Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

 

A.C. No. 3405 June 29, 1998

JULIETA B. NARAG, complainant,
vs.
ATTY. DOMINADOR M. NARAG, respondent.

 

PER CURIAM:

Good moral character is a continuing qualification required of every member of the bar. Thus, when a lawyer fails to meet the exacting standard of moral integrity, the Supreme Court may withdraw his or her privilege to practice law.

On November 13, 1989, Mrs. Julieta B. Narag filed an administrative complaint 1 for disbarment against her husband, Atty. Dominador M. Narag, whom she accused of having violated Canons 1 and 6, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Ethics for Lawyers. 2

The complainant narrated:

The St. Louis College of Tuguegarao engaged the services of Atty. Dominador M. Narag in the early seventies as a full-time college instructor in the College of Arts and Sciences and as a professor in the Graduate School. In 1984, Ms. Gina Espita, 17 years old and a first year college student, enrolled in subjects handled by Atty. Narag. Exerting his influence as her teacher, and as a prominent member of the legal profession and then member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Tuguegarao, Atty. Narag courted Ms. Espita, gradually lessening her resistance until the student acceded to his wishes.

They then maintained an illicit relationship known in various circles in the community, but which they managed to from me. It therefore came as a terrible embar[r]assment to me, with unspeakable grief and pain when my husband abandoned us, his family, to live with Ms. Espita, in utterly scandalous circumstances.

It appears that Atty. Narag used his power and influence as a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cagayan to cause the employment of Ms. Espita at the Department of Trade and Industry Central Office at Makati, Metro Manila. Out of gratitude perhaps, for this gesture, Ms. Espita agreed to live with Atty. Narag, her sense of right[e]ousness and morals completely corrupted by a member of the Bar.

It is now a common knowledge in the community that Atty. Dominador M. Narag has abandoned us, his family, to live with a 22-year-old woman, who was his former student in the tertiary level[.] 3

This Court, in a Resolution dated December 18, 1989, referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation. 4

On June 26, 1990, the office of then Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan received from complainant another letter seeking the dismissal of the administrative complaint. She alleged therein that (1) she fabricated the allegations in her complaint to humiliate and spite her husband; (2) all the love letters between the respondent and Gina Espita were forgeries; and (3) she was suffering from "emotional confusion arising from extreme jealousy." The truth, she stated, was that her husband had remained a faithful and responsible family man. She further asserted that he had neither entered into an amorous relationship with one Gina Espita nor abandoned his family. 5 Supporting her letter were an Affidavit of Desistance 6 and a Motion to Dismiss, 7 attached as Annexes A and B, which she filed before the IBP commission on bar discipline. 8 In a Decision dared October 8, 1991, the IBP Board of Governors 9 dismissed the complaint of Mrs. Narag for failure to prosecute. 10

The case took an unexpected turn when, on November 25, 1991, this Court 11 received another letter 12 from the complainant, with her seven
children 13 as co-signatories, again appealing for the disbarment of her husband. She explained that she had earlier dropped the case against him because of his continuous threats against her. 14

In his Comment on the complainant's letter of November 11, 1991, filed in compliance with this Court's Resolution issued on July 6, 1992, 15 respondent prayed that the decision of the Board of Governors be affirmed. Denying that he had threatened, harassed or intimidated his wife, he alleged that she had voluntarily executed her Affidavit of Desistance 16 and Motion to Dismiss, 17 even appearing before the investigating officer, Commissioner Racela, to testify under oath "that she prepared the Motion to Dismiss and Affidavit of Desistance on her own free will and affirmed the contents thereof."

