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A.C. No.

5377
June 30, 2014
VICTOR C. LINGAN, Complainant,
vs.
ATTYS. ROMEO CALUBAQUIB and JIMMY P. BALIGA, Respondents.
RESOLUTION
LEONEN, J.:
This court has the exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the practice of law. When this court orders a
lawyer suspended from the practice of law, the lawyer must desist from performing all functions
requiring the application of legal knowledge within the period of suspension. This includes desisting
from holding a position in government requiring the authority to practice law.
For our resolution is respondent Atty. Jimmy P. Baliga's motion to lift one-year suspension from the
practice of law.1
In the resolution2 dated June 15, 2006, this court found Attys. Romeo I. Calubaquib and Jimmy P.
Baliga guilty of violating Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility3 and of the
Lawyer's Oath.4 Respondents allowed their secretaries to notarize documents in their stead, in
violation of Sections 2455 and 2466 of the Notarial Law. This court suspended respondents from
the practice of law for one year, revoked their notarial commissions, and disqualified them from
reappointment as notaries public for two years.
Complainant Victor C. Lingan filed his motion for reconsideration,7 praying that respondents be
disbarred, not merely suspended from the practice of law. In the resolution8 dated September 6,
2006, this court denied complainant Lingan's motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.
On March 22, 2007, Atty. Baliga, also the Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights
Regional Office for Region II, filed the undated ex parte clarificatory pleading with leave of court.9
In his ex parte clarificatory pleading, Atty. Baliga alleged that on July 14, 2006, complainant Lingan
wrote the Commission on Human Rights. Lingan requested the Commission to investigate Atty.
Baliga following the latter's suspension from the practice of law.
After this court had suspended Atty. Baliga from the practice of law, the Commission on Human
Rights En Banc issued the resolution10 dated January 16, 2007, suspending him from his position
as Director/Attorney VI of the. Commission on Human Rights Regional Office for Region II.
According to the Commission on Human Rights En Banc, Atty. Baliga's suspension from the
practice of law "prevent[ed] [him] from assuming his post [as Regional Director] for want of
eligibility in the meantime that his authority to practice law is suspended."11
Atty. Baliga argued that he cannot be suspended for acts not connected with his functions as
Commission on Human Rights Regional Director. According to Atty. Baliga, his suspension from
the practice of law did not include his suspension from public office. He prayed for clarification of
this court's resolution dated June 15, 2006 "to prevent further injury and prejudice to [his] rights."12
This court noted without action Atty. Baliga's ex parte clarificatory pleading as this court does not
render advisory opinions.13
On May 8, 2009, this court received a letter from complainant Lingan. In his letter14 dated May 4,
2009, Lingan alleged that Atty. Baliga continued practicing law and discharging his functions as
Commission on Human Rights Regional Director, in violation of this court's order of suspension.
Complainant Lingan allegedly received a copy of the Commission on Human Rights En Banc 's
resolution suspending Atty. Baliga as Regional Director. On Atty. Baliga's motion, the ommission
reconsidered Atty. Baliga's suspension and instead admonished him for "[violating] the conditions
of his commission as a notary public."15 According to complainant Lingan, he was not served a
copy of Atty. Baliga's motion for reconsideration.16
Complainant Lingan claimed that the discharge of the functions of a Commission on Human Rights
Regional Director necessarily required the practice of law. A Commission on Human Rights
Regional Director must be a member of the bar and is designated as Attorney VI. Since this court
suspended Atty. Baliga from the practice of law, Atty. Baliga was in effect "a non-lawyer . . . and
[was] disqualified to hold the position of [Regional Director] [during the effectivity of the order of
suspension]."17 The Commission on Human Rights, according to complainant Lingan, should have
ordered Atty. Baliga to desist from performing his functions as Regional Director. Complainant
Lingan prayed that this court give "favorable attention and action on the matter."18
This court endorsed complainant Lingan's letter to the Office of the Bar Confidant for report and
recommendation.19
In its report and recommendation20 dated June 29, 2009, the Office of the Bar Confidant found that
the period of suspension of Attys. Calubaquib and Baliga had already lapsed. It recommended that
respondents be required to file their respective motions to lift order of suspension with certifications

from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Executive Judge of the court where they might
appear as counsel and state that they desisted from practicing law during the period of suspension.
On the claim that the Commission on Human Rights allowed Atty. Baliga to perform his functions
as Regional Director during the period of suspension, the Office of the Bar Confidant said that the
Commission "deliberate[ly] disregard[ed]"21 this court's order of suspension. According to the Office
of the Bar Confidant, the Commission on Human Rights had no power to "[alter, modify, or set
aside any of this court's resolutions] which [have] become final and executory. "22
Thus, with respect to Atty. Baliga, the Office of the Bar Confidant recommended that this court
require him to submit a certification from the Commission on Human Rights stating that he desisted
from performing his functions as Regional Director while he was suspended from the practice of
law.23
The Office of the Bar Confidant further recommended that Atty. Baliga and the Commission .on
Human Rights be required to comment on complainant Lingan's allegation that Atty. Baliga
continued to perform his functions as Regional Director while he was suspended from the practice
of law.
On July 17, 2009, Atty. Baliga filed a manifestation,24 arguing that his suspension from the practice
of law did not include his suspension from public office. Atty. Baliga said, "[t]o stretch the coverage
of [his suspension from the practice of law] to [his] public office would be tantamount to [violating]
his constitutional rights [sic] to due process and to the statutory principle in law that what is not
included is deemed excluded."25
In the resolution26 dated September 23, 2009, this court required respondents to file their
respective motions to lift order of suspension considering the lapse of the period of suspension.
This court further ordered Atty. Baliga and the Commission on Human Rights to comment on
complainant Lingari's allegation that Atty. Baliga continued performing his functions as Regional
Director while he was suspended from the practice of law. The resolution dated September 23,
2009 provides:
Considering that the period of suspension from the practice of law and disqualification from being
commissioned as notary public imposed on respondents have [sic] already elapsed, this Court
resolves:
(1) to require both respondents, within ten (10) days from notice, to FILE their respective motions
to lift relative to their suspension and disqualification from being commissioned as notary public
and SUBMIT certifications from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and Executive Judge of the
Court where they may appear as counsel, stating that respondents have actually ceased and
desisted from the practice of law during the entire period of their suspension and disqualification,
unless already complied with in the meantime;
(2) to require Atty. Jimmy P. Baliga to SUBMIT a certification from the Commission on Human
Rights [CHR] stating that he has been suspended from office and has stopped from the
performance of his functions for the period stated in the order of suspension and disqualification,
within ten (10) days from notice hereof;
(3) to require respondent Atty. Baliga and the CHR to COMMENT on the allegations of complainant
against them, both within ten (10) days from receipt of notice hereof; ...27 (Emphasis in the original)
In compliance with this court's order, Attys. Calubaquib and Baliga filed their respective motions to
lift order of suspension.28 Atty. Baliga also filed his comment on complainant Lingan's allegation
that he continued performing his functions as Regional Director during his suspension from the
practice of law.
In his comment29 dated November 13, 2009, Atty. Baliga alleged that as Regional Director, he
"perform[ed], generally, managerial functions,"30 which did not require the practice of law. These
managerial functions allegedly included ."[supervising] ... the day to day operations of the regional
office and its personnel";31 "monitoring progress of investigations conducted by the [Commission
on Human Rights] Investigation Unit";32 "monitoring the implementation of all other services and
assistance programs of the [Commission on Human Rights] by the different units at the regional
level";33 and "[supervising] . . . the budgetary requirement preparation and disbursement of funds
and expenditure of the [Regional Office]."34 The Commission allegedly has its own "legal services
unit which takes care of the legal services matters of the [Commission]."35
Stating that his functions as Regional Director did not require the practice of law, Atty. Baliga
claimed thaf he "faithful[ly] [complied] with [this court's resolution suspending him from the practice
of law]."36
The Commission on Human Rights filed its comment37 dated November 27, 2009. It argued that
"the penalty imposed upon Atty. Baliga as a member of the bar is separate and distinct from any
penalty that may be imposed upon him as a public official for the same acts."38 According to the

Commission, Atty. Baliga's suspension from the practice of law is a "bar matter"39 while the
imposition of penalty upon a Commission on Human Rights official "is an entirely different thing,
falling as it does within the exclusive authority of the [Commission as] disciplining body."40
Nevertheless, the Commission manifested that it would defer to this court's resolution of the issue
and would "abide by whatever ruling or decision [this court] arrives at on [the] matter. "41 In reply42
to Atty. Baliga's comment, complainant Lingan argued that Atty. Baliga again disobeyed this. court.
Atty. Baliga failed to submit a certification from the Commission on Human Rights stating that he
was suspended from office and desisted from performing his functions as Regional Director.
As to Atty. Baliga's claim that he did not practice law while he held his position as Regional Director
and only performed generally managerial functions, complainant Lingan countered that Atty. Baliga
admitted to defying the order of suspension. Atty. Baliga admitted to performing the functions of a
"lawyer-manager,"43 which under the landmark case of Cayetano v. Monsod44 constituted practice
of law. Complainant Lingan reiterated that the position of Regional Director/ Attorney VI requires
the officer "to be a lawyer [in] good standing."45 Moreover, as admitted by Atty. Baliga, he had
supervision and control over Attorneys III, IV, and V. Being a "lawyer-manager," Atty. Baliga
practiced law while he held his position as Regional Director.
With respect to Atty. Baliga's claim that he was in good faith in reassuming his position as Regional
Director, complainant Lingan countered that if Atty. Baliga were really in good faith, he should have
followed the initial resolution of the Commission on Human Rights suspending him from office. Atty.
Baliga did not even furnish this court a copy of his motion for reconsideration of the Commission on
Human Right's resolution suspending him from office. By "playing ignorant on what is 'practice of
law', twisting facts and philosophizing,"46 complainant Lingan argued that Atty. Baliga "[no longer
has that] moral vitality imperative to the title of an attorney."47 Compfainant Lingan prayed that Atty.
Baliga be disbarred.
On February 17, 2010, this court lifted the order of suspension of Atty. Calubaquib.48 He was
allowed to resume his practice of law and perform notarial acts subject to compliance with the
requirements for issuance of a notarial commission.
On the other hand, this court referred to the Office of the Bar Confidant for evaluation, report, and
recommendation Atty. Baliga's motion to lift one-year suspension and the respective comments of
Atty. Baliga and the Commission on Human Rights.49
In its report and recommendation50 dated October 18, 2010, the Office of the Bar Confidant stated
that Atty. Baliga "should not [have been] allowed to perform his functions, duties, and
responsibilities [as Regional Director] which [required acts constituting] practice .of law."51
Considering that Atty. Baliga claimed that he did not perform his functions as Regional Director
which required the practice of law, the Office of the Bar Confidant recommended that the
Commission on Human Rights be required to comment on this claim. The Office of the Bar
Confidant also recommended holding in abeyance the resolution of Atty. Baliga's motion to lift
suspension "pending [the Commission on Human Right's filing of comment]."52
In the resolution53 dated January 12, 2011, this court held in abeyance the resolution of Atty.
Baliga's motion to lift one-year suspension. The Commission on Human Rights was ordered to
comment on Atty. Baliga's claim that he did not practice law while he held his position as Regional
Director.
In its comment54 dated April 6, 2011, the Commission on Human Rights reiterated that the penalty
imposed on Atty. Baliga as a member of the bar is separate from the penalty that might be imposed
on him as Regional Director. The Commission added that it is "of honest belief that the position of
[Regional Director] is managerial and does not [require the practice of law]."55 It again manifested
that it will "abide by whatever ruling or decision [this court] arrives on [the] matter."56
The issue for our resolution is whether Atty. Baliga's motion to lift order of suspension should be
granted.
We find that Atty. Baliga violated this court's order of suspension. We, therefore, suspend him
further from the practice of law for six months.
Practice of law is "any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal
procedure, knowledge, training and experience."57 It includes "[performing] acts which are
characteristics of the [legal] profession"58 or "[rendering any kind of] service [which] requires the
use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill."59
Work in government that requires the use of legal knowledge is considered practice. of law. In
Cayetano v. Monsod,60 this court cited the deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission and
agreed that work rendered by lawyers in the Commission on Audit requiring "[the use of] legal
knowledge or legal talent"61 is practice of law.

The Commission on Human Rights is an independent office created under the Constitution with
power to investigate "all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights[.]"62 It is
divided into regional offices with each office having primary responsibility to investigate human
rights violations in its territorial jurisdiction.63 Each regional office is headed by the Regional
Director who is given the position of Attorney VI.
Under the Guidelines and Procedures in the Investigation and Monitoring of Human Rights
Violations and Abuses, and the Provision of CHR Assistance,64 the Regional Director has the
following powers and functions:
a. To administer oaths or affirmations with respect to "[Commission on Human Rights] matters;"65
b. To issue mission orders in their respective regional offices;66
c. To conduct preliminary evaluation or initial investigation of human rights complaints in the
absence of the legal officer or investigator;67
d. To conduct dialogues or preliminary conferences among parties and discuss "immediate courses
of action and protection remedies and/or possible submission of the matter to an alternative
dispute resolution";68
e. To issue Commission on Human Rights processes, including notices, letter-invitations, orders, or
subpoenas within the territorial jurisdiction of the regional office;69 and
f. To review and approve draft resolutions of human rights cases prepared by the legal officer.70
These powers and functions are characteristics of the legal profession. Oaths and affirmations are
usually performed by members of the judiciary and notaries public71 - officers who are necessarily
members of the bar.72 Investigating human rights complaints are performed primarily by the
Commission's legal officer.73 Discussing immediate courses of action and protection remedies and
reviewing and approving draft resolutions of human rights cases prepared by the legal officer
require the use of extensive legal knowledge.
The exercise of the powers and functions of a Commission on Human Rights Regional Director
constitutes practice of law. Thus, the Regional Director must be an attorney - a member of the bar
in good standing and authorized to practice law.74 When the Regional Director loses this authority,
such as when he or she is disbarred or suspended from the practice of law, the Regional Director
loses a necessary qualification to the position he or she is holding. The disbarred or suspended
lawyer must desist from holding the position of Regional Director.
This court suspended Atty. Baliga from the practice of law for one year on June 15, 2006, "effective
immediately."75 From the time Atty. Baliga received the court's order of suspension on July 5,
2006,76 he has been without authority to practice law. He lacked a necessary qualification to his
position as Commission on Human Rights Regional Director/ Attorney VI. As the Commission on
Human Rights correctly resolved in its resolution dated January 16, 2007:
WHEREAS, this suspension under ethical standards, in effect, prevents Atty. Baliga from assuming
his post, for want of eligibility in the meantime that his authority to practice law is suspended. This
is without prejudice to the investigation to be conducted to the practice of law of Atty. Baliga, which
in the case of all Regional Human Rights Directors is not generally allowed by the Commission;
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines
resolved to put into effect and implement the legal implications of the SC decision by decreeing the
suspension of Atty. Jimmy P. Baliga in the discharge of his functions and responsibilities as
Director/Attorney VI of CHRP-Region II in Tuguegarao City for the period for which the Supreme
Court Resolution is in effect.77 (Emphasis in the original)
In ordering Atty. Baliga suspended from office as Regional Director, the Commission on Human
Rights did not violate Atty. Baliga's right to due process. First, he was only suspended after:
investigation by the Commission on Human Rights Legal and Investigation Office.78 Second, the
Commission gave Atty. Baliga an opportunity to be heard when he filed his motion for
reconsideration.
Atty. Baliga's performance of generally managerial functions was not supported by the record. It
was also immaterial.1wphi1 He held the position of Commission on Human Rights Regional
Director because of his authority to practice law. Without this authority, Atty. Baliga was disqualified
to hold that position.
All told, performing the functions of a Commission on Human Rights Regional Director constituted
practice of law. Atty. Baliga should have desisted from holding his position as Regional Director.
Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, willful disobedience to any lawful order of a
superior court is a ground for disbarment or suspension from the practice of law:
SEC. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court; grounds therefor. - A member
of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any
deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by

reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which
he is required to take before admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order
of a superior court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without
authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally
or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.
In Molina v. Atty. Magat,79 this court suspended further Atty. Ceferino R. Magat from the practice of
law for six months for practicing his profession despite this court's previous order of suspension.
We impose the same penalty on Atty. Baliga for holding his position as Regional Director despite
lack.of authority to practice law.1wphi1
We note that the Commission on Human Rights En Banc issued the resolution dated April 13,
2007, reconsidering its first resolution suspending Atty. Baliga as Regional Director/ Attorney VI.
Instead, the Commission admonished Atty. Baliga and sternly warned him that repeating the same
offense will cause his dismissal from the service. The resolution with CHR (III) No. A2007-045
dated April 13, 2007 reads:
In his Motion for Reconsideration dated March 15, 2007, respondent Atty. Jimmy P. Baliga prays
before the Honorable Commission to recall and annul his suspension as Regional Director/
Attorney VI of the Commission on Human Rights - Regional Office No. II, per 16 January 2007
Commission en Banc Resolution CHR (III) No. A2007-013.
The grounds relied upon the motion are not sufficient to convince the Commission that Atty. Jimmy
P. Baliga is totally blameless and should not suffer the appropriate penalty for breach of the Code
of Professional Responsibility and his Lawyer's oath.
The Commission, in the exercise of its authority to discipline, is concerned with the transgression
by Atty. Baliga of his oath of office as government employee. As records have it, the Commission
granted Atty. Baliga authority to secure a commission as a notary public. With this, he is mandated
to act as a notary public in accordance with the rules and regulations, to include the conditions
expressly set forth by the Commission.
With the findings clearly enunciated in the Supreme Court resolution in SC Administrative Case No.
5277 dated 15 June 2006, the Commission cannot close its eyes to the act of Atty. Baliga that is
clearly repugnant to the conduct of an officer reposed with public trust.
This is enough just cause to have this piece of word, short of being enraged, and censure Atty.
Baliga for having contravened the conditions of his commission as a notary public. What was
granted to Atty. Baliga is merely a privilege, the exercise of which requires such high esteem to be
in equal footing with the constitutional mandate of the Commission. Clearly, Atty. Baliga should
keep in mind that the Commission exacts commensurate solicitude from whatever privilege the
Commission grants of every official and employee.
The Commission notes that by now Atty. Baliga is serving the one year suspension imposed on
him pursuant to the Supreme Court resolution. The Commission believes that the further
suspension of Atty. Baliga from the office may be too harsh in the meantime that the Supreme
Court penalty is being served. This Commission is prevailed upon that the admonition of Atty.
Baliga as above expressed is sufficient to complete the cycle of penalizing an erring public officer.
WHEREFORE, the Commission hereby modifies its ruling in Resolution CHR (III) No. A2007-013
and imposes the penalty of admonition with a stem warning that a repetition of the same will merit
a penalty of dismissal from the service.80 (Emphasis in the original)
The Commission on Human Rights erred in issuing the resolution dated April 13, 2007. This
resolution caused Atty. Baliga to reassume his position as Regional Director/ Attorney VI despite
lack of authority to practice law.
We remind the Commission on Human Rights that we have the exclusive jurisdiction to regulate
the practice of law.81 The Commission cannot, by mere resolutions and .other issuances, modify or
defy this court's orders of suspension from the practice of law. Although the Commission on
Human Rights has the power to appoint its officers and employees,82 it can only retain those with
the necessary qualifications in the positions they are holding.
As for Atty. Baliga, we remind him that the practice of law is a "privilege burdened with
conditions."83 To enjoy the privileges of practicing law, lawyers must "[adhere] to the rigid standards
of mental fitness, [maintain] the highest degree of morality[,] and [faithfully comply] with the rules of
[the] legal profession."84
WHEREFORE, we further SUSPEND Atty. Jimmy P. Baliga from the practice of law for six ( 6)
months. Atty. Baliga shall serve a total of one (1) year and six (6) months of suspension from the
practice of law, effective upon service on Atty. Baliga of a copy of this resolution.
SERVE copies of this resolution to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Office of the Bar
Confidant, and the Commission on Human Rights.

