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LEGAL & JUDICIAL

ETHICS

2017 GOLDEN NOTES


FACULTY OF CIVIL LAW
UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS
MANILA
The UST GOLDEN NOTES is the annual student-edited bar review
material of the University of Santo Tomas, Faculty of Civil Law.
Communications regarding the Notes should be addressed to the
Academics Committee of the UST Bar Operations.

Address: Academics Committee


UST Bar Operations
Faculty of Civil Law
University of Santo Tomas
Espaa, Manila 1008

Tel. No: (02) 731-4027


(02) 406-1611 loc. 8578

Academics Committee
Faculty of Civil Law
University of Santo Tomas
Espaa, Manila 1008

All rights reserved by the Academics Committee of the Faculty of Civil Law of the Pontifical
and Royal University of Santo Tomas, the Catholic University of the Philippines.

2017 Edition.

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No. ____________

Printed in the Philippines June 2017.


ACADEMIC YEAR 2017-2018
CIVIL LAW STUDENT COUNCIL
JONATHAN SANTOS PRESIDENT
MA. JASMIN A. LABACO INTERNAL VICE PRESIDENT
NIO JOSEPH B. PIO RODA EXTERNAL VICE PRESIDENT
KARIZZA KAMILLE M. CRUZ SECRETARY

UST BAR OPERATIONS

NIKKI MEI Q. KO CHAIRPERSON


RHOSE AZCELLE L. MAGAOAY VICE-CHAIRPERSON
JANN PATRICIA M. TORRES SECRETARY
JERREMIAH KRIZIAH B. BATALLER ASST. SECRETARY
NELLE FRANCESE DELA PAZ ASST. SECRETARY
ALEXANDER MARA J. VINLUAN HEAD, PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
DENZ CHRISTIAN A. RESENTES ASST. HEAD PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
CLARICE ANGELINE V. QUESTIN HEAD, FINANCE COMMITTEE
KAIRA MARIE B. CARLOS ASST. HEAD, FINANCE COMMITTEE
CLARA LOUISSE J. YUMANG HEAD, HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS COMMITTEE
EMMANUEL A. LANDAYAN ASST. HEAD, HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS
COMMITTEE
JOHN AL-NAIR SIMONE L. JUMAMIL ASST. HEAD, HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS
COMMITTEE
PATRICIA MAE D. GUILLERMO ASST. HEAD, HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS
COMMITTEE
NIO JOSEPH B. PIO RODA LOGISTICS COMMITTEE
JOCHRIS DANIEL Z. GUADES LOGISTICS COMMITTEE
BERYLL ANDR Y. BARCENAS LOGISTICS COMMITTEE
MON FRANCIS A. TOLENTINO LOGISTICS COMMITTEE
MICHAEL EARVIN R. SABADO LOGISTICS COMMITTEE

ATTY. AL CONRAD B. ESPALDON


ADVISER
ACADEMICS COMMITTEE

CAMILLE ANGELICA B. GONZALES SECRETARY GENERAL


EMNIE VALERIE B. DURAN DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL
IRVIN L. PALANCA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
MARIELLA A. MARASIGAN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
LARA NICOLE T. GONZALES EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

CAMILLE ANGELICA B. GONZALES LAYOUT ARTIST


CIARI T. MENDOZA COVER DESIGN ARTIST

LEGAL & JUDICIAL ETHICS COMMITTEE


STEFFI NICOLE P. FLORES
LEGAL & JUDICIAL ETHICS COMMITTEE HEAD

MEMBERS
FLORRENCE FAYE S. FRANCO
NEIL L. NABUAB

ATTY. AL CONRAD B. ESPALDON


ADVISER
FACULTY OF CIVIL LAW
UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS

ACADEMIC OFFICIALS

ATTY. NILO T. DIVINA REV. FR. ISIDRO C. ABAO, O.P.


DEAN REGENT

ATTY. ARTHUR B. CAPILI


FACULTY SECRETARY

ATTY. ELGIN MICHAEL C. PEREZ


LEGAL COUNSEL
UST CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTO CONCEPCION LEGAL AID CLINIC

JUDGE PHILIP A. AGUINALDO


SWDB COORDINATOR

LENY G. GADANIA, R.G.C.


GUIDANCE COUNSELOR
OUR DEEPEST APPRECIATION TO OUR
MENTORS AND INSPIRATION

JUDGE OSCAR PIMENTEL

JUDGE PHILIP A. AGUINALDO

JUSTICE AMY L. JAVIER

JUSTICE MYRA G. FERNANDEZ

ATTY. ELGIN MICHAEL C. PEREZ

ATTY. ARNOLD E. CACHO

JUDGE NOLI C. DIAZ

JUDGE GEORGINA D. HIDALGO

DEAN JOSE I. DELA RAMA, JR.

For being our guideposts in understanding the intricate sphere of Legal and Judicial
Ethics.
-Academics Committee 2017
Foreword for 2017 Golden Notes
Dean Nilo T. Divina

It is with pleasure that I introduce to you the 2017 Golden Notes - a product of the concerted
and dedicated efforts of our students, faculty and staff to ensure that our Bar candidates are
armed with the most comprehensive, updated and easy to digest reviewer as their companion
in the review process. This will provide key concepts, updated jurisprudence, relevant
comparisons and notable changes in the law, if any, right at your fingertips.

With the aid of selected lawyers, Golden Notes remains at the forefront of providing legal
insights raised from past bar questions and current events that could be part of the discussion
in the bar examinations.

Notably, the editors of this book signified their intention to serve in assisting our aspiring
lawyers to develop the kind of mentality needed in justifying answers supported by facts and
relevant provisions of laws during the Bar examinations, through the publications logical
sequence and meticulous presentation of even the most difficult legal concepts.

With the aim of increasing the candidates confidence and ensuring the efficient use of his/her
time in pouring through all eight (8) Bar subjects, we have enlisted the expertise of some of
the most senior practitioners in the different fields of law, including noted jurists and
esteemed bar reviewers. The diversity of the publication's roster of consultants and editors
ensures that it remains relevant and essential. Indeed, with contributions from different
people mentioned above, this issue of the Golden Notes marks an important new step in the
direction of the UST Faculty of Civil Law.

Let these notes, however, not detract you from the true goal. There is no substitute for hard
work, and there is no shortcut to excellence. Persevere. Strive. Keep the faith. You will make
it.

Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and
obstacles vanish into air.
- John Quincy Adams
Table of Contents
*based on 2017 Bar Syllabus

Practice of Law (Rule 138) .......................................................................................................................................................................... 1


A. Concept ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 1
1. Definition of the practice of law. ....................................................................................................................................... 1
2. Practice of law is a privilege, not a right........................................................................................................................ 4
3. Law as a profession, not a business or trade............................................................................................................... 4
B. Qualifications for Admission to the Bar .................................................................................................................................. 4
C. Appearance of Non-Lawyers ........................................................................................................................................................ 7
1. Law student practice rule (Rule 138-A) ........................................................................................................................ 7
2. Non-lawyers in courts. ........................................................................................................................................................... 8
3. Non-lawyers in administrative tribunals ...................................................................................................................... 9
4. Proceedings where lawyers are prohibited from appearing as counsels. .................................................... 9
D. Sanctions for Practice or appearance without authority ............................................................................................ 10
1. Lawyers without authority .................................................................................................................................................. 9
2. Persons who are not lawyers........................................................................................................................................... 11
E. Public officials and the practice of law ................................................................................................................................. 13
1. Prohibition or disqualification of former government attorneys. ................................................................. 13
2. Public officials who cannot practice law or can practice law with restrictions. ..................................... 13
F. Lawyers who are authorized to represent government .............................................................................................. 15
G. Lawyer's Oath ................................................................................................................................................................................... 16

Code of Professional Responsibility .................................................................................................................................................. 17


A. To society (Canons 1-6)............................................................................................................................................................... 17
1. Respect for law and legal processes ............................................................................................................................. 18
2. Efficient and convenient legal services ....................................................................................................................... 26
3. True, honest, fair, dignified and objective information on legal services .................................................. 29
4. Participation in the improvement and reforms in the legal system ............................................................. 32
5. Participation in legal education program .................................................................................................................. 32
B. To the legal profession ................................................................................................................................................................. 35
1. Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Rule 139-A) ...................................................................................................... 35
i. Membership and dues .............................................................................................................................................. 38
2. Upholding the dignity and integrity of the profession ........................................................................................ 39
3. Courtesy, fairness, and candor towards professional colleagues .................................................................. 41
4. No assistance in unauthorized practice of law. ....................................................................................................... 44
C. To the courts ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 47
1. Candor, fairness and good faith towards the courts ............................................................................................. 47
2. Respect for courts and judicial officers....................................................................................................................... 49
3. Assistance in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.................................................................... 54
4. Reliance on merits of his cause and avoidance of any impropriety which tends to influence or gives
the appearance of influence upon the courts ........................................................................................................... 58
D. To the clients..................................................................................................................................................................................... 59
1. Availability of service without discrimination ........................................................................................................ 61
i. Services regardless of a person's status .......................................................................................................... 62
ii. Services as counsel de officio ............................................................................................................................... 63
iii. Valid grounds for refusal to serve ...................................................................................................................... 63
2. Candor, fairness and loyalty to clients ........................................................................................................................ 65
i. Confidentiality rule.................................................................................................................................................... 66
ii. Privileged communications ................................................................................................................................... 66
iii. Conflict of interest...................................................................................................................................................... 68
iv. Candid and honest advise to clients .................................................................................................................. 72
v. Compliance with laws .............................................................................................................................................. 73
vi. Concurrent practice of another profession.................................................................................................... 74
3. Client's moneys and properties ...................................................................................................................................... 74
i. Fiduciary relationship .............................................................................................................................................. 75
ii. Co-mingling of funds................................................................................................................................................. 77
iii. Delivery of funds......................................................................................................................................................... 77
iv. Borrowing or lending ............................................................................................................................................... 78
4. Fidelity to client's cause ..................................................................................................................................................... 79
5. Competence and diligence ................................................................................................................................................ 80
i. Adequate preparation .............................................................................................................................................. 81
ii. Negligence...................................................................................................................................................................... 82
iii. Collaborating counsel ............................................................................................................................................... 81
iv. Duty to apprise client ............................................................................................................................................... 84
6. Representation with zeal within legal bounds ........................................................................................................ 85
i. Use of fair and honest means ................................................................................................................................ 86
ii. Client's fraud................................................................................................................................................................. 86
iii. Procedure in handling cases ................................................................................................................................. 87
7. Attorney's Fees ....................................................................................................................................................................... 88
i. Acceptance fees ........................................................................................................................................................... 92
ii. Contingency fee arrangements ............................................................................................................................ 93
iii. Attorney's Liens .......................................................................................................................................................... 95
iv. Fees and controversies with clients (Quantum Meruit) .......................................................................... 97
v. Concepts of attorney's fees .................................................................................................................................... 99
8. Preservation of client's confidences .......................................................................................................................... 100
i. Prohibited disclosures and use......................................................................................................................... 100
ii. Disclosure, when allowed.................................................................................................................................... 102
9. Withdrawal of Services .................................................................................................................................................... 103

Suspension, disbarment and discipline of lawyers (Rule 139-B, Rules of Court) .............................................. 105
A. Nature and characteristics of disciplinary actions against lawyers.................................................................... 105
1. Sui Generis ............................................................................................................................................................................. 107
2. Prescription ........................................................................................................................................................................... 108
B. Grounds ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 108
C. Proceedings .................................................................................................................................................................................... 110
D. Discipline of Filipino Lawyers practicing abroad ........................................................................................................ 114

Readmission to the Bar ........................................................................................................................................................................... 118


A. Lawyers who have been suspended ................................................................................................................................... 118
B. Lawyers who have been disbarred ..................................................................................................................................... 119
C. Lawyers who have been repatriated .................................................................................................................................. 120

Mandatory Continuing Legal Education ....................................................................................................................................... 122


A. Purpose............................................................................................................................................................................................. 122
B. Requirements ................................................................................................................................................................................ 122
C. Compliance ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 122
D. Exemptions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 123
E. Sanctions .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 124
F. Bar Matter 2012, Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Service ........................................................................................... 124

Notarial Practice (A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC)........................................................................................................................................ 126


A. Qualifications on notary public............................................................................................................................................. 126
B. Term of office of notary public .............................................................................................................................................. 129
C. Powers and Limitations............................................................................................................................................................ 129
D. Notarial Register .......................................................................................................................................................................... 134
E. Jurisdiction of notary public and place of notarization............................................................................................. 135
F. Revocation of commission ...................................................................................................................................................... 136
G. Competent evidence of identity ............................................................................................................................................ 136
H. Sanctions .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 137

Canons of Professional Ethics ............................................................................................................................................................. 137

Judicial Ethics ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 138


A. Administrative Jurisdiction over Judges and Justices (All levels) ........................................................................ 176
B. Disqualification of Justices and Judges (Rule 137) ...................................................................................................... 188
1. Compulsory ........................................................................................................................................................................... 188
2. Voluntary ................................................................................................................................................................................ 188
C. Initiation of complaint against Judges and Justices .................................................................................................... 179
D. Discipline of members of the Judiciary ............................................................................................................................. 176
1. Supreme Court ..................................................................................................................................................................... 176
2. Lower court judges and justices of the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals
(Rule 140) .............................................................................................................................................................................. 179
3. Grounds ................................................................................................................................................................................... 179
4. Sanctions imposed by the Supreme Court on erring members of the Judiciary .................................. 186

Practical Exercises ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 197


A. Quitclaims in Labor Cases ....................................................................................................................................................... 197
B. Simple Contracts - Lease, Sale of Realty or Personal property.............................................................................. 198
C. Promissory Note .......................................................................................................................................................................... 202
D. Verification and Certificate of Non-forum Shopping .................................................................................................. 202
E. Notice of Hearing and Explanation (All levels) ............................................................................................................. 202
F. Affidavits - Loss, Change of Name ........................................................................................................................................ 203
DISCLAIMER

THE RISK OF USE OF THIS BAR


REVIEW MATERIAL SHALL BE
BORNE BY THE USER
PRACTICE OF LAW
All prisoners whether under preventive detention
LEGAL ETHICS or serving final sentence cannot practice their
profession nor engage in any business or
Legal Ethics occupation, or hold office, elective or appointive,
while in detention. This is a necessary consequence
It is a branch of moral science which treats of the of arrest and detention (People v. Maceda, G.R. Nos.
duties which an attorney owes to the court, to his 89591-96, January 24, 2000).
client, to his colleagues in the profession and to the
public as embodied in the Constitution, Rules of Essential criteria in determining whether a
Court, the Code of Professional Responsibility, person is engaged in the practice of law [CAHA]
Canons of Professional Ethics, jurisprudence, moral,
law and special laws (Justice George Malcolm). 1. Compensation implies that one must have
presented himself to be in active practice and
Sources of ethical standards for the Judiciary that his professional services are available to
the public for compensation, as a source of
1. Primary livelihood or in consideration of his said
a. Bar services;
i. Code of Professional Responsibility
ii. Constitution 2. Application of law, legal principle, practice or
iii. Rules of Court procedure which calls for legal knowledge,
b. Bench training and experience;
i. New Code of Judicial Conduct for the
Philippine Judiciary 3. Habituality implies customary or habitually
ii. Rules of Court holding oneself out to the public as a lawyer.
c. Other personnel Code of Conduct for Practice of law is more than an isolated
Court Personnel appearance for it consists in frequent or
customary action; and
2. Secondary
a. Decisions/Resolutions of the Supreme 4. Attorney-Client relationship - engaging in the
Court practice of law presupposes the existence of a
b. Supreme Court Circulars lawyer-client relationship. Ten (10) years of
c. Order/Resolution of other courts practice of law includes work as a litigator, in-
d. IBP Issuances house counsel, giving of legal advice, teaching of
e. Treatises and Publications law, and even foreign assignment which
requires the knowledge and application of the
PRACTICE OF LAW laws.
---
Concept
Q: Ronnie, a paralegal in a law firm, helped Beth
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, in a property dispute in which she was involved
which requires the application of law, legal by giving her legal advice and preparing a
procedure, knowledge, training, and experience complaint that she eventually filed in court
(Cayetano v. Monsod, G.R. No. 100113, September 3, under her own signature. When the lawyer for
1991). the defendant learned of it, he told Ronnie to
desist from practicing law. But he disputed this,
The following acts constitute practice of law: claiming that he had not practiced law since he
did not receive compensation from Beth for his
a. Giving of advice or rendering any kind of help. Is Ronnie correct? (2011 Bar)
service that involves legal knowledge;
b. Appearance in court and conduct of cases in A: NO. The receipt of compensation is not the sole
court; determinant of legal practice. Giving of advice or
c. Preparation of pleadings and other papers rendering any kind of service that involves legal
incident to actions as well as drawing of knowledge is also considered as practice of law. As
deeds and instruments of conveyance; and such, Ronnie should desist from giving legal advice
d. Notarial acts. since the same is considered a practice of law for
which he is not qualified.
NOTE: A lawyer who is a detention prisoner is not
allowed to practice his profession as a necessary ---
consequence of his status as a detention prisoner.

1
LEGAL ETHICS
Q: Medado passed the bar exams in 1979 and Does the preparation of an extrajudicial
took the Attorneys Oath at PICC. He was settlement of estate constitute practice of law?
scheduled to sign in the Roll of Attorneys but he
failed to do so on his scheduled date, allegedly A: YES. The preparation of an extrajudicial
because he had misplaced the Notice to Sign the settlement of the estate constitutes practice of law
Roll of Attorneys given by the Office of the Bar as defined in the case of Cayetano v. Monsod. Not
Confidant when he went home to his province being a lawyer, Evelyn had no authority to prepare
for a vacation. Several years later, Medado found and finalize an extrajudicial settlement of estate.
the Notice and then realized that what he signed Worse, she even received money from Leticia for
at the PICC was merely an attendance record. In her services. In preparing and finalizing the
2012, Medado filed the instant Petition, praying extrajudicial settlement of estate and receiving
that he be allowed to sign in the Roll of compensation for the same even when she is not a
Attorneys. lawyer, Evelyn is guilty of simple misconduct
punishable under Sec. 52(B)(2) of the Revised
a. Should his petition be allowed? Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil
b. Did he engage in unauthorized practice of Service.
law?
Evelyn is a court employee whose conduct must
A: always be beyond reproach from any suspicion that
a. YES. At the outset, not allowing Medado to sign may taint the judiciary. Evelyn is expected to exhibit
the Roll of Attorneys would be akin to imposing the highest sense of honesty and integrity not only
upon him the ultimate penalty of disbarment, a in the performance of her official duties but also in
penalty that is reserved for the most serious ethical her personal and private dealings with other people
transgressions of members of the Bar. Medado to preserve the court's good name and standing
demonstrated good faith and good moral character (Arienda v. Monilla, Court Stenographer, RTC, A.M.
when he finally filed the instant Petition to Sign in No. P-11-2980, June 10, 2013).
the Roll of Attorneys. It was not a third party who
called the Courts attention to petitioners omission; ---
rather, it was Medado himself who acknowledged
his own lapse, albeit after the passage of more than Persons excluded in the term Practicing
30 years. Lawyer

b. YES. Medado may have at first operated under an 1. Government employees and incumbent elective
honest mistake of fact when he thought that what he officials are not allowed to practice;
had signed at the PICC entrance before the oath- 2. Lawyers who by law are not allowed to appear
taking was already the Roll of Attorneys. However, in court;
the moment he realized that what he had signed was 3. Supervising lawyers of students enrolled in law
merely an attendance record, he could no longer student practice in duly accredited legal clinics
claim an honest mistake of fact as a valid of law schools and lawyers of Non-Government
justification. In spite of this knowledge, he chose to Organizations (NGOs) and Peoples
continue practicing law without taking the Organizations (POs) who by the nature of their
necessary steps to complete all the requirements for work already render free legal aid to indigent
admission to the Bar, he willfully engaged in the and pauper litigants; and
unauthorized practice of law (In Re: Petition to sign 4. Lawyers not covered under subparagraphs (i)
in the Roll of Attorneys Michael Medado, B.M. No. to (iii) (of Sec. 4, B.M. 2012) including those who
2540, September 24, 2013). are employees in the private sector but do not
appear for and in behalf of parties in courts of
--- law and quasi-judicial agencies.

Q: Evelyn works as a court stenographer at the DEFINITIONS


Regional Trial Court of Legaspi City. One day,
Evelyn offered to extrajudicially settle the estate 1. Bar vs. Bench
of the mother of her friend, Leticia. Evelyn was
paid for her services. Leticia later on learned BAR BENCH
that Evelyn had no authority to settle her Refers to the whole Refers to the whole
deceased mother's estate as she was not even a body of attorneys and body of judges and
lawyer but an ordinary court employee. counselors. justices.
Consequently, Leticia filed an administrative Collectively, the
case against Evelyn. members of the legal

2
PRACTICE OF LAW
profession.
7. Amicus Curiae par excellence
2. Bar Admission
A bar association which appears in court as amicus
It is the act by which one is licensed to practice curiae or a friend of the court; it acts merely as a
before courts of a particular state or jurisdiction consultant to guide the court in doubtful questions
after satisfying certain requirements: or issues pending before it.

a. Bar examinations; 8. Practicing Lawyer vs. Trial lawyer (2006 Bar)


b. Period of residency; and
c. Admission on grounds of reciprocity after PRACTICING LAWYER TRIAL LAWYER
period of years as member of the bar One engaged in the One who personally
(Pineda, 2009). practice of law, which is handles cases in court,
not limited to the administrative
3. Attorney-at-law vs. Attorney-in-fact conduct of cases in court, agencies or boards and
but includes legal advice engages in actual trial
ATTORNEY-AT-LAW ATTORNEY-IN-FACT and counseling, and the work, either for the
Class of persons who Simply an agent whose preparation of prosecution or for the
are licensed officers of authority is strictly instruments and defense of cases of
the court empowered limited by the contracts by which legal clients.
to appear, prosecute instrument appointing rights are secured.
and defend, and upon him. His authority is
whom peculiar duties, provided in a special 9. Lead counsel vs. In-house counsel vs. Of
responsibilities and power of attorney, or counsel
liabilities are general power of
developed by law as a attorney, or letter of LEAD IN-HOUSE / OF COUNSEL
consequence. attorney. He is not COUNSEL HOUSE
necessarily a lawyer. COUNSEL
A lead counsel He is one who He is an
4. Attorney of record vs. Attorney ad hoc is a lawyer on acts as experienced
either side of a attorney for a lawyer, usually
ATTORNEY OF ATTORNEY AD HOC litigated action business a retired
RECORD who is charged though carried member of the
Attorney of record is an An attorney ad hoc is a with the as an employee judiciary,
attorney whose name is person appointed by principal of that business employed by
entered in the records the court to defend an management and not as an law firms as
of an action or suit as absentee defendant in and direction independent consultants.
the lawyer of a the suit in which the of a partys lawyer.
designated party appointment was case, as
thereto. made. distinguished
from his
4. Counsel de oficio juniors or
subordinates.
An attorney appointed by the court to defend an
indigent defendant in a criminal action. 10. Public Prosecutor vs. Private Prosecutor

5. Counsel de parte PUBLIC PRIVATE


PROSECUTOR PROSECUTOR
A private counsel of a party secured by him, without He is a quasi-judicial A private prosecutor is
intervention from the government. officer who represents a lawyer engaged by a
the state in criminal litigant to intervene in
6. Amicus Curiae proceedings. the prosecution of a
criminal action when
An experienced and impartial attorney invited by the offended party is
the court to appear and help in the disposition of the entitled to indemnity
issues submitted to it. Amicus curiae appear in court and has not waived
not to represent any particular party but only to expressly, reserved or
assist the court (plural: Amici Curiae). instituted the civil

3
LEGAL ETHICS
action for damages. He PRIVILEGE
is under the direction
and control of the Nature of the practice of law
public prosecutor (Sec.
5 Rule 110 RRC as The practice of law is not a natural, property or
amended, May 1, 2002). constitutional right but a mere privilege. It is not a
right granted to anyone who demands it but a
11. Assumpsit (2006 Bar) privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise
of sound judicial discretion. It is a privilege
Literally means he has undertaken. It is an action accorded only to those who measure up to certain
for the recovery of damages by reason of the breach rigid standards of mental and moral fitness.
or non-performance of a simple contract, either
express or implied, whether made orally or in NOTE: It becomes a property right if there is a
writing. Assumpsit is the word always used in contract for Attorneys Fees.
pleadings by the plaintiff to set forth the defendants
undertaking or promise. PROFESSION, NOT BUSINESS

NOTE: Claims in action of assumpsit are ordinarily Law is a profession and not a trade
divided into (a) common or indebitatus assumpsit,
brought usually on an implied promise, and (b) The legal profession is not a business. It is not a
special assumpsit, founded on an express promise. money-making trade similar to that of a
businessman employing a strategy for the purpose
12. Pro Se of monetary gain. It is a sacred profession imbued
with public interest whose primary objective is
A party to a lawsuit, who represents himself, is public service, as it is an essential part in the
appearing in the case "pro se." administration of justice and a profession in pursuit
of which pecuniary reward is considered merely
NOTE: When there is prohibition to practice law, it incidental.
refers to all other cases except where such person
would appear in court to defend himself (Pro Se). QUALIFICATIONS

13. Advocate The Supreme Court has the power to promulgate


rules concerning the protection and enforcement of
It is a lawyer who pleads on behalf of someone else. constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and
He pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or procedure in all courts, the admission to the
judicial court (Pineda, 2009). practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal
assistance to the underprivileged (Sec. 5(5), Art. VIII,
14. Barrister 1987 Constitution).

He is a person entitled to practice law as an advocate Legislature is not allowed to regulate the
or counsel in superior courts (Pineda, 2009). practice of law

--- The 1987 Constitution no longer provides for the


power of the legislature to repeal, alter and
Q: The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) supplement the Rules promulgated by the Supreme
may intervene in a case involving a matter of Court regulating the practice of law.
public law or professional concern as: (2014
Bar) Who may practice law

A: Amicus par excellence Any person heretofore duly admitted as a member


of the bar, or hereafter admitted as such in
--- accordance with the provisions of the rule, and who
is in good and regular standing, is entitled to
Q: A person named and appointed by the court practice law (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Rules of Court).
to defend an absentee defendant in the suit in
which the appointment is made is an: (2014 Bar) Requirements for admission to the Bar

A: Attorney ad hoc Under Sections 2, 5 and 6 of Rule 138, the applicant


must be [C21-GRENAPOS]:

4
PRACTICE OF LAW
1. a Citizen of the Philippines; through Amendments to Rule 138 of the Rules of
2. At least 21 years of age; Court, March 9, 2010).
3. Of Good moral character;
4. a Resident of the Philippines; ---
5. Must produce before the SC satisfactory
Evidence of good moral character; Q: Ching was born on April 1964 to a Filipino
6. No charges against him, involving moral mother and Chinese father. He was conditionally
turpitude, have been filed or are pending in allowed to take the bar examination because of
any court in the Philippines (Sec. 2, Rule 138, questions concerning his citizenship. Upon
RRC) passing the bar, he was required to present
7. Must have complied with the Academic further proof of citizenship and was not allowed
requirements; to take the Oath. Can he elect Philippine
8. Must Pass the bar examinations; citizenship, 14 years after reaching the age of
9. Take the lawyers Oath; and majority (required under the 1935
10. Sign the Roll of Attorneys. Constitution)?

NOTE: Being allowed to take the bar examinations, A: NO. Ching is not qualified to be a lawyer for
and consequently passing the bar, does not having elected Philippine citizenship 14 years after
necessarily entail being allowed to take the lawyers reaching the age of majority. Ching offered no
oath of office. reason why he delayed the election of Philippine
citizenship. The procedure is not a tedious process.
Admission to Philippine Bar All that is required is to execute an affidavit and file
the same in the nearest registry (In Re: Application
Passing the Bar examination is not sufficient for for Admission to the Philippine Bar of Vicente Ching,
admission of a person to the Philippine Bar. He still B.M. 914, October 1, 1999).
has to take the oath of office and sign the Roll of
Attorneys as prerequisites to admission. ---

The 5 Strike Rule in taking the Bar Q: Atty. Melendrez filed a petition to disqualify
Meling from taking the bar exams and to impose
The Former 5-Strike Rule was lifted by the Supreme disciplinary penalty as a member of the Shari'a
Court en banc in a resolution on September 3, 2013. Bar. He alleged that in his application to take the
Thus, to this day, the taking of the bar has no limit. bar, Meling failed to disclose the fact that he has
3 pending criminal cases. Also, Meling has been
Requirements for a Filipino who graduated from using the title Attorney" in his communications
a foreign law school to be admitted to the Bar as secretary to the Mayor. Should Meling be
disqualified from being admitted to the Bar?
He may be admitted to the bar only upon
submission to the Supreme Court of certifications A: YES. Meling's deliberate silence and non-
showing: revelation of his pending criminal cases constitute
concealment. The disclosure requirement is
a. Completion of all courses leading to the imposed to determine whether there is satisfactory
degree of Bachelor of Laws or its equivalent evidence of good moral character of the applicant.
degree; By concealing the existence of such cases, the
b. Recognition or accreditation of the law school applicant flunks the test of fitness even if the cases
by the proper authority; are ultimately proven unwarranted or insufficient
c. Completion of all fourth year subjects in the to impugn or affect the good moral character of the
Bachelor of Laws academic program in a law applicant. Further, it was highly improper for
school duly recognized by the Meling, as member of the Shari'a Bar, to use the title
Philippine Government; and "Attorney". Only members of the Philippine Bar,
d. Present proof of completing a separate who have obtained the necessary degree in the
bachelors degree. study of law and successfully passed the bar exams,
been admitted to the IBP and remain members in
A Filipino citizen who completed and obtained his good standing are authorized to practice law and
or her degree in Bachelor of Laws or its equivalent thus use the title (In Re: Disqualification of Bar
in a foreign law school must also present proof of Examinee Haron S. Meling, B.M. No. 1154, June 8,
completion of a separate bachelors degree (Bar 2004).
Matter No. 1153, Re: Letter of Atty. Estelito P.
Mendoza Proposing Reforms in the Bar Examinations ---

5
LEGAL ETHICS
Q: Mike Adelantado disclosed in his petition to with a genuine concern for civic duties and public
take the 2003 bar examinations that there were service and that it has been proved that he has
two civil cases pending against him for exerted all efforts to atone for the death of Raul and
nullification of contract and damages. He was the court gave him the benefit of the doubt, taking
conditionally allowed to take the bar, and judicial notice of the general tendency of youth to be
subsequently placed third in the said exams. In rash, temerarious and uncalculating (Re: Petition of
2004, after the two civil cases had been Al Argosino to Take the Lawyers Oath, B.M. No.
resolved, Mike Adelantado filed his petition to 712, March 19, 1997).
take the Lawyers Oath and sign the Roll of
Attorneys before the Supreme Court. The Office ---
of the Bar Confidant, however, had received two
anonymous letters: the first alleged that at the Good moral character is a continuing
time Adelantado filed his petition to take the requirement
bar, he had two other civil cases pending against
him, as well as a criminal case for violation of The nature of the office of an attorney requires that
B.P. 22; the other letter alleged that Adelantado, a lawyer shall be a person of good moral character.
as Sangguniang Kabataan Chairperson, had Since this qualification is a condition precedent to a
been signing the attendance sheets of SK license to enter upon the practice of law, the
meetings as Atty. Mike Adelantado. Having maintenance thereof is equally essential during the
passed the Bar, can Mike already use the continuance of the practice and the exercise of the
appellation attorney? Explain your answer. privilege (Grande v. Atty. De Silva, A.C. No. 4838, July
29, 2003).
A: NO. Passing the Bar examination is not sufficient
for admission of a person to the Philippine Bar. He Well-settled is the rule that good moral character is
still has to take the oath of office and sign the not only a condition precedent for admission to the
Attorneys Roll as prerequisites to admission. Only legal profession, but it must also remain intact in
those who have been admitted to the Philippine Bar order to maintain ones good standing in that
can be called Attorney." Further, he should not be exclusive and honored fraternity (Tapucar v.
allowed to take his oath and sign the Attorneys Roll. Tapucar, A.C. No. 4148, July 30, 1998).
Rule 7.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
provides that a lawyer shall be answerable for The requirement of good moral character has
knowingly making a false statement or suppressing four general purposes, namely:
a material fact in connection with his application for
admission to the Bar (Alawi v. Alauya, A.M. No. SDC- 1. To protect the public;
97-2-P, February 4, 1997). 2. To protect the public image of lawyers;
3. To protect prospective clients; and
--- 4. To protect errant lawyers from themselves.

Q: Argosino passed the bar examinations held in Each purpose is as important as the other
1993. The Court, however, deferred his oath- (Garrido v. Attys. Garrido and Valencia, A.C. No.
taking due to his previous conviction for 6593, February 4, 2010).
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide.
The criminal case, which resulted in Argosinos Practice of law by the clerk of court
conviction, arose from the death of a neophyte
during fraternity initiation rites. Various GR: The practice of law by a clerk of court is not
certifications showed that he is a devout allowed, except isolated practice.
Catholic with a genuine concern for civic duties
and public service. Also, it has been proven that XPNs:
Mr. Argosino has exerted all efforts to atone for 1. Written permission which must be approved
the death of Raul. Should Argosino be allowed to by the Supreme Court; and
take his lawyer's oath? 2. Approved leave of absence with justifiable
reasons.
A: YES. The practice of law is a privilege granted
only to those who possess the strict intellectual and ---
moral qualifications required of lawyers who are
instruments in the effective and efficient Q: Atty. Ladaga, a clerk of court, appeared as
administration of justice. The SC recognizes that Mr. counsel for and in behalf of his cousin in a
Argosino is not inherently of bad moral fiber given criminal case for falsification of public
the various certifications that he is a devout Catholic documents before the MeTC of Quezon City. The

6
PRACTICE OF LAW
appearance of Atty. Ladaga in said case was other papers to be filed, must be signed by the
without the previous permission of the Court. supervising attorney for and in behalf of the
Did Atty. Ladaga violate the Code of Conduct and legal clinic (Sec. 2, Rule 138-A).
Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
Employees by engaging in private practice? NOTE: The law student shall comply with the
standards of professional conduct governing
A: YES. "Private practice" of a profession, which is members of the Bar. Failure of an attorney to
prohibited, does not pertain to an isolated court provide adequate supervision of student practice
appearance; rather, it contemplates a succession of may be a ground for disciplinary action (Circular
acts of the same nature habitually or customarily No.19, dated December 19, 1986).
holding one's self to the public as a lawyer. It is true
that he filed leave applications corresponding to the The law student shall comply with the standards of
dates he appeared in court but he failed to obtain a professional conduct governing members of the
prior permission from the head of the Department Bar. Failure of an attorney to provide adequate
(OCA v. Atty. Ladaga, A.M. No. P-99-1287, January 26, supervision of student practice may be a ground for
2001). disciplinary action (Circular No.19, dated December
19, 1986).
APPEARANCE OF NON-LAWYERS
---
Appearance of non-lawyers
Q: Alex filed before the MeTC a formal Entry of
GR: Only those who are licensed to practice law can Appearance as private prosecutor in a criminal
appear and handle cases in court. case for Grave Threats where his father was the
complainant.
XPNs:
1. Law student practice; Describing himself as a third year law student,
2. Non-lawyers in court can appear for a party in he justified his appearance as private
MTC; and prosecutor on the basis of Section 34 of Rule 138
of the Rules of Court. However, the MeTC denied
NOTE: Section 34, Rule 138 of the Revised his request on the ground that Circular No. 19
Rules of Court expressly allows pro se practice governing limited law student practice in
or the right of a non-member of the bar to conjunction with Rule 138-A should take
engage in limited practice of law (Antiquiera, precedence over the ruling of the Court that a
1992). non-lawyer may appear before the inferior
courts as an agent or friend of a party litigant.
3. Non-lawyers can represent parties in Was the denial of the court proper?
administrative tribunals such as NLRC,
DARAB, and Cadastral Courts. A: NO. In a Resolution dated June 10, 1997 in Bar
Matter No. 730, the Court En Banc clarified: The
LAW STUDENT PRACTICE rule, however, is different if the law student appears
before an inferior court, where the issues and
Law student practice Rule procedure are relatively simple. In inferior courts, a
law student may appear in his personal capacity
A law student who has successfully completed his without the supervision of a lawyer. As provided
third year of the regular four-year prescribed law for in Section 34, Rule 138, a law student may
curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized law appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend
school's clinical legal education program approved of a party without the supervision of a member of
by the Supreme Court, may appear without the bar.
compensation in any civil, criminal or
administrative case before any trial court, tribunal, Petitioner expressly anchored his appearance on
board or officer, to represent indigent clients Section 34 of Rule 138. The court must have been
accepted by the legal clinic of the law school (Sec. 1, confused by the fact that petitioner referred to
Rule 138-A). himself as a law student in his entry of appearance.
Rule 138-A should not have been used by the courts
The appearance of the law student authorized by a quo in denying permission to act as private
this rule, shall be under the direct supervision and prosecutor against petitioner for the simple reason
control of a member of the Integrated Bar of the that Rule 138-A is not the basis for petitioners
Philippines duly accredited by the law school. Any appearance (Cruz v. Mina, et al, G.R. No. 154207, April
and all pleadings, motions, briefs, memoranda or 27, 2007).

7
LEGAL ETHICS
--- his litigation personally but if he gets someone
to aid him, that someone must be authorized
Q: Ferdinand Cruz sought permission to enter member of the Bar (Sec. 34, Rule 138, RRC);
his appearance for and on his behalf before the
RTC as the plaintiff in a Civil Case for Abatement NOTE: A non-lawyer conducting his own
of Nuisance. Cruz, a fourth year law student, litigation is bound by the same rules in
anchors his claim on Section 34 of Rule 138 of conducting the trial case. He cannot after
the Rules of Court that a non-lawyer may appear judgment, claim that he was not properly
before any court and conduct his litigation represented.
personally. Judge Mijares denied the motion
with finality. In the same Order, the trial court 3. Criminal case before the MTC in a locality
held that for the failure of Cruz to submit the where a duly licensed member of the Bar is not
promised document and jurisprudence and for available, the judge may appoint a non- lawyer
his failure to satisfy the requirements or who is a:
conditions under Rule 138-A of the Rules of
Court, his appearance was denied. Did the court a. Resident of the province; and
act with grave abuse of discretion amounting to b. Of good repute for probity and ability to aid
lack or excess of jurisdiction when it denied the the accused in his defense (Sec. 7, Rule 116,
appearance of Cruz as party litigant? RRC); and

A: YES. The law recognizes the right of an individual 4. Any official or other person appointed or
to represent himself in any case to which he is a designated to appear for the Government of
party. The Rules state that a party may conduct his the Philippines in accordance with law (Sec.
litigation personally or with the aid of an attorney, 33, Rule 138, RRC).
and that his appearance must either be personal or
by a duly authorized member of the Bar. The NOTE: Such person shall have all the rights of a
individual litigant may personally do everything in duly authorized member of the Bar to appear in
the course of proceedings from commencement to any case in which said government has a direct
the termination of the litigation. Cruz as plaintiff, at or indirect interest (Sec. 33, Rule 138, RRC).
his own instance, can personally conduct the
litigation of his case. He would then be acting not as Partys Right to Self-Representation
a counsel or lawyer, but as a party exercising his
right to represent himself. A partys representation on his own behalf is not
considered to be a practice of law as "one does not
The trial court must have been misled by the fact practice law by acting for himself, any more than he
that Cruz is a law student and must, therefore, be practices medicine by rendering first aid to himself
subject to the conditions of the Law Student Practice (Maderada v. Mediodea, A.M. No. MTJ-02-1459,
Rule. It erred in applying Rule 138-A, when the basis October 14, 2003).
of Cruz's claim is Section 34 of Rule 138. The former
rule provides for conditions when a law student Therefore, a person can conduct the litigation of the
may appear in courts, while the latter rule allows cases personally. He is not engaged in the practice
the appearance of a non- lawyer as a party of law if he represents himself in cases in which he
representing himself (Cruz v. Mijares, et al., G.R. No. is a party. By conducting the litigation of his own
154464, September 11, 2008). cases, he acts not as a counsel or lawyer but as a
party exercising his right to represent himself.
NON LAWYERS IN COURT Certainly, he does not become a counsel or lawyer
by exercising such right (Santos v. Judge Lacurom,
Non-lawyers in court A.M. No. RTJ-04-1823, August 28, 2006).

The following are the instances whereby non- Party-Litigant representing himself/herself
lawyers may appear in court:
In civil cases, an individual litigant has the right to
1. Cases before the MTC: A party to the litigation, conduct his litigation personally.
may conduct his own case or litigation in
person, with the aid of an agent or friend In criminal cases, in grave and less grave offenses,
appointed by him for that purpose (Sec. 34, Rule an accused who is a layman must always appear by
138, RRC); counsel; he cannot conduct his own defense without
violating his right to due process of law. In light
2. Before any other court, a party may conduct offenses a party-litigant can represent

8
PRACTICE OF LAW
himself/herself. as attorneys fees, 15% for Atty. John and 10%
for Eric, a non-lawyer. When WXT appealed to
NOTE: Where an accused was not duly represented the Court of Appeals, Atty. John questioned Erics
by a member of the Bar during trial, the judgment continued appearance before that court on
should be set aside, and the case remanded to the Luisas behalf, he not being a lawyer. Is Eric's
trial court for a new trial (People v. Santocildes, Jr., appearance before the Court of Appeals valid?
G.R. No. 109149, December 21, 1999). (2011 Bar)

With regard to a juridical person, it must always A: NO. The practice of law is only reserved for those
appear in court through a duly licensed member of qualified for the same. Erics appearance in court on
the bar, except before MTC where it may be behalf of another is not sanctioned by the rules. A
represented by its agent or officer who need not be non-lawyer may only be allowed to appear in court
a lawyer. if he is representing himself not that of another (Sec.
34, Rule 138, RRC).
Limits on the appearance of non-lawyers
---
1. He should confine his work to non-adversary
contentions; Q: Kanlaon Construction and Reluya, et al. cases
2. He should not undertake purely legal work, were assigned before two labor arbiters.
such as the examination or cross- examination Without written authority to represent Kanlaon
of witnesses, or the presentation of evidence; Construction, the engineers who were co-
and defendants of Kanalaon, admitted the
3. His services should not be habitually rendered. complaints against them. Consequently, the
He should not charge or collect attorneys fees labor arbiters adjudicated the case in favor of
(PAFLU v. Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Co., G.R. No. Reluya et al. Can the engineers represent their
L-23959, November 29, 1971). co-defendant in the labor cases?

NON-LAWYERS IN ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL A: NO, the appearance of the engineers on behalf of


Kanlaon Construction required written proof of
1. Under the Labor Code, non-lawyers may appear authorization. It was incumbent upon the arbiters to
before the NLRC or any Labor Arbiter, if: ascertain his authority especially since both
engineers were named co-respondents in the cases
a. They represent themselves; or before the arbiters. Absent this authority, whatever
b. They represent their organization or statements and declarations the engineers made
members thereof (Art. 222, PD 442, as before the arbiters could not bind Kanlaon.
amended) (2002 Bar); or
c. If they are duly accredited members of any Nevertheless, even assuming that the engineers
legal aid office duly recognized by the were authorized to appear as representatives of
Department of Justice, or the Integrated Kanlaon, they could bind the latter only in
Bar of the Philippines in cases referred to procedural matters before the arbiters and the
by the latter. Commission. Kanlaon's liability arose from
engineers alleged promise to pay. A promise to pay
NOTE: He is not, however, entitled amounts to an offer to compromise and requires a
to attorneys fees under Article 222 of the Labor special power of attorney or the express consent of
Code for not being a lawyer (Five J. Taxi v. NLRC, Kanlaon. The authority to compromise cannot be
G.R. No. 111474, August 22, 1994). lightly presumed and should be duly established by
evidence (Kanlaon Construction v. NLRC, G.R. No.
2. Under the Cadastral Act, a non-lawyer can 126625, September 18, 1997).
represent a claimant before the Cadastral Court
(Sec. 9, Act No. 2259). PROCEEDINGS WHERE LAWYERS ARE
PROHIBITED FROM APPEARING
---
1. Proceedings before the Small Claims Court - No
Q: Eric, a labor federation president, attorney shall appear in behalf of or represent a
represented Luisa, a dismissed WXT employee, party at the hearing, unless the attorney is the
before the NLRC. Atty. John represented Luisa's plaintiff or defendant (Sec. 17, Rule of Procedure
two co-complainants. In due course, the NLRC for Small Claims Cases).
reinstated the three complainants with
backwages and awarded 25% of the backwages NOTE: If the court determines that a party

9
LEGAL ETHICS
cannot properly present his/her claim or respondents acted as counsel for KWD without
defense and needs assistance, the court may, in legal authority. Are their contentions tenable?
its discretion, allow another individual who is
not an attorney to assist that party upon A: YES. Attys. N, V and M had no valid authority to
the latters consent. (Sec. 17, Rule of Procedure appear as collaborating counsels of KWD. Nothing in
for Small Claims Cases) the records shows that Atty. N was engaged by KWD
as collaborating counsel. There is no proof that the
2. Proceedings before the Katarungang OGCC and COA approved their engagement as legal
Pambarangay - During the pre-trial conference counsel or collaborating counsel. In the case of Atty.
under the Rules of Court, lawyers are I, he also appeared as counsel of KWD without
prohibited from appearing for the parties. authority, after his authority as its counsel had
Parties must appear in person only except expired.
minors or incompetents who may be assisted
by their next of kin who are not lawyers (P.D. Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a
No. 1508, Formerly Sec. 9; Local Government member of the Bar may be disbarred or suspended
Code of 1991, R.A. 7160, Sec. 415). from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for
corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a
SANCTIONS FOR PRACTICE OR party to a case without authority to do so.
APPEARANCE WITHOUT AUTHORITY Disbarment, however, is the most severe form of
disciplinary sanction, and, as such, the power to
Remedies against practice of law without disbar must always be exercised with great caution,
authority [ICE-DA] and should be imposed only for the most imperative
reasons and in clear cases of misconduct affecting
1. Petition for Injunction; the standing and moral character of the lawyer as an
2. Contempt of court; officer of the court and member of the Bar.
3. Criminal complaint for Estafa against a person Accordingly, disbarment should not be decreed
who falsely represented himself to be an where any punishment less severe such as a
attorney to the damage of a party; reprimand, suspension or fine, would accomplish
4. Disqualification and complaints for the end desired. (Vargas v. Atty. Ignes, Atty. Mann,
disbarment; or Atty. Viajar and Atty. Nadua, A.C. No. 8096, July 5,
5. Administrative complaint against the erring 2010)
lawyer or government official.
---
---
Q: In one civil case, AMC filed a third-party
Q: KWD, a GOCC, hired respondent, Atty. I, as complaint against MBC. The trial court set the
private legal counsel for one (1) year effective case for pre-trial on February 7, 2004, but the
with the consent of the Office of the Government same was cancelled. During the subsequent pre-
Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and the Commission trial, the counsels for the parties were asked to
on Audit (COA). The controversy erupted when produce their respective authorizations to
two (2) different groups, herein referred to as appear at said hearing. Atty. X, counsel for the
the Dela Pea board and Yaphockun board, laid MBC, manifested that her authority to appear for
claim as the legitimate Board of Directors of MBC was submitted at the first pre-trial hearing
KWD. Dela Pea board appointed respondents way back in 2004. The counsel was given the
Atty. N, V and M as private collaborating chance to go over the records to look for the
counsels for all cases of KWD and its Board of Secretarys Certificate allegedly submitted in
Directors, under the direct supervision and 2004, but she failed to show any written
control of Atty. I. Meanwhile, the OGCC had authority. As a result, the trial court declared
approved the retainership contract of Atty. C as MBC in default. Was there any grave abuse of
new legal counsel of KWD and stated that the discretion on the part of the trial court?
retainership contract of Atty. I had expired. The
termination of Atty. Is contract was said to be A: NO. MBC failed to substantiate its sole excuse for
justified by the fact that the Local Water Utilities its counsels apparent lack of authority to be its
Administration had confirmed the Yaphockun representative during the pre-trial conference. To
board as the new Board of Directors of KWD and be sure, if indeed there was such an authority
that said board had terminated Atty. Is services previously executed by MBC in favor of its counsel
and requested to hire another counsel. as early as the pre-trial conferences that MBC
Complainants then filed a disbarment complaint alleges to have taken place on February 27, 2004
against counsels V and M alleging that

10
PRACTICE OF LAW
and April 16, 2004, this fact would have been easily CONTEMPT OF COURT
proven by MBC. Such document conveying
authority having originated from and issued by Power of Contempt vs. Power to Disbar
MBC itself would have been produced with
relative facility. It, however, failed to produce this The power to punish for contempt and the power to
document before the court a quo, the appellate disbar are separate and distinct, and that the
court and this Court. As fairly observed by AMC, the exercise of one does not exclude the exercise of the
SPA later submitted by MBCs counsel is dated other. (People v. Godoy, G.R. Nos. 115908-09, March
December 5, 2006 or "after" the pre-trial conference 29, 1995)
on November 20, 2006. The crux of this controversy
is whether respondent's counsel had the authority Kinds of Contempt
to represent respondent in her capacity as its
representative during the subject pre-trial, and not 1. Direct Consists of misbehavior in the
in her capacity as its counsel. Prescinding from the presence of or so near a court or judge as to
foregoing disquisitions, we agree with the court a interrupt or obstruct the proceedings before
quo that respondent's counsel did not have the the court or the administration of justice;
proper authority. (Absolute Management punished summarily.
Corporation v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust
Company, G.R. 190277, July 23, 2014) NOTE: An imputation in a pleading of gross
ignorance against a court or its judge, especially
--- in the absence of any evidence, is a serious
allegation, and constitutes direct contempt of
NOTE: In any case, an unauthorized appearance of court. Derogatory, offensive or malicious
an attorney may be ratified by the client either statements contained in pleadings or written
expressly or impliedly. Ratification retroacts to the submissions presented to the same court or
date of the lawyers first appearance and validates judge in which the proceedings are pending are
the action taken by him (Sps. Agbulos v. Gutierrez, treated as direct contempt because they are
G.R. No. 176530, June 16, 2009). equivalent to a misbehavior committed in the
presence of or so near a court or judge as to
PERSONS NOT LAWYERS interrupt the administration of justice. This is
true, even if the derogatory, offensive or
Remedies against unauthorized practice of law malicious statements are not read in open
by persons who are not lawyers [ICE] court. (Habawel and Medina v. Court of Tax
Appeals, G.R. No. 174459, September 7, 2011)
1. Petition for Injunction;
2. Contempt of court; or 2. Indirect One committed away from the court
3. Criminal complaint for Estafa against a person involving disobedience of or resistance to a
who falsely represented himself to be an lawful writ, process, order, judgment or
attorney to the damage of a party. command of the court, or tending to belittle,
degrade, obstruct, interrupt or embarrass the
Sanctions for persons who are not lawyers court; not summary in nature.

They shall be punished with contempt of court, 3. Civil It is the failure to do something ordered
severe censure and three (3) months imprisonment to be done by a court or a judge for the benefit
because of the highly fraudulent and improper of the opposing party therein. It is remedial in
conduct tending directly to impede, obstruct, nature.
degrade, and make a mockery of the administration
of justice (Manangan v. CFI, G.R. No. 82760, August 4. Criminal Conduct directed against the
30, 1990; Lapena, 2009). authority and dignity of a court or of a judge, as
in unlawfully assailing or discrediting the
A person who has been refused admission to the bar authority or dignity of a court or of a judge, or
by order of the Supreme Court but nonetheless in doing a duly forbidden act. Intent is
attempts to practice law is guilty of indirect necessary.
contempt. (2014 Bar)
NOTE: Where the punishment imposed,
NOTE: A disbarred lawyer still appearing in court is whether against a party to a suit or a stranger,
guilty of indirect contempt (Lemoine v. Atty. Balon, is wholly or primarily to protect or vindicate the
Jr., A.C. No. 5829, October 28, 2003). dignity and power, either by fine payable to the
government or by imprisonment, or both, it is

11
LEGAL ETHICS
deemed a judgment in criminal case. A: YES. The Court does not see how the improper
parking by the driver could even in the remotest
Where the punishment is by fine directed to be manner disrupt the speedy administration of
paid to a party in the nature of damages for the justice. At most, it would cause the Judge
wrong inflicted, or by imprisonment as coercive inconvenience or annoyance, but still, this does not
measure to enforce the performance of some fall under any of the acts for which a person could
act for the benefit of the party or in aid of the be cited for contempt. Neither does it appear from
final judgment or decree rendered in his behalf, the records, nor from the evidence presented, that
the contempt judgment will, if made before final the complainant intended any disrespect toward
decree, be treated as in the nature of an respondent Judge. Worse, the Judge immediately
interlocutory order. detained the driver, thereby preventing him from
resorting to the remedies provided under the Rules
Two-fold aspect of Contempt Power (1998 Bar) of Court. Such abusive behavior on the part of
respondent judge fails to show his integrity, which
1. The proper punishment of the guilty party for is essential not only to the proper discharge of the
his disrespect to the court or its order; and judicial office, but also to his personal demeanor
2. To compel his performance of some act or duty (Nunez v. Ibay, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1984, June 30, 2009).
required of him by the court which he refuses to
perform. ---

NOTE: The question of whether the contempt Q: Balajadia filed a criminal case against Tan. In
committed is civil or criminal, does not affect the paragraph 5 of the complaint-affidavit,
jurisdiction or the power of a court to punish the Balajadia appeared to have asserted that he is a
same (Halili v. CIR, G.R. No. L-24864, April 30, 1985). "practicing lawyer. However, certifications
issued by the Office of the Bar Confidant and the
A practicing lawyer and officer of the court facing IBP showed that he has never been admitted to
contempt proceedings cannot just be allowed to the Philippine Bar. Hence, Tan filed a case
voluntarily retire from the practice of law which against him claiming that he is liable for indirect
would negate the inherent power of the court to contempt for misrepresenting himself as a
punish him for contempt (Montecillo v. Gica, 60 SCRA lawyer. In defense, Balajadia claimed that the
234). allegation that he is a practicing lawyer was an
honest mistake. He stated that the secretary of
--- Atty. Aquino prepared the subject complaint-
affidavit copying in verbatim paragraph 5 of
Q: Dela Cruz misrepresented himself as a lawyer Atty. Aquinos complaint-affidavit. It was
in the application for habeas corpus of Gamido. inadvertently alleged that he was a practicing
What punishment should the court impose on lawyer in Baguio City which statement referred
Dela Cruz? to the person of Atty. Aquino and his law office
address. Is Balajadia liable for indirect
A: The Court declared him guilty of indirect contempt?
contempt for maliciously and falsely portraying
himself as a member of the bar, appearing in court A: NO. Balajadia never intended to represent
and filing pleadings (In the Matter of the Application himself as a lawyer to the public. It was a clear
for Habeas Corpus of Maximino Gamido; Gamido v. inadvertence on the part of the secretary of Atty.
New Bilibid Prison, G.R. No. 146783, July 29, 2002). Aquino. The allegation that he is a practicing lawyer
cannot, by itself, establish intent as to make him
--- liable for indirect contempt (Tan v. Balajadia, G.R.
No. 169517, March 14, 2006).
Q: A judge cited complainant, a driver at the
Engineering Department of the Makati City Hall, ---
in contempt for using the formers parking
space, and refused to accept the drivers Q: C and D are law partners using the firm name
apology. He sentenced the driver to five (5) days C and D Attorneys-at-Law. In an administrative
imprisonment and a fine of P1,000.00. Is the case filed against C, the Supreme Court found
judge administratively liable for grave abuse of that C was not entitled to admission to the
authority in citing the driver for contempt of practice of law in the Philippines and ordered
court? his name stricken-off from the Roll of Attorneys.
As a result, C and D changed their firm name to
Law Office of D Attorney-at-Law, C - Counsellor,

12
PRACTICE OF LAW
with C handling purely counselling and office 3. A lawyer shall not, after leaving a government
work while D is the law practitioner. Are C and D service, accept engagement or employment in
liable for contempt of court? Explain your connection with any matter in which he had
answer. (2014 Bar) intervened. while in said service (Rule 6.03,
CPR); and
A: YES, C and D are liable for indirect contempt. 4. A lawyer should not accept employment as an
Indirect contempt is committed away from the advocate in any matter upon the merits which
court involving disobedience of or resistance to a he has previously acted in a judicial capacity
lawful order or judgment of the court. SC found C (Canon 36, CPE).
not entitled to admission to the practice of law.
Although they changed the firm name, C continued NOTE: These prohibitions shall continue to apply
to practice law and D permitted it. Practice of law for a period of 1 year after resignation, or separation
includes counselling or giving of advice or rendering from public office. The 1-year prohibition shall also
any kind of service that involves legal knowledge. apply in connection with any matter before the
office he used to be with.
---
PROHIBITION OR DISQUALIFICATION OF
Q: The court ordered Atty. Z to testify as a FORMER GOVERNMENT ATTORNEYS
witness for his client in the very case he is
handling but he refused on the ground that it Prohibition or disqualification of former
would violate the rule on privileged government attorneys
communication. Atty. Z is guilty of: (2014 Bar)
A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service,
A: Distinction should be made. If Atty. Z refuses to accept engagement or employment in connection
testify on formal matters, like mailing, with any matter in which he had intervened while in
authentication or custody of documents, he can be said service (Canon 6, Rule 6.03, CPR).
cited for direct contempt (under Section 1, Rule 71
of the Rules of Court) for refusal to be a witness. The evil sought to be avoided by this provision is the
However, if the matter to be testified is substantial, possibility of a lawyer who just retired, resigned or
he cannot be guilty of contempt or any violation of separated from the government of using his
his duty to the court, based on Rule 12.08, Code of influence for his own private benefit (Antiquiera,
Professional Responsibility. 1992).

PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND THE PUBLIC OFFICIALS WHO CANNOT PRACTICE


PRACTICE OF LAW LAW OR WITH RESTRICTIONS

Public Officials GR: The appointment or election of an attorney to a


government office disqualifies him from engaging in
Includes elective or appointive officials and the private practice of law.
employees, permanent or temporary, whether in
the career or non-career service, including military Reason: A public office is a public trust, and a public
and police personnel, whether or not they receive officer or employee is obliged not only to perform
compensation, regardless of amount (Sec. 3 (b), R.A. his duties with the highest degree of responsibility,
No. 6713, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for integrity, loyalty and efficiency but also with
Public Officials and Employees). exclusive fidelity.

Prohibited acts or omissions of public officers This disqualification is intended to:

1. Accepting or having any member of his family a. Preserve public trust in a public office;
accept employment in a private enterprise b. Avoid conflict of interests or a possibility
which has pending official business with him thereof; and
during the pendency thereof or within one year c. Assure the people of impartiality in the
after termination. (Sec. 3[d], RA 3019); performance of public functions and thereby
2. Own, control, manage or accept employment as promote the public welfare.
officer, employee, consultant, counsel, broker,
agent, trustee or nominee in any private Public officials not allowed to engage in law
enterprise regulated, supervised or licensed by practice (Absolute Prohibition) [JOPPC2OMS]:
their office unless expressly allowed by law
(Sec. 7[b], RA 6713); 1. Judges and other officials and employees of the

13
LEGAL ETHICS
Supreme Court (Sec. 35, Rule 148, RRC); 3. Under Sec. 1, R.A. 910, as amended, a retired
2. Officials and employees of the OSG (Ibid.); justice or judge receiving pension from the
3. Government Prosecutors (People v. Villanueva, government, cannot act as counsel:
G.R. No. L-19450, May 27, 1965);
4. President, Vice-President, Members of the a. In any civil case in which the Government,
Cabinet, their deputies and assistants (Sec. 13, or any of its subdivision or agencies is the
Art VII, 1987 Constitution); adverse party; or
5. Members of the Constitutional Commission b. In a criminal case wherein an officer or
(Sec. 2, Art IX-A, 1987 Constitution); employee of the Government is accused of
6. Civil Service Officers or employees whose an offense in relation to his office; nor
duties and responsibilities require that their c. Collect any fees for his appearance in any
entire time be at the disposal of the government administrative proceedings to maintain an
(Ramos v. Rada, A.M. No. 202, July 22, 1975); interest adverse to the government,
7. Ombudsman and his deputies (Sec. 8 [second provincial or municipal, or to any of its
par.], Art. IX, 1987 Constitution); legally constituted officers (Sec. 1, R.A. 910).
8. All governors, city and municipal Mayors (Sec.
90, R.A. No. 7160); and 4. Civil service officers and employees without
9. Those prohibited by Special laws. permit from their respective department heads
(Noriega v. Sison, A.M. No. 2266, October 27,
Restrictions on the Practice of Law on Certain 1983).
individuals (Relative Prohibition)
5. A former government attorney cannot, after
1. No Senator or member of the House of leaving government service, accept
Representatives may personally appear as engagement or employment in connection with
counsel before any court of justice or before the any matter in which he had intervened while in
Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and other the said service (Rule 6.03, CPR).
administration bodies (Sec. 14, Art. VI, 1987
Constitution). ---

NOTE: What is prohibited is to personally Q: Atty. Sagucio was the former Personnel
appear in court and other bodies. The word Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat
appearance includes not only arguing a case Industries Inc. until his appointment as
before any such body but also filing a pleading Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Tuguegarao.
on behalf of a client as by simply filing a formal Taggat Industries was sequestered by the PCGG
motion, plea, or answer. and thus ceased its operations. As Assistant
Provincial Prosecutor, he was assigned to
2. Under the Local Government Code (Sec. 91, RA conduct the preliminary investigation over a
7160), Sanggunian members may practice their criminal case filed against Taggat Industries. He
professions provided that if they are members recommended the filing of 651 Informations for
of the Bar, they shall NOT: violation of the Labor Code. He was then charged
for violating Rule 15.03 of the Code of
a. Appear as counsel before any court in any Professional Responsibility and for defying the
civil case wherein a local government unit prohibition against private practice of law while
or any office, agency, or instrumentality of working as government prosecutor. Is Atty.
the government is the adverse party; Sagucio guilty of engaging in private practice of
b. Appear as counsel in any criminal case law while working as an Assistant Provincial
wherein an officer or employee of the Prosecutor?
national or local government is accused of
an offense committed in relation to his A: YES. Private practice of law contemplates a
office; succession of acts of the same nature habitually or
c. Collect any fee for their appearance in customarily holding ones self to the public as a
administrative proceedings involving the lawyer. Atty. Sagucio admitted that he rendered his
local government unit of which he is an legal services to complainant while working as a
official; or government prosecutor. Even the receipts he signed
d. Use property and personnel of the stated that the payments by Taggat were for
government except when the Sanggunian "Retainers fee. Thus, as correctly pointed out by
member concerned is defending the complainant, Atty. Sagucio clearly violated the
interest of the government. prohibition in RA 6713.

14
PRACTICE OF LAW
Atty. Sagucios violation of RA 6713 also constitutes made on punong barangay and the members of the
a violation of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, which mandates Sangguniang Barangay. Expressio unius est exclusio
that [a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, alterius. Since they are excluded from any
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. His prohibition, the presumption is that they are
admission that he received from Taggat fees for allowed to practice their profession. However, he
legal services while serving as a government should procure prior permission or authorization
prosecutor is an unlawful conduct, which from the head of his Department, as required by the
constitutes a violation of Rule 1.01 (Lim- Santiago v. Civil Service Regulations (Catu v. Rellosa, A.C. No.
Sagucio, A.C. No. 6705, March 31, 2006). 5738, February 19, 2008).

