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EN BANC

[B.M. 850. October 2, 2001]

MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION

RESOLUTION
ADOPTING THE REVISED RULES ON THE CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION FOR MEMBERS
OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES
Considering the Rules on the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) for
members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), recommended by the IBP,
endorsed by the Philippine Judicial Academy, and reviewed and passed upon by the
Supreme Court Committee on Legal Education, the Court hereby resolves to approve, as
it hereby approves, the following Revised Rules for proper implementation:

Rule 1. PURPOSE

SECTION 1. Purpose of the MCLE. Continuing legal education is required of members


of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to ensure that throughout their career, they
keep abreast with law and jurisprudence, maintain the ethics of the profession and
enhance the standards of the practice of law.

Rule 2. MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION

SECTION 1. Commencement of the MCLE. Within two (2) months from the approval
of these Rules by the Supreme Court En Banc, the MCLE Committee shall be constituted
and shall commence the implementation of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education
(MCLE) program in accordance with these Rules.
SEC. 2. Requirements of completion of MCLE. Members of the IBP not exempt under
Rule 7 shall complete every three (3) years at least thirty-six (36) hours of continuing legal
education activities approved by the MCLE Committee. Of the 36 hours:
(a) At least six (6) hours shall be devoted to legal ethics equivalent to six (6) credit
units.
(b) At least four (4) hours shall be devoted to trial and pretrial skills equivalent to
four (4) credit units.
(c) At least five (5) hours shall be devoted to alternative dispute
resolution equivalent to five (5) credit units.
(d) At least nine (9) hours shall be devoted to updates on substantive and
procedural laws, and jurisprudence equivalent to nine (9) credit units.
(e) At least four (4) hours shall be devoted to legal writing and oral
advocacy equivalent to four (4) credit units.
(f) At least two (2) hours shall be devoted to international law and international
conventions equivalent to two (2) credit units.
(g) The remaining six (6) hours shall be devoted to such subjects as may be
prescribed by the MCLE Committee equivalent to six (6) credit units.

Rule 3. COMPLIANCE PERIOD

SECTION 1. Initial compliance period. -- The initial compliance period shall begin not
later than three (3) months from the adoption of these Rules. Except for the initial
compliance period for members admitted or readmitted after the establishment of the
program, all compliance periods shall be for thirty-six (36) months and shall begin the day
after the end of the previous compliance period.
SEC. 2. Compliance Groups. -- Members of the IBP not exempt from the MCLE
requirement shall be divided into three (3) compliance groups, namely:
(a) Compliance group 1. -- Members in the National Capital Region (NCR) or
Metro Manila are assigned to Compliance Group 1.
(b) Compliance group 2. -- Members in Luzon outside NCR are assigned to
Compliance Group 2.
(c) Compliance group 3. -- Members in Visayas and Mindanao are assigned to
Compliance Group 3.
Nevertheless, members may participate in any legal education activity wherever it
may be available to earn credit unit toward compliance with the MCLE requirement.
SEC. 3. Compliance period of members admitted or readmitted after establishment of
the program. Members admitted or readmitted to the Bar after the establishment of the
program shall be assigned to the appropriate Compliance Group based on their Chapter
membership on the date of admission or readmission.
The initial compliance period after admission or readmission shall begin on the first
day of the month of admission or readmission and shall end on the same day as that of
all other members in the same Compliance Group.
(a) Where four (4) months or less remain of the initial compliance period after
admission or readmission, the member is not required to comply with the
program requirement for the initial compliance.
(b) Where more than four (4) months remain of the initial compliance period
after admission or readmission, the member shall be required to complete a
number of hours of approved continuing legal education activities equal to the
number of months remaining in the compliance period in which the member
is admitted or readmitted. Such member shall be required to complete a
number of hours of education in legal ethics in proportion to the number of
months remaining in the compliance period. Fractions of hours shall be
rounded up to the next whole number.