SO ORDERED.
A.M. No. 10-10-4-SC
March 8, 2011
RE: LETTER OF THE UP LAW FACULTY ENTITLED "RESTORING INTEGRITY: A STATEMENT
BY THE FACULTY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES COLLEGE OF LAW ON THE
ALLEGATIONS OF PLAGIARISM AND MISREPRESENTATION IN THE SUPREME COURT"
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
For disposition of the Court are the various submissions of the 37 respondent law professors1 in
response to the Resolution dated October 19, 2010 (the Show Cause Resolution), directing them
to show cause why they should not be disciplined as members of the Bar for violation of specific
provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility enumerated therein.
At the outset, it must be stressed that the Show Cause Resolution clearly dockets this as an
administrative matter, not a special civil action for indirect contempt under Rule 71 of the Rules of
Court, contrary to the dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno (Justice
Sereno) to the said October 19, 2010 Show Cause Resolution. Neither is this a disciplinary
proceeding grounded on an allegedly irregularly concluded finding of indirect contempt as
intimated by Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales (Justice Morales) in her dissenting
opinions to both the October 19, 2010 Show Cause Resolution and the present decision.
With the nature of this case as purely a bar disciplinary proceeding firmly in mind, the Court finds
that with the exception of one respondent whose compliance was adequate and another who
manifested he was not a member of the Philippine Bar, the submitted explanations, being mere
denials and/or tangential to the issues at hand, are decidedly unsatisfactory. The proffered
defenses even more urgently behoove this Court to call the attention of respondent law professors,
who are members of the Bar, to the relationship of their duties as such under the Code of
Professional Responsibility to their civil rights as citizens and academics in our free and democratic
republic.
The provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility involved in this case are as follows:
CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect
for law and legal processes.
RULE 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at
lessening confidence in the legal system.
CANON 10 - A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court.
Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; nor shall
he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.
Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of paper, the
language or the argument of opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or authority, or knowingly
cite as law a provision already rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact
that which has not been proved.
Rule 10.03 - A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the
ends of justice.
CANON 11 A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial
officers and should insist on similar conduct by others.
RULE 11.05 A lawyer shall submit grievances against a Judge to the proper authorities only.
CANON 13 A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain from any impropriety
which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the court.
Established jurisprudence will undeniably support our view that when lawyers speak their minds,
they must ever be mindful of their sworn oath to observe ethical standards of their profession, and
in particular, avoid foul and abusive language to condemn the Supreme Court, or any court for that
matter, for a decision it has rendered, especially during the pendency of a motion for such
decisions reconsideration. The accusation of plagiarism against a member of this Court is not the
real issue here but rather this plagiarism issue has been used to deflect everyones attention from
the actual concern of this Court to determine by respondents explanations whether or not
respondent members of the Bar have crossed the line of decency and acceptable professional
conduct and speech and violated the Rules of Court through improper intervention or interference
as third parties to a pending case. Preliminarily, it should be stressed that it was respondents
themselves who called upon the Supreme Court to act on their Statement,2 which they formally
submitted, through Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leonen (Dean Leonen), for the Courts proper disposition.
Considering the defenses of freedom of speech and academic freedom invoked by the

respondents, it is worth discussing here that the legal reasoning used in the past by this Court to
rule that freedom of expression is not a defense in administrative cases against lawyers for using
intemperate speech in open court or in court submissions can similarly be applied to respondents
invocation of academic freedom. Indeed, it is precisely because respondents are not merely
lawyers but lawyers who teach law and mould the minds of young aspiring attorneys that
respondents own non-observance of the Code of Professional Responsibility, even if purportedly
motivated by the purest of intentions, cannot be ignored nor glossed over by this Court.
To fully appreciate the grave repercussions of respondents actuations, it is apropos to revisit the
factual antecedents of this case.
BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
Antecedent Facts and Proceedings
On April 28, 2010, the ponencia of Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo (Justice Del Castillo) in
Vinuya, et al. v. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 162230) was promulgated. On May 31, 2010, the
counsel3 for Vinuya, et al. (the "Malaya Lolas"), filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Vinuya
decision, raising solely the following grounds:
I. Our own constitutional and jurisprudential histories reject this Honorable Courts (sic) assertion
that the Executives foreign policy prerogatives are virtually unlimited; precisely, under the relevant
jurisprudence and constitutional provisions, such prerogatives are proscribed by international
human rights and humanitarian standards, including those provided for in the relevant international
conventions of which the Philippines is a party.4
II. This Honorable Court has confused diplomatic protection with the broader, if fundamental,
responsibility of states to protect the human rights of its citizens especially where the rights
asserted are subject of erga omnes obligations and pertain to jus cogens norms.5
On July 19, 2010,6 counsel for the Malaya Lolas, Attys. H. Harry L. Roque, Jr. (Atty. Roque) and
Romel Regalado Bagares (Atty. Bagares), filed a Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration in G.R.
No. 162230, where they posited for the first time their charge of plagiarism as one of the grounds
for reconsideration of the Vinuya decision. Among other arguments, Attys. Roque and Bagares
asserted that:
I.
IN THE FIRST PLACE, IT IS HIGHLY IMPROPER FOR THIS HONORABLE COURTS
JUDGMENT OF APRIL 28, 2010 TO PLAGIARIZE AT LEAST THREE SOURCES AN ARTICLE
PUBLISHED IN 2009 IN THE YALE LAW JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, A BOOK
PUBLISHED BY THE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS IN 2005 AND AN ARTICLE
PUBLISHED IN 2006 IN THE CASE WESTERN RESERVE JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
AND MAKE IT APPEAR THAT THESE SOURCES SUPPORT THE JUDGMENTS ARGUMENTS
FOR DISMISSING THE INSTANT PETITION WHEN IN TRUTH, THE PLAGIARIZED SOURCES
EVEN MAKE A STRONG CASE FOR THE PETITIONS CLAIMS.7
They also claimed that "[i]n this controversy, the evidence bears out the fact not only of extensive
plagiarism but of (sic) also of twisting the true intents of the plagiarized sources by the ponencia to
suit the arguments of the assailed Judgment for denying the Petition."8
According to Attys. Roque and Bagares, the works allegedly plagiarized in the Vinuya decision
were namely: (1) Evan J. Criddle and Evan Fox-Decents article "A Fiduciary Theory of Jus
Cogens;"9 (2) Christian J. Tams book Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law;10
and (3) Mark Ellis article "Breaking the Silence: On Rape as an International Crime."11
On the same day as the filing of the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration on July 19, 2010,
journalists Aries C. Rufo and Purple S. Romero posted an article, entitled "SC justice plagiarized
parts of ruling on comfort women," on the Newsbreak website.12 The same article appeared on the
GMA News TV website also on July 19, 2010.13
On July 22, 2010, Atty. Roques column, entitled "Plagiarized and Twisted," appeared in the Manila
Standard Today.14 In the said column, Atty. Roque claimed that Prof. Evan Criddle, one of the
authors purportedly not properly acknowledged in the Vinuya decision, confirmed that his work, coauthored with Prof. Evan Fox-Decent, had been plagiarized. Atty. Roque quoted Prof. Criddles
response to the post by Julian Ku regarding the news report15 on the alleged plagiarism in the
international law blog, Opinio Juris. Prof. Criddle responded to Kus blog entry in this wise:
The newspapers16 [plagiarism] claims are based on a motion for reconsideration filed yesterday
with the Philippine Supreme Court yesterday. The motion is available here:
http://harryroque.com/2010/07/18/supplemental-motion-alleging-plagiarism-in-the-supreme-court/
The motion suggests that the Courts decision contains thirty-four sentences and citations that are
identical to sentences and citations in my 2009 YJIL article (co-authored with Evan Fox-Decent).

Professor Fox-Decent and I were unaware of the petitioners [plagiarism] allegations until after the
motion was filed today.
Speaking for myself, the most troubling aspect of the courts jus cogens discussion is that it implies
that the prohibitions against crimes against humanity, sexual slavery, and torture are not jus
cogens norms. Our article emphatically asserts the opposite. The Supreme Courts decision is
available here: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2010/april2010/162230.htm17
On even date, July 22, 2010, Justice Del Castillo wrote to his colleagues on the Court in reply to
the charge of plagiarism contained in the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration.18
In a letter dated July 23, 2010, another purportedly plagiarized author in the Vinuya decision, Dr.
Mark Ellis, wrote the Court, to wit:
Your Honours:
I write concerning a most delicate issue that has come to my attention in the last few days.
Much as I regret to raise this matter before your esteemed Court, I am compelled, as a question of
the integrity of my work as an academic and as an advocate of human rights and humanitarian law,
to take exception to the possible unauthorized use of my law review article on rape as an
international crime in your esteemed Courts Judgment in the case of Vinuya et al. v. Executive
Secretary et al. (G.R. No. 162230, Judgment of 28 April 2010).
My attention was called to the Judgment and the issue of possible plagiarism by the Philippine
chapter of the Southeast Asia Media Legal Defence Initiative (SEAMLDI),19 an affiliate of the
London-based Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI), where I sit as trustee.
In particular, I am concerned about a large part of the extensive discussion in footnote 65, pp.
27-28, of the said Judgment of your esteemed Court. I am also concerned that your esteemed
Court may have misread the arguments I made in the article and employed them for cross
purposes. This would be ironic since the article was written precisely to argue for the appropriate
legal remedy for victims of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.
I believe a full copy of my article as published in the Case Western Reserve Journal of
International Law in 2006 has been made available to your esteemed Court. I trust that your
esteemed Court will take the time to carefully study the arguments I made in the article.
I would appreciate receiving a response from your esteemed Court as to the issues raised by this
letter.
With respect,
(Sgd.)
Dr. Mark Ellis20
In Memorandum Order No. 35-2010 issued on July 27, 2010, the Court formed the Committee on
Ethics and Ethical Standards (the Ethics Committee) pursuant to Section 13, Rule 2 of the Internal
Rules of the Supreme Court. In an En Banc Resolution also dated July 27, 2010, the Court referred
the July 22, 2010 letter of Justice Del Castillo to the Ethics Committee. The matter was
subsequently docketed as A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC.
On August 2, 2010, the Ethics Committee required Attys. Roque and Bagares to comment on the
letter of Justice Del Castillo.21
On August 9, 2010, a statement dated July 27, 2010, entitled "Restoring Integrity: A Statement by
the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law on the Allegations of Plagiarism and
Misrepresentation in the Supreme Court" (the Statement), was posted in Newsbreaks website22
and on Atty. Roques blog.23 A report regarding the statement also appeared on various on-line
news sites, such as the GMA News TV24 and the Sun Star25 sites, on the same date. The
statement was likewise posted at the University of the Philippines College of Laws bulletin board
allegedly on August 10, 201026 and at said colleges website.27
On August 11, 2010, Dean Leonen submitted a copy of the Statement of the University of the
Philippines College of Law Faculty (UP Law faculty) to the Court, through Chief Justice Renato C.
Corona (Chief Justice Corona). The cover letter dated August 10, 2010 of Dean Leonen read:
The Honorable
Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines
Through:
Hon. Renato C. Corona
Chief Justice
Subject:
Statement of faculty
from the UP College of Law
on the Plagiarism in the case of
Vinuya v Executive Secretary

Your Honors:
We attach for your information and proper disposition a statement signed by thirty[-]eight (38)28
members of the faculty of the UP College of Law. We hope that its points could be considered by
the Supreme Court en banc.
Respectfully,
(Sgd.)
Marvic M.V.F. Leonen
Dean and Professor of Law
(Emphases supplied.)
The copy of the Statement attached to the above-quoted letter did not contain the actual signatures
of the alleged signatories but only stated the names of 37 UP Law professors with the notation
(SGD.) appearing beside each name. For convenient reference, the text of the UP Law faculty
Statement is reproduced here:
RESTORING INTEGRITY
A STATEMENT BY THE FACULTY OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES COLLEGE OF LAW
ON THE ALLEGATIONS OF PLAGIARISM AND MISREPRESENTATION
IN THE SUPREME COURT
An extraordinary act of injustice has again been committed against the brave Filipinas who had
suffered abuse during a time of war. After they courageously came out with their very personal
stories of abuse and suffering as "comfort women", waited for almost two decades for any
meaningful relief from their own government as well as from the government of Japan, got their
hopes up for a semblance of judicial recourse in the case of Vinuya v. Executive Secretary, G.R.
No. 162230 (28 April 2010), they only had these hopes crushed by a singularly reprehensible act of
dishonesty and misrepresentation by the Highest Court of the land.
It is within this frame that the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law views the
charge that an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court committed plagiarism and
misrepresentation in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary. The plagiarism and misrepresentation are not
only affronts to the individual scholars whose work have been appropriated without correct
attribution, but also a serious threat to the integrity and credibility of the Philippine Judicial System.
In common parlance, plagiarism is the appropriation and misrepresentation of another persons
work as ones own. In the field of writing, it is cheating at best, and stealing at worst. It constitutes a
taking of someone elses ideas and expressions, including all the effort and creativity that went into
committing such ideas and expressions into writing, and then making it appear that such ideas and
expressions were originally created by the taker. It is dishonesty, pure and simple. A judicial system
that allows plagiarism in any form is one that allows dishonesty. Since all judicial decisions form
part of the law of the land, to allow plagiarism in the Supreme Court is to allow the production of
laws by dishonest means. Evidently, this is a complete perversion and falsification of the ends of
justice.
A comparison of the Vinuya decision and the original source material shows that the ponente
merely copied select portions of other legal writers works and interspersed them into the decision
as if they were his own, original work. Under the circumstances, however, because the Decision
has been promulgated by the Court, the Decision now becomes the Courts and no longer just the
ponentes. Thus the Court also bears the responsibility for the Decision. In the absence of any
mention of the original writers names and the publications from which they came, the thing speaks
for itself.
So far there have been unsatisfactory responses from the ponente of this case and the spokesman
of the Court.
It is argued, for example, that the inclusion of the footnotes from the original articles is a reference
to the primary sources relied upon. This cursory explanation is not acceptable, because the
original authors writings and the effort they put into finding and summarizing those primary sources
are precisely the subject of plagiarism. The inclusion of the footnotes together with portions of their
writings in fact aggravates, instead of mitigates, the plagiarism since it provides additional evidence
of a deliberate intention to appropriate the original authors work of organizing and analyzing those
primary sources.
It is also argued that the Members of the Court cannot be expected to be familiar with all legal and
scholarly journals. This is also not acceptable, because personal unfamiliarity with sources all the
more demands correct and careful attribution and citation of the material relied upon. It is a matter
of diligence and competence expected of all Magistrates of the Highest Court of the Land.

But a far more serious matter is the objection of the original writers, Professors Evan Criddle and
Evan Fox-Descent, that the High Court actually misrepresents the conclusions of their work entitled
"A Fiduciary Theory of Jus Cogens," the main source of the plagiarized text. In this article they
argue that the classification of the crimes of rape, torture, and sexual slavery as crimes against
humanity have attained the status of jus cogens, making it obligatory upon the State to seek
remedies on behalf of its aggrieved citizens. Yet, the Vinuya decision uses parts of the same article
to arrive at the contrary conclusion. This exacerbates the intellectual dishonesty of copying works
without attribution by transforming it into an act of intellectual fraud by copying works in order to
mislead and deceive.
The case is a potential landmark decision in International Law, because it deals with State liability
and responsibility for personal injury and damage suffered in a time of war, and the role of the
injured parties home States in the pursuit of remedies against such injury or damage. National
courts rarely have such opportunities to make an international impact. That the petitioners were
Filipino "comfort women" who suffered from horrific abuse during the Second World War made it
incumbent on the Court of last resort to afford them every solicitude. But instead of acting with
urgency on this case, the Court delayed its resolution for almost seven years, oblivious to the
deaths of many of the petitioners seeking justice from the Court. When it dismissed the Vinuya
petition based on misrepresented and plagiarized materials, the Court decided this case based on
polluted sources. By so doing, the Supreme Court added insult to injury by failing to actually
exercise its "power to urge and exhort the Executive Department to take up the claims of the
Vinuya petitioners. Its callous disposition, coupled with false sympathy and nonchalance, belies a
more alarming lack of concern for even the most basic values of decency and respect. The
reputation of the Philippine Supreme Court and the standing of the Philippine legal profession
before other Judiciaries and legal systems are truly at stake.
The High Court cannot accommodate less than absolute honesty in its decisions and cannot
accept excuses for failure to attain the highest standards of conduct imposed upon all members of
the Bench and Bar because these undermine the very foundation of its authority and power in a
democratic society. Given the Courts recent history and the controversy that surrounded it, it
cannot allow the charges of such clear and obvious plagiarism to pass without sanction as this
would only further erode faith and confidence in the judicial system. And in light of the significance
of this decision to the quest for justice not only of Filipino women, but of women elsewhere in the
world who have suffered the horrors of sexual abuse and exploitation in times of war, the Court
cannot coldly deny relief and justice to the petitioners on the basis of pilfered and misinterpreted
texts.
The Court cannot regain its credibility and maintain its moral authority without ensuring that its own
conduct, whether collectively or through its Members, is beyond reproach. This necessarily
includes ensuring that not only the content, but also the processes of preparing and writing its own
decisions, are credible and beyond question. The Vinuya Decision must be conscientiously
reviewed and not casually cast aside, if not for the purpose of sanction, then at least for the
purpose of reflection and guidance. It is an absolutely essential step toward the establishment of a
higher standard of professional care and practical scholarship in the Bench and Bar, which are
critical to improving the system of administration of justice in the Philippines. It is also a very crucial
step in ensuring the position of the Supreme Court as the Final Arbiter of all controversies: a
position that requires competence and integrity completely above any and all reproach, in
accordance with the exacting demands of judicial and professional ethics.
With these considerations, and bearing in mind the solemn duties and trust reposed upon them as
teachers in the profession of Law, it is the opinion of the Faculty of the University of the Philippine
College of Law that:
(1) The plagiarism committed in the case of Vinuya v. Executive Secretary is unacceptable,
unethical and in breach of the high standards of moral conduct and judicial and professional
competence expected of the Supreme Court;
(2) Such a fundamental breach endangers the integrity and credibility of the entire Supreme Court
and undermines the foundations of the Philippine judicial system by allowing implicitly the decision
of cases and the establishment of legal precedents through dubious means;
(3) The same breach and consequent disposition of the Vinuya case does violence to the
primordial function of the Supreme Court as the ultimate dispenser of justice to all those who have
been left without legal or equitable recourse, such as the petitioners therein;
(4) In light of the extremely serious and far-reaching nature of the dishonesty and to save the honor
and dignity of the Supreme Court as an institution, it is necessary for the ponente of Vinuya v.

Executive Secretary to resign his position, without prejudice to any other sanctions that the Court
may consider appropriate;
(5) The Supreme Court must take this opportunity to review the manner by which it conducts
research, prepares drafts, reaches and finalizes decisions in order to prevent a recurrence of
similar acts, and to provide clear and concise guidance to the Bench and Bar to ensure only the
highest quality of legal research and writing in pleadings, practice, and adjudication.
Malcolm Hall, University of the Philippines College of Law, Quezon City, 27 July 2010.
(SGD.) MARVIC M.V.F. LEONEN
Dean and Professor of Law
(SGD.) FROILAN M. BACUNGAN
Dean (1978-1983)
(SGD.) PACIFICO A. AGABIN
Dean (1989-1995)
(SGD.) MERLIN M. MAGALLONA
Dean (1995-1999)
(SGD.) SALVADOR T. CARLOTA
Dean (2005-2008) and Professor of Law
REGULAR FACULTY
(SGD.) CARMELO V. SISON
Professor
(SGD.) JAY L. BATONGBACAL
Assistant Professor
(SGD.) PATRICIA R.P. SALVADOR DAWAY
Associate Dean and Associate Professor
(SGD.) EVELYN (LEO) D. BATTAD
Assistant Professor
(SGD.) DANTE B. GATMAYTAN
Associate Professor
(SGD.) GWEN G. DE VERA
Assistant Professor
(SGD.) THEODORE O. TE
Assistant Professor
(SGD.) SOLOMON F. LUMBA
Assistant Professor
(SGD.) FLORIN T. HILBAY
Assistant Professor
(SGD.) ROMMEL J. CASIS
Assistant Professor
LECTURERS
(SGD.) JOSE GERARDO A. ALAMPAY
(SGD.) JOSE C. LAURETA
(SGD.) ARTHUR P. AUTEA
(SGD.) DINA D. LUCENARIO
(SGD.) ROSA MARIA J. BAUTISTA
(SGD.) OWEN J. LYNCH
(SGD.) MARK R. BOCOBO
(SGD.) ANTONIO M. SANTOS
(SGD.) DAN P. CALICA
(SGD.) VICENTE V. MENDOZA
(SGD.) TRISTAN A. CATINDIG
(SGD.) RODOLFO NOEL S. QUIMBO
(SGD.) SANDRA MARIE O. CORONEL
(SGD.) GMELEEN FAYE B. TOMBOC
(SGD.) ROSARIO O. GALLO
(SGD.) NICHOLAS FELIX L. TY
(SGD.) CONCEPCION L. JARDELEZA
(SGD.) EVALYN G. URSUA
(SGD.) ANTONIO G.M. LA VIA
(SGD.) RAUL T. VASQUEZ
(SGD.) CARINA C. LAFORTEZA

(SGD.) SUSAN D. VILLANUEVA29


(Underscoring supplied.)
Meanwhile, in a letter dated August 18, 2010, Prof. Christian J. Tams made known his sentiments
on the alleged plagiarism issue to the Court.30 We quote Prof. Tams letter here:
Glasgow, 18 August 2010
Vinuya, et al. v. Executive Secretary et al. (G.R. No. 162230)
Hon. Renato C. Corona, Chief Justice
Your Excellency,
My name is Christian J. Tams, and I am a professor of international law at the University of
Glasgow. I am writing to you in relation to the use of one of my publications in the abovementioned judgment of your Honourable Court.
The relevant passage of the judgment is to be found on p. 30 of your Courts Judgment, in the
section addressing the concept of obligations erga omnes. As the table annexed to this letter
shows, the relevant sentences were taken almost word by word from the introductory chapter of
my book Enforcing Obligations Erga Omnes in International Law (Cambridge University Press
2005). I note that there is a generic reference to my work in footnote 69 of the Judgment, but as
this is in relation to a citation from another author (Bruno Simma) rather than with respect to the
substantive passages reproduced in the Judgment, I do not think it can be considered an
appropriate form of referencing.
I am particularly concerned that my work should have been used to support the Judgments
cautious approach to the erga omnes concept. In fact, a most cursory reading shows that my
books central thesis is precisely the opposite: namely that the erga omnes concept has been
widely accepted and has a firm place in contemporary international law. Hence the introductory
chapter notes that "[t]he present study attempts to demystify aspects of the very mysterious
concept and thereby to facilitate its implementation" (p. 5). In the same vein, the concluding section
notes that "the preceding chapters show that the concept is now a part of the reality of international
law, established in the jurisprudence of courts and the practice of States" (p. 309).
With due respect to your Honourable Court, I am at a loss to see how my work should have been
cited to support as it seemingly has the opposite approach. More generally, I am concerned at
the way in which your Honourable Courts Judgment has drawn on scholarly work without properly
acknowledging it.
On both aspects, I would appreciate a prompt response from your Honourable Court.
I remain
Sincerely yours
(Sgd.)
Christian J. Tams31
In the course of the submission of Atty. Roque and Atty. Bagares exhibits during the August 26,
2010 hearing in the ethics case against Justice Del Castillo, the Ethics Committee noted that
Exhibit "J" (a copy of the Restoring Integrity Statement) was not signed but merely reflected the
names of certain faculty members with the letters (SGD.) beside the names. Thus, the Ethics
Committee directed Atty. Roque to present the signed copy of the said Statement within three days
from the August 26 hearing.32
It was upon compliance with this directive that the Ethics Committee was given a copy of the
signed UP Law Faculty Statement that showed on the signature pages the names of the full roster
of the UP Law Faculty, 81 faculty members in all. Indubitable from the actual signed copy of the
Statement was that only 37 of the 81 faculty members appeared to have signed the same.
However, the 37 actual signatories to the Statement did not include former Supreme Court
Associate Justice Vicente V. Mendoza (Justice Mendoza) as represented in the previous copies of
the Statement submitted by Dean Leonen and Atty. Roque. It also appeared that Atty. Miguel R.
Armovit (Atty. Armovit) signed the Statement although his name was not included among the
signatories in the previous copies submitted to the Court. Thus, the total number of ostensible
signatories to the Statement remained at 37.
The Ethics Committee referred this matter to the Court en banc since the same Statement, having
been formally submitted by Dean Leonen on August 11, 2010, was already under consideration by
the Court.33
In a Resolution dated October 19, 2010, the Court en banc made the following observations
regarding the UP Law Faculty Statement:
Notably, while the statement was meant to reflect the educators opinion on the allegations of
plagiarism against Justice Del Castillo, they treated such allegation not only as an established fact,
but a truth. In particular, they expressed dissatisfaction over Justice Del Castillos explanation on

