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LEGAL ETHICS

HIGHLIGHTS AND UPDATES


(2009)

RENE B. GOROSPE
Lex Bar Review
(Cebu)

A. LAWYERS AND SOCIETY


1. Integrity of the Legal Profession
a. Samala v. Palaa, 456 SCRA 100 (2005)
A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity of the legal profession. Where he makes
representations that cause material damage to another, he fails to uphold the integrity and dignity of the
legal profession and lessens the confidence of the public in the honesty and integrity of the same.
b. Olbes v. Deciembre, 457 SCRA 341 (2005)
By taking the lawyers oath, an attorney becomes a guardian of truth and the rule of law, and an
indispensable instrument in the fair and impartial administration of justice. Good moral character
includes at least common honesty. Deception and other fraudulent acts are not merely unacceptable
practices that are disgraceful and dishonorable, they reveal a basic moral flaw.
c. Cham v. Pizarro, 467 SCRA 1 (2005)
The misconduct of a lawyer, whether in his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be
wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good demeanor to thus render him unworthy of the
privileges which his license and the law confer upon him, may be sanctioned with disbarment or
suspension.
d. Gacias v. Balauitan, 507 SCRA 8 (2006)
When the Code or the Rules speaks of conduct or misconduct, the reference is not confined to
ones behavior exhibited in connection with the performance of the lawyers professional duties, but also
covers any misconduct which, albeit unrelated to the actual practice of his profession, would show him
to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law invest in him. A
lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct, even if it pertains to his private activities, as
long as it shows him wanting in honesty, probity or good demeanor.
e. Hernandez v. Go, 450 SCRA 1 (2005)
A lawyer who takes advantage of his clients financial plight to acquire the latters properties for his
own benefit is destructive of the confidence of the public in the fidelity, honesty, and integrity of the
legal profession. Considering the depravity of respondents offense, he deserves the ultimate penalty,
that of expulsion from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers.
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2. Respect for the Law


a. Dizon v. Lambino, 498 SCRA 233 (2006)
(Cebu)

A lawyer is legally justified in advising against the turn over of suspects to an NBI agent where there
is no basis for the latter to effect a warrantless arrest.

Atty. Dizon, then Chief of the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the NBI, by persisting in his
attempt to arrest the suspected students without a warrant, violated Rule 1.02 of Canon 1 of the Code
of Professional ResponsibilityLawyers
which provides
that Leaders
a lawyers shall
uphold the Constitution, obey the laws
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of the land, and promote the respect for law and legal processes, and that they shall not counsel or abet
activities aimed at defiance of the law.
b. Re: Report on the Financial Audit Conducted on the Books of Accounts of Atty. Raquel G.
Kho, Clerk of Court IV, Regional Trial Court, Oras, Eastern Samar, 521 SCRA 25
(2007)
A clerk of courts failure to remit judiciary funds for over a year, an omission contrary to the
mandatory provisions of OCA Circular 8A-93, is a breach of his oath to obey the laws as well as the
legal orders of the duly constituted authorities, and of his duties under Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility.
It is no accident that Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 are the first edicts laid down in the Code of Professional
Responsibility for these are a lawyers foremost duties. Lawyers should always keep in mind that,
although upholding the Constitution and obeying the law is an obligation imposed on every citizen, a
lawyers responsibilities under Canon 1 mean more than just staying out of trouble with the law. As
servants of the law and officers of the court, lawyers are required to be at the forefront of observing and
maintaining the rule of law, making themselves exemplars worthy of emulation. This, in fact, is what
a lawyers obligation to promote respect for law and legal processes entails.
The least a lawyer can do in compliance with Canon 1 is to refrain from engaging in unlawful
conduct. By definition, any act or omission contrary to law is unlawful. It does not necessarily imply the
element of criminality although it is broad enough to include it. The presence of evil intent on the part
of the lawyer is not essential in order to bring his act or omission within the terms of Rule 1.01.

3. Lawyers and Barangay Conciliation


a. Magno v. Velasco-Jacoba, 475 SCRA 584 (2005)
There can be no quibbling that laymen of goodwill can easily agree to conciliate and settle their
disputes between themselves without what sometimes is the unsettling assistance of lawyers whose
presence could sometimes obfuscate and confuse issues. Worse still, the participation of lawyers with
their penchant to use their analytical skills and legal knowledge tend to prolong instead of expedite
settlement of the case.

4. Immorality
a. Macarrubo v. Macarrubo, 424 SCRA 42 (2004)
The act of a lawyer of only giving intermittent support to his children with his wife after having
abandoned them undermines the institutions of marriage and family, institutions that society looks to for
the rearing of children, for the development of values essential to the survival and well-being of
communities, and for the strengthening of the nation as a whole. As officers of the court, lawyers must
not only in fact be of good moral character but must also be perceived to be of good moral character and
must lead a life in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community. The moral
delinquency that affects the fitness
member of
the bar
to continue as such, including that which
LEXofRaEVIEWS
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makes a mockery of the inviolable social
institution
of marriage,
BAR
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standards of the community.
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b. Bustamante-Alejandro v. Alejandro, 422 SCRA 527 (2004)

A lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one time and a mere citizen at
another he is expected to be competent, honorable and reliable at all times since he who cannot apply
and abide by the laws in his private affairs can hardly be expected to do so in his professional dealings
nor lead others in doing so. Disbarment proceedings are warranted against a lawyer who abandons his
lawful wife and maintains anLawyers
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anotherPrincipled
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c. Dantes v. Dantes, 438 SCRA 582 (2004)


As officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must also be
seen to be of good moral character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral standards of
the community. Moral delinquency which affects the fitness of a member of the bar to continue as such,
includes conduct that outrages the generally accepted moral standards of the community as exemplified
by behavior which makes a mockery of the inviolable social institution of marriage. Members of the Bar
and officers of the court are not only required to refrain from adulterous relationships or keeping
mistresses but must also so behave as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that they
are flouting those moral standards. If the practice of law is to remain an honorable profession and attain
its basic ideals, those enrolled in its ranks should not only master its tenets and principles but should
also, in their lives, accord continuing fidelity to them. The requirement of good moral character is of
much greater import, as far as the general public is concerned, than the possession of legal learning.
Lawyers are expected to abide by the tenets of morality, not only upon admission to the Bar but also
throughout their legal career, in order to maintain their good standing in this exclusive and honored
fraternity. They may be suspended from the practice of law or disbarred for any misconduct, even if it
pertains to their private activities, as long as it shows them to be wanting in moral character, honesty,
probity or good demeanor.
Undoubtedly, a lawyers acts of engaging in illicit relationships with two different women during
the subsistence of his marriage to the complainant constitutes grossly immoral conduct warranting the
imposition appropriate sanctions. Evidently, respondent had breached the high and exacting moral
standards set for members of the law profession. He has made a mockery of marriage which is a sacred
institution demanding respect and dignity.
d. Cojuangco, Jr. v. Palma, 438 SCRA 306 (2004) and 462 SCRA 310 (2005)
The act of a lawyer of marrying another while he still has a subsisting marriage constitutes grossly
immoral conduct, a ground for disbarment.
The law profession does not prescribe a dichotomy of standards among its members. There is no
distinction as to whether the transgression is committed in the lawyers professional capacity or in his
private life. This is because a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one time
and a mere citizen at another. Thus, not only his professional activities but even his private life, insofar
as the latter may reflect unfavorably upon the good name and prestige of the profession and the courts,
may at any time be the subject of inquiry on the part of the proper authorities. Professional competency
alone does not make a lawyer a worthy member of the Bar. Good moral character is always an
indispensable requirement.
A lawyer may have indeed provided well for his children but this accomplishment is not sufficient
to show his moral fitness to continue being a member of the noble profession of law he must not forget
that he has also duties to his wife, including the obligation to live with her, to observe mutual love,
respect and fidelity, and to render help and support.
e. Zaguirre v. Castillo, 398 SCRA 658 (2003) and 465 SCRA 520 (2005)
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Siring a child with a woman otherBAR
than his
wife is a conduct
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required of every lawyer. The attempt of a lawyer to renege on his notarized statement recognizing and
undertaking to support his child demonstrate a certain unscrupulousness on his party which is highly
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censurable, unbecoming a member of a noble profession, tantamount to self-stultification.

An applicant for admission to membership in the bar must show that he is possessed of good moral
character, a requirement which is not dispensed with upon admission to membership of the bar
admission to the bar does not preclude a subsequent judicial inquiry, upon proper complaint, into any
question concerning his mental or moral fitness before he became a lawyer.
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On Motion for Reconsideration: In view of respondents show of repentance and active service
to the community, the Court deemed it just and reasonable to convert the penalty of indefinite suspension
to a definite period of two years suspension.
f. Vitug v. Rongcal, 501 SCRA 166 (2006)
One of the conditions prior to admission to the bar is that an applicant must possess good moral
character. Said requirement persists as a continuing condition for the enjoyment of the privilege of law
practice, otherwise, the loss thereof is a ground for the revocation of such privilege. As officers of the
court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must also be seen to be of good moral
character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community. To justify
suspension or disbarment the act complained of must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral.
While it is has been held in disbarment cases that the mere fact of sexual relations between two
unmarried adults is not sufficient to warrant administrative sanction for such illicit behavior, it is not so
with respect to betrayals of the marital vow of fidelity. Even if not all forms of extra-marital relations
are punishable under penal law, sexual relations outside marriage is considered disgraceful and immoral
as it manifests deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows protected by the
Constitution and affirmed by our laws.
g. Advincula v. Macabata, 517 SCRA 600 (2007)
Perhaps morality in our liberal society today is a far cry from what it used to be. This permissiveness
notwithstanding, lawyers, as keepers of public faith, are burdened with a high degree of social
responsibility and, hence, must handle their personal affairs with greater caution. It is difficult to state
with precision and to fix an inflexible standard as to what is grossly immoral conduct or to specify the
moral delinquency and obliquity which render a lawyer unworthy of continuing as a member of the bar.
The rule implies that what appears to be unconventional behavior to the straight-laced may not be the
immoral conduct that warrants disbarment.
Acts of kissing or beso-beso on the cheeks as mere gestures of friendship and camaraderie, forms
of greetings, casual and customary. However, the acts of respondent, though, in turning the head of
complainant towards him and kissing her on the lips are distasteful. Nevertheless, such act, even if
considered offensive and undesirable, cannot be considered grossly immoral.
Finally, complainants bare allegations that respondent made use and took advantage of his position
as a lawyer to lure her to agree to have sexual relations with him deserves no credit complainant
miserably failed to comply with the burden of proof required of her.
h. St. Louis University Laboratory High School (SLU-LHS) Faculty and Staff v. Dela Cruz, 499
SCRA 614 (2006)
The practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that they
possess the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. Membership in the bar
is a privilege burdened with conditions. A lawyer has the privilege and right to practice law only during
good behavior, and he can be deprived
it for misconduct
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court after opportunity to be heard has BAR
been afforded
him. Without
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or right, an attorneys right to practice law may be resolved by a proceeding to suspend, based on
conduct rendering him unfit to hold a license or to exercise the duties and responsibilities of an attorney.
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It must be understood that the purpose of suspending or disbarring him as an attorney is to remove from
the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him unfit to be entrusted with the duties and
responsibilities belonging to an office of attorney and, thus, to protect the public and those charged with
the administration of justice, rather than to punish an attorney.

The law profession does not prescribe a dichotomy of standards among its members. There is no
distinction as to whether the transgression
is committed
in the
lawyers professional capacity or in his
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private life. This is because a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one time
and a mere citizen at another. Thus, not only his professional activities but even his private life, insofar
as the latter may reflect unfavorably upon the good name and prestige of the profession and the courts,
may at any time be the subject of inquiry on the part of the proper authorities. Membership in the bar
may be terminated when a lawyer ceases to have good moral conduct.
i. Guevarra v. Eala, 529 SCRA 1 (2007)
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which provides the grounds for disbarment or suspension
uses the phrase grossly immoral conduct, not under scandalous circumstances.
In a relationship between a married lawyer and a married woman who is not his wife, it is immaterial
whether the affair was carried out discreetly. A lawyer, in carrying on an extra-marital affair with a
married woman prior to the judicial declaration that her marriage was null and void, and despite such
lawyer himself being married, showed disrespect for an institution held sacred by the law he betrayed
his unfitness to be a lawyer.
5. Moral Turpitude
a. Orbe v. Adaza, 428 SCRA 567 (2004)
A lawyers issuance of worthless checks and his contumacious refusal to comply with his just
obligation for nearly eight years is appalling and hardly deserves compassion from the Court.
b. Moreno v. Araneta, 457 SCRA 329 (2005)
Issuance of worthless checks constitutes gross misconduct, as the effect transcends the private
interests of the parties directly involved in the transaction and touches the interests of the community
at large. The act of a lawyer in issuing a check knowing at the time of the issuance that he or she does
not have sufficient funds in, or credit with, the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon
its presentment, is a manifestation of moral turpitude.
c. Soriano v. Dizon, 480 SCRA 1 (2006)
By conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude, a lawyer is deemed to have become unfit to
uphold the administration of justice and to be no longer possessed of good moral character. Conviction
for a crime involving moral turpitude may relate, not to the exercise of the profession of lawyers, but
certainly to their good moral character. Where their misconduct outside of their professional dealings
is so gross as to show them morally unfit for their office and unworthy of the privileges conferred upon
them by their license and the law, the court may be justified in suspending or removing them from that
office.
Respondent seriously transgressed Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility through his
illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm and his unjust refusal to satisfy his civil liabilities. He has
thus brazenly violated the law and disobeyed the lawful orders of the courts.
Good moral character is an essential
qualification
for S
the
privilege to enter into the practice of law.
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Respondent
consistently
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behavior. Lawyers must be ministers of truth. No moral qualification for bar membership is more
important than truthfulness. The rigorous ethics of the profession places a premium on honesty and
(Cebu)
condemns duplicitous behavior. Hence, lawyers must not mislead the court or allow it to be misled by
any artifice. In all their dealings, they are expected to act in good faith.

In sum, when lawyers are convicted of frustrated homicide, the attending circumstances not the
mere fact of their conviction would demonstrate their fitness to remain in the legal profession. In the
present case, the appalling vindictiveness, treachery, and brazen dishonesty of respondent clearly show
his unworthiness to continueLawyers
as a member
of the bar.
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d. Gonzalez v. Alcaraz, 503 SCRA 355 (2006)


A lawyers brash transgression of any, especially a penal, law is repulsive and reprehensible and
cannot be countenanced by this Court. As a lawyer, respondent should know that the following three
requisites must concur to justify self-defense. The alleged throwing of coins by complainant cannot be
considered a sufficient unlawful aggression. Unlawful aggression presupposes actual, sudden,
unexpected or imminent threat to life and limb. There was no aggression to prevent or repel. Absent this
imminent threat, respondent had no legal reason to shoot in the direction of complainant.
Well-established is the rule that administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own.
These cases are distinct from and proceed independently of civil and criminal cases. Settled is the rule
that, being based on a different quantum of proof, the dismissal of a criminal case on the ground of
insufficiency of evidence does not necessarily foreclose the finding of guilt in an administrative
proceeding.
Whether in their professional or in their private capacity, lawyers may be disbarred or suspended for
misconduct. This penalty is a consequence of acts showing their unworthiness as officers of the courts;
as well as their lack of moral character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor. When the misconduct
committed outside of their professional dealings is so gross as to show them to be morally unfit for the
office and the privileges conferred upon them by their license and the law, they may be suspended or
disbarred.

6. Deceitful Conduct
a. Cham v. Paita-Moya, SCRA (A.C. No. 7494, 27 June 2008)
A lawyer who has incurred just debts has the moral duty and legal responsibility to settle them when
they become due. She should comply with just contractual obligations, and act fairly and adhere to high
ethical standards to preserve the courts integrity, since she is an employee thereof. Deliberate failure
to pay just debts and the issuance of worthless checks constitute gross misconduct.
A lawyer-lessees act of abandoning a leased apartment unit to avoid her obligations for the rent and
electricity bills constitutes deceitful conduct. And, her defense that she does not know where to find the
lessor or his office is specious and does not inspire belief where she had been occupying the apartment
unit and paying the rents due (except for the period complained of) for almost two years. This is only
a desperate attempt to justify what is clearly an unjustifiable act.
Lawyers are instruments for the administration of justice. As vanguards of our legal system, they are
expected to maintain not only legal proficiency but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity
and fair dealing. Verily, lawyers must at all times faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar,
to the courts and to their clients. As part of those duties, they must promptly pay their financial
obligations.
b. Manaois v. Deciembre,
(Adm.
Case
No. 5364, 20 August 2008)
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[C]omplainant had supplied respondent with blank personal checks as security for the P20,000 loan
she had contracted and which respondent subsequently deceitfully filled out with various amounts they
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had not agreed upon and with full knowledge that the loan had already been paid. After the filled-out
checks had been dishonored upon presentment, respondent even imprudently filed multiple lawsuits
against complainant. Verily, respondent is guilty of serious dishonesty and professional misconduct. He
committed an act indicative of moral depravity not expected from and highly unbecoming of a member

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of the Bar.1 The fact that the conduct pertained to respondents private dealings with complainant is of
no moment. A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct, even if it pertains to his
private activities, as long as it shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity or good
demeanor. Possession of good moral character is not only a good condition precedent to the practice of
law, but also a continuing qualification for all members of the Bar.]