In addition, he professed his love for his wife and his children and denied abandoning his family to live with his paramour. However, he described his wife as a person emotionally disturbed, viz:

What is pitiable here is the fact that Complainant is an incurably jealous and possessive woman, and every time the streak of jealousy rears its head, she fires off letters or complaints against her husband in every conceivable forum, all without basis, and purely on impulse, just to satisfy the consuming demands of her "loving" jealousy. Then, as is her nature, a few hours afterwards, when her jealousy cools off, she repents and feels sorry for her acts against the Respondent. Thus, when she wrote the Letter of November 11, 1991, she was then in the grips of one of her bouts of jealousy. 18

On August 24, 1992, this Court issued another Resolution referring the Comment of respondent to the IBP. 19 In the hearing before IBP Commissioner Plaridel C. Jose, respondent alleged the following: 20

2. Your Respondent comes from very poor parents who have left him not even a square meter of land, but gave him the best legacy in life: a purposeful and meaningful education. Complainant comes from what she claims to be very rich parents who value material possession more than education and the higher and nobler aspirations in life. Complainant abhors the poor.

3. Your Respondent has a loving upbringing, nurtured in the gentle ways of love, forgiveness, humility, and concern for the poor. Complainant was reared and raised in an entirely different environment. Her value system is the very opposite.

4. Your Respondent loves his family very dearly, and has done all he could in thirty-eight (38) years of marriage to protect and preserve his family. He gave his family sustenance, a comfortable home, love, education, companionship, and most of all, a good and respected name. He was always gentle and compassionate to his wife and children. Even in the most trying times, he remained calm and never inflicted violence on them. His children are all now full-fledged professionals, mature, and gainfully employed. . . .

xxx xxx xxx

Your Respondent subscribes to the sanctity of marriage as a social institution.

On the other hand, consumed by insane and unbearable jealousy, Complainant has been systematically and unceasingly destroying the very foundations of their marriage and their family. Their marriage has become a torture chamber in which Your Respondent has been incessantly BEATEN, BATTERED, BRUTALIZED, TORTURED, ABUSED, and HUMILIATED, physically, mentally, and emotionally, by the Complainant, in public and at home. Their marriage has become a nightmare.

For thirty-eight years, your Respondent suffered in silence and bore the pain of his misfortune with dignity and with almost infinite patience, if only to preserve their family and their marriage. But this is not to be. The Complainant never mellowed and never became gentl[e], loving, and understanding. In fact, she became more fierce and predatory.

Hence, at this point in time, the light at the tunnel for Your Respondent does not seem in sight. The darkness continues to shroud the marital and familial landscape.

Your Respondent has to undergo a catharsis, a liberation from enslavement. Paraphrasing Dorfman in "Death and the Maiden", can the torturer and the tortured co-exist and live together?

Hence, faced with an absolutely uncomprehending and uncompromising mind whose only obsession now is to destroy, destroy, and destroy, Your Respondent, with perpetual regret and with great sorrow, filed a Petition for Annulment of Marriage, Spl. Proc. No. 566, RTC, Branch III, Tuguegarao, Cagayan. . . .

5. Complainant is a violent husband-beater, vitriolic and unbending. But your Respondent never revealed these destructive qualities to other people. He preserved the good name and dignity of his wife. This is in compliance with the marital vow to love, honor or obey your spouse, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health . . . Even in this case, Your Respondent never revealed anything derogatory to his wife. It is only now that he is constrained to reveal all these things to defend himself.

On the other hand, for no reason at all, except a jealous rage, Complainant tells everyone, everywhere, that her husband is worthless, good-for-nothing, evil and immoral. She goes to colleges and universities, professional organizations, religious societies, and all other sectors of the community to tell them how evil, bad and immoral her husband is. She tells them not to hire him as professor, as Counsel, or any other capacity because her husband is evil, bad, and immoral. Is this love? Since when did love become an instrument to destroy a man's dearest possession in life his good name, reputation and dignity?

