrative case against respondents. If there was anyone who should be punished, it was Atty. Manalad because he deceived him into filing a baseless administrative case.

 Court finds both Racines and Atty. Manalad guilty of indirect contempt.



1. Whether or not Racines should be also be held liable despite his reliance to Atty. Manalad.

2Whther or not Atty. Manald is guilty for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility.


1. Yes.  Racines tries to escape liability by saying that Atty. Manalad did not explain the contents of the pleadings to him, because if Atty. Manalad did, he would not have signed the same.

The Court is not convinced. It is presumed that a person intends the ordinary consequences of his voluntary act and unless the requirements for proper substitution were made, a lawyer enjoys the presumption of authority given him by his client. Racines does not deny that the signatures in the pleadings were his. He also does not claim that he was prevented by Atty. Manalad from reading the contents thereof. He only said that since he fully trusted Atty. Manalad he immediately signed the documents. From the foregoing, it is clear that Racines acquiesced and gave his stamp of approval to the pleadings filed in court. Considering however that he is not learned in the intricacies of law, the Court finds the penalty of reprimand with warning to be sufficient in his case.  

2. Yes. As to Atty. Manalad, the Court finds that a greater penalty is in order. As a member of the bar, he should know better than to file an unfounded administrative complaint. He is bound by the Code of Professional Responsibility, and Rule 11.04 thereof states that a lawyer shall not attribute to a judge motives not supported by the records. Canon 11 also enjoins lawyers to observe and maintain the respect due to courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others. His claim that he filed the charges against respondent at the instance of Racines cannot free him from liability. As the Court has pronounced, a client’s cause does not permit an attorney to cross the line between liberty and license. Lawyers must always keep in perspective that since they are administrators of justice, oath-bound servants of society, their first duty is not to their clients, as many suppose, but to the administration of justice. As a lawyer, he is an officer of the court with the duty to uphold its dignity and authority and not promote distrust in the administration of justice. 



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