B. LAWYERS AND THE COURTS


1. Courts, Criticism and Contempt
a. Re: Letter Dated 21 February 2005 of Atty. Noel S. Sorreda, 464 SCRA 32 (2005) and 501
SCRA 36 9 (2006)
Unfounded accusations or allegations or words tending to embarrass the court or to bring it into
disrepute have no place in a pleading; If a pleading containing derogatory, offensive and malicious
statements is submitted in the same court or judge in which the proceedings are pending, it is direct
contempt, equivalent as it is to a misbehavior committed in the presence of or so near a court or judge
as to interrupt the administration of justice.
A lawyer is entitled to voice his criticism within the context of the constitutional guarantee of
freedom of speech which must be exercised responsibly every right carries with it the corresponding
obligation. Freedom is not freedom from responsibility, but freedom with responsibility. While a lawyer,
as a citizen and as an officer of the court, is entitled to criticize the rulings of the Supreme Court, this
does not give him the unbridled license to insult and malign the Court and bring it into disrepute. The
use of intemperate language and unkind ascription can hardly be justified nor can it have a place in the
dignity of judicial forum. Free expression, after all, must not be used as a vehicle to satisfy ones
irrational obsession to demean, ridicule, degrade and even destroy the Supreme Court and its magistrates.
RESOLUTION OF 11 September 2006 (501 SCRA 369): Atty. Sorreda continued with his old
obnoxious ways and, in a virtual repeat of what he said previously but with more venom. He has
embarked on another assault against the dignity of the Supreme Court, adding that he has not the
slightest intention of apologizing for his misdeeds either now or in the future. Worse still, he even
dared the Court to up the penalty of suspension to disbarment. In the expectation that Atty. Sorreda
would mend his ways if given another chance, the Supreme Court merely imposed a strong warning.
Accompanying the warning, however, was the caveat that any further derogatory remark from him, be
it embodied in a letter or pleading, shall warrant an even more severe sanction, of which there is none
other than disbarment. In his present MANIFESTATION AND MOTION, he raised a step further the
level of his obstinacy and defiance. In a clearly insulting tone reflecting a remorseless and boorish
person, he states that he has from the start defied the suspension order meted him by the Court and has
continued with his professional practice as a lawyer both in the lower courts and before this Tribunal.
The Courts patience has been stretched to the limit by Atty. Sorredas arrogance and disrespect. At
the minimum, members of the legal fraternity owe courts of justice respect. By taking the lawyers oath,
they become guardians of the law and an indispensable instrument in the orderly and impartial
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Atty. Sorreda has proven himself to be incorrigible. By his demeanor, as demonstrated by his penchant
for addressing malicious letters and pleadings to(Cebu)
this Court, Atty. Sorreda is unworthy to continue as an
officer of the court.

b. Re: Suspension of Atty. Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo, Former Senior State Prosecutor, 535 SCRA
200 (2007)

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5365, 27 April
2005, 457
SCRA 341,
353.

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While lawyers are not prevented from being critical of orders and decisions that they may not agree
with, they are not that free to malign the judges who issued the same. Worse, they should course their
grievance through proper means and fora. So, if instead of questioning the judges acts before the higher
courts, they go to the press, then they are in trouble. Here, the respondent lawyer who used to be a Senior
State Prosecutor caused the holding of a press conference where he made statements against the order
of the judge granting bail to an accused who was charged with murder.
Lawyers are licensed officers of the courts who are empowered to appear, prosecute and defend;
and upon whom peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by law as a consequence.
Membership in the bar imposes upon them certain obligations. Canon 11 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility mandates a lawyer to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial
officers and [he] should insist on similar conduct by others. Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 states that a lawyer
shall submit grievances against a judge to the proper authorities only.
Respondent also violated Canon 11 when he indirectly stated that the trial court judge was displaying
judicial arrogance in an article which appeared in a local newspaper, which statements were made while
the criminal case was still pending in court. Such circumstance also violated Rule 13.02 of Canon 13,
which states that a lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case
tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party. As for a radio interview, he also violated Rule
11.05 of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for not resorting to the proper authorities
only for redress of his grievances against the judge. He was also found of violating Canon 11 for his
disrespect of the court and its officer when he stated that the judge was ignorant of the law, that as a
mahjong aficionado, he was studying mahjong instead of studying the law, and that he was a liar.
Further, he also violated the Lawyers Oath, as he has sworn to conduct [himself] as a lawyer
according to the best of [his] knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to
[his] clients.
And just to make sure that the Court is not misunderstood in meting out penalties on disrespectful
criticism, the Court added that it is not against lawyers raising grievances against erring judges but the
rules clearly provide for the proper venue and procedure for doing so, precisely because respect for the
institution must always be maintained.

2. Baseless Administrative Complaints


a. Cruz v. Alio-Hormachuelos, 426 SCRA 573 (2004)
Complainant may strongly disagree with the decisions of the respondents but unsubstantiated
allegations of grave misconduct and gross ignorance of the law serve no purpose other than to harass
judges and cast doubt on the integrity of the entire judiciary. As a member of the bar for half a century,
complainant should know better than to file an unfounded administrative complaint.
Although the Supreme Court will never tolerate or condone any act, conduct or omission that would
violate the norm of public accountability or diminish the peoples faith in the judiciary, neither will it
hesitate to shield those under its
employ
from unfounded
suits that only serve to disrupt rather than
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b. Arnado v. Suarin, 467 SCRA 402 (2005)
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Although no person should be penalized for the exercise of right to litigate, this right must be
exercised in good faith. A lawyer who files an unfounded complaint must be sanctioned lawyers have
the responsibility to assist in the proper administration of justice, and they do not discharge this duty by
filing frivolous petitions that only add to the workload of the judiciary.

Like the court itself, a lawyer


is an instrument
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correct and inexpensive adjudication of case and prompt satisfaction of final judgments. A lawyer should
not use his knowledge of law as an instrument to harass a party nor to misuse judicial processes.

3. Abuse of Court Processes


a. Foronda v. Guerrero, 436 SCRA 9 (2004)
While a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client, it should not be at the expense of truth and
the administration of justice. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer has the duty to
assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice, and is enjoined from unduly delaying a case
by impeding execution of a judgment or by misusing court processes. Filing of multiple petitions
constitutes abuse of the Courts processes and improper conduct that tends to impede, obstruct and
degrade the administration of justice and will be punished as contempt of court. Needless to add, the
lawyer who files such multiple or repetitious petitions (which obviously delays the execution of a final
and executory judgment) subjects himself to disciplinary action for incompetence (for not knowing any
better) or for willful violation of his duties as an attorney to act with all good fidelity to the courts, and
to maintain only such actions as appear to him to be just and are consistent with truth and honor.
Lawyers should not forget that they are, first and foremost, officers of the court, bound to exert every
effort to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
Filing multiple petitions before various courts concerning the same subject matter constitutes a
violation of Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that a lawyer shall
exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
He also violated Rule 12.02 and Rule 12.04 of the Code, as well as a lawyers mandate to delay no man
for money or malice.
b. Aguilar v. Manila Banking Corporation, 502 SCRA 354 (2006)
It is an important fundamental principle in the judicial system that every litigation must come to an
end. Access to the courts is guaranteed. But there must be a limit thereto. Once a litigants rights have
been adjudicated in a valid and final judgment of a competent court, he should not be granted an
unbridled license to come back for another try. The prevailing party should not be harassed by
subsequent suits. For, if endless litigations were to be encouraged, then unscrupulous litigants will
multiply to the detriment of the administration of justice. It is the duty of lawyers who, as officers of the
court, must see to it that the orderly administration of justice must not be unduly impeded. It is the duty
of a counsel to advise his client, ordinarily a layman on the intricacies and vagaries of the law, on the
merit or lack of merit of his case. If he finds that his clients cause is defenseless, then it is his bounden
duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and submit, rather than traverse the incontrovertible. A lawyer must
resist the whims and caprices of his client, and temper his clients propensity to litigate. A lawyers oath
to uphold the cause of justice is superior to his duty to his client; its primacy is indisputable.
c. V.C. Ponce Company, Inc. v. Reyes, SCRA (G.R. No. 171469, 11 August 2008)
[Delays and Counsels Responsibility * Finality of Judgment for Delivery of Titles to Buyers (1991) *
Order in 2003 cancelling the mother title of petitioner for obstinate refusal to abide by judgment * A
considerable length of time has passed.
is time to end
thisSlitigation
and write finis to this case. Enough
LEX RItEVIEWS
AND
EMINARS
is enough. We remind petitioners counsel,
Atty. Candice
Marie T. Bandong, that she is an officer of
BAR Review
2009
the court who must see to it that the orderly administration of justice must never be unduly impeded, not
even by her client. Her oath to uphold the cause of justice is superior to her duty to her client; its primacy
(Cebu)
is indisputable. In this light, we are sternly warning her (or any other counsel who might take over this
case) of disciplinary action for any further delay in the execution of the decision of the Pasay City RTC.
That TCT No. 97084 has been subdivided into smaller lots and that derivative titles have been issued
therefor are of no moment. The fact remains that, for more than 15 years, petitioner has been consistently
refusing to surrender its owners duplicate originals of the derivative TCTs, contrary to lawful orders
and in evident bad faith. We are therefore ordering the cancellation and nullification of TCT No. 97084
and its derivative titles. LetLawyers
new certificates
ofLeaders
title be issued
(a) in the name of the individual
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Principled

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Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 10 of 44

respondents for the lots covered by their respective fully-paid contracts to sell and (b) in the name of
petitioner for those portions not covered by the claims of respondents.

4. Misleading Representations and Citations


a. Maligaya v. Doronilla, Jr., 502 SCRA 1 (2006)
There is a strong public interest involved in requiring lawyers who, as officers of the court,
participate in the dispensation of justice, to behave at all times in a manner consistent with truth and
honor. The common caricature that lawyers by and large do not feel compelled to speak the truth and
to act honestly should not become a common reality. 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 any artifice.
b. United Overseas Bank Phils. v. Rosemoor Mining & Development Corp., 518 SCRA 123
(2007)
Under Section 1, Rule 4, the venue of real actions affecting properties found in different provinces
is determined by the singularity or plurality of the transactions involving said parcels of land. Where said
parcels are the object of one and the same transaction, the venue is in the court of any of the provinces
wherein a parcel of land is situated.
While the Bank itself correctly summarized the applicable jurisprudential rule in one of the pleadings
before the Court, it, resorting to deliberate misrepresentation, stated in the same pleading that the
Bulacan and Nueva Ecija [p]roperties were not the subject of one single real estate mortgage
contract, even as there was only one proceeding sought to be nullified and that is the extrajudicial
mortgage foreclosure sale. And there is only one initial transaction which served as the basis of the
foreclosure sale and that is the mortgage contract. The Bank itself has provided the noose on which it
would be hung. This apparent deliberate misrepresentation cannot simply pass without action. The real
estate mortgage form supplied to Rosemoor is the Banks standard pre-printed form. Yet the Bank
perpetrated the misrepresentation. Blame must be placed on its doorstep. But as the Banks pleading was
obviously prepared by its counsel, the latter should also share the blame. 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 any artifice. Both the Banks president and counsel should be made to explain why they should not
be sanctioned for contempt of court.
c. Heirs of Enrique Tan, Sr. v. Pollescas, 475 SCRA 203 (2005)
For making a wrong citation, the Court admonished counsel to be more careful when citing
jurisprudence. He was reminded of his duty not to knowingly misquote the text of a decision or authority
lest he be guilty of misleading the Court.
d. Serana v. Sandiganbayan, SCRA ( SCRA (G.R. No. 162059, 22 January 2008)
As a parting note, petitioners counsel, Renato G. dela Cruz, misrepresented his reference to Section
4 of P.D. No. 1606 as a quotation from Section 4 of R.A. No. 3019. A review of his motion to quash,
the instant petition for certiorariLand
memorandum,
the misquotation. We urge petitioners
EX his
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ANDunveils
SEMINARS
counsel to observe Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, specifically Rule 10.02 of the
BAR Review 2009
Rules stating that a lawyer shall not misquote or misrepresent. The Court stressed the importance of
this rule in Pangan v. Ramos, where Atty Dionisio D. Ramos used the name Pedro D. D. Ramos in
connection with a criminal case. The Court ruled(Cebu)
that Atty. Ramos resorted to deception by using a name
different from that with which he was authorized. We severely reprimanded Atty. Ramos and warned
that a repetition may warrant suspension or disbarment. We admonish petitioners counsel to be more
careful and accurate in his citation. A lawyers conduct before the court should be characterized by
candor and fairness. The administration of justice would gravely suffer if lawyers do not act with
complete candor and honesty before the courts.
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e. Nepomuceno v. City of Surigao, SCRA (G.R. No. 146091, 28 July 2008)


In Silva v. Mationg, 499 SCRA 724 (2006), we find this passage: The Court notes that petitioners
counsel relied on several decisions of the Court of Appeals in addition to Supreme Court cases to
buttress his arguments. The Court reminds counsel that decisions of the Court of Appeals are neither
controlling nor conclusive on the Supreme Court. Moreover, the Court strongly suggests that petitioners
counsel be brief and straightforward in drafting pleadings. He should, as much as possible, refrain from
quoting lengthily irrelevant portions of Supreme Court decisions. In this particular case of Nepomuceno,
the same problem reverberates, as the Court observed: Moreover, petitioners cannot properly insist on
the application of the CA decision in Spouses Mamerto Espina, Sr. and Flor Espina v. City of Ormoc.
A decision of the CA does not establish judicial precedent. A ruling of the CA on any question of law
is not binding on this Court. In fact, the Court may review, modify or reverse any such ruling of the CA.

5. Forgeries, Perjuries, False Testimonies and Inexistent Processes


a. Ting-Dumali v. Torres, 427 SCRA 108 (2004)
The Lawyers Oath, to which all lawyers have subscribed in solemn agreement to dedicate
themselves to the pursuit of justice, is not a mere ceremony or formality for practicing law to be
forgotten afterwards, nor is it mere words, drift and hollow, but a sacred trust that lawyers must uphold
and keep inviolable at all times. A lawyer is the servant of the law and belongs to a profession to which
society has entrusted the administration of law and the dispensation of justice he should make himself
more an exemplar for others to emulate and he should not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct. A lawyer, in knowingly offering in evidence a false testimony, may himself be
punished as guilty of false testimony.
b. Hueysuwan-Florido v. Florido, 420 SCRA 132 (2004)
Candor and fairness are demanded of every lawyer. The burden cast on the judiciary would be
intolerable if it could not take at face value what is asserted by counsel. The time that will have to be
devoted just to the task of verification of allegations submitted could easily be imagined. Even with due
recognition then that counsel is expected to display the utmost zeal in the defense of a clients cause, it
must never be at the expense of the truth.
c. Encinas v. National Bookstore, Inc., 464 SCRA 572 (2005)
It is insulting to assert a claim before the Supreme Court based on an obvious and incompetent
forgery and conceived by one with so primitive a sense of what normative standards would pass judicial
muster. The Court cannot accept counsels declarations of good faith and honest mistake since, as a
member of the Bar and an officer of the court, he is presumed to know better. He is required to
thoroughly prepare himself on the law and facts of his case and the evidence he will adduce. The
minimum he could have done was to verify with the appropriate authorities the documents upon which
his clients based their claims, and not have relied on his clients assertions.
d. Suan v. Gonzalez, 518 SCRA 82 (2007)
LEX REVIEWS AND SEMINARS
While every litigant is expected to examine
all the documents
BAR Review
2009that he files in court, not every mistake
or oversight he commits should be deemed dishonest, deceitful or deliberate so as to mislead the court.
A mere assertion of a false, objective fact, a falsehood, is not enough to warrant a finding of perjury
(Cebu)
the prosecution must prove which of two statements is false and must show the statement to be false by
other evidence than the contradicting statement. It is necessary that there must be contradictory
statements for perjury to exist.

