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RE: LETTER OF THE UP LAW FACULTY ENTITLED RESTORING INTEGRITY: A STATEMENT BY THE FACULTY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES

COLLEGEOF LAW ON THE ALLEGATIONS OF PLAGIARISM AND MISREPRESENTATION IN THESUPREME COURT A.M. NO. 10-10-4-SC, 8 MARCH 2011, EN BANC (Leonardo-De Castro, J .)SC Justice Mariano Del Castillo rendered a decision in Vinuya, et al . v. Executive Secretary (G.R.No. 162230). Counsels Attys. H. Harry L. Roque, Jr. (Atty. Roque) and Romel Regalado Bagares (Atty.Bagares) for Vinuya, et al . (the Malaya Lolas ), filed a supplemental Motion for Reconsideration, on theground that, inter alia, charge of plagiarism as one of the grounds for reconsideration of the Vinuya decisionand a twisting of the true intents of the plagiarized sources by the ponencia was made to suit the argumentsof the assailed Judgment for denying the Petition. Works allegedly plagiarized in the Vinuya decision werenamely: (1) Evan J. Criddle and Evan Fox-Decents article A Fiduciary Theory of Jus Cogens; (2) Christian

Page| 5 Legal Ethics Case DigestJudge Philip Aguinaldo3AA, A.Y. 2011-2012 J. Tams book Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law ; and (3) Mark Ellis articleBreaking the Silence: On Rape as an International Crime. Such supplemental motion for reconsiderationappeared on internet sites.Thereafter, a statement entitled Restoring Integrity: A Statement by the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law on the Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the SupremeCourt was submitted by Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leone to the Court through Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.The statement basically conveys that the plagiarism committed in the case of Vinuya v Executive Secretary isunacceptable, unethical and in breach of the high standards of moral conduct and judicial and professionalcompetence expected of the Supreme Court. (See attachment for complete text of the statement). The SCEthics Committee referred this matter to the Court en banc. The high court said the UP law professorsstatement was evidently intended to discredit its April 28 decision on the Vinuya et al. v the ExecutiveSecretary et al. case. It claimed that the law faculty wanted to undermine the courts honesty, integrity andcompetence in addressing the motion for reconsideration of 70 comfort women. Accordingly, the Court directed the 37 UP law faculty-signatories to show cause, within ten (10)days from receipt why they should not be disciplined as members of the Bar for violation of Canons 1, 11 and13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. ISSUE: Whether or not respondents should be disciplined as Members of the Bar under the Code of Professional Responsibility HELD: All lawyers, whether they are judges, court employees, professors or privatepractitioners, are officers of the Court and have voluntarily taken an oath, as anindispensable qualification for admission to the Bar, to conduct themselves with goodfidelity towards the courts. The administrative matter is decided by reminding the Thirty-five UP professors of their duty asofficers of the court while Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leonen was admonished to be more mindful of his duty, as amember of the Bar, an officer of the Court, and a Dean and professor of law, to observe full candor andhonesty in his dealings with the Court and warned that the same or similar act in the future shall be dealt with more severely. While a lawyer is entitled to present his case with vigor and courage, such enthusiasm does not justify the use of offensive and abusive language. Language abounds with

countless possibilities for one to be emphatic but respectful, convincing but not derogatory, illuminating but not offensive.The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates:CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.RULE 1.02 A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lesseningconfidence in the legal system.CANON 10 A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court.Rule 10.01 A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; nor shall hemislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.Rule 10.02 A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of paper, the language orthe argument of opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or authority, or knowingly cite as law a provisionalready rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact that which has not been proved.Rule 10.03 A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.CANON 11 A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers andshould insist on similar conduct by others.RULE 11.05 A lawyer shall submit grievances against a Judge to the proper authorities only.CANON 13 A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain from any impropriety which tendsto influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the court. What respondent seems unaware of is that freedom of speech and of expression, like allconstitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted toand accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interest. One of these fundamentalpublic interests is the maintenance of the integrity and orderly functioning of the administration of justice. There is no antinomy between free expression and the integrity of the system of administering justice. For the protection and maintenance of freedom of expression itself can be secured only within thecontext of a functioning and orderly system of dispensing justice, within the context, in other words, of viable independent institutions for delivery of justice which are accepted by the general community. TheShow Cause Resolution does not interfere with respondents academic freedom.Even if the Court was willing to accept respondents proposition in the Common Compliance thattheir issuance of the Statement was in keeping with their duty to participate in the development of the legalsystem by initiating or supporting efforts in law reform and in the improvement of the administration of justice under Canon 4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, we cannot agree that they have fulfilledthat same duty in keeping with the demands of Canons 1, 11 and 13 to give due respect to legal processes andthe courts, and to avoid conduct that tends to influence the courts. Members of the Bar cannot be selectiveregarding which canons to abide by given particular situations. With more reason that law professors arenot allowed this indulgence, since they are expected to provide their students exemplars of the Code of Professional Responsibility as a whole and not just their preferred portions thereof.The Court finds that there was indeed a lack of observance of fidelity and due respect to the Court,particularly when respondents knew fully well that the matter of plagiarism in the Vinuya decision and the merits of the Vinuya decision itself, at the time of the Statements issuance, were still both sub judice orpending final disposition of the Court.

