Legal Ethics

Adrian Kelley vs Cipriano Robielos III

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A.C. No. 13955 – Legal Ethics – Canon II – Propriety – A lawyer must not engage in deceitful conduct – A lawyer must not issue worthless checks

Canon III – Fidelity – A lawyer must uphold the law

In 2016, Atty. Cipriano Robielos III borrowed Php240k from Adrian Kelley. To secure the debt, Robielos issued a check but when Kelley presented the check for encashment, the check was dishonored due to insufficient funds. Kelley sent a demand letter but Robielos failed to make good the same. Kelley sued Robielos in the barangay and a compromise agreement was made but Robielos failed to comply with the agreement. Kelley then filed a collection suit which Robielos ignored. A writ of execution was issued but Robielos still refused to pay. Eventually, Kelley filed an administrative case against Robielos. Robielos ignored the administrative proceedings before the IBP.

ISSUE: Whether or not Robielos should be disciplined.

HELD: Yes. Robielos was disbarred. He violated Canons II and III of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability. Further, this is already Robielos’ third infraction of the same nature.

Canon II dictates that a lawyer must not engage in deceitful conduct. The failure of Robielos to pay his indebtedness, coupled with the issuance of a worthless check, warrants disciplinary sanction. Such acts are indicative of the unfitness of a lawyer from the trust and confidence reposed on him and demonstrates a lack of personal honesty and good moral character.

Canon III dictates that a lawyer must uphold the law. He must obey the legal orders of duly constituted authorities. Robielos’ refusal to comply with the directives of the disciplining bodies is an indication of his unfitness. The orders of the disciplining and investigating bodies are not mere requests but directives which should be complied with promptly and completely. He should be reminded that as a lawyer, he must maintain respect not only to the courts, but also to judicial officers and other duly constituted authorities, including the IBP.

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