NOTE: Violations of R.A. 6713 the Code of Conduct LAWYERS AUTHORIZED TO REPRESENT THE
and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and GOVERNMENT
Employees are not subject to disciplinary action
under the Code of Professional Responsibility Lawyers authorized to represent the
unless the violations also constitute infractions of government
specific provisions of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Solicitor General (Sol. Gen.) for the National
Government, and any person appointed to appear
--- for the government of the Philippines in accordance
with law (Sec. 33, Rule 138, RRC).
Q: Atty. Eliseo represented Allan in a collection
suit against the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes In case of Local Government Units (LGU), they are
Office (PCSO). After his election as Sangguniang represented by a legal officer which provides legal
Bayan member, the court rendered a decision in assistance or support to the mayor or governor and
PCSOs favor. Still, Atty. Eliseo appeared for represents the LGU in all civil actions and special
Allan in the latters appeal, prompting the PCSO proceedings wherein it or any of its officials are
to question his right to do so. In response, Atty. involved in an official capacity (Sec. 481, LGC).
Eliseo claimed that the local government code
authorizes him to practice law as long it does not NOTE: In criminal cases, the Sol. Gen. steps in only
conflict with his duties. Is Atty. Eliseo correct? when the case has already reached the Court of
(2011 Bar) Appeals. While it is with the lower courts, it is the
public prosecutor which represents the
A: NO. He cannot appear against a government government.
instrumentality in a civil case.
Duties of the Solicitor General
---
The Solicitor General, in his discretion, may pursue
Q: Atty. Dude is the COMELEC Officer in a very any of the following actions:
distant municipality. He is the only lawyer in
that area. When election period is over, he has 1. Prosecute;
much spare time. Many people go to him for 2. Not to prosecute;
counseling, legal advice, preparation of 3. To abandon a prosecution already started; or
documents of Sale, Mortgage and the like. He 4. To take a position adverse to the People of the
does not charge a fee in money, but he receives Philippines in a criminal case or to that of a
gifts which are offered. Is there impropriety? government agency or official, when he believes
(2012 Bar) that justice will be served by taking a different
stand.
A: YES, giving legal advice and preparing legal
documents, even if free, constitutes private practice Duty of the Solicitor General to represent one
of law, which is prohibited of government party whereby two government agencies are in
employees. conflict

--- It is incumbent upon the Solicitor General to present


to the court that which would legally uphold the
NOTE: While certain local elective officials (like best interest of the government. The other
governors, mayors, provincial board members and government agency adversely affected, if it still
councilors) are expressly subjected to a total or believes in the merits of its case, may appear on its
partial proscription to practice their profession or own behalf through its legal officer or
engage in any occupation, no such interdiction is representative.

15
LEGAL ETHICS
LAWYERS OATH The lawyers oath is not a mere ceremony or
formality for practicing law to be forgotten
I, _____(name)______________, of ____(permanent afterwards nor is it mere words, drift and hollow,
address)_____________, do solemnly swear that I will but a sacred trust that every lawyer must uphold
maintain allegiance to the Republic of the and keep inviolable at all times.
Philippines, I will support and defend its
Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I OF A LAWYER
will do no falsehood nor consent to its commission; I
will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any Four-fold duty of a lawyer
groundless, false or unlawful suit nor give aid nor
consent to the same; I will not delay any mans cause 1. Public/Society He must not undertake any
for money or malice and will conduct myself as a action which violates his responsibility to the
lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and society as a whole, he must be an example in the
discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts community for his uprightness as a member of
as to my clients and I impose upon myself this the society. The lawyer must be ready to render
obligation voluntarily, without any mental legal aid, foster legal reforms, be a guardian of
reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God. due process, and aware of his special role in the
--- solution of special problems and be always
ready to lend assistance in the study and
Q: An administrative complaint was filed against solution of social problems (Canon 1-6, CPR).
Atty. Contawi for having violated his oath as a
lawyer, causing him damage and prejudice. He 2. Bar/Legal Profession Observe candor,
had mortgaged and sold the property of his fairness, courtesy and truthfulness in his
client without the latter's knowledge or consent, conduct towards other lawyers, avoid
facilitated by the use of a falsified Special Power encroachment in the business of other lawyers
of Attorney. Did the act of Atty. Contawi violate and uphold the honor of the profession. (Canon
his lawyer's oath? 7-9, CPR)

A: YES. Atty. Contawi disposed of complainant's 3. Courts A lawyer must maintain towards the
property without the latters knowledge or consent, court a respectful attitude, defend against
and partook of the proceeds of the sale for his own unjust criticisms, uphold the courts authority
benefit. The established acts exhibited his unfitness and dignity, obey court orders and processes,
and plain inability to discharge the bounden duties assists in the administration of justice (Canon
of a member of the legal profession. He failed to 10-13, CPR).
prove himself worthy of the privilege to practice law
and to live up to the exacting standards demanded 4. Clients The lawyer owes entire devotion to
of the members of the bar. It bears to stress that the the interest of his client, warm and zeal in the
practice of law is a privilege given to lawyers who maintenance of the defense of his rights and
meet the high standards of legal proficiency and exertion of utmost learning ability to the end
morality. Any violation of these standards exposes that nothing be taken or withheld from his
the lawyer to administrative liability (Brennisen v. client except in accordance with law. He owes a
Atty. Contawi, A.C. No. 7481, April 24, 2012). duty of competent and zealous representation
to the client, and should preserve his clients
--- secrets, preserve his funds and property and
avoid conflicts of interest (Canon 14- 22, CPR).
Importance of the lawyers oath
Duties of attorneys under the Rules of Court
By taking the lawyers oath, a lawyer becomes the (2006 Bar)
guardian of truth and the rule of law and an
indispensable instrument in the fair and impartial The following are the duties of an attorney under
administration of justice. Good moral character the Rules of Court: [ADA-RECORD]
includes, at least, common honesty. Deception and
other fraudulent acts are not merely unacceptable 1. To maintain Allegiance to the Republic of the
practices that are disgraceful and dishonorable; Philippines and to support the Constitution and
they reveal a basic moral flaw. (Olbes v. Deciembre, obey the laws of the Philippines;
A.C. No. 5365, April 27, 2005) 2. Not to encourage either the commencement or
the continuance of an action or proceeding, or
Delay any mans cause, from any corrupt motive

16
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
or interest;
3. To counsel or maintain such Actions or THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
proceedings only as appear to him to be just, RESPONSIBILITY
and such defenses only as he believes to be
honestly debatable under the law;
4. To observe and maintain the Respect due to the
courts of justice and judicial officers; CHAPTER 1
5. To Employ, for the purpose of maintaining the LAWYER AND SOCIETY
causes confided to him, such means only as are (Canons 1-6)
consistent with truth and honor, and never seek 1. Uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of
to mislead the judge or any judicial officer by an the land and legal processes
artifice or false statement of fact or law; 2. Make legal services available in an efficient and
6. To maintain inviolate the Confidence and at convenient manner
every peril to himself, to preserve the secrets in 3. Use of true, honest, fair, dignified and objective
connection with his client and to accept no information in making known legal services
compensation in connection with his clients 4. Participate in the improvement of the legal
business except from him or with his system
knowledge and approval; 5. Keep abreast of legal development and
7. To abstain from all Offensive personality and to participate in continuing legal education
advance no fact prejudicial to the honor and program and assist in disseminating
reputation of a party or witness unless required information regarding the law and
by the justice of the cause with which he is jurisprudence
charged; 6. Applicability of the CPR to lawyers in the
8. Never to Reject, for any consideration personal government service
to himself, the cause of the defenseless or
oppressed; and CHAPTER 2
9. In the Defense of a person accused of a crime, THE LAWYER AND THE LEGAL PROFESSION
by all fair and honorable means, regardless of (Canons 7-9)
his personal opinion as to the guilt of the 7. At all times uphold integrity and dignity of the
accused, to present every defense that the law profession and support the activities of the IBP
permits to the end that no person may be 8. Conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and
deprived of life, liberty, but by due process of candor toward his colleagues and avoid
law. (Sec. 20, Rule 138, RRC) harassing tactics against opposing counsel
9. Not to directly or indirectly assist in the
Privileges of a lawyer [PSP-IS-12] unauthorized practice of law

1. To Practice law during good behavior before CHAPTER 3


any judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative THE LAWYER AND THE COURTS
agency; (Canons 10-13)
2. First one to Sit in judgment on every case, to set 10. Owes candor, fairness and good faith to the
the judicial machinery in motion; court
3. Enjoys the Presumption of regularity in the 11. Observe and maintain the respect due to the
discharge of his duty; courts and judicial officers and should insist on
4. He is Immune, in the performance of his similar conduct by others
obligations to his client, from liability to third 12. Duty to assist in the speedy and efficient
persons, insofar as he does not materially administration of justice
depart from his character as a quasi-judicial 13. Rely upon the merits of his cause, refrain from
officer; any impropriety which tends to influence
5. His Statements, if relevant, pertinent or courts, or give the appearance of influencing the
material to the subject of judicial inquiry are courts
absolutely privileged regardless of their
defamatory tenor and of the presence of malice; CHAPTER 4
6. 1st grade civil service eligibility for any position THE LAWYER AND THE CLIENT
in the classified service in the government the (Canons 14-22)
duties of which require knowledge of law; and 14. Not to refuse his services to the needy
7. 2nd grade civil service eligibility for any other 15. Observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his
governmental position, which does not dealings and transactions with clients
prescribe proficiency in law as a qualification. 16. Hold in trust all the moneys and property of his
client that may come to his possession

17
LEGAL ETHICS
17. Owes fidelity to clients cause and be mindful of A: YES. There is an ethical/professional
the trust and confidence reposed in him responsibility problem that results from the
18. Serve client with competence and diligence actuation of Atty. Doblar in arguing the reverse
19. Represent client with zeal within the bounds of positions.
law
20. Charge only fair and reasonable fees The signatures of Atty. Doblar on the pleadings for
21. Preserve the confidence and secrets of client Eva and for Marla constitute a certificate by him that
even after the attorney-client relation is he has read the pleadings; that to the best of his
terminated knowledge, information, and belief, there is good
22. Withdraw services only for good cause and ground to support them; and that the pleadings
upon notice were not interposed for delay (Rules of Court, Rule 7,
Sec. 3, par. 2). Atty. Doblar could not claim he has
Most important duty of a lawyer complied with the foregoing requirement because
he could not take a stand for Eva that is contrary to
The first and most important duty of a lawyer is his that taken for Marla. His theory for Eva clearly
duty to the court. The lawyer is an officer of the contradicts his theory for Marla. He has violated his
court who sets the judicial machinery with the main professional responsibility mandated under the
mission of assisting the court in the administration Rules of Court.
of justice. His public duties take precedence over his
private duties. He has likewise violated the ethical responsibility
that his appearance in court should be deemed
Applicability of the Canons (2014 Bar) equivalent to an assertion on his honor that, in his
opinion, his clients case in one proper for judicial
Although the Code of Professional Responsibility determination (Canons of Professional Ethics, Canon
refers to lawyers, members of the bench are lawyers 30, par. 2, last sentence).
who are required to comment on the complaints
filed against them and show cause why they should In counseling on the contradictory positions, Atty.
not be suspended, disbarred or otherwise Doblar has likewise counselled or abetted activities
disciplinary sanctioned as a member of the bar as aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening
provided for in A. M. 02-9-02 SC (Re: Automatic confidence in the legal system (Code of Professional
conversion of some administrative cases against Responsibility, Canon 1, Rule 1.02) because
Justices (except Supreme Court Justices who can conflicting opinions may result arising from an
only be the subject if impeachment), Judges and interpretation of the same law.
Court Officials who are lawyers as disciplinary
proceedings against them both in such officials and Atty. Doblar could not seek refuge under the
as members of the Philippine Bar). umbrella that what he has done was in protection of
his clients. This is so because a lawyers duty is not
--- to his client but to the administration of justice. To
that end, his clients success is wholly subordinate.
Q: Atty. Doblar represents Eva in a contract suit His conduct ought to and must always be
against Olga. He is also defending Marla in a scrupulously observant of the law and ethics
substantially identical contract suit filed by (Pineda, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 211 [1999], citing
Emma. In behalf of Eva, Atty. Doblar claims that Maglasang vs. People, G.R. No. 90083, October 4,
the statute of limitations runs from the time of 1990).
the breach of the contract. In the action against
Marla, Atty. Doblar now argues the reverse Any means not honorable, fair, and honest, which is
position i.e., that the statute of limitation does resorted to by the lawyer, even in the pursuit of his
not run until one year after discovery of the devotion to his clients cause, is condemnable and
breach. unethical. (Ibid.)

Both cases are assigned to Judge Elrey. Although DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A
not the sole issue in the two cases, the statute of LAWYER TO SOCIETY
limitations issue is critical in both.

Is there an ethical/professional responsibility CANON 1


problem in this situation? If a problem exists, A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey
what are its implications or potential the laws of the land and promote respect for
consequences? (2013 Bar) law and legal processes.

18
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Two-fold duty under Canon 1 case for declaration of nullity of marriage, but he
failed to appear in all the subsequent
1. Obey the laws and the legal processes; and proceedings. When required by the Department
2. Inspire others to maintain respect and of Justice to explain, he argued that the parties
obedience thereto. in the case were ably represented by their
respective counsels and that his time would be
NOTE: The portion of Canon 1, which calls for better employed in more substantial
lawyers to promote respect for law and for legal prosecutorial functions, such as investigations,
processes, is a call to uphold the Rule of Law (Funa, inquests and appearances in court hearings. Is
2009). Atty. Coronels explanation tenable? (2006 Bar)

Concept of Rule of Law A: NO. Atty. Coronels explanation is not tenable.


The role of the States lawyer in nullification of
The supremacy of the law provides that decisions marriage cases is that of protector of the institution
should be made by the application of known legal of marriage (Art 48, FC). The task of protecting
principles or laws without the intervention of marriage as an inviolable social institution requires
discretion in their application. (Blacks vigilant and zealous participation and not mere pro
Law Dictionary) forma compliance (Malcampo-Sin v. Sin, G.R. No.
137590, March 26, 2001). This role could not be left
NOTE: A lawyers oath to uphold the cause of justice to the private counsels who have been engaged to
is superior to his duty to his client; its primacy is protect the private interest of the parties.
indisputable (Cobb-Perez v. Lantin, G.R. No. L-22320,
July 29, 1968). ---

--- Rule 1.01, Canon 1,


A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
Q: Atty. Tansingco was a notary public who immoral and deceitful conduct.
prepared and notarized an Occupancy
Agreement at the request of Mr. Stier, the owner Definitions:
and long-time resident of a real property located
in Cubao. Since Mr. Stier is a U.S. Citizen and 1. Deceitful Conduct
thereby disqualified to own real property in his
name, he agreed that the property be An act that has the proclivity for fraudulent and
transferred in the name of Mr. Donton, a deceptive misrepresentation, artifice or device that
Filipino. Donton averred that Atty. Tansingcos is used upon another who is ignorant of the fact, to
act of preparing the Occupancy Agreement, the prejudice and damage of the party imposed
despite knowledge that Stier is a foreign upon (CPR Annotated, PhilJA).
national, constitutes serious misconduct and is
a deliberate violation of the Code. Is Atty. 2. Unlawful Conduct
Tansingco guilty of serious misconduct?
It is the transgression of any provision of law, which
A: YES. Atty. Tansingco is liable for violation of need not be a penal law. The presence of evil intent
Canon 1 and Rule 1.02 of the Code. A lawyer should on the part of the lawyer is not essential in order to
not render any service or give advice to any client, bring his act or omission within the terms of this
which will involve defiance of the laws which he is Rule.
bound to uphold and obey. Atty. Tansingco had
sworn to uphold the Constitution. Thus, he violated 3. Immoral Conduct
his oath and the Code when he prepared and
notarized the Occupancy Agreement to evade the Conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and
law against foreign ownership of lands. Atty. which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of
Tansingco used his knowledge of the law to achieve the good and respectable members of the
an unlawful end. Such an act amounts to malpractice community. To warrant disciplinary action, the act
in his office, for which he may be suspended (Donton must not only be merely immoral but grossly
v. Atty. Tansingco, A.C. No. 6057, June 27, 2006). immoral.

--- Grossly immoral conduct is one that is so corrupt


and false as to constitute a criminal act or so
Q: Prosecutor Coronel entered his appearance unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible
on behalf of the State before a Family Court in a to a high degree. It is willful, flagrant, or shameless

19
LEGAL ETHICS
act, which shows a moral indifference to the opinion 1999).
of respectable members of the community
(Figueroa v. Barranco, SBC Case No. 519, July 31, Acts NOT constituting gross immorality
1997).
1. Stealing a kiss from a client (Advincula v.
Instances of Gross Immorality and the resulting Macabata, A.C. No. 7204, March 7, 2007);
consequences 2. Live-in relationship involving two unmarried
persons; or
1. Abandonment of wife and cohabiting with 3. Failure to pay a loan.
another woman. DISBARRED (Obusan v.
Obusan, Jr., A.C. No. 1392, April 2, 1984); GR: A lawyer may not be disciplined for failure
2. A lawyer who had carnal knowledge with a to pay a loan. The proper remedy is the filing of
woman through a promise of marriage which he an action for collection of a sum of money in
did not fulfill. DISBARRED (In re: Disbarment of regular courts. (Toledo v. Abalos, A.C. No. 5141,
Armando Puno, A.C. No. 389, February 28, 1967); September 29, 1999)
3. Seduction of a woman who is the niece of a
married woman with whom respondent lawyer XPN: A deliberate failure to pay just debts and
had an adulterous relation. DISBARRED the issuance of worthless checks. (Lao v. Medel,
(Royong v. Oblena, A.C. No. 376, April 30, 1963); A.C. No. 5916, July 1, 2003)
4. Lawyer arranging marriage of his son to a
woman with whom the lawyer had illicit ---
relations. DISBARRED (Mortel v. Aspiras, A.M.
No. 145, December 28, 1956); Q: Judge A has an illicit relationship with B, his
5. Lawyer inveigling a woman into believing that Branch Clerk of Court. C, the wife of Judge A,
they have been married civilly to satisfy his discovered the illicit affair and consulted a
carnal desires. DISBARRED (Terre v. Terre, A.M. lawyer to vindicate her violated marital rights. If
No. 2349, July 3, 1992); you were that lawyer, what would you advice C,
6. Lawyer taking advantage of his position as and if she agrees and asks you to proceed to take
chairman of the college of medicine and asked a action, what is the legal procedure that you
lady student to go with him to Manila where he should follow? (2014 Bar)
had carnal knowledge of her under threat that
if she refused, she would flunk in all her A: File a case of immorality against Judge A and the
subjects. DISBARRED (Delos Reyes v. Aznar, A.M. clerk of court for violation or Rule 1.01, CPR;
No. 1334, November 28, 1989); impropriety under Canon 4 of the New Code of
7. Bigamy perpetrated by the lawyer. Judicial Conduct against Judge A; and invoke the
DISQUALIFIED FROM ADMISSION TO THE BAR automatic conversion of the administrative case
(Royong vs. Oblena, A.C. No. 376, April 30, 1963); against Judge A and the clerk of court as members of
8. Concubinage coupled with failure to support the bar under A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC, with the Office of
illegitimate children. SUSPENDED the Court Administrator. Complaint for disbarment
INDEFINITELY (Laguitan v. Tinio, A.M. No. 3049, against Judge A and the clerk of court may also be
December 4, 1989); filed. (This is without prejudice to the filing of
9. Maintaining adulterous relationship with a criminal and civil cases).
married woman. SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY
(Cordova v. Cordova, A.M. No. 3249, November ---
29, 1989);
10. A retired judge who penned a decision 7 Q: In a case for disbarment against Atty. Ivan M.
months after he retired, antedating the decision Solidum, Jr., the IBP-CBD found that he
and forcing his former court staff to include it in committed the following acts: (1) signing drawn
the expediente of the case. DISBARRED (Radjaie checks against the account of his son as if they
v. Alovera, A.C. No. 4748, August 4, 2000); were from his own account; (2) misrepresenting
11. Forging a Special Power of Attorney. to Navarro the identity of the lot he mortgaged
SUSPENDED FOR 3 YEARS (Rural Bank of Silay, to her; (3) misrepresenting to Presbitero the
Inc. v. Pilla, A.C. No. 3637, January 24, 2001); true value of the 263-square-meter lot he
12. Attempting to engage in an opium deal mortgaged to her; (4) conspiring with Yulo to
SUSPENDED FOR 1 YEAR (Piatt v. Abordo, 58 obtain the loans from complainants; (5)
Phil. 350, September 1, 1933); or agreeing or promising to pay 10% interest on
13. Facilitating the travel of a person to the U.S. his loans although he knew that it was
using spurious travel documents. DISBARRED exorbitant; and (6) failing to pay his loans
(Sebastian v. Calis, A.C. No. 5118, September 9,

20
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
because the checks he issued were dishonored pay their financial obligations (Wilson Cham v. Atty.
as the accounts were already closed. Is Atty. Eva Pata-Moya, 556 SCRA 1).
Solidum guilty of violating the Code of
Professional Responsibility? NOTE: Just debts include unpaid rentals, electric
bills, claims adjudicated by a court of law, and
A: YES. It is clear that Atty. Solidum violated Rule claims the existence and justness which are
1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. We admitted by the debtor (Cham v. Paita-Moya, A.C.
have ruled that conduct, as used in the Rule, is not No.7494, June 27, 2008).
confined to the performance of a lawyers
professional duties. A lawyer may be disciplined for ---
misconduct committed either in his professional or
private capacity. The test is whether his conduct Morality vs. Immoral Conduct
shows him to be wanting in moral character,
honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or whether it MORALITY IMMORAL CONDUCT
renders him unworthy to continue as an officer of Morality as Immoral conduct has
the court. understood in law is a been defined as that
human standard conduct which is willful,
Atty. Solidum is guilty of engaging in dishonest and based on natural flagrant, or shameless
deceitful conduct, both in his professional capacity moral law which is and which shows a moral
with respect to his client, Presbitero, and in his embodied in indifference to the
private capacity with respect to complainant mans conscience opinion of the good and
Navarro. Both Presbitero and Navarro allowed Atty. and which guides him respectable members of
Solidum to draft the terms of the loan agreements. to do good and avoid the community. (Arciga
He drafted the MOAs knowing that the interest rates evil. v. Maniwang, A.M. No.
were exorbitant. Later, using his knowledge of the 1608, August 14, 1981)
law, he assailed the validity of the same MOAs he
prepared. He issued checks that were drawn from ---
his sons account whose name was similar to his
without informing complainants. Further, there is
Q: Rose Bansig filed a complaint for disbarment
nothing in the records that will show that he paid or
against Atty. Celera. Celera was legally married
undertook to pay the loans he obtained from
to Bansigs sister, Rosemarie Bunagan.
complainants (Navarro vs Solidum, Jr., A.C. No. 9872,
However, notwithstanding the marriage with
January 28, 2014).
Bunagan, Atty. Celera contracted another
marriage with a certain Ma. Cielo Paz Torres
---
Alba, as evidenced by a certified copy of the
certificate of marriage. Despite numerous
Q: Atty. XX rented a house of his cousin, JJ, on a
efforts of Rose and the court, Atty. Celera, in his
month-to-month basis. He left for a 6-month
defense, repetitively stated that he had no
study in Japan without paying his rentals and
knowledge of the complaint since he has yet to
electric bills while he was away despite JJ's
receive a copy of it. Is the contention of Atty.
repeated demands. Upon his return to the
Celera tenable?
Philippines, Atty. XX still failed to settle his
rental arrearages and electric bills, drawing JJ to
file an administrative complaint against Atty. A: NO. He exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree
XX. Atty. XX contended that his non-payment of of morality required of him as a member of the Bar.
rentals and bills to his cousin is a personal He made a mockery of marriage, a sacred institution
matter which has no bearing on his profession demanding respect and dignity.
as a lawyer and, therefore, he did not violate the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Is Atty. X's Also, we take notice of Atty. Celeras defiant stance
contention in order? Explain. (2010 Bar) against the Court as demonstrated by his repetitive
disregard of its Resolution requiring him to file his
A: NO. In a case involving the same facts, the comment on the complaint. This case has dragged
Supreme Court held that having incurred just debts, on since 2002. Even assuming that indeed the copies
a lawyer has the moral duty and legal responsibility of the complaint had not reached him, he cannot,
to settle them when they become due. Verily however, feign ignorance that there is a complaint
lawyers must at all times faithfully perform their against him that is pending before this Court which
duties to society, to the bar, to the court and to their he could have easily obtained a copy had he wanted
clients. As part of their duties, they must promptly to. His acts were deliberate, maneuvering the
liberality of the Court in order to delay the

21
LEGAL ETHICS
disposition of the case and to evade the sanction for such illicit behavior, it is with respect to
consequences of his actions. His cavalier attitude in betrayal of the marital vow of fidelity. Atty. Rongcal
repeatedly ignoring the orders of the Supreme is guilty of immorality in violation of Rule 1.01 that
Court constitutes utter disrespect to the judicial a lawyer should not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
institution. Respondents conduct indicates a high immoral or deceitful conduct. But his remorse over
degree of irresponsibility (Bunagan-Bansig v. his indiscretion and the fact of ending the illicit
Celera, A.C. No. 5581, January 14, 2014). relationship mitigates the liability. Hence a penalty
of imposing a fine will suffice with a warning that
--- the same will be dealt with more severely (Vitug v.
Rongcal, A.C. No. 6313, September 7, 2006).
Q: Maria Victoria Ventura filed an
administrative complaint against Atty. Danilo ---
Samson for allegedly for raping her when she
was merely 13 years old. Atty. Samson admitted Q: An administrative complaint for disbarment
that they had a sexual relationship but was filed against Atty. Iris for allegedly carrying
countered that such was done with mutual an immoral relationship with Carlos, husband of
agreement and in consideration of money. Did complainant Leslie. Atty. Iris contended that her
Atty. Samsons act constitute grossly immoral relationship with Carlos was licit because they
conduct that would warrant his disbarment? were married. And when she discovered Carlos
true civil status, she cut off all her ties with him.
A: YES. Atty. Samsons act of engaging in sex with a Is Atty. Iris guilty of committing gross immoral
young lass, the daughter of his former employee, conduct warranting her disbarment?
constitutes gross immoral conduct that warrants
sanction. He not only admitted he had sexual A: NO. Her relationship with Carlos, clothed as it
intercourse with complainant but also showed no was with what Atty. Iris believed was a valid
remorse whatsoever when he asserted that he did marriage, cannot be considered immoral.
nothing wrong because she allegedly agreed and he Immorality connotes conduct that shows indifference
even gave her money. Indeed, his act of having to the moral norms of the community. Moreover for
carnal knowledge of a woman other than his wife such conduct to warrant disciplinary action, the
manifests his disrespect for the laws on the sanctity same must be grossly immoral, that is it must be
of marriage and his own marital vow of fidelity. so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or
Moreover, the fact that he procured the act by so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high
enticing a very young woman with money showed degree. Atty. Iris act of immediately distancing
his utmost moral depravity and low regard for the herself from Carlos upon discovering his true civil
dignity of the human person and the ethics of his status belies that alleged moral indifference and
profession. He has violated the trust and confidence proves that she had no intention of flaunting the law
reposed on him by complainant, then a 13-year-old and the high moral standard of the legal profession
minor, who for a time was under his care. Whether (Ui v. Atty. Bonifacio, A.C. No. 3319, June 8, 2000).
the sexual encounter between him and complainant
was or was not with the latters consent is of no ---
moment. Such conduct is a transgression of the
standards of morality required of the legal Q: Patricia and Simeon were teen sweethearts. It
profession and should be disciplined accordingly was after their child was born that Simeon first
(Ventura v. Samson, A.C. No. 9608, November 27, promised he would marry her after he passes
2012). the bar examinations. Their relationship
continued and Simeon allegedly made more
--- than twenty or thirty promises of marriage.
Patricia learned that Simeon married another
Q: Catherine filed a case for disbarment against woman. Meanwhile, Simeon successfully passed
Atty. Rongcal based on gross immoral conduct the 1970 bar examinations after four attempts.
alleging that he misrepresented himself to be Before he could take his oath, Patricia filed a
single when he was in fact married, and due to petition to disqualify Simeon to take the
the false pretenses she succumbed to his sexual Lawyers Oath on the ground of gross
advances. Will her petition prosper? immoral conduct. Did the act of Simeon in
engaging in premarital relations with Patricia
A: YES. Good moral character is a continuing and making promises to marry her constitute
condition in a privilege of law practice. The mere gross immoral conduct?
fact of sexual relation between two unmarried
adults is not sufficient to warrant administrative

22
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
A: NO, the SC ruled that the facts do not constitute ---
gross immoral conduct warranting a permanent
exclusion of Simeon from the legal profession. His Q: Atty. Simeon persuaded Armando, Benigno
engaging in premarital sexual relations with and Ciriaco to invest in business venture that
complainant and promises to marry suggests a later went bankrupt. Armando, Benigno and
doubtful moral character on his part but the same Ciriaco charged Atty. Simeon with estafa.
does not constitute grossly immoral conduct. To Simultaneously, they filed an administrative
justify suspension or disbarment the act complaint against the lawyer with the Supreme
complained of must not only be immoral, but Court. If Simeon is convicted of estafa, will he be
grossly immoral. A grossly immoral act is one that is disbarred? Explain. (2009 Bar)
so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or
so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be A: YES. One of the grounds for disbarment under
reprehensible to a high degree (Figueroa v. Sec. 27, Rule 138, is conviction of a crime involving
Barranco, Jr., SBC Case No. 519, July 31, 1997). moral turpitude. Estafa is a crime involving moral
turpitude.
---
---
Moral turpitude
Q: If Atty. Simeon is acquitted of the estafa
Moral turpitude imports an act of baseness, vileness charge, will the disbarment complaint be
or depravity in the duties which one person owes to dismissed? Explain. (2009 Bar)
another or to society in general which is contrary to
the usually accepted and customary rule of right and A: Not necessarily. If the acquittal is based on the
duty which a person should follow. The question as ground that no crime was committed, or that
to whether an offense involves moral turpitude is Simeon is innocent, the administrative case may be
for the Supreme Court to decide. dismissed. But if the acquittal is based merely on
reasonable doubt, the disbarment proceeding may
Examples of acts involving moral turpitude still continue. The purpose of a disbarment
proceeding is to determine whether a lawyer still
1. Conviction of Estafa and/or BP 22. DISBARRED deserves to remain a member of the bar. For such
(In the Matter of Disbarment Proceedings v. determination, conduct which merely avoids the
Narciso N. Jaramillo, En Banc A.C. No. 229, April penalty of the law is not sufficient.
30, 1957);
2. Conviction of bribery/ attempted bribery. ---
DISBARRED (In Re: Dalmacio De los Angeles, A.C.
No. L-350, August 7, 1959; 7 C.J.S., p. 736; 5 Am. Rule 1.02, Canon 1
Jur. p. 428); A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities
3. Conviction of murder. DISBARRED (In Re: aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening
Disbarment Proceedings Against Atty. Diosdado confidence in the legal system. (1994, 1998 Bar)
Q. Gutierrez, A.C. No. L- 363, July 31, 1962);
4. Conviction of illegal marriage before admission Examples of activities aimed at defiance of the
to the bar. DISQUALIFIED FROM BEING law or at lessening confidence in the legal
ADMITTED TO THE BAR (Villasanta v. Peralta, system
101 Phil.313, April 30, 1957);
5. Conviction of falsification of public document. 1. Advising his clients to execute another Deed of
REMOVED FROM HIS OFFICE/NAME ERASED Sale antedated to evade payment of capital
FROM ROLL OF ATTORNEYS (De Jesus-Paras v. gains taxes (Chua vs. Mesina, A.C. No. 4904,
Vailoces, A.C. No. 439, April 12, 1961); August 12, 2004).
6. Conviction of Estafa through falsification of 2. Lawyer who engages in prohibited
public document. DISBARRED (Villanueva v. campaigning, use of government resources and
Sta. Ana, CBD Case No. 251, July 11, 1995); solicitation of votes, in campaigning for national
7. Conviction of Abduction. SUSPENDED FROM positions in the IBP (Re: 1989 Elections of IBP,
OFFICE FOR 1 YEAR (In Re Basa, 41 Phil. 275, B.M. No. 491, October 6, 1989).
December 7, 1920); 3. Repeatedly disobeying orders of SEC to appear
8. Conviction of Concubinage. SUSPENDED FROM in its hearings and repeatedly failing to
OFFICE FOR 1 YEAR (In re Isada, 60 Phil. 915, substantiate his excuse for failing to appear
November 16, 1934); or (Batac et. al. v. Cruz, Jr., A.C. No. 5809, February
9. Conviction of Smuggling. DISBARRED (In re 23, 2004).
Rovero, A.C. No. 126, October 24, 1952)

23
LEGAL ETHICS
--- is contrary to law and morals. The ratification by a
notary public who is a lawyer of such illegal or
Q: Chu retained Atty. Guico as counsel to handle immoral contract or document constitutes
labor disputes involving his company. In one malpractice or gross misconduct in office. He should
case, Atty. Guico asked Chu to prepare a at least refrain from its consummation (In Re:
substantial amount of money to be given to the Santiago, A.C. No. 923, June 21, 1940; Panganiban v.
NLRC Commissioner handling the appeal to Borromeo, 58 Phil. 367; In Re: Bucana, A.C. No. 1637,
insure a favorable decision. Chu was able to July 6, 1976).
raise P300,000 for the purpose. He again
advised Chu to raise another P300,000.00 to ---
encourage the NLRC Commissioner to issue the
decision. But Chu could only Rule 1.03, Canon 1, CPR
produce P280,000.00. The NLRCs decision was A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or
adverse to Chu. Was the advice given by Atty. interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or
Guico proper? delay any mans cause.

A: NO. Every lawyer should not render any service The rule is aimed against the practice of barratry,
or give advice to any client that would involve stirring up litigation and ambulance chasing.
defiance of the very laws that he was bound to
uphold and obey, for he or she was always bound as Crime of maintenance
an attorney to be law abiding, and thus to uphold the
integrity and dignity of the Legal Profession. Verily, Maintenance is the intermeddling of an
he or she must act and comport himself or herself in uninterested party to encourage a lawsuit. It is a
such a manner that would promote public taking in hand, a bearing up or upholding of quarrels
confidence in the integrity of the Legal Profession. or sides, to the disturbance of the common right.
Atty. Guico violated the law against bribery and (Funa, 2009) A lawyer owes to society and to the
corruption. He compounded his violation by court the duty not to stir up litigation.
actually using said illegality as his means of
obtaining a huge sum from the client that he soon Barratry vs. Ambulance chasing (1993 Bar)
appropriated for his own personal interest. His acts
constituted gross dishonesty and deceit, and were a BARRATRY AMBULANCE CHASING
flagrant breach of his ethical commitments under An offense of frequently An act of chasing victims
the Lawyers Oath not to delay any man for money exciting and stirring up of accidents for the
or malice; and under Rule 1.01 of the Code of quarrels and suits, purpose of talking to the
Professional Responsibility. His deviant conduct either at law or said victims (or
eroded the faith of the people in him as an individual otherwise; lawyers act relatives) and offering
lawyer as well as in the Legal Profession as a whole. of fomenting suits his legal services for the
In doing so, he ceased to be a servant of the law (Chu among individuals and filing of a case against
v. Guico, Jr., A.C. No. 10573, January 13, 2015). offering his legal the person(s) who
services to one of them. caused the accident(s).
--- Barratry is not a crime It has spawned a
under the Philippine number of recognized
Q: Atty. Asilo, a lawyer and a notary public, laws. However, it is evils such as [FSMD]:
notarized a document already prepared by proscribed by the rules
spouses Roger and Luisa when they approached of legal ethics. 1. Fomenting of
him. It is stated in the document that Roger and litigation with
Luisa formally agreed to live separately from resulting burdens
each other and either one can have a live-in on the courts and
partner with full consent of the other. What is the public;
the liability of Atty. Asilo, if any? (1998 Bar) 2. Subordination of
perjury;
A: Atty. Asilo may be held administratively liable for 3. Mulcting of
violating Rule 1.02 of the CPR - a lawyer shall not innocent persons
counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the by judgments, upon
law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. manufactured
An agreement between two spouses to live causes of action;
separately from each other and either one could and
have a live-in partner with full consent of the other, 4. Defrauding of
injured persons

24
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
having proper making the proposed suit unnecessary. Is he
causes of action but liable for misconduct?
ignorant of legal
rights and court A: YES, the lawyer is liable for misconduct. It is clear
procedures by from the facts that the lawyer had deceitfully
means of contracts defrauded the complainant. By receiving the
which retain amount of P 5,863.00 from the complainant in order
exorbitant to represent him, the lawyer violated Rule 1.01 of
percentages of Canon 1 of the CPR. He should have filed the
recovery and illegal complaint before the CFI of Baguio. He clearly acted
charges for court in a deceitful conduct by misrepresenting to file a
costs and expenses complaint in order to affect the ejectment suit. Also,
and by settlement the lawyer encouraged the suit which is groundless
made for quick and unfounded in order to gain a financial interest
returns of fees and (Munar v. Flores, A.C. No. 2112, May 30, 1983).
against just rights
of the injured ---
persons.
(Hightower v. Rule 1.04, Canon 1
Detroit Edison Co. A lawyer shall encourage his clients to avoid, end
247 NW 97, 1993) or settle a controversy if it will admit of a fair
settlement.
Impropriety of voluntary giving of advice
It is the duty of the lawyer to temper his clients
It is improper to voluntarily give legal advice when propensity to litigate and resist his clients whims
the lawyer, in giving such, is motivated by a desire and caprices for the lawyer also owes duty to the
to obtain personal benefit, secure personal court. A lawyer should be a mediator for concord
publicity, or cause legal action to be taken merely to and a conciliator for compromise rather than an
harass or injure another. initiator of controversy and a predator of conflict.
---
The rule requires that lawyers encourage
Q: Atty. Melissa witnessed the car accident that settlement only when the same is fair. It should be
resulted in injury to Manny, a friend of hers. noted that the duty and the right of the lawyer is
While visiting him at the hospital, she advised limited to encouraging the client to settle.
him about what action he needed to take Ultimately, however, the final decision to settle a
regarding the accident. Is Atty. Melissa subject claim rests upon the client.
to disciplinary action if she eventually handles ---
the case for him? (2011 Bar)
Q: Jon de Ysasi III was employed by his father in
A: NO. It is unprofessional for a lawyer to volunteer their farm. During the entire period of his
advice to bring a lawsuit, except in rare cases where illness, his father took care of his medical
ties of blood, relationship or trust make it his duty expenses and he continued to receive
to do so. (Canon 28, CPE) In the case at hand, since compensation. However, without due notice, his
Atty. Melissa is a friend of the injured person, she father ceased to pay his salary. He made oral and
may not be admonished for extending some legal written demands through Atty. Sumbingco for
advice to a friend in need. an explanation for the sudden withholding, as
well as for the remittance of his salary. Both
--- demands were not acted upon. He filed a case in
court. Can the lawyers employed by the parties
Q: Atty. X advised complainant that to stop the be admonished for not trying to reconcile the
ejectment suit against him, Atty. X would file a parties before the filing of the suit?
complaint with the Baguio CFI. Complainant
gave the lawyer P5,863.00 for fees and A: YES. The conduct of the respective counsel of the
miscellaneous fees. However, the complaint was parties, as revealed by the records, sorely
not filed. By way of defenses, the lawyer disappoints the Court and invites reproof. Both
presented complainants affidavit of desistance; counsels may well be reminded that their ethical
claimed that upon perusal of the records of the duty as lawyers to represent their clients with zeal
ejectment case, he found that complainant had goes beyond merely presenting their clients'
already filed a Third-Party complaint, thereby respective causes in court. It is just as much their

25
LEGAL ETHICS
responsibility, if not more importantly, to exert all administration of justice and not a mere money-
reasonable efforts to smooth over legal conflicts, getting trade (CPR Annotated, PhilJA).
preferably out of court and especially in
consideration of the direct and immediate AN ACT PROVIDING A MECHANISM FOR FREE
consanguineous ties between their clients. Once LEGAL ASSISTANCE AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
again, the useful function of a lawyer is not only to (RA No. 9999)
conduct litigation but to avoid it whenever possible FEBRUARY 23, 2010
by advising settlement or withholding suit. He is
often called upon less for dramatic forensic exploits Purposes of RA No. 9999 (Free Legal Assistance
than for wise counsel in every phase of life. He Act of 2010)
should be a mediator for concord and a conciliator for
compromise, rather than a virtuoso of technicality in 1. Encourage lawyers and professional
the conduct of litigation (De Ysasi III v. NLRC, G.R. No. partnerships to provide free legal assistance;
104599, March 11, 1994). 2. Solicit the assistance of lawyers and
professional partnerships in the private
--- practice of law in providing quality legal
assistance to indigent litigants through a
EFFICIENT AND CONVENIENT system of tax incentives;
LEGAL SERVICES 3. Provide relief to the Public Attorneys Office
(PAO) and other associations accredited by the
Supreme Court from the numerous cases it
handles;
CANON 2
4. Provide indigent litigants the opportunity to
A lawyer shall make his legal services
acquire the services of distinguished law firms
available in an efficient and convenient
and legal practitioners of the country for free;
manner compatible with the independence,
and
integrity and effectiveness of the profession.
5. Ensure that the right of every individual to
counsel, as mandated in the Constitution, is
NOTE: It is the lawyers prime duty to see to it that protected and observed.
justice is accorded to all without discrimination.
Services available

Rule 2.01, Canon 2 Public Attorney's Office (PAO), Department of


A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid Justice (DOJ) and other legal aid clinics accredited
reasons, the cause of the defenseless or the by the Supreme Court shall refer pauper litigants to
oppressed. identified lawyers and professional partnerships.
PAO, DOJ or the accredited legal aid clinics shall
Definitions issue a certification that services were rendered by
the lawyer or the professional partnership under
1. Defenseless this act. The certification shall include the cost of the
actual services given.
Those who are not in a position to defend
themselves due to poverty, weakness, ignorance or Incentives to lawyers giving free service
other similar reasons.
A lawyer or professional partnerships rendering
2. Oppressed actual free legal services shall be entitled to an
allowable deduction from the gross income, the
Those who are the victims of the cruelty, unlawful amount that could have been collected for the actual
exaction, domination or excessive use of authority. free legal services rendered or up to ten percent
(10%) of the gross income derived from the actual
A lawyer so appointed as counsel for an indigent performance of the legal profession, whichever is
prisoner, as the Canons of Professional Ethics lower: Provided, That the actual free legal services
demands, should always exert his best efforts in herein contemplated shall be exclusive of the
the indigents behalf (People v. Estebia, G.R. No. L- minimum sixty (60)-hour mandatory legal aid
26868, December 27, 1972). services rendered to indigent litigants as required
under the Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Services for
NOTE: The inability to pay for legal services is not a Practicing Lawyers, under BAR Matter No. 2012,
valid reason to refuse acceptance of a case. This is issued by the Supreme Court (Sec. 5, RA 9999).
because the profession is a branch of the

26
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Salient Features of RA 9999 What is Dianas best ethical response? (2013
Bar)
1. The law will allow indigent litigants to acquire
the services of renowned lawyers and law firms A: Advise Wanda on the purely legal side of her
for free; problem and assure her that abortion is allowed by
2. In exchange for the services rendered by the law if the pregnancy endangers the life of the
lawyer or the law firm, they will be given tax mother (Code of Professional Responsibility, Canon
incentives equivalent to the cost of the services 2, Rule 2.01-2.02).
rendered to the indigent litigant;
3. It will help relieve the Public Attorneys Office ---
(PAO) of its numerous caseloads involving
indigent litigants who shall be referred to Q: The rendition of free legal services is a
lawyers or law firms in private practice; and lawyers: (2014 Bar)
4. It should entice renowned and distinguished
firms and lawyers in the practice as their A: Moral duty is above social obligation and legal
services shall still be compensated mandate. The lawyer voluntarily imposes upon
commensurately through the tax incentives. himself higher duties and more noble obligations
enshrined in the Lawyer's Oath which goes beyond
NOTE: The DOJ, in cooperation with the Philippine commitment to social obligation and legal
Information Agency (PIA), is hereby mandated to mandates.
conduct an annual Information, Education and
Communication (IEC) campaign in order to inform ---
the lawyers of the procedures and guidelines in
availing tax deductions and inform the general Rule 2.03, Canon 2
public that a free legal assistance to those who A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act
cannot afford counsel is being provided by the State designated primarily to solicit legal business.
(Sec. 6, RA 9999). (1997 Bar)

Rule 2.02, Canon 2 Rationale behind the rule that legal profession is
In such cases, even if the lawyer does not accept a not considered as a business (2006 Bar)
case, he shall not refuse to render legal advice to
the person concerned if only to the extent It is not a business because it is a:
necessary to safeguard the latters rights.
1. Duty of public service, of which the emolument
Rendering of Legal Advice includes preliminary is a byproduct, and in which one may attain the
steps that should be taken, at least, until the person highest eminence without making much
concerned has obtained the services of a proper money;
counsels representation. Even though no attorney- 2. Relation, as an officer of the court, to the
client relationship is created between the parties, administration of justice involving thorough
the lawyer, by providing interim advice, preserves sincerity, integrity and reliability;
the dignity of the profession by inspiring public faith 3. Duty of public service;
in the profession (CPR Annotated, PhilJA). 4. Relation to clients with the highest degree of
fiduciary; and
--- 5. Relation, to the colleagues at the bar,
characterized by candor, fairness, and
Q: Wanda finally became pregnant in the 10th unwillingness to resort to current business
year of her marriage to Horacio. As her methods of advertising and encroachment on
pregnancy progressed, she started having their practice, or dealing directly with their
difficulty breathing and was easily fatigued. The clients.
doctors diagnosed that she has a heart
congestion problem due to a valve defect, and Advertisements
that her chances of carrying a baby to full term
are slim. Wanda is scared and contemplates the GR: No advertisement by lawyers is allowed. The
possibility of abortion. She thus sought legal most worthy and effective advertisement possible is
advice from Diana, a lawyer-friend and fellow the establishment of a well-merited reputation for
church member, who has been informally professional capacity and fidelity to trust.
advising her on legal matters.
XPNs: [LEPO-LABAN-PD]
1. Reputable Law lists, in a manner consistent

27
LEGAL ETHICS
with the standards of conduct imposed by the 2. Writing unsolicited articles on a legal subject.
canons, of brief biographical and informative
data, are allowed; NOTE: If engaged in another profession or
2. Advertisements or simple announcement of the occupation concurrently with the practice of law,
Existence of a lawyer or his law firm posted the lawyer shall make clear to his client whether he
anywhere where it is proper such as his place of is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity.
business or residence except courtrooms and
government buildings; ---
3. Ordinary, simple Professional Card. It may
contain only a statement of his name, the name Q: Atty. Tabalingcos was charged with
of the law firm which he is connected with, unlawfully soliciting clients and advertising
address, telephone number and the special legal services through various business entities.
branch of law practiced; He allegedly set up two financial consultancy
4. A simple announcement of the Opening of a law firms, Jesi and Jane Management, Inc. and
firm or of changes in the partnership, Christmel Business Link, Inc., and used them as
associates, firm name or office address, being fronts to advertise his legal services and solicit
for the convenience of the profession, is not cases. However, he contended that his law firm
objectionable; had an agreement with Jesi and Jane
5. Advertisements or announcement in any Legal Management, Inc., whereby the firm would
publication, including books, journals, and legal handle the legal aspect of the corporate
magazines and in telephone directories (Ulep v. rehabilitation case; and that the latter would
Legal Clinic, Inc., B.M. No. 553, June 17, 1993); attend to the financial aspect of the case such as
6. Writing legal Articles; the preparation of the rehabilitation plans to be
7. Engaging in Business and other occupations presented in court. Is Atty. Tabalingcos guilty of
except when such could be deemed improper, unlawful solicitation?
be seen as indirect solicitation or would be the
equivalent of a law practice; A: YES. Based on the facts of the case, he violated
8. Activity of an association for the purpose of Rule 2.03 of the Code, which prohibits lawyers from
legal representation; soliciting cases for the purpose of profit.
9. Notice to other local lawyers and publishing in
a legal journal of ones availability to act as an A lawyer is not prohibited from engaging in
associate for them; business or other lawful occupation. Impropriety
10. Seeking a Public office, which can only be held arises, though, when the business is of such a nature
by a lawyer or, in a dignified manner, a position or is conducted in such a manner as to be
as a full time corporate counsel; and inconsistent with the lawyers duties as a member
11. Listing in a phone Directory, but not under a of the bar. This inconsistency arises when the
designation of a special branch of law (Atty. business is one that can readily lend itself to the
Khan Jr. v. Atty. Simbillo, A.C. No. 5299, August 19, procurement of professional employment for the
2003). lawyer; or that can be used as a cloak for indirect
solicitation on the lawyers behalf; or is of a nature
NOTE: For solicitation to be proper, it must be that, if handled by a lawyer, would be regarded as
compatible with the dignity of the legal profession. the practice of law. It is clear from the documentary
If made in a modest and decorous manner, it would evidence submitted by complainant that Jesi & Jane
bring no injury to the lawyer or to the bar (Pineda, Management, Inc., which purports to be a financial
2009). and legal consultant, was indeed a vehicle used by
Atty. Tabalingcos as a means to procure
Rationale for the Prohibition of Advertisements professional employment; specifically for corporate
rehabilitation cases (Villatuya v. Tabalingcos, A.C.
1. The profession is primarily for public service; No. 6622, July 10, 2012).
2. Commercializes the profession;
3. Involves self-praise and puffing;
---
4. Damages public confidence; and
5. May increase lawsuits and result in needless
Q: Atty. David agreed to give of his
litigation.
professional fees to an intermediary or
Examples of indirect solicitation commission agent and he also bound himself not
to deal directly with the clients. Can he be
1. Writing and selling for publication articles of subject to disciplinary action?
general nature on legal subjects; and

28
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
A: YES. The agreement is void because it was secondary consideration. The duty to public service
tantamount to malpractice which is the practice of and to the administration of justice should be the
soliciting cases of law for the purpose of gain either primary consideration of lawyers, who must
personally or through paid agents or brokers. subordinate their personal interests or what they
Malpractice ordinarily refers to any malfeasance or owe to themselves (Atty. Khan Jr. v. Atty. Simbillo,
dereliction of duty committed by a lawyer. The A.C. No. 5299, August 19, 2003).
meaning of malpractice is in consonance with the
notion that the practice of law is a profession not a NOTE: The rule against solicitation applies to a
business. The lawyer may not seek or obtain lawyer who offers monetary reward to those who
employment by himself or through others, to do so can serve as witness/es in the case, which he is
would be unprofessional (Tan Tek Beng v. David, A. handling (CPR Annotated, PhilJA).
C. No. 1261, December 29, 1983).
---
---
Q: Facing disciplinary charges for advertising as
NOTE: A general professional partnership with a a lawyer, Atty. A argues that although the calling
non-lawyer is void. In the formation of partnership card of his businessman friend indicates his law
for the practice of law, no person should be office and his legal specialty, the law office is
admitted or held out as a practitioner or member located in his friends store. Decide. (2001 Bar)
who is not a member of the legal profession duly
authorized to practice, and amenable to A: This appears to be a circumvention of the
professional discipline (Canon 33, CPE). prohibition on improper advertising. There is no
valid reason why the lawyers businessman friend
--- should be handing out calling cards which contains
the lawyers law office and legal specialty, even if his
Q: Atty. Dulcinea writes a regular column in a office is located in his friends store. What makes it
newspaper of general circulation and articles on more objectionable is the statement of his supposed
unforgettable legal stories in a leading legal specialty.
magazine. Her by-line always includes the name
of her firm where she is a named partner. Would ---
you consider this as improper advertising?
Explain your answer. Rule 2.04, Canon 2
A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than those
A: Atty. Dulcineas by-line including the firm name customarily prescribed unless the circumstances
where she belongs is improper because it is an so warrant (1997, 2005 Bar)
indirect way of solicitation or is an advertisement of
the law firm. GR: A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than those
customarily prescribed.
---
XPN: When clients are relatives, co-lawyers, or are
Q: A paid advertisement appeared in the July 5, indigents. These are the valid justifications.
2000 issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer, which
reads: "ANNULMENT' OF MARRIAGE Specialist What the rule prohibits is a competition in the
532-4333/521-2667." Similar advertisements matter of charging professional fees for the purpose
were published in the August 2 and 6, 2000 of attracting clients in favor of the lawyer who offers
issues of the Manila Bulletin and August 5, 2000 lower rates. The rule does not prohibit a lawyer
issue of The Philippine Star. Does the from charging a reduced fee or none at all to an
appearance of such in a newspaper, amount to indigent (Comments of the IBP Committee).
advertising and solicitation of legal services
prohibited by the Code of Professional TRUE, HONEST, FAIR, DIGNIFIED AND
Responsibility and the Rules of Court? OBJECTIVE INFORMATION ON LEGAL SERVICES

A: YES. It has been repeatedly stressed that the CANON 3


practice of law is not a business. It is a profession in A lawyer in making known his legal services
which duty to public service, not money, is the shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and
primary consideration. Lawyering is not primarily objective information or statement of facts
meant to be a money-making venture, and law
advocacy is not a capital that necessarily yields
profits. The gaining of a livelihood should be a

29
LEGAL ETHICS
Brazen commercialization of legal services is Q: As a new lawyer, Attorney Novato started
not allowed with a practice limited to small claims cases,
legal counseling, and notarization of documents.
The practice of law is not a trade like the sale of He put up a solo practice law office and was
commodities to the general public where "the usual assisted by his wife who served as his
exaggerations in trade, when the proper party had secretary/helper. He used a makeshift hut in a
the opportunity to know the facts, are not in vacant lot near the local courts and a local
themselves fraudulent. (Art. 1340, NCC) transport regulatory agency. With this strategic
location, he enjoyed heavy patronage assisting
--- walk-in clients in the preparation and filing of
pleadings and in the preparation and
Q: Atty. E has a daily 10-minute radio program notarization of contracts and documents. He had
billed as a Court of Common Troubles. The the foresight of investing in a good heavy duty
program is advertised by the radio station as a copier machine that reproduces quality
public service feature for those who seek but documents, and charges a reasonable fee for this
cannot afford to pay for legal advice. Its service. He draws electric power from an
sponsors include a food processing company extension wire connected to an adjoining small
and a detergent manufacturing firm which share restaurant. He put up a shingle that reads: "Atty.
with the radio station the monthly Novato, Specialist in Small Claims, Fastest in
remuneration of Atty. E. Is Notarization; the Best and Cheapest in Copier
there any impropriety in Atty. Es role under the Services."
above arrangement? (1997 Bar)
Is Attorney Novatos manner of carrying out his
A: YES. Giving advice on legal matters through the professional practice i.e., mixing business with
medium of a newspaper column or radio station or the practice of law, announcing his activities via
television broadcast is improper. It would involve a shingle and locating his office as above-
indirect advertising and violation of the confidential described in keeping with appropriate ethical
relation between the lawyer and the client (Agpalo, and professional practice? (2013 Bar)
2002).
A: NO. Attorney Novatos manner of carrying out his
--- professional practice is not in keeping with
appropriate ethical and professional practice. He
Q: Atty. Nelson recently passed the Bar and has degraded the law profession which may result
wanted to specialize in marine labor law. He to loss of respect to lawyers as a whole.
gave out calling cards with his name, address
and telephone number in front, and the The use of a makeshift hut standing alone would
following words at the back: "We provide legal create the impression that the lawyer does not have
assistance to overseas seamen who are a permanent address which is required to be stated
repatriated due to accident, illness, injury, or in all pleadings he signs as well as required to be
death. We also offer FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE." shown in documents he notarizes.
Does this constitute ethical misconduct? (2012
Bar) His shingle shows that he has considered the law
profession as a business. He should have separate
A: YES, the calling card contains advertisement in shingle for his copier services business.
violation of Canon 3 of CPR. The phrase We also
offer financial assistance was clearly used to entice When he included in his shingle the phrases
clients who already had representation to change Specialist in Small Claims and Fastest in
counsels with a promise of loans to finance their Notarization he has transgressed the rule that a
legal actions. Money was dangled to lure clients lawyer in making known his legal services shall use
away from their original lawyers, thereby taking only dignified information or statement of facts
advantage of their financial distress and emotional (Code of Professional Responsibility, Canon 3). So
vulnerability. This crass commercialism degraded also the norm that a lawyer shall not use or permit
the integrity of the bar and deserves no place in the the use of any misleading, undignified, self-
legal profession. (Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino, A.C. laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his
No. 6672, September 4, 2009) qualifications or legal services (Ibid., Canon 3, Rule
3.01).
---
The use of the phrases Specialist in Small Claims
and Fastest in Notarization is misleading

30
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
advertisement because they are likely to create an deceased partner may still be used
unjustified expectation about the results the lawyer
can achieve or implies that the lawyer can achieve All the partners have, by their joint and several
results by improper means. (ABA Model Rule 7.1.b) efforts over a period of years contributed to the
--- goodwill attached to the firm name. In the case of a
firm having widespread connections, this goodwill
Rule 3.01, Canon 3 is disturbed by a change in firm name every time a
A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any partner dies, and that reflects a loss in some degree
false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, of the goodwill to the building up of which the
undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or surviving partners have contributed their time, skill
claim regarding his qualifications or legal and labor through a period of years (CPR Annotated,
services. (1997 Bar) PhilJA).

Any false, exaggerating or untrue claims about his NOTE: No name not belonging to any of the partners
qualification are clearly unethical. Example of this is or associates may be used in the firm name for any
when a lawyer makes representation to a purpose.
prospective client that he has never lost a single
case in his entire career. Certainly, this is impossible Continued use of the name of a deceased partner is
for the best lawyers in the country have experienced permissible provided that the firm indicates in all its
losing cases (Antiquiera, 1992). communications that said partner is deceased. The
use of a cross after the name of the deceased partner
Self-laudation is prohibited is sufficient indication. It is advisable though that
the year of the death be also indicated.
Certain self-laudatory information such as election
to a public office, scholastic honors and The use of the firm name of a foreign law firm is
achievements, and legal authorships may be unethical (Pineda, 2009).
disseminated. What is prohibited is that which
creates an unjustified expectation about results the
lawyer can achieve (Funa, 2009). Rule 3.03, Canon 3
Where a partner accepts public office, he shall
Examples of Advertisements considered as withdraw from the firm and his name shall be
deceptive dropped from the firm name unless the law
allows him to practice law concurrently.
1. Misstatements of fact;
2. Suggestions that the ingenuity or prior record Name of a partner in law firm should be dropped if
of a lawyer rather than the justice of the claim appointed as judge since he is no longer allowed to
are the principal factors likely to determine the practice law (Pineda, 2009).
result;
3. Inclusion of information irrelevant in selecting The rationale of this rule is to prevent the law firm
a lawyer; and or partners from making use of the name of the
4. Representations concerning the quality of public official to attract business and to avoid
service, which cannot be measured or verified suspicion of undue influence.
(CPR Annotated, PhilJA).
---

Rule 3.02, Canon 3 Q: Samonte alleges that when she went to


In the choice of a firm name, no false, misleading Branch 220, RTC QC to inquire about the reason
or assumed name shall be used. The continued for the issuance of the TRO, Atty. Rolando
use of the name of a deceased partner is Gatdula (Clerk of Court) blamed her lawyer for
permissible provided that the firm indicates in all writing the wrong address in the complaint for
its communications that said partner is deceased. ejectmen. He told her that if she wanted the
(1994, 1996, 2001 Bar) execution to proceed, she should change her
lawyer and retain the law office of Atty. Gatdula,
A lawyer is not authorized to use a name other than at the same time giving his calling card with the
the name inscribed in the Roll of Attorneys in his name "Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and
practice of law (Pangan v. Atty. Ramos, A.M. No. 1053, Celera" with office at Rm. 220 Mariwasa Bldg.,
September 7, 1979). 717 Aurora Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City, otherwise
she will not be able to eject the defendant.
Rationale behind the rule that the name of Samonte told Atty. Gatdula that she could not

31
LEGAL ETHICS
decide because she was only representing her ask questions, I am allowing you to do so and the
sister. To her consternation, the RTC Branch 220 questions will be reproduced as my own. Is the
issued an order granting the preliminary act of the fiscal in sensationalizing the case
injunction as threatened by Atty. Gatdula unethical?
despite the fact that the MTC, Branch 37 had
issued an Order directing the execution of the A: YES. Fiscal Salva should be publicly censured for
Decision in a prior civil case. the uncalled for and wide publicity and
sensationalism that he had given to and allowed in
Samonte filed an administrative case for connection with his investigation, whatever be his
misconduct. Did Atty. Gatdula violate the Code of motive, which is considered and found to be
Conduct and Ethical Standards for the Public contempt of court (Cruz v Salva, G.R. No. L-12871,
Officials and Employees? July 25, 1959).

A: YES. Samonte, by her failure to appear at the PARTICIPATION IN THE IMPROVEMENT AND
hearings, failed to substantiate her allegation that it REFORMS IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM
was Atty. Gatdula who gave her the calling card
"Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and Celera CANON 4
Law Offices" and that he tried to convince her to A lawyer shall participate in the development
change counsels. However, while Atty. Gatdula of the legal system by initiating or supporting
vehemently denies Samonte's allegations, he does efforts in law reform and in the improvement
not deny that his name appears on the calling card of the administration of justice.
attached to the complaint, which admittedly came
into the hands of Samonte.