A.C. No. 6155 March 14, 2006MA. GINA L. FRANCISCO, JOSEPHINE S. TAN and CARLOS M. JOAQUIN vs. ATTY. JAIME JUANITO P. PORTUGALTINGA, J.: FACTS:SPO1 Ernesto C. Francisco, SPO1 Donato F. Tan and PO3 Rolando M. Joaquin were involved in ashooting incident which resulted in the death of two individuals and the serious injury of another. As a result,Informations were filed against them before the Sandiganbayan for murder and frustrated murder eventuallythey were convicted. Complainants engaged the services of herein respondent for the accused. Respondentthen filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the Sandiganbayan but it was denied still the respondent filedan Urgent Motion for Leave to File Second Motion for Reconsideration, with the attached Second Motion for Reconsideration and filed with this Court a Petition for Review on Certiorari.Thereafter, complainants never heard from respondent again despite the frequent telephone callsthey made to his office. When respondent did not return their phone inquiries, complainants went torespondents last known address only to find out that he had moved out without any forwarding address.More than a year after the petition was filed, complainants were constrained to personally verify the status of the petition and they were shocked that their petition was denied due to late filing and non-payment of docket fees and said resolution had attained finality and warrants of arrest had already been issued againstthem.Complainants filed before the SC an affidavit-complaint against Atty. Jaime Juanito P. Portugal(respondent) for violation of the Lawyers Oath, gross misconduct, and gross negligence for allegedmishandling of the petition which eventually led to its denial with finality. Respondent contends that he wasnot the original counsel of the accused. He only met the accused during the promulgation of theSandiganbayan decision convicting the accused of two counts of homicide and one count of attemptedhomicide. He was merely requested by the original counsel to be on hand, assist the accused, and bepresent at the promulgation of the Sandiganbayan decision and the petition was filed within thereglementary period. Respondent sent a letter the PO3 Joaquin for his formal withdrawal as counsel but thelatter did not reply. Upon the investigation of the IBP, it ruled respondent guilty of violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility and recommended the imposition of penalty ranging from reprimand tosuspension of six (6) months.ISSUE: Whether respondent committed gross negligence or misconduct in handling G.R. No. 152621-23,which eventually led to the ad cautelam petitions dismissal with finality.RULING:YES, SC ordered for the suspension of the respondent from the practice of law for three (3)months. The SC agreed to the IBP that the dismissal of the

ad cautelam petition was primarily due to thegross negligence of respondent Once he agrees to take up the cause of the client, the lawyer owes fidelity tosuch cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. He must serve the clientwith competence and diligence, and champion the latters cause with wholehearted fidelity, care, anddevotion. In a criminal case like that handled by respondent in behalf of the accused, respondent has ahigher duty to be circumspect in defending the accused for it is not only the property of the accused whichstands to be lost but more importantly, their right to their life and liberty. Thus, in the creation of lawyer-clientrelationship, there are rules, ethical conduct and duties that breathe life into it, among those, the fiduciaryduty to his client which is of very delicate, exacting and confidential character, requiring a very high degreeof fidelity and good faith that is required by reason of necessity and public interest.In this case, respondent ought to know that he was the one who should have filed the Notice toWithdraw and not the accused. His tale that he sent a registered letter to the accused and gave theminstructions on how to go about respondents withdrawal from the case defies credulity. It should have beenrespondent who undertook the appropriate measures for the proper withdrawal of his representation. Heshould not have relied on his client to do it for him if such was truly the case. The rule in this jurisdiction isthat a client has the absolute right to terminate the attorney-client relation at anytime with or without cause.The right of an attorney to withdraw or terminate the relation other than for sufficient cause is, however,considerably restricted. Among the fundamental rules of ethics is the principle that an attorney whoundertakes to conduct an action impliedly stipulates to carry it to its conclusion. He is not at liberty toabandon it without reasonable cause. A lawyers right to withdraw from a case before its final adjudicationarises only from the clients written consent or from a good causeFurthermore, after agreeing to take up the cause of a client, a lawyer owes fidelity to both causeand client, even if the client never paid any fee for the attorney-client relationship. Lawyering is not abusiness; it is a profession in which duty of public service, not money, is the primary consideration.