Rule 4. COMPUTATION OF CREDIT UNITS(CU)

SECTION 1. Guidelines. - CREDIT UNITS ARE EQUIVALENT TO CREDIT HOURS. CREDIT


UNITS measure compliance with the MCLE requirement under the Rules, based on the
category of the lawyers participation in the MCLE activity. The following are the
guidelines for computing credit units and the supporting documents required therefor:

PROGRAMS/ACTIVITY CREDIT UNITS SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

1. SEMINARS, CONVENTIONS, CONFERENCES, SYMPOSIA, IN-HOUSE EDUCATION


PROGRAMS, WORKSHOPS, DIALOGUES, ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS BY APPROVED
PROVIDERS UNDER RULE 7 AND OTHER RELATED RULES

1.1 PARTICIPANT/ 1 CU PER HOUR OF CERTIFICATE OF


ATTENDEE ATTENDANCE ATTENDANCE WITH
NUMBER OF HOURS
1.2 LECTURER FULL CU FOR THE PHOTOCOPY OF
RESOURCE SUBJECT PER PLAQUE OR
SPEAKER COMPLIANCE PERIOD SPONSORS
CERTIFICATION

1.3 PANELIST/REACTOR 1/2 OF CU FOR THE CERTIFICATION


COMMENTATOR/ SUBJECT PER FROM
MODERATOR/ COMPLIANCE PERIOD SPONSORING COORDINATOR/ ORGANIZATION
FACILITATOR

2. AUTHORSHIP, EDITING AND REVIEW

2.1 LAW BOOK OF NOT FULL CU FOR THE PUBLISHED BOOK


LESS THAN 100 PAGES SUBJECT PER
COMPLIANCE PERIOD
2.2 BOOK EDITOR 1/2 OF THE CU OF PUBLISHED BOOK
AUTHORSHIP CATEGORY WITH PROOF AS
EDITOR

2.3 RESEARCH PAPER 1/2 OF CU FOR THE DULY


INNOVATIVE PROGRAM/ SUBJECT PER CERTIFIED/
CREATIVE PROJECT COMPLIANCE PERIOD PUBLISHED
TECHNICAL
REPORT/PAPER

2.4 LEGAL ARTICLE OF AT 1/2 OF CU FOR THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE


LEAST TEN (10) PAGES SUBJECT PER
COMPLIANCE PERIOD

2.5 LEGAL NEWSLETTER/ 1 CU PER ISSUE PUBLISHED


LAW JOURNAL EDITOR NEWSLETTER/JOURNAL

2.6 PROFESSORIAL CHAIR/ FULL CU FOR THE CERTIFICATION OF


BAR REVIEW LECTURE SUBJECT PER LAW DEAN OR
LAW TEACHING/ COMPLIANCE PERIOD BAR REVIEW
DIRECTOR

Rule 5. CATEGORIES OF CREDIT UNITS

SECTION 1. Classes of Credit units. -- Credit units are either participatory or non-
participatory.
SEC. 2. Claim for participatory credit units. -- Participatory credit units may be
claimed for:
(a) Attending approved education activities like seminars, conferences,
conventions, symposia, in-house education programs, workshops, dialogues
or round table discussion.
(b) Speaking or lecturing, or acting as assigned panelist, reactor, commentator,
resource speaker, moderator, coordinator or facilitator in approved education
activities.
(c) Teaching in a law school or lecturing in a bar review class.
SEC. 3. Claim for non-participatory credit units. Non-participatory credit units may be
claimed per compliance period for:
(a) Preparing, as an author or co-author, written materials published or accepted
for publication, e.g., in the form of an article, chapter, book, or book review
which contribute to the legal education of the author member, which were not
prepared in the ordinary course of the members practice or employment.
(b) Editing a law book, law journal or legal newsletter.

Rule 6. COMPUTATION OF CREDIT HOURS (CH)

SECTION 1. Computation of credit hours. -- Credit hours are computed based on actual
time spent in an education activity in hours to the nearest one-quarter hour reported in
decimals.