how he cited the primary sources of the quoted portions and yet arrived at a contrary conclusion to
those of the authors of the articles supposedly plagiarized.
Beyond this, however, the statement bore certain remarks which raise concern for the Court. The
opening sentence alone is a grim preamble to the institutional attack that lay ahead. It reads:
An extraordinary act of injustice has again been committed against the brave Filipinas who had
suffered abuse during a time of war.
The first paragraph concludes with a reference to the decision in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary as
a reprehensible act of dishonesty and misrepresentation by the Highest Court of the land. x x x.
The insult to the members of the Court was aggravated by imputations of deliberately delaying the
resolution of the said case, its dismissal on the basis of "polluted sources," the Courts alleged
indifference to the cause of petitioners [in the Vinuya case], as well as the supposed alarming lack
of concern of the members of the Court for even the most basic values of decency and respect.34 x
x x. (Underscoring ours.)
In the same Resolution, the Court went on to state that:
While most agree that the right to criticize the judiciary is critical to maintaining a free and
democratic society, there is also a general consensus that healthy criticism only goes so far. Many
types of criticism leveled at the judiciary cross the line to become harmful and irresponsible
attacks. These potentially devastating attacks and unjust criticism can threaten the independence
of the judiciary. The court must "insist on being permitted to proceed to the disposition of its
business in an orderly manner, free from outside interference obstructive of its functions and
tending to embarrass the administration of justice."
The Court could hardly perceive any reasonable purpose for the facultys less than objective
comments except to discredit the April 28, 2010 Decision in the Vinuya case and undermine the
Courts honesty, integrity and competence in addressing the motion for its reconsideration. As if the
case on the comfort womens claims is not controversial enough, the UP Law faculty would fan the
flames and invite resentment against a resolution that would not reverse the said decision. This
runs contrary to their obligation as law professors and officers of the Court to be the first to uphold
the dignity and authority of this Court, to which they owe fidelity according to the oath they have
taken as attorneys, and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice.35 x x x. (Citations
omitted; emphases and underscoring supplied.)
Thus, the Court directed Attys. Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, Froilan M. Bacungan, Pacifico A. Agabin,
Merlin M. Magallona, Salvador T. Carlota, Carmelo V. Sison, Patricia R.P. Salvador Daway, Dante
B. Gatmaytan, Theodore O. Te, Florin T. Hilbay, Jay L. Batongbacal, Evelyn (Leo) D. Battad, Gwen
G. De Vera, Solomon F. Lumba, Rommel J. Casis, Jose Gerardo A. Alampay, Miguel R. Armovit,
Arthur P. Autea, Rosa Maria J. Bautista, Mark R. Bocobo, Dan P. Calica, Tristan A. Catindig,
Sandra Marie O. Coronel, Rosario O. Gallo, Concepcion L. Jardeleza, Antonio G.M. La Via,
Carina C. Laforteza, Jose C. Laureta, Owen J. Lynch, Rodolfo Noel S. Quimbo, Antonio M. Santos,
Gmeleen Faye B. Tomboc, Nicholas Felix L. Ty, Evalyn G. Ursua, Raul T. Vasquez, Susan D.
Villanueva and Dina D. Lucenario to show cause, within ten (10) days from receipt of the copy of
the Resolution, why they should not be disciplined as members of the Bar for violation of Canons
1,36 11 and 13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.37
Dean Leonen was likewise directed to show cause within the same period why he should not be
disciplinarily dealt with for violation of Canon 10, Rules 10.01, 10.02 and 10.03 for submitting
through his letter dated August 10, 2010, during the pendency of G.R. No. 162230 and of the
investigation before the Ethics Committee, for the consideration of the Court en banc, a dummy
which is not a true and faithful reproduction of the UP Law Faculty Statement.38
In the same Resolution, the present controversy was docketed as a regular administrative matter.
Summaries of the Pleadings Filed by Respondents in Response to the October 19, 2010 Show
Cause Resolution
On November 19, 2010, within the extension for filing granted by the Court, respondents filed the
following pleadings:
(1) Compliance dated November 18, 2010 by counsels for 35 of the 37 respondents, excluding
Prof. Owen Lynch and Prof. Raul T. Vasquez, in relation to the charge of violation of Canons 1, 11
and 13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of Professional Responsibility;
(2) Compliance and Reservation dated November 18, 2010 by Prof. Rosa Maria T. Juan-Bautista in
relation to the same charge in par. (1);
(3) Compliance dated November 19, 2010 by counsel for Prof. Raul T. Vasquez in relation to the
same charge in par. (1);
(4) Compliance dated November 19, 2010 by counsels for Dean Leonen, in relation to the charge
of violation of Canon 10, Rules 10.01, 10.02 and 10.03; and

(5) Manifestation dated November 19, 2010 by counsel for Prof. Owen Lynch.
Common Compliance of 35 Respondents (Excluding Prof. Owen Lynch and Prof. Raul Vasquez)
Thirty-five (35) of the respondent UP Law professors filed on November 19, 2010 a common
compliance which was signed by their respective counsels (the Common Compliance). In the
"Preface" of said Common Compliance, respondents stressed that "[they] issued the Restoring
Integrity Statement in the discharge of the solemn duties and trust reposed upon them as teachers
in the profession of law, and as members of the Bar to speak out on a matter of public concern
and one that is of vital interest to them."39 They likewise alleged that "they acted with the purest of
intentions" and pointed out that "none of them was involved either as party or counsel"40 in the
Vinuya case. Further, respondents "note with concern" that the Show Cause Resolutions findings
and conclusions were "a prejudgment that respondents indeed are in contempt, have breached
their obligations as law professors and officers of the Court, and have violated Canons [1], 11 and
13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of Professional Responsibility."41
By way of explanation, the respondents emphasized the following points:
(a) Respondents alleged noble intentions
In response to the charges of failure to observe due respect to legal processes42 and the courts43
and of tending to influence, or giving the appearance of influencing the Court44 in the issuance of
their Statement, respondents assert that their intention was not to malign the Court but rather to
defend its integrity and credibility and to ensure continued confidence in the legal system. Their
noble motive was purportedly evidenced by the portion of their Statement "focusing on constructive
action."45 Respondents call in the Statement for the Court "to provide clear and concise guidance
to the Bench and Bar to ensure only the highest quality of legal research and writing in
adjudication," was reputedly "in keeping with strictures enjoining lawyers to participate in the
development of the legal system by initiating or supporting efforts in law reform and in the
improvement of the administration of justice" (under Canon 4 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility) and to "promote respect for the law and legal processes" (under Canon 1, id.).46
Furthermore, as academics, they allegedly have a "special interest and duty to vigilantly guard
against plagiarism and misrepresentation because these unwelcome occurrences have a profound
impact in the academe, especially in our law schools."47
Respondents further "[called] on this Court not to misconstrue the Restoring Integrity Statement as
an institutional attack x x x on the basis of its first and ninth paragraphs."48 They further clarified
that at the time the Statement was allegedly drafted and agreed upon, it appeared to them the
Court "was not going to take any action on the grave and startling allegations of plagiarism and
misrepresentation."49 According to respondents, the bases for their belief were (i) the news article
published on July 21, 2010 in the Philippine Daily Inquirer wherein Court Administrator Jose Midas
P. Marquez was reported to have said that Chief Justice Corona would not order an inquiry into the
matter;50 and (ii) the July 22, 2010 letter of Justice Del Castillo which they claimed "did nothing but
to downplay the gravity of the plagiarism and misrepresentation charges."51 Respondents claimed
that it was their perception of the Courts indifference to the dangers posed by the plagiarism
allegations against Justice Del Castillo that impelled them to urgently take a public stand on the
issue.
(b) The "correctness" of respondents position that Justice Del Castillo committed plagiarism and
should be held accountable in accordance with the standards of academic writing
A significant portion of the Common Compliance is devoted to a discussion of the merits of
respondents charge of plagiarism against Justice Del Castillo. Relying on University of the
Philippines Board of Regents v. Court of Appeals52 and foreign materials and jurisprudence,
respondents essentially argue that their position regarding the plagiarism charge against Justice
Del Castillo is the correct view and that they are therefore justified in issuing their Restoring
Integrity Statement. Attachments to the Common Compliance included, among others: (i) the letter
dated October 28, 2010 of Peter B. Payoyo, LL.M, Ph.D.,53 sent to Chief Justice Corona through
Justice Sereno, alleging that the Vinuya decision likewise lifted without proper attribution the text
from a legal article by Mariana Salazar Albornoz that appeared in the Anuario Mexicano De
Derecho Internacional and from an International Court of Justice decision; and (ii) a 2008 Human
Rights Law Review Article entitled "Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and International Human
Rights Law" by Michael OFlaherty and John Fisher, in support of their charge that Justice Del
Castillo also lifted passages from said article without proper attribution, but this time, in his
ponencia in Ang Ladlad LGBT Party v. Commission on Elections.54
(c) Respondents belief that they are being "singled out" by the Court when others have likewise
spoken on the "plagiarism issue"

In the Common Compliance, respondents likewise asserted that "the plagiarism and
misrepresentation allegations are legitimate public issues."55 They identified various published
reports and opinions, in agreement with and in opposition to the stance of respondents, on the
issue of plagiarism, specifically:
(i) Newsbreak report on July 19, 2010 by Aries Rufo and Purple Romero;56
(ii) Column of Ramon Tulfo which appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 24, 2010;57
(iii) Editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer published on July 25, 2010;58
(iv) Letter dated July 22, 2010 of Justice Del Castillo published in the Philippine Star on July 30,
2010;59
(v) Column of Former Intellectual Property Office Director General Adrian Cristobal, Jr. published in
the Business Mirror on August 5, 2010;60
(vi) Column of Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer
on August 8, 2010;61
(vii) News report regarding Senator Francis Pangilinans call for the resignation of Justice Del
Castillo published in the Daily Tribune and the Manila Standard Today on July 31, 2010;62
(viii) News reports regarding the statement of Dean Cesar Villanueva of the Ateneo de Manila
University School of Law on the calls for the resignation of Justice Del Castillo published in The
Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Star and the Business Mirror on August 11, 2010;63
(ix) News report on expressions of support for Justice Del Castillo from a former dean of the
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, the Philippine Constitutional Association, the Judges
Association of Bulacan and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Bulacan Chapter published in
the Philippine Star on August 16, 2010;64 and
(x) Letter of the Dean of the Liceo de Cagayan University College of Law published in the
Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 10, 2010.65
In view of the foregoing, respondents alleged that this Court has singled them out for sanctions and
the charge in the Show Cause Resolution dated October 19, 2010 that they may have violated
specific canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility is unfair and without basis.
(d) Freedom of expression
In paragraphs 28 to 30 of the Common Compliance, respondents briefly discussed their position
that in issuing their Statement, "they should be seen as not only to be performing their duties as
members of the Bar, officers of the court, and teachers of law, but also as citizens of a democracy
who are constitutionally protected in the exercise of free speech."66 In support of this contention,
they cited United States v. Bustos,67 In re: Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen, 68 and In the Matter of
Petition for Declaratory Relief Re: Constitutionality of Republic Act 4880, Gonzales v. Commission
on Elections.69
(e) Academic freedom
In paragraphs 31 to 34 of the Common Compliance, respondents asserted that their Statement
was also issued in the exercise of their academic freedom as teachers in an institution of higher
learning. They relied on Section 5 of the University of the Philippines Charter of 2008 which
provided that "[t]he national university has the right and responsibility to exercise academic
freedom." They likewise adverted to Garcia v. The Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of
Theology70 which they claimed recognized the extent and breadth of such freedom as to
encourage a free and healthy discussion and communication of a faculty members field of study
without fear of reprisal. It is respondents view that had they remained silent on the plagiarism
issue in the Vinuya decision they would have "compromised [their] integrity and credibility as
teachers; [their silence] would have created a culture and generation of students, professionals,
even lawyers, who would lack the competence and discipline for research and pleading; or, worse,
[that] their silence would have communicated to the public that plagiarism and misrepresentation
are inconsequential matters and that intellectual integrity has no bearing or relevance to ones
conduct."71
In closing, respondents Common Compliance exhorted this Court to consider the following portion
of the dissenting opinion of Justice George A. Malcolm in Salcedo v. Hernandez,72 to wit:
Respect for the courts can better be obtained by following a calm and impartial course from the
bench than by an attempt to compel respect for the judiciary by chastising a lawyer for a too
vigorous or injudicious exposition of his side of a case. The Philippines needs lawyers of
independent thought and courageous bearing, jealous of the interests of their clients and unafraid
of any court, high or low, and the courts will do well tolerantly to overlook occasional intemperate
language soon to be regretted by the lawyer which affects in no way the outcome of a case.73
On the matter of the reliefs to which respondents believe they are entitled, the Common
Compliance stated, thus:

WHEREFORE:
A. Respondents, as citizens of a democracy, professors of law, members of the Bar and officers of
the Court, respectfully pray that:
1. the foregoing be noted; and
2. the Court reconsider and reverse its adverse findings in the Show Cause Resolution, including
its conclusions that respondents have: [a] breached their "obligation as law professors and officers
of the Court to be the first to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court, and not to promote
distrust in the administration of justice;" and [b] committed "violations of Canons 10, 11, and 13 and
Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of Professional Responsibility."
B. In the event the Honorable Court declines to grant the foregoing prayer, respondents
respectfully pray, in the alternative, and in assertion of their due process rights, that before final
judgment be rendered:
1. the Show Cause Resolution be set for hearing;
2. respondents be given a fair and full opportunity to refute and/or address the findings and
conclusions of fact in the Show Cause Resolution (including especially the finding and conclusion
of a lack of malicious intent), and in that connection, that appropriate procedures and schedules for
hearing be adopted and defined that will allow them the full and fair opportunity to require the
production of and to present testimonial, documentary, and object evidence bearing on the
plagiarism and misrepresentation issues in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 162230, April
28, 2010) and In the Matter of the Charges of Plagiarism, etc. Against Associate Justice Mariano C.
Del Castillo (A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC); and
3. respondents be given fair and full access to the transcripts, records, drafts, reports and
submissions in or relating to, and accorded the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses who
were or could have been called in In The Matter of the Charges of Plagiarism, etc. Against
Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo (A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC).74
Compliance and Reservation of Prof. Rosa Maria T. Juan-Bautista
Although already included in the Common Compliance, Prof. Rosa Maria T. Juan-Bautista (Prof.
Juan-Bautista) filed a separate Compliance and Reservation (the Bautista Compliance), wherein
she adopted the allegations in the Common Compliance with some additional averments.
Prof. Juan-Bautista reiterated that her due process rights allegedly entitled her to challenge the
findings and conclusions in the Show Cause Resolution. Furthermore, "[i]f the Restoring Integrity
Statement can be considered indirect contempt, under Section 3 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court,
such may be punished only after charge and hearing."75
Prof. Juan-Bautista stressed that respondents signed the Statement "in good faith and with the
best intentions to protect the Supreme Court by asking one member to resign."76 For her part, Prof.
Juan-Bautista intimated that her deep disappointment and sadness for the plight of the Malaya
Lolas were what motivated her to sign the Statement.
On the point of academic freedom, Prof. Juan-Bautista cited jurisprudence77 which in her view
highlighted that academic freedom is constitutionally guaranteed to institutions of higher learning
such that schools have the freedom to determine for themselves who may teach, what may be
taught, how lessons shall be taught and who may be admitted to study and that courts have no
authority to interfere in the schools exercise of discretion in these matters in the absence of grave
abuse of discretion. She claims the Court has encroached on the academic freedom of the
University of the Philippines and other universities on their right to determine how lessons shall be
taught.
Lastly, Prof. Juan-Bautista asserted that the Statement was an exercise of respondents
constitutional right to freedom of expression that can only be curtailed when there is grave and
imminent danger to public safety, public morale, public health or other legitimate public interest.78
Compliance of Prof. Raul T. Vasquez
On November 19, 2010, Prof. Raul T. Vasquez (Prof. Vasquez) filed a separate Compliance by
registered mail (the Vasquez Compliance). In said Compliance, Prof. Vasquez narrated the
circumstances surrounding his signing of the Statement. He alleged that the Vinuya decision was a
topic of conversation among the UP Law faculty early in the first semester (of academic year
2010-11) because it reportedly contained citations not properly attributed to the sources; that he
was shown a copy of the Statement by a clerk of the Office of the Dean on his way to his class;
and that, agreeing in principle with the main theme advanced by the Statement, he signed the
same in utmost good faith.79
In response to the directive from this Court to explain why he should not be disciplined as a
member of the Bar under the Show Cause Resolution, Prof. Vasquez also took the position that a
lawyer has the right, like all citizens in a democratic society, to comment on acts of public officers.

He invited the attention of the Court to the following authorities: (a) In re: Vicente Sotto;80 (b) In re:
Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen;81 and (c) a discussion appearing in American Jurisprudence (AmJur)
2d.82 He claims that he "never had any intention to unduly influence, nor entertained any illusion
that he could or should influence, [the Court] in its disposition of the Vinuya case"83 and that
"attacking the integrity of [the Court] was the farthest thing on respondents mind when he signed
the Statement."84 Unlike his colleagues, who wish to impress upon this Court the purported
homogeneity of the views on what constitutes plagiarism, Prof. Vasquez stated in his Compliance
that:
13. Before this Honorable Court rendered its Decision dated 12 October 2010, some espoused the
view that willful and deliberate intent to commit plagiarism is an essential element of the same.
Others, like respondent, were of the opinion that plagiarism is committed regardless of the intent of
the perpetrator, the way it has always been viewed in the academe. This uncertainty made the
issue a fair topic for academic discussion in the College. Now, this Honorable Court has ruled that
plagiarism presupposes deliberate intent to steal anothers work and to pass it off as ones own.85
(Emphases supplied.)
Also in contrast to his colleagues, Prof. Vasquez was willing to concede that he "might have been
remiss in correctly assessing the effects of such language [in the Statement] and could have been
more careful."86 He ends his discussion with a respectful submission that with his explanation, he
has faithfully complied with the Show Cause Resolution and that the Court will rule that he had not
in any manner violated his oath as a lawyer and officer of the Court.
Separate Compliance of Dean Leonen regarding the charge of violation of Canon 10 in relation to
his submission of a "dummy" of the UP Law Faculty Statement to this Court
In his Compliance, Dean Leonen claimed that there were three drafts/versions of the UP Law
Faculty Statement, which he described as follows:
"Restoring Integrity I" which bears the entire roster of the faculty of the UP College of Law in its
signing pages, and the actual signatures of the thirty-seven (37) faculty members subject of the
Show Cause Resolution. A copy was filed with the Honorable Court by Roque and Butuyan on 31
August 2010 in A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC.
"Restoring Integrity II" which does not bear any actual physical signature, but which reflects as
signatories the names of thirty-seven (37) members of the faculty with the notation "(SGD.)". A
copy of Restoring Integrity II was publicly and physically posted in the UP College of Law on 10
August 2010. Another copy of Restoring Integrity II was also officially received by the Honorable
Court from the Dean of the UP College of Law on 11 August 2010, almost three weeks before the
filing of Restoring Integrity I.
"Restoring Integrity III" which is a reprinting of Restoring Integrity II, and which presently serves as
the official file copy of the Deans Office in the UP College of Law that may be signed by other
faculty members who still wish to. It bears the actual signatures of the thirty- seven original
signatories to Restoring Integrity I above their printed names and the notation "(SGD.") and, in
addition, the actual signatures of eight (8) other members of the faculty above their handwritten or
typewritten names.87
For purposes of this discussion, only Restoring Integrity I and Restoring Integrity II are relevant
since what Dean Leonen has been directed to explain are the discrepancies in the signature pages
of these two documents. Restoring Integrity III was never submitted to this Court.
On how Restoring Integrity I and Restoring Integrity II were prepared and came about, Dean
Leonen alleged, thus:
2.2 On 27 July 2010, sensing the emergence of a relatively broad agreement in the faculty on a
draft statement, Dean Leonen instructed his staff to print the draft and circulate it among the faculty
members so that those who wished to may sign. For this purpose, the staff encoded the law faculty
roster to serve as the printed drafts signing pages. Thus did the first printed draft of the Restoring
Integrity Statement, Restoring Integrity I, come into being.
2.3. As of 27 July 2010, the date of the Restoring Integrity Statement, Dean Leonen was unaware
that a Motion for Reconsideration of the Honorable Courts Decision in Vinuya vs. Executive
Secretary (G.R. No. 162230, 28 April 2010) had already been filed, or that the Honorable Court
was in the process of convening its Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards in A.M. No.
10-7-17-SC.
2.4. Dean Leonens staff then circulated Restoring Integrity I among the members of the faculty.
Some faculty members visited the Deans Office to sign the document or had it brought to their
classrooms in the College of Law, or to their offices or residences. Still other faculty members who,
for one reason or another, were unable to sign Restoring Integrity I at that time, nevertheless
conveyed to Dean Leonen their assurances that they would sign as soon as they could manage.