Disbarment proceedings are matters of public interest, undertaken for public welfare and for the
purpose of preserving courts of justice from the official ministration of the persons unfit to practice
them. The power to disbar must
be exercised
withLeaders
great caution
and only in a clear case of misconduct
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Principled

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which seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court and member
of the bar.
e. Asa v. Castillo, 500 SCRA 309 (2006)
Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer owes candor, fairness
and good faith to the courts. Rule 10.01 of said Canon specifically commands that a member of the bar
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 any artifice. Rule 10.02 of the same Canon provides that a member of the bar shall
not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of a paper or assert as a fact that which has not
been proved.
f. Mangahas v. Court of Appeals, SCRA (G.R. No. 173375, 25 September 2008)
Lawyers Unbelievable? * Notarized certification by alleged Asistant Postmaster showing attesting
to alleged received on 7 February 2006 for mailing but envelopes bore the notation 8 February * There
is a presumption that official duties have been regularly performed. On this basis, we have ruled in
previous cases that the Postmasters certification is sufficient evidence of the fact of mailing. This
presumption, however, is disputable. In this case, the Affidavit/Certification of the alleged Assistant
Postmaster cannot give rise to such a presumption, for not only does it attest to an irregularity in the
performance of official duties (i.e., mistake in stamping the date on the registered mail), it is essentially
hearsay evidence. Though notarized, we cannot give the affidavits of the Assistant Postmaster and
the clerk any probative value, since they were both notarized by a lawyer belonging to the same law firm
as petitioners counsel and, as such, are self-serving assertions not corroborated by any other evidence.
Considering the interest of his law firm in the case, we cannot rely solely on the jurat of the notary
public that the affiants/certifiers are indeed who they say they are. The affiants/certifiers herein claimed
to be officers or employees of the Cabanatuan City Post Office, but this Court has no way of ensuring
the veracity of such claim. It would have been different had petitioners presented an Official Receipt
as evidence of payment of appropriate fees corresponding to the issuance of such certifications by the
Assistant Postmaster and the clerk, who certified that the photocopy of the pertinent page of the Registry
Book was a faithful reproduction of the original and that she was the one who erroneously made the
notation 8 February 2006" on the envelope addressed to the Clerk of Court of the Court of Appeals. .
. . In addition, petitioners could have easily presented the original Registry Receipt No. A-2094. It
would have constituted the best evidence of the fact of mailing on 7 February 2006, even if a different
date had been stamped on the envelope of the subject registered mail. . . . * Lawyers Ethical: Given
the foregoing, we find no reason to reverse the assailed resolutions of the Court of Appeals and disturb
its conclusions therein. Petitioners miserably failed to adduce credible and sufficient substantiation that
any inadvertence was committed by the Post Office of Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. Instead of
supporting their cause, the affidavits submitted by petitioners, taken together with the mere photocopy
of Registry Receipt No. A-2094 without the presentation of the original thereof, actually lead this Court
to doubt whether petitioners counsel has been sincere in his dealings with the courts. Needless to stress,
a lawyer is bound by ethical principles in the conduct of cases before the courts at all times.]

6. Entry of Appearance
a. Regalado v. Regalado,
483
473AND
(2006)SEMINARS
LEX
RSCRA
EVIEWS

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The lawyer here was required to explain why he should not be proceeded administratively for filing
the Petition for Review on Certiorari and the Petition for Relief from Order in the lower court without
(Cebu)
first entering his appearance as petitioners counsel or as collaborating counsel of the counsel of record.

7. Haphazard Pleadings
a. Heirs of Antonio Bobadilla v. Castillo, 526 SCRA 107 (2007)
A note on respondents Lawyers
attitude on Ethical,
the present
petition.Principled
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This Court observes the perfunctory manner by which respondent complied with this Courts
Resolution requiring him to comment on the petition. In his terse comment incorporated in his
Compliance, he pithily averred in one sweeping paragraph that the allegations contained in the petition
are all rehash or reiterations of the issues and arguments already passed upon by the appellate court. With
such lackadaisical outlook, respondent blinded himself with what appeared to be gross misrepresentation
foisted by petitioners, which would have otherwise put him on guard.
At this juncture, it is apropos to firmly remind lawyers of their duties, as officers of the court, to
exercise utmost care and complete candor in the preparation of pleadings and to lay before the court the
pertinent facts with methodical and meticulous attention, without any suppression, obscuration,
misrepresentation or distortion thereof.
b. Social Justice Society v. Atienza, Jr., SCRA (G.R. No. 156052, 13 February 2008)
A four-page memorandum that clearly contains neither substance nor research is absolutely insulting
to the Supreme Court. As a member of the bar and as an officer of the court, a lawyer ought to be keenly
aware that the chief safeguard of the body politic is respect for the law and its magistrates. There is
nothing more effective than the written word by which counsel can persuade the Court of the
righteousness of his cause. For if truth were self-evident, a memorandum would be completely
unnecessary and superfluous.

8. Intemperate Language
a. Saberon v. Larong, 551 SCRA 359 (2008)
To be sure, the adversarial nature of our legal system has tempted members of the bar to use strong
language in pursuit of their duty to advance the interests of their clients. However, while a lawyer is
entitled to present his case with vigor and courage, such enthusiasm does not justify the use of offensive
and abusive language. Language abounds with countless possibilities for one to be emphatic but
respectful, convincing but not derogatory, illuminating but not offensive. In keeping with the dignity
of the legal profession, a lawyers language even in his pleadings must be dignified. The ascription of
blackmail in the Answer and Rejoinder filed by respondent is not legitimately related or pertinent to
the subject matters of inquiry of the proceedings.
It is of no consequence that the allegedly malicious statements of respondent were made not before
a court but before the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or any other quasi-judicial body.
Lawyers, though they are allowed a latitude of pertinent remark or comment in the furtherance of
the causes they uphold and for the felicity of their clients, should not trench beyond the bounds of
relevancy and propriety in making such remark or comment. Utterances, petitions and motions made in
the course of judicial proceedings have consistently been considered as absolutely privileged, however
false or malicious they may be, but only for so long as they are pertinent and relevant to the subject of
inquiry.
A mere Notice of Resolution dismissing the administrative complaint fails to comply with the
procedural requirement that theLIBP
of Governors
shall state clearly and distinctly the
EXBoard
REVIEWS
AND Sdecision
EMINARS
findings of facts or law on which the BAR
same isReview
based. The2009
above requirement serves a very important
function not just to inform the parties of the reason for the decision as would enable them on appeal to
point out and object to the findings with which they are not in agreement, but also to assure the parties
(Cebu)
that the Board of Governors has reached the judgment through the process of legal reasoning.

C. LAWYERS AND FELLOW LAWYERS


Lawyers
Ethical,
Leaders
Principled
1. Integrated Bar of the
Philippines
(Officers,
Elections
and Succession)

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Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
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a. Velez v. De Vera, 496 SCRA 345 (2006)


It cannot be said that the position of EVP of the IBP is property within the constitutional sense
especially since there is no right to security of tenure over said position as, in fact, all that is required to
remove any member of the board of governors for cause is a resolution adopted by 2/3 of the remaining
members of the board.
Due process of law in administrative cases is not identical with judicial process for a trial in court
is not always essential to due process. While a day in court is a matter of right in judicial proceedings,
it is otherwise in administrative proceedings since they rest upon different principles. The due process
clause guarantees no particular form of procedure and its requirements are not technical. The
constitutional requirement of due process is met by a fair hearing before a regularly established
administrative agency or tribunal. It is not essential that hearings be had before the making of a
determination if thereafter, there is available trial and tribunal before which all objections and defenses
to the making of such determination may be raised and considered. One adequate hearing is all that due
process requires. What is required for hearing may differ as the functions of the administrative bodies
differ. The right to cross-examine is not an indispensable aspect of due process. Nor is an actual hearing
always essential especially under the factual milieu of this case where the members of the IBP Board
upon whose shoulders the determination of the cause for removal of an IBP governor is placed subject
to the approval of the Supreme Court all witnessed Atty. de Veras actuations in the IBP National
Convention in question.
Under the rules, a resolution for expulsion of an IBP Governor is done via a resolution adopted by
2/3 of the remaining members. The phrase remaining members refers to the members exclusive of the
complainant member and the respondent member. The reason therefore is that such members are
interested parties and are thus presumed to be unable to resolve said motion impartially. This being the
case, the votes of Attys. Rivera and de Vera should be stricken-off which means that only the votes of
the seven remaining members are to be counted.
Indubitably, conflicts and disagreements of varying degrees of intensity, if not animosity, are inherent
in the internal life of an organization, but especially of the IBP since lawyers are said to disagree before
they agree. However, the effectiveness of the IBP, like any other organization, is diluted if the conflicts
are brought outside its governing body for then there would be the impression that the IBP, which speaks
through the Board of Governors, does not and cannot speak for its members in an authoritative fashion.
It would accordingly diminish the IBPs prestige and repute with the lawyers as well as with the general
public. As a means of self-preservation, internecine conflicts must thus be adjusted within the governing
board itself so as to free it from the stresses that invariably arise when internal cleavages are made
public.
The doctrine of majority rule is almost universally used as a mechanism for adjusting and resolving
conflicts and disagreements within the group after the members have been given an opportunity to be
heard. While it does not efface conflicts, nonetheless, once a decision on a contentious matter is reached
by a majority vote, the dissenting minority is bound thereby so that the board can speak with one voice,
for those elected to the governing board are deemed to implicitly contract that the will of the majority
shall govern in matters within the authority of the board. When the IBP Board is not seen by the bar and
the public as a cohesive unit, it cannot
effectively
itsEMINARS
duty of helping the Supreme Court enforce
LEX R
EVIEWSperform
AND S
the code of legal ethics and the standards
legal practice
as well as improve the administration of
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2009
justice. Indeed, when a member of a governing body cannot accept the voice of the majority, he should
resign therefrom so that he could criticize in public the majority opinion/decision to his hearts content;
(Cebu)
otherwise, he subjects himself to disciplinary action by the body.

While it is true that the Supreme Court has been granted an extensive power of supervision over the
IBP, it is axiomatic that such power should be exercised prudently. The power of supervision of the
Supreme Court over the IBP should not preclude the IBP from exercising its reasonable discretion
especially in the administration of its internal affairs governed by the provisions of its By-Laws. The
actions and resolutions of theLawyers
IBP BoardEthical,
deserve toLeaders
be accorded
the disputable presumption of validity,
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which shall continue, until and unless it is overcome by substantial evidence and actually declared
invalid by the Supreme Court. There is no question that the IBP Board has the authority to remove its
members as provided in Article VI, Section 44 of the IBP By-Laws.
The removal of Atty. de Vera as member of the Board of Governors ipso facto meant his removal
as EVP as well. Thus, to be EVP of the IBP, one must necessarily be a member of IBP Board of
Governors. Atty. de Veras removal from the Board of Governors, automatically disqualified him from
acting as IBP EVP. Thus there was a resultant vacancy in the position of IBP EVP. Article VI, Section
41(g) of the IBP By-Laws expressly grants to the Board the authority to fill vacancies, however arising,
in the IBP positions. The election by the 2003-2005 IBP Board of Governors of a new EVP, who will
assume the Presidency for the term 2005-2007, was well within the authority and prerogative granted
to the Board by the IBP By-Laws, particularly Article VII, Section 47, which provides that [t]he EVP
shall automatically become President for the next succeeding term.
The Court cannot give credence to the argument of Atty. De Vera that, assuming his removal as IBP
Governor and EVP was valid, his replacement as IBP EVP should come from Eastern Mindanao Region
pursuant to the rotation rule set forth in Article VII, Section 47, of the IBP By-Laws. It is clear that it is
the position of IBP EVP which is actually rotated among the nine Regional Governors. The rotation with
respect to the Presidency is merely a result of the automatic succession rule of the IBP EVP to the
Presidency. In the case at bar, the rotation rule was duly complied with since upon the election of Atty.
De Vera as IBP EVP, each of the nine IBP regions had already produced an EVP and, thus, the rotation
was completed. It is only unfortunate that the supervening event of Atty. de Veras removal as IBP
Governor and EVP rendered it impossible for him to assume the IBP Presidency.
The automatic succession rule affords the IBP leadership transition seamless and enables the new
IBP National President to attend to pressing and urgent matters without having to expend valuable time
for the usual adjustment and leadership consolidation period. The time that an IBP EVP spends assisting
a sitting IBP President on matters national in scope is in fact a valuable and indispensable preparation
for the eventual succession. It will also be inconsistent with the purpose and spirit of the automatic
succession rule if the EVP for the term 2003-2005 will be elected exclusively by the members of the
House of Delegates of the Eastern Mindanao region.

2. Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Membership Dues)


a. Letter of Atty. Cecilo Y. Arevalo, Jr., Requesting Exemption from Payment of IBP Dues, 458
SCRA 209 (2005)
The payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the IBP, of which no one is
exempt the compulsory nature of payment of dues subsists for as long as ones membership in the IBP
remains, regardless of the lack of practice of, or the type of practice, the member is engaged in.

3. Relationship With Fellow Lawyers


a. Torres v. Javier, 470 SCRA 408 (2005)
LEX REVIEWS AND SEMINARS
That a lawyer may have conducted
improperly
BARhimself
Review
2009is not a justification for another lawyer
to be relieved from observing professional conduct in his relations with the former. Clients, not lawyers,
are the litigants, so whatsoever may be the ill-feeling existing between clients should not be allowed to
(Cebu)
influence counsel in their conduct toward each other or toward suitors in the case.

The spectacle presented by two members of the bar engaged in bickering and recrimination is
far from edifying, and detract from dignity of the legal profession.
In keeping with the dignity of the legal profession, a lawyers language must be dignified and choice
of language is important in preparation
pleadings.
Arguments
in pleadings should be gracious to both
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court and opposing counsel and be such of words as may be properly addressed by one gentleman to
another.
b. Asa v. Castillo, 500 SCRA 309 (2006)
Mutual bickerings and unjustified recriminations between brother attorneys detract from the dignity
of the legal profession and will not receive any sympathy from this Court. Personal colloquies between
counsels which promote unseemly wrangling should thus be carefully avoided.

4. Aiding in the Unauthorized Practice of Law


a. Plus Builiders, Inc. v. Revilla, Jr. , 501 SCRA 615 (2006)
The significance of professional norm that a lawyer shall not directly or indirectly assist in the
unauthorized practice of law is founded on public interest and policy. Public policy requires that the
practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character. The
permissive right conferred on the lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if
he fails to maintain proper standards of moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the
public, the court, the client, and the bar from the incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to
practice law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves upon a lawyer to see
that this purpose is attained. Thus, the canons and ethics of the profession enjoin him not to permit his
professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to make possible the unauthorized practice of
law by, any agency, personal or corporate. And, the law makes it a misbehavior on his part, subject to
disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the unauthorized practice of law.

D. LAWYERS AND CLIENTS


1. Relationships with and Responsibility to the Client
a. Abiero v. Juanino, 452 SCRA 1 (2005)
The lawyer has the duty to exert his best judgment in the prosecution or defense of the case entrusted
to him and to exercise reasonable and ordinary care and diligence in the pursuit or defense of the case.
Failure to appeal to the Court of Appeals despite instructions by the client to do so constitutes
inexcusable negligence on the part of counsel.
Canon 18, Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility requires a lawyer to keep his client
informed of the status of his case and respond within a reasonable time to the clients request for
information.
b. Canoy v. Ortiz, 453 SCRA 410 (2005)
Once a lawyer agrees to take up the cause of a client, a lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and must
always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. The relationship of lawyer-client being
one of confidence, there is ever present the need for the client to be adequately and fully informed of the
LEX not
REVIEWS
AND
developments of the case and should
be left in the
darkSEMINARS
as to the mode and manner in which his/her
interests are being defended.
BAR Review 2009
That the case was dismissed without prejudice,
thus allowing the complainant to refile the case,
(Cebu)
hardly serves to mitigate the liability of his counsel, as the failure to file the position paper is per se a
violation of Rule 18.03. And, the Court is not mollified by the circumstance of respondent-lawyers
election as a City Councilor, as his adoption of these additional duties does not exonerate him of his
negligent behavior.

It is not enough to say that all pauper litigants should be assured of legal representation they
deserve quality representationLawyers
as well. Ethical, Leaders Principled

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c. Macarilay v. Seria, 458 SCRA 12 (2005)


The legal profession demands vigilance and attention expected of a good father of a family
lawyers should adopt the norm expected of people of good intentions. The lawyer-client relationship,
being one of confidence, requires lawyers to give the client timely, adequate and truthful updates on the
developments of the case.
Where a client gives money to the lawyer for a specific purpose such as to file an action or to
appeal an adverse judgment the latter should, upon failure to do so, immediately return it to the former.
d. Reyes v. Vitan, 456 SCRA 87 (2005)
The act of receiving money as acceptance fee for legal services in handling a clients case and
subsequently failing to render such services is a clear violation of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility
e. Espiritu v. Ulep, 458 SCRA 1 (2005)
The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates every lawyer to hold in trust all money and
properties of his client that may come into his possession. A lawyers failure to return upon demand the
funds or property held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that he has
appropriated the same for his own use to the prejudice of, and in violation of the trust reposed in him
by, his client.
f. Reyes v. Vitan, 456 SCRA 87 (2005)
The act of receiving money as acceptance fee for legal services in handling a clients case and
subsequently failing to render such services is a clear violation of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
g. Adrimisin v. Javier, 501 SCRA 192 (2006)
Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates every lawyer to hold in trust all
moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession. Consequently, a lawyer should
account for the money received from a client. The Rule 18.03 of Canon 18 of the Code also enjoins a
lawyer not to neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall
render him liable.
By his receipt of the amount, respondent agreed to take up complainants cause and owed fidelity
to complainant and her cause, even if complainant never paid any fee. Lawyering is not a business. It is
a profession in which duty to public service, not money, is the primary consideration.
In failing to immediately secure the bail bond it took 8 days before the bail bond was prepared
respondent clearly neglected to exercise ordinary diligence or that reasonable degree of care and skill
required by the circumstances.
LEX REVIEWS AND SEMINARS
A lawyers failure to return upon demand
the funds held
by him on behalf of his client gives rise to
BAR Review
2009
the presumption that he has appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him
by his client. Such act is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics. It impairs
(Cebu)
public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment.