Because of Complainant's virulent disinformation campaign against her husband, employing every unethical and immoral means to attain his ends, Your Respondent has been irreparably and irreversibly disgraced, shamed, and humiliated. Your Respondent is not a scandalous man. It is he who has been mercilessly scandalized and crucified by the Complainant. 21

To prove the alleged propensity of his wife to file false charges, respondent presented as evidence the following list of the complaints she had filed against him and Gina Espita:

3.1 Complaint for Immorality/Neglect of Duty . . .

3.2 Complaint for Immorality/Neglect of Duty, DILG, Adm. Case No. P-5-90. . . .

3.3 Complaint for Concubinage. Provincial Prosecutor's Office of Cagayan. I.S No. 89-114. . . .

3.4 Complaint for Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices and concubinage. OMBUDSMAN Case No. 1-92-0083. . . .

3.5 Complaint for Civil Support. RTC, Tuguegarao, Civil Case No. 4061. DISMISSED.

3.6 Complaint for Concubinage. Provincial Prosecutor's Office of Cagayan. I.S. No. 92-109. DISMISSED. (. . .). Complainant filed Motion for Reconsideration. DENIED. (. . .).

3.7 Complaint for Disbarment (. . .) with S[upreme] C[ourt]. Withdrawn (. . .). DISMISSED by IBP Board of Governors (. . .). Re-instituted (. . .).

3.8 Complaint for Disbarment, again (. . .). Adm. Case No. 3405. Pending.

3.9 Complaint for Concubinage, again (. . .). Third MCTC, Tumauini, Isabela. Pending. . . . 22

In his desperate effort to exculpate himself, he averred:

I. That all the alleged love letters and envelopes (. . .), picture (. . .) are inadmissible in evidence as enunciated by the Supreme Court in "Cecilia Zulueta vs. Court of Appeals, et.al.", G.R. No. 107383, February 20, 1996. (. . .).

xxx xxx xxx

II. That respondent is totally innocent of the charges: He never courted Gina Espita in the Saint Louis College of Tuguegarao. He never caused the employment of said woman in the DTI. He never had or is having any illicit relationship with her anywhere, at any time. He never lived with her as husband and wife anywhere at any time, be it in Centro Tumauini or any of its barangays, or in any other place. He never begot a child or children with her. Finally, respondent submits that all the other allegations of Mrs. Narag are false and fabricated, . . .

xxx xxx xxx

III. Respondent never abandoned his family[.] Mrs. Narag and her two sons forcibly drove respondent Narag out of the conjugal home. After that, Atty. Narag tried to return to the conjugal home many times with the help of mutual friends to save the marriage and the family from collapse. He tried several times to reconcile with Mrs. Narag. In fact, in one of the hearings of the disbarment case, he offered to return home and to reconcile with Mrs. Narag. But Mrs. Narag refused all these efforts of respondent Narag. . . .

IV. Complainant Julieta B. Narag is an unbearably jealous, violent, vindictive, scandalous, virulent and merciless wife since the beginning of the marriage, who incessantly beat, battered, brutalized, tortured, abuse[d], scandalized, and humiliated respondent Atty. Narag, physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically, . . .

V. Complainant Julieta Narag's claim in her counter-manifestation dated March 28, 1996, to the effect that the affidavit of Dominador B. Narag, Jr., dated February 27, 1996 was obtained through force and intimidation, is not true. Dominador, Jr., executed his affidavit freely, voluntarily, and absolutely without force or intimidation, as shown by the transcript of stenographic notes of the testimonies of Respondent Atty. Narag and Tuguegarao MTC Judge Dominador Garcia during the trial of Criminal Case No. 12439, People vs. Dominador M. Narag, et. al., before the Tuguegarao MTC on May 3, 1996. . . .

xxx xxx xxx

VI. Respondent Atty. Narag is now an old man a senior citizen of 63 years sickly, abandoned, disgraced, weakened and debilitated by progressively degenerative gout and arthritis, and hardly able to earn his own keep. His very physical, medical, psychological, and economic conditions render him unfit and unable to do the things attributed to him by the complainant. Please see the attached medical certificates, . . ., among many other similar certificates touching on the same ailments. Respondent is also suffering from hypertension. 23

