Andrada v. Valmores


Andrada v. Valmores

A.C. No. 10115

April 19, 2023


                Complainant engaged the services of Valmores to file with the NLRC a claim for disability benefits against Agemar and its principal Sonnet. The LA decided in favor of complainant. Agemar and Sonnet appealed to the NLRC. Pending appeal, the parties tried to amicable settle the case but were unsuccessful. Believing that he was betrayed by his counsel, complainant filed the instant case for disbarment. Complainant requested the Court to review his case and to investigate respondent for his unlawful activities. Complainant alleged that he failed to perform his duties as counsel in facilitating the settlement of his case. He faulted respondent for delaying the settlement of the case and for failing to win the same. He claimed that respondent assured him that they would win the case because respondent allegedly told him that he gave P50K to 2 NLRC Commissioners. But when complainant’s claim for disability was denied, respondent allegedly blamed him for refusing to accept the US$17K offer of settlement.


                Whether or not respondent should be disbarred.


                No. Complainant failed to prove his allegations against respondent. Lawyers as officers of the court are entitled to the presumption of innocence. They are presumed to have performed their duties in accordance with their oath and it is only when there is evidence to the contrary that the penalty of suspension or disbarment may be imposed upon them. Thus, in the absence of any evidence, the presumption of innocence must prevail.

                In this case, complainant himself admitted in his letter that he could not submit the affidavits of persons who have personal knowledge of his allegations as he could no longer find them. Sadly, his allegations based merely on assumptions and suspicions will not suffice because allegation is not equivalent to proof. And it is basic rule in evidence that he who alleges must prove. There is no showing that he was negligent, or incompetent, or dishonest in the performance of his duties. Thus, he cannot be held responsible for failing to win or settle the case. As the Court has often said:

                Lawyers are not demi-gods or “magicians” who can always win their cases for their clients no matter the utter lack of merit of the same or how passionate the litigants may feel about their cause. While lawyers are expected to serve their clients with competence and diligence, they are not always expected to be victorious. In every litigation, there will always be a “winner” and a “loser,” unless the parties agree to settle the controversy between themselves and to work at a “win-win” solution to their problems.


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