Lawyers who convert the funds entrusted to them are in gross violation of professional ethics and
are guilty of betrayal of public confidence in the legal profession. Those who are guilty of such infraction
may be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law.
h. Solatan v. Inocentes,
466 SCRA
1 (2005)
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An attorney has no power to act as counsel or legal representative for a person without being retained
to establish the professional relation, it is sufficient that the advice and assistance of an attorney are
sought and received in any manner pertinent to his profession
An attorney giving advice to a party with an interest conflicting with that of his client resulting in
detriment to the latter may be held guilty of disloyalty. Where the statement of a lawyer to his clients
adversary is in consonance with such lawyers foremost duty to uphold the law as an officer of the court,
that statement in such a context should not be construed as giving advice in conflict against the interests
of his client.
i.
FIL-GARCIA, INC. v. HERNANDEZ, SCRA (A.C. No. 7129, 16 July 2008) {Puno, C.J.} [FIRST
DIVISION] [Client Uninformed * Complaint for recovery of money (construction contract) through
Atty. Ligsay * RTC judgment in favor of complainant reversed by CA * MR filed through
respondent (Atty. Hernandez) * CA Denial received 8 May 2001, due 23 May * Instead of filing an
appeal within the reglementary period, respondent filed three (3) successive motions for extension
of time 1st one, he alleged that he was engaged as counsel by a mayoralty candidate and a senatorial
candidate which required his presence in the canvassing of votes (request for 30 day extension) ...
2nd extension, alleging that he fell ill (request for 20 days) ... 3rd extension, allegation that [he]
severely underestimated the time needed to complete the petition because he had to work on other
equally urgent legal matters, which were unattended to during his illness. (Prayer for 10 days) *
6 August: Receipt of Courts Resolution denying 1st motion for extension for failure to show that it
has not lost the fifteen (15)-day reglementary period within which to appeal in view of the lack of
statement of material dates * MR re 6 August Resolution * 20 August Resolution denying 2nd and
3rd motions for extension of time * Another MR re 20 August Resolution * MR Denied, together
with Petition that was already filed * DELAYED ADVICE TO CLIENT: As admitted by respondent,
he received a copy of the Courts resolution dated October 1, 2001 denying complainants appeal
on November 15, 2001. However, respondent forwarded a copy of the same to complainants office
only on June 16, 2002. (7 months) * Complaint for Disbarment (3 extensions and wrong choice
of mode of appeal), and delayed advice * Lastly, respondent admits that he failed to immediately
inform complainant of the development of the case. However, the said omission was not deliberate
nor prompted by malice or intent to injure the complainant but was brought about by the sudden
unexpected technicalities that besieged the appeal of the case to the Supreme Court which caused
him dismay and made it hard for him to inform complainant of the same. * NEGLIGENCE:
Respondents conduct relative to the belated filing of complainants petition for review on certiorari
falls short of his obligation to serve his client with competence and diligence under Canon 18 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Respondents act of filing three (3) successive motions for
extension of time to file the petition on the careless assumption that each motion will be granted by
the Court, and without taking care of informing himself of the Courts action thereon, constitutes
inexcusable negligence. Moreover, respondent knowingly referred to Rule 65 in the petition he
belatedly filed as an afterthought in his desperate attempt to salvage the appeal. Rule 18.03 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins a lawyer not to neglect a legal matter entrusted to him,
and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. Every case a lawyer accepts
deserves his full attention, skill and competence, regardless of its importance and whether he accepts
it for a fee or for free. He must
constantly
keep in
mindSthat
his actions or omissions or nonfeasance
LEX
REVIEWS
AND
EMINARS
would be binding upon his client. BAR
Thus, he
is
expected
to
be
Review 2009 acquainted with the rudiments of law
and legal procedure, and a client who deals with him has the right to expect not just a good amount
of professional learning and competence but
also a whole-hearted fealty to the clients cause.
(Cebu)
While pressure of work or some other unavoidable reasons may constrain a lawyer to file a motion
for extension of time to file pleadings, he should not presume that his motion for extension of time
will be granted. Well-settled is the rule that motions for extension of time to file a pleading are not
granted as a matter of course but lie in the sound discretion of the court. It is thus incumbent on any
movant for extension to exercise due diligence to inform himself as soon as possible of the Court's
action on his motion, by timely inquiry from the Clerk of Court. Should he neglect to do so, he runs
the risk of time running out
on him, for
which he
will have
nobody but himself to blame. * OTHER
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Page 19 of 44

ENGAGEMENTS AND INFORMATION TO CLIENT: As noted by Commissioner San Juan, respondent


alleged in his answer that he anticipated that he could not file the petition within the reglementary
period due to his prior commitments for the municipal canvassing of votes of a mayoralty candidate.
However, this fact was not called to the attention of the complainant. In doing so, complainant could
have engaged the services of another lawyer who can file the petition in time. A lawyer who finds
it impracticable to continue representing a client should inform the latter of his predicament and ask
that he be allowed to withdraw from the case to enable the client to engage the services of another
counsel who can study the situation and work out a solution. * To make matters worse, it took
respondent seven (7) months from the time he received a copy of the Courts resolution denying
complainants petition to inform complainant of the same. Under Rule 18.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, a lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and
shall respond within a reasonable time to the clients request for information. * SUSPENDED
FOR SIX (6) MONTHS]
2. Client Confidences and Privileged Communications
a. Mercado v. Vitriolo, 459 SCRA 1 (2005)
In engaging the services of an attorney, the client reposes on him special powers of trust and
confidence, a relationship that is strictly personal and highly confidential and fiduciary.
Abstinence from seeking legal advice in a good cause is an evil which is fatal to the administration
of justice. It is glory of the legal profession that its fidelity to its client can be depended on, and that a
man may safely go to a lawyer and converse with him upon his rights or supposed rights in any litigation
with absolute assurance that the lawyers tongue is tied from ever disclosing it. Matters disclosed by a
prospective client to a lawyer are protected by the rule on privileged communication even if the
prospective client does not thereafter retain the lawyer or the latter declines the employment. However,
the mere relation of attorney and client does not raise a presumption of confidentiality the client must
intend the communication to be confidential.
b. Hadjula v. Madianda, 526 SCRA 241 (2007)
The moment the complainant approached the respondent lawyer to seek legal advice, a veritable
lawyer-client relationship evolved between the two. Such relationship imposed upon the lawyer certain
restrictions circumscribed by the ethics of the profession. Among the burdens of the relationship is that
which enjoins the lawyer to keep inviolate confidential information acquired or revealed during legal
consultations. The fact that one is, at the end of the day, not inclined to handle the clients case is hardly
of consequence. Of little moment, too, is the fact that no formal professional engagement followed the
consultation. Nor will it make any difference that no contract whatsoever was executed by the parties
to memorialize the relationship. The purpose of the rule of confidentiality is actually to protect the client
from possible breach of confidence as a result of a consultation with a lawyer.
3. Negligence of Counsel
a. Pineda v. Macapagal, 476 SCRA 292 (2005)
Public interest demands that an attorney exert his best efforts and ability to preserve his clients
cause, for the unwavering loyalty
displayed
to his AND
client likewise
serves the ends of justice. Failure of
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REVIEWS
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a lawyer to file an appeal brief certainly
constitutes
inexcusable
BAR Review 2009 negligence on his part. Failure of a
lawyer to inform his client of the status of the cases shows failure to exercise such skill, care, and
diligence as men of the legal profession commonly possess and exercise in such matters of professional
(Cebu)
employment.

While it is the duty of a lawyer to encourage his clients to avoid, end or settle a controversy if it will
admit of a fair settlement, the same must be done in a manner that will not cause prejudice to the other
party. In this case, respondents failure to attend several hearings on the pretext that he was exploring
the possibility of amicable settlement between the contending parties, resulted in the dismissal of
complainants suit.
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b. Grand Placement and General Services Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 481 SCRA 189
(2006)
It is the duty of a lawyer to pay heed to the urgency and importance of registered letter sent by the
court. Until his dismissal or withdrawal is made of record in court, any judicial notice sent to a counsel
of record is binding upon his client even though as between them the professional relationship may have
been terminated. A notice to a lawyer who appears to have been unconscionably irresponsible cannot
be considered as a notice to his client.
c. Anastacio-Briones v. Zapanta, 507 SCRA 1(2006)
Until a lawyers withdrawal shall have been approved, he remains counsel of record and is expected
by his client as well as by the court to do what the interests of his client require. He must still appear on
the date of hearing for the attorney-client relation does not terminate formally until there is a withdrawal
of his appearance on record. Until his dismissal or withdrawal is made of record, any judicial notice sent
to the lawyer was binding upon his client though as between them the professional relationship may have
been terminated.
d. Crisostomo v. Sandiganbayan, 456 SCRA 45 (2005)
Where the counsels negligence is so gross, it should not prejudice the accuseds right to be heard,
especially in a case where the imposable penalty may be death.
e. Adecer v. Akut, 489 SCRA 1 (2006)
The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that a lawyer shall serve his client with
competence and diligence. He shall not handle any legal matter without adequate preparation. Nor shall
he neglect a legal matter entrusted to him; his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
The Court noted that in this age of cellular phones, long distance telephone accessibility, and even
overnight mail delivery, it is highly unlikely that respondent would not be able to attend to his clients
needs were he so inclined.
While the Court commiserated with respondent for the loss of his wife, and appreciated fully that
during the period of a mans existence when the sense of mortality and loss is most closely felt more than
ever, it would appear that no responsibility is more important than tending to loved ones. Nevertheless,
such is the lawyers charge that no personal consideration should stand in the way of performing a
legal duty. In these situations, it is only fair that a lawyer should lighten his case load lest he prejudice
his clients cases.
Litigants entrust their properties, liberties, and even lives, in the hands of their lawyers, who must
protect these values with utmost zeal and vigilance. The lawyer should serve his client in a
conscientious, diligent and efficient manner and he should provide a quality of services at least equal
to that which lawyers generally would expect of a competent lawyer in the like situation. By agreeing
to be his clients counsel, he represents that he will exercise ordinary diligence or that reasonable degree
of care and skill having reference to the character of the business he undertakes to do, to protect the
clients interests and take all steps
or do
acts necessary
and his client may reasonably expect
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Rall
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AND therefor,
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him to discharge his obligations diligently.

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4. Pangasinan Electric Cooperative I (PANELCO I) v. Montemayor, 533 SCRA 1 (2007)


(Cebu)
While it is settled that the power to disbar must be exercised with great caution. Only in a clear case
of misconduct that seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court
and as a member of the bar will disbarment be imposed as a penalty, the case of respondent lawyer
however is different. He is guilty not only of his unjustified failure to file the appellants brief of his
client not only once but twice. Moreover the Court notes with dismay the huge losses suffered by
complainant in the total amount
of sixteen
million
pesos (P
=Principled
16,000,000). The respondent lawyer also
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Page 21 of 44

demonstrated an utter lack of regard for the very serious charges against him and a gross disrespect for
the Court when he failed to file his comment after being required to file his response to the said charges.
Respondent could have presented sufficient justification for his inability to file the appellants briefs but
failed to do so.
In view of the forgoing circumstances, he does not deserve anymore to remain as an active member
of the legal profession. The breaches of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the palpable sloth
and irresponsibility he has demonstrated in handling the cases of his client undeniably reveal that he has
become more of a liability than an asset to the legal profession. He cannot be entrusted anymore with
the sacred duty and responsibility to protect the interests of any prospective client. If he is then allowed
to resume his law practice after suspension, this will surely subvert the ends of justice, dishonor the bar,
and lose the respect of society for the profession of law. The Court will not allow such affront to pass.

5. Misguided Zeal and Devotion


a. Heirs of the Late Herman Rey Romero v. Reyes, Jr., 461 SCRA 1 (2005)
Lawyers are indispensable instruments of justice and peace. As officers of the court, lawyers are
expected to act with complete candor in all their dealings, they may not resort to the use of deception
and the pretensions of wolves. While a lawyer owes absolute fidelity to the cause of his client, full
devotion to his genuine interest, and warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his rights, as well as
the exertion of his utmost learning and ability, he must do so only within the bounds of the law.
Deception and other forms of moral flaw will never be countenanced by the Supreme Court.
b. Plus Builders, Inc. v. Revilla, Jr., 501 SCRA 615 (2006)
Lawyers are officers of the court, called upon to assist in the administration of justice. They act as
vanguards of our legal system, protecting and upholding truth and the rule of law. They are expected to
act with honesty in all their dealings, especially with the courts. Verily, the Code of Professional
Responsibility enjoins lawyers from committing or consenting to any falsehood in court or from allowing
the courts to be misled by any artifice. Moreover, they are obliged to observe the rules of procedure and
not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.
Good faith, fairness and candor constitute the essence of membership in the legal profession. Thus,
while lawyers owe fidelity to the cause of their client, they must never abuse their right of recourse to
the courts by arguing a case that has repeatedly been rejected. Neither should they use their knowledge
of the law as an instrument to harass a party or to misuse judicial processes. These acts constitute serious
transgression of their professional oath.
In support of the cause of their clients, lawyers have the duty to present every remedy or defense
within the authority of the law. This obligation, however, must never be at the expense of truth and
justice. While a lawyer owes absolute fidelity to the cause of his client, full devotion to his genuine
interest, and warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his rights, as well as the exertion of his utmost
learning and ability, he must do so only within the bounds of the law. He must give a candid and honest
opinion on the merits and probable
results
of his clients
with the end in view of promoting respect
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REVIEWS
ANDcase
SEMINARS
for the law and legal processes, and counsel
maintain such
actions or proceedings only as appear to
BAR orReview
2009
him to be just, and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable under the law. He must
always remind himself of the oath he took upon admission to the Bar that he will not wittingly or
(Cebu)
willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit nor give aid nor consent to the same;
and that he will conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion with
all good fidelity as well to the courts as to his clients. Needless to state, the lawyers fidelity to his client
must not be pursued at the expense of truth and the administration of justice, and it must be done within
the bounds of reason and common sense. A lawyers responsibility to protect and advance the interests
of his client does not warrant a course of action propelled by ill motives and malicious intentions against
the other party.
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Page 22 of 44

c. Sebastian v. Bajar, 532 SCRA 435 (2007)


This involves a disbarment complaint against Atty. Emily A. Bajar, a lawyer of the Bureau of
Agrarian Legal Assistance (BALA) of the Department of Agrarian Reform for obstructing, disobeying,
resisting, and impeding final decisions of Regional Trial Courts, the Court of Appeals and of the
Honorable Supreme Court, and also for submitting those final decisions for the review and reversal of
the DARAB, an administrative body, and for contemptuous acts and dilatory tactics. After the ejectment
suit had been decided against her client, she filed a case for Specific Performance to produce conversion
order. She then filed a case for Maintenance of Possession with DARAB. An administrative complaint
was filed against her and the same was referred to the IBP. The Supreme Courts directive for her to file
Comment and a Rejoinder went unheeded. The IBP Resolution subsequently recommended indefinite
suspension, which resolution was noted by the Court, with directive to Court Administrator to
circularize IBP resolution suspending Bajar. Claiming that she did not receive the Court Administrator
circular, Atty. Bajar continued to practice law as a Prosecutor in Mandaluyong City despite her
suspension because she believed that a notation by the Court in the 20 January 1997 Resolution did not
mean an implementation of the IBPs Resolution on her indefinite suspension.
As culled from the records, the Court had merely noted IBP Resolution No. XII-96-149 which
recommended respondents indefinite suspension. The term noted means that the Court has merely
taken cognizance of the existence of an act or declaration, without exercising a judicious deliberation
or rendering a decision on the matter it does not imply agreement or approval. Hence, the penalty
of indefinite suspension imposed by the IBP Board of Governors has not attained finality.
Administrative proceedings against lawyers are sui generis and they belong to a class of their own.
They are neither civil nor criminal actions but rather investigations by the Court into the conduct of its
officer. They involve no private interest and afford no redress for private grievance. A disciplinary action
against a lawyer is intended to protect the administration of justice from the misconduct of its officers.
Clear preponderant evidence is necessary to justify the imposition of the penalty in disbarment or
suspension proceedings.
Respondents cavalier attitude in repeatedly ignoring the orders of the Supreme Court constitutes
utter disrespect to the judicial institution. Respondents conduct indicates a high degree of
irresponsibility. A Courts Resolution is not to be construed as a mere request, nor should it be
complied with partially, inadequately, or selectively. Lawyers are called upon to obey court orders and
processes and respondents deference is underscored by the fact that willful disregard thereof will subject
the lawyer not only to punishment for contempt but to disciplinary sanctions as well. In fact, graver
responsibility is imposed upon a lawyer than any other to uphold the integrity of the courts and to show
respect to their processes. Respondents failure to comply with the Courts directive to file a Rejoinder
and to file a Comment also constitutes gross misconduct.
The procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil proceedings that only the real party-in-interest
must initiate the suit does not apply in disbarment cases. In fact, the person who called the attention of
the court to a lawyers misconduct is in no sense a party, and generally has no interest in the outcome.
Respondents act of filing cases
identical issues
other venues despite the final ruling which
LEXwith
REVIEWS
AND in
SEMINARS
was affirmed by the Court of AppealsBAR
and the
Supreme Court
Review
2009is beyond the bounds of the law. To
permit lawyers to resort to unscrupulous practices for the protection of the supposed rights of their
clients is to defeat one of the purposes of the state the administration of justice. Respondent abused
(Cebu)
her right of recourse to the courts. Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates
lawyers to represent their clients with zeal but within the bounds of the law.

