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In Re: Lanuevo

In Re: Lanuevo

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Published by Kurisuchan Damnit
Administrative proceedings against Victorio D. Lanuevo
Administrative proceedings against Victorio D. Lanuevo

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Published by: Kurisuchan Damnit on Nov 24, 2012
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Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
ManilaEN BANC 
A.M. No. 1162 August 29, 1975IN RE: VICTORIO D. LANUEVO, former Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court,
respondent.
A.C. No. 1163 August 29, 1975IN RE: RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, 1971 Bar Examinee,
respondent.
A.M. No. 1164 August 29, 1975IN RE: HON. BERNARDO PARDO, HON. RAMON PAMATIAN, ATTY. MANUEL TOMACRUZ, ATTY. FIDELMANALO and ATTY. GUILLERMO PABLO, JR., Members, 1971 Bar Examining Committee,
respondent
.
 
MAKASIAR,
 J.:
Administrative proceedings against Victorio D. Lanuevo — for disbarment; Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang — for disbarment; Hon. Bernardo Pardo, Hon. Ramon Pamatian, Atty. Manuel C. Tomacruz; Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty. FidelManalo and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. — for disciplinary action — for their acts and omissions during the 1971 Bar Examinations.In his request dated March 29, 1972 contained in a confidential letter to the Court for re-correction and re-evaluation of hisanswer to the 1971 Bar Examinations question, Oscar Landicho — who flunked in the 1971, 1968 and 1967 Bar Examinationswith a grade of 70.5%, 65.35% and 67.55%, respectively — invited the attention of the Court to
"The starling fact that the grade in one examination (Civil Law) of at least one bar candidate was raised for one reason or another, before the bar results were released this year" 
(Confidential Letter, p. 2. Vol. I, rec.). This was confirmed, according to him, by the Civil LawExaminer himself (Hon. Ramon C. Pamatian) as well as by Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo. He further therein stated "thatthere are strong reasons to believe that the grades in other examination notebooks in other subjects also underwent alternations — to raise the grades — prior to the release of the results. Note that this was without any formal motion or request from the proper parties, i.e., the bar candidates concerned. If the examiners concerned reconsidered their grades
without formal motion
,there is no reason why they may not do so now when proper request answer motion therefor is made. It would be contraryto
due process
postulates. Might not one say that some candidates got unfair and unjust treatment, for their grades were notasked to be reconsidered 'unofficially'? Why the discrimination? Does this not afford sufficient reason for the Court
en banc
togo into these matters by its conceded power to ultimately decide the matter of admission to the bar?" (p. 2, Confidential Letter,Vol. I, rec.).Acting on the aforesaid confidential letter, the Court checked the records of the 1971 Bar Examinations and found that thegrades in five subjects — Political Law and Public International Law, Civil Law, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law and RemedialLaw — of a successful bar candidate with office code No. 954 underwent some changes which, however, were duly initialedand authenticated by the respective examiner concerned. Further check of the records revealed that the bar candidate withoffice code No. 954 is one Ramon E. Galang, a perennial bar candidate, who flunked in the
1969, 1966, 1964, 1963
,and
1962
bar examinations with a grade of 
67.55%, 68.65%, 72.75%, 68.2%, 56.45% and 57.3%,
respectively. He passed inthe 1971 bar examinations with a grade of 74.15%, which was considered as 75% by virtue of a Court of 74.15%, which wasconsidered as 75% as the passing mark for the 1971 bar examinations.Upon the direction of the Court, the 1971 Bar Examination Chairman requested Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo and thefive (5) bar examiners concerned to submit their sworn statements on the matter, with which request they complied.In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, said Bar Confidant
admitted 
having brought the five examination notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Ramon E. Galang, back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation and/or re-checking, stating thecircumstances under which the same was done and his reasons for doing the same.Each of the five (5) examiners in his individual sworn statement
admitted 
having re-evaluated and/or re-checked the notebook involved pertaining to his subject upon the representation to him by Bar Confidant Lanuevo that he has the authority to do thesame and that the examinee concerned failed only in his particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing.Finding a
prima facie
case against the respondents warranting a formal investigation, the Court required, in a resolution datedMarch 5, 1973, Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo "to show cause within ten (10) days from notice
why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" 
(Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 34, rec.). Considering that the re-evaluation of the examination papers of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was
unauthorized 
, and therefore he did not obtain a passing average in the1971 bar examinations, the Court likewise resolved on March 5, 1971 to requires him "to show cause within ten (10) days fromnotice