The card clearly gives the impression that he is By reason of education and experience, lawyers are
connected with the said law firm. The especially qualified to recognize deficiencies in the
inclusion/retention of his name in the professional legal system and to initiate corrective measures
card constitutes an act of solicitation which violates therein. Thus, they should participate in proposing
Section 7 sub-par. (b) (2) of R.A. 6713, otherwise and supporting legislation and programs to improve
known as "Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards the system, without regard to the general interests
for the Public Officials and Employees" which or desires of clients or former clients (Ethical
declares it unlawful for a public official or employee Consideration 8-1, 1978, Model Code of Professional
to, among others: (2) Engage in the private practice Responsibility, American Bar Association).
of their profession unless authorized by the
Constitution or law, provided that such practice will Examples:
not conflict or tend to conflict with official functions
(Samonte v. Gatdula, A.M. No. 99-1292, February 26, 1. Presenting position papers or resolutions for
1999). the introduction of pertinent bills in Congress;
or
--- 2. Petitions with the SC for the amendment of the
Rules of Court.
Rule 3.04, Canon 3
A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of value to Endorsement by a lawyer
representatives of the mass media in anticipation
of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal A lawyer may, with propriety, endorse a candidate
business. and seek endorsement from other lawyers. A lawyer
should not use or attempt to use the power or
The reason for this rule is to prevent some lawyers prestige of the judicial office to secure such
from gaining an unfair advantage over others endorsement. On the other hand, the lawyer whose
through the use of gimmickry, press agentry or endorsement is sought should have the courage and
other artificial means. moral stamina to refuse the request for
endorsement if he believes the candidate lacks the
--- essential qualifications for the office or believes the
opposing candidate is better qualified (ABA Opinion
Q: Fiscal Salva conducted the investigation of the 189 (1938); Funa, 2009).
case concerning the killing of Monroy, in the
session hall of the Municipal Court of Pasay City PARTICIPATION IN THE LEGAL
to accommodate the public and members of the EDUCATION PROGRAM
press. He also told the press that if you want to

32
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
CANON 5 Q: Provincial Prosecutor Bonifacio refused to
A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal represent the Municipality of San Vicente in a
developments, participate in continuing legal case for collection of taxes. He explained that he
education programs, support efforts to cannot handle the case with sincerity and
achieve high standards in law schools as well industry because he does not believe in the
as in the practical training of law students and position taken by the municipality. Can
assist in disseminating information regarding Prosecutor Bonifacio be sanctioned
the law and jurisprudence. administratively? (2006 Bar)

A: NO. A lawyer may refuse a case which he believes


This duty carries with it the obligation to be well to be unmeritorious, because it is his duty to
informed of the existing laws, and to keep abreast counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings
with legal developments, recent enactment and only as appear to him to be just and such defenses
jurisprudence. It is imperative that they be only as he believes to be honestly debatable under
conversant with the basic legal principles. Unless the law (Sec. 20(c), Rule 138). The Canons of Code of
they faithfully comply with such duty, they may not Professional Responsibility are applicable to
be able to discharge competently and diligently government lawyers in the performance of their
their obligations as members of the Bar. Worse, they official tasks. (Canon 6, CPR)
may become susceptible to committing mistakes
(Dulalia Jr. v. Cruz, A.C. No. 6854, April 25, 2007, ---
citing Santiago v. Rafanan, A.C. No. 6252, October 5,
2004).
Rule 6.01, Canon 6
The latest circular of the Supreme Court provides The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public
for the mandatory attendance of all lawyers in the prosecution is not to convict but to see to it that
so-called Mandatory Continuing Legal Education justice is done. The suppression of facts or the
Program of the IBP. For law practitioners, they concealment of witnesses capable of establishing
have to comply with the 36 hours of mandatory the innocence of the accused is highly
legal education as a pre-condition to the non- reprehensible and is cause for disciplinary
revocation of license to practice law (Antiquiera, action.
1992).
Q: From the viewpoint of legal ethics, why
Three-fold obligation of a lawyer should it be mandatory that the public
prosecutor be present at the trial of a criminal
1. He owes it to himself to continue improving his case despite the presence of a private
knowledge of the laws; prosecutor? (2001 Bar)
2. He owes it to his profession to take an active
interest in the maintenance of high standards of A: The public prosecutor must be present at the trial
legal education; and of the criminal case despite the presence of a private
3. He owes it to the lay public to make the law a prosecutor in order to see to it that the interest of
part of their social consciousness (Pineda, the State is well-guarded and protected, should the
2009). private prosecutor be found lacking in competence
in prosecuting the case. Moreover, the primary duty
LAWYERS IN THE GOVERNMENT AND of a public prosecutor is not to convict but to see to
DISCHARGE OF OFFICIAL TASKS it that justice is done (Rule 6.01, CPR). A private
prosecutor would be naturally interested only in the
conviction of the accused.
CANON 6
These canons shall apply to lawyers in
---
government service in the discharge of their
official tasks.
Instance where a private prosecutor may
appear in behalf of the State even without the
Lawyers in the employ of the government should be presence or supervision of a public prosecutor
more sensitive in the performance of their
professional obligations as their conduct is subject All criminal actions either commenced by complaint
to constant scrutiny of the public. or by information shall be prosecuted under the
direction and control of a public prosecutor. In case
--- of heavy work schedule of the public prosecutor or
in the event of lack of public prosecutors, the private

33
LEGAL ETHICS
prosecutor may be authorized in writing by the intervened while in said service. (1992, 1993,
Chief of the Prosecution Office or the Regional State 2001 Bar)
Prosecutor to prosecute the case subject to the
approval of the court. Once so authorized to The restriction provided under the rule covers
prosecute the criminal action, the private engagement or employment which means that he
prosecutor shall continue to prosecute the case up cannot accept any work or employment from
to end of the trial even in the absence of a public anyone that will involve or relate to the matter in
prosecutor, unless the authority is revoked or which he intervened as a public official, except on
otherwise withdrawn (Sec. 5, Rule 110, RRC as behalf of the body or authority which he served
amended by A.M. No. 02-2-07-SC effective May 1, during his public employment (CPR Annotated,
2002). PhilJA).

Rule 6.02, Canon 6 NOTE: Sec. 7(b) of R.A. 6713 prohibits former public
A lawyer in the government service shall not use official or employee for a period of 1 year after
his public position to promote or advance his retirement or separation from office to practice his
private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere profession in connection with any matter before the
with his public duties. office he used to be with.

Restriction on lawyers who are also public ---


officials and employees during their
incumbency [PERU] Q: Former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza
filed a petition with the CFI praying for the
They must NOT: assistance and supervision of the court in the
GenBanks liquidation. Mendoza gave advice on
1. Engage in the Private practice of their the procedure to liquidate the GenBank.
profession unless authorized by the Subsequently, President Aquino established the
Constitution or law, provided that such practice PCGG to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of
will not conflict or tend to conflict with their former President Marcos, his family and cronies.
official functions; The PCGG filed with the Sandiganbayan a
2. Own, control, manage or accept Employment as complaint for reversion, reconveyance,
officer, employee, consultant, counsel, broker, restitution, accounting and damages against
agent, trustee or nominee in any private Tan, et al. and issued several writs of
enterprise regulated, supervised or licensed by sequestration on properties they allegedly
their office unless expressly allowed by law; acquired. Tan, et al. were represented by former
3. Recommend any person to any position in a SolGen Mendoza, who has then resumed his
private enterprise which has a regular or private practice of law. The PCGG filed motions
pending official transaction with their office; to disqualify Mendoza as counsel for Tan, et al.,
and alleging that then SolGen and counsel to Central
4. Use or divulge confidential or classified Bank, actively intervened in the liquidation of
information officially known to them by reason GenBank, which was subsequently acquired by
of their office and not available to the public. Tan, et al. Is Rule 6.03 of the CPR applicable to
Mendoza?
Rule 6.01 vs. Rule 6.02
A: NO. The advice given by Mendoza on the
Unlike Rule 6.01, 6.02 is not limited to public procedure to liquidate the GenBank is not the
prosecutors, or public lawyers engaged principally matter contemplated by Rule 6.03 of the CPR.
in criminal prosecution cases. The restriction
applies particularly to lawyers in government ABA Formal Opinion No. 342 is clear in stressing
service, who are allowed by law to engage in private that the drafting, enforcing or interpreting
law practice, and those who, though prohibited government or agency procedures, regulations or
from engaging in the practice of law, have friends, laws, or briefing abstract principles of law are acts
former associates and relatives who are in the active which do not fall within the scope of the
practice of law (CPR Annotated, PhilJA). term matter. However, this concern does not cast
shadow in the case at bar. The act of Mendoza in
informing the Central Bank on the procedure on
Rule 6.03, Canon 6 how to liquidate the GenBank is a different from the
A lawyer shall not, after leaving government subject matter of the civil case about the
service, accept engagement or employment in sequestration of the shares of Tan et al. in Allied
connection with any matter in which he had Bank. Consequently, the danger that confidential

34
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
official information might be divulged is still nil, if Therefor). The Supreme Court may adopt rules of
not inexistent. To be sure, there are no inconsistent court to effect the Integration of the Philippine Bar
sides to be bothered about in this case. For there is under such conditions as it shall see fit in order to
no question that in lawyering for Tan et al., Mendoza raise the standards of the legal profession, improve
is indirectly defending the validity of the action of the administration of justice and enable the bar to
the Central Bank in liquidating GenBank and selling discharge its public responsibility more effectively.
it later to Allied Bank. Their interests coincide
instead of colliding (PCGG v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. NOTE: The Integrated Bar is a state-organized bar,
Nos. 151809-12, April 12, 2005). to which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished
from bar associations organized by lawyers
--- themselves, where membership is voluntary. It is a
national organization of lawyers created on 16
Adverse-interest Conflict vs. Congruent-interest January 1973 under Rule 139-A of the Rules of
Conflict Court, and constituted on 4 May 1973 into a body
corporate by PD No. 181.
ADVERSE-INTEREST CONGRUENT-INTEREST
CONFLICTS REPRESENTATION Integration of the Bar
CONFLICTS
Adverse-interest In congruent-interest The Integration of the Philippine Bar means the
conflicts exist where representation conflict, official unification of the entire lawyer population,
the matter in which the the disqualification does and this requires membership and financial support
former government not really involve a of every attorney as condition sine qua non to the
lawyer represents a conflict at all, because it practice of law and the retention of his name in the
client in private prohibits the lawyer from Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court (Pineda,
practice is representing a private 1999).
substantially related to practice client even if the
the matter that the interests of the former Fundamental purposes of the IBP
lawyer dealt with government client and the
while employed by the new client are entirely 1. To elevate the standards of the legal profession;
government and the parallel. 2. Improve the administration of justice; and
interests of the 3. Enable the Bar to discharge its public
government and the responsibility more effectively (Sec. 2, Rule 139-
interests of the current A, RRC).
and former are
adverse. NOTE: The Philippines is divided into 9 Regions of
the Integrated Bar, with a Chapter organized in
NOTE: Congruent-interest representation every province. Each Chapter shall have its own
conflict, unlike the adverse-interest conflict, is local government as provided for by uniform rules
unique to former government lawyers. to be prescribed by the Board of Governors and
approved by the SC (Secs. 3 and 4, Rule 139-A, RRC).
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LAWYER
TO THE LEGAL PROFESSION Constitutionality of the IBP integration

The practice of law is not a vested right but a


CANON 7
privilege clothed with public interest. Hence, it is
A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity
fair and just that the exercise of that privilege be
and dignity of the legal profession and
regulated to assure compliance with the lawyer's
support the activities of the integrated bar
public responsibilities. Given existing bar
Integrated Bar of the Philippines conditions, the most efficient means of doing so is
by integrating the Bar through a rule of court that
It is an official national body composed of all requires all lawyers to pay annual dues to the
persons whose names now appear or may hereafter Integrated Bar (In the Matter of the Integration of the
be included in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Bar of the Philippines, 49 SCRA 22, January 9, 1973).
Court (Sec. 1, Rule 139-A, RRC).
Structure of the IBP Board
Statutory Basis
Nine Governors shall be elected by the House of
R.A. 6397 (An Act Providing for the Integration of Delegates from the nine Regions on the
the Philippine Bar, and Appropriating Funds representation basis of one Governor from each

35
LEGAL ETHICS
Region. Each Governor shall be chosen from a list of to serve as Governor at any time is once again open
nominees submitted by the Delegates from the to all chapters, unless, of course, a chapter has
Region, provided that not more than one nominee already served in the new cycle. While predictability
shall come from any Chapter. The President and the is not altogether avoided, as in the case where only
Executive Vice President, if chosen by the Governors one chapter remains in the cycle, still, as previously
from outside of themselves as provided in Section 7 noted by the Court the rotation rule should be
of this Rule, shall ipso facto become members of the applied in harmony with, and not in derogation of,
Board (Sec. 6, Rule 139-A, RRC). the sovereign will of the electorate as expressed
through the ballot. (In The Matter of the Brewing
Term of members of the IBP Board Controversies in the Elections of the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines, A.M. No. 09-5-2-SC, December 04,
The Governors shall hold office for a term of two 2012).
years from July 1 immediately following their
election to June 30 of their second year in office and Transferring to another IBP Chapter is not a
until their successors shall have been duly chosen ground for disqualification to run as IBP
and qualified (Sec. 38, Art. VI, IBP By-Laws). Governor

Principle of Rotation Transferring to another IBP Chapter is not a ground


for disqualification for the post of IBP Governor as
Pursuant to the principle of rotation, the the same is allowed under Section 19 of the IBP By-
governorship of a region shall rotate once in as Laws with the qualification only that the transfer be
many terms as the number of chapters there are in made not less than three months immediately
the region, to give every chapter a chance to preceding any chapter election (Velez v. De Vera, A.C.
represent the region in the Board of Governors. No. 6697, July 25, 2006).
Thus, in a region composed of 5 chapters, each
chapter is entitled to the governorship once in every Board meetings
5 terms, or once every ten (10) years, since a term is
two (2) years (Atty. Magsino et al. v. Atty. Vinluan, The Board shall meet regularly once every three
A.M. No. 09-5-2-SC, December 14, 2010). months, on such date and at such time and place as
it shall designate. A majority of all the members of
NOTE: The principle on rotation shall be strictly the Board shall constitute a quorum to do business.
implemented so that all prior elections for governor Special meetings may be called by the President or
in the region shall be reckoned with or considered by five members of the Board (Sec. 6, Rule 139-A,
in determining who should be the governor to be RRC).
selected from the different chapters to represent
the region in the Board of Governors (Bar Matter No. IBP officers
586 dated May 16, 1991).
The Integrated Bar shall have a/an:
Kinds of rotation
1. President;
1. Rotation by pre-ordained sequence - effected by 2. Executive Vice President who shall be chosen
the observance of the sequence of the service of by the Governors immediately after the latters
the chapters in the first cycle, which is very election; either from among themselves or from
predictable. other members of the Integrated Bar, by the
2. Rotation by exclusion - effected by the exclusion vote of at least five Governors. Each of the
of a chapter who had previously served until all regional members of the Board shall be ex
chapters have taken their turns to serve. It is officio Vice President for the Region which he
not predictable as each chapter will have the represents;
chance to vie for the right to serve, but will have 3. Secretary;
no right to a re-election as it is debarred from 4. Treasurer; and
serving again until the full cycle is completed (In 5. Such other officers and employees as may be
The Matter of the Brewing Controversies in the required by the Board of Governors, to be
Elections of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, appointed by the President with the consent of
A.M. No. 09-5-2-SC, December 04, 2012). the Board, and to hold office at the pleasure of
the Board or for such term as it may fix. Said
NOTE: In one case, the Supreme Court held that officers and employees need not be members of
rotation by exclusion shall be adopted since the the Integrated Bar (Sec. 7, Rule 139-A, RRC).
elections would be more genuine as the opportunity
Term of officers

36
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
The President and the Executive Vice President IBP must be apolitical
shall hold office for a term of two years from July 1
following their election until June 30 of their second No lawyer holding an elective, judicial, quasi-
year in office and until their successors shall have judicial or prosecutory office in the Government or
been duly chosen and qualified. In the event the any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof
President is absent or unable to act, his functions shall be eligible for election or appointment to any
and duties shall be performed by the Executive Vice position in the Integrated Bar or any Chapter
President, and in the event of the death, resignation, thereof. A Delegate, Governor, officer or employee
or removal of the President, the Executive Vice of the Integrated Bar, or an officer or employee of
President shall serve as Acting President for the any Chapter thereof shall be considered ipso facto
unexpired portion of the term. In the event of the resigned from his position as of the moment he files
death, resignation, removal or disability of both the his certificate of candidacy for any elective public
President and the Executive Vice President, the office or accepts appointment to any judicial, quasi-
Board of Governors shall elect an Acting President judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government or
to hold office for the unexpired portion of the term any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof
or during the period of disability. Unless otherwise (Sec. 13, Rule 139-A, RRC).
provided in these By-Laws, all other officers and
employees appointed by the President with the Prohibited acts and practices relative to the
consent of the Board shall hold office at the pleasure elections of IBP officers
of the Board or for such term as the Board may fix
(Sec. 49, Article VII, IBP By-Laws). 1. Distribution, except on election day, of election
campaign materials;
Qualifications of a Regional IBP Governor 2. Distribution, on election day, of election
campaign materials other than a statement of
1. He is a member in good standing in the IBP; the bio data of the candidate on not more than
2. He is included in the voters list of his chapter or one page of a legal size sheet of paper; or
he is not disqualified by the Integration Rule, by causing the distribution of such statement to be
the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar, or by the By- done by persons other than those authorized by
Laws of the Chapter to which he belongs; the officer presiding at the elections;
3. He does not belong to a chapter from which a 3. Campaigning for or against any candidate, while
regional governor has already been elected, holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial or
unless the election is the start of a new season prosecutory office in the Government or any
or cycle; and political subdivision, agency or instrumentality
4. He is not in the government service (In Re: thereof;
Petition to disqualify Atty. De Vera, A.C. No. 6052, 4. Formation of tickets, single slates, or
December 11, 2003). combinations of candidates as well as the
advertising thereof; and
NOTE: Moral fitness is not an explicit qualification 5. For the purpose of inducing or influencing a
in the IBP by-laws. member to withhold his vote, or to vote for or
against a candidate:
Vacancy occurring in the IBP presidency
a. Payment of the dues or other indebtedness
1. In the event the President is absent or unable to of any member;
act, his duties shall be performed by the b. Giving of food, drink, entertainment,
Executive Vice President. transportation or any article of value, or
2. In the event of the death, resignation, or any similar consideration to any person;
removal of the President, the Executive Vice c. Making a promise or causing an
President shall serve as Acting President during expenditure to be made, offered or promise
the remainder of the term of the office thus to any person (Sec. 4, IBP By-Laws; In the
vacated. Matter of the Inquiry into the 1989 Elections
3. In the event of the death, resignation, removal of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, A.M.
or disability of both the President and the No. 491, October 6, 1989).
Executive Vice President, the Board of
Governors shall elect an Acting President to ---
hold office until the next succeeding election or
during the period of disability (Sec. 8, Rule 139- Q: In the election of national officers of the IBP,
A, RRC). the SC received reports of electioneering and
extravagance that characterized the campaign
NOTE: Serves only the unexpired term. of the 3 candidates for President of the IBP. It is

37
LEGAL ETHICS
alleged that they used government planes, gave Bar. He has the discretion to choose the IBP Chapter
free accommodations to voters to expensive he wants to join. (Garcia v. De Vera, A.C. 6052,
hotels and there has been intervention of public December 11, 2003)
officials to influence the voting. Is there a
violation of the IBP by-laws? Is there sufficient Unless he otherwise registers his preference for a
ground for the SC to suspend the oath taking of particular Chapter, a lawyer shall be considered a
the officials? member of the Chapter of the province, city, political
subdivision or area where his office is or, in the
A: YES. The candidates for the national positions in absence thereof, his residence is located. In no case
the IBP conducted their campaign preparatory to shall any lawyer be a member of more than one
the election on June 3, 1989 in violation of Section Chapter (Sec. 4, Rule 139-A, RRC).
14 of the IBP by-laws and the Rules of Court, that the
IBP shall be strictly non-political. Also the ethics of Procedure for voluntary termination of
the legal profession imposed on all lawyers has been membership
violated corollary to their obligation to obey and
uphold the constitution and the laws, the duty to A member may terminate his membership by filing
promote respect for law and legal processes and to a written notice to that effect with the Secretary of
abstain activities aimed at the defiance of the law or the Integrated Bar, who shall immediately bring the
at lessening confidence in the legal system (In Re: matter to the attention of the Supreme Court.
IBP Elections, B.M. 491, October 6, 1989). Forthwith he shall cease to be a member and his
name shall be stricken by the Court from the Roll of
MEMBERSHIP AND DUES Attorneys (Sec.11, Rule 139-A, RRC).

Q: The Integrated Bar of the Philippines adopted NOTE: Re-instatement may be made by the Court in
a resolution recommending to the Court the accordance with rules and regulations prescribed
removal of the name Marcial A. Edillon, a duly by the Board of Governors and approved by the
licensed practicing attorney, from its Roll of Court (Sec. 11, Rule 139-A, RRC).
Attorneys for stubborn refusal to pay his
membership dues to the IBP since its Membership dues
constitution, notwithstanding due notice. Is
Edillon correct in his objection that the Court is Every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay such
without power to compel him to become a annual dues as the Board of Governors shall
member of the IBP, hence, Sec. 1 of Rule 139-A of determine with the approval of the Supreme Court.
the Rules of Court is unconstitutional for it A fixed sum equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the
infringes on his constitutional right of freedom collections from each Chapter shall be set aside as a
to associate (and not to associate)? Welfare Fund for disabled members of the Chapter
and the compulsory heirs of deceased members
A: NO. To compel a member of the Integrated Bar is thereof. (Sec. 9, Rule 139-A, RRC)
not violative of his constitutional freedom to
associate. Integration does not make a lawyer a NOTE: Membership dues are not prohibited by the
member of any group of which he is not already a Constitution. The fee is imposed as a regulatory
member. He became a member of the Bar when he measure, designed to raise funds for carrying out
passed the Bar Examinations. All that integration the purposes and objectives of the integration (In
actually does is to provide an official national the Matter of IBP Membership dues delinquency of
organization for the well-defined but unorganized Atty. Marcial Edillon, A.M. No. 1928, August 3, 1978).
group of which every lawyer is already a member.
Effect of non-payment of dues
Assuming that the questioned provision does in a
sense compel a lawyer to be a member of the Default in the payment of annual dues for six
Integrated Bar, such compulsion is justified as an months shall warrant suspension of membership in
exercise of the police power of the State. (In the the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for
Matter of IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. one year shall be a ground for the removal of the
Edillon, A.C. No. 1928, December 19, 1980) name of the delinquent member from the Roll of
Attorneys (Sec. 10, Rule 139-A, RRC) subject to the
--- requirement of due process. (Funa, 2009)

NOTE: A lawyer does not automatically become a ---


member of the IBP chapter where he resides or
works after becoming a full-fledged member of the Q: Atty. Llamas, for a number of years, has not

38
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
indicated the proper PTR and IBP O.R. Nos. and informed the Secretary of the Integrated Bar of his
data in his pleadings. He only indicated IBP intention to stay abroad before he left. In such case,
Rizal 259060 but he has been using this for at his membership in the IBP could have been
least 3 years. Atty. Llamas averred that he is only terminated and his obligation to pay dues could
engaged in a limited practice of law and under have been discontinued (Letter of Atty. Arevalo, Jr.
R.A. 7432, as a senior citizen, he is exempt from Requesting Exemption from Payment of Dues, B.M.
payment of income taxes, including the payment No. 1370, May 9, 2005).
of membership dues. Is Atty. Llamas correct?
---
A: NO. Rule 139-A requires that every member of
the Integrated Bar shall pay annual dues and default No retirement in the IBP
thereof shall warrant the appropriate penalties. It
does not matter whether or not Atty. Llamas is only There is no such thing as retirement in the IBP as
engaged in limited practice of law. Moreover, the understood in labor law. A lawyer, however, may
exemption invoked by Atty. Llamas does not include terminate his bar membership after filing the
exemption from payment of membership or required verified notice of termination with the
association dues (Santos Jr. v. Atty. Llamas, A.C. No. Secretary of the Integrated Bar (In Re: Atty. Jose
4749, January 20, 2000). Principe, Bar Matter No. 543, September 20, 1990).

NOTE: R.A. 7432 providing 20% discount to Senior UPHOLDING THE DIGNITY AND INTEGRITY OF
Citizens DOES NOT apply to IBP Dues. THE PROFESSION

--- Academic requirements for bar candidates

Q: Atty. Arevalo sought exemption from 1. Pre-Law Pursued and satisfactorily


payment of IBP dues for the alleged unpaid completed in an authorized and recognized
accountability for the years 1977-2005. He university or college, requiring for admission
alleged that after being admitted to the thereto the completion of a four-year high
Philippine Bar in 1961, he became part of the school course, the course of study prescribed
Philippine Civil Service then migrated to, and therein for a bachelors degree in arts or
worked in the USA from December 1986 until sciences. (Sec. 6, Rule 138, RRC)
his retirement in 2003. He maintained that he
cannot be assessed IBP dues for the years that he 2. Law proper - satisfactorily completed the
was working in the Philippine Civil Service since following courses in a law school or university
the Civil Service law prohibits the practice of duly recognized by the government:
ones profession while in government service,
and neither can he be assessed for the years a. civil law;
when he was working in the USA. Is Atty. Arevalo b. commercial law;
entitled to exemption from payment of his dues c. remedial law;
during the time that he was inactive in the d. criminal law;
practice of law? e. public and private international law;
f. political law;
A: NO. The Integration of the Philippine Bar means g. labor and social legislation;
the official unification of the entire lawyer h. medical jurisprudence;
population. This requires membership and financial i. taxation; and
support of every attorney as condition sine qua non j. legal ethics (Sec. 5, Rule 138, RRC)
to the practice of law and the retention of his name
in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court.
Rule 7.01, Canon 7
Payment of dues is a necessary consequence of A lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly
membership in the IBP, of which no one is exempt. making a false statement or suppressing a
This means that the compulsory nature of payment material fact in connection with his application
of dues subsists for as long as ones membership in for admission to the bar.
the IBP remains regardless of the lack of practice of,
or the type of practice, the member is engaged in. The concealment of an attorney in his application to
There is nothing in the law or rules which allow take the bar exams of the fact that he had been
exemption from payment of membership dues charged with or indicted for an alleged crime, is
(even if the lawyer is staying abroad). At most, as ground for revocation of his license to practice law
correctly observed by the IBP, he could have (In re: Victorino Lanuevo, A.M. No. 1162, August 29,

39
LEGAL ETHICS
1975). for admission (CPR Annotated, PhilJA).

Honest mistake as excuse in making false


statement Rule 7.03, Canon 7
A lawyer shall not engage in a conduct that
An honest mistake in making false statement may be adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law,
a valid excuse but the burden of proof lies on the one nor shall he, whether in public or private life,
who alleges it. behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit
of the legal profession (2004 Bar)
On the other hand, to be liable for suppressing a fact
or information in the application, the suppression Q: Atty. Perenia got married in 2005. Then he
must be: met another woman, Helen. They fell in love and
started living together. Atty. Perenia would even
1. Deliberately or knowingly made; and bring Helen along to social functions and
2. The fact or information suppressed must be introduce her as his second wife. Is such act
material (CPR Annotated, PhilJA). unethical?

False statements in the application for A: YES, it violates Rule 7.03 of CPR. The fact that he
admission to the Bar shamelessly flaunts his mistress constitutes an act
which embarrasses and discredits the law
1. If the false statement or suppression of material profession since it is his duty and obligation to
fact is discovered before the candidate could take uphold the dignity and integrity of the profession.
the bar examinations, he will be denied The actuation of Atty. Perenia is contrary to good
permission to take the examinations. morals.
2. If the false statement or suppression of material
fact was discovered after the candidate had While it has been held in disbarment cases that the
passed the examinations but before having been mere fact of sexual relations between two
taken his oath, he will not be allowed to take his unmarried adults is not sufficient to warrant
oath as a lawyer. administrative sanction for such illicit behavior, it is
3. If the discovery was made after the candidate not so with respect to betrayals of the marital vow of
had taken his oath as a lawyer, his name will be fidelity. Even if not all forms of extra-marital
stricken from the Roll of Attorneys. relations are punishable under penal law, sexual
relations outside marriage is considered disgraceful
Effect concealment of a crime which does not and immoral as it manifests deliberate disregard of
involve moral turpitude the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows
protected by the Constitution and affirmed by our
Concealment will be taken against him. It is the fact laws (Vitug v. Roncal, A.C. No. 6313, September 7,
of concealment and not the commission of the crime 2006).
itself that makes him morally unfit to become a
lawyer. When he made concealment he perpetrated ---
perjury (In re: Victorino Lanuevo, A.M. No. 1162,
August 29, 1975). Q: Atty. Kuripot was one of Town Banks valued
clients. In recognition of his loyalty to the bank,
he was issued a gold credit card with a credit
Rule 7.02, Canon 7 limit of P250,000.00. After two months, Atty.
A lawyer shall not support the application for Kuripot exceeded his credit limit, and refused to
admission to the bar of any person known by pay the monthly charges as they fell due. Aside
him to be unqualified in respect to character, from a collection suit, Town Bank also filed a
education or other relevant attribute. disbarment case against Atty. Kuripot. In his
comment on the disbarment case, Atty. Kuripot
The rationale behind the rule goes beyond the insisted that he did not violate the Code of
personal responsibility to be upright and honest. It Professional Responsibility since his obligation
further extends to the lawyers responsibility to to the bank was personal in nature and had no
uphold the integrity and dignity of the profession, relation to his being a lawyer. Is Atty. Kuripot
by not blindly issuing certifications in support of correct? Explain your answer. (2005 Bar)
applications for admission to the bar of persons
known to him or her to have questionable character, A: Atty. Kuripot is not correct. Section 7.03 of the
inadequate education or other relevant attributes Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a
not consistent with any or all of the requirements lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely

40
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
affects his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, CANON 8
whether in public or private life, behave in a A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy,
scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal fairness and candor towards his professional
profession. colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics
against opposing counsel.
---

Q: Explain whether Atty. Kuripot should be held The lawyers arguments, whether written or oral,
administratively liable for his refusal to settle should be gracious to both the court and opposing
his credit card bill. (2005 Bar) counsel and be of such words as may be properly
addressed by one gentleman to another (National
A: He may NOT be held administratively liable. The Security Co. v. Jarvis, 278 U.S. 610).
Supreme Court has held that it does not take original
jurisdiction of complaints for collection of debts. A lawyers language should be forceful but dignified,
The creditors course of action is civil, not emphatic but respectful as befitting an advocate and
administrative in nature and proper reliefs may be in keeping with the dignity of the legal profession
obtained from the regular courts (Litigio v. Dicon, (In Re: Climaco, A.C. No. 134-J, January 21, 1974).
A.M. No. MTJ-93-806, July 13, 1995). Although ---
lawyers have been held administratively liable for
obstinacy in evading payment of a debt (Constantino Q: In one civil case, Atty. Ferrer filed a reply with
v. Saludares, A.C. No. 2029, December 7, 1993; Lao v. opposition to motion to dismiss that contained
Medel, A.C. No. 5916, July 1, 2003), there is no abusive, offensive, and improper language
obstinacy shown in this case. which insinuated that Atty. Barandon presented
a falsified document in court. He also filed a
--- fabricated charge against Atty. Barandon in
another case for alleged falsification of public
Q: Atty. Capito was supposed to represent document. Furthermore, at the courtroom
Milagros in a claim for support against her of MTC Daet before the start of hearing,
husband but no legal action was taken. He then Atty. Ferrer, evidently drunk, threatened
borrowed 4,000 from Milagros. He was also Atty. Barandon. Is he guilty of violation of the
permitted to stay in the house of Milagros for 2 Code of Professional Responsibility?
weeks but he prolonged his stay to a month and
even reneged on his promise to pay. Atty. Capito A: YES. Canon 8 of the Code of Professional
continued to borrow money from her and the Responsibility commands all lawyers to conduct
debt grew to P16,000. When Milagros finally met themselves with courtesy, fairness and candor
him to collect the debt, Atty. Capito, in the towards their fellow lawyers and avoid harassing
presence of several others, told her Eh kung tactics against opposing counsel.
sabihin ko na sugar mommy kita. Rule on the Atty. Ferrers actions do not measure up to this
conduct of Atty. Capito. Canon. Moreover, Atty. Ferrer could have aired his
charge of falsification in a proper forum and without
A: The respondent is guilty of gross discourtesy using offensive and abusive language against a
amounting to conduct unbecoming of a court fellow lawyer. The Court has constantly reminded
employee. By such violation, respondent failed to lawyers to use dignified language in their pleadings
live up to his oath of office as member of the despite the adversarial nature of our legal system.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and violated Rule Atty. Ferrer had likewise violated Canon 7 of the
7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He Code of Professional Responsibility which enjoins
should not use abusive, offensive, scandalous, lawyers to uphold the dignity and integrity of the
menacing and improper language. Their every act or legal profession at all times. Several disinterested
word should be marked by prudence, restraint, persons confirmed Atty. Ferrers drunken
courtesy and dignity. Aside from violating Rule 7.03 invectives at Atty. Barandon shortly before the start
of the Code of Professional Responsibility, of a court hearing (Barandon v. Ferrer, Sr., A.C.5768,
respondent appears to have also violated Rule 8.01 March 26, 2010).
of the same Code (Re: Complaints of Mrs. Milagros
Lee & Samantha Lee against Atty. Gil Luisito R. ---
Capito, A.M. No. 2008-19-SC, August 18, 2010).
Q: Atty. Y, in his motion for reconsideration of
COURTESY, FAIRNESS AND CANDOR TOWARDS the Decision rendered by the NLRC, alleged that
PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES there was connivance of the NLRC
Commissioners with Atty. X for monetary

41
LEGAL ETHICS
considerations in arriving at the questioned 4. Introducing into an argument, addressed to the
decision. He insulted the Commissioner for their court, remarks or statements intended to
ineptness in appreciating the fact as borne by influence the bystanders (Pineda, 2009).
the evidence presented. Atty. X files an
administrative complaint against Atty. Y for
using abusive language. Atty. Y posits that as a Rule 8.01, Canon 8
lawyer for the down-trodden laborers, he is A lawyer shall not, in his professional
entitled to express his righteous anger against dealings, use language which is abusive,
the Commissioners for having cheated them; offensive or otherwise improper.
that his allegations in the motion for
reconsideration are absolutely privileged; and Instances of disrespectful language
that proscription against the use of abusive
language does not cover pleadings filed with the 1. Categorizes the SC decision as false, erroneous
NLRC, as it is not a court, nor are any of its and illegal (Suo v. Cloribel, A.M. No. 01-1-15-RTC,
Commissioners Justices or Judges. Is Atty. Y July 10, 2003);
administratively liable under the Code of 2. Description of judges attitude as unjust,
Professional Responsibility? Explain. (2010 hostile, vindictive and dangerous. (Cornejo v.
Bar) Judge Tan, G.R. No. L-2217, March 23, 1950);
3. Stating that justice is blind and also deaf and
A: YES. Atty. Y has clearly violated Canons 8 and 11 dumb. (In Re: Almacen, G.R. No. L-27654,
of the Code of Professional Responsibility and is February 18, 1970);
administratively liable. A lawyer shall not in his 4. Attributing to the SC acts of dismissing judges
professional dealings, use language which is without rhyme and reason and disbarring
abusive, offensive or otherwise improper (Rule 8.01, lawyers without due process. (Zaldivar v.
Code of Professional Responsibility). In the case of Gonzales, G.R. Nos. 79690-707, February 1,
Johnny Ng v. Atty. Alar (507 SCRA 465), it was held 1989);
that the argument that the NLRC is not a court, is 5. Calling an adverse counsel as bobo or using
unavailing. The lawyer remains a member of the the word ay que bobo in reference to the
Bar, an oath-bound servant of the law, whose first manner of offering evidence (Castillo v. Padilla
duty is not to his client but to the administration of Jr., A.M. No. 2339, February 1984); and
justice and whose conduct ought to be and must be 6. Any other analogous cases.
scrupulously observant of the law and ethics.
NOTE: Although the Canon that the Rule
The argument that labor practitioners are entitled implements pertains to a lawyers dealings with his
to some latitude of righteous anger is unavailing. It fellow lawyers, the Rule is generally worded to
does not deter the Court from exercising its apply to anyone in the wider context of a
supervisory authority over lawyers who misbehave lawyers professional dealings, including his or her
or fail to live up to that standard expected of them clients and witnesses (CPR Annotated, PhilJA).
as members of the Bar.
---
---
Q: A complaint was filed against Atty. Zaide for
Instances of Lack of Candor (honesty) use of intemperate, offensive and abusive
language. Atty. Zaide referred to the
1. Misquoting the contents of paper, testimony of complainant as a notorious extortionist and to
a witness, the language or the argument of his opposing counsel as someone suffering from
opposing counsel; or the language of the "serious mental incompetence" in one of his
decision or a textbook; pleadings. Did the act of Atty. Zaide violate the
2. With knowledge of its invalidity, to cite as Code of Professional Responsibility?
authority a decision that has been overruled or
a statute that has been repealed, or in the A: YES. More specifically, Canon 8.01 of the CPR. The
argument to assert as a fact that which has not act shows Atty. Zaide's lack of restraint in the use
been proved, or in those jurisdictions where the and choice of his words - a conduct unbecoming of
side has the opening and closing arguments to an officer of the court. While a lawyer is entitled to
mislead his opponent by concealing or present his case with vigor and courage, such
withholding positions in his opening argument enthusiasm does not justify the use of offensive and
upon which his side then intends to rely; abusive language. Language abounds with countless
3. Offering evidence which he knows the court possibilities for one to be emphatic but respectful,
should reject; or convincing but not derogatory, and illuminating but

42
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
not offensive (Gimeno v. Zaide, A.C. No. 10303, April negotiate or compromise the matter with him, but
22, 2015). should deal with his counsel.

--- Any act which is aimed to ease out a previous lawyer


with the intention to grab the case is highly
Q: In pleadings and motions filed by Tiongco, he unethical and should be avoided (Antiquiera, 1992).
described Atty. Deguma as a love crazed Apache,
a horned spinster, man-hungry virago and Exceptions
female bull of an Amazon who would stop at
nothing to injure defendant if only to please and 1. A lawyer may properly interview any witness
attract her client. Tiongco claims that Atty. or prospective witness or prospective witness
Deguma, as a lawyer in the PAO, is using the PAO for the opposing side in any civil or criminal
as a marriage bureau for her benefit. Is the action without the consent of opposing counsel
language employed by Tiongco improper and or party; and
unethical? 2. Any person who seeks relief against an
unfaithful or neglectful lawyer may approach
A: YES. The Code of Professional Responsibility another lawyer for proper advice and
provides in Canon 8 that a lawyer shall conduct assistance. Any advice or assistance extended
himself with courtesy, fairness, and candor toward after proper verification is not encroaching
his professional colleagues, and shall avoid upon the business of another lawyer for such
harassing tactics against opposing counsel. Rule act is justified under the circumstances.
8.01 provides that a lawyer shall not in his
professional dealings, use language which is ---
abusive, offensive or otherwise improper while
Rule 11.03 provides that a lawyer shall abstain from Q: Myrna, in a case for custody of children
scandalous, offensive or menacing language before against her husband, sought advice from Atty.
the courts. Thus, Tiongco is warned accordingly Mendoza whom she met at a party. She informed
(Tiongco Yared v. Ilarde, G.R. No. 114732, August 1, Atty. Mendoza that her lawyer, Atty. Khan, has
2000). been charging her exorbitant appearance fees
when all he does is move for postponements
NOTE: Lack of want of intention is no excuse for the which have unduly delayed the proceedings;
disrespectful language employed. Counsel cannot and that recently, she learned that Atty. Khan
escape responsibility by claiming that his words did approached her husband asking for a huge
not mean what any reader must have understood amount in exchange for the withdrawal of her
them as meaning (Rheem of the Philippines v. Ferrer, Motion for Issuance of Hold Departure Order so
G.R. No. L-22979, January 27, 1967). that he and his children can leave for abroad. Is
it ethical for Atty. Mendoza to advise Myrna to
--- terminate the services of Atty. Khan and hire
him instead for a reasonable attorneys fees?
Rule 8.02, Canon 8 (2006 Bar)
A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly,
encroach upon the professional employment A: Such advice would be unethical. A lawyer shall
of another lawyer; however, it is the right of conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor
any lawyer, without fear or favor, to give towards his professional colleagues. (Canon 8, CPR)
proper advice and assistance to those seeking Specifically, he should not directly or indirectly
relief against unfaithful or neglectful counsel encroach upon the professional employment of
(1995, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2006 Bar) another lawyer (Canon 8, CPR).

A person without a retained lawyer is a legitimate ---


prospective client for any lawyer whom he
approaches for legal services. But, as soon as he had Q: What should Atty. Mendoza do about the
retained one and had not dismissed the retained information relayed to him by Myrna that Atty.
counsel, efforts on the part of another lawyer to take Khan approached her husband with an indecent
him as client constitutes an act of encroaching upon proposal? (2006 Bar)
the employment of another lawyer.
A: He can advise her to terminate the services of
A lawyer should not in any way communicate upon Atty. Khan and/or file an administrative case
the subject of controversy with a party represented against Atty. Khan. It is the right of any lawyer,
by counsel much less should he undertake to without fear or favor, to give proper advice and

43
LEGAL ETHICS
assistance to those seeking relief against unfaithful Q: Will your answer be the same if it was the
or neglectful counsel (Rule 8.02, CPR). plaintiff who was interviewed by Atty. Manuel
without the consent of plaintiff's counsel?
--- Explain. (2009 Bar)

Q: You are the counsel of K in his action for A: My answer will not be the same. Canon 9 of the
specific performance against DEV, Inc., a Canons of Professional Ethics provides that a
subdivision developer which is represented by lawyer should not in any way communicate upon a
Atty. L. Your client believes that the president of subject of controversy with a party represented by
DEV Inc., would be willing to consider an counsel, much less should he undertake to negotiate
amicable settlement and your client urges you or compromise the matter with him, but should deal
to discuss the matter with DEV Inc., without the only with his counsel. If he communicates with the
presence of Atty. L whom he consider to be an adverse party directly, he will be encroaching into
impediment to an early compromise. Would it the employment of the adverse party's lawyer.
be alright for you to negotiate the terms of the
compromise as so suggested above by your NO ASSISTANCE IN UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE
client? (1997 Bar) OF LAW

A: NO. Rule 8.02, Canon 8 of the Code of Professional CANON 9


Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not, A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist
directly or indirectly, encroach upon the Unauthorized Practice
in the unauthorized of Lawof law.
practice
professional employment of another lawyer. Canon
9 of the Code of Professional Ethics is more
particular. A lawyer should not in any way Unauthorized practice of law is committed when a
communicate upon the subject of the controversy person, not a lawyer, performs acts which are
with a party represented by counsel, much less exclusive to members of the bar. (Pineda, 2009)
should he undertake to negotiate or compromise
the matter with him but should deal only with his The rationale of this canon is to protect the public,
counsel. the court, the client and the bar from the
incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to
In the case of Likong v. Lim, A.C. No. 3149, August 17, practice law and not subject to the disciplinary
1994, a lawyer was suspended for negotiating a control of the court.
compromise agreement directly with the adverse
party without the presence and participation of her There is no violation of this canon if a lawyer
counsels. employs a paralegal graduate to assist him in the
practice of law since the job of a paralegal is limited
--- to drafting of documents, case management, etc
(Antiquiera, 1992).
Q: Atty. Manuel is counsel for the defendant in a
civil case pending before the RTC. After ---
receiving the plaintiff's Pre-Trial Brief
containing the list of witnesses, Atty. Manuel Q: Will a lawyer violate the Code of Professional
interviewed some of the witnesses for the Responsibility if he forms a partnership with
plaintiff without the consent of plaintiff's professionals of other disciplines like doctors,
counsel. Did Atty. Manuel violate any ethical engineers, architects or accountants? (2014
standard for lawyers? Explain. (2009 Bar) Bar)

A: NO, because Canon 39 of the Canons of A: YES, the Code of Professional Responsibility
Professional Ethics provides that a lawyer may prohibits unauthorized practice of law so that
interview any witness or prospective witness from lawyers cannot directly or indirectly assist said
the opposing side in any civil or criminal action practice, or delegate its practice to one who is not
without the consent of opposing counsel or party. qualified to do so. In partnership, the act of a
This is because a witness is supposed to be a neutral partner is the act of the partnership; hence, a non-
person whose role is to tell the truth when called lawyer cannot perform an act that has a legal effect
upon to testify. and in the name of the partnership.

--- ---

Q: Sanchez alleged that the complaint against

44
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
him and the supporting affidavits were client cannot be delegated to an unqualified person,
subscribed and sworn to before Tupas, the Clerk it does not follow however that the retained lawyer
of Court, who is not a member of the IBP and is automatically authorized to make such delegation
therefore engaged in unauthorized practice of to a qualified person because a client-lawyer
law. Is Tupas as Clerk of Court authorized to relationship is personal (CPR Annotated, PhilJA).
administer oath?
---
A: YES. The term "clerk of courts" in Section 41 of
the Administrative Code as amended is used as a Q: Lorenzo is a lawyer but was suspended from
general term. The intention of the law is to authorize the practice of law due to some unethical acts.
all clerks of court regardless of whether they are He worked for a law firm owned by one of his
clerks of the MTCs, to administer oaths on matter friends. Since he has so many cases to handle,
involving official business. As Clerk of Court of Atty. Berenguer assigned a case to Lorenzo,
MCTC, Tupas has the authority to administer oath of believing he can handle an easy case. Did Atty.
affidavits of parties and witnesses which are to be Berenguer violate any rule?
filed in court (Sanchez v. Tupas, A.M. OCA IPI No. 03-
1687-P, March 1, 2004). A: YES, because he delegated the handling of a case
to a person suspended from the practice of law.
--- Under Rule 9.01 of CPR A lawyer shall not delegate
to any unqualified person the performance of any
Q: The Supreme Court suspended indefinitely task which by law may only be performed by a
Atty. Fernandez from the practice of law for member of the bar in good standing.
gross immorality. He asked the MCTC Judge of
his town if he can be appointed counsel de officio ---
for Tony, a childhood friend who is accused of
theft. The judge refused because Atty. Q: Atty. Monica Santos-Cruz registered the firm
Fernandez' name appears in the SC's list of name "Santos-Cruz Law Office" with the DTI as a
suspended lawyers. Atty. Fernandez then single proprietorship. In her stationery, she
inquired if he can appear as a friend for Tony to printed the names of her husband and a friend
defend him. xxx Supposing Tony is a defendant who are both non-lawyers as her senior
in a civil case for collection of sum of money partners in light of their investments in the firm.
before the same court, can Atty. Fernandez She allowed her husband to give out calling
appear for him to conduct his litigation? (2006 cards bearing his name as senior partner of the
Bar) firm and to appear in courts to move for
postponements, Did Atty. Santos-Cruz violate
A: Even if Tony is a defendant in a civil case, Atty. the CPR? (2010 Bar)
Fernandez cannot be allowed to appear for him to
conduct his litigation; otherwise, the judge will be A: YES, she violated Rule 9.01, Canon 9 of the CPR.
violating Canon 9 of the CPR which provides that a By allowing her husband to appear in courts to
lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the move for the postponements of the cases of the firm,
unauthorized practice of law. she delegated her duty to appear, which a member
of the bar can only perform, to an unqualified
--- person.

Rule 9.01, Canon 9 The lawyers duty to prevent, or at the very least not
A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is
person the performance of any task which by founded on public interest and policy. Public policy
law may only be performed by a member of the requires that the practice of law be limited to those
bar in good standing. individuals found duly qualified in education and
character. The permissive right conferred on the
The qualifications to be a lawyer are personal and lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject
the Bar is an exclusive group of professionals who to withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper
possess the requisite qualifications and for whom standards of moral and professional conduct
defined functions are reserved. To delegate the (Cambaliza v. Cristal-Tenorio, A.C. No. 6290, July 14,
functions would violate the rationale behind 2004).
reserving defined functions exclusively for those ---
who are admitted to the bar.
Q: C and D are law partners using the firm name
Although the authority of a lawyer to represent a C and D Attorneys at Law. In an

45
LEGAL ETHICS
administrative case filed against C, the Supreme partners. The legal fees in this case, no longer
Court (SC) found that C was not entitled to represent past compensation.
admission to the practice of law in the
Philippines and ordered his name stricken-off 3. Where a lawyer or law firm includes a non-
from the Roll of Attorneys. As a result C and D lawyer employee in a retirement plan, even if
changed their firm name to Law Office of D the plan is based in whole or in part, on a profit
Attorney at Law, C Counselor, with C sharing agreement (Rule 9.02, fourth par., Canon
handling purely counseling and office work 9, CPR).
while D is the law practitioner. Are C and D liable
for contempt of the court? (2014 Bar) NOTE: This is not a division of legal fees but a
pension representing deferred wages for the
A: C and D are liable for contempt of court. C and D employees past services.
formed a professional partnership wherein they
contributed money, property and industry. C This exception is an implicit recognition of the
assumes to be an attorney without any authority. D incontestable fact that lawyers need to, and in
not only assist in the illegal practice of law but fact, depend on non-lawyers for the
conspired with C. Canon 9 of the CPR clearly states administrative support functions necessary to
that a lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist allow lawyers to discharge their legal functions
in the unauthorized practice of law. As counseling is more efficiently (CPR Annotated, PhilJA).
considered practice of law, D delegated the
performance of a legal task to C, an unqualified ---
person.
Q: Engr. Rufino referred a case for partition of
--- the estate of the late Benjamin Yap to Atty.
Pefianco. It was agreed in writing that Rufino
Rule 9.02, Canon 9 would receive ten percent of the attorneys fees
A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide to be received by Atty. Pefianco. However, when
a fee for legal services with persons not the fees were already paid, Pefianco refused to
licensed to practice law. pay, stating in a letter that the spouses will be
the one to shoulder his commission. Rufino filed
The interest promoted by the prohibition is that the a disbarment case against Pefianco. Should Atty.
independence of the professional judgment of a Pefianco be disciplined?
lawyer, which the client is paying for, could be at
risk if a non-lawyer has direct rights to share in the A: YES, it is clear that Atty. Pefianco violated Rule
legal fees resulting from the exercise of such 9.02, Canon 9. By stipulating that Rufino will be
professional judgment. (CPR Annotated, PhilJA) entitled to a commission from his attorneys fees,
Atty. Pefianco entered into an agreement to divide
Exceptions to Rule 9.02 the fee with a person not licensed to practice law.

1. Where there is a pre-existing agreement with a ---


partner or associate that, upon the latters
death, money shall be paid over a reasonable Q: You had just taken your oath as lawyer. The
period of time to his estate to persons specified secretary to the president of a big university
in the agreement (Rule 9.02, second par., Canon offered to get you as the official notary public of
9, CPR); or the school. She explained that a lot of students
lose their identification cards and are required
NOTE: This exception is in the nature of a to secure an affidavit of loss before they can be
bequest. It is still in substance, payment to the issued a new one. She claimed that this would be
deceased lawyer. His estate and/or assignee very lucrative for you, as more than 30 students
could not claim entitlement to the money in lose their identification cards every month.
their own right but only by representation (CPR However, the secretary wants you to give her
Annotated, PhilJA). one-half of your earning therefrom. Will you
agree to the arrangement? Explain. (2005 Bar)
2. Where a lawyer undertakes to complete
unfinished legal business of a deceased lawyer A: NO, I will not agree. Rule 9.02 of the Code of
(Rule 9.02, third par., Canon 9, CPR); or Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer
shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal
NOTE: The estate or the heir cannot be made a service with persons not licensed to practice law.
member of the partnership with the surviving The secretary is not licensed to practice law and is

46
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
not entitled to a share of the fees for notarizing The time that will have to be devoted just to the task
affidavits, which is a legal service. of verification of allegations submitted could easily
be imagined (Hueysuwan-Florido v. Atty. Florido, A.C.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LAWYER No. 5624, January 20, 2004).
TO THE COURTS
---
CANON 10
A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith Rule 10.01, Canon 10
to the court A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor
consent to the doing of any in court; nor shall
he mislead, or allow the court to be misled by
The burden cast on the judiciary would be any artifice.
intolerable if it could not take at face value what is
asserted by counsel. A lawyer must be a disciple of truth. He should bear
in mind that as an officer of the court his high
As officers of the court, lawyers have the primary vocation is to correctly inform the court upon the
obligation towards the administration of justice. To law and the facts of the case and to aid it in doing
mislead the court is contumacious and clearly a justice and arriving at a correct conclusion.
ground for disciplinary action (Antiquiera, CPR).
The courts on the other hand are entitled to expect
Requirements of candor only complete honesty from lawyers appearing and
pleading before them. While a lawyer has the
1. A lawyer shall not suppress material and vital solemn duty to defend his clients cause, his conduct
facts which bear on the merit or lack of merit of must never be at the expense of truth (Young v.
a complaint or petition; Batuegas, A.C. No. 5379, May 9, 2003).
2. A lawyer shall volunteer to the court any
development of the case which has rendered NOTE: A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his
the issue raised moot and academic; client but not at the expense of truth and the
3. Disclosure to the court of any decision adverse administration of justice (Garcia v. Francisco, Adm.
to his position of which opposing counsel is Case no. 3923, March 30, 1993).
apparently ignorant and which court should
consider in deciding a case; and Presenting false evidence is not justifiable. It is a
4. He shall not represent himself as a lawyer for a clear violation of Canon 10 and Rule 10.01 of the
client, appear in court and present pleadings in CPR. Aside from violations of the CPR, the lawyer is
the latters behalf only to claim later that he was also guilty of a crime under Art. 184, Revised Penal
not authorized to do so. Code, which states:

--- "Any person who shall knowingly offer in evidence


a false witness or testimony in any judicial or official
Q: Atty. Florido demanded from his wife that the proceeding, shall be punished as guilty of false
custody of their children be surrendered to him. testimony and shall suffer the respective penalties
He showed her a photocopy of an alleged provided in this section.
Resolution issued by the CA supposedly granting
his motion for temporary child custody. His wife Examples of falsehood
refused. Atty. Florido filed a verified petition for
the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus asserting 1. Lawyers falsely stating in a deed of sale that
his right to custody of the children on the basis property is free from all liens and
of the alleged CA Resolution. His wife, however, encumbrances when it is not so (Sevilla v.
obtained a certification from the CA stating that Zoleta, A.C. No. 31, March 28, 1955).
no such resolution had been issued. May Atty. 2. Lawyers making it appear that a person, long
Florido be held administratively liable for his dead, executed a deed of sale in his favor
reliance on and attempt to enforce a spurious (Monterey v. Arayata, Per. Rec. Nos 3527, 3408,
Resolution of the CA? August 23, 1935).
3. Lawyer encashing a check payable to a
A: YES. Atty. Floridos actions erode the public deceased cousin by signing the latters name
perception of the legal profession. Candor and on the check (In re: Samaniego, A.C. No. 74,
fairness are demanded of every lawyer. The burden November 20, 1959).
cast on the judiciary would be intolerable if it could 4. Lawyer falsified a power of attorney and used
not take at face value what is asserted by counsel. it in collecting the money due to the principal

47
LEGAL ETHICS
and appropriated the money for his own Q: De Jesus (complainant) alleged that Atty.
benefit (In re: Rusina, A.C. No. 270, May 29, Sanchez-Malit (respondent) drafted and
1959). notarized a Real Estate Mortgage of a public
5. Lawyer alleging in one pleading that his clients market stall that falsely named the former as its
were merely lessees of the property involved, absolute and registered owner despite the latter
and alleged in a later pleading that the same being the consultant of the local government
clients were the owners of the same property unit, and was therefore aware that the market
where there are false allegations in the stall was government-owned. Prior thereto,
pleadings (Chavez v. Viola, G.R. No. 2152, April Atty. Sanchez-Malit also notarized two contracts
19, 1991). that caused De Jesus legal and financial
6. Lawyer uttering falsehood in a Motion to problems. One contract was a lease agreement
Dismiss. (Martin v. Moreno, A.C. No. 1432, May that was notarized without the signature of the
21, 1984). lessees. The other contract was a sale agreement
7. Lawyer denying having received the notice to which Atty. Sanchez-Malit also drafted and
file brief which is belied by the return card notarized, but did not advise De Jesus that the
(Ragasajo v. IAC, G.R. No. L-69129, August 31, property was still covered by the period within
1987). which it could not be alienated. De Jesus also
8. Lawyer presenting falsified documents in submitted other documents that were notarized
court which he knows to be false (Berenguer v. by Sanchez-Malit but were not signed by the
Carranza, A.C. No. 716, January 30, 1969). principals named therein. Did Atty. Sanchez-
9. Lawyer filing false charges or groundless suits Malit violate Rule 10.01 of the Code of
(Retuya v. Gorduiz, A.C. No. 1388, March 28, Professional Responsibility?
1980).
10. Making untruthful and false statements before A: YES. In this case, respondent fully knew that
the court (Molina v. Magat, A.C. No. 1900, June complainant was not the owner of the mortgaged
13, 2012). market stall. That complainant comprehended the
provisions of the real estate mortgage contract does
--- not make respondent any less guilty. If at all, it only
heightens the latters liability for tolerating a
Q: Dr. Maligaya, a doctor and retired colonel of wrongful act. A notary public should not notarize a
the Air Force filed an action for damages against document unless the persons who signed it are the
several military officers for whom Atty. very same ones who executed it and who personally
Doronilla stood as a counsel. During the hearing, appeared before the said notary public to attest to
Atty. Doronilla alleged that he and Dr. Maligaya the contents and truth of what are stated therein.
had an agreement that if the opposing party Thus, in acknowledging that the parties personally
withdraws the case against him, Dr. Maligaya came and appeared before her, respondent also
will also withdraw all the cases. However, Dr. violated Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional
Maligaya swore that he never entered into any Responsibility and her oath as a lawyer that she
such agreement. Atty. Doronillo then admitted shall do no falsehood (De Jesus v. Sanchez-Malit, A.C.
that there was no such agreement. He pointed No. 6470, July 08, 2014).
out that his main concern was to settle the case
amicably. Dr. Maligaya filed a case against Atty. ---
Doronilla charging him of unethical conduct for
having uttered falsehood in court. Is Atty. Rule 10.02, Canon 10
Doronilla guilty as charged? A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or
misrepresent the contents of the paper, the
A: YES. Atty. Doronilla violated Canon 10 and Rule language or the argument of opposing
10.01 of the CPR. Not only that, he also violated the counsel, or the text of a decision or authority,
lawyers oath to do no falsehood, nor consent to the or knowingly cite as law a provision already
doing of any in court, of which Canon 10 and Rule rendered inoperative by repeal or
10.01 are but restatements. His act infringed on amendment, or assert as a fact that which has
every lawyers duty to never seek to mislead the not been proved.
judge or any officer by an artifice or false statement
of fact or law. (Maligaya v. Doronilla, A.C. No. 6198, If not faithfully and exactly quoted, the decisions
September 15, 2006) and rulings of the court may lose their proper and
correct meaning, to the detriment of other courts,
--- lawyers and the public who may thereby be misled.

Rule 10.03, Canon 10, CPR

48
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure All lawyers are expected to recognize the authority
and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of the Supreme Court and obey its lawful processes
of justice. and orders. Despite errors which one may impute
on the orders of the Court, these must be respected,
Filing multiple actions constitutes an abuse of the especially by the bar or the lawyers who are
Courts processes. Those who filed multiple or themselves officers of the courts (Yap-Paras v. Atty.
repetitive actions subject themselves to disciplinary Paras, A.C. No. 4947, June 7, 2007).
action for incompetence or willful violation of their
duties as attorneys to act with all good fidelity to the In case of conflict between his duty to the court and
courts, and to maintain only such actions that his duty to the society and his client, the other must
appear to be just and consistent with truth and yield since it is his duty to the court that should take
honor (Pablo R. Olivares etc. v. Atty. Arsenio Villalon precedence.
Jr., A.C. No. 6323, April 13, 2007).
NOTE: The fact that a person is a lawyer does not
Instances when lawyers can be disciplined deprive him of the right, as enjoyed by every citizen,
based on the pleadings they filed to comment on and criticize the actuations of a
judge but it is the cardinal condition of all criticisms
When a counsel deliberately: that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the
walls of decency and propriety (Zaldivar v. Gonzales,
1. Files an unsigned pleading in violation of the G.R. Nos. 79690-707, February 1, 1989).
rules;
2. Alleges scandalous matters therein; What a lawyer can ordinarily say against a
3. Fails to promptly report to the court a change concluded litigation and the manner the judge
of his address (Sec. 3, Rule 7, RRC). handed down the decision therein may not
generally be said to a pending action. The court, in a
NOTE: A lawyer should not abuse his right of pending litigation, must be shielded from
recourse to the courts for the purpose of arguing a embarrassment and influence in performing the
cause that had been repeatedly rebuffed. Neither important duty of deciding it. On the other hand,
should he use his knowledge of law as an instrument once litigation is concluded, the judge who decided
to harass a party nor to misuse judicial processes, as on it is subject to the same criticism as any other
the same constitutes serious transgression of the public official because then his ruling becomes
Code of Professional Responsibility. For while he public property and is thrown open to public
owes fidelity to the cause of his client, it should not consumption.
be at the expense of truth and the administration of
justice (Garcia v. Francisco, A.C. No. 3923, March 30, ---
1993).
Q: Atty. Paguia asserts that the inhibition of the
Rule 10.04, Canon 10 members of the SC from hearing the petition is
A lawyer shall, when filing a pleading, furnish called for under the Code of Judicial Conduct
the opposing party with a copy thereof, prohibiting justices or judges from participating
together with all the documents annexed in any partisan political activity. According to
thereto. Unless a motion is ex parte, he should him, the justices violated the said rule by
set it for hearing, with sufficient notice to the attending the 'EDSA 2 Rally' and by authorizing
other party. the assumption of Vice- President Macapagal-
Arroyo to the Presidency. The subsequent
RESPECT FOR COURTS AND JUDICIAL OFFICERS decision of the Court in Estrada v. Arroyo (G.R.
Nos. 146710-15, March 2, 2001 and G.R. Nos.
CANON 11 146710-15, April 3, 2001) is a patent mockery of
A lawyer shall observe and maintain the justice and due process. He went on to state that
respect due to the courts and to judicial the act of the public officer, if lawful, is the act of
officers and should insist on similar conduct the public office. But the act of the public officer,
by others. if unlawful, is not the act of the public office.
Consequently, the act of the justices, if lawful, is
the act of the Supreme Court. But the act of the
Disrespect toward the court would necessarily justices, if unlawful, is not the act of the Supreme
undermine the confidence of the people in the Court.
honesty and integrity of the members of the court,
and consequently, to lower or degrade the Further, he asserted that the decision in Estrada
administration of justice by the court. v. Arroyo being patently unlawful in view of the

49
LEGAL ETHICS
Code of Judicial Conduct, is not the act of the SC alleged indifference to the cause of petitioners,
but is merely the wrong of those individual as well as the supposed alarming lack of concern
Justices who falsely spoke and acted in the name of the members of the Court for even the most
of the SC. Are Atty. Paguias comments within the basic values of decency and respect. Was the
bounds of fair and well-founded criticisms criticism proper?
regarding decisions of the SC?
A: NO. While most agree that the right to criticize
A: NO. Criticism or comment made in good faith on the judiciary is critical to maintaining a free and
the correctness or wrongness, soundness or democratic society, there is also a general
unsoundness, of a decision of the Court would be consensus that healthy criticism only goes so far.
welcome for, if well-founded, and such reaction can Many types of criticism leveled at the judiciary cross
enlighten the court and contribute to the correction the line to become harmful and irresponsible
of an error if committed (In re: Sotto, 82 Phil. 595). attacks. These potentially devastating attacks and
The ruling in Estrada v. Arroyo, being a final unjust criticism can threaten the independence of
judgment, has long put to end any question the judiciary. The court must insist on being
pertaining to the legality of the ascension of Arroyo permitted to proceed to the disposition of its
into the presidency. By reviving the issue on the business in an orderly manner, free from outside
validity of the assumption of Gloria Macapagal- interference obstructive of its functions and tending
Arroyo to the presidency, Attorney Paguia is vainly to embarrass the administration of justice.
seeking to breathe life into the carcass of a long dead
issue. Attorney Paguia has not limited his The Court could hardly perceive any reasonable
discussions to the merits of his client's case within purpose for the facultys less than objective
the judicial forum; indeed, he has repeated his comments except to discredit the April 28, 2010
assault on the Court in both broadcast and print Decision in the Vinuya case and undermine the
media. Courts honesty, integrity and competence in
addressing the motion for its reconsideration. As if
The Supreme Court does not claim infallibility; it the case on the comfort womens claims is not
will not denounce criticism made by anyone against controversial enough, the UP Law Faculty would fan
the Court for, if well-founded, can truly have the flames and invite resentment against a
constructive effects in the task of the Court, but it resolution that would not reverse the said decision.
will not countenance any wrongdoing nor allow the This runs contrary to their obligation as law
erosion of our peoples faith in the judicial system, professors and officers of the Court to be the first to
let alone, by those who have been privileged by it to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court, to
practice law in the Philippines. Canon 11 of the Code which they owe fidelity according to the oath they
of Professional Responsibility mandates that the have taken as attorneys, and not to promote distrust
lawyer should observe and maintain the respect due in the administration of justice. Their actions
to the courts and judicial officers and, indeed, likewise constitute violations of Canons 10, 11, and
should insist on similar conduct by others. In 13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of
liberally imputing sinister and devious motives and Professional Responsibility (Re: Letter of the UP Law
questioning the impartiality, integrity, and Faculty entitled Restoring Integrity: A Statement by
authority of the members of the Court, Atty. Paguia the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College
has only succeeded in seeking to impede, obstruct of Law on the Allegations of Plagiarism and
and pervert the dispensation of justice (Estrada v. Misrepresentation in the Supreme Court, A.M. No.
Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 159486-88, November 25, 10-10-4-SC, October 19, 2010).
2003).
---
---
Q: The Court En Banc issued a Resolution
Q: Members of the faculty of the UP College of directing respondent Atty. De Vera to explain
Law published a statement on the allegations of why he should not be cited for indirect contempt
plagiarism and misrepresentation relative to of court for uttering allegedly contemptuous
the Courts decision in Vinuya v. Executive statements in relation to the then pending case
Secretary. The authors directly accused the involving the constitutionality of the Plunder
Court of perpetrating extraordinary injustice by Law. Atty. De Vera admitted the report in the
dismissing the petition of the comfort women in November 6, 2002 issue of the Philippine Daily
said case. The insult to the members of the Court Inquirer where he suggested that the Court
was aggravated by imputations of deliberately must take steps to dispel once and for all these
delaying the resolution of the case, its dismissal ugly rumors and reports that the Court would
on the basis of polluted sources, the Courts vote in favor of or against the validity of the

50
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Plunder Law to protect the credibility of the ---
Court. Is the statement of Atty. De Vera
disrespectful to the courts? Rule 11.01, Canon 11
A lawyer shall appear in court properly
A: YES. Indeed, freedom of speech includes the right attired.
to know and discuss judicial proceedings, but such
right does not cover statements aimed at As an officer of the court and in order to maintain
undermining the Courts integrity and authority, the dignity and respectability of the legal profession,
and interfering with the administration of justice. a lawyer who appears in court must be properly
Freedom of speech is not absolute, and must attired. Consequently, the court can hold a lawyer in
occasionally be balanced with the requirements of contempt of court if he does not appear in proper
equally important public interests, such as the attire. Any deviation from the commonly accepted
maintenance of the integrity of the courts and norm of dressing in court (barong or tie, not both) is
orderly functioning of the administration of justice. enough to warrant a citing for contempt.