The penalty of suspension or disbarment is meted out in clear cases of misconduct that seriously
affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the court. In this case, respondent has
shown her great propensity to disregard court orders. Respondents acts of wantonly disobeying her
duties as an officer of the courtLawyers
show an utter
disrespect
for thePrincipled
Court and the legal profession. However,
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the Court will not disbar a lawyer if it finds that a lesser penalty will suffice to accomplish the desired
end. Respondents acts constitute gross misconduct and willful disobedience of lawful orders of a
superior court. Respondent also violated Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Her
suspension is consequently warranted.
d. Briones v. Jimenez, 522 SCRA 236 (2007)
This arose from incidents in an Intestate Estate Proceeding. Briones was the Special Administrator
while respondent Jimenez was counsel for the heirs. Briones complains about the act of the respondent
in filing a criminal case against the former for allegedly resisting and seriously disobeying the RTC
Order directing Briones to deliver residue of the estate to the Heirs (Art. 151, RPC). Complainant
claimed that the filing of the unfounded criminal complaint was meant to obtain an improper advantage
and to coerce complainant to deliver to the Heirs without any writ of execution or any pronouncement
from the RTC as to the finality of the Order. On the other hand, respondent contended that when he
assisted the Heirs in filing a criminal case against complainant, he was merely fulfilling his legal duty
to take the necessary steps to protect the interests of his clients.
[T]here is sufficient ground in support of complainants claim that respondent violated Rule 19.01
of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Records reveal that before respondent assisted the Heirs in
filing the criminal complaint against herein complainant, he sent demand letters to the latter to comply
with the Order of Judge Tipon to deliver the residue of the estate to the heirs of the late Luz J. Henson.
Considering that complainant did not reply to the demand letters, respondent opted to file said criminal
complaint in behalf of his clients for refusal to obey the lawful order of the court. The Order referred to
is the third part of the assailed Order dated April 3, 2002 which directs complainant to deliver the residue
to the Heirs in proportion to their shares. As aptly pointed out by complainant, respondent should have
first filed the proper motion with the RTC for execution of the third part of said Order instead of
immediately resorting to the filing of criminal complaint against him. A mere perusal of the rest of the
Order dated April 3, 2002 readily discloses that the approval of the report of complainant as Special
Administrator was suspended prior to the audit of the administration of complainant. Consequently, the
RTC would still have to determine and define the residue referred to in the subject Order. The filing of
the criminal complaint was evidently premature.
The long and short of it? Fair play demands that respondent should have filed the proper motion
with the RTC to attain his goal of having the residue of the estate delivered to his clients and not subject
complainant to a premature criminal prosecution. Nevertheless, [a]lthough respondent failed to live
up to this expectation, there is no evidence that he acted with malice or bad faith. Consequently, it is but
fit to reprimand respondent for his act of unfair dealing with complainant.
e. Pena v. Aparicio, 525 SCRA 444 (2007)
This is complaint for disbarment for violation of Rule 19.01 the act of a lawyer writing a demand
letter the contents of which threatened complainant with the filing of criminal cases for tax evasion and
falsification of documents. In short, complainant claims an act of blackmail from the respondent lawyer.
Under Rule 19.01 (Employment of Fair and Honest Means for Lawful Objectives), a lawyer should
not file or threaten to file any unfounded
or baselessAND
criminal
case or cases against the adversaries of his
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client designed to secure a leverage to
compel
the adversaries
BAR
Review
2009to yield or withdraw their own cases
against the lawyers client. In the case at bar, respondent did exactly what Canon 19 and its Rule
proscribe. Through his letter, he threatened complainant that should the latter fail to pay the amounts
(Cebu)
they propose as settlement, he would file and claim bigger amounts including moral damages, as well
as multiple charges such as tax evasion, falsification of documents, and cancellation of business license
to operate due to violations of laws. The threats are not only unethical for violating Canon 19, but they
also amount to blackmail. Blackmail is the extortion of money from a person by threats of accusation
or exposure or opposition in the public prints, . . . obtaining of value from a person as a condition of
refraining from making an accusation against him, or disclosing some secret calculated to operate to his
prejudice. In common parlance
and in Ethical,
general acceptation,
it is equivalent to and synonymous with
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extortion, the exaction of money either for the performance of a duty, the prevention of an injury, or the
exercise of an influence. Not infrequently, it is extorted by threats, or by operating on the fears or the
credulity, or by promises to conceal or offers to expose the weaknesses, the follies, or the crime of the
victim.
But is the act of threatening the possibility of criminal prosecution blackmail? Or, when does a
demand letter become blackmail? [I]t is quite obvious that respondents threat to file the cases against
complainant was designed to secure some leverage to compel the latter to give in to his clients demands.
It was not respondents intention to point out complainants violations of the law as he so gallantly
claims. Far from it, the letter even contains an implied promise to keep silent about the said violations
if payment of the claim is made on the date indicated. Indeed, the writing of demand letters is a standard
practice and tradition in this jurisdiction. It is usually done by a lawyer pursuant to the principal-agent
relationship that he has with his client, the principal. Thus, in the performance of his role as agent, the
lawyer may be tasked to enforce his clients claim and to take all the steps necessary to collect it, such
as writing a letter of demand requiring payment within a specified period. However, the letter in this case
contains more than just a simple demand to pay. It even contains a threat to file retaliatory charges
against complainant which have nothing to do with his clients claim for separation pay. The letter was
obviously designed to secure leverage to compel complainant to yield to their claims. Indeed, letters of
this nature are definitely proscribed by the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Further, the Court said that [t]he privileged nature of the letter was removed when respondent used
it to blackmail complainant and extort from the latter compliance with the demands of his client.
Nevertheless, while the writing of the letter went beyond ethical standards, we hold that disbarment
is too severe a penalty to be imposed on respondent, considering that he wrote the same out of his
overzealousness to protect his clients interests. Accordingly, the more appropriate penalty is
reprimand.
As a sidelight in this case, the Court took an this as an occasion to discuss whether there is a need
for a certification against forum shopping in disbarment complaints. The Investigating Commissioner
and the IBP Board of Governors took against complainant his failure to attach the certification against
forum shopping to his complaint and consequently dismissed his complaint. This Court, however,
disagrees and, accordingly, grants the petition. However, a remand of the case to the IBP would unduly
prolong its adjudication. The Courts determination is anchored on the sui generis nature of disbarment
proceedings, the reasons for the certification against forum shopping requirement, complainants
subsequent compliance with the requirement, and the merit of complainants complaint against
respondent. Thus, [i]n view of the nature of disbarment proceedings, the certification against forum
shopping to be attached to the complaint, if one is required at all in such proceedings, must refer to
another administrative case for disciplinary proceedings against the same respondent, because such other
proceedings or action is one that necessarily involves the same issues as the one posed in the
disbarment complaint to which the certification is supposedly to be attached.
Further, [i]t would seem that the scenario sought to be avoided, i.e., the filing of multiple suits and
the possibility of conflicting decisions, rarely happens in disbarment complaints considering that said
proceedings are either taken by the Supreme Court motu proprio, or by the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) upon the verified
of any
person.
Thus, if the complainant in a disbarment
LEXcomplaint
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AND
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case fails to attach a certification against
forum
shopping,2009
the pendency of another disciplinary action
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Review
against the same respondent may still be ascertained with ease.
(Cebu)
6. Misappropriation of or Non-Accounting for Funds and Other Properties
a. Velez v. De Vera, 496 SCRA 345 (2006)

Beyond doubt, the unauthorized use by a lawyer of his clients funds is highly unethical. Canon 16
of the Code of Professional Responsibility is emphatic about this. By his admission that he used his
clients money for personal Lawyers
use, respondent
unwittingly
his own fate since this admission
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constitutes more than substantial evidence of malpractice. His act in holding on to his clients money
without the latters acquiescence is conduct indicative of lack of integrity and propriety. And, by
depositing the check in his own account and using the same for his own benefit, he is guilty of deceit,
malpractice, gross misconduct and unethical behavior. He caused dishonor, not only to himself but to
the noble profession to which he belongs.
b. Almendarez, Jr. v. Langit, 496 SCRA 402 (2006)
A lawyer commits a flagrant violation of his oath where he receives the sum of money representing
the monthly rentals intended for his client, without accounting for and returning such sum to its rightful
owner. A lawyer is not entitled to unilaterally appropriate his clients money for himself by the mere fact
that the client owes him attorneys fees.
Respondents failure to turn over the money to complainant despite the latters demands gives rise
to the presumption that he had converted the money for his personal use and benefit. This is a gross
violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics, impairing public confidence in the legal
profession. More specifically, it renders respondent liable not only for violating the Code but also for
contempt (25, Rule 138).
The misconduct of a lawyer is aggravated by his unjustified refusal to heed the orders of the IBP
requiring him to file an answer to the complaint-affidavit and, afterwards, to appear at the mandatory
conference. Indeed, he is justly charged with conduct unbecoming a lawyer, for a lawyer is expected to
uphold the law and promote respect for legal processes. Further, a lawyer must observe and maintain
respect not only to the courts, but also to judicial officers and other duly constituted authorities,
including the IBP. Under Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, the Court has empowered the IBP to conduct
proceedings for the disbarment, suspension, or discipline of attorneys.

c. Arroyo-Posidio v. Vitan, 520 SCRA 1 (2007)


Lawyers are prohibited from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and are
mandated to serve their clients with competence and diligence. To this end, nothing should be done by
any member of the legal fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public
in the fidelity, honesty, and integrity of the profession.
Where a client gives money to his lawyer for a specific purpose, such as to file an action, appeal an
adverse judgment, consummate a settlement, or pay the purchase price of a parcel of land, the lawyer
should, upon failure to take such step and spend the money for it, immediately return the money to his
client. In the instant case, respondent received the amount of P
=100,000.00 as legal fees for filing
additional claims against the estate of Nicolasa S. de Guzman Arroyo. However, he failed to institute
an action, thus it was imperative that he immediately return the amount to complainant upon demand
therefor. Having received payment for services which were not rendered, respondent was unjustified in
keeping complainants money. His obligation was to immediately return the said amount. His refusal
to do so despite complainants repeated demands constitutes a violation of his oath where he pledges not
to delay any man for money and swears to conduct himself with good fidelity to his clients.
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Respondent must likewise be reminded that a lawyer should, at all times, comply with what the court
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Review
2009
lawfully requires. It bears stressing that
the judgment
against
him in a civil case to pay the complainant
the amount of P
=100,000, as well as interest and attorneys fees, has long become final and executory yet
he has not complied. His refusal to comply with(Cebu)
the said order constitutes a willful disobedience to the
courts lawful orders.

Needless to say, too, the act of issuing a bouncing check further compounded respondents
infractions. The act of a lawyer in issuing a check without sufficient funds to cover the same constitutes
willful dishonesty and immoral conduct as to undermine the public confidence in law and lawyers. Such
conduct indicates the respondents
unfitness
for the
trust andPrincipled
confidence reposed on him, shows such
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Leaders

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Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 26 of 44

lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render him unworthy of public confidence and
constitutes a ground for disciplinary action. Lawyers are particularly called upon to obey court orders
and processes and are expected to stand foremost in complying with court directives being themselves
officers of the court. And while respondent issued a check in the amount of P
=120,000.00 in favor of
complainant, purportedly to satisfy the judgment against him, the check was later dishonored for having
been drawn against a closed account.
d. Salomon, Jr. v. Frial, SCRA (A.C. No. 7820, 12 September 2008)
Lawyer of attaching creditor taking custody of two cars (Nissan Sentra and a Volvo) through his own
undertaking without court knowledge and authority * Nissan seen in other places, being used by others
(but not the lawyer himself) and the Volvo destroyed by fire but not reported * Defense: For safekeeping
and maintenance and gassing up * Canons of Professional Ethics: Frial guilty of grave misconduct
arising from his violation of Canon 11 of the Canons of Professional Ethics (Dealing with Trust
Property Money of the client or collected for the client or other trust property coming into the
possession of the lawyer should be reported and accounted for promptly and should not under any
circumstances be commingled with his own or be used by him.) * A lawyer is first and foremost an
officer of the court. As such, he is expected to respect the courts order and processes. Atty. Frial
miserably fell short of his duties as such officer. He trifled with the writ of attachment the court issued.
* Very patently, Atty. Frial was remiss in his obligation of taking good care of the attached cars. He also
allowed the use of the Nissan Sentra car by persons who had no business using it. He did not inform the
court or at least the sheriff of the destruction of the Volvo car. What is worse is that he took custody of
them without so much as informing the court, let alone securing, its authority. For his negligence and
unauthorized possession of the cars, we find Atty. Frial guilty of infidelity in the custody of the attached
cars and grave misconduct.

7. Conflict of Interests
a. Hornilla v. Salunat, 405 SCRA 220 (2003)
A lawyer retained by a corporation cannot represent the members of the board in a derivative suit
as this would constitute conflict of interest.
b. Northwestern University, Inc. v. Arquillo, 465 SCRA 513 (2005)
Corollary to the duty of lawyers to observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all their dealings and
transactions with their clients, they shall not represent conflicting interest, except with all the concerned
clients written consent, given after a full disclosure of the facts. It is a hornbook doctrine grounded on
public policy that a lawyers representation of both sides of an issue is highly improper.
c. Solatan v. Inocentes, 466 SCRA 1 (2005)
An attorney has no power to act as counsel or legal representative for a person without being retained
to establish the professional relation, it is sufficient that the advice and assistance of an attorney are
sought and received in any manner
to hisAND
profession.
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An attorney giving advice to a party with an interest conflicting with that of his client resulting in
detriment to the latter may be held guilty of disloyalty. However, where the statement of a lawyer to his
(Cebu)
clients adversary is in consonance with such lawyers foremost duty to uphold the law as an officer of
the court, that statement in such a context should not be construed as giving advice in conflict against
the interests of his client.

d. Quiambao v. Bamba, 468 SCRA 1 (2005)


Lawyers are deemed to represent
conflicting
when,
in behalf of one client, it is their duty
Lawyers
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Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 27 of 44

to contend for that which duty to another client requires them to oppose. In determining whether there
is conflict of interest, an important criterion is probability, not certainty, of conflict.
It behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the clients confidence, but also to avoid appearance
of treachery and double-dealing for only then litigants can be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their
lawyers in the course of a lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer learns all the facts connected with the
clients case, including the weak and strong points of the case.
The proscription against representation of conflicting interests applies to a situation where the
opposing parties are present clients in the same action or in an unrelated action a lawyers
representation of opposing clients in two cases, though unrelated, obviously constitutes conflict of
interests, or at least, invites a suspicion of double-dealing. The proscription against representation of
conflicting interests finds application where the conflicting interests arise with respect to the same
general matter however slight the adverse interest may be it applies even if the conflict pertains to the
lawyers private activity or in the performance of a function in a non-professional capacity.
The representation of conflicting interest in good faith and with honest intention on the part of the
lawyer does not make the proscription inoperative. Lawyers are not obliged to act either as an adviser
or advocate to every person who wish to become their client they have the right to decline such
employment subject to the Code of Professional Responsibility.
e. Ilusorio-Bildner v. Lokin, Jr., 477 SCRA 634 (2005)
A lawyer is personally barred by the rules of ethics from representing an interest contrary to that
earlier espoused by his law firm.
f. Gonzales v. Cabucana, 479 SCRA 320 (2006)
One test of inconsistency of interest is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent full
discharge of a lawyers duty of undivided fidelity to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or
double-dealing in the performance of that duty.
The proscription against representation of conflicting interests applies to a situation where the
opposing parties are present clients in the same action or in an unrelated action. The representation of
opposing clients, though unrelated, constitutes conflict of interest or at the very least, invites suspicion
of double dealing which the Court cannot allow.
While there may be instances where lawyers cannot decline representation, they cannot be made to
labor under the conflict of interest between a present client and a prospective one.
The Court considers as mitigating circumstance the fact that the lawyer represented the other client
pro bono and it was his firm and not he personally that handled the case of the adverse party.
g. Lim, Jr. v. Villarosa, 490 SCRA 494 (2006)
It is only upon strict compliance
with
the condition
ofEMINARS
full disclosure of facts that a lawyer may
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AND S
appear against his client; otherwise, hisBAR
representation
of conflicting
Review
2009 interests is reprehensible. The rule
on conflict of interest covers not only cases in which confidential communications have been confided
but also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be used the rule prohibits a lawyer
(Cebu)
from representing new clients whose interests oppose those of a former client in any manner, whether
or not they are parties in the same action or in totally unrelated cases.

h. Paz v. Sanchez, 502 SCRA 209 (2006)

Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not represent
conflicting interests except byLawyers
written consent
of all
concerned
given after full disclosure of the facts.
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Leaders
Principled

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Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
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Lawyers are deemed to represent conflicting interests when, in behalf of one client, it is their duty to
contend for that which duty to another client requires them to oppose. The proscription against
representation of conflicting interest applies to a situation where the opposing parties are present clients
in the same action or in an unrelated action.
The reason for the prohibition is found in the relation of attorney and client, which is one of trust and
confidence of the highest degree. A lawyer becomes familiar with all the facts connected with his clients
case. He learns from his client the weak points of the action as well as the strong ones. Such knowledge
must be considered sacred and guarded with care. No opportunity must be given him to take advantage
of the clients secrets. A lawyer must have the fullest confidence of his client. For if the confidence is
abused, the profession will suffer by the loss thereof.