why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" 
(Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 99, rec.). The five examinersconcerned were also required by the Court "to show cause within ten (10) days from notice why
no disciplinary action should be taken against them
" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 31, rec.).Respondent Tomacruz filed his answer on March 12, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.). while respondents Pardo,Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Lanuevo filed theirs on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 60-63, 32-35, 40-41, 36-39 and 35-38, rec.). At the hearing on August 27, 1973, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in addition to, andin amplication of, his answer filed on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.). Respondent Galang filed hisunverified answer on March 16, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.). He was required by the Court to verify thesame and complaince came on May 18, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 106-110,) rec.).In the course of the investigation, it was found that it was not respondent Bernardo Pardo who re-evaluated and/or re-checkedexamination booklet with Office Code No. 954 in Political Law and Public International Law of examinee Ramon Galang,alias Roman E. Galang, but Guillermo Pablo, Jr., examiner in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercise, who was asked to help inthe correction of a number of examination notebooks in Political Law and Public International Law to meet the deadline for submission (pp. 17-24, Vol. V, rec.). Because of this development, Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. was likewise included asrespondent in Administrative Case No. 1164. Hon. Bernardo Pardo remainded as a respondent for it was also discovered thatanother paper in Political Law and Public International Law also underwent re-evaluation and/or re-checking. This notebook with Office Code No. 1662 turned out to be owned by another successful candidate by the name of 
 Ernesto Quitaleg 
. Further investigation resulted in the discovery of another re-evaluation and/or re-checking of a notebook in the subject of MercantileLaw resulting in the change of the grade from 4% to 50% This notebook bearing Office Code No. 110 is owned by another successful candidate by the name of 
 Alfredo Ty dela Cruz 
. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz and the latter's father were summoned totestify in the investigation.An investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation upon request of the Chairman of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee as Investigation Officer, showed that one Romy Galang y Esguerra, alias Ramon E. Galang, a studentin the School of Law of Manuel L. Quezon University, was, on September 8, 1959, charged with the crime of slight physical
1
 
injuries in the Municipal Court of Manila committed on Eufrosino F. de Vera, another student of the same university.Confronted with this information at the hearing of August 13, 1973 (Vol. V, pp. 20-21, 32, rec.), respondent Galang declaredthat he does not remember having been charged with the crime of slight physical injuries in that case. (Vol. VI, pp. 45-60,rec.).Respondent Galang, in all his application to take the bar examinations, did not make mention of this fact which he is requiredunder the rules to do.The joint investigation of all the cases commenced on July 17, 1973 and was terminated on October 2, 1973. Thereafter, parties-respondents were required to submit their memoranda. Respondents Lanuevo, Galang and Pardo submitted their respective memorandum on November 14, 1973.Before the joint hearing commenced, Oscar Landicho took up permanent residence in Australia, where he is believed to begainfully employed. Hence, he was not summoned to testify.At the joint investigation, all respondents, except respondent Pablo, who offered as evidence only his oral testimony, submittedas their direct evidence only his oral testimony, submitted as their direct evidence the affidavits and answers earlier submitted by them to the Court. The same became the basis for their cross-examination.In their individual sworn statements and answer, which they offered as their direct testimony in the investigation conducted bythe Court, the respondent-examiners recounted the circumstances under which they re-evaluated and/or re-checked theexamination notebooks in question.In His affidavit dated April 11, 1972, respondent Judge (later Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals) Ramon C. Pamatian,examiner in Civil Law, affirmed:2. That one evening sometime in December last year, while I was correcting the examination notebooks,Atty. Lanuevo,
 Bar Confidant, explained to me that it is the practice and the policy in bar examinationsthat he (Atty. Lanuevo) make a review of the grades obtained in all subjects and if he finds that candidate obtained an extraordinary high grade in one subject and a rather low one in another, he will bring back the latter to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation and change of grade
;3. That sometime in the
latter part of January of this year, he brought back to me an examinationbooklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, because according to him the owner of the paper is on theborderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will get passing mark 
;4.
