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  CONSTITUTIONAL LAW>Rights of the Accused>BailJUAN PONCE ENRILE,  Petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION), AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015(En Banc) FACTS: Senator Juan Ponce Enrile has been charged with plunder in the Sandiganbayanon the purported misuse of appropriations under the Priority Development AssistanceFund (PDAF). Enrile filed a Motion for Detention at the PNP General Hospital and hisMotion to Fix Bail on the ground that he was not a flight risk and his age and physicalcondition must further be seriously considered, among others. However, theSandiganbayan denied the motion since it is premature for the Court to fix the amount of bail without an anterior showing that the evidence of guilt is not strong. ISSUE: Whether Enrile’s poor health justifies his admission to bail. HELD: YES In now granting Enrile’s petition for certiorari, the Court is guided by the earliermentioned principal purpose of bail, which is to guarantee the appearance of the accusedat the trial, or whenever so required by the court. The Court is further mindful of thePhilippines’ responsibility in the international community arising from the nationalcommitment under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to:  x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of every person. This commitment is enshrined in Section II, Article II of our Constitution which provides: The Statevalues the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights. ThePhilippines, therefore, has the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of every person toliberty and due process, ensuring that those detained or arrested can participate in the proceedingsbefore a court, to enable it to decide without delay on the legality of the detention and order theirrelease if justified. In other words, the Philippine authorities are under obligation to make availableto every person under detention such remedies which safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. These remedies include the right to be admitted to bail.  This national commitment to uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value theworth and dignity of every person has authorized the grant of bail not only to thosecharged in criminal proceedings but also to extraditees upon a clear and convincingshowing: (1) that the detainee will not be a flight risk or a danger to the community; and(2) that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances. In our view, his social and political standing and his having immediately surrendered tothe authorities upon his being charged in court indicate that the risk of his flight orescape from this jurisdiction is highly unlikely. His personal disposition from the onset of his indictment for plunder, formal or otherwise, has demonstrated his utter respect forthe legal processes of this country. We also do not ignore that at an earlier time many  years ago when he had been charged with rebellion with murder and multiple frustratedmurder, he already evinced a similar personal disposition of respect for the legalprocesses, and was granted bail during the pendency of his trial because he was not seenas a flight risk. With his solid reputation in both his public and his private lives, his long years of public service, and history’s judgment of him being at stake, he should begranted bail. The currently fragile state of Enrile’s health presents another compelling justification forhis admission to bail, but which the Sandiganbayan did not recognize.It is relevant to observe that granting provisional liberty to Enrile will then enable him tohave his medical condition be properly addressed and better attended to by competentphysicians in the hospitals of his choice. This will not only aid in his adequatepreparation of his defense but, more importantly, will guarantee his appearance in courtfor the trial.On the other hand, to mark time in order to wait for the trial to finish before ameaningful consideration of the application for bail can be had is to defeat the objectiveof bail, which is to entitle the accused to provisional liberty pending the trial. There may be circumstances decisive of the issue of bail – whose existence is either admitted by theProsecution, or is properly the subject of judicial notice – that the courts can already consider in resolving the application for bail without awaiting the trial to finish. TheCourt thus balances the scales of justice by protecting the interest of the People through  ensuring his personal appearance at the trial, and at the same time realizing for him theguarantees of due process as well as to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. REMEDIAL LAW>Civil Procedure>Post-judgment remedies>Appeals from judgments or final orders of the NLRCSUGARSTEEL INDUSTRIAL, INC. and MR. BEN YAPJOCO, Petitioners,   vs. VICTOR ALBINA, VINCENT UY and ALEX VELASQUEZ , Respondents.G.R. No. 168749, June 6, 2016(First Division) FACTS: Respondents Albina, Uy, and Velasquez charged the petitioners in the RegionalArbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) with havingillegally dismissed them as kettleman, assistant kettleman and inspector, respectively. The Labor Arbiter (LA) ruled that the dismissal of the respondents was justified. NLRCaffirmed the decision of the LA. Aggrieved, the respondents assailed the result throughtheir petition for certiorari in