8. Attorneys Fees
a. Dalisay v. Mauricio, Jr., 456 SCRA 508 (2005) and 479 SCRA 307 (2006)
`
When a lawyer accepts the professional fee from the client, it is understood that he agrees to take up
the latters case and that an attorney-client relationship between them is established. A member of the
legal profession owes his client entire devotion to his genuine interest and warm zeal in the maintenance
and defense of his rights verily, when a lawyer takes a clients cause, he covenants that he will exercise
due diligence in protecting his rights.
While, just like any other professional, a lawyer is entitled to collect fees for his services, he should
charge only a reasonable amount, however charging P
=56,000.00 is improper where the lawyer did not
take any step to assist his client.
On Motion for Reconsideration: A party should decide early what version he is going to advance.
A change of theory in the latter stage of the proceedings is objectionable, not due to the strict application
of procedural rules, but because it is contrary to the rules of fair play, justice, and due process. In fact,
if anything at all has been achieved by respondents inconsistent assertions, it is his dishonesty to the
Court. Surely, he cannot expect to be paid for doing nothing.
Canon 19 outlines the procedure in dealing with clients who perpetrated fraud in the course of a legal
proceeding confront client and seek rectification, failing which terminate relationship!
b. Lijauco v. Terrado, 500 SCRA 301 (2006)
Acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client relationship and gives rise to the
duty of fidelity to the client s cause. The canons of the legal profession require that once an attorney
agrees to handle a case, he should undertake the task with zeal, care and utmost devotion.
A fee of P
=70,000.00 for legal assistance in the recovery of a deposit amounting to P
=180,000.00 is
unreasonable. A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.
A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to
practice law, except in certain cases.
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c. Pineda v. De Jesus, 499 SCRA 608 (2006)

(Cebu)
A lawyer may enforce his right to his fees by filing the necessary petition as an incident of the main
action in which his services were rendered or in an independent suit against his client. Nevertheless, suits
to collect fees should be avoided and should be filed only when circumstances force lawyers to do so.

The recovery of attorneys fees on the basis of quantum meruit is permitted where there is no express
agreement for the payment of attorneys fees, and it is basically a legal mechanism which prevents an
unscrupulous client from running
away Ethical,
with the fruits
of thePrincipled
legal services of counsel without paying
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for them while avoiding unjust enrichment on the part of the lawyer himself.
Demanding P
=50 million on top of the generous sums and perks already given to the lawyers is an act
of unconscionable greed which is shocking to this Court. Lawyers could not charge their clients a fee
based on percentage absent an express agreement to that effect. The practice of law is a decent profession
and not a money-making trade compensation should be but a mere incident.
d. Bach v. Ongkiko Kalaw Manhit & Acorda Law Offices, 501 SCRA 419 (2006)
The rule is that the issue of the reasonableness of attorneys fees based on quantum meruit is a
question of fact, and well-settled is the rule that conclusions and findings of fact by the lower courts are
entitled to great weight on appeal and will not be disturbed except for strong and cogent reasons.
The circumstances to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a claim for attorneys fees
the following: (1) the amount and character of the service rendered; (2) labor, time, and trouble involved;
(3) the nature and importance of the litigation or business in which the services were rendered; (4) the
responsibility imposed; (5) the amount of money or the value of the property affected by the controversy
or involved in the employment; (6) the skill and experience called for in the performance of the services;
(7) the professional character and social standing of the attorney; (8) the results secured; and (9) whether
the fee is absolute or contingent, it being recognized that an attorney may properly charge a much larger
fee when it is contingent than when it is not. And, Rule 20.1, Canon 20 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility enumerates the following factors which should guide a lawyer in determining his fees.
The imposition of legal interest on the amount payable to private respondent as attorneys fees is
unwarranted. Even as the parties can freely stipulate on the terms of payment, still the imposition of
interest in the payment of attorneys fees is not justified. Article 2209 of the Civil Code does not even
justify the imposition of legal interest on the payment of attorneys fees as it is a provision of law
governing ordinary obligations and contracts. Lawyeringis not a moneymaking venture and lawyers are
not merchants. Law advocacy, it has been stressed, is not capital that yields profits. Its returns are simple
rewards for a job done or service rendered. It is a calling that, unlike mercantile pursuits which enjoy
a greater deal of freedom from governmental interference, is impressed with a public interest, for which
it is subject to State regulation. A lawyers compensation for professional services rendered are subject
to the supervision of the court, not just to guarantee that the fees he charges and receives remain
reasonable and commensurate with the services rendered, but also to maintain the dignity and integrity
of the legal profession to which he belongs. Upon taking his attorneys oath as an officer of the court,
a lawyer submits himself to the authority of the courts to regulate his right to charge professional fees.
The fact that an attorney plays a vital role in the administration of justice underscores the need to
secure to him his honorarium lawfully earned as a means to preserve the decorum and respectability of
the legal profession. A lawyer is as much entitled to judicial protection against injustice, imposition of
fraud on the part of his client as the client against abuse on the part of his counsel. The duty of the court
is not alone to see that a lawyer acts in a proper and lawful manner; it is also its duty to see that a lawyer
is paid his just fees. With his capital consisting only of his brains and with his skill acquired at
tremendous cost not only in money but in expenditure of time and energy, he is entitled to the protection
of any judicial tribunal against any attempt on the part of his client to escape payment of his just
compensation. It would be ironic
if after
putting forth
theSbest
in him to secure justice for his client, he
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himself would not get his due.
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(Cebu)
9. Ortiz v. San Miguel Corporation, SCRA (G.R. Nos. 151983-84, 30 July 2008)

Petition by lawyer alone, claiming his attorneys fees equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the original
awards but which were reduced when his clients (the complainants) agreed to execute quitclaims for
lesser amounts the attorneys fees accordingly adjusted * The lower attorneys fees were then withheld
from the amounts given to the complainants and subsequently handed over to Ortiz * ATTORNEY S FEES
CONCEPTS: [T]here are twoLawyers
commonlyEthical,
acceptedLeaders
concepts Principled
of attorneys fees, the so-called ordinary

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and extraordinary. In its ordinary concept, an attorneys fee is the reasonable compensation paid to a
lawyer by his client for the legal services the former has rendered to the latter. The basis of this
compensation is the fact of the attorneys employment by and his agreement with the client. In its
extraordinary concept, attorneys fees are deemed indemnity for damages ordered by the court to be
paid by the losing party in a litigation. The instances in which these may be awarded are those
enumerated in Article 2208 of the Civil Code, specifically paragraph 7 thereof, which pertains to actions
for recovery of wages, and is payable not to the lawyer but to the client, unless they have agreed that
the award shall pertain to the lawyer as additional compensation or as part thereof. Article 111
of the Labor Code, as amended, contemplates the extraordinary concept of attorneys fees. *
Article 111 is an exception to the declared policy of strict construction in the awarding of attorneys
fees. Although express findings of fact and law are still necessary to prove the merit of the award, there
need not be any showing that the employer acted maliciously or in bad faith when it withheld the wages.
* Based on the foregoing, the attorneys fees awarded by the NLRC in its Decisions in the Aguirre and
Toquero Cases pertain to the complainants, petitioners clients, as indemnity for damages; and not to
petitioner as compensation for his legal services. * NO RIGHT TO OPPOSE: And since the attorneys
fees pertained to the complainants as indemnity for damages, it was totally within the complainants
right to waive the amount of said attorneys fees and settle for a lesser amount thereof in exchange for
the immediate end to litigation. Petitioner cannot prevent complainants from compromising and/or
withdrawing their complaints at any stage of the proceedings just to protect his anticipated attorneys
fees. * NOT REAL PARTY : In the case at bar, it is beyond cavil that the petitioner is not the real party
in interest; hence, he cannot file this Petition to recover the attorneys fees as adjudged by the NLRC .
. . . Not being the party to whom the NLRC awarded the attorneys fees, neither is the petitioner the
proper party to question the non-awarding of the same by the appellate court. * LAW BUSINESS ? It
may do well for petitioner to remember that as a lawyer, he is a member of an honorable profession, the
primary vision of which is justice. The practice of law is a decent profession and not a
money-making trade. Compensation should be but a mere incident. * CLAIM AGAINST CLIENTS:
If petitioner earnestly believes that the amounts he already received are grossly deficient, considering
the substantial time and efforts he and his assistant lawyers invested, as well as the personal money he
expended for the prosecution of complainants cases for more than seven or eight years, then petitioners
remedy is not against the private respondent, but against his own clients, the complainants. *
QUITCLAIMS SANS LAWYER : There is no specific provision in the Labor Code, as amended, which
requires the conformity of petitioner, as the complainants counsel, to make their Deeds of Release,
Waiver and Quitclaim valid. * Petition Denied

10. J-Phil Marine, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, SCRA (G.R. No. 175366, 11
August 2008)
Counsel Questioning Clients Compromise Agreement * That respondent was not assisted by his
counsel when he entered into the compromise does not render it null and void. * It bears noting that,
as reflected earlier, the Quitclaim and Waiver was subscribed and sworn to before the Labor Arbiter.
* Respondents counsel nevertheless argues that [t]he amount of Four Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P450,000.00) given to respondent on April 4, 2007, as full and final settlement of judgment award,
is unconscionably low, and un-[C]hristian, to say the least. Only respondent, however, can impugn the
consideration of the compromise as being unconscionable. The relation of attorney and client is in
LEX
REVIEWS
AND
SEMINARS
many respects one of agency, and
the general
rules of
agency
apply to such relation. The acts of an agent
are deemed the acts of the principalBAR
only ifReview
the agent acts
within the scope of his authority. The
2009
circumstances of this case indicate that respondents counsel is acting beyond the scope of his authority
in questioning the compromise agreement. That
a client has undoubtedly the right to compromise a
(Cebu)
suit without the intervention of his lawyer cannot be gainsaid, the only qualification being that if such
compromise is entered into with the intent of defrauding the lawyer of the fees justly due him, the
compromise must be subject to the said fees. In the case at bar, there is no showing that respondent
intended to defraud his counsel of his fees.

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11. Law Firms


a. Solatan v. Inocentes, 466 SCRA 1 (2005)
The failure of a senior lawyer to exercise certain responsibilities over matters under the charge of
his law firm is a blameworthy shortcoming. While the term command responsibility has special
meaning within the circle of men in uniform in the military, the principle does not abide solely therein.
Let it not be said that law firm practitioners are given a free hand to assign cases to seasoned
attorneys and thereafter conveniently forget about the case to do so would be a disservice to the
profession, the integrity and advancement of which the Supreme Court must jealously protect. The name
practitioner of the law office is tasked with the responsibility to make reasonable efforts to ensure that
all lawyers in the firm should act in conformity to the Code of Professional Responsibility. Partners and
practitioners who hold supervisory capacities are legally responsible to exert ordinary diligence in
apprising themselves of the comings and goings of the cases handled by the persons over which they are
exercising supervisory authority and in exerting necessary efforts to foreclose the occurrence of
violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility by persons under their charge. It does constitute
indifference and neglect for a senior partner to fail to accord even a token attention to an associate
lawyers conduct which could have brought an impending problem to light.

E. LAWYERS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICE


1. Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Sandiganbayan, 455 SCRA 526 (2005)
Rule 6.03 prohibits former government lawyers from accepting engagement or employment in
connection with any matter in which he had intervened while in said service. How is it to be understood
and applied? The Court explained that [t]he key to unlock Rule 6.03 lies in comprehending first, the
meaning of matter referred to in the rule and, second, the metes and bounds of the intervention
made by the former government lawyer on the matter. Then, it proceeded to discuss what is matter
and what is intervention as contemplated by the Rule. The act of drafting, enforcing or interpreting
government or agency procedures, regulations or laws, or briefing abstract principles of law are acts
which do not fall within the scope of the term matter and cannot disqualify. As for intervene, there
are two possible interpretations of the word intervene. Under the first interpretation, intervene
includes participation in a proceeding even if the intervention is irrelevant or has no effect or little
influence. Under the second interpretation, intervene only includes an act of a person who has the
power to influence the subject proceedings. We hold that this second meaning is more appropriate to
give to the word intervention under Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility in light of
its history. In other words, the intervention cannot be insubstantial and insignificant.
Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility represents a commendable effort on the part
of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to upgrade the ethics of lawyers in the government service. Rule
6.03 is not to be interpreted to cause a chilling effect on government recruitment of able legal talent. In
interpreting Rule 6.03, the Supreme Court also cast a harsh eye on its use as a litigation tactic to harass
opposing counsel as well as deprive his client of competent legal representation the danger that the rule
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AND
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will be misused to bludgeon anLopposing
counsel is
not aSmere
guesswork.

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2. Catu v. Rellosa, SCRA (A.C. No. 5738, 19 February 2008)


(Cebu)
Rule 6.03 applies only to a lawyer who has left government service and in connection with any
matter in which he intervened while in said service and has no application to one who is still in the
service, such as an incumbent punong barangay.

3. Yumol, Jr. v. Ferrer, Sr., 456 SCRA 475 (2005)


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Where it has been amply established that a lawyer at CHR, who was not properly authorized to
attend hearings of his private cases, has been actually attending said hearings, it is an ineluctable
conclusion that he falsified his Daily Time Records (DTRs) when he certified that he was at the office
on the same days and times that he was in court.
4. Lim v. Barcelona, 425 SCRA 67 (2004)
If a lawyers misconduct in the discharge of his official duties as a government official is of such a
character as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or to show moral delinquency, he may be disciplined
as a member of the Bar on such ground. Lawyers in government service in the discharge of their official
tasks have more restrictions than lawyers in private practice. Extortion by a government lawyer, an
outright violation of the law, calls for the corresponding grave sanctions.
Government lawyers should be more sensitive to their professional obligations as their disreputable
conduct is more likely to be magnified in the public eye.
5. Santos v. Cacho-Calicdan, 502 SCRA 197 (2006)
A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended from practice for any deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct
in office, grossly immoral conduct, conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, violation of the
lawyers oath, willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or willful and unauthorized
appearance for a party to a case, as specified in Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. A deceitful
act, in particular, constitutes a violation of Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
provides: 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 any artifice. Nonetheless, the power to disbar must be
exercised with great caution. In disbarment proceedings, the case against the respondent must be
established by clear, convincing, and satisfactory proof, the burden of which rests upon the complainant.
Only a clear case of misconduct that seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an
officer of the Court and as a member of the bar will warrant disbarment.
6. Maligaya v. Doronilla, Jr., 502 SCRA 1 (2006)
The suspension referred to in Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court means only suspension
from the practice of law. For this reason, the Court disagreed with the IBPs recommendation for Atty.
Doronillas suspension from the government military service. After all, the only purpose of the
administrative case is to determine Atty. Doronillas liability as a member of the legal profession, not
his liability as a legal officer in the military service. Thus, it would be improper for the Court to order,
as a penalty for his breach of legal ethics and the lawyers oath, his suspension from employment in the
Judge Advocate Generals Service. Of course, suspension from employment as a military legal officer
may well follow as a consequence of his suspension from the practice of law but that should not be
reason for the Court to impose it as a penalty for his professional misconduct. The Court would be
going beyond the purpose of the proceeding were we it to do so.
7. Gumaru v. Quirino State College, 525 SCRA 412 (2007)
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[T]he Solicitor General cannot refuse to represent the government, its agencies, instrumentalities,
BAR Review 2009
officials and agents without a just and valid reason. He should not desist from appearing before the Court
even in those cases where his opinions may be inconsistent with the government or any of its agents he
(Cebu)
is expected to represent. As in the case of fiscals
or prosecutors, bias or prejudice and animosity or
hostility do not constitute legal and valid excuses for inhibition. Unlike a practicing lawyer who has the
right to decline employment, a fiscal or prosecutor, or the Solicitor General in the case at bar, cannot
refuse to perform his functions without violating his oath of office. Refusal to perform the duty is
compellable by a writ of mandamus.

