Republic of the Philippines
A.C. No. 805             May 13, 1938
TECLA ESTILLORE DE ACOSTA, petitioner,
BASILIO AROMIN, respondent.
Basilio Aromin in his own behalf.
Office of the Solicitor-General Tuason for the Government.
The petitioner alleges in her complaint that the respondent from her exorbitant fees (20 per cent of the amount collected) for negotiating the collection of the proceed of Insurance Policy No. 45143 of the deceased Maxima Estillore of which the petitioner was the beneficiary and co-assured, instead of 10 per verbally to be charged by the respondent as fees for all professional he would render.
In the investigation conducted by the provincial fiscal of La Union in which the respondent was not present and had no opportunity to cross-examine the petitioner or adduce his evidence, said petitioner testified that she verbally agreed with the respondent that the latter would charge only 10 per cent of the amount to be collected as proceed of the policy and that, in spite of this stipulation, the respondent collected 20 per cent of the value of policy without discounting the amounts deducted by the insurance company. In his answer the respondent denied had such verbal agreement and alleged that he informed the petitioner that ordinarily he collected 10 per cent for negotiations of kinds, but that the fees ultimately depended upon the volume of work and the importance and duration thereof, from 20 per cent to 30 per cent being collected in some cases. The proof shows that the policy, with its dividends, amounted to P3,154.16; from this amount the insurer, the Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd., deducted the sum of P1,058.28 for loan and interest, resulting in the net balance of P2,095.28 which was delivered to the respondent as attorney for the beneficiary. From this balance the respondent deducted the sum of P122.32 for transportation and hotel expenses during his stay in the City of Manila while pushing the negotiations through, and P630.84, representing 20 per cent of the gross value of the policy, as his fees, the remainder (P1,342.72) being turned over by him to the petitioner as the net amount corresponding to her. There must be added to transportation and hotel expenses the sum of P32 which the respondent directly received from the petitioner.
According to the theory of the petitioner, the respondent appears to have collected from her 20 per cent, instead of 10 per cent verbally stipulated by them. As stated by the Solicitor-General in his report, there was no fraud or deceit on the part of the respondent. Neither was there illegal appropriation of fraud entrusted to the respondent, because, by virtue of the power granted to him by the petitioner, the respondent was authorized to receive from the insurer the proceeds of the policy and collect his professional fees. The fees charged by the respondent to which he alleges he is entitled, are not unreasonably exorbitant so as to constitute per se malpractice (In re Adriatico, 7 Phil., 173; In re Booram, 39 Phil., 247). Bearing in mind the proven facts, there is between the parties a mere discrepancy regarding the fees which the respondent ought to collect as just and reasonable compensation for all the services rendered by him. This does not constitute one of the grounds enumerated by section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act No. 2828, for the suspension or removal of an attorney. The remedy, if any, should be sought by the petitioner in a civil action which she may bring in the competent court for the recovery of the excess fees collected by the respondent.
For the reasons stated, the complaint is dismissed and the respondent exonerated. So ordered.
Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Diaz, Laurel and Concepcion, JJ., concur.
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