Rule 7. EXEMPTIONS

SECTION 1. Parties exempted from the MCLE. -- The following members of the Bar are
exempt from the MCLE requirement:
(a) The President and the Vice President of the Philippines, and the Secretaries
and Undersecretaries of Executive Departments;
(b) Senators and Members of the House of Representatives;
(c) The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, incumbent and
retired members of the judiciary, incumbent members of the Judicial and Bar
Council and incumbent court lawyers covered by the Philippine Judicial
Academy program of continuing judicial education;
(d) The Chief State Counsel, Chief State Prosecutor and Assistant Secretaries of
the Department of Justice;
(e) The Solicitor General and the Assistant Solicitors General;
(f) The Government Corporate Counsel, Deputy and Assistant Government
Corporate Counsel;
(g) The Chairmen and Members of the Constitutional Commissions;
(h) The Ombudsman, the Overall Deputy Ombudsman, the Deputy Ombudsman
and the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman;
(i) Heads of government agencies exercising quasi-judicial functions;
(j) Incumbent deans, bar reviewers and professors of law who have teaching
experience for at least ten (10) years in accredited law schools;
(k) The Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and members of the Corps of Professors and
Professorial Lecturers of the Philippine Judicial Academy; and
(l) Governors and Mayors.
SEC. 2. Other parties exempted from the MCLE. The following Members of the Bar are
likewise exempt:
(a) Those who are not in law practice, private or public.
(b) Those who have retired from law practice with the approval of the IBP Board
of Governors.
SEC. 3. Good cause for exemption from or modification of requirement A member may
file a verified request setting forth good cause for exemption (such as physical disability,
illness, post graduate study abroad, proven expertise in law, etc.) from compliance with
or modification of any of the requirements, including an extension of time for compliance,
in accordance with a procedure to be established by the MCLE Committee.
SEC. 4. Change of status. The compliance period shall begin on the first day of the
month in which a member ceases to be exempt under Sections 1, 2, or 3 of this Rule and
shall end on the same day as that of all other members in the same Compliance Group.
SEC. 5. Proof of exemption. Applications for exemption from or modification of the
MCLE requirement shall be under oath and supported by documents.

Rule 8. STANDARDS FOR APPROVAL OF


EDUCATION ACTIVITIES

SECTION 1. Approval of MCLE program. Subject to the implementing regulations that


may be adopted by the MCLE Committee, continuing legal education program may be
granted approval in either of two (2) ways: (1) the provider of the activity is
an accredited provider and certifies that the activity meets the criteria of Section 2 of this
Rule; and (2) the provider is specifically mandated by law to provide continuing legal
education.
SEC. 2. Standards for all education activities. All continuing legal education activities
must meet the following standards:
(a) The activity shall have significant current intellectual or practical content.
(b) The activity shall constitute an organized program of learning related to legal
subjects and the legal profession, including cross profession activities (e.g.,
accounting-tax or medical-legal) that enhance legal skills or the ability to
practice law, as well as subjects in legal writing and oral advocacy.
(c) The activity shall be conducted by a provider with adequate professional
experience.
(d) Where the activity is more than one (1) hour in length, substantive written
materials must be distributed to all participants. Such materials must be
distributed at or before the time the activity is offered.
(e) In-house education activities must be scheduled at a time and location so as
to be free from interruption like telephone calls and other distractions.

Rule 9. ACCREDITATION OF PROVIDERS

SECTION 1. Accreditation of providers. -- Accreditation of providers shall be done by


the MCLE Committee.
SEC. 2. Requirements for accreditation of providers. Any person or group may
be accredited as a provider for a term of two (2) years, which may be renewed, upon
written application. All providers of continuing legal education activities, including in-
house providers, are eligible to be accredited providers. Application
for accreditation shall:
(a) Be submitted on a form provided by the MCLE Committee;
(b) Contain all information requested in the form;
(c) Be accompanied by the appropriate approval fee.
SEC. 3. Requirements of all providers. -- All approved accredited providers shall agree
to the following:
(a) An official record verifying the attendance at the activity shall be maintained
by the provider for at least four (4) years after the completion date. The
provider shall include the member on the official record of attendance only if
the members signature was obtained at the time of attendance at the activity.
The official record of attendance shall contain the members name and number
in the Roll of Attorneys and shall identify the time, date, location, subject
matter, and length of the education activity. A copy of such record shall be
furnished the MCLE COMMITTEE.
(b) The provider shall certify that:

(1) This activity has been approved BY THE MCLE COMMITTEE in the amount of ________
hours of which ______ hours will apply in (legal ethics, etc.), as appropriate to the content
of the activity;

(2) The activity conforms to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by
these Rules and such regulations as may be prescribed by the MCLE COMMITTEE.