On the other hand, government


agencies
were admonished
not to reject the services of the Solicitor
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General, or otherwise fail or refuse to forward the papers of a case to the OSG for appropriate action.
Actions filed in the name of the Republic that are not initiated by the OSG will be summarily dismissed.
Moreover, the fee of the lawyer who rendered legal service to the government in lieu of the OSG or the
OGCC is the personal liability of the government official who hired his services without the prior written
conformity of the OSG or the OGCC, as the case may be.

8. Ramos v. Imbang, 530 SCRA 759 (2007)


Lawyers in government service are expected to be more conscientious of their actuations as they are
subject to public scrutiny. They cannot handle private cases for they are expected to devote themselves
full-time to the work of their respective offices.
A government lawyer is a keeper of public faith and is burdened with a high degree of social
responsibility, higher than his brethren in private practice.
Since the Public Attorneys Office was created for the purpose of providing free legal assistance to
indigent litigants, a PAO lawyer should not accept attorneys fees from a party as this is inconsistent with
the offices mission.
The undertaking to uphold the law includes the observance of the prohibitions was blatantly violated
by respondent when he accepted the complainants cases and received attorneys fees in consideration
of his legal services.
A lawyer could not be held guilt of violating Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
where he did not hold the money for the benefit of the client but accepted it as his attorneys fees.

F. LAWYERS AND PRACTICE IN FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS


1. Disciplinary Actions in Foreign Jurisdictions
a. In re: Suspension from the Practice of Law in the Territory of Guam of Atty. Leon G.
Maquera, 435 SCRA 417 (2004)
Disbarment or suspension of a member of the Philippine Bar in a foreign jurisdiction, where he has
also been admitted as an attorney, is also a ground for his disbarment or suspension in this realm,
provided the foreign courts action is by reason of an act or omission constituting deceit, malpractice or
other gross misconduct, grossly immoral conduct, or a violation of the lawyers oath, with the foreign
judgment, resolution or order of the foreign court or disciplinary agency being prima facie evidence of
the ground for disbarment or suspension.
b. Vera v. De Vera, 496 SCRA 345 (2006)
The recommendation of the hearing officer of the State Bar of California, standing alone, is not proof
LEX
REVIEWSorAND
SEMINARS
of malpractice. No final judgment
for suspension
disbarment
was meted against Atty. de Vera despite
a recommendation of suspension of three
years
as he surrendered
BAR
Review
2009 his license to practice law before his
case could be taken up by the Supreme Court of California. Moreover, the judgment of the foreign court
merely constitutes prima facie evidence of unethical
acts as lawyer.
(Cebu)
In herein case, considering that there is technically no foreign judgment to speak of, the
recommendation by the hearing officer of the State Bar of California does not constitute prima facie
evidence of unethical behavior by Atty. de Vera. Complainant must prove by substantial evidence the
facts upon which the recommendation by the hearing officer was based. If he is successful in this, he
must then prove that these acts are likewise unethical under Philippine law.
Lawyers Ethical, Leaders Principled

Legal Ethics
Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 34 of 44

G.

LAWYERS AND NOTARIZATION


1. 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice (1 August 2004)
a. Baylon v. Almo, SCRA A.C. No. 6962, 25 June 2008

Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive public
interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization
converts a private document into a public document thus making that document admissible in evidence
without further proof of its authenticity. A notarial document is by law entitled to full faith and credit
upon its face. Courts, administrative agencies and the public at large must be able to rely upon the
acknowledgment executed by a notary public and appended to a private instrument. For this reason,
notaries public should not take for granted the solemn duties pertaining to their office. Slipshod methods
in their performance of the notarial act are never to be countenanced. They are expected to exert utmost
care in the performance of their duties, which are dictated by public policy and are impressed with public
interest.
A notary public should exercise utmost diligence in ascertaining the true identity of the person who
represents himself. He should not rely on Community Tax Certificates in view of the ease with which
community tax certificates are obtained these days. As a matter of fact, recognizing the established
unreliability of a community tax certificate in proving the identity of a person who wishes to have his
document notarized, the Supreme Court did not include it in the list of competent evidence of identity
that notaries public should use in ascertaining the identity of persons appearing before them to have their
documents notarized.

2. Documents, Notarization and Evidentiary Value


a. Bautista v. Silva, 503 SCRA 334 (2006)
When the document under scrutiny is a special power of attorney that is duly notarized, the notarial
acknowledgment is prima facie evidence of the fact of its due execution. A buyer presented with such
a document would have no choice between knowing and finding out whether a forger lurks beneath the
signature on it. The notarial acknowledgment has removed that choice from him and replaced it with a
presumption sanctioned by law that the affiant appeared before the notary public and acknowledged that
he executed the document, understood its import and signed it. In reality, he is deprived of such choice
not because he is incapable of knowing and finding out but because, under our notarial system, he has
been given the luxury of merely relying on the presumption of regularity of a duly notarized SPA. And
he cannot be faulted for that because it is precisely that fiction of regularity which holds together
commercial transactions across borders and time.
In sum, all things being equal, a person dealing with a seller who has possession and title to the
property but whose capacity to sell is restricted, qualifies as a buyer in good faith if he proves that he
inquired into the title of the seller as well as into the latters capacity to sell; and that in his inquiry, he
relied on the notarial acknowledgment found in the sellers duly notarized special power of attorney.
He need not prove anything more for it is already the function of the notarial acknowledgment to
EX Rto
EVIEWS
AND its
SEMINARS
establish the appearance of the Lparties
the document,
due execution and authenticity. Said rule
should not apply, however, when there
is
an
apparent
flaw
afflicting the notarial acknowledgment of
BAR Review 2009
the special power of attorney as would cast doubt on the due execution and authenticity of the document;
or when the buyer has actual notice of circumstances
(Cebu)outside the document that would render suspect
its genuineness.

3. Notarial Misconduct and Other Irregularities


a. Santuyo v. Hidalgo, 448 SCRA 282 (2005)

A lawyer is negligent in allowing


theEthical,
office secretaries
make the necessary entries in his notarial
Lawyers
LeaderstoPrincipled

Legal Ethics
Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 35 of 44

registry which is supposed to be done and kept by him alone.


b. Maddela v. Dallong-Galicinao, 450 SCRA 19 (2005)
Where the misconduct as a notary public was committed while the respondent was not yet a lawyer,
she could not be disciplinarily dealt with as a lawyer.
c. Sicat v. Ariola, Jr., 456 SCRA 93 (2005)
The act of a lawyer of notarizing a Special Power of Attorney knowing that the person who allegedly
executed it was already dead is a serious breach of the sacred obligation imposed upon him by the Code
of Professional Responsibility, specifically Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, which prohibits him from engaging
in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct as a lawyer and as an officer of the court, it is his
duty to serve the ends of justice, not to corrupt it.
Lawyers commissioned as notaries public should not authenticate documents unless the persons who
signed them are the very same persons who executed them and personally appeared before them to attest
to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. Notarization is not an empty, meaningless and
routinary act it converts a private document into a public instrument, making it admissible in evidence
without the necessity of preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution.
A lawyers assertion of falsehood in a public document contravenes one of the most cherished tenets
of the legal profession and potentially cast suspicion on the truthfulness of every notarial act.
d. Lopena v. Cabatos, 466 SCRA 419 (2005)
A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed it are the same
persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents of the truth of what
are stated therein the purpose being to enable the notary public to verify the genuineness of the
signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the partys free act of deed.
e. Bautista v. Bernabe, 482 SCRA 1 (2006)
It is the duty of the notary to require the personal appearance of the affiant before affixing his notarial
seal and signature on the instrument. Respondents act of notarizing a joint affidavit in the absence of
one of the affiants is in violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and
the Notarial Law.2 His conduct is fraught with dangerous possibilities considering the conclusiveness
on the due execution of a notarized documents. He was also remiss when he allowed an individual to
sign in behalf of another.
The acts of the affiants cannot be delegated to anyone for what are stated therein are facts of which
they have personal knowledge. They should swear to the document personally and not through any
representative. Otherwise, their representatives name should appear in the said documents as the one
who executed the same.

LEX REVIEWS AND SEMINARS


And, in one of the humor of cases that one
comes
upon every now
and then, the Supreme Court said:
BAR
Review
2009

Finally, it has not escaped our notice that in paragraph 2 of complainants affidavit of desistance, she alluded that Atty.
(Cebu)
Carlitos C. Villarin notarized her Sinumpaang Salaysay dated
November 12, 2004 which was attached to the complaint filed
with the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP, without requiring her to personally appear before him in violation of the
Notarial Law. This allegation must likewise be investigated.
* * * * *
The Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines is DIRECTED to investigate the allegation
that Atty. Carlitos C. Villarin notarized the Sinumpaang Salaysay of Victorina Bautista dated November 12, 2004, without
requiring the latters personal appearance.

Ethical,
Leaders
Principled
W ell, it just goes to show that Lawyers
you cannot afford
to splatter
ink on your
enemy if youre standing too close to him.

Legal Ethics
Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 36 of 44

f. St. Louis University Laboratory High School (SLU-LHS) Faculty and Staff v. Dela Cruz, 499
SCRA 614 (2006)
It has been emphatically stressed that notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. On
the contrary, it is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or
authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization of a private document converts the document into
a public one making it admissible in court without further proof of its authenticity. A notarial document
is by law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face and, for this reason, notaries public must observe
with the utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties. Otherwise, the confidence
of the public in the integrity of this form of conveyance would be undermined.
The requirements for the issuance of a commission as notary public must not be treated as a mere
casual formality. The Court has characterized a lawyers act of notarizing documents without the
requisite commission to do so as reprehensible, constituting as it does not only malpractice but also *
* * the crime of falsification of public documents.
The Court had occasion to state that where the notarization of a document is done by a member of
the Philippine Bar at a time when he has no authorization or commission to do so, the offender may be
subjected to disciplinary action or one, performing a notarial act without such commission is a violation
of the lawyers oath to obey the laws, more specifically, the Notarial Law. Then, too, by making it appear
that he is duly commissioned when he is not, he is, for all legal intents and purposes, indulging in
deliberate falsehood, which the lawyers oath similarly proscribes. These violations fall squarely within
the prohibition of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. By acting as a notary
public without the proper commission to do so, the lawyer likewise violates Canon 7 of the same Code,
which directs every lawyer to uphold at all times the integrity and dignity of the legal profession.
g. Pantoja-Mumar v. Flores, 520 SCRA 470 (2007)
Notarization of documents is not an empty, meaningless or routinary act it is through the act of
notarization that a private document is converted into a public one, making it admissible in evidence
without need of preliminary proof of authenticity and due execution. A notary public should not notarize
a document unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and
personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein.
h. Guerrero v. Bihis, 521 SCRA 394 (2007)
The acknowledgment of a notarial will coerces the testator and the instrumental witnesses to declare
before an officer of the law, the notary public, that they executed and subscribed to the will as their own
free act or deed. And, an acknowledgment can only be made before a competent officer, that is, a lawyer
duly commissioned as a notary public. Outside the place of his commission, a notary public is bereft of
power to perform any notarial act he is not a notary public. Acknowledgment taken outside the
territorial limits of the officers jurisdiction is void as if the person taking it were wholly without official
character.
i. Aquino v. Pascua, 539 SCRA 1 (2007)
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A lawyer is guilty of misconduct inBAR
the performance
of 2009
his duties if he fails to register in his Notarial
Review
Register the affidavits-complaints which were filed in an administrative case before the Civil Service
Commission.
(Cebu)

j. St. Marys Farm, Inc. v. Prima Real Properties, Inc., SCRA (G.R. No. 158144, 31 July
2008)
Sale of company property by virtue of a notarized board resolution subsequently claimed to have
been forged.
Lawyers Ethical, Leaders Principled

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Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 37 of 44

Further challenging the due execution of the board resolution bearing the Secretarys Certification,
petitioner wants us to consider the same as inadmissible on the ground that Atty. Agcaoili did not appear
before a notary public for notarization. We do not agree, because in the past, we have already held that
the non-appearance of the party before the notary public who notarized the deed does not necessarily
nullify or render the parties transaction void ab initio. However, the non-appearance of the party
exposes the notary public to administrative liability which warrants sanction by the Court. This fact
notwithstanding, we agree with the respondent court that it is not enough to overcome the presumption
of the truthfulness of the statements contained in the board resolution. To overcome the presumption,
there must be sufficient, clear and convincing evidence as to exclude all reasonable controversy as to
the falsity of the certificate. In the absence of such proof, the document must be upheld. Notarization
converts a private document into a public document, making it admissible in court without further proof
of its authenticity.

On the basis of this notarized board resolution, respondent had every reason to rely on Rodolfo
Aganas authority to sell the subject property. Undeniably then, the respondent is an innocent purchaser
for value in good faith.
* * * * *
It is of no moment that the checks were made payable to Rodolfo Agana and not to the company
which, according to the petitioner, should have alerted the respondent to inquire further into the extent
of Aganas authority to transfer the subject property. This was no longer necessary considering that
respondent had every reason to rely on Rodolfo Aganas authority to sell, evidenced by the notarized
Certification. As explained in the Bautista case:
When the document under scrutiny is a special power of attorney that is duly notarized, we
know it to be a public document where the notarial acknowledgment is prima facie evidence of
the fact of its due execution. A buyer presented with such a document would have no choice
between knowing and finding out whether a forger lurks beneath the signature on it. The notarial
acknowledgment has removed that choice from him and replaced it with a presumption
sanctioned by law that the affiant appeared before the notary public and acknowledged that he
executed the document, understood its import and signed it. In reality, he is deprived of such
choice not because he is incapable of knowing and finding out but because, under our notarial
system, he has been given the luxury of merely relying on the presumption of regularity of a duly
notarized SPA. And he cannot be faulted for that because it is precisely that fiction of regularity
which holds together commercial transactions across borders and time.
In sum, all things being equal, a person dealing with a seller who has [in his] possession
title to the property but whose capacity to sell is restricted, qualifies as a buyer in good faith if
he proves that he inquired into the title of the seller as well as into the latters capacity to sell;
and that in his inquiry, he relied on the notarial acknowledgment found in the sellers duly
notarized special power of attorney. He need not prove anything more for it is already the
function of the notarial acknowledgment to establish the appearance of the parties to the
document, its due execution and authenticity.
LEX REVIEWS AND SEMINARS

BAR Review 2009

k. Abadiano v. Martir, SCRA (G.R. No. 156310, 31 July 2008)


(Cebu)
The trial court likewise brushed aside the apparent defect that the document presented contained
the same notarial inscription as the Agreement on Partition. Indeed, the Deed of Partition and the
Compra Y Venta, though executed on different days, were notarized on the same day, and both
documents contained the signatures of the same witnesses and the same notarial inscription.

This notwithstanding, the court concluded, Assuming this to be true, same could be considered
an error which did not nullify,Lawyers
(sic) the Deed
of Sale
or Compra
Y Venta. At most, the document would
Ethical,
Leaders
Principled

Legal Ethics
Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 38 of 44

be a non-registrable, but valid document.


We stress that a notarial document is evidence of the facts in the clear unequivocal manner therein
expressed and has in its favor the presumption of regularity.
In this case, while it is true that the error in the notarial inscription would not have invalidated the
sale if indeed it took place the same error would have meant that the document cannot be treated as
a notarial document and thus, not entitled to the presumption of regularity. The document would be taken
out of the realm of public documents whose genuineness and due execution need not be proved.
Accordingly, respondents not having proven the due execution and genuineness of the purported
Compra Y Venta, the weight of evidence preponderates in favor of petitioner.

l. Dela Cruz v. Dimaano, Jr., SCRA (A.C. No. 7781, 12 September 2008)
It bears reiterating that notaries public should refrain from affixing their signature and notarial seal
on a document unless the persons who signed it are the same individuals who executed and personally
appeared before the notaries public to attest to the truth of what are stated therein, for under Section 1
of Public Act No. 2103 or the Notarial Law, an instrument or document shall be considered authentic
if the acknowledgment is made in accordance its requirements. Without the appearance of the person
who actually executed the document in question, notaries public would be unable to verify the
genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the partys
free act or deed. Furthermore, notaries public are required by the Notarial Law to certify that the party
to the instrument has acknowledged and presented before the notaries public the proper residence
certificate (or exemption from the residence certificate) and to enter its number, place, and date of issue
as part of certification.
Rule II, Sec. 12 of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice now requires a party to the instrument to
present competent evidence of identity. Sec. 12. Competent Evidence of Identity.The phrase
competent evidence of identity refers to the identification of an individual based on (a) at least one
current identification document issued by an official agency bearing the photograph and signature of the
individual, or, (b) the oath or affirmation of one credible witness not privy to the instrument, document
or transaction who is personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the individual,
or of two credible witnesses neither of whom is privy to the instrument, document or transaction who
each personally knows the individual and shows to the notary public documentary identification.
One last note. Lawyers commissioned as notaries public are mandated to discharge with fidelity the
duties of their offices, such duties being dictated by public policy and impressed with public interest. It
must be remembered that notarization is not a routinary, meaningless act, for notarization converts a
private document to a public instrument, making it admissible in evidence without the necessity of
preliminary proof of its 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 documents. Otherwise, the confidence of the public on notorized documents will be eroded.