On July 18, 1997, the investigating officer submitted his report, 24 recommending the indefinite suspension of Atty. Narag from the practice of law. The material portions of said report read as follows:

Culled from the voluminous documentary and testimonial evidence submitted by the contending parties, two (2) issues are relevant for the disposition of the case, namely:

a) Whether there was indeed a commission of alleged abandonment of respondent's own family and [whether he was] living with his paramour, Gina Espita;

b) Whether the denial under oath that his illegitimate children with Gina Espita (Aurelle Dominic and Kyle Dominador) as appearing on paragraph 1(g) of respondent's Comment vis-a-vis his handwritten love letters, the due execution and contents of which, although he objected to their admissibility for being allegedly forgeries, were never denied by him on the witness stand much less presented and offered proof to support otherwise.

Except for the testimonies of respondent's witnesses whose testimonies tend to depict the complaining wife, Mrs. Narag, as an incurably jealous wife and possessive woman suffering everytime with streaks of jealousy, respondent did not present himself on the witness stand to testify and be cross-examined on his sworn comment; much less did he present his alleged paramour, Gina Espita, to disprove the adulterous relationship between him and their having begotten their illegitimate children, namely: Aurelle Dominic N. Espita and Kyle Dominador N. Espita. Worse, respondent's denial that he is the father of the two is a ground for disciplinary sanction (Morcayda v. Naz, 125 SCRA 467).

Viewed from all the evidence presented, we find the respondent subject to disciplinary action as a member of the legal profession. 25

In its Resolution 26 issued on August 23, 1997, the IBP adopted and approved the investigating commissioner's recommendation for the indefinite suspension of the respondent. 27 Subsequently the complaint sought the disbarment of her husband in a Manifestation/Comment she filed on October 20, 1997. The IBP granted this stiffer penalty and, in its Resolution dated November 30, 1997, denied respondent's Motion for Reconsideration.

After a careful scrutiny of the records of the proceedings and the evidence presented by the parties, we find that the conduct of respondent warrants the imposition of the penalty of disbarment.

The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:

Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

CANON 7 A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession, and support the activities of the Integrated Bar.

Rule 7.03 A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.

Thus, good moral character is not only a condition precedent 28 to the practice of law, but a continuing qualification for all members of the bar. Hence, when a lawyer is found guilty of gross immoral conduct, he may be suspended or disbarred. 29

Immoral conduct has been defined as that conduct which is so willful, flagrant, or shameless as to show indifference to the opinion of good and respectable members of the community. 30 Furthermore, such conduct must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. That is, it must be so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree 31 or committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the common sense of decency. 32

We explained in Barrientos vs. Daarol 33 that, "as officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must also be seen to be of good moral character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community. More specifically, a member of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required to refrain from adulterous relationships or the keeping of mistresses but must also so behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral standards."

Respondent Narag is accused of gross immorality for abandoning his family in order to live with Gina Espita. The burden of proof rests upon the complainant, and the Court will exercise its disciplinary power only if she establishes her case by clear, convincing and satisfactory evidence. 34

Presented by complainant as witnesses, aside from herself. 35 were: Charlie Espita, 36 Magdalena Bautista, 37 Bienvenido Eugenio, 38 Alice Carag, 39 Dr. Jervis B. Narag, 40 Dominador Narag, Jr., 41 and Nieves F. Reyes. 42

Charlie Espita, brother of the alleged paramour Gina Espita, corroborated complainant's charge against respondent in these categorical statements he gave to the investigating officer:

Q Mr. Witness, do you know Atty. Narag?

A Yes, Your Honor, he is the live-in partner of my sister, Gina Espita.

Q If Atty. Narag is here, can you point [to] him?

A Yes, sir.

(Witness pointed to the respondent, Atty. Dominador Narag)

Q Why do you know Atty. Narag?

ATTY. NARAG:

Already answered. He said I am the live-in partner.