(c) The provider shall issue a record or certificate to all participants identifying the
time, date, location, subject matter and length of the activity.

(d) The provider shall allow in-person observation of all approved continuing legal
education activity by THE MCLE COMMITTEE, members of the IBP Board of
Governors, or designees of the Committee and IBP staff Board for purposes of
monitoring compliance with these Rules.

(e) The provider shall indicate in promotional materials, the nature of the activity, the
time devoted to each topic and identity of the instructors. The provider shall make
available to each participant a copy of THE MCLE COMMITTEE-approved Education
Activity Evaluation Form.

(f) The provider shall maintain the completed Education Activity Evaluation Forms for
a period of not less than one (1) year after the activity, copy furnished the MCLE
COMMITTEE.

(g) Any person or group who conducts an unauthorized activity under this program
or issues a spurious certificate in violation of these Rules shall be subject to
appropriate sanctions.

SEC. 4. Renewal of provider accreditation. The accreditation of a provider may be


renewed every two (2) years. It may be denied if the provider fails to comply with any of
the requirements of these Rules or fails to provide satisfactory education activities for the
preceding period.
SEC. 5. Revocation of provider accreditation. -- the accreditation of any provider
referred to in Rule 9 may be revoked by a majority vote of the MCLE Committee, after
notice and hearing and for good cause.

Rule 10. FEE FOR APPROVAL OF ACTIVITY AND ACCREDITATION OF PROVIDER

SECTION 1. Payment of fees. Application for approval of an education activity or


accreditation as a provider requires payment of the appropriate fee as provided in the
Schedule of MCLE Fees.

Rule 11. GENERAL COMPLIANCE PROCEDURES

SECTION 1. Compliance card. -- Each member shall secure from the MCLE Committee
a Compliance Card before the end of his compliance period. He shall complete the card
by attesting under oath that he has complied with the education requirement or that he
is exempt, specifying the nature of the exemption. Such Compliance Card must be
returned to the Committee not later than the day after the end of the members
compliance period.
SEC. 2. Member record keeping requirement. -- Each member shall maintain sufficient
record of compliance or exemption, copy furnished the MCLE Committee. The record
required to be provided to the members by the provider pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 9
should be a sufficient record of attendance at a participatory activity. A record of non-
participatory activity shall also be maintained by the member, as referred to in Section 3
of Rule 5.

Rule 12. NON-COMPLIANCE PROCEDURES

SECTION 1. What constitutes non-compliance. The following shall constitute non-


compliance:
(a) Failure to complete the education requirement within the compliance period;
(b) Failure to provide attestation of compliance or exemption;
(c) Failure to provide satisfactory evidence of compliance (including evidence of
exempt status) within the prescribed period;
(d) Failure to satisfy the education requirement and furnish evidence of such
compliance within sixty (60) days from receipt of non-compliance notice;
(e) Failure to pay non-compliance fee within the prescribed period;
(f) Any other act or omission analogous to any of the foregoing or intended to
circumvent or evade compliance with the MCLE requirements.
SEC. 2. Non-compliance notice and 60-day period to attain compliance. -Members
failing to comply will receive a Non-Compliance Notice stating the specific deficiency and
will be given sixty (60) days from the date of notification to file a response clarifying the
deficiency or otherwise showing compliance with the requirements. Such notice shall
contain the following language near the beginning of the notice in capital letters:

IF YOU FAIL TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROOF OF COMPLIANCE WITH THE MCLE


REQUIREMENT BY (INSERT DATE 60 DAYS FROM DATE OF NOTICE), YOU SHALL BE
LISTED AS A DELINQUENT MEMBER AND SHALL NOT BE PERMITTED TO PRACTICE
LAW UNTIL SUCH TIME AS ADEQUATE PROOF OF COMPLIANCE IS RECEIVED BY
THE MCLE COMMITTEE.

Members given sixty (60) days to respond to a Non-Compliance Notice may use this
period to attain the adequate number of credit units for compliance.
Credit units earned during this period may only be counted toward compliance with
the prior compliance period requirement unless units in excess of the requirement
are earned, in which case the excess may be counted toward meeting the current
compliance period requirement.