2.5. Sometime in the second week of August, judging that Restoring Integrity I had been circulated
long enough, Dean Leonen instructed his staff to reproduce the statement in a style and manner
appropriate for posting in the College of Law. Following his own established practice in relation to
significant public issuances, he directed them to reformat the signing pages so that only the names
of those who signed the first printed draft would appear, together with the corresponding "(SGD.)"
note following each name. Restoring Integrity II thus came into being.88
According to Dean Leonen, the "practice of eliminating blanks opposite or above the names of
non-signatories in the final draft of significant public issuances, is meant not so much for aesthetic
considerations as to secure the integrity of such documents."89 He likewise claimed that "[p]osting
statements with blanks would be an open invitation to vandals and pranksters."90
With respect to the inclusion of Justice Mendozas name as among the signatories in Restoring
Integrity II when in fact he did not sign Restoring Integrity I, Dean Leonen attributed the mistake to
a miscommunication involving his administrative officer. In his Compliance, he narrated that:
2.7. Upon being presented with a draft of Restoring Integrity II with the reformatted signing pages,
Dean Leonen noticed the inclusion of the name of Justice Mendoza among the "(SGD.)"
signatories. As Justice Mendoza was not among those who had physically signed Restoring
Integrity I when it was previously circulated, Dean Leonen called the attention of his staff to the
inclusion of the Justices name among the "(SGD.)" signatories in Restoring Integrity II.
2.8. Dean Leonen was told by his administrative officer that she had spoken to Justice Mendoza
over the phone on Friday, 06 August 2010. According to her, Justice Mendoza had authorized the
dean to sign the Restoring Integrity Statement for him as he agreed fundamentally with its
contents. Also according to her, Justice Mendoza was unable at that time to sign the Restoring
Integrity Statement himself as he was leaving for the United States the following week. It would
later turn out that this account was not entirely accurate.91 (Underscoring and italics supplied.)
Dean Leonen claimed that he "had no reason to doubt his administrative officer, however, and so
placed full reliance on her account"92 as "[t]here were indeed other faculty members who had also
authorized the Dean to indicate that they were signatories, even though they were at that time
unable to affix their signatures physically to the document."93
However, after receiving the Show Cause Resolution, Dean Leonen and his staff reviewed the
circumstances surrounding their effort to secure Justice Mendozas signature. It would turn out that
this was what actually transpired:
2.22.1. On Friday, 06 August 2010, when the deans staff talked to Justice Mendoza on the phone,
he [Justice Mendoza] indeed initially agreed to sign the Restoring Integrity Statement as he
fundamentally agreed with its contents. However, Justice Mendoza did not exactly say that he
authorized the dean to sign the Restoring Integrity Statement. Rather, he inquired if he could
authorize the dean to sign it for him as he was about to leave for the United States. The deans
staff informed him that they would, at any rate, still try to bring the Restoring Integrity Statement to
him.
2.22.2. Due to some administrative difficulties, Justice Mendoza was unable to sign the Restoring
Integrity Statement before he left for the U.S. the following week.
2.22.3. The staff was able to bring Restoring Integrity III to Justice Mendoza when he went to the
College to teach on 24 September 2010, a day after his arrival from the U.S. This time, Justice
Mendoza declined to sign.94
According to the Dean:
2.23. It was only at this time that Dean Leonen realized the true import of the call he received from
Justice Mendoza in late September. Indeed, Justice Mendoza confirmed that by the time the hard
copy of the Restoring Integrity Statement was brought to him shortly after his arrival from the U.S.,
he declined to sign it because it had already become controversial. At that time, he predicted that
the Court would take some form of action against the faculty. By then, and under those
circumstances, he wanted to show due deference to the Honorable Court, being a former
Associate Justice and not wishing to unduly aggravate the situation by signing the Statement.95
(Emphases supplied.)
With respect to the omission of Atty. Armovits name in the signature page of Restoring Integrity II
when he was one of the signatories of Restoring Integrity I and the erroneous description in Dean
Leonens August 10, 2010 letter that the version of the Statement submitted to the Court was
signed by 38 members of the UP Law Faculty, it was explained in the Compliance that:
Respondent Atty. Miguel Armovit physically signed Restoring Integrity I when it was circulated to
him. However, his name was inadvertently left out by Dean Leonens staff in the reformatting of the
signing pages in Restoring Integrity II. The dean assumed that his name was still included in the

reformatted signing pages, and so mentioned in his cover note to Chief Justice Corona that 38
members of the law faculty signed (the original 37 plus Justice Mendoza.)96
Dean Leonen argues that he should not be deemed to have submitted a dummy of the Statement
that was not a true and faithful reproduction of the same. He emphasized that the main body of the
Statement was unchanged in all its three versions and only the signature pages were not the
same. This purportedly is merely "reflective of [the Statements] essential nature as a live public
manifesto meant to continuously draw adherents to its message, its signatory portion is necessarily
evolving and dynamic x x x many other printings of [the Statement] may be made in the future,
each one reflecting the same text but with more and more signatories."97 Adverting to criminal law
by analogy, Dean Leonen claims that "this is not an instance where it has been made to appear in
a document that a person has participated in an act when the latter did not in fact so participate"98
for he "did not misrepresent which members of the faculty of the UP College of Law had agreed
with the Restoring Integrity Statement proper and/or had expressed their desire to be signatories
thereto."99
In this regard, Dean Leonen believes that he had not committed any violation of Canon 10 or Rules
10.01 and 10.02 for he did not mislead nor misrepresent to the Court the contents of the Statement
or the identities of the UP Law faculty members who agreed with, or expressed their desire to be
signatories to, the Statement. He also asserts that he did not commit any violation of Rule 10.03 as
he "coursed [the Statement] through the appropriate channels by transmitting the same to
Honorable Chief Justice Corona for the latters information and proper disposition with the hope
that its points would be duly considered by the Honorable Court en banc."100 Citing Rudecon
Management Corporation v. Camacho,101 Dean Leonen posits that the required quantum of proof
has not been met in this case and that no dubious character or motivation for the act complained of
existed to warrant an administrative sanction for violation of the standard of honesty provided for
by the Code of Professional Responsibility.102
Dean Leonen ends his Compliance with an enumeration of nearly identical reliefs as the Common
Compliance, including the prayers for a hearing and for access to the records, evidence and
witnesses allegedly relevant not only in this case but also in A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC, the ethical
investigation involving Justice Del Castillo.
Manifestation of Prof. Owen Lynch (Lynch Manifestation)
For his part, Prof. Owen Lynch (Prof. Lynch) manifests to this Court that he is not a member of the
Philippine bar; but he is a member of the bar of the State of Minnesota. He alleges that he first
taught as a visiting professor at the UP College of Law in 1981 to 1988 and returned in the same
capacity in 2010. He further alleges that "[h]e subscribes to the principle, espoused by this Court
and the Supreme Court of the United States, that [d]ebate on public issues should be
uninhibited, robust and wide open and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes
unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials."103 In signing the Statement, he
believes that "the right to speak means the right to speak effectively."104 Citing the dissenting
opinions in Manila Public School Teachers Association v. Laguio, Jr.,105 Prof. Lynch argued that
"[f]or speech to be effective, it must be forceful enough to make the intended recipients listen"106
and "[t]he quality of education would deteriorate in an atmosphere of repression, when the very
teachers who are supposed to provide an example of courage and self-assertiveness to their
pupils can speak only in timorous whispers."107 Relying on the doctrine in In the Matter of Petition
for Declaratory Relief Re: Constitutionality of Republic Act 4880, Gonzales v. Commission on
Elections,108 Prof. Lynch believed that the Statement did not pose any danger, clear or present, of
any substantive evil so as to remove it from the protective mantle of the Bill of Rights (i.e., referring
to the constitutional guarantee on free speech).109 He also stated that he "has read the Compliance
of the other respondents to the Show Cause Resolution" and that "he signed the Restoring
Integrity Statement for the same reasons they did."110
ISSUES
Based on the Show Cause Resolution and a perusal of the submissions of respondents, the
material issues to be resolved in this case are as follows:
1.) Does the Show Cause Resolution deny respondents their freedom of expression?
2.) Does the Show Cause Resolution violate respondents academic freedom as law professors?
3.) Do the submissions of respondents satisfactorily explain why they should not be disciplined as
Members of the Bar under Canons 1, 11, and 13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility?
4.) Does the separate Compliance of Dean Leonen satisfactorily explain why he should not be
disciplined as a Member of the Bar under Canon 10, Rules 10.01, 10.02 and 10.03?

5.) Are respondents entitled to have the Show Cause Resolution set for hearing and in relation to
such hearing, are respondents entitled to require the production or presentation of evidence
bearing on the plagiarism and misrepresentation issues in the Vinuya case (G.R. No. 162230) and
the ethics case against Justice Del Castillo (A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC) and to have access to the
records and transcripts of, and the witnesses and evidence presented, or could have been
presented, in the ethics case against Justice Del Castillo (A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC)?
DISCUSSION
The Show Cause Resolution does not deny respondents their freedom of expression.
It is respondents collective claim that the Court, with the issuance of the Show Cause Resolution,
has interfered with respondents constitutionally mandated right to free speech and expression. It
appears that the underlying assumption behind respondents assertion is the misconception that
this Court is denying them the right to criticize the Courts decisions and actions, and that this
Court seeks to "silence" respondent law professors dissenting view on what they characterize as a
"legitimate public issue."
This is far from the truth. A reading of the Show Cause Resolution will plainly show that it was
neither the fact that respondents had criticized a decision of the Court nor that they had charged
one of its members of plagiarism that motivated the said Resolution. It was the manner of the
criticism and the contumacious language by which respondents, who are not parties nor counsels
in the Vinuya case, have expressed their opinion in favor of the petitioners in the said pending case
for the "proper disposition" and consideration of the Court that gave rise to said Resolution. The
Show Cause Resolution painstakingly enumerated the statements that the Court considered
excessive and uncalled for under the circumstances surrounding the issuance, publication, and
later submission to this Court of the UP Law facultys Restoring Integrity Statement.
To reiterate, it was not the circumstance that respondents expressed a belief that Justice Del
Castillo was guilty of plagiarism but rather their expression of that belief as "not only as an
established fact, but a truth"111 when it was "[o]f public knowledge [that there was] an ongoing
investigation precisely to determine the truth of such allegations."112 It was also pointed out in the
Show Cause Resolution that there was a pending motion for reconsideration of the Vinuya
decision.113 The Show Cause Resolution made no objections to the portions of the Restoring
Integrity Statement that respondents claimed to be "constructive" but only asked respondents to
explain those portions of the said Statement that by no stretch of the imagination could be
considered as fair or constructive, to wit:
Beyond this, however, the statement bore certain remarks which raise concern for the Court. The
opening sentence alone is a grim preamble to the institutional attack that lay ahead. It reads:
An extraordinary act of injustice has again been committed against the brave Filipinas who had
suffered abuse during a time of war.
The first paragraph concludes with a reference to the decision in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary as
a reprehensible act of dishonesty and misrepresentation by the Highest Court of the land. x x x.
The insult to the members of the Court was aggravated by imputations of deliberately delaying the
resolution of the said case, its dismissal on the basis of "polluted sources," the Courts alleged
indifference to the cause of petitioners [in the Vinuya case], as well as the supposed alarming lack
of concern of the members of the Court for even the most basic values of decency and respect.114
x x x. (Underscoring ours.)
To be sure, the Show Cause Resolution itself recognized respondents freedom of expression
when it stated that:
While most agree that the right to criticize the judiciary is critical to maintaining a free and
democratic society, there is also a general consensus that healthy criticism only goes so far. Many
types of criticism leveled at the judiciary cross the line to become harmful and irresponsible
attacks. These potentially devastating attacks and unjust criticism can threaten the independence
of the judiciary. The court must "insist on being permitted to proceed to the disposition of its
business in an orderly manner, free from outside interference obstructive of its functions and
tending to embarrass the administration of justice."
The Court could hardly perceive any reasonable purpose for the facultys less than objective
comments except to discredit the April 28, 2010 Decision in the Vinuya case and undermine the
Courts honesty, integrity and competence in addressing the motion for its reconsideration. As if the
case on the comfort womens claims is not controversial enough, the UP Law faculty would fan the
flames and invite resentment against a resolution that would not reverse the said decision. This
runs contrary to their obligation as law professors and officers of the Court to be the first to uphold
the dignity and authority of this Court, to which they owe fidelity according to the oath they have

taken as attorneys, and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice.115 x x x. (Citations
omitted; emphases and underscoring supplied.)
Indeed, in a long line of cases, including those cited in respondents submissions, this Court has
held that the right to criticize the courts and judicial officers must be balanced against the equally
primordial concern that the independence of the Judiciary be protected from due influence or
interference. In cases where the critics are not only citizens but members of the Bar, jurisprudence
has repeatedly affirmed the authority of this Court to discipline lawyers whose statements
regarding the courts and fellow lawyers, whether judicial or extrajudicial, have exceeded the limits
of fair comment and common decency.
As early as the 1935 case of Salcedo v. Hernandez,116 the Court found Atty. Vicente J. Francisco
both guilty of contempt and liable administratively for the following paragraph in his second motion
for reconsideration:
We should like frankly and respectfully to make it of record that the resolution of this court, denying
our motion for reconsideration, is absolutely erroneous and constitutes an outrage to the rights of
the petitioner Felipe Salcedo and a mockery of the popular will expressed at the polls in the
municipality of Tiaong, Tayabas. We wish to exhaust all the means within our power in order that
this error may be corrected by the very court which has committed it, because we should not want
that some citizen, particularly some voter of the municipality of Tiaong, Tayabas, resort to the press
publicly to denounce, as he has a right to do, the judicial outrage of which the herein petitioner has
been the victim, and because it is our utmost desire to safeguard the prestige of this honorable
court and of each and every member thereof in the eyes of the public. But, at the same time we
wish to state sincerely that erroneous decisions like these, which the affected party and his
thousands of voters will necessarily consider unjust, increase the proselytes of 'sakdalism' and
make the public lose confidence in the administration of justice.117 (Emphases supplied.)
The highlighted phrases were considered by the Court as neither justified nor necessary and
further held that:
[I]n order to call the attention of the court in a special way to the essential points relied upon in his
argument and to emphasize the force thereof, the many reasons stated in his said motion were
sufficient and the phrases in question were superfluous. In order to appeal to reason and justice, it
is highly improper and amiss to make trouble and resort to threats, as Attorney Vicente J.
Francisco has done, because both means are annoying and good practice can never sanction
them by reason of their natural tendency to disturb and hinder the free exercise of a serene and
impartial judgment, particularly in judicial matters, in the consideration of questions submitted for
resolution.
There is no question that said paragraph of Attorney Vicente J. Francisco's motion contains a more
or less veiled threat to the court because it is insinuated therein, after the author shows the course
which the voters of Tiaong should follow in case he fails in his attempt, that they will resort to the
press for the purpose of denouncing, what he claims to be a judicial outrage of which his client has
been the victim; and because he states in a threatening manner with the intention of predisposing
the mind of the reader against the court, thus creating an atmosphere of prejudices against it in
order to make it odious in the public eye, that decisions of the nature of that referred to in his
motion promote distrust in the administration of justice and increase the proselytes of sakdalism, a
movement with seditious and revolutionary tendencies the activities of which, as is of public
knowledge, occurred in this country a few days ago. This cannot mean otherwise than contempt of
the dignity of the court and disrespect of the authority thereof on the part of Attorney Vicente J.
Francisco, because he presumes that the court is so devoid of the sense of justice that, if he did
not resort to intimidation, it would maintain its error notwithstanding the fact that it may be proven,
with good reasons, that it has acted erroneously.118 (Emphases supplied.)
Significantly, Salcedo is the decision from which respondents culled their quote from the minority
view of Justice Malcolm. Moreover, Salcedo concerned statements made in a pleading filed by a
counsel in a case, unlike the respondents here, who are neither parties nor counsels in the Vinuya
case and therefore, do not have any standing at all to interfere in the Vinuya case. Instead of
supporting respondents theory, Salcedo is authority for the following principle:
As a member of the bar and an officer of this court, Attorney Vicente J. Francisco, as any attorney,
is in duty bound to uphold its dignity and authority and to defend its integrity, not only because it
has conferred upon him the high privilege, not a right (Malcolm, Legal Ethics, 158 and 160), of
being what he now is: a priest of justice (In re Thatcher, 80 Ohio St. Rep., 492, 669), but also
because in so doing, he neither creates nor promotes distrust in the administration of justice, and
prevents anybody from harboring and encouraging discontent which, in many cases, is the source

of disorder, thus undermining the foundation upon which rests that bulwark called judicial power to
which those who are aggrieved turn for protection and relief.119 (Emphases supplied.)
Thus, the lawyer in Salcedo was fined and reprimanded for his injudicious statements in his
pleading, by accusing the Court of "erroneous ruling." Here, the respondents Statement goes way
beyond merely ascribing error to the Court.
Other cases cited by respondents likewise espouse rulings contrary to their position. In re: Atty.
Vicente Raul Almacen,120 cited in the Common Compliance and the Vasquez Compliance, was an
instance where the Court indefinitely suspended a member of the Bar for filing and releasing to
the press a "Petition to Surrender Lawyers Certificate of Title" in protest of what he claimed was a
great injustice to his client committed by the Supreme Court. In the decision, the petition was
described, thus:
He indicts this Court, in his own phrase, as a tribunal "peopled by men who are calloused to our
pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons their own applicable decisions and commit culpable
violations of the Constitution with impunity." His client's he continues, who was deeply aggrieved by
this Court's "unjust judgment," has become "one of the sacrificial victims before the altar of
hypocrisy." In the same breath that he alludes to the classic symbol of justice, he ridicules the
members of this Court, saying "that justice as administered by the present members of the
Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb." He then vows to argue the cause of his
client "in the people's forum," so that "the people may know of the silent injustices committed by
this Court," and that "whatever mistakes, wrongs and injustices that were committed must never be
repeated." He ends his petition with a prayer that
"x x x a resolution issue ordering the Clerk of Court to receive the certificate of the undersigned
attorney and counsellor-at-law IN TRUST with reservation that at any time in the future and in the
event we regain our faith and confidence, we may retrieve our title to assume the practice of the
noblest profession."121
It is true that in Almacen the Court extensively discussed foreign jurisprudence on the principle that
a lawyer, just like any citizen, has the right to criticize and comment upon actuations of public
officers, including judicial authority. However, the real doctrine in Almacen is that such criticism of
the courts, whether done in court or outside of it, must conform to standards of fairness and
propriety. This case engaged in an even more extensive discussion of the legal authorities
sustaining this view.1awphi1 To quote from that decision:
But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over
the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one hand,
and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate and unfair
criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts. It is such a misconduct that subjects a
lawyer to disciplinary action.
For, membership in the Bar imposes upon a person obligations and duties which are not mere flux
and ferment. His investiture into the legal profession places upon his shoulders no burden more
basic, more exacting and more imperative than that of respectful behavior toward the courts. He
vows solemnly to conduct himself "with all good fidelity x x x to the courts;" and the Rules of Court
constantly remind him "to observe and maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial
officers." The first canon of legal ethics enjoins him "to maintain towards the courts a respectful
attitude, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance
of its supreme importance."
As Mr. Justice Field puts it:
"x x x the obligation which attorneys impliedly assume, if they do not by express declaration take
upon themselves, when they are admitted to the Bar, is not merely to be obedient to the
Constitution and laws, but to maintain at all times the respect due to courts of justice and judicial
officers. This obligation is not discharged by merely observing the rules of courteous demeanor in
open court, but includes abstaining out of court from all insulting language and offensive conduct
toward judges personally for their judicial acts." (Bradley, v. Fisher, 20 Law. 4d. 647, 652)
The lawyer's duty to render respectful subordination to the courts is essential to the orderly
administration of justice. Hence, in the assertion of their clients' rights, lawyers even those gifted
with superior intellect are enjoined to rein up their tempers.
"The counsel in any case may or may not be an abler or more learned lawyer than the judge, and it
may tax his patience and temper to submit to rulings which he regards as incorrect, but discipline
and self-respect are as necessary to the orderly administration of justice as they are to the
effectiveness of an army. The decisions of the judge must be obeyed, because he is the tribunal
appointed to decide, and the bar should at all times be the foremost in rendering respectful
submission." (In Re Scouten, 40 Atl. 481)

xxxx
In his relations with the courts, a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at
one time and a mere citizen at another. Thus, statements made by an attorney in private
conversations or communications or in the course of a political campaign, if couched in insulting
language as to bring into scorn and disrepute the administration of justice, may subject the
attorney to disciplinary action.122 (Emphases and underscoring supplied.)
In a similar vein, In re: Vicente Sotto,123 cited in the Vasquez Compliance, observed that:
[T]his Court, in In re Kelly, held the following:
The publication of a criticism of a party or of the court to a pending cause, respecting the same,
has always been considered as misbehavior, tending to obstruct the administration of justice, and
subjects such persons to contempt proceedings. Parties have a constitutional right to have their
causes tried fairly in court, by an impartial tribunal, uninfluenced by publications or public clamor.
Every citizen has a profound personal interest in the enforcement of the fundamental right to have
justice administered by the courts, under the protection and forms of law, free from outside
coercion or interference. x x x.
Mere criticism or comment on the correctness or wrongness, soundness or unsoundness of the
decision of the court in a pending case made in good faith may be tolerated; because if well
founded it may enlighten the court and contribute to the correction of an error if committed; but if it
is not well taken and obviously erroneous, it should, in no way, influence the court in reversing or
modifying its decision. x x x.
xxxx
To hurl the false charge that this Court has been for the last years committing deliberately "so
many blunders and injustices," that is to say, that it has been deciding in favor of one party knowing
that the law and justice is on the part of the adverse party and not on the one in whose favor the
decision was rendered, in many cases decided during the last years, would tend necessarily to
undermine the confidence of the people in the honesty and integrity of the members of this Court,
and consequently to lower or degrade the administration of justice by this Court. The Supreme
Court of the Philippines is, under the Constitution, the last bulwark to which the Filipino people may
repair to obtain relief for their grievances or protection of their rights when these are trampled
upon, and if the people lose their confidence in the honesty and integrity of the members of this
Court and believe that they cannot expect justice therefrom, they might be driven to take the law
into their own hands, and disorder and perhaps chaos might be the result. As a member of the bar
and an officer of the courts Atty. Vicente Sotto, like any other, is in duty bound to uphold the dignity
and authority of this Court, to which he owes fidelity according to the oath he has taken as such
attorney, and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice. Respect to the courts
guarantees the stability of other institutions, which without such guaranty would be resting on a
very shaky foundation.124 (Emphases and underscoring supplied.)
That the doctrinal pronouncements in these early cases are still good law can be easily gleaned
even from more recent jurisprudence.
In Choa v. Chiongson,125 the Court administratively disciplined a lawyer, through the imposition of a
fine, for making malicious and unfounded criticisms of a judge in the guise of an administrative
complaint and held, thus:
As an officer of the court and its indispensable partner in the sacred task of administering justice,
graver responsibility is imposed upon a lawyer than any other to uphold the integrity of the courts
and to show respect to its officers. This does not mean, however, that a lawyer cannot criticize a
judge. As we stated in Tiongco vs. Hon. Aguilar:
It does not, however, follow that just because a lawyer is an officer of the court, he cannot criticize
the courts. That is his right as a citizen, and it is even his duty as an officer of the court to avail of
such right. Thus, in In Re: Almacen (31 SCRA 562, 579-580 [1970]), this Court explicitly declared:
Hence, as a citizen and as officer of the court, a lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right,
but also to consider it his duty to avail of such right. No law may abridge this right. Nor is he
"professionally answerable to a scrutiny into the official conduct of the judges, which would not
expose him to legal animadversion as a citizen." (Case of Austin, 28 Am Dec. 657, 665).
xxxx
Nevertheless, such a right is not without limit. For, as this Court warned in Almacen:
But it is a cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the
walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one hand, and
abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate and unfair criticism
is a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts. It is such a misconduct, that subjects a lawyer
to disciplinary action.