CONTINUATION OF THE DIRECT

A Because he is the live-in partner of my sister and that they are now living together as husband and wife and that they already have two children, Aurelle Dominic and Kyle Dominador.

xxx xxx xxx

During cross-examination conducted by the respondent himself, Charlie Espita repeated his account that his sister Gina was living with the respondent, with whom she had two children:

Q Mr. Espita, you claim that Atty. Narag is now living with your sister as husband and wife. You claim that?

A Yes, sir.

Q Why do you say that?

A Because at present you are living together as husband and wife and you have already two children and I know that is really an immoral act which you cannot just allow me to follow since my moral values don't allow me that my sister is living with a married man like you.

Q How do you know that Atty. Narag is living with your sister? Did you see them in the house?

A Yes, si[r].

xxx xxx xxx

Q You said also that Atty. Narag and your sister have two children, Aurelle Dominic and Kyle Dominador, is it not?

A Yes, sir.

Q How do you know that they are the children of Atty. Narag?

A Because you are staying together in that house and you have left your family. 44

In addition, Charlie Espita admitted (1) that it was he who handed to Mrs. Narag the love letters respondent had sent to his sister, and (2) that Atty. Narag tried to dissuade him from appearing at the disbarment proceedings. 45

Witness Bienvenido Eugenio strengthened the testimony of Charlie Espita in this wise:

Q Mr. Witness, do you know the respondent in this case?

A I know him very well, sir.

Q Could you please tell us why do you know him?

A Because he was always going to the house of my son-in-law by the name of Charlie Espita.

xxx xxx xxx

Q Mr. Eugenio, do you know the residence of Atty. Dominador M. Narag?

A At that time, he [was] residing in the house of Reynaldo Angubong, sir.

Q And this is located where?

A Centro Tamauini, Isabela, sir.

Q And you specifically, categorically state under oath that this is the residence of Atty. Narag?

A Yes, sir.

xxx xxx xxx

Q And under oath this is where Atty. Narag and Gina Espita are allegedly living as husband and wife, is it not?

A Yes, sir. 46

Witness Nieves Reyes, a neighbor and friend of the estranged couple, testified that she learned from the Narag children Randy, Bong and Rowena that their father left his family, that she and her husband prodded the complainant to accept the respondent back, that the Narag couple again separated when the respondent "went back to his woman," and that Atty. Narag had maltreated his wife. 47

On the strength of the testimony of her witnesses, the complainant was able to establish that respondent abandoned his family and lived with another woman. Absent any evidence showing that these witnesses had an ill motive to testify falsely against the respondent, their testimonies are deemed worthy of belief.

Further, the complainant presented as evidence the love letters that respondent had sent to Gina. In these letters, respondent clearly manifested his love for Gina and her two children, whom he acknowledged as his own. In addition, complainant, also submitted as evidence the cards that she herself had received from him. Guided by the rule that handwriting may be proved through a comparison of one set of writings with those admitted or treated by the respondent as genuine, we affirm that the two sets of evidence were written by one and the same person. 48 Besides, respondent did not present any evidence to prove that the love letters were not really written by him; he merely denied that he wrote them.

While the burden of proof is upon the complainant, respondent has the duty not only to himself but also to the court to show that he is morally fit to remain a member of the bar. Mere denial does not suffice. Thus, when his moral character is assailed, such that his right to continue practicing his cherished profession is imperiled, he must meet the charges squarely and present evidence, to the satisfaction of the investigating body and this Court, that he is morally fit to have his name in the Roll of Attorneys. 49 This he failed to do.

