Legal Ethics

Engracia Cantorne vs Atty. Eugeniano Ducusin

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57 Phil. 23 – Legal Ethics – Obligations of a lawyer – Extrinsic fraud

Sometime in the 1920’s, Engracia Cantorne sued one Petrona Basmayor for the loss of Cantorne’s shawl. Basmayor was represented Atty. Eugeniano Ducusin (some record say Ducasin). Ducusin approached Cantorne advising her not to appear in court during trial because his client allegedly agreed to pay P25.00 for the shawl. Cantorne even spent some money just to entertain Ducusin at her home. So Cantorne did not appear during the trial and the suit against Basmayor was dismissed due to Cantorne’s non-appearance. Cantorne subsequently filed a disbarment case against Ducusin.

ISSUE: Whether or not Ducusin’s acts are a ground for disbarment/suspension.

HELD: Yes. An attorney-at-law is in this jurisdiction as elsewhere, an officer of the court, with an obligation to the courts and the public no less significant than his obligation to his clients. An attempt to obstruct, pervert, or impede the administration of justice, or to evade the fair operation of the law, is a ground for suspension or disbarment. Ducusin’s actuations frustrated the ends of justice. Evidence shows conclusively that he violated his obligations to the court and to his client and furthermore obstructed the administration of justice thus disregarding the fundamental ethics of his profession. Ducusin was suspended for two years (lessened to a one year suspension by a Supreme Court Resolution in 1933).

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