Thus, the making of contemptuous statements The traditional attires for male lawyers in the
directed against the Court is not an exercise of free Philippines are the long-sleeve Barong Tagalog or
speech; rather, it is an abuse of such right. coat and tie. Female lawyers appear in semi-formal
Unwarranted attacks on the dignity of the courts attires. Judges also appear in the same attire in
cannot be disguised as free speech, for the exercise addition to black robes.
of said right cannot be used to impair the
independence and efficiency of courts or public Rule 11.02, Canon 11
respect therefore and confidence therein (In Re: A lawyer shall punctually appear at court
Published Alleged Threats by Atty. Leonard de Vera, hearings.
A.M. No. 01-12-03-SC, July 29, 2002).
Punctuality is demanded by the respect which a
--- lawyer owes to the court, the opposing counsel and
to all the parties to the case (Funa, 2009).
Q: Jimmy and his siblings filed a case for
disciplinary action against Atty. Cefra for Rule 11.03, Canon 11
notarizing a falsified Deed of Absolute Sale over A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous,
a parcel of land, where their signatures were offensive, or menacing language or behavior
forged. The Supreme Court required him to before the Courts.
comment on the administrative
complaint. However, Atty. Cefra did not comply Q: After the parties had filed their respective
with the Courts order. His continued refusal to briefs with the CA and before the latter's
file his Comment caused the court to order his resolution submitting the case for decision was
arrest and commitment. Is Atty. Cefra guilty of released, respondent lawyers, Atty. Depasucat,
violating the Code of Professional Responsibility and others filed a pleading "Manifestation of
in ignoring the courts order directing him to Usurpation of Authority of the Hon. Court of
comment on the complaint against him? Appeals from a Self-Confessed Briber of Judges",
which stated that plaintiff-appellant Uy had, in
A: YES. The act of disobeying a court order fact, confessed to bribing judges. Consequently,
constitutes violation of Canon 11 of the Code of Uy filed a verified complaint against respondent
Professional Responsibility, which requires a lawyers for gross misconduct. Should they be
lawyer to observe and maintain the respect due to disciplined for having authored and filed the
the courts[.] He contumaciously delayed Manifestation of Usurpation of Authority of the
compliance with this courts order to file a Hon. Court of Appeals from a Self-Confessed
Comment. As early as September 19, 2001, the Briber of Judges?
Court already required Atty. Cefra to comment on
the Complaint lodged against him. Atty. Cefra did A: YES. The lawyers went overboard by stating in
not comply with this order until he was arrested by the Manifestation that complainant "had in fact
the National Bureau of Investigation. Atty. Cefra confessed to bribery and telling one of the judges,
only filed his Comment on January 15, 2008, more after the judges allegedly refused to give in to their
than seven years after the Courts order. Atty. demands, by using illegally taped conversations-
Cefras actions show utter disrespect for legal both actual and/or by telephone". It belied their
processes (Anudon v. Cefra, A.C. No. 5482, February good intention and exceeded the bounds of
10, 2015). propriety, hence, not arguably protected; it is the
surfacing of a feeling of contempt towards a litigant;

51
LEGAL ETHICS
it offends the court before which it is made. A lawyer the lady senator has undoubtedly crossed the limits
shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or of decency and good professional conduct. It is at
menacing language or behavior before the courts. It once apparent that her statements in question were
must be remembered that the language vehicle does intemperate and highly improper in substance. MDS
not run short of expressions which are emphatic but should have taken to heart in the first place the
respectful, convincing but not derogatory, ensuing passage in In Re: Vicente Sotto that x x x [I]f
illuminating but not offensive. It has been said that the people lose their confidence in the honesty and
a lawyer's language should be dignified in keeping integrity of this Court and believe that they cannot
with the dignity of the legal profession. It is the duty expect justice therefrom, they might be driven to
of Atty. Depasucat et al. as members of the Bar to take the law into their own hands, and disorder and
abstain from all offensive personality and to perhaps chaos would be the result.
advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or
reputation of a party or witness, unless required by No lawyer who has taken an oath to maintain the
the justice of the cause with which he is charged (Uy respect due to the courts should be allowed to erode
v. Depasucat, A.C. No. 5332, July 29, 2003). the peoples faith in the judiciary. In this case, the
lady senator clearly violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and
--- Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
(Pobre v. Senator Santiago, A.C. No. 7399, August 25,
NOTE: The language of a lawyer, both oral and 2009).
written, must be respectful and restrained in
keeping with the dignity of the legal profession and ---
with his behavioral attitude toward his brethren in
the profession. The use of abusive language by NOTE: The lawyers duty to render respectful
counsel against the opposing counsel constitutes at subordination to the courts is essential to the
the same time disrespect to the dignity of the court orderly administration of justice. Hence, in the
justice. Moreover, the use of impassioned language assertion of the clients rights, lawyers even those
in pleadings, more often than not, creates more heat gifted with superior intellect, are enjoined to rein up
than light. (Buenaseda v. Flavier, G.R. No. 106719, their tempers (Zaldivar v. Gonzalez, G.R. Nos. 79690-
September 21, 1993) 707, October 7, 1988).

The duty to observe and maintain respect is not a Rule 11.04, Canon 11
one-way duty from a lawyer to a judge. A judge A lawyer shall not attribute to a judge motives
should also be courteous to counsel, especially not supported by the record or have no
those who are young and inexperienced and to all materiality to the case.
those appearing or concerned in the administration
of justice. Every citizen has the right to comment upon and
criticize the actuations of public officers. This right
--- is not dismissed by the fact that the criticism is
aimed at a judicial authority, or that it is articulated
Q: An administrative case for disbarment was by a lawyer.
filed against MDS, a Lady Senator, for uttering
offensive remarks in her privilege speech Such right is especially recognized where the
delivered in the Senate floor. She was quoted criticism concerns a concluded litigation, because
as saying that she wanted to spit on the face of the Courts actuations are thrown open to public
Chief Justice and his cohorts in the Supreme consumption. Courts thus treat with forbearance
Court, and calling the Court a Supreme Court of and restraint a lawyer who vigorously assails their
idiots. She alleged that it was considered as actuations for courageous and fearless advocates
part of her parliamentary immunity as such was are the strands that weave durability into the
done during the session. Is she correct? tapestry of justice.

A: YES. Her statements, being part of her privilege Post litigation utterances or publications made by
speech as a member of Congress, were covered by lawyers, critical of the courts and their judicial
the constitutional provision on parliamentary actuations, whether amounting to a crime or not,
immunity. Her privilege speech is not actionable which transcend the permissible bounds of fair
criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the comment and legitimate criticism and thereby tend
Rules of Court. However, as a member of the Bar, the to bring them into dispute or to subvert public
Court wishes to express its deep concern about the confidence in their integrity and in the orderly
language Senator MDS used in her speech and its administration of justice, constitute grave
effect on the administration of justice. To the Court, professional misconduct which may be visited with

52
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
disbarment or other lesser appropriate disciplinary ---
sanctions by the SC in the exercise of the
prerogatives inherent in it as the duly constituted Q: When is public comment and criticism of a
guardian of the morals and ethics of the legal court decision permissible and when would it be
fraternity (In Re: Almacen, G.R. No. L-27654, improper? (1997 Bar)
February 18, 1970).
A: A lawyer, like every citizen, enjoys the right to
--- comment on and criticize the decision of a court. As
an officer of the court, a lawyer is expected not only
Q: Atty. Romeo Roxas was charged for contempt. to exercise that right but also to consider it his duty
In a letter addressed to Associate Justice Chico- to expose the shortcomings and indiscretions of
Nazario, he wrote that Justice Nazario decided courts and judges. But such right is subject to the
the cases in favor of Zuzuarregui, ordering Attys. limitations that it shall be bona fide. It is proper to
Roxas and Pastor to pay the former criticize the courts and judges, but it is improper to
P17,073,224.84 on considerations other than subject them to abuse and slander, degrade them or
the pure merits of the case and called the SC a destroy public confidence in them. Moreover, a
dispenser of injustice." He ended his letter by lawyer shall not attribute to a judge motives not
mocking her when he said sleep well if you still supported by the record or have no materiality in
can and that her earthly life will be judged by the case (Rule 11.04, CPR).
the Supreme Dispenser of Justice where only the
merits of your Honors life will be relevant and ---
material and where technicalities can shield no
one from his or her wrongdoings." NOTE: A lawyer should be reminded of his primary
duty to assist the court in the administration of
In the written explanation of Atty. Roxas, he justice. The relations between counsel and judge
extended apologies to Justice Nazario. He said he should be based on mutual respect and on a deep
was merely exercising his rights to express a appreciation by one of the duties of the other. It is
legitimate grievance or articulate fair criticisms upon their cordial relationship and mutual
of the courts ruling. Moreover, according to cooperation that the hope of our people for speedy
him, instead of resorting to public criticisms, he and efficient justice rests (Abiera v. Maceda, A.C. No.
chose to ventilate his criticisms in a very RTJ-91-660, June 30, 1994).
discreet and private manner by writing a
personal letter. Should Atty. Roxas be punished If the court official or employee or a lawyer is to be
for the contents of his letter? disciplined, the evidence against him should be
substantial, competent and derived from direct
A: YES. Atty. Roxas letter contains defamatory knowledge, not on mere allegations, conjectures,
statements that impaired public confidence in the suppositions or on the basis of hearsay (Cervantes v.
integrity of the Judiciary. The making of Atty. Sabio, A.C. No. 7828, August 11, 2008).
contemptuous statements directed against the
court is not an exercise of free speech; rather, it is an ---
abuse of such right.
Q: Atty. Juan S. Dealca entered his appearance in
A letter furnished to all the members of the SC, even a criminal case presided by Judge Jose L. Madrid.
if a copy was not disseminated to the media, does Atty. Dealca moved that such case be re-raffled
not enjoy the mantle of right to privacy. Letters to another branch of the RTC. Consequently,
addressed to the individual justices in connection Judge Madrid filed a letter complaint in the
with the performance of their judicial functions Office of the Bar Confidant citing Atty. Dealcas
become part of the judicial record and are matter of unethical practice of entering his appearance
concern for the entire court. and then moving for the inhibition of the
presiding judge on the pretext of previous
Atty. Roxas is guilty of indirect contempt of court for adverse incidents between them. Is Atty. Dealca
an improper conduct tending, directly and guilty of unethical practice in seeking the
indirectly, to impede, obstruct or degrade the inhibition of Judge Madrid in the criminal case?
administration of justice; and with his
contemptuous and defamatory statements, Atty. A: YES, Atty. Dealca violated Canon 11 and Rule
Roxas likewise violated Canon 11 of the CPR 11.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
particularly Rules 11.03 and 11.04 (Roxas v.
Zuzuarregui, et al., G.R. No. 152072, July 12, 2007). While it is the Courts duty to investigate and
uncover the truth behind charges against judges and

53
LEGAL ETHICS
lawyers, it is equally its duty to shield them from ASSISTANCE IN THE SPEEDY AND EFFICIENT
unfounded suits that are intended to vex and harass ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
them, among other things. All lawyers are bound to
uphold the dignity and authority of the courts, and
to promote confidence in the fair administration of CANON 12
justice. It is the respect for the courts that A lawyer shall exert every effort and consider
guarantees the stability of the judicial institution; it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient
elsewise, the institution would be resting on a very administration of justice.
shaky foundation. Atty. Dealcas averment that
Judge Madrid did not hear cases being handled by A lawyer is bound by his oath to serve his client with
him directly insinuated that judges could choose the utmost zeal and dedication and shall conduct
cases they heard, and could refuse to hear the cases himself according to the best of his knowledge and
in which hostility existed between the judges and discretion (Antiquiera, CPR).
the litigants or their counsel. Such averment, if true
at all, should have been assiduously substantiated The filing of another action concerning the same
by him because it put in bad light not only Judge subject matter, in violation of the doctrine of res
Madrid but all judges in general. Yet, he did not even judicata, runs contrary to this Canon (Lim v.
include any particulars that could have validated Montano, A.C. No. 5653, February 27, 2006).
the averment. Nor did he attach any document to
support it (Madrid v. Dealca, A.C. No. 7474, ---
September 9, 2014).
Q: Jardin engaged the services of Atty. Villar Jr.
--- to represent him in a collection case. Despite
several extensions of time given by the trial
Rule 11.05, Canon 11 court, Atty. Villar Jr. failed to file his formal offer
A lawyer shall submit grievances against a of exhibits. The case was dismissed and this
Judge to the proper authorities only. prompted Jardin to file a complaint for
disbarment against Atty. Villar, Jr. Was Atty.
Proper venue/forum for the filing of the Villar, Jr. remiss in his duties as counsel when he
following cases failed to file his formal offer of exhibits?

NATURE OF THE WHERE TO FILE A: YES. The record clearly shows that Atty. Villar Jr.
CASE has been languid in the performance of his duties as
If administrative in It shall be filed with the counsel for the complainant. He was given by the
nature Office of the Court Trial Court several extensions of time. Therefore,
Administrator of the Atty. Villar Jr. had three (3) months and nine (9) days
Supreme Court. within which to file the formal offer of exhibits. Atty.
Villar Jr. did not bother to give an explanation even in
If criminal and not It shall be filed with the mitigation or extenuation of his inaction.
purely administrative Office of the
Ombudsman, also with Evidently, Atty. Villar Jr. has fallen short of the
the OCP. competence and diligence required of every
member of the Bar. It is indeed dismaying to note
If it involves a Justice of
It must be coursed Atty. Villar Jr.s patent violation of his duty as a
the Supreme Court through the House of lawyer. He committed a serious transgression when
based on impeachable Representative and the he failed to exert his utmost learning and ability and
offenses Senate in accordance to give entire devotion to his client's cause. His
with the rules on client had relied on him to file the formal offer of
impeachment. exhibits among other things. But he failed him.
Source: (CPR Annotated, PhilJA) Resulting as it did in the dismissal of the case, his
failure constitutes inexcusable fault (Jardin v. Atty.
NOTE: An administrative complaint is not an Villar, Jr., A.C. No. 5474, August 28, 2003).
appropriate remedy where judicial recourse is still
available, such as a motion for reconsideration, an ---
appeal, or a petition for certiorari, unless the
assailed order or decision is tainted with fraud, Q: Judgment was rendered against Eternal
malice, or dishonesty (Santiago III v. Justice Gardens ordering it to reconvey the cemetery to
Enriquez, Jr., A.M. No. CA-09-47-J, February 13, 2009). the rightful owners. Despite the final decision of
the SC, Eternal Gardens was able to prevent the

54
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
execution for 17 years, rendering the judgment successively, for the purpose of obtaining a
ineffectual. They filed several petitions and favorable judgment (Foronda v. Atty. Guerrero, A.C.
motions for reconsideration with the trial court No. 5469, August 10, 2004).
and the CA despite the fact that it would never
prosper as the trial courts decision had long NOTE: If same evidence supports both actions,
become final before the said petitions were there is also forum shopping.
filed. Did the lawyers violate Canon 12 of the
CPR? ---

A: While lawyers owe their entire devotion to the Q: The CA affirmed the trial courts decision
interest of the client and zeal in the defense of their declaring PDC as the rightful owner of the lot.
clients right, they are also officers of the court, Top Rate sought to have the said resolution set
bound to exert every effort to assist in the speedy aside and thereafter filed with the SC a motion
and efficient administration of justice. They should for extension of time to file a petition for review
not misuse the rules of procedure to defeat the ends from the adverse CA decision and resolution.
of justice or unduly delay a case, impede the The motion contained a "verification/
execution of a judgment or misuse court processes. certification" under oath as to non-forum
The facts and the law should advise them that a case shopping, without mentioning the pending
such as this should not be permitted to be filed to manifestation and motion with the CA, which
merely clutter the already congested judicial was notarized by Atty. Manlangit. Both Atty.
dockets. They do not advance the cause of law or Manlangit and Atty. Gana knew the relevant case
their clients by commencing litigations that for status after having invariably acted as counsel of
sheer lack of merit do not deserve the attention of Top Rate before the trial court, the CA and SC.
the courts (Eternal Gardens Memorial Park
Corporation v. CA, G.R. No. 123698, August 5, 1998). Top Rate then filed a series of motions with the
--- SC, all of which failed to state that Top Rate still
has a pending manifestation and motion with
Rule 12.01, Canon 12 the CA. It was only when it withdrew its Petition
A lawyer shall not appear for trial unless he for Review on Certiorari that Top Rate bared
has adequately prepared himself on the law before the SC the existence of the said
and the facts of his case, the evidence he will manifestation and motion pending with the CA.
adduce and the order of its profference. He Should Top Rate and its counsels be found guilty
should also be ready with the original of forum shopping?
documents for comparison with the copies.
A: YES. Although Top Rate as principal party
A newly hired counsel who appears in a case in the executed the several certifications of non-forum
midstream is presumed and obliged to acquaint shopping, Atty. Gana and Atty. Manlangit cannot
himself with all the antecedent processes and deny responsibility therefore since Atty. Manlangit
proceedings that have transpired in the record prior notarized the certifications and both of them
to his takeover (Villasis v. CA, G.R. Nos. L- 36874-76, definitely knew the relevant case status after having
September 30, 1974). invariably acted as counsel of Top Rate before the
trial court, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme
Rule 12.02, Canon 12 Court. Attys. Gana and Manlangit of the Gana and
A lawyer shall not file multiple actions arising Manlangit Law Office, counsel of record of Top Rate,
from the same cause. (1991, 1997, 1998, 2002 are administratively liable for grotesque violations
Bar) of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

The mere filing of several cases based on the same It is an act of malpractice for it trifles with the courts,
incident does not necessarily constitute forum abuses their processes, degrades the administration
shopping. The question is whether the several of justice and adds to the already congested court
actions filed involve the same transactions, dockets. What is critical is the vexation brought
essential facts and circumstances. If they involve upon the courts and the litigants by a party who asks
essentially different facts, circumstances and causes different courts to rule on the same or related
of action, there is no forum shopping (Paredes v. causes and grant the same or substantially the same
Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 108251, January 31, 1996). relief and in the process creates the possibility of
conflicting decisions being rendered by different
The essence of forum shopping is the filing of forums upon the same issues, regardless of whether
multiple suits involving the same parties for the the court, in which one of the suits was brought, has
same cause of action, either simultaneously or no jurisdiction over the action (Top Rate

55
LEGAL ETHICS
Construction and General Services v. Paxton Devt. disposing justiciable controversies with finality
Corp., G.R. No. 151081, September 11, 2003). (Aguilar v. Manila Banking Corporation, G.R. No.
157911, September 19, 2006).
---
Lawyers should not resort to nor abet the resort of
Possible consequences of forum shopping their clients, to a series of actions and petitions for
the purpose of thwarting the execution of a
1. Summary dismissal without prejudice unless judgment that has long become final and executor
there is a willful or deliberate forum-shopping. (Cobb-Perez v. Lantin, G.R. No. L-22320, May 22,
(Sec. 5, Rule 7, RRC) 1968).
2. Penalty for direct contempt of court on the party
and his lawyer in case of willful and deliberate The writs of amparo and habeas data are
forum-shopping. (Sec. 5, Rule 7, RRC) extraordinary remedies which cannot be used as
3. Criminal action for a false certification of non- tools to stall the execution of a final and executory
forum shopping and indirect contempt. decision in a property dispute (Castillo v. Cruz, G.R.
4. Disciplinary proceedings for the lawyer No. 182165, November 25, 2009).
concerned. (Sec. 5, Rule 7, RRC)
Rule 12.05, Canon 12
Rule 12.03, Canon 12 A lawyer shall refrain from talking to his
A lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions witness during a break or recess in the trial,
of time to file pleadings, memoranda or briefs, while the witness is still under examination.
let the period lapse without submitting the
same or offering an explanation for his failure The rule is designed to uphold and maintain fair
to do so. (2003 Bar) play with the other party and to prevent the
examining lawyer from being tempted to coach his
The court censures the practice of counsels who own witness to suit his purpose.
secure repeated extensions of time to file their
pleadings and thereafter simply let the period lapse Guidelines in interviewing witnesses (2001,
without submitting the pleading or even an 2005 Bar Questions)
explanation or manifestation of their failure to do so
(Achacoso v. CA, G.R. No. L-35867, June 28, 1973). 1. A lawyer may interview a witness in advance of
the trial to guide him in the management of the
Asking for extension of time must be in good faith. litigation;
Otherwise, it is an obstruction of justice and the 2. A lawyer may also interview a prospective
lawyer is subject to discipline (CPR Annotated, witness for the opposing side in any civil and
PhilJA). criminal action without the consent of opposing
counsel or party;
The same rule applies more forcefully to motion for 3. A lawyer must properly obtain statements from
continuance. Postponement is not a matter of right witnesses whose names were furnished by the
but of sound judicial discretion (Edrial v. Quilat- opposing counsel or interview the employees of
Quilat, G.R. No. 133625, September 6, 2000). the opposing party even though they are under
subpoena to appear as witnesses for the
Rule 12.04, Canon 12 opposite side;
A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case, impede 4. If after trial resulting in defendants conviction,
the execution of a judgment or misuse court his counsel has been advised that a prosecution
processes. witness has committed perjury, it is not only
proper but it is the lawyers duty to endeavor
It is understandable for a party to make full use of honorable means to obtain such witness
every conceivable legal defense the law allows it. reaction, even without advising the public
However, of such attempts to evade liability to prosecutor of his purpose and even though the
which a party should respond, it must ever be kept case is pending appeal; and
in mind that procedural rules are intended as an aid 5. An adverse party, though he may be used as a
to justice, not as means for its frustration. witness, is not however a witness within the
meaning of the rule permitting a lawyer to
Once a judgment becomes final and executory, the interview the witness of the opposing counsel.
prevailing party should not be denied the fruits of
his victory by some subterfuge devised by the losing ---
party. Unjustified delay in the enforcement of a
judgment sets at naught the role of the courts in

56
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Q: May an attorney talk to his witnesses before Boras violate Rule 12.07?
and during the trial? (2014 Bar)
A: YES. It must be stressed that in dealing with rape
A: An attorney can talk with his witnesses before the cases of children, especially those below 12 years of
trial but it is unethical to do so if the client is already age, due care must be observed by the trial court in
on the witness stand during the trial. handling the victim. In fact, more often than not, the
grueling experience in the trial court in the course
--- of direct examination and cross-examination is
more traumatic than the fact of the rape itself. On
NOTE: Although the law does not forbid an attorney such occasions, mishandling of victims lead to
to be a witness and at the same time an attorney in psychological imbalances which, if not properly
a case, the courts prefer that counsel should not treated by medical experts, will lead to an abnormal
testify as a witness unless it is necessary and that behavioral response against the idea of sex itself
they should withdraw from the active management and disturbed interaction with the opposite or same
of the case (PNB v. Uy Teng Piao, G.R. No. L- 35252, sex.
October 21, 1932).
By subjecting her into explaining whether she was
forced or intimidated is excessive. It is because
Rule 12.06, Canon 12 proof of force and intimidation is unnecessary in
A lawyer shall not knowingly assist a witness statutory rape. Considering that there is a medical
to misrepresent himself or to impersonate report substantiating the allegations made by the
another. victim, the manner of examination of the victim
must be tempered. Especially in this case since the
Sanctions to a lawyer who instructs a witness to child is only six years old who remains uncorrupted
perpetuate misrepresentation (People v. Boras, G.R. No. 127495, December 22,
2000).
Art. 184, Revised Penal Code provides: The lawyer
who presented a witness knowing him to be a false ---
witness is criminally liable for Offering False
Testimony in Evidence. Rule 12.08, Canon 12
A lawyer shall avoid testifying in behalf of his
NOTE: The lawyer who is guilty of the above is both client, except:
criminally and administratively liable.
a. On formal matters, such as the mailing,
Criminal liability of witness who commits authentication or custody of an instrument,
misrepresentation and the like; or
b. On substantial matters, in cases where his
The witness who commits the misrepresentation is testimony is essential to the ends of justice, in
criminally liable for False Testimony either under which event he must, during his testimony,
Art. 181, 182 or 183, Revised Penal Code, depending entrust the trial of the case to another counsel.
upon the nature of the case.
The function of a witness is to tell the facts as he
recalls them in answer to questions. The function of
Rule 12.07, Canon 12 an advocate is that of a partisan. It is difficult to
A lawyer shall not abuse, browbeat or harass distinguish between the zeal of an advocate and the
a witness nor needlessly inconvenience him. fairness and impartiality of a disinterested witness.

Q: Nolito Boras was convicted of statutory rape. Matters to which a lawyer CANNOT testify on
The victim, a minor, testified and the manner of [TARCC]
examination was excessive. The lawyer of Boras
was asking questions like, 1. When, as an attorney, he is to Testify on the
Did you have any opportunity at the time you theory of the case;
were raped to hold the penis of Nolito Boras?, At 2. When such would Adversely affect any lawful
the time, when you were raped by Nolito Boras, is interest of the client with respect to which
his penis hard or soft?, and Did you see your confidence has been reposed on him;
uncle Cerilo after the accused stop pushing and 3. Having accepted a Retainer, he cannot be a
pulling his penis to your vagina or while he was witness against his client;
still in the process of pushing and pulling his 4. He cannot serve Conflicting interests; and
penis to your vagina? Did the lawyer of Nolito 5. When he is to violate the Confidence of his

57
LEGAL ETHICS
client. consents to them is unworthy of his high office.

Matters to which a lawyer CAN testify on It is improper for a litigant or counsel to see a judge
[FETAD] in chambers and talk to him about a matter related
to the case pending in the court of said judge
1. On Formal matters, such as the mailing, (Austria v. Masaquel, G.R. No. 22536, August 31,
authentication or custody of instrument and the 1967).
like;
2. Acting as an Expert on his fee; ---
3. On substantial matters in cases where his
Testimony is essential to the ends of justice, in Q: Atty. J requested Judge K to be a principal
which event he must, during his testimony, sponsor at the wedding of his son. Atty. J met
entrust the trial of the case to another counsel; Judge K a month before during the IBP-
4. Acting as an Arbitrator; and sponsored reception to welcome Judge K into
5. Deposition. the community, and having learned that Judge K
takes his breakfast at a coffee shop near his
RELIANCE ON MERITS OF CASE AND (Judge K's) boarding house, Atty. J made it a
AVOIDANCE FROM ANY IMPROPRIETY WHICH point to be at the coffee shop at about the time
TENDS TO INFLUENCE OR GIVES THE that Judge K takes his breakfast. Comment on
APPEARANCE OF INFLUENCE UPON THE Atty. J's acts. Do they violate the Code of
COURTS Professional Responsibility? (2000 Bar)

CANON 13 A: YES, his actions violate the Code of Professional


A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his Responsibility. Canon 13 of the said Code provides
cause and refrain from any impropriety which that a lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause
and refrain from any impropriety which tends to
tends to influence, or gives the appearance of
influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the
influencing the court
court. Rule 13.01 of the same Code provides that a
lawyer shall not extend extraordinary attention or
It is unethical for a lawyer to give an appearance as hospitality to, nor seek opportunity for, cultivating
if he is capable of influencing judges and court familiarity with judges. Atty. J obviously sought
personnel. Giving of gifts to the judges are opportunity for cultivating familiarity with Judge K
discouraged as it tend to give an appearance of by being at the coffee shop where the latter takes his
influencing the conduct of judicial function or breakfast, and is extending extraordinary attention
breeding familiarity with judges (Antiquiera, 1992). to the judge by inviting him to be a principal sponsor
at the wedding of his son.
It is reprehensible for a lawyer to wrongfully use the
name of the law office for the purpose of giving ---
more weight and credit to the pleading. Motions
and pleadings filed in courts are acted upon in Rule 13.02, Canon 13
accordance with their merits or lack of it, and not on A lawyer shall not make public statements in
the reputation of the law firm or the lawyer filing the media regarding a pending case tending
the same (Rodica v. Atty. Lazaro, et al. A.C. No. 9259, to arouse public opinion for or against a party.
August 23, 2012).
Prejudicial Publicity

Rule 13.01, Canon 13 There must be an allegation and proof that the
A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary judges have been unduly influenced, not simply that
attention or hospitality to, nor seek they might be, by barrage of publicity (CPR
opportunity for cultivating familiarity with Annotated, PhilJA).
judges.
NOTE: The restriction does not prohibit issuances
The rule is designed to protect the good name and of statements by public officials charged with the
reputation of the judge and the lawyer. duty of prosecuting or defending actions in court.

Lawyers should not seek for opportunity to In a concluded litigation, a lawyer enjoys a wider
cultivate familiarity with judges. A lawyer who latitude of comment on or criticize the decision of a
resorts to such practices of seeking familiarity with judge of his actuation. Thus, it has been held that a
judges dishonors his profession and a judge who newspaper publication tending to impede, obstruct,

58
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
embarrass or influence the courts in administering All lawyers must uphold, respect and support the
justice in a pending case constitutes criminal independence of the judiciary. This independence
contempt, but the rule is otherwise after the from interference is made to apply against all
litigation is ended (In re: Loazano, 54 Phil. 801, July branches and agencies of the government (Funa,
24, 1930). 2009).

--- The Supreme Court accordingly administered a


reprimand to Bumanlag for gross ignorance of law
Q: Dumbledore, a noted professor of commercial and of the Constitution in having asked the
law, wrote an article on the subject of letters of President to set aside by decree the Courts decision
credit, which was published in the IBP Journal. which suspended him for two years from the
Assume that he devoted a significant portion of practice of law (De Bumanlag v. Bumanlag, A.M. No.
the article to a commentary on how the Supreme 188, November 29, 1976).
Court should decide a pending case involving
the application of the law on letters of credit. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A
May he be sanctioned by the Supreme Court? LAWYER TO THE CLIENTS
Explain. (2008 Bar)
Characteristics of attorney-client relationship
A: YES, Professor Dumbledore may be sanctioned
by the Supreme Court. Rule 13.02 of the CPR 1. Strictly personal Prohibits the delegation of
provides that a lawyer shall not make public work without the clients consent
statements in the media regarding a pending case
tending to arouse public opinion for or against a 2. Highly confidential
party. The Court in a pending litigation must be a. Communication made in the course of
shielded from embarrassment or influence in its lawyers professional employment; and
duty of deciding the case. b. Communication intended to be
confidential.
---
3. Fiduciary
Q: Assume Dumbledore did not include any a. Hold in trust all moneys and properties of
commentary on the case. Assume further after his client that may come into his
the Supreme Court decision on the case had possession;
attained finality, he wrote another IBP Journal b. When a lawyer enforces a charging lien
article, dissecting the decision and explaining against his client, the relationship is
why the Supreme Court erred in all its terminated; and
conclusions. May he be sanctioned by the c. An attorney cannot represent adverse
Supreme Court? Explain. (2008 Bar) interest unless the parties consent to the
representation after full disclosure of facts.
A: He may not be sanctioned by the Supreme Court.
Once a case is concluded, the judge who decided it is Necessity of a contract between lawyer and
subject to the same criticism as any other public client
official because his decision becomes public
property and is thrown open to public consumption. The absence of a written contract will not preclude
The lawyer enjoys a wide latitude in commenting or a finding that there is a professional relationship.
criticizing the judges decision, provided that such Documentary formalism is not an essential element
comment or criticism shall be bona fide and not spill in the employment of an attorney; the contract may
over the bounds of decency and propriety. be express or implied.

--- It is sufficient to establish the professional relation,


that the advice and assistance of an attorney is
Rule 13.03, Canon 13 sought and received in any matter pertinent to his
A lawyer shall not brook or invite interference profession. An acceptance of the relation is implied
by another branch or agency of the on the part of the attorney from his acting on behalf
government in the normal course of judicial of his client in pursuance of a request from the latter
proceedings. (Hirach Bros. and Co. v. R. E. Kennington Co., 88 A. L.
R., 1. cited in Hilado v. David, G.R. No. L-961,
The reason for this rule is that such action will be September 21, 1949).
contrary to the principle of separation of powers.
NOTE: If a person, in respect to his business affairs

59
LEGAL ETHICS
or any troubles of any kind, consults with his knowledge of legal principles not possessed by
attorney in his professional capacity with the view ordinary layman (CPR Annotated, PhilJA).
to obtaining professional advice or assistance and
the attorney voluntarily permits or acquiesce in ---
such consultation, as when he listens to his clients
preliminary statement of his case or gives advice Q: Uy engaged the services of Atty. Gonzales to
thereon, then the professional employment is prepare and file a petition for the issuance of a
regarded as established just as effective as when he new certificate of title. Uy confided with him the
draws his clients pleading or advocates his clients circumstances surrounding the lost title and
cause in court (Dee v. CA, G.R. No. 77439, August 24, discussed the fees and costs. When the petition
1989). was about to be filed, Atty. Gonzales went to Uys
office and demanded a certain amount from him
Formation of the lawyer-client relationship other than what they had previously agreed
upon. Uy found out later that instead of filing the
The lawyer-client relationship is formed through petition for the issuance of a new certificate of
the following: title, Atty. Gonzales filed a letter- complaint
against him with the Office of the Provincial
1. Oral When the counsel is employed without a Prosecutor for falsification of public
written agreement, but the conditions and documents. The letter-complaint contained
amount of attorneys fees are agreed upon. facts and circumstances pertaining to the
2. Express When the terms and conditions transfer certificate of title that was the subject
including the amount of fees are explicitly matter of the petition which Atty. Gonzales was
stated in a written document, which may be a supposed to have filed. Should Atty. Gonzales be
private or public document. Written contract of suspended for violating the lawyer-client
attorneys fees is the law between the lawyer relationship when he filed a complaint for
and the client. falsification of public documents against his
3. Implied When there is no agreement, client using facts connected with the latters
whether oral or written, but the client allowed petition?
the lawyer to render legal services not intended
to be gratuitous without objection and client is A: NO. As a rule, an attorney-client relationship is
benefited by reason thereof. said to exist when a lawyer voluntarily permits or
acquiesces with the consultation of a person, who in
Rules protecting the attorney-client respect to a business or trouble of any kind, consults
relationship a lawyer with a view of obtaining professional
advice or assistance. It is not essential that the client
1. Best effort must be exerted by the attorney to should have employed the attorney on any previous
protect his clients interest; occasion or that any retainer should have been paid,
2. The attorney must promptly account for any promised or charged for, neither is it material that
fund or property entrusted by or received for the attorney consulted did not afterward undertake
his client; the case about which the consultation was had, for
3. An attorney cannot purchase his clients as long as the advice and assistance of the attorney
property or interest in litigation; is sought and received, in matters pertinent to his
4. The privacy of communications shall at all times profession.
upheld;
5. An attorney cannot represent a party whose Evidently, the facts alleged in the complaint for
interest is adverse to that of his client even after estafa through falsification of public documents
the termination of the relation. filed by Atty. Gonzales against Uy were obtained by
Atty. Gonzales due to his personal dealings with Uy.
Three principal types of professional activity of Whatever facts alleged by Atty. Gonzales against Uy
a lawyer [LAP] were not obtained by Atty. Gonzales in his
professional capacity but as a redemptioner of a
1. Legal advice and instructions to clients to property originally owned by his deceased son and
inform them of their rights and obligations; therefore, when Atty. Gonzales filed the complaint
2. Appearance for clients before public tribunals for estafa against Uy, which necessarily involved
which possess power and authority to alleging facts that would constitute estafa, Atty.
determine rights of life, liberty, and property Gonzales was not, in any way, violating Canon 21.
according to law, in order to assist in proper Clearly, there was no attorney-client relationship
interpretation and enforcement of law; and between Atty. Gonzales and Uy. The preparation
3. Preparation for clients of documents requiring and the proposed filing of the petition was only

60
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
incidental to their personal transaction (Uy v. Atty. CANON 14
Gonzales, A.C. No. 5280, March 30, 2004). A lawyer shall not refuse his services to the
needy
---

Q: Atty. Marie consulted Atty. Hernandez The poor and indigent should not be further
whether she can successfully prosecute her case disadvantaged by lack of access to the Philippine
for declaration of nullity of marriage that she legal system.
intends to file against her husband. Atty.
Hernandez advised her in writing that the case Lawyers right to decline employment
will not prosper for the reasons stated therein.
GR: A lawyer is not obliged to act as legal counsel for
Is Atty. Hernandez' subsequent acquiescence to any person who may wish to become his client. He
be Noel's counsel ethical? (2006 Bar) has the right to decline employment.

A: NO, Atty. Hernandez' acquiescence to be Noel's XPNs:


counsel will not be ethical. It will constitute a 1. A lawyer shall not refuse his services to the
conflict of interests. When Atty. Marie consulted needy (Canon 14);
Atty. Hernandez' for advice on whether she can 2. He shall not decline to represent a person solely
successfully prosecute her case for declaration of on account of the latters race, sex, creed or
nullity of her marriage to Noel, and he advised her status in life or because of his own opinion
that it will not prosper, a lawyer-client relationship regarding the guilt of said person (Rule 14.01);
was created between them, although his advice was 3. He shall not decline, except for serious and
unfavorable to her. From that moment, Atty. efficient cause like:
Hernandez is barred from accepting employment
from the adverse party concerning the same matter a. If he is not in a position to carryout
about which she had consulted him (Hilado v. David, effectively or competently; and
84 Phil. 569, 1949). b. If he labors under a conflict of interest
between him and the prospective client
--- (Rule 14.03).

Q: In the course of a drinking spree with Atty. Legal aid cases


Holgado, who has always been his counsel in
business deals, Simon bragged about his recent Legal aid cases are those actions, disputes and
sexual adventures with socialites known for controversies that are criminal, civil and
their expensive tastes. When Atty. Holgado administrative in nature in whatever stage, wherein
asked Simon how he manages to finance his an indigent and pauper litigants need legal
escapades, the latter answered that he has been representation (Sec. 4(c), B.M. No. 2012).
using the bank deposits of rich clients of Banco
Filipino where he works as manager. Rationale for establishing legal aid services

Is Simon's revelation to Atty. Holgado covered Legal aid is not a matter of charity. It is a means for
by the attorney-client privilege? (2006 Bar) the correction of social imbalances that may and
often do lead to injustice, for which reason it is a
A: NO, Simon's revelation to Atty. Holgado is not public responsibility of the Bar. The spirit of public
covered by the lawyer-client privilege. In the first service should, therefore, underlie all legal aid
place, it was not made on account of a lawyer-client offices. The same should be so administered as to
relationship, that is, it was not made for the purpose give maximum possible assistance to the indigent
of seeking legal advice. In the second place, it was and deserving members of the community in all
not made in confidence (Mercado v. Vitriolo, 459 cases, matters and situations in which legal aid may
SCRA 1). In the third place, the attorney-client be necessary to forestall an injustice (Public Service,
privileged does not cover information concerning a Sec. 1, Art. 1 of the IBP Guidelines on Legal Aid).
crime or fraud being committed or proposed to be
committed. ---

AVAILABILITY OF SERVICE WITHOUT Q: Are there instances where a lawyer has the
DISCRIMINATION duty to decline employment? (1993 Bar)

A: A lawyer should decline no matter how attractive

61
LEGAL ETHICS
the fee offered may be if its acceptance will involve: b. A lawyer may also accept a losing civil case,
[RACCAA] provided that, in so doing, he must not engage
in dilatory tactics and must advise his client
1. A violation of any of the Rules of the legal about the prospects and advantage of settling
profession; the case through a compromise to the extent of
2. Advocacy in any manner in which he had representing indigents, defenseless and the
intervened while in the government service; oppressed.
3. Nullification of a Contract which he prepared;
4. Employment with a Collection agency which SERVICES REGARDLESS OF PERSONS STATUS
solicits business to collect claims;
5. Employment, the nature of which might easily Rule 14.01, Canon 14
be used as a means of Advertising his A lawyer shall not decline to represent a
professional services of his skill; or person solely on account of the latters race,
6. Any matter in which he knows or has reason to sex, creed or status of life, or because of his
believe that he or his partner will be an own opinion regarding the guilt of said
essential witness for the prospective client. person.

--- ---

Reasons why a lawyer may not accept a losing Q: Atty. DDs services were engaged by Mr. BB as
case defense counsel in a lawsuit. In the course of the
proceedings, Atty. DD discovered that Mr. BB
1. The attorneys signature in every pleading was an agnostic and a homosexual. By reason
constitutes a certificate by him that there is thereof, Atty. DD filed a motion to withdraw as
good cause to support it and that it is not counsel without Mr. BBs express consent. Is
interposed for delay, and willful violation of Atty. DDs motion legally tenable? Reason
such rule shall subject him to disciplinary briefly. (2004 Bar)
action;
2. It is the attorneys duty to counsel or maintain A: NO. Atty. DDs motion is not legally tenable. He
such actions or proceedings only as appears to has no valid cause to terminate his services. His
him to be just and only such defenses as he client, Mr. BB, being an agnostic and homosexual,
believes to be honestly debatable under the should not be deprived of his counsels
law; representation solely for that reason.
3. A lawyer is not to encourage either the
commencement or the continuance of an action ---
or proceeding, or delay any mans cause, for any
corrupt motive or interest; and Q: A is accused of robbery in a complaint filed by
4. A lawyer must decline to conduct a civil cause B. A sought free legal assistance from the Public
or to make a defense when convinced that it is Attorneys Office (PAO) and Atty. C was assigned
intended merely to harass or injure the to handle his case. After reviewing the facts as
opposite party or to work oppression or wrong. stated in the complaint and as narrated by A,
Atty. C is convinced that A is guilty. May Atty. C
--- refuse to handle the defense of A and ask to be
relieved? Explain fully. (2014 Bar)
Q: Is there an instance when a lawyer may accept
losing case? (1996, 2001, 2002, 2005 Bar) A: Rule 14.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not
a. In criminal case? decline to represent a person solely on account of
b. In civil case? his own opinion regarding the guilt of the said
person. It is not the duty of the lawyer to determine
A: whether the accused is guilty or not, but the judges.
a. A lawyer may accept a losing criminal case Besides, in a criminal case, the accused is presumed
since an accused is presumed to be innocent innocent, and he is entitled to an acquittal unless his
until his guilt is proven beyond reasonable guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt. The role of
doubt. Furthermore, CPR provides that a lawyer the lawyer is to see to it that his constitutional right
shall not decline to represent a person because to due process is observed.
of his opinion regarding the guilt of said person.
Otherwise innocent persons might be denied
proper defense. (CPR, Rule 14.01)

62
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
SERVICES AS COUNSEL DE OFFICIO A: YES. The right to counsel must be more than just
the presence of a lawyer in the courtroom or the
Rule 14.02, Canon 14 mere propounding of standard questions and
A lawyer shall not decline, except for serious objections. The right to counsel means that the
and sufficient cause, an appointment as accused is amply accorded legal assistance
counsel de oficio or as amicus curiae, or a extended by a counsel who commits himself to the
request from the Integrated Bar of the cause for the defense and acts accordingly. The right
Philippines or any of its chapters for rendition assumes an active involvement by the lawyer in the
of free legal aid. proceedings, particularly at the trial of the case, his
bearing constantly in mind of the basic rights of the
A court may assign an attorney to render accused, his being well-versed on the case, and his
professional aid free of charge to any party in case, knowing the fundamental procedures, essential
if upon investigation it appears that the party is laws and existing jurisprudence.
destitute and unable to employ an attorney and that
the services of counsel are necessary to secure the It is never enough that accused be simply informed
ends of justice and to protect the rights of the party. of his right to counsel; he should also be asked
It shall be the duty of the attorney so assigned to whether he wants to avail himself of one and should
render the required service, unless he is excused be told that he can hire a counsel of his own choice
therefrom by the court for sufficient cause shown if he so desires or that one can be provided to him at
(Sec. 31, Rule 138, RRC). his request.

Counsel de oficio A counsel de officio is expected to act with utmost


diligence. A mere pro-forma appointment of de
1. Members of the bar in good standing; officio counsel who fails to genuinely protect the
2. Any person, resident of the province and of interests of the accused merits disapprobation. The
good repute for probity and ability, in localities exacting demands expected of a lawyer should be no
without lawyers less than stringent when one is a counsel de officio.
He must take the case not as a burden but as an
Considerations in appointing a counsel de oficio opportunity to assist in the proper dispensation of
justice. No lawyer is to be excused from this
1. Gravity of offense responsibility except only for the most compelling
2. Difficulty of questions that may arise; and and cogent reasons.
3. Experience and ability of appointee
Obviously, in the instant case, the aforenamed
--- defense lawyers did not protect, much less uphold,
the fundamental rights of the accused. Instead, they
Q: A criminal complaint was filed against haphazardly performed their function as counsel de
Bermas for rape. The Prosecutor issued a officio to the detriment and prejudice of the accused
certification that the accused has waived his Sevilleno, however guilty he might have been found
right to preliminary investigation. On to be after trial (People v. Bermas, G.R. No. 120420,
arraignment, the accused was brought before April 21, 1999).
the trial court without counsel. The court
assigned a PAO attorney to be the counsel de VALID GROUNDS FOR REFUSAL
oficio who, during trial also made a request that
she be relieved from the case. Another counsel Rule 14.03, Canon 14
was thereafter assigned as the new counsel de A lawyer may not refuse to accept
oficio. When said new counsel for the accused representation of an indigent client unless:
failed to appear before the court for their a. He is in no position to carry out the work
presentation of evidence, the Court appointed effectively or competently;
another counsel de oficio but, again, said counsel b. He labors under a conflict of interest
asked to be relieved from the case. The newly between him and the prospective client or
appointed counsel also failed to appear before between a present client and a prospective
the court. client.

Despite the said events, the lower court Grounds of refusal of appointment to be a
convicted the accused of death penalty for the Counsel de Oficio
violation of the crime of rape. The defense
counsel claimed that the accused was deprived 1. Too many de officio cases assigned to the lawyer
of due process, is he correct? (People v. Daeng, G.R. No. L-34091, January 30,

63
LEGAL ETHICS
1973); ---
2. Conflict of interest (Rule 14.03, CPR);
3. Lawyer is not in a position to carry out the work Q: Ferrer was accused of raping his 11-year-old
effectively or competently (supra); stepdaughter. Ferrers counsel of record was
4. Lawyer is prohibited from practicing law by PAO's Atty. Macabanding. During the pre-trial,
reason of his public office which prohibits both of them failed to appear. Ferrer was
appearances in court; considered by the court as having jumped bail.
5. Lawyer is preoccupied with too many cases Trial in absentia followed where Ferrer was
which will spell prejudice to the new clients; assisted by another PAO lawyer, Atty. Alonto.
6. Health reasons; and Atty. Macabanding did not appear in all the
7. Extensive travel abroad. subsequent hearings of the case. He did not
inform the court of his whereabouts. Ferrer was
NOTE: A lawyer may refuse to handle cases due to found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
these valid reasons. However, Rule 2.02 requires crime charged and imposed upon him the death
him to give advice on preliminary steps if he is asked penalty. Did Atty. Macabanding live up to the
until the client secures the services of counsel. He demands expected from a counsel de oficio?
shall refrain from giving this preliminary advice if
there is conflict of interest between a present client A: NO. Ferrer was not properly and effectively
and a prospective one for extending such legal advice accorded the right to counsel. Canon 18 of the CPR
will create and establish an attorney-client requires every lawyer to serve his client with
relationship between them and may involve a utmost dedication, competence and diligence. He
violation of the rule prohibiting a lawyer from must not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. For
representing conflicting interest. all intents, purposes and appearances, Atty.
Macabanding abandoned his client, an accused who
--- stands to face the death penalty.

Q: Judge Climaco issued an order denying Atty. While he faced the daunting task of defending an
Ledesmas motion to withdraw as counsel de accused that had jumped bail, this unfortunate
oficio. One of the grounds for such a motion was development is not a justification to excuse him
his allegation that with his appointment as from giving his heart and soul to the latter's defense.
Election Registrar by the COMELEC, he was not The exercise of their duties as counsel de oficio
in a position to devote full time to the defense of meant rendering full meaning and reality to the
the two accused. The denial by the Judge of such constitutional precepts protecting the rights of the
plea, notwithstanding the conformity of the accused (People v. Ferrer, G.R. No. 148821, July 18,
defendants, was due to its principal effect of 2003).
delaying the case." Is the denial of Judge Climaco
correct? ---

A: YES. The reluctance of Ledesma to comply with Q: May a lawyer decline a request for free legal
his responsibilities as counsel de oficio is not an aid to an indigent accused made by a chapter of
adequate ground for the motion of withdrawal. the IBP? Explain. (2002 Bar)
Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with
a condition. For some lawyers especially the A: NO. Rule 14.02 of the CPR provides that a lawyer
neophytes in the profession being appointed as a shall not decline, except for serious and sufficient
lawyer is an irksome chore. Law is a profession cause, an appointment as counsel de officio or as
dedicated to the ideal of service and not a mere trade. amicus curiae or a request from the IBP or any of
Thus is made manifest the indispensable role of a its chapter for rendition of free legal aid. He
member of the Bar in the defense of an accused. Such may, decline such appointment only for
a consideration could have sufficed for Ledesma not serious and sufficient cause.
being allowed to withdraw as counsel de oficio. For
he did betray by his moves his lack of enthusiasm ---
for the task entrusted to him, to put matters mildly.
He did point though to his responsibility as an Q: Will your answer be different if the legal aid
election registrar. Assuming his good faith, no such is requested in a civil case? (2002 Bar)
excuse could be availed now. There is not likely at
present, and in the immediate future, an exorbitant A: The answer will not be exactly the same, because
demand on his time (Ledesma v. Climaco, G.R. No. L- in a civil case, the lawyer can also decline if he
23815, June 28, 1974). believes the action or defense to be unmeritorious.
He is ethically bound to maintain only actions and

64
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
proceedings which appear to him to be just and only CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND LOYALTY TO CLIENTS
such defenses which he believes to be honestly
debatable under the law. CANON 15
A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and
--- loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with
his clients
Rule 14.04, Canon 14
A lawyer who accepts the cause of a person A lawyer owes absolute fidelity to the cause of his
unable to pay his professional fees shall client. He owes his client full devotion to his interest,
observe the same standard of conduct warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his
governing his relations with paying clients. rights.
(2008 Bar Question)
It demands of an attorney an undivided allegiance, a
Q: Atty. Mariano Dajoyag, Jr. is Ernesto Ramos conspicuous and high degree of good faith,
counsel. He failed to perfect their appeal before disinterestedness, candor, fairness, loyalty, fidelity
the SC. He filed the petition for certiorari within and absolute integrity in all his dealings and
the 20-day period of extension that he sought in transactions with his clients and an utter
his 2nd motion for extension. He learned that renunciation of every personal advantage
the period of extension granted in his 1st motion conflicting in any way, directly or indirectly, with
for extension was inextendible only after the the interest of his client (Oparel Sr. v. Abaria, A.C. No.
expiration of the 2 periods of extension that he 959, July 30, 1971).
prayed for. A complaint for negligence and
malpractice was filed against him, to which he If they find that their clients cause is defenseless,
pleaded good faith and excusable neglect of then it is their bounden duty to advise the latter to
duty. Is Atty. Dajoyag Jr. guilty of neglect of duty? acquiesce and submit rather than to traverse the
incontrovertible (Rollon v. Atty. Naraval, A.C. No.
A: YES. Motions for extension are not granted as a 6424, March 4, 2005).
matter of right but in the sound discretion of the
court, and lawyers should never presume that their ---
motions for extension or postponement will be Q: Baens engaged the services of Atty. Sempio to
granted or that they will be granted the length of file a case for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage
time they prayed for. against his wife. Despite receipt of P250,000 for
legal expenses, Atty. Sempio failed to file the
Further, regardless of the agreement Atty. Dajoyag, petition, and it was Baens wife who filed the
Jr. had with Ramos with respect to the payment of his same. Atty. Sempio filed an Answer only after
fees, Atty. Dajoyag, Jr. owed it to Ramos to do his the 15-day period stated in the Summons. Atty.
utmost to ensure that every remedy allowed by law is Sempio also failed to make an objection on the
availed of. Rule 14.04 of the Code of Professional petition on the ground of improper venue as
Responsibility enjoins every lawyer to devote his neither Baens nor his wife were and are
full attention, diligence, skills, and competence to residents of Dasmarias, Cavite. He never
every case that he accepts. Pressure and large bothered to check the status of the case and thus
volume of legal work do not excuse Atty. Dajoyag, Jr. failed to discover and attend all the hearings set
for filing the petition for certiorari out of time. for the case. As a result, the civil case was
decided without Baens being able to present his
Nevertheless, Atty. Dajoyag Jr. exerted efforts to evidence. Did Atty. Sempio violate the Code of
protect the rights and interests of Ernesto Ramos, Professional Responsibility?
including trying to secure a reconsideration of the
denial of the petition. Thus, he is guilty of simple A: YES. The excuse proffered by Atty. Sempio that he
neglect of duty (Ramos v. Dajoyag, Jr., A.C. No. 5174, did not receive any orders or notices from the trial
February 28, 2002). court is highly intolerable. In the first place, securing
a copy of such notices, orders and case records was
--- within his control and is a task that a lawyer
undertakes. The preparation and the filing of the
NOTE: The fact that his services are rendered answer is a matter of procedure that fully fell within
without remuneration should not occasion a the exclusive control and responsibility of the
diminution in his zeal (Ledesma v. Climaco, G.R. No. lawyer. It was incumbent upon him to execute all
L-23815, June 28, 1974). acts and procedures necessary and incidental to the
advancement of his clients cause of action.

65
LEGAL ETHICS
Records further disclose that he omitted to update disclosed to him by a prospective client. (2008
himself of the progress of his clients case with the Bar)
trial court, and neither did he resort to available
legal remedies that might have protected his clients Two-fold purpose of the rule
interest. Although a lawyer has complete discretion
on what legal strategy to employ in a case entrusted 1. To encourage a client to make a full disclosure
to him, he must present every remedy or defense of the facts of the case to his counsel without
within the authority of law to support his clients fear, and
interest. When a lawyer agrees to take up a clients 2. To allow the lawyer freedom to obtain full
cause, he covenants that he will exercise due information from his client (Pineda, 2009).
diligence in protecting the latters rights.
Disclosure of a prospective client
Evidently, the acts of the Atty. Sempio plainly
demonstrated his lack of candor, fairness, and The foregoing disqualification rule applies to
loyalty to his client as embodied in Canon 15 of the prospective clients of a lawyer. Matters disclosed by
Code. A lawyer who performs his duty with a prospective client to a lawyer are protected by the
diligence and candor not only protects the interest rule on privileged communication even if the
of his client; he also serves the ends of justice, does prospective client does not thereafter retain the
honor to the bar, and helps maintain the respect of lawyer or the latter declines the employment. It
the community to the legal profession (Baens v. covers crimes and offenses already committed by
Sempio, A.C. No. 10378, June 9, 2014). the client.

CONFIDENTIALITY RULE The reason for this is to make the prospective client
free to discuss whatever he wishes with the lawyer
Confidentiality without fear that what he tells the lawyer will be
divulged or used against him, and for the lawyer to
It means the relation between lawyer and client or be equally free to obtain information from the
guardian and ward, or between spouses, with prospective client (CPR Annotated, PhilJA).
regard to the trust that is placed in the one by the
other (Blacks Law Dictionary 7th Edition 1990, Requisites of privileged communication
2004).
1. There is attorney-client relationship or a kind of
A lawyer shall preserve the confidences and secrets consultancy requirement with a prospective
of his client even after the attorney-client relation is client;
terminated (Canon 21, CPR). 2. The communication was made by the client to
the lawyer in the course of the lawyers
It is one of the duties of a lawyer, as provided for in professional employment; and
the Rules of Court, to maintain inviolate the 3. The communication must be intended to be
confidence, and at every peril to himself, to preserve confidential.
the secrets of his client (Sec. 20(e), Rule 138, RRC).
NOTE: The party who avers that the communication
PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS is privileged has the burden of proof to establish the
existence of the privilege unless from the face of the
Privileged communication document itself, it clearly appears that it is
privileged. The mere allegation that the matter is
A privileged communication is one that refers to privileged is not sufficient (People v. Sleeper, G.R. No.
information transmitted by voluntary act of 22783, December 3, 1924; Lapena Jr., 2009).
disclosure between attorney and client in
confidence and by means of which, in so far as the Client identity
client is aware, discloses the information to no third
person other than one reasonably necessary for the Client identity is privileged where a strong
transmission of the information or the probability exists that revealing the clients name
accomplishment of the purpose for which it was would implicate that client in the very activity for
given. which he sought the lawyers advice (Regala v.
Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 105938, September 20,
Rule 15.02, Canon 15 1996).
A lawyer shall be bound by the rule on
privilege communication in respect of matters Characteristics of privileged communication

66
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
1. Attorney-client privilege where legal advice is NOTE: Even if the communication is unprivileged,
professionally sought from an attorney. the rule of ethics prohibits lawyers from voluntarily
2. The client must intend the above revealing or using to his benefit or to that of a third
communication to be confidential. person, to the disadvantage of the client, the said
3. Attorney-client privilege embraces all forms of communication unless the client consents thereto
communication and action. (Sec. 3, Rule 138-A, RRC).
4. As a general rule, attorney-client privilege also
extends to the attorneys secretary, ---
stenographer, clerk or agent with reference to
any fact acquired in such capacity. Q: Atty. Vitriolo represented Rose Mercado in an
5. The above duty is perpetual and annulment case filed by her husband.
communication is absolutely privileged from Thereafter, a criminal action against her was
disclosure. filed by the latter for falsification of public
6. Persons entitled to claim privileges document. According to Atty. Vitriolo, she
indicated in the Certificates of Live Birth of her
Coverage of the attorney-client privilege children that she is married to a certain
Ferdinand Fernandez, and that their marriage
1. Lawyer; was solemnized on April 11, 1979, when in
2. Client; and truth, she is legally married to Ruben Mercado
3. Third persons who by reason of their work have and their marriage took place on April 11, 1978.
acquired information about the case being Mercado claims that the criminal complaint
handled such as: disclosed confidential facts and information
a. Attorneys secretary, stenographer and relating to the civil case for annulment handled
clerk; by Vitriolo as her counsel. Did Atty. Julito
b. Interpreter, messengers and agents Vitriolo violate the rule on privileged
transmitting communication; and communication between attorney and client?
c. An accountant, scientist, physician,
engineer who has been hired for effective A: NO. The evidence on record fails to substantiate
consultation. (Sec. 24(b), Rule 130, RRC) Mercados allegations. She did not even specify the
alleged communication in confidence disclosed by
Duration of privileged communication Atty. Vitriolo. All of Mercados claims were couched
in general terms and lacked specificity. Without any
The privilege continues to exist even after the testimony from Mercado as to the specific
termination of the attorney-client relationship. confidential information allegedly divulged by Atty.
Vitriolo without her consent, it is difficult, if not
NOTE: The privilege character of the impossible to determine if there was any violation
communication ceases only when waived by the of the rule on privileged communication. It is not
client himself or after his death, by his heir or legal enough to merely assert the attorney-client
representative (Lapena, Jr. 2009). privilege. The burden of proving that the privilege
applies is placed upon the party asserting the
Instances when communication is not privileged privilege (Mercado v. Vitrilio, A.C. No. 5108, May 26,
2005).
A communication made by a client to a lawyer is not ---
privileged in the following instances:
Q: Atty. Serafin Roto is the Corporate Secretary
1. After pleading has been filed because such of a construction corporation that has secured a
becomes part of public records. multi-million infrastructure project from the
2. When communication was intended by the government. In the course of his duties as
client to be sent to a third person through his corporate secretary, he learned from the
counsel. company president that the corporation had
3. When the communication sought by client is resorted to bribery to secure the project and had
intended to aid future crime or perpetration of falsified records to cut implementing costs after
fraud. the award of the project. The government filed a
4. When communication between attorney and civil action to annul the infrastructure contract
client is heard by a third party. and has subpoenaed Atty. Roto to testify against
5. When there is consent or waiver of the client. the company president and the corporation
6. When the law requires disclosure. regarding the bribery. Atty. Roto moved to
7. When disclosure is made to protect the lawyers quash the subpoena, asserting that lawyer-
rights. client privilege prevents him from testifying

67
LEGAL ETHICS
against the president and the corporation. clients whose objectives are adverse to each
Resolve the motion to quash. (2013 Bar) other, no matter how slight or remote such
adverse interest may be.
A: The motion to quash should be granted. While it
is true that being a corporate secretary does not The tests for concurrent or multiple
necessarily constitute a lawyer-client relation, Atty. representations are:
Roto may nevertheless be considered in the practice
of law if part of his duties as a corporate secretary is a. Whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for
to give legal advice to or prepare legal documents an issue or claim in behalf of one client and,
for the corporation. Thus, it is his duty as an at the same time, to oppose that claim for
attorney to maintain inviolate the confidence, and the other client;
at every peril to himself, to preserve the secrets of b. Whether the acceptance of a new relation
his client (Rule 138, Sec. 20, par.(e), Rules of Court). would prevent the full discharge of the
lawyers duty of undivided fidelity or
--- loyalty to the client;
c. Whether the acceptance of new relation
CONFLICT OF INTEREST would invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or
(1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, double-dealing in the performance of the
2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 Bar) lawyers duty of undivided fidelity and
loyalty; and
Rule 15.01, Canon 15 d. Whether, in the acceptance of a new
A lawyer, in conferring with a prospective relation, the lawyer would be called upon to
client, shall ascertain as soon as practicable use against a client confidential
whether the matter would involve a conflict information acquired through their
with another client or his own interest, and if connection.
so, shall forthwith inform the prospective
client. 2. Sequential or successive representation
Involves representation by a law firm of a
Purpose of conflict search present client who may have an interest
adverse to a prior or former client of the firm
By conducting a conflict search, the lawyer will be (CPR Annotated, PhilJA).
able to determine, in the first instance, if he is barred
from accepting the representation through conflicts NOTE: What is material in determining whether
with his present clients or the lawyers own interest there is a conflict of interest in the representation is
(CPR Annotated, PhilJA). probability, not certainty of conflict (see discussion
on disqualification or limitation of public officials in
Three tests to determine existence of conflict of practicing law, congruent-interest representation
interest conflict and adverse-interest conflict).