LEX REVIEWS AND SEMINARS


BAR Review 2009
(Cebu)

H.

DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS AGAINST LAWYERS

1. Purpose
a. Soriano v. Dizon, 480 SCRA 1 (2006)

Lawyers
Ethical,isLeaders
The purpose of a proceeding
for disbarment
to protectPrincipled
the administration of justice by requiring

Legal Ethics
Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 39 of 44

that those who exercise this important function be competent, honorable and reliable lawyers in whom
courts and clients may repose confidence. Thus, whenever a clear case of degenerate and vile behavior
disturbs that vital yet fragile confidence, the Supreme Court shall not hesitate to rid the profession of
odious members.
b. Gonzales v. Cabucana, 479 SCRA 320 (2006)
The Courts exercise of its power to take cognizance of administrative cases against lawyers is not
for the purpose of enforcing civil remedies between parties, but to protect the court and the public
against an attorney guilty of unworthy practices in his profession.
2. Disbarment as Last Recourse
a. Pantoja-Mumar v. Flores, 520 SCRA 470 (2007)
Disbarment should not be decreed where any punishment less severe such as reprimand,
suspension, or fine would accomplish the end desired.
b. Salomon, Jr. v. Frial, SCRA (A.C. No. 7820, 12 September 2008)
The rule is that disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect the
standing and moral character of a lawyer as an officer of the court and member of the bar. With the view
we take of the case, there is no compelling evidence tending to show that Atty. Frial intended to pervert
the administration of justice for some dishonest purpose. Disbarment, jurisprudence teaches, should not
be decreed where any punishment less severe, such as reprimand, suspension, or fine, would accomplish
the end desired. This is as it should be considering the consequence of disbarment on the economic life
and honor of the erring person. * SUSPENDED for ONE YEAR]

3. Proceedings Sui Generis


a. Uy v. Gonzales, 426 SCRA 422 (2004)
A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not in any sense a civil action where the complainant
is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a defendant disciplinary proceedings involve no private
interest and afford no redress for private grievance.
b. Roldan v. Panganiban, 446 SCRA 249 (2004)
A claim for damages cannot be entertained in a disbarment case as it is not the proper forum
disbarment proceedings belong to a class of their own, distinct from that of a civil or a criminal action.
c. Zaguirre v. Castillo, 398 SCRA 658 (2003) and 465 SCRA 520 (2005)
In a disbarment proceeding, it is immaterial that the complainant is in pari delicto because this is not
a proceeding to grant relief to the complainant, but one to purge the law profession of unworthy
members, to protect the public and the courts.
LEX REVIEWS AND SEMINARS
d. Cham v. Pizarro, 467 SCRA
1 (2005)
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Review 2009
In a disbarment proceeding it is immaterial that the complainant is not blameless or is in pari delicto
(Cebu)
as this is not a proceeding to grant relief to the complainant, but one to purge the law profession of
unworthy members to protect the public and the courts.

It is not sound judicial policy to await the final resolution of a criminal case before a complaint
against a lawyer may be acted upon, otherwise, the Supreme Court will be rendered helpless from
vigorously applying the rules on admission to and continuing membership in the legal profession during
the whole period that the criminal
caseEthical,
is pending
final disposition
when the objectives of the two
Lawyers
Leaders
Principled

Legal Ethics
Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 40 of 44

proceedings are vastly disparate.


e. Bautista v. Bernabe, 482 SCRA 1 (2006)
In administrative proceedings against lawyers, the complainants desistance or withdrawal of the
complaint is unavailing. What matters is whether, on the basis of the facts borne out by the record, the
charge of deceit and grossly immoral conduct has been proven. Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers
involve no private interest and afford no redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and
prosecuted solely for the public welfare.
f. St. Louis University Laboratory High School (SLU-LHS) Faculty and Staff v. Dela Cruz, 499
SCRA 614 (2006)
A disbarment case is sui generis for it is neither purely civil nor purely criminal but is rather an
investigation by the court into the conduct of its officers. Thus, if the acquittal of a lawyer in a criminal
action is not determinative of an administrative case against him, or if an affidavit of withdrawal of a
disbarment case does not affect its course, then neither will the judgment of annulment of respondents
second marriage also exonerate him from a wrongdoing actually committed. So long as the quantum of
proof clear preponderance of evidence in disciplinary proceedings against members of the Bar is met,
then liability attaches.
g. Vitug v. Rongcal, 501 SCRA 166 (2006)
An administrative case against a lawyer is sui generis, one that is distinct from a civil or a criminal
action. It is an investigation by the Court into the fitness of a lawyer to remain in the legal profession and
be allowed the privileges as such. Its primary objective is to protect the Court and the public from the
misconduct of its officers with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the
proper and honest administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise this important function
shall be competent, honorable and reliable men and women in whom courts and clients may repose
confidence. As such, it involves no private interest and affords no redress for private grievance. The
complainant or the person who called the attention of the court to the lawyers alleged misconduct is in
no sense a party, and has generally no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have in
the proper administration of justice.
h. Paras v. Paras, 529 SCRA 81 (2007)
In this case, the administrative case against Atty. Paras resulted in his suspension for 6 months for
falsifying his wifes signature in bank documents and suspension for one year for immorality and
abandonment of family. Would this also translate into basis for declaration of nullity of marriage? No.
Jurisprudence abounds that administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own. They
are distinct from and may proceed independently of civil and criminal cases. The basic premise is that
criminal and civil cases are altogether different from administrative matters, such that the
disposition in the first two will not inevitably govern the third and vice versa. Stated otherwise,
ones unfitness as a lawyer does not automatically mean ones unfitness as a husband or vice versa.
The yardsticks for such roles are
simply
different.AND
This SisEMINARS
why the disposition in a disbarment case
LEX
REVIEWS
cannot be conclusive on an action BAR
for declaration
of
nullity
Review 2009 of marriage. While Rosas charges
sufficiently proved Justos unfitness as a lawyer, however, they may not establish that he is
psychologically incapacitated to perform his duties as a husband. In the disbarment case, the real
(Cebu)
question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges
as such. Its purpose is to protect the court and the public from the misconduct of officers of the court.
On the other hand, in an action for declaration of nullity of marriage based on the ground of
psychological incapacity, the question for determination is whether the guilty party suffers a grave,
incurable, and pre-existing mental incapacity that renders him truly incognitive of the basic marital
covenants. Its purpose is to free the innocent party from a meaningless marriage. In this case, as will be
seen in the following discussion,
JustosEthical,
acts are not
sufficient
to conclude that he is psychologically
Lawyers
Leaders
Principled

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Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 41 of 44

incapacitated, albeit such acts really fall short of what is expected from a lawyer.

4. Procedural Safeguards
a. Nava v. Sorongon, 421 SCRA 1 (2004)
In complaints for disbarment, a formal investigation is a mandatory requirement.
b. Uytengsu III v. Baduel, 477 SCRA 621 (2005)
Procedural due process demands that respondent lawyer should be given an opportunity to
cross-examine the witnesses against him. He enjoys the legal presumption that he is innocent of the
charges against him until the contrary is proved. The case must be established by clear, convincing and
satisfactory proof.
c. Guevarra v. Eala, 529 SCRA 1 (2007)
Clearly preponderant evidence i.e., that the evidence adduced by one party which is more
conclusive and credible than that of the other party and, therefore, has greater weight than the other
is the quantum of evidence needed in an administrative case against a lawyer.

5. Imprescriptibility
a. Heck v. Santos,, 423 SCRA 329 (2004)
The qualification of good moral character is a requirement which is not dispensed with upon
admission to membership of the bar. This qualification is not only a condition precedent to admission
to the legal profession, but its continued possession is essential to maintain ones good standing in the
profession. It is a continuing requirement to the practice of law and therefore does not preclude a
subsequent judicial inquiry, upon proper complaint, into any question concerning ones mental or moral
fitness before he became a lawyer. This is because his admission to practice merely creates a rebuttable
presumption that he has all the qualifications to become a lawyer. Possession of good moral character
is not only a prerequisite to admission to the bar but also a continuing requirement to the practice of law.
An administrative complaint against an erring lawyer who was thereafter appointed as a judge, albeit
filed only after twenty-four years after the offending act was committed, is not barred by prescription.
If the rule were otherwise, members of the bar would be emboldened to disregard the very oath they took
as lawyers, prescinding from the fact that as long as no private complainant would immediately come
forward, they stand a chance of being completely exonerated from whatever administrative liability they
ought to answer for. It is the duty of the Supreme Court to protect the integrity of the practice of law as
well as the administration of justice. No matter how much time has elapsed from the time of the
commission of the act complained of and the time of the institution of the complaint, erring members
of the bench and bar cannot escape the disciplining arm of the Court. This categorical pronouncement
is aimed at unscrupulous members of the bench and bar, to deter them from committing acts which
violate the Code of Professional Responsibility, the Code of Judicial Conduct, or the Lawyers Oath.
Thus, even the lapse of considerable
from the
commission
of the offending act to the institution
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AND
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of the administrative complaint, will not
eraseReview
the administrative
BAR
2009 culpability of a lawyer who notarizes
documents without the requisite authority therefor.
(Cebu)
b. Frias v. Bautista Lozada, 489 SCRA 345 (2006)

The defense of prescription does not lie in administrative proceedings against lawyers.
The Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP derives its authority to take cognizance of
administrative complaints against lawyers from the Supreme Court which has the inherent power to
regulate, supervise and control
the practice
of law
in the Philippines.
Lawyers
Ethical,
Leaders
PrincipledHence, in the exercise of its

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Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 42 of 44

delegated power to entertain administrative complaints against lawyers, the CBD-IBP should be guided
by the doctrines and principles laid down by the Supreme Court.
Rule VIII, Section 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the CBD-IBP which provides for a prescriptive
period of two years for the filing of administrative complaints against lawyers runs afoul of the settled
ruling of the Court. It should therefore be struck down as void and of no legal effect for being ultra vires.

6. Miscellaneous Considerations
a. Ferrer v. Tebelin, 461 SCRA 207 (2005)
The act of a respondent lawyer of ignoring the notices of hearing sent to him at his address which
he himself furnished, or to notify the IBP-CBD of his new address if he had moved out of his given
address, betrays his lack of courtesy and irresponsibility as a lawyer.
b. Espiritu v. Ulep, 458 SCRA 1 (2005)
Aside from his patent lack of respect for the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline and its proceedings,
a lawyers repeated and obviously deliberate failure to appear in the scheduled hearings revealed an
attempt to wiggle away from having to explain and ventilate his side
c. Ilusorio-Bildner v. Lokin, 477 SCRA 634 (2005)
Although Rule 139-B, 12(C) of the Rules of Court makes no mention of a motion for
reconsideration, nothing in its text or in its history suggests that such motion is prohibited. It may
therefore be filed within 15 days from notice to a party. Indeed, the filing of such motion should be
encouraged before resort is made to the Supreme Court as a matter of exhaustion of administrative
remedies.

I. REINSTATEMENT AND RESUMPTION OF PRACTICE


1. Bernardo v. Mejia, 531 SCRA 639 (2007)
This relates to the plea for reinstatement of a 71-year-old lawyer after 15 years of having been barred
from practice. Whether the applicant shall be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys rests to a great extent
on the sound discretion of the Court. The action will depend on whether or not the Court decides that
the public interest in the orderly and impartial administration of justice will continue to be preserved
even with the applicants reentry as a counselor at law. The applicant must, like a candidate for
admission to the bar, satisfy the Court that he is a person of good moral character, a fit and proper person
LEXinto
Rconsideration
EVIEWS AND
EMINARS
to practice law. The Court will take
the S
applicants
character and standing prior to the
disbarment, the nature and character ofBAR
the charge/s
for which
he was disbarred, his conduct subsequent
Review
2009
to the disbarment, and the time that has elapsed between the disbarment and the application for
reinstatement.
(Cebu)
The Court noted that he acknowledged his indiscretions in the law profession. Fifteen years had
already elapsed since his name was dropped from the Roll of Attorneys. At the age of seventy-one, he
is begging for forgiveness and pleading for reinstatement. According to him, he has long repented and
he has suffered enough. Through his reinstatement, he wants to leave a legacy to his children and redeem
the indignity that they have suffered due to his disbarment. It then went on to reinstate him.
Lawyers Ethical, Leaders Principled

Legal Ethics
Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
Page 43 of 44

2. Petition for Leave to Resume Practice of Law, Benjamin M. Dacanay, 540 SCRA 424 (2007)
A lawyer who has lost his citizenship cannot practice in the Philippines. Does his reacquisition of
Philippine citizenship pursuant to R.A. No. 9225 (Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of
2003) automatically restore the privilege to practice law?
Since Filipino citizenship is a requirement for admission to the bar, loss thereof terminates
membership in the Philippine bar and, consequently, the privilege to engage in the practice 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. The exception is when Filipino
citizenship is lost by reason of naturalization as a citizen of another country but subsequently reacquired
pursuant to RA 9225. This is because all Philippine citizens who become citizens of another country
shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of [RA 9225].
Therefore, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of another country is deemed never to have lost his
Philippine citizenship if he reacquires it in accordance with RA 9225. Nevertheless, although he is
also deemed never to have terminated his membership in the Philippine bar, no automatic right to resume
law practice accrues.
Under RA 9225, if a person intends to practice the legal profession in the Philippines and he
reacquires his Filipino citizenship pursuant to its provisions (he) shall apply with the proper authority
for a license or permit to engage in such practice. Stated otherwise, before a lawyer who reacquires
Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 can resume his law practice, he must first secure from this
Court the authority to do so, conditioned on: (a) the updating and payment in full of the annual
membership dues in the IBP; (b) the payment of professional tax; (c) the completion of at least 36 credit
hours of mandatory continuing legal education; this is specially significant to refresh the
applicant/petitioners knowledge of Philippine laws and update him of legal developments and (d) the
retaking of the lawyers oath which will not only remind him of his duties and responsibilities as a
lawyer and as an officer of the Court, but also renew his pledge to maintain allegiance to the Republic
of the Philippines.

J. LAWYERS AS JUSTICES, JUDGES AND COURT EMPLOYEES


1. A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC (1 October 2002)
Administrative cases against erring lower court justices and judges, and lawyers in the judiciary may
be automatically treated as disbarment cases.

2. Miscellany
a. Heck v. Santos, 423 SCRA 329 (2004)
EXadministrative
REVIEWS AND
SEMINARS
AM No. 02-9-02-SC appliesLto
cases already
filed but the respondents have not yet
been required to comment on the complaints.
BAR Review 2009
b. Maddela v. Dallong-Galicinao, 450(Cebu)
SCRA 19 (2005)

An administrative case against a court official who is a lawyer, based on grounds which are likewise
grounds for the disciplinary action of members of the Bar, shall be considered as disciplinary
proceedings against such official both as a court official and as a member of the Bar.
c. Re: Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL) of Atty. Marilyn B. Joyas, Clerk of Court V,
Lawyers
RTC Manila, Br.
16, 529Ethical,
SCRA 28Leaders
(2007) Principled

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Highlights and Updates (2009 Bar)
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Pursuant to A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC, the administrative case against respondent Clerk of Court as a
court personnel shall also be considered as a disciplinary proceeding against her as a member of the bar.
She was dropped from the rolls and her position declared vacant, and Fined P
=5,000 for unprofessional
conduct as member of the Bar.
d. De La Cruz v. Carretas, 532 SCRA 218 (2007)
Pursuant to A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC, the administrative case against respondent judge was also
considered as a disciplinary proceeding against him as a member of the bar. Violation of the fundamental
tenets of judicial conduct embodied in the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary,
the Code of Judicial Conduct and the Canons of Judicial Ethics constitutes a breach of Canons 1 and 11
of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Certainly, a judge who falls short of the ethics of the judicial
office tends to diminish the peoples respect for the law and legal processes. He also fails to observe and
maintain the esteem due to the courts and to judicial officers. Respondent judge also transgressed Canon
8 and Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility when he humiliated, insulted or embarrassed
lawyers appearing in his sala. Instead of establishing a cordial and collaborative atmosphere with
lawyers, respondent judge alienated them and effectively disregarded their significant role in the
administration of justice. He was found guilty of conduct unbecoming of a judge, for which he was fined
=7,500 and also adjudged guilty of violating Canons 1, 8 and 11 and Rule 8.01 of the Code of
P
Professional Responsibility, for which was fined another amount of =
P7,500.
3. Tan v. Pacuribot, SCRA (A.M. No. RTJ-06-1982, 14 December 2007)
In this case, the Court dismissed the respondent judge for sexual harassment he committed against
a court stenographer and a clerk in the Parole and Probation Office. He was likewise required to show
cause why he should not be disbarred as a member of the Philippine Bar.

LEX REVIEWS AND SEMINARS


BAR Review 2009
(Cebu)

Lawyers Ethical, Leaders Principled