Respondent adamantly denies abandoning his family to live with Gina Espita. At the same time, he depicts his wife as a "violent husband-beater, vitriolic and unbending," and as an "insanely and pathologically jealous woman," whose only obsession was to "destroy, destroy and destroy" him as shown by her filing of a series of allegedly unfounded charges against him (and Gina Espita). To prove his allegation, he presented ninety-eight (98) pieces of documentary evidence 50 and ten (10) witnesses. 51

We note, however, that the testimonies of the witnesses of respondent did not establish the fact that he maintained that moral integrity required by the profession that would render him fit to continue practicing law. Neither did their testimonies destroy the fact, as proven by the complainant, that he had abandoned his family and lived with Gina Espita, with whom he had two children. Some of them testified on matters which they had no actual knowledge of, but merely relied on information from either respondent himself or other people, while others were presented to impeach the good character of his wife.

Respondent may have provided well for his family they enjoyed a comfortable life and his children finished their education. He may have also established himself as a successful lawyer and a seasoned politician. But these accomplishments are not sufficient to show his moral fitness to continue being a member of the noble profession of law.

We remind respondent that parents have not only rights but also duties e.g., to support, educate and instruct their children according to right precepts and good example; and to give them love, companionship and understanding, as well as moral and spiritual guidance. 52 As a husband, he is also obliged to live with his wife; to observe mutual love, respect and fidelity; and to render help and support. 53

Respondent himself admitted that his work required him to be often away from home. But the evidence shows that he was away not only because of his work; instead, he abandoned his family to live with her paramour, who bore him two children. It would appear, then, that he was hardly in a position to be a good husband or a good father. His children, who grew up mostly under the care of their mother, must have scarcely felt the warmth of their father's love.

Respondent's son, Jervis B. Narag, showed his resentment towards his father's moral frailties in his testimony:

Q My question is this, is there any sin so grievous that it cannot be forgiven, is there a fault that is so serious that it is incapable of forgiveness?

A That depends upon the sin or fault, sir, but if the sin or fault is with the emotional part of myself, I suppose I cannot forgive a person although am a God-fearing person, but I h[av]e to give the person a lesson in order for him or her to at least realize his mistakes, sir.

xxx xxx xxx

COMR. JOSE:

I think it sounds like this. Assuming for the sake of argument that your father is the worst, hardened criminal on earth, would you send him to jail and have him disbarred? That is the question.

CONTINUATION.

A With the reputation that he had removed from us, I suppose he has to be given a lesson. At this point in time, I might just forgive him if he will have to experience all the pains that we have also suffered for quite sometime.

Q Dr. Narag, your father gave you life, his blood runs in your veins, his flesh is your flesh, his bones are your bones and you now disown him because he is the worst man on earth, is that what you are saying.

A Sort of, sir.

Q You are now telling that as far [as] you are concerned because your father has sinned, you have no more father, am I correct?

A Long before, sir, I did not feel much from my father even when I was still a kid because my father is not always staying with us at home. So, how can you say that? Yes, he gave me life, why not? But for sure, sir, you did not give me love. 54

Another son, Dominador Narag, Jr., narrated before the investigating officer the trauma he went through:

Q In connection with that affidavit, Mr. Witness, which contains the fact that your father is maintaining a paramour, could you please tell this Honorable Commission the effect on you?

A This has a very strong effect on me and this includes my brothers and sisters, especially my married life, sir. And it also affected my children so much, that I and my wife ha[ve] parted ways. It hurts to say that I and my wife parted ways. This is one reason that affected us.

Q Will you please tell us specifically why you and your wife parted ways?

A Because my wife wa[s] ashamed of what happened to my family and that she could not face the people, our community, especially because my wife belongs to a well-known family in our community.

Q How about the effect on your brothers and sisters? Please tell us what are those.

A Well, sir, this has also affected the health of my elder sister because she knows so well that my mother suffered so much and she kept on thinking about my mother.

xxx xxx xxx

Q Why did your wife leave you?

A The truth is because of the things that had happened in our family, Your Honor.

Q In your wife's family?

A In our family, sir.

Q And what do you mean by that?

