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Elmer Canoy v Atty.

Jose Ortiz

Facts: In 2001 Canoy filed a complaint against Atty. Ortiz with the Office of the Bar Confidant
accusing him of misconduct and malpractice. Canoy availed of the services of Atty. Ortiz and so
he appeared in the proceeding for the complaint Canoy filed against his former employer, Coca
Cola, for illegal dismissal with NLRC. In 1998, LA ordered the parties to submit their respective
position paper.

In 2000, upon following up his case with NLRC, he was shocked to learn that his complaint was
actually dismissed way back 1998 for failure to prosecute, the parties not having submitted
their position papers. The dismissal was without prejudice. Atty. Ortiz never communicated the
status of the case with Canoy. Atty. Ortiz defense was before he could submit the position
paper the LA had already issued the order dismissing the case, though he admitted that the
period to within which to file the position paper had already lapsed. The matter was referred to
the IBP.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Ortiz is liable of misconduct and malpractice

Held: Yes. Under Canon 2 of the CPR A lawyer shall make his legal services available in an
efficient and convenient manner compatible with the independence, integrity and effectiveness
of the profession. Atty. Ortiz was highly irresponsible in handling the case of Canoy. Canoy was
one of the indigent clients whom Atty. Ortiz proudly claims as his favored clientele. Atty. Ortiz
faults Canoy for not adequately following up the case with his office. He cannot now shift the
blame to complainant for failing to inquire about the status of the case because as a lawyer it is
his duty to inform his clients of the status their cases. Lawyers who devote their professional
practice in representing litigants who could ill afford legal services deserve commendation.
However, this mantle of public service will not deliver the lawyer, no matter how well-meaning,
from the consequences of negligent acts. It is not enough to say that all pauper litigants should
be assured of legal representation. They deserve quality representation as well. SC ordered the
1 month suspension of Atty. Ortiz from practicing the law profession with the warning that
repetition of the same negligence will be dealt with more severely.