That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and policy of theSupreme Court to do so
in the further belief that I was just manifesting cooperation in doing so, I
re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%
;5. That only one notebook in Civil Law was brought back to me for such re-evaluation and uponverifying my files I found that the notebook is numbered '95;6. That the original grade was
64%
and my re-evaluation of the answers were based on the samestandard used in the correction and evaluation of all others; thus, Nos. 3 and 4 with original grades of 7% each was reconsidered to 10%; No. 5 with 4% to 5%; No. 7 with 3% to 5%; and No. 8 with 8% to10% (emphasis supplied).His answer dated March 19, 1973 substantially reiterated his allegations in his April 11, 1972 affidavit with followingadditional statements:xxx xxx xxx3. ... However the grades in Nos. 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10, were not reconsidered as it is no longer to make thereconsideration of these answers because of the same evaluation and standard; hence, Nos. 1, 2 and 10remainded at 5% and Nos. 6 and 9 at 10%;4. That at the time I made the reconsideration of examination booklet No. 951 I did not know theidentity of its owner until I received this resolution of the Honorable Supreme Court nor the identities of the examiners in other subjects;5. That the
above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am authorized to do so in view of the misrepresentation of said Atty. Lanuevo
, based on the following circumstances:a) Since I started correcting the papers on or about October 16, 1971, relationship between Atty. Lanuevo and myself had developed to the point that with respect tothe correction of the examination booklets of bar candidates I have alwaysfollowed him and considered his instructions as reflecting the rules and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court with respect to the same; that I have no alternative but to take his words; b) That considering this relationship and
considering his misrepresentation to meas reflecting the real and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court 
, I did not bother any more to get the consent and permission of the Chairman of the Bar Committee. Besides, at that time, I was isolating myself from all members of theSupreme Court and specially the chairman of the Bar Committee for fear that Imight be identified as a bar examiner;xxx xxx xxxe) That no consideration whatsoever has been received by me in return for such recorrection, and as proof of it, I declined to consider and evaluate one booklet in Remedial Law aforesaid because I was notthe one who made the original correction of the same (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-35, rec.; emphasissupplied).Then Assistant Solicitor General, now CFI Judge, Bernardo Pardo, examiner in Political Law and Public International Law,confirmed in his affidavit of April 8, 1972 that:On a day or two after the Bar Confidant went to my residence to obtain from me the last bag of twohundred notebooks (bearing examiner's code numbers 1200 to 1400) which according to my record wason February 5, 1972, he came to my residence at about 7:30 p.m. riding in a Vokswagen panel of theSupreme Court, with at least two companions. The bar confidant had with him an examinee's notebook  bearing code number 661, and, after the usual amenties,
he requested me if it was possible for me toreview and re-examine the said notebook because it appears that the examinee obtained a grade of 57,whereas, according to the Bar Confidant, the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other  subjects, the highest of which was 84, if I recall correctly, in remedial law
.
2
 
 I asked the Bar Confidant if I was allowed to receive or re-examinee the notebook as I had submitted the same beforehand, and he told me that I was authorized to do so because the same was still within mycontrol and authority as long as the particular examinee's name had not been identified or that the codenumber decode and the examinee's name was revealed 
. The Bar Confidant told me that the name of theexaminee in the case present bearing code number 661 had not been identified or revealed; and that itmight have been possible that I had given a particularly low grade to said examinee.