A What meant by that is my father had an illicit relationship and that my father went to the extent of scolding my wife and calling my wife a "puta" in provincial government, which my mother-in-law hated him so much for this, which really affected us. And then my wife knew for a fact that my father has an illicit relationship with Gina Espita, whom he bore two children by the name of Aurelle Dominic and Kyle Dominador, which I could prove and I stand firm to this, Your Honor. 55

Although respondent piously claims adherence to the sanctity of marriage, his acts prove otherwise. A husband is not merely a man who has contracted marriage. Rather, he is a partner who has solemnly sworn to love and respect his wife and remain faithful to her until death.

We reiterate our ruling in Cordova vs. Cordova 56: "The moral delinquency that affects the fitness of a member of the bar to continue as such includes conduct that outrages the generally accepted moral standards of the community, conduct for instance, which makes a mockery of the inviolable social institution of marriage."

In Toledo vs. Toledo, 57 the respondent was disbarred from the practice of law, when he abandoned his lawful wife and cohabited with another woman who had borne him a child.

Likewise, in Obusan vs. Obusan, 58 the respondent was disbarred after the complainant proved that he had abandoned her and maintained an adulterous relationship with a married woman. This Court declared that respondent failed to maintain the highest degree of morality expected and required of a member of the bar.

In the present case, the complainant was able to establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that respondent had breached the high and exacting moral standards set for members of the law profession. As held in Maligsa vs. Cabanting, 59 "a lawyer may be disbarred for any misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity and good demeanor or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court."

WHEREFORE, Dominador M. Narag is hereby DISBARRED and his name is ORDERED STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys. Let copies of this Decision be in the personal record of Respondent Narag; and furnished to all courts of the land, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Office of the Bar Confidant.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Paganiban, Martinez, Quisumbing and Purisima, JJ., concur.

Footnotes

1 See records, Vol. I, pp. 1-2. Attached therein are photocopies of the marriage contract of the couple and of two "love letters" written by the respondent to his paramour.

2 Code of Professional Responsibility.

3 Records, Vol. I, pp. 1-2.

4 Records, Vol. I, p. 11.

5 Records, Vol. II, pp. 13-14.

6 Records, Vol. II, pp. 15-16.

7 Records, Vol. II, pp. 17-18.

8 The Court noted the letter in its Resolution, dated July 30, 1990, and referred the same to the IBP. See records, Vol. II, p. 19.

9 Signatories therein are Numeriano G. Tanopo, Jr., president; Ernesto S. Salunat, Jose Aguila Grapilon, Beda G. Fajardo, Baldomero C. Estenzo, Rene C. Villa and Teodoro D. Nano, Jr., governors of Northern Luzon Region, Southern Luzon Region, Bicolandia Region, Eastern Visayas Region, Western Visayas Region and Eastern Mindanao Region, respectively; Mervyn G. Encanto, executive vice president; and Romeo T. Capulong and Didagen P. Dilangalen, governors of Central Luzon Region and Western Mindanao Region, respectively.

10 Records, Vol. III, pp. 34-37.

11 Through the office of then Chief Justice Fernan.

12 Dated November 11, 1991.

13 The children are Genevieve Narag Bautista, Dominador B. Narag Jr., Randolph B. Narag, Jervis B. Narag, Rowena Narag Addun, Cheryl Rita B. Narag and Christiana B. Narag.

14 Records, Vol. III, p. 23. The letter was forwarded to the Office of the Bar Confidant on December 2, 1991.

15 Records, Vol. III, pp. 40-42.

16 Records, Vol. II, pp. 15-16.

17 Ibid., pp. 17-18.

18 Ibid., pp. 40-41.

19 Records, Vol. III, p. 44.

20 Compiled Answer/Comment and Counter-Affidavits, records, Vol. II, pp. 1-11.

21 Ibid., pp. 1-3.

22 Ibid., pp. 8-9.

23 Memorandum for the Respondent, pp. 1-6; records, Vol. IV, pp. 299-304.

24 Records, Vol. I, pp. 17-59.

25 Report by Comm. Plaridel C. Jose, pp. 42-43; records, Vol. I, pp. 58-59.

26 Ibid., pp. 15-16.

27 Notice of Resolution from the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, Board of Governors, Pasig City, signed by National Secretary Roland B. Inting. A copy of said notice was received by the Office of the Bar Confidant on September 16, 1997. Records, Vol. I, pp. 15-16.