Rule 13. CONSEQUENCES OF NON-COMPLIANCE

SECTION 1. Non-compliance fee. -- A member who, for whatever reason, is in non-


compliance at the end of the compliance period shall pay a non-compliance fee.
SEC. 2. Listing as delinquent member. -- A member who fails to comply with the
requirements after the sixty (60) day period for compliance has expired, shall be listed as
a delinquent member of the IBP upon the recommendation of the MCLE Committee. The
investigation of a member for non-compliance shall be conducted by the IBPs Commission
on Bar Discipline as a fact-finding arm of the MCLE Committee.
SEC. 3. Accrual of membership fee. -- Membership fees shall continue to accrue at the
active rate against a member during the period he/she is listed as a delinquent member.

Rule 14. REINSTATEMENT


SECTION 1. Process. -- The involuntary listing as a delinquent member shall be
terminated when the member provides proof of compliance with the MCLE requirement,
including payment of non-compliance fee. A member may attain the necessary
credit units to meet the requirement for the period of non-compliance during the period
the member is on inactive status. These credit units may not be counted toward meeting
the current compliance period requirement. Credit unitsearned during the period of non-
compliance in excess of the number needed to satisfy the prior compliance period
requirement may be counted toward meeting the current compliance period
requirement.
SEC. 2. Termination of delinquent listing is an administrative process. The termination
of listing as a delinquent member is administrative in nature AND it shall be made by the
MCLE Committee.

Rule. 15. COMMITTEE ON MANDATORY CONTINUING


LEGAL EDUCATION

SECTION 1. Composition. The MCLE Committee shall be composed of five (5)


members, namely, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court as Chair, and four (4) members
respectively nominated by the IBP, the Philippine Judicial Academy, a law center
designated by the Supreme Court and associations of law schools and/or law professors.
The members of the Committee shall be of proven probity and integrity. They shall
be appointed by the Supreme Court for a term of three (3) years and shall receive such
compensation as may be determined by the Court.
SEC. 2. Duty of committee. The MCLE Committee shall administer and adopt such
implementing rules as may be necessary subject to the approval of the Supreme Court. It
shall, in consultation with the IBP Board of Governors, prescribe a schedule of MCLE fees
with the approval of the Supreme Court.
SEC. 3. Staff of the MCLE Committee. Subject to approval by the Supreme Court, the
MCLE Committee shall employ such staff as may be necessary to perform the record-
keeping, auditing, reporting, approval and other necessary functions.
SEC. 4. Submission of annual budget. The MCLE Committee shall submit to the
Supreme Court for approval, an annual budget [for a subsidy] to establish, operate and
maintain the MCLE Program.
This resolution shall take effect on the fifteenth of September 2000, following its
publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.
Adopted this 22nd day of August, 2000, as amended on 02 October 2001.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing,
Pardo, Buena, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.
Kapunan, J., on official leave.
RULE 139

Disbarment or Suspension of Attorneys

Section 1. Motion or complaint. — Proceedings for the removal or suspension of


attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court on its own motion or upon the complaint
under oath of another in writing. The complaint shall set out distinctly, clearly, and
concisely the facts complained of, supported by affidavits, if any, of persons having
personal knowledge of the facts therein alleged and shall be accompanied with copies of
such documents as may substantiate said facts.

Section 2. Service or dismissal. — If the complaint appears to merit action, a copy thereof
shall be served upon the respondent, requiring him to answer the same within ten (10)
days from the date of service. If the complaint does not merit action, or if the answer
shows to the satisfaction of the Supreme Court that the complaint is not meritorious, the
same shall be dismissed.

Section 3. Investigation by Solicitor General. — Upon the issues raised by the complaint
and answer, or upon failure of the respondent to answer, the case shall be referred to the
Solicitor General for investigation to determine if there is sufficient ground to proceed
with the prosecution of the respondent. In the investigation conducted by the Solicitor
General, the respondent shall be given full opportunity to defend himself, to produce
witnesses in his own behalf, and to be heard by himself and counsel. However, if upon
reasonable notice, the respondent fails to appear, the investigation shall proceed ex
parte.