1. Conflicting Duties - When, on behalf of one There is no conflict of interest in a situation where a
client, it is the attorneys duty to contest for that lawyer represents his present client against his
which his duty to another client requires him to former client, so long as no confidential information
oppose or when possibility of such situation acquired during the previous employment was used
will develop. against the former client by the lawyer. The
2. Invitation of Suspicion - Whether the prohibition does not cover a situation where the
acceptance of the new relation will prevent a subject matter of the present engagement is totally
lawyer from the full discharge of his duty of unrelated to the previous engagement of the
undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or attorney. Moreover, a mere allegation of the
will invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or professional misconduct would not suffice to
double-dealing in the performance thereof. establish the charge, because accusation is not
3. Use of Prior Knowledge Obtained - Whether synonymous with guilt (Seares, Jr. v. Atty. Gonzales-
a lawyer will be called upon in his new relation Alzate, Admin. Case. No. 9058, November 14, 2012).
to use against the first client any knowledge
acquired in the previous employment. Illustration: Existence of conflict of Interest

Types of conflict of interest 1. A v. B


A and B are present clients.
1. Concurrent or multiple representations
Generally occurs when a lawyer represents 2. C v. D; E v. D

68
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
C is the present client and D is not a present reportedly contracted for P100,000. It was
client in the same case but is a present client in found that the debt was actually incurred by
another case. Ramon Sy, with Mr. X's brother merely signing
for the chits. Atty. Y was able to free Mr. X's
3. F v. G; H v. G brother from his indebtedness. Having thus
F is the present client and G was a former client settled the account of Mr. X's brother, Atty. Y
and the cases are related. sent several demand letters to Mr. X demanding
the balance of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees. Mr.
4. I v. J; K v. J X refused to pay and claimed, that at the time
I is the present client and J was a former client Atty. Y was rendering services to Mr. X, he was
in a case that is unrelated. actually working "in the interest" and "to the
advantage" of Caesar's Palace of which he was an
5. L, M, N v. O, P, Q agent and a consultant. This being the case, Atty.
L, M, N are present clients but L and M joins Y is not justified in claiming that he rendered
O, P, Q. (People v. Davis) legal services to Mr. X in view of the conflicting
interests involved. Did Atty. Y violate the conflict
Other instances of conflict of interest of interest rule?

1. A corporate lawyer cannot join a labor union of A: NO. Generally, an attorney is prohibited from
employees in that corporation; representing parties with contending positions.
2. A lawyer of an insurance corporation who However, at a certain stage of the controversy
investigated an accident cannot represent the before it reaches the court, a lawyer may represent
complainant/injured person; conflicting interests with the consent of the parties.
3. As a receiver of a corporation, he cannot A common representation may work to the
represent the creditor; advantage of said parties since a mutual lawyer,
4. As a representative of the obligor, he cannot with honest motivations and impartially cognizant
represent the obligee; and of the parties' disparate positions, may well be
5. As a lawyer representing a party in a better situated to work out an acceptable settlement
compromise agreement, he cannot, of their differences, being free of partisan
subsequently, be a lawyer representing another inclinations and acting with the cooperation and
client who seeks to nullify the agreement. confidence of said parties. A lawyer is entitled to
have and receive the just and reasonable
Being a counsel-of-record of the other party is compensation for services rendered at the special
not a requisite to be guilty of representing instance and request of his client and as long as he
conflicting interests is honestly and in good faith trying to serve and
represent the interests of his client, the latter is
To be guilty of representing conflicting interests, a bound to pay his just fees (Dee v. Court of Appeals,
counsel-of-record of one party need not also be G.R. No. 77439, August 24, 1989).
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 party's conflicting interests of record --- Rule when the lawyer of the corporation and the
although these circumstances are the most obvious board of directors of such corporation is the
and satisfactory proof of the charge. It is enough that same
the counsel of one party had a hand in the
preparation of the pleading of the other party, The interest of the corporate client is paramount
claiming adverse and conflicting interests with that and should not be influenced by any interest of the
of his original client. To require that he also be individual corporate officials. A lawyer engaged as
counsel-of-record of the adverse party would counsel for a corporation cannot represent
punish only the most obvious form of deceit and members of the same corporation's Board of
reward, with impunity, the highest form of Directors in a derivative suit brought against them.
disloyalty (Artueza v. Atty. Maderazo, A.C. No. 4354, To do so would be tantamount to representing
April 22, 2002). conflicting interests which is prohibited by the Code
of Professional Responsibility (Hornilla v. Atty.
--- Salunat, A.C. No. 5804, July 1, 2003).

Q: Mr. X engaged the services of Atty. Y regarding ---


his brothers indebtedness to Caesars Palace, a
casino in Las Vegas. His services were Q: Six months ago, Atty. Z was consulted by A,

69
LEGAL ETHICS
about a four-door apartment in Manila left by represent conflicting interests with the express
her deceased parents. A complained that her written consent of all parties concerned given after
two siblings, B and C, who were occupying two disclosure of the facts. The disclosure should
units of the apartment, were collecting the include an explanation of the effects of the dual
rentals from the other two units and refusing to representation, such as the possible revelation or
give her any part thereof. Atty. Z advised A to use of confidential information.
first seek the intervention of her relatives and
told her that if this failed, he would take legal An attorney owes loyalty to his client not only in the
action as A asked him to do. B asks Atty. Z to case in which he has represented him but also after
defend him in a suit brought by A against him (B) relation of attorney and client has terminated.
and C through another counsel. Should Atty. Z
accept the case? A lawyer who represented those who were victims
of a pyramid scam against a corporation and then
A: NO. When A consulted him about her complaint later on enters his appearance as counsel for the
against B and C, a lawyer-client relationship was officers of such corporation for the criminal cases
created between A and Atty. Z. Atty. Z cannot involving the same pyramid scam is guilty of
subsequently represent B against A in a matter he misconduct. The lawyer's highest and most
was consulted about. This constitutes conflict of unquestioned duty is to protect the client at all
interest. It does not matter if Atty. Z is not handling hazards and costs even to himself. The protection
the case for A. given to the client is perpetual and does not cease
with the termination of the litigation, nor is it
--- affected by the client's ceasing to employ the
attorney and retaining another, or by any other
Q: Should Atty. Z tell B that A consulted him change of relation between them. It even survives
earlier about the same case? Why? (2002 Bar) the death of the client (Samson v. Atty. Era, A.C. No.
6664, July 16, 2013).
A: YES. Rule 21.07 of the CPR provides that "a
lawyer shall not reveal that he has been consulted Instances when lawyers cannot represent
about a particular case except to avoid possible conflicting interest even if the consent of both
conflict of interest. In this case, he has to reveal to clients were secured
B that he had been consulted by A on the case that B
if offering to retain his services, in order to avoid a Where the conflict is:
possible conflict of interest.
1. Between the attorneys interest and that of a
--- client; or
2. Between a private clients interests and that of
Rule 15.03, Canon 15 the government or any of its instrumentalities.
A lawyer shall not represent conflicting
interests except by written consent of all Effects of representing adverse interests [DJ-
concerned given after a full disclosure of the FAC]
facts.
1. Disqualification as counsel of new client on
GR: An attorney cannot represent diverse interests. petition of former client;
It is highly improper to represent both sides of an 2. Where such is unknown to, and becomes
issue. The proscription against representation of prejudicial to the interests of the new client, a
conflicting interest finds application where the Judgment against such may, on that ground, be
conflicting interest arise with respect to the same set aside;
general matter and is applicable however slight 3. The attorneys right to Fees may be defeated if
such adverse interest may be. It applies although the found to be related to such conflict and such
attorneys intention and motives were honest and was objected to by the former client, or if there
he acted in good faith. was a concealment and prejudice by reason of
the attorneys previous professional
XPN: Representation of conflicting interest may be relationship with the opposite party;
allowed where the parties consent to the 4. A lawyer can be held Administratively liable
representation after full disclosure of facts (Nakpil through disciplinary action and may be held
v. Valdez, A.C. No. 2040, March 4, 1998). Criminally liable for betrayal of trust.

NOTE: A lawyer may at a certain stage of the ---


controversy and before it reaches the court

70
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Q: Huey Company and Dewey Corporation are Atty. Funk betray the trust and confidence of a
both retainer clients of Atty. Anama. He is the former client?
corporate secretary of Huey Company. He
represents Dewey Corporation in three pending A: YES. An attorney owes his client undivided
litigation cases. Dewey Corporation wants to file allegiance. An attorney may not, without being
a civil case against Huey Company and has guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for
requested Atty. Anama to handle the case. What a person whose interest conflicts with that of his
are the options available to Atty. Anama? present or former client. This rule is so absolute that
Explain your answer. good faith and honest intention on the erring
lawyers part does not make it inoperative. The
A: The options available to Atty. Anama are: reason for this is that a lawyer acquires knowledge
of his former clients doings, whether documented
1. To decline the case because to do so will or not, that he would ordinarily not have acquired
constitute representing conflicting were it not for the trust and confidence that his
interests. It is unethical for a lawyer to client placed on him in the light of their relationship.
represent a client in a case against another It would simply be impossible for the lawyer to
client in the same case. identify and erase such entrusted knowledge with
2. To accept to file the case against Huey faultless precision or lock the same into an iron box
Company, after full disclosure to both when suing the former client on behalf of a new one
retained clients and upon their express and (Santos Ventura Hocorma Foundation, Inc.,
written consent. The written consent may represented by Gabriel H. Abad v. Atty. Richard V.
free him from the charge of representing Funk. A.C. No. 9094, August 15, 2012).
conflicting interests, because written
consent amounts to a release by the clients ---
of the lawyers obligation not to represent
conflicting interests. Q: R is a retained counsel of ABC Bank-Ermita
Branch. One day, his Balikbayan compadre B,
Q: If you were Atty. Anama, which option would consulted him about his unclaimed deposits
you take? Explain. with the said branch of ABC Bank, which the
bank had refused to give to him claiming that the
A: If I were Atty. Anama, I will choose the first option account had become dormant. R agreed to file a
and inhibit myself in the case as both entities are my case against the bank with the Regional Trial
clients. The conflict of interests between the Court (RTC) of Manila. B lost the case, but upon
contending clients may reach such a point that, the advice of R, he no longer appealed the
notwithstanding their consent to the common decision. B later discovered that R was the
representation, the lawyer may be suspected of retained counsel of ABC Bank-Ermita Branch.
disloyalty by one client. His continuing to act in a Does B have any remedy? Discuss the legal and
double capacity strikes deeply in the foundation of ethical implications of the problem. (2014 Bar)
the attorney-client relationship.
A: Atty. R clearly violated the rule against
--- representing conflicting interests (Rule 15.03, Code
of Professional Responsibility). B may file an action
Q: Hocorma Foundation filed a complaint for to set aside the judgment on the theory that if a
disbarment against Atty. Funk who used to work lawyer is disqualified from appearing as counsel for
as corporate secretary, counsel, chief executive a party on account of conflict of interests, he is
officer, and trustee of the foundation. He also presumed to have improperly and prejudicially
served as its counsel in several criminal and civil advised and represented the party in the conduct of
cases. Complainant alleged that Atty. Funk filed the litigation from beginning to end. He may also file
an action for quieting of title and damages an action for damages against Atty. R, aside from an
against Hocorma on behalf of Mabalacat administrative complaint due to his misconduct. He
Institute using information he acquired while was prejudiced by the adverse decision against him,
with the foundation. As a defense, Atty. Funk which he no longer appealed upon the advice of
contended that he was hired by Don Santos to Atty. R.
serve as director and legal counsel. He
emphasized that, in all these, the attorney-client ---
relationship was always between Santos and
him. He was more of Santos personal lawyer Q: Wilfredo Anglo availed the services of the law
than the lawyer of Hocorma Foundation. Did firm Valencia Ciocon Dabao Valencia De La Paz
Dionela Pandan Rubica Law Office for two

71
LEGAL ETHICS
consolidated labor cases where he was a was secured by a Real Estate Mortgage over the
respondent. Atty. Dionela, a partner of the law properties of the complainant. 3 years after, RBP
firm, was assigned to represent Anglo. moved to foreclose the Real Estate Mortgage.
Eventually, the labor cases were terminated Complainant filed a complaint for Annulment of
upon the agreement of both parties. Mortgage with a Prayer for Preliminary
Subsequently, a criminal case for qualified theft Injunction against RBP. Respondent entered his
was filed against Anglo and his wife by FEVE appearance as counsel for RBP. Is Atty. Pajarillo
Farms acting through a certain Michael guilty of representing conflicting interests when
Villacorta. However, Villacorta was represented he entered his appearance as counsel for RBP?
by the Valencia et al. law firm, the same law
office which handled Anglos labor cases. Anglo A: YES. Indeed, respondent represented conflicting
filed a disbarment case against the partners of interests in violation of Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the
the law firm, alleging that they violated Rule Code of Professional Responsibility which provides
15.03, Canon 15 of the CPR. Are they guilty of that "[a] lawyer shall not represent conflicting
representing conflicting interests? interests except by written consent of all concerned
given after a full disclosure of the facts." Clearly,
A: YES. The law firm's unethical acceptance of the complainant was respondent's former client. And
criminal case arose from its failure to organize and respondent appeared as counsel of RBP in a case
implement a system by which it would have been filed by his former client against RBP. This makes
able to keep track of all cases assigned to its respondent guilty of representing conflicting
handling lawyers to the end of, among others, interests since respondent failed to show any
ensuring that every engagement it accepts stands written consent of all concerned (particularly the
clear of any potential conflict of interest. As an complainant) given after a full disclosure of the facts
organization of individual lawyers which, albeit representing conflicting interests. Respondent also
engaged as a collective, assigns legal work to a acted for the complainant's interest on the loan
corresponding handling lawyer, it behooves the law transaction between RBP and the complainant
firm to value coordination in deference to the when he sent a letter to RBP to assure the latter of
conflict of interest rule. This lack of coordination the financial capacity of the complainant to pay the
intolerably renders its clients' secrets vulnerable to loan. But as counsel for RBP in the case for
undue and even adverse exposure, eroding in the annulment of mortgage, he clearly acted against the
balance the lawyer-client relationship's primordial interest of the complainant, his former client
ideal of unimpaired trust and confidence. (Mabini Colleges, Inc. v. Atty. Pajarillo, A.C. No. 10687,
July 22, 2015).
The partners pronounced liability is not altered by
---
the fact that the labor cases against Anglo had long
been terminated. Verily, the termination of
Rule 15.04, Canon 15
attorney-client relation provides no justification for
A lawyer may, with the written consent of all
a lawyer to represent an interest adverse to or in
concerned, act as mediator, conciliator or
conflict with that of the former client. The client's
arbitrator in setting the disputes.
confidence once reposed should not be divested by
mere expiration of professional employment (Anglo
v. Valencia, A.C. No. 10567, February 25, 2015).
CANDID AND HONEST ADVICE TO CLIENTS

---
Rule 15.05, Canon 15
Q: Mabini Colleges, Inc. (complainant), had a A lawyer when advising his client, shall give a
Board of Trustees which was divided into two candid and honest opinion on the merits and
opposing factions (Adeva Group and Lukban probable results of the clients case, neither
Group). The Adeva Group issued an overstating nor understating the prospects of
unnumbered Board Resolution which the case.
authorized its members to apply for a loan with
the Rural Bank of Paracale (RBP) in favor of the Q: Consorcia Rollon engaged the services of Atty.
complainant. The Lukban Group opposed this. Naraval in a case for collection of sum of money
However, Atty. Pajarillo (respondent), acting as filed against her. After going over the documents
complainants corporate secretary, sent a letter she brought with her, Atty. Naraval agreed to be
to RBP to assure the RBP of complainant's her lawyer and she was required to pay
financial capacity to pay the loan. RBP P8,000.00 for the filing and partial service fee.
eventually granted the loan application which Atty. Naraval did not inform her that the said

72
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
civil suit has been decided against her and which Paas, it was found that her husband, Atty.
judgment has long become final and executory. Renerio Paas, was using his wife's office as his
office address in his law practice. Judge Paas
Atty. Naraval was not able to act on the case. admitted that Atty. Paas did use her office as his
Because of this, Rollon wanted to withdraw the return address for notices and orders in 2
amount she has paid and to retrieve the criminal cases, lodged at the Pasay City RTC, but
documents pertaining to said case. only to ensure and facilitate delivery of those
Unfortunately, despite several follow-ups, Atty. notices, but after the cases were terminated, all
Naraval always said that he cannot return the notices were sent to his office address in Escolta.
documents because they were in their house, Was Atty. Paas act of using his wifes office as his
and that he could not give her back the office address unprofessional and
P8,000.00 because he has no money. Did Atty. dishonorable?
Naraval fail to fulfill his undertakings?
A: YES. By allowing Atty. Paas to use the address of
A: YES. Despite his full knowledge of the finality her court in pleadings before other courts, Judge
based on the documents furnished to him, Atty. Paas had indeed allowed her husband to ride on her
Naraval withheld such vital information and did not prestige for the purpose of advancing his private
properly appraise Rollon. He should have given her interest.
a candid and honest opinion on the merits and the
status of the case but he withheld such vital Atty. Paas is guilty of simple misconduct because of
information. He did not inform her about the finality using a fraudulent, misleading, and deceptive
of the adverse judgment. Instead, he demanded address that had no purpose other than to try to
P8,000 as filing and service fee and thereby gave impress either the court in which his cases are
her hope that her case would be acted upon. lodged, or his client, that he has close ties to a
member of the judiciary, in violation of the Code of
Rule 15.05 of the Code of Professional Professional Responsibility.
Responsibility requires that lawyers give their
candid and best opinion to their clients on the merit The need for relying on the merits of a lawyer's case,
or lack of merit of the case, neither overstating nor instead of banking on his relationship with a
understating their evaluation thereof. Knowing member of the bench which tends to influence or
whether a case would have some prospect of gives the appearance of influencing the court,
success is not only a function, but also an obligation cannot be overemphasized. It is unprofessional and
on the part of lawyers. If they find that their client's dishonorable, to say the least, to misuse a public
cause is defenseless, then it is their bounden duty to office to enhance a lawyer's prestige. Public
advise the latter to acquiesce and submit, rather confidence in law and lawyers may be eroded by
than to traverse the incontrovertible (Rollon v. such reprehensible and improper conduct (Paas v.
Naraval, A.C. No. 6424, March 4, 2005). Almarvez, A.M. No. P-03-1690, April 4, 2003).

--- COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS

Rule 15.07, Canon 15


A lawyer shall impress upon his client
Rule 15.06, Canon 15 compliance with the laws and the principles of
A lawyer shall not state or imply that he is able fairness.
to influence any public official, tribunal or
legislative body. Q: Maria Cielo Suzuki entered into contracts of
sale and real estate mortgage with several
This rule is known as INFLUENCE-PEDDLING. It is persons. The sale and mortgage transactions
improper for a lawyer to show in any way that he were facilitated by Atty. Erwin Tiamson, counsel
has connections and can influence any tribunal or of the sellers. Suzuki paid P80,000 as her share
public official, judges, prosecutors, congressmen in the expenses for registration. He retained in
and others, especially so if the purpose is to enhance his possession the subject deeds of absolute sale
his legal standing and to entrench the confidence of and mortgage as well as the owner's copy of the
the client that his case or cases are assured of title. However, he never registered the said
victory. documents and did not cause the transfer of the
title over the subject property in the name of
--- Suzuki. Atty. Tiamson said that he did not
register the deed of sale to protect the interest
Q: In a case for inhibition filed against Judge of his client and even if the same has been

73
LEGAL ETHICS
registered, he cannot give him the owner's Money collected by the lawyer on a judgment
duplicate copy until purchase price for the favorable to his client constitutes trust funds and
subject property has been fully paid and the real should be immediately paid over to the client. While
estate mortgage cancelled. Is Atty. Tiamson Section 37, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court grants the
justified in not registering the transaction? lawyer a lien upon the funds, documents and papers
of his client, which have lawfully come into his
A: NO. Rule 15.07 obliges lawyers to impress upon possession, such that he may retain the same until
their clients compliance with the laws and the his lawful fees and disbursements have been paid,
principle of fairness. To permit lawyers to resort to and apply such funds to the satisfaction thereof, the
unscrupulous practices for the protection of the lawyer still has the responsibility to promptly
supposed rights of their clients is to defeat one of account to his client for such moneys received.
the purposes of the State, the administration of Failure to do so constitutes professional
justice. While lawyers owe their entire devotion to misconduct.
the interest of their clients and zeal in the defense of
their client's right, they should not forget that they The lawyers failure to turn over such funds,
are, first and foremost, officers of the court, bound moneys, or properties to the client despite the
to exert every effort to assist in the speedy and latters demands give rise to the presumption that
efficient administration of justice. The client's the lawyer had converted the money for his
interest is amply protected by the real estate personal use and benefit. This failure also renders
mortgage executed by complainant. Thus, Atty. the lawyer vulnerable to judicial contempt under
Tiamson failed to live up to this expectation (Suzuki Section 25, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court (CPR
v. Tiamson, A.C. No. 6542, September 30, 2005). Annotated, PhilJA).

CONCURRENT PRACTICE OF ---


ANOTHER PROFESSION
Q: An adverse judgment was rendered in a civil
Rule 15.08, Canon 15 case against Luis de Guzman. His counsel was
A lawyer who is engaged in another profession Atty. Emmanuel Basa and he wanted to
or occupation concurrently with the practice challenge the decision through a petition for
of law shall make clear to his client whether he certiorari. It was agreed that Luis will pay
is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity. P15,000 for said legal service. Atty. Basa
collected a down payment of P5,000. However,
no such petition was filed. He did not seasonably
This rule is intended to avoid confusion; it is for the file with the CA the required appellants brief
benefit of both the client and the lawyer (Funa, resulting in the dismissal of the appeal. Despite
2009). several extensions to file the appellants brief,
Atty. Basa failed to do so. Instead, he filed two
The lawyer should inform the client when he is more motions for extension. When he filed the
acting as a lawyer and when he is not, because appellants brief, it was late, being beyond the
certain ethical considerations governing the client- last extension granted by the appellate court.
lawyer relationship may be operative in one case Was Atty. Emmanuel Basa negligent in the
and not in the other (Report of the IBP Committee). performance of his professional duty to Luis de
Guzman?
A partys engagement of his counsel in another
capacity concurrent with the practice of law is not A: YES, he is guilty of gross misconduct. Where a
prohibited, so long as the roles being assumed by client gives money to his lawyer for a specific
such counsel is made clear to the client (New purpose, such as to file an action or appeal an
Sampaguita Builder Construction, Inc. v. Philippine adverse judgment, the lawyer should, upon failure
National Bank, G.R. No. 148753, July 30, 2004). to take such step and spend the money for it,
immediately return the money to his client. His
CLIENTS MONEYS AND PROPERTIES unjustified withholding of Luis money is a gross
violation of the general morality and professional
CANON 16 ethics (De Guzman v. Atty. Emmanuel Basa, A.C. No.
A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and 5554, June 29, 2004).
properties of his client that may come into his
possession ---

Prohibition of a Lawyer acquiring clients


property

74
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Pursuant to Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Rule 16.01, Canon 1
Responsibility. A lawyer shall account for all money or
property collected or received for or from the
Furthermore, Article 1491 of the Civil Code states client.
that:
The following persons cannot acquire A lawyer must be scrupulously careful in handling
or purchase, even at public or judicial money entrusted to him in his professional capacity,
auction, either in person or through the because of the high degree of fidelity and good faith
mediation of another: expected on his part (Medina v. Bautista, A.C. No.
xxx 190, September 26, 1964).
(5) lawyers, with respect to the property
and rights which may be the object of any Lawyers inexcusable act of withholding the
litigation in which they take part by property of client and imposing unwarranted fees in
virtue of their profession. (see NCC) exchange for release of documents deserve the
imposition of disciplinary action (Miranda v. Carpio,
NOTE: This prohibition is entirely independent of A.C. No. 6281, September 26, 2011).
fraud and such need not be alleged or proven. Art.
1491 (5) of the NCC applies only if the sale or ---
assignment of the property takes place during the
pendency of the litigation involving the clients Q: X sought assistance to the President of the IBP
property. (Ramos v. Ngaseo, A.C. No. 6210, December to enable him to talk to Atty. U who had allegedly
9, 2004) been avoiding him for more than a year. Atty. U
failed to turnover to his client the amount given
--- to him by X as settlement for a civil case. Is Atty.
U guilty for violating Canon 16 of the Code of
Q: In an action to prevent the condominium Professional Responsibility?
developer from building beyond ten (10) floors,
Judge Cerdo rendered judgment in favor of the A: YES. The Code of Professional Responsibility
defendant developer. The judgment became mandates every lawyer to hold in trust all money
final after the plaintiffs failed to appeal on time. and properties of his client that may come into his
Judge Cerdo and Atty. Cocodrilo, counsel for the possession. A lawyers failure to return upon
developer, thereafter separately purchased a demand the funds or property held by him on behalf
condominium unit each from the developer. of his client gives rise to the presumption that he has
appropriated the same for his own use to the
Did Judge Cerdo and Atty. Cocodrilo commit any prejudice of, and in violation of the trust reposed in
act of impropriety or violate any law for which him by, his client. The relation between attorney
they should be held liable or sanctioned? (2013 and client is highly fiduciary in nature. Being such, it
Bar) requires utmost good faith, loyalty, fidelity and
disinterestedness on the part of the attorney. Its
A: NO, Judge Cerdo and Atty. Cocodrilo did not fiduciary nature is intended for the protection of the
commit any act of impropriety nor did they violate client (Espiritu v. Ulep, A.C. No. 5808, May 4, 2005).
any law.
---
The prohibition imposed by the Civil Code, Art. 1491
(3), prohibiting judges and attorneys, and that Q: C engaged the services of attorney D
contained in the Canons of Professional Ethics, concerning various mortgage contracts entered
Canon 10, with regard to purchase of any interest in into by her husband from whom she is separated
the subject matter of litigation both refer only to fearful that her real estate properties will be
instances where the property is still the subject of foreclosed and of impending suits for sums of
the litigation. money against her. Attorney D advised C to give
him her land titles covering her lots so he could
The prohibition does not apply to instances, such as sell them to enable her to pay her creditors. He
in the problem, where the conveyance takes place then persuaded her to execute deeds of sale in
after the judgment because the property can no his favor without any monetary or valuable
longer be said to be the subject of litigation consideration, to which C agreed on condition
(Director of Lands v. Abba, 88 SCRA 513). that he would sell the lots and from the proceeds
pay her creditors. Later on, C came to know that
FIDUCIARY RELATIONSHIP attorney D did not sell her lots but instead paid
her creditors with his own funds and had her

75
LEGAL ETHICS
land titles registered in his name. Did attorney D thereon.
violate the CPR? (2007 Bar)
Exemption from liability
A: The decision of the Supreme Court in the case of
Hernandez v. Go (450 SCRA 1), is squarely applicable A lawyer is exempted from liability for slander, libel
to this problem. Under the same set of facts, the or for words otherwise defamatory, published in the
Supreme Court held the lawyer to have violated course of judicial proceedings, provided the
Canons 16 of the CPR, which provides as follows: statements are connected with, relevant, pertinent
and material to the cause in hand or subject of
Canon 16: A lawyer shall hold in inquiry.
trust all moneys and properties of
his client that may come into his NOTE: Test of relevancy The matter to which the
possession. privilege does not extend must be palpably wanting
in relation to the subject of controversy, that no
And Canon 17 of the same Code, which provides as reasonable man can doubt its relevancy or
follows: propriety.

Canon 17: A lawyer owes fidelity to Criminal liability of lawyers


the cause of his client and he shall
be mindful of the trust and A lawyer may be held criminally liable if he commits
confidence reposed in him. any of the following:

The Supreme Court further held that the lawyer 1. Causes prejudice to the client thru malicious
concerned has engaged in deceitful, dishonest, breach of professional duty or thru inexcusable
unlawful and grossly immoral acts, which might negligence or ignorance;
lessen the trust and confidence reposed by the 2. Reveals clients secrets learned in lawyers
public in the fidelity, honesty, and integrity of the professional capacity thru malicious breach of
legal profession. Consequently, the Court disbarred professional duty or inexcusable negligence or
him. ignorance;
3. A lawyer who has undertaken the defense of a
--- client or has received confidential information
from said client in a case may be criminally
Fiduciary duty liable for undertaking defense of opposing
party in same cause without consent of first
The principle that an attorney derives no undue client (Art. 209, RPC);
advantage that may operate to the prejudice or 4. A lawyer who shall knowingly introduce in
cause an occasion for loss of a client refers to evidence in any judicial proceeding or to the
fiduciary duty. The relationship between the lawyer damage of another or who, with intent to cause
and the client is one of mutual trust and confidence such damage, shall use any false document may
of the highest degree. be held criminally liable therefore (Art. 172,
RPC); and
Instances when civil liability arises 5. A lawyer who appropriates his clients funds
may be held liable for estafa.
1. Client is prejudiced by lawyer's negligence or
misconduct; NOTE: When a lawyer collects or receives money
2. Breach of fiduciary obligation; from his client for a particular purpose, he should
3. Civil liability to third persons; promptly account to the client how the money was
4. Libelous words in pleadings; spent. His failure either to render an accounting or
5. violation of communication privilege; to return the money (if the intended purpose of the
6. Liability for costs of suit (Treble Costs) when money does not materialize) constitutes a blatant
lawyer is made liable for insisting on client's disregard of Rule 16.01 of the CPR (Belleza v.
patently unmeritorious case or interposing Malaca, A.C. No. 7815, July 23, 2009).
appeal merely to delay litigation
Costs of Suit
Remedy of the client
GR: Losing client and not the lawyer is liable for
Recover property from lawyer, together with its costs of suit in favor of prevailing party, the lawyer
fruits, subject to clients returning to his lawyer the not being a party-litigant.
purchase price thereof and the legal interests

76
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
XPN: Where the lawyer insisted on clients patently provided for in the Rules of Court.
unmeritorious case or interposed an appeal to delay
litigation or thwart prompt satisfaction of Counsel cannot unilaterally retain clients
prevailing partys just and valid claim, the court may property for his attorneys lien
adjudge lawyer to pay treble costs of suit.
A counsel has no right to retain or appropriate
CO-MINGLING OF FUNDS unilaterally as lawyers lien any amount belonging
to his client which may come into his possession
Rule 16.02, Canon 16 (Cabigao v. Rodrigo, 57 Phil. 20).
A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client
separate and apart from his own and those of NOTE: While this rule provides that the lawyer has
others kept by him. the right to retain the funds of his client as may be
necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and
Failure of the lawyer to account all the funds and disbursements known as attorneys lien and his lien
property of his client which may come into his to the same extent on all judgments and executions
possession would amount to misappropriation he has secured for his client called charging lien, he
which may subject him to disbarment on the ground is still duty bound to render an accounting of his
of grave misconduct or a criminal prosecution for clients funds and property which may come into his
estafa under Art. 315, par. 1(b) of the RPC. possession in the course of his professional
employment In the application of attorneys lien, a
--- lawyer shall give notice to his client otherwise, the
same might be construed as misappropriation
Q: BPI filed two complaints for replevin and which may subject him to disciplinary action
damages against Esphar Medical Center Inc. and (Antiquiera, 2007).
its President Cesar Espiritu. Espiritu engaged
the services of Atty. Juan Cabredo IV. While these ---
cases were pending, the latter advised Esphar to
remit money and update payments to the bank Q: Fernandez engaged the services of Atty.
through the trial court. Accordingly, Esphar's Cabrera II to handle the cases of her associates
representative delivered a total of P51,161.00 to in Baguio City. After taking hold of the records of
Atty. Cabredo's office. However, the the cases that Fernandez entrusted to him and
management of Esphar found out that he did not after getting initially paid for the services he
deliver said money to the court or to the bank. would render, Atty. Cabrera II suddenly
Did Atty. Caredo commit a breach of trust? disappeared and could no longer be located in
his given address or in the addresses that
A: YES. His act amounted to deceit in violation of his Fernandez gathered. Did Atty. Cabrera II violate
oath. The relationship between a lawyer and a client the Code of Professional Responsibility when he
is highly fiduciary; it requires a high degree of accepted the records and money of the
fidelity and good faith. Hence, in dealing with trust complainant and thereafter failed to render his
property, a lawyer should be very scrupulous. services?
Money or other trust property of the client coming
into the possession of the lawyer should be reported A: YES. Acceptance of money from a client
by the latter and account any circumstances, and establishes an attorney-client relationship and gives
should not be commingled with his own or be used rise to the duty of fidelity to the client's cause. The
by him (Espiritu v. Cabredo IV, A.C. No. 5831, January Canons of Professional Responsibility require that
13, 2003). once an attorney agrees to handle a case, he should
undertake the task with zeal, care, and utmost
DELIVERY OF FUNDS devotion.

Rule 16.03, Canon 16 Atty. Cabrera's action projects his appalling


A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property indifference to his client's cause and a brazen
of his client when due or upon demand. disregard of his duties as a lawyer. Not only did he
However, he shall have a lien over the funds fail to render service of any kind, he also absconded
and may apply so much thereof as may be with the records of the cases with which he was
necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and entrusted. Then to top it all, he kept the money
disbursements, giving notice promptly complainant paid to him. Such conduct is
thereafter to his client. He shall also have a unbecoming of a member of the bar, for a lawyer's
lien to the same extent on all judgments and professional and personal conduct must at all times
executions he has secured for his client as be kept beyond reproach and above suspicion. The

77
LEGAL ETHICS
duty of a lawyer is to uphold the integrity and profession (Hernandez, Jr. v. Go A.C. No. 1526,
dignity of the legal profession at all times. This can January 31, 2005).
only be done by faithfully performing the lawyer's
duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his Prohibition from BORROWING money from
clients (Fernandez v. Atty. Cabrera II, A.C. No. 5623, client
December 11, 2003).
GR: A lawyer is not allowed to borrow money from
--- his client.

Q: Soliman engaged the services of Atty. Amboy XPN: The clients interests are fully protected by the
in connection with a partition case. No case was nature of the case or by independent advice.
filed as the other co-owners were amenable to
the partition. Instead, Atty. Amboy just Prohibition of LENDING money to client
facilitated the issuance of the titles to the said
property. Atty. Amboy then told Soliman that GR: A lawyer is not allowed to lend money to his
someone from the Register of Deeds can help client.
expedite the issuance of the titles for a fee of
P50,000.00 which Soliman deposited to Atty. XPN: When in the interest of justice, he has to
Amboys bank account as payment for the advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is
latters contact. However, Atty. Amboy failed to handling for the client (Rule 16.04, CPR).
deliver the respective certificates of title.
Soliman claimed that Atty. Amboy thereafter NOTE: The prohibition from lending is intended to
refused to release the pertinent documents she assure the lawyers independent professional
gave to her for the processing of the titles to the judgment, for if the lawyer acquires a financial
property or give back the P50,000.00 that was interest in the outcome of the case, the free exercise
already paid to her. Did Atty. Amboy violate the of his judgment may be adversely affected.
Code of Professional Responsibility?
---
A: YES, Atty. Amboy violated the Code. Upon
inquiry, the supposed contact denied having Q: Atty. Lozada was the retained counsel and
received any amount from Atty. Amboy. In not legal adviser of Frias. Atty. Lozada persuaded
returning the money to Soliman after a demand Frias to sell her house, the former acting as
therefor was made following her failure to procure broker since she was in need of money. The
the issuance of the certificates of title, Atty. Amboy prospective buyer paid 3 million where Atty.
violated Canon 16, particularly Rule 16.03 thereof, Lozada took 1 million as her commission
which requires that a lawyer shall deliver the funds without Frias consent. The buyer backed out
and property of his client upon demand. A lawyers from the sale and filed a case against Frias for
failure to return upon demand the funds held by him the return of the purchase price. Frias claimed
on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that her failure to return the money was because
that he has appropriated the same for his own use in of Atty. Lozadas refusal to give back the 1
violation of the trust reposed in him by his client million she took as commission. A case was filed
(Soliman v. Amboy, A.C. No. 10568 January 13, 2015). by Frias against Atty. Lozada but despite the
favorable decision, Atty. Lozada refused to
BORROWING OR LENDING return the money.

Rule 16.04, Canon 16 Atty. Lozada claimed that since she did not have
A lawyer shall not borrow money from his enough money, Frias requested her to sell or
client unless the client's interest are fully mortgage the property and offered her a loan,
protected by the nature of the case or by commission and attorneys fees on the basis of
independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer the selling price. She denied that Frias
lend money to a client except, when in the previously demanded the return of 1 million
interest of justice, he has to advance necessary until the civil case against her was instituted in
expenses in a legal matter he is handling for which she expressed her willingness to pay the
the client. 900,000 plus agreed interest. Did Atty. Lozada
commit a violation of the Code of Professional
A lawyer who takes advantage of his clients Responsibility in asking for a loan from her
financial plight to acquire the latters properties for client?
his own benefit is of the confidence of the public in
the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the legal A: YES. Her act of borrowing money from a client

78
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
was a violation of Canon 16.04 of the Code of Concepcion v. Dela Rosa, A.C. No. 10681, February 03,
Professional Responsibility. 2015).

A lawyers act of asking a client for a loan, as what ---


respondent did, is very unethical. It comes within
those acts considered as abuse of clients NOTE: The principle behind Rule 16.04 is to prevent
confidence. The canon presumes that the client is the lawyer from taking advantage of his influence
disadvantaged by the lawyers ability to use all the over the client or to avoid acquiring a financial
legal maneuverings to renege on her obligation interest in the outcome of the case.
(Frias v. Lozada, A.C. NO. 6656, December 13, 2005),
FIDELITY TO CLIENTS CAUSE
---
CANON 17
Q: Sps. Concepcion (complainants) alleged that A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client
Atty. Dela Rosa (respondent) served as their and he shall be mindful of the trust and
retained lawyer and counsel. Respondent confidence reposed in him.
borrowed P2,500,000.00 from the
complainants, which he promised to return,
with interest, within 5 days. On the day Q: Matias Lagramada residing with his uncle,
respondent promised to return the money, he Apolonio Lagramada, was invited by the latter to
failed to pay complainants. They began accompany him to the police station, supposedly
demanding payment but respondent merely to pick up a refrigerator they were to repair.
made repeated promises to pay soon. Upon their arrival there, Matias was
Thereafter, complainants, through their new immediately taken in and locked behind bars.
counsel, sent a demand letter. In his Reply, the Two sets of information were filed against him
respondent denied borrowing any money from only 10 months after the first day of his
the complainants. Did Atty. Dela Rosa violate the incarceration. With the assistance of counsel,
Code of Professional Responsibility? Matias pleaded not guilty when arraigned,
without raising the invalidity of the arrest. Was
A: YES. Under Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the CPR, a the case properly handled?
lawyer is prohibited from borrowing money from
his client unless the clients interests are fully A: NO. Lawyers owe fidelity to the cause of their
protected. The Court has repeatedly emphasized clients and must be mindful of the trust and
that the relationship between a lawyer and his client confidence reposed in them. Matias counsel, in the
is one imbued with trust and confidence. And as true spirit of safeguarding his clients rights, should have
as any natural tendency goes, this trust and taken the necessary steps to correct the situation.
confidence is prone to abuse. The rule against However, he allowed his client to enter a plea during
borrowing of money by a lawyer from his client is the latters arraignment without raising the
intended to prevent the lawyer from taking invalidity of arrest. Thus, the former effectively
advantage of his influence over his client. The rule waived his clients right to question its validity.
presumes that the client is disadvantaged by the Defense counsels are expected to spare no effort to
lawyers ability to use all the legal maneuverings to save the accused from unrighteous incarcerations.
renege on his obligation. A lawyers act of asking a
client for a loan, as what respondent did, is very Matias counsel should have not only perfunctorily
unethical. It comes within those acts considered as represented his client during the pendency of the
abuse of clients confidence. The canon presumes case, but should have kept in mind his duty to
that the client is disadvantaged by the lawyers render effective legal assistance and true service by
ability to use all the legal maneuverings to renege on protecting the latters rights at all times (People v.
her obligation. Respondent borrowed money from Lagramada, G.R. Nos. 146357 & 148170, August 29,
complainants who were his clients and whose 2002).
interests, by the lack of any security on the loan,
were not fully protected. Owing to their trust and ---
confidence in respondent, complainants relied
solely on the formers word that he will return the Q: Complainants engaged the services of Atty.
money plus interest within five (5) days. However, Guaren for the titling of a residential lot they
respondent abused the same and reneged on his acquired in Bonbon, Nueva Caseres. They
obligation, giving his previous clients the runaround alleged that Atty. Guaren took all the pertinent
up to this day. Accordingly, there is no quibble that documents relative to the titling of their lot; that
respondent violated Rule 16.04 of the CPR (Sps. they always reminded Atty. Guaren about the

79
LEGAL ETHICS
case and each time he would say that the titling accused pleaded guilty. However, the three PAO
was in progress; that they became bothered by lawyers assigned as counsel de oficio did not
the slow progress of the case so they demanded advise their client of the consequences of
the return of the money they paid. Despite the pleading guilty; one PAO lawyer left the
acceptance of P7,000, Atty. Guaren failed to courtroom during trial and thus was not able to
perform his obligation and allowing 5 years to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses. The
elapse without any progress in the titling of other postponed the presentation of evidence
complainants lot. Did Atty. Guaren violate the for the defense, and when he appeared, he said
Code of Professional Responsibility? he would rely solely on the plea of guilty, in the
belief that it would lower the penalty to
A: YES. The Supreme Court reiterated that the reclusion perpetua. Should the three PAO
practice of law is not a business. It is a profession in lawyers be disciplined?
which duty to public service, not money, is the
primary consideration. Lawyering is not primarily A: YES. All three (3) of them displayed manifest
meant to be a money-making venture, and law disinterest on the plight of their client. They lacked
advocacy is not a capital that necessarily yields vigor and dedication to their work. Canon 18 of the
profits. The gaining of a livelihood should be a Code of Professional Responsibility requires every
secondary consideration. The duty to public service lawyer to serve his client with utmost dedication,
and to the administration of justice should be the competence and diligence. He must not neglect a
primary consideration of lawyers, who must legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
subordinate their personal interests or what they this regard renders him administratively liable.
owe to themselves. In this case, Atty. Guaren Obviously, in the instant case, the defense lawyers
admitted that he accepted the amount of P7,000 as did not protect, much less uphold, the fundamental
partial payment of his acceptance fee. He, however, rights of the accused. Instead, they haphazardly
failed to perform his obligation to file the case for performed their function as counsel de officio to the
the titling of complainants lot despite the lapse of 5 detriment and prejudice of the accused Sevilleno,
years. Atty. Guaren breached his duty to serve his however guilty he might have been found to be after
client with competence and diligence when he trial (People v. Sevilleno, G.R. No. 129058, March 29,
neglected a legal matter entrusted to him. Thus, 1999).
Atty. Guaren violated Canons 17 and 18 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility and was suspended ---
from the practice of law for six months (Brunet v.
Guaren, A.C. No. 10164, March 10, 2014). NOTE: In one case, respondent lawyer admitted
that he deliberate failed to timely file a formal offer
COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE of exhibits because he believes that the exhibits
were fabricated and was hoping that the same
CANON 18 would be refused admission by the RTC. If
A lawyer shall serve his client with respondent truly believes that the exhibits to be
competence and diligence. presented in evidence by his clients were fabricated,
then he has the option to withdraw from the case.
Diligence is the attention and care required of a Canon 22 allows a lawyer to withdraw his services
person in a given situation and is the opposite of for good cause such as when the client pursues an
negligence. It is axiomatic in the practice of law that illegal or immoral course of conduct with the matter
the price of success is eternal diligence to the cause he is handling or when the client insists that the
of the client (Edquibal v. Ferrer, A.C. No. 5687, lawyer pursue conduct violative of these canons and
February 3, 2005). rules. (Sps. Warriner v. Atty. Dublin, A.C. No. 5239,
November 18, 2013)
Degree of diligence required in the profession
---
The legal profession demands of a lawyer that
degree of vigilance and attention of a good father of Q: Sanchez (complainant) charged Atty. Aguilos
a family (Lapena, 2009) or ordinary pater familias (respondent) with misconduct for the latter's
(Pineda, 2009). He is not required to exercise refusal to return the amount of P70,000.00 she
extraordinary diligence (Edquibal v. Ferrer, Jr., A.C. had paid for his professional services despite his
No. 5687, February 3, 2005). not having performed the contemplated
professional services. She avers that she sought
--- the legal services of Aguilos to represent her in
the annulment of her marriage with her
Q: In a criminal case for rape with homicide, the estranged husband; that Aguilos accepted the

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THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
engagement, fixing his fee at P150,000.00, plus Rule 18.01, Canon 18
the appearance fee of P5,000.00/hearing; that A lawyer shall not undertake a legal service
she then gave to him the initial amount of which he knows or should know that he is not
P90,000.00; that she had gone to his residence qualified to render. However, he may render
to inquire on the developments in her case, but such service if, with the consent of his client, he
he told her that he would only start working on can obtain as collaborating counsel a lawyer
the case upon her full payment of the acceptance who is competent on the matter.
fee; that she had only learned then that what he
had contemplated to file for her was a petition The lawyers acceptance, whether for a fee or not, is
for legal separation, not one for the annulment an implied representation that he possesses the
of her marriage; that he further told her that she requisite degree of academic learning, skill and
would have to pay a higher acceptance fee for ability to handle the case.
the annulment of her marriage; that she
subsequently withdrew the case from him, and He is therefore directed not to take legal services,
requested the refund of the amounts already which he knows or should know he is not qualified
paid, but he refused to do the same as he had or competent to render except if his client consents,
already started working on the case; that she the lawyer can take as collaborating counsel
had sent him a letter to demand the return of her another lawyer who is competent on the matter.
payment less whatever amount corresponded to
the legal services he had already performed; ---
that the respondent did not heed her demand
letter despite his not having rendered any Q: When is professional incompetence a ground
appreciable legal services to her. Is Atty. Aguilos for disbarment under the Rules of Court?
liable for misconduct? Explain. (2010 Bar)

A: YES. Aguilos was liable for misconduct, and he A: Professional incompetence of a lawyer may be a
should be ordered to return the entire amount special ground for disbarment if his incompetence
received from the client. Clearly, he misrepresented is so total, gross and serious that he cannot be
his professional competence and skill to the entrusted with the duty to protect the rights of his
complainant. As the foregoing findings reveal, he did clients. A lawyer shall not undertake a legal service
not know the distinction between the grounds for where he knows or should know that he is not
legal separation and for annulment of marriage. qualified to render (Rule 18.01, CPR). If he does so,
Such knowledge would have been basic and it constitutes malpractice or gross misconduct in
expected of him as a lawyer accepting a professional office which are grounds for suspension or
engagement for either causes of action. His disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules
explanation that the client initially intended to of Court.
pursue the action for legal separation should be
disbelieved. The case unquestionably contemplated ---
by the parties and for which his services was
engaged, was no other than an action for annulment Collaborating Counsel
of the complainant's marriage with her husband
with the intention of marrying her British fiancee. One who is subsequently engaged to assist a lawyer
They did not contemplate legal separation at all, for already handling a particular case for a client
legal separation would still render her incapacitated (Pineda, 2009).
to re-marry. That the respondent was insisting in
his answer that he had prepared a petition for legal NOTE: The handling lawyer cannot just take
separation, and that she had to pay more as another counsel without the consent of the client.
attorney's fees if she desired to have the action for The new lawyer on the other hand cannot just enter
annulment was, therefore, beyond comprehension his appearance as collaborating counsel without the
other than to serve as a hallow afterthought to conformity of the first counsel.
justify his claim for services rendered. Aguilos failed
to live up to the standards imposed on him as an ADEQUATE PREPARATION
attorney. He thus transgressed Canon 18, and Rules
18.01, 18.02 and 18.03 of the Code of Professional Rule 18.02, Canon 18
Responsibility. (Sanchez v. Aguilos, A.C. No. 10543, A lawyer shall not handle any legal matter
March 16, 2016) without adequate preparation.

COLLABORATING COUNSEL A lawyer should prepare his pleadings with great


care and circumspection. He should refrain from

81
LEGAL ETHICS
using abrasive and offensive language, for it merely Even if a lawyer was "honestly and sincerely"
weakens rather than strengthens the force of legal protecting the interests of his client, the former still
reasoning and detracts from its persuasiveness. In had no right to waive the appeal without the latter's
preparing a complaint for damages, counsel for knowledge and consent (Abay v. Atty. Montesino, A.C.
plaintiff should allege and state the specific amounts No. 5718, December 4, 2003).
claimed not only in the body of the complaint but
also in the prayer, so that the proper docket fees can ---
be assessed and paid (Fernandez v. Atty. Novero, A.C.
No. 5394, December 2, 2002). Q: As an incident in the main case, Velasquez
appointed his counsel as attorney-in-fact to
The counsel must constantly keep in mind that his represent him at the pre-trial. Counsel failed to
actions or omissions, even malfeasance and appear, hence Velasquez was declared in
nonfeasance would be binding to his client. Verily, a default. The order of default was received by
lawyer owes to the client the exercise of utmost counsel but no steps were taken to have it lifted
prudence and responsibility in representation or set aside. Decide.
(Fernandez v. Atty. Novero, A.C. No. 5394, December
2, 2002). A: It is binding on Velasquez who is himself guilty of
negligence when, after executing the special power
NEGLIGENCE of attorney in favor of his lawyer, he left for abroad
and apparently paid no further attention to his case
Rule 18.03, Canon 18 until he received the decision. There is therefore no
A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence
entrusted to him and his negligence in which will warrant a lifting of the order of default.
connection therewith shall render him liable. As a general rule, a client is bound by the mistakes of
(1998, 2002 Bar Questions) his counsel; more so by the result of his own
negligence (Velasquez v. CA, G.R. No. 124049, June 30,
A lawyer is enjoined not to neglect a legal matter 1999).
entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable. It is the duty of the ---
lawyer to serve his client with competence and
diligence and he should exert his best efforts to Q: Are the mistakes or negligence of a lawyer
protect within the bounds of the law, the interest of binding upon the client? (1998, 2000, 2002 Bar)
his client (Vda. De Enriquez v. San Jose, 516 SCRA
486). GR: Client is bound by attorneys conduct,
negligence and mistake in handling a case or in the
Diligence required management of litigation and in procedural
technique, and he cannot complain that the result
Prone to err like any other human being, he is not might have been different had his lawyer proceeded
answerable for every error or mistake, and will be differently.
protected as long as he acts honestly and in good
faith to the best of skill and knowledge. An attorney XPNs: [LIPIG]
is not expected to know all the laws. He is not liable
for disbarment for an honest mistake or error. He is 1. Lack of acquaintance with technical aspect of
not an insurer of the result in a case where he is procedure;
engaged in as counsel. Only ordinary care and 2. When adherence thereto results in
diligence are required of him (Pineda, 2009). outright deprivation of clients liberty or
property or where Interest of justice so
NOTE: What amounts to carelessness or negligence requires;
in a lawyers discharge of his duty to client is 3. Where error by counsel is Purely technical
incapable of exact formulation. It will depend upon which does not substantially affect clients
the circumstances of the case. cause;
4. Ignorance, incompetence, or inexperience of
Instances of negligence by attorneys lawyer is so great and error so serious that
client, who has a good cause, is prejudiced and
Failure to appeal to CA despite instructions by the denied a day in court; and
client to do so constitutes inexcusable negligence on 5. Gross negligence of lawyer.
the part of the counsel (Abiero v. Juanino, A.C. No.
5302, February 18, 2005). ---

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THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
NOTE: If by reason of the lawyers negligence, actual withdraw, but attorney M refused. Complainant
loss has been caused to his client, the latter has a N further alleged that attorney M abused his
cause of action against him for damages. However, client's trust and confidence and violated his
for the lawyer to be held liable, his failure to oath of office in failing to defend his client's
exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence must be cause to the very end.
proximate cause of the loss.
Attorney M replied that N did not give him his
--- full cooperation; that the voluminous records
turned over to him were in disarray, and that
Q: Atty. Macalalad was introduced to Atty. when he appeared for N, he had only half of the
Solidon by a mutual acquaintance. Solidon information and background of the case; that he
asked Atty. Macalalad to handle the judicial was assured by N's friends that they had
titling of a parcel of land located in Samar and approached the judge; that they requested him
owned by Atty. Solidons relatives. For a (M) to prepare a motion for reconsideration
consideration of P80,000.00, Atty. Macalalad which he did and gave them; however, these
accepted the task to be completed within a friends did not return the copy of the motion.
period of eight months. Atty. Macalalad received
P50,000.00 as initial payment; the remaining Will the administrative case prosper? Give
balance of P30,000.00 was to be paid when Atty. reasons for your answer (2007 Bar).
Solidon received the certificate of title to the
property. Atty. Macalalad has not filed any A: The administrative case will prosper. In failing to
petition for registration over the property file an opposition to the Demurrer to Evidence and
sought to be titled up to the present time. Is he to appear at the hearing thereof, and more so, in
guilty of violating the CPR? failing to file a motion for reconsideration of the
order granting the demurrer, thereby causing the
A: YES. Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of same to become final and executory, Attorney M
Professional Responsibility. The mere failure of the violated Canon 18 of the CPR, which provides that a
lawyer to perform the obligations due to the client lawyer shall serve his client with competence and
is considered per se a violation. A lawyer so engaged diligence, and Rule 18.03 which provides that a
to represent a client bears the responsibility of lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to
protecting the latters interest with utmost him and his negligence in connection therewith
diligence. Accordingly, competence, not only in the shall make him liable.
knowledge of law, but also in the management of the
cases by giving these cases appropriate attention and In refusing to comply with N's request to withdraw
due preparation, is expected from a lawyer. Atty. from the case, Atty. M violated the rule that a client
Macalalad failed to act as he committed when he has the absolute right to terminate the lawyer client
failed to file the required petition (Solidon v. relationship at any time with or without cause.
Macalalad, A.C. No. 8158, February 24, 2010).
Atty. M's defense that the voluminous records
--- turned over to him were in disarray and when he
appeared for B, he had only half of the information
Q: Attorney M accepted a civil case for the and background of the case, is not meritorious. Rule
recovery of title and possession of land in behalf 18.02 provides that he shall not handle any legal
of N. Subsequently, after the RTC had issued a matter without adequate preparation. He should
decision adverse to N, the latter filed an have been competent and diligent enough to
administrative case against attorney M for organize the records given to him, and not to go to
disbarment. He alleged that attorney M caused trial with only half of the information and
the adverse ruling against him; that attorney M knowledge of the case. It is his duty to go to trial
did not file an opposition to the Demurrer to adequately prepared (Rule 12.01, CPR).
Evidence filed in the case, neither did he appear
at the formal hearing on the demurrer, leading His defense that friends of N assured him that they
the trial court to assume that plaintiff's counsel had approached the judge, and asked him to prepare
(attorney M) appeared convinced of the validity a motion for reconsideration, which he allegedly did
of the demurrer filed; that attorney M did not and gave them, is incredible. Even if true, Atty. M
even file a motion for reconsideration, causing violated Canon 13 of the CPR which provides that a
the order to become final and executory; and lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and
that even prior to the above elements and in refrain from any impropriety which tends to
view of attorney M's apparent loss of interest in influence or gives the appearance of influencing the
the case, he verbally requested attorney M to court.

83
LEGAL ETHICS
his interest is defended or why certain steps are
--- taken or omitted.

Q: Spouses Santander filed a civil suit for ---


damages against Congressional Village
Homeowners Association and Ely Mabanag. Q: Spouses Garcia engaged the services of Atty.
Atty. Jimenez was the counsel of record and Rolando Bala to appeal to the CA the adverse
handling lawyer for the association. The RTC decision of the Department of Agrarian
rendered a decision in favor of the Sps. Relations Adjudication Board (DARAB). Instead,
Santander. The CA dismissed the appeal on the he erroneously filed a Notice of Appeal. During
ground that the original period to file the one instance when the spouses had called on
appellants brief had expired 95 days before the him to ask for a copy of the supposed appeal,
first motion for extension of time to file said Atty. Bala uttered unsavory words against them.
brief was filed. Some members of the association Because of his error, the prescribed period for
filed a Complaint for Disbarment against Atty. filing the petition lapsed, to the prejudice of his
Jimenez. In his defense, Atty. Jimenez alleged clients. Did Atty. Bala violate any ethical rules?
that the members have no personality to file the
disbarment complaint as they were not his A: YES. Rule 18.04 states that a "lawyer shall keep
clients. Is Atty. Jimenez liable for violating Rule the client informed of the status of his case and shall
18.03 and Canon 18 of the Code of Professional respond within a reasonable time to the client's
Responsibility? request for information." Accordingly, the spouses
had the right to be updated on the developments
A: YES, Atty. Jimenez is liable. His failure to file the and status of the case for which they had engaged
appellants brief within the period provided by law the services of Atty. Bala. But he apparently denied
violates Canon 18 of the CPR. Atty. Jimenez had filed them that right. Having become aware of the wrong
with the CA an Urgent Motion for Extension stating remedy he had erroneously taken, he purposely
that a previous motion had been filed but due to the evaded his clients, refused to update them on the
health condition of the undersigned counselhe appeal, and misled them as to his whereabouts.
was not able to finish said Appellants Brief within Moreover, he uttered invectives at them when they
the fifteen day period earlier requested by him. It is visited him for an update on the case. (Spouses
clear that Atty. Jimenez was indeed in charge of the Garcia v. Bala, A.C. No. 5039, November 25, 2005)
case. A lawyer representing a client bears the
responsibility of protecting the clients interest with ---
utmost diligence.
Q: Sps. Ramiscals engaged the legal services of
Any person, or the court, motu proprio, may initiate Atty. Edgar S. Orro to handle a case in which they
disciplinary proceedings. The right to institute were the defendants seeking the declaration of
disbarment proceedings is not confined to clients the nullity of title to a parcel of land. Upon
nor is it necessary that the person complaining receiving the P10,000.00 acceptance fee from
suffered injury from the alleged wrongdoing. them, Orro handled the trial of the case until
Disbarment proceedings are matters of public RTC decided it in their favor. When the case
interest (Figueras v. Jimenez, A.C. No. 9116, March 12, reached CA, Orro requested from the spouses an
2014). additional amount of P30,000.00 for the
preparation and submission of their appellees
DUTY TO APPRISE CLIENT brief. Later on, the CA reversed the decision of
the RTC. Orro did not inform the Ramiscals of
Rule 18.04, Canon 18 the adverse decision of the CA which they only
A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the learned about from their neighbors. They
status of his case and shall respond within a endeavored to communicate with Orro but their
reasonable time to the clients request for efforts were initially in vain. When they finally
information. reached him, he asked an additional P7,000.00
from them as his fee in filing a motion for
A lawyer should notify his client of the adverse reconsideration in their behalf, albeit telling
decision while within the period to appeal to enable them that such motion would already be
the client to decide whether to seek an appellate belated. To their dismay, they later discovered
review. He should communicate with him that he did not file the motion for
concerning the withdrawal of appeal with all its reconsideration; hence, the decision attained
adverse consequences. The client is entitled to the finality, eventually resulting in the loss of their
fullest disclosure of the mode or manner by which

84
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
property. Did Atty. Orro competently and upon his attorney. Notice sent to a party who has
diligently discharge his duties as a lawyer? appeared by counsel is not notice in law, it being
immaterial that the client actually received the
A: NO. Every lawyer, upon becoming a member of notice or volunteered to get a copy thereof.
the Philippine Bar, solemnly takes the Lawyers
Oath, by which he vows, among others, that: "I will XPNs:
delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct
myself as a lawyer according to the best of my 1. Strict application might foster dangerous
knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as collusion to the detriment of justice;
well to the courts as to my clients." If he should 2. Service of notice upon party instead of upon his
violate the vow, he contravenes the Code of attorney is ordered by the court;
Professional Responsibility, particularly its Canon 3. Notice of pre-trial is required to be served upon
17, and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of Canon 18. As an parties and their respective lawyers; and
essential part of their highly fiduciary relationship, 4. In appeal from the lower court to the RTC, upon
the client is entitled to the periodic and full updates docketing of appeal.
from the lawyer on the developments of the case.
Updating the clients could have prevented their REPRESENTATION WITH ZEAL
substantial prejudice by enabling them to engage WITHIN LEGAL BOUNDS
another competent lawyer to handle their case. As it
happened, his neglect in that respect lost for them CANON 19
whatever legal remedies were then available. His A lawyer shall represent his client with zeal
various omissions manifested his utter lack of within the bounds of the law
professionalism towards them. (Ramiscal v. Orro,
A.C. No. 10945, February 23, 2016)
When a lawyer accepts a case, whether for a fee or
--- not, his acceptance is an implied representation that
he: [CASE]
NOTE: The lawyer is obliged to respond within a
reasonable time to a client's request for 1. will exercise reasonable and ordinary Care and
information. A client is entitled to the fullest diligence in the pursuit or defense of the case;
disclosure of the mode or manner by which that 2. will possess the requisite degree of Academic
client's interest is defended or why certain steps are learning, skill and ability in the practice of his
taken or omitted. A lawyer who repeatedly fails to profession;
answer the inquiries or communications of a client 3. will take steps as will adequately Safeguard his
violates the rules of professional courtesy and clients interests; and
neglects the client's interests (Villariasa-Reisenbeck 4. will Exert his best judgment in the prosecution
v. Abarrientos, A.C. No. 6238, November 4, 2004). or defense of the litigation entrusted to him
(Islas v. Platon, G.R. No. L-23183, December 29,
Doctrine of imputed knowledge 1924).

