5Thereafter, IBP-CBD Commissioner Renato G.Cunanan, to whom the case was assigned by the IBP for investigation and report, scheduled the case for hearing on October 4, 2001. After several cancellations, the parties finally met on May 29, 2002.In that hearing, respondent acknowledged his obligation and committed himself to pay a total of P42,000 (P22,000 for his principal debt and P20,000 for attorney’s fees). Complainant agreedto give him until July 4, 2002 to settle the principal debt and to discuss the plan of payment for attorney’s fees in the next hearing.On July 4, 2002, both parties appeared before the IBP-CBD for their scheduled hearing. But, while waiting for the case to be called, respondent suddenlyinsisted on leaving, supposedly to attend to a family emergency. Complainant’s counsel objected and Commissioner Cunanan, who was still conducting a hearing in another case, ordered him to wait. He, however, retorted in a loud voice, "It’s up to you, this is only disbarment, my family is more important."6And, despite the objection and the warning, he arrogantly left. He made no effort to comply with his undertaking to settle his indebtednessbefore leaving.Report and Recommendation of the IBPIn his September 19, 2002 Report,7Commissioner Cunanan found respondent guilty of violating the attorney’s oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. The former explained that, contrary to the latter’s claim, violation of BP 22 was a crime that involved moral turpitude. Further, he observed that ‘‘[w]hile no criminal case may have been instituted against [respondent], it is beyond cavil that indeed, [the latter] committed not one (1) but four counts of violation of BP 22."8The "refusal [by respondent] to pay his indebtedness, his broken promises, his arrogant attitude towards complainant’s counsel and the [commission sufficiently] warrant the imposition of sanctions against him."9Thus, the investigating commissioner recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law.In Resolution No. XV-2002-598,10the Board of Governors of the IBP adopted the Report and Recommendation of Commissioner Cunanan and resolved to suspend respondent from the practice of law for two years. The Resolution, together with the records of the case, was transmitted to this Court for final action, pursuant to Rule 139-B Sec. 12(b).The Court’s RulingWe agree with the findings and recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors, but reduce the period of suspension to one year.Administrative Liability of RespondentLawyers are instruments for the administration of justice. As vanguards of our legal system, they are expected to maintain not only legal proficiency but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity andfair dealing.11In so doing, the people’s faith and confidence in the judicial system is ensured.In the present case, respondent has been brought to this Court for failure to pay his debts and for issuing worthless checks as payment for his loan from complainant. While acknowledging the fact that he issued several worthless checks, he contends that such act constitutes neither a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility; nor dishonest, immoral ordeceitful conduct.
The defense proffered by respondent is untenable. It