Public Attorneys Office vs. Sandiganbayan [G.R. Nos. 154297-300. February 15, 2008]
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Ponente: AZCUNA, J. FACTS: Chief Public Attorney filed an Urgent and Ex-Parte Motion to be Relieved as Court-Appointed Counsel with the Special Division of the Sandiganbayan, praying that she be relieved of her duties and responsibilities as counsel de oficio for the said accused on the ground that she had a swelling workload consisting of administrative matters and that the accused are not indigent persons; hence, they are not qualified to avail themselves of the services of PAO. Respondent Court found the reasons of the Chief Public Attorney to be plausible and relieved the Chief Public Attorney as counsel de oficio of former President Joseph Estrada and Mayor Jose Estrada. The remaining eight PAO lawyers filed an Ex-

Parte Motion To Be Relieved As Court-Appointed Counsels with respondent Court on the ground that the accused are not indigents; therefore, they are not qualified to avail themselves of the services of PAO. Respondent Court issued a Resolution denying the motion, but retaining two of the eight PAO lawyers, namely, the petitioners Atty. Usita, Jr. and Atty. Andres. Later, PAO filed a Manifestation and Compliance which informed the Court that petitioners Atty. Usita and Atty. Andres were appointed as Assistant City Prosecutors of the Quezon City Prosecutors Office sometime in August 2002, and that PAO is left as the lone petitioner in this case. PAO asserts that while its lawyers are also aware of their duties under Rule 14.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, PAO lawyers are limited by their mandate as government ISSUE: Whether or not respondent committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the subject Resolutions retaining two PAO lawyers to act as counsels de oficio for the accused who are not indigent persons. HELD: NO. Petition dismissed for being moot. RATIO: The Court holds that respondent did not gravely abuse its discretion in issuing the subject Resolutions as the issuance is not characterized by caprice or arbitrariness. At the time of PAOs appointment, the accused did not want to avail themselves of any counsel; hence, respondent exercised a judgment call to protect the constitutional right of the accused to be heard by themselves and counsel during the trial of the cases. Subsequently, respondent reduced the number of PAO lawyers directed to represent the accused, in view of the engagement of new counsels de parte, but retained two of the eight PAO lawyers obviously to meet such possible exigency as the accused again relieving some or all of their private counsels. In any event, since these cases of the accused in the Sandiganbayan have been finally resolved, this petition seeking that PAO, the only remaining petitioner, be relieved as counsel de oficio therein has become moot.

LOLITA ARTEZUELA VS. ATTY. RICARTE B. MADERAZO A.C. NO. 4354. APRIL 22, 2002

Facts: Artezuela filed before the Supreme Court a verified complaint for disbarment against the respondent. She alleged that respondent grossly neglected his duties her lawyer in a damage suit and failed to represent her interests with zeal and enthusiasm. According to her, when her case was scheduled for pre-trial conference, respondent asked for its postponement although all the parties were present.

Notwithstanding complainants persistent and repeated follow-up, respondent did not do anything to keep the case moving. He withdrew as counsel without obtaining complainants consent. DUTY TO HIS CLIENT Melvin Small v. Atty. Jerry Banares A.C. no. 7021, 516 SCRA 323, February 21, 2007 This is a complaint for disbarment filed by Melvin D. Small (complainant) against Atty. Jerry Banares (respondent) for failure to render legal services and to return the money received for his legal services. Facts: On 30 August 2001, complainant engaged the services of respondent in connection with several complaints to be filed against one Lyneth Amar (Amar). Complainant paid respondent P20,000 as acceptance fee. On 4 September 2001, complainant gave respondent P60,000 as filing fees for the cases against Amar. Respondent then wrote a demand letter for Amar and talked to Amar on the phone. Respondent also informed complainant that he would be preparing the documents for the cases. Complainant consistently communicated with respondent regarding the status of the cases. But respondent repeatedly told complainant to wait as respondent was still preparing the documents. On 5 January 2002, complainant required respondent to present all the documents respondent had prepared for the cases against Amar. Respondent was not able to present any document. This prompted complainant to demand for a full refund of the fees he had paid respondent. Complainant even hired the services of Atty. Rizalino Simbillo to recover the money from respondent. But respondent failed to return the money. Hence, complainant filed a case for disbarment before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) against respondent. Issue: Whether or not respondent is guilty of violating Canons 16, 18, and 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Ruling: Yes. The Code provides that a lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. The Code states that a lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client's request for information. The Code also mandates that every lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys of his client that may come into his possession. Furthermore, a lawyer shall account for all money received from the client and shall deliver the funds of the client upon demand. In this case, Complainant also claimed that respondent engaged in activities inimical to her interests. While acting as her counsel, respondent prepared Echavias Answer to the Amended Complaint. The said document was even printed in respondents office. Complainant further averred that it was respondent who sought the dismissal of the case, misleading the trial court into thinking that the dismissal was with her consent.

Issue: Whether or not the lawyer should be disbarred.