The knowledge acquired by an attorney during the Authority to appear in court is presumed
time that he is acting within the scope of his
authority is imputed to the client. It is based on the GR: A lawyer is presumed to be properly authorized
assumption that an attorney, who has notice of to represent any cause in which he appears.
matter affecting his client, has communicated the
same to his principal in the course of professional XPN: On motion of either party and on reasonable
dealings. grounds, the presiding judge may require an
attorney to prove the authority under which he
NOTE: The doctrine applies regardless of whether appears (Sec. 21, Rule 138, RRC).
or not the lawyer actually communicated to the
client what he learned in his professional capacity, Voluntary appearance of lawyer without
the attorney and his client being one judicial person. authority

Notice to counsel is notice to client, but not vice An attorney may not appear for a person until he is
versa if the latter appeared by attorney in fact employed by, or retained for such person. An
attorney willfully appearing in court for a person
GR: The law requires that service of any notice upon without being employed, unless by leave of court,
a party who has appeared by attorney shall be made may be punished for contempt as an officer of the
court, who has misbehaved in his official

85
LEGAL ETHICS
transactions (Sec. 26, Rule 138). A: YES, a lawyer may be held liable for damages by
his client for failure to represent his client with zeal
Effects of unauthorized appearance (Canon 19, CPR) and for not serving his client with
competence and diligence (Canon 18, CPR).
1. The party represented is not bound by
attorneys appearance in the case neither by the USE OF FAIR AND HONEST MEANS
judgment rendered therein;
2. Court does not acquire jurisdiction over the Rule 19.01, Canon 9
person of the party represented; A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest
3. The adverse party who has been forced to means to attain the lawful objectives of his
litigate as a defendant by the unauthorized client and shall not present, participate in
action on the part of the attorney for the presenting or threaten to present, participate
plaintiff may, on that ground, move for the in presenting or threaten to present
dismissal of the complaint; and unfounded criminal charges to obtain an
4. If unauthorized appearance is willful, attorney improper advantage in any case or
may be cited for contempt as an officer of the proceeding (1997 Bar)
court who has misbehaved in his official
transactions, and he may be disciplined for Rule 19.01 of the CPR obligates a lawyer, in
professional misconduct. defending his client, to employ only such means as
are consistent with truth and honor. He should not
Ratification of unauthorized appearance prosecute patently frivolous and meritless appeals
or institute clearly groundless actions. The act of a
1. Express Categorized assertion by client that lawyer in preventing the execution of the judgment
he has authorized a lawyer or that he confirms against his clients shows that he actually committed
his authorization to represent him in the case. what the above rule expressly prohibits (Que v.
2. Implied Where party with knowledge of fact Revilla, A.C. No. 7054, December 4, 2009).
that a lawyer has been representing him in a
case, accepts benefits of representation or fails Under this rule, a lawyer should not file or threaten
to promptly repudiate the assumed authority. to file any unfounded or baseless criminal case or
cases against the adversaries of his client designed
Requisites of implied ratification by silence to secure a leverage to compel the adversaries to
yield or withdraw their own cases against the
1. The party represented by the attorney is of age lawyers client.
or competent or if he suffers from any disability,
he has a duly appointed guardian or legal CLIENTS FRAUD
representative;
2. The party or his guardian, as the case may be, is Rule 19.02, Canon 19
aware of the attorneys representation; and A lawyer who has received information that
3. He fails to promptly repudiate assumed his client has, in the course of the
authority. representation, perpetrated a fraud upon a
person or tribunal, shall promptly call upon
Extent of lawyers authority in litigation the client to rectify the same, and failing which
he shall terminate the relationship with such
A lawyer has authority to bind the client in all client in accordance with the Rules of Court
matters of ordinary judicial procedure. The cause of (2001 Bar)
action, the claim or demand sued upon and the
subject matter of the litigation are within the The lawyers duty to his client does not mean
exclusive control of the client. A client may waive, freedom to set up false or fraudulent claims
surrender, dismiss, or compromise any of his rights especially with respect to provisions of law or
involved in litigation in favor of the other party even administrative rules and that while lawyers are
without or against the consent of his attorney. bound to exert utmost legal skill in prosecuting their
clients cause or defending it, their duty, first and
--- foremost, is to the administration of justice (CPR
Annotated, PhilJA).
Q: May a lawyer be held liable for damages by his
clients for the lawyers failure to file the NOTE: It is an unethical tactic for a lawyer to offer
necessary pleadings to prosecute the clients monetary rewards to anyone who could give him
case and as a result of which the client suffered information against a party so that he could have
damages? (2014 Bar) leverage against all actions involving such party

86
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
(CPR Annotated, PhilJA). a. Atty. RS has the obligation to disclose such facts
to authorities. The announced intention of a
--- client to commit a crime is not included within
the confidences which his attorney is bound to
Q: Atty. Bravo represents Carlos Negar (an respect. The attorney cannot reveal to anybody
insurance agent for Dormir Insurance Co.) in a the facts stated by the client as regards the case
suit filed by insurance claimant Andy Limot who proceedings. However this is not an absolute
also sued Dormir Insurance. Limot testified rule. The privilege is limited or has reference
during the trial that he had mailed the notice of only to communications which are within the
the loss to the insurance agent, but admitted ambit of lawful employment and does not
that he lost the registry receipt so that he did not extend to those transmitted in contemplation of
have any documentary evidence of the fact of future crimes or fraud.
mailing and of its timeliness. Dormir Insurance b. YES, Atty. RS has the obligation to disclose such
denied liability contending that the timely information to the authorities. As provided for
notice had not been given either to the company by Rule 19.02 of Canon 19, a lawyer shall not
or its agent. allow his client to perpetrate fraud. He shall
promptly advise the client to rectify the same,
A few days after Negar testified, he admitted to and if the client refuses to heed the lawyer's
Atty. Bravo that he had lied when he denied advice for rectification, the lawyer must
receipt of Limot's notice; he did receive the withdraw from the case (People v.
notice by mail but immediately shredded it to Sandiganbayan, 275 SCRA 505).
defeat Limot's claim.
---
If your were Atty. Bravo, what would you do in
light of your client's disclosure that he perjured Q: If the lawyer is counsel de parte for the
himself when he testified? (2013 Bar) accused and he learns later after accepting the
case and while trial is ongoing that his client was
A: I shall promptly call upon Carlos Negar, my client, indeed the perpetrator of the crime, may the
to rectify his perjured testimony by recanting the lawyer withdraw his appearance from the case?
same before the court. Should he refuse or fail to do Why or Why not? (2014 Bar)
so I shall then terminate my relationship with him
(Canon, 19, Rule 19.02) stating that with his having A: He may withdraw his appearance but in
committed perjury he persuaded an illegal conduct accordance with procedure in Section 26, Rule 138
in connection with the case (Ibid., Canon 22, Rule of the Rules of Court. Moreover, Rule 19.02 of the
22.01). CPR provides that a lawyer who has received
information that his client has, in the course of the
--- representation, perpetuated a fraud upon a person
or tribunal, shall promptly call upon the client to
Q: In a prosecution for a murder against a rectify the same, and failing which, he shall
ranking army officer, the latter engaged the terminate the relationship with such client in
services of RS, a well-known trial lawyer, to accordance with the Rules of Court.
whom the officer in one of their conferences
disclosed a plan to eliminate or salvagei.e., kill PROCEDURE IN HANDLING THE CASE
or otherwise cause to disappearthe only
witness, a fellow military officer, through a Rule 19.03, Canon 19
contrived traffic or highway vehicular accident. A lawyer shall not allow his client to dictate
the procedure in handling the case.
a. What are the legal and moral obligations of
Atty. RS to his client and to the authorities, Who has control over the case
under the given circumstances?
b. Should the planned accident take place, and 1. As to matters of procedure - it is the client who
the witness to the prosecution be killed, as a yields to the lawyer and not the lawyer yielding
result, is Atty. RS under any obligation to to the client. (Lapena 2009)
disclose to the authorities the plan that his
client had mentioned to him, as above NOTE: The basis of this rule is that the lawyer
mentioned? is better trained and skilled in law.
A: 2. As to subject matter - the client is in

87
LEGAL ETHICS
control. 2. Special appearance When a defendant
appears in court solely for the purpose of
NOTE: Cause of action, claim or demand, and objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over his
subject of litigation are within clients control. person.
Proceedings to enforce the remedy are within
the exclusive control of the attorney. NOTE: By virtue of Sec. 20, Rule 14 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure, there is no more
Authority of counsel to compromise distinction between general appearance and special
appearance, in the sense that a defendant may file a
GR: The attorney has no authority to motion to dismiss not only on the ground of lack of
compromise his clients case. This is so because the jurisdiction over his person but also on some other
client, even if represented by counsel, retains grounds without waiving the jurisdiction of the
exclusive control over the subject matter of the court over his person.
litigation. The client can, of course, authorize his
lawyer to compromise his case, and the settlement Entry of appearance v. Appearance of counsel
made by the lawyer will bind his client.
Entry of appearance is the written manifestation
XPNs: submitted by the counsel of record to inform the
1. When the lawyer is confronted with an court that he will act as the counsel of a party made
emergency where prompt and urgent action is before the date of the hearing while appearance of
necessary to protect the interest of his client counsel is the verbal manifestation of the counsel in
and there is no opportunity for consultation order for the court to recognize his presence during
with the latter. the hearing of the case (Sec. 21, Rule 138, Rules of
2. Settlement of monetary obligation to client is Court).
full payment in cash.
ATTORNEYS FEES
NOTE: Compromise is a contract whereby the (1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998,
parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid 2005, 2006, 2007 Bar)
litigation or put an end to one already commenced
(Art. 2028, NCC). CANON 20
A lawyer shall charge only fair and
Duty of the lawyer in gathering information reasonable fees
regarding the case

The lawyer cannot entirely depend on the GR: Only lawyers are entitled to attorneys fees. The
information his client gave or the time his client same cannot be shared with a non-lawyer. It is
wished to give. The lawyer should take more control unethical.
over handling the case. Where the client is based
overseas, the lawyer should with more reason, have XPNs: A lawyer may divide a fee for legal services
moved to secure all the legal means available to him with persons not licensed to practice law: [CPR]
either to continue representing his client effectively
or to make the necessary manifestation in court, 1. A lawyer undertakes to Complete the
with the clients conformity, that he was unfinished legal business of a deceased lawyer;
withdrawing as counsel of record (CPR Annotated, 2. There is a Pre-existing agreement with a
PhilJA). partner or associate that, upon the latters
death, money shall be paid over a reasonable
Appearance period of time to his estate or to persons
specified in the agreement;
It is the coming into court as a party either as a 3. A lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer
plaintiff or as a defendant and asking relief employees in Retirement plan, even if the plan
therefrom. is based, in whole or in part, on a profit-sharing
agreement. (Rule 9.02, CPR)
Kinds of appearance
NOTE: Entitlement to lawyers fees is presumed
1. General appearance When a party comes to (Funa, 2009).
court either as plaintiff or defendant and seeks
general reliefs from the court for satisfaction of Unless otherwise expressly stipulated, rendition of
his claims or counterclaims respectively. professional services by a lawyer is for a fee or
compensation and is not gratuitous (Research and

88
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Services Realty, Inc. v. CA, G.R. No. 124074, January 2. Rendition by the lawyer of services to the client.
27, 1997).
NOTE: A pauper, while exempted from payment of
Rule 20.01, Canon 20 legal fees is not exempted from payment of
attorneys fees. (Cristobal v. Employees
A lawyer shall be guided by the following Compensation Commission, G.R. No. L-49280,
factors in determining his fees: February 26, 1981)
a. The time spent and the extent of the
service rendered or required; Factors in determining the attorneys fees (1994
b. The novelty and difficulty of the Bar)
questions involved;
c. The importance of the subject matter; In determining what is fair and reasonable, a lawyer
d. The skill demanded; shall be guided by the following factors: [STIP-
e. The probability of losing other SNACCC]
employment as a result of acceptance of
the proffered case; 1. Skill demanded;
f. The customary charges for similar 2. Time spent and the extent of the services
services and the schedule of fees of the rendered or required;
IBP chapter to which he belongs; 3. Importance of the subject matter;
g. The amount involved in the controversy 4. Probability of losing other employment as a
and the benefits resulting to the client result of acceptance of the proffered case;
from the service; 5. Professional Standing of the lawyer;
h. The contingency or certainty of 6. Novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;
compensation; 7. Amount involved in the controversy and the
i. The character of the employment, benefits resulting to the client from the
whether occasional or established; and services;
j. The professional standing of the lawyer. 8. Customary Charges for similar services and the
schedule of fees of the IBP chapter to which he
NOTE: Generally, the amount of attorneys fees due belongs;
is that stipulated in the retainer agreement which is 9. Contingency or certainty of compensation; and
conclusive as to the amount of lawyers 10. Character of the employment, whether
compensation (Funa, 2009) unless the stipulated occasional or established. (Rule 20.01)
amount in the written contract is found by the court
to be unconscionable or unreasonable. (Sec. 24, Rule NOTE: Imposition of interest in the payment of
138, RRC) attorneys fees is not justified. (Funa, 2009)

In the absence thereof, the amount of attorneys fees Contracts for attorneys services in this jurisdiction
is fixed on the basis of quantum meruit. (Sesbreno v. stands upon an entirely different footing from other
Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 117438, June 8, 1995; Funa, contract for the payment of compensation for any
2009) other services. (Mambulao Lumber Co. v. Philippine
National Bank, G.R. No. L-22973, January 30, 1968)
Kinds of payment
No court shall be bound by the opinion of attorneys
1. Fixed or absolute fee that which is payable as expert witnesses as to the proper compensation,
regardless of the result of the case. and may disregard such testimony and base its
a. A fixed fee payable per appearance conclusion on its professional knowledge. A written
b. A fixed fee computed upon the number of contract for services shall control the amount to be
hours spent paid therefor, unless found by the court to be
c. A fixed fee based on piece work unconscionable or unreasonable. (Sec. 24, Rule 138,
d. Combination of any of the above RRC)

2. Contingent fee a fee that is conditioned on the Factors to consider in determining the amount
securing of a favorable judgment and recovery of attorneys fees in the absence of any fee
of money or property and the amount of which arrangement [TINS]
may be on a percentage basis.
1. Time spent and the services rendered or required
Requisites for the accrual of attorneys fees A lawyer is justified in fixing higher fees when
the case is so complicated and requires more
1. Existence of attorney-client relationship; and time and effort in fixing it.

89
LEGAL ETHICS
2. Importance of subject matter The more Supreme Court. Rosario filed a Motion to
important the subject matter or the bigger the Determine Attorney's Fees. He alleged that he
value of the interest of the property in litigation, had a verbal agreement with the Spouses and
the higher is the attorneys fees. that he would get 25% of the market value of the
3. Novelty and difficulty of questions involved subject land if the complaint filed against them
When the questions in a case are novel and would be dismissed. Despite the fact that he had
difficult, greater effort, deeper study and successfully represented them, the spouses
research are bound to burn the lawyers time refused his written demand for payment of the
and stamina considering that there are no local contracted attorneys fees. Is Rosario entitled to
precedents to rely upon. recover his attorneys fees?
4. Skill demanded of a lawyer The totality of the
lawyers experience provides him skill and A: YES. In the case at bench, the attorneys fees
competence admired in lawyers. being claimed by the petitioner refers to the
compensation for professional services rendered,
Different types of fee arrangements and not as indemnity for damages. The award of
P10,000, made in its extraordinary concept as
1. Retainers fee where the lawyer is paid for indemnity for damages, forms part of the judgment
services for an agreed amount for the case. recoverable against the losing party and is to be
2. The lawyer agrees to be paid per court paid directly to Spouses de Guzman and not to Atty.
appearance. Rosario. Thus, to grant petitioners motion to
3. Contingent fee where the lawyer is paid for his determine attorneys fees would not result in a
services depending on the success of the case. double award of attorneys fees. The amount of
This applies usually in civil suits for money or attorneys fees must be based in quantum meruit.
property where the lawyers fee is taken from Atty. Rosario served as defense counsel for Spouses
the award granted by the court. de Guzman for almost seventeen (17) years. Given
4. Attorney de officio. The attorney is appointed by the considerable amount of the time spent, the
the court to defend the indigent litigant in a diligent effort exerted by Rosario, and the quality of
criminal case. The client is not bound to pay the work shown by him in ensuring the successful
attorney for his services although he may be defense of his clients, he clearly deserves to be
paid a nominal fee taken from a public fund awarded reasonable attorneys fees for services
appropriated for the purpose. rendered. Justice and equity dictate that petitioner
5. Legal aid. The attorney renders legal services be paid his professional fee based on quantum
for those who could not afford to engage the meruit. (Rosario v. de Guzman, G.R. No. 191247, July
services of paid counsel. 10, 2013)
6. Quantum meruit basis. If there is no specific
contract between the lawyer and the client, the ---
lawyer is paid on quantum meruit basis, that is,
what the lawyer deserves for his services. Q: Concept Placement retained the services of
Atty. Funk. Under their retainer contract, Atty.
NOTE: When the claim for entitlement to attorney's Funk is to render various legal services except
fees is contingent, but no written agreement has litigation, quasi-judicial and administrative
been executed bearing the supposed contingent proceedings and similar actions for which there
fees, the only way to determine the same is to apply will be separate billings. Thereafter, Atty. Funk
the principle of quantum meruit. The recovery of represented Concept Placement in the case filed
attorney's fees on the basis of quantum meruit is a against it for illegal dismissal. While the labor
device that prevents an unscrupulous client from case was still pending, Concept Placement
running away with the fruits of the legal services of terminated the services of Atty. Funk.
counsel without paying for it and it also avoids Nevertheless, Atty. Funk continued handling the
unjust enrichment on the part of the attorney case. Atty. Funk then advised Concept Placement
himself. (National Power Corporation v. Heirs of of the POEAs favorable decision and requested
Sangkay, G.R. No. 165828, August 24, 2011) the payment of his attorneys fees. Concept
Placement refused. Is Atty. Funk entitled to
--- attorneys fees for assisting Concept Placement
as counsel in the labor case even if the services
Q: Spouses de Guzman engaged the legal of Atty. Funk were already terminated?
services of Atty. Rosario, Jr. as defense counsel
in a complaint filed against them. As A: YES. The expiration of the retainer contract
represented by Rosario, Spouses de Guzman between the parties during the pendency of the
won their case at all levels, from RTC to the labor case does not extinguish the respondents

90
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
right for attorneys fees. The Court found that while a law firm is equivalent to the retainer of the firm
the petitioner and the respondent did not execute a itself. Thus, if the said member dealt with dies or is
written agreement on the fees in the labor case incapacitated to render service, the law firm is
aside from the Retainer Agreement, the petitioner bound to provide a substitute. Hence, Atty. P may
did categorically and unequivocally admit in its file the required brief for C.
Compulsory Counterclaim that it has engaged the
services of the respondent as its counsel for a fee of On the other hand, if Atty. M was retained alone,
P60, 000, etc. (Concept Placement Resources Inc. v. without the knowledge that he belonged to a law
Atty. Funk, G.R. No. 137680, February 6, 2004) firm, P may not file the required brief for C without
the consent of the latter. There is no statement in
Retainer the problem that C knew M to be a member of the
law firm OMP & Associates at the time that C
1. This is the act of the client by which he employs engaged his services.
a lawyer to manage for him a cause to which he
is a party, or otherwise to advise him as counsel; ---
2. It also refers to a fee which the client pays his
attorney whom he retains. (Pineda, 2009) Q: Atty. Franciscos retainer agreement with
RXU said that his attorney's fees in its case
Retaining fee against CRP shall be 15% of the amounts
collected. Atty. Francisco asked the trial court
A retaining fee is a preliminary fee given to an to issue a temporary restraining order against
attorney or counsel to insure and secure his future CRP but this was denied, prompting him to file a
services, and induce him to act for the client. petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals
(Pineda, 2009) to question the order of denial. At this point,
RXU terminated Atty. Franciscos services. When
Kinds of Retainer Agreements on Attorneys the parties later settled their dispute amicably,
Fees CRP paid RXU P100 million. Because of this, Atty.
Francisco came around and claimed a 15%
1. General retainer or retaining fee It is the fee share in the amount. What should be his
paid to a lawyer to secure his future services as attorneys fees? (2011 Bar)
general counsel for any ordinary legal problem
that may arise in the ordinary business of the A: A reasonable amount that the court shall fix upon
client and referred to him for legal action. The proof of quantum meruit which means as much as
client pays fixed retainer fees, which could be he deserves.
monthly or otherwise. The fees are paid
whether or not there are cases referred to the ---
lawyer;
2. Special retainer It is a fee for a specific or Instances when the measure of quantum meruit
particular case or service rendered by the may be resorted to (2007 Bar)
lawyer for a client. (Pineda, 2009)
1. There is no express contract for payment of
--- attorneys fees agreed upon between the lawyer
and the client;
2. Although there is a formal contract for
Q: Atty. M is a partner in the law firm OMP & attorneys fees, the stipulated fees are found
Associates. C, a former classmate of Atty. M unconscionable or unreasonable by the court;
engaged the legal services of Atty. M to handle 3. The contract for attorneys fees is void due to
his appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA) from an purely formal matters or defects of execution;
adverse decision of the Regional Trial Court 4. The counsel, for justifiable cause, was not able
(RTC) in his annulment case. After the notice to to finish the case to its conclusion;
file brief was issued by the CA, Atty. M met an 5. Lawyer and client disregard the contract for
accident which incapacitated him from further attorneys fees; and
engaging law practice. May Atty. P, his partner in 6. The client dismissed his counsel before the
the law firm, file the required appeal brief for C? termination of the case.
Explain your answer. (2014 Bar)
---
A: It depends on whether or not C knew Atty. M to
be a partner of the OMP & Associates law firm when Q: A client refuses to pay Atty. A his contracted
he hired him. Generally, the retainer of a member of attorney's fees on the ground that counsel did

91
LEGAL ETHICS
not wish to intervene in the process of effecting they appear to be a source of speculative profit
a fair settlement of the case. Decide. (2001 Bar) at the expense of the debtor or mortgagor.
(Borcena v. IAC, et. al., G.R. No. 70099, January 7,
A: Rule 1.04 of the Code of Professional 1987)
Responsibility provides that "a lawyer shall
encourage his clients to avoid, end or settle a NOTE: A trial judge may not order the reduction of
controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement". If a the attorneys fees on the ground that the attorney
lawyer should refuse to intervene in a settlement is below average standard of a lawyer. The
proceeding, his entitlement to his attorney's fees opinion of the judge as to the capacity of a lawyer is
may be affected. However, if he has already not a basis of the right to a lawyers fees. (Fernandez
rendered some valuable services to the client, he v. Hon. Bello, G.R. No. L-14277, April 30, 1960)
must be paid his attorney's fees on the basis of
quantum meruit, even if it is assumed that he is ACCEPTANCE FEES
dismissed.
Q: B hired Atty. Z to file a replevin case against C
--- for an agreed acceptance fee of P30,000.00
which was evidence by a written contract. After
Instances when counsel cannot recover the full the complaint was filed by Atty. Z, B terminated
amount despite written contract for his services and hired a new lawyer for the same
attorneys fees (2006 Bar) amount of attorneys fees. How much attorneys
fees is Atty. Z entitled to? (2014 Bar)
1. When the services called for were not
performed as when the lawyer withdrew before A: Atty. Z is entitled to the entire amount of the
the case was finished, he will be allowed only attorneys fees agreed upon because his services
reasonable fees; were terminated by the client without just cause.
2. When there is a justified dismissal of the (Sec. 26, Rule 138, Rules of Court)
attorney, the contract will be nullified and
payment will be on the basis of quantum meruit ---
only. A contrary stipulation will be invalid;
3. When the stipulated attorneys fees are Q: Rose engaged the services of Atty. Jack as
unconscionable, when it is disproportionate as counsel for five cases. In the Retainer
compared to the value of services rendered and Agreement, Rose agreed to pay Atty. Jack the
is revolting to human conscience; amount of 200,000 as Acceptance Fee for the five
4. When the stipulated attorneys fees are in cases plus an additional 1,500 Appearance Fee
excess of what is expressly provided by law; per hearing and in the event that damages are
5. When the lawyer is guilty of fraud or bad faith recovered, she would pay Atty. Jack 10% as
toward his client in the matter of his success fee. Rose issued two checks amounting
employment; to 51,716.54 in favor of Atty. Jack however
6. When the counsels services are worthless despite receipt of said amounts he failed to file a
because of his negligence; case in one of the five cases referred to him; one
7. When contract is contrary to law, morals or case was dismissed due to untimely appeal; and
public policy; and another case was dismissed but he failed to
8. Serving adverse interest unless the lawyer inform Rose about it before she left for abroad.
proves that it was with the consent of both Dissatisfied with the outcome of her cases she
parties. demanded from Atty. Jack the return of all the
records she had entrusted to him however he
Rationale behind the rule that the court may returned only two of the five cases. She filed a
reduce unconscionable attorneys fees complaint charging him with violation of Canon
16 and 16.03 of the Code of Professional
1. Indubitably intertwined with the lawyers duty Responsibility. Was there a violation of the said
to charge only reasonable fees is the power of Canon by the respondent?
the court to reduce the amount of attorneys
fees if the same is excessive and unconscionable A: NONE. From the records of the case, it was found
(Roxas v. De Zuzuarregui, Jr., G.R. No. 152072, that four of the cases referred by Rose were filed but
January 31, 2006); were dismissed or terminated for causes not
2. A lawyer is primarily an officer of the court attributable to Atty. Jack; and that there was no
hence fees should be subject to judicial control; probable cause to maintain the suit. No fault or
3. Sound public policy demands that courts negligence can be attributed to Atty. Jack. Rose still
disregard stipulations for attorneys fees when

92
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
owes payment of acceptance fee because she only Limitation of the stipulation regarding
paid 51, 716.54. contingent fee contract

An acceptance fee is not a contingent fee, but is an It must be reasonable based on the circumstance of
absolute fee arrangement which entitles a lawyer to the case. Contingent fee contracts are under the
get paid for his efforts regardless of the outcome of supervision and close scrutiny of the court in order
the litigation. Dissatisfaction from the outcome of that clients may be protected from just charges. Its
the cases would not render void the retainer validity depends on the measure of reasonableness
agreement for Atty. Jack appears to have of the stipulated fees under the circumstances of the
represented the interest of Rose. (Yu v. Bondal, A.C. case. Stipulated attorneys fees must not be
No. 5534, January 17, 2005) unconscionable wherein the amount is by far so
disproportionate compared to the value of the
--- services rendered as to amount to fraud
perpetrated to the client. (Sesbreno v. CA, G.R. No.
NOTE: The expiration of the retainer contract 117438, June 8, 1995)
between the parties during the pendency of the
labor case does not extinguish the respondents ---
right to attorneys fees. (Uy v. Gonzales, A.C. No. 5280,
March 30, 2004) Q: The stipulation between the lawyer and
counsel is as follows, the attorneys fees of the
CONTINGENCY FEE ARRANGEMENTS Atty. X will be of whatever the client might
recover from his share in the property subject of
Contingency fee contract the litigation. Is the stipulation valid?

One which stipulates that the lawyer will be paid for A: YES. The stipulation made is one of a contingent
his legal services only if the suit or litigation ends fee which is allowed by the CPE and the CPR. It does
favorably to the client. (Taganas v. NLRC, G.R. No. not violate the prohibition of acquisition of property
118746, September 7, 1995) subject of the litigation by the lawyer provided for
in the Civil Code since the prohibition applies only
It is like a contract subject to a suspensive condition to a sale or assignment to the lawyer by his client
wherein the obligation to pay the counsel is based during the pendency of the litigation. The transfer
upon the outcome of the case. actually takes effect after the finality of the
judgment and not during the pendency of the case.
Contingent fees are sanctioned by the CPE and by As such it is valid stipulation between the lawyer
the CPR subject to certain limitations. (Licudan v. CA, and client.
G.R. No. 91958, January 24, 1991)
---
NOTE: If a lawyer employed on contingent basis
dies or becomes disabled before the final Acceptance of an initial fee before or during the
adjudication or settlement of the case has been progress of the litigation detract from the
obtained, he or his estate will be allowed to recover contingent nature of the fees
the reasonable value of the services rendered. The
recovery will be allowed only after the successful The acceptance of an initial fee before or during the
termination of the litigation in the clients progress of the litigation does not detract from the
favor. (Morton v. Forsee, Ann. Cas. 1914 D. 197; contingent nature of the fees, as long as the bulk
Lapena, 2009, Pineda, 2009) thereof is made dependent upon the successful
outcome of the action. (Francisco v. Matias, G.R. No.
Rationale for contingent fee contracts L-16349, January 31, 1964)

Contracts of this nature (contingent fee contract) ---


are permitted because they redound to the benefit
of the poor client and the lawyer especially in cases Q: Chester asked Laarni to handle his claim to a
where the client has meritorious cause of action, but sizeable parcel of land in Quezon City against a
no means with which to pay for the legal services well-known property developer on a contingent
unless he can, with the sanction of law, make a fee basis. Laarni asked for 15% of the land that
contract for a contingent fee to be paid out of the may be recovered or 15% of whatever monetary
proceeds of the litigation. (Francisco, 1949) settlement that may be received from the
property developer as her only fee contingent
upon securing a favorable final judgment or

93
LEGAL ETHICS
compromise settlement. Chester signed the (substituted her deceased husband), the
contingent fee agreement. Assuming that the decision became final and executory. Upon
property developer settled the case after the motion of Atty. Go, the surety company
case was decided by the Regional Trial Court in delivered to the NLRC Cashier, the check
favor of Chester for P1 Billion. Chester refused amounting to P3,454,079.20. Thereafter, Atty.
to pay Laarni P150 Million on the ground that it Go moved for the release of the said amount to
is excessive. Is the refusal justified? Explain. Evangelina. Out of the said amount, Evangelina
(2008 Bar) paid Atty. Go the sum of P680,000.00.
Dissatisfied, Atty. Go filed a motion to record
A: The refusal of Chester to pay is unjustified. A and enforce the attorneys lien alleging that
contingent fee is impliedly sanctioned by Rule Evangelina reneged on their contingent fee
20.01(f) of the CPR. A much higher compensation is agreement. Evangelina manifested that Atty.
allowed as contingent fees in consideration of the Gos claim for attorneys fees of 40% of the total
risk that the lawyer will get nothing if the suit fails. monetary award was null and void based on
In several cases, the Court has indicated that a Article 111 of the Labor Code. Is her contention
contingent fee of 30% of the money or property that correct?
may be recovered is reasonable. Moreover, although
the developer settled the case, it was after the case A: NO. Art. 111. Attorney's fees. (a) In cases of
was decided by the RTC in favor of Chester, which unlawful withholding of wages, the culpable party
shows that Atty. Laarni has already rendered may be assessed attorney's fees equivalent to ten
service to the client. percent of the amount of the wages recovered.
Contrary to Evangelinas proposition, Article 111 of
--- the Labor Code deals with the extraordinary
concept of attorneys fees. It regulates the amount
Q: Assuming that there was no settlement and recoverable as attorney's fees in the nature of
the case eventually reached the Supreme Court damages sustained by and awarded to the
which promulgated a decision in favor of prevailing party. It may not be used as the standard
Chester. (This time) Chester refused to convey to in fixing the amount payable to the lawyer by his
Laarni 15% of the litigated land as stipulated on client for the legal services he rendered.
the ground that the agreement violates Article
1491 of the Civil Code, which prohibits lawyers In this regard, Section 24, Rule 138 of the Rules of
from acquiring by purchase properties and Court should be observed in determining Atty. Gos
rights, which are the object of litigation in which compensation. The said Rule provides:
they take part by reason of their profession. Is
the refusal justified? Explain. (2008 Bar) Sec. 24. Compensation of attorneys; agreement as to
fees. An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover
A: Chesters refusal is not justified. A contingent fee from his client no more than a reasonable
arrangement is not covered by Art.1491 of the Civil compensation for his services, with a view to the
Code, because the transfer or assignment of the importance of the subject matter of the controversy,
property in litigation takes effect only upon finality the extent of the services rendered, and the
of a favorable judgment. (Director of Lands v. Ababa, professional standing of the attorney. No court shall
G.R. No. L-26096, February 27, 1979); (Macariola v. be bound by the opinion of attorneys as expert
Asuncion, A.C. No. 133-J, May 31, 1982) witnesses as to the proper compensation, but may
disregard such testimony and base its conclusion on
--- its own professional knowledge. A written contract
for services shall control the amount to be paid
Q: Evangelina Masmuds husband, the late therefor unless found by the court to be
Alexander, filed a complaint against his unconscionable or unreasonable.
employer for non-payment of permanent
disability benefits, medical expenses, sickness The retainer contract between Atty. Go and
allowance, moral and exemplary damages, and Evangelina provides for a contingent fee. The
attorneys fees. He engaged the services of Atty. contract shall control in the determination of the
Go, as his counsel and agreed to pay attorneys amount to be paid, unless found by the court to be
fees on a contingent basis, as follows: 20% of unconscionable or unreasonable. The criteria found
total monetary claims as settled or paid and an in the Code of Professional Responsibility are also to
additional 10% in case of appeal. The Labor be considered in assessing the proper amount of
Arbiter granted the monetary claims of compensation that a lawyer should receive. (Canon
Alexander. Eventually, after several appeals, the 20, Rule 20.01, CPR; Evangelina Masmud v. NLRC, et.
decision being favorable to Evangelina al., G.R. No. 183385, February 13, 2009)

94
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Champertous contract thing in dispute. (Conchita Baltazar et. al. v. Atty.
Baez, Jr., A.C. No. 9091, December 11, 2013)
Is one where the lawyer stipulates with his client in
the prosecution of the case that he will bear all the ---
expenses for the recovery of things or property
being claimed by the client, and the latter agrees to Q: The contract of attorney's fees entered into by
pay the former a portion of the thing or property Atty. Quintos and his client, Susan, stipulates
recovered as compensation. It is void for being that if a judgment is rendered in favor of the
against public policy (like gambling). latter, Atty. Quintos gets 60% of the property
recovered as contingent fee. In turn, he will
NOTE: A champertous contract is considered void assume payment of all expenses of the litigation.
due to public policy, because it would make him May Atty. Quintos and Susan increase the
acquire a stake in the outcome of the litigation amount of the contingent fee to 80%? (2006
which might lead him to place his own interest Bar)
above that of the client. (Bautista v. Gonzales, A.M.
No. 1625, February 12, 1990) A: NO. Atty. Quintos and Susan cannot agree to
increase the amount of the contingent fee to 80%
Contingent vs. Champertous contract because the agreement is champertous. Even if
there is no champertous provision present, the
CONTINGENT CHAMPERTOUS contingent fee of 80% of the PROPERTY recovered
CONTRACT CONTRACT could still be considered as unconscionable, because
Payable in cash Payable in kind - a it is so disproportionate as to indicate that an unjust
dependent on the portion of the thing or advantage had been taken of the client, and is
success of the litigation property recovered as revolting to human conscience. Contracts for
compensation attorney's fees are always subject to control by the
courts.
Lawyers do not Lawyers undertake to
undertake to pay all pay all expenses of ---
expenses of litigation litigation
Q: A inherited parcel of land situated in Batasan
Valid Void Hills which is occupied by informal settlers. He
wanted to eject the occupants, but he has no
--- financial means to pursue the ejectment case. He
contracted the services of Atty. B, who agreed to
Q: Complainants engaged the legal services of defray all the expenses of the suit on the
Atty. Baez, Jr. in connection with the recovery condition that he will be paid one-half of the
of their properties from Fevidal. Complainants property to be recovered as his compensation.
signed a contract of legal services, where it was What is this kind of attorneys fees? Can Atty. B
agreed that they would not pay acceptance and enforce this contract against A?
appearance fees to Atty. Baez, Jr., but that the
docket fees would instead be shared by the What are the respective remedies relative to the
parties. Under the contract, complainants would collection of attorneys fees, if any, of A and Atty.
pay respondent 50% of whatever would be B against each other? (2014 Bar)
recovered of the properties. Did Atty. Baez, Jr
violate any canon of the Code of Professional A: This is a champertous contract and not a
Responsibility? contingent contract. In the problem, Atty. B defrays
all the expenses for litigation and gets 50% of the
A: YES. He violated Canon 16.04 of the Code of property to be recovered as his compensation. This
Professional Responsibility, which states that has the characteristics of a champertous contract.
lawyers shall not lend money to a client, except Hence, void for being contrary to public policy. The
when in the interest of justice, they have to advance legal profession exists to serve the ends of justice
necessary expenses in a legal matter they are and is not to be conducted as a business enterprise.
handling for the client. He violated such canon Since the contract is void, Atty. B cannot enforce it
because the contract for legal services he has against A but A has a cause of action against Atty. B
executed with complainants is in the nature of a for unethical conduct.
champertous contract an agreement whereby an
attorney undertakes to pay the expenses of the ATTORNEYS LIENS
proceedings to enforce the clients rights in
exchange for some bargain to have a part of the Attorneys retaining lien

95
LEGAL ETHICS
A retaining lien is the right of an attorney to retain RETAINING Lien vs. CHARGING Lien
the funds, documents and papers of his client who
have lawfully come into his possession and may 1. Retaining Lien - right of the attorney to retain
retain the same until his lawful fees and the funds, documents, and papers of his client
disbursements have been paid, and may apply such which have lawfully come into his possession
funds to the satisfaction thereof. until his lawful fees and disbursements have
been paid and to apply such funds to the
NOTE: A lawyer is not entitled to unilaterally satisfaction thereof.
appropriate his clients money for himself by the 2. Charging Lien - right which the attorney has
mere fact alone that the client owes him attorneys upon all judgments for the payment of money,
fees. (Rayos v. Hernandez, G.R. No. 169079, February and executions issued in pursuance of said
12, 2007) judgments, which he has secured in litigation of
his client.
Requisites in order for an attorney to be able to
exercise his retaining lien [ALU] Under this rule, this lien, whether retaining or
charging, takes legal effect only from and after,
1. Attorney-client relationship; but not before, notice of said lien has been
2. Lawful possession by the lawyer of the clients entered in the record and served on the adverse
funds, documents and papers in his party (Elena De Caia, et al. v. Hon. Victoriano, et
professional capacity; and al., G.R. No. L-12905, February 26, 1959).
3. Unsatisfied claim for attorneys fees or
disbursements. RETAINING CHARGING
LIEN LIEN
Attorneys charging lien As to Nature Passive lien. It Active lien. It
cannot be can be
A charging lien is the right of a lawyer to the same actively enforced by
extent upon all judgments for the payment of enforced. It is a execution. It is
money, and executions issued in pursuance of such general lien. a special lien.
judgments which he has secured in a litigation of his As to Basis Lawful Securing of a
client, from and after the time when he shall have possession of favorable
caused a statement of his claim of such lien to be papers, money
entered upon the records of the court rendering documents, judgment for
such judgment, or issuing such execution, and shall property client.
have caused written notice thereof to be delivered belonging to
to his client and to the adverse party; and he shall the client.
have the same right and power over such judgments
and executions as his client would have to enforce As to Coverage Covers papers, Covers all
his lien and secure the payment of his fees and documents, judgments for
disbursements. (Sec. 37, Rule 138, RRC) and properties the payment of
in the lawful money and
Requisites in order for an attorney to be able to possession of execution
exercise his charging lien the attorney by issued in
reason of his pursuance of
1. Existence of attorney-client relationship; professional such judgment.
2. The attorney has rendered services; employment.
3. Favorable money judgment secured by the
counsel for his client; As to Effect As soon as the As soon as the
4. The attorney has a claim for attorneys fees or attorney gets claim for
advances; and possession of attorneys fees
5. A statement of the claim has been duly recorded papers, had been
in the case with notice thereof served upon the documents, or entered into
client and the adverse party. property. the records of
the case.
NOTE: A charging lien, to be enforceable as a
security for the payment of attorneys fees, requires As to May be Generally,
as a condition sine qua non a judgment for money Applicability exercised exercised only
and execution in pursuance of such judgment before when the
secured in the main action by the attorney in favor judgment or attorney had
of his client.

96
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
execution or already Atty. D collect his fees from M? Discuss fully.
regardless secured a (2014 Bar)
thereof. favorable
judgment for A: D can exercise the remedy of retaining lien over
his client. the documents and other pieces of evidence which
have lawfully come to his possession, under Sec. 37,
As to When When client Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. The payment
Extinguishme possession loses action as of attorney's fee is based on the services rendered
nt lawfully ends lien may only and not dependent on the success or failure of the
as when be enforced case.
lawyer against
voluntarily judgment ---
parts with awarded in
funds, favor of client, FEES AND CONTROVERSIES WITH CLIENTS
documents, proceeds
and papers of thereof/execut
client or offers ed thereon. Rule 20.02, Canon 20
them as A lawyer shall, in cases of referral, with the
evidence. consent of the client, be entitled to a division of
fees in proportion to the work performed and
--- responsibility assumed.

Q: Upon being replaced by Justice C, Atty. B, the NOTE: This is not in the nature of a brokers
former counsel of the parents of the victims of commission.
the OZONE Disco tragedy, was directed to
forward all the documents in his possession to Lawyer-referral system
Justice C. Atty. B refused, demanding full
compensation pursuant to their written Under this system, if another counsel is referred to
contract. Sensing that a favorable judgment was the client, and the latter agrees to take him as
forthcoming, Atty. B filed a motion in court collaborating counsel, and there is no express
relative to his attorneys fees, furnishing his agreement on the payment of attorneys fees, the
former clients with copies thereof. Is Atty. B said counsel will receive attorneys fees in
legally and ethically correct in refusing to turn proportion to the work performed and
over the documents and in filing the motion? responsibility assumed. The lawyers and the client
Explain. (1996 Bar) may agree upon the proportion but in case of
disagreement, the court may fix the proportional
A: YES. He is entitled to a retaining lien which gives division of fees. (Lapena, 2009)
him the right to retain the funds, documents and
papers of his client which have lawfully come to his
possession until his lawful fees and disbursement Rule 20.03, Canon 20
have been paid (Sec. 37, Rule 138, RRC; Rule 16.03, A lawyer shall not, without the full knowledge
CPR). He is also legally and ethically correct in filing and consent of the client, accept any fee,
a motion in court relative to his fees. He is entitled reward, costs, commission, interest, rebate or
to a charging lien upon all judgments for the paying forwarding allowance or other compensation
of money, and executions issued in pursuance of whatsoever related to his professional
such judgments, which he has secured in a litigation employment from anyone other than the
of his client, from and after the time when the client. (1997, 2003 Bar)
records of the court rendering such judgment or
issuing such execution. It is intended to secure the fidelity of the lawyer to
his clients cause and to prevent a situation in which
--- the receipt by him of a rebate or commission from
another with the clients business may interfere
Q: M engaged the services of Atty. D to prosecute with the full discharge of his duty to his client
his annulment of marriage case in the Regional (Report of the IBP Committee).
Trial Court. After a long-drawn trial, Atty. D was
able to secure a favorable judgment from the GR: Fees shall be received from the client only.
court. Unfortunately, M has failed to pay in full
the stipulated attorneys fees of Atty. D. How can XPN: A lawyer may receive compensation from a
person other than his client when the latter has full

97
LEGAL ETHICS
knowledge and approval thereof [Sec. 20 (e), Rule XPNs:
138]. 1. To prevent imposition
2. To prevent injustice
--- 3. To prevent fraud (Rule 20.04, CPR)

Q: Atty. X, lawyer of a labor union of rank and file NOTE: A client may enter into a compromise
employees succeeded in the negotiation of a agreement without the intervention of the lawyer,
collective bargaining agreement for the rank but the terms of the agreement should not deprive
and file employees by virtue of which salary the counsel of his compensation for the professional
increase was received by the rank and file services he had rendered. If so, the compromise
employees. At the same time the employer shall be subjected to said fees. If the client and the
granted salary increase to supervisory adverse party who assented to the compromise are
employees who were not members of the union. found to have intentionally deprived the lawyer of
Atty. X now seeks to collect from the non- his fees, the terms of the compromise, insofar as
supervisory employees attorneys fees for this they prejudice the lawyer, will be set aside, making
increase in salaries. Is he entitled to such fees? both parties accountable to pay the lawyers fees.
But in all cases, it is the client who is bound to pay
A: NO. Atty. X is not entitled to collect attorneys fees his lawyer for his legal representation (Atty. Gubat
from the non-union supervisory employees. A v. NPC, G.R. No. 167415, February 26, 2010).
lawyer who rendered services to a party, who did
not employ him nor authorize his employment, Ways on how lawyers claim attorney's fees
cannot recover compensation even if his services
have redounded to the benefit of such party. 1. Same action in which the services of a lawyer
Otherwise, anyone might impose obligations upon had been rendered; or
another without the latters knowledge or consent, 2. In a separate action.
and even against his protest as what happened in
the present case. In labor cases such as this one, With respect to the first situation, the remedy for
where the company grants the same salary increase recovering attorneys fees as an incident of the main
to non-union supervisory employees similar to the action may be availed of only when something is due
rank and file employees who were the clients of the to the client. Attorneys fees cannot be determined
lawyer, it is not because of the special efforts of the until after the main litigation has been decided and
latters lawyer that the non-union supervisory the subject of the recovery is at the disposition of
employees benefited but because of the companys the court. The issue over attorneys fees only arises
policy of non-discrimination. The lawyer is not when something has been recovered from which the
entitled to claim attorneys fees from the fee is to be paid.
supervisors for the benefits they received (Orosco v.
Hernaez, G.R. No. L-541&9, December 2, 1901). While a claim for attorneys fees may be filed before
the judgment is rendered, the determination as to
--- the propriety of the fees or as to the amount thereof
will have to be held in abeyance until the main case
Rule 20.04, Canon 20 from which the lawyers claim for attorneys fees
A lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients may arise has become final. Otherwise, the
concerning his compensation and shall resort determination to be made by the courts will be
to judicial action only to prevent imposition, premature. Of course, a petition for attorneys fees
injustice or fraud. (1998 Bar) may be filed before the judgment in favor of the
client is satisfied or the proceeds thereof delivered
GR: A lawyer should avoid the filing of any case to the client (Rosario, Jr. vs. De Guzman et. al., G.R. No.
against a client for the enforcement of attorneys 191247, July 10, 2013).
fees.
Instances when an independent civil action to
NOTE: The legal profession is not a money-making recover attorneys fees is necessary
trade but a form of public service. Lawyers should
avoid giving the impression that they are mercenary 1. Main action is dismissed or nothing is awarded;
(Perez v. Scottish Union and National Insurance Co., 2. Court has decided that it has no jurisdiction
C.A. No. 8977, March 22, 1946). It might even turn over the action or has already lost it;
out to be unproductive for him for potential clients 3. Person liable for attorneys fees is not a party to
are likely to avoid a lawyer with a reputation of the main action;
suing his clients. 4. Court reserved to the lawyer the right to file a
separate civil suit for recovery of attorneys

98
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
fees; ORDINARY CONCEPT OF ATTORNEYS FEES
5. Services for which the lawyer seeks payment
are not connected with the subject litigation; Q: Aurora Pineda filed an action for declaration
6. Judgment debtor has fully paid all of the of nullity of marriage against Vinson Pineda,
judgment proceeds to the judgment creditor who was represented by Attys. Clodualdo de
and the lawyer has not taken any legal step to Jesus, Carlos Ambrosio and Emmanuel Mariano.
have his fees paid directly to him from the The marriage was subsequently declared null
judgment proceeds; and and void. Throughout the proceedings counsels
7. Failure to exercise charging Lien. and their relatives and friends availed of free
products and treatments from Vinsons
Effects of the nullity of contract on the right to dermatology clinic. This notwithstanding, they
attorneys fees billed him additional legal fees amounting to
P16.5 million which he, however, refused to pay.
If the nullification is due to: Instead, he issued them several checks totaling
P1.12 million as full payments as settlement.
1. Illegality of its object - the lawyer is precluded Still not satisfied, the three lawyers filed in the
from recovering; or same court a motion for payment of lawyers'
2. Formal defect (or because the court has fees for P50 million, which is equivalent to 10%
found the amount to be unconscionable) - of the value of the properties awarded to Pineda
the lawyer may recover for any services in the case. Is their claim justified?
rendered based on quantum meruit.
A: NO. Clearly, what they were demanding was
Kinds of lawyer according to services rendered additional payment for legal services rendered in
and the compensation they are entitled to the same case. Demanding P50 million on top of the
generous sums and perks already given to them was
1. Counsel de parte He is entitled to the an act of unconscionable greed. They could not
reasonable attorneys fees agreed upon, or in charge Pineda a fee based on percentage, absent an
the absence thereof, on quantum meruit basis. express agreement to that effect. The payments to
2. Counsel de officio The counsel may not them in cash, checks, free products and services
demand from the accused attorneys fees even from Pinedas business more than sufficed for the
if he wins the case. He may, however, collect work they did. The full payment for settlement
from the government funds, if available based should have discharged Vinson's obligation to them.
on the amount fixed by the court.
3. Amicus Curiae not entitled to attorneys fees. As lawyers, they should be reminded that they are
members of an honorable profession, the primary
CONCEPTS OF ATTORNEYS FEES vision of which is justice. It is the lawyers
despicable behavior in the case at bar which gives
Two concepts of attorneys fees lawyering a bad name in the minds of some people.
The vernacular has a word for it: nagsasamantala.
1. Ordinary attorney's fee The reasonable The practice of law is a decent profession and not a
compensation paid to a lawyer by his client for money-making trade. Compensation should be but
the legal services he has rendered to the latter a mere incident (Pineda v. de Jesus, G.R. No. 155224,
(Pineda, 2009). Aug. 23, 2006).

NOTE: The basis for this compensation is the EXTRAORDINARY CONCEPT OF ATTORNEYS
fact of his employment by and his agreement FEES
with the client.
Rules on extraordinary concept of attorneys
2. Extraordinary attorney's fee An indemnity fees
for damages ordered by the court to be paid by
the losing party in litigation. GR: Attorneys fees as damages are not recoverable.
An adverse decision does not ipso facto justify their
NOTE: The basis for this is any of the cases award in favor of the winning party.
provided for by law where such award can be
made, such as those authorized in Article 2208 XPNs: Attorneys fees in the concept of damages
of the Civil Code, and is payable to the client, may be awarded in any of the following
NOT to the lawyer unless they have agreed that circumstances:
the award shall pertain to the lawyer as
additional compensation or as part thereof. 1. When there is an agreement;

99
LEGAL ETHICS
2. When exemplary damages are awarded; Rule 21.01, Canon 21
3. When defendants action or omission A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences or
compelled plaintiff to litigate; secrets of his client except:
4. In criminal cases of malicious prosecution a. When authorized by the client after
acquainting him of the consequences of the
a. Plaintiff was acquitted; and disclosure;
b. The person who charged him knowingly
made the false statement of facts or that the b. When required by law;
filing was prompted by sinister design to
vex him; c. When necessary to collect his fees or to defend
himself, his employees or associates or by judicial
5. When the action is clearly unfounded; action.
6. When defendant acted in gross and evident bad
faith; GR: A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences and
7. In actions for support; secrets of his client.
8. In cases of recovery of wages;
9. In actions for indemnity under workmens NOTE: An attorney cannot, without the consent of
compensation and employees liability laws; his client, be examined as to any communication
10. In a separate civil action arising from a crime; made by the client to him, or his advice given
11. When at least double costs are awarded (costs thereon in the course of, or with a view to,
of suit does not include attorneys fees); professional employment, nor can an attorneys
12. When the court deems it just and equitable; and secretary, stenographer, or clerk be examined,
13. When a special law so authorizes. (Art. 2208, without the consent of the client and his employer,
NCC) concerning any fact the knowledge of which has
been acquired in such capacity [Sec. 24(b), Rule 130,
Rationale behind the rule that the Court shall RRC].
state the reason for attorneys fees in in its
decision XPNs:
1. When authorized by his client after acquainting
The award of attorneys fees being an exception him of the consequences of the disclosure;
rather than the general rule, it is necessary for the
court to make findings of facts and law that would NOTE: The only instance where the waiver of
bring the case within the exception and justify the the client alone is insufficient is when the
grant of such award. (Agustin v. CA, G.R. No. 84751, person to be examined with reference to any
June 6, 1990. privileged communication is the attorneys
secretary, stenographer or clerk, in respect to
NOTE: Attorneys fees must be specifically prayed which, the consent of the attorney is likewise
for and proven and justified in the decision itself necessary.
(Trans-Asia Shipping Lines, Inc. v. CA, G.R. No.
118126, March 4, 1996). 2. When required by law; or
3. When necessary to collect his fees or to defend
PRESERVATION OF CLIENTS CONFIDENCES himself, his employees or associates by judicial
action.
CANON 21
NOTE: Payment of retainer fee is not essential
A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and
before an attorney can be required to safeguard a
secrets of his client even after the attorney-
prospective clients secret acquired by the attorney
client relation is terminated.
during the course of the consultation with the
prospective client, even if the attorney did not
The protection given to the client is perpetual and accept the employment.
does not cease with the termination of the litigation
nor is affected by the party ceasing to employ the Instances when a lawyer may testify as a witness
attorney and employ another or any other change of in a case which he is handling for a client
relation between them. It even survives the death of
the client. 1. On formal matters, such as the mailing,
authentication or custody of an instrument and
PROHIBITED DISCLOSURES AND USE the like;
2. Acting as an expert on his fee;
3. Acting as an arbitrator;

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THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
4. Depositions; and to him in his professional character by a client,
5. On substantial matters in cases where his unless the latter consents. Atty. Aurelio took
testimony is essential to the ends of justice, in advantage of his being a lawyer in order to get back
which event he must, during his testimony, at Yao. In doing so, he has inevitably utilized
entrust the trial of the case to another counsel. information he has obtained from his dealings with
Yao and Yao's companies for his own end.
Rule 21.02, Canon 21
A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of his Lawyers cannot be allowed to exploit their
client, use information acquired in the course profession for the purpose of exacting vengeance or
of employment, nor shall he use the same to as a tool for instigating hostility against any person
his own advantage or that of a third person, most especially against a client or former client (Bun
unless the client with full knowledge of the Siong Yao v. Aurelio, A.C. No. 7023, March 30, 2006).
circumstances consents thereto.
---
Rule 21.05, Canon 21
A lawyer shall adopt such measures as may be Acts punished under Art. 209 of the Revised
required to prevent those whose services are Penal Code (betrayal of trust by attorney)
utilized by him, from disclosing or using
confidences or secrets of the client. 1. By causing damage to his client, either: a) by
any malicious breach of professional duty, or b)
Rule 21.06, Canon 21 by inexcusable negligence or ignorance;
A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet conversation
2. By revealing any of the secrets of his clients
about a clients affairs even with members of his
family. learned by him in his professional capacity; or
3. By having undertaken the defense of a client or
Rule 21.07, Canon 21 having received confidential information from
A lawyer shall not reveal that he has been said client in a case, shall undertake the defense
consulted about a particular case except to of the opposing party in the same case, without
avoid possible conflict of interest. the consent of his first client.
---
Rule 21.03, Canon 21
Q: Bun Siong Yao is a majority stockholder of A lawyer shall not, without the written consent
Solar Farms & Livelihood Corporation and Solar of his client, give information from his files to
Textile Finishing Corporation. Atty. Leonardo an outside agency seeking such information
Aurelio is also a stockholder and the retained for auditing, statistical, bookkeeping,
counsel of both the corporation and Bun Siong accounting, data processing, or any other
Yao. The latter purchased several parcels of land similar purposes.
using his personal funds but were registered in
the name of the corporations upon the advice of ---
Atty. Aurelio. After a disagreement between
Atty. Aurelio and Bun Siong Yaos wife, the Q: Certain government officers, armed with a
former demanded the return of his investment search warrant duly issued, seized among other
in the corporations but when Yao refused to pay, things, a filing cabinet belonging to Atty. X. In
he filed 8 charges for estafa and falsification of seeking the return of the cabinet, Atty. X claimed
commercial documents against Yao, his wife and that the cabinet contained documents and
the other officers of the corporation. Yao alleged articles belonging to his clients but the
that the series of suits is a form of harassment government refused to return the cabinet. Atty.
and constitutes an abuse of the confidential X petitioned the court which issued the warrant,
information which Atty. Aurelio obtained by praying that the agents be prohibited from
virtue of his employment as counsel. Atty. opening the cabinet. Should Atty. Xs petition be
Aurelio, however, said that he only handled given due course?
isolated labor cases for the said corporations.
Did Atty. Aurelio abuse the confidential A: YES. The lower court cannot order the opening of
information he obtained by virtue of his said cabinet. To do so is in violation of his rights as
employment as counsel? an attorney. It would be tantamount to compelling
him to disclose his clients secrets (Lapena, 2009).
A: YES. The long-established rule is that an attorney
is not permitted to disclose communications made

101
LEGAL ETHICS
--- the members of his law firm. The employment of a
member of a firm is generally considered as
NOTE: Confidential information obtains even employment of the firm itself (Hilado v. David, G.R.
against government agencies and instrumentalities No. L-961, September 21, 1949).
(Funa, 2009).
---
DISCLOSURE, WHEN ALLOWED
Privileged communication rule with regard to
Rule 21.04, Canon 21 the identity of his client
A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client of
the firm to partners or associates thereof GR: A lawyer may not invoke privileged
unless prohibited by the client. communication to refuse revealing a clients
identity.
Professional employment of a law firm is equivalent
to retainer of members thereof. In a law firm, XPNs:
partners or associates usually consult one another 1. When there is a strong possibility that revealing
involving their cases and some work as a team. the clients name would implicate the client in
Consequently, it cannot be avoided that some the very activity for which he sought the
information about the case received from the client lawyers advice;
may be disclosed to the partners or associates. 2. When disclosure would open the client to civil
liability; or
--- 3. When the governments lawyers have no case
against an attorneys client and revealing the
Q: In need of legal services, Niko secured an clients name would furnish the only link that
appointment to meet with Atty. Henry of Henry would come from the chain of testimony
& Meyer Law Offices. During the meeting, Niko necessary to convict him.
divulged highly private information to Atty.
Henry, believing that the lawyer would keep the Reasons why a lawyer may not invoke privileged
confidentiality of the information. communication to refuse revealing a clients
Subsequently, Niko was shocked when he identity
learned that Atty. Henry had shared the
confidential information with his law partner, 1. Due process considerations require that the
Atty. Meyer, and their common friend, private opposing party should know their adversary;
practitioner Atty. Canonigo. When confronted, 2. The privilege pertains to the subject matter of
Atty. Henry replied that Niko never signed any the relationship;
confidentiality agreement, and that he shared 3. The privilege begins to exist only after attorney-
the information with the two lawyers to secure client relationship has been established hence,
affirmance of his legal opinion on it does not attach until there is a client; and
Nikos problem. Did Atty. Henry violate any rule 4. The court has a right to know that the client
of ethics? Explain fully. (2008 Bar) whose privileged information is sought to be
protected is flesh and blood.
A: Atty. Henry violated Canon No. 21 of the CPR by
sharing information obtained from his client Niko ---
with Atty. Canonigo. Canon No. 20 provides that a
lawyer shall preserve the confidences or secrets of Q: Atty. X was charged of violating Code of
his client even after the attorney-client relationship Responsibility for representing conflicting
is terminated. The fact that Atty. Canonigo is a interests by accepting the responsibility of
friend from whom he intended to secure legal representing Mr. A in the cases similar to those
opinion on Nikos problem, does not justify such in which he had undertaken to represent Mr. D
disclosure. He cannot obtain a collaborating counsel and his group, notwithstanding that Mr. A was
without the consent of the client (Rule 18.01, CPR). the very same person whom Mr. D and his group
had accused, with Atty. Xs legal assistance. He
On the other hand, Atty. Henry did not violate Canon drafted the demand letters and the complaint-
21 in sharing information with his partner Atty. affidavit that became the bases for the filing of
Meyer. Rule 21.04 of the CPR specifically provides the estafa charges against Mr. A. Atty. X
that a lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client of contends that his lawyer-client relationship
the firm to partners or associates thereof with Mr. D ended when he and his group entered
unless prohibited by the client. Atty. Henry was not into the compromise settlement. Is his
prohibited from disclosing the affairs of Niko with contention correct?

102
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
A: NO. Atty. Xs contention is not correct. The 6. When his Inability to work with co-counsel will
lawyer-client relationship did not terminate as of not promote the best interest of the client;
the date of the compromise agreement, for the fact 7. When the lawyer is Elected or appointed to a
remained that he still needed to oversee the public office; and
implementation of the settlement as well as to (Rule 22.01, CPR)
proceed with the criminal cases until they were 8. When there is a Conflict of interest.
dismissed or otherwise concluded by the trial court.
It is also relevant to indicate that the execution of a Procedure to follow when withdrawal is without
compromise settlement in the criminal cases did clients consent
not ipso facto cause the termination of the cases not
only because the approval of the compromise by the 1. File a petition for withdrawal in court.
trial court was still required, but also because the 2. Serve a copy of this petition upon his client and
compromise would have applied only to the civil the adverse party at least 3 days before the date
aspect, and excluded the criminal aspect pursuant set for hearing.
to Article 2034 of the Civil Code (Samson v. Era, A.C.
No. 6664, July 16, 2013). NOTE: He should present his petition well in
advance of the trial of the action to enable the client
--- to secure the services of another lawyer.

WITHDRAWAL OF SERVICES If the application is filed under circumstances that


do not afford a substitute counsel sufficient time to
CANON 22 prepare for trial or that it will work prejudice to the
A lawyer shall withdraw his services only for clients cause, the court may deny his application
good cause and upon notice appropriate in the and require him to conduct the trial.
circumstances.
A lawyer should not presume that the court will
grant his petition for withdrawal. Until his
Right to withdraw withdrawal shall have been proved, the lawyer
remains counsel of record who is expected by his
GR: A lawyer lacks the unqualified right to client as well as by the court to do what the interests
withdraw once he has taken a case. By his of his client require.
acceptance, he has impliedly stipulated that he will
prosecute the case to its conclusion. This is ---
especially true when such withdrawal will work
injustice to a client or frustrate the ends of justice. Q: Can a client discharge the services of his
lawyer without a cause? (1994, 1997, 1998 Bar)
XPNs: The right of a lawyer to retire from the case
before its final adjudication, which arises only from: A: YES. A client has the right to discharge his
attorney at any time with or without a cause or even
1. The clients written consent; or against his consent.
2. By permission of the court after due notice and
hearing. 1. With just cause lawyer is not necessarily
deprived of his right to be paid for his services.
Instances when a lawyer may withdraw his He may only be deprived of such right if the
services without the consent of his client cause for his dismissal constitutes in itself a
[FIC MOVIE] sufficient legal obstacle to recovery.
2. Without just cause
1. When the client deliberately Fails to pay the fees a. No express written agreement as to fees -
for the services or fails to comply with the reasonable value of his services up to the
retainer agreement; date of his dismissal (quantum meruit).
2. When the client pursues an Illegal or immoral b. There is written agreement and the fee
course of conduct in connection with the matter stipulated is absolute and reasonable full
he is handling; payment of compensation.
3. When the Mental or physical condition of the c. The fee stipulated is contingent.
lawyer renders it difficult for him to carry out the d. If dismissed before the conclusion of the
employment effectively; action - reasonable value of his services
4. Other similar cases; (quantum meruit)
5. When the client insists that the lawyer pursue e. If contingency occurs or client prevents its
conduct in Violation of these canons and rules; occurrence full amount.

103
LEGAL ETHICS
NOTE: A lawyer should question his discharge fees for the services or fails to comply with the
otherwise he will only be allowed to recover on retainer agreement
quantum meruit basis.
f. When the lawyer is elected or appointed to
Limitations on clients right to discharge the public office; and
services of his lawyer
g. Other similar cases.
1. When made with justifiable cause, it shall
negate the attorneys right to full payment of NOTE: In cases a-e (above), the lawyer must file a
compensation. written motion with an express consent of his client
2. The attorney may, in the discretion of the court, and the court shall determine whether he ought to
intervene in the case to protect his right to fees. be allowed to retire.
3. A client may not be permitted to abuse his right
to discharge his counsel as an excuse to secure He may also retire at any time from an action or
repeated extensions of time to file a pleading or special proceeding without the consent of his client,
to indefinitely avoid a trial. should the court, on notice to the client and
attorney, and on hearing, determine that he ought to
Conditions for substitution of counsel be allowed to retire (Sec. 26, Rule 138, RRC).