the CA.CA granted the petition for certiorari. It ruled that the NLRC's affirmance of theLA's decision did not accord with the evidence on record and the applicable law and jurisprudence. ISSUE: Whether CA gravely abused its discretion by disregarding the factual findings of the Labor Arbiter that the NLRC affirmed? HELD: NO As a rule, the certiorari proceeding, being confined to the correction of acts renderedwithout jurisdiction, in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion thatamounts to lack or excess of jurisdiction, is limited in scope and narrow in character. Assuch, the judicial inquiry in a special civil action for certiorari in labor litigationascertains only whether or not the NLRC acted without jurisdiction or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of  jurisdiction.We find that the CA did not exceed its jurisdiction by reviewing the evidence and decidingthe case on the merits despite the judgment of the NLRC already being final. We havefrequently expounded on the competence of the CA in a special civil action for certiorari toreview the factual findings of the NLRC. In Univac Development, Inc. v. Soriano, forinstance, we have pronounced that the CA is given the power to pass upon the evidence,if and when necessary, to resolve factual issues, without contravening the doctrine of the immutability of judgments. The power of the CA to pass upon the evidence flows fromits srcinal jurisdiction over the special civil action for certiorari, by which it can grant thewrit of certiorari to correct errors of jurisdiction on the part of the NLRC should thelatter's factual findings be not supported by the evidence on record; or when the grantingof the writ of certiorari is necessary to do substantial justice or to prevent a substantialwrong; or when the findings of the NLRC contradict those of the LA; or when the grantingof the writ of certiorari is necessary to arrive at a just decision in the case. The premise isthat any decision by the NLRC that is not supported by substantial evidence is a decisiondefinitely tainted with grave abuse of discretion. Should the CA annul the decision of theNLRC upon its finding of jurisdictional error on the part of the latter, then it has thepower to fully lay down whatever the latter ought to have decreed instead as the records warranted.  The judicial function of the CA in the exercise of its certiorari  jurisdiction overthe NLRC extends to the careful review of the NLRC's evaluation of the evidence becausethe factual findings of the NLRC are accorded great respect and finality only when they rest on substantial evidence. Accordingly, the CA is not to be restrained from revising orcorrecting such factual findings whenever warranted by the circumstances simply because the NLRC is not infallible. Indeed, to deny to the CA this power is to diminish itscorrective jurisdiction through the writ of certiorari.  The policy of practicing comity towards the factual findings of the labor tribunals doesnot preclude the CA from reviewing the findings, and from disregarding the findings upona clear showing of the NLRC's capricious, whimsical or arbitrary disregard of theevidence or of circumstances of considerable importance crucial or decisive of thecontroversy. In such eventuality, the writ of certiorari should issue, and the CA, beingalso a court of equity, then enjoys the leeway to make its own independent evaluation of   the evidence of the parties as well as to ascertain whether or not substantial evidencesupported the NLRC's ruling. LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS>Duties and responsibilities of a lawyer>attorney’s feesNENITA D. SANCHEZ, Petitioner, vs. ATTY. ROMEO G. AGUILOS, Respondent.A.C. No. 10543, March 16, 2016(First Division) FACTS: Complainant has charged respondent with misconduct for the latter’s refusal toreturn the amount of P70,000 she had paid for his professional services despite nothaving performed the contemplated professional services. IBP recommended thatrespondent to return to the complainant the amount of P30,000 which he receivedbecause it is excessive. ISSUE: Whether respondent should return the entire amount received from the clientdespite failure to accomplish tasks which he is naturally expected to perform during hisprofessional engagement? HELD: YES We can easily agree that every attorney is entitled to have and receive a just andreasonable compensation for services performed at the special instance and request of his client. As long as the attorney is in good faith and honestly trying to represent andserve the interests of the client, he should have a reasonable compensation for suchservices. The attorney’s fees shall be those stipulated in the retainer’s agreement between theclient and the attorney, which constitutes the law between the parties for as long as it isnot contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy or public order. Theunderlying theory is that the retainer’s agreement between them gives to the client thereasonable notice of the arrangement on the fees. Once the attorney has performed thetask assigned to him in a valid agreement, his compensation is determined on the basisof what he and the client agreed. In the absence of the written agreement, the lawyer’scompensation shall be based on quantum meruit  , which means “as much as hedeserved.” The determination of attorney’s fees on the basis of quantum meruit is alsoauthorized “when the counsel, for justifiable cause, was not able to finish the case to itsconclusion.” Moreover, quantum meruit becomes the basis of recovery of compensation by the attorney where the circumstances of the engagement indicate that it will be contrary to the parties’ expectation to deprive the attorney of all compensation.Nevertheless, the court shall determine in every case what is reasonable compensationbased on the obtaining circumstances, provided that the attorney does not receive morethan what is reasonable, in keeping with Section 24 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.   