xxxx
Elsewise stated, the right to criticize, which is guaranteed by the freedom of speech and of
expression in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, must be exercised responsibly, for every right
carries with it a corresponding obligation. Freedom is not freedom from responsibility, but freedom
with responsibility. x x x.
xxxx
Proscribed then are, inter alia, the use of unnecessary language which jeopardizes high esteem in
courts, creates or promotes distrust in judicial administration (Rheem, supra), or tends necessarily
to undermine the confidence of people in the integrity of the members of this Court and to degrade
the administration of justice by this Court (In re: Sotto, 82 Phil. 595 [1949]); or of offensive and
abusive language (In re: Rafael Climaco, 55 SCRA 107 [1974]); or abrasive and offensive
language (Yangson vs. Salandanan, 68 SCRA 42 [1975]; or of disrespectful, offensive, manifestly
baseless, and malicious statements in pleadings or in a letter addressed to the judge (Baja vs.
Macandog, 158 SCRA [1988], citing the resolution of 19 January 1988 in Phil. Public Schools
Teachers Association vs. Quisumbing, G.R. No. 76180, and Ceniza vs. Sebastian, 130 SCRA 295
[1984]); or of disparaging, intemperate, and uncalled-for remarks (Sangalang vs. Intermediate
Appellate Court, 177 SCRA 87 [1989]).
Any criticism against a judge made in the guise of an administrative complaint which is clearly
unfounded and impelled by ulterior motive will not excuse the lawyer responsible therefor under his
duty of fidelity to his client. x x x.126 (Emphases and underscoring supplied.)
In Saberon v. Larong,127 where this Court found respondent lawyer guilty of simple misconduct for
using intemperate language in his pleadings and imposed a fine upon him, we had the occasion to
state:
The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates:
CANON 8 - A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor toward his
professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel.
Rule 8.01 - A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive,
offensive or otherwise improper.
CANON 11 - A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to
judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others.
Rule 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or
behavior before the Courts.
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.
On many occasions, the Court has reminded members of the Bar to abstain from all
offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or
witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which he is charged. In keeping with the
dignity of the legal profession, a lawyers language even in his pleadings must be dignified.128
Verily, the accusatory and vilifying nature of certain portions of the Statement exceeded the limits
of fair comment and cannot be deemed as protected free speech. Even In the Matter of Petition for
Declaratory Relief Re: Constitutionality of Republic Act 4880, Gonzales v. Commission on
Elections,129 relied upon by respondents in the Common Compliance, held that:
From the language of the specific constitutional provision, it would appear that the right is not
susceptible of any limitation. No law may be passed abridging the freedom of speech and of the
press. The realities of life in a complex society preclude however a literal interpretation. Freedom
of expression is not an absolute. It would be too much to insist that at all times and under all
circumstances it should remain unfettered and unrestrained. There are other societal values that
press for recognition. x x x.130 (Emphasis supplied.)
One such societal value that presses for recognition in the case at bar is the threat to judicial
independence and the orderly administration of justice that immoderate, reckless and unfair
attacks on judicial decisions and institutions pose. This Court held as much in Zaldivar v.
Sandiganbayan and Gonzales,131 where we indefinitely suspended a lawyer from the practice of
law for issuing to the media statements grossly disrespectful towards the Court in relation to a
pending case, to wit:
Respondent Gonzales is entitled to the constitutional guarantee of free speech. No one seeks to
deny him that right, least of all this Court. What respondent seems unaware of is that freedom of

speech and of expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom of
expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of
equally important public interest. One of these fundamental public interests is the maintenance of
the integrity and orderly functioning of the administration of justice. There is no antinomy between
free expression and the integrity of the system of administering justice. For the protection and
maintenance of freedom of expression itself can be secured only within the context of a functioning
and orderly system of dispensing justice, within the context, in other words, of viable independent
institutions for delivery of justice which are accepted by the general community. x x x.132
(Emphases supplied.)
For this reason, the Court cannot uphold the view of some respondents133 that the Statement
presents no grave or imminent danger to a legitimate public interest.
The Show Cause Resolution does not interfere with respondents academic freedom.
It is not contested that respondents herein are, by law and jurisprudence, guaranteed academic
freedom and undisputably, they are free to determine what they will teach their students and how
they will teach. We must point out that there is nothing in the Show Cause Resolution that dictates
upon respondents the subject matter they can teach and the manner of their instruction. Moreover,
it is not inconsistent with the principle of academic freedom for this Court to subject lawyers who
teach law to disciplinary action for contumacious conduct and speech, coupled with undue
intervention in favor of a party in a pending case, without observing proper procedure, even if
purportedly done in their capacity as teachers.
A novel issue involved in the present controversy, for it has not been passed upon in any previous
case before this Court, is the question of whether lawyers who are also law professors can invoke
academic freedom as a defense in an administrative proceeding for intemperate statements
tending to pressure the Court or influence the outcome of a case or degrade the courts.
Applying by analogy the Courts past treatment of the "free speech" defense in other bar discipline
cases, academic freedom cannot be successfully invoked by respondents in this case. The implicit
ruling in the jurisprudence discussed above is that the constitutional right to freedom of expression
of members of the Bar may be circumscribed by their ethical duties as lawyers to give due respect
to the courts and to uphold the publics faith in the legal profession and the justice system. To our
mind, the reason that freedom of expression may be so delimited in the case of lawyers applies
with greater force to the academic freedom of law professors.
It would do well for the Court to remind respondents that, in view of the broad definition in
Cayetano v. Monsod,134 lawyers when they teach law are considered engaged in the practice of
law. Unlike professors in other disciplines and more than lawyers who do not teach law,
respondents are bound by their oath to uphold the ethical standards of the legal profession. Thus,
their actions as law professors must be measured against the same canons of professional
responsibility applicable to acts of members of the Bar as the fact of their being law professors is
inextricably entwined with the fact that they are lawyers.
Even if the Court was willing to accept respondents proposition in the Common Compliance that
their issuance of the Statement was in keeping with their duty to "participate in the development of
the legal system by initiating or supporting efforts in law reform and in the improvement of the
administration of justice" under Canon 4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, we cannot
agree that they have fulfilled that same duty in keeping with the demands of Canons 1, 11 and 13
to give due respect to legal processes and the courts, and to avoid conduct that tends to influence
the courts. Members of the Bar cannot be selective regarding which canons to abide by given
particular situations. With more reason that law professors are not allowed this indulgence, since
they are expected to provide their students exemplars of the Code of Professional Responsibility
as a whole and not just their preferred portions thereof.
The Courts rulings on the submissions regarding the charge of violation of Canons 1, 11 and 13.
Having disposed of respondents main arguments of freedom of expression and academic
freedom, the Court considers here the other averments in their submissions.
With respect to good faith, respondents allegations presented two main ideas: (a) the validity of
their position regarding the plagiarism charge against Justice Del Castillo, and (b) their pure motive
to spur this Court to take the correct action on said issue.
The Court has already clarified that it is not the expression of respondents staunch belief that
Justice Del Castillo has committed a misconduct that the majority of this Court has found so
unbecoming in the Show Cause Resolution. No matter how firm a lawyers conviction in the
righteousness of his cause there is simply no excuse for denigrating the courts and engaging in
public behavior that tends to put the courts and the legal profession into disrepute. This doctrine,
which we have repeatedly upheld in such cases as Salcedo, In re Almacen and Saberong, should

be applied in this case with more reason, as the respondents, not parties to the Vinuya case,
denounced the Court and urged it to change its decision therein, in a public statement using
contumacious language, which with temerity they subsequently submitted to the Court for "proper
disposition."
That humiliating the Court into reconsidering the Vinuya Decision in favor of the Malaya Lolas was
one of the objectives of the Statement could be seen in the following paragraphs from the same:
And in light of the significance of this decision to the quest for justice not only of Filipino women,
but of women elsewhere in the world who have suffered the horrors of sexual abuse and
exploitation in times of war, the Court cannot coldly deny relief and justice to the petitioners on the
basis of pilfered and misinterpreted texts.
xxxx
(3) The same breach and consequent disposition of the Vinuya case does violence to the
primordial function of the Supreme Court as the ultimate dispenser of justice to all those who have
been left without legal or equitable recourse, such as the petitioners therein.135 (Emphases and
underscoring supplied.)
Whether or not respondents views regarding the plagiarism issue in the Vinuya case had valid
basis was wholly immaterial to their liability for contumacious speech and conduct. These are two
separate matters to be properly threshed out in separate proceedings. The Court considers it
highly inappropriate, if not tantamount to dissembling, the discussion devoted in one of the
compliances arguing the guilt of Justice Del Castillo. In the Common Compliance, respondents
even go so far as to attach documentary evidence to support the plagiarism charges against
Justice Del Castillo in the present controversy. The ethics case of Justice Del Castillo (A.M. No.
10-7-17-SC), with the filing of a motion for reconsideration, was still pending at the time of the filing
of respondents submissions in this administrative case. As respondents themselves admit, they
are neither parties nor counsels in the ethics case against Justice Del Castillo. Notwithstanding
their professed overriding interest in said ethics case, it is not proper procedure for respondents to
bring up their plagiarism arguments here especially when it has no bearing on their own
administrative case.
Still on motive, it is also proposed that the choice of language in the Statement was intended for
effective speech; that speech must be "forceful enough to make the intended recipients listen."136
One wonders what sort of effect respondents were hoping for in branding this Court as, among
others, callous, dishonest and lacking in concern for the basic values of decency and respect. The
Court fails to see how it can ennoble the profession if we allow respondents to send a signal to
their students that the only way to effectively plead their cases and persuade others to their point of
view is to be offensive.
This brings to our mind the letters of Dr. Ellis and Prof. Tams which were deliberately quoted in full
in the narration of background facts to illustrate the sharp contrast between the civil tenor of these
letters and the antagonistic irreverence of the Statement. In truth, these foreign authors are the
ones who would expectedly be affected by any perception of misuse of their works.
Notwithstanding that they are beyond the disciplinary reach of this Court, they still obviously took
pains to convey their objections in a deferential and scholarly manner. It is unfathomable to the
Court why respondents could not do the same. These foreign authors letters underscore the
universality of the tenet that legal professionals must deal with each other in good faith and due
respect. The mark of the true intellectual is one who can express his opinions logically and soberly
without resort to exaggerated rhetoric and unproductive recriminations.
As for the claim that the respondents noble intention is to spur the Court to take "constructive
action" on the plagiarism issue, the Court has some doubts as to its veracity. For if the Statement
was primarily meant for this Courts consideration, why was the same published and reported in
the media first before it was submitted to this Court? It is more plausible that the Statement was
prepared for consumption by the general public and designed to capture media attention as part of
the effort to generate interest in the most controversial ground in the Supplemental Motion for
Reconsideration filed in the Vinuya case by Atty. Roque, who is respondents colleague on the UP
Law faculty.
In this regard, the Court finds that there was indeed a lack of observance of fidelity and due
respect to the Court, particularly when respondents knew fully well that the matter of plagiarism in
the Vinuya decision and the merits of the Vinuya decision itself, at the time of the Statements
issuance, were still both sub judice or pending final disposition of the Court. These facts have been
widely publicized. On this point, respondents allege that at the time the Statement was first drafted
on July 27, 2010, they did not know of the constitution of the Ethics Committee and they had
issued the Statement under the belief that this Court intended to take no action on the ethics

charge against Justice Del Castillo. Still, there was a significant lapse of time from the drafting and
printing of the Statement on July 27, 2010 and its publication and submission to this Court in early
August when the Ethics Committee had already been convened. If it is true that the respondents
outrage was fueled by their perception of indifference on the part of the Court then, when it
became known that the Court did intend to take action, there was nothing to prevent respondents
from recalibrating the Statement to take this supervening event into account in the interest of
fairness.
Speaking of the publicity this case has generated, we likewise find no merit in the respondents
reliance on various news reports and commentaries in the print media and the internet as proof
that they are being unfairly "singled out." On the contrary, these same annexes to the Common
Compliance show that it is not enough for one to criticize the Court to warrant the institution of
disciplinary137 or contempt138 action. This Court takes into account the nature of the criticism and
weighs the possible repercussions of the same on the Judiciary. When the criticism comes from
persons outside the profession who may not have a full grasp of legal issues or from individuals
whose personal or other interests in making the criticism are obvious, the Court may perhaps
tolerate or ignore them. However, when law professors are the ones who appear to have lost sight
of the boundaries of fair commentary and worse, would justify the same as an exercise of civil
liberties, this Court cannot remain silent for such silence would have a grave implication on legal
education in our country.
With respect to the 35 respondents named in the Common Compliance, considering that this
appears to be the first time these respondents have been involved in disciplinary proceedings of
this sort, the Court is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they were for the most part
well-intentioned in the issuance of the Statement. However, it is established in jurisprudence that
where the excessive and contumacious language used is plain and undeniable, then good intent
can only be mitigating. As this Court expounded in Salcedo:
In his defense, Attorney Vicente J. Francisco states that it was not his intention to offend the court
or to be recreant to the respect thereto but, unfortunately, there are his phrases which need no
further comment. Furthermore, it is a well settled rule in all places where the same conditions and
practice as those in this jurisdiction obtain, that want of intention is no excuse from liability (13 C.
J., 45). Neither is the fact that the phrases employed are justified by the facts a valid defense:
"Where the matter is abusive or insulting, evidence that the language used was justified by the
facts is not admissible as a defense. Respect for the judicial office should always be observed and
enforced." (In re Stewart, 118 La., 827; 43 S., 455.) Said lack or want of intention constitutes at
most an extenuation of liability in this case, taking into consideration Attorney Vicente J.
Francisco's state of mind, according to him when he prepared said motion. This court is disposed
to make such concession. However, in order to avoid a recurrence thereof and to prevent others,
by following the bad example, from taking the same course, this court considers it imperative to
treat the case of said attorney with the justice it deserves.139 (Emphases supplied.)
Thus, the 35 respondents named in the Common Compliance should, notwithstanding their claim
of good faith, be reminded of their lawyerly duty, under Canons 1, 11 and 13, to give due respect to
the courts and to refrain from intemperate and offensive language tending to influence the Court on
pending matters or to denigrate the courts and the administration of justice.
With respect to Prof. Vasquez, the Court favorably notes the differences in his Compliance
compared to his colleagues. In our view, he was the only one among the respondents who showed
true candor and sincere deference to the Court. He was able to give a straightforward account of
how he came to sign the Statement. He was candid enough to state that his agreement to the
Statement was in principle and that the reason plagiarism was a "fair topic of discussion" among
the UP Law faculty prior to the promulgation of the October 12, 2010 Decision in A.M. No. 10-7-17SC was the uncertainty brought about by a division of opinion on whether or not willful or deliberate
intent was an element of plagiarism. He was likewise willing to acknowledge that he may have
been remiss in failing to assess the effect of the language of the Statement and could have used
more care. He did all this without having to retract his position on the plagiarism issue, without
demands for undeserved reliefs (as will be discussed below) and without baseless insinuations of
deprivation of due process or of prejudgment. This is all that this Court expected from respondents,
not for them to sacrifice their principles but only that they recognize that they themselves may have
committed some ethical lapse in this affair. We commend Prof. Vaquez for showing that at least
one of the respondents can grasp the true import of the Show Cause Resolution involving them.
For these reasons, the Court finds Prof. Vasquezs Compliance satisfactory.
As for Prof. Lynch, in view of his Manifestation that he is a member of the Bar of the State of
Minnesota and, therefore, not under the disciplinary authority of this Court, he should be excused

from these proceedings. However, he should be reminded that while he is engaged as a professor
in a Philippine law school he should strive to be a model of responsible and professional conduct to
his students even without the threat of sanction from this Court. For even if one is not bound by the
Code of Professional Responsibility for members of the Philippine Bar, civility and respect among
legal professionals of any nationality should be aspired for under universal standards of decency
and fairness.
The Courts ruling on Dean Leonens Compliance regarding the charge of violation of Canon 10.
To recall, the Show Cause Resolution directed Dean Leonen to show cause why he should not be
disciplinary dealt with for violation of Canon 10, Rules 10.01, 10.02 and 10.03 and for submitting a
"dummy" that was not a true and faithful reproduction of the signed Statement.
In his Compliance, Dean Leonen essentially denies that Restoring Integrity II was not a true and
faithful reproduction of the actual signed copy, Restoring Integrity I, because looking at the text or
the body, there were no differences between the two. He attempts to downplay the discrepancies
in the signature pages of the two versions of the Statement (i.e., Restoring Integrity I and
Restoring Integrity II) by claiming that it is but expected in "live" public manifestos with dynamic
and evolving pages as more and more signatories add their imprimatur thereto. He likewise
stresses that he is not administratively liable because he did not misrepresent the members of the
UP Law faculty who "had agreed with the Restoring Integrity Statement proper and/or who had
expressed their desire to be signatories thereto."140
To begin with, the Court cannot subscribe to Dean Leonens implied view that the signatures in the
Statement are not as significant as its contents. Live public manifesto or not, the Statement was
formally submitted to this Court at a specific point in time and it should reflect accurately its
signatories at that point. The value of the Statement as a UP Law Faculty Statement lies precisely
in the identities of the persons who have signed it, since the Statements persuasive authority
mainly depends on the reputation and stature of the persons who have endorsed the same.
Indeed, it is apparent from respondents explanations that their own belief in the "importance" of
their positions as UP law professors prompted them to publicly speak out on the matter of the
plagiarism issue in the Vinuya case.
Further, in our assessment, the true cause of Dean Leonens predicament is the fact that he did not
from the beginning submit the signed copy, Restoring Integrity I, to this Court on August 11, 2010
and, instead, submitted Restoring Integrity II with its retyped or "reformatted" signature pages. It
would turn out, according to Dean Leonens account, that there were errors in the retyping of the
signature pages due to lapses of his unnamed staff. First, an unnamed administrative officer in the
deans office gave the dean inaccurate information that led him to allow the inclusion of Justice
Mendoza as among the signatories of Restoring Integrity II. Second, an unnamed staff also failed
to type the name of Atty. Armovit when encoding the signature pages of Restoring Integrity II when
in fact he had signed Restoring Integrity I.
The Court can understand why for purposes of posting on a bulletin board or a website a signed
document may have to be reformatted and signatures may be indicated by the notation (SGD).
This is not unusual. We are willing to accept that the reformatting of documents meant for posting
to eliminate blanks is necessitated by vandalism concerns.
However, what is unusual is the submission to a court, especially this Court, of a signed document
for the Courts consideration that did not contain the actual signatures of its authors. In most cases,
it is the original signed document that is transmitted to the Court or at the very least a photocopy of
the actual signed document. Dean Leonen has not offered any explanation why he deviated from
this practice with his submission to the Court of Restoring Integrity II on August 11, 2010. There
was nothing to prevent the dean from submitting Restoring Integrity I to this Court even with its
blanks and unsigned portions. Dean Leonen cannot claim fears of vandalism with respect to court
submissions for court employees are accountable for the care of documents and records that may
come into their custody. Yet, Dean Leonen deliberately chose to submit to this Court the facsimile
that did not contain the actual signatures and his silence on the reason therefor is in itself a display
of lack of candor.
Still, a careful reading of Dean Leonens explanations yield the answer. In the course of his
explanation of his willingness to accept his administrative officers claim that Justice Mendoza
agreed to be indicated as a signatory, Dean Leonen admits in a footnote that other professors had
likewise only authorized him to indicate them as signatories and had not in fact signed the
Statement. Thus, at around the time Restoring Integrity II was printed, posted and submitted to this
Court, at least one purported signatory thereto had not actually signed the same. Contrary to Dean
Leonens proposition, that is precisely tantamount to making it appear to this Court that a person or
persons participated in an act when such person or persons did not.

We are surprised that someone like Dean Leonen, with his reputation for perfection and stringent
standards of intellectual honesty, could proffer the explanation that there was no misrepresentation
when he allowed at least one person to be indicated as having actually signed the Statement when
all he had was a verbal communication of an intent to sign. In the case of Justice Mendoza, what
he had was only hearsay information that the former intended to sign the Statement. If Dean
Leonen was truly determined to observe candor and truthfulness in his dealings with the Court, we
see no reason why he could not have waited until all the professors who indicated their desire to
sign the Statement had in fact signed before transmitting the Statement to the Court as a duly
signed document. If it was truly impossible to secure some signatures, such as that of Justice
Mendoza who had to leave for abroad, then Dean Leonen should have just resigned himself to the
signatures that he was able to secure.
We cannot imagine what urgent concern there was that he could not wait for actual signatures
before submission of the Statement to this Court. As respondents all asserted, they were neither
parties to nor counsels in the Vinuya case and the ethics case against Justice Del Castillo. The
Statement was neither a pleading with a deadline nor a required submission to the Court; rather, it
was a voluntary submission that Dean Leonen could do at any time.
In sum, the Court likewise finds Dean Leonens Compliance unsatisfactory. However, the Court is
willing to ascribe these isolated lapses in judgment of Dean Leonen to his misplaced zeal in pursuit
of his objectives. In due consideration of Dean Leonens professed good intentions, the Court
deems it sufficient to admonish Dean Leonen for failing to observe full candor and honesty in his
dealings with the Court as required under Canon 10.
Respondents requests for a hearing, for production/presentation of evidence bearing on the
plagiarism and misrepresentation issues in G.R. No. 162230 and A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC, and for
access to the records of A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC are unmeritorious.
In the Common Compliance, respondents named therein asked for alternative reliefs should the
Court find their Compliance unsatisfactory, that is, that the Show Cause Resolution be set for
hearing and for that purpose, they be allowed to require the production or presentation of
witnesses and evidence bearing on the plagiarism and misrepresentation issues in the Vinuya
case (G.R. No. 162230) and the plagiarism case against Justice Del Castillo (A.M. No. 10-7-17SC) and to have access to the records of, and evidence that were presented or may be presented
in the ethics case against Justice Del Castillo. The prayer for a hearing and for access to the
records of A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC was substantially echoed in Dean Leonens separate Compliance.
In Prof. Juan-Bautistas Compliance, she similarly expressed the sentiment that "[i]f the Restoring
Integrity Statement can be considered indirect contempt, under Section 3 of Rule 71 of the Rules
of Court, such may be punished only after charge and hearing."141 It is this group of respondents
premise that these reliefs are necessary for them to be accorded full due process.
The Court finds this contention unmeritorious.
Firstly, it would appear that the confusion as to the necessity of a hearing in this case springs
largely from its characterization as a special civil action for indirect contempt in the Dissenting
Opinion of Justice Sereno (to the October 19, 2010 Show Cause Resolution) and her reliance
therein on the majoritys purported failure to follow the procedure in Rule 71 of the Rules of Court
as her main ground for opposition to the Show Cause Resolution.
However, once and for all, it should be clarified that this is not an indirect contempt proceeding and
Rule 71 (which requires a hearing) has no application to this case. As explicitly ordered in the
Show Cause Resolution this case was docketed as an administrative matter.
The rule that is relevant to this controversy is Rule 139-B, Section 13, on disciplinary proceedings
initiated motu proprio by the Supreme Court, to wit:
SEC. 13. Supreme Court Investigators.In proceedings initiated motu proprio by the Supreme
Court or in other proceedings when the interest of justice so requires, the Supreme Court may
refer the case for investigation to the Solicitor General or to any officer of the Supreme Court or
judge of a lower court, in which case the investigation shall proceed in the same manner provided
in sections 6 to 11 hereof, save that the review of the report of investigation shall be conducted
directly by the Supreme Court. (Emphasis supplied.)
From the foregoing provision, it cannot be denied that a formal investigation, through a referral to
the specified officers, is merely discretionary, not mandatory on the Court. Furthermore, it is only
if the Court deems such an investigation necessary that the procedure in Sections 6 to 11 of Rule
139-A will be followed.
As respondents are fully aware, in general, administrative proceedings do not require a trial type
hearing. We have held that:

The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard or, as applied to administrative
proceedings, an opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the
action or ruling complained of. What the law prohibits is absolute absence of the opportunity to be
heard, hence, a party cannot feign denial of due process where he had been afforded the
opportunity to present his side. A formal or trial type hearing is not at all times and in all instances
essential to due process, the requirements of which are satisfied where the parties are afforded fair
and reasonable opportunity to explain their side of the controversy.142 (Emphases supplied.)
In relation to bar discipline cases, we have had the occasion to rule in Pena v. Aparicio143 that:
Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal,
they do not involve a trial of an action or a suit, but is rather an investigation by the Court into the
conduct of one of its officers. Not being intended to inflict punishment, it is in no sense a criminal
prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. It may be initiated by
the Court motu proprio. Public interest is its primary objective, and the real question for
determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such.
Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar
to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity
of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the
profession of members who by their misconduct have proved themselves no longer worthy to be
entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. In such posture,
there can thus be no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor.144 (Emphases supplied.)
In Query of Atty. Karen M. Silverio-Buffe, Former Clerk of Court Br. 81, Romblon On the
Prohibition from Engaging in the Private Practice of Law,145 we further observed that:
[I]n several cases, the Court has disciplined lawyers without further inquiry or resort to any formal
investigation where the facts on record sufficiently provided the basis for the determination of their
administrative liability.
In Prudential Bank v. Castro, the Court disbarred a lawyer without need of any further investigation
after considering his actions based on records showing his unethical misconduct; the misconduct
not only cast dishonor on the image of both the Bench and the Bar, but was also inimical to public
interest and welfare. In this regard, the Court took judicial notice of several cases handled by the
errant lawyer and his cohorts that revealed their modus operandi in circumventing the payment of
the proper judicial fees for the astronomical sums they claimed in their cases. The Court held that
those cases sufficiently provided the basis for the determination of respondents' administrative
liability, without need for further inquiry into the matter under the principle of res ipsa loquitur.
Also on the basis of this principle, we ruled in Richards v. Asoy, that no evidentiary hearing is
required before the respondent may be disciplined for professional misconduct already established
by the facts on record.
xxxx
These cases clearly show that the absence of any formal charge against and/or formal
investigation of an errant lawyer do not preclude the Court from immediately exercising its
disciplining authority, as long as the errant lawyer or judge has been given the opportunity to be
heard. As we stated earlier, Atty. Buffe has been afforded the opportunity to be heard on the
present matter through her letter-query and Manifestation filed before this Court.146 (Emphases
supplied.)
Under the rules and jurisprudence, respondents clearly had no right to a hearing and their
reservation of a right they do not have has no effect on these proceedings. Neither have they
shown in their pleadings any justification for this Court to call for a hearing in this instance. They
have not specifically stated what relevant evidence, documentary or testimonial, they intend to
present in their defense that will necessitate a formal hearing.
Instead, it would appear that they intend to present records, evidence, and witnesses bearing on
the plagiarism and misrepresentation issues in the Vinuya case and in A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC on the
assumption that the findings of this Court which were the bases of the Show Cause Resolution
were made in A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC, or were related to the conclusions of the Court in the Decision
in that case. This is the primary reason for their request for access to the records and evidence
presented in A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC.
This assumption on the part of respondents is erroneous. To illustrate, the only incident in A.M. No.
10-7-17-SC that is relevant to the case at bar is the fact that the submission of the actual signed
copy of the Statement (or Restoring Integrity I, as Dean Leonen referred to it) happened there.
Apart from that fact, it bears repeating that the proceedings in A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC, the ethics
case against Justice Del Castillo, is a separate and independent matter from this case.