1. Written application ---


2. Written consent of the client
3. Written consent of the attorney to be Q: If the client insists on hiring an additional
substituted, or in the absence thereof, proof of counsel as collaborating counsel over and above
service of notice of said motion to the attorney the objection of the original counsel, may the
to be substituted in the manner prescribed by original counsel withdraw from the case, and
the rules. how? (2014 Bar)

Heavy workload as excuse for withdrawal as A: If the client insists on retaining a collaborating
counsel counsel over and above the objection of the original
counsel, the latter may withdraw his services when
Standing alone, heavy workload is not sufficient his inability to work with co-counsel will not
reason for the withdrawal of a counsel. When a redound to the best interest of the client (Rule 22.01,
lawyer accepts to handle a case, whether for a fee or Code of Professional Responsibility).
gratis et amore, he undertakes to give his utmost
attention, skill and competence to it regardless of its ---
significance. Failure to fulfill his duties will subject
him to grave administrative liability as a member of Hot Potato Rule
the Bar (Ceniza v. Atty. Rubia, A.C. No. 6166, October
2, 2009). GR: A lawyer may not unreasonably withdraw from
representing a client.
Rule 22.01, Canon 22
A lawyer may withdraw his services in any of XPN: Withdrawal may be allowed if there is a
the following case: conflict of interest arising from circumstances
a. When the client pursues an illegal or beyond the control of the lawyer or the law firm
immoral course of conduct in connection with (Blacks Law Dictionary, 9th edition).
the matter he is handling;
---
b. When the client insists that the lawyer
pursue conduct violative of these canons and Q: On the eve of the initial hearing for the
rules; reception of evidence for the defense, the
defendant and his counsel had a conference
c. When the inability to work with co- counsel where the client directed the lawyer to present
will not promote the best interest of the client; as principal defense witnesses 2 persons whose
testimonies were personally known to the
d. When the mental or physical condition of lawyer to have been perjured. The lawyer
the lawyer renders it difficult for him to carry informed his client that he refused to go along
out the employment effectively; with the unwarranted course of action proposed
by the defendant. But the client insisted on the
e. When the client deliberately fails to pay the directive, or else he would not pay the agreed

104
SUSPENSION, DISBARMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF LAWYERS
attorneys fees. When the case was called for his fees. It is his right to refuse as that is part of his
hearing the next morning the lawyer forthwith freedom of contract.
moved in open court that he be relieved as
counsel for the defendant. Both the defendant ---
and the plaintiffs counsel objected to the
motion. Under the given facts, is the defense Rule 22.02, Canon 22
lawyer legally justified in seeking withdrawal A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged
from the case? Why or why not? Reason briefly. shall, subject to a retaining lien, immediately
(2004 Bar) turn over all papers and property to which the
client is entitled, and shall cooperate with his
A: YES, he is justified. Under Rule 22.01 of the CPR, successor in the orderly transfer of the matter,
a lawyer may withdraw his services if the client including all information necessary for the
insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of proper handling of the matter.
these canons and rules. The insistence of the client
that the lawyer present witnesses whom he
personally knows to have been perjured, will Duties of a discharged lawyer or one who
expose him to criminal and civil liability and violate withdraws
his duty of candor, fairness and good faith to the
court. 1. Immediately turn-over all papers and property
to which the client is entitled; and
--- 2. To cooperate with his successor in the orderly
transfer of the case.
Q: Was the motion for relief as counsel made by
the defense lawyer in full accord with the
procedural requirements for a lawyers wi SUSPENSION, DISBARMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF
thdrawal from a court case? Explain briefly. LAWYERS (RULE 139-B, RULES OF COURT)
(2004 Bar)

A: NO, his actuation is not in accord with the NATURE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF
procedural requirements for the lawyers DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST LAWYERS
withdrawal from a court case. Whether or not a
lawyer has a valid cause to withdraw from a case, he Rationale of disciplining errant lawyers
cannot just do so and leave the client in the cold
unprotected. He must serve a copy of his petition Practice of law is in the nature of a privilege. Hence,
upon the client and the adverse party. He should, the same may be suspended or removed from the
moreover, present his petition well in advance of lawyer for reasons provided in the rules, law and
the trial of the action to enable the client to secure jurisprudence.
the services of another lawyer.
NOTE: A lawyer may be disciplined or suspended
--- for any misconduct professionally or privately (Cruz
v. Atty. Jacinto, Adm. Case No. 5235, March 22, 2000).
Q: Atty. X filed a notice of withdrawal of
appearance as counsel for the accused Y after Nature of the power to discipline
the prosecution rested its case. The reason for
the withdrawal of Atty. X was the failure of The power to discipline a lawyer is JUDICIAL in
accused Y to affix his conformity to the demand nature and can be exercised only by the courts. It
of Atty. X for increase in attorney's fees. Is the cannot be defeated by the legislative or executive
ground for withdrawal justified? Explain. (2000 departments.
Bar)
NOTE: The power to disbar and to reinstate is an
A: The ground for the withdrawal is not justified. inherently judicial function (Andres v. Cabrera, SBC-
Rule 22.01 (e) of the Code of Professional 585, February 29, 1984).
Responsibility provides that a lawyer may
withdraw his services when the client deliberately Disbarment and suspension of a lawyer, being the
fails to pay the fees for his services or fails to comply most severe forms of disciplinary sanction, should
with the retainer agreement. In this case, the client be imposed with great caution and only in those
has not failed to pay the lawyer's fees or to comply cases where the misconduct of the lawyer as an
with the retainer agreement. He has only refused to officer of the court and a member of the bar is
agree with the lawyer's demand for an increase in established by clear, convincing and satisfactory

105
LEGAL ETHICS
proof (Vitug v. Rongcal, A.C. No. 6313, September 7, 3. Limitation upon practice;
2006). 4. Appointment of a receiver;
5. Requirement that a lawyer take the bar
Powers of the Supreme Court in disciplining examination or professional responsibility
lawyers [WARD-SIP] examination;
1. Warn; 6. Requirement that a lawyer attend continuing
2. Admonish; education courses; and
3. Reprimand; 7. Other requirements that the highest court or
4. Disbar; disciplinary board deems consistent with the
5. Suspend a lawyer (Sec. 27, Rule 138, RRC); purposes of the sanctions.
6. Interim suspension; and
7. Probation (IBP Guidelines) Forms of disciplinary measures [WARCS-DIP]

Powers of the Court of Appeals and the Regional 1. Warning an act of putting one on his guard
Trial Courts [SWARP] against an impending danger, evil, consequence
or penalty;
They are also empowered to: 2. Admonition a gentle or friendly reproof, mild
rebuke, warning, reminder, or counseling on a
1. Suspend an attorney from practice for any of fault, error or oversight; an expression of
the causes named in Sec 27, Rule 138 until authoritative advice;
further action of the Supreme Court in the case 3. Reprimand a public and formal censure or
(Sec. 16, Rule 139-B); severe reproof, administered to a person at
2. Warn; fault by his superior officer or the body to which
3. Admonish; he belongs;
4. Reprimand; and 4. Censure official reprimand;
5. Probation (IBP Guidelines) 5. Suspension temporary withholding of a
lawyers right to practice his profession as a
NOTE: The CA and RTC cannot disbar a lawyer. lawyer for a certain period or for an indefinite
period of time:
---
a. Definite;
Q: Atty. D was required by Judge H of the b. Indefinite qualified disbarment; lawyer
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila to show determines for himself how long or how
cause why he should not be punished for short his suspension shall last by proving to
contempt of court for shouting invectives at the court that he is once again fit to resume
opposing counsel and harassing his witness. practice of law.

Assuming that there was sufficient cause or NOTE: Indefinite suspension is not cruel.
ground may Judge H suspend Atty. D from the Indefinite suspension puts in his hands the key
practice of law? If Judge H finds that the for the restoration of his rights and privileges as
actuations of Atty. D are grossly unethical and a lawyer (Dumadag v. Atty. Lumaya, A.C. No.
unbecoming of a member of the bar, may Judge 2614, June 29, 2000).
H disbar Atty. D instead? (2014 Bar)
6. Disbarment it is the act of the Supreme Court
A: Under Section 28, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, of withdrawing from an attorney the right to
a Regional Trial Court may suspend a lawyer from practice law. The name of the lawyer is stricken
the practice of law for any of the causes provided in out from the Roll of Attorneys;
Section 27, until further action from the Supreme
Court. But it may not disbar him, for only the NOTE: A disbarred lawyer cannot be disbarred
Supreme Court can disbar a lawyer pursuant to its again (Yuhico v. Atty. Gutierrez, A.C. No. 8391,
constitutional power to admit persons to the November 23, 2010).
practice of law.
7. Interim Suspension it is the temporary
--- suspension of a lawyer from the practice of law
pending imposition of final discipline;
Other sanctions and remedies
Includes:
1. Restitution; a. Suspension upon conviction of a serious
2. Assessment of costs; crime;

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SUSPENSION, DISBARMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF LAWYERS
b. Suspension when the lawyers continuing P that P is in pari delicto material or a ground for
conduct is or is likely to cause immediate exoneration? Explain. (2010 Bar)
and serious injury to a client or public.
A: The defense of in pari delicto is immaterial in an
8. Probation it is a sanction that allows a lawyer administrative case which is sui generis. The
to practice law under specified conditions. administrative case is about the lawyer's conduct,
not the woman's. (Mortel v. Aspiras, 100 Phil. 586,
SUI GENERIS 1956)

Sui generis in nature (2002 Bar) ---

Administrative cases against lawyers belong to a Q: Arabella filed a complaint for disbarment
class of their own (sui generis). They are distinct against her estranged husband, Atty. P, on the
from and may proceed independently of civil and ground of immorality and use of illegal drugs.
criminal cases (In re Almacen, G.R. No. L-27654, After Arabella presented evidence and rested
February 18, 1970; Funa, 2009). It is: her case before the Investigating Commissioner
of the IBP Committee on Bar Discipline, she filed
a. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, they an Affidavit of Desistance and motion to dismiss
are investigations by the Court into the conduct the complaint, she and her husband having
of one of its officers. reconciled for the sake of their children. You are
b. Not a civil action because there is neither the Investigating Commissioner of the IBP.
plaintiff nor respondent, and involves no Bearing in mind that the family is a social
private interest. The complainant is not a party institution which the State is duty-bound to
and has no interest in the outcome except as all preserve, what will be your action on Arabella's
citizens have in the proper administration of motion to dismiss the complaint? (2010 Bar)
justice. There is no redress for private
grievance. A: I would still deny the motion to dismiss. The
c. Not a criminal prosecution because it is not general rule is that no investigation shall be
meant as a punishment depriving him of source interrupted or terminated by reason of the
of livelihood but rather to ensure that those desistance, settlement, compromise, restitution,
who exercise the function should be competent, withdrawal of the charges or failure of the
honorable and reliable so that the public may complainant to prosecute the same unless the
repose confidence in them. Supreme Court motu proprio or upon
recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors
Main objectives of disbarment and suspension determines that there is no compelling reason to
continue with the proceedings. An administrative
1. Compel the attorney to deal fairly and honestly investigation of a lawyer is sui generis, neither a civil
with his clients; nor criminal proceeding. An affidavit of desistance
2. Remove from the profession a person whose has no place in it.
misconduct has proved him unfit to be
entrusted with the duties and responsibilities ---
belonging to the office of an attorney;
3. Punish the lawyer; Q: Atty. Hyde, a bachelor, practices law in the
4. Set an example or a warning for the other Philippines. On long weekends, he dates
members of the bar; beautiful actresses in Hong Kong. Kristine, a
5. Safeguard the administration of justice from neighbor in the Philippines, filed with the
incompetent and dishonest lawyers; Supreme Court an administrative complaint
6. Protect the public. against the lawyer because of sex videos
uploaded through the internet showing Atty.
NOTE: The purpose and the nature of disbarment Hyde's sordid dalliance with the actresses in
proceedings make the number of defenses available Hong Kong. In his answer, Atty. Hyde (a.)
in civil and criminal actions inapplicable in questions the legal personality and interest of
disciplinary proceedings. Kristine to institute the complaint and (b.)
insists that he is a bachelor and the sex videos
--- relate to his private life which is outside public
scrutiny and have nothing to do with the law
Q: Is the defense of Atty. R in a disbarment practice. Rule on the validity of Atty. Hyde's
complaint for immorality filed by his paramour defenses. (2009 Bar)

107
LEGAL ETHICS
A: disbarred in the case of Huyssen v. Atty. Gutierrez
a. The legal personality and interest of Kristine to for gross misconduct in view of his failure to pay
initiate the complaint for disbarment is his debts and his issuance of worthless checks.
immaterial. A disbarment proceeding is sui May Atty. Gutierrez be disbarred for the second
generis, neither civil nor a criminal proceeding. time?
Its sole purpose is to determine whether or not
a lawyer is still deserving to be a member of the A: NO. The SC held that while the IBP recommended
bar. In a real sense, Kristine is not a plaintiff; to disbar Atty. Gutierrez for the second time, we do
hence, interest on her part is not required. not have double or multiple disbarment in our laws
b. Atty. Hyde's second defense is untenable. His or jurisprudence and neither do we have a law
duty not to engage in unlawful, dishonest, mandating a minimum 5-year requirement for
immoral and deceitful conduct under Rule 1.01 readmission, as cited by the IBP. Thus, while
of the CPR, as well as his duty not to engage in Gutierrezs infraction calls for the penalty of
scandalous conduct to the discredit of the legal disbarment, they cannot disbar him anew (Yuhico v.
profession under Rule 7.03, is applicable to his Atty. Gutierrez, A.C. No. 8391, November 23, 2010).
private as well as to his professional life.
GROUNDS
QUANTUM OF EVIDENCE REQUIRED
Specific grounds for suspension or disbarment
The Supreme Court has consistently held that a of a lawyer
clear preponderant evidence is necessary to justify
the imposition of administrative penalty 1. Deceit;
considering the serious consequence of disbarment 2. Malpractice;
or suspension of a member of the Bar (Rose 3. Grossly immoral conduct;
Bunagan-Bansig v. Atty. Rogelio Celera, A.C. No. 5581, 4. Conviction of a crime involving moral
January 14, 2014; Atty. Clodualdo De Jesus v. Atty. turpitude;
Risos-Vidal, A.C. No. 7961, March 19, 2014). 5. Violation of oath of office;
6. Willful disobedience of any lawful order of a
PRESCRIPTION superior court;
7. Corrupt or willful appearance as an attorney for
There is NO prescriptive period for the filing of a party to a case without authority to do so (Sec.
a complaint against an erring lawyer 27, Rule 138, RRC);
8. Non-payment of IBP membership dues (Santos,
Rule VII, Section 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Jr. v. Atty. Llamas, Adm. Case No. 4749, January
CBD-IBP, which provides for a prescriptive period 20, 2000).
for the filing of administrative complaints against
lawyers, should be struck down as void and of no The statutory enumeration is not to be taken as a
legal effect for being ultra vires (Heirs of Falame v. limitation on the general power of SC to suspend or
Atty. Baguio, A.C. No. 6876, March 7, 2008). disbar a lawyer (In Re: Puno, A.C. No. 389, February
28, 1967). HENCE, the grounds enumerated are
--- NOT exclusive.

Q: Atty. Gutierrez phoned Yuhico and asked for NOTE: Lending money by a justice of Supreme
a cash loan claiming that he needed money to Court is not a ground for disbarment and helping a
pay for the medical expenses of his mother who person apply for sale application on a lot is not an
was seriously ill, and promised to pay the loan offense and not also a ground for disbarment (Olazo
very soon. Consequently, he again asked for a v. Justice Tinga (Ret.), A.M. No. 10-5-7-SC, December
loan to pay for his wifes hospitalization 7, 2010).
and again promised to pay within a short
time but failed to do so. Later, he again Lawyers misconduct committed prior and after
attempted to borrow money for his daughters admission to the bar and its effects
licensure examination in the US Medical Board
and assured Yuhico that he will pay his debts on 1. PRIOR to admission to the bar - acts of
or before a certain date but Yuhico refused to misconduct prior to admission include those
lend him the money, instead, he demanded that indicate that at the time the lawyer took his
payment of his debts. Atty. Gutierrez failed to oath, he did not possess the required
pay which led to the filing of a complaint before qualifications for membership in the bar.
the IBP-CBD for non-payment of just debts. It Consequently, the cancellation of his license is
turned out that Atty. Gutierrez was previously justified.

108
SUSPENSION, DISBARMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF LAWYERS
2. AFTER admission to the bar - those which disbarment or disciplinary action against the man
cause loss of moral character on his part or as a member of the bar (Arciga v. Maniwang, A.C. No.
involve violation of his duties to the court, his 1608, August 14, 1981).
client, to the legal profession and to the public.
Moral turpitude
NOTE: Disbarment is merited when the action is not
the lawyers first ethical infraction of the same It is defined as everything that is done contrary to
nature (Que v. Revilla, A.C. No. 7054, December 4, justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals; an act of
2009). baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and
social duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to
Malpractice society in general, contrary to the accepted and
customary rule of right and duty between man and
It refers to any malfeasance or dereliction of duty woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty
committed by a lawyer (Tan Tek Beng v. David, Adm. modesty, or good morals (Soriano v. Dizon, A. C. No.
Case No. 1261, December 29 1983; Lapena,Jr., 2009). 6792, January 25, 2006).

Legal Malpractice Other statutory grounds for suspension and


disbarment of members of the bar
It consists of failure of an attorney to use such skill,
prudence and diligence as a lawyer of ordinary skill 1. Acquisition of interest in the subject matter of
and capacity commonly possess and exercise in the the litigation, either through purchase or
performance of tasks which they undertake, and assignment (Art. 1491, NCC);
when such failure proximately causes damage, it 2. Breach of professional duty, inexcusable
gives rise to an action in tort (Tan Tek Beng v. David, negligence, or ignorance, or for the revelation of
A.C. No. 1261, December 29, 1983). the clients secrets (Art. 208, RPC);
3. Representing conflicting interests (Art. 209,
Gross Misconduct RPC).

It is any inexcusable, shameful or flagrant unlawful Any errant behavior on the part of a lawyer, be it in
conduct on the part of the person concerned in the his public or private activities, which tends to show
administration of justice which is prejudicial to the him deficient in moral character, honesty, probity or
rights of the parties or to the right determination of good demeanor, is sufficient to warrant his
a cause, a conduct that is generally motivated by a suspension or disbarment (Tiong vs. Atty. Florendo,
premeditated, obstinate or intentional purpose A.C. No. 4428, December 12, 2011).
(Yumol Jr. v. Ferrer, Sr., A.C. No. 6585, April 21, 2005).
Other grounds for discipline
NOTE: The issuance of worthless checks constitutes
gross misconduct as its effect transcends the private 1. Non-professional misconduct
interests of the parties directly involved in the
transaction and touches the interests of the GR: A lawyer may not be suspended or
community at large. As a lawyer, respondent is disbarred for misconduct in his non-
deemed to know the law, especially B. P. Blg. 22. By professional or private capacity.
issuing checks in violation of the provisions of this
law, respondent is guilty of serious misconduct XPN: Where such is so gross as to show him to
(PACG v. Atty. Carandang, A.C. No. 5700, January 30, be morally unfit for office or unworthy of
2006). privilege, the court may be justified in
suspending or removing him from the Roll of
Grossly immoral conduct Attorneys. (2005 Bar Question)

It is one that is so corrupt and false as to constitute 2. Gross immorality An act of personal
a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to immorality on the part of a lawyer in his private
be reprehensible to a high degree (Vitug v. Rongcal, relation with opposite sex may put his
A.C. No. 6313, September 7, 2006); character in doubt. But to justify suspension or
disbarment, the act must not only be immoral, it
NOTE: Mere intimacy between a lawyer and a must be grossly immoral (Abaigar v. Paz, A.M.
woman with no impediment to marry each other, No. 997, September 10, 1979).
and who voluntarily cohabited and had two
children, is neither so corrupt to constitute a NOTE: Cohabitation per se is not grossly
criminal act nor so unprincipled as to warrant immoral. It depends on circumstances and is

109
LEGAL ETHICS
not necessary that there be prior conviction for found out that the Order was spurious, he filed a
an offense before lawyer may be disciplined for disbarment case against Atty. Lada. Will the case
gross immorality. If the evidence is not prosper?
sufficient to hold a lawyer liable for gross
immorality, he may still be reprimanded where A: YES. Atty. Lada already knew of the dismissal of
evidence shows failure on his part to comply complainants partition case before the RTC.
with rigorous standards of conduct required Moreover, Atty. Lada was inexcusably negligent in
from lawyers. filing complainants appeal only on September 12,
2007, or way beyond the reglementary period
3. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude therefor, thus resulting in its outright dismissal.
All crimes of which fraud or deceit is an element Clearly, Atty. Lada failed to exercise such skill, care,
or those inherently contrary to rules of right and diligence as men of the legal profession
conduct, honesty or morality in civilized commonly possess and exercise in such matters of
community. professional employment. Worse, Atty. Lada
4. Promoting to violate or violating penal laws attempted to conceal the dismissal of complainants
5. Misconduct in discharge of official duties A appeal by fabricating the Order which purportedly
lawyer who holds a government office may not required a DNA testing to make it appear that
be disciplined as a member of the bar for complainants appeal had been given due course,
misconduct in the discharge of his duties as when in truth, the same had long been denied. In so
government official. doing, he engaged in an unlawful, dishonest, and
deceitful conduct that caused undue prejudice and
However, if the misconduct is in violation of the unnecessary expenses on the part of complainant.
CPR or of his oath as a lawyer or is of such a For gross misconduct, Atty. Lada should be
character as to affect his qualifications as a disbarred (Tan v. Diamante, A.C. No. 7766, August 5,
lawyer, he may be subject to disciplinary action 2014).
such as disbarment (Collantes v. Renomeron,
A.C. No. 3056, August 16, 1991). PROCEEDINGS

NOTE: This rule does not apply to impeachable Initiation of disbarment


officials like SC justices, members of
constitutional commissions and Ombudsman Any interested person or the court motu proprio
because they can be removed only by may initiate disciplinary proceedings. There can be
impeachment. no doubt as to the right of a citizen to bring to the
attention of the proper authority acts and doings of
6. Commission of fraud or falsehood; and public officers which citizens feel are incompatible
7. Misconduct as notary public with the duties of the office and from which conduct
the citizen or the public might or does suffer
NOTE: By applying for having himself undesirable consequences. (2000 Bar Question)
commissioned as notary public, a lawyer
assumes duties in a dual capacity, the non- NOTE: A disbarment proceeding may proceed
performance of which may be a ground for regardless of interest or lack of interest of the
discipline as a member of the bar. complainant (Rayos-Ombac v. Rayos, A.C. No. 2884,
January 28, 1998). However, if the complainant
--- refuses to testify and the charges cannot then be
substantiated, the court will have no alternative but
Q: Jose secured the services of Atty. Lada to to dismiss the case.
pursue a case for partition of property. After
accepting the engagement, Atty. Lada filed the Characteristics of disbarment proceedings
corresponding complaint eventually dismissed
by the RTC for lack of cause of action and 1. Sui Generis
insufficiency of evidence. Atty. Lada allegedly 2. The defense of double jeopardy cannot be
asked for the amount of P10,000.00 for the availed of in a disbarment proceeding;
payment of appeal fees and other costs. Upon 3. It can be initiated motu proprio by the SC or IBP.
payment, notice of appeal was filed but was also It can be initiated without a complaint;
dismissed for being filed out of time. Atty. Lada 4. It is imprescriptible;
however, did not disclose such fact and, instead, 5. Conducted confidentially;
showed to Jose an Order purportedly issued by 6. It can proceed regardless of the interest or the
the RTC directing the submission of the results lack thereof on the part of the complainant; and
of a DNA testing to prove his filiation. When Jose 7. It in itself constitutes due process of law.

110
SUSPENSION, DISBARMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF LAWYERS
8. Whatever has been decided in a disbarment Quantum of proof
case cannot be a source of right that may be
enforced in another action; The burden of proof is upon the complainant and the
9. In pari delicto rule not applicable; SC will exercise its disciplinary power only if the
10. No prejudicial question in disbarment complainant establishes his case by the required
proceedings; quantum of proof which is clear, convincing and
11. Penalty in a disbarment case cannot be in the satisfactory evidence or clearly preponderant
alternative; and evidence (Aquino v. Mangaoang, A.C. No. 4934,
12. Monetary claims cannot be granted except March 17, 2004).
restitution and return of monies and properties
of the client given in the course of the lawyer- ---
client relationship.
Q: Atty. Sesbreo was found guilty of murder
Three-fold purpose of confidentiality of and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of
disbarment proceedings reclusion perpetua by the Cebu City RTC. On
appeal, however, the Supreme Court
1. To enable the court to make its investigation downgraded the crime to homicide. On July 27,
free from extraneous influence or interference; 2001, Sesbreo was released from confinement
2. To protect the personal and professional following his acceptance of the conditions of his
reputation of attorneys from baseless charges parole. The order of commutation provides that
of disgruntled, vindictive and irresponsible his original sentence is commuted to an
persons or clients by prohibiting publication of indeterminate prison term of from 7 years and 6
such charges pending their final resolution months to 10 years imprisonment and to pay an
(Albano v. Coloma, A.C. No. 528, October 11, indemnity of P50,000.00. Dr. Garcia filed a
1967); disbarment case against Sesbreo alleging that
3. To deter the press from publishing charges or he is practicing law despite his previous
proceedings based thereon for even a verbatim conviction for homicide and continuing to
reproduction of the complaint against an engage in the practice of law despite his
attorney in the newspaper may be actionable. conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude.
Sesbreo argued that the executive clemency
NOTE: The confidentiality of the proceedings is a granted to him restored his full civil and
privilege which may be waived by the lawyer in political rights. Decide.
whom and for the protection of whose personal and
professional reputation it is vested, as by presenting A: There was no mention that the executive
the testimony in a disbarment case or using it as clemency was absolute and unconditional and
impeaching evidence in a civil suit (Villalon v. IAC, restored Sesbreo to his full civil and political
G.R. No. L-73751, September 24, 1986). rights. The executive clemency merely commuted
to an indeterminate prison term of 7 years and 6
Offices authorized to investigate disbarment months to 10 years imprisonment, the penalty
proceedings imposed on Sesbreo. Commutation is a mere
reduction of penalty and it only partially
1. Supreme Court (Sec. 13, Rule 139-B, RRC) extinguished criminal liability. The penalty for
2. IBP through its Commission on Bar Discipline Sesbreos crime was never wiped out. For
or authorized investigator (Sec. 2, Rule 139-B, unauthorized practice of law, Sesbreo is disbarred
RRC) (Garcia v. Atty. Sesbreo, A.C. No. 7973 and A.C. No.
3. Office of the Solicitor General (Sec. 13, Rule 139- 10457, February 3, 2015).
B, RRC)
---
Purposes of disbarment
Q: After passing the Philippine Bar in 1986,
Disbarment is not meant as a punishment to deprive Richards practiced law until 1996 when he
an attorney of a means of livelihood but rather migrated to Australia where he subsequently
intended to: became an Australian citizen in 2000. As he kept
himself abreast of the legal developments,
1. To protect the public petitioner learned about the citizenship
2. To protect and preserve the legal profession retention and re-acquisition act of 2003 (RA
3. To compel the lawyer to comply with his duties 9225), pursuant to which he reacquired his
and obligations under the CPR. Philippine citizenship in 2006. He took his oath
of allegiance as a Filipino citizen at the

111
LEGAL ETHICS
Philippine embassy in Canberra, Australia. PROCEDURAL STEPS FOR
Jaded by the laid back life in the outback, he DISBARMENT IN THE IBP
returned to the Philippines in December of
2008. After the holidays, he established his own 1. The Board of Governors shall appoint from
law office and resumed his practice of law. among the IBP members an investigator or
Months later a concerned woman who had when special circumstances so warrant, a panel
secured copies of Atty. Richard's naturalization of 3 investigators to investigate the complaint;
papers with the consular authentication, filed 2. If the complaint is meritorious, the respondent
with the SC an anonymous complaint against shall be served with a copy requiring him to
him for illegal practice of law. May the Supreme answer within 15 days from service.
Court Act upon the complaint filed by an 3. The respondent shall file a verified answer
anonymous person? containing the original and five (5) legible
copies; after receipt of the answer or lapse of
A: YES. The Supreme Court may act upon the the period to do so, the Supreme Court, may,
complaint filed by an anonymous complainant, motu proprio or at the instance of the IBP Board
because the basis of the complaint consists of of Governors, upon recommendation by the
documents with consular authentications which can investigator, suspend an attorney from
be verified being public records. There is no need to practice, for any of the causes under Rule 138,
identify the complainant when the evidence is Sec. 27, during the pendency of the
documented and verifiable (In re: Echiverri 67 SCRA investigation
467, 1975). Besides, the Supreme Court or the IBP 4. After joinder of the issues or failure to answer,
may initiate disbarment proceedings motu proprio. the respondent shall be given full opportunity
to defend himself. But if the respondent fails to
PROCEDURE FOR DISBARMENT appear to defend himself in spite of notice, the
investigator may proceed ex parte. The
BAR MATTER NO. 1960 (MAY 1, 2000) investigation shall be terminated within 3
AMANEDMENT OF SEC. 1, RULE 139-B OF THE months from commencement unless extended
ROC for good cause by the Board of Governors upon
prior application.
Proceedings for disbarment, suspension or 5. The investigator shall make a report to the
discipline of attorneys may be taken by the: Board of Governors within 30 days from
termination of the investigation which report
1. Supreme Court motu proprio; or shall contain his findings and recommendations
2. Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) upon the together with the evidence.
verified complaint of any person. The complaint 6. The Board of Governors shall have the power to
shall state clearly and concisely the facts review the decision of the investigator. Its
complained of and shall be supported by decision shall be promulgated within a period
affidavits of persons having personal not exceeding 30 days from the next meeting of
knowledge of the facts therein alleged and/or the Board following the submission of the
by such documents as may substantiate said report of the investigator.
facts. 7. If the decision is a finding of guilt of the charges,
the IBP Board of Governors shall issue a
DISBARMENT PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE IBP resolution setting forth its findings and
recommendations which shall be transmitted to
The IBP Board of Governors may motu proprio, or the Supreme Court for final action together with
upon referral by the Supreme Court, or by a Chapter the record.
Board of Officers, or at the instance of any person, If the decision is for exoneration, or if the
initiate and prosecute proper charges against erring sanction is less than suspension or dismissal,
attorneys including those in the government the Board shall issue a decision exonerating the
service; Provided, however, that all charges against respondent of imposing a lesser sanction. The
Justices of the Court of Tax Appeals and the resolution exonerating the respondent shall be
Sandiganbayan, and Judges of the Court of Tax considered as terminating the case unless upon
Appeals and lower courts, even if lawyers are jointly petition of the complainant or other interested
charged with them, shall be filed with the Supreme party filed with the Supreme Court within 15
Court; Provided, further, that charges filed against days from notice of the Boards decision.
Justices and Judges before the IBP, including those
filed prior to their appointment in the Judiciary, RESOLUTION OF THE COURT EN BANC
shall immediately be forwarded to the Supreme DATED JUNE 17, 2008 B.M. NO. 1755
Court for disposition and adjudication. (RE: RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE

112
SUSPENSION, DISBARMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF LAWYERS
COMMISSION
ON BAR DISCIPLINE) 1. In proceedings initiated motu proprio by the
Supreme Court or in other proceeding when the
Propriety of a motion for reconsideration interest of justice so requires, the Supreme
Court may refer the case for investigation to the
1. A party can no longer file a motion for Solicitor General or to any officer of the
reconsideration of any order or resolution of Supreme Court or judge of a lower court, in
the Investigating Commissioner, such motion which case the investigation shall proceed in
being a prohibited pleading. the same manner provided in Sections 6 to 11
2. Regarding the issue of whether a motion for of Rule 139-B, RRC, save that the review of the
reconsideration of a decision or resolution of report of investigation shall be conducted
the Board of Governors (BOG) can be directly by the Supreme Court (Sec. 13, Rule
entertained, an aggrieved party can file said 139-B, RRC)
motion with the BOG within fifteen (15) days
from notice of receipt thereof by said party. NOTE: Reference of the Court to the IBP of
3. In case a decision is rendered by the BOG that complaints against lawyers is not mandatory
exonerates the respondent or imposes a (Zaldivar v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 79590-707;
sanction less than suspension or disbarment, Zaldivar v. Gonzales, G.R. No. 80578, October 7,
the aggrieved party can file a motion for 1988).
reconsideration within the 15-day period from
notice. If the motion is denied, said party can file Reference of complaints to the IBP is not an
a petition for a review under Rule 45 of the exclusive procedure under Rule 139-B, RRC.
Rules of Court with the Supreme Court within The Court may conduct disciplinary
fifteen (15) days from notice of the resolution proceedings without the intervention of the IBP
resolving the motion. If no motion for by referring cases for investigation to the
reconsideration is filed, the decision shall Solicitor General or to any officer of the
become final and executory and a copy of said Supreme Court or judge of a lower court. In such
decision shall be furnished to the Supreme case, the report or recommendation of the
Court. investigating official shall be reviewed directly
4. If the imposable penalty is suspension from the by the Supreme Court (Bautista v. Gonzales, A.M.
practice of law or disbarment, the BOG shall No. 1626, February 12, 1990; Funa, 2009).
issue a resolution setting forth its findings and
recommendations. The aggrieved party can file 2. Based upon the evidence adduced at the
a motion for reconsideration of said resolution investigation, the Solicitor General or other
with the BOG within fifteen (15) days from Investigator designated by the Supreme Court
notice. The BOG shall first resolve the incident shall submit to the Supreme Court a report
and shall thereafter elevate the assailed containing his findings of fact and
resolution with the entire case records to the recommendations together with the record and
Supreme Court for final action. If the 15-day all the evidence presented in the investigation
period lapses without any motion for for the final action of the Supreme Court (Sec.
reconsideration having been filed, then the BOG 14, Rule 139-B, RRC).
shall likewise transmit to this Court the
resolution with the entire case records for ---
appropriate action.
Q: Atty. Narags wife filed a petition for
NOTE: Lawyers must update their records with the disbarment because he courted one of his
IBP by informing the IBP National Office or their students, maintained the said student as a
respective chapters of any change in office or mistress and had children with her. On the other
residential address and other contact details. In case hand, Atty. Narag claimed that his wife was a
such change is not duly updated, service of notice on possessive, jealous woman who abused him and
the office or residential address appearing in the filed the complaint against him out of spite. Atty.
records of the IBP National Office shall constitute Narag, however, failed to refute the testimony
sufficient notice to a lawyer for purposes of given against him as his actions were of public
administrative proceedings against him (Keld knowledge. Is Atty. Narags disbarment
Stemmerik v. Atty. Leonuel Mas, A.C. No. 8010, June appropriate?
16, 2009).
A: YES, Atty. Narag failed to prove his innocence
DISBARMENT PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE because he failed to refute the testimony given
SUPREME COURT against him and it was proved that his actions were

113
LEGAL ETHICS
of public knowledge and brought disrepute and filing of the disbarment case as legitimate news. It
suffering to his wife and children. Good moral would have been different if the disbarment case
character is a continuing qualification required of against petitioner was about a private matter as the
every member of the bar. Thus, when a lawyer fails media would then be bound to respect the
to meet the exacting standard of moral integrity, the confidentiality provision of disbarment proceedings
Supreme Court may withdraw his or her privilege to under Section 18, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court
practice law. When a lawyer is found guilty of gross (Fortun v. Quinsayas, G.R. No. 194578, February 13,
immoral conduct, he may be suspended or 2013).
disbarred. As a lawyer, one must not only refrain
from adulterous relationships but must not behave DISCIPLINE OF FILIPINO LAWYERS
in a way that scandalizes the public by creating a PRACTICING ABROAD
belief that he is flouting those moral standards
(Narag v. Atty. Narag, A.C. No. 3405, June 29, 1998). If the Filipino lawyer is disbarred or suspended
from the practice of law by a competent court or
--- disciplinary agency in a foreign jurisdiction where
he has been admitted as an attorney, and a ground
Effect of lawyers death in an administrative therefor includes any of the acts enumerated in
proceeding against him Section 27, Rule 138 of the RRC, such disbarment or
suspension is a ground for his disbarment or
1. Renders the action moot and academic, but suspension in the Philippines (Lapena, 2009).
2. The Court may still resolve the case on its merit
in order to clear publicly the name of the lawyer NOTE: The judgment, resolution or order of the
foreign court or disciplinary agency shall be prima
CONFIDENTIALITY OF DISBARMENT facie evidence of the ground for disbarment or
PROCEEDINGS suspension (SC Resolution date 21 February 1992
amending Sec. 27, Rule 138, RRC).
Q: Atty. Fortun is the counsel for Ampatuan, Jr.,
the principal accused in the murder cases in the Judgment of suspension of a Filipino lawyer in a
Maguindanao Massacare. Atty. Quinsayas, et al. foreign court
filed a disbarment complaint against Atty.
Fortun on the ground that he used and abused The judgment of suspension against a Filipino
the different legal remedies available and lawyer in a foreign jurisdiction does not
allowed under the rules; and muddled the issues automatically result in his suspension or
and diverted the attention away from the main disbarment in the Philippines as the acts giving rise
subject matter of the cases. Atty. Fortun alleged to his suspension are not grounds for disbarment
that Atty. Quinsayas, et al. actively disseminated and suspension in this jurisdiction. Judgment of
the details to the media of the disbarment suspension against a Filipino lawyer may transmute
complaint against him in violation of Rule 139-B into a similar judgment of suspension in the
of the Rules of Court on the confidential nature Philippines only if the basis of the foreign court's
of disbarment proceedings Is Atty. Fortun action includes any of the grounds for disbarment or
correct? suspension in this jurisdiction. Such judgment
merely constitutes prima facie evidence of unethical
A: NO. As a general rule, disbarment proceedings acts as lawyer (Velez v. De Vera, A.C. No. 6697, July
are confidential in nature until their final resolution 25, 2006).
and the final decision of this Court. In this case,
however, the filing of a disbarment complaint ---
against Atty. Fortun is a matter of public concern
considering that it arose from the Maguindanao Q: Atty. Forma is a member of the Philippine Bar.
Massacre case. The interest of the public is not on He went to New York City, took the New York
Atty. Fortun but primarily on his involvement and State Bar, and passed the same. He then
participation as defense counsel in the practiced in New York City. One of his American
Maguindanao Massacre case. clients filed a case for disbarment against him
for pocketing the money which was entrusted to
The Maguindanao Massacre is a very high-profile him as payment for the filing fee and other
case. It is understandable that any matter related to incidental expenses of his damage suit. Atty
the Maguindanao Massacre is considered a matter Forma came back to the Philippines and
of public interest and that the personalities practiced as a lawyer.
involved, including Atty. Fortun, are considered as Will his disbarment in New York be used against
public figure. Thus, media has the right to report the him for purposes of disbarment proceedings

114
SUSPENSION, DISBARMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF LAWYERS
here in the Philippines? (2014 Bar Question) attorney, such disbarment can be a ground for
disbarment in the Philippines provided that the
A: Atty. Forma may be disbarred in the Philippines cause for disbarment is included in Section 27, Rule
if the ground for his disbarment in New York is also 138 of RRC. In this case, conviction of estafa
a ground for disbarment in this country. But he is constitutes conviction of a crime involving moral
still entitled to due process of law, and the foreign turpitude which is a ground for disbarment here in
courts judgment against him only constitutes prima the Philippines.
facie evidence of unethical conduct as a lawyer. He
is entitled to be given an opportunity to defend Q: Atty. LA is a member of the Philippine Bar and
himself in an investigation to be conducted in the California Bar in the United States. For
accordance with Rule 139 of the Revised Rules of willful disobedience of a lawful order of a
Court (In Re: Suspension from the Practice of Law in Superior Court in Los Angeles, Atty. LA was
the Territory of Guam of Atty. Leon Maquera, B.M. suspended from the practice of law in California
793, July 30, 2004; Velez v. De Vera, A.C. No. 6697, July for one (1) year. May his suspension abroad be
25, 2006). considered a ground for disciplinary action
against Atty. LA in the Philippines? Why? (2002
Q: Atty. Perez was admitted as a member of the Bar Question)
the New York Bar. While in Manhattan, he was
convicted of estafa and was disbarred. Does his A: The suspension of Atty. LA from the practice of
disbarment in New York a ground for his law abroad may be considered as a ground for
automatic disbarment in the Philippines? (2006 disciplinary action here if such suspension was
Bar) based on one of the grounds for disbarment in the
Philippines or shows a loss of his good moral
A: YES. If the Filipino lawyer is disbarred from the character, a qualification he has to maintain in order
practice of law by a competent court in a foreign to remain a member of the Philippine Bar.
jurisdiction where he has been admitted as an
PROCEDURE FOR DISBARMENT OR DISCIPLINE OF ATTONEYS BY THE
SUPREME COURT MOTU PROPRIO (Rule 139-B, RRC)

Supreme Court shall refer the case to an investigator, who may


either be:
1. Solicitor General,
2. Any officer of the SC, or
3. Any judge of a lower court
e

Notify Respondent

RESPONDENTS VERIFIED ANSWER (Must be filed within


15 days from service)

INVESTIGATION
(TERMINATE WITHIN 3 MONTHS)

REPORT TO SUPREME COURT (to be submitted not later


than 30 days from investigations termination)

REPORT MUST CONTAIN THE INVESTIGATORS:


SUPREME COURT FOR
1. Findings of fact FINAL ACTION AND IF
2. Recommendations WARRANTED THE
IMPOSITION OF
PENALTY

115
LEGAL ETHICS
PROCEDURE FOR DISBARMENT OR DISCIPLINE OF ATTORNEYS BY THE IBP (Rule 139-B, RRC)

IBP Motu Proprio (Committee on Bar VERIFIED COMPLAINT TO THE IBP BY ANY
Discipline through National Grievance PERSON
Investigator) Complaint must be:
1. In writing;
2. State facts complained of; and
3. Supported by affidavits / documents

Shall appoint an investigator / panel of 3


investigators and notify respondent

RECOMMEND DISMISSAL IF NOT IF MERITORIOUS, RESPONDENT TO


MERITORIOUS FILE VERIFIED ANSWER
(Must be filed within 15 days from
service)

DISMISSAL BY BOARD OF GOVERNORS INVESTIGATION (terminate within 3 months)


(should be promulgated within a period 1. Investigator may issue subpoenas and
not exceeding 30 days from the next administer oaths,
meeting of the board following the 2. Provide respondent with opportunity to be
submittal of the investigators report) heard,
3. May proceed with investigation ex parte should
respondent fail to appear.

BOARD OF GOVERNORS FOR REVIEW


REPORT TO BOARD OF GOVERNORS
(issues a Resolution Should be
(Submitted not later than 30 days from
promulgated within a period not
termination of investigation) containing:
exceeding 30 days from the next meeting
Findings of facts
of the board following the submittal of
Recommendations
the Investigators Report.)

SUPREME COURT FOR


JUDGMENT

The case shall be deemed terminated unless


ISSUE DECISION IF: upon petition of the complainant or other
Exonerated interested party is filed with the Supreme
Sanction is less than suspension Court within fifteen (15) days from notice of
/ disbarment (admonition, the Board's resolution, unless the Supreme
reprimand, or fine) Court orders otherwise

EFFECT OF DESISTANCE OR WITHDRAWAL OF The desistance or the withdrawal of the


COMPLAINT OR NON-APPEARANCE IN complainant of the charges against a judge/lawyer
DISBARMENT PROCEEDINGS does not deprive the court of the authority to
proceed to determine the matter. Nor does it

116
SUSPENSION, DISBARMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF LAWYERS
necessarily result in the dismissal of the complaint 10. Full and free disclosure to disciplinary board or
except when, as a consequence of the withdrawal or cooperative attitude toward the proceedings;
desistance no evidence is adduced to prove the 11. Character or reputation;
charges. 12. Physical or mental disability or impairment;
13. Delay in disciplinary proceedings;
The affidavit of withdrawal of the disbarment case 14. Interim rehabilitation;
executed by a complainant does not, in any way, 15. Imposition of other penalties or sanctions;
exonerate the respondent-lawyer. A case of 16. Remorse;
suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless 17. Remoteness of prior offenses (IBP Guidelines
of interest or lack of interest of the complainant. The 9.32).
complainant in a disbarment case is not a direct
party to the case, but a witness who brought the NOTE: Disbarment should not be decreed
matter to the attention of the Court (Quiachon v. where any punishment less severe such as
Atty. Ramos, A.C. No. 9317, June 4, 2014). reprimand, suspension or fine would
accomplish the end desired (Amaya v. Tecson,
DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR A.C. No. 5996, February. 7, 2005).
APPLICABLE TO JUDGES AND LAWYERS
Aggravating circumstances in disbarment
The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is applicable in
cases of dismissal of judges or disbarment of 1. Prior disciplinary offenses;
lawyers (1996, 2003 Bar Questions) 2. Dishonest or selfish motives;
3. A pattern of misconduct;
This principle or doctrine applies to both judges and 4. Multiple offenses;
lawyers. Judges had been dismissed from the 5. Bad faith obstruction of the disciplinary
service without need of a formal investigation proceeding by intentionally failing to comply
because based on the records, the gross misconduct with rules or orders of the disciplinary agency;
or inefficiency of judges clearly appears (Uy v. 6. Submission of false evidence, false statements,
Mercado, A.M. No. R-368-MTJ, September 30, 1987). or other deceptive practices during the
disciplinary process;
The same principle applies to lawyers. Thus, where 7. Refusal to acknowledge wrongful nature of
on the basis of the lawyers comment or answer to conduct;
show a show-cause order of SC, it appears that the 8. Vulnerability of victim;
lawyer has so conducted himself in a manner which 9. Substantial experience in the practice of law;
exhibits his blatant disrespect to the court, or his and
want of good moral character or his violation of the 10. Indifference to making restitution (IBP
attorneys oath, the lawyer may be suspended or Guidelines 9.22).
disbarred without need of trial-type proceeding.
What counts is that the lawyer has been given the Guidelines to be observed in the lifting of an
opportunity to air his side (Prudential Bank v. order suspending a lawyer from the practice of
Castro, A.M. No. 2756, June 5, 1986). law

Mitigating circumstances in disbarment 1. Upon the expiration of the period of suspension,


respondent shall file a Sworn Statement with
1. Good faith in the acquisition of a property of the the Court, through the Office of the Bar
client subject of litigation (In Re: Ruste, A.M. No. Confidant, stating therein that he or she has
632, June 27, 1940); desisted from the practice of law and has not
2. Inexperience of the lawyer (Munoz v. People, appeared in any court during the period of his
G.R. No. L-33672, September 28, 1973); or her suspension;
3. Age (Santos v. Tan, A.C. No. 2697, April 19, 1991); 2. Copies of the Sworn Statement shall be
4. Apology (Munoz v. People, G.R. No. L- 33672, furnished to the Local Chapter of the IBP and to
September 28, 1973); the Executive Judge of the courts where
5. Lack of Intention to slight or offend the Court respondent has pending cases handled by him
(Rheem of the Philippines, Inc. v. Ferrer, G.R. No. or her, and/or where he or she has appeared as
L-22979, January 27, 1967); counsel; and
6. Absence of prior disciplinary record; 3. The Sworn Statement shall be considered as
7. Absence of dishonest or selfish motive; proof of respondents compliance with the
8. Personal or emotional problems; order of suspension;
9. Timely good faith effort to make restitution or
to rectify consequences of misconduct; ---

117
LEGAL ETHICS
Q: Maniago filed a criminal case against Hiroshi his profession (J.K. Mercado and Sons Agricultural
Miyata who was represented by Atty. De Dios. Enterprises, Inc. et al. v. Atty. de Vera, et al. and Atty.
Complainant then learned from a staff of the RTC de Vera v. Atty. Encanto, et al.).
that Atty. De Dios had an outstanding
suspension order from the Supreme Court since Thus, according to the OBC, a suspended lawyer
2001, and was, therefore, prohibited from must first present proof(s) of his compliance by
appearing in court. Atty. De Dios denied that she submitting certifications from the Integrated Bar of
was under suspension when she appeared as the Philippines and from the Executive Judge that he
counsel in the cases. She explained that an has indeed desisted from the practice of law during
administrative case was indeed filed against her the period of suspension. Thereafter, the Court,
where she was meted the penalty of 6-month after evaluation, and upon a favorable
suspension. She served the suspension recommendation from the OBC, will issue a
immediately upon receipt of the Courts resolution lifting the order of suspension and thus
Resolution. In a Manifestation, she formally allow him to resume the practice of law (Maniago v.
informed the Court that she was resuming her Atty. De Dios, A.C. No. 7472, March 30, 2010).
practice of law, which she actually did. Is the
mere filing of a Manifestation sufficient to lift Guidelines to be observed in lifting an order of
her suspension? suspension of a lawyer

A: NO. According to the OBC, a suspended lawyer The following guidelines were issued by the
must first present proofs of his compliance by Supreme Court, the same to be observed in the
submitting certifications from the Integrated Bar of matter of the lifting of an order suspending a lawyer
the Philippines and from the Executive Judge that he from the practice of law:
has indeed desisted from the practice of law during
the period of suspension. Thereafter, the Court, 1. After a finding that respondent lawyer must be
after evaluation, and upon a favorable suspended from the practice of law, the Court
recommendation from the OBC, will issue a shall render a decision imposing the penalty;
resolution lifting the order of suspension and thus 2. Unless the Court explicitly states that the
allow him to resume the practice of law (Maniago v. decision is immediately executory upon receipt
De Dios, A.C. No. 7472, March 30, 2010). thereof, respondent has 15 days within which
to file a motion for reconsideration thereof. The
denial of said motion shall render the decision
READMISSION TO THE BAR final and executory;
3. Upon the expiration of the period of suspension,
respondent shall file a Sworn Statement with
Reinstatement and its requirements the Court, through the Office of the Bar
Confidant, stating therein that he or she has
Reinstatement is the restoration of the privilege to desisted from the practice of law and has not
practice law after a lawyer has been disbarred. The appeared in any court during the period of his
applicant must satisfy the Court that he is a person or her suspension;
of good moral character a fit and proper person to 4. Copies of the Sworn Statement shall be
practice law. furnished to the Local Chapter of the IBP and to
the Executive Judge of the courts where
NOTE: The power of the Supreme Court to reinstate respondent has pending cases handled by him
is based on its constitutional prerogative to or her, and/or where he or she has appeared as
promulgate rules on the admission of applicants to counsel;
the practice of law (Sec. 5[5], Art. VIII, 1987 5. The Sworn Statement shall be considered as
Constitution). proof of respondents compliance with the
order of suspension;
LAWYERS WHO HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED 6. Any finding or report contrary to the
statements made by the lawyer under oath shall
Lifting of suspension is not automatic upon the be a ground for the imposition of a more severe
end of the period stated in the Courts decision punishment, or disbarment, as may be
warranted.
The lifting of a lawyers suspension is not
automatic upon the end of the period stated in the
Courts decision, and an order from the Court lifting
the suspension at the end of the period is necessary
in order to enable [him] to resume the practice of

118
READMISSION TO THE BAR
4. There must be a showing of promise (such as
--- intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen
or contribution to the legal scholarship and the
Q: Raul Gonzales was found guilty of both development of the legal system), as well as
contempt of court in facie curiae and gross potential for public service.
misconduct as an officer of court and member of 5. There must be other relevant factors and
the bar. For this, he was suspended indefinitely. circumstances that may justify clemency.
After more than 4 years from his suspension,
Gonzales filed an ex-parte motion to lift his SUPREME COURTS GUIDELINES IN
suspension from the practice of law, alleging REINSTATEMENT
that he gave free legal aid services by paying
lawyers to do the same as he could not 1. The applicants character and standing pr
personally represent said clients; pursued civic ior to the disbarment;
work for the poor; brought honor to the country 2. The nature and character of the charge for
by delivering a paper in Switzerland; that he has which he was disbarred;
a long record in the service of human rights and 3. His conduct subsequent to the disbarment, and
the rule of law; his suspension of 51 months has the time that has elapsed between the
been the longest so far; states his profound disbarment and the application for
regrets for the inconvenience which he has reinstatement (Prudential Bank v. Benjamin
caused to the Court; sincerely reiterates his Grecia, A.C. No. 2756, December 18, 1990);
respect to the institution as he reiterates his 4. His efficient government service (In re:
oath to conduct himself as a lawyer. May his Adriatico, G.R. No. L-2532, November 17, 1910);
suspension be lifted? 5. Applicants appreciation of the significance
of his dereliction and his assurance that he now
A: YES. Gonzales contrition, so noticeably absent in possesses the requisite probity and integrity;
his earlier pleadings, has washed clean the offense and
of his disrespect. His remorse has soften his 6. Favorable endorsement of the IBP and pleas of
arrogance and made up for his misconduct. his loved ones (Yap Tan v. Sabandal, B.M. No.
Gonzales suspension has given him ample time and 144, February 24, 1989).
opportunity to amend his erring ways, rehabilitate
himself, and thus, prove himself worthy once again NOTE: Whether or not the applicant shall be
to enjoy the privileges of membership of the Bar. His reinstated rests on the discretion of the court
motion was granted (Zaldivar v. Gonzales, G.R. Nos. (Prudential Bank v. Benjamin Grecia, A.C. No. 2756,
79690- 707, April 7, 1993). December 18, 1990).

LAWYERS WHO HAVE BEEN DISBARRED The court may require applicant for reinstatement
to enroll in and pass the required fourth year review
Effect of reinstatement: Wipes out the restrictions classes in a recognized law school (Cui v. Cui, In Re:
and disabilities resulting from a previous Resian, A.C. No. 270, March 20, 1974).
disbarment (Cui v. Cui, G.R. No. L-18727, August 31,
1964). Other effects of reinstatement

Prior to actual reinstatement, the lawyer will be 1. Recognition of moral rehabilitation and mental
required to take anew the lawyers oath and sign fitness to practice law;
once again the roll of attorneys after paying the 2. Lawyer shall be subject to the same law, rules
requisite fees (Funa, 2009). and regulations as those applicable to any other
lawyer; and
Requirements for judicial clemency for 3. Lawyer must comply with the conditions
disbarred lawyers and judges imposed on his readmission.

1. There must be proof of remorse and EFFECT OF EXECUTIVE PARDON GRANTED BY


reformation. THE PRESIDENT
2. Sufficient time must have elapsed from the
imposition of the penalty to ensure a period of If during the pendency of disbarment proceeding the
reform. respondent was granted executive pardon, the
3. The age of the person asking for clemency must dismissal of the case on that sole basis will depend
show that he still has productive years ahead of on whether the executive pardon is absolute or
him that can be put to good use by giving him a conditional.
chance to redeem himself.

119
LEGAL ETHICS
1. Absolute or unconditional pardon - the sentenced to suffer imprisonment and to
disbarment case will be dismissed. indemnify the offended party for the amount
2. Conditional pardon - the disbarment case will involved. Not having taken an appeal from the
not be dismissed on the basis thereof. judgment of conviction, upon finality thereof he
was taken into custody to serve sentence. A
NOTE: To be reinstated, there is still a need for the month after he was incarcerated, he was granted
filing of an appropriate petition with the Supreme pardon by the Chief Executive on condition that
Court (In re: Rovero, A.M. No. 126, December 29, he would not commit another offense during the
1980). unserved portion of his prison sentence. Soon
after Xs release from custody after being
--- pardoned, the offended party in the criminal
case filed a Complaint for Disbarment against X
Q: X filed proceedings for disbarment against his in the Supreme Court. X set up the defense that
lawyer, Atty. C, following the latters conviction having been pardoned thus he may not be
for estafa for misappropriating funds belonging disbarred from the practice of law anymore. Is
to his client (X). While the proceedings for Xs contention tenable? (1999 Bar)
disbarment was pending, the President granted
absolute pardon in favor of Atty. C. Atty. C, then, A: Xs contention is not tenable. He was granted only
moved for the dismissal of the disbarment case. a conditional pardon. Such conditional pardon
Should the motion be granted? merely relieved him of the penal consequences of
his act but did not operate as a bar to his
A: An absolute pardon by the President is one that disbarment. Such pardon does not reach the offense
operates to wipe out the conviction as well as the itself. Hence, it does not constitute a bar to his
offense itself. The grant thereof to a lawyer is a bar disbarment (In Re Gutierrez, A.C. No. L-363, July 31,
to a proceeding for disbarment against him, if such 1962; In re Avancena, A.C. No. 407, August 15, 1967).
proceeding is based solely on the fact of such Furthermore, the acts of X leading to his conviction
conviction (In re: Parcasio, A.C. No. 100, February. 18, may be used to show that he does not possess the
1976). necessary requirement of good moral character for
continued membership in the Bar (In re Valloces,
But where the proceeding to disbar is founded on A.C. No. 439, September 30, 1982).
the professional misconduct involved in the
transaction which culminated in his conviction, the LAWYERS WHO HAVE BEEN REPATRIATED
effect of the pardon is only to relieve him of the
penal consequences of his act and does not operate Q: Dacanay practiced law until he migrated to
as a bar to the disbarment proceeding, inasmuch as Canada to seek medical attention for his
the criminal acts may nevertheless constitute proof ailments. He subsequently applied for Canadian
that the attorney does not possess good moral citizenship to avail of Canadas free medical aid
character (In re: Lontok, 43 Phil. 293, April 7, 1922). program. His application was approved and he
became a Canadian citizen. Dacanay later on
NOTE: In the light of recent court pronouncements reacquired his Philippine citizenship by virtue
that a lawyer may be disciplined even for non- of R.A. 9225. Did Dacanay lose his membership
professional misconduct, one may argue that a in the Philippine bar when he gave up his
lawyer convicted of a crime involving moral Philippine citizenship? Can he automatically
turpitude, and subsequently receives absolute practice law upon reacquiring Filipino
pardon, may still be proceeded against under the citizenship?
Code of Professional Responsibility even if the acts
of which he was found guilty did not involve A: The Constitution provides that the practice of all
professional misconduct (A modification of In Re professions in the Philippines shall be limited to
Lontok, supra). The ground for the petition for Filipino citizens save in cases prescribed by law.
disciplinary action under the Code must, however, Since Filipino citizenship is a requirement for
not be founded alone on the conviction but must be admission to the bar, loss thereof terminates
based on the acts committed by the lawyer which membership in the Philippine bar and,
rendered him morally unfit to be a member of the consequently, the privilege to engage in the practice
bar (Aguirre, 2006). of law. In other words, the loss of Filipino
citizenship ipso jure terminates the privilege to
--- practice law in the Philippines. The practice of law
is a privilege denied to foreigners.
Q: X, a member of the Bar, was charged with and
found guilty of estafa, for which he was The exception is when Filipino citizenship is lost by

120
READMISSION TO THE BAR
reason of naturalization as a citizen of another No. 9225 provides that a person who intends to
country but subsequently reacquired pursuant to practice his profession in the Philippines must apply
R.A. 9225. This is because all Philippine citizens with the proper authority for a license or permit to
who become citizens of another country shall be engage in such practice. It cannot be overstressed
deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship that the practice of law is a privilege burdened with
under the conditions of R.A. 9225. Therefore, a conditions. It is so delicately affected with public
Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of another interest that it is both the power and duty of the
country is deemed never to have lost his Philippine state (through the Supreme Court) to control and
citizenship if he reacquires it in accordance with regulate it in order to protect and promote the
R.A. 9225. Although he is also deemed never to have public welfare.
terminated his membership in the Philippine bar, no
automatic right to resume law practice accrues. Adherence to rigid standards of mental fitness,
maintenance of the highest degree of morality,
Before a lawyer who reacquires Filipino citizenship faithful observance of the legal profession,
pursuant to R.A. 9225 can resume his law practice, compliance with the mandatory continuing legal
he must first secure from the SC the authority to do education requirement, and payment of
so, conditioned on: membership fees to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) are the conditions required for
1. The updating and payment in full of the annual membership in good standing in the bar and for
membership dues in the IBP; enjoying the privilege to practice law. Any breach by
2. The payment of professional tax; a lawyer of any of these conditions makes him
3. The completion of at least 36 credit hours of unworthy of the trust and confidence which the
mandatory continuing legal education, this is courts and clients repose in him for the continued
especially significant to refresh the exercise of his professional privilege (In re: petition
applicant/petitioners knowledge of Philipp to re-acquire the privilege to practice law in the
ine laws and update him of legal developments; Philippines, Epifanio B. Muneses, B.M. No. 2112, July
and 24, 2011).
4. The retaking of the lawyers oath which will not
only remind him of his duties and He should file the petition with the Supreme Court,
responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of through the Bar Confidant, accompanied by the
the Court, but also renew his pledge to maintain original or certified copies of the following
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines documents:
(Petition for Leave to Resume Practice of Law of
Benjamin Dacanay, B.M. No. 1678, December 17, 1. Showing that he is still a Filipino citizen. The
2007). Court reiterates that Filipino citizenship is a
requirement for admission to the bar and is, in
--- fact, a continuing requirement for the practice
of law. (Ibid.) Having retained Philippine
Q: Atty. Repatriar, a law school classmate, citizenship could be evidenced by the
approached you on your 25th Class Reunion, Philippine passport, the U.S. Green Card
with questions on how he can resume the showing Philippine citizenship and U.S.
practice of law in the Philippines. He left the residency, or other authentic documents which
country in 1977 after two (2) years of initial law the Supreme Court may require.
practice, and migrated to the United States
where he was admitted to the practice of law in On the other hand, if Atty. Repatriar has lost his
the State of New York. He asks that you give him Philippine citizenship, he must submit the
a formal legal opinion on his query. following:

Outline briefly the steps and the supporting (a) Petition for Re-Acquisition of Philippine
legal reasons you would state in your legal Citizenship;
opinion on what Atty. Repatriar should do to (b) Order (for Re-Acquisition of Philippine
resume his Philippine practice. (2013 Bar) Citizenship);
(c) Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the
A: Atty. Repatriar must prepare a sworn petition to Philippines;
re-acquire the privilege to practice law in the (d) Identification Certificate (IC) issued by the
Philippines. He should manifest in his petition his Bureau of Immigration.
desire to resume his law practice in the Philippines,
and he is not disqualified to practice law. The right The loss of Filipino citizenship means
to resume the practice of law is not automatic. R.A. termination of Atty. Repatriars membership in

121
LEGAL ETHICS
the bar; ipso jure the privilege to engage in the c. 3 other members nominated by the
practice of law. Under R.A. No. 9225, natural- Philippine Judicial Academy, UP Law
born citizens who have lost their Philippine Center and Association of Law Professors,
citizenship by reason of their naturalization as respectively
citizens of a foreign country are deemed to have
re-acquired their Philippine citizenship upon 2. Members are of proven probity and integrity
taking the oath of allegiance to the Republic. 3. Compensation as may be determined by the SC
Thus, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen 4. The initial terms of each of the 3 members shall
of another country and later re-acquires his be 5, 4, and 3 years respectively
Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225
remains to be a member of the Philippine bar. REQUIREMENTS
(Ibid.)
Requirements of completion of MCLE
2. Certification from the IBP indicating updated
payments of annual membership dues; Members of the IBP, unless exempted under Rule 7,
3. Proof of payment of professional tax; and shall complete every 3 years at least 36 hours of
4. Certificate of compliance issued by the MCLE continuing legal education activities. The 36 hours
Office. (Ibid.) shall be divided as follows:
5. A certificate of good moral character attested to
by at least three (3) members of the bar; and 1. 6 hours legal ethics
6. A certification from the State Bar of New York 2. 4 hours trial and pretrial skills
that Atty. Repatriar does not have any previous 3. 5 hours alternative dispute resolution
or pending disciplinary action filed against him 4. 9 hours updates on substantive and
before that body. procedural laws and jurisprudence
5. 4 hours legal writing and oral advocacy
6. 2 hours international law and international
MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION conventions
(MCLE) 7. Remaining 6 hours such other subjects as may
be prescribed by the Committee on MCLE

Purpose of MCLE MCLE for a newly admitted member of the bar

MCLE ensures that members of the IBP are kept Starts on the first day of the month of his admission
abreast with law and jurisprudence throughout (Bar Matter No. 850, Sec. 3, Rule 3).
their career, maintain the ethics of the profession
and enhance the standards of the practice of law. Classes of credits

--- 1. Participatory credit Attending approved


education activities like seminars, conventions,
Q: Describe briefly the Mandatory Continuing symposia, and the like; speaking or lecturing, or
Legal Education (MCLE) for a member of the assigned as panelist, reactor, or commentator,
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the etc. in approved education activities; teaching
purpose of the same. (2015 Bar) in law school or lecturing in bar review classes.
2. Non-participatory Preparing, as author or co-
A: MCLE ensures that members of the IBP are kept author, written materials (article, book or book
abreast with law and jurisprudence throughout review) which contribute to the legal education
their career, maintain the ethics of the profession of the author member, which were not
and enhance the standards of the practice of law. prepared in the ordinary course of his practice
or employment; editing a law book, law journal
Committee on Mandatory Continuing Legal or legal newsletter.
Education
NON-COMPLIANCE OF THE MCLE
1. Composition:
1. Failure to complete education requirement
a. Retired Justice of the SC to act as Chairman, within the compliance period;
who is nominated by the SC 2. Failure to provide attestation of compliance or
b. IBP National President acts as the Vice- exemption;
Chairman

122
MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION
3. Failure to provide satisfactory evidence of 5. The Solicitor General and the Assistant Solicitor
compliance (including evidence of exempt General;
status) within the prescribed period; 6. The Government Corporate Counsel, Deputy
4. Failure to satisfy the education requirement and Assistant Government Corporate Counsel;
and furnish evidence of such compliance within 7. The Chairman and Members of the
60 days from receipt of non-compliance notice; Constitutional Commissions;
5. Failure to pay non-compliance fee within the 8. The Ombudsman, the Overall Deputy
prescribed period; or Ombudsman, the Deputy Ombudsmen and the
6. Any other act or omission analogous to any of Special Prosecutor of the Office of the
the foregoing or intended to circumvent or Ombudsman;
evade compliance with the MCLE requirements. 9. Heads of government agencies exercising quasi-
judicial functions;
NOTE: Members failing to comply will receive a 10. Incumbent deans, bar reviewers and professors
Non-Compliance Notice stating the specific of law who have teaching experience for at least
deficiency and will be given 60 days from date of 10 years in accredited law schools;
notification to file a response. 11. The Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and members
of the Corps of Professional and Professorial
--- Lecturers of the Philippine Judicial Academy;
and
Q: In order to comply with the MCLE 12. Governors and Mayors because they are
requirements, Atty. Ausente enrolled in a prohibited from practicing their profession
seminar given by an MCLE provider. Whenever
he has court or other professional Other parties exempted:
commitments, he would send his messenger or a
member of his legal staff to register his 1. Those who are not in law practice, private or
attendance at the MCLE sessions so he could be public;
credited with the required qualifying 2. Those who have retired from law practice with
attendance. He would also ask them to secure the approval of the IBP Board of Governors.
the printed handouts and the lecturers CDs, all
of which he studied in his free time. Was the Request for exemption under special
action of Atty. Ausente proper? (2013 Bar circumstance
Question)
If there is a good cause for exemption from or
A: NO. Atty. Ausente should be sanctioned because modification of requirement, member may file a
he circumvented or evaded full compliance with the verified request setting forth good cause for
MCLE requirements.(Mandatory Continuing Legal exemption (such as physical disability, illness, post-
Education, Rule 12, Section I(e)) graduate study abroad, proven expertise in law, etc.)
from compliance with or modification of any of the
EXEMPTIONS requirements, including an extension of time for
compliance, in accordance with procedure to be
Persons exempted from the MCLE established by the Committee on MCLE.