The court’s supervision of the lawyer’s compensation for legal services rendered is notonly for the purpose of ensuring the reasonableness of the amount of attorney’s feescharged, but also for the purpose of preserving the dignity and integrity of the legalprofession.  The respondent should not have accepted the engagement because as it was laterrevealed, it was way above his ability and competence to handle the case for annulmentof marriage. As a consequence, he had no basis to accept any amount as attorney’s feesfrom the complainant. He did not even begin to perform the contemplated task heundertook for the complainant because it was improbable that the agreement with herwas to bring the action for legal separation. His having supposedly prepared the petitionfor legal separation instead of the petition for annulment of marriage was either his way of covering up for his incompetence, or his means of charging her more. Either way didnot entitle him to retain the amount he had already received.  LEGAL ETHICSSIMPLECIO A. MARSADA, Complainant, vs. ROMEO M. MONTEROS, Sheriff, IV, Regional Trial Court, Branch 34, Cabadbaran,Agusan del Norte, Respondent.A.M. No. P-10-2793 March 8, 2016(En Banc) FACTS: A complaint for misconduct and dishonesty was filed by petitioner againstrespondent in relation to the latter’s conduct in the service of the writ of execution in anaction for the collection of a monetary obligaiton. ISSUE:HELD:  The writ of execution should mirror the judgment that it enforces. The form and contentsof the writ of execution are specified in Section 8, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.Under this provision of the Rules of Court, Monteroso could enforce the writ of executiononly “according to its terms, in the manner herein after provided.” However, he wasremiss in his duty to enforce the writ by collecting only P25,000.00. Even assuming thathe had only been successful in collecting P25,000.00 from the defendant, he stillexceeded his authority in requesting Marsada to sign the typewritten acknowledgmentreceipt reflecting the P25,000.00 as the full and complete satisfaction of the writ of execution. He had neither basis nor reason to have Marsada sign the receipt in that tenorbecause the text and tenor of the writ of execution expressly required the recovery of P35,000.00 from the losing party.Also, Marsada claimed that Monteroso had represented to him that the defendant couldno longer pay the balance. The representation, even if true, did not justify Monteroso’sunilateral decision to discontinue the effort to recover the balance. It clearly devolvedupon him as the sheriff to levy upon the execution debtor’s properties, if any, as well asto garnish the debts due to the latter and the credits belonging to the latter. The duty toexhaust all efforts to recover the balance was laid down in Section 9, Rule 39 of the Rulesof Court. Thus, Monteroso was guilty of misconduct, which the Court has defined in Dela Cruz v.Malunao in the following manner: Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly,unlawful behavior or gross negligence by the public officer. The misconduct is grave if it involves any of the additional elements of corruption, willful intent to violate the law or to disregard establishedrules. Corruption, as an element of grave misconduct, consists in the act of an official or fiduciary person who unlawfully and wrongfully uses his position or office to procure some benefit for himself or for another person, contrary to duty and the rights of others. Section 2, Canon 1 of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel states: Court personnel shall not solicit or accept any gift, favor orbenefit based on any or explicit understanding that such gift, favor or benefit shall influence theirofficial actions. Marsada did not establish that the act complained of was tainted with corruption, willfulintent to violate the law, or disregard of established rules. Consequently, Monteroso’slability only amounted to simple misconduct 1 . LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS>Adjudicative ResponsibilitiesSPOUSES CESAR AND THELMA SUSTENTO, Complainants, vs. JUDGE FRISCO T. LILAGAN, Respondent.A.M. No. RTJ-11-2275, March 8, 2016 (En Banc) FACTS: On January 26, 2009, complainants filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari beforethe RTC. Almost 6 months had elapsed and only after complainants filed for Early Resolution before the Respondent dismissed the Petition. On December 1, 2009,complainants then filed a Motion for Reconsideration. On December 8, 2009,complainants filed a Reply on the Comments/Answer submitted by their opposing party.On December 10, 2009, respondent judge issued an Order deeming the MR submitted forresolution. 1Secton 46, D, of he Revised Uniform Rules on Adminisratve cases in he Civil Service.
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