To find the bases of the statements of the Court in the Show Cause Resolution that the
respondents issued a Statement with language that the Court deems objectionable during the
pendency of the Vinuya case and the ethics case against Justice Del Castillo, respondents need to
go no further than the four corners of the Statement itself, its various versions, news reports/
columns (many of which respondents themselves supplied to this Court in their Common
Compliance) and internet sources that are already of public knowledge.
Considering that what respondents are chiefly required to explain are the language of the
Statement and the circumstances surrounding the drafting, printing, signing, dissemination, etc., of
its various versions, the Court does not see how any witness or evidence in the ethics case of
Justice Del Castillo could possibly shed light on these facts. To be sure, these facts are within the
knowledge of respondents and if there is any evidence on these matters the same would be in their
possession.
We find it significant that in Dean Leonens Compliance he narrated how as early as September
2010, i.e., before the Decision of this Court in the ethics case of Justice Del Castillo on October 12,
2010 and before the October 19, 2010 Show Cause Resolution, retired Supreme Court Justice
Vicente V. Mendoza, after being shown a copy of the Statement upon his return from abroad,
predicted that the Court would take some form of action on the Statement. By simply reading a
hard copy of the Statement, a reasonable person, even one who "fundamentally agreed" with the
Statements principles, could foresee the possibility of court action on the same on an implicit
recognition that the Statement, as worded, is not a matter this Court should simply let pass. This
belies respondents claim that it is necessary for them to refer to any record or evidence in A.M.
No. 10-7-17-SC in order to divine the bases for the Show Cause Resolution.
If respondents have chosen not to include certain pieces of evidence in their respective
compliances or chosen not to make a full defense at this time, because they were counting on
being granted a hearing, that is respondents own look-out. Indeed, law professors of their stature
are supposed to be aware of the above jurisprudential doctrines regarding the non-necessity of a
hearing in disciplinary cases. They should bear the consequence of the risk they have taken.
Thus, respondents requests for a hearing and for access to the records of, and evidence
presented in, A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC should be denied for lack of merit.
A final word
In a democracy, members of the legal community are hardly expected to have monolithic views on
any subject, be it a legal, political or social issue. Even as lawyers passionately and vigorously
propound their points of view they are bound by certain rules of conduct for the legal profession.
This Court is certainly not claiming that it should be shielded from criticism. All the Court demands
is the same respect and courtesy that one lawyer owes to another under established ethical
standards. All lawyers, whether they are judges, court employees, professors or private
practitioners, are officers of the Court and have voluntarily taken an oath, as an indispensable
qualification for admission to the Bar, to conduct themselves with good fidelity towards the courts.
There is no exemption from this sworn duty for law professors, regardless of their status in the
academic community or the law school to which they belong.
WHEREFORE, this administrative matter is decided as follows:
(1) With respect to Prof. Vasquez, after favorably noting his submission, the Court finds his
Compliance to be satisfactory.
(2) The Common Compliance of 35 respondents, namely, Attys. Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, Froilan M.
Bacungan, Pacifico A. Agabin, Merlin M. Magallona, Salvador T. Carlota, Carmelo V. Sison, Patricia
R.P. Salvador Daway, Dante B. Gatmaytan, Theodore O. Te, Florin T. Hilbay, Jay L. Batongbacal,
Evelyn (Leo) D. Battad, Gwen G. De Vera, Solomon F. Lumba, Rommel J. Casis, Jose Gerardo A.
Alampay, Miguel R. Armovit, Arthur P. Autea, Rosa Maria J. Bautista, Mark R. Bocobo, Dan P.
Calica, Tristan A. Catindig, Sandra Marie O. Coronel, Rosario O. Gallo, Concepcion L. Jardeleza,
Antonio G.M. La Via, Carina C. Laforteza, Jose C. Laureta, Rodolfo Noel S. Quimbo, Antonio M.
Santos, Gmeleen Faye B. Tomboc, Nicholas Felix L. Ty, Evalyn G. Ursua, Susan D. Villanueva and
Dina D. Lucenario, is found UNSATISFACTORY. These 35 respondent law professors are
reminded of their lawyerly duty, under Canons 1, 11 and 13 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, to give due respect to the Court and to refrain from intemperate and offensive
language tending to influence the Court on pending matters or to denigrate the Court and the
administration of justice and warned that the same or similar act in the future shall be dealt with
more severely.
(3) The separate Compliance of Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leonen regarding the charge of violation of
Canon 10 is found UNSATISFACTORY. He is further ADMONISHED to be more mindful of his
duty, as a member of the Bar, an officer of the Court, and a Dean and professor of law, to observe

full candor and honesty in his dealings with the Court and warned that the same or similar act in
the future shall be dealt with more severely.
(4) Prof. Lynch, who is not a member of the Philippine bar, is excused from these proceedings.
However, he is reminded that while he is engaged as a professor in a Philippine law school he
should strive to be a model of responsible and professional conduct to his students even without
the threat of sanction from this Court.
(5) Finally, respondents requests for a hearing and for access to the records of A.M. No. 10-7-17SC are denied for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

July 30, 1979


PETITION FOR AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE USE OF THE FIRM NAME "SYCIP, SALAZAR,
FELICIANO, HERNANDEZ & CASTILLO." LUCIANO E. SALAZAR, FLORENTINO P.
FELICIANO, BENILDO G. HERNANDEZ. GREGORIO R. CASTILLO. ALBERTO P. SAN JUAN,
JUAN C. REYES. JR., ANDRES G. GATMAITAN, JUSTINO H. CACANINDIN, NOEL A. LAMAN,
ETHELWOLDO E. FERNANDEZ, ANGELITO C. IMPERIO, EDUARDO R. CENIZA, TRISTAN A.
CATINDIG, ANCHETA K. TAN, and ALICE V. PESIGAN, petitioners.
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE USE OF THE FIRM
NAME "OZAETA, ROMULO, DE LEON, MABANTA & REYES." RICARDO J. ROMULO,
BENJAMIN M. DE LEON, ROMAN MABANTA, JR., JOSE MA, REYES, JESUS S. J. SAYOC,
EDUARDO DE LOS ANGELES, and JOSE F. BUENAVENTURA, petitioners.
RESOLUTION
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:+.wph!1
Two separate Petitions were filed before this Court 1) by the surviving partners of Atty. Alexander
Sycip, who died on May 5, 1975, and 2) by the surviving partners of Atty. Herminio Ozaeta, who
died on February 14, 1976, praying that they be allowed to continue using, in the names of their
firms, the names of partners who had passed away. In the Court's Resolution of September 2,
1976, both Petitions were ordered consolidated.
Petitioners base their petitions on the following arguments:
1. Under the law, a partnership is not prohibited from continuing its business under a firm name
which includes the name of a deceased partner; in fact, Article 1840 of the Civil Code explicitly
sanctions the practice when it provides in the last paragraph that: t.hqw
The use by the person or partnership continuing the business of the partnership name, or the
name of a deceased partner as part thereof, shall not of itself make the individual property of the
deceased partner liable for any debts contracted by such person or partnership. 1
2. In regulating other professions, such as accountancy and engineering, the legislature has
authorized the adoption of firm names without any restriction as to the use, in such firm name, of
the name of a deceased partner; 2 the legislative authorization given to those engaged in the
practice of accountancy a profession requiring the same degree of trust and confidence in
respect of clients as that implicit in the relationship of attorney and client to acquire and use a
trade name, strongly indicates that there is no fundamental policy that is offended by the continued
use by a firm of professionals of a firm name which includes the name of a deceased partner, at
least where such firm name has acquired the characteristics of a "trade name." 3
3. The Canons of Professional Ethics are not transgressed by the continued use of the name of a
deceased partner in the firm name of a law partnership because Canon 33 of the Canons of
Professional Ethics adopted by the American Bar Association declares that: t.hqw
... The continued use of the name of a deceased or former partner when permissible by local
custom, is not unethical but care should be taken that no imposition or deception is practiced
through this use. ... 4
4. There is no possibility of imposition or deception because the deaths of their respective
deceased partners were well-publicized in all newspapers of general circulation for several days;
the stationeries now being used by them carry new letterheads indicating the years when their
respective deceased partners were connected with the firm; petitioners will notify all leading
national and international law directories of the fact of their respective deceased partners' deaths. 5
5. No local custom prohibits the continued use of a deceased partner's name in a professional
firm's name; 6 there is no custom or usage in the Philippines, or at least in the Greater Manila Area,

which recognizes that the name of a law firm necessarily Identifies the individual members of the
firm. 7
6. The continued use of a deceased partner's name in the firm name of law partnerships has been
consistently allowed by U.S. Courts and is an accepted practice in the legal profession of most
countries in the world. 8
The question involved in these Petitions first came under consideration by this Court in 1953 when
a law firm in Cebu (the Deen case) continued its practice of including in its firm name that of a
deceased partner, C.D. Johnston. The matter was resolved with this Court advising the firm to
desist from including in their firm designation the name of C. D. Johnston, who has long been
dead."
The same issue was raised before this Court in 1958 as an incident in G. R. No. L-11964, entitled
Register of Deeds of Manila vs. China Banking Corporation. The law firm of Perkins & Ponce Enrile
moved to intervene as amicus curiae. Before acting thereon, the Court, in a Resolution of April 15,
1957, stated that it "would like to be informed why the name of Perkins is still being used although
Atty. E. A. Perkins is already dead." In a Manifestation dated May 21, 1957, the law firm of Perkins
and Ponce Enrile, raising substantially the same arguments as those now being raised by
petitioners, prayed that the continued use of the firm name "Perkins & Ponce Enrile" be held
proper.
On June 16, 1958, this Court resolved: t.hqw
After carefully considering the reasons given by Attorneys Alfonso Ponce Enrile and Associates for
their continued use of the name of the deceased E. G. Perkins, the Court found no reason to
depart from the policy it adopted in June 1953 when it required Attorneys Alfred P. Deen and Eddy
A. Deen of Cebu City to desist from including in their firm designation, the name of C. D. Johnston,
deceased. The Court believes that, in view of the personal and confidential nature of the relations
between attorney and client, and the high standards demanded in the canons of professional
ethics, no practice should be allowed which even in a remote degree could give rise to the
possibility of deception. Said attorneys are accordingly advised to drop the name "PERKINS" from
their firm name.
Petitioners herein now seek a re-examination of the policy thus far enunciated by the Court.
The Court finds no sufficient reason to depart from the rulings thus laid down.
A. Inasmuch as "Sycip, Salazar, Feliciano, Hernandez and Castillo" and "Ozaeta, Romulo, De
Leon, Mabanta and Reyes" are partnerships, the use in their partnership names of the names of
deceased partners will run counter to Article 1815 of the Civil Code which provides: t.hqw
Art. 1815. Every partnership shall operate under a firm name, which may or may not include the
name of one or more of the partners.
Those who, not being members of the partnership, include their names in the firm name, shall be
subject to the liability, of a partner.
It is clearly tacit in the above provision that names in a firm name of a partnership must either be
those of living partners and. in the case of non-partners, should be living persons who can be
subjected to liability. In fact, Article 1825 of the Civil Code prohibits a third person from including his
name in the firm name under pain of assuming the liability of a partner. The heirs of a deceased
partner in a law firm cannot be held liable as the old members to the creditors of a firm particularly
where they are non-lawyers. Thus, Canon 34 of the Canons of Professional Ethics "prohibits an
agreement for the payment to the widow and heirs of a deceased lawyer of a percentage, either
gross or net, of the fees received from the future business of the deceased lawyer's clients, both
because the recipients of such division are not lawyers and because such payments will not
represent service or responsibility on the part of the recipient. " Accordingly, neither the widow nor
the heirs can be held liable for transactions entered into after the death of their lawyerpredecessor. There being no benefits accruing, there ran be no corresponding liability.
Prescinding the law, there could be practical objections to allowing the use by law firms of the
names of deceased partners. The public relations value of the use of an old firm name can tend to
create undue advantages and disadvantages in the practice of the profession. An able lawyer
without connections will have to make a name for himself starting from scratch. Another able
lawyer, who can join an old firm, can initially ride on that old firm's reputation established by
deceased partners.
B. In regards to the last paragraph of Article 1840 of the Civil Code cited by petitioners, supra, the
first factor to consider is that it is within Chapter 3 of Title IX of the Code entitled "Dissolution and
Winding Up." The Article primarily deals with the exemption from liability in cases of a dissolved
partnership, of the individual property of the deceased partner for debts contracted by the person
or partnership which continues the business using the partnership name or the name of the

deceased partner as part thereof. What the law contemplates therein is a hold-over situation
preparatory to formal reorganization.
Secondly, Article 1840 treats more of a commercial partnership with a good will to protect rather
than of a professional partnership, with no saleable good will but whose reputation depends on the
personal qualifications of its individual members. Thus, it has been held that a saleable goodwill
can exist only in a commercial partnership and cannot arise in a professional partnership
consisting of lawyers. 9t.hqw
As a general rule, upon the dissolution of a commercial partnership the succeeding partners or
parties have the right to carry on the business under the old name, in the absence of a stipulation
forbidding it, (s)ince the name of a commercial partnership is a partnership asset inseparable from
the good will of the firm. ... (60 Am Jur 2d, s 204, p. 115) (Emphasis supplied)
On the other hand, t.hqw
... a professional partnership the reputation of which depends or; the individual skill of the
members, such as partnerships of attorneys or physicians, has no good win to be distributed as a
firm asset on its dissolution, however intrinsically valuable such skill and reputation may be,
especially where there is no provision in the partnership agreement relating to good will as an
asset. ... (ibid, s 203, p. 115) (Emphasis supplied)
C. A partnership for the practice of law cannot be likened to partnerships formed by other
professionals or for business. For one thing, the law on accountancy specifically allows the use of
a trade name in connection with the practice of accountancy. 10 t.hqw
A partnership for the practice of law is not a legal entity. It is a mere relationship or association for a
particular purpose. ... It is not a partnership formed for the purpose of carrying on trade or business
or of holding property." 11 Thus, it has been stated that "the use of a nom de plume, assumed or
trade name in law practice is improper. 12
The usual reason given for different standards of conduct being applicable to the practice of law
from those pertaining to business is that the law is a profession.
Dean Pound, in his recently published contribution to the Survey of the Legal Profession, (The
Lawyer from Antiquity to Modern Times, p. 5) defines a profession as "a group of men pursuing a
learned art as a common calling in the spirit of public service, no less a public service because it
may incidentally be a means of livelihood."
xxx xxx xxx
Primary characteristics which distinguish the legal profession from business are:
1. A duty of public service, of which the emolument is a byproduct, and in which one may attain the
highest eminence without making much money.
2. A relation as an "officer of court" to the administration of justice involving thorough sincerity,
integrity, and reliability.
3. A relation to clients in the highest degree fiduciary.
4. A relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by candor, fairness, and unwillingness to resort
to current business methods of advertising and encroachment on their practice, or dealing directly
with their clients. 13
"The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is in the nature of a privilege or
franchise. 14 It is limited to persons of good moral character with special qualifications duly
ascertained and certified. 15 The right does not only presuppose in its possessor integrity, legal
standing and attainment, but also the exercise of a special privilege, highly personal and partaking
of the nature of a public trust." 16
D. Petitioners cited Canon 33 of the Canons of Professional Ethics of the American Bar
Association" in support of their petitions.
It is true that Canon 33 does not consider as unethical the continued use of the name of a
deceased or former partner in the firm name of a law partnership when such a practice is
permissible by local custom but the Canon warns that care should be taken that no imposition or
deception is practiced through this use.
It must be conceded that in the Philippines, no local custom permits or allows the continued use of
a deceased or former partner's name in the firm names of law partnerships. Firm names, under our
custom, Identify the more active and/or more senior members or partners of the law firm. A glimpse
at the history of the firms of petitioners and of other law firms in this country would show how their
firm names have evolved and changed from time to time as the composition of the partnership
changed. t.hqw
The continued use of a firm name after the death of one or more of the partners designated by it is
proper only where sustained by local custom and not where by custom this purports to Identify the
active members. ...

There would seem to be a question, under the working of the Canon, as to the propriety of adding
the name of a new partner and at the same time retaining that of a deceased partner who was
never a partner with the new one. (H.S. Drinker, op. cit., supra, at pp. 207208) (Emphasis
supplied).
The possibility of deception upon the public, real or consequential, where the name of a deceased
partner continues to be used cannot be ruled out. A person in search of legal counsel might be
guided by the familiar ring of a distinguished name appearing in a firm title.
E. Petitioners argue that U.S. Courts have consistently allowed the continued use of a deceased
partner's name in the firm name of law partnerships. But that is so because it is sanctioned by
custom.
In the case of Mendelsohn v. Equitable Life Assurance Society (33 N.Y.S. 2d 733) which petitioners
Salazar, et al. quoted in their memorandum, the New York Supreme Court sustained the use of the
firm name Alexander & Green even if none of the present ten partners of the firm bears either
name because the practice was sanctioned by custom and did not offend any statutory provision or
legislative policy and was adopted by agreement of the parties. The Court stated therein: t.
hqw
The practice sought to be proscribed has the sanction of custom and offends no statutory provision
or legislative policy. Canon 33 of the Canons of Professional Ethics of both the American Bar
Association and the New York State Bar Association provides in part as follows: "The continued
use of the name of a deceased or former partner, when permissible by local custom is not
unethical, but care should be taken that no imposition or deception is practiced through this use."
There is no question as to local custom. Many firms in the city use the names of deceased
members with the approval of other attorneys, bar associations and the courts. The Appellate
Division of the First Department has considered the matter and reached The conclusion that such
practice should not be prohibited. (Emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx
Neither the Partnership Law nor the Penal Law prohibits the practice in question. The use of the
firm name herein is also sustainable by reason of agreement between the partners. 18
Not so in this jurisdiction where there is no local custom that sanctions the practice. Custom has
been defined as a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly observed (practiced) as a
social rule, legally binding and obligatory. 19 Courts take no judicial notice of custom. A custom
must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence. 20 A local custom as a source of right
cannot be considered by a court of justice unless such custom is properly established by
competent evidence like any other fact. 21 We find such proof of the existence of a local custom,
and of the elements requisite to constitute the same, wanting herein. Merely because something is
done as a matter of practice does not mean that Courts can rely on the same for purposes of
adjudication as a juridical custom. Juridical custom must be differentiated from social custom. The
former can supplement statutory law or be applied in the absence of such statute. Not so with the
latter.
Moreover, judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws form part of the legal system. 22 When
the Supreme Court in the Deen and Perkins cases issued its Resolutions directing lawyers to
desist from including the names of deceased partners in their firm designation, it laid down a legal
rule against which no custom or practice to the contrary, even if proven, can prevail. This is not to
speak of our civil law which clearly ordains that a partnership is dissolved by the death of any
partner. 23 Custom which are contrary to law, public order or public policy shall not be
countenanced. 24
The practice of law is intimately and peculiarly related to the administration of justice and should
not be considered like an ordinary "money-making trade." t.hqw
... It is of the essence of a profession that it is practiced in a spirit of public service. A trade ... aims
primarily at personal gain; a profession at the exercise of powers beneficial to mankind. If, as in the
era of wide free opportunity, we think of free competitive self assertion as the highest good, lawyer
and grocer and farmer may seem to be freely competing with their fellows in their calling in order
each to acquire as much of the world's good as he may within the allowed him by law. But the
member of a profession does not regard himself as in competition with his professional brethren.
He is not bartering his services as is the artisan nor exchanging the products of his skill and
learning as the farmer sells wheat or corn. There should be no such thing as a lawyers' or
physicians' strike. The best service of the professional man is often rendered for no equivalent or
for a trifling equivalent and it is his pride to do what he does in a way worthy of his profession even
if done with no expectation of reward, This spirit of public service in which the profession of law is
and ought to be exercised is a prerequisite of sound administration of justice according to law. The

other two elements of a profession, namely, organization and pursuit of a learned art have their
justification in that they secure and maintain that spirit. 25
In fine, petitioners' desire to preserve the Identity of their firms in the eyes of the public must bow to
legal and ethical impediment.
ACCORDINGLY, the petitions filed herein are denied and petitioners advised to drop the names
"SYCIP" and "OZAETA" from their respective firm names. Those names may, however, be included
in the listing of individuals who have been partners in their firms indicating the years during which
they served as such.
SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. 1928 August 3, 1978