1. The President, Vice-President and the NOTE: Applications for exemption from or
Secretaries and Undersecretaries of Executive modification of the MCLE requirement shall be
Departments; under oath and supported by documents.
2. Senators and Members of the House of
Representatives; ---
3. The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the
Supreme Court, incumbent and retired Q: Atty. Mike started teaching Agrarian Reform
members of the judiciary, incumbent members and Taxation in June 2001 at the Arts and
of Judicial Bar Council, incumbent members of Sciences Department of the Far Eastern
the MCLE Committee, incumbent court lawyers University. In 2005, he moved to San Sebastian
who have availed of the Philippine Judicial Institute of Law where he taught Political Law. Is
Academy programs of continuing judicial Atty. Mike exempt from complying with the
education (Amendment to Bar Matter 850, MCLE for the 4th compliance period in April
Resolution of the Court En Banc, July 13, 2004); 2013? (2011 Bar)
4. The Chief State Counsel, Chief State Prosecutor
and Assistant Secretaries of the Dept. of Justice; A: NO, since he has yet to complete the required
teaching experience to be exempt.

123
LEGAL ETHICS
SANCTIONS society as agents of social change and to the courts
as officers thereof by helping improve access to
Consequences of non-compliance justice by the less privileged members of society
and expedite the resolution of cases involving them.
A member who fails to comply with the Mandatory free legal service by members of the bar
requirements after the 60-day period shall be listed and their active support thereof will aid the efficient
as delinquent member by the IBP Board of and effective administration of justice especially in
Governors upon recommendation of the Committee cases involving indigent and pauper litigants (Sec. 2,
on MCLE. B.M. No. 2012).

NOTE: The listing as a delinquent member is an Scope


administrative in nature but it shall be made with
notice and hearing by the Committee on MCLE. B.M. It shall govern the mandatory requirement for
No. 1922, which took effect on January 1, 2009, practicing lawyers to render free legal aid services
requires practicing members of the bar to indicate in all cases (whether, civil, criminal or
in all pleadings filed before the courts or quasi- administrative) involving indigent and pauper
judicial bodies, the number and date of issue of their litigants where the assistance of a lawyer is needed.
MCLE Certificate of Compliance or Certificate of It shall also govern the duty of other members of the
Exemption, as may be applicable, for the legal profession to support the legal aid program of
immediately preceding compliance period. Failure the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Sec. 3, B.M. No.
to disclose the required information would cause 2012).
the dismissal of the case and the expunction of the
pleadings from the records. Practicing lawyers are members of the Philippine
Bar who appear for and in behalf of parties in courts
--- of law and quasi-judicial agencies.

Q: Can a lawyer who lacks the number of units The term practicing lawyers shall EXCLUDE:
required by the MCLE Board continue to practice
the profession? (2014 Bar) 1. Government employees and incumbent elective
officials not allowed by law to practice;
A: YES. A lawyer, not being exempted from MCLE, 2. Lawyers who by law are not allowed to appear
who fails to comply with the required legal in court;
education activities shall receive a Non-Compliance 3. Supervising lawyers of students enrolled in law
Notice and shall be required to explain the student practice in duly accredited legal clinics
deficiency or otherwise show compliance with the of law schools and lawyers of non-
requirements. A member who fails to satisfactory governmental organizations (NGOs) and
comply therewith shall be listed as a delinquent peoples organizations (POs) like the Free Legal
member by the IBP, wherein he shall be included in Assistance Group who by the nature of their
the inactive status (Rule 12 and Rule 13, B.M. 850). work already render free legal aid to indigent
and pauper litigants; and
He may still practice the profession but his all 4. Lawyers not covered under subparagraphs 1 to
pleadings submitted to court may be expunged from 3 including those who are employed in the
the records since it is required that practicing private sector but do not appear for and in
members of the Bar to indicate in all pleadings filed behalf of parties in courts of law and quasi-
before the courts or quasi-judicial bodies, the judicial agencies (Sec. 4[a], B.M. 1. 2012).
number and date of issue of their MCLE Certificate
of Compliance or Certificate of Exemption, as may Legal aid cases
be applicable (Bar Matter No. 1922, June 3, 2008).
It includes actions, disputes, and controversies that
BAR MATTER NO. 2012 are criminal, civil and administrative in nature in
RULE ON MANDATORY LEGAL AID SERVICE whatever stage wherein indigent and pauper
litigants need legal representation (Sec. 4[c], B.
The mandatory Legal Aid Service mandates every M.2012).
practicing lawyer to render a minimum of 60 hours
of free legal aid services to indigent litigants yearly. REQUIREMENTS FOR MANDATORY
LEGAL AID SERVICE
Purpose
Under the Rule, a practicing lawyer, among others,
The rule seeks to enhance the duty of lawyers to the shall coordinate with the Clerk of Court or the Legal

124
MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION
Aid Chairperson of ones Integrated Bar of the hour of service (Sec 5[b], B.M. 2012).
Philippines (IBP) Chapter for cases where the
lawyer may render free legal aid service: NOTE: The Clerk of Court shall issue the certificate
in triplicate, one (1) copy to be retained by the
1. Every practicing lawyer is required to render a practicing lawyer, one (1) copy to be retained by the
minimum of 60 hours of free legal aid services Clerk of Court and one (1) copy to be attached to the
to indigent litigants in a year. Said 60 hours lawyer's compliance report (Sec 5[b][iv] second par.,
shall be spread within the period of 12 months, B.M. 2012)
with a minimum of 5 hours of free legal aid
services each month. However, where it is CREDITS TO LAWYERS WHO RENDER FREE
necessary for the practicing lawyer to render LEGAL AID SERVICE
legal aid service for more than 5 hours in one
month, the excess hours may be credited to the A lawyer who renders mandatory legal aid service
said lawyer for the succeeding periods (Sec. 5[a] for the required number of hours in a year for the
first par., B.M. 2012). three year-period covered by a compliance period
2. The practicing lawyer shall report compliance under the Rules on MCLE shall be credited the
with the requirement within 10 days of the last following:
month of each quarter of the year (Sec. 5[a]
third par., B.M. 2012). 1. Two (2) credit units for legal ethics
3. A practicing lawyer shall be required to secure 2. Two (2) credit units for trial and pretrial skills
and obtain a certificate from the Clerk of Court 3. Two (2) credit units for alternative dispute
attesting to the number of hours spent resolution
rendering free legal aid services in a case (Sec. 4. Four (4) credit units for legal writing and oral
5[b], B.M. 2012). advocacy
4. Said compliance report shall be submitted to 5. Four (4) credit units for substantive and
the Legal Aid Chairperson of the IBP Chapter procedural laws and jurisprudence
within the Courts jurisdiction (Sec. 5[c], B.M. 6. Six (6) credit units for such subjects as may be
2012). prescribed by the MCLE Committee under
5. The IBP chapter shall, after verification, issue a Section 2(g), Rule 2 of the Rules on MCLE
compliance certificate to the concerned lawyer.
The IBP Chapter shall also submit compliance A lawyer who renders mandatory legal aid service
reports to the IBPs National Committee on for the required number of hours in a year for at
Legal Aid (NCLA) for recording and least two consecutive years within the three year-
documentation. The submission shall be made period covered by a compliance period under the
within forty-five (45) days after the mandatory Rules on MCLE shall be credited the following:
submission of compliance reports by the
practicing lawyers (Sec. 5[d], B.M. 2012). 1. One (1) credit unit for legal ethics
6. Practicing lawyers shall indicate in all pleadings 2. One (1) credit unit for trial and pretrial skills
filed before the courts or quasi-judicial bodies 3. One (1) credit unit for alternative dispute
the number and date of issue of their certificate resolution
of compliance for the immediately preceding 4. Two (2) credit units for legal writing and oral
compliance period (Sec 5[e], B.M. 2012). advocacy
5. Two (2) credit units for substantive and
Contents of a certificate from the Clerk of Court procedural laws and jurisprudence
attesting the number of hours spent in 6. Three (3) credit units for such subjects as may
rendering free legal services be prescribed by the MCLE Committee under
Section 2(g), Rule 2 of the Rules on MCLE (Sec.
1. The case or cases where the legal aid service 8, B.M. 2012).
was rendered, the party or parties in the said
case(s), the docket number of the said case(s) PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE
and the date(s) the service was rendered RULE ON MANDATORY LEGAL AID SERVICE
2. The number of hours actually spent
3. The number of hours actually spent attending 1. At the end of every calendar year, any practicing
mediation, conciliation or any other mode of lawyer who fails to meet the minimum
ADR on a particular case prescribed 60 hours of legal aid service each
4. A motion (except a motion for extension of time year shall be required by the IBP, through the
to file a pleading or for postponement of National Committee on Legal Aid (NCLA), to
hearing or conference) or pleading filed on a explain why he was unable to render the
particular case shall be considered as one (1) minimum prescribed number of hours.

125
LEGAL ETHICS
2. If no explanation has been given or if the NCLA a public document (Sec. 19, Rule 132, RRC) and may
finds the explanation unsatisfactory, the NCLA be presented in evidence without further proof, the
shall make a report and recommendation to the certificate of acknowledgment being prima facie
IBP Board of Governors that the erring lawyer evidence of the execution of the instrument or
be declared a member of the IBP who is not in document involved (Sec. 30, Rule 132, RRC).
good standing.
3. Upon approval of the NCLAs recommendation, QUALIFICATIONS OF NOTARY PUBLIC
the IBP Board of Governors shall declare the
erring lawyer as a member not in good Notary public
standing.
4. The notice to the lawyer shall include a A person appointed by the court whose duty is to
directive to pay P4,000.00 penalty which shall attest to the genuineness of any deed or writing in
accrue to the special fund for the legal aid order to render them available as evidence of facts
program of the IBP. stated therein and who is authorized by the statute
5. The not in good standing declaration shall be to administer various oaths.
effective for a period of 3 months from the
receipt of the erring lawyer of the notice from NOTE: Notary Public" and "Notary" refer to any
the IBP Board of Governors. person commissioned to perform official acts under
6. During the said period, the lawyer cannot the rules on Notarial Practice (Sec. 9, Rule II, A.M. No.
appear in court or any quasi-judicial body as 02-8-13-SC).
counsel.
7. Provided, however, that the not in good Qualifications of a notary public [C21-RMC]
standing status shall subsist even after the
lapse of the 3-month period until and unless the To be eligible for commissioning as notary public,
penalty shall have been paid. the petitioner must be:
8. Any lawyer who fails to comply with his duties
under this Rule for at least 3 consecutive years 1. A citizen of the Philippines;
shall be the subject of disciplinary proceedings 2. Over 21 years of age;
to be instituted motu proprio by the Committee 3. A resident in the Philippines for at least 1 year
on Bar Discipline (Sec. 7, B.M. 2012). and maintains a regular place of work or
business in the city or province where the
NOTE: The falsification of a certificate or any commission is to be issued;
contents thereof by any Clerk of Court or by any
Chairperson of the Legal Aid Committee of the IBP NOTE: This is to prohibit the practice of some
local chapter where the case is pending or by the notaries who maintain makeshift offices in
Director of a legal clinic or responsible officer of an sidewalks and street corners of government
NGO (non-governmental organizations) or PO offices (Tirol, 2010).
(peoples organizations) shall be a ground for an
administrative case against the said Clerk of Court 4. A member of the Philippine Bar in good
or Chairperson. This is without prejudice to the standing with clearances from the Office of the
filing of the criminal and administrative charges Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court and the
against the malfeasor (Sec. 7[e], B.M. NO. 2012). Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and
5. Has not been convicted in the first instance of
any crime involving moral turpitude (Second
NOTARIAL PRACTICE par., Sec. 1, Rule III, 2004 Rules on Notarial
Practice, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC).

Purpose of the Notarial Law LAWYERS AS NOTARY PUBLIC

1. To promote, serve, and protect public interest; GR: Only those admitted to the practice of law are
2. To simplify, clarify, and modernize the rules qualified to be notaries public.
governing notaries public; and
3. To foster ethical conduct among notaries public XPNs: When there are no persons with the
(Sec. 2, Rule I, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC) necessary qualifications or where there are
qualified persons but they refuse appointment. In
Effect of notarized document which case, the following persons may be appointed
as notaries:
A document acknowledged before a notary public is

126
NOTARIAL PRACTICE
1. Those who passed the studies of law in a The rights, duties, privileges and functions of the
reputable university; or office of an attorney-at-law are so inherently
2. A clerk or deputy clerk of court for a period of incompatible with the official functions, duties,
not less than two years. powers, discretions and privileges of a judge of the
Regional Trial Court.
Non-Lawyers as Notaries
Authority of MTC judges to notarize and its
The Rules now requires that notaries must be limitation
members of the Philippine Bar. The Supreme Court
no longer approves requests from non-lawyers for MTC and MCTC judges may act as notaries public ex-
appointment or reappointment as notaries. officio in the notarization of documents connected
only with the exercise of their official functions and
Government Lawyers as Notaries duties. They may not, as notaries public ex-officio,
undertake the preparation and acknowledgment of
Acts of notarization are within the ambit of the term private documents, contracts and other acts of
practice of law. Pursuant to Memorandum conveyances which bear no direct relation to the
Circular No. 17, No Government officer or performance of their functions as judges.
employee shall engage directly in any private
business, vocation, or profession or be connected However, MTC and MCTC judges assigned to
with any commercial, credit, agricultural, or municipalities or circuits with no lawyers or
industrial undertaking without a written notaries public may, in the capacity as notaries
permission from the head of Department. The law public ex-officio, perform any act within the
now allows government lawyers to serve as competence of a regular notary public, provided
notaries provided there is written permission from that:
the head of Department.
1. All notarial fees charged be for the account of
NOTE: In a case, a lawyer was reprimanded for the Government and turned over to the
engaging in notarial practice without the authority municipal treasurer
from the Secretary of Justice. The Registry of Deeds 2. Certification be made in the notarized
with whom he obtained authority is not the head of documents attesting to the lack of any lawyer or
the Department (Abella v. Atty. Cruzabra, A.C. No. notary public in such municipality or circuit.
5688, June 4, 2009).
Their authority to notarize is limited to their sala.
Clerk of Court as Notary Public Hence, they cannot notarize documents filed in
another town because it will be considered as
Clerk of court may act as notary public, provided he practice of law.
is commissioned and has been permitted by his
superior. Such consent is necessary because the act ---
of notarizing a document is a practice of law.
Q: Vicente Batic charged Judge Victorio Galapon
NOTE: Clerks of Court of RTCs are authorized to Jr. with engaging in unauthorized notarial
notarize not only documents relating to the exercise practice for having notarized a Deed of Absolute
of official functions but also private documents, Sale between Antonio Caamic and Lualhati
subject to conditions that: (a) all notarial fees Ellert. Under the deed of sale, Ellert, was
charged shall be for the account of the Judiciary; and described as single. At the time of Galapons
(b) they certify in the notarized documents that notarization of the Deed of Sale, there was a
there are no notaries public within the territorial notary public in Dulag, Leyte. Judge Galapon
jurisdiction of the RTC. claims that he did not prepare the document and
that his participation was limited to its
Prohibition against the RTC judges to notarize acknowledgment, for which the corresponding
fee was collected by and paid to the clerk of
Section 35, Rule 138, of the Revised Rules of Court court. Are MTC judges like Judge Galapon
as well as Canon 5, Rule 5.07 of the Code of Judicial absolutely prohibited from acting as notaries
Conduct provides that no judge or other official or public?
employee of the superior courts shall engage in
private practice as a member of the bar or give A: NO. While Judge Galapon explains that he
professional advice to clients. Notarization of sincerely believed that when no notary public is
documents is considered a practice of law. available, the MTC may act as ex-officio notary
public, provided the fees shall be for the

127
LEGAL ETHICS
government, such is not enough to exonerate him 3. The petitioner establishes to the satisfaction of
from liability. His acts do not fall under the the Executive Judge that he has read and fully
exception because at the time of his notarization of understood the Rules on Notarial Practice.
the Deed of Sale, there was a notary public in Dulag,
Leyte (Vicente Batic v. Judge Victorio Galapon Jr., NOTE: The Executive Judge shall forthwith
A.M. No. MTJ-99-1239, July 29, 2005). issue a commission and a Certificate of
Authorization to Purchase a Notarial Seal in
COMMISSION favor of the petitioner (Sec. 4, Rule III, A.M. No.
02-8-13-SC)
It refers to the grant of authority to perform notarial
acts and to the written evidence of the authority Two kinds of duties
(Sec. 3, Rule II, A.M. 02-8-13-SC).
1. Execution of formalities required by law; and
Issuance of notarial commission 2. Verification of the capacity and identity of the
parties as well as the legality of the act executed
A notarial commission may be issued by an
Executive Judge to any qualified person who DUTIES OF A NOTARY PUBLIC
submits a petition in accordance with the Rules on
Notarial Practice (Sec. 1, first par., Rule III, A.M. No. 1. To keep a notarial register
02-8-13-SC). 2. To make the proper entry or entries in his
notarial register touching his notarial acts in the
Form of the petition and supporting documents manner required by the law
for a notarial commission 3. To send the copy of the entries to the proper
clerk of court within the first 10 days of the
Every petition for a notarial commission shall be in month next following
writing, verified, and shall include the following: 4. To affix to acknowledgments the date of
expiration of his commission, as required by
1. A statement containing the petitioner's law
personal qualifications, including the 5. To forward his notarial register, when filled, to
petitioner's date of birth, residence, telephone the proper clerk of court
number, professional tax receipt, roll of 6. To make report, within reasonable time to the
attorney's number and IBP membership proper judge concerning the performance of his
number; duties, as may be required by such judge
2. Certification of good moral character of the 7. To make the proper notation regarding
petitioner by at least 2 executive officers of the residence certificates (Sec. 240, Rev. Adm. Code).
local chapter of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines where he is applying for FEES OF NOTARY PUBLIC
commission;
3. Proof of payment for the filing of the petition as 1. For performing a notarial act, a notary public
required by the Rules on Notarial Practice; and may charge the maximum fee as prescribed by
4. Three passport-size color photographs with the Supreme Court unless he waives the fee in
light background taken within 30 days of the whole or in part (Sec. 1, Rule V, A. M. 02-8-13-
application. The photograph should not be SC);
retouched. The petitioner shall sign his name at 2. A notary public may charge travel fees and
the bottom part of the photographs (Sec. 2,Rule expenses separate from the notarial fees when
III, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC). traveling to perform a notarial act if the notary
public and the person requesting the notarial
NOTE: Every petitioner for a notarial commission act agree prior to the travel (Sec. 2, Rule, A. M.
shall pay the application fee as prescribed in the 02-813-SC);
Rules of Court (Sec. 3, Rule III, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC). 3. No fee or compensation of any kind, except
those expressly prescribed and allowed herein,
Requirements before the executive judge shall be collected or received for any notarial
conduct a summary hearing on the petition service (Sec. 3, Rule V, A. M. 02-813-SC);
4. A notary public shall not require payment of
1. The petition is sufficient in form and substance; any fees specified prior to the performance of a
2. The petitioner proves the allegations contained notarial act unless otherwise agreed upon (Sec.
in the petition; and 4, first par.,, Rule V, A. M. 02-813-SC);
5. Any travel fees and expenses paid to a notary
public prior to the performance of a notarial act

128
NOTARIAL PRACTICE
are not subject to refund if the notary public Q: Juan dela Cruz was commissioned as a notary
already traveled but failed to complete in whole public in 2001. His friend asked him to notarize
or in part the notarial act for reasons beyond his a deed of absolute sale sometime in 2004, to
control and without negligence on his part (Sec. which he agreed free of charge. A complaint for
4, second par., Rule V, A. M. 02-813-SC). malpractice was filed against him. Is Juan dela
Cruz guilty of malpractice?
NOTE: A notary public who charges fee for notarial
services shall issue a receipt registered with the A: YES. Absent any showing that his notarial
Bureau of Internal Revenue and keep a journal of commission has been renewed, his act constitutes
notarial fees. He shall enter in the journal all fees malpractice because at the time he notarized the
charges for services rendered. A notary public shall document, his notarial commission has already
post in a conspicuous place in his office a complete expired. It is not a defense that no payment has been
schedule of chargeable notarial fees (Sec. 5, Rule V, received. The requirement for the issuance of the
A. M. 02-813-SC). commission as notary public must not be treated as
a mere casual formality. In fact, Juans act also
--- constitutes falsification of public document.

Q: Ms. Seller and Mr. Buyer presented to a EXPIRED COMMISSION


commissioned notary public a deed of sale for
notarization. The notary public explained to A notary public may file a written application with
them the transaction the deed embodies and the Executive Judge for the renewal of his
asked them if they were freely entering the commission within 45 days before the expiration
transaction. After the document was signed by thereof. A mark, image or impression of the seal of
all the parties, the notary public collected the the notary public shall be attached in the application
notarial fee but did not issue any BIR-registered (Sec. 13, first par., Rule III, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC).
receipt. Is the notarization of the deed proper?
(2013 Bar) NOTE: If a person is applying for a commission for
the first time, what he files is a petition and not an
A: The notarization of the deed is proper because application.
any irregularity in the payment of the notarial fees
does not affect the validity of the notarization made Failure of the notary public to file an application
(Ocampo v. Land Bank of the Philippines, G.R. No. for the renewal of his commission
164968, July 3, 2009).
Failure to file said application will result in the
TERM OF OFFICE OF A NOTARY PUBLIC deletion of the name of the notary public in the
register of notaries public and may only be
Term of office of a notary public (1995 Bar) reinstated therein after he is issued a new
commission (Sec. 13, second and third pars., Rule III,
A notary public may perform notarial acts for a A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC).
period of 2 years commencing the 1st day of
January of the year in which the commissioning is NOTE: The Executive Judge shall, upon payment of
made until the last day of December of the the application fee, act on an application for renewal
succeeding year regardless of the actual date when of a commission within thirty (30) days from receipt
the application was renewed, unless earlier revoked thereof. If the application is denied, the Executive
or the notary public has resigned under the Rules on Judge shall state the reasons therefor (Sec. 14, Rule
Notarial Practice and the Rules of Court (Section 11, III, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC).
Rule III, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC).
POWERS AND LIMITATIONS
NOTE: The period of 2 years of a notarial
commission will commence at January first A notary public is empowered to perform the
regardless of when it was really granted and will following notarial acts: [JAO-CAS]
end at exactly 2 years from said date of
commencement up to December of the 2nd year. Ex. 1. Acknowledgements;
Atty. Antonio applied for and was given notarial 2. Oaths and affirmations;
commission on 12 November 2010, such term will 3. Jurats;
expire on 31 December 2011 (2011 Bar). 4. Signature witnessing;
5. Copy certifications; and
--- 6. Any other act authorized by these rules (Section
1(a), Rule IV, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC)

129
LEGAL ETHICS
NOTARIZATION OF A PRIVATE DOCUMENT document as his free and voluntary act and
deed, and, if he acts in a particular
Notarization converts a private document to a representative capacity, that he has the
public instrument, making it admissible in evidence authority to sign in that capacity (Sec. 1, Rule II,
without the necessity of preliminary proof of its A.M. 02-8-13-SC).
authenticity and due execution. A notarized
document is by law entitled to full credit upon its ---
face and it is for this reason that notaries public
must observe the basic requirements in notarizing Q: Cabanilla filed a complaint against Atty.
documents (Dolores dela cruz, et al. v. Atty. Jose Cristal-Tenorio with the IBP, alleging that he
Dimaano, Jr., September 12, 2008, A.C. No. 7781). never appeared before her when she notarized
the deed of sale of his house, and that the
A notary public should not notarize a document signatures appearing opposite their respective
unless the persons who signed the same are the very names were forgeries. Did Atty. Cristal-Tenorio
same persons who executed and personally fail to comply with the mandates of the law when
appeared before him to attest to the contents and she notarized the deed of sale without the
truth of what are stated therein. The presence of the complainant and his children? Does such failure
parties to the deed will enable the notary public to warrant the revocation of her notarial
verify the genuineness of the signature of the affiant. commission?

Absence of notarization in a deed of sale A: YES. Under Section 1(a) of Act 2103, a notary
public taking the acknowledgment in a document or
The absence of notarization of the Deed of Sale instrument is mandated to certify that the person
would not necessarily invalidate the transaction acknowledging the instrument or document is
evidenced therein. Article 1358 of the Civil Code known to him and that he is the same person who
requires that the form of a contract that transmits executed it and acknowledged that the same is his
or extinguishes real rights over immovable free act and deed. To "acknowledge before" means
property should be in a public document, yet it is to avow; to own as genuine, to assert, to admit; and
also an accepted rule that the failure to observe the "before" means in front or preceding in space or
proper form does not render the transaction invalid. ahead of. A party acknowledging must appear
Thus, it has been uniformly held that the form before the notary public. A notary public should not
required in Article 1358 is not essential to the notarize a document unless the persons who signed
validity or enforceability of the transaction, but the same are the very same persons who executed
required merely for convenience (Leonor Camcam v. and personally appeared before the said notary
CA; Tigno v. Aquino). public to attest to the contents and truth of what are
stated therein. The presence of the parties to the
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT deed making the acknowledgment will enable the
notary public to verify the genuineness of the
Refers to an act in which an individual on a single signature of the affiant. A notary public is enjoined
occasion: from notarizing a fictitious or spurious document.
The function of a notary public is, among others, to
1. Appears in person before the notary public and guard against any illegal deed (Cabanilla v. Cristal-
presents an integrally complete instrument or Tenorio, A.C. No. 6139, November 11, 2003).
document;
---
NOTE: A notary public cannot perform a
notarial act over a document that has missing Q: Before me personally appeared this 30 th of
pages, or that contains blanks that should be August 2010 Milagros A. Ramirez, who proved
filled-in prior to the notarial act. her identity to me through witnesses: 1. Rosauro
S. Balana, Passport UU123456; 1-5-
2. Is attested to be personally known to the notary 2010/Baguio City; and 2. Elvira N. Buela,
public or identified by the notary public Passport VV200345; 1-17-2009/Manila. Both
through competent evidence of identity as witnesses, of legal ages, under oath declare that:
defined by the Rules on Notarial Practice; and Milagros A. Ramirez is personally known to
3. Represents to the notary public that the them; she is the same seller in the foregoing
signature on the instrument or document was deed of sale; she does not have any current
voluntarily affixed by him for the purposes identification document nor can she obtain one
stated in the instrument or document, declares within a reasonable time; and they are not privy
that he has executed the instrument or to or are interested in the deed he signed. What

130
NOTARIAL PRACTICE
is the status of such a notarial NOTE: P.A.O. Lawyers now have the authority to
acknowledgement? (2011 Bar Question) administer oaths, provided it is in connection with
the performance of their duties.
A: Valid, since it is a manner of establishing the
identity of the person executing the document. The fiscal or the state prosecutor has the authority
to administer oaths (RA No. 5180, as amended by P.D.
AFFIRMATION OR OATH 911).

Refers to act in which an individual on a single JURAT


occasion:
Refers to an act in which an individual on a single
1. Appears in person before the notary public; occasion:
2. Is personally known to the public or identified
by the notary through competent evidence of 1. Appears in person before the notary public and
identity as defined by the Rules; and presents an instrument or document;
3. Avows under penalty of law, to the whole truth 2. Is personally known to the notary public or
of the contents of the instrument or document. identified by the notary public through
competent evidence of identity as defined by
Officers allowed to administer oaths (Republic the Rules on Notarial Practice;
Act No. 9406): 3. Signs the instrument or document in the
presence of the notary; and
1. President; 4. Takes an oath or affirmation before the notary
2. Vice-President; public as to such instrument or document (Sec.
3. Members and Secretaries of both Houses of the 6, Rule II, A.M. 02-8-13-SC).
Congress;
4. Members of the Judiciary; NOTE: A jurat is not a part of a pleading but merely
5. Secretaries of Departments; evidences the fact that the affidavit was properly
6. Provincial governors and lieutenant-governors; made. The claim or belief of Atty. Dela Rea that the
7. City mayors; presence of petitioner Gamido was not necessary
8. Municipal mayors; for the jurat because it is not an acknowledgment is
9. Bureau directors; patently baseless. If this had been his belief since he
10. Regional directors; was first commissioned as a notary public, then he
11. Clerk of courts; has been making a mockery of the legal solemnity of
12. Registrars of deeds; an oath in a jurat. Notaries public and others
13. Other civilian officers in the public service of authorized by law to administer oaths or to take
the government of the Philippines whose acknowledgments should not take for granted the
appointments are vested in the President and solemn duties appertaining to their offices. Such
are subject to confirmation by the Commission duties are dictated by public policy and are
on Appointments; impressed with public interest (Gamido v. Bilibid
14. All other constitutional officers; Prisons Officials, G.R. No. 114829, March 1, 1995).
15. PAO lawyers in connection with the
performance of duty; and Acknowledgment v. Jurat
16. Ombudsman (Sec. 15(8), RA 6770)
17. Notaries public (Sec. 41, Chapter I, Book I, ACKNOWLEDGMENT JURAT
E.O.292) Act of one who has That part of an
executed a deed, in going to affidavit in which
Duty to administer oaths some competent officer or the notary public or
court and declaring It to be officer certifies that
Officers authorized to administer oaths, with the his act or deed the instrument was
exception of notaries public, municipal judges and sworn to before him.
clerks of court, are not obliged to administer oaths
or execute certificates save in matters of official The notary public or officer It is not part of a
business or in relation to their functions as such; taking the pleading but merely
and with the exception of notaries public, the officer acknowledgment shall evidences the fact
performing the service in those matters shall charge certify that the person that the affidavit was
no fee, unless specifically authorized by law (Section acknowledging the properly made.
42, Chapter I, Book I, E.O. No. 292). instrument or document is
known to him and he is the

131
LEGAL ETHICS
same person who executed 2. Both witnesses sign their own names in
it and acknowledged that addition to the thumb or other mark;
the same is his free act and 3. The notary public writes below the thumb or
deed. other mark: thumb or other mark affixed by
Two-fold purpose: To Purpose: Gives the (name of signatory by mark) in the presence of
authorize the deed to be document a legal (names and addresses of witnesses) and
given in evidence without character. undersigned notary public; and
further proof of its 4. The notary public notarizes the signature by
execution, and, to entitle it thumb or other mark through an
to be recorded. acknowledgment, jurat or signature witnessing
(Sec. 1(b), Rule IV, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC)
Where used: Where used:
1. To authenticate an 1. Affidavits; ---
agreement between two or 2. Certifications;
more persons; or 3. Whenever the Q: Is a notary public authorized to sign on behalf
2. Where the document person executing of a person who is physically unable to sign or
contains a disposition of makes a statement make a mark on an instrument or document?
property. of facts or attests to (1995 Bar Question)
the truth of an event,
under oath. A: YES. It likewise falls within the powers of a
E.g. The acknowledgment E.g. An affidavit notary public, provided:
in a deed of lease of land. subscribed before a
notary public or 1. The notary public is directed by the person
public official unable to sign or make a mark to sign on his
authorized for the behalf;
purpose. 2. The signature of the notary public is affixed in
the presence of 2 disinterested and unaffected
NOTE: In notarial wills, acknowledgment is witnesses to the instrument or document;
required, not merely a jurat. 3. Both witnesses sign their own names;
4. The notary public writes below his signature:
SIGNATURE WITNESSING Signature affixed by notary in the presence of
(names and addresses of person and 2
Refers to a notarial act in which an individual on a witnesses); and
single occasion: 5. The notary public notarizes his signature by
acknowledgment or jurat (Sec. 1(c), Rule IV, A.M.
1. Appears in person before the notary public and 02-8-13-SC).
presents an instrument or document;
2. Is personally known to the notary public or COPY CERTIFICATION
identified by the notary public through
competent evidence of identity as defined by Refers to a notarial act in which a notary public:
the Rules on Notarial Practice; and
3. Signs the instrument or document in the 1. Is presented with an instrument or document
presence of the notary public (Sec. 14, Rule II, A. that is neither a vital record, a public record, nor
M. No. 02-8-13-SC). publicly recordable;
2. Copies or supervises the copying of the
--- instrument or document;
3. Compares the instrument or document with the
Q: Is a notary public authorized to certify the copy; and
affixing of a signature by thumb or other mark 4. Determines that the copy is accurate and
on an instrument or document presented for complete (Sec. 4, Rule II, A.M. 02-8-13-SC).
notarization? (1995 Bar)
NOTE: The document copied must be an original
A: YES. It is also within the powers of a notary document. It cannot be a copy itself.
public, provided:
NOTARIAL CERTIFICATE
1. The thumb or other mark is affixed in the
presence of the notary public and of two (2) Refers to the part of, or attachment to a notarized
disinterested and unaffected witnesses to the instrument or document that is completed by the
instrument or document; notary public which bears the notary's signature

132
NOTARIAL PRACTICE
and seal, and states the facts attested to by the demand that the document presented to him for
notary public in a particular notarization as notarization should be signed in his presence. By his
provided for by the Rules on Notarial Practice (Sec. admission, the affidavit was already signed by the
8, Rule II, A. M. No. 02-8-13). purported affiant at the time it was presented to him
for notarization. Atty. Villamor thus failed to heed
NOTE: Loose notarial certificate refers to a his duty as a notary public to demand that the
notarial certificate that is attached to a notarized document for notarization be signed in his presence
instrument or document. (Traya Jr. v. Villamor, A.C. No. 4595, February 6,
2004).
LIMITATIONS TO THE PERFORMANCE OF A
NOTARIAL ACT ---

NOTARY WHO IS SIGNATORY TO AN Q: During their lifetime, the Spouses Villanueva


INSTRUMENT OR DOCUMENT acquired several parcels of land. They were
survived by their 5 children: Simeona, Susana,
A person shall not perform a notarial act if the Maria, Alfonso, and Florencia. Alfonso executed
person involved as signatory to the instrument or an Affidavit of Adjudication stating that as the
document is: only surviving son and sole heir of the spouses,
he was adjudicating himself a parcel of land.
a. Not in the notary's presence personally at the Thereafter, he executed a Deed of Absolute Sale,
time of the notarization; and (Sec. 2(b)(1), Rule conveying the property to Adriano Villanueva.
IV, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC). Atty. Salud Beradio appeared as notary public
b. Not personally known to the notary public or on both the affidavit of adjudication and the
otherwise identified by the notary public deed of sale. Atty. Beradio knew of the falsity of
through competent evidence of identity as Alfonsos statement. Florencia and descendants
defined by the Rules on Notarial Practice of the other children of the spouses were still
(Sec.2(b)(2), Rule IV, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC) alive at the time of execution of both documents.
c. The document is blank or incomplete; (Sec.6 (a) Was there a failure to discharge properly the
Rule IV, A.M. 02-8-13-SC) duties of a notary public?
d. An instrument or document is without
appropriate notarial certification (Sec. 6, Rule A: YES. Atty. Beradios conduct breached the Code
IV, A.M. 02-8-13-SC). of Professional Responsibility, which requires
lawyers to obey the laws of the land and promote
--- respect for the law and legal processes as well as
Rule 1.01 of the Code which proscribes lawyers
Q: Cynthia filed an application for building from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or
permit in connection with the renovation of a deceitful conduct. She herself admitted that she
building situated on a lot owned by her brother knew of the falsity of Alfonsos statement that he
Rolando de la Cruz. One of the documents was the sole heir of the spouses. She therefore
required in the processing of the application notarized a document while fully aware that it
was an affidavit to be executed by the lot owner. contained a material falsehood. The affidavit of
Since Rolando de la Cruz was a resident abroad, adjudication is premised on this very assertion. By
an affidavit was prepared wherein it was made this instrument, Alfonso claimed a portion of his
to appear that he was a resident of Leyte. Atty. parents estate all to himself, to the exclusion of his
Francisco Villamor notarized the purported co-heirs. Shortly afterwards, Atty. Beradio
affidavit. According to him, a Chinese mestizo notarized the deed of sale, knowing that the deed
appeared in his law office one time, requesting took basis from the unlawful affidavit of
that his affidavit be notarized. Said person adjudication (Heirs of the Late Spouses Lucas v .Atty.
declared that he was Rolando de la Cruz. Atty. Beradio, A.C. No. 6270, January 22, 2007).
Villamor then asked for the production of his
residence certificate, but he said, he did not ---
bother to bring the same along with him
anymore as, he has already indicated his serial NOTE: If the notary public admitted that he has
number in the jurat portion together with the personal knowledge of a false statement contained
date of issue and place of issue. Did Atty. in the instrument to be notarized yet proceeded to
Francisco Villamor commit a violation of affix his or her notarial seal on it, the court must not
notarial law? hesitate to discipline the notary public accordingly
as the circumstances of the case may dictate.
A: YES. It is the duty of the notarial officer to Otherwise, the integrity and sanctity of the

133
LEGAL ETHICS
notarization process may be undermined and public A notary public shall keep, maintain, protect and
confidence on notarial documents diminished provide for lawful inspection as provided in these
(Ibid.). Rules, a chronological official notarial register of
notarial acts consisting of a permanently bound
DISQUALIFICATION OF A NOTARY PUBLIC TO book with numbered pages.
PERFORM A NOTARIAL ACT
The register shall be kept in books to be furnished
A notary public is disqualified to perform notarial by the Solicitor General to any notary public upon
act when he: request and upon payment of the cost thereof. The
register shall be duly paged, and on the first page,
1. Is a party to the instrument or document that is the Solicitor General shall certify the number of
to be notarized; pages of which the book consists (Sec. 1(a), Rule VI,
A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC).
NOTE: The function would be defeated if the
notary public is one of the signatories to the NOTE: Failure of the notary to make the proper
instrument. For then, he would be interested in entry or entries in his notarial register touching his
sustaining the validity thereof as it directly notarial acts in the manner required by law is a
involves himself and the validity of his own act. ground for revocation of his commission (Father
It would place him in an inconsistent position, Ranhilio C. Aquino Et. Al., v. Atty. Edwin Pascua, A.C.
and the very purpose of the acknowledgment, No. 5095, November 28, 2007, En Banc).
which is to minimize fraud, would be thwarted
(Villarin v. Sabate, A.C. No. 3224, February 9, Notary public is personally accountable for all
2000). entries in his notarial register. They cannot be
relieved of responsibility for the violation of the
2. Will receive, as a direct or indirect result, any aforesaid sections by passing the buck to their
commission, fee, advantage, right, title, interest, secretaries (Lingan v. Atty. Calibaquib, A.C. No. 5377,
cash, property, or other consideration, except June 15, 2006).
as provided by the Rules on Notarial Practice
and by law; or Effect of failure to submit Report
3. Is a spouse, common-law partner, ancestor,
descendant, or relative by affinity or Notarys negligence in failing to submit his notarial
consanguinity of the principal within the fourth report will not affect the admissibility as evidence of
civil degree (Sec. 3, Rule IV, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC). an instrument he notarized (Tirol, 2010). Parties
who appear before a notary public to have their
INSTANCES WHEN NOTARY PUBLIC MAY documents notarized should not be expected to
REFUSE TO NOTARIZE follow up on the submission of the notarial
reports. They should not be made to suffer the
1. The notary knows or has good reason to believe consequences of the negligence of the Notary Public
that the notarial act or transaction is unlawful in following the procedures prescribed by the
or immoral; Notarial Law (Destreza v. Atty. Rioza-Plazo, G.R. No.
2. The signatory shows a demeanor which 176863, October 30, 2009).
engenders in the mind of the notary public
reasonable doubt as to the former's knowledge Signing or affixing a thumbmark in the notarial
of the consequences of the transaction register
requiring a notarial act;
3. In the notary's judgment, the signatory is not At the time of notarization, the notary's notarial
acting of his or her own free will (Sec.4, Rule V, register shall be signed or a thumb or other mark
A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC); or affixed by each:
4. If the document or instrument to be notarized
is considered as an improper document by the 1. Principal;
Rules on Notarial Practice. 2. Credible witness swearing or affirming to the
identity of a principal; and
NOTE: Improper instrument/document is a blank 3. Witness to a signature by thumb or other mark,
or incomplete instrument or an instrument or or to a signing by the notary public on behalf of
document without appropriate notarial a person physically unable to sign (Sec. 3, Rule
certification (Sec. 6, Rule V, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC). VI, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC).

NOTARIAL REGISTER Inspection of a notarial register by private


persons

134
NOTARIAL PRACTICE
1. The inspection is made in the notarys presence; commissioning court. Outside the place of his
2. During regular business hours; commission, a notary public is bereft of power to
3. The person's identity is personally known to perform any notarial act.
the notary public or proven through competent
evidence of identity as defined in these Rules; Under the Notarial Law, the jurisdiction of a notary
4. The person affixes a signature and thumb or public is co-extensive with the province for which
other mark or other recognized identifier, in the he was commissioned; and for the notary public in
notarial register in a separate, dated entry; the city of Manila, the jurisdiction is co-extensive
5. The person specifies the month, year, type of with said city. Circular 8 of 1985, however, clarified
instrument or document, and name of the further that the notary public may be commissioned
principal in the notarial act or acts sought; and for the same term only by one court within the
6. The person is shown only the entry or entries Metro Manila region.
specified by him (Sec.4 (a), Rule VI, A.M. No. 02-
8-13-SC). Regular place of work or business of a notary
public meaning
Examination of notarial register by law
enforcement officer The regular place of work or business refers to a
stationary office in the city or province wherein the
The notarial register may be examined by a law notary public renders legal and notarial services
enforcement officer in the course of an official (Sec. 11, Rule II, 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice).
investigation or by virtue of a court order (Sec. 4(b),
Rule VI, A. M. No. 02-8-13-SC). Jurisdiction of Notary Public

LOSS, DESTRUCTION and DAMAGE OF GR: A notary public shall not perform a notarial act
NOTARIAL REGISTER outside his jurisdiction and his regular place of
work or business.
1. In case the notarial register is stolen, lost,
destroyed, damaged, or otherwise rendered XPNs: A notarial act may be performed at the
unusable or illegible as a record of notarial acts, request of the parties in the following sites, other
the notary public shall, within ten (10) days than his regular place of work or business, located
after informing the appropriate law within his territorial jurisdiction:
enforcement agency in the case of theft or
vandalism, notify the Executive Judge by any 1. Public offices, convention halls, and similar
means providing a proper receipt or places where oaths of office may be
acknowledgment, including registered mail and administered;
also provide a copy or number of any pertinent 2. Public function areas in hotels and similar
police report. places for the signing of instruments or
2. Upon revocation or expiration of a notarial documents requiring notarization;
commission, or death of the notary public, the 3. Hospitals and other medical institutions where
notarial register and notarial records shall a party to an instrument or document is
immediately be delivered to the office of the confined for treatment
Executive Judge (Sec. 5, Rule VI, A. M. No. 02-8- 4. Any place where a party to an instrument or
13-SC). document requiring notarization is under
detention (Sec. 2, Rule IV, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC).
The notary public may refuse the request of 5. Such other places as may be dictated because of
inspection for register of deeds emergency.

If the notary public has a reasonable ground to NOTE: It is improper for a notary public to notarize
believe that a person has a criminal intent or documents in sidewalk since it is now required that
wrongful motive in requesting information from the a notary public should maintain a regular place of
notarial register, the notary shall deny access to any work or business within the city or province where
entry or entries therein (Sec. 4(c), Rule VI, A.M. No. he is commissioned. The SC evidently wants to
02-8-13-SC). eradicate the practice of fly by night notaries public
who notarized documents in improvised offices.
JURISDICTION OF NOTARY PUBLIC AND PLACE
OF NOTARIZATION ---

A notary public may perform notarial acts in any Q: Atty. Sabungero obtained a notarial
place within the territorial jurisdiction of the commission. One Sunday, while he was at the

135
LEGAL ETHICS
cockpit, a person approached him with an 8. Fails to identify a principal on the basis of
affidavit that needed to be notarized. Atty. personal knowledge or competent evidence;
Sabungero immediately pulled out from his 9. Executes a false or incomplete certificate under
pocket his small notarial seal, and notarized the Section 5, Rule IV;
document. Was the affidavit validly notarized? 10. Knowingly performs or fails to perform any
(2009 Bar) other act prohibited or mandated by these
Rules; and
A: Section 2, Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial 11. Commits any other dereliction or act which in
Practice provides that a Notary Public shall not the judgment of the Executive Judge constitutes
perform a notarial act outside his regular place of good cause for revocation of commission or
work, except in few exceptional occasions or imposition of administrative sanction (Sec. 1,
situations, at the request of the parties. Notarizing Rule XI, 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice).
in a cockpit is not one of such exceptions. The
prohibition is aimed to eliminate the practice of NOTE: Functions of notary public violations:
ambulatory notarization. However, assuming that suspension as notary not for the practice of law
the cockpit is within his notarial jurisdiction, the (Villarin v. Sabate, A.C. No. 3224, February 9, 2000).
notarization may be valid but the notary public
should be disciplined. COMPETENT EVIDENCE OF IDENTITY

REVOCATION OF COMMISSION Competent evidence of identity refers to the


identification of an individual based on the
Who may revoke the notarial commission following:

1. The Executive Judge of the RTC who issued the 1. At least one current identification document
commission on any ground on which an issued by an official agency bearing the
application for commission may be denied (Sec. photograph and signature of the individual such
1, Rule XI, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC); or as but not limited to:
2. By the Supreme Court itself in the exercise of its
general supervisory powers over lawyer. a. Passport
b. Driver's license
GROUNDS FOR REVOCATION c. PRC
d. NBI clearance
The executive Judge shall revoke a notarial e. Police clearance
commission for any ground on which an application f. Postal ID
for a commission may be denied. In addition, the g. Voter's ID
Executive Judge may revoke the commission of, or h. Any other government issued ID (Sec 12 of
impose appropriate administrative sanctions upon, Rule 2, 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, as
any notary public who: amended by A.M. No.02-8-13-SC dated
February 19, 2008).
1. Fails to keep a notarial register;
2. Fails to make the proper entry or entries in his 2. The oath or affirmation of one credible witness
notarial register concerning his notarial acts; not privy to the instrument, document or
3. Fails to send the copy of the entries to the transaction who is personally known to the
Executive Judge within the first ten (10) days of notary public and who personally knows the
the month following; individual, or of two credible witnesses neither
4. Fails to affix to acknowledgments the date of of whom is privy to the instrument, document
expiration of his commission; or transaction who each personally knows the
5. Fails to submit his notarial register, when filled, individual and shows to the notary public
to the Executive Judge; documentary identification (Amendment to Sec.
6. Fails to make his report, within a reasonable 12 (a), Rule II of the 2004 Rules on Notarial
time, to the Executive Judge concerning the Practice, February 19, 2008).
performance of his duties, as may be required
by the judge; NOTE: Competent evidence of identity is not
7. Fails to require the presence of a principal at the required in cases where the affiant is personally
time of the notarial act; known to the Notary Public (Amora, Jr. v. Comelec,
G.R. No.192280, January 25, 2011).
NOTE: "Principal" refers to a person appearing
before the notary public whose act is the ---
subject of notarization.

136
CANONS OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
Q: Atty. Regino Tamabago notarized a last will
and testament under which the decedent CANONS OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
supposedly bequeathed his entire estate to his
wife, save for a parcel of land which he devised
to Vicente Lee, Jr. and Elena Lee, half siblings of The Canons of Professional Ethics (CPE) was framed
Manuel Lee, the complainant. The will was by the American Bar Association in 1908 and were
purportedly executed and acknowledged before adopted in the Philippines in 1917 and
respondent on June 30, 1965. However, the subsequently revised in 1946. It is one of the
residence certificate of the testator noted in the sources or the main basis of our legal ethics at the
acknowledgment of the will was dated January present which is the Code of Professional
5, 1962. There is also absence of notation of the Responsibility (CPR). While the CPE is superseded
residence certificates of the purported by the CPR, the CPE continues to be an invaluable
witnesses. Did Atty. Regino Tamabago violate source of knowledge and understanding of legal
any of the duties of a notary public? ethics.

A: Atty. Tamabago, as notary public, evidently failed NOTE: Most of the provisions of the Code of
in the performance of the elementary duties of his Professional Ethics are incorporated in the Code of
office. There is absence of a notation of the Professional Responsibility. Only those topics not
residence certificates of the notarial witnesses in considered incorporated are included to prevent
the will in the acknowledgment. Further, the redundancy.
notation of the testators old residence certificate in
the same acknowledgment was a clear breach of the Duty of the bar in the selection of judges
law. The Notarial Law then in force required the
exhibition of the residence certificate upon It is the duty of the bar to endeavor to prevent
notarization of a document or instrument. By having political considerations from outweighing judicial
allowed decedent to exhibit an expired residence fitness in the selection of judges. It should strive to
certificate, Atty. Tamabago failed to comply with the have elevated thereto only those willing to forego
requirements of the old Notarial Law. As much other employments whether of a business, political
could be said of his failure to demand the exhibition or other character, which may embarrass their free
of the residence certificates of notarial witnesses. and fair consideration of questions before them for
Defects in the observance of the solemnities decision (Canon 2, CPE).
prescribed by law render the entire will invalid
(Manuel Lee v. Atty. Regino Tamabago, A.C. No. 5281,
February 12, 2008). Q: Can a lawyer stipulate with the client that a
portion of the latters interest in the property
SANCTIONS subject of the litigation be conveyed to the
former as payment for his services?
Punishable acts under the 2004 Rules on
Notarial Practice A: NO. The same is prohibited both by the CPE and
the Civil Code. The CPE provides that a lawyer
The Executive Judge shall cause the prosecution of should not purchase any interest in the subject
any person who knowingly: matter of the litigation which he is conducting.
Likewise, the Civil Code provides that prosecuting
1. Acts or otherwise impersonates a notary public; attorneys connected with the administration of
2. Obtains, conceals, defaces, or destroys the seal, justice cannot acquire by purchase properties in
notarial register, or official records of a notary litigation to which they exercise their respective
public; and functions (Canon 10, CPE; Art. 1491, NCC).
3. Solicits, coerces, or in any way influences a
notary public to commit official misconduct ---
(Sec. 1, Rule XII, Rule on Notarial Practice).
Q: Is it proper for a lawyer to write articles in a
NOTE: Notarizing documents without the requisite newspaper and the like for publication?
commission therefore constitutes malpractice, if not
the crime of falsification of public documents (St. A: A lawyer may with propriety write articles for
Louis Laboratory High School Faculty And Staff V. publications in which he gives information upon the
Dela Cruz, A.C. No. 6010. August 28, 2006). law; but he could not accept employment from such
publication to advice inquiries in respect to their
individual rights (Canon 40, CPE).

137
LEGAL ETHICS
--- NOTE: This refers to persons only. There may be a
judge without a court.
Q: May a lawyer interview any witness or
prospective witness for the opposing side in any De jure judge v. De facto judge
civil or criminal action without the consent of
opposing counsel or party? De Jure judge De Facto judge
One who exercises the An officer who is not
A: YES. In doing so, however, he should office of a judge as a fully vested with all the
scrupulously avoid any suggestion calculated to matter of right, fully powers and duties
induce the witness to suppress or deviate from the vested with all the conceded to judges but,
truth, or in any degree to affect his free and powers and functions one who exercises the
untrammeled conduct when appearing at the trial conceded to him office of judge under
or on the witness stand (Canon 39, CPE). under the law (Luna v. some color of right. He
Rodriguez, G.R. No. L- has the reputation of
--- 13744, November 29, the officer he assumes
1918). to be, yet he has some
Q: Mr. A disclosed to his lawyer that he had been defect in his right to
bribing one of the court officials to destroy the exercise judicial
evidence of the other party to tilt the disposition functions at the
of the case in his favor. If you are Mr. As lawyer, particular time (Luna v.
what will you do? Rodriguez, G.R. No. L-
13744, November 29,
A: When a lawyer discovers that some fraud or 1918).
deception has been practiced, upon the court or
party, he should endeavor to rectify it; at first by NOTE: There cannot be a de facto judge when there
advising his client, and should endeavor to rectify it is a de jure judge in the actual performance of the
and if his client refuses to forego the advantage thus duties of the office. Moreover, one cannot be
unjustly gained, he should promptly inform the actually acting under any color of right when he has
injured person or his counsel, so that they may take ceased to be a judge and has actually vacated the
appropriate steps (Canon 41, CPE). Furthermore, if office by the acceptance of another office and by
the client failed or refuses to rectify the same, he actually entering upon the duties of the other office
shall terminate the relationship with such client in (Luna v. Rodriguez and De Los Angeles, G.R. No. L-
accordance with the Rules of Court (Canon 19.02, 13744, November 29, 1918).
CPR).
Proper judicial deportment
JUDICIAL ETHICS
1. Attitude toward counsel He must be
courteous especially to the young and
Judicial ethics inexperienced, should not interrupt in their
arguments except to clarify his minds as to
The branch of moral science which treats of the their positions, must not be tempted to an
right and proper conduct to be observed by all unnecessary display of learning or
judges in trying and deciding controversies brought premature judgment, may criticize and
before them for adjudication and which conduct correct unprofessional conduct of a lawyer
must be demonstrative of impartiality, integrity, but not in an insulting manner.
competence, independence and freedom from
improprieties. This freedom from improprieties 2. Attitude toward litigants and witnesses
must be observed in both the public and private life He must be considerate, courteous and civil,
of a judge who is the visible representation of the must not utter intemperate language during
law. the hearing of a case.

Judge Proper judicial conduct

A judge is a public officer who, by virtue of his office, Judges and justices must conduct themselves as
is clothed with judicial authority and is lawfully to be beyond reproach and suspicion and free
appointed to decide litigated questions in from appearance of impropriety in their
accordance with law (People v. Manantan, G.R. No. L- personal behavior, not only in the discharge of
14129, August 30, 1962). official duties but also in their everyday lives.

138
JUDICIAL ETHICS
SOURCES ethics adopted for the Philippines, and also to stress
the Philippines solidarity with the universal clamor
The two sources of judicial ethics for a universal code of judicial ethics (See
aforementioned "four Ins" and "four ACID" problems
a. New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine by Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban).
Judiciary (NCJC);
b. Code of Judicial Conduct (CJC) NOTE: The New Code contains 6 Canons and 44
Rules.
New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
Judiciary v. Code of Judicial Conduct ---

NCJC CJC The six (6) canons under the New Code of
Focuses on the Concerned primarily Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary
institutional and with the institutional
personal independence independence of the 1. Independence
of judicial officers judiciary. 2. Integrity
Contains eight norms of Contained three 3. Impartiality
conduct that judges guidelines explaining 4. Propriety
shall follow what judges should do 5. Equality
* Canon 1 of the 1989 6. Competence and Diligence
Code created a weaker
mandate. Duties of a magistrate that will bolster the
publics confidence in the judicial system

THE NEW CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT 1. Duty to be above reproach and to appear above
FOR THE PHILIPPINE JUDICIARY reproach (NCJC, Sec.1, Canon 2)
(BANGALORE DRAFT) 2. Duty to be impartial (NCJC, Canon 3)
(A.M. NO. 03-05-01) 3. Duty to avoid improprieties and appearance of
improprieties (NCJC, Sec. 1, Canon 4)
The New Code of Judicial Conduct (NCJC) for the 4. Duty of financial transparency and duty to
Philippine Judiciary which took effect on June 1, avoid financial conflicts of interest (NCJC, Sec. 7,
2004 supersedes the Canons of Judicial Ethics and Canon 4)
the Code of Judicial Conduct. Provided, however, that 5. Duty to be efficient, fair and prompt (NCJC, Sec.
in case of deficiency or absence of specific 5, Canon 6)
provisions in this New Code, the Canons of Judicial 6. Duty to be free from favor, bias, or prejudice
Ethics and Code of Judicial Conduct shall be (NCJC, Sec. 1, Canon 3).
applicable in a suppletory character (2007, 2009
Bar). CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT
(1989)
This was adopted from the universal declaration of
standards for ethical conduct embodied in the Applicability
Bangalore Draft as revised at the Round Table
Conference of Chief Justices at the Hague. This code applies suppletorily to the Bangalore
Draft.
It is founded upon a universal recognition that a
competent, independent and impartial judiciary is CANON 1
essential if the courts are to fulfill their role in A JUDGE SHOULD UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY
upholding constitutionalism and the rule of law; AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY.
that public confidence in the judicial system and in
the moral authority and integrity of the judiciary is
of utmost importance in a modern democratic
society; and that it is essential that judges, Rule 1.01, Canon 1
individually and collectively, respect and honor A judge should be the embodiment of
judicial office as a public trust and strive to enhance competence, integrity and independence.
and maintain confidence in the judicial system.

The purpose of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for


the Philippine Judiciary is to update and correlate
the code of judicial conduct and canons of judicial

139
LEGAL ETHICS
Q: A complaint was filed against Judge Grageda CANON 2
for the delay in the resolution of motions A JUDGE SHOULD AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND
relative a civil case. Plaintiff Angelia averred THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL
that the case was filed way back on August 8, ACTIVITES.
2001. After numerous postponements, pre-trial
was finally set on December 6, 2007. On
December 20, 2007, counsel for complainant Rule 2.01, Canon 2
received an order dated December 6, 2007 A judge should so behave at all times as to
dismissing the case for failure to prosecute. On promote public confidence in the integrity
December 28, 2007, Angelia filed a motion for and impartiality of the judiciary.
reconsideration reasoning out that the failure to
prosecute could not be attributed to him. On July
28, 2008, he filed his Urgent Motion for the Early
Q: Judge Canoy was charged with several counts
Resolution of said December 2007 Motion for
of gross ignorance of the law and/or procedures,
Reconsideration. He claimed that despite the
grave abuse of authority, and appearance of
lapse of a considerably long period of time, no
impropriety (CJC, Canon 2) for granting bail to
action was taken by Judge Grageda. Is
Melgazo, the accused in a criminal case, without
respondent Judge Gragela GUILTY of undue
any application or petition for the grant of bail
delay in resolving a motion in violation of Rule
filed before his court or any court. He verbally
1.02, Canon 1 and Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code
ordered the branch clerk of court to accept the
of Judicial Conduct?
cash deposit as bail, to earmark an official
receipt for the cash deposit, and to date it the
A: YES. Failure to decide cases and other matters
following day. He did not require Melgazo to sign
within the reglementary period constitutes gross
a written undertaking containing the conditions
inefficiency and warrants the imposition of
of the bail under Sec. 2, Rule 114 to be complied
administrative sanction against the erring
with by Melgazo. Thus, Judge Canoy ordered the
magistrate. Delay in resolving motions and
police escorts to release Melgazo without any
incidents pending before a judge within the
written order of release. Should respondent
reglementary period of ninety (90) days fixed by the
Judge Canoy be held administratively liable for
Constitution and the law is not excusable and
violating Supreme Court rules, directives and
constitutes gross inefficiency. As a trial judge, Judge
circulars under Sec. 9, Rule 140, RRC (as
Grageda was a frontline official of the judiciary and
amended by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC)?
should have at all times acted with efficiency and
with probity.
A: YES. Granting of bail without any application or
petition to grant bail is a clear deviation from the
Judges must decide cases and resolve matters with
procedure laid down in Sec. 17 of Rule 114. As
dispatch because any delay in the administration of
regards the insistence of Judge Canoy that such may
justice deprives litigants of their right to a speedy
be considered as constructive bail, there is no such
disposition of their case and undermines the
species of bail under the Rules. Despite the noblest
peoples faith in the judiciary. Indeed, justice
of reasons, the Rules of Court may not be ignored at
delayed is justice denied (Angelia v. Grageda, A.M.
will and at random to the prejudice of the rights of
No. RTJ-10-2220, February 7, 2011).
another. Rules of procedure are intended to ensure
the orderly administration of justice and the
Rule 1.02, Canon 1 protection of substantive rights in judicial and
A judge should administer justice extrajudicial proceedings. In this case, the reason of
impartially and without delay. Judge Canoy is hardly persuasive enough to
disregard the Rules (Pantilo III v. Canoy, A.M. No.
RTJ-11-2262, February 9, 2011).
Rule 1.03, Canon 1
---
A judge should be vigilant against any
attempt to subvert the independence of the
judiciary and resist any pressure from Rule 2.02, Canon 2
whateve