Section 4. Report of the Solicitor General. — Based upon the evidence adduced at the
hearing, if the Solicitor General finds no sufficient ground to proceed against the
respondent, he shall submit a report to the Supreme Court containing his findings of fact
and conclusion, whereupon the respondent shall be exonerated unless the court orders
differently.

Section 5. Complaint of the Solicitor General. Answer of respondent. — If the Solicitor


General finds sufficient ground to proceed against the respondent, he shall file the
corresponding complaint, accompanied with all the evidence introduced in his
investigation, with the Supreme Court, and the respondent shall be served by the clerk of
the Supreme Court with a copy of the complaint with direction to answer the same within
fifteen (15) days.
Section 6. Evidence produced before Solicitor General available. — The evidence
produced before the Solicitor General in his investigation may be considered by the
Supreme Court in the final decision of the case, if the respondent had an opportunity to
object and cross-examine. If in the respondent's answer no statement is made as to any
intention of introducing additional evidence, the case shall be set down for hearing, upon
the filing of such answer or upon the expiration of the time to file the same.

Section 7. Commissioner to investigate and recommend. Rules of evidence. — Upon


receipt of the respondent's answer, wherein a statement is made as to his desire to
introduce additional evidence, the case shall be referred to a commissioner who, in the
discretion of the court, may be the clerk of the Supreme Court, a judge of first instance,
or an attorney-at-law for investigation, report, and recommendation. The Solicitor
General or his representative shall appear before the commissioner to conduct the
prosecution. The respondent shall be given full opportunity to defend himself, to produce
additional evidence in his own behalf, and to be heard by himself and counsel. However,
if upon reasonable notice the respondent fails to appear, the investigation shall proceed
ex parte. The rules of evidence shall be applicable to proceedings of this nature.

Section 8. Report of commissioner and hearing. — Upon receipt of the report of the
commissioner, copies of which shall be furnished the Solicitor General and the
respondent, the case shall be set down for hearing before the court, following which the
case shall be considered submitted to the court for its final determination.

Section 9. Procedure in Court of Appeals or Courts of First Instance. — As far as may be


applicable, the procedure above outlined shall likewise govern the filing and investigation
of complaints against attorneys in the Court of Appeals or in Courts of First Instance. In
case of suspension of the respondent, the judge of the court of first instance or Justice of
the Court of Appeals shall forthwith transmit to the Supreme Court a certified copy of the
order of suspension and a full statement of the facts upon which same is based.

Section 10. Confidential. — Proceedings against attorneys shall be private and


confidential, except that the final order of the court shall be made public as in other cases
coming before the court.
RULE 139-B

Disbarment and Discipline of Attorneys

Section 1. How Instituted. — Proceedings for the disbarment, suspension, or discipline of


attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court motu propio, or by the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP) upon the verified complaint of any person. The complaint shall state
clearly and concisely the facts complained of and shall be supported by affidavits of
persons having personal knowledge of the facts therein alleged and/or by such
documents as may substantiate said facts.

The IBP Board of Governors may, motu propio or upon referral by the Supreme Court or
by a Chapter Board of Officers, or at the instance of any person, initiate and prosecute
proper charges against erring attorneys including those in the government service.

Six (6) copies of the verified complaint shall be filed with the Secretary of the IBP or the
Secretary of any of its chapter who shall forthwith transmit the same to the IBP Board of
Governors for assignment to an investigator.

A. PROCEEDINGS IN THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES

Section 2. National Grievance Investigators. — The Board of Governors shall appoint from
among IBP members an Investigator or, when special circumstances so warrant, a panel
of three (3) investigators to investigate the complaint. All Investigators shall take an oath
of office in the form prescribed by the Board of Governors. A copy of the Investigator's
appointment and oath shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court.

An Investigator may be disqualified by reason of relationship within the fourth degree of


consanguinity of affinity to any of the parties of their counsel, pecuniary interest, personal
bias, or his having acted as counsel to his acting as such Investigator. Where the
Investigator does not disqualify himself, a party may appeal to the IBP Board of
Governors, which by majority vote of the members present, there being a quorum, may
order his disqualification.