28 2, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides: "Every applicant for admission as a member of the bar must be . . . of good moral character; and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and that no charges against him, involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the Philippines. (Emphasis supplied)

29 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.

30 7 C.J.S., 14, p. 826; Black's Law Dictionary, 6th ed., p. 751 citing In re Monaghan, 126 VT, 53m 222 A.2d 665, 674; and Philippine Law Dictionary, 3rd ed., p. 447, citing Arciga vs. Maniwang, 106 SCRA 594, 594, August 14, 1981.

31 Reyes vs. Wong, 63 SCRA 667, 673, January 29, 1975.

32 Royong vs. Oblena, 7 SCRA 859, 869-870, April 30, 1963.

33 218 SCRA 30, 40, January 29, 1993, per curiam, citing Tolosa vs. Cargo, 171 SCRA 21, 26, March 8, 1989, per Feliciano, J.

34 Noriega vs. Sison, 125 SCRA 293, 297-298, October 27, 1983; Santos vs. Dichoso, 84 SCRA 622, 627 August 22, 1989; Adame vs. Aldaba, 83 SCRA 734, 739, June 27, 1978; Arboleda vs. Gatchalian, 58 SCRA 64, 67, July 23, 1974; and Go vs. Candoy, 21 SCRA 439, 442, October 23, 1967.

35 TSN, September 22, 1993, pp. 15-46.

36 Ibid., pp. 28-134.

37 TSN, November 3, 1993, pp. 16-41.

38 Ibid., pp. 42-55.

39 Ibid., pp. 58-71.

40 TSN, November 4, 1993, pp. 5-34.

41 Ibid., pp. 35-64.

42 TSN, January 17, 1994, pp. 3-14.

43 TSN, September 22, 1993, pp. 31-32.

44 Ibid., pp. 85-89.

45 Ibid., pp. 39 and 75.

46 TSN, November 3, 1993, pp. 43-44, 47-48 and 51.

47 TSN, January 17, 1994, pp. 6-8 and 11.

48 Section 22, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.

49 Delos Reyes vs. Aznar, 179 SCRA 653, 658, November 28, 1989.

50 See Records, Vol. III, pp. 1-234.

51 Jude Sales (TSN, April 19, 1994, pp. 3-6); Atty. Virgilio A. Sevandal (TSN, April 19, 1994, pp. 6-16); Juanito H. Comia (TSN, April 19, 1994, pp. 17-24); Alfonso Tumamao (TSN, April 19, 1994, pp. 25-51); Ofelio Pablo (TSN, April 20, 1994, pp. 2-36); Judge Rolando L. Salacup (TSN, May 16, 1994, pp. 2-37); Romeo Calabaquib (TSN, May 17, 1994, pp. 2-21); Remigio Magundayao (TSN, June 7, 1994, pp. 2-6); Fr. Benjamin T. Lasan (TSN, June 7, 1994, pp. 7-19); and Alfonso C. Gorospe (TSN, June 7, 1994, pp. 19-27).

52 Art. 220, Family Code, See also Art. 356 of the Civil Code and Art. 3 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code (or PD 603).

53 Art. 68, Family Code.

54 TSN, November 4, 1993, pp. 28-30.

55 TSN, November 4,1993, pp. 38-39 and 45-46.

56 179 SCRA 680, 683, November 29, 1989.

57 7 SCRA 757, April 27, 1963.

58 128 SCRA 485, April 2, 1984.

59 AC No. 4539, May 14, 1997, pp. 5-6, per curiam.


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