In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILION (IBP
Administrative Case No. MDD-1)
RESOLUTION
CASTRO, C.J.:
The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the Philippines.
On November 29, 1975, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP for short) Board of Governors
unanimously adopted Resolution No. 75-65 in Administrative Case No. MDD-1 (In the Matter of the
Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon) recommending to the Court the removal
of the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for "stubborn refusal to pay his
membership dues" to the IBP since the latter's constitution notwithstanding due notice.
On January 21, 1976, the IBP, through its then President Liliano B. Neri, submitted the said
resolution to the Court for consideration and approval, pursuant to paragraph 2, Section 24, Article
III of the By-Laws of the IBP, which reads:
.... Should the delinquency further continue until the following June 29, the Board shall promptly
inquire into the cause or causes of the continued delinquency and take whatever action it shall
deem appropriate, including a recommendation to the Supreme Court for the removal of the
delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys. Notice of the action taken shall be sent by
registered mail to the member and to the Secretary of the Chapter concerned.
On January 27, 1976, the Court required the respondent to comment on the resolution and letter
adverted to above; he submitted his comment on February 23, 1976, reiterating his refusal to pay
the membership fees due from him.
On March 2, 1976, the Court required the IBP President and the IBP Board of Governors to reply
to Edillon's comment: on March 24, 1976, they submitted a joint reply.
Thereafter, the case was set for hearing on June 3, 1976. After the hearing, the parties were
required to submit memoranda in amplification of their oral arguments. The matter was thenceforth
submitted for resolution.
At the threshold, a painstaking scrutiny of the respondent's pleadings would show that the propriety
and necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines are in essence conceded. The
respondent, however, objects to particular features of Rule of Court 139-A (hereinafter referred to
as the Court Rule) 1 in accordance with which the Bar of the Philippines was integrated and
to the provisions of par. 2, Section 24, Article III, of the IBP By-Laws (hereinabove cited).
The authority of the IBP Board of Governors to recommend to the Supreme Court the removal of a
delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys is found in par. 2 Section 24, Article Ill of the
IBP By-Laws (supra), whereas the authority of the Court to issue the order applied for is found in
Section 10 of the Court Rule, which reads:
SEC. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. Subject to the provisions of Section 12 of this Rule,
default in the payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in
the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of
the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys.
The all-encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership in the IBP is stated in these words of the
Court Rule:
SECTION 1. Organization. There is hereby organized an official national body to be known as
the 'Integrated Bar of the Philippines,' composed of all persons whose names now appear or may
hereafter be included in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court.
The obligation to pay membership dues is couched in the following words of the Court Rule:

SEC. 9. Membership dues. Every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay such annual dues as the
Board of Governors shall determine with the approval of the Supreme Court. ...
The core of the respondent's arguments is that the above provisions constitute an invasion of his
constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled, as a pre-condition to maintaining his
status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues,
and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he
is admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property
guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Hence, the respondent concludes, the above provisions of
the Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force and effect.
The respondent similarly questions the jurisdiction of the Court to strike his name from the Roll of
Attorneys, contending that the said matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court
but is rather of an "administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body."
The case at bar is not the first one that has reached the Court relating to constitutional issues that
inevitably and inextricably come up to the surface whenever attempts are made to regulate the
practice of law, define the conditions of such practice, or revoke the license granted for the
exercise of the legal profession.
The matters here complained of are the very same issues raised in a previous case before the
Court, entitled "Administrative Case No. 526, In the Matter of the Petition for the Integration of the
Bar of the Philippines, Roman Ozaeta, et al., Petitioners." The Court exhaustively considered all
these matters in that case in its Resolution ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines,
promulgated on January 9, 1973. The Court there made the unanimous pronouncement that it was
... fully convinced, after a thoroughgoing conscientious study of all the arguments adduced in Adm.
Case No. 526 and the authoritative materials and the mass of factual data contained in the
exhaustive Report of the Commission on Bar Integration, that the integration of the Philippine Bar
is 'perfectly constitutional and legally unobjectionable'. ...
Be that as it may, we now restate briefly the posture of the Court.
An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished
from bar associations organized by individual lawyers themselves, membership in which is
voluntary. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is
afforded an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as obliged
to bear his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under the direction of the State, an
integrated Bar is an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be members. They
are, therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar, including the
requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of
the Bar, and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional responsibility breach of
which constitutes sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause appearing,
a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending member. 2
The integration of the Philippine Bar was obviously dictated by overriding considerations of public
interest and public welfare to such an extent as more than constitutionally and legally justifies the
restrictions that integration imposes upon the personal interests and personal convenience of
individual lawyers. 3
Apropos to the above, it must be stressed that all legislation directing the integration of the Bar
have been uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an
important profession. The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege moreover
clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also
to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most
important functions of the State the administration of justice as an officer of the court. 4 The
practice of law being clothed with public interest, the holder of this privilege must submit to a
degree of control for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has created. As the U. S.
Supreme Court through Mr. Justice Roberts explained, the expression "affected with a public
interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the police power" (Nebbia vs. New York,
291 U.S. 502).
When, therefore, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 6397 5 authorizing the Supreme Court to
"adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall
see fit," it did so in the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. The Act's avowal is to
"raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the
Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively." Hence, the Congress in enacting such
Act, the Court in ordaining the integration of the Bar through its Resolution promulgated on January
9, 1973, and the President of the Philippines in decreeing the constitution of the IBP into a body
corporate through Presidential Decree No. 181 dated May 4, 1973, were prompted by fundamental

considerations of public welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the demands of pressing public
necessity.
The State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere with and regulate personal liberty,
property and occupations. Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and burdens in
order to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State (U.S. vs. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil
218), for, as the Latin maxim goes, "Salus populi est supreme lex." The public welfare is the
supreme law. To this fundamental principle of government the rights of individuals are
subordinated. Liberty is a blessing without which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to
prevail over authority because then society win fall into anarchy (Calalang vs. Williams, 70 Phil.
726). It is an undoubted power of the State to restrain some individuals from all freedom, and all
individuals from some freedom.
But the most compelling argument sustaining the constitutionality and validity of Bar integration in
the Philippines is the explicit unequivocal grant of precise power to the Supreme Court by Section
5 (5) of Article X of the 1973 Constitution of the Philippines, which reads:
Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
xxx xxx xxx
(5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and pro. procedure in all courts, and the
admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Bar ...,
and Section 1 of Republic Act No. 6397, which reads:
SECTION 1. Within two years from the approval of this Act, the Supreme Court may adopt rules of
Court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit in order
to raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the
Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively.
Quite apart from the above, let it be stated that even without the enabling Act (Republic Act No.
6397), and looking solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme
Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts,
and the admission to the practice of law," it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional
declaration vests the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to
and supervision of the practice of law.
Thus, when the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal profession, his practice of law and his
exercise of the said profession, which affect the society at large, were (and are) subject to the
power of the body politic to require him to conform to such regulations as might be established by
the proper authorities for the common good, even to the extent of interfering with some of his
liberties. If he did not wish to submit himself to such reasonable interference and regulation, he
should not have clothed the public with an interest in his concerns.
On this score alone, the case for the respondent must already fall.
The issues being of constitutional dimension, however, we now concisely deal with them seriatim.
1. The first objection posed by the respondent is that the Court is without power to compel him to
become a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, hence, Section 1 of the Court Rule is
unconstitutional for it impinges on his constitutional right of freedom to associate (and not to
associate). Our answer is: To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative
of his constitutional freedom to associate. 6
Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member.
He became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. 7 All that integration
actually does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and
incohesive group of which every lawyer is a ready a member. 8
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not
attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he
chooses. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. The
Supreme Court, in order to further the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of
professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be
shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program the lawyers. 9
Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a lawyer to be a member of the
Integrated Bar, such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the State. 10
2. The second issue posed by the respondent is that the provision of the Court Rule requiring
payment of a membership fee is void. We see nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court,
under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the
practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article X, Section 5 of the 1973
Constitution) which power the respondent acknowledges from requiring members of a
privileged class, such as lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of

regulation of the profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed
imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and
purposes of integration. 11
3. The respondent further argues that the enforcement of the penalty provisions would amount to a
deprivation of property without due process and hence infringes on one of his constitutional rights.
Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder
of a license to practice a profession, we do not here pause to consider at length, as it clear that
under the police power of the State, and under the necessary powers granted to the Court to
perpetuate its existence, the respondent's right to practise law before the courts of this country
should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a
regulatory measure is recognize, then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty
may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary. 12
But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege, 13
and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the
lawyer's public responsibilities.
4. Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike the name of
a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys, it is sufficient to state that the matters of admission, suspension,
disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have been and are
indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and responsibilities, and the authorities
holding such are legion. 14
In In Re Sparks (267 Ky. 93, 101 S.W. (2d) 194), in which the report of the Board of Bar
Commissioners in a disbarment proceeding was confirmed and disbarment ordered, the court,
sustaining the Bar Integration Act of Kentucky, said: "The power to regulate the conduct and
qualifications of its officers does not depend upon constitutional or statutory grounds. It is a power
which is inherent in this court as a court appropriate, indeed necessary, to the proper
administration of justice ... the argument that this is an arbitrary power which the court is arrogating
to itself or accepting from the legislative likewise misconceives the nature of the duty. It has
limitations no less real because they are inherent. It is an unpleasant task to sit in judgment upon a
brother member of the Bar, particularly where, as here, the facts are disputed. It is a grave
responsibility, to be assumed only with a determination to uphold the Ideals and traditions of an
honorable profession and to protect the public from overreaching and fraud. The very burden of the
duty is itself a guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted. ..."
The Court's jurisdiction was greatly reinforced by our 1973 Constitution when it explicitly granted to
the Court the power to "Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice ... and the admission to the
practice of law and the integration of the Bar ... (Article X, Sec. 5(5) the power to pass upon the
fitness of the respondent to remain a member of the legal profession is indeed undoubtedly vested
in the Court.
We thus reach the conclusion that the provisions of Rule of Court 139-A and of the By-Laws of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is the unanimous sense of the Court that the respondent
Marcial A. Edillon should be as he is hereby disbarred, and his name is hereby ordered stricken
from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court.

A.C. No. 7676


June 10, 2014
AMADO T. DIZON, Complainant,
vs.
ATTY. NORLITA DE TAZA, Respondent.
DECISION
REYES, J.:
This concerns an administrative complaint1 for disbarment against Atty. Norlita De Taza (Atty. De
Taza) for the latter's demand for and receipt of exorbitant sums of money from her client
purportedly to expedite the proceedings of their case which was pending before the Court.
The Facts
Amado Dizon (complainant) alleged that sometime in February 2005, he, along with his siblings
engaged the services of Romero De Taza Cruz and Associates to represent them in the case of
Eliza T. Castaneda, et al. v. Heirs of Spouses Martin and Lucia Dizon with G.R. No. 174552.2 The
complainant claimed that sometime in February 2007, Atty. De Taza demanded the sum of

Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) from him to expedite the proceedings before the
Court. This amount was over and above the parties stipulated retainer fee as evidenced by a
contract.3
According to the complainant, unknown to him at that time was that, a month earlier or in January
2007, Atty. De Taza had already demanded and received a total of Eight Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P800,000.00) from his sibling Aurora Dizon, for the same reason that Atty. De Taza proffered to
him, which was to expedite the proceedings of their case before the Court. Handwritten receipts4
signed by one Atty. Norlita De Taza were submitted by the complainant, which state:
15 Jan. 2007
Receipt
That the amount received P300,000 shall be used to expedite the case which, in turn shall result in
the following:
1. Decision favorable to plaintiff w/in 2 mos. from receipt of said amount;
2. Back rentals up to present should be returned, if the same should not be included in the
Decision, the 300,000.00 shall be returned.
Signed
Atty. Norlita De Taza518 Jan. 2007
Receipt
The amount of P500,000 has been advanced as part of expense [sic] to expedite the process
before the courts. The said amount has been advanced by Ms. Aurora Dizon and the same should
be reimbursed to her by her siblings upon winning the case with finality.
Signed
Atty. Norlita De Taza6
On October 24, 2007, the complainant went to this Court in Padre Faura, Manila and learned that
the Court had already denied the petition on November 20, 2006, contrary to Atty. De Tazas
representations that the case was still pending. He tried to communicate with Atty. De Taza, but
she could no longer be found.7
Thereafter, on November 6, 2007, the complainant instituted a complaint for disbarment8 against
Atty. De Taza. He also attached several affidavits and documents9 from other individuals who
attested that Atty. De Taza issued bouncing checks and/or failed to pay off her debts to them. A
certain Ana Lynda Pineda executed an affidavit10 which was attached to the complaint, alleging
that Atty. De Taza issued 11 checks11 in her favor amounting to P481,400.00, which were all
dishonored by the bank. Demand letters sent to her went unheeded.
Likewise, Darwin Tiamzon, a creditor of Atty. De Taza, whose Affidavit12 was attached to the
complaint, averred that Atty. De Taza issued a check13 for P50,000.00 as payment for her loan.
Said check was dishonored by the bank for being drawn against a closed account.
Furthermore, a certain Eleanor Sarmiento submitted an affidavit,14 stating that Atty. De Taza owes
her P29,560.39 and failed to pay the said amount despite repeated demands.
On November 14, 2007, the complainant through a letter15 informed the Court that Atty. De Taza is
planning to leave the country as she was joining her husband in the United States of America
(U.S.A.).
In a Resolution16 dated December 10, 2007, Atty. De Taza was required by the Court to file a
Comment. However, the copy of the Resolution was returned unserved with the postal carriers
notation "RTS (Return to Sender)-Moved". The Court then resolved by virtue of the Resolution17
dated July 2, 2008, to send a copy to Atty. De Tazas office address at Romero De Taza Cruz and
Associates. Said copy was also returned unserved with the notation "RTS-not connected."
It was then required in the Resolution18 dated October 8, 2008 that the complainant inform the
Court of Atty. De Tazas new address, which the complainant faithfully complied with by giving Atty.
De Tazas new address in the U.S.A. The Court, in its Resolution19 dated January 26, 2009,
directed the Clerk of Court to resend a copy of the Resolution dated December 10, 2007 with a
copy of the complaint to Atty. De Taza using the latters U.S.A. address.
Like the previous occasions, the copy of the Resolution dated December 10, 2007 with the
complaint was returned; this time, with the postal carriers notation "RTS-Unclaimed". The Court in
its Resolution20 dated September 9, 2009, held that the said copy of the Resolution was deemed
served and resolved to consider Atty. De Taza as having waived the filing of her comment. The
case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and
recommendation.
A Notice of Mandatory Conference21 was sent to the parties, in which they failed to appear. Thus,
the parties were directed to file their respective position papers. The complainant, in a letter22
addressed to the IBP, averred that he was already residing abroad and maintained that he had

already submitted his documentary evidence at the time of the filing of his complaint. Atty. De Taza,
for her part, did not file any position paper.
In its Report and Recommendation23 dated January 4,2011, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline
recommended that Atty. De Taza be suspended for a period of two years from the practice of law.
The IBP Board of Governors modified the Commission on Bar Disciplines recommendation in a
Resolution24 dated January 3, 2013, viz:
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and APPROVED,
with modification, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the
above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A", and finding the
recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, and
considering Respondents demand of [P]800,000.00 to expedite the case pending in the Supreme
Court when, in fact, the case had long been dismissed, Atty. Norlita De Taza is hereby
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) year.25 (Emphasis supplied)
The Issue
WHETHER ATTY. DE TAZASHOULD BE HELD ADMINISTRATIVELY LIABLE FOR ISSUING
BOUNCING CHECKS, DEMANDING AND/OR RECEIVING MONEY FROM HER CLIENTS
UNDERTHE GUISE OF HAVING THE PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COURT EXPEDITED.
Ruling
The Court acknowledges the fact that Atty. De Taza was not able to refute the accusations against
her. Numerous attempts were made to afford her an opportunity to defend herself from the
complainants allegations, but all these efforts were only met with silence. Whether her transfer of
residence was an unscrupulous move on her part to evade her creditors, only she would certainly
know. But as far as the Court is concerned, all means were exhausted to give Atty. De Taza an
avenue to oppose the complainants charges. Her failure and/or refusal to file a comment will not
be a hindrance for the Court to mete out an appropriate sanction.
The Court has time and again ruled that disciplinary proceedings are investigations by the Court to
ascertain whether a lawyer is fit to be one. There is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. As
this Court held in Gatchalian Promotions Talents Pool, Inc. v. Atty. Naldoza,26 citing In the Matter of
the Proceedings for Disciplinary Action Against Atty. Almacen, et al. v. Yaptinchay:27 "Disciplinary
proceedings against lawyers are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, they do not
involve a trial of an action or a suit, but are rather investigations by the Court into the conduct of
one of its officers. Not being intended to inflict punishment, [they are] in no sense a criminal
prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. [They] may be initiated
by the Court motu proprio. Public interest is [their] primary objective, and the real question for
determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such.
Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar
to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity
of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the
profession of members who by their misconduct have prove[n] themselves no longer worthy to be
entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. x x x.28 (Italics
supplied)
"In administrative proceedings, only substantial evidence, i.e., that amount of relevant evidence
that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, is required."29 Based on
the documentary evidence submitted by the complainant, it appears that Atty. De Taza manifested
a propensity for borrowing money, issuing bouncing checks and incurring debts which she left
unpaid without any reason. The complainant even submitted a document evidencing Atty. De
Tazas involvement in an estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) No. 22 case filed before
the Office of the City Prosecutor in Angeles City (I.S. 07-J-2815-36) for drawing checks against a
closed account, among other complaint-affidavits executed by her other creditors. Such conduct,
while already off-putting when attributed to an ordinary person, is much more abhorrent when the
same is exhibited by a member of the Bar. As a lawyer, Atty. De Taza must remember that she is
not only a symbol but also an instrument of justice, equity and fairness.
"We have held that the issuance of checks which were later dishonored for having been drawn
against a closed account indicates a lawyers unfitness for the trust and confidence reposed on
her. It shows a lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render her unworthy of
public confidence. The issuance of a series of worthless checks also shows the remorseless
attitude of respondent, unmindful to the deleterious effects of such act to the public interest and
public order.1wphi1 It also manifests a lawyers low regard to her commitment to the oath she has
taken when she joined her peers, seriously and irreparably tarnishing the image of the profession
she should hold in high esteem."30

Atty. De Tazas actuations towards the complainant and his siblings were even worse as she had
the gall to make it appear to the complainant that the proceedings before the Court can be
expedited and ruled in their favor in exchange for an exorbitant amount of money. Said scheme
was employed by Atty. De Taza just to milk more money from her clients. Without a doubt, Atty. De
Tazas actions are reprehensible and her greed more than apparent when she even used the name
of the Court to defraud her client.
When a lawyer receives money from the client for a particular purpose, the lawyer is bound to
render an accounting to the client showing that the money was spent for that particular purpose.
And if he does not use the money for the intended purpose, the lawyer must immediately return the
money to his client.31 In this case, the purpose for which Atty. De Taza demanded money is
baseless and non-existent. Thus, her demand should not have even been made in the first place.
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court provides for the disbarment or suspension of a
lawyer for any of the following: (1) deceit; (2) malpractice; (3) gross misconduct in office; (4)
grossly immoral conduct; (5) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; (6) violation of the
lawyers oath; (7) willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; and (8) willfully
appearing as an attorney for a party without authority to do so.32
The Court in Victoria C. Heenan v. Atty. Erlinda Espejo33 suspended the respondent from the
practice of law for two years when the latter issued checks which were dishonored due to
insufficiency of funds. In A-1 Financial Services, Inc. v. Valerio,34 the same penalty was meted out
by this Court to the erring lawyer who issued worthless checks to pay off her loan.
Additionally, in Anacta v. Resurreccion,35 the Court held that suspension from the practice of law for
four years was the appropriate sanction for a lawyer who defrauded his client into paying
P42,000.00 to him for the purported filing of a petition for annulment of marriage. The respondent
therein presented to his client a copy of the petition with stamped receipt from the trial court when
in reality, no such petition was filed.
In Celaje v. Atty. Soriano,36 the respondent therein demanded P14,000.00 from the complainant to
be put up as injunction bond and asked for additional sums of money on other occasions,
supposedly to pay the judge who was handling the case. When the complainant verified this with
the judge, the judge denied the respondents allegations. The complainant later learned that the
bond was also unnecessary, as the application for a writ was already denied by the trial court. Due
to the foregoing, the Court suspended the respondent from the practice of law for two years.
"Law is a noble profession, and the privilege to practice it is bestowed only upon individuals who
are competent intellectually, academically and, equally important, morally. Because they are
vanguards of the law and the legal system, lawyers must at all times conduct themselves,
especially in their dealings with their clients and the public at large, with honesty and integrity in a
manner beyond reproach."37 "The Judiciary has been besieged enough with accusations of
corruption and malpractice. For a member of the legal profession to further stoke the embers of
mistrust on the judicial system with such irresponsible representations is reprehensible and cannot
be tolerated."38
All told, the Court holds that there is no reason to deviate from the report and recommendation of
the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline which is to suspend Atty. De Taza from the practice of law
for two years.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Norlita De Taza is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law
for TWO YEARS with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar infraction would
be dealt with more severely.
Let copies of this Decision be furnished all courts of the land, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines,
as well as the Office of the Bar Confidant for their information and guidance, and let it be entered in
Atty. Norlita De Taza's record in this Court.
SO ORDERED.
A.C. No. 10164
March 10, 2014
STEPHAN BRUNET and VIRGINIA ROMANILLOS BRUNET, Complainants,
vs.
ATTY. RONALD L. GUAREN, Respondent.
RESOLUTION
MENDOZA, J.:
On August 9, 2002, complainant spouses Stephan and Virginia Brunet (complainants) filed a
complaint against respondent Atty. Ronald L. Guaren (Atty. Guaren) before the Commission on Bar
Discipline (CED), Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

Complainants alleged that in February 1997, they engaged the services of Atty. Guaren for the
titling of a residential lot they acquired in Bonbon, Nueva Caseres; that Atty. Guaren asked for a
fee of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) including expenses relative to its proceeding; that it was
agreed that full payment of the fee shall be made after the delivery of the title; that Atty. Guaren
asked for an advance fee of One Thousand Pesos (Pl,000.00) which they gave; that Atty. Guaren
took all the pertinent documents relative to the titling of their lot-certified true copy of the tax
declaration, original copy of the deed of exchange, sketch plan, deed of donation, survey plan, and
original copy of the waiver; that on March 10, 1997, Atty. Guaren asked for additional payment of
Six Thousand Pesos (P6,000.00) which they dutifully gave; that from 1997 to 2001, they always
reminded Atty. Guaren about the case and each time he would say that the titling was in progress;
that they became bothered by the slow progress of the case so they demanded the return of the
money they paid; and that respondent agreed to return the same provided that the amount of Five
Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) be deducted to answer for his professional fees.
Complainants further alleged that despite the existence of an attorney-client relationship between
them, Atty. Guaren made a special appearance against them in a case pending before the
Metropolitan Circuit Trial Court, Oslob, Cebu (MCTC).
Atty. Guaren admitted that he indeed charged complainants an acceptance fee of P10,000.00, but
denied that the amount was inclusive of expenses for the titling of the lot. He claimed, however,
that he received the payment of P1,000.00 and P6,000.00; that their agreement was that the case
would be filed in court after the complainants fully paid his acceptance fee; that he did not take the
documents relative to the titling of the lot except for the photocopy of the tax declaration; and that
he did not commit betrayal of trust and confidence when he participated in a case filed against the
complainants in MCTC explaining that his appearance was for and in behalf of Atty. Ervin
Estandante, the counsel on record, who failed to appear in the said hearing.
In the Report and Recommendation,1 dated August 24, 2012, the Investigating Commissioner
found Atty. Guaren to have violated the Canon of Professional Responsibility when he accepted
the titling of complainants lot and despite the acceptance of P7,000.00, he failed to perform his
obligation and allowed 5 long years to elapse without any progress in the titling of the lot. Atty.
Guaren should also be disciplined for appearing in a case against complainants without a written
consent from the latter. The CBD recommended that he be suspended for six (6) months.
In its May 20, 2013 Resolution,2 the IBP Board of Governors, adopted and approved with
modification the Report and Recommendation of the CBD, suspending Atty. Guaren from the
practice of law for three (3) months only.
The Court adopts the findings of the IBP Board of Governors on the unethical conduct of Atty.
Guaren, except as to the penalty.
The practice of law is not a business. It is a profession in which duty to public service, not money,
is the primary consideration. Lawyering is not primarily meant to be a money-making venture, and
law advocacy is not a capital that necessarily yields profits. The gaining of a livelihood should be a
secondary consideration. The duty to public service and to the administration of justice should be
the primary consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their personal interests or what they
owe to themselves.3
Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that:
CANON 17 - A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust
and confidence reposed in him.
CANON 18 - A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence.
In the present case, Atty. Guaren admitted that he accepted the amount of P7,000.00 as partial
payment of his acceptance fee. He, however, failed to perform his obligation to file the case for the
titling of complainants' lot despite the lapse of 5 years. Atty. Guaren breached his duty to serve his
client with competence and diligence when he neglected a legal matter entrusted to him.1wphi1
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Ronald L. Guaren is found GUILTY of having violated Canons 17
and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of
law for a period of SIX (6) MONTHS effective from receipt of this Resolution, with a warning that a
similar infraction in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
Let a copy of this resolution be furnished the Bar Confidant to be included in the records of the
respondent; the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for distribution to all its chapters; and the Office of
the Court Administrator for dissemination to all courts throughout the country.
SO ORDERED.