Any Investigator may also be removed for cause, after due hearing, by the vote of at least
six (6) members of the IBP Board of Governors. The decision of the Board of Governors in
all cases of disqualification or removal shall be final.
Section 3. Duties of the National Grievance Investigator. — The National Grievance
Investigators shall investigate all complaints against members of the Integrated Bar
referred to them by the IBP Board of Governors.

Section 4. Chapter assistance to complainant. — The proper IBP Chapter may assist the
complainant(s) in the preparation and filing of his complaint(s).

Section 5. Service or dismissal. — If the complaint appears to be meritorious, the


Investigator shall direct that a copy thereof be served upon the respondent, requiring him
to answer the same within fifteen (15) days from the date of service. If the complaint does
not merit action, or if the answer shows to the satisfaction of the Investigator that the
complaint is not meritorious, the same may be dismissed by the Board of Governors upon
his recommendation. A copy of the resolution of dismissal shall be furnished the
complainant and the Supreme Court which may review the case motu propio or upon
timely appeal of the complainant filed within 15 days from notice of the dismissal of the
complainant.

No investigation shall be interrupted or terminated by reason of the desistance,


settlement, compromise, restitution, withdrawal of the charges, or failure of the
complainant to prosecute the same, unless the Supreme Court motu propio or upon
recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors, determines that there is no compelling
reason to continue with the disbarment or suspension proceedings against the
respondent. (Amendment pursuant to Supreme Court Resolution dated May 27, 1993 re
Bar Matter 356).

Section 6. Verification and service of answer. — The answer shall be verified. The original
and five (5) legible copies of the answer shall be filed with the Investigator, with proof of
service of a copy thereof on the complainant or his counsel.

Section 7. Administrative counsel. — The IBP Board of Governors shall appoint a suitable
member of the Integrated Bar as counsel to assist the complainant of the respondent
during the investigation in case of need for such assistance.

Section 8. Investigation. — Upon joinder of issues or upon failure of the respondent to


answer, the Investigator shall, with deliberate speed, proceed with the investigation of
the case. He shall have the power to issue subpoenas and administer oaths. The
respondent shall be given full opportunity to defend himself, to present witnesses on his
behalf, and be heard by himself and counsel. However, if upon reasonable notice, the
respondent fails to appear, the investigation shall proceed ex parte.
The Investigator shall terminate the investigation within three (3) months from the date
of its commencement, unless extended for good cause by the Board of Governors upon
prior application.

Willful failure or refusal to obey a subpoena or any other lawful order issued by the
Investigator shall be dealt with as for indirect contempt of court. The corresponding
charge shall be filed by the Investigator before the IBP Board of Governors which shall
require the alleged contemnor to show cause within ten (10) days from notice. The IBP
Board of Governors may thereafter conduct hearings, if necessary, in accordance with the
procedure set forth in this Rule for hearings before the Investigator. Such hearing shall as
far as practicable be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its commencement.
Thereafter, the IBP Board of Governors shall within a like period of fifteen (15) days issue
a resolution setting forth its findings and recommendations, which shall forthwith be
transmitted to the Supreme Court for final action and if warranted, the imposition of
penalty.

Section 9. Depositions. — Depositions may be taken in accordance with the Rules of Court
with leave of the investigator(s).

Within the Philippines, depositions may be taken before any member of the Board of
Governors, the President of any Chapter, or any officer authorized by law to administer
oaths.

Depositions may be taken outside the Philippines before diplomatic or consular


representative of the Philippine Government or before any person agreed upon by the
parties or designated by the Board of Governors.

Any suitable member of the Integrated Bar in the place where a deposition shall be taken
may be designated by the Investigator to assist the complainant or the respondent in
taking a deposition.

Section 10. Report of Investigator. — Not later than thirty (30) days from the termination
of the investigation, the Investigator shall submit a report containing his findings of fact
and recommendations to the IBP Board of Governors, together with the stenographic
notes and the transcript thereof, and all the evidence presented during the investigation.
The submission of the report need not await the transcription of the stenographic notes,
it being sufficient that the report reproduce substantially from the Investigator's personal
notes any relevant and pertinent testimonies.