 Accepting at face value the truth of the Bar Confidant's representations to me, and as it was humanly possible that I might have erred in the grading of the said notebook, I re-examined the same
, carefullyread the answer, and graded it in accordance with the same standards I had used throughout the gradingof the entire notebooks,
with the result that the examinee deserved an increased grade of 66. After againclearing with the Bar Confidant my authority to correct the grades, and as he had assured me that thecode number of the examinee in question had not been decoded and his name known, ... I thereforecorrected the total grade
in the notebook and the grade card attached thereto, and properly initia(l)ed thesame. I also corrected the itemized grades (from item No. 1 to item No. 10) on the two sets of gradingsheets, my personal copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant brought with him the other copy thereof, andthe Bar Confidant brought with him the other copy the grading sheet" (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-59;rec.; emphasis supplied)In his answer dated March 17, 1973 which he denominated as "Explanation", respondent Bernardo P. Pardo adopted andreplaced therein by reference the facts stated in his earlier sworn statement and in additional alleged that:xxx xxx xxx3. At the time I reviewed the examinee's notebook in political and international law,
code numbered 661
,I did know the name of the examinee. In fact, I came to know his name only upon receipt of theresolution of March 5, 1973; now knowing his name, I wish to state that I do not know him personally,and that I have never met him even up to the present;4. At that time,
 I acted under the impression that I was authorized to make such review, and had repeatedly asked the Bar Confidant whether I was authorized to make such revision and was so assured of my authority as the name of the examinee had not yet been decoded or his identity revealed. The Bar Confidant's assurance was apparently regular and so appeared to be in the regular course of express prohibition in the rules and guidelines given to me as an examiner, and the Bar Confidant was myofficial liaison with the Chairman,
as, unless called, I refrained as much as possible from frequent personal contact with the Chairman lest I be identified as an examiner. ...;5. At the time the Bar Confidant came to see me at about 7:30 o'clock in the evening at my residence, Ifelt it inappropriate to verify his authority with the Chairman.
 It did not appear to me that hisrepresentations were unauthorized or suspicious
. Indeed, the Bar Confidant was riding in the officialvehicle of the Supreme Court, a Volkswagen panel, accompanied by two companions, which was usual,and thus looked like a regular visit to me of the Bar Confidant, as it was about the same hour that heused to see me:xxx xxx xxx7. Indeed, the notebook code numbered 661 was still in the same condition as when I submitted thesame.
 In agreeing to review the said notebook code numbered 661, my aim was to see if I committed anerror in the correction, not to make the examinee pass the subject 
. I considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected that particular notebook on December 31, 1971,
considering especially the representation of the Bar Confidant that the said examinee had obtained higher grades inother subjects, the highest of which was 84% in remedial law
, if I recall correctly. Of course, it did notstrike me as unusual that the Bar Confidant knew the grades of the examinee in the position to know andthat there was nothing irregular in that:8. In political and international law, the original grade obtained by the examinee with notebook codenumbered 661 was 57%. After review, it was increased by 9 points, resulting in a final grade of 66%.Still, the examinee did not pass the subject, and, as heretofore stated, my aim was not to make theexaminee pass, notwithstanding the representation that he had passed the other subjects. ...9. I quite recall that during the first meeting of the Bar Examiners' Committee consensus was that wherean examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner in said subject would review thenotebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular. At the time of the Committee's first meeting, we still didnot know the names of the candidates.10.
 In fine, I was a victim of deception, not a party to it 
. It had absolutely no knowledge of the motivesof the Bar Confidant or his malfeasance in office, and did not know the examinee concerned nor had Iany kind of contract with him before or rather the review and even up to the present (Adm. Case No.1164, pp. 60-63; rec.; emphasis supplied).Atty. Manuel Tomacruz, examiner in Criminal Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 12, 1972:1. xxx xxx xxx2. That about weekly, the Bar Confidant would deliver and collect examination books to my residence at951 Luna Mencias, Mandaluyong, Rizal.3. That towards the end when I had already completed correction of the books in Criminal Law and washelping in the correction of some of the papers in another subject, the Bar Confidant
brought back to meone (1) paper in Criminal Law saying that that particular examinee had missed the passing grade byonly a fraction of a percent and that if his paper in Criminal Law would be raised a few points to75%
then he would make the general passing average.4. That seeing the jurisdiction, I raised the grade to 75%, that is, giving a raise of, if I remember correctly, 2 or 3 points, initialled the revised mark and revised also the mark and revised also the mark inthe general list.5. That I do not recall the number of the book of the examinee concerned" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69,rec.; emphasis supplied).In his answer dated March 12, 1973, respondent Tomacruz stated that
"I accepted the word of the Bar Confidant in good faithand without the slightest inkling as to the identity of the examinee
in question who up to now remains a total stranger andwithout expectation of nor did I derive any personal benefit" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.; emphasis supplied).Atty. Fidel Manalo, examiner in Remedial Law, stated in his affidavit dated April 14, 1972, that:xxx xxx xxx
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