Held: Yes. He is guilty of representing conflicting interests prohibited by Rule 15.03 of Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. To be guilty of representing conflicting interests, a counsel-of-record of one party need not also be counsel-of-record of the adverse party. He does not have to publicly hold himself as the counsel of the adverse party, nor make his efforts to advance the adverse partys conflicting interests of record--although these circumstances are the most obvious and satisfactory proof of the charge. It is enough that the counsel of one party had a hand in the preparation of the pleading of the other party, claiming adverse and conflicting interests with that of his original client. To require that he also be counsel-ofrecord of the adverse party would punish only the most obvious form of deceit and reward, with impunity, the highest form of disloyalty.

DUTY TO HIS CLIENT Melvin Small v. Atty. Jerry Banares A.C. no. 7021, 516 SCRA 323, February 21, 2007 This is a complaint for disbarment filed by Melvin D. Small (complainant) against Atty. Jerry Banares (respondent) for failure to render legal services and to return the money received for his legal services. Facts: On 30 August 2001, complainant engaged the services of respondent in connection with several complaints to be filed against one Lyneth Amar (Amar). Complainant paid respondent P20,000 as acceptance fee. On 4 September 2001, complainant gave respondent P60,000 as filing fees for the cases against Amar. Respondent then wrote a demand letter for Amar and talked to Amar on the phone. Respondent also informed complainant that he would be preparing the documents for the cases. Complainant consistently communicated with respondent regarding the status of the cases. But respondent repeatedly told complainant to wait as respondent was still preparing the documents. On 5 January 2002, complainant required respondent to present all the documents respondent had prepared for the cases against Amar. Respondent was not able to present any document. This prompted complainant to demand for a full refund of the fees he had paid respondent. Complainant even hired the services of Atty. Rizalino Simbillo to recover the money from respondent. But respondent failed to return the money. Hence, complainant filed a case for disbarment before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) against respondent. Issue:

Whether or not respondent is guilty of violating Canons 16, 18, and 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Ruling: Yes. The Code provides that a lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. The Code states that a lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client's request for information. The Code also mandates that every lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys of his client that may come into his possession. Furthermore, a lawyer shall account for all money received from the client and shall deliver the funds of the client upon demand. In this case the respondent, after receiving Php 80,000.00 for filing of the case against Amar, failed to give complainant an update on the status of the cases. Moreover, it appears that respondent failed to file the appropriate cases against Amar. Respondent's failure to communicate with complainant was an unjustified denial of complainant's right to be fully informed of the status of the cases. Thus, respondent should have promptly accounted for and returned the money to complainant. But even after demand, respondent did not return the money. Respondent's failure to return the money to complainant upon demand is a violation of the trust reposed on him and is indicative of his lack of integrity. Adjudication: WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty. Jerry Banares GUILTY of violating Canons 16 and 18 and Rules 16.01, 16.03, and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, we SUSPEND respondent from the practice of law for two years effective upon finality of this Decision. We ORDER respondent to RETURN, within 30 days from notice of this decision, complainant's P80,000, with interest at 12% per annum from the date of promulgation of this decision until full payment. We DIRECT respondent to submit to the Court proof of payment within fifteen days from payment of the full amount. A.C. No. 5162 March 20, 2003 EMILIANO COURT TOWNHOUSES HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, complainant, vs. ATTY. MICHAEL DIONEDA, respondent. ECTHA and respondent entered into a Retainers Agreement wherein respondent lawyer agreed to handle the case of the complainant for P20,000.00 as attorneys fees and P1,000.00 as appearance fee per hearing. It was further agreed that respondent lawyer would update the complaint and work on the development of the case. Respondent failed to do such. Demands to give back the money were made but to no avail, thus this administrative charge. Despite due notice, respondent never attended the IBP administrative hearings. Held: SUSPENDED for six (6) months, with WARNING that repetition of the same will merit more severe penalty, and is ORDERED to RETURN to complainant their money with interest. A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY to the cause of his client mindful always of the trust and confidence reposed in him. An attorney-at-law must serve his client with competence and diligence at all times, and never neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, for it is his sworn duty

to delay no man for money or malice and to conduct himself in a proper manner not just to his client, but also to the court, the legal profession and society at large. Respondents lamentable attitude towards his clients case is clearly evident from his apparent disinterest in his own case for disbarment. Dioneda never bothered to present evidence in his defense. He disregarded all notices sent to him by the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, which were personally served at his office address. He never appeared before the Commission despite several opportunities to do so and explain his side. The primary objective of administrative cases against lawyers is not only to punish and discipline the erring individual lawyers but also to safeguard the administration of justice by protecting the courts and the public from the misconduct of lawyers, and to remove from the legal profession persons whose utter disregard of their lawyer's oath has proven them unfit to continue discharging the trust reposed in them as members of the bar. A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good demeanor or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.