A.C. No. 5359


March 10, 2014
ERMELINDA LAD VOA. DE DOMINGUEZ, represented by her Attorney-in-Fact, VICENTE A.
PICHON, Complainant,
vs.
ATTY. ARNULFO M. AGLERON, SR., Respondent.
RESOLUTION
MENDOZA, J.:
Complainant Ermelinda Lad Vda. De Dominguez (complainant) was the widow of the late Felipe
Domiguez who died in a vehicular accident in Caraga, Davao Oriental, on October 18, 1995,
involving a dump truck owned by the Municipality of Caraga. Aggrieved, complainant decided to file
charges against the Municipality of Caraga and engaged the services of respondent Atty. Arnulfo
M. Agleron, Sr. (Atty. Agleron). On three (3) occasions, Atty. Agleron requested and received from
complainant the following amounts for the payment of filing fees and sheriffs fees, to wit: (1) June
3, 1996 -P3,000.00; (2) June 7, 1996 -Pl,800.00; and September 2, 1996 - P5,250.00 or a total of
P10,050.00. After the lapse of four (4) years, however, no complaint was filed by Atty. Agleron
against the Municipality of Caraga.1
Atty. Agleron admitted that complainant engaged his professional service and received the amount
of P10,050.00. He, however, explained that their agreement was that complainant would pay the
filing fees and other incidental expenses and as soon as the complaint was prepared and ready for
filing, complainant would pay 30% of the agreed attorneys fees of P100,000.00. On June 7, 1996,
after the signing of the complaint, he advised complainant to pay in full the amount of the filing fee
and sheriffs fees and the 30% of the attorneys fee, but complainant failed to do so. Atty. Agleron
averred that since the complaint could not be filed in court, the amount of P10,050.00 was
deposited in a bank while awaiting the payment of the balance of the filing fee and attorneys fee.2
In reply,3 complainant denied that she did not give the full payment of the filing fee and asserted
that the filing fee at that time amounted only to P7,836.60.
In the Report and Recommendation,4 dated January 12, 2012, the Investigating Commissioner
found Atty. Agleron to have violated the Code of Professional Responsibility when he neglected a
legal matter entrusted to him, and recommended that he be suspended from the practice of law for
a period of four (4) months.
In its April 16, 2013 Resolution,5 the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Board of Governors
adopted and approved the report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner with
modification that Atty. Agleron be suspended from the practice of law for a period of only one (1)
month.
The Court agrees with the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors except as to the penalty
imposed.
Atty. Agleron violated Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that:
Rule 18.03-A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable.
Once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client, he is duty bound to serve his client with
competence, and to attend to his clients cause with diligence, care and devotion regardless of
whether he accepts it for a fee or for free.6 He owes fidelity to such cause and must always be
mindful of the trust and confidence reposed on him.7
In the present case, Atty. Agleron admitted his failure to file the complaint against the Municipality
of Caraga, Davao Oriental, despite the fact that it was already prepared and signed. He attributed
his non-filing of the appropriate charges on the failure of complainant to remit the full payment of
the filing fee and pay the 30% of the attorney's fee. Such justification, however, is not a valid
excuse that would exonerate him from liability. As stated, every case that is entrusted to a lawyer
deserves his full attention whether he accepts this for a fee or free. Even assuming that
complainant had not remitted the full payment of the filing fee, he should have found a way to
speak to his client and inform him about the insufficiency of the filing fee so he could file the
complaint. Atty. Agleron obviously lacked professionalism in dealing with complainant and showed
incompetence when he failed to file the appropriate charges.1wphi1
In a number of cases,8 the Court held that a lawyer should never neglect a legal matter entrusted
to him, otherwise his negligence renders him liable for disciplinary action such as suspension
ranging from three months to two years. In this case, the Court finds the suspension of Atty.
Agleron from the practice of law for a period of three (3) months sufficient.
WHEREFORE, the resolution of the IBP Board of Governors is hereby AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION. Accordingly, respondent ATTY. ARNULFO M. AGLERON, SR. is hereby

SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of THREE (3) MONTHS, with a stern warning
that a repetition of the same or similar wrongdoing will be dealt with more severely.
Let a copy of this resolution be furnished the Bar Confidant to be included in the records of the
respondent; the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for distribution to all its chapters; and the Office of
the Court Administrator for dissemination to all courts throughout the country.
SO ORDERED.

CARONAN V. CARONAN

A.C. No. 6484, June 16, 2015


ADELITA B. LLUNAR, Complainant, v. ATTY. ROMULO RICAFORT, Respondent.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:
The present administrative case stemmed from the complaint-affidavit1 that Adelita B. Llunar
(complainant) filed against Atty. Romulo Ricafort (respondent) for gross and inexcusable
negligence and serious misconduct.
Antecedents
In September 2000, the complainant, as attorney-in-fact of Severina Bafiez, hired the respondent
to file a case against father and son Ricardo and Ard Cervantes (Ard) for the recovery of a parcel
of land allegedly owned by the Banez family but was fraudulently registered under the name of
Ricardo and later was transferred to Ard.
The property, which Ard had mortgaged with the Rural Bank of Malilipot, Albay, was the subject of
foreclosure proceedings at the time the respondent was hired. The respondent received from the
complainant the following amounts: (a) P70,000.00 as partial payment of the redemption price of
the property; (b) P19,000.00 to cover the filing fees; and (c) P6,500.00 as attorney's fees.
Three years later, the complainant learned that no case involving the subject property was ever
filed by the respondent with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Legaspi City. Thus, the complainant
demanded that the respondent return to her the amount of P95,000.00.
The respondent refused to return the whole amount of P95,000.00 to the complainant. He argued
that a complaint2 for annulment of title against Ard Cervantes had actually been filed in court,
though not by him, but by another lawyer, Atty. Edgar M. Abitria. Thus, he was willing to return only
what was left of the P95,000.00 after deducting therefrom the P50,000.00 that he paid to Atty.
Abitria as acceptance fee for handling the case.
The complainant refused to recognize the complaint for annulment of title filed by Atty. Abitria and
claimed that she had no knowledge of Atty. Abitria's engagement as counsel. Besides, the
complaint was filed three (3) years late and the property could no longer be redeemed from the
bank. Also, the complainant discovered that the respondent had been suspended indefinitely from
the practice of law since May 29, 2002, pursuant to this Court's decision in Administrative Case No.
5054,3 which the complainant suspected was the reason another lawyer, and not the respondent,
filed the complaint for annulment of title in court.
In a resolution4 dated February 2, 2005, the Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation.

In a report5 dated May 22, 2009, IBP Investigating Commissioner Cecilio C. Villanueva found the
respondent to have been grossly negligent in handling the complainant's case and to have gravely
abused the trust and confidence reposed in him by the complainant, thereby, violating Canons 156
and 17,7 and Rules 1.01,8 16.03,9 18.03,10 and 18.0411 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
(CPR).
Also, the Investigating Commissioner found the respondent to have erred in not informing his client
that he was under indefinite suspension from the practice of law. Due to these infractions,
Commissioner Villanueva recommended that the respondent remain suspended indefinitely from
the practice of law.
In Resolution No. XIX-2011-224 dated May 14, 2011, the IBP Board of Governors agreed with the
Investigating Commissioner's findings on the respondent's liability but modified the recommended
penalty from indefinite suspension to disbarment.12 It also ordered the respondent to return to the
complainant the amount of P95,000.00 within thirty (30) days from notice. The respondent moved
for reconsideration.
In his motion for reconsideration,13 the respondent argued that his referral of the complainant's
case to Atty. Abitria was actually with the complainant's knowledge and consent; and that he paid
Atty. Abitria P50,000.00 for accepting the case. These facts were confirmed by Atty. Abitria in an
affidavit14 dated November 17, 2004, but were alleged to have been overlooked by Commissioner
Villanueva in his report. The IBP Board of Governors, in Resolution No. XX-2013-710 dated June
21, 2013, denied the respondent's motion for reconsideration.15chanrobleslaw
Our Ruling
We find the respondent guilty of Grave Misconduct in his dealings with his client and in
engaging in the practice of law while under indefinite suspension, and thus impose upon
him the ultimate penalty of DISBARMENT.
The respondent in this case committed several infractions making him liable for grave misconduct.
First, the respondent did not exert due diligence in handling the complainant's case. He failed to
act promptly in redeeming the complainant's property within the period of redemption. What is
worse is the delay of three years before a complaint to recover the property was actually filed in
court. The respondent clearly dilly-dallied on the complainant's case and wasted precious time and
opportunity that were then readily available to recover the complainant's property. Under these
facts, the respondent violated Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR), which
states that "a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable."
Second, the respondent failed to return, upon demand, the amounts given to him by the
complainant for handling the latter's case. On three separate occasions, the respondent received
from the complainant the amounts of P19,000.00, P70,000.00, and P6,500.00 for purposes of
redeeming the mortgaged property from the bank and filing the necessary civil case/s against Ard
Cervantes. The complainant approached the respondent several times thereafter to follow up on
the case/s to be filed supposedly by the respondent who, in turn, reassured her that actions on her
case had been taken.
After the complainant discovered three years later that the respondent had not filed any case in
court, she demanded that the respondent return the amount of P95,000.00, but her demand was
left unheeded. The respondent later promised to pay her, but until now, no payment of any amount
has been made. These facts confirm that the respondent violated Canon 16 of the CPR, which
mandates every lawyer to "hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into
his possession"16 and to "account for all money or property collected or received for or from the
client."17 In addition, a lawyer's failure to return upon demand the funds or property he holds for his
client gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated these funds or property for his own
use to the prejudice of, and in violation of the trust reposed in him by his client.18chanrobleslaw
Third, the respondent committed dishonesty by not being forthright with the complainant that he
was under indefinite suspension from the practice of law. The respondent should have disclosed

this fact at the time he was approached by the complainant for his services. Canon 15 of the CPR
states that "a lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions
with his clients." The respondent lacked the candor expected of him as a member of the Bar when
he accepted the complainant's case despite knowing that he could not and should not practice law.
Lastly, the respondent was effectively in the practice of law despite the indefinite suspension
imposed on him. This infraction infinitely aggravates the offenses he committed. Based on the
above facts alone, the penalty of suspension for five (5) years from the practice of law would have
been justified, but the respondent is not an ordinary violator of the profession's ethical rules; he is a
repeat violator of these rules. In Nuez v. Atty. Ricafort,19 we had adjudged the respondent liable
for grave misconduct in failing to turn over the proceeds of the sale of a property owned by his
client and in issuing bounced checks to satisfy the alias writ of execution issued by the court in the
case for violation of Batas Pambansa Big. 22 filed against him by his client. We then suspended
him indefinitely from the practice of law - a penalty short of disbarment. Under his current liability which is no different in character from his previous offense - we have no other way but to proceed
to decree his disbarment. He has become completely unworthy of membership in our honorable
profession.
With respect to the amount to be returned to the complainant, we agree with the IBP that the
respondent should return the whole amount of P95,000.00, without deductions, regardless of
whether the engagement of Atty. Abitria as counsel was with the complainant's knowledge and
consent.
In the first place, the hiring of Atty. Abitria would not have been necessary had the respondent been
honest and diligent in handling the complainant's case from the start. The complainant should not
be burdened with the expense of hiring another lawyer to perform the services that the respondent
was hired to do, especially in this case where there was an inexcusable non-delivery of such
services.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Romulo Ricafort is hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law
and his name REMOVED from the Roll of Attorneys, effective immediately upon his receipt of this
Decision. Also, he is ORDERED to RETURN the amount of P95,000.00 to complainant Adelita B.
Llunar, within thirty (30) days from notice of this Decision.
Let a copy of this Decision be attached to the respondent's personal record and furnished the
Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Office of the Court
Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country. This Decision should likewise be posted on
the Supreme Court website for the information of the general public.
SO ORDERED.
A.C. No. 7325, January 21, 2015
DR. DOMICIANO F. VILLAHERMOSA, SR., Complainant, v. ATTY. ISIDRO L. CARACOL,
Respondent.
RESOLUTION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
Before us is a complaint1 for disbarment filed by Dr. Domiciano F. Villahermosa, Sr., against Atty.
Isidro L. Caracol for deceit, gross misconduct and violation of oath under Section 27,2 Rule 138 of
the Rules of Court.
Villahermosa is respondent in two land cases3 involving cancellation of emancipation patents and
transfer certificates of title, cancellation of special power of attorney and deeds of absolute sale
and recovery of ownership and possession of parcels of land derived from Original Certificate of
Title (OCT) No. 433 which covered 23.3018 hectares of land in Valencia, Bukidnon. Counsel on
record for plaintiff was Atty. Fidel Aquino.
OCT No. 433 was a homestead patent granted to Micael Babela who had two sons, Fernando and
Efren. As legal heirs of Micael, Fernando received 53,298 square meters while Efren received
33,296 square meters. Subsequently, Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs) were issued in their
respective names.

When the agrarian reform law4 was enacted on October 21, 1972, emancipation patents and titles
were issued to Hermogena and Danilo Nipotnipot, beneficiaries of the program, who in turn sold
the parcels of land to complainants spouse, Raymunda Villahermosa. A deed of absolute sale
was executed in favor of Raymunda.
On March 2, 1994, the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) issued a
decision ordering the cancellation of the emancipation patents and TCTs derived from OCT No.
433 stating that it was not covered by the agrarian reform law. This decision was appealed to and
affirmed by the DARAB Central Board and the Court of Appeals.
On September 25, 2002, Atty. Caracol, as Addl Counsel for the Plaintiffs-Movant, filed a motion
for execution with the DARAB, Malaybalay, Bukidnon praying for the full implementation of the
March 2, 1994 decision.5chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
On December 20, 2005, Atty. Caracol filed a Motion for Issuance of Second Alias Writ of Execution
and Demolition6 which he signed as Counsel for the Plaintiff Efren Babela7.
Villahermosa filed this complaint8 alleging that Atty. Caracol had no authority to file the motions
since he obtained no authority from the plaintiffs and the counsel of record. Villahermosa posited
that Efren could not have authorized Atty. Caracol to file the second motion because Efren had
already been dead9 for more than a year. He claimed that Atty. Caracols real client was a certain
Ernesto I. Aguirre, who had allegedly bought the same parcel of land. Villahermosa presented
affidavits of Efrens widow10 and daughter11 both stating that Efren never executed a waiver of
rights and that the parcel of land was sold to Villahermosa through a deed of sale. Both also
stated that they were familiar with Efrens signature. They state that the signature in the waiver
was different from his usual signature. Villahermosa averred that Atty. Caracol committed deceit
and gross misconduct.
In addition, Villahermosa claimed that Atty. Caracol introduced falsified and manufactured evidence
into the proceedings. Atty. Caracol, in introducing a document denominated as Waiver of Rights
where Efren waived all his rights in favor of Ernesto Aguirre, was able to secure the execution of
the judgment in one of the cases12 in favor of Ernesto Aguirre. Villahermosa also filed a case13 for
falsification of public document and use of falsified document against Ernesto Aguirre and Atty.
Caracol.14chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Atty. Caracol insists that Efren and Ernesto authorized him to appear as additional counsel. He
said that he had consulted Atty. Aquino who advised him to go ahead with the filing. Moreover, he
stated that he was not aware that there was a waiver of rights executed in Ernesto Aguirres favor.
In its Report and Recommendation,15 the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Commission on Bar
Discipline (IBP CBD) found that Atty. Caracol committed deceitful acts and misconduct. It found
that respondent did not present credible evidence to controvert the allegation that he was not
authorized by plaintiff or counsel of record. Respondent admitted that at the time of the filing of the
second motion, Efren was dead. It noted that Atty. Caracol did not explain how he obtained the
authority nor did he present any proof of the authority. However, there was insufficient evidence to
hold him liable for falsification.
The IBP CBD stated that Atty. Caracol clearly misled and misrepresented to the DARAB, Region X
that he was counsel of Efren to protect the interest of Ernesto Aguirre, his real client, violating his
oath as a lawyer. It thus recommended that Atty. Caracol be suspended from the practice of law
for a period of five years.
The IBP Board of Governors adopted the report and recommendation but modified the penalty to
one year suspension from the practice of law.16 Atty. Caracol moved for reconsideration17 but was
denied.18chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Atty. Caracol filed a notice of appeal19 which this Court returned to him since no legal fees are
required in administrative cases.20chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

We adopt the findings of the IBP.


The Rules of Court under Rule 138, Section 21 provides for a presumption of a lawyers
appearance on behalf of his client, hence:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
SEC. 21. Authority of attorney to appear. An attorney is presumed to be properly authorized to
represent any cause in which he appears, and no written power of attorney is required to
authorize him to appear in court for his client, but the presiding judge may, on motion of either
party and on reasonable grounds therefor being shown, require any attorney who assumes
the right to appear in a case to produce or prove the authority under which he appears, and to
disclose, whenever pertinent to any issue, the name of the person who employed him, and may
thereupon make such order as justice requires. An attorney willfully appearing in court for a person
without being employed, unless by leave of the court, may be punished for contempt as an officer
of the court who has misbehaved in his official transactions. (Emphases supplied)
In Land Bank of the Philippines v. Pamintuan Devt. Co.,21 this Court said that while a lawyer is not
required to present proof of his representation, when a court requires that he show such
authorization, it is imperative that he show his authority to act. Thus:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
A lawyer is not even required to present a written authorization from the client. In fact, the absence
of a formal notice of entry of appearance will not invalidate the acts performed by the counsel in his
clients name. However, [a] court, on its own initiative or on motion of the other party may require a
lawyer to adduce authorization from the client.22
Lawyers must be mindful that an attorney has no power to act as counsel for a person without
being retained nor may he appear in court without being employed unless by leave of court.23 If an
attorney appears on a clients behalf without a retainer or the requisite authority neither the litigant
whom he purports to represent nor the adverse party may be bound or affected by his appearance
unless the purported client ratifies or is estopped to deny his assumed authority.24 If a lawyer
corruptly or willfully appears as an attorney for a party to a case without authority, he may be
disciplined or punished for contempt as an officer of the court who has misbehaved in his official
transaction.25chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
We must also take into consideration that even if a lawyer is retained by a client, an attorney-client
relationship terminates upon death of either client or the lawyer.26chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Here, Atty. Caracol was presumed to have authority when he appeared in the proceedings before
the DARAB. The records are unclear at what point his authority to appear for Efren was
questioned. Neither is there any indication that Villahermosa in fact questioned his authority during
the course of the proceedings.
However, Atty. Caracol knew that Efren had already passed away at the time he filed the Motion for
Issuance of Second Alias Writ of Execution and Demolition.
As an honest, prudent and
conscientious lawyer, he should have informed the Court of his clients passing and presented
authority that he was retained by the clients successors-in-interest and thus the parties may have
been substituted.27chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
We also note the separate opinion of Justice Isagani Cruz in People v. Mendoza28 where he
stated:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
I am bothered by the improvident plea of guilty made by accused Juan Magalop, presumably upon
the advice of his counsel, Atty. Isidro L. Caracol of the CLAO (now the PAO). It would seem that
this lawyer was less than conscientious when he advised his indigent client to admit a crime the
man did no[t] commit. As the ponencia observes, outside of his improvident plea of guilt, there is
absolutely no evidence against him presented or forthcoming. From the evidence of the
prosecution, there is no way by which Magalop could have been implicated.
It seems to me that if any one is guilty in this case, it is the PAO lawyer who, through an incredible
lack of zeal in the discharge of his duties, was apparently willing, without any moral compunctions
at all, and without proof, to consign an innocent man to prison.

The PAO is supposed to defend the accused, not to condemn them without cause. The defense
counsel in this case did not seem to appreciate this responsibility when he prodded Magalop to
plead guilty and waived the right to submit evidence in his behalf.29
While this observation does not serve to exacerbate Atty. Caracols liability under the present
circumstances, we would like to highlight the important role of an attorney in our judicial system.
Because of the particular nature of an attorneys function it is essential that they should act with
fairness, honesty and candor towards the courts and his clients.30 Under Rule 10.01 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility:
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.
This flows out from the lawyers oath which each lawyer solemnly swears to uphold the law and
court processes in the pursuit of justice. Thus, a lawyer must be more circumspect in his
demeanor and attitude towards the public in general as agents of the judicial system.
Here, Atty. Caracol, as observed by the IBP CBD, has been less than candid about his
representation. We also observe that he has used underhanded means to attain his purpose. Atty.
Caracols blatant disregard of his duties as a lawyer cannot be countenanced. In view of his
actions of contravening his lawyers oath and in violation of Canons 8 and 10 and Rule 10.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility we deem it proper to suspend him from the practice of law for
a period of one year.chanrobleslaw
WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty. Isidro L. Caracol GUILTY. Accordingly, we SUSPEND
respondent Atty. Isidro L. Caracol from the practice of law for ONE YEAR effective upon finality of
this Resolution, with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt
with more severely.
Let copies of this Resolution be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant to be appended to
respondents personal record as an attorney, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Department
of Justice, and all courts in the country for their information and guidance.
SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary

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