Section 11. Defects. — No defect in a complaint, notice, answer, or in the proceeding or


the Investigator's Report shall be considered as substantial unless the Board of Governors,
upon considering the whole record, finds that such defect has resulted or may result in a
miscarriage of justice, in which event the Board shall take such remedial action as the
circumstances may warrant, including invalidation of the entire proceedings.

Section 12. Review and decision by the Board of Governors.

a) Every case heard by an investigator shall be reviewed by the IBP Board of


Governors upon the record and evidence transmitted to it by the Investigator with
his report. The decision of the Board upon such review shall be in writing and shall
clearly and distinctly state the facts and the reasons on which it is based. It shall be
promulgated within a period not exceeding thirty (30) days from the next meeting
of the Board following the submittal of the Investigator's Report.

b) If the Board, by the vote of a majority of its total membership, determines that
the respondent should be suspended from the practice of law or disbarred, it shall
issue a resolution setting forth its findings and recommendations which, together
with the whole record of the case, shall forthwith be transmitted to the Supreme
Court for final action.

c) If the respondent is exonerated by the Board or the disciplinary sanction


imposed by it is less than suspension or disbarment (such as admonition,
reprimand, or fine) it shall issue a decision exonerating respondent or imposing
such sanction. The case shall be deemed terminated unless upon petition of the
complainant or other interested party filed with the Supreme Court within fifteen
(15) days from notice of the Board's resolution, the Supreme Court orders
otherwise.

d) Notice of the resolution or decision of the Board shall be given to all parties
through their counsel. A copy of the same shall be transmitted to the Supreme
Court.

B. PROCEEDINGS IN THE SUPREME COURT

Section 13. Supreme Court Investigation. — In proceedings initiated motu propio 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.
Section 14. Report of the Solicitor General of other Court-designated Investigator. —
Based upon the evidence adduced at the investigation, the Solicitor General or other
Investigator designated by the Supreme Court shall submit to the Supreme Court a report
containing his findings of fact and recommendations for the final action of the Supreme
Court.

C. COMMON PROVISIONS

Section 15. Suspension of attorney by Supreme Court. — After receipt of respondent's


answer or lapse of the period therefor, the Supreme Court, motu propio, or at the
instance of the IBP Board of Governors upon the recommendation of the Investigator,
may suspend an attorney from the practice of his profession for any of the causes
specified in Rule 138, Section 27, during the pendency of the investigation until such
suspension is lifted by the Supreme Court.

Section 16. Suspension of attorney by the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial Court. 1 —
The Court of Appeals or Regional Trial Court may suspend an attorney from practice for
any of the causes named in Rule 138, Section 27 2, until further action of the Supreme
Court in the case.

Section 17. Upon suspension by Court of Appeals or Regional Trial Court, further
proceedings in Supreme Court. — Upon such suspension, the Court of Appeals or a
Regional Trial Court shall forthwith transmit to the Supreme Court a certified copy of the
order of suspension and a full statement of the facts upon which the same was based.
Upon receipt of such certified copy and statement, the Supreme Court shall make a full
investigation of the case and may revoke, shorten or extend the suspension, or disbar the
attorney as the facts may warrant.

Section 18. Confidentiality. — Proceedings against attorneys shall be private and


confidential. However, the final order of the Supreme Court shall be published like its
decisions in other cases.

Section 19. Expenses. — All reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in relation to
disciplinary and disbarment proceedings are lawfull charges for which the parties may be
taxed as costs.

Section 20. Effectivity and Transitory Provision. — This Rule shall take effect June 1, 1988
and shall supersede the present Rule 139 entitled "DISBARMENT OR SUSPENSION OF
ATTORNEYS". All cases pending investigation by the Office of the Solicitor General shall
be transferred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors for
investigation and disposition as provided in this Rule except those cases where the
investigation has been substantially completed.

Footnotes

1 This section and the following Section 17 sepersede Section 9 of Rule 139.

2 The text of Rule 138, Section 27 reads: "SEC. 27. Attorneys removed or suspended
by the Supreme Court on what grounds. — A member of the bar may be removed
or suspended form 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.